Marvel Legends (Deadpool): Domino by Hasbro

So, obviously I went AWOL for most of Christmas week, which comprised of lots of work and Jameson and not enough sleep. But it’s a new week, and while I make no promises, I’m hoping that by the time we get to 2021, I’ll be able to get things here back on track. For now, It’s Marvel Monday and after a long and stressful week, I’m ready to open some toys! And hey… Did you know that luck is a super power? Yes it is. Yeah. It totally is. And I was lucky enough to stumble upon this Domino figure at Target the other day. No, not really. To be honest, I couldn’t find her and had to get her online. But either way I got her and I am tickled to have a Zazie Beetz Domino in my collection of little plastic peoples.

Hasbro has adopted a new look for their figures based off of the Deadpool and X-Men films and I like it a lot. Like the Deadpool/Negasonic two-pack we looked at last week, the box here has suffered under the cruel nub of Deadpool’s Sharpie. The window gives you a great look at the figure inside, reminding me how adorable and badass Beetz was in this movie. I hope we get to see her don that eye-dot again. But for now, I’ll have to be satisfied recreating new adventures for her with this action figure.

Here she is out of the box and looking so fine! The outfit doesn’t really hold a lot of recognizable nods to anything I’m used to seeing Domino wearing in the comics, but I think it’s safe to say that this movie version was fairly loosely based on that character. It’s certainly a unique costume, eschewing the usual boring tactical body suit for something with a little more personality. The color palate here is mostly black and blue with a little brown thrown in. She’s got some reinforced kneepads, high boots with bronze reinforced bars running up the fronts, and the top is a sleeveless V-neck. The mercenary ensemble is tied together with a pair of long-sleeved gloves that run up past her elbows. All in all, this outfit isn’t exactly the latest in hi-tech body-armor, but when you’ve got luck on your side, I guess you don’t need such things. And all in all, I like the look of this costume and its coloring.

Domino also has a belt rig, which is sculpted separately and worn by the figure. It features some pouches on her left hip, and a functional holster on her right hip. That’s right, Deadpool can suck it, because he got guns sculpted into his holsters and Domino got one that can actually be removed. I guess she’s just lucky. The rig is mostly black, but there are some silver paint hits for the buckle and fixtures.

Domino comes with two portraits, which is pretty cool considering how much plastic they had to invest in her hair! The head that comes on the figure has a fairly neutral expression, and makes for a pretty good likeness to Beetz in the film. It makes use of the halftone printing for her facial features, has some nice gloss paint on the lips, and her eyes are quite captivating. On top of that, I really dig the somewhat translucent plastic they used for her hair. The sculpt came out great, and of course she has her Domino-Dot painted around her left eye. What’s puzzling is why they went with such a subtle change between the two heads, as the second one, which will be featured in some shots below, is just a slight smirk. The only other real difference appears to be her goggles up on her forehead and partially buried by her hair. I really had to scrutinize it to tell much of a difference. Either way, however, they are both excellent.

Domino comes out of the package with a pair of fists, but she also comes with a set of gun-holding hands, and three guns to put into them! The first is a simple black automatic pistol, which fits into the holster on the belt. I don’t think it’s supposed to represent any actual firearm, but it isn’t a crazy sci-fi design either.

The other guns are a pair of matched silver Uzi or Mac-10 style submachine guns with bayonets on them. Yeah, mounting knives on your submachine guns is an interesting choice and it’s certainly distinctive. I like these guns a lot, especially with the silver bodies and black grip and magazines. There are also black optics mounted on the top rails. I don’t actually remember these guns from the film, but I’m long overdue for a re-watch of that one anyway. Either way, they are exceptionally nice accessories and fit perfectly in her gun-toting hands.

And of course Domino sports all the usual articulation that I’m used to seeing on these Legends ladies. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have swivels in the thighs, double-hinges in the knees, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and elbows, as well as hinged pegs for the wrists. There’s a ball joint under her chest, and her neck is both hinged and ball jointed. Yup, I would have preferred double-hinged elbows and bicep swivels, but I’m still pleased with what she can do. No mushy joints here! She’s loads of fun to play with and has pretty good balance too.

I remember coming out of seeing Deadpool 2 and hoping against hope that Hot Toys would do this version of Domino. It wasn’t an unreasonable wish, seeing as how they did Deadpool himself and are set to deliver Cable next year. Sadly, a Domino release seems more and more unlikely at this point, and just when I thought there was no chance of me ever getting a Zazie Domino action figure, Hasbro stood up and delivered with an all around excellent figure. She has just the right assortment of guns, and she’s going to look fantastic in the modest Deadpool corner of my MCU shelves. Yup, this one made me a very happy camper!

Marvel Legends: The Infinity Gauntlet by Hasbro

Wow, this weekend was a beast. I don’t even want to think about how many hours I wound up working. And that means that I got seriously short changed on time for today’s Marvel Monday. I was going to check out some more figures from the Deadpool movies, but seeing as I’m under a time crunch, let’s check out this big goddamn Gauntlet that’s been sitting in the corner intimidating the cats for about a year.

