Mythic Legions (Advent of Decay): Delphina Of Eathyross by The Four Horsemen

While Mythic Legions is most definitely a fantasy themed series, it does have that historic-medieval flavor to it that tickles the history buff in me. And while the two degrees in history that I hold are in relatively modern fields, reading ancient and medieval history remains one of my greatest pleasures. Add that in to how much I dig The Templars and it surprised even me that I was able to go this far into Advent of Decay without reviewing today’s figure. Mythic Legions has paid respects to The Templars twice before with the release of Sir Godfrey and the Templar Legion Builder. And well, there must be enough people like me who are crazy over these warrior priests, because Advent of Decay gives us our third Templar in the series, and the first female of The Order… Delphina of Eathyross! No time for a packaged shot today, so let’s jump right in…

And what a work of art she is! Delphina’s body features a heavy re-use of the armor we first saw worn by Gwendolyn Heavensbrand, but this time the armor is painted with a beautiful silver finish and features gold accents on some of the plates, as well as on the individual rivets. I’ve already gushed plenty about this armor sculpt, and it won’t be the last time we see it. Suffice it to say the attention to detail is extraordinary, right down to the tiny sculpted and painted buckles and straps that are meant to hold the armor in place. The new features of this armor sculpt come into play with Delphina’s tabard, worn down the front of her armor, which is sculpted as part of her torso and extends down below the belt as a soft plastic piece that tabs in under the waist armor. Overall, it’s fairly convincing as a separate garment, and it’s painted with the classical red cross on a white background that matches the previous Templars in this series. Also deviating from Gwen’s armor are the more austere segmented shoulder pieces.

Delphina features two head sculpts. The first is helmeted, featuring what I believe is usually referred to as a “Sugar Loaf” Helmet. It’s similar to the Great Helms worn by her Templar Brothers, but this one is a little more rounded. The sculpt is amazing and I’m particularly impressed by the piercings on the cheeks, which are so convincing, they make the helmet look like it might be removable. The reinforced cross is painted in a gorgeous shade of gold, as are the tiny rivets running up each side of the helmet’s lower half. So, no the helmet is not removable, but you can swap it out with her unmasked head.

And here’s where the classic which-to-display? dilemma comes in, because the un-helmeted head is so damn beautiful. Although, some detractors might point out that it’s more or less the same sculpt used for Gwendolyn’s portrait. The hair is now black, the skin has a darker complexion, the paint used for the features is all different, but if you display these two ladies together, the similarities are pretty palpable. I don’t know if this has really been a big issue with collectors or not, but it isn’t really one with me. If this is what T4H had to do to make including a second portrait cost out, I’m still glad they did.

In terms of accessories, Delphina includes a standard sword and shield, both of which we’ve seen many times. The sword is the same sculpt that was issued with the previous Templar figures and this one has a gold painted hilt and silver painted blade. Likewise, the shield if the same style that was included with those Templars, as well as the majority of the original Kickstarter figures. The only real difference here is that Delphina’s includes the new grab handle rather than arm clip. And, as always, you get the brown belt, which can be worn on the waist or as a shoulder strap across the chest. And just as you might be getting a little tired of the same-old, same-old, Delphina also includes a brand new weapon…

The crossbow! And it’s a real beauty. The body is sculpted and painted to look like polished wood, with the lever-like handle, limbs, and other fixtures all painted in silver. It’s a pretty basic design, but it looks great. I only wish it had a stirrup on the front used to assist in drawing the string. You could argue that the Mythic Legions articulation isn’t designed to effectively use a crossbow, but I was able to get some pretty convincing poses out of her with the weapon.

In addition to the crossbow, Delphina comes with a quiver full of sculpted and non-removable arrows, and a single arrow. The quiver is a repaint of the one we saw included with the Elf Legion Builder. This time it’s brown with black trim and the arrows have silver shafts and red fletching. The quiver includes a clip, which can be used to attach it to the belt. It works fine when worn on the waist, but it can get in the way there. I much prefer having her wear it angled over her shoulder or even clipped across the small of her back. The arrow is also recycled from the Elf, and here’s where the re-use is a tad disappointing. Crossbows don’t fire arrows, they fire bolts. These are shorter and as a result if you load the arrow into the crossbow, it’s clearly too long for where the string locks into place when it’s cocked and ready. OK, so it’s not a big deal for me, but when I consider the attention to detail in this line, the fact that they didn’t sculpt up some proper bolts is surprising.

