The Real Ghostbusters: Ecto-1 and Figures by Hasbro

Like a lot of kids in the 80’s, I was a big fan of The Real Ghostbusters cartoon. In fact, we would often patrol the school yard at recess looking to take the fight to the kids who liked that Filmation Ghostbusters and kick the shit out of them. Nah. I’m just kidding. There weren’t any kids that liked Filmation Ghostbusters. LOL! That joke would be less hypocritical if I didn’t secretly covet those Filmation Ghostbusters toys. Indeed, if they weren’t so stupid expensive now, I’d probably own some. But I digress. as a kid, I only owned one Real Ghostbusters figure, and that was Egon. My Dad bought him for me when we were at the store and I was profoundly disappointed when I opened him in the back of the car and realized that the beam didn’t come out of the wand, and he had to walk around with it sticking straight up into the air. I really wanted Real Ghostbusters figures, but I never asked for any more of these. I think I regretted that decision, because in my mind I never really let these go.

Fast forward to now, and Hasbro has released some pretty damn good copies of those Kenner figures, along with the Ecto-1, and I decided that I needed to revisit these. The Ecto-1 comes in a fully enclosed and colorful box, which I presume is pretty close to the original packaging. But… before I open up this baby, I should probably take a look at the figures first. And I opened these up a while ago, so I don’t have any packaged shots.

And boy don’t these just ooze charm like slime off of a free-floating, full-torso, vaporous apparition! I love the way these were individually stylized with completely different bodies. From Egon’s long and lanky form to Ray’s stocky frame, each character is so distinctive from each other. Nowadays, they would just stamp them out on the same body. And of course, the jumpsuits were individually colored to distinguish them from each other even more. Nice details include the cinched elastic on their wrist and ankle cuffs, the elbow pads, and the Ghostbusters logos stamped on their right shoulders. Likewise, the head sculpts are pretty good likenesses for their cartoon counterparts. Each of these figures have the standard five-points of articulation, and I absolutely love them!

The proton packs are cool, but I still say they would be so much better if you could just remove the proton streams. I know they’re toys for kids, but apparently it was even annoying enough to me as a kid to not want them because of it. I think I was probably a little too uptight about that, because as an adult I can move past it and still appreciate what they did here. There’s a decent amount of detail in the sculpts, and they simply peg onto the figures’ backs. Yes, the straps are sculpted on the figure, so they’re present even when the pack isn’t worn. The wands clip to the sides of the packs and can be slid onto each figures’ arm and gripped by their hand. Spin the beam’s handle behind the thrower and it wiggles all over the place. It’s fun!

Each figure comes with its own ghost. These are cast in translucent colored plastic and they’re pretty fun. These aren’t going to replace Mattel’s retro-style Real Ghostbusters as my favorites, but I think I actually like these better than Diamond Select’s Real Ghostbusters, which disappointed me so much that I never bothered reviewing them all. But wait… we’ve got a call coming in and the boys are going to need their ride! So let’s get the Ecto-1 out and set up!

There’s really not too much to set up. The Ghostbusters‘ ride comes out of the box assembled and almost ready to go. There are some stickers that need to be applied, but nothing too difficult. The most pressure comes from getting those three Ghostbusters emblems on the doors straight. The toy itself is satisfyingly large, but it also feels a lot like a plastic shell on wheels. Keep in mind, I never owned the original, so I may have been expecting too much because of the price point. But more on that later. From the research I’ve done, this seems to be an excellent copy of the original toy, with some improvements to the plastic and some areas of the design. And it sure is nice to see one of these looking all fresh and minty with no yellowing or cracks, and bright stickers!

Like the figures, I love the way the toy recreates the stylized look of the cartoon, especially with the way it exaggerates the swell near the back, giving it a cool and cartoony profile. In keeping with the original, there’s not a lot of detail to the roof, just some vague sculpted shapes depicting the equipment and instrument rack. The two light bars have tinted blue plastic for the actual lights. It almost looks like electronics have been gutted for the remake, but the Kenner toy didn’t have any either. That’s a shame, because for fifty bucks, this thing should have flashing lights and a siren!

There are some subtle changes to the front grill, but the ECTO-1 license plate sticker remains the same. The sculpting on the wheels is very well done, and this thing rolls along the floor great.

Busting out the figures, I find that the front seat accommodates a driver and passenger quite well. The doors close securely with the windows perpetually down. I’m guessing the Ecto-1 doesn’t have working air conditioning. There’s a nice bit of detail in the steering wheel and dash, and there’s some texturing on the seats. The back area can fit the other two Ghostbusters, so everyone can ride!

