Arhian: Head Huntress Pirate Sixth-Scale Figure (Deluxe Edition) by Phicen/TBLeague

Hey, who wants to check out a new release from Phicen/TBLeague? Bah, I know the answer is almost none of you. I don’t tend to hang on my blog’s stats very often, but I do know that these Phicen reviews drum up the least amount of interest and engagement as almost anything. Hell, I once reviewed a box of Twinkies, and that post performed better than most of these Phicen reviews combined. But that’s OK. I’m a huge fan of these figures, these reviews are a labor of love, and I’m not about to stop anytime soon. Those of you still reading are probably aware that Phicen and TBLeague have done some great work bringing indie comic properties to the collectible figure market. In addition to some of their own original designs, they’ve produced figures from Image, Chaos, and Zenescope to name a few. And every once and a while they release a figure of a character from a comic I’ve never heard of, but I like the figure so much I go ahead and buy it anyway. Today is one of those times.

A little research tells me that Arhian: Head Huntress is a swords-and-sandals type offering from ARH Comix, with an emphasis on bloody battles and T&A. A little while ago, Phicen put out a figure of Arhian in her standard warrior garb and as tempted as I was to grab her up, I couldn’t fit her into the budget and, like most Phicen figures, when the retailers sold out, she shot up in price on the second-hand market. Needless to say, when they solicited this pirate version of Arhian, I plunked down my pre-order post-haste.

The packaging is very typical for TBLeague’s boxed figure sets. You get a heavy duty box with a front flap that secures with magnets to the sides. There’s some nice artwork on the front and photos of the figure on the side and rear panels. The figure itself comes nestled in a foam tray. I say it pretty much every time I review one of these releases: These guys do a much better job on the presentation than Hot Toys and Sideshow does on many of their regular releases.

Aw, yeah! Check her out! Is there anything sexier than a hot blonde pirate or am I alone in this particular fetish? Either way, one look at Arhian and I didn’t need any backstory or familiarity with the comic to want to add her to the collection. Arhian uses what I think is one of Phicen’s medium build seamless bodies, making her shorter than the last one I looked at, Athena, and with a slightly larger bust size. As always, the body features silicone skin and muscle wrapped around a stainless steel skeleton that mimics the articulation of the human body so well that it’s almost creepy. They still don’t have the look of the elbow bends quite right, but that’s a small nitpick when everything else looks so good.

In terms of complexity, I’d say Arhian’s costume is about middle of the road when compared to some of the other Phicens in my collection, but that’s not to say I didn’t run into a few roadblocks getting her kitted out. She comes wearing a one-piece leather-like tunic, which is split down the middle to offer a fine view of her pirate’s chest, and extends down past her waist in the front and back to offer a little modestly to her stern and aft quarters. The garment is neatly stitched and features a zig-zag pattern running down the front edges. Oh yeah, it also smells like Lipton Iced Tea mix. I’m not joking. Open up a tub of that stuff and take a big whiff. that’s exactly what this figure smells like out of the box. Don’t ask me why.

The easy parts of completing her costume includes sliding on her bicep rings, her wrist bracers, and the tops of her sandals. The bicep rings are cast in plastic and have a nice bronze finish to them, along with some great sculpted ornamentation. These are fairly easy to get on, and even easier if you have a little talcum powder lying around to help them slide onto her silicone skin. The same goes for her long bracers, which feature sculpted wraps and bronze studs. Not only do these look stylish, but they also help to hide the seams on her wrists. As for the sandals, the feet are sculpted with the lower part of the sandals permanently attached, as well as an ornamental bronze colored fixture between her toes. The rest of the sandal is a soft plastic sleeve that slides onto her leg. I love how they did this and it makes for a decent effect, although the bottom of these pieces don’t always hide the ankle seams in more extreme action poses.

The biggest pain to set up was her wide belt, which had to be laced up the side with string and tied off. It took me quite a while to be able to thread the string through those tiny eyelets. I eventually had to resort to treating the string with some hair gel to get it through. I laced it up off the figure and then when I tried to slide it up her legs I found that it was almost too snug to make it to her waist. I think it was sheer determination not to have to go through the lacing ordeal again that finally got it into place. Besides being a pain, the belt looks great. It has a leather-like texture and an ornate lion head sculpted into the front. It also features the studded leather straps that make up her skirt.

Arhian also comes with a sword belt that can be fastened loose to rest on her hip and carry her dagger and sword. The dagger simply hooks onto the belt, whereas the sword is secured by passing the belt through a chain. I was not a big fan of the chain on the Athena figure’s sword and I’m not a big fan of it here either. It does hold it in place for display, but it has to be adjusted to hang properly whenever I repose the figure.

Moving on to the portrait, I think Phicen is continuing to show solid improvement in their figures’ heads, both in terms of sculpt and paint. The eyes are quite lifelike and the paint on the eyebrows, lashes, and lips is crisp and precise. Arhian features long rooted hair, which is fairly manageable right out of the box, but I did apply a bit of that hair gel to get it further under control. She comes with a red cloth hat, which is similar to the dew-rags, or bandanna if you prefer, often seen worn by pop culture pirates. The hat features some beading around the bottom edge as well as around the flap on the front. The final piece of Arhian’s costume is her necklace, which looks like it’s supposed to be made up of bones or teeth. They’re all individual pieces on a string and getting it looped right and tied off was a bit of a challenge for me.

Moving on to her weapons, the dagger is a simple enough piece with a functional, and not terribly flashy looking, sheath. It features a sculpted grip with a pommel that looks like it could be useful in smashing in skulls. The blade is painted silver and has some blood splatter on it. In addition to her relaxed hands and a pair of gesturing hands, Arhian comes with a pair of weapon holding hands that work perfectly.

The sword is a far more interesting piece than the dagger and features a rather ornate scabbard with reinforced scroll-work and some big sculpted studs. It’s cast in plastic but has an aged bronze finish to it and the sword fits perfectly, so that it’s easy to draw out but still stays put. I’ve already said my piece about the chain that it hangs on. I think it looks great, but it’s not as secure as it could be.

The sword itself features a curved blade, which looks like it’s designed for quick slashing attacks to make up for its’ lack of reach. The plastic blade features a brilliant silver paint along with a gold sculpted inlay and a red ruby. The hilt has a sculpted simulated wrap on the grip and a silver pommel with another ruby centered in it. I really dig all the accessories included with this figure, but I wish they had thrown in a few more goodies, like a bottle of booze or a treasure chest. I’ve already started hunting down some goodies for her.

She does, however, come with a really nice display base. It’s a patch of sand surrounded by a stone wall and adorned with skulls and crossbones. There’s an additional skull half buried in the sand as well. The sculpting and design of this base is outstanding, but the problem is that there’s no way to secure the figure to it. Sometimes Phicen makes use of foot pegs, but that’s not the case here, and there’s no post or anything to hold her up. I have no troubles getting her to stand on it, but there’s no way I’m going to display her that way over a long period of time and risk having her take a shelf dive.