It’s weird seeing the Marvel Legends moniker on something that isn’t an action figure, but Hasbro has been using the series to release some of their 1:1 prop-replica toys. I’ve only reviewed one here so far, and that was the Ant-Man Helmet, but they’ve also done Mjolnir and Captain America’s Shield just to name a few. The Infinity Gauntlet comes in a fully enclosed black box with some pictures depicting the item inside. It’s big and heavy and that gives you a great idea of the plastic behemoth that waits for you inside. It comes out of the box fully assembled, but you will need to install some batteries if you want to get the electronics up and running, and believe me, you are going to want to do that!

The reality bending glove is fashioned all in plastic and I’m pleased to say that Hasbro did not skimp on the size. It looks appropriately huge and awkward when worn by a mere human, but then again it’s meant to! But more on how it functions in a bit. Besides the impressive size, I thought the finish is pretty nice. The entire piece is cast in an antiqued bronze colored plastic, which thankfully looks rich and substantial rather than cheap. It even has a nice metallic sheen to it in some areas, particularly the fingers. I’m glad they went this route, because painting this thing would not only be expensive but also probably make it prone to chipping and wear. It looks like a weathered artifact rather than a shiny new construct, and while that doesn’t necessarily make sense, since it was newly forged in the movie, I dig it. There are some nice sculpted details in the Gauntlet, including scrollwork patterns, rivets, and some plates that are made to look like they are overlapping each other. You also get some sculpted chainmail around the thumb and what are meant to be segmented plates in the fingers.

As for operating the Gauntlet, because it is so big, your fingers don’t actually go into the fingers of the glove, but rather pass through rings that in turn manipulate the fingers when you pull on them. It’s a really clever piece of engineering that allows the glove to work on a much smaller hand than it was designed for. It works really well, allowing each finger to be manipulated on its own. On the downside, you really can’t make a convincing snapping motion with the fingers, but that would have been way to sophisticated with the kind of toy we’re dealing with here. There’s a switch on the Gauntlet right below the big yellow Mind Stone, which can be used to lock or unlock the fingers in the closed position. You’ll note there are some visible screw holes in the palm of the Gauntlet, and while they don’t ruin the toy for me, it would have been cool if Hasbro included some plugs to fill those in, especially at this price point.

Of course, the Infinity Stones are embedded in their proper sockets and they look great. Each one is a unique sculpt and cast in translucent plastic colored to match the respective stones. And here’s where the electronics come in! The battery compartment is concealed in the outer portion of the sleeve. It’s a pretty big door, and if you know what you’re looking for it’s pretty easy to recognize it for what it is. On the other hand, it doesn’t look terribly obvious either. And in case you are wondering, the stones are not removable.

The Stones illuminate whenever you are manipulating the fingers, and they will continue to stay lit for a little while after you put the Gauntlet down. The lights are extremely bright, so much so that I didn’t even have to dim the studio lights for them to show up in the pictures. Just realize that if you are donning this Gauntlet in a room with normal lighting, they are going to look all the more intense! In addition to the lights, you get some great sound effects, including the whirring of the finger joints and the hum of power coming from the Stones. I’m generally not a huge fan of the electronics on these types of prop-toys, but in this case, I think they really add to the overall display and value of the piece.

I hesitated on this piece when it first came out and I’m glad that I did, because I was able to get it at the deep discount of about $70. Nowadays it seems to be going for around $125 on Amazon, but I’m willing to bet that there are still deals to be had. It’s certainly a well constructed and well designed prop-toy. It’s extremely sturdy and I’ll bet it can withstand a good amount of punishment without breaking. The electronics effects are fantastic, and the engineering inside the glove is clever and functions just the way its intended. Granted, I don’t wear this thing a lot, but it does make for an impressive display piece in the corner, and when I happen to glance at it, it usually invokes a big smile and sometimes compels me to put it on for a bit. Of course, there are better replicas of the Infinity Gauntlet out there, but obviously at greater cost, and in most cases not wearable. Ultimately I was glad I picked this one up and I have been keeping an eye out for the Endgame Power Gauntlet that Hasbro also did. I think the two would look great displayed beside each other.

J. Scott Campbell’s Fairytale Fantasies: Little Mermaid (Morning Edition) by Sideshow

If you follow me on Twitter, you might have seen that I’ve been reworking my beloved collection of J. Scott Campbell books, prints, and collectibles to make room for some new additions. And while I’ve got plenty of stuff in this collection still waiting to be reviewed, I thought I’d push this newest one to the front of the list. Let’s check out The Little Mermaid Morning Edition Statue from JSC’s Fairytale Fantasies line.

