Marvel Legends (Lizard Wave): Lasher by Hasbro

Last week, I looked at Mysterio, a figure from the Lizard Wave that cost me about double retail to pick up. Today, I’m opening the second ball-buster from this wave that I had to pay double for and it’s Lasher. Both of these were required to build Lizard, but the main difference is that I actually wanted Mysterio in my collection, so that one didn’t hurt quite so bad. Lasher? Mmm… not so much. I’m going to go through this guy quick, because I’ve got a big review to write for later in the week.

I’ve said before that I’m not a huge fan of the extended family of Symbiotes. And that being the case, Lasher here is a real reach. I found the whole Life Foundation plot to be pretty contrived and silly, but I realize that I’m in the minority when it comes to the Symbiotes. From what I understand they tend to sell comics, so it’s only natural that Marvel will drum up whatever they can to get move of them in there. I’ll bet they sell action figures too, which is why we’ve been seeing a lot of these guys showing up in Legends lately.

Lasher uses one of the Spider-Man bodies, which includes those lateral shoulder crunches, which are always a nice surprise. New sculpting comes in the form of the creature-like hands and feet, which are par for the course when it comes to the Symbiote figures. The body itself is matte black with a slight metallic green wash and you get green splotchy marks on his torso and neck. The head is classic big-eyed Spider-Man with more of the splotches. There’s nothing particularly striking about this figure to me, but it surely gets the job done. From the back you can see four different shaped sockets for his tendrils. These should be readily familiar to anyone who has picked up Venom or other Symbiote figures.

The tendrils go a long way to make Lasher more interesting, but each one is designed to go in a specific slot in his back, so there isn’t a lot of room to mix-up display options. I think ball joints would have been a much better way to go here, as they would have allowed articulation and a choice on where you want to plug in each of the tendrils. The upper ones are designed to curl over his shoulders and the lower ones hang down and curl forward a bit. I do dig the coloring on these, as the metallic green is a lot more pronounced. It’s a shame the whole figure didn’t have this kind of finish.

The articulation here shouldn’t be a surprise, especially since this body has been seen before. The legs have rotating hinges at the hips, swivels in the thighs, double-hinges in the knees, and the ankles have both hinges and lateral rockers. The arms feature that extra crunch in the shoulders, along with the usual rotating hinges, there are swivels in the biceps, double-hinges in the elbows, and the wrists are rotating hinges. There’s a swivel in the waist, an ab-crunch hinge in the torso, and the neck is ball jointed and hinged. As mentioned earlier, there’s no real articulation in the tendrils, and they can get in the way of posing. You just kind of have to work with them.

And that’s all I have to say about this guy. He’s not a bad figure if you’re into this sort of thing, but for me a lot of these Symbiotes just blur together. Remember that wave that was all Symbiotes except for Typhoid Mary? Well, there’s a reason I skipped that wave except for Mary. And that was the first wave of Marvel Legends that I sat out since it made it’s triumphant return.  Even at $20, Lasher would have been an easy pass, but toss in the Lizard head and he was worth double that. Next Marvel Monday, I’ll open the last figure in this wave, Spider-Woman, and finally take a look at the Lizard Build-A-Figure.

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Women of Dynamite: Vampirella Limited Edition Statue by Dynamite

I know, I haven’t been back since Marvel Monday. My apologies for the lack of content this week, but that pesky thing called life took its toll on me and my time, along with plans to write about and photograph toys, crumbled. I did, however, have a little time today to check in with something, and since October is in full swing, why not check out a spooky statue. And by spooky I mean erotic. And by erotic I mean, it’s Vampirella! This was the first release in the Women of Dynamite series of statues, and one that I’ve had my eye on for a while. I mean, it’s Vampirella based on J. Scott Campbell’s artwork. How badly do you think you need to twist my arm? Alas, the paint quality on these statues have a reputation for being infamously bad, so I’ve stayed away. But when Dynamite subsequently re-released Vampirella and said, “We painted her good this time, honest!” that was enough for me to give her a try. Well, that and a deep discount, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself.

The Temptress from Drakulon comes in a fully enclosed box with a lot of artwork and shots of the statue. I really dig the presentation here, as it sort of reminds me of the old Aurora model kit boxes, and that sure ain’t a bad thing. Oddly enough, one of the panels is orientated in landscape format, but it does this to facilitate showing the statue from all angles. The packaging calls out that it’s based on the art of J. Scott Campbell and that it’s sculpted by Jason Smith. One panel actually states that the statue was “meticulously painted” which probably went over big if you got one of the original run. Inside the box, Vampirella comes sandwiched inside a styrofoam brick and there’s a certificate taped on one end with the hand-numbered limitation. In my case, I got #970 of 1969. You may also note the II beside the number, denoting that this is from the second production run. Vampirella is approximately 12-inches of cold-cast porcelain and comes fully assembled for display.

