Marvel Legends (SP//dr Wave): Elektra by Hasbro

Blah. It’s my first Monday back at work after a long vacation and that’s bumming me out. Luckily, I can cheer myself up by opening one of the two dozen or so Marvel Legends figures that are piled in a box in my Toy Closet. And this week I’m not playing favorites, just reaching into the box with my eyes closed and pulling out… Elektra! And while I’m stoked to be getting a new comic version of Elektra for my Marvel shelf, I was hoping to draw another figure from the Cull Obsidian Wave, because I’m getting close to completing it. Ah well, maybe next week!

Fun fact! I was once on a flight where they were showing the 2005 Elektra movie and after twenty minutes I chose to take off my earphones and stare at the seat in front of me rather than watch it. Maybe Hasbro will release the Jennifer Garner version of her in 2025 for the 20th Anniversary! In the meantime, here’s a very badly needed update of the comic version by Hasbro (I never did find me that 2008 two-pack) and no, she doesn’t come with as many goodies as the old Toybiz version.

The figure, on the other hand, is a nice improvement, and that’s not meant as a knock on Toybiz, because I think their Elektra is one of the few that still hold up fairly well today, even if it isn’t all that favorably looked back on by most. Indeed, the reason I’m bringing that figure up so much is that it was one of a handful that I was truly sorry to see go when I sold off my collection. But not anymore. This Elektra looks great and manages to do a lot with very little new sculpting. Indeed, the costume here is achieved almost entirely by paint, using only the belt and sash for sculpted detail. Honestly, it works, but I would have loved to at least see some sculpted wraps on her wrists and legs. At least the paint is pretty clean and the red is vibrant!

And it’s nice to see that all that extra sculpt went into what is a fantastic portrait. The paint on the eyes and lips is nice and clean, and I love the way they sculpted her hair and the scarf tied over the top of her head. There’s a little bit of mold flashing on the jawline and I wish Hasbro would get that shit under control, but I can probably clean it up a bit with a razor.

Elektra comes with two accessories: Her set of sai weapons. Like I said earlier, it’s a lot less than we got with that old Toybiz version, but at least the essentials are here. Maybe I’ll dig out one of my Articulated Icons figures and lend her some of those weapons. These appear to be repacks of the ones that came with Netflix Elektra, but with a more metallic finish and painted red wraps on the grips, which also crisscross the guards. All in all, I think these look a hell of a lot nicer than their last appearance. Also like the Netflix Elektra, this version’s right hand is sculpted to hold the Sai outward, with two of her fingers wrapped around the guard. It would have been cool if Hasbro included a second left hand like this, but I guess it wasn’t in the budget.

Articulation here is solid, and there’s nothing bad or unexpected here, but Elektra is one of those figures that shows some of the limitations of Hasbro’s female Legends. My big issue continues to be the elbows’ rotating hinges. It’s long past time Hasbro give the ladies those double-hinges. The ball joints in the hips are also a bit limiting for a character as agile and acrobatic as Elektra. Finally, the belt and sash can get in the way sometimes, and it tends to ride up above her hips on certain poses. Finally, her ankle hinges appear feel like they’re ratcheted, which is weird. I thought they had no room to go back and point her toes, but it just required a bit of extra force. Still, all in all, she’s loads of fun.

It surprised me that it took so long after Elektra’s Netflex debut to get us a comic version, but hey better late than never. I think she turned out great, although a little more fresh sculpting would have been welcome. Especially since, as we’ll eventually see, this wave has quite a few of what I would call budget figures. With a repaint of Daredevil, and two more Spider-Man variants, it feels like Hasbro could have plunked down a little more money on the sculpt or a few more accessories. But hey, I bought her, and I’m quite happy with her, so I guess they know what they’re doing.

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One Piece: “Flag Diamond Ship” Vinsmoke Reiju (Code: B) by Banpresto

Holy hell, it’s two Anime Saturday reviews in a row! This miracle is being brought to you by my vacation and the fact that I actually had time to squeeze in some more content this week. I’m not sure how consistent it will be going forward, but I’m going to give it my best try. Anywho, I’m back this Saturday morning with another one of Banpresto’s Flag Diamond Ship figures, and this time it’s Vinsmoke Reiju!

These roughly 9-inch scale figures continue to release in pretty typical, fully enclosed prize figure boxes. There are some great photos of the figure on all four panels to give you a good idea about what’s inside. And of course the box also states the aim of the series, “to create a figure that exudes the female form” including “proportional balance!” Hey, I’m all for that, but it makes me wonder what kind of ladies are hanging around the Banpresto offices, and maybe I need a job there! Anyway, there is some minor assembly required here, so let me get Reiju together and we’ll check her out!

The initial releases made me think that this was going to be a traditional pirate-themed line, but it has since managed to stray to the point where the only common thread I can see is that of lovely ladies. And that’s fine, because I still like what I’m seeing, even if Reiju’s costume here is all over the place! She’s a black half-jacket zipped almost all the way down to the bottom with a purple half-shirt peaking out, long black gloves, a black micro-skirt with a wide black belt and a purple waist scarf, high black socks with knee pads, and stiletto boots. The ensemble is topped off with a peaked officer’s cap and a pair of revolvers and… yeah, like I said, I’ve got no idea what they were going for here, but I dig it.

I also love the portrait here. The right side of Reiju’s face is mostly obscured by her short pink hair, although you can still make out her tiny lips and nose and one perfectly printed eyeball, with her family’s signature eyebrow above it. And while it looks like she’s just stretching, she’s actually got a nasty surprise behind her back in the form of a combat knife.

In addition to getting all the curves in all the right places, the sculpt packs some nice detail where it’s needed. I’m especially impressed with the work put into the pistols as well as the combat knife, which features a serrated back edge.