I first visited with this line a little while ago with a look at Tinkerbell, but in case you missed that one, Fairytale Fantasies partners the enormous talent of J. Scott Campbell and Sideshow to create polyresin statues depicting Campbell’s stylized renditions of some well-known fairytale ladies. The Little Mermaid was the first statue and at the time she was released I had too much money tied up in other pre-orders to allow me to get her. Unfortunately, she sold out pretty quickly and I missed out, but another opportunity popped up in the form of this Morning Edition, which is a blonde haired, red-tailed variant. Yes, I would have preferred the original green tail and red hair, but hell I do enjoy me some salmon, and I wasn’t about to miss out on this one a second time. She comes in a fully enclosed box with some ornate decorations and the boldness of including absolutely no images of the statue on the box. But yeah, granted, I’d say the overwhelming majority of collectors that buy this are doing so online anyway. I don’t believe there was an exclusive release on this one, but it was limited to 1500 pieces and the number of each statue is on the bottom of the box. Inside contains a Styrofoam block with the statue in three pieces: The base, the upper body, and the tail. The pieces connect to the base easily with magnets and she’s all ready for display in a matter of minutes. Let’s have a look!

Oh, heck yes! These statues appear to be roughly one-sixth scale, but because our mermaid is bending over as she emerges from the water, we’re dealing with a piece that takes up about as much real estate on the shelf as she is tall. Nevertheless, this is a sizeable and hefty piece that commands attention on the shelf. The figure is pushing up from the surface of the water, with her hands resting on a jutting rock, while her tail disappears into the water (right about where her knees would be) and protrudes again to show off the majestic fin at the end of her tail. It’s a cool effect, and while the tail is a separate piece, I can definitely buy it being all connected under the water. I think the composition here is perfect, as it allows for a number of sweet spots so you can be a little creative with its orientation on the shelf. Truth be told, this lady looks great from just about any angle.

The tail itself features a sculpted checkered pattern of scales and an absolutely gorgeous coat of deep crimson red paint with a subtle sheen to it. Yeah, I made a Salmon crack before, but this is clearly red not pink. There are some semi-translucent fins coming off of each side near the waist, where fish meets lady. At first, I was thinking it would have been cool to work in an area where the tail gradually gave way to human flesh, but on second thought, that might have been a little creepy and gross. Given the stylized nature, I’m fine with the definitive cut off. The tail fins are cast in an opaque milky plastic with some gradient red running through it. It’s quite lovely and majestic, almost resembling flower pedals as it sweeps out and curves down at the tips. The tail manages to be impressive without being oppressive, as it really only blocks the view of the figure from directly behind.

Of course, the lady half is what garners the most of my attention, and that’s because she’s stunningly beautiful. The contours of her body match that undeniable Campbell style that makes me swoon (while making Twitter nutbags exclaim “OMG, WHERE R HER ORGANZZZ???” The fact that she’s pushing herself up on off the rock allows for some serious chest poofing, of which I am definitely a fan. It is, after all, a well known fact that Mermaids have no concept of modesty and they will advertise their goods to any fish or sailor that happens to be gawking. In this case, however, her rather elaborate shell necklace manages to conceal just enough of her copious chest to give this piece a PG rating.

The necklace is not only beautifully sculpted and painted, but talking about it more allows me to take some strategic close ups of her shells. This collection of conches, starfish, and other undersea treasures is painted in pink and turquoise with a pearlescent finish. She also sports a gold bicep band on her left arm.

And that brings us to the portrait, which is a stunning piece of work. A design style as singularly distinctive as Campbell’s cannot be easy to adapt to a 3D model, and yet the wizards at Sideshow seem to have mastered the art of this conversion. I think this Mermaid is right up there with Tinkerbell in perfectly capturing JSC’s talents. From the high cheekbones and almond eyes to the slope of the nose and the perfect lips, this head sculpt brings the 2D art to life. The paint here is exquisite as well. The applications on the eyebrows, eyes, and lips are all sharp and crisp, and the warm, soft skin throughout the statue has a subtle freckling that really brings this fish-gal to life. And while I would have preferred the redhead version of the original, this Morning Editions flowing blonde hair is certainly a worthy alternative.

Our final stop, as always, is the base, and here we have a simple black oval with a beautiful resin water effect, which ripples around the rock and tail. The jagged rock looks real enough as to have been plucked from the sea and glued onto the statue. The mermaid’s fingers grasp at each end of it, with her fingers adorned in gold rings, and her wrists covered with golden bangles. There’s even some pink nail polish on her fingernails.

The bottom of the base has the Fairytale Fantasies logo in gold foil against a pink backdrop. This combination looks striking in person, but my camera had troubles with it, so it’s not quite as prominent in the picture. Also here on the underside of the base, the statue is hand numbered. Mine is 495/1500. As far as I know, there was no Sideshow Exclusive version of this one, which is a shame. Tinkerbell came with a metal concept art card, but I’ll have to settle with picking up the concept art print off of JSC’s store to display with her.

