Star Trek Starship Collection: Enterprise NX-01 Refit (XL) by Eaglemoss

I don’t like to piss in other people’s Raktajino, but it’s hard for me to think of anything more depressing than CBS’s vision of modern Star Trek. But in an effort to practice the optimism of Gene Roddenberry, I can say that it has given me a new appreciation of some of the past Trek series that didn’t always get my full attention. For example, I always liked Enterprise, but in recent re-watches, I’ve come to actually love it. And after re-watching a few great episodes this week, I thought I’d have a look at another one of Eaglemoss’ larger XL ships: The Enterprise refit!

The SS Enterprise comes in a fully enclosed box and sandwiched between two styrofoam blocks. The only assembly required is putting the stand together. But what’s this you say? This isn’t the Enterprise from the series? Correct! This refit was intended to represent the eventual evolution of this Warp-5 ship design. As the included magazine details, the NX-01 was originally designed with this refit in mind, so that it could be easily integrated when the time came. Maybe in Season 5? But sadly it never happened in the show. Nonetheless, it shows how perfectly the ship’s evolution would lead into the Constitution Class from The Original Series.

The XL indicates that this beautiful ship is one of the big boys. These special editions are more than twice the size of Eaglemoss’ regular ships of the line, allowing for more detail in the sculpt and paint applications, and I have to say everything about this model came together brilliantly. It’s given a pewter-like finish that nicely reflects the rather distinctive coloring of the NX-01’s hull in the series, while still maintaining those subtle, but oh so lovely, aztec patterns, which were introduced in the motion pictures. Furthermore, the sculpted detail on this ship is positively off the charts. From the panel lines to the tiny windows and ports, the sculptors did a phenomenal job taking every advantage of this model’s larger size. And one of the coolest things about this refit design is that the ship can still be viewed from certain angles without being able to tell it’s the refit. That’s how seamless the design incorporates this change. But view it from the right sweet spot, and the projected lineage of this ship is clear!

So, what’s new? Well, the most obvious is the addition of a secondary hull similar to what we would eventually get in the Constitution Class. Here it’s a little atrophied in comparison to what would come, and it’s nestled a bit more directly under the saucer. As one might imagine, this addition adds a tremendous amount to the ship’s power capabilities, crew compliment, and additional systems. Besides the neck attachment to the saucer, the secondary hull component is also supported by extending the warp nacelle struts further down and into it. It all looks so natural, and indeed the only thing about this design that I find peculiar was the decision to retain the deflector dish on the hull when a larger one dominates the front of the new drive section. Maybe it was just not worth the effort of removing it, and it could stand to serve as a replacement if the new one gets damaged.

Let’s take a quick spin around some of the more stand out points of interest on the ship. There are some sharp paint applications worth noting, especially the red wireframe that begins at the two forward phase cannon hatches and extend back to just behind the bridge dome. You also get some yellow and red paint on the cargo loading hatches positioned to the port and starboard of the bridge. The deuterium resupply assemblies on those twin humps are painted in a slightly more copper finish, and of course the registry NX-01 and SS Enterprise is printed neatly on the dorsal front of the saucer. The flipside of the saucer is every bit as detailed.

Moving elsewhere, I love the paintwork on the nacelles, where you get the registry at the center of a red racing stripe, which terminates in an orange delta at the front. The interior nacelles feature some translucent blue plastic and the bussard assemblies are molded in translucent orange plastic and have the cool points coming off of them. The broadsides of the secondary hull have the three pronged racing stripes terminating in the orange delta, and the SS Enterprise printed in cursive script is really damn cool. I will note that the secondary hull has a bit less detail than the rest of the ship. I’m not sure if this was intentional, or just because this piece was designed off of something with less reference material. Either way, I don’t think it hurts the model at all. The I think if I have one nitpick on the model, it would be the new deflector dish, which looks a little too plasticy and low-detail when compared to the rest of the ship. Then again, it does give it a bit of that retro-charm of The Original Series Connie Class.

As always, this ship comes with a display stand, which features a heavy black metal base and a translucent armature that grabs the model behind the saucer and lovingly cradles it for your viewing pleasure. I also dig that they went for an understated look for the base, rather than go a gimmicky route and making it a Delta insignia. I think this design just looks more classy and doesn’t detract from the model itself. These display stands really do feel premium, complete with a felt pad on the underside. Would it have been cool to put a name plate on the base? Hmm… maybe. I suppose the name and registry on the hull does that job well enough.

I absolutely love this ship! Funny story, but I actually ordered this one online thinking it was the regular NX-01 from the series. When I got it, I was surprised to find otherwise. For a moment, I was tempted to send it back, but I wound up opening it and falling in love with it. I really wish they had upgraded to this design in the series. It actually would have made sense right before the Xindi Excursion, and it’s a shame that we’ll never see this baby in action on the screen. It really would have threaded the needle from this prequel series to The Original Series. But at least I have this kick ass model of it, and she sure does look nice lined up on the shelf with the other ships of the line!

G.I. JOE (Retro Collection) AWE Striker and Crankcase by Hasbro

The love that GI JOE has been getting these days is causing my heart to swell, and I’ve been doing my part to support the return of the Real American Hero in every way possible. Case in point, I probably have five or six AWE Strikers in storage and yet I simply could not resist picking up another one when I saw it on the shelf. I was also surprised to see that I had never reviewed any of the pass releases here, so this one got pushed to the head of the line.

The original Real American Hero line had some of my favorite package art, and that’s really saying something, because the 80’s had a ton of toy lines with great looking packages. But the GI JOE stuff felt so iconic to me, even back then, and the action scenes on the front of the boxes and cards always made me want to play with the toys. This 2020 release of the AWE Striker mimics the original 1985 box quite well. From the artwork and window for the figure on the front to the filecard on the back, Hasbro nailed it.

The box even feels like it’s made out of the heavier corrugate stock they used to use as opposed to the flimsy cardboard employed now. My only complaint is that Crankcase’s filecard is multi-lingual and rather abbreviated. Inside the box, the vehicle comes wrapped in plastic and in need of some assembly and it even includes a sticker sheet! But before I put it together, let’s have a look at the figure.