When it comes to composition, Vampirella can’t get more iconic than this pose. She stands with one knee drawn slightly in front of the other and with her cape clutched in each of her hands, trailing behind her. This piece may not win any points for originality, but it’s sure to be a favorite with the fans, and yes that includes me. And since the first thing I did when I opened her was scrutinize the paint, let’s just go ahead and start there. Overall, the precision of the application is actually pretty solid. There are certainly some uneven lines between her skimpy suit and skin, but nothing outrageous, and certainly nothing that stands out if I’m just admiring her on the shelf. Other areas, like the lines around the tops of her boots or the edges of her jewelry are notably better. As for the quality of the paint itself, I dig the high gloss on her boots, the gold leaf is fine, and the red used for her outfit is OK, if maybe a little flat. The skin tone is appropriately on the pale side, but it’s still an even tone with no scratches or rubbing, which is sometimes prevalent on these pieces. All in all, the paintwork here isn’t going to win any prizes for best of show, but based on some of the atrocities I’ve seen from the first run of this statue, I think Dynamite succeeded in stepping things up.

As for the sculpt, I think they did a beautiful job on her figure and it certainly fits Mr. Campbell’s rather distinctive art style. She’s got curves in all the right places, legs that go on forever, a tushie that won’t quit, and a bosom that is barely contained by her wardrobe. But let’s be honest, it isn’t even really trying. She isn’t showing a whole lot in the way of musculature, but you do get some wrinkles on her suit, and the folds of her cape certainly look natural. But when it comes to replicating the great J. Scott Campbell, the body is not usually the problem, it’s the portrait…

And here’s where Vampirella takes a bit of a hit. Now, to be clear, I don’t think this is a bad portrait at all. Maybe the hair is a little chunky and the eyes can seem a little bulbous from certain angles, but overall, I think it looks good. The paint application here is also especially precise on the lips and eyes. But does it invoke Campbell’s work? Not to me. Maybe there’s a hint of it in there, but not enough to really sell it. As a result, the Vampirella fan in me is quite pleased, while the J. Scott Campbell fan in me is rather disappointed. It’s nowhere near what we’ve seen out of Sideshow’s Abbey Chase or Fairy Tail Statues this past year, and sure those are more expensive pieces, but I’d even point to McFarlane’s Danger Girl figures from many years back as more accurate representations of Campbell’s work. Let’s move on down to the base…

I love this base both in design and execution. The circular dais of stone with sculpted crossbones and skulls supports a mound of dirt with skulls and various other human remains. The paintwork on the bones is excellent and reeks of age and off-colored decay. Her high-heeled boots are perfectly placed on them, triumphant and impossibly sure-footed. If only I could end things there, but here’s where the Quality Control on my statue took a huge and unexpected hit. Check this shit out…

Yeah, this crud is all over the side. At first, I thought it was some kind of intentionally disgusting weathering, but nope, it’s unintentionally disgusting goo. It looks like some kind of grease. It has no real odor. And luckily, based on a small area I tried to clean, it looks like it will come off with a little effort. But… Why? How? What kind of QC allows something like this to go out? How do they miss this and how many statues went out like this? It’s a shame that Dynamite went through all the effort to re-release this statue with improved paint quality only to allow something this obvious and easily avoided to get through. If you flip the statue over, there’s a full plate disclosing the artist, sculptor and the numbering of the piece. And as you can see, more of the goo carried on down here. This bit might be tougher to clean without smudging the numbering, but I’ll likely give it a try. But what a shame!

Even when the second run of this piece came out, my hesitancy kept me from pulling the trigger. It took a clearance sale at an online retailer and a price of $50, which is around a third of the original selling price. And as it turns out, I’m pretty satisfied with this purchase. I don’t think that would have been the case had I picked it up at the original price, especially not when I have to clean goop off of the base, but all in all, not a bad deal. It’s not as evocative of J. Scott Campbell’s art as I would have liked, but it is a nice representation of Vampirella for my statue shelves. But does it give me the confidence to invest in one of the other Women of Dynamite statues I’ve been looking at? Mmm… not quite. At least not unless another sale comes along.

Marvel Legends (Lizard Wave): Mysterio by Hasbro

I don’t often have a lot of trouble completing waves of Marvel Legends. Sometimes there’s a figure I have to pay a couple more bucks for on Ebay, but between Amazon and local stores, I do alright. And then there’s the goddamn Lizard Wave, which had two figures confounding me since all the way back in April of last year, when I began reviewing this assortment. Well, a few weeks ago I eventually gave in and used some Prime Rewards points to grab Mysterio off of Amazon for a crazy scalper price.