Paint has been generally solid in this line, and I think Reiju here comes close to being the best so far. I like the use of high gloss black for the cap, gloves, belt, cape, and even the bands around her boots, as it contrasts well with the matte black used for the jacket and skirt. The pistols have a nice metallic gray finish with brown painted handles. The zipper and pocket clasps are precisely painted in gold, and even the silver paint on her belt buckle is sharp and clean. She has a nice warm skin-tone, and the sixes on her thighs are perfect!

The series continues to eschew proper bases in favor of plastic bits that fit onto one of the figure’s feet to stand them up. In this case it’s a black block that Reiju’s left foot slots into. It works perfectly for a stand, but I wish they had dressed it up into like a wooden crate or something. At least it matches the color of her boots, so it doesn’t really stand out.

I pre-ordered Reiju when she was first solicited for $20 and that feels like an absolute deal. She’s big, she’s beautiful, and her eclectic biker-chick-cowboy-pirate design certainly demands attention. The quality on these figures continue to impress me and I know I’ll be on board for as long as Banpresto can keep it up! There are a few more scheduled for release early next year, but I still have one more in the hopper to open up before the end of this year!

Transformers “Power of the Primes:” Wreck-Gar by Hasbro

Wow, Walgreens sure has been killing it with the Hasbro exclusives lately. Star Wars, Marvel Legends, and even Transformers have all been represented. And as strange a partnership as it is, I’m happy for it because either one of the two Walgreens nearest to me seem to always have me covered. And so the moment Wreck-Gar turned up in my Twitter feed, I made a quick trip to Walgreens around the corner and happily found him on the shelf! And all this when I thought I was completely done with buying Power of the Primes Deluxes!

Wreck-Gar comes in the standard Power of the Primes packaging with some pretty cool character art up at the top of the card. And unlike some of Hasbro’s other Walgreens releases, there’s no sticker or anything to indicate he’s a retailer exclusive. The bubble gives a great look at the figure in robot mode (albeit slightly mis-transformed to fit in the package) and there’s an illustrated insert showing the toy in his alt mode. Let’s start there…

If it wasn’t apparent from the packaged shot, Wreck-Gar is very nearly a straight repaint of the Deluxe Protectobot, Groove from Combiner Wars. Indeed, when he’s in his motorcycle mode, the coloring is the only difference. I liked this motorcycle well enough when it was Groove, and I still like it now. Yes, it’s a bit boxy, but motorcycle Transformers have always been tricky designs, especially when you’re going for a more boxy G1-style robot aesthetic. Plus this guy is a combiner limb too, so that has to be factored into the design problems. Taking all that into account, I think they did a pretty nice job. And hey, he’s still not nearly as chunky as the original toy! The new deco certainly sells it as Wreck-Gar. You get a lot of orange along with some red, black, gray, brown, and silver. There aren’t any complex paint applications here, but the range of colors is pretty high for a modern Deluxe. The clear windscreen has an Autobot symbol printed on it, and the headlamps covers are clear plastic.

Features include a turning front wheel, which is not tied to the handlebars, and a flip-down kickstand. It’s worth noting that the wheel swivel on my figure is crazy tight and when you couple that with the fact that the wheel struts are soft plastic, I had to be pretty careful when turning it so as not to stress the plastic, and I doubt I’ll be doing it again. It’s not a big deal in motorcycle mode but, as we’ll soon see, that swivel can be used for tweaking the transformation, if you so choose. And speaking of which, let’s go ahead and check out his robot mode.

As expected, the robot mode is simply a repaint of Groove with a new head slapped on him, and all things considered I think it works pretty well. Sure, he’s missing his rather distinctive nipple guns, and he doesn’t have a tire on his shoulder. Plus, it would have been cool if his combiner connector was painted silver to simulate the engine, but I still like how this guy turned out.

From the back, we can see that he wears the front of the motorcycle as a backpack, and while it does stick out pretty far, I don’t think it’s all that bad. And here’s where that front wheel swivel comes in. On Groove, I like to turn the wheel sideways as it makes the backpack a little less cumbersome, but given how tight the swivel is on this figure, I think I’m going to leave it be.

And that leads me to my other real gripe with this figure. The head is so damn tiny! Obviously they sized it so it could flip back into the compartment on his back, although I would argue that it wasn’t necessary. Well, maybe to make him into a combiner limb, but that’s not something I plan to do with him, so I would have rather just had a larger head. And that’s a shame because the sculpt itself is fantastic. They recreated the front of the motorcycle and handlebars that the G1 figure had as a “helmet” really well and his tiny beard and mustache are there too. I just with his noggin were bigger.

The figure comes with two accessories: A Black Prime Armor piece, which is getting tossed into the Tote of Forgotten Accessories™ and a bladed axe kind of weapon. The weapon looked familiar and sure enough it’s the same one that came with the Wreck-Gar figure from the 2011 Reveal the Shield release.

For what is essentially a quick-and-dirty repaint, I find myself enjoying this figure a lot. Yes, even with his small head! The 2011 Wreck-Gar was a decent figure, and his asymmetrical design really sold him as a Junkion, but mine broke during transformation, which was pretty disappointing because I don’t transform these toys a lot. Either way, I think this one’s boxier physique sells it more as a G1 homage, and for that I’m willing to give it the nod as my favorite of the two. If I still had the 2011 version, I’d try to do a head swap. Maybe I still have him kicking around somewhere! On a side note, I have one more Power of the Primes Deluxe to open up and review and then I’ll start hitting some of the bigger bots I missed out on. Hopefully, that’ll give me enough Transformers to talk about until the new line starts showing up!

Star Wars (Rogue One): Imperial Combat Assault Tank by Hasbro

I make it no secret that Rogue One is my favorite of all the modern Star Wars flicks. Hell, if you take away the nostalgia boost from A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back, it may even be my favorite of all time. But that still didn’t get me to shell out $80 for Hasbro’s Assault Tank because, well… it seemed like an awful lot of money. But Amazon had a Deal of the Day on this baby last week, reducing it to $48 and even then I thought good and hard before finally giving in. Was it worth it? Let’s open it up and find out!

