Vitruvian HACKS: Berzerker by Boss Fight Studio

Once again, I’m ending the week with a look at another Vitruvian HACKS figure from Boss Fight Studio. I’m still sticking with Series 1 for now, but this time venturing far into Wave 6. I’ve only reviewed a handful of figures past the initial four waves, but don’t worry, they’re all coming eventually. As for today’s choice? Well, I’ve just finished rounding out my look at the three Gorgon Sisters and Eurayle’s Disciple, so it seemed only right to go with the Gorgon Berzerker this week.

What do you get when you cross one of Eurayle’s warrior slaves with Stheno’s snake-morphing bite? A male Gorgon Berzerker who will stop at nothing to fight back the Spartan and Myrmidon armies. The Berzerker comes on your typical landscape-styled card featuring some nice character art on the front, and shots of the various figures from Waves 5-7, as well as the mysterious lost wave of variants. As always, the bubble is totally collector friendly and the package can be displayed standing on a shelf or swinging by a peghook.

While the idea of going with a male Gorgon flies in the face of the Sisters’ matriarchy, it feels like a no-brainer for a line that likes to mix and match parts and I think the result speak for itself. The lower half features all the great articulation and texturing of the female Gorgons. The tail is segmented into multiple ball joints, which can be turned and twisted into a variety of poses, and I’m still amazed at how easily these half-snakes can be made to balance on their own when the tail is coiled up to form a base. We’ve had Gorgons in all different colors, but the tail on this figure is a very dark green with a lighter green underbelly.

The sculpted scales go up past the tail to encompass the abdomen, with things smoothing out above the ball joint that connects the upper portion of the humanoid buck. I love that they did this, rather than just slap half a regular buck onto the tail. The dark and light green deco also carries to the figure’s upper half with the light green coloring the chest, the hands and the chin. The head sculpt is a fairly generic bald head with piercing red eyes. I also dig the pattern printed on the figure’s back. There’s nothing terribly flashy here when it comes to the colors, but I think it works perfectly for an army builder like this guy. And since you can’t have your Berzerker going berserk without his weapons, let’s get this fella all geared up!

For starters, we get the skull and spine style helmet that we’ve seen with many of the lady Gorgons. This one is sculpted in black plastic with white paint on the fangs. The design of these pieces is just fantastic. The spine curves down the back of the neck, while the open jaws frame the figure’s face. If a half-snake warrior wasn’t intimidating enough, this headgear really launches him over the top.

The Berzerker also comes with a pair of matched leaf-bladed short swords, each secured in its own scabbard with shoulder strap. The scabbards are black with silver fixtures and red tassels to match the red hilts of the swords. These look great on his hips with the two shoulder straps crisscrossing his chest. The buckles on the straps are also neatly painted silver to match the fixtures on the scabbards. The straps were originally made to be worn by the warriors over their armor, so they are a tad loose on this figure.

The sword blades are painted silver and have some green blood spilled on them. At least I’m assuming it’s green Gorgon blood. The bio makes a point of saying that once in the rage of battle, the Berzerkers don’t stop once their enemies are vanquished and are likely to turn on their own. I would have preferred human blood on the blades. I might just consider the green stuff to be some kind of poison.

The Berzerker can hold the swords perfectly and he also comes with an extra pair of hands so you can have the wrists hinges bend side to side or forward and backward. Oddly enough, he also comes with the usual pegged figure stand, which he obviously can’t use because he has no feet. Some may scoff at the fact that he doesn’t come with more accessories, but with how much extra plastic goes into the tail, I think it all works out in the end. I will confess that I will probably end up giving him a spear.

The Berzerker is definitely one of the more unique figures in the line, as he even stands out among the myriad of different colored female Gorgons.  He doesn’t come with a lot of stuff, but he is a fantastic figure with some great sculpting and coloring. Doing a male Gorgon was kind of a no-brainer, even if they had to bend their own rules to do it. I like how they worked it into the fiction, though. Of course, the rub here is that he’s an army builder and while I’d love to pick up some more, at $25 a piece, I’ve been trying to avoid troop building any of the figures in this line, so for now I may have to be content with just the one… maybe two at some point, but I doubt any more than that.

Advertisements

Transformers “Power of the Primes:” Rippersnapper by Hasbro

Holy shit, it’s a new Transformers review! Before jumping in, I want to make mention of how frustrating the Power of the Primes line has been for me. Distribution is never great in my area, but I was still able to pick up maybe half of my Titans Return figures in either the local Walmarts or Targets. And what I couldn’t find local, I was able to get off of Amazon at, or at least pretty close to, MSRP.

PotP has changed all that. The big box stores here either have empty pegs or the pegs are busting with Robots in Disguise figures where PotP should be. Even those newer Bayformer Studio figures are moving in on PotP’s turf. When the Walmart finally restocked, they restocked with two cases of the first wave. Amazon has been no help either because the Deluxe Class figures have been running in the $25-35 range. So, while it’s true I have not been as impressed with PotP as I was with Titans Return, I haven’t been intentionally snubbing this line. Indeed, I was actually thrilled to finally find a couple Deluxes at regular retail, because I still love getting new Transformers. OK, enough of my bitchin’… on with the review of the Terrorcon Rippersnapper!