And here he is finally in my dirty mitts and getting him has been quite the journey. A while back a certain online retail offered him for pre-order, saying that Hasbro was doing a re-issue. I plopped down the pre-order and stopped looking for him. A short while later they cancelled it and said, Whoops! He’s not being re-issued after all. Sorry! Then when I finally bought him from an Amazon scalper, they sent me Spider-Punk instead. I had to ship it back for an exchange. Sheesh, Mysterio, you’ve been nothing but trouble!

Aw, but check him out! Even if I set aside the coveted Lizard leg BAF part, I think he was well worth the effort, if not the money. Mysterio comes wearing his classic outfit, consisting of a green buck with a cut grid pattern. His boots and gauntlets are also both original sculpts and cast in a brighter, pearlescent green, which looks somewhat ethereal.  The sculpted detail on his squared off forearms is particularly well done, with an ornately occult flavor to them. No, this may not be the most exciting Legends body out there, but it sure fits Mysterio perfectly. Also, huge bonus points for the hovering cape. It’s a design trope that I always love to see, and I’m always surprised how well it works when fleshed out in 3D plastic. And there’s some damn nice texturing on the interior of the plastic garment.

Of course, from behind, Mysterio is one big slab o’cape, so there’s nothing to see here. Because the cape is attached to the helmet, it stays on quite well just by gravity alone. And amazingly enough, I did not find it at all intrusive while playing with this figure.

And then there’s his glorious fishbowl helmet, which is recreated here with frosted clear plastic. It’s an excellent effect, as it doesn’t allow you to quite see in, but you can catch a glimpse of the horror that’s lurking behind it. That horror is a creamy skull with horrific Elder God style tentacles coming off of it. An interesting aside, the figure has been produced with this head and a green one as well. I want to say that the green one was the initial run and probably harder to find, but that’s just my guess. I do like this one a lot because the coloring makes it a lot more difficult to make out through the helmet and contributes to the creepy idea that there’s just some kind of ethereal gas floating around inside that globe.

Mysterio’s articulation is no mystery. The arms feature rotating hinges int he shoulders, bicep swivels, double-hinges in the elbows, and pegged hinges in the wrists. The torso features a swivel in the waist, an ab-crunch hinge under the chest, and the head is ball jointed. The legs have rotating hinges in the hips, double-hinges in the knees, swivels in the thighs, and the ankles have both hinges and lateral rockers. My figure does have a bit of an issue with his right shoulder, where it’s loose and doesn’t always support the arm being up. From what I’ve seen it’s not an uncommon problem with this release.

 

Mysterio comes with two effect parts and these are meant to simulate the horrors of his trickery. They’re cast in a very cool translucent green plastic and represent swirls of gas and tentacles. They are specifically sculpted to attach to his ankles and rest on the floor, but one of them works pretty well when extending from his wrist. You can also attach them from the front or back to offer a little variety to your display. I think he would have been a good candidate for the Hex Power effect parts that clip onto the wrists. Not that I’d rather have those than these, but both would have been nice. Still, I can always borrow the ones that came with Polaris. They’re more yellow than green, but they work OK.

In the end, Mysterio cost me $45. Or at least $45 worth of Prime Rewards points, which is really the same thing. Was he worth it? Yeah, pretty much. I’m not saying that in and of himself, he’s a $45 figure, but he’s a character that I absolutely needed on my Legends shelf and I damn sure needed that Lizard leg too. The way I look at it, I get a whole bunch of my Marvel Legends at pretty good discounts if I’m patient, so when a figure like this one gets away and costs me extra, it all works out in the end. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the only figure in this wave that cost me the big bucks. Next week, we’ll check out the other one.

Star Wars Black: The Mandalorian by Hasbro

This week was Triple Force Friday where Disney launched merchandise for the upcoming Rise of Skywalker film, as well as a Star Wars video game and TV series. Now, sadly I have almost zero interest in the upcoming movie, Yeah I’m at a weird crossroads with Star Wars. I’ve got a case of franchise fatigue, but buying the toys is a tough habit to break when I’ve been doing it all my life. Fortunately, there is still one spark that may re-kindle my love for this franchise, and that’s The Mandalorian series coming to Disney+ next month. And today I’m checking out the 6-inch Black Series version of the titular character.

It’s safe to say that I was completely blown away by The Mandalorian trailer. I was expecting something flat. stuffy, and dire like Game of Thrones with Star Wars characters. What we got was exciting, explosive, and downright cool. To me it looked more like a Star Wars movie than, well… the last Star Wars movie. If they can make the story and characters work, I think this thing is going to be hugely enjoyable. But all of that is still wrapped in mystery. Even the blurb on the back of this box doesn’t betray any of the main character’s secrets. So let’s open him up and check him out. I’ll note here that this figure was also released with a metallic paint job as a Target Exclusive, and I’ll also be taking a look at that one in the near future.