If you’re a fan of J. Scott Campbell’s work and are looking to throw some money at some JSC for your shelf, this Fairytale Fantasies line is a great way to go, and I believe both of these statues are still available at various online retailers, including Sideshow themselves. I don’t think anyone has managed to capture Campbell’s work nearly as well in statue form and I think the subject matter is a perfect fit for the style. I’ll confess that I was a little worried that the variant colors would be a constant reminder that I missed out on the original, but that hasn’t been the case. For the record, there is also a purple tail brunette variant, which I believe was a JSC Store Exclusive too. I picked up this piece from Sideshow when they were doing a free shipping sale, which amounts to quite a bit of savings when you’re talking about a heavy statue like this one, and after applying some reward points, this fishy lady set me back about $250. A fine catch, if you ask me. I still have Alice to review, and Cinderella is slated to be released next year.

Marvel Legends: Deadpool and Negasonic Teenage Warhead by Hasbro

Just when I thought Marvel Legends could no longer surprise me, Hasbro goes and puts action figures in the toy aisles based on one of the most R-rated R-rated movies I’ve seen in a while. The Deadpool film sure went out of its way to be raw and it was all the more glorious for it. But it seemed like every frame of sex and violence was one more step to assuring we would never get the toys. Well, here come the toys! And I’m kicking off with a look at Deadpool himself, and his reluctant sidekick, Negasonic Teenage Warhead.

The figures come in a window box fairly similar in size to the previous X-Men two-packs. It’s even sort of branded for the X-Men only with Deadpool’s emblem stamped over the X. Wade has also taken his Sharpie to the box, crossing out the characters’ real names with their cool made-up superhero names and adding the 14+ age restriction in the upper right hand corner. Naturally, the big window gives you a great look at the figures and a whole bunch of accessories. Yup, I like the packaging here and I am delighted to have these figures in hand, so let’s tear into it. I’m going to start with Deadpool.

While some of these big budget comic films have taken liberties with the costumes, Deadpool emerged a celluloid anti-hero with all his looks intact. Yes, the details make this costume unique to the film appearance, but even if I hadn’t seen the movie, this would still just be good old Deadpool to me. The costume has a bit more of a realistic tactical flavor to it, but it’s red and black in all the right places, and he’s strapped with all the pouches and holsters that I expect to see on my Merc With A Mouth. I’m not going to do a comparison of all the bits and bobs that make this the MCU version (Yes! I can finally say that!) but I’ll just say that the figure looks fantastic, especially when displayed with some of the other MCU figures. The red portions have a nice texture to them, while the black reinforced areas have some panel lining. There’s even a couple pock marks in his chest, which may just be a fault in the mold, but I’d like to think that they’re supposed to be bullet holes.

Poolio has a number of extras worn over his suit, all sculpted in soft plastic. These include his belt and shoulder strap, and a set of crossed scabbards on his back for his katanas. There’s some excellent detail in the belt, as well as some additional paint hits. His Deadpool emblem adorns the belt buckle and there are some pouches. The clasps and fixtures are painted silver, while the pouches are tan, all of which make them stand out from the black belt and shoulder strap. He’s got a similar strap of pouches on his right leg, and a sheath for his knife on his lower left leg.

The holsters are secured to his legs with thigh straps, and they feature a pair of beautifully detailed automatic pistols, which are so detailed I could scarcely believe that they are sculpted as part of the holsters. Why, Hasbro? Why release a Deadpool figure with guns that can’t be removed from the holsters. PORQUES MIS AMIGOS???

The head sculpt is great and features the same basketball style texture as the rest of the suit’s red areas. It fits the movie look perfectly and Hasbro went for a pretty neutral look for him. There’s no popped eye or squinty gaze. I would have really liked a second head in this set with either a more expressive masked face or an unmasked face. It’s hard to believe that Ryan Reynolds wouldn’t want his face on an action figure, even if it was going to be covered in sculpted scar tissue. Ah well, at least what we got is good.

Hasbro did go really crazy with the hands in this set, although one of the things I’m not clear on is why they gave him some hands with the reinforced plate on the back of the hands painted silver and some not. Hell, they even gave him two pairs of fists with only this one difference between them. I’m not sure if I’m missing some significance from the movie, but I don’t think so. Either way, besides the two sets of fists, he has a set of open fingered hands, and a set of gun-holding hands.

And speaking of guns, he does come with a pair of pistols, which normally wouldn’t make much sense since he has guns permanently attached to his holsters. But then, this is Deadpool, and it’s not uncommon to see him with a whole lot of guns and back up guns, and backups for his backup guns. The ones he does come with are OK, but a little weird in their designs. I would have much rather had the ones he had in his holsters over these. The gun-holding hands do work very well with them, though.

They do not, however, work quite as well with the katana swords. The grip is very loose and while I can get him to hold them if I tuck the trigger finger over the tsubas, it’s still not ideal. The swords feature decent sculpts in the handles, silver blades, and they fit really well into the scabbards without coming out all bent.