Every time I open a new figure from TBLeague I’m delighted with what I find, which is probably why I keep plunking down the pre-orders. About the only real gripe I have for Arhian here is the price. At $179, she ranks in the same as Athena and that figure game with a few more outfit pieces and a column display stand that’s as big as the figure. Granted, Athena was an original design and Arhian is a licensed character, but I can’t believe a small press like ARH Comix soaked these guys with the licensing fees. What I’m getting it as Arhian feels like she should have been at least $10 cheaper and while that was never going to be a deal-breaker for me, it’s worth mentioning nonetheless.

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Star Wars Black: Gamorrean Guard by Hasbro

Indulge me folks, for a moment, as I preface today’s review with a heartfelt thanks to @Grip_86 on Twitter for hooking me up with today’s review. He’s a fellow Floridian, fellow toy collector, and an all around great guy! If you’re reading this, thanks again, man! Ok, on with the review…

Boy do I love the Gamorrean Guards, and boy do they not love me. When this fellow was released as part of the Vintage Collection, I went back to toy hunting for the first time in a while to try to find some. I never did. And I was never willing to pay the crazy prices that he was selling for online. In the end, I got shut out, and was forced to be content with the handful of Gamorreans from the Power of the Force 2 line and my old Kenner originals. And now when Hasbro finally gets around to releasing these Space Pigs in the 6-inch Black Series, it was the same thing all over again. Of course, I lucked out this time (see above) and I’m super excited to get this guy opened up and check him out!

The presentation here is the same thing we’ve been seeing all along: Black box, red interior, monochrome character art, although there’s no number on the side panel, because this release is a Target Exclusive. Of course, the box is also bigger to contain the corpulence of the figure. It’s also what I would consider a Deluxe release, because he comes with more stuff than your average Black Series figure, along with a heftier price tag of $30. All in all, the presentation here isn’t as snazzy as the Amazon Exclusive First Order Stormtrooper, but it’s nice enough to make me want to keep this figure in the box when I’m not playing with him.

And I have to say, out of the box this guy does not disappoint as it is a tremendous sculpt! As expected, he’s a figure with a big presence. Either Jabba feeds these fellas well or I’d imagine a lot of prisoners go missing. His leather tunic is sculpted with a patchwork of stitching as well as the circular embossed medallion on the front and the whole thing is painted with a sumptuous brown and black wash that makes it look like the finest of supple Bantha hide. The short sleeves are sculpted with ragged edges and covered with two pieces of silver armor on each shoulder, each sporting some ornate studs. The shoulder armor is matched by his silver arm bracers and down below he has sandals sculpted into his feet and legs.

When it came to the Gamorrean’s fuzzy diaper, Hasbro did the right thing and splurged for soft-goods. This was an absolute must as far as I’m concerned, as they did the same for the smaller Vintage Collection version. The brown fur looks and feels great and underneath it, the Guard has a sculpted and textured brown plastic diaper. I also really dig that the belt and shoulder strap are sculpted separately from the buck. Sure, it’s a little thing, but not having it sculpted onto the buck adds some nice additional depth to the costume.

The head sculpt is also well worthy of praise. Generally speaking, Hasbro has done a fine job with most of the aliens and creatures in this line, but even having said that, I think they went above and beyond here and the results are porcine perfection. They captured all the nuances in the shape of the face from the prominent brow and puffed out jowls to the pronounced piggy nose. I also dig that they lathered a load of glossy paint on his lips and nose to simulate space pig snot. The helmet is permanently attached to the head, but side flaps are soft plastic to make it look like it could be removed. Also, I never noticed what haunting blue eyes these Gamorreans have! And if all this wasn’t good enough…

GAHHHH! You get an articulated jaw! Oh boy is this great. The Gamorrean has a maw like a large mouthed bass and a beautifully sculpted tongue in there to boot. It’s perfect for putting him in a squealing pose for when Hasbro inevitably releases a two-foot tall Black Series Rancor.

I wasn’t expecting a whole lot of poseability on this figure, and it’s true that his girth does limit some of the range of motion, but all the points are there and he’s still surprisingly fun to play around with. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists, and you get a surprisingly tight bend on those elbows, all the way to 90-degrees. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have double hinges in the knees, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. There’s a ball joint in the waist, and another in the neck.

As for accessories, the Gamorrean Guard comes with three different weapons. First off, you get the rather distinctive looking axe that came with the original Kenner figure. It has a handle sculpted to look like wood a nice pitted texture to the blade, along with some paint for weathering. This design is so iconic to me that it’s going to be my weapon of choice, providing I only end up with the one. If I get more, I’ll probably mix up the weapons for a little variety.

And just to show Hasbro isn’t playing favorites, they also included the axe that came with the Power of the Force 2 version. This weapon is more of a straight on hatchet. It doesn’t look anything like a space weapon, but I appreciate it for it’s simplicity.

And finally, he comes with this staff weapon, which I assume is some sort of vibro-axe. This is a nice sculpt, and it’s a design that I don’t recognize from any of my previous figures. I’m always a sucker for these staff weapons among Jabba’s crew so I’m really glad they threw this in the box.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that the Gamorrean Guard is quite possibly one of the best figures Hasbro has released in this entire line. Yeah, that sounds crazy because he’s such a bit character, seen only briefly in a few scenes at the beginning of Return of the Jedi. Nonetheless, it’s a design that gave the sculptors a lot to work with and they certainly rose to the challenge. The only shame here is that the figure is tough to find, at least for me, because I’d love to pick up at least one or two more of these guys. Hell, now that I know how great he is, I may even just plunk down a premium online to ensure I get one more. Having this figure in hand is also reminding me how badly I want Hasbro to start turning out more of Jabba’s denizens in the 6-inch Black Series. I need Skiff Guards and Bib Fortuna, and why not a Max Reebo band? Hasbro needs to start playing to their strengths with this line and clearly their strengths lie with the aliens and creatures.

Marvel Legends (Sandman Wave): Green Goblin by Hasbro

After a few weeks of checking out some of the Marvel Studios: First Ten Years figures (don’t worry, I’ll get back to more of those!), I’m back to spinning the Wheel of Legends and slogging my way through the enormous pile of backlogged figures waiting to be opened. And today we’re winding up the Wayback Machine all the way back to the Sandman Wave. Holy shit! I started reviewing this wave way back in April and I’ve still got two figures left before I can finally build my Sandman. Today I’m opening Green Goblin!

Here’s the packaged shot, and as you can see, the bubble is pretty tightly packed with the figure, accessories, and two different heads for the Sandman BAF! When you think of how many Spider-Man themed waves there have been, it’s boggling that it took this long to get to Green Goblin. Indeed, we’ve had two versions of The Hobgoblin before getting to Gobby here. He’s probably not my favorite Spidey villain, but I’ll concede that he’s likely considered the most iconic and definitely the first one that I was introduced to as a kid. Finally getting him in the modern Legends line is a pretty big deal.