Just look at that bitchin’ character art! By the time the G1 Terrorcons hit in 1987, I was 15 years old and more obsessed with Star Trek than I was Transformers. I was aware they existed because I was still watching the cartoon, but I never owned any of the Terrorcon figures. As a result, I was super excited to see them coming out as part of the Power of the Primes and allowing me to finally own these characters in brand new versions. Rippersnapper is the first of these to cross my path, so let’s get rip him open and snap some pictures! I’m going to start with his robot mode…

The original Rippersnapper was one of the smaller, basic sized combiner limbs, so getting him up-scaled to a Deluxe is pretty damn cool. The robot design takes some cues from the original toy, but is obviously much better proportioned and with serviceable articulation! I don’t know that I would recognize who he’s supposed to be from the front, but being in the know, I think it’s a great update. Some of my favorite things include, the chest plate that covers his combiner port, the guns that rise up over his shoulders and the way the claws on his forearms work with the articulation in his wrists. In fact, my only quibble about this robot mode is that his right beast leg doesn’t secure the way it should. There’s a peg there to hold it in place, and it works fine on the left leg, but this one just keeps popping out.

From the back, Rippersnapper still sports a pretty clean profile. The beast mode’s head forms a curved backpack and hood of sorts, while the tail fins function as heel spurs. The robot mode’s deco is predominantly a mix of cream and dark blue plastics with some lighter blue accents, as well as some red, silver, and yellow paint apps, giving him a much more diverse color palate than some of the Titans Return figures. All in all, I have to say that I love this robot mode. It looks great, the colors are beautiful, and really fits the G1 cartoon aesthetic that I treasure so dearly.

I don’t have any special attachment to Rippersnapper’s portrait from the good old days, but the head they went with here looks pretty similar to what I remember from the cartoon. He has a rather complex and squared-off “helmet” that frames his yellow face and large red peepers. It’s been so long since I had a new Transformer that my initial instinct was to pop the head off and then I remembered that was the last line’s gimmick. What was this line’s gimmick again?

Ooooh yeah. These stupid Prime Armor pieces.  I don’t like these at all, but I suppose Rippersnapper still looks passable with it on, even if it does bulk him out like crazy. As always, the piece on the front of the armor can be removed and you can stick one of the Prime Masters in there to give him imaginary powers. Yeah, I still don’t like this gimmick, but I do love the Pretender homage that’s included with the tiny Prime Masters, so I’ll definitely be picking up more of those when I find them.

Rippersnapper’s guns can be removed from behind his shoulders and held in his hands. These are a cool matching set of blasters, and I like them a lot better than the ones that came in the last line and had seats for the Titan Masters. Between these and his claws, Rippersnapper definitely has all the bases covered for combat. So let’s see how he looks in his Terrorcon beast mode…

The transformation here is pretty simple and it feels familiar, particularly in the way the legs expand and retract and that’s basically 90% of the transformation. The result is a… what? Some kind of land shark demon thing? Oddly enough, Rippersnapper’s alt mode has always stuck with me, despite never owning the original toy, and I think this is a pretty slick update, even if there isn’t a whole hell of a lot to it. His little legs are strong enough to support his body, but he can also rest it on his tail fin when he wants to. Also, his forearms are a lot more menacing than I remember from the original toy. He has some decent reach with those claws.

From the sides, Rippersnapper sort of looks like an adorable baby Trypticon. I think that’s mostly because of the dual cannons protruding over his shoulders and the snapping jaws. But no doubt, he’s more shark than dinosaur. The deco is more or less the same as the robot mode, and still very pleasing on the eyes. Oh yeah, and I love the faked out rub sign on the back of his shark head.

Speaking of the shark head, it features a lot of personality, especially in those beady little triangular red eyes and silver teeth. I really dig the vents sculpted into the sides of his head as well. The fact that there’s nothing to hide his robot chest being the same as his alt mode. At least all that great detail doesn’t go to waste.

Man, it feels great to open up a new Transformer again and I think Rippersnapper was a fine figure to come back to. There’s nothing exciting about the transformation engineering, but he is a super fun figure in both robot and alt mode. This kind of creativity that went into the later G1 designs is something that I missed out on back then, and it’s great to be experiencing it now with these modern updates. Hopefully, I’ll be able to find the rest of the Terrorcons before too long, because I’m anxious to get this team together. In the meantime, next week I’ll be back with a look at another figure from this assortment… and it’s a femmebot!

Marvel Legends (Sasquatch Wave): Deathlok by Hasbro

Well, folks, I spun the Wheel of Marvel Legends and it landed back in the Sasquatch Wave with Deathlok… and I couldn’t be happier! I seem to recall, back when I reviewed his Marvel Universe Infinite figure, that I confessed my love for characters that are mortally injured (or already dead) and saved by horrific cybernetic surgeries. It most certainly explains my man-crush on RoboCop and countless other comic, cartoon, and movie cyborgs. Of course Deathlok is pretty unique among them and it’s long past time that Hasbro gave him a modern Legends figure. The body horror is bad enough, but then waking up in the far-flung shitty future is just the icing on the cake that made Deathlok such a cool character to me. He also got some love in the Agents of SHIELD series and was one of the few things I liked about that show before I abandoned it. Still, it tickles me to know he’s officially part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

And Deathlok is figure in the Sasquatch Wave that may be to blame for Deadpool’s lack of accessories. Like Cable, Deathlok’s tray is absolutely packed. He’s a sizable figure to begin with, and then toss in the weapons and the BAF part and there’s not a lot of room left on that tray. I haven’t read anything with Deathlok in it since 2014, so I’m happy Hasbro went with the more classic look for the character. Also like Cable, this version just screams glorious 90’s comics to me and it’s virtually identical to the design they used for the excellent Marvel Universe Infinite figure from that same year.

And oh boy do I love this design! This Legends redo hits all the same great points as the smaller release and even takes advantage of the larger scale to give us a few extras, like the yellow pipe that comes out of his chest and connects to a control box on his belt and the working holster. There’s plenty of points of interest on this spiffy sculpt. The exposed cybernetics on the legs and right arm mimics the musculature of the human body with cut segmented lines and I’m always a sucker for those! Other staples of 90’s design? Kneepads? Check! Shoulder slabs? Check, check! Pouches? Check times infinity! Well, maybe not that many pouches, but he does have a brace of them running across his belt and they even stuck a couple more on his holster loop. I also really dig the raised American flag on the right side of his chest. The backpack has some nice cut lines and whatever the hell that is supposed to be in the middle. It’s also connected to those slabs of shoulder armor.

