Transformers Titans Return: Trypticon by Hasbro

Today’s Transformers Thursday review is brought to you by the motto, “Better late than never.” I’ve had Hasbro’s latest beast of a figure since around Christmas time when Amazon had him as a very appealing Deal of the Day. He’s been out of the box and on my shelf since then, but reviewing these Titan Class figures takes a lot out of me, so I really had to build up to it. Also, I’m fresh out of other Transformers to look at right now, so it was either Trypticon or nothing. I also want to preface this review with the disclaimer I have up on my past two Titan Class figures. My staging area is not big enough to handle these guys, so I have to make do with a sheet for a backdrop and a lighting rig that is not at all ideal. Also, unlike the previous Titans, I’m doing this one all in one part. There were a few pictures I would have liked to retry, but time didn’t allow it. In other words… sorry for the picture quality on some of these. With that all being said, let’s check this guy out!

Like Metroplex and Fort Max before him, Trypticon comes in fully enclosed box with some really nice artwork on the front and plenty of pictures of him on the back. It’s collector friendly, but you have to be willing to risk pulling him apart again if you want to put him back in the box. For me, taking him out of the box was a one way trip. In addition to the big guy himself, you also get the Deluxe Class Full-Tilt figure and his Titan Master, Necro. Also included in the box is a character card, a folded instruction sheet, and a massive sheet of foil stickers. I put most of those stickers on, but there are a few that I didn’t bother with, and a few others that I’m just too scared to attempt. I may finish stickering him up someday, but for now I’m happy with what I’ve got. Let’s start out with a quick look at Necro and Full-Tilt!

Full-Tilt’s alt mode is a pretty cool looking purple car. I’m assuming this is supposed to be a Cybertronian vehicle, because there are no windshields and it looks like a futuristic armored car. There’s a decent amount of sculpted detail here, mostly in the form of panel lines, some bolts, an engine on the back, and he’s got four rugged looking wheels. What’s missing? There’s absolutely no paint showing on this mode at all, which makes it feel rather unfinished to me. Trypticon is expensive, Hasbro, splash some paint on there, would ya, please? Full-Tilt comes with a black double barreled gun and it can be pegged right into the top of the vehicle.

Necro is Full-Tilt’s Titan Master and he too escaped the factory without any paint, which is a shame. He’s cast mostly in purple, but his head is cast in black plastic. You get the usual points of articulation, with ball joints in the neck and shoulders. The legs are fused together, but they have hinges at the hips and knees. Full-Tilt’s auto mode does open up and has a compartment for Necro to sit in, but since he’s nearly all purple, he kind of blends in with the rest of the purple plastic.

While I’m not overly impressed with Full-Tilt’s car mode, I really dig his robot mode. It’s still woefully lacking a lot of paint, you just get some silver on his chest grills, red for his visor, and a little silver on his “helmet.” But he’s a good, solid and clean design and kind of fun to play around with. He also displays really well with the other Deluxe Class figures on my shelf. So, yeah I dig him, but I can’t dwell on him much longer, because I’ve got a lot more to look at. So, let’s move on to Trypticon’s space cruiser mode!

I have to be honest, I did not expect to like this nearly as much as I do. This is a bruiser of a ship and it’s bulky, ugly, no-nonsense design is exactly what I expect out of a Decepticon space cruiser. Forget the dainty curves of The Nemesis, Starship Trypticon looks like a warship that can take a beating, and it’s stacked with firepower and carrier capabilities too. There are just a few things I don’t care for about the design. First off, what’s the deal with those stubby wings? Who are you kidding Trypticon? Those can’t possibly serve any purpose! Also, the instructions show them angled up a bit, but the wings on mine are a little floppy and will only lay flat. Secondly, the gigantic translucent dome looks like a cockpit and that kind of throws off the whole scale of it. Indeed, it’s kind of hard for me to not see it as a cockpit, making this look more like a fighter-sized ship. At least until I start stacking it with Titan Masters. Oh, and how about the fact that the nose of the ship actually looks like Trypticon’s head. Wait, did I list that with the things I didn’t like? Forget that. It’s awesome!

Space Cruiser Trypticon is absolutely loaded with sculpted detail. There are vents, panel lines, cables, hatches, and Titan Master foot pegs littered all over this thing. He’s also got two massive cannons on his back, which can elevate, another cannon in the middle of his back, where you can also mount Full-Tilt if you want, and finally he has a set of two smaller guns right up front at the nose. He also has three massive reactors exposed on either of his broadsides. It’s probably a good idea put some armor up over those, but then I’d like to think they just piss out so much radiation that it’s better out then in. It’s also probably the bubbling molten hell where all the Titan Masters he eats go to be converted into fuel. But we’ll get to snacking on Titan Masters later on.

The sides of the space cruiser can be used to launch Deluxe Class Decepticon spacecraft, complete with ramps that can extend to make an elongated runway. Both Triggerhappy and Misfire fit really great in these areas. Here’s where you can also get a nice sense of the scale of this space cruiser mode. I particularly love the little doorway that leads into the ship. It’s just the right size for the Titan Masters to pass through. These two carrier sections really make the star cruiser mode a lot of fun to play with.

And just when you think you’ve seen it all the front of the ship can open up to transport Full-Tilt in his car mode. And since the front of the ship looks like Trypticon’s head, when Full-Tilt launches, it looks like he’s barfing him out. Simply awesome. Yup, I absolutely love this mode and it’s various little design elements. It’s fun to mess around with, but a little too big and heavy to be whooshing it around the room. All in all, I’d say this ranks better than most of the third modes on the Voyager Triplechangers in this line. Let’s move on to his city mode!

The city mode is not a whole lot different from the space cruiser mode, and I kind of dig that. It’s like Trypticon can just fly to another planet, transform while he’s landing and BOOM! There’s a Decepticon City in your neighborhood now, bitches! DEAL WITH IT! All he really has to do is unfold his legs into pylons, drop three ramps, raise the cannons into towers, and tweak a few other things. But despite it’s simplicity I think it’s definitely on par with the Fort Max/Metroplex cities, and probably even a wee bit better. High-Tilt can now launch from the top and roll all the way down the ramp and into battle. You can also park Deluxe Decepticons on the side platforms or continue to use them as aircraft strips. Honestly, while I really liked the interaction between the space cruiser mode and the Deluxes, this is a CITY mode, and to really show it off, I’ve just got to bust out the Mini-Cons!

These Titan Class cities are just about the only occasion I get to use my giant bag of Mini-Cons any more. There are still plenty of sweet spots to pile them on, but Trypticon doesn’t really have the same amount of useful surface space as Metro or Fort Max. He’s still plenty of fun, though and while the Titan Masters are tinier, I think the Mini-Cons also do a nice job conveying the intended scale of this thing. Of course, you still have the option of converting the twin towers into cannons by angling them forward, and there are plenty of covered areas under him where you can park more cars.  So, while I’ll give the space cruiser mode a bit of an edge as my favorite of the two, I like this one quite a bit. But now that we’ve been through both the alt modes, as fun as they are, the real attraction here is Trypticon’s T-Rex mode, so let’s get him transformed and check him out.