If you haven’t already guessed, Gobby here shares the same body as Hobby. That’s Hobgoblin from the Space Venom Wave, not the winged BAF Hobgoblin from back in 2015. And I can’t really blame Hasbro for the recycling, because this body works perfectly for both figures. It also means this is going to be a pretty quick review, since I already reviewed most of this figure. The sculpted scale armor on the arms and legs looks as great as ever, this time trading the metallic blue paint for a very snappy metallic green. The orange boots, gauntlets, and tunic have been replaced with purple, the belt is now a simple band with a gold painted buckle, and he has the same shoulder bag, this time purple with a gold painted buckle to match his belt. The paint here really pops nicely. And since the body is identical to Hobgoblin’s, I’ll just refer you back to that review for the rundown on articulation.

Of course, the head sculpt is brand new, and Hasbro did a bang-up job on it. It’s lumpy, demented, and packed with personality from the beady yellow eyes to the crooked painted teeth. The exaggerated nose, brow, chin, and cheekbones make him super creepy as well. I really dig the paint they used and they even gave it a bit of a wash to pick out all the details in his twisted facial contours. I love his exaggerated ears and the way his hood snakes back behind his head. My figure had some kind of glue-booger stuck to the right side of the face, but it was pretty easy to clean off.

In addition to the shoulder bag, Gobby comes with a pumpkin bomb. This neon orange ball of death has green flames and a little jack-o-lantern face painted on it. He can hold it fairly well in either hand, but I think it would have helped if they put a peg on it and a peg hole in each of his palms. I seem to recall they did that for the 4-inch version back in Marvel Universe. 

And you also get his glider, which is all new and not just a repack of Hobby’s glider. It’s kind of a must-have accessory for Green Goblin, but I’m still more than a little impressed that they were able to pack it into a regular Legends box. Not that it’s all that big or super detailed, but a nice bonus nonetheless. It features loops for his feet to hold him on there, and the only thing it’s really missing is some kind of clear plastic stand to display it on.

And hey, look at that. Today’s review was in and out, easy-peasy. I kind of feel a little bad not spending more time reviewing a figure this important, but like I said, we already saw the body on Hobgoblin, and there just isn’t a lot more to say about him this time around. Perhaps, Hasbro could have gone a little extra and did something to make Gobby’s body more distinctive, but I really don’t think it was needed. The body worked great for Hobgoblin and it works great here as well. And boy they really seem to be knocking out Spidey’s Rogue Gallery. With both Mysterio and Doc Ock appearing on the pegs now, but not yet in my dirty clutches, Hasbro might have to find another go-to character to start padding out all these waves. Speaking of which, I’m going to forgo the Wheel of Legends next week and just wrap up this wave with both a look at Spider-Man UK and the Sandman Build-A-Figure!

Marvel Gallery: X-23 as Wolverine (SDCC Exclusive) by Diamond Select

It feels like forever since I reviewed a statue here. That’s probably because I’ve been cutting waaaay back on buying these things as my available display space becomes more and more tight. I don’t have a problem with putting action figures away, because I can always take them out and play around with them, but if you can’t display a statue, then what’s the point of buying it, eh? And since there’s a nice sense of balance to beginning and ending the week with Marvel content… let’s check out Diamond Select’s new Marvel Gallery release of X-23 as Wolverine.

I’ve been an avid fan of both the Marvel and DC Gallery lines, even way back when they were part of the Femme Fatale’s line. These are roughly 9-inch scale PVC budget pieces, which seldom disappoint. As always, the statue comes in a collector friendly window box, with windows on the front, top, and side panels to let in plenty of light. The figure itself comes suspended between two plastic trays and displays fairly well in the box.

Diamond produced two versions of this statue, the regular retail features Ms. Kinney wearing her mask, whereas this unmaksed PX Previews Exclusive was available at San Diego Comic Con and afterwards at select retailers. The box itself denotes that it is an exclusive along with the addition of the “Unmasked” call-out at the bottom. There’s also a piece of silver tape over the top flap stating this release is limited to 4,000. Not exactly a strict limitation, but I presume it’s at least less than the production quantity of the masked retail version. There’s no assembly required here, so let’s get her out and see how she turned out! And just to put cards on the table, I’m not a fan of this book, but I sure do love the way X-23 looks in the Wolverine costume!

Diamond has been all over the place with the poses for this series lately. Sometimes you get something exciting and dynamic, other times you get something more reserved. X-23 here certainly leans toward that later with what I would consider to be very museum-style composition. Ms. Kinney stands with her right hip thrust to the side, her right arm down by her side, her left arm held up at the elbow, and both hands balled into fists and popping her her claws. The skin-tight suit shows her shapely form from all angles beautifully, and every bit of detail in the suit is incorporated into the sculpt. That last bit is a big deal for me, as with the fairly low price point of this line, I would have expected them to squeak by with just paint lines to make up the bulk of the costume. Other details include the belt, complete with signature “X” belt buckle, and the flared tops to her boots.

Budget statues tend to succeed or fail based on the quality of the paint applications, and I’m happy to say that the paint work on this piece is overwhelmingly good. The yellow is bright and vibrant, and the blue is deep with a beautiful high-gloss metallic finish. The belt is painted matte brown with a gold frame for the belt buckle and a black “X” on a red field. The paint lines for the costume itself are all pretty sharp. There are just a few very minor areas where slight improvements could be made. Indeed, the biggest flaw on my statue’s costume is a little blue showing through on the yellow trim at the top of her left boot, and even that isn’t so bad.

The portrait here is solid, but maybe a bit unremarkable. Ms. Kinney is certainly pretty and she’s sporting a serene expression with just a hint of a smirk, like she’s about to dive into some action. I think the expression works OK with the very reserved nature of the figure’s pose, but I tend to expect a little more emotion out of X-23. The hair also looks pretty tame from the front, although it does fan out at the back, which is about as much energy as the composition here is putting out. The paint on the facial features is overall solid, but there’s an area on her top lip that could have been sharper.

I really dig the base they designed for her. It’s basically a sloping black oval with a raised “X.” The “X” features a gold border around translucent red plastic, which would look particularly nice when displayed on a light up platform. There are also a couple of scratches etched across the “X.” Oddly enough, Diamond continues to call these “PVC Dioramas” on the boxes, and while every now and then they do something that could be called a diorama base, most of the ones I’ve picked up lately are more stylized stands like this one. There’s nothing diorama-like about it, but I suspect the label is a way to get around licensing and what Diamond is allowed and not allowed to do. I can’t think of any other reason for it.