Ugh, I don’t want to say it again, but I have to. Delphina might be my new favorite figure of the ones I reviewed. And if you toss her in with The Templars as a group, than I think it’s a certainty. For whatever reason, I’ve been fascinated with The Templars and The Hospitallers, and all the other Holy Orders of Knights during the Crusades ever since I was old enough to read history. To finally have some excellent figures based on those designs in this scale is like a dream come true. And while T4H don’t make any pretenses toward historical accuracy here, this is a fantasy line after all, I still feel like these figures can stand on their own. Right now I’m just kicking myself for not picking up two more Delphinas from the In Stock sale. Maybe I’ll grab one more from a second-hand seller.

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Marvel Gallery: Savage Land Rogue by Diamond Select

This week is one of those rare Marvel Mondays where I stray from Marvel Legends and look for some Marvel lovin’ elsewhere. And the only reason I’m doing that is because I’ve had this Marvel Gallery Rogue from Diamond Select sitting around and waiting to be opened for a couple of weeks now. So even though it’s going to put me further behind, we’ll set aside Legends for the day and have a look at this statue instead!

For the unfamiliar, Marvel (and DC!) Gallery grew out of Diamond’s Femme Fatale line of 9-inch scale PVC statues. The name may have changed but the packaging has stayed more or less the same. Rogue comes in a colorful box with windows on the front, side panels, and the top. And for some reason, DST persists on referring to these as Dioramas, which I suspect is some kind of licensing stipulation. Either way, everything is collector friendly and the statue comes nestled between two plastic trays. There’s no assembly required and she comes right out of the box all ready for your shelf.

And… WOW! Rogue stalks the wastes of The Savage Land with her spear at the ready and wearing the remnants of her X-Men costume, which happens to be torn away in all the right places. Yup, the bulk of the body sculpt here is just skin, but DST did a fine job not only with Rogue’s shapely form, but also with the subtle hints of musculature here and there. As for the costume, she features a dainty pair of green boots, a ragged green bikini bottom partially covered with leaves, and the top half of her yellow X-Men outfit with a green shredded undergarment peeking out beneath it. Short green gloves and some yellow wraps on her thigh and bicep beautifully round out this lovely make-shift costume.

They also put in some nice work on the crude dagger, which she wears on her belt. It’s got sculpted wrappings around the hilt and a makeshift brown sheath hooked onto her loose belt.

The composition is a nice mix of museum-style and cheesecake. She has one leg drawn up at the knee, with her left toes resting on the raised rock of the base and in her hands she holds a spear, ready for action. I like the pose a lot, it looks like someone just snapped a shot of her stalking the land in search of her prey. There’s a hint of imminent action, but overall this piece casts aside a strong sense of energy and just lets Rogue’s majestic and sexy form do all the talking.

And that brings me to the portrait, which is strong and overall quite well done. There’s no playful side glance here, Rogue’s gaze is straight on, maybe looking over toward the horizon, and her slightly narrowed eyes and tight lips dominate what is a confident and powerful likeness. Her coif of brown hair casts off to the side slightly, with the iconic white highlights and a green strip tied around her hairline. The sculpted bone necklace is a great touch too!

The paint here is overall pretty good, but it does show a few rough patches. The lines between skin and clothing are not all as crisp as they could be. There are a few areas around her mid-riff where the sculpted lines of the jagged top are flesh colored where they should be green. These are issues that would surely irk a perfectionist, but I think they’re well within the expectations of a budget statue line like this one. The skin tone is quite smooth and warm throughout, although it does have a bit of a glossy sheen to it, which is most noticeable to me on her face. Normally, this is something that bugs me, but hey, it’s pretty damn humid in The Savage Land, and Rogue is probably sweating buckets. On a QC note, my statue has a few scrapes in the flesh paint, the most notable of which is on her right shoulder and is clearly visible in the pictures. In the past, I’ve had some luck cleaning up these sorts of marks out with a magic eraser to smooth out the paint, but I probably won’t bother here and just write it off on dirt from the inhospitable environment.

The base is fairly simple, but it does the job of not only holding up Rogue, but also giving us a slice of her environment. It consists of a lump of pouris brown rock with a shock of vegetation growing out of the side. It looks good and it doesn’t take up too much real estate on the shelf, and those are two of the highest compliments that I can pay to any statue base.