Yup, this is basically a show built around a guy in a cool-looking set of space armor, and Mando here definitely fits the bill. And while the similarities are certainly there, I was pleased at just how different this armor is from that of our friend Boba Fett. Mando’s ensemble looks more rustic and patchwork, and Hasbro did a beautiful job sculpting in all of those details. I am particularly pleased with the sense of depth here, and although nearly everything is just sculpted as part of the figure, it really does look like we’re getting layers of plate armor and belts worn on top of an underlying suit. For example, the mismatched upper leg plates actually protrude up and away from the hips as they cross those thigh swivels. That’s cool. There are sculpted straps over the halves on the lower right leg armor, and the strap of whatever those little canisters are is neatly painted.

The shoulder armor are separate pieces and cast in soft plastic to help the shoulder articulation along. The cross strap and pistol belt are also separately sculpted and worn by the figure, as is the cape, which hangs around his neck and on his right shoulder.

The head sculpt looks more similar to Jango’s than Boba’s, but maybe that’s just me. As many have pointed out, it’s missing the iconic range-finder, and I find this helmet to be more form fitting than Fett’s. It’s also sporting an all silver paint job, with some blemishes of dirt, which interestingly is at odds from what we’ve seen int he trailer where his helmet is clean and shiny. Of course, the T-shaped visor is painted black, further shrouding the man in mystery. While on the subject, all the paint on this figure is well done. From the silver on the buckles and clips, to the weathering on the armor plates.

The articulation here is fairly straightforward for a Black Series figure. I think the only big surprise for me was the lack of swivels in the biceps. Instead, Mando is sporting rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. The legs have rotating hinges in the hips, double-hinges in the knees, swivels in the thighs, and the ankles have both hinges and lateral rockers. There’s a ball joint hidden up under the torso, and the neck is ball jointed. Yup, he’s pretty fun to play around with, although he does seem to be a little back-heavy.

The Mandalorian comes with a pistol, which is not dissimilar to the one usually included with Boba Fett. This one strikes me as having more of a 19th Century American West quality to it, which suits the outlaw frontier flavor of the series trailer. The pistol fits nicely into the figure’s right hand and the trigger finger threads through the guard comfortably. It can also be kept in the holster on his right hip.

He also comes with his rifle, and I am both in love with, and very curious about, this distinctive weapon. It looks like a composite between an antique Moroccan firing piece, a Winchester, and a… tuning fork? Yeah, that last bit was immediately identified by fans as a homage to Boba Fett’s weapon in the Star Wars Holiday Special. It looks like it’s some kind of plug bayonet, but in reality, I’m thinking that the energy blast produced by the rifle is emitted from these prongs. Either way, I dig it, and Hasbro did a wonderful job on this little plastic version. The stock and furniture is painted brown, the receiver is gun metal gray, and the prongs are silver. It’s a lot of detail and color variation on an accessory in this scale. I also appreciate that the figure can hold it well and even assume a firing position, by drawing it up to his face.

There’s a tab on the side of the gun that looks like it’s intended to be a magazine, but it doubles as a tab that fits into a slot on his back, passing through a slot on his shoulder strap, so he can wear the rifle on his back. Now, I say “fits” but that may be pushing it. Mine barely goes in at all. I can make it work, but it doesn’t take much to knock it off.

If you’ve been around FFZ long enough, you may know that I love getting Star Wars figures of characters before they appear on the big screen. It’s a great way to first experience all the nuances of their look, and get familiar with them before seeing them in action. It also let’s me enjoy them as a blank slate for a little while. I fill my mind with all sorts of assumptions and imaginings of what they are going to be like, and it really brings back the magic of being a kid again. I’ll only have about a month left until more about this character is revealed, but in the meantime, he’s a very exciting figure to add to my collection.

Gremlins: Ultimate Gizmo by NECA

It’s October, and that means I’m going to try to get to a lot more horror and creature-related reviews leading up to Halloween. And so, I was going to start digging into some of my Ultimate Gremlins this week, but then I realized I had yet to review Ultimate Gizmo, a figure that NECA gave us quite a while back. Fair is fair, so I’m going to skip all the way down to one of the lower levels of my Pile of Shame™ and open up Gizmo. Gremlins is a flick that I am long overdue to re-watch. As a kid, I was pretty obsessed with it when it came out, and I can remember LJN’s Gizmo was one of my favorite toys of that year. At least it was until I got their Stripe figure, but that’s a story for another time.

NECA has the Ultimate Series packaging down to routine. The figure comes in a collector friendly box with a front flap secured by Velcro. Open it up and you get a window showing the figure inside. The front has some promotional art for the film and you get plenty of shots of the figure itself around the rest of the box. Best of all, these all line up beautifully on the bookshelf, which is why they are some of the very few action figure boxes that I actually keep. Not to mention it gives me a place to store all the accessories, and Gizmo here comes with an awful lot of extras.