Crankcase is styled to fit right in with the modern JOES introduced in the 25th Anniversary Collection, meaning that they are a bit bigger than the vintage JOEs and a little better proportioned. I’m thrilled they went this way because I don’t think they plan on releasing a lot of figures in the Retro line and so these toys can just slide right into my existing collection. Heck, Crankcase even comes with the same style of personalized stand that we got with those 25th Anniversary figures! I’m happy to say that this new figure’s design sticks close with the ’85 version of Crankcase. He has the same green top, with sleeves rolled up, black gloves, khaki trousers, and brown boots. He also has brown web gear, which is removable, although the gun sculpted in the holster is not. And that’s the only shame about this figure: He doesn’t come with any weapons.

He does have a removable helmet and an excellent head sculpt. The detail is great and his orange hair color matches that of his predecessor. The only big difference is this version has a beard, where I’m pretty sure ’85 Crankcase just had a mustache. OK, let’s move on to the AWE Striker…

The required assembly is quite simple. You just have to snap on the roll cage, attach the wheels, and pop on the cannon, antennae, and a hose. Then slap on the stickers and she’s good to go! It’s hard for me to think of a more versatile and fun vehicle for the JOEs. Oh, there were plenty of vehicles that I liked more, but you’d be hard pressed to pick a better all-purpose way to get your JOEs into trouble.

It’s been a long time since I played with the original toy, but this one looks like the spitting image of what I remembered. Is it the same mold? That I couldn’t tell you, but it is date stamped 1985 on the undercarriage. I can say that it looks nearly identical to the 25th Anniversary release, with the most notable change being the color of the seats. [Sadly, I don’t have easy access to that vehicle right now, but I do plan on digging it out of storage in the near future and I will update with comparison shots when I do!] Either way, I cannot overstate how impressed I am with the detail on this vehicle. For what is a rather small and inexpensive toy, the designers went absolutely crazy making sure every little bit was crafted with a sense of purpose and realism.

For starters, the AWE Striker has a working suspension, which you can test just by pushing down on the chassis. The front wheels do turn, as does the steering wheel, but they are not linked together. The front ramming bar has two headlamps with clear plastic on the fronts, there are mesh running boards on the sides for JOEs to ride on, and the engine cover can be removed to show a very detailed engine under it. That’s a nice touch if you want to have your JOEs performing maintenance or have it blown off by a direct hit from a Cobra weapon.

 

The cabin has sculpted padding in the seats, a static shifter, and the passenger side has a targeting camera which connects to the cannon on top with a hose. The cannon cannot only rotate, but also pivot up and down a bit, and I can’t say enough how happy I am that Hasbro resisted putting a giant missile into this weapon. Indeed, there are no play gimmicks, no bells or whistles, no lights, just pure 100% fun!

The AWE Striker set me back $24.99 at Walmart and I think that’s a great value. The craftsmanship on display here is top notch and with a figure included, you’ve got everything you need to go on some adventures in the backyard. You’re even better off if you can dig out three 25th Anniversary figures and load this puppy up! Sadly, this vehicle sold out damn fast on Walmart’s site and my store hasn’t restocked. I was smart enough to pick up two of the HISS Tanks (review coming soon!), but I really wish I had grabbed one more of these as well!

Marvel Legends (Sugar Man Wave): Dark Beast and Sugar Man Build-A-Figure by Hasbro

Well, it was a bit of a reach but I managed to get through an entire wave of double-features! And that brings me to the final packaged figure in this Age of Apocalypse themed assortment… Dark Beast! So let’s have a look at him and then we’ll put together the Suger Man Build-A-Figure and put this awesome assortment to bed!

Here’s one final shot of the packaging with that wonderful David Nakayama character art on the side panels. Dark Beast is a big boi and so despite Sugar Man being made up of an unprecedented number of pieces, Beast still doesn’t come with a BAF part. He does, however come with Sugar Man’s hammer. OK, I guess that’s kind of a BAF part.

Beast is probably my favorite alternate-timeline character from Age of Apocalypse. Missing out on Xavier’s kind teachings, he lives up to his name by leading horrific experiments in the name of Apocalypse! He’s almost the complete opposite of the McCoy we all know and love, possessing all of his intelligence and none of his ethics and nobility, and that makes him all the more terrifying to me. If you were expecting a straight repaint of the Beast body from the Caliban Wave, prepare to be a little surprised, as this figure represents Beast after he got rejuvenated by Mr. Sinister and given some new legs. So the pelvis and the legs down to the swivel cut below the knees are segmented cybernetic legs and the rest of the body is borrowed from the previous Beast. You even get the extra hands too! The coloring is all around fantastic. Beast’s body is dark gray with a black wash to bring out some of that wonderfully sculpted hair and texture. Meanwhile the legs have a deep metallic blue sheen.

The other dramatic difference here is the new head sculpt, which is both awesome and bad-ass. He looks to be every bit of the bastard that he is. Complete with a sadistic grin, and a coif that would make Logan proud! He also has braided bands on his hair and some rings in his pointed ears, which frame his face and make him look a lot more savage. This head sculpt alone has rocketed Dark Beast up to my favorite figure in this wave. Sorry, Weapon-X and Jean, you guy shave been overthrown. At least you got to bask in the glory of being my favorites for a week.

Despite some new parts in the legs, the articulation here is identical to the previous Beast, so I won’t go into details, other than to point out that with the shoulder crunches and the hinges in the feet, he’s one of the most articulated figures we’ve seen in Legends since the Toy Biz days. He’s just loads of fun to play around with and the extra fist and flat hand-stand hand add a lot of possibilities. And with all seven of the packaged figures out of the way, that brings us to this guy…

That’s it. That’s the review. They should have sent a poet, because I have no words… but I’ll try. It’s no secret that I love the Build-A-Figures, and there have been some truly spectacular ones going all the way back to Terrax. But they don’t often get character designs this imaginative to work with. I honestly don’t know what’s more impressive, the amazing work that Hasbro put into Sugar Man, or the fact that he exists at all. If you ever had cause to doubt that Hasbro was committed to this line… like if the 10,000 figures a year they release (minor exaggeration) isn’t enough proof, something like this should do it. Sugar Man is horrible, twisted, and almost certainly too demented-looking to grace the modern Big Box toy aisles. And yet here he is! In terms of construction, this is the most complex and atypical BAF we’ve seen in the modern line. As such it reminds me a lot of Toy BIz’s M.O.D.O.K. BAF. Sure, I could take this opportunity to ponder on why we got Sugar Man before M.O.D.O.K., but then I don’t want to question any aspect that went into the decision to make this guy. In terms of pure weirdness, if you’re going to top Sugar Man, Hasbro, you have to do an Egg Fu BAF. YOU HAVE TO!!!