In the end, I really like how this piece turned out. Granted, it’s not the most exciting of poses, but then it wasn’t meant to be, so I think a lot of the appeal here will come down to personal taste in that regard. I do like some energy in my statues, but at the same time I find that more classic poses like this one are easier to display with other releases. They take up less space and usually look great together. I debated hard over whether to go for the masked or unmasked when I set about to pre-ordering and I ultimately went with the unmasked Exclusive, because I figured the regular release would be more readily available later on down the road should I decide to get both. Besides, at $45 the Exclusive was only five bucks more. Either way, it’s pretty cool to be able to get a statue like this for under $50, especially when they turn out this good.

Friday the 13th (Part 2): Ultimate Jason Voorhees by NECA

NECA has been pouring a whole lot of love into the Great Slashers of the 80’s, and Jason Voorhees has received the Ultimate treatment several times now, with releases from Part 3, Part 4, and Part 6. And in case you haven’t guessed, I’m hoping they don’t stop until we get each and every version of the Scourge of Camp Blood. This time, we’re dialing it all the way back to Friday the 13th: Part 2.

The Ultimate Series figures come in window boxes with a closed front flap that make them look a wee bit like overweight VHS sleeves. The front of the box has a glorious recreation of the film’s poster, while the side panels are also branded so you can line all your boxed Jasons up on the shelf and still know which is which. Part 2 was a special time for Jason. It was his first outing in the Friday the 13th series as the actual killer, but he wouldn’t don his iconic hockey mask until the next installment. I’ll be honest, I don’t go back to this one as often as some of the others. It takes a while to get going and most of the kills don’t pack a punch. And while I’m often apt to toss in The Final Chapter or The New Blood because I adore those two so much, I usually reserve Part 2 as either a double-feature when I’m watching the first, or for that week in October when I go through the whole series again.

And this is indeed a different look for Jason. The previous releases have all felt like variants of each other with fairly similar wardrobes and hockey masks. Here Jason dons denim overalls and a plaid shirt. He looks more like your stereotypical backwoods killer then he does the iconic slasher we’ve all come to know and fear. I really dig the way NECA did the overalls, with the top portion being sculpted in soft plastic and actually hanging off the buck. This gives a nice sense of depth and credibility to the outfit, while not sacrificing articulation. As expected, the level of detail in the overalls is crazy. You get all the sculpted wrinkles and stitching, as well as the carefully painted buttons. Likewise, the pattern on the shirt is sharp. The entire outfit features some weathering, mostly with dirt painted onto the shirt and trousers, and the faded wear marks on the overalls. All in all, this is some excellent work on what could have been a very ordinary outfit.

Easily the most distinctive thing about Part 2 Jason is his choice of headgear. He has yet to meet Shelly to procure his hockey mask, so here he gets by with a dirty sack tied around his neck and with one hole cut out for his good peeper. The sculpting here is excellent, especially around the eye hole, where, if I didn’t know better, I’d be inclined to believe they sculpted an entire head under that sack. The dirty bits are a combination of what looks like dry-brushing and some half-tone printing. The sack rests on his shoulders fairly naturally, but still allows for the neck articulation to work quite well. So, what’s under that sack? I’m glad you asked, because Jason comes with an unmasked portrait as well…

Yeah, a lot of people have issues with Jason looking like this, but I was always OK with it. I started the Friday the 13th series when I was a teenager and the first three films had already been released, so it’s very possible I saw Part 2 before the original. As for the sculpt, I think it’s solid, but possibly not some of NECA’s better work. It looks a little soft to me and the blending of the hair and flesh on the right side of the face isn’t as defined as I would have liked. The painted eyebrows look a bit like an afterthought and I’m not sure why they went with glossy paint on those. Even the teeth don’t sport the kind of crisp detail that I’m used to seeing in NECA’s portraits. I don’t want to pick on it too bad. It’s fine, but when I compare it to some of the other Jason portraits they’ve done, I think it could have been a lot better. Let’s move on to accessories…

A campfire! I love that NECA tossed in a campfire here, as it felt like something that should have been included in the Camp Crystal Lake Accessory Set. This is a really cool piece with a ring of realistic looking rocks, a pile of crisscrossed logs, and a translucent flame piece that sits on top. Considering how many accessories NECA packed in with this guy, I’m surprised they were able to cost out something like this, but I’m glad they did.

Next up is Pamela’s severed head, and like Jason’s portrait, I can’t say I’m really feeling this one either. Pam’s head has two appearances in Part 2: One in Alice’s refrigerator at the beginning and one in the shrine at the end. The head was a lot fresher in the beginning, but I’m guessing some time has passed and plus, if you don’t keep your severed heads in the fridge, they will tend to rot. Anyway, this is a cool sculpt, but I have to ding it for accuracy. It just looks too elongated to me, almost like it’s being held up by the hair and the rest of the face is just drooping down. I’m still glad we got it, as I absolutely love the end of Part 2. It’s clever and tense as all hell and boy did Ginny have some major courage to try that. And with those two accessories out of the way, let’s move on to the kill tools! And as usual, I’ll take these in chronological order.

We don’t get the implements used for the first few kills, so we have to jump ahead to the machete. It was used for my two favorite kills in the flick. First when Scott gets caught in the snare trap, Jason comes up behind him and cuts his throat while he’s hanging upside down. Later, in the most spectacular kill in the film, poor wheelchair-bound Mark gets it right in the face before rolling down the stairs. Jason is no stranger to machetes, but this is one of the most distinctive ones he’s wielded, with a cool up-swept curve to the blade. It has a convincing rusted metal finish and some nice blood painted on the blade.

Next up is the spear. I honestly don’t remember where Jason got this or if it was even explained. Are they spear fishing in Crystal Lake? Either way, he goes straight for the two-for-one special by ramming this through Jeff and Sandra while their making naughty. Remember how the whole point was that Jason drowned while two councilors were having sex? Well, that makes this kill particularly on point. Get it? I considered that this could have been a re-purposed fence post or something, but it sure looks like an actual spear to me.

The kitchen knife isn’t as flashy as a machete or spear, but it was enough to get the job done for Vicki. There’s almost always that one character in these flicks that I don’t want to see get it, and in Part 2, that was Vicki. She seemed really sweet, but she sure didn’t have what it takes to be a Final Girl, so she had to go. I don’t have a lot to say about the knife, other than I really dig that NECA actually recreated the abrasions on the blade from where it was sharpened. So cool!

Next up is the pickax, and I don’t recall that this one was actually used as a kill tool, but Jason did get a slice out of Ginny with it before Paul jumped him. Again, this is a great looking accessory with some blood lovingly applied to both ends.

And lastly we have the pitchfork, and this one befuddles me. I don’t remember Jason ever even handling a pitchfork in Part 2 let alone killing anyone with it. Granted, I didn’t have time for a re-watch before writing this review, so maybe I’m just forgetting it. When I first saw this piece, I assumed it was a repack from the Part 3 Jason, but nope… it’s a completely different accessory. And hey, I’m fine with that. Part of the fun of collecting the different Jasons is building up a huge selection of accessories.