Oh, mama! As much as I dig the two alt modes, here’s what I bought my tickets for, and I am not disappointed. While Trypticon’s T-Rex mode is not as tall as Metro or Fort Max, he’s still a powerhouse of a figure and an absolutely spot-on update to the original toy. I know I made this comment when dealing with the space cruiser mode, but nearly every bit of his surface area is covered with some kind of sculpted detail. There’s so much going on with this guy that it’s easy to get lost in all the minutia, and I think the hyper-detail in the sculpt helps to accentuate just how big he’s supposed to be.  The deco is an instantly familiar combination of gray, teal, and purple that matches my memories of my old childhood friend, and he’s got all the points that I consider to be iconic, like the translucent orange discs on his hips, and the “teeth” on the insides of his feet that served the walking gimmick in the original toy. I’m also suitably impressed by the articulation in his not-so-little arms. They’re actually quite useful for picking up Autobot fools.

As awesome as the body is, the head is a damn work of art, with powerful jaws, light piping in the eyes which I did not want to cover up with stickers, and those massive shoulder cannons. Once again, all the detail in the sculpt blows me away. I really should have posted this review yesterday on Valentine’s Day, because I’m in love with this big guy. Trypticon’s noggin also holds a few fun play gimmicks.

For starters, if you plug Necro’s head mode into the little compartment on the top of Trypticon’s head, the translucent orange panel between his eyes flips up to reveal a hidden laser cannon. Sweet!

Next up, if you open his jaws up all the way he’s got a double barreled cannon hidden in his mouth. He also has a throat which lets him swallow Titan Masters, sending him to that hellish gut I mentioned earlier where they can be melted away into fuel. But not to worry, Hasbro knows those things cost $5 a pack, so you can open his chest and retrieve them from his stomach compartment easy-peasy. Above we see poor Fracas emerging in the fetal position muttering, “I’ve seen things!” I really love the hazard striping stickers that go around these chambers, even though they were a bitch to put on straight.

With three of these Titan Class figures on my shelves, you’d think the impact of their coolness factor would have waned a bit, but that is definitely not the case with Trypticon. Indeed, in a lot of ways he’s even more impressive than Fort Max, because he’s all new sculpting, and he’s everything I could have wanted in a modern Trypticon update. Every now and then I stare at him on the shelf and still can’t quite believe Hasbro is turning out toys this amazing. Hasbro gets a lot of shit from collectors, and sure some of it is deserved, but it’s hard for me to not acknowledge them as my favorite toy company when they’re turning out works of art like this guy, not through Kickstarters or Comic Shop Exclusives, but right on the shelf at your local big box. Will we get a Scorponok in this scale? That would be cool. But even if they retire the Titan Class line after this third release, nothing can take away the fact that they delivered this trio of amazing giants. I think I can speak for most of us when I say, Good on you, Hasbro! Unless you got a Trypticon with shitty hips. Then you’re probably pissed.

Star Trek (One:12 Collective) “Mirror Universe” Mr. Spock by Mezco

It’s a rare and funny thing when the exclusives in a line are the cheapest and easiest figures to find, but that’s been the case with Mezco’s One:12 Collective Star Trek line. Amazon has been blowing out an exclusive version of Mr Spock from The Cage at around $30 for a long while now and next up on the bargain bin chopping block is the exclusive version of Spock from Mirror, Mirror over at Think Geek. I was pretty impressed when I reviewed the  One:12 Judge Dredd figure, and I’ve been meaning to dip my toe in these Trek offerings for a while. I guess cheap exclusives are a good way to do it. I should be starting out with The Cage version that I got a while back, but since Mirror Universe Spock just showed up last week, let’s check him out.

I cannot deny that Mezco knows good presentation. After all, these are figures that retail between $60-80+ each and the packaging reflects that. Spock comes in a window box with a hinged front flap, all protected by a plastic wrapped cardboard sleeve. The sleeve also has the same artwork as the box itself. The front panel features the symbol of the Terran Empire along with the 50th Anniversary Trek logo. The back of the box has various shots of the figure itself. There’s no actual statement about the exclusivity of this release, but since I got him at Think Geek’s website, I’ll go ahead and assume that it’s their exclusive. Anyway, the artwork on the box isn’t flashy, but it has a clean and dignified spartan feel to it, and what’s important is that when I hold this box in my hand, I feel like I’m holding something special.

Inside the box the figure comes on a molded black plastic tray with his stand behind him and his accessories on each side. There’s also a tray nested underneath it with an optional hinged arm for the figure stand. Take note, this line don’t give a shit about your space concerns, as the package is way bigger than it needs to be. Now, these boxes seem to be standard throughout the line, so it’s possible that this is to accommodate some of the figures that come with a lot more stuff, but in the end, it’s still a space hog!

Here’s Mr. Spock straight out of the box and overall I’d say he looks pretty damn good. This version features high boots, black pants, which I presume are the same used for the regular releases, and a brand new tailored tunic with the Terran Empire symbol and some other emblems that are unique to this alternate version of the uniform. The tailoring on the outfit is very good and the stitching is immaculate. I also love the blue shimmery material they used for the tunic. With all that having been said, the tunic does feel a tad puffy on him and fits a little awkwardly at the collar. Part of the reason could be because the figure is also wearing another shirt under it. Also, the gold sash around his waist looks a bit cheap and the two loose ends tend to stick out rather than fall flat. I don’t want to make too big an issue about it, because I respect how hard it is to make clothing look right at this smaller scale, but this is certainly one of the pitfalls of this line of figures.

While I might nitpick a bit at the uniform, the head sculpt is magnificent, especially for this scale. Based on the official pictures I’ve seen, some of the One:12 figures use plastic for the faces that doesn’t quite look right to me, but that’s certainly not an issue here. The skin tone is quite good and the paintwork is excellent. Obviously, this is a brand new sculpt unique to this figure with the addition of the goatee and it really is a great likeness for the way Spock looked in the episode. This is quite simply superb work.

Spock comes with several sets of hands, including a pair of fists, a pair of relaxed hands, a phaser holding hand, a dagger holding hand, and one that looks like it might be designed to do the patented Kirk palm strike. The hands are very easy to swap in and out, and I didn’t feel apprehensive about snapping the pegs. I’m just happy that I can pose him with his hand out and asking for Mr. Kyle’s Agonizer. Unfortunately, the Agonizer is not included. Indeed, apart from the hands, the only accessories Spock comes with is a hand phaser and a dagger with a scabbard. Both items can be worn on the figure. There’s a loop on the pants where you can pass the handle of the phaser through. Fun fact, officially these were held on by “velcrite” but the loop works well. The dagger’s scabbard can clip onto the sash, but it doesn’t stay put very well. It frequently fell off while I was reposing the figure and there were a couple times where I was sure that I had lost it.