Sugar Man’s hunched body is mostly obscured by his giant head. Indeed, from the front he just looks like a giant head on legs. The legs are puny by comparison, and while they’re fully articulated in every normal way, I didn’t find a lot of that articulation too value added. I was able to tweak them to help him stand, but that was about it. Other than his blue trousers, the only other element to his costume is a black belt and black suspenders. The belt has some crude silver buckles, and there are some colorful novelty buttons sculpted onto the right suspender. There’s also a loop for him to store his hammer. It’s tough to get it in and out of there, but I still think it’s a nice touch. Sugar Man’s four arms feature four unique hands. One is pointing, one is grasping, one is balled into a fist, and one is designed to hold the hammer. Each of these connect to the torso with rotating hinges, allowing for all the usual articulation in each appendage.

As for the portrait? I mean holy hell what can I say about this nightmare? His giant mouth is lined with jagged teeth and comes equipped with a lewd tongue that snakes out and looks absolutely disgusting. He’s got a broad nose, bushy eyebrows, two squinting red eyes and a bushy tuft of hair on the top. Hasbro did an absolutely fantastic job modeling this nasty piece of work in 3D plastic.

As already mentioned, Sugar Man comes with his Hammer, which is a Mjolnir looking implement with SUGAR sculpted into one side. He can hold it well in his lower right hand, but the bicep swivel isn’t up to the task of supporting its weight so it tends to flop if I don’t have the arm positioned right.

Wow, this wave was a treat and a half. Hasbro introduced some great new characters as well as alternate versions of some we got before. It’s been a while since I purchased an entire wave of Marvel Legends in one shot instead of hunting them down individually, but that’s exactly what I did here. I was just really eager to get my hands on all of these figures and put together the BAF, so it was nice to not have to hunt for a change. And this is the last regular Legends figures that I’m going to feature on Marvel Monday for a little while. Rather than dig into another wave, I’m going to check out some boxed sets and exclusives for the next few weeks.

Star Wars “The Mandalorian” Remnant Stormtrooper Sixth-Scale Figure by Hot Toys

It’s well known that Hot Toys are pricey, so it’s not a line of figures that I tend to look at for picking up multiple variants or repaints. So, when I picked up the Stormtrooper a little while ago, I hadn’t planned on picking up any more. But it only took one drunken night of browsing Sideshow’s website along with some Reward Points and a Gift Card burning a hole in my pocket to get me to pull the trigger on this variant Stormtrooper. Drunk or no, I reasoned that I was already all in for the other Hot Toys figures from The Mandalorian, so there was no point in stopping now.

I make it no secret that Hot Toys packaging doesn’t impress me and nowhere is that more feeling stronger than when it comes to their Star Wars line. These boring boxes feature no flare of presentation or craftsmanship. It’s just a receptacle to get the figure to me. OK, so they splurged and added a colorful, illustrated wraparound band to this one, but it feels like a cheap afterthought. But hey, I should be thankful because I don’t have the space to keep all these boxes anyway, so I only keep the ones that feel like something special, and those are few and far between. Inside the box, the Remnant Stormtrooper lays on a tray with his extra hands and accessories around him.

To some, this may just be a dirty Stormtrooper, but I really dig what these guys represent. I can’t believe anyone bothering to read this review hasn’t watched at least the first season of The Mandalorian yet, but just in case… The series takes place after the events of The Return of the Jedi and recognizes that Galactic Empires, even defeated ones, don’t go away overnight. And that’s a pretty insightful concept for Star Wars. The galaxy is replete with planets where the local remnants of Imperial rule grasp desperately for a hold on their now baseless power. The Stormtroopers may still be at their posts, but as evidenced by their degraded armor, they’ve seen better days. As a result we have the Remnant Stormtrooper! After the unexplained, magical appearance of The First Order in the Sequel Trilogy, I found the world of The Mandalorian a lot more believable and interesting. And I just love the idea of a splintered Empire with Moffs and their Stormtroopers going it alone. The Empire ain’t sending any more replacement armor and the pomp and circumstance of inspections are a thing of the past. Hot Toys did a beautiful job taking their bright and shining galactic enforcers and making them slum it.

A good deal of this review will be making comparisons to the previous Hot Toys Stormtrooper, which I reviewed early last year, and I’ll have some comparison photos at the end. To be honest, I was expecting a straight repaint, but instead Hot Toys gave us what is practically a brand new figure. The biggest differences can be found in the abdominal armor, which is completely new, and the belt, which is now made entirely of plastic, where the previous one was plastic and cloth. Overall, the armor detail on this figure is a lot sharper in places, particularly on the detail in the back plate, but I think it would be safe to say that the majority of this armor is different, subtle in some ways and obvious in others. Is one better than the other? I guess it’s a matter of preference. The previous one looks more classic to me, and while I haven’t scrutinized any screen shots, I’m guessing these changes are made to reflect actual changes in the costumes for The Mandalorian series.

As has been the case with Hot Toys troopers, the underlying body is wearing a black body suit and the armor pieces are worn on top of that, rather than being sculpted as part of the body. Exceptions include the boots and helmet. Even the body suit is different, with the previous release being mostly plain cloth and this one having more of a quilted texture, which feels more in tune with the sharper detail on the armor. Either way, I’m always happy to see cloth as opposed to vinyl used for the suit, but unfortunately it only opens up the range of articulation a little bit. There is a nice range of motion in the arms, but not so much in the legs, and it’s hard to tell what exactly is holding it back.

The helmet also varies a bit from the previous Stormy, particularly around the chin and the vents on the cheeks. The helmet also feels like it sits a little higher off the shoulder, which would probably make it compatible with a pauldron if you happen to have one and want to make him an officer. Another notable difference is in the goggles, which were tinted green on the previous figure and here appear to be just black. And now is as good a time as any to discuss the weathering, which is really well done. All of it is achieved through paint, despite the fact that many of the chips look convincing enough that I thought I would be able to actually feel them on the armor. The chipping is particularly heavy on the helmet, perhaps because it gets thrown around a lot, and on the left shoulder. There’s also some yellowing around the edges of most of the armor pieces, and some splotches of general dirt and what looks like pitting from rust. It all looks great, but I’d be curious to see if the weathering is identical from figure to figure. Not that I’m planning on picking up a second, but that would probably be a deal breaker to have two or more with the exact same chipping patterns.

