Marvel Legends (Kingpin Wave): Puma by Hasbro

Last week I made a terrible mistake! I thought that Puma here was the last figure I needed to open in order to build Kingpin. Of course, after opening him up I reached for my baggie of BAF parts for this wave, only to find I was missing a leg. I looked everywhere, and right when I was convinced I lost it, the back of the package revealed the answer… I still have one more figure to open after this one in order to build Fisk. And there’s even one more figure after that, albeit one that doesn’t contain a BAF part. And so Fisk will have to wait at least a couple more weeks for his time in the spotlight. In the meantime, let’s check out The Puma!

Before we get started, can I say how much I love the presentation here. I’m sure it’s not intentional, but it looks like Puma is stomping on Wilson Fisk’s dismembered torso. It’s amazing! OK, on to Puma… while he appears to be another dude in a kooky costume, Puma is a pretty interesting character, and one that was introduced in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man when I was about 12 years old and at the height of my childhood Marvel reading. Thomas Firehart is a wealthy businessman, one-time owner of The Daily Bugle, accomplished martial artist, and… oh yeah, capable of transforming himself into a Werepuma thanks to generations of careful genetic calculations. In retrospect Fireheart reminds me of a Native American T’Challa and the significance of that has only served to increase Puma’s street cred in my mind over the years. And while Puma has been immortalized in plastic through lines like the Superhero Squad and Heroclix, I can’t recall him getting an actual action figure before, which makes this release all the more of a welcome treat!

I do believe this is the modern look for the character, as I definitely remember him with shaggy shoulders and a blue and red chest piece. This wave has been heavy with modern redesigns, but Puma is the only example in this assortment of a modern look that I actually dig. The costume is much more muted, consisting of a brown and mustard colored top and trousers, which is achieved only through paint on the buck. It’s got something of a brown-costumed Wolverine thing going on, and that ain’t a bad thing. New sculpting for the figure’s costume includes the gold belt, which is attached snugly around the waist, and a pair of gold bands around the lower legs, each of which end in sculpted hair. These pieces are also held on by friction, but they stay put quite well. The costume is rounded out by a gold band on Puma’s left bicep, with two ceremonial feathers coming off the back, and a toothy necklace that rests on his shoulders. Of course, you also get new sculpting for the hands and feet.

Another thing I really dig about this look is how the proportions feel a bit wonky and lend credibility to his animal transformation. The arms seem unnaturally longer, although that may just be an illusion caused by those big grasping claws. The muscles seem extra bulbous too, particularly in the biceps. He has tufts of sculpted hair coming off his forearms, some textured hair on his arms, and those rings of fur on his ankles also reinforce the uncanny look of his profile.

And that brings us to the portrait, which is an absolutely fantastic sculpt. Puma is captured in mid roar with his mouth open wide and showcasing his fangs. He’s got a broad cat-like nose, beady eyes, and pointed ears, along with furry sideburns. His sculpted hair is coiffed close to his skull and there are a pair of ceremonial feathers jutting down off the back. Everything about this head sculpt conveys fierce animal rage, and I love it! If I had one complaint, I think the head should have been a wee bit bigger.

Obviously, I demand my Puma men be agile, and thanks to Legends basic articulation standards, he does quite well in this category. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, double-hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps. The legs are ball jointed at the waist, double-hinged in the knees, and have swivels at the thighs. The ankles have both hinges and lateral rockers. The torso swivels at the waist, has an ab-crunch hinge, and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed.

So far, Puma is my favorite figure in this wave. No, that may not seem like high praise, since Silver Sable is the only other figure here that I really liked. But this guy turned out great! Add to the fact that this is his first release in the Legends line, and that makes him a long overdue character to add to my shelf! The only bad thing here? He’s reminding me how badly I want a Tigra figure in the new Legends line. Let’s go, Hasbro. Make it happen!

Mythic Legions: Carpathias by The Four Horsemen

Oh boy, do I miss Mythic Legions Wednesdays! The whole hiatus thing really threw a monkey-wrench into my progress through the Advent of Decay series. And as long as that’s the case, today I’m going to skip back in time to the original Mythic Legions Kickstarter to check out a figure that I passed on the first time around and have been regretting it ever since… The Vampire Carpathias!

Cutting figures from the first Kickstarter to meet my budget was a sad thing. But that should be obvious seeing as I had to let Carpathias go. Of all the figures that had to be culled for the sake of budget, I think this guy hit the hardest. And it only got worse when Advent of Decay came a long and gave us even more vampires. Fortunately, we got a second chance at some of those figures with the All-Stars pre-order and I was finally able to remedy that terrible mistake. Let’s check him out!

Like many of the armored warriors of the initial assortment, Carpathias’ armor mixes up the body parts we first saw used on Sir Gideon and Gorgo. In this case, his arms, torso, and gorget are Gorgo’s, and the legs, belt, hip armor, and lower sash are from Geoffrey. And just so that the top half isn’t all from one figure and the bottom from another, Carpathias wears Sir Geoffrey’s shoulder armor. In addition to the simple kit-bashing, the armor is given a fresh coat of paint with a black base and lovely purple accents, and the two make for an absolutely gorgeous deco. The whole thing is topped off with some meticulous silver paint detailing on the buckles and rivets. I can’t express how much I love the look of this armor. They should have sent a poet. A vampire poet. I just don’t have the right words.