Rogue here is exactly the reason I keep coming back to Diamond’s Gallery statues, despite the fact that I ran out of display room for these four or five statues back. Normally, I pick these up on Amazon after they’ve been released, but I actually pre-ordered this one back when it was first solicited. Sure, it means running the risk of paying more than I have to, but it only took one look at this figure to make me certain I wanted her in my collection. And with a retail of $40, Diamond’s Gallery statues continue to be some of the best values I’ve found in the collectible statue market. Or at least that’s the case now that Kotobukiya has been hiking up the prices on their Bishoujos. Sure, a few minor QC issues are bound to rear their ugly heads, and for that reason, I always recommend picking these up from a comic shop where you can inspect what you’re getting, but even though I got mine sight-unseen, I’m still perfectly pleased with the one I got.

Transformers Siege: Hound by Hasbro

Power of the Primes is dead… Long live Siege! Yes, it’s that time again, folks, for Hasbro to shake things up with a new line of their irresistible RoboConvertobots, and this time the new series is named Siege: The War for Cybertron Trilogy. That’s a mouthful, so I’ll just be referring to it as Siege. It’s a line that looks like it will be extra heavily influenced by the G1 goodness that I love so much. It’s also a line that will be giving us some badly needed re-dos of some old friends. And today’s review is a great example of just that, because it’s Hound!

Hound has always been among my favorites of the G1 Autobots. I really loved his original toy, and I adored him in the original Sunbow Mini-Series. The last time he got a Deluxe Class update was way back in 2009 as part of the Classics line. I loved that figure when it came out, but it’s definitely aged a bit, so I’m anxious to see if this new Hound can replace him. And check out that packaging! The cards and bubbles have been replaced with these collector friendly window boxes. The deco still features the Transformers logo running up the front, right side in bold red lettering, but now we get some totally bitchin’ character art on the slanted left side panel. Everything about these boxes feels premium, and I may actually try to keep these. Anyway, Hound comes packaged in his robot mode, but we’ll start with his alt mode.

OK, so there’s definitely some stuff to love here, but I’ll confess I would have liked something more akin to Hound’s traditional Jeep alt-mode. The front actually looks fine, but the rest of it is ugly as sin. It looks like a Jeep bumped uglies with a Hummer and this is what resulted in that union. I don’t hate it, but overall I’m not digging it all that much either. That’s not to say that there isn’t some good stuff going on here. The sculpt does feature some nice attention to detail, they even managed to get something that looks like seats in the driver area, and there are peg holes all over this thing, so you can load it up with weapons. Hmm… I wonder if that’s some kind of running theme for Siege?

Yup! Apparently, interchangeable weapons are going to be a big deal in this line and that should make for some good times. Hound comes with a rifle and his familiar G1 rocket launcher and there are loads of places you can put them on his alt mode and still leave room for about a half-dozen additional weapons.

But it’s the coloring and the paint that impresses me the most here and makes this feel like a premium toy. The olive green they used for most of the base plastic is a pretty close fit for the original G1 toy and the gold trim, as well as the star and Autobot emblem on the hood really drives the homage home. Additional paint hits include some yellow and white for the array of lights on the front of the vehicle, red for the taillights, and some dry-brushing on the front bumper to add some wonderful looking weathering. I can’t remember the last time we’ve seen something like that on a Deluxe Transformer. All in all, I think this new vehicle mode works great as a toy, but as far as the design goes, it loses points for having a case of the uglies. Then again, it’s a military vehicle, so I guess it doesn’t have to look that pretty. Let’s get Hound transformed and see how his robot mode makes out.

Holy hell! Suddenly I’m willing to forgive all the sins of the alt mode for this amazing robot mode. While the design certainly takes some liberties, it’s faithful in all the right places. It’s pretty cool how all four of the wheels wind up on his lower legs, leaving a clean upper half. The chest is beautifully boxy and appropriately Jeepy and I love that all the extra paint hits from the vehicle mode are prominently displayed here. Not to mention you get some more of that lovely dry-brushing on his lower legs. The proportions here are excellent as well, and I particularly dig the lateral rockers in his ankles.

From the back, Hound looks pretty clean and tidy. The roll-cage from his alt mode folds up into a pretty neat backpack and from back here we can see the four wheels, all attached to the vehicle’s side panels, wrap neatly around his lower legs. Hound has a little hollow-leg syndrome going on back here, but I’m usually willing to forgive that. All in all, Hound features a great robot mode and it’s achieved with a fairly simple transformation.

The head sculpt is spot-on beautiful! He’s got that great boxy “helmet” that I’ve always loved, flawless silver paint on his face, and a pair of pale blue eyes that are so bright, I’d almost swear there was light-piping involved. His distinctive G1-inspired missile launcher can mount on either his left or right shoulder, and while it doesn’t actually have a missile, the design is unmistakable from the original’s. The stars on the shoulders are a great touch too!

