Marvel Legends (Dude Thor Wave): Iron Patiot by Hasbro

Today’s Marvel Monday figure may seem like I dug deep into the backlog, but I actually just got him last week. The only figures from the “Dude Thor” Wave that turned up in my area were the Cap and Iron Man, and I decided that I didn’t really need another MCU Cap or Iron Man in my collection. I also wasn’t really all that interested in this Build-A-Figure either. As for the rest of the Wave, they were going for well over retail when I could find them online, and so I decided I was just going to sit out this Wave entirely. It was possibly the first time I skipped any Marvel Legends releases.

Well, fast forward to a month ago and pre-orders for Iron Patriot started showing up on some online retailers. Not the whole Wave, mind you, just Iron Patriot. Now, I don’t know if this was found stock or an actual re-issue, but I didn’t ask questions. Instead, I plunked down my pre-order and I’m so very glad that I did. So, I’m just going to go ahead and say it. I think this may be the most gorgeous Marvel Legends figure yet. If not, it’s certainly in my Top 5!

I mean, just look at this amazing amalgamation of piece of plastic! After Iron Man 2, I certainly didn’t expect Iron Patriot to show up again in the MCU, so it was a pretty cool surprise when Rhodey rearmed for the final battle. The Endgame Iron Patriot Armor shares some parts and design elements from the War Machine armor, which is reflected in this figure. There are a lot of common threads in the design, but they aren’t all recycled parts. As a result, this one feels pretty fresh! And while I was a big fan of the War Machine figure from the Banner Hulk Wave, I think I’m even more smitten with this one!

For starters, I love the bulked up look of this suit. Iron Man is all about better and better tech with a lot of the suits getting slimmer and more advanced, to the point where they are almost like a second skin for Tony. That’s not War Machine! This guy is literally a walking tank and he looks it! I particularly dig the larger upper body and those big forearms. I’d also swear I see some nods to MechWarrior design in the torso. About the only thing I’m not so keen on here is the redesign of the feet, which are smaller. Maybe they’ve been redesigned with flight in mind, but I think they should be big and clunky like we saw on War Machine. But enough with the negativity… back to gushing! I can’t deny a big part of what makes me tear up with joy here is the coloring. There’s something to be said for the cold and utilitarian military black and gray of the original War Machine, but when you recolor in this drop dead gorgeous metallic red, silver, and blue, I just lose my shit, because the result is so damn beautiful! To me, the quality of the coloring here is just above and beyond for a $20 mass produced figure.

Of course, Iron Patriot is sporting some major weaponry, even when he isn’t powered all the way up. His forearms feature static machine gun barrels, which are a lot more elegant than what we saw on War Machine. He also has rocket launchers mounted on each of his outer thighs. These are actually removable in case you want to display him with them retracted, but they don’t really get in the way so I prefer to leave them armed. On a side note, the articulation here is pretty decent, in that he can make some nice wide stances and point them guns in any direction. With that having been said, the bulky nature of his armor means that his range of motion in some of those articulation points aren’t as good as what we’re used to seeing in Legends. But I have no complaints!

If you really want to gear up Iron Patriot for battle, he comes with two sets of additional weapons to attach. These include additional guns and rocket packs, which position over his shoulders. In the movie, through the magic of CG, these deploy from inside his suit, but here they simply peg into holes in his back. They’re each separate pieces so you can deploy one set or the other, or one of each, or whatever you like. These added weapon pods are ridiculously awesome and stay put pretty well too! I’m just not sure how he fires those without falling over.

While I’d eventually still like to pick up Heimdall and Valkyrie from this Wave, Iron Patriot here was the one figure in this assortment that I wanted the most. And I’m damn glad to have had a second chance without having to pay double or triple. He is an absolutely gorgeous figure and a worthy addition to my collection, even if this particular Stark Armor didn’t have a big presence in the film.

Transformers (Studio Series 86): Grimlock by Hasbro

As you can probably tell, I’m on a real Transformers kick lately, and why not? The figures are coming out in rapid succession, and they are all pretty damn great. The original animated film is getting a lot of attention, and I’m here today to check out another of the Studio Series 86 figures. This time it’s Leader Class Grimlock!!! Oh, and Wheelie too. I guess.