The dagger is unique to this release and it’s a great little sculpt. The hand designed to hold it definitely does the job. I was, however, a little worried about snapping the blade off as I was trying to get it in there.  On the back of the package, it looks like they used the phaser hand to hold it, but I found it was way too loose in that one. The phaser fits a lot more easily into the trigger finger hand and there’s some really nice detail and paintwork on it for such a small weapon. It seems rather cheap to me that Mezco couldn’t include a communicator in the box, since it would have just been a repack from the regular figures.

I’d like to run down the specifics of articulation here, but truth be told I have no idea what’s going on under all those clothes. What I do know is that the joints are very stiff and that he is not a lot of fun to play with. I’m not sure if the articulation is being restricted by the clothing, but since it’s hard to tell which way the joints are orientated, I don’t want to force them for fear of snapping a hinge or a peg. I can’t get a very tight elbow bend out of the arms and I wasn’t even able to get him to fist bump his chest to do the Terran Empire salute. I’m also afraid to go too wide on the stances as I might tear the seam in Mr. Spock’s space-trousers. The only exposed joints are the wrists and ankles. The wrists move fine, but all I can get out of the ankles is a swivel. I suspect there are hinges in there, but mine simply won’t budge.

Mezco has developed a standardized type of stand for the One:12 line, which is a large disc with a foot peg to hold the figure. In this case the disc is black and has the Terran Empire emblem stamped in blue. Like the packaging, the stand is a lot bigger than it needs to be, but it looks great and I think it definitely adds to the figure’s overall presentation. You also get a hinged arm with a grabbing arm that can be swapped out for the foot peg on the stand. The arm is very similar to the ones included with the Tamashii stands and is great for flying or extreme action poses. I didn’t pull out the arm for any pictures, because it seems unnecessary for Spock.

In the end, I’ve definitely got mixed feelings about this figure. There’s a lot of great stuff going on here, and there’s quite a few disappointments too. I’ve got nothing but praise for the work they did on the sculpting and painting of the portrait and, despite some minor issues with the fit of the tunic, I do believe this is about the best we can expect to see in tailored outfits in this scale. On the flip-side, the accessories feel really light for the original asking price and the restrictive articulation is just a real bummer. I’m hoping that doesn’t make me sound like a hypocrite, because I tend to expect and accept restrictive outfits on my Hot Toys and those are a lot more expensive, but the articulation on my One:12 Dredd felt better than this, so I expected more here. Now, for the $20 (including shipping) I paid for this figure, I’m perfectly happy with what I got, but this experience isn’t making me want to run out and spend $70 each on Kirk and Sulu and vanilla Spock. If they were closer to the $45 mark, I’d be considering it.

Marvel Legends (Man-Thing Wave): Jessica Jones by Hasbro

I’ve got a double dose of the Mondays today, because it’s my first day back at work after a vacation that went by way too fast. It sucks, but at least I get to open a new Marvel Legends figure to brighten my day and I’ve only got a few days until Black Panther! For now, I’m still pressing on through the Marvel Netflix figures in this Man-Thing Wave and today I’m checking out the ever charming alcoholic-gumshoe-asskicker, Jessica Jones.

Here she is in the box, with the giant Man-Thing torso and the series logo down at the bottom. I’m still surprised they didn’t work the Netflix brand onto the front, but I guess that wasn’t part of the licensing. While the tray seems pretty full thanks to the BAF part, I can’t help but think a couple of extra hands could have easily fit in that upper left corner, and I’ll come back to that later on.

If ever there was a figure that I thought Hasbro could screw up, it would be this one, but boy was I wrong. The outfit, the likeness, everything here is spot on and very nearly perfect. I could just shut down the review now, but I’ve got to keep up my average word count, so I’ll elaborate. Jessica comes wearing her blue jeans, boots, black t-shirt, and black leather jacket. This is about as close to an iconic look for her Netflix version as you can get. Maybe they could have added her gray scarf, but apparently the Star Wars Black Series Jyn Erso scarf makes for a good substitute with a little modification. The paint on the jeans is very well done and shows off some faded areas and an overall convincing denim finish. They also have sculpted pockets, seams, belt loops, and a teeny tiny silver painted button on the front. The tops of the boots are actually free-floating pieces to allow for the usual ankle articulation.

The jacket is my favorite piece of her ensemble. It just looks magnificent, right down to the rumples in the sleeves and the silver paint on the zippers. Yes, it’s the usual soft plastic vest with sleeves sculpted on the arms, and the effect works really well. It’s also easily removable, but I think the jacket sleeves are too bulky to pass as the sleeves to her t-shirt. Still, it’s an option.

What really surprised me about this figure was how good the likeness is to actress Krysten Ritter. Sure, Hasbro has been doing a solid job with most of their MCU portraits, but this one is up there with the best of them. It has to be noted, however, that while the portrait looks excellent in hand, it really breaks down as you get in super close. This will be a recurring gripe with me about Hasbro’s new facial printing method, but to be honest, I’d much rather have a great looking likeness in hand then one that looks great when I’m all zoomed in. Unfortunately, there’s one big flaw in this figure that keeps it from closing in on true excellence and that’s the hideous molding seam that runs right up the middle of her neck. Really, Hasbro? Was there no way to move that to the side, where it would have been covered up by her hair?

There aren’t any real surprises in the articulation here. Jessica’s arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists, but no bicep swivels. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, double hinged at the knees, and have thigh swivels. The ankles have both hinges and rockers. The torso features a ball joint under the chest, and the neck has both a hinge and ball joint. The figure is really good at high kicks, and like Daredevil, Hasbro has been delivering some bafflingly good balance on these figures.

Apart from her horribly scarred neck, the only other drawback here is a lack of extra hands. I like the fists. They make sense, as Jessica likes to hit things, but they’re rather limiting in what you could do with her. Some relaxed hands would have been cool. I would have also been happy with an accessory. I know, Hasbro isn’t going to give her a tiny bottle of whiskey, but maybe a laptop or a camera would have been cool. Without extra hands or accessories, I’ll confess that I felt a little strained just trying to come up with some different photos of her.

Nonetheless, I think Jessica Jones is another very solid figure in the Marvel Legends Netflix treatments and I’ll confess to be very surprised that this version of the character got a release. Not only is she a pretty ordinary looking person in street clothes, but I’ll bet the parents aren’t lining up to buy their kids action figures based on alcoholic private investigators. Not that I’m complaining, mind you. I’m hoping that these figures are selling well, because I really need a Netflix Kingpin, Killgrave, and yes I’d even happily take an Iron Fist to round out my Defenders. I’ll also take this time to gripe about Hasbro sticking the comic version of Jessica Jones in that Amazon Exclusive Defenders four-pack, because I already have the Luke Cage from The Thunderbolts set, and I don’t really need the other Iron Fist and Daredevil. Anywho, next week I’ll wrap up the Netflix portion of this wave with a look at Elektra!

Figma “Overwatch” Tracer by Max Factory

It’s Anime Saturday and cry foul if you must, but today’s figure is not from an anime series or Japanese video game. Nope, today we’re dealing with a Figma from the Western video game Overwatch, but it’s still a Figma, and so I’m sticking this review here. Also, I pre-ordered Tracer forever ago and once she arrived I really couldn’t wait to get her opened and check her out. And here’s a fun fact: I don’t even play the game, but I’ve watched a bunch of the videos and I love the character designs in general, and that goes double for Tracer.