And that’s to be expected, because Gizmo is quite small. No, he’s not actually in scale with the normal 7-inch scale of the Ultimates Series, because if he was he would be absolutely tiny. I’m not sure exactly what scale you’d call him, but I’d venture to guess maybe close to Quarter Scale. Either way, I will include a shot with one of NECA’s regular figures at the end for comparison. In hindsight, it seems like a good size for him, especially now that we’ve got some Gremlins. As always, the sculpting here is excellent. NECA is famous for doing their research and really digging into the details, and that’s quite apparent here. All the little tufts of fur are sculpted in and looks about as good as anyone can get plastic fur to look. The exposed skin on the ears, fingers, toes, and around the mouth is also quite detailed with wrinkles, creases, and veins. All this is backed up with some fantastic coloring. Obviously the articulation is limited for such a little guy. The head is ball jointed, you get rotating hinges in the shoulders and elbows. There’s some rotation in the wrists and hips, and you even get some ear articulation. So far, I’ve got no complaints from the front. If you turn him around, the only thing here to interrupt the sculpt is the ball in the back of his head, and we’re going to talk about that right now…

The track ball in the back of the head is designed to move Gizmo’s peepers. Other action figure developers have messed around with the idea of movable eyes, but most of those that I’ve seen have been dealing with larger and more expensive figures. In theory it’s a great idea, especially when you’re trying to pad the value on a figure this small by giving it extra features. In practice, it just doesn’t work so well. For starters, the eyes on my figure rarely line up right, making him look more like Daffy than Gizmo. I think it’s because the eyes are too loose and there’s a lot of play in the movement. It is possible to get them aligned properly from time to time, particularly if he’s looking extreme right or left. The second issue here is that the figure employs different face plates for different expressions, and the eyes are rather deep set because of this and it makes them look extra creepy. The three expressions include smiling Gizmo, sad Gizmo, and happy with mouth open Gizmo.

It’s one of those situations where I want to applaud NECA for trying something cool and new here, but after seeing the results, I’d rather they just put regular eyes on each of the face plates. Is it enough to ruin the figure for me? Nah, truth be told I can usually get a decent look out of him, but as you can no doubt tell from some of the photos, sometimes the eyes are too deep set to even really see all that clearly. OK, enough about Gizmo’s peepers… let’s check out some accessories.

The box includes enough goodies to recreate a couple of scenes from the movie. The first is a Santa Claus hat, which is sculpted in plastic and designed to fit fairly well on Gizmo’s head. There’s a notch for one of the ears to rest in and secure it, so long as you don’t move him around too much once it’s on. I’m a little surprised that they didn’t go cloth on this one, but the plastic looks good.

Following the Christmas theme, he also comes with a trumpet and a candy cane. These are all great display pieces, but Gizmo only has the one pair of hands, and they aren’t really designed to work with the accessories. The candy cane will hook around his wrists, and after a bit of fiddling about, I was able to get him to hold the trumpet.

The second assortment of accessories centers around Gizmo’s Rambo moment, and I really had mixed results with this. The headband is actually attached to a fourth face plate and it king of just floats on one side. I may try to glue it down on that end, but right out of the box, it just doesn’t look right. He also has a rope belt, his paperclip bow, and his arrow fashioned out of a pencil and bottle of liquid paper. These are all fine looking accessories, but once again, he just isn’t designed to use them very well.

Despite all the griping about the eyes, I actually dig this little figure quite a bit. Yeah, I would have liked him a lot more with just regular painted eyes in each of the different face plates, but hey… kudos to NECA for trying something new. To be fair, I was originally going to give this figure a pass, but went back and tracked him down after the Ultimate Gremlins started hitting. Luckily the local Target has been a prime source for NECA figures and I was able to find him right on the shelf, along with the Gremlins. Maybe next week, I’ll feed this guy after midnight and we can check out some of them Gremlins!

Marvel Legends: The Grandmaster and The Collector by Hasbro

In addition to the non-stop torrential rush of Marvel Legends waves, Hasbro has also been cranking up the multi-pack releases. And I’m just talking the normal retail stuff. To make matters even more challenging for the collectors’ wallets,  they’ve also included a lavishly packaged two-pack for SDCC this year. Pulled straight from the MCU flicks Guardians of the Galaxy and Thor: Ragnarok comes The Collector and The Grandmaster!

The snazzy packaging looks like a drum with windows on each side to show the figures. It actually opens up too, so both figures can be displayed side-by-side in half-tubes. Flip it around and you get the poster art from each flick on the back panels. This is some really nice packaging, but mine was fairly worn even by the time it got to me, and I don’t think it’s going to be easy to store, so I’ll likely be getting rid of it, like I do most of my Legends packaging. Let’s start with The Grandmaster first!