Behold the faux vintage packaging! The old style silver border and the Kenner logo really punches me in the nostalgia button and makes for a very handsome bit of presentation. I also really miss the days when they used to just let pictures of the toy and a bunch of figures do the talking. And because it’s a fully enclosed box, it’s also collector friendly, so I won’t feel tempted to throw it out. Also notice that they finally stopped calling this thing a Hover Tank? Apparently, it was originally supposed to hover in the film, but that got nixed for the final production and I guess the toy companies never got the memo. This resulted in “Hover Tank” appearing on the packaging of the LEGO set and the pilot figure. I kind of wish they kept the name on this package, though. It would have been another cool mistake for the ages, along the lines of the whole 4-LOM/Zuckuss mix-up. Anyway… The tank comes out of the box with very little assembly required, and it can indeed go back in the box, which is always a big plus for me when it comes to this vintage packaging. All you have to do to get the tank ready for action is load up the cargo containers on the back and plug in the guns on the sides. There are no stickers to apply either.

Here she is ready to patrol the streets of your neighborhood and haul away all of your Kyber crystals. The TX-225A “Occupier” Tank doubles as both an armed cargo carrier or troop transport. I’m starting out with it set up first as the former, with the three cargo containers loaded up in the back. My first impression out of the box is that this toy has a real nice heft to it, which hasn’t been the case with most of Hasbro’s vehicles these days. Many of them have had a hollow and cheap plastic feel, but this tank feels solid. It’s a decent size, but not impressively large. I’ll talk about scale again when we load some figures onto it. Beyond that, I’m not sure what to talk about first, the sculpt or the paint, because both stand out right away as being exceptional. Let’s go with the paint first…

It’s all about the weathering, folks. Hasbro dry-brushed the hell out of this thing, giving it tons of wear and tear and making it feel right at home in the used-future of the Star Wars Universe. It’s one of the things most missing from a lot of Hasbro’s vehicles these days, they come out of the box with little to no paint apps and looking all bright and shiny. It tends suck a lot of the character out right out of the designs. Nearly every edge on this tank is painted to look like the finish is scraped down to the bare metal. There are blotches of wear and tear scattered around the body, there are abrasions near the hatches to show frequent use, and even the overall paint job looks like it’s been blasted by Jedha’s harsh climate. This is exactly the kind of personality and craftsmanship that we don’t usually see on Hasbro’s Star Wars vehicles, and it really sets this one apart as being a collector’s piece. It looks like a workhorse that’s been patrolling the streets of the Holy City of that desert moon for years. I love it!

As for the sculpt, there’s some wonderful detail work on the hull that reminds me of some of the old WWII tank models I used to build with my father when I was a kid. You get mesh grating, straps, hatches, panel lines, bolts, and compartments on the sides, just to name some of the highlights. There aren’t any play gimmicks here, just some cool practical features. The vehicle rolls along on two real working rubber treads, which I personally dig a lot more than a hover tank any day! There are double-barreled cannon mounted on each side of the driver compartment and these can swivel 180-degrees to lay down destructive fire in front, above, or behind. You also get a double-barreled cannon peeking out the bottom front section, which can swivel left and right.

There’s a hatch on top that can be removed to allow engine access. The side hatch actually looks like it could open too, but that’s just part of the sculpt. Hasbro even coughed up a lick of paint for some of the components in there. The hatches locks in flush with the body of the vehicle and it actually takes a bit of work to get it open.

Two additional hatches are there for personnel. One allows the driver to pop his head out and see, while the one behind it accommodates the tank commander. These are basically cannon-fodder hatches, or if my old war movie knowledge is applicable, perfect for lobbing grenades into.

The entire plate over the driver compartment is also removable to give you access and also to see how much incredible work Hasbro put into it.  There isn’t an inch of this interior that isn’t packed with detail. There’s grating on the floor, wires and controls on the walls, a shifter lever, control yokes at each seat and a little sticker showing some gauges on the dashboard. If you get all the way in there, you can see a hatch behind the driver’s seat that leads into the back. It doesn’t open, but for a moment, I thought it did.

Also, check out how much detail is sculpted into the inside of the removable hatch! There’s a fan and ventilation system and I love how the filter compartments are sculpted underneath where the vents are on the outside of the panel. This kind of stuff is just so damn cool.

The three cargo containers simply lay in the bed of the tank, but they stay put quite well and are easy to lift out. Removing them allows you to slide the flooring to each side, revealing an area with foot pegs, turning the tank into a troop transport. There are eight pegs in there. We’ll load it up with some troops in a little bit. But first…

Here’s where things get really mind-blowing. One of the cargo containers actually opens and you can remove three of the storage cylinders. I didn’t read a lot about this tank before I bought it and I certainly wasn’t expecting that. That goes double for the fact that you can open each of the three canisters…

…and slide out the Kyber crystals. OK, sure the interiors are made of super soft, gummy plastic. And they don’t really look like anything. But come on, I’d still say that’s going above and beyond! These are the kinds of features that I love in toys. Forget about the electronics and the spring loaded gimmicks. Just give me stuff like this! OK, so we’ve seen all the tank has to offer, let’s take her for a spin with some figures.

For this review, I’m using all 5-POA Rogue One figures. I haven’t been buying many of the 3.75-inch Vintage Collection stuff, and besides, 5-POA is the only way many of the Rogue One figures have been released anyway. These figures fit perfectly in the tank’s driver compartment. The driver seat is raised so that his head will poke out the top of the tank, and I had no trouble replacing the hatch with a Stormtrooper in the co-pilot seat. I’ll likely end up picking up a few of the Vintage Collection Tank Driver, because the 5-POA one is only available as part of the Jedha 4-pack, and he’s the only troop builder in that set.