That back area also features a Ghost-Capture-Claw, not doubt developed by Egon, to hook ghosts. By shifting the exhaust pipe left or right, the rope can either be locked, or it will retract as you push the Ecto-1 along. There’s also a hook inside to hang the claw from when it’s not in use. The orange ghost is included!

There’s also a Gunner Seat that can be secured all the way inside the back or positioned so it’s facing out the back to fire at those pesky pursuing poltergeists.

The Gunner Seat can also be plugged into the top and swivel 360-degrees.

I was absolutely beside myself when the Ecto-1 arrived at my door. It was a Walmart Exclusive and I knew I had no hopes of finding it in the stores, so I dropped a pre-order with them online, crossed my fingers, and hoped that it wouldn’t get cancelled. Now, I’ll concede that when I first got it out of the box, I might have been hit with a wee bit of sticker shock. This was $50? Yes, it’s a nice, sizeable toy and it looks great, but Great Gozer is this thing over priced! Just compare this thing to the Ecto-1 from the Playmobil Ghostbusters line, which is admittedly smaller, but features a ton more detail and electronic lights and sounds. Don’t get me wrong, I have no regrets. Getting these toys has filled in that Ghostbusters-shaped hole in my childhood, and I’m happy to have these displayed on the shelf. Hasbro has also released some of those gimmicky ghost figures in this revival, but I think I’m going to rest easy with what I’ve got.

Golden Axe: Skeleton Soldiers by Storm Collectibles

Last year, Storm Collectibles showed debuted figures based on one of my all-time favorite games on the SEGA Genesis, and I just about lost my damn mind. I was quick to pre-order Axe Battler and when I got the set it was everything I dreamed it could be. But was that going to be it? Just a one-off curiosity? Happily, the answer to that question is a big NOPE! Soon the Skeleton Soldier 2-pack reared its boney heads, and then variants of it, and then Death Adder, and then the rest of the playable characters. Holy smokes, Storm was going all in on this franchise, and I was beside myself with glee. But, as things tend to happen around here, new arrivals get buried and reviews get delayed. This past weekend Death Adder arrived and while I was itching to review him, I decided it was only right to swing back to that Skeleton two-pack and have a look at it first!

The packaging is pretty simple. The gruesome twosome come in a window box that shows off the figures and their accessories. I do love that there’s an illustration behind the tray showing the character select screen. I only had the thrill of playing the original Golden Axe a couple of times in the arcades, but I’ve spent countless hours with the home versions of Golden Axe 1 and 2. I still have my original copies, and now thanks to compilations and emulation, I can even play the arcade versions whenever I damn well please. But no matter what version you may have cut your teeth on, one thing remains the same… Skeletons are bastards!

With the first Skeleton out of the box, there are a few things that strike me. First, they’re pretty light, but they don’t feel at all fragile. Now, I’m not saying you should be reckless with your new skinless friends, but considering their just thin bones, they don’t make me feel afraid to handle them. Secondly, there’s no rubbery, gummy, or frail joints to deal with. Everything feels solid and strong. And with those handling impressions out of the way, they just look fantastic! The aesthetics haven’t been sacrificed in favor of articulation, and while I am no certified boneologist, I think they look pretty close to being anatomically correct. They are fairly clean Skeletons, without much in the way of rot, which is in line with their appearances in the game. Still, there’s some wash and overall, these fellas have a somewhat chalky finish that makes them look and feel more like bone than plastic.

The skull sculpt is excellent. I really dig the furled brows that give these guys some evil personality. The fact that the jaws are articulated is a happy surprise. You get more of that chalky finish on the skull, which does look a bit like there’s some left over flesh peeling off, and the eye sockets are painted in black to make them look like dark pools of evil.

As near as I can tell, there’s no differences in sculpt between the two Skeletons, but my sets have some slight variations in paint that keep them from looking too uniform when displayed together. Still, if I named them, I doubt I’d be able to tell them apart. As far as articulation goes, you get lots and lots of rotating hinges in all the expected places. Some sweet bonuses include hinges in the feet, and a rotating hinge in the spine, just below the ribcage. These boney bros are also extremely well balanced, and I’ve had a lot less difficulty getting them to stand than a lot of other fully fleshed out figures.

Each Skeleton comes with a total of five pairs of hands, which is pretty crazy! Hell, I just reviewed a Hot Toys figure that didn’t have this many hands, and they’re like the Kings of giving out too many hands! Anyway, these guys come with fists attached, but you also get your choice of accessory holding hands, relaxed hands, clawing hands, and pointing hands, which are my favorite as I call them the “I’ve got a bone to pick with you” hands.