While Tracer comes in a pretty standard Figma window box, the white and orange color scheme really makes this box stand out among the others on my shelf. She’s Figma #352, if you’re keeping track, but Lord know’s I’m not. I can’t even make any sense of their numbering scheme. As usual, there’s some English on the box, but a lot of it is in Japanese. The packaging is totally collector friendly, but if you don’t want to keep the box, you get a handy Figma-branded Ziploc bag to keep all those extra bits in.

Cheers, Love! The cavalry’s here! And oh, boy doesn’t she look like she just jumped right out of the screen? The creators did a beautiful job bringing her digitally rendered costume to plastic, from those tight pants with sculpted side panels to her very British looking bomber jacket with it’s high collar and flared sleeves. Even the Chronal Harness looks so good, if I didn’t know better, I’d swear it’s actually keeping my figure anchored in the here and now. I especially dig the translucent blue plastic used on the front and back to simulate the glow of the Accelerator. Her Tracer Bracers look really nice too, and for the record, they do not open up to hold her pistols, but then I wasn’t really expecting them to be able to make that work at this scale.

The paint quality and overall coloring on the figure is also excellent. One of the appealing things for me about the Overwatch designs are the beautiful vibrant colors and that’s certainly the case with Tracer here. The bright orange pants contrasts beautifully with the immaculate white and gray shoes and bracers and the matte brown and tan of the jacket. Everything about this figure just pops! Other great little touches include the immaculate shoulder patches on her jacket, the silver paint on the zipper, and the crisp “T-01” printed on her bracers.

Of course, this is a Figma, so you know you’re going to get extra hands and faces. Tracer comes with three different facial expressions. You get a regular smile, a more jubilant open mouthed smile, and a more determined expression with a wry little smirk. Whichever face you go with, each one includes the same orange tinted goggles, which are clear enough to see her eyes (at least when my studio lights aren’t reflecting off of them!) and I love the way they sculpted her spiky hair. It’s just perfect. The hands include a pair of fists, splayed hands, gun-holding hands, accessory gripping hands, a and a left hand offering a two-fingered salute. They’re all pretty easy to pop in and out, although I tend to just keep the guns in the gun-hands.

Apart from the hands and faces (and the ubiquitous Figma figure stand), Tracer doesn’t come with a whole lot of accessories, but she does have the essentials. Naturally, she has her trusty pair of pulse pistols, and these are indeed a beautiful set of guns with great sculpted detail and crisp paintwork. Maybe some effect parts for the guns would have been cool, but probably not necessary.

The other accessory is a Pulse Mine and this thing is super tiny. It’s so tiny, I almost missed it in the box. One of her accessory holding hands is perfectly sculpted to hold it and despite its size, there’s some really nice detail painted onto it.

If you can’t tell, I’m absolutely smitten with this figure. I’ve been waiting for Overwatch figures ever since the game first came out. It seemed like a sure thing that NECA would be the ones to do them, since they were partnering with Blizzard on the Heroes of the Storm line, but that line fizzled and I guess the cats at Blizzard cut a deal with Max Factory instead. There’s no doubt that the designs work well with the Figma format, and I’m sure we’re getting overall better quality product, but I can’t help but think NECA would have delivered more characters. As of right now, the only other Overwatch Figma that I know has been revealed is Genji, and he’s due out this Summer. While there are certainly some characters I’m looking forward to more than others, I’ll probably pick up whoever they release, if only to do my part toward seeing the line succeed. Because I definitely want more of this! And who knows, someday I may actually play the game!

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

It’s Friday and this week that makes me sad, because it means my vacation is just about over and it feels like it just began. But it’s also DC Friday and today that means I get to open up another of DC Collectibles’ Bombshells action figures. If you’re just joining me on these, I absolutely loved the first wave, but this second wave has been a little hit-and-miss. There have obviously been some cuts in the articulation and accessories, and Mera broke right out of the box. Hawkgirl was a big improvement, and I’m hoping that Batgirl can continue this line on the path to redemption.

The packaging is that very familiar DCC window box that they’ve been using with all their Designer Series figures. It’s collector friendly, has some great artwork on the side panel and it shows the figure off brilliantly. I’ll confess I was a bit stumped on Batgirl’s design for a while. At first, I thought it was some kind of vintage circus homage, but after actually reading some of the comics, it’s just meant to be an aviator outfit. Oh, yeah, she’s also vampire.

Sculpting and paintwork have never been an issue with this line, and Batgirl carries on that tradition quite nicely. From the waist up, Babs sports a corset-like half-top features a bat-motif, a pair of long gauntlets, and the straps to her parachute pack are sculpted onto the figure. Down below, she’s got a simple pair of purple painted pants, and high laced high-heeled boots. The utility belt got a lot of attention, with a bat-symbol on the belt buckle and various pouches for all her gadgets.

The coloring on the figure is also fabulous. I love the purple they used, and it’s accompanied by some bright yellow for the boots and belt pouches, plus you get some snappy gold paint on her chest and the belt buckle. Even the lacings on the boots are neatly painted and if you look really closely you can see tiny bat symbols on the sides in a slightly darker shade of yellow. There are some inconsistent spots on her pants, which could have been smoothed out, but I can just chalk that up to some weathering from action in the field and still be happy with it. Finally, I really like the plastic they’re using for the skin on these figures. It’s warm and even and looks great.

The headsculpt here is also pretty solid. It has a goofy charm to it, and I particularly like Babs’ wide, beaming smile. This is an example where I actually like the portrait on the figure better than the final production run of the original statue. The printing on the eyes is sharp and bright, and the glossy paint on the lips looks great. In addition to her aviator-style cowl, Batgirl has a scarf tied around her neck, and her trademark red hair blows off to the side in a ponytail.

The goggles are a separate piece, which was a great idea, as she can either wear them up on her cowl, or if you want to mimic the statue, you can slide them down over her eyes. They fit the figure perfectly, and I dare say they look as good if not better than what we got on the statue.

The articulation here is identical to what we saw in the last two figures in this wave. The arms have 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. The torso features an ab crunch hinge down low in the waist, a ball joint under the chest and there’s also a ball joint in the neck. And yes, I still do miss those thigh swivels.

The parachute pack is a separate piece that pegs into Babs’ back, just like Hawkgirl’s jetpack. I’m not sure why anyone would want to display her without it, but I guess it’s nice to have options. I guess by putting it next to the figure, it looked like an extra accessory. The pack does actually open and you can put her cape on it, and that brings me to a quality control issue. The flap on my figure’s pack was painted shut. I tried heating it up and carefully razoring the edges, but when I finally got it open, the peg that holds it closed snapped off in the hole. Unfortunately, it’s also the peg that passes through the cape and holds it in place. On the bright side, the cape already hooks over the edge of the pack, so it doesn’t need it to hold it in place. It’s nowhere near as big an issue as Mera’s ankle breaking straight out of the package, but it’s still an issue worth noting.