In addition to his shoulder cannon, Hound comes with two other accessories, a round canister and a rifle. The canister pegs onto the back of the vehicle mode, and I’m thinking it’s meant to be an homage to the spare tire on the original toy. But it can also plug into the back of the gun to form a drum. I like the gun design a lot, even if it isn’t very reminiscent of Hound’s G1 rifle, and it has some nice silver paint apps.

With new boxes and snazzy new paint jobs, comes a price and in this case Hasbro has raised the rent considerably. The Deluxe Class figures of the Siege line are running $20 at the local Target and that seems to be the going price around the neighborhood. It’s a big jump from the $16.99 of the Power of the Primes Deluxes and it’ll be interesting to see if the higher price tag means Siege is intended more for collectors over the kiddies. As for me? Well, it’s easy for me to see where the money went. Everything about the quality here feels like Hasbro is upping their game, and I have to say Hound is one of my favorite Deluxe Class figures to come out in a while. That’s saying a lot, because we got some incredibly solid figures out of Titans Return and Power of the Primes. For now, I’m anxious to check out the rest of the Deluxes in this wave, as well as some of the smaller bots.

Fallout 4: Nuka-Girl Statue by ThinkGeek

Have you heard? There’s a new Fallout game out and apparently it’s pretty controversial! It was an easy pass for me, because I have no interest in Online Fallout Lite, but to be fair, I haven’t played it, so I’ll let the reviews speak for themselves. I will, however, toss my hat in the ring as a pretty dedicated Fallout fan. I’ve been on board since the day I got a PC that would play the original and up until now, I’ve played them all. Yup, even that mediocre Brotherhood of Steel on the Xbox, and the annoyingly addictive mobile game. But I’m not here today to talk about the new game. I’m here today because ThinkGeek had a big sale on Cyber Monday Week and I bought a Fallout statue!

And what a great idea for a statue from the game! Sure, there have been Vault Dweller action figures and Power Armor statues, but to immortalize that kissable face of Ms. Nuka-Cola in a PVC Statue? That took inspiration. And I gotta be honest, while this was sold to via an Email advertising the sale, I probably would have picked it up at full price if I had known it existed. Anywho, the roughly 1/10 scale statue comes in a handsome box with an outer sleeve and some spiffy retro-vintage-style artwork. This is apparently #3 in ThinkGeek’s line of Modern Icons statues produced in partnership with Chronicle Collectibles. The first was the the T-60 Power Armor from Fallout 4 and the second was Aloy from Horizon: Zero Dawn. It’s my first experience with this line or Chronicle Collectibles for that matter, and I’ll admit when I first held the box in hand, I had my doubts because it felt like the box was empty. But there was indeed a statue inside, enclosed between two clear plastic trays, and all ready to go on my shelf. Let’s check her out!

And here she is, perched atop a giant bottlecap and looking dead sexy in her retro space suit. The figure itself measures right around the 6-inch mark with a few inches added by the rather pronounced base. The pose is great. It’s just the kind of pure cheesecake that I associate with vintage ads. Ms. Nuka stands with one leg drawn up at the knee, holds her space helmet against her left hip, and offers up a bottle of bubbly Nuka refreshment, while glancing back over her shoulder and offering a bright, beaming smile. My god, I’m so thirsty!

The detail here is fairly minimal, which is in keeping with the retro-styling. Her space suit consist of a pair of thigh-high black high-heeled boots, tight white leggings with red stripes on the sides and a wide black belt. The fact that her mid-riff is exposed is probably my favorite quality of this protective garment. The cropped-top features the same white with red striping as the bottoms, black gloves, a very low-cut top, and a collar to attach the helmet to. In terms of bringing the vintage Nuka-Cola art to life, I think the statue succeeds brilliantly, from the composition to the sculpt, I wouldn’t change a thing. The paintwork is also quite good. The gloves and belt are matte black, the top and bottom have a bit of a sheen to them, and the boots are high gloss. There are just a few flubs in the paint application, mostly on the red border on the end of her left gauntlet, but absolutely nothing that draws my eye away from appreciating it.

The portrait is in keeping with that retro look as well. From the style of her hair to her makeup, she looks like a pin-up from the 50’s. The facial features are painted quite sharply, the eyes are even, and while there aren’t individually sculpted teeth, the pearly whites are painted bright and clean.