And that brings us to this goddamn glorious head sculpt. The vampires of Mythoss are a loving nod back to The Nosferatu, only a lot uglier. The bald pate is flanked by two super long and pointed ears. The brow ridge is a crinkled knot, the eyes are milky and without pupils, the nose is straight off a bat, and the mouth is gruesomely distorted to make room for those yellowed central fangs. I think I’m safe in declaring that this work of art is my favorite depiction of a vampire ever.

Despite Carpathias’ unholy heritage, his weapons are actually pretty standard stuff. He comes with the standard cruciform-style broadsword we’ve seen issued with many of the knights and a stout dagger with a nearly matching wheel pommel. Both weapons have silver blades and hilts, with black grips. Of course, you also get the ubiquitous brown sword belt. These are all great looking weapons, and I’m a big fan of their generic utilitarian design.

Carpathias also comes with the spear we’ve seen so many times before. This one is painted all in silver. Unlike the sword and dagger, this one is growing a little less welcome these days. It’s a decent enough weapon, but we’ve seen it so many times, and I really prefer when they paint the shaft brown.

There were times when I considered paying scalper prices for this guy on Ebay, and those urges got even stronger once I got the vampires from Advent of Decay. Luckily T4H did the All-Stars sale and I was able to get him without dropping all that extra cash. Although now that I have him in hand, I think it still would have been money well spent. The Vampire faction has become one of my favorite races of Mythoss and Carpathias looks damn nice when flanked by a couple of the Vampire Legion Builders or conferring on courtly matters with Lucretia. And I’m happy to report that I still have one more Vampire from Advent of Decay to open. It probably won’t be the next one I review, but it’ll be coming up eventually!

Star Wars “The Force Awakens:” Captain Phasma 1:6 Scale Figure by Hot Toys

The Force Awakens, eh? How topical is that? Well, they did just drop a sorta-trailer for The Rise of Skywalker, so I guess that’s something. Anyway, today’s review may feel like I’m digging all the way down to the bottom of my backlog, but in reality I just got this figure a few months back. A certain e-tailer was tossing out large credit incentives to help them unload their unsold Hot Toys stock, and this one was just too good to pass up because it basically reduced the figure to $75. I know, that’s not a ringing endorsement to start the review with, but fair is fair. And I don’t mind stating ahead of time that without the incentive, I wouldn’t have otherwise bought Phasma. But am I glad I did? Let’s find out…

Here’s the box, and it’s so bare bones and completely uninteresting, that I’m not going to spend any time on it. If you’ve picked up any of Hot Toys’ Star Wars figures, then you know what to expect from the presentation here. And so, with a package not worth talking about, I’ll take the time here to explain that I decided to dredge up Phasma to review today because I had fun looking at the Stormtrooper a few weeks back, and while the new trailer for The Rise of Skywalker did nothing for me, I did re-watch Solo and The Force Awakens recently and had a good time doing it. OK, let’s check out the figure!

Like the recent Hot Toys Stormtrooper, Captain Phasma is an incredibly simple release, but she makes up for that by looking so damn good! Let’s face it, on the big screen, Phasma failed as a character, but as a high end action figure? It’s the perfect canvas for that sublime chromed out First Order Stormtrooper armor. Yes, she’s so good, I can forget that she was another non-character in a cool outfit. The figure body is appropriately taller than the First Order Stormtrooper (which I promise I will get around to reviewing some day), and dressed in a pleather undersuit, which looks great peeking out between those armor plates, but really cramps the figure’s articulation something fierce. I also dig how it’s ribbed around the arms and neck. It’s quite reminiscent of the old Cylons from Classic Battlestar Galactica and that’s why I love it so much. The armor itself is worn in pieces over the bodysuit and for the most part these pieces are held fast by friction. Each of these pieces sport an absolutely dazzling reflective finish along with some moderate rust effects to give the suit a weathered and well-worn look.

In addition to her suit of armor, Phasma’s other fashion accessory is her flowing cape. This garment fastens together around the neck and is easily added or removed simply by popping the head. You can certainly display her without it, but the spacing between the helmet and the shoulders looks awkward to me when she isn’t wearing it. This is especially the case from behind where you get a glimpse of extra neck, and the zipper to the bodysuit as well. The cape is odd in that it looks refined and finished on the interior liner and ratty on the outside. After doing some research it looks to be accurate, but I didn’t get that sense from my memory of the film. It also has a tailored red stripe running down the edge. The cape is worn in a lopsided fashion to cover more of her left side and leave her gun hip unencumbered.

The helmet sculpt looks great and features a lot of the pitting and rusty speckling as seen on the rest of the armor. I like the recessed textured screen that makes up the “mouth” and the visor is dark and foreboding.