I’ve mentioned how this second wave seems to be really light on the accessories and Batgirl here is rather deceptive about that. The goggles, parachute pack, and cape all fill up the bubble nicely, but they’re also all parts of her outfit, so they don’t go a long way for play value. I’m never going to display her not wearing her goggles or backpack, and I’m probably going to always have her cape on too, so as far as accessories go, they don’t feel much like bonuses. Not that I can think of much more to pack in with her, other than some extra hands.

Despite some minor gripes and another unfortunate QC issue, I think Batgirl here is another plus for this wave. She’s a great looking figure on every level, and I’m still delighted to see these designs getting their due in action figure form. Some extra hands would have gone a long way to adding to the fun, but even as she is, I had a good time posing and messing around with her. This wave still isn’t reaching the heights of the initial one, but I’m increasingly happy that I bought it. Next week, I’ll finish off the wave with a look at Katana!

Transformers “Power of the Primes” Dreadwind by Hasbro

The great New Jersey Philospher Anthony Soprano once said, “‘Remember When’ is the lowest form of conversation.” That may be true, but Lord Primus help me, I do love me some G1 Transformers homages and call backs. And today’s figure is especially cool for me, because I was getting out of Transformers back when the whole Power Masters thing was getting started, so this is a brand new opportunity to finally own a version of G1 Dreadwind. And no, that Botcon repaint of Classics Jetfire doesn’t count.

We’ve seen the PotP Deluxe packaging several times now, so there’s not much new to talk about. As always, we get some absolutely kickass character art at the top of the card. Also, I shot this one from a bit more of a top-down angle so you can see how they had to maneuver poor Dreadwind’s legs to get them to fit on a standard Deluxe bubble. But before we start talking about his robot mode, let’s check out with his alt mode.

Dreadwind’s alt mode is a passable approximation of an F-16 Falcon, and yup, he’s a remold of Skydive from Combiner Wars! At first glance, the look is similar enough that I actually had to dig out Skydive to see if there was any remolding. The biggest difference is where the wings meet the body, and it looks like the tail wings are new. Also, you can see the newly sculpted circular intakes peeking out from under the wings and near the body. The Prime/Titan Master peg holes on the new wing pieces are a nice touch. But does it really work as G1 Dreadwind? Yeah, apart from the split fins on the back, where he should only have one, it’s pretty damn solid.

The deco is right on the mark too. You get a very pale gray/off-white body with aqua colored wings and cockpit, along with a darker charcoal nosecone and rear quarter. The only major departure is that the rear wings are purple instead of charcoal, but that still fits in nicely with the purple in the original Dreadwind’s color scheme. The silver paint one wings and the Decepticon insignia do a nice job mimicking the stickers on the G1 toy. The red painted intakes are a little different, but they don’t really hurt the homage at all. It’s a great looking jet and just different enough from Skydive to make me happy.

By now, y’all know I’m not a big fan of this line’s Prime Armor pieces, but this one can actually be used to drive home the whole Power Master homage, by plugging it into the top of the jet. Yeah, it’s a lot bigger than the Power Masters were, but at least they painted this armor in something close to the original Hi-Test’s colors to make it an option. Dreadwind’s gun can also be pegged into the hole on the back of the jet, or if you’re not a fan of symmetry, you can plug it into either of the sockets below the wings. It looks pretty silly on the top, so I tend to just plug it into one of the wings. Alrighty, let’s get this guy transformed and check out his other half.

In robot mode we get to see a lot more of the remolding Hasbro did here. The torso, while still built around the same old Combiner post, is completely new. A good chunk of the legs and arms are recycled, but he has brand new shoulders and really shows off those circular intakes. And that’s a good thing, because those shoulders are some of the only real design call-backs to the original G1 Dreadwind in this robot mode, at least below the neck. The biggest difference is the lack of cockpit on his chest.  With that having been said, I really like the deco on the robot mode. You get more of that pale gray and snazzy purple plastic, as well as the aqua on the shoulders and hips. There are some silver paint hits on the shoulders and chest, some red applications on the chest, and his feet and hands are painted charcoal.

The back shows off some of the things I don’t like about him, and that’s the fact that he wears all his wings on his lower legs. I don’t mind so much that it isn’t faithful to the original design, but I just don’t think it looks good. Having three wings hanging off each leg is why they had to contort him to fit in the package, and while it looks fine from the front, it looks really awkward and ungainly from the back or sides. You can fold the primary wings forward to clean up the back a bit, but at the expense of the front. Don’t get me wrong, I think it was clever the way they engineered the wings to move down there, rather than on the back like Skydive, but having all that kibble on his legs and nothing on his torso makes him look a little oddly proportioned.

Moving back up to the head, I really dig this head sculpt. It’s a great update to the original toy’s rather distinctive look. The yellow eyes look especially cool set inside the purple “helmet.” But all those exposed screwheads so prominently on display? Eh, I could have done without that.

I’ve already shown off Dreadwind’s weapon attached to his jet mode. Here he is holding it. It’s a really long peg that doesn’t fit too well in his hand, which makes it look a tad awkward, but overall not bad. Plus it’s the height of Decepticon fashion to have your shooter color coordinated to match your shoulders.

Dreadwind is a really cool little figure. I will admit, I was not terribly keen on seeing Hasbro cram Combiner Wars remolds into this new line, especially not in the very first wave of Deluxes, but in hand, Dreadwind feels just fresh enough for me to give him a pass. There are some design elements that could have been tweaked, but in the end, I definitely like him. Of course, part of my goodwill towards this figure is based on the fact that he’s based on what I would consider to be a somewhat obscure character/toy, but that’s probably just because I got out of Transformers when I did. I’m sure someone out there considers Dreadwind a favorite and I hope this little homage lives up to their expectations.

Star Wars “The Force Awakens:” Snowtrooper Officer 1:6 Scale Figure by Hot Toys

Hot Toys and impulse buy aren’t usually words that go together, at least not for a working stiff like myself. But last week on Amazon, some Marketplace sellers have been blowing out some of their First Order troopers from The Force Awakens at prices that I just couldn’t refuse and before I knew it I was clicking away a large chunk of monies. The first one I went for was the Snowtrooper Officer, mainly because I dig the design so much and I was happy to see these guys turn up again in The Last Jedi on Crait (as Salt-troopers?), because it makes this review just a little less dated.

If this is your first trip to the Star Wars Hot Toys rodeo, you should know that the boxes all feature the same stark black-on-slightly-less-black decos so they do all match, but to me they aren’t very visually striking. Indeed, the only art here is a nice photo of the figure on the front panel. But what these boxes lack in artistic value and eye candy they make up for with overall construction. These shoe-boxes are very much like the higher quality boxes Hot Toys used to use for all their lines before moving to the flimsier window boxes in sleeves. And there’s something to be said for that when you’re paying a lot for a figure and want to store the extra pieces in something other than a Ziploc bag. You also get a really nice illustrated cardboard insert placed over the tray, something that Hot Toys also used to do. Inside the box, the figure comes on a single tray with all his extra bits flanking him on both sides.