With the cargo containers removed and the floor plates slid back, the tank will comfortably transport six Stormtroopers in the back. Keep in mind that the foot pegs do not work all that well with the 5-POA figures, nor are they positioned all that well to hold the figures this way. Still, I really dig this as a troop transport and if I dig out a couple of my super-articulated Stormies, I could add a few sitting on the tailgate.

As far as scale is concerned, the tank is definitely a bit undersized, but not by too much. Most of the stills from Rogue One that I consulted show the top of the tank at about the same height as the Stormtroopers escorting it on foot. In the case of the figures, they stand a smidge taller. Personally, I think the figures look fine riding on it, but when they’re walking alongside, it’s when I can see that the vehicle needed to be a bit bigger. It’s not a deal-breaker for me, especially when you consider how many Star Wars vehicles have been down-sized to make the toys work. Although I suppose there’s a case to be made that Hasbro could have scaled this thing properly without breaking the bank, and for $80, they probably should have.

In the end, this is a very, VERY nice toy. The quality and attention to detail feels more in line with the work Hasbro put into the heavy hitters like the huge Millennium Falcon and AT-AT Walkers. Hell, when it comes to the paintwork, I’d say it’s better. And yet I’m still torn on the sense of value here. As nice as it is, my gut reaction tells me that the original MSRP of $80 is WAY too high for this. But then I look at the prices of some of Hasbro’s other recent vehicle releases. Both Kylo Ren’s Silencer from The Last Jedi and the TIE Striker from Rogue One retailed for $50, which is a lot, although granted both of those came with pack-in figures. So grading on the scale of Hasbro’s other ship prices, maybe this one isn’t so bad, but I knew I was never forking over $80 for this. At $48 I’m glad I picked it up, but even at that price, I feel like it should have included a pack-in of the Tank Commander figure.

Mythic Legions (Advent of Decay): Snagg by The Four Horsemen

I’ve been focusing on some of the new stuff for my first Advent of Decay reviews. So, I started with a female knight and vampire, and then showed off an Elf. Now it’s time to touch on what is easily my most anticipated addition to the Mythic Legions lineup… The Goblins! Hell, YEAH! I totally freaked out when T4H first showed off these deranged little beauties, and I knew right away that I would be getting all of them. It was impossible for me to decide which one to start with, so I just picked one at random. Let’s have a look at Snagg!

And isn’t that just one of the best Goblin names ever? Snagg! Even better, Snagg’s bio tells us that he’s a devious thief. And with his green face and blue sock cap, he kind of reminds me of Zarak, The Half-Orc Assassin from LJN’s old Advanced Dungeons & Dragons line. Not only is that not a bad thing, but I kind of demand a repaint as homage.

The Goblins are about the same height as the Dwarves, but they have a much leaner build. And like the Dwarves, they’re designed so they can borrow parts from the full-sized humans and elves. For example, Snagg has a completely repainted version of the belt and hip armor piece that we saw last week on the Elf Legion Builder. He also uses the wrist bracers that we’ll see on the Elves in future reviews. The body is rounded out with a simple set of plate armor for the torso and armored legs. I’d say that it’s a hodge-podge look that works well for a Goblin, but to be honest, I think all the pieces go together perfectly.

The paint here is excellent, particularly on the belt piece. The prominent disc belt-buckle, the individual rivets on the leather scales are painted in a rich copper. The plates on the tops of the hip-armor are mismatched with one side copper and the other a gun-metal blue. The brown belt has a great textured leather-like look to it and you get some fine silver paintwork on the buckles. Other highlights of the paint include the worn copper color of the leg armor, the metallic blue stones embedded in his arm bracers, and the heavily tarnished finish of his chest armor. Even the tiny buckles on his wrist bracers and leg armor are all neatly painted silver.

And that brings me to the head sculpt, and oh boy is it fantastic! Snagg features a cartoonishly pronounced nose and chin, balanced by the long, swept-back pointed ears. He sports a devilish grin, showing his tiny sharp teeth and two prominent fangs rising up from his bottom jaw. Two beady yellow eyes gaze out from under the stitched blue cap.

Snagg comes with a mismatched pair of shoulder armor, no doubt stolen from the dead on some battlefield. The right shoulder is pretty ornate with some blue panels that manage to match his cap, as if it’s a sad little attempt he made to accessorize. The left shoulder, on the other hand, is a simple, segmented piece with signs of rust setting in. I dig the idea behind these pieces being scavenged, but I may actually prefer him sans shoulder armor.

For a little guy, Snagg comes with quite the arsenal of weapons, which includes a standard cruciform sword, a two-hander, a dagger, and a rustic cleaver made by attaching blades to a piece of stag horn. With the exception of the last piece, I’ve seen all of these weapons before, and I love that all of these weapons are mismatched, again probably all taken from looting and thievery, as they look way too clean and shiny to have been owned by him for long. To carry his weapons, Snagg comes with two of the standard brown belts, allowing for one to be worn on the waist, and the other as a cross strap. Let’s take a quick look at each of his weapons…

The dagger is a repaint of the one that came with Lucretia, now with an entirely gold hilt. I really like the design of this one and the paint job does a good job of setting it apart. I actually had to double check Lucretia’s to make sure it was the same mold. It looks like it would be an excellent parrying dagger as well as serviceable for all the backstabbing that Snagg probably does.

The one-handed sword is the classic cruciform type we’ve seen over and over again in this line. I’m a big fan of the no-nonsense design of this piece and I’m always happy to get another. Oddly, this one is painted all in silver, which is something that T4H usually reserve for the Legion Builder figures, but I think it still looks fine. I would have liked it more if it had a rusty finish, like we’ve seen with some of the Orc weapons, but like I said, maybe he stole it.

The two-handed sword is very familiar from the previous series of Mythic Legions. I tend to refer to this one as a “Tolkien Sword,” because it reminds me of a design I saw of Glamdring once. Either way, I really dig the way the blade swells slightly toward the edge and the stylized crossguard, copper wrapped grip, and skull-crusher pommel are both nice touches. On the other hand, this sword looks totally out of place with Snagg. It’s really big compared to his height and he looks a little awkward wielding it. It just furthers the idea in my mind that he stole it somewhere and just carries it around to make a statement.