As if attempting to beef up the contents a bit, Hot Toys loaded Phasma up with hands, and I have to say that a lot of these just seem pointless. She has relaxed hands, slightly more relaxed hands, fists, and hands to interact with her weapon. Sure they all serve their different purposes, but outside of this review, I doubt I’ll ever swap them out. She’s destined to be holding her rifle all the time. Another reason I’m less than enthusiastic about changing them is the fact that the pegs come out in the hands each time, requiring me to grab some pliers to get them out. It just isn’t worth all that fussing to me.

As we’ve already seen, the only other accessory in the box is her customized F-11D Blaster rifle, and I am absolutely in love with how this weapon turned out. The details are so sharp and the platinum finish with black trim is drop-dead gorgeous to me. It includes a scope, a telescoping stock, and a swing down grip under the barrel. The accessory is also magnetized so it can be worn on her right hip without the need for a holster. The gun works quite well in her weapon-holding hand and she looks great wielding it!

Our last stop is the ubiquitous figure stand and, like the packaging, there’s no surprises here. It’s a typical hexagonal stand with a crotch-cradle post. The surface of the base features the First Order emblem and the front panel says “Star Wars” and “Captain Phasma.” It does it’s job, and that’s about it.

Are you looking for that one great Hot Toys figure that shows what the company can do and really feels like solid value for your money? Well, Captain Phasma probably ain’t it. Oh, she’s a great looking figure, and I honestly can’t complain about any must-have accessories that have been left out. But in the end, I just can’t see the value here. This figure retailed for over $250 and there’s precious little in the box to account for that price tag. There’s no likeness rights, no complex and realistic portrait, no die-cast parts, and accessories that amount to a pile of hands and a gun. It’s hard not to look at some of my Marvel figures that cost less and came with so much more. It’s no wonder this figure hung around long enough to need credit incentives to get rid of her. I don’t know, maybe the chrome and weathering technique on the armor was some kind of crazy expensive process, but I think this was just an example of Hot Toys getting greedy to sell a figure of a character that a lot of people wanted even before they saw the movie. But, I like her well enough and I was able to pick up a TBLeague Phicen figure with the credit, so I consider this purchase a win-win!

Marvel Legends (Kingpin Wave): Red Goblin by Hasbro

Happy Marvel Monday, folks! By the time you read this, I thought I may already be dead! But right now it looks like Hurricane Dorian is going to take a hard right and steer away from my position here in SW Florida. And thank God for that! I had a fear that I might have had to use unopened Marvel Legends from my backlog in place of sandbags to keep the flood waters out. But for now, let’s assume I’m going to survive, and we’ll have a look at another figure from the Kingpin Wave. Oh, look! It’s Red Goblin. Sonovabitch!!!

Even with all the waves of modern Legends that I’ve completed, I don’t think I’ve ever been this dejected about having to buy a figure for a BAF part. I can remember finding Red Gobby here on the peg and seeing Kingpin’s leg and being so happy, and then reminding myself that I’m about to fork over $20 to take this figure home. So let’s get this over with.

OK, it’s Norman Osborne merged with Carnage. Interesting idea, I guess. But, what a goddamn mess of a design. It looks like something I might have doodled on my Trapper Keeper when I was 14 years old and hopped up on root beer and pixie stix. Now keep in mind, I did not hate this design in the comic. I just think it’s something that does not translate well to action figure form, and it’s so hard for me to put my finger on exactly why it doesn’t work for me.

I think a big part is just the way the buck is painted. It looked all sorts of cool and sinister on the page, but here it strikes me as just a guy wearing a crimson leotard with the black markings painted on it. Then you have the giant, unposeable tail tacked on the back. I honestly forgot that he even had that and to revisit some of the panels to remind myself.

The tendrils don’t really work for me either. At least the mess of ones rising from his back are removable, as that piece just pegs into the hole. But you still have the permanent ones coming off his forearms and lower legs. Again, I’m just writing this off to working OK on paper and not in plastic. Also, at first I thought his feet were just lifted directly from the Symbiote Spidey in this wave, but I was surprised to see that they are actually different sculpts.

And the cherry on top of this mess is the portrait. Again, it’s tough for me to put my finger on exactly what happened here. I think a big part of it is his set of bushy skunk eyebrows. I did not come away from that comic thinking he had big tufts of fur above his eyes, but that’s exactly what’s portrayed here. I feel like the eyes should have been more narrow and the pupils smaller. I guess they did a good job on his mouth, and I do dig how it’s soft plastic and can sort of open and close.

Red Gobby comes with one accessory, and that’s his Carnage pumkin bomb. He can actually hold it fairly well in his right claw, but that’s about all I have to say on the matter.

This one is a swing and a miss for me. I’m not sure whether to blame Hasbro or just the design, but whatever the case, I wasn’t keen on this guy when I bought him and I’m no more fond of him now that I’ve got him opened up and spent some time with him. But hey, I’ve got another Kingpin part, and that means next Monday I’m going to wrap up this wave by opening Puma and cobbling me together a Fisk BAF.