Marvel Legends (Okoye Wave): Black Bolt by Hasbro

I’ve got just a few more figures in the Okoye Wave before I switch over from looking at consecutive figures in each wave to randomizing my Marvel Legends reviews. It seemed only right to wrap this wave one before I make the change and I should be able to do that by next week. So today let’s check out the second to the last packaged figure in the somewhat Black Panther themed Okoye Build-A-Figure Wave: Black Bolt! I’ve had this one sitting around forever, so I’m pretty excited to get him open and see how he turned out.

Last time I gave poor Sub-Mariner a lot of shit for not being Shuri. I don’t feel right doing the same thing here, because I was thrilled to see Black Bolt getting the Legends treatment. Sure, they could have tucked him into another wave and given us more MCU Black Panther figures, but whatever the case, I just can’t be upset over getting this figure. I imagine if that ill-fated Inhumans series had turned out better, we might have gotten an entire wave of Inhumans Legends, but considering how bad the show was received, I’m surprised we got the ones we got. Anyway, he comes with his shouting head on the figure, but let’s start with the regular head.

Here’s Black Bolt out of the box and my first reaction is to be a little underwhelmed. Overall, I think the suit is pretty good. The buck is cast in a dark blue plastic with silver paint to make up the various striping. The paint lines are clean enough, but there some slop on the silver up near his right shoulder where it looks like some hair or other foreign matter got in under the paint. It’s nothing terrible, but a little vexing nonetheless. The gauntlets are formed by plastic cones slipped over the forearms, and I’m n+-ot really happy with the way these look. They’re too chunky and make his fists look extra small to me. They also don’t help the wrist articulation much.

The wings were always going to be a compromise here, and I guess I’m OK with the direction Hasbro went with them. They are firmly attached to the figure, so at least I don’t have them popping off every time I touch the figure like the MCU Spider-Man figure. They actually don’t look half bad when his arms are at rest at his sides, even though it’s not what they’re supposed to look like, I kind of dig the blade-like effect. But obviously, they’re intended to look their best when Black Bolt is standing with his arms straight out at the shoulders, and they do indeed look nice when the figure is posed this way.

I haven’t pulled out the figures to check, but I feel like Black Bolt’s head is a re-working of one of the older Captain America figures. It has a similar soft facial sculpt to it. Whether or not that’s the case, it strikes me as kind of generic and boring, particularly when viewed from the front. The cowl does look good and the eyes are painted well. I also like the tuning-fork on his forehead. Despite being cast in soft plastic, it seems like it won’t have too much problems with warping.

The alternate screaming head is much better, but I still don’t think this is among Hasbro’s better work in the line. That’s not to say it’s bad. I actually like how they did the open mouth with the blue paint to suggest the power emanating from within. The whited out eyes look cool too and the translucent blue energy effect coming off the fork looks fantastic.

The articulation here holds no surprises. The arms have rotating hinges at 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 swivels at the thighs and lower legs. The ankles have hinges and rockers. There’s a swivel in the waist, an ab crunch hinge in the torso and the neck is both ball jointed and hinged. I’ll note here how much I wish they had gone with hands that weren’t fists. I think clutching hands or relaxed hands would have worked so much better.

Wow, it feels like I came down really hard on this one, but Black Bolt is not a bad figure. Maybe this was a case of my high level of anticipation working against him. A sharper head sculpt and a different set of hands would have gone a long way toward making me love him more. As it is, he definitely gets the job done, and chances are I’ll be displaying him with his shouting head most of the time anyway. I’m still happy to have this one in my collection and now Medusa doesn’t have to be lonely anymore.

Star Wars Black: Imperial AT-ST and Driver (Walmart Exclusive) by Hasbro

It’s hard to believe that it was five years ago that I reviewed the Vintage Collection AT-ST from Hasbro. FIVE YEARS AGO!?! While that toy had a number of good points, like the expanded driver cabin, I came away without being terribly impressed with it, mainly because it didn’t stand on its own very well at all, and the deco leaved something to be desired. When Hasbro re-released it as a Walmart Exclusive as part of the Star Wars Black Series, it was an easy pass because of the crazy price. I seem to recall they were asking sixty dollars for this thing! But when it later hit a certain online toy e-tailer for $25, well I couldn’t resist giving it another go. Oh, and keep in mind, while I’m referring back to the Vintage Collection release a lot, this toy first saw release way back in 2009 as part of the Legacy Collection.