We saw the Studio 86 packaging back when I reviewed Scourge, and I don’t have much more to say about it, other than making Grimlock share the title card with Wheelie might have been a little excessive. I’m tempted to gripe here about how many do-overs we’re getting lately. After all, it was only a few years ago that we got the Power of the Primes Grimlock, along with the rest of the Dinobots, but since those were a collective mixed bag, I’m all in favor of it this time. As I recall, I wasn’t terribly thrilled with PotP Grimlock’s T-Rex mode and while I was a bit warmer toward his robot mode, it wasn’t really ideal either. Of course, that Grimlock sacrificed a lot in favor of an ill-conceived combiner gimmick. Let’s take a look at this new Grimlock’s T-Rex mode.

I gotta be honest, I was a little iffy on this Dino Mode when I first opened the figure, but it’s been growing on me quite a bit. It’s not the homerun I was hoping for, but it’s pretty solid. Grimlock has a bit of a Dino Pot-Belly, but it gives him a powerful look and some charming character. The arms feel like they’re a little too big, but they’re still fun to pose and have articulation in the shoulders and elbows. I do really wish they were painted silver, though, because the bare off-white plastic looks unfinished compared to the rest of the toy, and we get more of it at the tip of the tail. The rest of the plastic coloring is a satisfying deep gray, and I think they added just the right amount of sculpted panel lines and bits and bobs to his skin. It’s not as hyper-detailed as the PotP Grimlock, but I think that what we got here works well for the movie aesthetic.

His legs are big and powerful, but don’t add an unnecessary width like they did with the PotP version. No need for a Wide Load bumper sticker here. Grimlock looks great when he’s sitting up with his tail resting on the ground. And while he’s a little back heavy, he can stand with the tail off the ground as well. When viewed from the back, he’s got a case of beaver tail going on. It’s really not terrible, but a little too flat and wide for my liking. At least the red, green, and blue painted panels look nice.

The head is pretty good, but he has no front teeth, which is really weird. A big strike against him is that they nixed the translucent plastic on the neck in favor of a satin gold paint job. I probably wouldn’t have noticed, but the toy’s neck on the back of the box had it and it looks so much better than what we got. Also, the exposed screws on the right side of his head and neck are a real shame. How much could it cost to throw some plugs into those? They went with the blue eyes here, and I dig them. All in all, this T-Rex mode is loads better than either the Power of the Primes or the Fall of Cybertron toys, but I’d still take the original G1 toy’s Dino Mode over this one as being more polished overall. Let’s move on to robot mode!

The transformation is based on the original toy, but with some tweaks that make it a little less elegant, but not at all too fiddly. And the result is an absolute tank of a robot! The T-Rex mode might not have been a homerun, but this robot mode sure does the job! The proportions here are fantastic and he hits all the right points for me! Some of my favorite nods are the T-Rex claws protruding from his wrists, and the Dino Hide Wings coming off his back. These are even hinged so they can be angled up a bit more if you prefer. The Dino head hangs close to his back, just like on the original G1 toy, and there’s no hollow leg syndrome on this guy at all. He even has some really nice ankle tilts for those wide stances. Furthermore, he’s solid and lots of fun to play with. I actually prefer posing and playing with this robot mode than I do my Masterpiece Grimlock, which tends to be pretty floppy in the groinular region.

If I’m going to nitpick anything, it would be that I wish the translucent plate on his chest was a little less smoked so you could make out the Autobot emblem under it a bit more clearly. Yeah, it’s a tiny gripe, but it’s really all I’ve got. The head sculpt is pretty much perfect, and like the T-Rex eyes, they went with the blue visor here. I don’t really have a preference between the red or blue, but I will say the blue here looks rather pretty.