Only the stag-handled weapon looks like it might have been made for him, and it manages to be both crude and quite beautiful. The sculpt and paint on the stag handle is superb. The clever-like blade has some nasty gashes and scrapes in it and a serrated area near the grip. The back also has a metal piece with spikes sticking out of it. Now this looks like a Goblin weapon!

Snagg also comes with some other assorted bits, which confused me at first. You get a set of antlers, which are the same pieces used to adorn some of the other figures’ helmets. You also get a single piece of black horn. These aren’t compatible with the figure himself, as he doesn’t come with a helmeted head, but I’m chalking these up to being more loot that he’s scavenged. And it’s always nice to have extra pieces to share with my helmeted figures to create more display options.

And so while he may be small, Snagg is probably packing more personality than almost any other Mythic Legions figure I own. He’s also no doubt the first in what will be my serious love affair with the Mythic Legion Goblins. He’s a magnificent little figure with some superb paintwork, and clearly a lot of thought and love went into his demented design. I can’t wait to pit him against some of my brave warriors and have him try to bite their kneecaps off and steal all their shit. I’m really tempted to just keep going with the Goblins for the next month, but I promise I’ll try to be back with something a little different next week.

Marvel Legends (Deluxe Riders): Black Widow and Motorcycle by Hasbro

[ Edit: Shortly after I posted today’s Marvel Monday Review, I heard the news that Stan Lee had passed away. I debated whether or not to post a separate tribute, but the more I tried to outline a piece that measured his impact on my life, the more I found that impact was immeasurable. I grew up reading almost every comic book I could get my hands on, but Fantastic Four and Spider-Man were among my favorites, and those are two books that have stayed with me the longest. But it’s simply impossible for me to recount the ways in which Stan Lee’s creations and imagination helped to influence my life from a child to a middle aged man, and almost every moment in between. I will, however, thank him for the fact that I never really did grow up. I’m 46 and I still read comic books and collect action figures, and have framed posters of Super Heroes on my walls. I’d like to think a big piece of that was because of him. 

I don’t want to look at Stan Lee’s death as a tragedy. We should all be so lucky to live to 95. We should all be so lucky to leave this world with so many adoring fans. We should all be so lucky to leave this world with such an enormous positive impact. But I will say that I will miss him terribly. Obviously, I didn’t know him personally. I never even met him. But his creations represented hope, goodness, justice, morality, and I can say that from what I’ve seen of Stan himself, he struck me as a never ending well of positive energy. It does give me great comfort to know that he lived to see his creations break out of the comic book shops and become so massively mainstream. His influences escaped the comic panels and burst out on 50-foot movie screens across the world. He lived to know that the fruit of his imagination was both boundless and timeless.

I did not know you, Stan Lee, but I loved you. Excelsior! ]

This week’s Marvel Monday is not a random grab, because if this huge box were in with the others, I’d wind up grabbing it every time. Nope, this one has been sitting beside my Legends Unopened Box of Shame and I just decided that this was the week to check it out. So let’s have a look at Black Widow and her motorcycle!

Remember when Toybiz did that line of Marvel Legends Riders? Well, I guess this is kind of like that. Only in that case a lot of the vehicles were pretty shitty. Hasbro seems to be doing it right this time by offering these figures in bigger boxes (and bigger price points!) to get us some really cool, full-sized vehicles. And given the 6-inch Scale of Legends it should come as no surprise that they’ve all been motorcycles so far, but I’m not complaining. The packaging looks great, it’s collector friendly, and it really shows off the goods splendidly. So let’s open this set up and start out with the figure.

I was expecting a straight repack of Natasha in this set, but we actually get an all new figure. And with all the Black Widows in my Legends collection, I’m happy to say that she still manages to bring a new look to the table. Indeed, this version strikes me as a nice balance between a classic version and a cutting-edge modern MCU version. Her bracers are silver and made to look like angled metal. These remind me of the ones she had in her earliest appearances. On the other hand the high collar and low zipper give her a bit more of a modern flare. The rest of the costume is just a black body suit and the painted belt consists of silver discs and the red Black Widow emblem. The costume is clean and simple, but looks great.

You get two different head sculpts, one with short hair and one with long hair, and I really dig them both. The paint applications for the eyes, eyebrows, and lips is all quite sharp, and there’s a little wash to bring out the detail in her red hair. The only thing here I don’t like is the big ugly seam that’s running down the center of her neck. Seriously, Hasbro? You couldn’t have hid that a little better?

You get standard Legends female articulation. That includes rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. The legs have ball joints in the hips, swivels in the thighs, double hinges in the knees, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. There is no waist swivel, but you do get a ball joint just under the chest, and the neck has both a hinge and ball joint. I’ve had the legs pop out at the hips a couple of times while posing her, but they pop right back in. It’s a shame she doesn’t have any guns, but the extra head is the figure’s only “accessory,” unless you count the motorcycle!

Like the figure, the motorcycle goes above and beyond what I was expecting. It’s a sporty bike with a red, gun-metal gray, and lighter gray deco, and you even get a Black Widow emblem on the right side near the front. Other nice touches include stickers for the instrument gauges, a tinted yellow headlamp cover, and I do believe the tires are made of rubber! Sculpted details include the engine and the chain drive, as well as a textured seat. The steering wheel turns the front wheel, you get a flip down kickstand, and holy hell, the suspension on the front wheel actually works!

Even with all that good stuff, I think what delights me the most about this set is how well Natasha can fit on the bike. There’s no compromising here. I can get her to hold the handlebars, keep her tushie on the seat, and have both feet on the foot pegs and she looks she looks totally natural on it. The only thing worth noting here is that Natasha works better on the bike with the shorter hair, as it allows her to look up more. Also, that long hair should be flowing in the breeze when she’s riding, so it doesn’t quite work on the bike anyway.