The last Stormtrooper was pretty light on the accessories, so I wasn’t disappointed to see this one is too. You do get the usual passel of extra hands, including fists, relaxed hands, weapon holding hands, and the like. These are very easy to swap out, which is always welcome, although positioning the arms can sometimes cause the forearm armor to shift forward and knock the hands off their pegs. It’s not a big deal and I’m happier to have them pop off now and then as opposed to being so hard to pop off that I’m afraid I’ll snap something.

And of course, you can’t have a Stormtrooper without his trusty E-11 Blaster. This looks like it’s borrowed directly from the previous Stormtrooper, and that’s fine because it’s an absolutely beautiful little blaster. The attention to detail is fantastic as always, and the folding stock is articulated, albeit rather fragile. Unfortunately, the Remnant Stormy does not come with a holster for the weapon, like the regular release did. I’m not sure if this was omitted for canonical reasons or just because Hot Toys didn’t want to toss it in, but seeing as how they don’t usually cheap out, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.

Much to my surprise, this box did contain one additional weapon, and that’s the SE-14 Light Repeating Blaster Pistol. This was a great little bonus, as I’ve never had a nice version of it for any of my figures. The sculpt lacks the complexity of the E-11 Blaster, but it’s still an excellent little piece, which he may wind up sharing with the other Stormtrooper. And not to sound ungrateful, but the inclusion of the pistol makes me wish even more that they had given him a holster so that he could carry both.

As always, our last stop on these reviews is the figure stand, and this one is both generic and functional. They did actually print Remnant Stormtrooper on the name plate, which I was happy to see, although I was surprised that they did not brand it with the series name.

The Remnant Stormtrooper probably isn’t a must-have, even for people who are going to be collecting other Hot Toys from The Mandalorian. Once again, if I wasn’t made extra impulsive by a bottle of Jameson, I probably wouldn’t have made this purchase. But ultimately, I’m very glad that I did. While this could have been a cheap-and-quick cash grab, Hot Toys put a lot of work into this release and the result makes for a distinctive looking figure, even when he’s standing right next to the vanilla Stormtrooper. And as I mentioned at the outset of this review, the whole concept of the fragmentation of the Remnant Empire is easily one of my favorite concepts introduced in the franchise and this fellow represents it well. I think this figure retails for just a tad over $200, but by the time I was done throwing coupon codes and reward points at him, I stole him for about $90. Well worth it if you ask me!

Masters of the Universe Origins: Teela and Evil-Lyn by Mattel

The new Masters of the Universe Origins line stands as a shining example of how my willpower, when it comes to toys, is total shit. I swore I wouldn’t get into collecting these, because I already have a nearly complete collection of MOTU Classics. Then I told myself I would just pick up He-Man and Skeletor to see what they’re all about. Now I’ve picked up or pre-ordered just about everything the line has to offer, including the upcoming Castle Greyskull. So yeah, I’m pretty spineless when it comes to setting limitations for myself. So with that being said, let’s have a look at the first two ladies of the line: Teela and Evil-Lyn!

The vintage style packaging is as awesome as ever, and while there’s no original art on the front, the cards are still personalized to each figure. The Retro Play explosion points to the marrying of classic designs with new articulation, and you even get a mini-comic bundled behind the figure. Alas, these packages are not collector friendly, so be prepared to tear into them to get your figures out. But I’m honestly OK with that, as I’m sure it helped to keep the cost of the figures down. Let’s start out with the Heroic Warrior Goddess, Teela!

Teela comes packaged with her snake armor and headpiece on, but I’m going to set it aside for now to look at the basic figure. She’s clad in her white and gold one-piece bathing suit-style armor, which probably isn’t the most practical for protection, but at least her mid-riff is covered. Not all warrior-babes can make that claim. The sculpting here is great from the ram horns on her chest to the belt and other pieces of flourish. The gold here isn’t terribly flashy, but it gets the job done. Alas, mine has a paint flub in the form of a gold dot under the point of the left ram horn. As far as paint blemishes go, it isn’t the worst, but it was impossible to detect in the package under that headpiece. Her arms feature bicep cuffs and wrist bracers with some sculpted scroll work patterns, and she has the standard barbarian boots with sculpted fur cuffs and wrappings. The body type is a good compromise between feminine form and buff fighter. And as with He-Man and Skeletor, she’s built on a modular body, which can come apart at all the joints.

I was never a big fan of the vintage Teela’s portrait, because she had a baby face, which was a far cry from the red-headed temptress from the Filmation cartoon. So, I’m happy to say that the Origins version strikes out on its own. With her somewhat puffy cheeks and petite nose, there’s still a tie to that vintage head sculpt, but this one just works a lot better for me. The paint for the eyes and eyebrows looks great, and the coloring on her lips is quite subtle. Her sculpted red hair is done up in her trademark fashion, complete with gold headband.

I really only have one little complaint about the figure itself and that’s the knee jointing. It works fine in practice, but there’s something about the design that just looks a little weird. I think they were trying to conceal it, by covering the joint as much as possible. Honestly, it bothers me less and less each time I play around with the figure, but I thought it was worth mentioning nonetheless, especially since it seems to be a fairly common complaint with the figure.

Teela comes with her snake staff and her small shield, both of which are cast in a maroon colored plastic. Origins doesn’t seem like it’s going to be going for any paint applications on the accessories, and that’s fine as it’s a nod back to the vintage figures. I was a little concerned as to how well she would be able to hold the staff, but she can grip it pretty well. The shield has a handle for her to hold it and it can also be looped through her fingers. Either way, it stays on without any issues. The outer face of the shield has some sculpted scroll work patterns and a formidable spike in the center. I hope we get a weapons rack with some extra accessories at some point, because I would love to have a sword to give her.

And finally, here she she is wearing her snake armor with headpiece. This accessory is molded in soft plastic and fits around her face, while tabbing together at her back. I’ve never been a huge fan of Teela wearing this, probably because I was more in tune with the Filmation cartoon than the toys and comics. Still, I have to admit it looks really good on the figure and it features some excellent detail in the sculpt. Let’s move on to Teela’s counterpart, the Evil Warrior Goddess Evil-Lyn!