Grimlock comes with his rather iconic double-barreled blaster, which is suitable large and hefty. Alas, we’ve been cheated out of a sword for the second release in a row. Sure, he’ll end up with my Fall of Cybertron Grimlock sword, but I Still can’t understand why Hasbro couldn’t give him one. I would have much rather had a sword than the other accessory he came with…

And that’s Wheelie! Wheelie is more an accessory than a figure. He doesn’t transform and his articulation is limited to his hips, shoulders and neck. He’s meant to sit on Grimlock’s shoulder and pose like he’s firing off his slingshot, although you can actually get him to stand in a decent action pose. It’s a great sculpt, and he looks good sitting on Grimlock, but I’ll stick with my Titans Return Wheelie, thank you very much.

If it felt like I picked on this figure a bit, that should be a testament to just how great Hasbro’s Transformers releases have been lately. This Grimlock is a great figure, but my expectations have been so high lately, I turned my spotlight on him extra bright. The robot mode is definitely this figure’s strongest point, but the T-Rex mode ain’t bad, it’s just not as polished as I had hoped. What I’m really happy to see here is Grimlock scaled properly. The Dinobots are supposed to be huge, and the Power of the Primes Dinobots were ridiculously tiny. It’s nice get a Grimlock that even towers over Optimus Prime. And thanks to some leaked images, we know more similarly sized Dinobots are coming!

By figurefanzero

Legacy Series: Lady Death by Coffin Comics

Brian Pulido and Coffin Comics have done a bang up job bringing back Lady Death in a series of some of the most successful comic-based projects on Kickstarter. Not only does each new volume gets funded immediately, they all seem to set new records, showing that the Legions of Sworn are in no short supply. I look forward to each and every one of these, as the books are unbelievably high in quality, feature drop-dead gorgeous art and colors, and are just so damn fun to read. It’s great to see that Lady Death has come so far since being introduced as arm-candy for Evil Ernie back in the day. Meanwhile, Meanwhile, she’s seen a decent amount of merch and collectibles in recent years, including an amazing Sixth-Scale figure from TBLeague, and a damn fine Gallery Statue from Diamond Select Toys! And now, taking a cue from Hasbro’s Marvel Legends, Lady Death gets the 6-inch action figure treatment thanks to a pre-order campaign run by the folks at Coffin Comics themselves.

They certainly did a bang up job with the packaging! Lady Death comes in a collector-friendly window box with an illustrated inferno backdrop, the Coffin Comics logo at the bottom and her name up top. The figure itself is nestled in a clear plastic tray with a top cover over it, and she displays really well in the package. The flipside has a picture of the figure in a fantasy setting, along with a little blurb about the character and some highlighted features about the figure. On the bottom we have a tease of four future figures. I sincerely hope this isn’t just a mock up, and that Coffin is actually planning on releasing them, because I sure as hell am down for each one.

The side panels feature some beautiful character art with Lady Death sporting a couple different variants of her costume. I love this art, and I wish they had credited the artist on the box. I happen to collect quite a few art prints of of Pulido’s characters, and I wouldn’t mind picking up prints of these, particularly the one on the right. Lastly, the box does feature a J-hook, in case you want to hang the box on the wall, or maybe you have a wall of pegboard for displaying your packaged figures!

Here’s Lady Death out of the package and straightaway I am very impressed with the quality. With a first attempt figure like this one, you can never be quite sure what you’re going to get. Case in point, I had a Cassie action figure from Hack/Slash on pre-order, but wound up cancelling before it shipped, and after seeing the final product, I really dodged a bullet. Thankfully, this figure feels like a professional effort through and through, and I’ve got very few nitpicks. The sculpt is very nice, with the costume design taking the middle ground between her very simple style and the hyper-detailed one. I think it was a good choice. She sports a sculpted bra-top and G-string with golden skull fasteners in all the key places. Her thigh-high boots have sculpted belts connecting to the G-string, and she has a plastic cape, which hangs around her neck and stops just a bit below her knees.