Oh yeah, he also has that little combat knife tucked in the leg scabbard. This one is also a nice little piece, and it can be tricky to get him to hold it with those gun hands, but with a little patience I was able to get it to work without having to resort to the old poster putty.

Finally, Deadpool comes with his toy unicorn, which is certainly a fun and unique accessory, but your mileage with it may vary. He can hold it in a variety of ways, but alas it’s way too small for him to ride on!  And that brings us to Negasonic Teenage Warhead…

NTW is a character that I found surprisingly likeable for a moody teenage shit, and a fine foil to Wade. Needless to say, I’m happy she eventually got the action figure treatment. And it’s a damn fine figure too! The X-Men uniform she wears in the movie is a sharp design, and I think it looks great on the figure. It’s mostly black with a yellow chest, yellow stripes running down the sides of the hips, and some yellow panels on the finger-less gloves. The studded belt is cool, although I presume that’s not school-issue and probably provided as Negasonic’s personal touch. I also dig the raised X-logo on the left side of her chest. As with Deadpool, there’s some texturing on the suit to make it a bit more interesting.

And the head sculpt is a pretty decent likeness for the actress in the film. It does make use of the halftone printing method for the facial features, and as usual it looks great when the figure is in hand, but can look blurry when you get in real close with the camera lens. She has a pretty blank expression, which actually suits the character well, and they even sculpted her rather elaborate left earring.

I didn’t go into Deadpool’s articulation, because it’s the same old thing we’ve been seeing all along in Legends. In other words, pretty solid! The Legends ladies don’t always fare as well, and that’s sort of the case here with Negasonic. From the hips down, everything is fine. She’s got ball jointed hips, hinges in both her thighs and her lower legs, double-hinges in the knees, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. There’s no waist swivel, but she does have a ball joint just under her chest. The arms, feature the rotating hinges in the shoulders and again in the elbows. As usual, I’d rather have double-hinged elbows and swivels in the biceps, but I’m never going to win that fight! Her wrists are pegged hinges, which allow you to swap out her fists and her open hands. And finally, she has a hinge and ball joint in her neck. All in all, not bad.

Deadpool really hogs all the accessories in this set, as Ms. Warhead only comes with the extra pair of hands and a couple of effect parts. The effect parts are just translucent yellow energy coils that can be placed around her hands. They’re nothing extraordinary, but they do look good. I think Hasbro missed an opportunity by not giving her a cell phone. I seem to recall that Gwenpool came with one that they could have repainted and repurposed here. Maybe I’ll just steal hers.

There are definitely some missed opportunities with this set, but all in all I like what we got. The sculpts are excellent and it’s still hard to believe that we got toys from this film. In addition to this two-pack Hasbro has also released Domino and Cable from Deadpool 2, and I just might be checking out one of those next week. Just last week, Hasbro has also revealed a repaint of Deadpool, which I will likely pass on. Of course, there is a giant Russian-shaped hole in this collection, and I was really hoping they would have announced Colossus by now. Indeed, in a perfect world, this set would have been a three-pack and with him included. Ah, but either way, it’s a little miracle that we got figures from these movies at all, so I’m not going to start complaining about what we didn’t get.

Transformers (Robot Enhanced Design Series): Optimus Prime by Hasbro

I’m checking in today with a look at the Walmart Exclusive Robot Enhanced Design Series of Transformers. These roughly 6-inch figures have garnered a bit of shade from collectors as being Transformers that don’t actually transform. I understand where the critics are coming from, but personally I happen to like the idea. A lot of these characters mean a lot to me, and as a result have evolved beyond the mere gimmick of their toy line. It also allows for some stylistic and articulation designs that are not always possible in true Transformers. Although, I’ll grant that Hasbro has been getting better and better at that solving those problems lately. The initial (and possibly only?) wave of these figures included Optimus Prime, Megatron, and Soundwave, and while I was a little tempted to start with Megatron, let’s just go ahead and kick off with Prime!

Wow, this is some kick ass packaging! The figures come in window boxes with a slanted side and some gorgeous wraparound character art. You get a good look at the figure inside, and if you look really carefully down at the bottom of the box, it states that the figure does not convert. Maybe, they should have made that a little bit clearer. Anyway, let’s rip this bot open and check him out.

So, RED Prime stands a little more than a head shorter than the recent Earthrise and Siege Primes, but stands at the same height as Hasbro’s 6-inch Star Wars, Marvel, or GI JOE figures. My initial reaction is that he looks really good. He has a stylized appearance that takes a little advantage of the non-transforming design. Most notably, he has no wheels visible, which some people may love. Personally, I don’t mind the wheels on the robot mode, as long as they’re well placed. The figure does take full advantage of being able to make him look just as good from behind as he does from the front. No need for hollow legs or kibble makes for a solid looking figure all 360-degrees around. The plastic used for this figure is very dense and comes across as softer than the regular Transformers. As a result, RED Prime looks a lot less hyper-detailed than Earthrise or Siege Prime. Part of this could be going for that simpler, animated look, but I think some of it has to do with this plastic not holding the details as sharply. I think the whether or not that’s a good thing will come down to personal preference. I will say that the plastic is nice and chunky and makes this a fun figure to handle.