In keeping with the vintage figures, from the neck down Evil-Lyn is a straight repaint of Teela, but I feel like the change in color palate is drastic enough to make it work. Her armor has been changed to a combination of purple and light blue, with her bicep bands and wrist bracers more of  powder blue. Likewise, the boots have been changed to a flashy purple and black. Combine this new outfit colors with her rather iconic yellow skin and you have what I find to be a strikingly different looking figure with the exact same sculpt. And happily, my Evil-Lyn has escaped any of the paint flubs that my Teela suffered.

As for the head sculpt, once again Mattel has developed a nice compromise between vintage and update. Evil-Lyn has some rather distinctive eyes and a mouth that is slightly parted to show her teeth in a dour expression. The helmet actually looks like it’s sculpted from a separate piece, which creates a gap between it and her face making it look very convincing. For a moment I thought it was actually removable. Mattel backed off of the whore makeup that the original Evil-Lyn wore in exchange for a much more subdued look. The paint for her facial features is all sharp and crisp and while there’s a little slop on her helmet, particularly around the skull motif, it’s not something I really noticed until getting in close with the camera.

In terms of articulation, I mostly discussed knees when talking about Teela, so it’s worth noting that these ladies feature an identical level of excellent poseability, especially when compared to the originals. You get rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, wrists, and knees. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have swivels at the tops of the boots, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. There’s a swivel in the waist and a ball joint in the neck.

Evil-Lyn’s accessory count doesn’t compare to Teela’s. In fact she only comes with her wand, and it’s a fairly simple sculpt. She can hold it quite well in her left hand, but her right hand’s grip is a tad too loose for it.

I was amazed to be able to pick up these figures at my local Walmart, which usually has nothing new in the toy aisles. Maybe there aren’t as many collectors of this line around my neighborhood because I’ve had more success finding Origins figures than anything else. So far I’ve been able to nab four figures, one Battle Cat and the Sky Sled all at the same Walmart and that’s practically unheard of for this store! And apart from the small paint flub on Teela’s armor and weird knee structure, I’ve got to say these turned out great. As with the initial pair, these figures set me back $14.99 each and with a lot of figures roughly in this scale selling at the $20 range, that feels about right in the current market. I think part of me was hoping that I would be disappointed by this line so I could pass on collecting it, but truth be told, each new release makes me love it all the more.

By figurefanzero

Marvel Legends (Sugar Man Wave): Sunfire and X-Man by Hasbro

It’s another Marvel Monday and I’m continuing my cruise through the Age of Apocalypse themed Sugar Man Wave of Marvel Legends. I’ve been taking this assortment in pairs and today brings us to the fifth and sixth figures: Sunfire and X-Man! I had a crazy work schedule this weekend and I’m really pressed for time. Can I hammer out a brief double review today and still do these figures justice? Yes, I believe I can!

Here’s a quick look at the boys in their packaging and take note that each one comes with a pair of arms for Sugar Man, because he’s a four-arm-having sonovabitch! I’ll also once again point out that David Nakayama is doing the spine art for this wave. I’ve been a big fan of his work ever since I discovered his cover work for Zenescope Comics, and it’s awesome to see him contributing art for Marvel Legends! Let’s dig in! And I’m going to start things off with Sunfire!

We last saw Sunfire about three years ago as part of the Warlock Wave. That was a great figure and I am a huge fan of his classic costume. But here we have alternate reality Sunfire after having gone nuclear to halt Apocalypse’s attack on Japan. It bought some time to evacuate and left him in horrific shape, but boy does it make for a cool look. And you know what else is cool? Translucent figures!!! Yeah, I love me some translucent plastic and Sunfire is made of it from head to toe. I think this is more or less the same body used for the previous figure, albeit with different hands. At least it maintains the lateral crunches in the shoulders. The body is cast in a lovely clear yellow plastic with some orange highlights and black accents to make up the details of the suit. He has some flame effects sculpted into his forearms, while his right hand is balled up into a fist and his left looks like it’s about to unleash some major power. Absolutely awesome!

The head sculpt, if you can call it that, is a mask nestled in a mantle of fire. The mask itself is white with the red circle in the center representing the Land of the Rising Sun. The two slits for eyes bleed forth in red-orange flame, making him look like an avenging spirit. The sculpted flame around the mask has a bit more orange to it than the rest of the body and it just looks amazing.

The articulation is pretty much identical to what we saw in the previous release. I think this body is borrowed from one of the Spider-Man releases. In addition to the previously mentioned shoulder crunches, the arms also feature rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, double hinges in the elbows and knees, swivels in the biceps, waist, thighs, and lower legs, hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles, an ab crunch hinge in the torso, and both a hinge and ball joint in the neck. Needless to say he’s as much fun to play with as he is good looking! Moving on to X-Man!

As expected, this figure is based off of his appearance in his self-titled book from the Age of Apocalypse and that’s a very good thing, because I can’t stand what Marvel has done with Nate’s design in recent years. Here we get the classic Jim Lee X-Men colors of yellow and blue only with an emphasis on the blue. The yellow is relegated to trim and some abbreviated striping, as well as his belt. It all looks fantastic and that yellow really pops beautifully against the blue.

Nate features a short jacket, which tapers at the waist and features some serious lapels! It’s molded as a soft plastic vest with the sleeves sculpted as part of the arms. You get some additional new sculpting at his collar and the belt is a separate piece fitted snug around his waist. Take away the shoulder crunches, and X-Man features the exact same articulation as Sunfire.

Hasbro did a beautiful job with this portrait, but that should come as no surprise since they really nailed Cable both times they’ve done him. Nate has a grim expression as a beautiful effect part explodes from his left eye. His shock of brown and white hair parts in the middle and frames his face around the eyes. Simply superb!

Both of today’s figures are fairly simple, with some flourishes of brilliance. For Sunfire, it’s a cross between the lovely translucent plastic and the amazing head sculpt that wins me over. As for X-Man? Well, a snazzy jacket, bitchin eye, and that wonderful one-two punch of yellow and blue carries that figure beautifully. This pair are two more great additions to what has turned out to be a super fun wave of figures. And I’ve still got one more to open, so next Monday we’ll have a look at Dark Beast and then we’ll build the Sugar Man Build-A-Figure!