And while the design is relatively simple, there are still some nice touches. Her red pop-gun rests snugly in its holster and looks like the old toy ray-guns that my Dad probably played with. The red oxygen tanks feature segmented hoses that feed into the base of the helmet’s collar and the same type of hose can be seen encircling the base of her helmet. And yes, the sculptor paid special attention to capturing all of Ms. Nuka’s very feminine form her copious cleavage right down to the curves of her tushie.

And of course the bottle of Nuka-Cola looks great!

The giant Nuka-Cola bottlecap is a perfect base for the figure and it too is wonderfully executed. It’s painted in a bright red with crisp white lettering, right down to the TM icon, which at first I thought was to drive home the illusion that this is a real brand, but then I’d imagine that Bethesda probably copyrighted the Nuka-Cola trademark for real. But as good as the base looks, it’s also completely hollow, and that’s the one thing this statue is missing… any sense of heft. I commented earlier how the box felt empty, and that just goes to show how light this thing is. Does that really matter if it looks good on the shelf? I guess not, but for whatever reason, I tend to associate quality with weight when it comes to statues, and in this case the lack of weight is a little off-putting. Maybe they should have just filled the base with sand.

The bottom of the base features some copyright information as well as the name of the statue and that it’s a Limited Edition. There’s no actual statement of limitation on the box or the statue, so it’s hard to say how limited this piece really is. I mean, I guess all collectibles are limited in some sense, right? I found two things here interesting: One, that the statue is licensed as Fallout 4 specifically, even though it’s not stated on the box, and that she’s called Nuka-Girl here, even though she’s called Nuka-Cola Girl on the box. Otherwise, there’s really nothing to see here.

These Modern Icons statues retail for $50 a pop and I guess that’s not too bad, but with some of the PVC statues that Diamond Select has turning out in the $40 range, Ms. Nuka-Cola may strike some as a bit on the pricier side. She’s definitely smaller than the Femme Fatales stuff, as well as Koto’s Bishoujo line. I picked this one up when ThinkGeek was offering for half-off and hey, for $25 I figured I couldn’t go wrong and I was right. I like this piece a lot, and it’s made me take a look at some of their other pieces. Although some of these seem to go up in price when they go out of circulation, so I may just focus on what’s coming as opposed to what I’ve already missed.

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

Welcome back to another Mythic Legions Wednesday! I know, there’s not much alliteration going on there, but Monday was already taken. Today I’m opening another figure that I recently double-dipped on when StoreHorsemen had their remaining stock sale. I do try to avoid the troop building bug when it comes to this line, but sometimes I just can’t help myself. And the Skeleton Soldier is a fine example of why! No packaged shot this time, and the Skeleton Soldier doesn’t actually have a bio card on the bubble insert, because she’s just a lowly undead grunt, so let’s jump right in and check her out!

We’ve had plenty of skeletons in the previous Mythic Legions series, but in keeping with a running theme of Advent of Decay, this is our first Femme-Skeleton, and what a beauty she is! And yes, you can tell she’s a she because of the use of the more diminutive armor. As always, the bones look great, this time with a yellow finish that makes them look as though they’ve been lying around in a crypt just waiting to be re-animated. This figure also exhibits one of my absolute favorite things T4H does with this line, and that’s the way they use sculpt and paint to reproduce the look of old armor. The skeleton features the crude and jagged armor style we’ve seen in the past, mostly with the Orcs, including plates on the lower legs, the outside of the upper arms, sleeves on the lower arms, and optional shoulder guards. She also has some plates dropping down between her legs to protect her bony nether regions. The torso armor is more refined and intricate than the rest, but the antiqued finish, which shows pitting in the sculpt and some brilliant paint that reflects both wear and tear as well as rust, makes it fit right in with the rest.

The head sculpt features a classic looking skull framed by an open-faced helmet with horns protruding from the sides. As with the rest of the armor, the helmet features painted wear and a spotted patina of rust. The paint job on the horns is also especially convincing, and the horns themselves give her a distinctive look over all the other Skellies this line has produced. The horns are also removable, so you can leave them off if you like, or replace them with pieces from another figure’s helmet. And speaking of options, you have two when it comes to the back helmet attachment. One is a cascade of blonde plume (or maybe hair?) pouring out the back and the other is a single spike. I definitely prefer the spike, but when I finally have two of these in my collection, I’ll likely display one with each. Before we move on to the weapons, you also have two options when it comes to the torso…