Grandmaster is sort of the non-essential figure here, since he was issued at retail with a different head, and in a two-pack with Korg, a set that still sits unopened on my Pile of Shame. I will get around to it eventually, but this will be my first experience with the Grandmaster figure. Let me say straightaway, that while this is a great looking figure, it isn’t all that much fun to play around with. A lot of that has to do with his lavish golden robe, which is sculpted in soft plastic, is fairly form-fitting, and thereby limits the articulation in the legs and torso quite a bit. This might have been a really good time to try some soft-goods, especially since Hasbro recently cranked out a golden cloth robe for a certain guy over in the Star Wars Black Series department. Indeed, pretty soon I’ll be checking out a Black Series figure with some outstanding cloth robes! Now that I think of it, cloth robes would have been a great idea for this particular SDCC release, to further set it apart from the retail figure. Now, with all that having been said, the robe still looks nice, it’s sculpted with a faint texture, and it pegs together right where the sculpted red belt is meant to be tied. I also really dig how it bunches up on the floor behind him.

Under the plastic robe, he dons a pair of leisure pants, which have an otherworldly purple-platinum sheen and a long sleeve shirt, which is blue and red with a wide red cummerbund worn at the waist. His eccentric outfit is finished off with a pair of funky gold sandals. Grandmaster sports a sculpted ring on his right hand, and painted-blue nail polish on his fingers and toes.

The Jeff Goldblum likeness is pretty solid, especially from certain angles. As mentioned earlier, the head sculpt is the primary exclusive thing about this figure. Here he’s smiling, whereas the retail version has a more neutral expression. Your personal preferences may vary, but I really dig this portrait and I think it captures a lot of the madcap personality of the character. As usual the half-tone printing for the facial features does a fine job for the detail in the eyes and mouth.

The Grandmaster comes with a couple of cool accessories. The first is his infamous Melt Stick, which is cast in gold plastic and can be held in his right hand and cradled in the left. This is a simple, but fun accessory, providing you aren’t the one being melted by it.

The second accessory is the pile of melted goo. Is it supposed to be Carlo? That I’m not sure, but I kind of hope it is. Yeah, it’s just a lump of plastic bubbles, but fun nonetheless. Let’s move on to Grandmaster’s brother, The Collector!

Taneleer Tivan is the true exclusive figure of the set, as for now he has not been made available at regular retail. He’s also one of the MCU characters that has been most sorely missing from my collection. Benicio Del Toro’s weirdly eccentric performance fit Guardians of the Galaxy like a glove and made The Collector, even with his brief screen time, a truly memorable character. And Hasbro sure did a nice job with this figure. The outfit includes some great detail in the sculpt, particularly in the torso, where the texture and patchwork nature pays homage to a 19th Century waistcoat, complete with strings of sculpted beads reminiscent of the chains on a fob watch. His sculpted furry cape pegs into the back and is worn over the shoulders and plunges behind his neck. I think the sculpted sleeve on the left arm is supposed to be part of the cape, as the speckled pattern matches the interior of the cape. You can take off the cape, but it looks kind of funny since the sleeve remains.

As with his brother, The Collector’s portrait turned out great. It’s a fine likeness for Del Toro and I particularly love the high hair, which is again sculpted as a separate piece from the head. You also get a second head sculpt with The Collector wearing his special goggles.

One final accessory in the box is The Orb that housed The Infinity Stone of Power. It’s a simple little ball packed with a lot of tiny detail. The only downside here is The Collector’s hands really aren’t designed to hold it all that well. I can make it work, but it’s a careful balancing act. It might have been better to give him an extra hand with The Orb sculpted into it, or an extra hand with a peg in the palm and a peg-hole on The Orb.

It may irk some to have to buy a second Grandmaster just to get their hands on The Collector, but I get how the business works and sometimes Hasbro has to get some extra money out of a figure in order to make producing another one more cost effective. Truth be told, I would have much rather had The Collector in a box with some of his menagerie, similar to what Hasbro did in the 3 3/4-inch scale for another SDCC Exclusive. Maybe throw in Cosmo and Carina. I would have paid extra for that. But I’m still really pleased they finally got this figure out and that it was pretty easy to get off of Pulse. Maybe not essential for all Legends collectors, but to me that’s what Exclusives should be all about.

Transformers Siege: Ironhide by Hasbro

Only having time for about three posts a week, and having a mile-high pile of toys to open, it sometimes takes me a while to give each line that I collect their due. Case in point, it’s been quite a few weeks since I’ve visited with Hasbro’s Transformers, so I decided to come back to them this week. I was hoping I would get time this week to review the big guy, Omega Supreme, but I’ve barely had any time with him out of the box. Not to mention the time it takes to DIY my pathetic little photo stage to take on a Titan Class Transformer. So, instead I’m grabbing one of the unopened Deluxe Class figures off the pile, and watch out, Decepticreeps, it so happens to be Ironhide!