Star Wars: The Mandalorian “Vintage Collection” Imperial Troop Transport by Hasbro

Feels like it’s been a while since I checked out a Star Wars vehicle, and I’ve got quite a stack of them from the Vintage Collection, piling up in the corner and waiting to be opened. One of the ones that had me the most excited was the Imperial Troop Transport from The Mandalorian. Of all the fan service that Disney could have packed into that series, who would have guessed that one of the biggest would be a nod back to an old Kenner toy? And this is after the Troop Transport got a previous nod (and toy) in the Rebels 3 3/4-inch line. The ITT has become one popular little vehicle. I never owned the original toy when I was a kid, but my best friend did and I loved playing with it, despite it’s boxy and impractical design it somehow quickly became iconic to me.

And boy does this thing look great in the vintage packaging! Mine arrived a little rough around the corners, but hey… IT’S VINTAGE!!! Getting beaten up in shipping gives it character! You get shots of the toy in action on the front and back panels as well as some close up shots on the side panels. The ITT comes nearly fully assembled, so you can get a pretty good idea of the vehicle’s size before you even open the box. And yes, that means it can go back into the box for storage, which is always a HUGE plus for me with these Vintage Collection releases. It’s also worth noting that there are no electronic features, so if you like pretty lights and sounds, you’re out of luck. On the other hand it also means you don’t have to have any batteries handy, either. I really think they missed an opportunity at packing in a Remnant Stormtrooper with this vehicle, but I’ll have more to say on that later. For now, let’s open this baby up and check her out!

Based on its appearance toward the end of The Mandalorian Season One, the Imperial Troop Transport takes the old Kenner design and peppers it with realism. And rather than beat around the bush, let me just toss out the best and worst things about the ITT right away: It’s got some amazing detail and it’s too small. Now, I wouldn’t go so far as to say this is quite as nice a piece as the Rogue One Hover Tank, but that vehicle is damn hard to beat when it comes to its weathered paint scheme and its great attention to even the tiniest details. The Transport comes pretty damn close, though. For starters, the sculpt is packed with all sorts of little hatches, panel lines, vents, piping, and everything the design needed to make it look like a real vehicle. Coupled with the greasy and grimy paint weathering, this cool deco goes a long way to convince me that this is a relic of the old Empire that’s been dragged back into service by the locals to try to maintain a scrap of power and bully the population. Much like the grubby Stormtrooper armor worn by the Remnant, this thing has seen better days, and it seems like the days of Imperial disciplined maintenance are a thing of the past.

There aren’t a ton of features on the outside. There are a pair of blaster cannon protruding from slits in the cheeks of the cab, and there’s a turret on the top that can rotate. That’s pretty much it. The vehicle does have some concealed wheels on the bottom, so it will roll, even though it’s intended to hover. It’s a shame they couldn’t have done something similar to the old Kenner Landspeeder and made them a little springy to improve the hover effect, as the simple engineering on that toy still impresses me and I think that would have been a cool feature here. If you flip the vehicle over you can check out all the amazing detail packed into an area you that you are likely never going to actually see, and that’s pretty cool! There are a series of vents, which I presume are repulse engines of some kind and a bunch of other bits and bobs.

The back of the vehicle opens up to reveal the interior and allow the Stromtroopers to burst out with E-11’s blazing. It seems like it would have made more sense to have the back drop down like a tailgate, giving the troops a ramp to descend, but I guess this design affords the disembarking troops some protection from strafing fighters.

The interior is also accessible from the top, which lifts off to reveal more amazing detail. The deck plates are fully sculpted and there’s a section over the cab that reveals some of the inner machinations of the vehicle. I suppose this could serve as a service hatch. There are some other features inside that we’ll check out in a bit. As a stand alone model of the Troop Transport seen in the series, I have no complaints at all, as this thing is absolutely gorgeous. But at this point, I’m going to grab a bunch of Stormies and we’re going to see how things go down hill once we start playing with it.

The cockpit opens up via the two side doors and… Wow is it cramped in here! It took some doing just to get the Stormtroopers seated in a reasonably convincing manner. There’s a ton of great detail in the cabin, but it’s tough to appreciate it because of the crazy tight quarters. I really wish the top piece that came off included the top of the cab as well. That way I could position the drivers better and maybe even get their hands on the steering yokes. I could also get to see all the work that went into sculpting this area. Such a simple change would have made a huge difference. I do like how there’s a window between the cab and the back compartment, and they did a great job detailing the interior of the doors.

The ITT is most known for the human pockets on the sides, which betrayed the true purpose of the toy being to hold figures. As a kid, I couldn’t imagine anyone owning SIX Stormtroopers to fill it up! I mean, holy smokes were some parents made of money??? But now I’m all grown up and I can buy as many Stormtroopers as I want. Who thought it was a good idea to have troops exposed in these side-pockets, rather than ride inside the armored transport is beyond me. I imagine this thing pulling up to deploy with six corpses slumped in the compartments. But I do like how they incorporated it into the show and had the troops pouring out of it. I think I actually said out loud, “Cool! So that’s how that works!” My cats were confused and unimpressed. Only two of these compartments open up, which is INCREDIBLY cheap for a toy that costs this much. How does seventy dollars buy me only two opening hatches? The doorways leading inside from each side pocket are also very small, which would be forgivable if you climbed up some stairs to get out through it, but the way it is you really have to use your imagination to make it work. And I’ll tell ya… imagination is made for $20 Troop Transports. Not ones that cost this much, Dammit!

There’s a hatch on the top that opens so you can have a Stormtrooper poke his head out, maybe as a spotter or something.  Unfortunately, doing so really shows off the limitations of that turret. The opened hatch blocks its line of fire, and while we’re on the subject notice how if they started firing that thing it would head-shot all the Stormtroopers on the sides of the vehicle! It all harkens back to the running theme of this review… the ITT is too damn small.

As we saw, the back opens up to allow troops to disembark, but the hatch is so low they can’t even stand up under it. It’s hard to believe stumbling out of this thing at a low crouch is an ideal way to enter the heat of battle. And what you’re seeing is also the same clearance as exists inside the vehicle with the top closed. That means the Stormies can’t even stand up in this thing when it’s buttoned up. So let’s go inside and have a better look.