Yup, Skeleton Soldier comes with a completely different armored torso. If you don’t want to go with the more ornate one, the second option is a little more reserved in its design. It does still have the same wonderfully weathered finish to it, including all sorts of abrasions and rust spots. I’ll also note here that while it does have the holes on the back for the shoulder armor, I simply could not get them to go in all the way. I’m sure a little heat would do the trick, but to be honest, I think the figure looks pretty damn great without them too. OK, now let’s move on to the weapons…

Skellie Soldier’s main accessories are a sword and shield. The sword is a standard cruciform-hilted broadsword with a gray hilt and a silver painted blade. There’s some rust painted on the hilt and base of the blade, which looks pretty good. And of course you get the standard brown sword belt, which in this case hangs very loosely around the figure’s waist. It doesn’t take much for it to drop down to her legs, which I actually dig a lot because it suggests the belt was something this warrior wore in life and it’s too loose now because she’s lost all of her meat. It can also double as a shoulder strap.

The shield is a brand new one to me, at least I think it is. It’s a simple disc-shaped design with concentric circles and some rivets sculpted around the second circle. You get the now standard hand grip that pegs into the back, and I’ll continue to go on record and say that I prefer the clips from the previous series. The shield is painted silver and features a light patina of rust to make it match the sword, and I think they look great together.

And since it’s been a whole week since we’ve seen the spear… here’s the standard Mythic Legions spear! Again! T4H just love to throw this pig-sticker in with a lot of the figures, and I’m never going to complain about it. In this case, the spear is painted entirely in silver, to match the sword and shield, and given that light touch of rust to make it look well used.

The Skeletons have always been a high point in this line for me, and this new Skeleton Soldier does nothing to buck that trend. She looks great beside the Skeleton Legion Builder from the original Kickstarter, and she’ll look even better when I’ve got two pairs of each. No, she isn’t exactly burdened with a huge list of accessories, but it’s hard to argue about extras when you get an entire second torso to customize her. And customization is indeed the name of the game here, as you could probably pick up a four or five of these and manage to kit them each out a little differently to build small army. Oh, if only I had all the money and display space to do something like that!

Marvel Studios “First Ten Years:” Iron Man Mk L, Thanos, and Doctor Strange by Hasbro

For the second Marvel Monday in a row, I’m going to forgo random chance and bump something to the head of the line. Last week it was the Walgreens Exclusive Magick and this week it’s the First Ten Years Infinity War 3-pack. I’ve passed this up in the local toy aisles more than a few times, but a sale on Amazon finally got me to take the plunge…

In case you’re just joining us, Hasbro has been celebrating the First Ten Years of the Marvel Cinematic Universe by releasing some MCU-based Legends figures that they didn’t get to the first time around. These have run the gamut from single figures to two-packs and three-packs. Today’s set is arguably the least essential of them all, since the Thanos Wave not only let us build an MCU Thanos, but it also gave us the Mark L Iron Man armor. Plus, Doctor Strange’s look hasn’t changed much since the MCU version was released in the Dormammu Wave. Nonetheless, there are some tweaks and bobs here to offer something new. So, let’s dive in and see if this set can really justify its existence, and we’ll start with Iron Man!

The Mark L armor was really cool in the film because of the things it could do, but the overall design didn’t really impress me. It’s not a bad looking suit, but there’s nothing all that distinctive about it to me either. This model is a bit more rounded and organic looking, which reminds me of the Mark II/III, but it does feature an interesting shape to the Arc Reactor, some cool panel lines, and some interesting placement of the gold trim. The red finish is also nice and glossy and replicates that new car finish that I like to see in my Iron Man armors.

You also get some light blue paint apps to simulate energy glow and the effects of these are hit-and-miss. I think they look OK on most of the figure until you get in close and then they can look rather sloppy. That’s especially the case around the eyes. The back of the figure features a rather unsightly screw to the battery compartment and an on/off switch to take the electronics out of test mode. Yes, if the Try Me window on the box didn’t give it away, this baby has a light up feature!

The light up feature only includes the Arc Reactor, but it is damn bright. I didn’t even have to dim my studio lights that much to make it show up in the pictures. It’s activated by a button just below the chest and I dig how it slowly activates, rather than just flicking on and off. I didn’t light it up for all the pictures, but it should be obvious in the pictures where it is ignited. When I bought this set online, I actually did not realize the light up feature was even there, so it was a cool surprise.