It’s hard to beat the Vintage Collection packaging of the K-Mart Exclusive AT-ST, and this one doesn’t even try. It comes in a window box, so you do get a good look at the toy itself, but the minimalist black and red Black Series deco does nothing for me. There’s some monochrome art on the front and the cardboard behind the tray has some faint background scenes, but it just feels like lazy package design. Thanks to the high price point, these must have been a retail disaster for Walmart. They even had an entire endcap of them at my local Wally World, and that place almost never has any Hasbro Exclusives. They were on clearance too, but nowhere near as low as the price I got mine for. Unlike the VC version, there’s no assembly required here and the toy comes right out of the box and ready to go. I rarely ever start out reviews with comparisons, but lets just go for it.

Here they are side by side, with the new Black Series version on the left and good old Shitty-feet from the Vintage Collection on the right. Does that nickname refer to the fact that it can’t stand on his own or the fact that it actually looks like it’s been standing in feces? You decide, there is no wrong answer. I had planned to take more pictures for comparison, but I literally could not get the VC version to stand for more than a couple shots before getting really frustrated and tossing it aside. They are identical molds as far as I can tell and the only real differences are in the decos. The new one is cast in a much paler gray plastic and has what looks like a sandy spray on its feet, legs, and head. There’s also no battle damage on the SWB version, and it has a completely black butt.

Which deco do I like better? Well, it can’t be that easy can it? To be honest, I prefer the darker gray plastic of the earlier release, and I do like the scorch mark on the head. The old deco would have been a slam dunk as the favorite if it weren’t for the heavy mud on the feet, which I think looks really bad. The paler gray plastic on the new one looks a little cheaper and the weathering spray isn’t all that convincing to me. In the end, neither is perfect and ideally, I would have liked a compromise between the two. Each AT-ST definitely looks like its been hanging out in a different environment, so the VC release could clearly be from Endor and the newer release looks like it has seen action on a barren planet. Maybe even Jedha? That’s kind of cool. On the other hand, if you plan on picking this one up to beef up your Imperial ranks, I don’t think they display well together because of the obvious differences in weathering. OK, so let’s get to the Star Wars Black version all by itself…

Straightaway, I have to say the stability on this toy is a hundred times better than what I got on my VC version. I don’t know if they just tightened up the joints or redesigned the ratchets, but this baby will stand and even pose with very little difficulty and that fix alone makes it a very welcome re-release. The detail on the sculpt is great in some areas, but feels a little wanting in others. I said it back when I reviewed the previous release, and I’ll reiterate here that I’m still amazed at how well the original Kenner toy holds up in that regard. As a result the detail here doesn’t feel like a huge leap forward over the original vintage toy. I don’t think that’s a slight against this toy, but rather just shows that the original was so well done. With that having been said, you get some nice detailing on the sides of the legs and the back of the head.

That’s not to say there isn’t improvement. Gone is the hokey Kenner walking gimmick and in its place is a pretty cool and complex network of articulation for the legs. The tops of the legs don’t connect directly to the body, but rather to articulated struts that can move away from the body. This adds a cool element of stabilization that would probably have to be present for this fictional vehicle to work well. In addition to that, you get ratcheting joints in the tops of the legs, at the first bend, again down near the ankles, and again at the ankles. I’ll admit, the toy could have really used some swivels or rockers at the ankles to make it able to stand in more extreme poses, but it gets by pretty well as it is.

The head design features two different cheek weapons. On the right hand side, there’s a grenade launcher and a cluster of blasters on the left. Both of these can rotate. The windows also have hinged armor plates that can be left open or buttoned up for combat. The stock chin gun can rotate left and right and raise and lower to target enemies ahead or below. You also have the ability to swap out this gun with a dual missile launcher. Yup, this is the same option that the Vintage Collection version featured. I think the original idea was to make it more kid friendly by giving it missiles and a firing gimmick. but I actually think this works well as just a different weapons load out. The missiles are kind of fun, but I prefer the one that comes attached to the vehicle in the package.

The top of the head is hinged so the entire plate can be opened to allow easy access to the drivers’ cabin. Apart from the added articulation, the biggest draw of this modern AT-ST over the old Kenner one is the expanded cockpit that can seat two drivers very comfortably. The cockpit itself features some great detail, including seats, controls, and foot pedals. The sides of the cockpit feature some pre-applied stickers with more instruments and screens.

The smaller hatch on the roof will also open to allow one driver to pop his head out and there’s a railing around the roof to prevent careless accidents at the Imperial workplace. Wait, the Imperial engineers put railings on this thing but not on those two-foot wide elevated walkways on the Death Star?