Prime’s deco makes use of colored plastic as much as possible. The upper legs and lower waist are off-white, there’s a dull silver on the abdominal grill, as well as some dark gray. The red and blue are both darker and duller than I would have liked, but it’s not a big issue for me. You do get some yellow paint on the lower waist, but sadly none on the roof lights. It’s hard to tell whether that was an effort to cut costs, or make the truck parts blend in more in robot form. It’s also worth pointing out that the upper pins in the knees are not painted to match the upper legs. I can’t really excuse this, since it doesn’t match on either side and the pin just needed to be cast in the same color as the legs.

The head sculpt is good, but I think it’s here where the plastic quality mars the figure the most. It looks really soft, especially when compared to his transforming brothers. Again, not bad on its own, but really apparent when comparing the figures. And while we’re talking about this region, I might as well mention how unfortunately bendy those smokestacks on his shoulders are.

The chest windows are tinted clear plastic and chow off the Matrix of Leadership, which resides inside. The chest panels do open and you can remove the Matrix. It looks kind of plain inside the cavity, but again that may be intended for the cleaner, animated look. The Matrix itself looks great.

I believe articulation is intended to be the real selling point of this figure, and I’m happy to say that it does deliver in some areas. The arms are pretty standard with rotating hinges in the shoulders, swivels in the biceps, hinges in the elbows, and hinged pegs in the wrists. The legs have have rotating hinges in the hips, swivels in the thighs, double-hinges in the knees, and rotating hinges in the ankles that allow for lateral movement in the feet. There’s a swivel in the waist, and the neck is ball jointed. All this articulation means that the figure is tons of fun to play around with, but is it a huge improvement over the transforming Earthrise figure? Not really. In fact, I found that the Earthrise Prime could do most of what this one could do as well.

You do get some nice accessories, including a total of two pairs of hands, and some extra right hands. These include fists, relaxed hands, a gun holding hand, and The Pointing FInger of Leadership. These just pop out of the arms and are pretty easy to swap out.

Next up, you get Prime’s iconic Buster Rifle, which is a bit soft, but still a very nice sculpt. It was a bit of a chore getting it into his hand for the first time, but now that it’s in there, I can leave it in there and just swap out the hand when I want him to wield it.

And finally, he comes with his Energon Axe, which can be swapped out with either hand. I’m not usually a big fan of this piece, but it does look great on the figure, and I may wind up using it to display Prime’s fight on top of Hoover Dam once I open Megatron.

I like this figure a lot, but I can tell right now it is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. It’s safe to say that it’s among the best figures of Sunbow Optimus Prime that I have handled. He’s lots of fun to play with, and I think Hasbro did a decent job taking advantage of the non-converting nature of the figure to deliver a clean and stylized figure. On the other hand, the transforming versions of Prime are getting so damn good, that as a figure, I still prefer the Siege Prime over this one. It looks better, it has nearly the same level of articulation, and he does it all without having to give up his transforming ability. Now if this type of figure had been released 10 years ago? Well, that would have been something. I’m still very eager to check out Megatron, as I think he will benefit a lot from this Robot Enhanced Design series.

Marvel Legends: (Retro Series) Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy by Hasbro

Hasbro’s retro-carded offshoot of Marvel Legends really pisses me off. These figures look so amazing on the cards, but with very few exceptions (Some ReAction and some Star Wars Vintage Collection), I do open open all of my toys. And I sure as hell don’t have the space to collect doubles to keep a set carded. Of course, some of these releases are simply recycled figures in new packaging, but some, like today’s pair, are brand new. As of now, I’m only picking up two figures from this wave, so let’s check out Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy!

Here they are carded, and they are simply magnificent to behold. The colors are bright, the artwork is crisp, and the figures look fantastic on their crystal clear bubbles against this nostalgic canvas. Even the backs of the cards mimic the old Toy Biz stylings. What’s more, Hasbro uses some durable and heavy stock for these cards, making them a lot easier to find in good condition and that’s obviously a big plus for all the collectors who plan on keeping these carded. The cards are so durable, that it’s actually a bit tough to tear them open. Again, a very good thing! Let’s start out with Gwen!