The coloring on this guy makes for a stunningly beautiful figure. You get the candy-apple red for the torso, boots, and left arm, with some lovely yellow accents to really make the deco pop. Surprisingly, the silver limbs appear to be cast in silver plastic, which is something that usually doesn’t look as good as Hasbro’s silver paint, but it sure gets the job done here. Throw in a little brown for the belt, wrist bracers, and knee pads to keep things grounded and you’ve got a feast for the eyes. Finally, the backpack and shoulder pads feature a perfect gun-metal finish.

And that brings us to the head sculpt and it’s a doozy! Deathlok features the classic half-zombie, half-machine look, with smooth silver cybernetic parts contrasting beautifully with the beef-jerky texturing of his rotten head. It’s a pretty damn grim portrait to be hanging in the kids toy aisle at Target, but I love it. You get a missing nose, puckered skin surrounding a down-turned mouth, and a really gross wash that looks a lot like rotting flesh. Hey, at least his right ear appears to have been well preserved! Meanwhile, the partial cybernetic parts are practically featureless and that really drives home the contrast between old meat and new tech. I’d be hard pressed to choose between this portrait and the one that Hasbro did for the 4-inch version, as they’re both excellent, although this larger noggin does allow for more detail.

Deathlok has articulation in spades, and while there’s a very slight gummy quality to his knee hinges, it’s not something I’m getting too upset over. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, swivels in the biceps, and double hinges in the elbows. I should point out that the muscle sculpting doesn’t allow for the degree of elbow flex that I’m used to seeing in my Legends figures, but I’ll give it a pass. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have double hinges in the knees, swivels at the thighs and tops of the boots, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. The torso has a torso swivel, an ab-crunch hinge, and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed. Ever since I opened him, I’m having a hard time putting Deathlok down.

Deathlok comes with two weapons, the first is his pistol, which fits comfortably in the loop-style holster on his right hip and features quite a beefy design. It includes a scope mounted on what looks like a sliding rail, although it’s not articulated. There’s also a long magazine protruding from the grip, and no it’s not removable. In addition to various cut lines and details, the pistol has a bit of silver wash to make it look well weathered. I’m not usually a big fan of having just loops as holsters, but in this case the gun draws really easily, so this would be a good exception to my rule.

Secondly, Deathlok comes with this big mother of a three-barreled gatling gun and belt of ammunition that can slot into either the top or bottom. It’s an impressive looking piece of weaponry, but it can be a little awkward for him to hold, since there’s no obvious place for him to support it with his right hand. But maybe that was intentional, since he can wield it with just his one cybernetic arm, and he looks like a badass doing it. Oh yeah, it also looks like the shrouded part houses missiles. I can’t let Deadpool see this thing. He’ll just go nuts with rage and jealousy.

The Sasquatch Wave has been firing on all cylinders for me. Despite picking on Deadpool for his lack of accessories, every figure I’ve opened in this assortment so far has been something special. So when I say, Deathlok ranks high up there as one of my favorites in this wave, it’s really saying something. In fact, he’s probably tied with Cable as my favorites. This figure is a beautifully colored, features a fantastic sculpt, and some great weapons. You can usually judge how much I love a new figure by how long it gets to stay on my desk, and I gotta tell you, Deathlok is probably going to be here on the desk for quite a while.

Vitruvian HACKS: Stheno (Eldest Gorgon Sister) by Boss Fight Studio

It’s another V-HACKS Friday, Toyhounds. As promised, Today I’m finally wrapping up my look at the three Gorgon Sisters from Series 1 of Vitruvian HACKS. I checked out Medussa waaaaay back when I reviewed the very first wave from the Kickstarter. I had a look at Eurayle, the youngest of the three, just a few weeks back. And now it’s time to check out the oldest of the three Sisters, Stheno!

Here’s the usual HACKS packaging, featuring the landscape-orientated card, collector friendly bubble, and some really beautiful character art. The back of the card has the usual “Collect Them All” headshots of the first four waves and a little bit of a bio of Stheno. The Eldest Gorgon Sister can not only turn her victims to stone, but she can also transform humans into Gorgon soldiers with a simple bite. She was released as part of the second wave of Series 1 and I’m super excited to finally get her open and check her out!

Hot damn, is this a gorgeous figure! I love how each of the Gorgon Sisters have their own thing going on. Medusa is the classic half-snake lady, Eurayle is the most human, with just the snake hair to give her away. Well, Stheno lies in between. She’s mostly human looking like her youngest sister, but she’s got the full on snake hair mantle that puts Eurayle’s to shame. But I’m getting ahead of myself. First off, Stheno is built on a dark-skinned female buck, and as usual her entire costume is made of separate pieces and actually worn by the buck. That’s especially impressive here because of how intricate the costume is and that it’s all done in 4-inch scale. It’s also interesting to note that to my knowledge, BFS has never reused any of these armor pieces. That makes this figure one of the most distinctive looking releases in the Series.

The costume consists of some very intricate gold armor strapped to her lower legs. The criss-crossing gold is a little evocative of a snake pattern, but with the pincer-like ends at her knees, I also find them to have a scarab-like appearance, giving her a bit more of an Egyptian flavor than Classical Greek. She has a pair of painted panties and above that a belt, again with an intricate golden weave pattern and a snake-skin skirt that hangs off the back. Her top features a golden brassiere and some beautifully sculpted shoulders. She also has a pair of arm bracers with some remarkable snake texturing on them. I really have to give BFS some major kudos for the amount of detail they’re able to pack into such small pieces. All that gold in Stheno’s outfit is broken up a bit with some purple stones and beads. This costume is quite simply striking in every way imaginable.