It may sound like I was a lot harder on this figure than any of the previous releases, but don’t for a minute think that I don’t love it. Sure, I think there’s some room for improvement in both the Jason and Pamela heads, but everything else about this figure is totally on point. I will concede that Part 2 Jason is probably for the more hardcore fans out there. If you’re looking to own the most iconic Jason, then this one sure ain’t it. But if you’re like me and you want every goddamn Jason that’s ever been on the big screen, then this figure is essential.

Marvel Studios “First Ten Years:” Ant-Man and Yellowjacket by Hasbro

Last week was a great week for MCU fans as Inifnity War hit home release, and I just got around to watching my copy this past weekend. It would have been fun to have some related content for today, but I’m still debating whether or not I need that First Ten Years 3-pack with Thanos. Anyway, my regular random Marvel Legends reviews are still on hiatus this week, as I’ve been tackling some of these new Marvel Studios: First Ten Years releases. I’ll get back to some normal Legends reviews next week… well, sort of. But for now, today’s selection is a two-pack from the original Ant-Man movie, giving us not only the titular hero, but also his nemesis Yellowjacket. This sub-line is geared toward putting out figures that Hasbro missed back when these films were originally out, and it seems to be particularly good at delivering on the MCU’s villains, most of which had been snubbed. Seriously, Hasbro… Red Skull, Ronan, Yellowjacket… how’d you miss so many?

If you’ve been with me for the last couple of Marvel Mondays than you know what to expect from this packaging. The design is distinctive enough to make it seem like something special, but I doubt I’ll be keeping these boxes because I just don’t have the room, goddammit. One of the figures in this two-pack is a double-dip, as this same version of Ant-Man was released way back in 2015 as part of the Ultron Wave, so let’s start with him!

I’m happy to say that Ant-Man is not a complete repack. Sure, a comparison shows that from the neck down an overwhelming majority of the figure is the same sculpt, but they did add texturing to some of the red parts and I think it makes for a nice improvement. On the flip-side, the weathered paint wash has been removed from the silver areas on the belt and wrist bracers, giving this suit a cleaner look. It looks good, but I think the wash on the previous release gave it more character. This was supposed to be an old suit that’s seen quite a bit of action by the time Scott Lang put it on. Maybe this one will work best as Hank Pym’s version from when it was fresh and new. At least that would justify me having two.

There are a few other variations in the paint, most notably this figure adds some silver piping on the upper legs and some red on the lower legs. They’ve also nixed the florescent orange bits, for which I am most grateful. The silver trim on the previous figure was laid on a bit thicker and here it’s less pronounced. It’s probably more accurate, but it also means it’s not quite as evenly applied. It’s not bad, but just not as sharp as it could have been in some areas. There’s also a little wear to the red paint on my figure down near the small of his back. Either way, I really love the design here and I’m on record as saying I like it better than the suit used for Civil War and Ant-Man and The Wasp, so I’m OK with getting a new version of it, even if I didn’t really need it.

The masked head is a completely new sculpt, this time with the mask closed up and covering the entire face. Like the body, I think there’s some give and take as to which I prefer. Again, I like the antiqued finish to the silver paint on the previous release, but I think the enclosed mask looks better here, mainly because the facial features on the original are rather soft. Also, I’m a big fan of the red paint used on the eyes here. I don’t recall the neon orange paint on the previous release bothering me much at the time, but comparing the two side-by-side I think it looks awful now. Overall, I think I have to give the nod to this new head.

We also get another Paul Rudd likeness, this time he’s not smirking like he is on the Ant-Man and The Wasp version. I wasn’t fully sold on that previous likeness and I’m not on this one either. I can see Rudd in there, but it still feels like there’s something off about it. Again, not terrible, I’d go so far as to say it’s pretty damn good for a 6-inch scale retail release at this price point, but not quite there for me. Still, it’s a nice bonus and I’d definitely give this one a nod over the smirking one. And in case you were wondering, head swaps between the Ant-Man figures seems to be universal, so you can put either unmasked head on this guy or even the helmeted head from the Ultron Wave release. I won’t bother covering articulation here, as it’s identical to the previous release, and I’ve got a whole other figure to check out, and it’s the real reason I bought this set!

Hell yeah! It’s Yellowjacket! I’ve been a bitter person ever since Hot Toys cancelled their release of this character, leaving a man-bug-shaped hole in my heart. It seemed like I was doomed to never own a little plastic version of this guy. It’s not that I loved the villain in the movie, he was totally forgettable, but I did fall in love with the suit design the first time I saw it. As complex as I remember the suit being, this figure is surprisingly simple. It’s a black buck with some bright and beautiful textured yellow panels. The black areas of the costume do feature some panel lines and texturing, but nothing too crazy or complex. Oh, don’t get me wrong, this sculpt gets the job done and looks fantastic doing it. It also reminds me a lot of some of the Tron Legacy figures, and that’s not a bad thing.

The stingers are part of a backpack that pegs into the back of the figure. The antenna on the top offer a little bit of motion, while the arms on the bottom feature several hinges and other joints to allow for a great degree of articulation. They can be positioned up over the shoulders, down under the arms, or any combination in between.

The composition of the helmet is fantastic. You get an inner head, black with yellow panels, which can be seen through the two large transparent lenses on the outer helmet. It’s definitely got a very bug-like visage and it’s one of the many things that makes this one of my favorite MCU suit designs in the entire first ten years of films. I know there have been some rumors flying that this suit may return in a future Ant-Man film worn by another villain, and I’d love to see that.

The box also contains tiny versions of Ant-Man and Yellowjacket, and I’m pretty sure these are just repacks of previously released accessories. I like that Hasbro includes these, but there’s not a lot to do with them. They won’t even stand up on their own.

I was prepared to come out of this review bitching about how I wish Hasbro had released Yellowjacket on his own, but it turns out that I’m not too upset about having to buy another Ant-Man figure to get him. While I would have preferred that they kept the weathered look of the original’s silver bits, I think the added texture and the new masked head make it a worthy, albeit redundant, addition to my collection. And to be honest, even if it was a straight repack, I would have still laid out the forty bones for this set just to get Yellowjacket. He’s a great looking figure and a design that I desperately wanted to display on my MCU Legends shelf.

Transformers Titans Return: Dreadnaut and Overlord by Hasbro

I’ve had a grueling week at work, but what better way to end it then with a new convertorobot. Yes, it’s nice to actually have some consistent Transformers content again because I really missed these guys. And with the Dinobots finally done, I am really anxious to start opening the rest of the Power of the Primes Terrorcons, but before that I thought I’d double back and hit some unfinished business with Titans Return. Let’s check out Overlord!