Unlike the Vintage Collection release, this AT-ST does include a driver figure and that’s certainly a nice bonus, but for the original price of this thing, they should have thrown in two. I’m pretty sure this guy is a repack of the Vintage Collection AT-ST Crew two-pack, released sometime around 2012. It’s a decent figure, albeit a tad generic looking.  He’s wearing pale gray jumpsuit with some nice sculpted rumples and pockets, black boots and gloves, a standard issue Imperial belt, and he has a chest harness with shoulder straps. The helmet is removable and he has a pretty good head sculpt hiding under it. He also comes with a standard E-11 Blaster, but no holster to store it. The articulation is kind of a mixed bag, in that he has full on rotating hinges in the limbs and a ball joint in the chest, but the t-crotch feels like a bit of a throwback. Still, he gets the job done, and I may have to hunt down one more of these guys.

Overall, I like this toy a lot. It’s a great sculpt and it’s loads of fun now that the crappy legs from the Vintage Collection release have been fixed. Unfortunately, the bland colored plastic and unconvincing weathering do tend to put a damper on things. Either way, I don’t know what they were smoking when they slapped the original $60 MSRP on this thing, but I can’t come close to justifying that kind of money, even if it is a pretty good toy. At $35 or $40, these might have actually found their way off Walmart’s shelves and into collectors’ shopping carts. But at $25, I’m overall satisfied with the purchase. The deco might be a step back, but at least I don’t have to prop a doll stand up under it if I want to keep it on display.

Vitruvian HACKS (Series 2): Cerisier (Sakura Elven Assassin) by Boss Fight Studio

Did you pop in here yesterday and wonder where I was? Are you wondering why I’m here posting on a Wednesday? Well, in case you missed the Easter memo, my weekday updates for April are happening on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, with the occasional Anime Saturday post when I have the time. Today, I’m dedicating myself to getting caught up on my Vitruvian HACKS reviews before the mother lode from that other Kickstarter, Mythic Legions hits later in the Summer and buries me in figures. I’ve got a good mix of the newer Series 2 figures as well as the many Series 1 figures I’ve yet to review. This time, I’m having a look at Cerisier, a Series 2 release that was exclusive to Boss Fight Studio’s webstore last year.

Most of the Series 1 HACKS Exclusives that I looked at last year were released in partnership with Kokomo Toys and those shipped in illustrated cardboard boxes. But this BFS webstore exclusive comes in the regular carded packaging with a landscape-orientated card and bubble. The packaging is totally collector friendly and features some nice character artwork on the front of the card and a “Collect Them All” style layout on the back as well as a pretty cool little bio that tells us Cerisier is one of the Queen’s Elite Corps of archers, who bathe daily in dark ink, can see in the dark, and have their voices magically removed. Badass! There is no explicit call-out on the package that Cerisier was a webstore exclusive, but the figure is also not pictured on the back with the regular releases.

From the neck down, both the body and costume of this figure is a straight repaint of Aiyana, the Autumn Elven Archer. That’s not a bad thing, because both are excellent sculpts and the re-coloring goes a long way to make this figure feel unique. The gray skin tone gives her a sinister and shadowy visage and the autumn colors of Aiyana’s costume have been replaced with some brown, pink and white. Yeah, the color pink doesn’t really scream shadow assassin to me, but I still dig it. The detail in the costume sculpt is still quite amazing when you consider it’s done in the 4-inch scale, and little details like the sculpted leaves that make up her skirt and the thin painted cord that’s meant to secure her leg wraps go a long way to make this figure look extra special.

As always with these figures, Cerisier’s costume is all comprised of separately sculpted pieces and is completely removable, which links in with the customization aspect of this line. The standard female HACKS buck features some solid articulation too. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have double hinges in the knees, and the ankles have both hinges and rockers. There’s a swivel in the waist, a ball joint under the chest, and the neck is ball jointed.

The head sculpt is new and I really like this one a lot. It’s more angular than Aiyana’s and I’d dare say prettier as well. I really dig how pronounced the pointed ears are here, and just the fact that there are variations in the ears among the HACKS elves. The hair is sculpted as a separate piece and pulled back tight, which would seem practical for an assassin. She also has some flowers sculpted into her hair, which are painted pink to match her top. What? Assassins can like pink! We’ve already established that!

Most of Cerisier’s accessories are new, but she does come with repaints of the same two daggers we saw with Aiyana. She can wield them in both hands, and there’s also a slot on the back of her skirt where she can store them.