And yet the real selling point of this figure is still probably the majestic head sculpt. Stheno’s face is beautifully sculpted with some pronounced cheek bones and sharp paint to the eyes and lips. Her headdress features more of ornate gold finery to match the rest of her outfit, with a purple bauble right in the middle of her forehead. And then you have her outrageous mane of cobra hair. It’s something that just has to be seen to be believed. The individual cobras fan out to both sides with each of their hoods fully deployed. Amazing!

Now, as fantastic as Stheno looks, all this detail comes at a bit of a price and the articulation, poseability, and overall stability falls victim to the character design. While the buck features all the great points of articulation that I’ve come to appreciate in this line, the top of her armor keeps her arms from being able to go flush with her sides, so they’re always going to be sticking out. On the other hand, her tight fitting snake skirt means that her hip articulation is a bit hindered as well. Finally, the giant snake mane combined with tiny bare feet means that Stheno is not a figure that is easy to keep standing upright. She’s quite back-heavy and in virtually all of the shots in this review, I’m using some kind of assist to keep her standing. I don’t want to harp on these points too harshly, because I think it’s a fair trade-off to get a figure that looks this striking.

While Boss Fight tends to stuff these figures with tons of accessories, Stheno comes up short in that regard with only her serpent staff, figure stand, and an extra pair of hands in her inventory. Again, it’s not something I’m going to get upset about because clearly a lot of attention went into this one-and-done outfit, plus the extra plastic needed for her slithering coif is probably the same amount that goes into all those accessories included with other figures.

Now, with that having been said, the staff is a very cool piece and feels very appropriate for the character. The gold staff features a purple globe at the top and a gold cobra spiraling up the rod and crowning the purple orb with his open hood.

Vitruvian HACKS is a line built around parts sharing and recoloring and there’s nothing wrong with that because Boss Fight knows how to make it work. But it also makes it all the more special when you get a figure like Stheno in the mix. She’s a stand out addition to the collection, not only because she’s an absolutely gorgeous sculpt, but also because she feels more one-of-a-kind than a lot of the other figures in this Series. That’s not to put down the myriad versions of Hoplites and snake-lady repaints, as they’re all excellent figures. I’m just glad I waited until this late in the game to get around to opening Stheno, because she adds a strong shot of variety and distinctiveness among the legions of Greek Soldiers and Gorgons. And while I appreciate the fact that this costume hasn’t been used since, I wouldn’t mind seeing it recolored and used in Series 2 on a female enchantress of some sort.

Friday the 13th: Camp Crystal Lake Accessory Set by NECA

It’s a common belief among retailers that playsets and accessory packs are death on the shelf. Whether or not that’s true, it sure has impacted what companies are willing to release these days. But there are still those out there that fight the good fight, and NECA is one of them. Granted, what NECA produces is strictly targeted at the collector community and that probably gives them a lot of leeway. From giant display stands for their Ninja Turtles to equipment packs for Aliens Marines, and now we get this box of Camp Crystal Lake environment pieces for Jason Voorhees to play in. I can’t wait to dive in! …to the box. Ain’t no way I’m swimming in that lake!

The set comes in a fully enclosed box with some shots of what you’re getting inside. Open it up and pull out the tray and you can see all the goodies laid out before you. There are three separate vignettes in here (convenient since NECA has given us three Ultimate Jasons so far!) to create and all of them require some level of assembly. There’s nothing too crazy, and everything can come apart again to go back in the box. With that being said, there are a few fragile parts in this box that I would recommend lots of care handling, and I’ll point those out when I get to them. All of these set-pieces are versatile enough to be used for different display ideas, but a couple of them are clearly intended as call backs to specific scenes.

First up, you get the pier on the lake. This little diorama consists of a set of weathered boards resting on a piece of rocky shore. You tab two posts into the sides and the lamp post into a peg on the surface of the dock. It looks great, as there’s loads of detail in the individual boards and the sculpted nails meant to be holding them together. One of the posts on my set doesn’t quite peg all the way in, but a little shaving on the tab would probably fix that right up. The post is sculpted to look like a wooden beam with the metal pole for the light secured to the side of it and the lamp itself curving downward. One thing I will say is it would have been really cool if NECA could have worked in some LEDs for the lights in this set. A lot of the promotional work looked like these were intended to light up, and I thought they might up until I saw the retail price. It’s not a deal-breaker for me, but I would have happily paid extra for that feature.

While the pier can be good for any number of displays, it’s probably most intended to recreate the harpoon kill in Part 3. It’s always been one of my personal favorites, as Jason proves himself to be quite a marksman by scoring a hit right through poor Vera’s eye. If I’m not mistaken, this is the first kill where we see him wearing Shelly’s hockey mask, and thus quite a historic moment in horror cinema, now beautifully recreated in plastic. So, while any Jason in my collection would look great displayed on this pier, but my Part 3 Jason will be the one that gets it most of the time.

The next display piece is the Welcome to Camp Crystal Lake sign and, as simple as it is, I absolutely love it. Assembly requires putting the three pieces of the frame together, attaching the clear discs to the bottom of the posts to stabilize it, and then hanging the sign on the hooks. The hooks are scary fragile, and I would recommend caution over taking attaching and reattaching the sign over and over again. And once again, I’ll toss out my wish that they had gone with LEDs in the lamps, but regardless, this is a fantastic piece. The sign itself has a rustic, hand-painted look to it that lends it a lot of authenticity. It does not, however, warn against undead masked killers.