As with all the Titans Return Leader Class figures, Overlord comes in a big and chunky window box and packaged in his robot mode. My figure’s box got pretty beaten up, but I got a terrific deal on him, so I’m fine with that. I was a little late picking this one up because I was quick to buy Sky Shadow and so I was probably not as anxious to double-dip on a big Leader Class mold. Of course, Overlord is no mere repaint of Sky Shadow, there’s new stuff going on here, and while this figure does invoke a bit of a “been there, done that” feeling in me, there’s plenty new here to love. And since I’ve already reviewed Sky Shadow, you can expect a fair share of comparisons here. Overlord has two alt modes, so let’s start with the tank!

The tank mode is identical to Sky Shadow’s only with a fresh coat of paint… or to be more accurate newly colored plastic. I’ll confess the red and crimson deco looks a lot sharper to me than this white, blue, teal, and purple, but then I tend to find these colors to be more iconic, so it’s a bit of a toss-up as to which one is my favorite. Throw in the translucent yellow hatch and the twin Decepticon insignia straddling the gun and there’s no doubt who this tank is supposed to be! And it’s not that these colors don’t work for me. They’re certainly bright and easy on the eyes and really make the toy pop.

Beyond the deco, this little tank features some fantastic sculpted detail. You get panel lines and hatches, vents, compartments, and some molded treads with wheels on the bottom to help it roll into action. I also love that they sculpted the rifling inside the barrel of the cannon. The turret does not rotate nor does the gun elevate, but the hatch does open to give a place for Dreadnaut to sit. Moving on to the jet mode…

And here’s where the biggest changes in the alt modes come into play. Sky Shadow’s jet mode looked all super sci-fi and stealthy, whereas Overlords is clearly inspired by an SR-71 Blackbird. And I say inspired by, because this mold eschews the sexy curves and contours of the Blackbird for a more angular design, but the cylindrical pylons with pointed tips are unmistakable. Take away those, and I’m getting a strong Cobra Night Raven feel off the body, and that’s not a bad thing. And like the tank mode, the cockpit even opens to offer Dreadnaut a place to sit.

The deco here is still mostly black like Sky Shadow with the main departure being the white and purple on the pylons. The jet features some silver and teal panels on top to simulate stickers from the original G1 toy, but there are also some foil stickers here for the striping on the pylons, deco on the dorsal fins, and a panel at the back. Oh yeah, you can also take the cannon from Overlord’s tank mode and plug it into the back of the jet, so long as your happy having a cannon-less tank rolling around. Before we move on to the robot mode, let’s check out Overlord’s base mode!

I don’t expect much from these base modes, but this one isn’t too bad. I mean, yeah it looks like what it is: A jet standing on its end with the robot legs spread and a gun protruding where his junk should be. But hey, it’s got a tower with a little platform for a Titan Master to stand on and another little control area on the pylon and plenty of pegs to stand other Titan Masters. It’s not great, I’m never going to display it like this, but if I were a kid again playing with my toys, I’m sure I could get some fun out of this. Besides, the fact that it exists doesn’t hurt either of the other modes, so I can feel free to take it or leave it.

And that brings us to Overlord’s robot mode. As with Sky Shadow, the tank transforms into the legs and the jet into the upper half, and Oh boy, this sure is the Overlord I know and love. He’s big, he’s beautiful, and he’s got that great squared-off G1 design aesthetic. His iconic shoulder cones are right where they belong and the front half of his jet attaches to his arm to drive the homage home. Of course, if you prefer your robots more symmetrical and without giant jet kibble on their arm, you can always just leave it off or plug it into his back or even his front. Also, I absolutely love the ankles on this guy. They have such a great range of motion allowing his feet to be flat on the ground no matter what stance you put him in. Damn, he’s a fun figure to play around with!

Dreadnaut makes for a great head and fits into the larger helmet, while still allowing for full rotation at the neck. The silver paint on the face is gorgeous and the red eyes are sharp. The chest features all the right details, including the weapon systems in his lower torso, which in this case don’t actually deploy but rather are just there for show.

The chest hatches do, however, open, so you can power him up with extra Titan Masters. It’s a great nod back to the old Power Master gimmick in the original toy. It’s also cool that this gimmick carries over to the Power of the Primes Power Masters and even make a little more sense in that context. A word of caution, however, I found the Titan Masters are a bitch to get out once I put them in there.

As expected, the cannon for Overlord’s tank mode serves as a hand gun for his robot mode and he can hold it in either hand.

Certainly, having Sky Shadow first meant I wasn’t as anxious to pick up Overlord, but I’m sure glad that I eventually did. This mold is tons of fun to play with, and I was actually surprised at just how many changes Hasbro made to it, at least from the waist up. I’d even go so far as to say this is one of my favorite modern updates to an older figure I’ve seen, and that’s saying a lot because Hasbro has been killing it lately. It’s no secret that Titans Return has been one of my favorite modern Transformers lines of all time and Overlord is a perfect example of why. And since this is likely to be the last Titans Return review I ever publish, I’m glad to be going out on such a high point and with such a fantastic figure!

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus Collector’s Edition “Terror Billy” Sixth-Scale Figure

What the hell is this? A review of a PS4 game? Yeah, you may think that the subject of today’s review is a weird item to mix in among my usual toy talk, but you’d be wrong. I’m not here to talk much about the game, but rather the Vintage-GI JOE-style action figure of BJ Blaskowicz that comes bundled in with this collector’s edition of the game. I count the original Wolfenstein 3D as one of the most influential games of its time, and there’s been a sad lack of merchandise for it. Probably because of the whole Nazi thing. But BJ and I have together blasted our way through countless miles of corridors and it’s about damn time that I have an action figure based on him.

Holy hell, this box is huge! When it comes to video games, I don’t tend to buy a lot of crazy Limited Editions because their odd sizes messes up the feng shui of my game shelves. Yeah, I really am that OCD. Obviously this one had to be upscaled to accomodate the sixth-scale figure inside. The game itself also comes in a steelbook, so I can actually fit it on my shelf. But the overall package looks like a gigantic PS4 game box. But that’s just a sleeve that lifts off to reveal the inner box.

And it’s here where the presentation just oozes charm because it is so delightfully meta. This is supposed to be an action figure from the in-game universe, where the Nazis are in power and instead of GI JOE, they have the ELITE HANS line of action figures, and this figure is marketed as Terror Billy, because our hero is a villain to them. Bethesda even produced their own in-universe toy commercial, which is pretty spectacular and makes me wish they actually produced all those other figures. Anyway, the box has a decidedly vintage feel to it, complete with some faux weathering and a window to show off Billy. The side panels include a fake Collect Them All line up on one side and Billy’s inventory of weapons on the other side. Inside the box, BJ comes in a large molded plastic tray with his weapons and jacket laid out beside him.

First off, I have to say for a collectible pack-in they did a really nice job on this figure. It’s just the right mix of retro feel, while still being a quality figure. The underlying body features some very workable articulation with only the lack of any kind of arm or leg swivels to restrict what he can do. And the absence of bicep swivels really hurts. It’s a shame that I’m not going to get a lot of cool poses out of him, but he’s still a lot of fun to mess around with and feels a lot like an old GI JOE. 