Of course, where there’s cool lights, there’s also a trade-off with articulation. This Mark L has absolutely no articulation in the torso, which is certainly limiting. All the usual points are present in the limbs. That includes rotating hinges in the shoulders, double hinges in the elbows and knees, hinges in the ankles, and swivels in the biceps and thighs. The neck is also ball jointed. The wrist articulation depends on which set of hands you have in place. One set is open hands and they are have no hinges, but will swivel on the pegs. I’m actually OK with that, because previous MCU Armors haven’t been able to get the open hands in full-on Stop! position because of sculpting in the sleeves. I’m happy this one can. And the swap-out fists do have hinges.

You also get a pair of repulsor blast effect parts. These peg into the holes in the open hand palms or the bottoms of the feet and they are indeed the same pieces that came with Invincible Iron Man from the Okoye Wave! Overall, I like this figure a lot and the novelty of the light up Reactor outweighs the hit in torso articulation. Plus, it’s nice to know that if I want that articulation, I could always pick up the Mark L that was part of the Thanos Wave, which has been turning up pretty cheap here and there. Let’s check out Doctor Strange next!

I’m not going to spend a huge amount of time with Doctor Strange, because he’s about 90% of the same sculpt as the one from the Dormammu Wave. In fact, from the neck down the only new sculpting involves his lower left arm, which now has permanently attached magic effect parts, and the Cloak of Levitation, which is an all new piece. This was a solid figure back then and it still is, but unfortunately the new paint on the costume isn’t all that great. The tunic is a lot brighter, and I don’t think it looks as good as the previous release. Also, Hasbro cheaped out on painting the belts. Previously they were painted brown with some gold paint apps on the fixtures, now they’re just left black with just some silver paint on the ring. The gold paint used for the Eye of Agamatto is also brighter and better looking on the older figure.

The permanent effect parts are probably going to irk collectors who are looking to pick this one up as their only MCU Strange, but since it’s my second Legends Strange I’m OK with them. The magic discs are cast in translucent green plastic and they look pretty cool, but I think the way to go here would have been to give him a swap-out arm so they aren’t always there. The new Cloak, on the other hand, is a big improvement over the one from the previous figure. This one pegs into the back of the figure, features a sharper sculpt, brighter colors, and it’s all around less cumberbatchsome. See what I did there?

If you haven’t noticed, the biggest plus of the new figure is the head sculpt, which features what I think is a much better likeness. At the time, I remember being quite impressed with the previous release’s head sculpt, but seeing the two together is like night and day. The new portrait uses Hasbro’s new half-tone style printing method, which looks great. I think they really nailed his eyes and eyebrows perfectly and he’s got a conceited little smirk, which fits the character so well. And in case you’re wondering…

You can indeed swap out heads and put this new one on the older figure, making what I think is very nearly the ultimate Legends MCU Strange. The only downside here is that the new Cloak can’t easily be put onto the older figure, as it doesn’t have a peg hole on the back. That’s a shame, because besides the head sculpt, the Cloak is the only thing I like more on the new figure. The sculpt is sharper, I like the brighter color, the clasps reflect the Infinity War change, and because it pegs into the back, it kind of looks like it’s levitating over his shoulders, which is cool. But with that having been said, I still think the new head on the previous release is the way to go.

Strange’s accessories include a swap out left hand that’s designed to hold the big yellow magic wheel that came with the last Strange figure. These are fine, but we’ve seen them before and I’ve got nothing else to say about them. As it is, this figure adds some nice new display possibilities, but it’s a real mixed bag, with some steps forward and some steps back. I do think that if they were going to make the magic effect parts permanent, they should have rigged them to light up, but now we’re probably adding more cost onto what i already a pretty pricey set. Let’s move on to the final figure in the box, Thanos!

Thanos is probably the most puzzling figure in this box, since it hits at a time when the Thanos Wave is still populating the pegs, and a lot of collectors are cobbling together the Thanos Build-A-Figure. This Thanos, however, was a big draw for me since I still haven’t found the Infinity War Captain America at a good price, and so I’d still be missing the head for my Thanos BAF. That means that I’ll have two bodies and two heads to display on them. Pretty cool. It also means, that I’ll probably just pick up Cap loose on Ebay without the BAF part and save a few bucks. And since I don’t have the Thanos BAF built yet, I can’t really compare the two figures. Still, from what I’ve seen the sculpt looks identical, at least from the neck down, and the only difference should be in paint variances. It’s a great looking figure, even though I wasn’t a huge fan of Thanos’ costume in the film. It’s not bad, it’s just a lot more pedestrian looking than his full-on armor. I get, why they needed to go for something more practical, though, and my lack of enthusiasm for the Infinity War costume wound up saving me money on a Hot Toys figure. Still, I’m happy to have him in Legends scale.