Leakin’ Lubricants, check out that packaging! I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of the artwork that Hasbro is putting on these boxes, It’s gritty, hardcore, and absolutely fantastic. Poor Ironhide. He’s had such a troubled past. I might have had fun with the original figure had I gotten hold of him before seeing the Sunbow cartoon, but after that all bets were off and I rebuked that poor piece of plastic and die-cast metal for being a creepy little impostor. It wasn’t until Universe 2.0 that Hasbro would try to give us a proper G1-styled Ironhide, and that’s a figure that sure as hell hasn’t aged well. Indeed, I sold mine off the moment I saw this guy was coming. So here we go again, Siege brings us a new Deluxe Ironhide, and this line has been all about the G1 homages, so let’s rip him open and see how they did. We’ll start with the alt mode!

Siege is all about more Cybertronian-looking alt modes, and as such Ironhide is sporting a very utilitarian space truck mode. Some of these modes, like Hound’s, tend to be pretty f’ugly, but when you’re designing self-propelled alien combat vehicles, you kind of get a pass on the design department. Now, with all that having been said, I like what we got here. Ironhide is a rugged, armored vehicle, with just enough nods to his Earth van mode, that it works quite well for me. Granted, this mode looks unfinished, it doesn’t conceal a lot of the engineering, and anyone who has transformed their share of these figures is going to see what’s going on here right away,

It’s pretty obvious, to me at least, that the arms are up top behind the windshield, and that the slab on the back are going to be the feet. He transforms super quickly and the only step that’s even slightly complex is twisting the canopy piece 180-degrees to orientate it for the chest. The coloring is mostly carried by the red and gray plastics, but there’s some silver and gold in the mix too. The silver brushwork on the bumper looks great. Indeed, I do absolutely adore the way the front of this mode looks. With the high positioned canopy, the quad headlights, and those giant tubes on the bumpers, that must pack some serious firepower. It’s sort of a shame that the back of his head has to be so prominently visible through the windshield, but I guess them’s the breaks. In the end, Ironhide comes across as part Killer Moon Buggy, and part Armored Personnel Carrier. Yup, I dig it!

There are also some useful pegholes on this guy, so you can not only equip him with his rifle, but if you can use some of them weaponizer parts you may have lying around. I like to rip off Cog’s arms and pop them on top for added firepower. Let’s move on to the robot mode!

As with the alt mode, Ironhide’s robot mode takes it’s share of liberties with the G1 aesthetic. He’s not as pure an update as, let’s say, Siege Hound or Sideswipe, but the key points are there. He’s still a very beefy and boxy bot, and the windshield is right where it belongs in his upper chest. It just isn’t configured in quite the same way, laying flat instead of having the familiar angle.  Does this bot mode still work for me as Ironhide? Hell, yeah it does. It just looks like he got a little extra tweaking when he was reformatted for his Earth mode. From the back he does look rather hollow in the torso, but most of the rest of him fills out nicely. There are a few QC issues, here involving the folding panels on his legs. They don’t want to stay in the friction notches and frequently pop out out during transformation, which is apparently common for this figure. Also, they are supposed to tab into place, but they won’t stay put. Neither of these issues are huge problems, but they can be annoying.

Besides the windshield chest, there’s other stuff for me to love here. I really dig where the wheels wind up. The fronts are tucked into the sides of his torso, and the rear wheels are mostly obscured by folding plates in his lower legs. The result is a super clean robot mode, that only really offers up the kibble that it wants you to see. The coloring here is mostly the same as his alt mode, minus the gold which is now concealed. You do get that nice silver on display behind the windshield, some striping on the lower legs, and a rather reserved bit of silver weathering down near his feet.

The head sculpt is totally on point for the G1 animated look. from the circular “ears” to the prominent mohawk ridge on his “helmet.” My only complaint here is that his chest piece obscures a bit of his chin, and since he can’t look up, if you hunch him over to better see his face, he’s looking down. Ironically, the Universe 2.0 figure had a similar issue.

Ironhide comes with what I can only describe as a rocket-launcher rifle to assist him in busting Decepti-chops. This weapon is as chunky as it’s wielder and I love all the hyper-detail in the sculpt, not to mention the weathering. Unfortunately, it’s a little difficult for him to hold it properly. The stock is way too long to fit into the crook of his elbow. Still, it’s a great looking piece. He can hold it in either hand, and it can also be pegged in to make an arm cannon.

Ironhide can also sling the rifle across his back, thanks to a well-placed peghole. Plus, the weapon is hinged near the center so it can be transformed into a… um… rocket hammer? Sure, why not?

I didn’t go into this figure with a lot of excitement, because Hasbro’s initial pictures didn’t do anything for me. But now that I have him in hand, I find myself liking him quite a bit. The alt mode isn’t the best thing around, but it gets the job done and it works well for what it is. As for the robot mode, well as a G1 homage, I don’t think it holds up as well as Hound or Sideswipe, but it still looks great, and there’s no doubts about who it’s supposed to be. So far, Siege has yet to let me down, and every time I open another one of these figures, it just fuels my excitement for more. If that’s not the best compliment that I can pay to a toyline, I don’t know what is.