There are some cool ideas going on in here. Firstly, there’s a weapons rack for your Stormy’s guns. I wasn’t really able to make it work very well. Also, the toy is $70, could you not fill the rack with some guns to pad out the value??? There are folding seats inside, which is a neat, but it’s so tight inside that there’s barely room for two occupants to sit opposite each other. It works better if you stagger. The seats are also so low that they have to sit awkwardly or with their legs all the way out. Needless to say, a Stormtrooper can’t stand in here with the top on and so the whole thing just feels very limiting and not a lot of fun. Now, I understand that Hasbro frequently down scales ships to make them work, but the ITT isn’t an example where that should have been necessary. I feel like if this thing were 10% bigger it would have made all the difference in the world. And considering that it has no electronics, no pack in figures, and not a lot of play features, it seems like they should have been able to make it bigger within the price point.

I suppose the Imperial Troop Transport makes a worthy display piece if you want to throw some troops on it and display it on your shelf. But if you’re hoping to have any fun playing around with it, you may want to keep those hopes in check. It’s clear Hasbro put a lot of love and craftsmanship into the sculpt and paint, but then they stumbled at the finish line by under scaling it so much. And I honestly can’t see where all the money went with this toy. Hell, the Rogue One Tank was overpriced too, but at least it had a lot more complexity to it. Keep in mind, I only paid $50 for my Troop Transport, and it still feels like too much. When I had a hankering to review a Star Wars vehicle today, I probably should have gone for the Black Series 6-inch Scale Snowspeeder. It was a much more impressive toy, and I kind of feel bad that I bumped this one ahead of the line.

Women of Dynamite: Sheena Queen of the Jungle Limited Edition Statue by Dynamite

When it comes to comics, there was no shortage of feral blonde bombshells stalking the floppy jungles. Marvel has the ravishing Shaana the She-Devil and Dynamite dared to one-up them with TWO buxom tree-dwellers: Jana The Jungle Girl (who recently got a wonderful TPB Omnibus release) and, the focus of today’s review, Sheena the Queen of the Jungle! I didn’t need a whole hell of a lot of convincing to buy a Sheena statue, but when you toss in the fact that it’s based on the art of one of my favorite artists, J. Scott Campbell, this was basically a required purchase. But it was also one made with some trepidation. The Women of Dynamite statue series has been really hit-and-miss when it comes to quality control. So much so, that their Vampirella got a second release which promised to improve on the dire paint of the original. I picked that one up and while I did review her fairly favorably, it still wasn’t quite up to my expectations for a $150+ limited statue. Hopefully Sheena will fare a little better. I will confess, however, that I was slightly worried about the fact that most of the promo material for this piece was a 3D render rather than a painted prototype. Not usually a good sign!

Sheena comes in a fully enclosed box, which is fairly sizable given that this statue is roughly one-sixth scale. The box art is colorful and we finally get some shots of what I presume is the prototype. The side panel shows off some of the repainted variants that are available for this piece, including a B&W version and even an arctic version, which fails to put any more clothes on poor shivering Sheena. The statue inside is made of resin and comes encased between two Styrofoam bricks. Along with the statue you get a hand-numbered limitation card (denoting that this had a run of 750 pieces) as well as a card acknowledging that the statue was made possible by a Kickstarter campaign. I watched that campaign closely, but ultimately had to bow out of backing it because of the lack of a physical prototype. There are quite a few companies that I would trust pre-ordering based on a render, but Dynamite is not one of them. Ultimately, I picked her up through an online retailer, and she is still available through Sideshow at the time I’m writing this review.

And here she is freed of her confinement and on the prowl. Sheena is based off of the Campbell’s cover for 2017’s Sheena Queen of the Jungle #1. The only real difference is on the cover she’s depicted holding on to two vines, while here she has one hand resting on the tree and another holding her knife. It’s a clever work-around, as the vines leading to nowhere probably wouldn’t have worked for a statue. The tweaks allow her to retain the essentials of the cover art while even adding a little more excitement to it, as she has her weapon at the ready and looks like she’s about to pounce. As in the cover, Sheena’s left foot stretches forward with her toes clutching the tree, while her right leg is held back as if ready to propel herself atop her unseen foe. In terms of composition, I have no complaints here, the choices they made are all excellent and serve the character extremely well.

Sheena’s skimpy costume consists of some shredded leopard skins, which do little to conceal the Jungle Queen’s modesty. These are sculpted as part of the statue but hang off of her quite realistically and look great. Sometimes resin sculpted outfits can look rather thick and unnatural, but that’s certainly not the case here. The paint is also very well done, giving the garment a shade of yellow slightly deeper than Sheena’s hair and some meticulously painted brown spots. It’s secured by a sculpted belt, which feels a little too modern or civilized for the rest of the costume, although in fairness it is depicted on the cover. Maybe it was included to give her somewhere to carry her knife, although there isn’t a sheath. The rest of her costume consists of gold bangles on her wrists, and another on her left ankle, and finally a pair of gold bicep cuffs. And as nice as the outfit looks, its best attribute is that it shows off so much of Sheena’s best attributes. The sculpt does a nice job recreating those stylized curves that have become a trademark of Campbell’s sexy ladies. There’s a lot to enjoy here, but I think it’s Sheena’s legs that draw my eye the most. They are absolutely stunning and go on for days! What’s more the paint quality and application used for her skin tone is smooth, even, and absolutely perfect.

The portrait turned out fine, but as with Vampirella, I’m only seeing a little bit of Campbell’s work in there with more from some angles and less from others. The nose and lips look right, the overall structure of the face seems right, but the eyes aren’t quite there. In fairness, Campbell’s women are hard to copy in three-dimensions. Up until now I think Sideshow has been one of the few to get it spot-on. Still, I like what we got well enough. The paint is neatly applied, especially around the lips, and I’d say that goes for pretty much the whole statue. There are a few spots here and there where the paint lines could have been a little sharper, but you need to get in pretty close to start seeing any real imperfections. That alone makes this a huge improvement over the previous Women of Dynamite release that I reviewed. The hair sculpt is a little chunky, but that’s to be expected with resin and overall I think they captured the flow of her hair pretty well. The tribal necklace is a nice touch too!