BJ’s outfit features a yellow and black leather-like jacket with elbow patches, a working zipper and some cool art on the back. The stitching is all nice and neat and it fits the figure quite well. Under that you get a yellow short-sleeved t-shirt with Ranger Airborne on the front. The cargo-style pants feature stitched pockets and buttons, and the boots are soft plastic sculpted with laces.

The head sculpt is excellent for what this is. It looks a little GI JOE like, but it’s also a nice representation of BJ’s likeness in the game. Oddly enough, the one they show in the commercial has a scar, whereas the figure in hand does not.

BJ also comes with his brown bomber jacket, and oh boy was this a bitch to get on him. It’s a tight fit around the shoulders and his hands were really tough to get through the sleeves. In the end, I was able to do it, but it really works against the arm articulation because it’s so snug. The jacket features a fur collar, stitched pocket, buttons down the front, and a velcro strip to close the front flap. Unfortunately, I don’t think the jacket looks all that great on him. While I appreciate the fur in the collar, the faux-leather pattern isn’t terribly convincing and it just looks stiff. It’s kind of a shame, because this is his more iconic look, but then it’s pretty amazing that Bethesda included an extra jacket in with this figure, so I’m willing to be pretty forgiving.

Finally, the figure comes with five weapons, four are guns from the game (the Dieselkraftwerk, Schockhammer X, Laserkraftwerk, and Maschinenpistole), plus you also get the axe which he uses for silent take-downs and melee finishes. These are all sculpted in solid pieces of plastic, and while the sculpts are pretty soft, they have some nice detail in them. BJ’s right hand is designed to hold them pretty well, but because there’s no swivel articulation in the arm, you can’t really get him to do much with them. It also would have been nice to give him a gun-holding left hand, since dual-wielding is an option in the game.

I don’t know how much this set cost originally. I happened to find it while digging through a dying Best Buy. It was on a clearance shelf for $39.99, which was worth it for the price of the game alone. BJ has spent most of his career as a non-character, but The New Order and The New Colossus instilled more character into him than most video game heroes, so it’s nice to finally have a figure of him in my collection. Sure, I would have rather someone like NECA grabbed this license and gave us a full line-up, but this works just fine as a consolation prize. More often than not premiums like this just tend to be statues, and those are nice, but this really feels like some serious thought went into it. The figure will appeal more to collectors with a nostalgia for the old 12-inch GI JOE’s, and I to be honest, the real draw here is just displaying the figure in its box.

Marvel Studios “First Ten Years” Red Skull by Hasbro

I’ve suspended my regular rotation of Marvel Legends reviews so I can get through some of these First Ten Years releases in a timely manner. Besides, I’m so far behind on the other stuff, a few more weeks won’t matter. I’ve already looked at the Civil War set with Cap and Crossbones, and Ronan from Guardians of the Galaxy and today I’m opening up Red Skull from Captain America: The First Avenger.

Here’s the packaging and as you can see, Hasbro has branded these differently than the regular Legends releases. You still get a window box, but here it’s all squared off at the edges and features a spiffy new deco. I gotta be honest, Red Skull was one of my least favorite MCU villains. He looked great, but I felt like the movie just didn’t know what to do with him. That didn’t stop me from buying the Hot Toys version way back when, nor from picking up this one. And since this figure doubles as various Hydra soldiers, I’ll probably be picking up a couple more if they turn up at a decent price. Let’s check him out…

Red Skull’s costume had two very distinct looks in The First Avenger, as sometimes he wore a black leather trench coat over his uniform. Hasbro went sans trench coat for the obvious reason of making this body more versatile and I’m cool with that, especially since they did such a great job with his uniform. Not only does it look pretty damn screen accurate, but just about every detail on this costume is part of the actual sculpt.

The dark green tunic features sculpted piping and stitch lines along with sharp black and red stripes. The individual buttons running down the front are also part of the sculpt and painted in gold. They even sculpted the tiny Hydra emblem on his belt buckle and the patch on his left shoulder. The trousers have a slight military flare to them and the boots are painted in glossy black. Hasbro could have easily squeaked by with simple paint for a lot of these details, especially on the tunic, but they seem to be going full guns on these First Ten Year figures and Schmidt here is a great example of that.

The head sculpt is pretty solid. It’s a very different look from the comic versions we’ve had in the past. This one is clearly MCU through and through. I like the wash they used to pick out some of the details, and while the eyes look a little sloppy up close, they actually look fine with the figure in hand. And yeah, I would have liked a Hugo Weaving likeness, but I’ve read that Weaving wasn’t a fan of his work in the MCU and he may not have been willing to allow for the licensing.

The articulation here is excellent. The arms have rotating hinges at the shoulders, double hinges in the elbows, swivels in the biceps, and pegged hinges for the wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have swivels in the thighs, double hinges in the knees, and the ankles are both hinged and have lateral rockers. There’s a swivel in the waist, a ball joint under the chest, and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed. All the joints on this guy feel great and he has the agility to go toe-to-toe with my First Avenger Captain America. And not to sound like an infomercial, but wait! There’s more!

Red Skull comes with a tactical harness and three additional heads to turn him into any one of three different MCU Hydra Soldier and I don’t have words to adequately express how cool an idea this is. The harness opens at one end where the shoulder strap meets the belt via a peg, which makes it pretty easy to put on and take off. It has a silver plate on the back and a beautiful Hydra emblem sculpted onto the belt buckle. Obviously, this doesn’t totally transform the uniform, but I think it adds just the right amount of combat gear to make it work as a rank-and-file soldier. Let’s check out the noggins! They’re all good, but let’s go from my favorite to least favorite.

My favorite is the fully enclosed mask. Yeah, it looks a little gimp masky, but I think it also looks as intimidating as all hell. The detail is a little soft, but it’s got all sorts of stitch marks and some nice silver paint on the goggles and the ribbed sections that reach up from the goggles and around the back of the head.

Next up is basically the same head gear, but with the lower mask removed to expose the soldier’s mouth and nose. Again, I dig the fully masked look more, but this would look really nice thrown into the mix with a couple of the masked ones.

And finally, there’s one that’s just more of a smooth helmet with cheek guards and goggles with red lenses and silver trim. The design on this one is fine, I just think it lacks the personality of the other ones. Also, the paint on this head isn’t terribly sharp between the exposed skin and the helmet, so your mileage may vary.

Of course, you can’t have a Hydra Soldier without a weapon, so Hasbro threw in a Tesseract-powered rifle along with an extra left hand to help him hold it. I like the design of the rifle a lot. It kind of looks like a German Heavy Machine Gun mixed with sci-fi tech, which is exactly what it’s supposed to be! Alas, the configuration of the grip and trigger doesn’t work very well with the right hand. He can grip it well enough, but his trigger finger won’t reach. But hey, at least that means he’s always practicing proper trigger-discipline. The extra left hand does a nice job of gripping the forward grip.