Overwatch Ultimates: Deluxe Reinhardt by Hasbro

It’s time once again to check in on Hasbro’s Overwatch Ultimates line! These are action figures based on a game that I have never played, probably never will play, and yet I collect them anyway, because… I have problems! Also, because I love the characters and art style, I’ve watched all the cinematics, but I really just don’t care for PvP first-person shooters. Today I’m checking out one of the big boys of the line, Reinhardt. Justice will be done!!!

Holy hell, look at this thing! I included a picture of McCree (a figure I shall be reviewing in the near future) in his package just for scale purposes. Yeah… Justice being done is nice an all, but I have no idea where I’m going to put this beast! Reinhardt comes in a ginormous window box, branded with the familiar white, orange, and gray Overwatch color palette and dwarfing even the two-pack packaging. Granted, a lot of the size here is to contain his mammoth shield, which is literally the size of this box’s entire front or back panel, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Everything is collector friendly, so let’s get Reinhardt out of the box…

If his size and full suit of powered armor doesn’t give it away, Reinhardt is a tank in Overwatch, capable of absorbing a lot of punishment to protect his teammates. His armor design strikes me as a cross between a Pacific Rim Jaeger, Cain from Robocop 2, and a suit of Baroque armor, and that is indeed a beautiful thing. It’s cast almost entirely in that bare gray plastic that Hasbro likes to use. Sometimes I’m not a fan of the swirly effect in this type of plastic, but I think it works well here. It’s appropriately shiny under the right lighting and uses some dark gray to mix things up a bit. The sculpt has some nice detail here and there, but most of the armor is smooth and simple to fit in with the toony Overwatch style. There are some minimal paint applications, including red striping on his massive shoulders, as well as an “08” stamped on the left one. There are some yellow and black accents on the front, as well as a large yellow thruster in his back to power his mighty charge attacks. There’s also a large lion head device pegged into his left forearm, and we’ll come back to that in a bit.

Reinhardt’s tiny helmeted head is nested between his giant pauldrons. It has a narrow Mandalorian-style “Y” for a visor, which is partially painted yellow, and you get a crown of industrial horns protruding from the top, which gives him something of a Gundam flavor to me. His noggin is certainly well protected in the center of all that armor plating.

The articulation here is pretty good for such a big armored figure. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, swivels in the biceps, single hinges in the elbows, and rotating hinges again in the wrists. Those giant shoulder pieces are also hinged. The legs have rotating hinges in the hips, double hinges in the knees, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. He can swivel at the waist, and his neck is ball jointed. All in all, I was pleasantly surprised by the range of motion in this guy, and how much fun he is to play around with.

Big warriors require big weapons, and so Reinhardt comes with his massive Rocket Hammer, a giant crusher propelled by three rocket thrusters in the back. This behemoth of a melee weapon is actually longer than Reinhardt is tall, and that’s really saying something! Both of his hands are sculpted to hold it, although it is a bit tough to get it into the space between his thumb and forefinger. But once it’s in he holds onto it for dear life. He can even hold it in both hands for a little added control to the swing. Of course, in addition to his charge and big hammer, Reinhardt has another signature skill in the game, and Hasbro has also recreated that in a very big way.

The shield! Yeah, this massive slab of translucent blue plastic is the real reason Reinhardt’s box is so damn big. The shield is supposed to be projected energy coming from the lion emblem on his left forearm. To pose the figure with the shield you just pop off the lion head, peg the shield into the arm, and peg the lion head onto the outside of the shield. I really dig the effect of this piece, it even has a faint honeycomb pattern etched into the plastic to recreate the look of an energy matrix. On the downside, I can’t think of any situation where I could possibly have the space to display him with the shield armed. Hasbro offers a bit of a solution with a couple of black discs that clip onto the edge of the shield and serve as a sort of stand. This way you can display the shield behind the figure if you like, although that’s going to require a lot of real estate on the shelf as well!

Reinhardt’s a big guy and he comes with a big price. $50-60, depending on where you get him. I was able to grab him off of Gamestop’s recent sale for $25, and you can’t beat that. Imagine how surprised I was when they didn’t cancel the order and actually shipped him! It’s easy to see where all the money went here, as this is a heavy figure and when you toss in the accessories, there’s a lot of plastic in this box! I also really dig how Hasbro was willing to release a high-priced behemoth like Reinhardt right out of the gate. It certainly shows they had confidence in their newly acquired license. Alas, I missed out on the SDCC Exclusive version, but I’m hoping it might turn up somewhere down the road at a price I’m willing to spend. In the meantime Hasbro’s Overwatch line continues to impress me and I’m happy to have this big guy on my shelf!