Truth be told, I’ve always been more of an MJ kinda guy, but that doesn’t mean I’ve got anything against Gwen. Indeed, it’s great to finally have a figure of her in the modern Legends line up. And I have to say, Hasbro did a fantastic job on this figure. Ms. Stacy is dressed in a textured black top with a purple skirt, a green jacket, and high-heeled boots that come up to the tops of her calves. I really like the black and purple deco, because it makes me think Gwen may be a closet Decepticon sympathizer. Yes, I jest, but I really do like these colors. The jacket uses the familiar trick of being sculpted sleeveless and in soft plastic, with the sleeves sculpted as part of the arms. In this case, there is a bit of a gap between the arm holes on the jacket and the sculpted sleeves. It may irk some people, but it doesn’t really mess with the illusion for me. If I had one gripe about the figure it would be that the hands look a little oversized, but maybe that’s just me.

The jacket is sculpted in a slightly open position, with maybe just a bit of billowing to show off her outfit. The belt is sculpted so that it comes away from the jacket and looks pretty good. I really dig how the belt is brown and the loops are green, rather than just sculpting it all in one color to match the jacket. It may sound like a little thing, but I think it adds a little premium feel to the figure. The heels on the boots are a little chunky, and I was happy to find that I didn’t have a lot of difficulty getting her to stand. At the same time, she isn’t a figure that’s terribly well suited for extreme action poses, because the skirt does impede her hip movement a bit, despite slits to help out. There are no surprises in the articulation, and since I’m cramming two figures into today, I won’t run down all the points here.

The head sculpt is excellent, but that’s pretty much to be expected from Marvel Legends at this point. Hasbro continues to stick with paint for their comic characters over the more realistic halftone method that they have adopted for their MCU figures, and I’ve got no complaints here. The paint for the eyes is crisp and clear and I like the softer pink paint they used for her lips. Her long blonde hair is held in check with a simple black headband, and as it spills down the back, it fans out a bit as if by the same light breeze that billows her jacket. It’s really nice how they matched the two.

Gwen comes with a few welcome accessories. First off, she has her Trapper Keeper and her High School Year Book. The Trapper Keeper is cast all in aqua plastic and has some sculpted details, where the Year Book actually has printing on the front cover. Her left hand is sculpted to work with the accessories pretty well. I would have liked a swap-out right hand to help her carry them to class, but I guess that’s what Peter is for!

She also comes with a rolled up copy of the Daily Bugle, which is a very welcome accessory indeed!

And finally, Gwen comes with a Mary Jane head, which I thought was a really strange inclusion. Can we not let Gwen have her own figure? Especially since we got a Mary Jane in a two-pack about five years ago. Well, I’m never one to complain about something extra and it is a very nice portrait indeed. I think it works OK on this body, although MJ’s hair is kind of at odds with the sculpted lapels on the jacket. But in the end, I think this body just works better for Gwen then it does MJ.

If you’re wondering, the new MJ head is too small to work on the previously released Mary Jane figure, and even if it wasn’t, the skin tone is all wrong. Honestly, I like the previous released MJ head. I’m especially fond of the freckles. OK, let’s move on to Peter Parker!

We’ve had an unmasked Peter Parker head bundled with Spider-Man before, but I think this is the first time we’re getting an entire Peter Parker in the modern Legends line. If not, I must have slept on it. Either way, I always thought this figure would come double-packed with a Spider-Man, but the Retro Series seems like as good a place as any. Parker’s civvies include a blue button down shirt, brown leather jacket, blue jeans, and some very white sneakers. The sculpt of the shirt is interrupted by a ball joint under the chest, but otherwise looks fine. They did a particularly nice job with the jacket, right down to the sculpted elastic cuffs, popped collar, and slick glossy finish. The vest and sculpted sleeves trick works better here than on Gwen’s, because the arms fill out the holes and drive the illusion home. You get a little gold paint on the belt buckle, and that’s about all I have to say about the body sculpt here. Oh yeah, the hands look a little too big here too. Is that a running theme with this pair or is it just me? Is hallucinating large hands on action figures a symptom of the COVID? Maybe I need some time off from work. Just think of how many reviews I could get done!!!

Moving on to the portrait aaaand, let’s talk about those glasses, eh? Holy shit, do they look goofy! I totally get what Hasbro was going for here, but I’m just not sure it works well on the figure. Maybe it’s just a question of classic panel art not translating all that well to plastic. The rest of the head sculpt is excellent, and sure, he does have fully sculpted and painted eyes under there, so if you want to lose the glasses, it’s not that difficult to do it without defacing the figure. They’re basically just tabbed into the sides of his head and held fast with a little glue. With all that being said, I’ll probably leave the glasses for now. I do really dig his hair sculpt.

Naturally, Peter comes with his trusty camera, and here’s maybe why his hands look big. This is a chunky camera and he needed some meaty paws to properly hold it. I like that they went with a more traditional looking camera, although maybe kids these days don’t even know what it’s supposed to be. This reminds me that my camera is on its last leg and I’m going to need to invest in a new one real soon.

Ah, but the real star accessory here is the Spider Sense head. It’s easy to forgive those hideous glasses, when we get an alternate head that is this amazing. Everything about this one works for me. I love the startled expression on the exposed part of his head, and the clear sculpted line running between the mask and his face. I’ve been waiting for Hasbro to do something like this for a while now and I’m happy to finally have it.