The First Order Snowtrooper comes out of the package all bundled up and ready to hunt Resistance scum through the snowy tundras or clear out their icy hidey-holes. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that the classic Imperial design is tough to beat, but I’ve really come to love the new First Order look, possibly even a wee bit more. Either way, the design makes for an interesting figure in this scale because of the mix of plastic armor and fabric. Indeed, I don’t think I really realized how much of this uniform was fabric until holding this figure in my hand. It’s just not something that I got a sense of with Hasbro’s 6-inch version, and it’s not like these guys were on screen all that much.

The underlying suit is beautifully tailored with some lovely quilting effects on the arms and legs, as well as immaculately stitched borders running down the front of the suit and the edges of the kama. He has a pair of knee pads attached with elastic straps and below that is all sculpted plastic leading down to the boots, with black paint applied to the sculpted straps. Moving up from there, he features a codpiece, armor sleeves on his forearms, and a chest and back-plate with the shoulder armor attached with flexible straps. The most striking thing about this figure for me is how shockingly bright all the white is. He’s like a walking advertisement for bleach. This is a figure that makes me want to scrub up before handling him, like I’m going into surgery, for fear of leaving a smudge on the fabric. I should also say how much I dig the contrast between the shiny armor pieces and the fabric of the rest of the uniform, both in texture and finish.

The black belt around his waist features two pouches, which are basically fabric wrapped around boxes to help them keep their form. They’re non-functional, and I’m not sure what he’s supposed to keep in there. Maybe rations or just extra power magazines for his blaster. The backpack features some great detailing on the sides, and attaches very simply by sliding it onto a triangular tab. It’s easy to take off, but it also holds on very securely. I’ll also note here that the predominantly fabric uniform makes this Snowy a lot of fun to play with. There’s still more restriction than I would like in the legs, but the arms have a lot more range than Hot Toys’ regular First Order Stormtrooper, which is a pleasant surprise.

The only thing that I can tell that sets this guy apart from the rank-and-file Snowies is his right shoulder pauldron. This piece of flexible plastic has a leather-like texture and is painted with a deep red finish. The head is easily removable, but it looks like the pauldron is attached to the armor pretty well. It may be possible to get it off if you want to convert him to a regular trooper, but that’s not something I’m going to risk messing with. I’m guessing this could be intentional so that Hot Toys could sell more of the Officer and Trooper two-packs.

As for the helmet itself, it’s a great piece of work. The nearly featureless, and totally flawless, smooth curves make it super creepy and intimidating to me. It features black markings running around the back to the sides, a narrow, visor, and two silver caps on the end of his breather units. Like all the armor pieces, the helmet features a super glossy finish.

As expected from any Hot Toys offering, the Snowtrooper comes with a hearty helping of hands, which are fairly easy to pop on and off. You get a pair of fists, a pair of relaxed hands, a pair of weapon holding hands, a single left hand with the fingers opened, and a pair of accessory holding hands. The accessory holding hands are designed to work with his binoculars. The binoculars were a nice surprise, as I didn’t know they were included. They’re satisfyingly large, beautifully detailed and have a hinge in the middle to fold them up. They’re also pretty rugged, making it easy for the trooper to hold them and I was happy to see that the articulation allows for him to hold them up to his face. Am I ever going to display him with these? Probably not. If I had more than one of these guys on my shelf? Then definitely.

His only other accessory is his blaster rifle, the E-11D, and this has got to be one of the sexiest weapons in the Star Wars Universe. One of my favorite things about the First Order design aesthetic is the addition of white paint to the Stormtroopers’ weapons. It really makes the designs pop and look so much more distinctive than those of their Imperial predecessors. This scoped blaster features a telescoping stock and a fold down grip under the muzzle. It’s a striking piece of futuristic military hardware. Unlike the binoculars it does have some delicate parts, but the articulated parts seem to allow for a little give to help minimize breaking.

Finally, the figure comes with a hexagonal stand that is identical to the type used for the previous First Order releases. The base features the First Order emblem and the front reads “Star Wars First Order Snowtrooper” so, no it does not denote this fellow’s rank. Attached to the base is a simple post and crotch cradle to help keep him vertical. It may not be flashy, but I really appreciate it’s simple design and the fact that it doesn’t take up much space on my shelf.

When it comes to Hot Toys, I tend to avoid the “Troop Builder” type figures, because it’s a dangerous road to go down. Even now, I find myself wanting to pick up a regular Snowtrooper to display next to this Officer and keep burning myself with cigarettes every time the thought comes up. But the truth is, one of the reasons I try to resist these is that the Troopers tend to be priced right in line with the regular Hot Toys releases, and I have a hard time swallowing that. Case in point, This Snowtrooper retails at $219 over at Sideshow. I’m not saying there isn’t a great amount of craftsmanship at work here, indeed he’s a gorgeous figure. But I’m taking into account that they didn’t have to sculpt and paint a likeness for his portrait, they don’t have to pay an actor for the likeness rights, and he doesn’t come with a whole lot of accessories. Also, they knew they were going to be able to sell at least one variation of this guy too. All that conspires to make me feel that Hot Toys could have snuck these in at under the $200 mark. Maybe that’s why some retailers are slashing prices. When this guy turned up on Amazon for $139.99, I didn’t even have to think about it. And yes, I will eventually get around to reviewing the First Order Stormtrooper that came with Finn. I just need to find the time to go into the storage and find his box.

 

Marvel Legends (Man-Thing Wave): The Punisher by Hasbro

What better way to celebrate the beginning of a new week then by opening up some new Marvel toys and playing with them? Well, that’s how I roll here on every Marvel Monday. Even better, I’m starting a vacation today and to be frightfully honest, I’m anxious to get to the orgy of drinking and video games, so let’s jump right in and check out the second figure in the Marvel Legends Man-Thing Wave… Frank Castle, aka. The Punisher. In case you haven’t guessed, I’m doing all the Netflix figures first.

Frank comes straight off the screen from the Netflix Series. Well, not straight off. This is actually The Punisher from the second season of Daredevil and not the more recent Punisher series, hence the Daredevil logo on the front. He comes in the same style of window box we’ve been seeing for a while now. Oh, and see that silver pistol in the package? I already lost it, so we won’t be seeing it again. And the fact that it’s silver means my cat has probably already dragged it to one of his secret stashes of precious treasures.

The Punisher comes out of the box looking as iconic as can be. While I’ve actually been a fan of all live-action Punishers over the years (all for very different reasons) this one has become my hands down favorite. And while I can’t lie, I wish he donned his official costume more than he does, I can understand why they go the more subtle route. Anyway, Frank comes dressed all in black, which includes: Big honkin’ black combat boots, rugged black manly-man-pants, a black tactical vest, and a black trenchcoat. The only thing that breaks up the black on the costume is his trademark skull on the front of his vest, and it looks fabulous. We’ll take a closer look at that in a bit.