While this sign may have featured prominently in one of the chapters, I’m drawing a blank right now, so to me this is the most generic piece in the whole set. I’d happily display any of my Jasons in front of it, but by default, it’s probably going to be my Jason from The Final Chapter. And as great as these first two pieces are, I’ve saved the coolest for last. Let’s recreate the end of Part VI: Jason Lives!

Tommy’s plan to throw a chain around Jason’s neck and trap him at the bottom of the lake was either ridiculous or brilliant, I can’t quite decide. But either way it didn’t work. What does work, however, is NECA’s wonderful recreation of this scene. The set up includes a base made up of the rock and an old defiled Camp Crystal Blood sign. The rock is wrapped in real chain and there’s a clear plastic rod that comes up the back and ends in a spatula. You just stick this up the back of Jason’s shirt and put the chain around his neck and voila! I have never wanted to go out and buy an aquarium more than I do right now.

The rock is a very realistic sculpt, has some nice heft to it, and I love the weathering and graffiti on the sign. The chain even includes a tiny sculpted padlock. This is just fantastic!

And there you have it… three set pieces for three Ultimate Jason figures. Of course, we’re getting Jason from Part 2 soon and NECA promises many more, so let’s hope that this sells well and we get another one in the future. I paid $25 for this set and oh, boy was it worth it. Not only does it add even more value to three great figures, but I’m happy to send the message to NECA that I want more sets like this. They recently showed off an Accessory Set for A Nightmare on Elm Street and a re-release of the Freddy’s Boiler, so it seems like the demand among collectors is definitely there.

Marvel Legends (Sandman Wave): Spider-Man 2099 by Hasbro

It’s another Marvel Monday, folks, and this marks the beginning of the third and final week of my Trifecta of Hell Weeks at work. Don’t ask. Just don’t. Hopefully after this week I can relax for a short bit, but I have another one brewing on the horizon. But it’s all good because work pays for toys and video games and those are the things that keep me going. Besides, there’s nothing that helps assuage the dawning of a new week of horrors than opening up a new Marvel Legends figure. Of course, new is a relative term, because today I’m sticking with the Sandman Wave, which I believe was released last year, if not the year before it. OMG, I’M SO FAR BEHIND!!!

As someone who is taking a sabbatical from Marvel Comics these days (until they get better), this costume is totally unfamiliar to me. Indeed, the last time I encountered Miguel O’Hara in my funnybooks was when he appeared in the pages of Superior Spider-Man and Spider-Verse and on both occasions he was still wearing the old suit. As I understand it, this is Miguel’s contemporary look.

And if there’s one area where Marvel Comics and I don’t have a quarrel it’s with the new costume designs. Don’t get me wrong, I still prefer Miguel’s old look, but this is still a pretty spiffy update that I happen to like a lot. The dark blue and metallic red have been replaced with black, white, and… metallic red! The matte black and white contrasts beautifully with each other and the red gives the figure a nice, futuristic pop. The design on the chest is pretty busy and a very abstract re-imagining of the old costume’s skull emblem. but it also has more of a spider-legs flavor to it, which I like. Mmm… spider legs flavor. Miguel also has a few blue bars on his feet and shoulders.

Overall, the paint on my figure is pretty good. The white is bright and doesn’t suffer from any noticeable bleed through from the black plastic. The lines are also quite crisp, especially between the red and white. I did have a little smudge of red paint on my figure’s left shoulder hinge, but I was able to chip most of it off with my fingernail. I’m a little concerned that the paint will rub in the shoulder hinges, but then I don’t tend to repose my figures a lot, so I should be OK. I’ll note that the lower elbow pins are not painted to match the surrounding white, and while I know that really pisses off some collectors, I can’t say as it bothers me much.

Miguel’s makeover may have left out the web cape, but the blades on the forearms are still there. I like how they seem to protrude from the red striping. It would have been nice if Hasbro could have painted them metallic red to match better, but they still look neat.

The new mask is the one aspect of the costume that has the strongest connection to the older one. It retains that minimalist, and just a little creepy, futuristic flavor. I dig it a lot!

The articulation is right in line with other recent Spider-Man figures. And yes, as already mentioned, he has the additional shoulder crunches, which is always a treat. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, double hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps. The legs have ball joints at the hips, swivels in the thighs and lower legs, double hinges in the knees, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. The torso sports a swivel at the waist and an ab-crunch hinge below the chest, and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed. The joints on this guy feel great and he is loads of fun to play with.

For now, this version of Spider-Man 2099 is more like a concept figure to me. I doubt I’ll ever get around to reading this run of comics and who knows how long they’ll keep this look for him. With that being said, this figure was an absolute bitch for me to find. It seems like I’ve been saying that a lot lately. To this day I’ve never seen him at retail, and even my usual source for Marvel Legends, Amazon was selling him for upwards of $35. A friend of mine came across a second one in her neck of the woods and hooked me up, and for that I am eternally grateful. And now I only have two more figures to open before I can build my Sandman, but next week I’ll likely be flipping over to another wave, because the Wheel of Marvel Legends can be a fickle bitch.

Vitruvian HACKS: Disciple of Eurayle by Boss Fight Studio

Who’s up for ending the week with a little Vitruvian HACKS? I sure am, because I really want to get all these remaining HACKS figures reviewed before the new Mythic Legions figures arrive and take over my Wednesday slots for… well for the rest of the year. I’m not even kidding! The last time I visited with Boss Fight’s awesome line of 4-inch plastic peoples from Greek Mythology, I opened up the youngest of the three Gorgon sisters, Eurayle and today I’m going to check out one of her Disciples! Yes, I know I promised to be looking at the last of the three Gorgon sisters this week, but I’ll get to her next week. Promise! No, really… this time I mean it!!!