Even with pumping out an obscene number of figures, Hasbro is still looking for new ways to grow the Legends brand, and I think that’s fantastic! Especially in this day and age when vehicles are getting scarce in the toy aisles. What’s even better is this set seems to be around $30 at most retailers, I picked it up for a few bucks less, but either way it feels like quite a deal. The figure is excellent, and when you consider that Legends figures sell for around $20 these days, that leaves only about $10 for the bike. Not bad at all! It’s also got me pretty pumped to pick up the Wolverine and Ghost Rider sets then next time I see them!

One Piece: “Flag Diamond Ship” Nefeltari Vivi (Code: B) by Banpresto

I’m on vacation this week, which means I actually had time to resurrect Anime Saturday! And while I won’t make any promises, I’m really trying to bring it back on a semi-regular basis, because the Prize Figures and Figmas have been stacking up quite a bit. Today I’m opening up another one of Banpresto’s Flag Diamond Ship figures and this time it’s the Princess of Alabasta herself, Nefaltari Vivi!

As always, the figure comes in a fully enclosed box with some shots of the statue and the deliciously weird mission statement of the series, which includes delivering the female form’s “amazing hourglass figure, ideal body curves, and proportional balance.” OK! For some reason, I got it into my head that the Code B meant it was the second version of the character in the series, but I’m pretty sure this is first time Vivi has appeared. Anyway, this roughly 9-inch scale figure requires a bit of minor assembly, so let’s get her set up and check her out!

And here she is all put together and looking… well, nicely put together, if ya know what I mean! Early on, I thought they were going for a strong pirate theme in this line, but it seems like that’s not necessarily the case. That’s not to say I don’t like what I’m seeing! Vivi sports a black button-down half-shirt, which also only happens to be about halfway buttoned. Thankfully there’s a strap across her chest to hold it together. The sleeves are rolled up just below her elbows and she has one glove on her right hand.

Moving down, she’s got black short shorts with a blue sash tied around her waist, a flintlock pistol strapped to her right thigh, a knee below that, one thigh-high blue stocking on her left leg, and a pair of very tall glossy black boots with sculpted laces and buckles. It may not be traditional pirate garb, but I really dig it.

Overall, the paint is pretty solid on this figure. I love the gradient blue coloring on her left stocking, it gives me a bit of a Harley Quinn vibe, and the high gloss black used for her boots and glove looks great. Some high points of the applications include the individually painted brass buttons on her top, the silver buckles in her boots and holster strap, and the gold ring on her right hip, that’s holding her waist sash together. The brown used for the holster is a darker shade than the pistol itself, and while they painted the butt cap on the pistol gold, they neglected to paint the rest of the fixtures on the gun. This omission is really the only complaint I have about the paintwork on this figure, as it is the gun looks like it’s made out of chocolate!

The portrait is excellent. Vivi’s big eyes are perfectly printed, along with her lips and eyebrows. The pose has her gathering up her long blue hair, which is flowing wildly all around her. While the detail is overall great on the figure, I think it’s the hair that really sells this sculpt the most to me.

Banpresto has experimented a bit with the bases in this line. They started out using a large circular disc with the first Nami, then they went with a little pile of gold for the second figure, Boa Hancock. Now it seems like they’ve settled for using just black chunks of plastic that pegs into one of the feet. I like these, as they don’t take up as much space as the conventional bases, but I kind of wish they kept the treasure motif, because it actually looked likes something and not just a hunk of black plastic. I know some collectors have had issues with the stability on these stands, but mine have been pretty good. They fit flush with the shelf and they do their job keeping the figures upright.

Four figures in, and I have to say that I’m still a big fan of this line. The costumes are creative, the ladies are beautiful, and the quality is certainly there for the price point. And speaking of which, I’ve found that pricing on this line has been anywhere from $20 all the way up to $30, depending on where I get them. It seems like pre-ordering them is the way to go, as I got Vivi here for $20, but I’m probably going to cough up $30 for the Nico Robin I missed out on. Twenty bucks feels like a great value, whereas thirty is right up at the ceiling.

Masters of the Universe Classics: Karg by Super7

I was supposed to wrap up my look at Super7’s second wave of Collector’s Choice figures weeks ago, but I got sidetracked by Halloween content and I’m only now getting to open the last figure in the wave. Anyway, today’s figure is Karg and he’s special because he’s one of a handful of figures based off the 1987 Masters of the Universe film. Matty gave us Blade and Saurod, and now Super7’s addition of Karg nearly rounds out the quartet of baddies pretty well with only Beastman still out of the picture. Although I shudder to think what I would give up to get a Skeletor and Evil-Lyn from this flick. Young Meg Foster… Yum!

The packaging is right in line with what we were getting from Matty for all those years. And speaking of all those years, there’s a nice Tenth Anniversary logo on this one, celebrating the line from 2010-2018. That’s a long time! No wonder I have so many boxes of these figures! Karg’s tagline labels him as the “Evil Inquisitor With A Horrible Hook” which I presume makes him Skeletor’s chief torturer and that’s some pretty harsh shit for kids toy line. The back shows a spread of figures from Super7’s two most recent waves and you get a bio on the back that works Karg into the mainstream Masters Classics canon.

Here he is out of the package and I’ll go ahead and say it: Super7 did a nice job recreating the costume from the film, at least in terms of the sculpt. It’s not 100%, probably due to copyright issues, but the influences are certainly there. The chest and shoulder armor are comprised of one piece, sculpted in soft plastic, and permanently attached to the buck. There are some nice details around his gorget and under the armor he has a quilted tunic that hangs below his waist and is belted in place. They even recreated that distinctive horn-like emblem for his belt buckle. Sculpted onto his belt are various tools hanging down, which I would imagine are some kind of torture instruments. Below that you get some smooth leggings and buccaneer-style boots. The coloring here, on the other hand, is a big departure from his on screen look. The figure eschews the browns, coppers, and golds of the big screen costume for a metallic blue deco. It may not jibe in terms of screen accuracy, but I do like it a lot. Hell, I actually prefer it. I like my MOTUC figures crazy and flashy, and this beautiful paint job is certainly delivers that and with a gorgeous paint job. The metallic blue is exceptional and I like the silver detailing on the tools.