Hasbro did a nice job on the sculpt here, although because of all that black, it can be difficult to make out all those details. The coat uses the traditional trick of a soft-plastic vest with the sleeves sculpted as part of the arms. The effect is a little bit marred here by the fact that the sleeve holes are so large, but if you’re looking at the figure dead on, it really doesn’t show. Most of the sculpted detail on the rest of the figure comes from the rumpled material of the pants and sleeves. Oddly enough, it’s the boots that are the immediate stand out here. Not only are the laces individually detailed, but you get some heavy duty treads in the soles, perfect for curb-stomping the injustice out of criminals.

Because of the larger sleeve holes, the coat can be taken off pretty easily. I think the figure displays surprisingly well without the jacket, even know the jacket sleeves are still on his arm, they could pass as just sleeves from a bulky shirt if you don’t scrutinize it too closely. Either way, it’s worth doing, just to get a better look at some of the detail in the vest as well as the work of art that is his skull emblem. The image is printed using the new printing technique that Hasbro is currently embracing. Seriously, this came out looking great!

The portrait here is also mighty good, although I think it helps that Jon Bernthal is a very distinctive looking fellow. I’m really impressed with the subtle things like the shape of his nose, and the ears. Getting his haircut couldn’t have been easy, but I think they did a passable job there as well. I do wish they weren’t using such glossy plastic for the skin tone, though. Also, I’ll probably keep mentioning that the new printing technique for the faces look fantastic with the figure in hand, but tend to look blurry in close up shots. It can be a little vexing for people who enjoy photographing their figures, but I think the trade off is worthwhile since it looks so good to the naked eye.

Despite being a walking tank and overall pain sponge, The Punisher features some pretty solid articulation. The arms have swivels in the biceps, along with rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have double hinges in the knees, and swivels in the thighs. The ankles are hinged and have rockers. The torso features a ball joint under the chest and the neck has both a ball joint and hinge.

If there’s one area this figure comes up a little light, it’s with the accessories. The Punisher needs guns. Lots of guns. Like a whole shit-load of guns. This guy comes with two… and I already lost one, and yeah that’s on me, but still. I feel like two guns aren’t enough, and yet with the Man-Thing BAF part in there, the package doesn’t feel light. It’s just that back in the day we used to get a lot of accessories with some figures. Remember how many guns Mystique came with? Oh well, at least the one I still have is a good one. It looks like an AR-15 with a rail-mounted scope and an under-slung grenade launcher. It’s a great looking rifle, and if I want to give him some more, I’ve got plenty other figures that I can borrow from.

I’m also glad that playing with The Punisher gave me an excuse to pull out Daredevil again, because I failed to mention what a wonderfully balanced figure he is. If some of the poses up top look a little stiff, it’s because I tried to do them without stands, so yeah that dude really can balance on one leg pretty spectacularly. Ah, but this is Frank’s review, Matt. You’ve already had your turn. But all I’ve got left to say is that so far, Hasbro is doing a really nice job delivering on the Marvel Netflix figures. Daredevil and The Punisher are both fantastic, and I’m anxious to start in with the ladies on the next Marvel Monday. Who will it be, Elektra or Jessica? Well I’ve got a week to decide.

 

 

 

Variable Action Heroes (One Piece): Nami by MegaHouse

It feels like forever since I did an Anime Saturday, but for those of you who miss it, I promise it’s going to be making a regular return. Indeed, when FFZ’s 8th Anniversary rolls around later this month, I’ll be making some change-ups to my content schedule that should free me up to do more of these, because I have a lot of figures waiting to be opened and reviewed. And yes, Anime Saturday is usually a morning routine, but today’s edition is posting late because I’m working this weekend, and it was a real struggle to get it finished in time. So I’ll trade in my usual Saturday morning pot of coffee for a nice tall evening pour of Jameson in a rock glass and check out Variable Action Heroes Nami!

The figure comes in a window box with some great shots of the figure and the One Piece logo in the upper right hand corner. It matches the other boxes fairly well and it’s totally collector friendly. I own several of these Variable Action Hero figures, all from One Piece, but I’ve only really spent any time with the leader of the Straw Hats, Luffy, which I reviewed back in 2016. I love the larger scale of these figures, and they come with some really cool stuff, but I’m not ready to see them replace Figmas or even SH Figuarts as my favorite figures from the East. The main reason I pick these up is because it’s the only way I can get my articulated One Piece figure fix. There’s actually a third version of Nami in this line shipping soon, so I thought I’d better check this one out before the new one arrives.

Nami sports her trademark orange high-heeled sandals, tight blue jeans, and a teal and white bikini top that leaves not a lot to the imagination. The sculpt really brings out the stylized beauty of this shapely Navigator, and while the jointing does break up the otherwise smooth curves with plenty of rotating hinges, it’s a necessary evil when you’re looking at this level of articulation. In additional to the usual points of articulation, Nami also includes a neck ball jointed at the top and bottom, lateral hinges in the shoulders, and hinges in her feet. In addition to the great sculpt and ample poseability, there’s some great coloring on display here. The jeans are a vibrant mix of dark and light blue to simulate the wear of the denim, and you get some soft sculpted belt loops and a button at her waist, as well as the distinctive gold and orange circlets on her hips. The skin tone is warm, with some painted highlights to add a little depth and texture. The bikini top features sculpted strings tied off on the back and some sharp paint lines for the white patterns.

A couple of other nice details include her trademark tattoo, which is sharply printed on her left bicep. She also features the Log Pose strapped around her left wrist as well as a gold bangle. I love the attention to detail on this piece. It’s cast in clear blue plastic and you can see the compass needle inside. The bangle is a cool touch too, but since it hangs loose on her wrist, it has a habit of dropping off when I change her hands, so I’ve been extra careful not to lose it.

Nami comes with four different portraits, and these are changed out just like the faces on a Figma or Figuart. You simply remove the front of the hair, swap the face plate, and replace the hair. Two of the faces are pretty similar to each other, featuring slight smiles, but one has a more sinister tone to the eyebrows. The third face is her shouty, action face, and the fourth features her winking. I will hand it to the Figuarts version of Nami, as it came with a few more creative expressions, but what we got here is still fine and I think they captured her adorable portrait perfectly. Her fiery orange hair is sculpted to cascade down her shoulders. It’s not terribly restrictive, but it can get in the way of some of the more extreme head poses.

As one would expect, Nami comes with a whole slew of interchangeable hands. Most of these are straightforward. You get a pair of fists, a pair of accessory holding hands, a pair of relaxed hands, and a pair of karate-chop type hands with the fingers closed together. The most unique hands include a right hand making the “OK” gesture and a pointing left hand.

She also comes with her trusty Clima-Tact, which appears to be a simple bo-staff with a snappy metallic blue paint job. It fits really well in her accessory holding hands, and it makes for a fun piece to pose her with. And thanks to a couple of nifty effect parts sets, she can also unleash a few of her signature attacks with it.

First off is the Thunder Charge, which includes a translucent yellow piece that snakes around the staff and a ball of lightning that pegs into the end. Put the two together and you get a pretty damn cool effect. The pieces hold in place really well too.