They made an interesting choice with the base by putting the tree on a plain black disk, rather than going for a total diorama display. I kind of like it, as the contrast really brings out the detail in the tree itself. The bark is realistically sculpted and painted in a rich chocolate brown and additional vegetation is sculpted onto it, including some moss, vines, and leaves to imbue it with an unruly jungle flavor. I do love me some contrasts in my statues and the rough bark against her smooth skin makes for some great composition.

The bottom of the base indicates that this is the Standard Edition, as this piece was available in a number of different paint variations. The sculptor, Steve Kiwus is also credited here, although I’m surprised that Campbell didn’t get his name inscribed on here as well. The copyright is for 2019, but the statue was actually released this year. Finally, we have the limitation, which is hand numbered. Mine is a fairly high number: 662 of 750, but I’ll take what I can get.

And here’s a shot of her with the cover art she’s based on. I’m proud to have a CGC Graded copy of Sheena #1 signed by Campbell. And it’s the gold foil variant too! I’ll definitely be displaying these two items together!

If you can’t tell, I’m extremely happy with how this piece turned out and it’s nice to see that Dynamite is upping their game with these releases. Honestly, it was a bit of a tense moment when I opened it and had my first look at her, but gradually that apprehension was replaced with relief and then sheer delight! The sculpt, quality of paint, and precision of application are all where they need to be, making for quite an iconic and undeniably sexy display piece. But is it worth the price of admission? Mmm… that depends on where you get her. MSRP seems to be around $190 which seems pretty high for what you’re getting. I was able to pick her up for $130 and I had some gift cards to toss in, so like Vampirella, she came in at under $100 and I’m perfectly satisfied with that. Now, if only they can take another crack at Dejah Thoris and have it turn out as good as this, I’d be willing to go back to Dynamite for a third time!

Marvel Legends (Sugar Man Wave): Weapon X and Jean Grey by Hasbro

After crapping out at the end of last week due to the sickness, I’m back just in time for another Marvel Monday. Last week, I started going through the Age of Apocalypse themed Sugar Man Wave with Morph and Wild Child, and I’m going to once again double down with another pair from this assortment. And it seems only appropriate to pair up the happy alternate reality couple of Jean Grey and Weapon X.

Here’s another look at the packaging with that wonderful David Nakayama artwork on the side panels. Also check out how poor Jean is just crammed into the side of the tray to make room for the two giant Sugar Man BAF parts! Well, that’s rude!!! She really looks like she needs some room to breathe, so let’s start with her and get her out of there.

Egads this is a fun look for Ms. Grey, although how Xavier’s untimely death extended 80’s fashion into the 90’s is beyond me! Maybe it’s like how Kirk’s dad dying in JJ-Trek added all that chrome to the Enterprise bridge architecture. Hey, I’m no alternate history expert. Either way, Jean is rocking a black, blue, and red bodysuit, which relies mainly on paint for detail, at least below the chest. The top does sport some sculpted lines where it meets her skin. The bulk of the new sculpting is found in the other component of her costume: A half-jacket with some righteous shoulder pads and full sleeves. Diva Jean is definitely tickling my fancy! And even if the fashion doesn’t make a lot of sense, it gives Jean a bitchin hardcore look that certainly serves the timeline well. I think the colors work well together and the paint lines are pretty clean throughout. And I ain’t hating how the blue patch on her bottom highlights her butt! What? I might as well say it, since she knows I was thinking it anyway!

And this portrait… Wow! I dig it! She’s super pretty and I love the shock of short red hair style that Pat Benetar would no doubt approve of! The paint work on her eyes and lips are sharp, and she’s got a blue tattoo that bisects her left eye, travels down her cheek and then arches up over her eyebrow to terminate in a sharp point on her forehead.

The articulation here is pretty standard female Legends stuff. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have double-hinged knees, swivels in the thighs, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. There’s no waist swivel, but you do get a ball joint under the chest, and the neck has both a hinge and a ball joint. Jean features the spell-slinger style hands that work pretty well for her telepathic powers. Moving on to Wolv… I mean Weapon X!!!

Just when you thought we were going to be done with Logan releases for a while, NOPE! But that’s OK, because this is a pretty damn great look for him. Weapon X is built on the usual short and buff Wolverine body we’ve seen many times before, and that’s great because it means he has the lateral crunches in the shoulders. Here he’s decked out in a black suit with red stripes across his chest. The deco kind of matches Jean’s and isn’t that just adorable that these two lovebirds accessorize together! You do get some original sculpting in the yellow belt, which hangs around the waist and features an X-logo on the buckle. Logan also has some striping painted on his arms to simulate them hairy guns.

His right hand features claws which can be removed if you want to display them non-popped. Sure, it leaves holes in the knuckles, but they’re not very conspicuous. I would exercise caution, as my figure’s middle claw fell off as I was taking him out of the package and it had to engage the cats to keep them from carrying it off as a prize. The middle claw seems a bit loose in general, but I jammed it back in there and it hasn’t fallen out again since. The glove is black with red striping to match the rest of his suit.

And on the left arm, we have the stump from where Cyclops obliterated his other hand. The arm is capped off with a silver cannister with the three claws popped through it. These aren’t removable, but he does come with a second stump with no claws if you want to swap them out.

And that brings us to the portrait, and holy hell is it amazing! Clearly, the sculptors understood the challenge this figure presented. We have to take a character who is full of pure bad-tempered rage in this Universe and now depict him as he is in an everything-is-shit timeline where he’s especially filled with pure bad-tempered rage. Yup, goal achieved. I mean, maybe he’s a little happier here because he’s getting a little something off of Jean, but they did not hold back with this sculpt and it is glorious! The wrinkled up face, the bare teeth, the wild hair, the dusting of whiskers, I love everything they’ve done here. It’s primal and powerful, and it makes the Caliban Wave Weapon X look like a bad tempered puppy in comparison.

The rest of the figure features all the great articulation I’ve come to expect from this familiar buck, so I won’t recount it again. I will just say that no matter how many times I open up a new Legends Wolverine figure, I still find them hard to put down. This guy is going to be on my desk for a while.

I still have two more figures to look at in this assortment, but I’ll call it right now that Jean and Weapon X are going to be tough to beat as my current favorites of the wave. I can also tell that my big complaint at the end of this run is going to be why we didn’t get an Age of Apocalypse Cyclops in this assortment, because it really does seem like it should have been a no-brainer. Either way, I’m having a lot of fun with this wave and I’m looking forward to next Monday when I tear into another pair!