If there’s one thing here that I’m not too crazy about it’s his cape. It’s extremely wide, and while the sculpted woolly pattern on the top half is well done, it just doesn’t look all that great from the back. I wish it was removable, but it’s permanently attached to the chest armor. At least I don’t mind it so much when viewed from the front.

As for the head sculpt? Well, it’s a work of art. Karg’s mask was an impressive piece of work in the film and this figure captures that look very well. The skin tone has been changed up to green, but the sculpt itself is as faithful as I could want. From the wrinkled skin to the somewhat porcine nose, everything just looks great. I especially dig the sunken eyes and the very distinctive paint used for the eyes themselves. The hair isn’t quite as poofy as movie Karg’s white coif, and it’s been re-colored to yellow. I’m fine with that and I like how you can see his very alien-looking ears peeking out through the hair. Oh yeah, and he has an Elizabethan Collar around his neck! As many times as I’ve watched that movie, I never noticed it until seeing it on this figure and comparing it with stills from the flick.

I’ve yet to mention one of Karg’s most distinguishing features, and that’s the “Horrible Hook” that he has grafted onto his left arm. It’s your standard pirate hook and it does swivel at the base and have a slightly barbed end to it. My only little gripe here is that the hook had a much cooler design to it on the early prototype. It’s a pity they changed it for the final product.

Karg comes with two accessories, the first of which is the delightfully named Dagger of Agony. It actually looks like it might supposed to be an energy blade of some kind, but I don’t really know anything about it. As far as accessories go, it’s OK, but I think the design is a little dull and certainly doesn’t live up to its foreboding name.

Second, you get this pretty cool laser blaster. It’s got a bit of a Star Wars vibe to it and I can certainly get behind that! I’ll definitely be displaying him with this over the dagger.

In case you can’t tell, I really love this figure. It’s not only great that Super7 was able to get us one more original character from the ’87 movie, but I think Karg is a wonderful addition to Skeletor’s Minions. This figure represents some superb sculpting and excellent paintwork. Is there a downside? Well, Super7 have opened the pre-orders for their third wave of Filmation Style figures, but I haven’t seen any word on a third wave of Collector’s Choice figures. These new characters have been my main focus, and it would be a shame if we didn’t get any more of them.

Mythic Legions (Advent of Decay): Elf Legion Builder by The Four Horsemen

It’s Week Three of Mythic Legions Wednesdays‘ return and I couldn’t be more excited! I’m not following any particular order in which I open and review these figures, but I’m not going totally random either. Since I already looked at two of the regular figures, I thought this week I’d check out one of the Legion Builders. And since the Elves are introduced in the Advent of Decay series, let’s have a look at the Elf Legion Builder!

I’ll go ahead and show a packaged shot here, because unlike the named characters, the Legion Builders don’t actually have bios, because they’re just nameless soldiers. But you can name if you want to! Oh, go on… name them! The Legion Builders are cheaper than the regular figures because they involve less paint operations, usually on both the figure and the accessories, but as we’ll soon see, that doesn’t make them any less spectacular! And in fact, this Elf in particular doesn’t feel like your typical Legion Builder at all.

Behold the Elven armor of golden splendor! Yes, let’s remind ourselves that this is what the rank-and-file Elf Warriors are wearing and it’s pretty fabulous. In case you didn’t already know, Mythic Legions is all about mixing and matching parts, and here we get a great example of that in Advent of Decay. The torso here is new, but the arms and legs are lifted straight from the armored bucks we saw on Gwendolyn and Lucretia. It works well for the diminutive Elven build as well as the female knights, and even though we already saw those parts in gold on Gwen, I think this combination still makes for a pretty unique look.

And the sculpt here is absolutely beautiful. As always, it’s brimming with detail from the overlapping plates to the tiny rivets and sculpted buckles and straps. I particularly like the discs on the chest and belt. When combined with the coloring and the rather thin armored build, it gives me a little bit of a C-3PO vibe. And the armor sculpt that does just fine showing off its details with nothing but a sumptuous golden finish. And while we’re on the subject of paint, it’s worth noting that the past Knight Legion Builders featured only one color on their armor and no additional paint apps at all, except maybe on a helmet plume. The Elf breaks that trend by adding the green scaled armor below his belt with the individually painted gold rivets. It’s a great touch that breaks up all that gold just enough to make him feel more like one of the regular figures. Of course, the figure also comes with the ubiquitous sword belt and removable shoulder armor. And yup, those are the same shoulders we saw on both Gwen and Lucretia.

The Elf Legion Builder comes with no less than three different heads. He comes out of the package with dark skin, green eyes, and an open faced helmet, complete with nasal guard and a wonderfully organic sculpt to the helmet. The ears are quite prominent, but they stay close to the head, giving him more of a Tolkein-esque Western interpretation, as opposed to the ones we usually see in anime or mangas. There isn’t a lot of sharp detail in the face, but I still like it a lot and he has a bit of a dour but noble expression.

The other option is the lighter skinned head, again with green eyes, and the exact same helmet. Actually, it looks like the whole head sculpt here is identical, with just the lighter skin distinguishing it.

The final option is a completely enclosed helmet, but with green skin showing on the exposed ears. I think it’s likely that this is intended to be the open helmet with a mask on it, but I could be wrong about that. Either way, it’s a real sexy piece of design. I love the organic curves and the darkened visor. All three heads are great choices and they make me wish I had picked up at least one more of these guys to display them on. But we’ve also got a lot of accessories to talk about, so let’s move on to the weapons.