The other parts make up her um… I’m going to say Milky Ball attack, although I suppose it could be a few different ones. Like the other set, this effect is made by two pieces, one passed through the staff and the other capped on the end.

With how much I loved the VAH version of Luffy I have, I was a little afraid that Nami wouldn’t be able to live up to my expectations, but she really does. The sculpt and paintwork are fantastic and they did an exceptionally fine job with her weapon and its effect parts. The frustrating thing about this line is how the prices tend to go all over the place. I hunted Nami here for a while before I was able to grab her for around $70, which is not a bad deal considering Usopp and Sanjii both top out at well over $100 these days, and that’s more then I’m willing to spend right now. Nowadays, I just make sure I get the pre-orders in rather then take my chances. The Summer Vacation version of Nami is due sometime in March, but before then I’ll try to carve out some time to look at Roronoa Zoro. I’m also seriously considering grabbing the yellow shirt version of Luffy, just because it comes with a wider range of facial expressions.

DC Multiverse (Doomsday Wave): Lex Luthor, Mutant Leader, and Doomsday by Mattel

Oh dear god, it’s been a rocky road to completing this wave. I started it so long ago (July of last year!) with DCTV’s Supergirl, and the mediocrity of each figure has worn me down to the point where I’ve had to space these reviews out just to avoid having to dread the coming of DC Friday. Well, today I’m finally going to kill it off with a look at the last two packaged figures, Mutant Leader and Lex Luthor, and finally the one reason I suffered through all this… The Collect & Connect Doomsday figure. I feel like I should apologize in advance, but it’s too late for that now.

Here are the packaged figures. I’ve got nothing more to say, so let’s just start with Lex Luthor, because I want to get him out of the way quickly so I can toss him in the garbage. I was originally going to just post a picture of the figure and let that speak for itself, but no, let’s do this. Let’s fully diagram the anatomy of a fail.

So, it literally makes me sick to own an action figure based off of Jessie Eisenberg as Lex Luthor. No, really. Let me tell you how I really feel. Of all the things wrong with that abomination of a movie, the casting and treatment of Lex shines like a beacon of shit in a fog of missteps and terrible ideas. But seeing as abstaining from this purchase would have put me just one C&C part away from my goal, I sucked it up. My only hope was that with the DC Multiverse likenesses being so poor, I could pass him off as a comic Luthor. But it was a red herring anyway, because this figure is so god awful, I don’t even want it in my house. When you’ve been making action figures as long as Mattel has, how do you screw up a guy in prison overalls? The buck looks so awkward, thanks mostly to that torso. Mattel can’t even be bothered to give Superman an ab crunch, but they have to stick a huge ugly one in the middle of this figure. Also, the sculpted details on the jumpsuit, like the pocket and the collar, are so soft they might as well not have bothered. I could probably make a better looking guy in a jumpsuit out of Playdoh. Oh yeah, and let’s give him and nobody else in the wave thigh swivels, because that makes sense, right?

As I said, I was hoping the head sculpt would just pass for generic comic Lex, but it really does look like a horribly misshapen Eisenberg. I know, that’s kind of redundant, but whatever. This portrait makes me wish I was 6-inches tall, so I could punch it. Also, what’s up with his prison number? That’s a weird place for a Stormtrooper reference, but I can’t believe it’s a coincidence.

The only positive thing I can say about this figure is that the chains come off, so if you want to use them for one of your DCUC villains or another figure, that’s an option. They do peg into the back of this figure to hold them in place, but I would imagine they’ll still work on other 6-inch scale figures. I’m going to save mine when I toss this figure. And that’s all I’m going to say about Lex here, other than I feel bad I’m wasting space on my server with four pictures of him. Moving on to The Mutant Leader…

If there was any semblance of a theme to this wave, I guess it was The Dark Knight Returns. At least three figures in the wave share that common source. And the DKR figures were probably the ones I was most excited for. Batman and Robin put a damper on that excitement. I don’t think they’re as bad as Lex up there, but I found them to be on the low end of average. I was hoping Mutant Leader could right this ship, and as it turns out, I think he’s pretty OK. Granted, a lot of him is just a muscular buck in pants, but there are some nice flourishes of detail, like in the spiked belt, as well as the wrist and ankle cuffs, and especially in his gnarly mutant feet. Articulation is fair, but he’s missing some obvious things like thigh swivels.

I really dig the head sculpt on this guy. Not only does it capture the character pretty well, but the attention to detail in the open mouth goes above and beyond for this line. The expression is great and the way the facial detail disappears behind the visor makes it almost look like it could be a separate piece. I don’t have a lot of praise for any of the other portraits in this wave, so it’s nice to see at least one figure succeed on that front.

The Mutant Leader also excels in the accessories category. Well, he has two. First off, he has a big torch that looks like it’s welded out of junk and features a big cartoony flame blooming off the top of it. Secondly, he has a crowbar. Neither of these are anything special, but at least he comes with some stuff. And with that final ringing endorsement of the packaged figures, let’s take a look at the figure that led me through this morass of plastic despair… Collect & Connect Doomsday!

And hell, yeah! This is a pretty damn good figure. I missed out on Matty Collector’s version from a few years back, and that bad boy has since escalated on the second hand market close to the $200 mark. There was no way I was ever going to pay that, so building this version seemed like a fair consolation prize, and I really do love how he turned out. I was up for an uphill battle, however, putting him together. The arms did not want to go in the sockets, and the rotating hinges in the shoulders were fused. It took some work, but I finally got him assembled and all the joints working fine. Doomsday has never been a favorite of mine, but he’s an important enough character in the DC Universe that his absence from my shelf was pretty obvious.

The build on this guy is great, the sculpted tufts of white fur look good, and you get some nice detail on his shorts. The craggy spikes coming off his back and shoulders are really cool, and I love the spikes on his knuckles. The coloring is pretty simple, but the gray and white deco looks good and you get some green and black in the pants.

The head sculpt is also fantastic. I love the open maw surrounded by a full mouth of white teeth. The rocky mess on his forehead is all individually sculpted, and those beady red eyes are superb. There’s a huge disconnect between the quality of work on display here and that seen in the individual figures of this wave.

So was it all worth it? Absolutely. I love Doomsday, and I’m especially happy to see that he displays really well with Mattel’s New 52 Superman from a little ways back. I’m still going to keeping an eye on the Doomsday and Superman boxed set that DC Collectibles has out on the market right now. If it drops significantly in price, I’ll likely give that one a try as it also looks like a superb piece of work.

Of course, when I say buying this wave was worth it, I should point out that the only one I paid more than $10 for was Supergirl. The rest averaged around $5-6 a piece. Even at that price, it was tough to drum up a lot of love for this motley wave. It’s tough to look at this group shot and realize that this is the same company that did DC Universe Classics not so long ago. It’s even harder to consider that this collection of figures netted around $120 at retail when they were released. It’s no wonder, I can’t find any of the current figures on the pegs, because the stores near me are still choked with Batman, Lex, and Mutant Leader. All I know is that if Mattel or DC Collectibles can’t get a decent cohesive line of action figures going, DC Fridays are going to become a thing of the past.

 

By figurefanzero