As always, unless it’s some kind of exclusive, the HACKS figures come on these snappy landscape-orientated cards with colorful artwork and a clear bubble that extends out to hug the edges of the card and can be easily removed without damaging anything. I love it! Actually, the character artwork on this card isn’t the greatest, it’s actually pretty bad. But it’s the figure inside that really counts. Unlike her big sis, Medusa, Eurayle chooses not to turn her victims to stone, instead she bewitches them into joining her army of slaves, and that’s where the Disciple of Eurayle fits into the big picture. Hmm… useless lawn ornaments or slave army? I think she’s got the right idea!

There’s nothing in this package that we haven’t seen before, but the HACKS line is all about mixing and matching parts and adding new color schemes to come up with new figures, and The Disciple is another great example of just how good BFS is at it. This figure features the typical male buck, cast in a cool sickly green colored skin to make him look like he’s been partially snake-ified. The body features the standard sculpted and painted sandals on the feet, and adds a couple of black snake-like tattoos printed on the biceps. As always, articulation is made up of a lot of pegged hinges (in the shoulders, elbows, wrists, ankles) so the figure can be taken apart, and you also get ball joints in the hips and double hinges in the knees. There’s a ball joint in the torso, buried under the armor, and a double ball joint in the neck.

The armor consists of a Spartan-style hauberk of scale mail, and is colored in a dark olive green and features some gold paint apps for the trim and rivets. The sculpted detail on the hauberk is especially nice for a figure in this scale, not to mention it’s an actual separate piece of costume that’s worn by the buck. The same goes for the sculpted grieves, which are painted gold and have green snake motifs sculpted onto them. The only article of clothing you can’t take off this figure are the sculpted sandals.

The head is bald and has some splendid facial details. Indeed, I’d go so far as to say this is one of the best 4-inch had sculpts I’ve seen in a while. The grim visage works well as a mindless warrior zombie and I especially like the bright red eyes.

The Disciple also comes with a standard hoplite helmet with a high brush comb. The helmet is painted in dark olive to match the hauberk and there’s a gold zigzag pattern painted along the crest and under the comb. As always, the helmet fits the head quite well. Let’s move on to have a look at the rest of his gear!

First up, he comes with a gold short sword with a leaf-shaped blade and a simple hilt. The sword comes with a scabbard attached to a shoulder strap that works really well and looks great on the figure. The scabbard is painted brown and features some gold fixtures and a pair of sculpted tassels painted pale green to match The Disciple’s skin. The buckle on the shoulder strap is also painted gold. The sword fits in just snug enough so it doesn’t fall out, but it’s not too hard to draw either.

If you’d prefer, there’s also a loop in the back of the armor, which can be used to store the sword on his back. Honestly, I love the look of the scabbard too much not to use it, but it’s always nice to have options. And who knows, I may wind up giving him another sword someday.

And since swords and shields go together like PB&J, Boss Fight threw a standard shield in here as well. This is the same sculpt we’ve seen over and over again in this line, painted in gold, but I’m not complaining. The front face of the shield is sculpted with a hammered finish and has a red snake motif painted on it. The reverse of the shield features sculpted rivets and reinforced plates. There’s a grab bar as well as a pliable plastic sleeve for the forearm, both of which help the figure to hold it perfectly. I don’t think I’ll ever stop being impressed by how well the equipment like this shield or the sword scabbard work with these figures, despite only being 4-inch scale. There are also tiny loops on the back of the shield. I presume these are so you can tie some string around them as a means of hanging the shield on the figure’s back.

Now, if you are looking for something a little more exotic than the traditional sword and shield, The Disciple also comes with gold versions of Eurayle’s katar-style weapons. I like that they included these as it further ties the look of the Disciple to his mistress. The first pair includes blades with a snake head motif near the hilt and some jagged cuts in the edges.

The other more distinctive pair are comprised of coiled snakes. As I’m sure I said in the Eurayle review, I love these designs, but I would imagine that they aren’t terribly practical as weapons. Although, I wouldn’t want to get run through by one of those.

At this point, some of the Series 1 HACKS are getting harder to find at decent prices, but Boss Fight still has a selection available on their website, which is where I was able to hunt down this Disciple of Eurayle. And while there’s nothing here I haven’t seen already, in terms of both the figure and the accessories, I’m really glad I decided to pick him up. He’s a great looking addition to the collection, and I really like the story behind him. Maybe even enough to pick up a second so that I can give the youngest of the Gorgon Sisters a pair of guards to display with her instead of just the one lone Disciple. After all, a figure that’s worth literally ten times what I paid for her a couple of years ago needs a good guard detail.

Star Wars Black (Solo): Qi’ra by Hasbro

How about that Solo: A Star Wars Story, eh? Who could have thought that such a fun and simple little space adventure could elicit so much controversy? And I’m not even talking about people picking it apart. From the “this was an unnecessary prequel” mantra to “let’s form a boycott campaign against this movie because we didn’t like another movie” all I have to say is “Holy shit, people!” Let’s all just relax and have a look at a Star Wars figure.

If you need any indicator of how much I enjoyed Solo, the fact that I’ve purchased and actually opened the entire wave of figures should do the trick. I have a short stack of figures from The Last Jedi that I just can’t bring myself to open, so it feels good to be a little excited about some SWB releases again. Qi’ra wasn’t one of my favorite things about the film, but as a character, she was perfectly serviceable. To be honest I’m just not a big fan of  Emilia Clarke, so I may be a little biased here. Oh, and she’s Figure #66. I don’t usually pay attention to the numbers in this line, but really, Hasbro? You couldn’t have thought of a more appropriate character for the 66 slot?