Cerisier’s main weapon is her crossbow, which is a classic medieval style weapon with a lever-like trigger in the handle and a stirrup mounted on the front of the bow. There are three loose bolts included, which can be loaded into the weapon, but there isn’t a lot to hold them in there very securely. Still, I was able to get them to stay put for a number of different poses without any trouble.

She also comes with a quiver to hold her extra bolts. This quiver is sculpted with a hook that can hang off the slot at the back of her skirt, provided you aren’t using that slot to hold her daggers. Nope, Cerisier can’t carry all her weapons at once.

And, as always, the figure comes with a standard black Boss Fight Studio figure stand. The pegs on these stands don’t work all that well with the barefoot characters, because the foot pegs aren’t that deep, but I was able to make it sort of work. You don’t really need the stand, though, because Cerisier stands quite well on her own. I’ll also point out that she comes with an extra pair of hands with the axis of the wrist hinges changed, so one pair bends side to side and the other forward and backward. These are also pretty standard on all of the HACKS figures.

Cerisier is another solid figure in the HACKS Series 2 foray into the fantasy world. I’m a big fan of the elves, and I plan on picking up all of them, but then I’ve pretty much been all in on this line anyway. I think Cerisier also makes for a perfect exclusive, since she does reuse a a lot from one of the existing regular releases. If you weren’t able to track her down, but you have Aiyana you then aren’t completely missing out, but I’d still recommend her for a pick up if you’re collecting the line. At the time I’m writing this, she’s even still available through the Boss Fight Webstore. At about $25, the price of the Series 2 figures has gone up a bit, but that may have to do with the fact that the first series was Kickstarted and these are being sold through pre-orders. Either way, I think these figures are still well worth it and it’s a line that I’m enjoying a lot.

Marvel Legends (Okoye Wave): The Sub-Mariner by Hasbro

After the high I was on from checking out the three MCU Black Panther figures in this wave, moving on to the next installment is like getting slapped in the face with a rotting trout. I’m not here to rag on Namor. I had nothing but praise for the Walgreens Exlcusive that we got last year, which depicted him in full costume. And maybe that’s the point. Did we really need to double dip on The Sub-Mariner so soon? And if so, did it really need to be dropped into this wave? Obviously, my answers to both questions are no, but I’m pressing on with the review anyway.

Here’s a quick look at the packaging, and straightaway I have a few issues to get off my chest. One, the package says Sub-Mariner on the front whereas it should have read Shuri. Second, the figure inside the box is actually The Sub-Mariner, whereas it should have contained a figure of Shuri. Finally, this figure is clearly a fishy-man-gigolo named Namor and not a spunky, tech-savy Wakandian cutie named Shuri. I’m going to do my best to get beyond each of these critiques and appreciate this figure for what it is… not Shuri.

Now, all kidding aside, Hasbro really went all out on this figure and they did a great job. But I don’t know how much I can possibly say about it. The figure itself depicts The Sub-Mariner wearing only a pair of scaly speedos, arm bracers, and he has the obligatory wings on his ankles. This is about as close to a naked dude as we’re likely to ever get swinging on the pegs in the toy aisle, or at least until we get a Hercules. Yup, this one is a special treat for the ladies. The body is muscular, but not bulky, has some great sculpted muscle definition, and I think it suits the character well.

There isn’t a whole lot of paint here, but what we get is quite good. His trunks are painted with a beautiful metallic emerald finish and has a gold belt with a tiny seashell sculpted in the middle. The wrist bracers are painted gold, and the ankle wings are painted white. Otherwise, you get a fleshy plastic, which granted is a bit glossy, but let’s assume Namor just got out of the water and is all wet.

Where Hasbro really went nuts here was with the extras. Not only did they include the swimming hands from the Walgreens Namor, but we also got two heads with this figure, and neither of those are repacked from the earlier release. The stock head looks like a simpler, more comic booky look than the Walgreens head. When I compare the two the previous release looks like it could pass for a realistic MCU version played by a generic actor. I like this new head a lot, the sculpt is excellent and the paint is perfect. Both heads have the hair trailing back a bit, which makes him look all the more streamlined for zipping through the ocean.

The alternate head features Namor all beareded out and looking like Tony Stark co-splaying as an Vulcan. Again, it’s a great sculpt with sharp and beautiful paint, but I think I prefer my Namor sans beard.