Each Skeleton also comes with a sword and shield, and these are identical for each figure, with one exceptions. The skulls on the shields are oriented so that one shield is left handed and the other is right handed. The shields have gold faces and on the reverse they each have an arm strap and a grab bar. The swords have golden guards and pommels and silver blades. Despite having no meat on their hands, these guys can hold their gear very well.

One thing I was curious about was how well these would work with my beloved Mythic Legions figures, and I’m happy to report that they look great together. Many of the Mythic Legions Skeletons have a little more color going on, but I would have no problem integrating these two lines. In truth, I’m surprised The Four Horsemen didn’t think of putting out something like this a while back.

These Skeleton packs seem to have been pretty popular, as they were regularly selling out at all of my usual e-tailers. I had one set pre-ordered and picked up a second when they came back into stock. I would imagine that even people who aren’t as passionate about Golden Axe as myself will be buying these for their fantasy figure collections. Indeed, I highly recommend them. They’re great figures that look like they could have just as easily stepped out of the screen of Jason and the Argonauts as a Golden Axe cabinet.

Spider-Man “Far From Home:” Mysterio Sixth-Scale Figure by Hot Toys

It’s taken me a while to dip back into some of the Marvel Hot Toys I have left to review here. Most of the ones I still have on deck are Spider-Man related, and while I can’t promise a straight shot through all of them, I am going to try to look at both of the figures I have from Far From Home over the next couple of weeks. Let’s start out with Mysterio!

Once again, The MCU did a little bait-and-switch by giving us a very familiar villain with a very different twist. The Mandarin from Iron Man 3 sure pissed a lot of people off, although I don’t think Mysterio ruffled quite as many feathers. Or maybe he did… I can’t keep track of what new thing fans are pissed off about these days. I honestly didn’t mind either character treatment, but of the two, Mysterio was my favorite. I was happy to see him get to be a villain, even if it wasn’t the kind of villain I expected. I had no intentions of picking up this figure until I re-watched the movie a little while back and then decided that the suit looked so damn good, that I had to add it to my collection to keep Spider-Man company. The packaging is pretty standard stuff. The art design is slick, but it’s still just a flimsy window box with a sleeve on it, so let’s get him out and dive right in.

Quentin Beck comes out of the box more or less ready to go. You just have to clip off some plastic wrap that protects his cape and extremities. He comes wearing his fishbowl helmet And looking all sorts of awesome. This suit is something like The Vision meets Doctor Strange. The figure is clad in a fairly tight fitting textured green bodysuit, which feels like the same thin vinyl that Hot Toys uses on most of these super-suits. There’s a little bit more give in the crotch and upper-body than we usually see, and there’s plenty of room to move in the elbows and knees. I found him to be a bit more fun to play with than a lot of these figures are, but there’s still some restrictions here.

The golden armored pieces of the costume include a cuirass, which is intricately sculpted with various overlapping plates, ornate scrollwork, and even some reflective panels that will illuminate under black light. His forearm bracers aren’t quite as chunky as the comic version of the suit, but they still make for a nice homage. I actually like the designs on these a lot! They look like they’re comprised of tightly wrapped coils held and compressed together by four rods, as if they are for conducting his powers to his gauntlets. He has a pair of mismatched cuffs around his thighs, and finally a pair of high boots with knee pads. The feet are made of regular plastic, while the rest of the boots are soft, pliable material, which offers decent mobility.

The cape is an absolute work of art! It’s comprised of a fairly thick purple cloth and pleated into several segments. There’s some green embroidered trim around the edges, and gold diamonds scattered about, both inside and out. Like the panels on the cuirass, these diamonds are reflective under black light. The cape attaches to the front of the cuirass with a pair of triangular fixtures with occult eye carvings and it does that cool levitating effect off the shoulders as it plunges down the back. The garment is removable, and you even get an extra set of those eye-pieces to clip back on if you happen to display him with the cape off. The helmet is a thing of majesty. The dome is painted to give it a swirly blue and purple effect, while there’s also a sculpted cloud inside to give it that extra mysterious look! The dome can only turn left and right a little bit, but I suppose Beck just turned his head inside it. It can, however, angle up and back a bit. The only downside here is that there’s a seam running up the sides.

There’s a light up feature inside the dome, which is activated by pulling the dome up to expose a switch in the neck. It looks cool, but I think maybe they went a little too bright with it, as it does tend to drown out some of that beautiful painted detail on the globe itself. Still, when combined with the black light effects on the suit, it does look quite striking! It’s difficult to capture the effect on camera, but I really love that they added this feature.