This is a great package and right now Red Skull is rivaling Crossbones as my favorite of the four First Ten Years figures that I’ve opened. The sculpt and paintwork are both excellent and I get warm and fuzzy feelings about adding another MCU villain to my Legends shelf. If I were to nitpick, I really would have loved to get a pistol and Cosmic Cube, but seeing as how Hasbro tossed in the ability to convert him to a Hydra Soldier, I’ll happily table those complaints. Indeed, I’m amazed that Hasbro didn’t release this as a two-pack. Either Red Skull and a Hydra Soldier or just an MCU Hydra two-pack like they did with the comic versions. Hell, they could still do that and I’ll happily lay down forty bucks for it, because I have a feeling it’s going to be a challenge to find a few more individual figures at a decent price.

Transformers “Power of the Primes:” Snarl by Hasbro

It’s been a hard fought battle, folks, but I finally got a full set of the Power of the Primes Dinobots and today I’m opening up the last one, which just happens to be Snarl. I never had his toy as a kid, and since Fansproject snubbed him when it came to their Lost Exo Realm Not-Dinobots, I don’t even have a third party version. Needless to say, I’m pretty excited to pop my Snarl cherry. Eww, that sounded all kinds of wrong.

I don’t have much new to say about the packaging. It looks good, I like that they used the Dino modes as the character art for these figures. I also really dig how the bubble insert has a picture of the toy in his Dino mode right in front of the figure packaged in his robot mode. I’d say that as a character Snarl has been my least favorite of the Dinobots, but that’s not something he should be ashamed of, because somebody had to come in last even in a group of awesome Dinosaur robots! Let’s start with his alt mode…

When I was a kid this was called a Stegosaurus. Have the dinosaur scientists changed this yet? It seems like they’re always telling me the dinosaurs I grew up learning about never existed or they changed the names or some such nonsense. Pfft… Science… am I right? Anyway like all the PotP Dinobots, Snarl has a fantastic alt mode that pays respects to the original toy. And while I think he tends to be the least photogenic of these Dinos, I still think Hasbro did a great job on him. There’s plenty of sculpted detail in his body, from vents and panel lines to various other ports and mechanisms. They even remembered to put the tiny spikes at the end of his stubby tail! It kind of sucks that they decided to stamp copyright bullshit all over the outside of one of his back plates, but whaddya gonna do, eh?

The coloring is also spot on. You get some gray and red plastic making up the bulk of his body, both of which do a nice job of matching the colors on the original toy. He also features clear plastic over gold and silver to mimic that rather distinctive effect that the original Dinobot toys had. OK, I actually don’t remember Snarl showing that off too much, but I like that they included it here to make him match the other figures better. Snarl also includes some matte gold, which isn’t as snazzy as the metallic gold on the original toy, but it looks fine. The deco is rounded out by some black plastic on the side panels and rear legs, and some tampos on his back. He looks a little more patchwork in design than some of the other Dinobots, but I still dig him.

Articulation in Dino mode features basic stuff. The back legs connect to the body with ball joints and have hinges about halfway down. The front legs just rotate at the body. There’s no articulation in Snarl’s jaw, but two of his back spikes can hinge down and have footpegs to allow some Titan or Prime Masters to ride on his back. Cool!

And you just know that I have to bring up the size and how diminutive these Dinobots are, so let’s do it! Here’s a shot of Snarl’s Dino mode next to Chromedome from Titans Return in his Auto mode and I just can’t accept this. I think this mold would have worked fine as a Voyager Class and I really wish Hasbro had gone that route. But I’ve said all this a bunch of times already, so let’s move on to the robot mode…

All of the PotP Deluxe Dinobots have had solid robot modes and Snarl carries on that tradition nicely. The front half of the Dino mode becomes the legs, with the front Dino legs on the sides and the head spit and tucked behind them. I like how the spine bits run up the front of his legs. Snarl advertises his combiner port in the center of his chest, but to be honest it works with the overall look just perfectly. He also features an Autobot insignia stamped in the middle. Easily the most distinctive thing about Snarl’s robot mode is the way his tail splits and arches up behind his head and shoulders like a crescent moon. The deco is largely in keeping with the alt mode deco. I dig the gold forearms and the way the colorful tampos on his Dino back wind up front and center on his robot legs. He also has a few more tampos on either side of his chest.

From the back things aren’t too bad. I’d say the most unsightly thing here are the halves of the Dino head that hang off the backs of his legs, but as far as kibble goes, it’s not awful. I should note that I really dig the proportions on this guy, and that’s been the case for all the Deluxe PotP Dinobots.

The head sculpt is excellent, although I’ll confess to not being all that attached to Snarl’s likeness in the cartoon or comics. He has a very human-looking face, painted with brilliant silver and two neatly painted red eyes. I also dig the horns that come up off his “helmet.” They go well with the spiked crescent behind his head.

One of my gripes about these Dinobots has been their weapons. We all know by now that Grimlock didn’t come with a gun or a sword, which was criminal. As for these Deluxe figures, Hasbro basically sculpted a single gun and a single sword, and gave two of the figures guns and two of them swords. Snarl’s sword is cast in clear plastic, but otherwise it’s the same as the one that came with Swoop. I like the design, but it looks kind of puny in his hand. I’m also not a big fan of the clear plastic. I’d rather they just gave us another red one, or even better painted them both silver. Of course, Snarl also comes with a Prime Armor piece, which I’m going to totally ignore.

Shall I bring up size one more time? Why not. Here he is in robot mode with Chromedome and while his tail crescent actually does make him a bit taller overall, he still looks so undersized to me and even kind of puny. Chromedome looks like he’d have a fair chance taking down Snarl in a fight, and that shouldn’t be the case.

I can’t stress enough how much I love these figures on their own. They really are great little modern updates to the original Dinobots, keeping the iconic aesthetics but adding articulation and play value. Just having them all together on the shelf is making me so happy because I never owned a full set of the original Dinobots, and these guys look amazing together. It’s only when I display them with other Transformers that I get bummed out because of how small they are. I’m not inherently against the idea of Dinobots as a combiner team. It kind of makes sense, but I can’t help but feel sacrifices were made in favor of that gimmick and if Hasbro hadn’t gone that route, maybe we could have had these as Voyager Class figures with Grimlock as a Leader Class. Man, that would have been so cool!  Oh yeah, and in case you’re wondering, I’m not going to be reviewing the combined form of these guys. I just really don’t care enough and I don’t think the end results warrant the effort. It’s possible some day I’ll invest in a Third-Party upgrade kit, and if that’s the case I’ll look at Volcanicus as a means of reviewing the kit, but for now I’m going to leave it at that.