The Elf comes with a pretty standard sword and dagger, which can be worn on the belt. Well, there’s one loop so either the sword or dagger can be fitted through the loop and the other just has to be thrust through the belt. Either way it works just fine. We’ve seen both of these weapon molds before many times, but I really dig them a lot. The sword is a pretty no-nonsense weapon with a broad blade and a cruciform hilt and the dagger has a stout blade and a slightly down-turning crossguard. The hilts aren’t matched perfectly, but they’re close enough so that they look good together. Both blades are painted silver and the hilts are painted gold, which is notable because most of my previous Legion Builder Knights did not have any paint apps on their weapons.

Next up is the bow and quiver of arrows, both of which are accessories that are introduced in Advent of Decay. The bow has some really beautiful contours, is painted all in silver, and includes a string. The quiver is painted gold and the arrows have silver shafts and gold fletching. The quiver has a clip that can hook onto the belt, just like we saw on the dagger’s sheath that came with Lucretia. There’s also an attachment that can be used to put it on his back, but it sticks out too far and I don’t like it. The arrows in the quiver are all part of the sculpt, but you do get a single loose arrow.

The loose arrow is pretty thin and frail and he can’t really hold it, at least not without the help of a little blue-tack inside his hand. There are, however, two little nubs on the bow that the arrow can sort of clip into. With a little determination and trickery, I was able to get him to actually knock the arrow and draw the bow. It would have been cool if T4H created a hand for these guys with a slit between two of the fingers. I suppose it would be easy to customize with a good razor blade, but he only comes with the two hands and I don’t want to risk messing him up.

Finally, the Elf Legion Builder comes with a spear and this accessory is as old as Mythic Legions itself. It was a popular pack in accessory with a lot of figures from the first Kickstarter, and I’m not surprised to see it continuing to see service in Advent of Decay. It’s a very simple accessory, all molded from one piece of plastic and painted entirely in silver. The spear is also the thing the only accessory that feels like the weapons included with previous Legion Builders. I’m not going to gripe about it, because quite frankly this figure comes with enough goodies that the spear just feels like a gratuitous extra.

As I mentioned in the beginning, the Legion Builders are the  in this line, and that’s part of what makes this Elf Soldier so impressive to me. Sure he doesn’t have as many paint operations as the regular figures, but he still looks great. And with three different heads and a whole passel of weapons, he feels like anything but a budget figure. Alas, the secondary market prices on these figures preclude me from doing any kind of troop building when it comes to Mythic Legions, I just might pony up for one more of these Elves to make one an archer and the other a regular knight.

Marvel Legends (Thanos Wave): Iron Spider by Hasbro

It’s just another Marvel Monday, but I wish it was Sunday cuz that’s my fun day. Actually Mondays are pretty fun because I get to open another random Legends figure off my pile. Today my grubby mitts went into the “To Open” box and drew back Spider-Man from Infinity War! Ok, this one probably wasn’t so random because it’s the last figure I dropped into the box and I didn’t give it a good stir before picking today.

I can’t even begin to tell you how frustrating it was for me to get this figure. I never saw him on the pegs and, for the longest time, this Webhead was going for upward of $40 on Amazon. I finally grabbed him off another retailer who got some singles in and wouldn’t you know it, the next week he started selling on Amazon for the regular MSRP. That’s pretty par for the course when it comes to my luck with these Infinity War figures. Hell, I’m still hunting down Captain America and he’s usually the over-produced peg warmer of the wave.

So, here’s Spidey out of the box and right away, I have some issues. The figure features some extensive texturing, which feels all wrong. From memory, the Iron Spider suit in Infinity War was pretty slick and smooth. I checked a few stills and even the pictures of the upcoming Hot Toys version (which are usually a pretty good source for accuracy) and I think I’m justified as saying the texturing isn’t supposed to be there. It looks more like one of the older suits. Now with that having been said, I think the coloring is pretty good. I like the shade of red they used and the gold trim is neatly painted, especially around the spider logo. On the downside, this is one of those instances where Hasbro doesn’t paint the pegs, which is really obvious on the insides of the sleeves and the lower pegs on the knees where they interrupt the gold striping. Overall, not a bad looking figure, but not one that really conveys the suit from the movie to me.

The head sculpt just looks cheap to me. Once again, the texturing feels wrong, and while the web pattern shouldn’t be blackened, it should be more pronounced than it is here. The crazy amount of mold flashing hanging off my figure’s seam-lines also don’t help to instill a feeling of care and quality. The previous MCU Spidey gave us two heads to depict the eyes wide and narrowed. Here we just get the one noggin.

Fortunately, the articulation here is everything I expect from a Legends Spidey. I wasn’t sure they were going to put the shoulder crunches in this one, but they did and that makes me happy. The legs have ball joints in the hips, swivels in the thighs, double hinges in the knees, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. The arms have rotating hinges in shoulders and wrists, double hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps. There’s a swivel in the waist, an ab crunch, and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed. As a result, Iron Spider is pretty fun to play around with!

So here comes the real sucky part. Iron Spider comes with absolutely no extras. No swappable fists, no second head, and the biggest crime? He does not come with his additional mechanical legs. Hasbro has set a bit of a precedent for extras with our Spidey Legends so when they don’t include them, it hurts the value. But not including his mechanical legs is something I just can’t overlook. It’s the coolest thing about this suit and they featured prominently in the film. Hell, I’m pretty sure even the shitty Titan figure got those legs.

After hunting so long for him, Iron Spider turned out to be quite a letdown. He’s a nice looking figure, but the texturing on the suit feels wrong and the lack of extras really hurts. For what was the biggest and coolest costume reveals for me in Infinity War, this figure deserved to be so much better. It’s still bewildering to me that Hasbro could have released this one without the mechanical legs. Even if they were just a static piece that plugged into the back, that would have been better than nothing. It’s not like Hasbro to drop the ball in this line, especially not with the MCU versions of the characters, but here’s one that needs an instant do-over.