Qi’ra wore a few outfits throughout the movie, but Hasbro is dubbing this her Corellia outfit and it was a curious look to go with, since I seem to recall her only wearing it in the beginning. Indeed, while doing some research it was hard to find that many pictures of her wearing it. Either way, her sculpted digs include black boots, pants, and skirt, as well as a red top and a jacket. The skirt is a bit weird, as it’s longer in the front than in the back, it has tabs coming off the sides that don’t seem to have a function, and there’s some dirt or mud splashed up against the bottom front edge. She also has a brace of what looks like some kind of ammo or blaster charges across the front of her belt. The bit of additional mud splash on her boots is a nice touch.

The red and black top is smooth and doesn’t have a whole lot of sculpted detail. It does, however have a front flap that’s partially pulled down. What is it with these flappy shirts in this movie? Both Lando and Han had similarly designed tops, all of which remind me a bit of the Starfleet uniforms that debuted in Star Trek II. The jacket is gray with a textured collar that extends down the front and looks like it’s supposed to be some kind of wool or fur. The sculpted sleeves are also rumpled quite a bit and looking like they’ve been partially pushed up to reveal the various devices on her wrists. All in all, Hasbro did a nice job on the outfit.

I’m a bit torn on the portrait. If I were judging it strictly on likeness, I wouldn’t give it the highest marks. There are some similarities here and there, particularly in her lips. It’s not the worst likeness this line has turned out, but it’s certainly not the best either. Still, it’s certainly better than Funko did with the likeness of Clarke from their 6-inch Game of Thrones line. The face here is very pretty and the paint on her lips and printing on her eyes are both on point. The somewhat distinctive haircut is recreated especially well. All in all, I’d say not bad, just not great.

Qi’ra comes with only one accessory and that’s her blaster. It’s a very small, double-barreled pistol with a gray body and silver barrels. Oddly enough it’s even designed to come apart. It’s a nice little gun and while it’s meant for her right hand with the trigger finger, she can actually hold it in either one. I just wish there was somewhere on her to store it.

As for poseability, we have some pretty standard female SWB articulation on display here, which means rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. The legs have ball joints at the hips, double hinges in the knees, and the ankles have both hinges and lateral rockers. There are swivels in the thighs, a ball joint at the waist, and her neck is both hinged and ball jointed. The skirt is slit up the sides so it doesn’t impede her hip movement all that much, and the range of motion on her elbows is surprisingly good.

Qi’ra was actually the hardest figure in this assortment for me to find. I happened upon the Range Trooper before any of the others, and I even saw one more on the pegs since then. Meanwhile the pegs are always chock full of Lando and Han, almost to the point where they’re outnumbering DJ from The Last Jedi. Can’t imagine why that figure isn’t selling! As for Qi’ra, I only found her once and she hasn’t turned up again since, so I’m glad I bought her when I did. I’m also glad that Hasbro is following through with another wave of 6-inch Black Series Solo figures. I’ll be keeping my eye out for those!

Marvel Legends (Sandman Wave): Jackal by Hasbro

After jumping ahead for a few weeks, I’m dialing it back to the Sandman Wave of Marvel Legends! This is probably the longest its ever taken me to review a wave, and since I’ve already looked at Ms. Marvel, Shocker, and Symbiot Suit Spidey, today’s review puts me about halfway toward the goal of finally building my Sandman BAF. Today I decided to open up Jackal, because… well, I had to eventually… I guess.

And yup, here he is. If nothing else, The Jackal can boast a long history. He’s been a part of Spider-Man in one way or another since before I started reading the comic, and that’s saying something, because I’m very old! With that being said, the character has never appealed all that much to me. His back story is pretty goddamned lame and the less said about The Clone Saga the better. And yet, I still can’t resist adding another Spidey villain to my shelf, so let’s open him up and have a look!

Well, in fairness this is a great looking figure. It’s based off the classic look for Miles Warren, As I understand these days The Jackal is wearing a suit and an Anubis mask. Anyway, the sculping here is quite good and features some great muscle tone and detailed fur covering most of the body. In fact, I’d say it’s almost too good. If you handed this figure to a non-fan, they’d just think he was some kind of monster. I think a few minor nods to this being a suit would have been damn cool. No, you really can’t tell it is in the comic art either, but maybe a little subtle stitching here and there. I guess I can pretend that the plastic seams on his legs are seams in the suit. Either way, in addition to the sculpted detail, there are some nice color variations in the chest and forearms, and both the claws and toenails are painted white. Wrap it all up with a pair of blue shorts and I’m very pleased with how this guy came out.

The head sculpt is also excellent. This is one of those portraits where you can tell they had fun with it. The contours of the face and the jawline are well defined, the sharp nose has a little crinkle in the bridge, and I love those Gremlins-esque ears. The pink inside even shows off some of the half-tone printing that Hasbro has been using lately. Finally, the piercing yellow eyes with dark outlines, and the full rictus grin of teeth both add to the wonderful personality on display here. This is some fantastic work.

I also really dig how big they made his claws. I mean, they aren’t like Anti-Venom huge, but they’re still some sizeable meat hooks that look even bigger because of his smallish body.

The articulation here is standard stuff with rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, and ball joints in hips, but the figure’s build does allow a wide range of motion in those double hinged elbows and knees. The ankles have both hinges and lateral rockers, there are swivels in the biceps, thighs, and waist, an ab-crunch hinge below the chest and both a hinge and ball joint in the neck. I think this figure would have really benefitted from the added shoulder crunches we usually get on the Spider-Man figures, but that might have been more than Hasbro wanted to invest in this character.

The Jackal is one of those figures that is all about the Universe building for me. I want as many characters on my Marvel shelves as possible, and yes that even includes the ones that I really don’t give a crap about. Maybe I’m being too hard on him. Maybe I should re-read some of the books he’s in, just not any of that Clone Saga crap. Either way, Jackal is a damn fine figure and the great thing about a line like Marvel Legends is that while I may not be excited about this one, I’m sure there are fans out there jumping for joy. And I’ve been on the other side of that situation plenty of times, so I say Good on you, Jackal fans. Enjoy!