The two heads are pretty good. You get one sort of neutral expression and one with him grimacing (no pun intended) in rage. The former features a rather serene expression and I think he possibly even looks a bit stoned. The second one is my favorite of the pair, and it’s probably the one I’ll be displaying on the figure, at least until I build the other Thanos body.

They did a beautiful job sculpting the Infinity Gauntlet and the quality of gold paint is excellent, as it is on the rest of the figure. The obvious missed opportunity here would have been to include a swap-out fist for the Gauntlet, but I think that would have probably cost more than the extra head-sculpt.

There’s definitely an argument to be had for this being the least essential of all Marvel Studios First Ten Years releases. If you’ve been collecting all the  waves of Marvel Legends, you’re already set with all of these characters. And with an original retail of $70, it can be a hard pill to swallow for just wanting to be a completist. That’s especially the case when you factor in how prolific Legends has been and how collecting the non-stop releases can take a toll on your wallet. That’s not to say there isn’t some cool stuff in here. I’m surprised at how much I dig the light up feature on the Mark L Armor, and the new Cumberbatch likeness on Doctor Strange was also a welcome addition. It also helps that I picked up this set off a Cyber Monday deal, which dropped it down to about $38, making it only about $13 a figure. Not bad, but it would have been an easy pass for me at full price.

One Piece: “Glitter & Glamours” Shiny Venus Nami by Banpresto

I know what you’re thinking. Another One Piece Prize Figure from Banpresto? How about a little variety for Anime Saturday. Sheesh! There were complaints when it was all KanColle, all the time, then complaints about Anime Saturday going away, and now it’s too much One Piece? There’s just no pleasing some people. I’d argue you could never have too much One Piece, but a couple of years back when I was really sick, I did nothing but lay on the sofa for two days, coif NyQuil and watch my One Piece DVDs while I drifted in and out of fevered sleep. To this day, I’m convinced it broke part of my brain. But anyway, I will get to some other stuff. I have plenty of Figmas left to look at. But I don’t have a lot of time this weekend, so I needed something quick. And now that I’m all caught up on Banpresto’s Flag Diamond Ship series, I thought I’d open up some of their Glitter & Glamours figures.

And what better on a chilly Saturday morning than a little hot Nami to warm us up? The G&G series features girls spanning a few different animes, and I can’t detect much in the way of a coherent theme. The packaging hasn’t changed much, as you still get your figure in a fully enclosed box with plenty of shots of the cutie inside.  And after just a few simple assembly steps, Nami will be all ready to brighten up my desk.

The roughly 9-inch scale Glitter & Glamour Nami offers a contrast to Flag Diamond Ship with our gal laid back, relaxing, and reclining in the sun. She’s wearing a white blouse, buttoned once just below her ample bosom, and a two-piece orange bikini. Her long legs are crossed and stretched out in front of her, her right hand is behind her head, while she leans back on her left hand. There’s no base at all, but she doesn’t really need one as she’s very stable and rests evenly on any surface. Her tushie is even flattened a bit to keep her from rolling around.

There’s some nice attention to detail here in the sculpt. Some highlights include the bracelets on her right arm, the single gold bangle on her left wrist, the double-looped chain necklace, and the ruffles ringing her bikini bottom. I dig the coloring as well. Nami’s showing a lot of skin and the skin tone is warm and even and not at all waxy, and her tiny fingernails and toenails are painted red. There are a couple of shades of purple displayed on her bracelets, as well as some shiny gold on the rest of the jewelry. But the real draw here where the coloring is concerned is the beautiful pearlescent white finish on her blouse. It has a striking sheen to it that looks absolutely gorgeous. I’m guessing that’s where the “Shiny” in Shiny Venus comes from.

Of course, the portrait is pure Nami. By now it should be no surprise that Banpresto knows what they’re doing with Nami’s likeness. She glances off to the side with her large, perfectly printed eyes, a cute smile, and her signature flowing orange-red hair. If you look closely, you can even see the pearl studs in her ears.

Heaven knows that there’s no shortage of Nami figures out there on the market, so when Banpresto can add another to the pile and still have her stand out, well that’s no small feat. Oh sure, you can get better figures, but they’re going to cost you, and the fact that Banpresto is delivering quality in this scale at or below the $20 mark is mighty impressive. It doesn’t hurt that Amazon is selling these at competitive prices and with free shipping if you happen to be a Prime member. At that point, these practically become impulse buys for me!