Articulation includes all the usual points. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, swivels in the biceps, double hinges in the elbows. The wrists are on hinged pegs so they can be swapped out. The legs have ball jointed hips, swivels in the thighs and the lower legs, double hinged knees, and the ankles have both hinges and rockers. The torso has a waist swivel and an ab crunch hinge under the chest. The neck has both a hinge and a ball joint.

If all that wasn’t enough, Hasbro also gave Sub-Mariner a brand new trident. This one is more elaborate than the one that came with the Walgreens Namor. It looks more like a proper trident and less like a spear. This one is cast all in gold plastic and lacks any paint apps, but I really dig it. The sculpting includes a coiled sea-serpent and a pointed fin motif.

If you ever wanted an example of just how delightfully serious and passionate Hasbro is about Marvel Legends, Sub-Mariner here is the figure to look at. I certainly wouldn’t consider Namor an A-Lister, and yet this is the second release of the character in the line in about a year. Does Hasbro know something we don’t? Is Disney going to secretly launch a Sub-Mariner movie to go up against the DCEU Aquaman flick? Probably not, and that’s what makes this release all the more intriguing. Not to mention, they also kitted the figure out with two new heads and a brand new accessory. Now, as much as I admire this figure, I really wasn’t kidding about my feelings that an MCU Shuri should have been in this spot. Hasbro obviously has the likeness rights because they did her in the basic 6-inch Black Panther line. And besides, The Sub-Mariner could have been shoved into any wave and not feel as out of place as he does here. Instead, we have to settle for a comic-based Shuri in one of the upcoming two-packs. That’s not to say I’m not happy to have The Sub-Mariner here, but c’mon Hasbro… Give us a Legends Shuri!!!

Happy Easter! …Here’s some administrative bullshit!

I’m not really a celebrate Easter kinda guy, but I am off today, so I’ll take it. And because I’m off and have no content planned, I wanted to drop by and unload some things that I’ve got going on here at FFZ. To make this dry post more palatable, I will interject random pictures of my cat.

“This is my shitty eyesore of a beach chair.

When my human tries to throw it out, I cry like I’m being murdered.”

First and foremost, I’m cutting back to three weekday updates for the month of April. So, that’ll mean Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Marvel Monday will stay, but more on that in a bit. Wednesdays and Fridays will be whatever I’ve got on hand for the day, but I do anticipate getting some new Transformers soon, so those will probably get reviewed on Wednesdays. This new rotation won’t effect Anime Saturdays. I’ve been pretty good about keeping up on those, and they’ll still be dropping in whenever I get time.

“You can write your stupid toy reviews later. I’m sleeping!”

There are a few reasons for the change-up. Firstly, I have a few bigger reviews to write this month and it’ll help get me the time I need to put in on those. Secondly, it’s going to be a busy month for me at work, and rather than try to keep up and get stressed out and fail, I thought I’d be proactive. I’m also woefully behind on updating my Index of Reviews and hopefully this will give me the time to do that. Finally, the main reason I was doing four weekday posts was to accommodate all the Transformers and DC content, and I don’t have as much to cover when it comes to those brands, so I feel I can lose a day and still get a good variety each week. Now, does this mean I’ll be going back to normal in May? We’ll see. If I don’t feel like I’m falling behind, I may keep it this way, but I don’t have to decide that now.

“You better run, human! I am charging my eye-lasers!”

OK, so on to Marvel Mondays. Right now, I go through each wave of Marvel Legends together. So I look at all the packaged figures, then check out the Build-A-Figure, and then I move on to the next. I’ve thought about it a bit and I’ve decided that after I finish looking at the Okoye Wave, I will no longer be reviewing Marvel Legends by the wave. There are a few reasons for this. First, there are figures that I want to review that I may not get to for a long time if I’m going strictly by wave. Second, I have a big backlog and I don’t want to invest five or six consecutive weeks of Marvel Mondays going back to look at the Sandman Wave or something like that. This way, I can mix it up, look at newer releases then go back and look at older figures. When I do review the last figure in a wave, I’ll follow it up with the Build-A-Figure, and I’ll try to do it on the same day. I’ve also been working on creating a new page that will lay out all the Marvel Legends reviews by wave.

“If I guard the guitar, human cannot torture me with his awful playing.”

That’s it! If anything changes, I’ll post an update! Enjoy your holiday or your day off or whatever you have to celebrate today and I’ll catch ya tomorrow on Marvel Monday!

“HELP!!! CALL THE ASPCA… HUMAN IS GIVING ME A BATH BECAUSE I SLEPT IN DIRT!!!!”

By figurefanzero