As much as I would have loved to collect this entire wave and cover my wall with them, I had to be good and just pick up Peter and Gwen. I may pick up the Daredevil if he turns up on sale at some point down the road. And yeah, I wouldn’t mind just having the Spider-Man and Gobbie to keep carded as showpieces, but no… I have to draw the line somewhere. And retro packaging or not, these are both great figures. I would have been just as happy to have gotten these in a two-pack and not had to cry over the torn packaging.

Masters of the Universe Origins: Battle Cat by Mattel

It’s another week and another miss. I tried to get back to my three update schedule this week, but it’s just not happening. I get home from work exhausted, I zone out with a video game for a bit and then go to sleep. Trust me when I tell you that I haven’t lost the passion to do this, but right now I just don’t have the time or energy needed. It’s frustrating, but at least I’m still hitting all the Marvel Mondays, even if it’s been a struggle to get anything else done. So, I’m not making any more promises about what future weeks will look like. For now I’ll get here when I can get here. But for now, at least I made it back before the week ended with one more review, so let’s get to it… I’ve got tons of different stuff waiting to be reviewed, and yet somehow I keep pushing MOTU Origins up to the front of the line. It’s the line I didn’t want to collect. The line I swore I wouldn’t collect. And yet here we are! Right out of the gate, Mattel is pulling no punches and giving us beasts and vehicles, and even a new Greyskull! So let’s check out Battle Cat!

The packaging for this line continues to be killer. Battle Cat comes in a window box with an extended top flap and a deco that plays at my nostalgia strings like Orko on an Eternian harpsicord. There’s some gorgeous artwork on the front and back panels, and the packaging is collector friendly. I really dig how they painted Battle Cat without his helmet on, and boy does he look all sorts of badass! I don’t usually keep these boxes, and I may wind up tossing it eventually, but for now I’m going to hang on to the box, because Battle Cat looks so damn good in it. Let’s start out sans armor and have a look at the figure underneath!

When Mattel first revealed that we were getting an Origins version of He-Man’s trusty steed, I was expecting something pretty basic and possibly with the armor permanently attached, but here I am totally surprised. For starters, this is a fantastic sculpt, with loads of detail. You get sculpted fur all over this big cat’s green body, with extra tufts of hair along his undercarriage. The musculature is pretty well defined, and they even sculpted the pads on the bottom of his paws, because even battle cats have adorable toe beans!!! The body is hollow, which makes the figure a bit lighter than one might expect based on his size, but that’s not to say it feels cheap in any way. The yellow striping is a little thin and rubbed in a few areas, but I’d probably rather that, then if they had gone too heavy with the paint.

Under that helmet is an excellent portrait of this ferocious kitty. I love the broad nose and puffed out snout. The eyes are even painted over with a little gloss to make them stand out, although I wish they had been painted in yellow too. His jaws are actually hinged and he’s got bold white top and bottom fangs and a textured tongue. It’s funny because the fangs on my Classics Battle Cat had some chipped paint right out of the box, but the Origins version’s pearly whites are perfect!

With my initial expectations of this being a very basic figure, I was expecting very limited articulation, like maybe just rotating joints where the legs meet the body. Well, we got that and a little more. Battle Cat also has rotating hinges in the middle of his legs, and a rotating hinge at the base of his tail. Now, I’m not saying that this guy is super poseable, but he’s still fun to play with and he remains a very stable and sure-footed cat. I really dig what they did with his head. The neck hinges up and down where it meets the body, and the head itself is on a ball joint, so he can look side to side as well.

The molded armor pieces are cast in very firm plastic with a belt to hold on the body armor. The helmet holds on merely by friction and it does it quite well. One of my gripes about the Masters Classics Battle Cat is the helmet constantly falls off. That’s not the case here! I can actually hold the figure upside down and shake it and this helmet will not fall off. Pretty cool! The armor sculpt is pretty smooth and simple, but it looks great. The only additional paint applications are on the eyes, which are painted in yellow with black pupils.

The molded saddle works perfectly with the Origins He-Man figure, and he looks as iconic as ever riding atop his faithful friend.

Wow, I am so delighted with how this figure came out. He may not be as big and beefy as the MOTUC version, but in some ways I do like this one better. It’s more stable, less cumbersome, and overall a bit more fun to knock around and play with. What’s more, he looks fantastic on the shelf surrounded by his fellow Heroes of Eternia. I was lucky enough to find one last Battle Cat on the shelf during a random trip to Walmart, and he has the distinction of being the very last Origins toy that my local Walmart has had on the shelves or the pegs. So far, I’ve been pretty lucky collecting this line, but my guess is things are about to get a lot more difficult. Either way, Battle Cat set me back about $25, and it seems like a decent value for the price! Now bring on Panthor!