Ash Vs Evil Dead: Henrietta by NECA

And now, the end is near… and so I face the final curtain… The only thing sadder than a show you love coming to an end is when there’s an attached line of action figures that goes down with it. As all fans must know by now, Starz Network opted not to renew Ash V Evil Dead for a fourth season, and as a result will forever go down in history as a bunch of shitheads. At least in my book. Anyway, it’s safe to assume that this second wave of AvED figures from NECA will also be the last. Oh, we’ll still get some Evil Dead figures from the films, but now the chances of ever getting figures of Ruby, Kelly, and Pablo are lower than a flying Deadite eyeball not landing in someone’s mouth. I’ve already looked at Asylum Ash and the Demon Spawn from this wave, so let’s wrap it up today with a look at Henrietta.

The figure comes in the same style window box as the rest of the figures with a creepy red and black tree motif and some character art specific for the figure. AvED was pretty damn good about not constantly retracing the material from the films. Indeed, this series introduced more new elements to the Evil Dead lore than I could have imagined. But every now and then they threw the fans a bone, and thus we saw the Deadite Henrietta make her glorious return at the end of Season 2. Give me a minute to get her open and I’m going to change the backdrop to something a little creepier.

Ah, that’s better! And wow, is she disgusting! Every time I see Henrietta I think about poor Ted Raimi pouring gallons of sweat out of this massive latex suit. Talk about suffering for your art! And yes, he reprised the role in the series, which I think was awesome. This release is NECA’s second crack at a Henrietta figure with the first one being from Evil Dead II. I don’t own that figure, but from pictures it looks like there may be shared parts here, but plenty of new stuff as well. Every inch of Old Mrs. Knowby is covered in gross, from her nasty toenails all the way up to her nearly bald head. The body is bloated, the skin is mottled, and there are sores all over her. There are parts of her skin that look like it’s ready slide right off, and you can see her ribcage beginning to manifest between her saggy dead-gramma breasts. Even something as simple as her naval is a deep, dark abyss that looks like it’s about to open up and spill her entrails all over the floor. Of course, all this is just another way of me saying, I freaking love this sculpt!!!

From the back, things aren’t much better. In fact, she’s got a gaping chunk taken out of her left buttcheek, revealing the wet, red insides. As great as the sculpting is, the paint is also there to back it up. The bulk of the figure’s limbs have a matte old leathery finish that I can only assume came out of a jar labeled “necrosis brown.” Other parts of the skin are painted with a gloss to show that they’re the juicier bits. And all the open sores are finished off with more of that glossy wet red. Just beholding this figure is enough to put me off roast beef for a while. And while Henrietta doesn’t have much to cover her Deadite modesty, she does have the shredded remains of her house dress, which she wears almost like a cape, and is sculpted separate from the figure. I particularly love the detail in the broach that holds it in place around her neck. This is such beautiful work!

The head sculpt is pure magic. Dark, vile magic, but magic nonetheless. Henrietta is no doubt one of the most distinctive and familiar of the Deadites and they captured the look of the on-screen makeup brilliantly. Her black lips are parted in a jovial smile as if she can already taste your soul. I love the raw, red skin around her eyes and the eyes themselves are clouded over white as Deadite eyes are apt to be. The head features all sorts of nicks and cuts, some bloody and others that look like they’ve already bled out. She’s also missing some cheekmeat. And that’s your word for the day, kids… cheekmeat! But as good as all that is, the crowning achievement here is that NECA took the time to give her paltry gramma coif actual rooted hair. God bless you, NECA!

We’ve seen other companies do figures like this with a few swivel cuts and call it a day, but Henrietta has several useful points of articulation. Now, I’m not saying the old girl is going to be posing like a goddamn ninja, but she does feature rotating hinges in her ankles, knees, hips, shoulders, elbows, and wrists. So you can say she’s pretty spry for an old undead granny. She also has a ball joint buried under all that bloated flesh, and a ball joint in her neck. Granted, some of these joints don’t have a big range of motion because of the sculpt, but I’m happy with what I can get her to do. Ah, but NECA didn’t stop there… how about a really long neck and an extra head to go with it?

Oh yeah, that’s what I’m talking about! Pop off the regular head, pop on the bendy neck and pop the new head onto the end of it, and you’re all set to elevate Henrietta to that whole new level of weird. It was a stand out scene in Evil Dead 2 and it was wonderfully recreated in AvED Season 2.

The head is that perfect marriage of terrifying and goofy. It’s got more of a glossy finish and it also has a shock of white rooted hair. Plus, they actually gave this head a hinged jaw, which is just priceless.

The neck also features a break in it so you can have Ash hack off the head about a third of the way down the neck. The inside area where the neck breaks apart is even painted bloody. It’s a play feature!!!

And finally, NECA included a stand to simulate Henrietta levitating as Deadites are want to do. It’s a simple black base with a rod that plugs into the base and into her back. It works quite well, but I wish they had cast it in clear plastic. Either way, it’s a nice bonus to throw in with a figure that already uses a heck of a lot of plastic.

If you can’t tell by now, I really dig this figure a lot. AvED’s Henrietta is a great release on her own, and all the more welcome when you consider that the original version goes for a fair bit of coin these days. The two designs aren’t 100% interchangeable, but I’d be fine having this one stand in with my Ultimate Ash and call it close enough. In fact, I may very well pick up another so I’ll have one for both the modern and more classic displays. She feels like a Deluxe figure, but at about $21, she’s at the same price point as the other two figures in this line, and that’s a pretty damn good deal!