The coloring on the figure is quite well done. Her skin consists of a chalky white plastic, which contrasts nicely with the black costume. The black also has some blue shading to give it that comic-panel style coloring, which makes for a very cool effect. The skull fixtures are hit with gold leaf paint, and her fingernails are painted bright crimson, as is the interior of her cape. The quality of the paint application is overall very solid. There are some examples of very minor overspray between her costume and skin, but you have to get in pretty close to see it, so it’s hardly worth mentioning.

The portrait is right on target, even if it is a rather soft sculpt, it still manages to capture Lady Death’s powerful beauty. Her lips are painted bright crimson and she has black eyebrows as well as black liner around her pupil-less eyes. All of these applications are razor sharp. Her flowing white hair is sculpted as part of the head and features some black wash and blue highlights. It’s also sculpted slightly above the shoulders so that her copious coif doesn’t curtail her neck articulation. Would I have liked an alternate head with a fierce expression? Sure! But given that we only had one, I’m very content with the more neutral tone.

Oh yes, the cape is removable, simply by popping off the head, which frees up the figure’s range of motion and allows you to better appreciate the view from behind.

Speaking of movement, I was very curious to see how this figure would articulate in hand, and I’m happy to report that the designers made some excellent decisions. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders, single-hinges in the elbows, swivels in the biceps, and the hands are attached with hinged pegs to allow them to be swapped out. You get one pair of relaxed hands and one pair of accessory holding hands. The legs are ball jointed in the hips, have double hinges in the knees, swivels in the thighs, and hinges and rockers in the ankles. There’s a ball joint under the chest, and the head attaches to the body with a swiveling peg and a ball joint up top. The joints are a tad more loose than I’m used to seeing in Hasbro’s 6-inch figures, but it’s not an issue with her holding her poses. Indeed, all the joints feel sturdy. The balance on this figure is also exceptional, especially when the cape is removed. Even with her high heels, I didn’t have to resort to using a figure stand for a single shot. If pressed, my one gripe with the articulation would be a greater range of motion in the ball joint under the chest. It swivels fine, but there isn’t a lot of room for her to bend forward or back. Let’s have a look at her accessories!

First off, she comes with her trusty sword, Deathbringer, and it’s quite the beautiful weapon! The quality and attention to detail make this look like a sixth-scale weapon that’s been shrunken down. Besides the intricately sculpted hilt and guards, it has a two-tone paint job with the hilt painted in bronze, the blade in silver, and bronze again in the central channel that runs the length of the blade. It also has an extended grip for two-handed wielding, and the figure’s articulation certainly allows it.

And she also includes her Hell Scythe, which isn’t quite as ornate as the sword, but it’s a mighty impressive accessory due to its formidable size. The long shaft has some sculpted wraps for a grip and the head and blade are painted bright silver.

And before wrapping up, here’s a quick comparison shot of Lady Death with Hasbro’s Satana Hellstrom from their Marvel Legends line. They scale closely with one another, and I think Lady Death stacks up pretty damn well, although you could argue whether or not it’s a fair comparison. Marvel Legends are mass produced figures, which sell for about $20-22 at retail, whereas Lady Death is a collectible produced in a smaller quantity and sold for $50. Still, as I pointed out with the example of the Hack/Slash figure, these things don’t always work out. Hasbro’s figure may be less expensive, but they also have infinitely more experience under their belt. Either way, I think the comparison favors Lady Death!

If you can’t tell, I’m thrilled with how this figure turned out! Sure, fifty bucks is no small amount for a 6-inch figure, but in the end, I think it was well worth it. I’m not sure how the partnership works, but the box has Executive Replicas credited, and they are the same company that Phicen teamed up with to release their Sixth-Scale Lady Death. Whatever the case, somebody really knew what they were doing. The result was a top-notch action figure, that is doubly impressive for a first effort. And as I said, I really am all-in on whatever other characters they make, but I’m certainly rooting for Hellwitch being next!

Marvel Legends: M.O.D.O.K. by Hasbro

Many years ago, when I sold off my Toy Biz Marvel Legends figures, I had planned to keep some of the Build-A-Figures, particularly MODOK and the Sentinel. But when I boxed them all up to ship them out, MODOK wound up in the box and I didn’t think it would be in good taste to ask for him back. Over the years, I worked on getting some of the BAF parts to put him back together, but here I am still two pieces short and now I can finally stop trying.

Behold, Deluxe MODOK!!! It sure took Hasbro long enough! And much to my surprise, he comes to us not as a Build-A-Figure, but as a boxed Deluxe. And I’m perfectly fine with that. The box shows the figure on the front as well as the flipside. I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am to finally have this guy in hand. It seems to me like MODOK has been played for laughs a lot lately (don’t get me started on the trailer for that Hulu series), but he seriously creeped me the heck out when I was a kid. He’s a horrible looking abomination with a messed up history of body horror, and I’ve grown to dig him a lot over the years. Besides, my AIM troops were in desperate need of a giant demented brain to lead them. Based on the slender package, I’m guessing there’s going to be some assembly required, so let’s bust him open and see what we got!

OK, so here’s why they didn’t go the BAF route. Even though MODOK requires a fair bit of assembly, Hasbro would be hard pressed getting some of these pieces into the regular Legends boxes. Heck, the back probably wouldn’t fit even if you left the figure out! Needless to say, I’m glad they went for a Deluxe release because they didn’t have to skimp on MODOK’s size, and they were even able to toss in an extra face plate. Anyway, putting him together is pretty straightforward. The pieces go together just fine, and he can easily be taken apart again in case you want to store him in his box.

Is is possible for something to be horrible and gorgeous at the same time? Today the answer to that question is a resounding YES! I am equally in awe of both how beautiful this figure turned out, and how creepy and off-putting MODOK’s giant mug is. The chair is cast in a rather sumptuous looking gold plastic, with plenty of deep-cut panel lines, vents, tiny sculpted rivets, and other bits and bobs. I particularly love the Kirby-style zig-zag circuit pattern that runs along the back! You get a control panel for his right hand and an articulated joystick for his left hand. There’s even a little painted oscilloscope screen with a green sound wave pattern painted onto it. Everything about the chair is just wonderfully executed!

MODOK’s undersized legs hang down from the front of the chair, and even though they aren’t very functional, Hasbro still endowed them with full articulation, including double hinges in the knees and hinges in the ankles. The arms are a little more useful and are also fully articulated. You also get two sets of hands: One pair has open hands, while the other features a right fist, and a left hand designed to clutch the joystick on the chair. I would have liked a pointing finger hand, but there’s already quite a bit in this set. His limbs are decked out in bright blue plastic, which really contrasts nicely with the gold of the chair. Meanwhile, the chair itself is suspended on a plastic beam of propulsion energy, cast in a translucent red and orange. It holds the figure quite well, and there’s a little room for tilt and adjustment.

And that brings us to this beautiful face and holy crap that’s some nightmare fuel. From his broad fish-lipped mouth to his tiny nose set directly between his pupil-less eyes and overpowering brow. I don’t know what it is about this guy, but if I saw him in real life, I’d most assuredly crap my pants. Naturally, he also has his headband, with more of that zig-zag Kirby-style circuit pattern and a large beam emitter so he can blast his foes with a beam of pure mental energy. This face is some of Hasbro’s finest work on the line. It can also be pulled off and substituted for a second face!

This second face has his mouth agape, showing off his giant teeth and a bit of the tongue inside. I think expression works for a few different moods. He can either be barking orders to his AIM troops or monologuing. It also kind of works as a surprised, “WHAT??? HOW DID THE AVENGERS FIND MY LAIR???” kind of vibe. Luckily it is easy to swap them in and out, and this may be one of those rare cases, where I actually do switch portraits every week or so, because they are both so damn good!

MODOK here is going to be tough to beat as my favorite Marvel Legends release of the year. The Toy Biz version was excellent, and this one still blows it away. Not confining him to the constraints of a Build-A-Figure was a smart way to go, and I really appreciate all the articulation they kept in his arms and legs. Of course, now I’m wishing I had loaded up a bit more on that AIM Soldier 2-pack, but at least I have a couple to display on each side of him.