You also get the unmasked portrait, which swaps out with a completely different neck. I remember seeing some criticisms of the likeness early on, but I think it’s a pretty solid Jake Gyllenhaal. As usual, the realism on display here is pretty eerie. The paintwork from the skintone to the lifelike eyes is Hot Toys at its best. I’m especially impressed by the paint and sculpt that went into creating his beard. Facial hair is not something that’s easy to get right, but somehow Hot Toys manages to nail it. When I get to reviewing Spider-Man, I’ll have to see if the EDITH glasses fit him. I doubt I’ll display him with this head a lot, but it’s great to have that option, and swapping the heads is fairly quick and easy.

As for extras… there are two swirly illusion effect parts, which can be placed at Beck’s feet for some added mystery. These are semi-translucent green plastic with some frosting to give them the look of mystical smoke. They aren’t mind-blowing, but they do make for a nice addition to the display.

You also get two energy effect parts, which fit onto a special pair of Beck’s hands. These are translucent green energy triangles with occult eye emblems sculpted into them. They can be a little tricky to get attached to his fingers, but once I got everything to line up, I found that they held fast and look great. In addition to the spell casting hands, Mysterio comes with a pair of relaxed hands and a pair of fists. That’s not a lot of hands by Hot Toys standards, but still more than I’ll ever need.

As always, our last stop is the figure stand. Mysterio comes with a hexagonal base with a heavy bendable post that holds the figure with a gripper. This configuration allows the figure to be posed in flight, which is always a nice option. These have got to cost a lot more to produce than the regular crotch-cradle stands, so they definitely add some value to the box. The base itself is illustrated, and while I like it, it’s kind of annoying that it doesn’t match the Spider-Man figure’s base, but that’s a nitpick for my next review.

Mysterio took a little waffling back and forth before finally deciding to pick him up, and I am most definitely glad I did. The suit design looked great on screen and it looks great here as well. The sculpt, paint, and tailoring are all top notch, but the high points for me have to be the cape, the cuirass, and the paintwork on the globe. The smoke effect parts were probably not necessary, but when you’re paying $260 for a figure, every extra bit in the box is a welcome addition to justify that price point. Oddly enough, Mysterio is back to Pre-Order status on Sideshow’s site, so I’m not sure if they decided to produce more to meet demand, or maybe they’re still taking delivery on the original production run. Either way, he looks great next to the Advanced Suit Spider-Man, and I hope to have a review of that figure for the next Marvel Monday or the week after.

Transformers (Robot Enhanced Design Series): Bumblebee by Hasbro


I’ve been slowly working my way through Hasbro’s line of non-transforming Transformers figures, and overall I’ve been pretty happy with this line. Sure, I’ve had some nitpicks here and there, but so far I think the good has definitely outweighed the bad. Let’s see if we can continue that trend with Bumblebee!

Well, I can’t say as I wasn’t warned in the comments of my last RED review, but when I took this guy out of the shipping box, I was kind of shocked at what I saw. Why is he so freaking big? Why does he look so much more cheaply made than the others? Yup, before I even open this guy up, I’m having my doubts. That can’t be a good thing!

So, out of the box and in hand, I’m finding a little to like here. Like the others, he’s a hefty figure, thanks to the oddly dense plastic Hasbro has been using. He’s even a little more so, because he’s so chunky. Overall, he looks pretty good on his own, although I wish they had stuck a little closer to the Sunbow design. His forearms should be tubes, not rectangular, and I think they could have done a better job stylizing his chest. Still, I’m not hating the aesthetic. There’s a bit more sculpted detail here, than on the other figures, as seen in the panel lines and vents in his legs.

The coloring on the body is nearly all from the black and yellow plastic, although you do get an Autobot emblem on his chest. Hasbro also added in some silver dry brushing to look like weathering. I find it to be a really weird choice, as it’s used so sparingly that it’s like an afterthought, and it’s not present on any of the other RED figures I own.

Speaking of weird, the chest piece is removable and doing so reveals a whole painted and detailed slab. It looks like they had to do this to make a hinge in the torso work, but if you use that hinge to bend him over, the chest just pops off. So why bother? It would have been cool if it was designed to look like his inner workings, for repairs and such, but it’s just a slab. And adding this one point of useless actually hurts the figure, as even if I don’t use it, the chest piece can shift out of position. WHY???

On the flipside, the spare tire on his back is removable, which I guess is pretty neat. He can throw it at Decepticons if his gun runs out of power!

The head sculpt is pretty good, and while I had some issues with the body, the portrait is definitely Sunbow bumblebee. The facial features are a bit soft, but other than that I can’t complain. I like his big blue eyes and his little smirk too.

With the exception of that chest hinge, articulation here is solid, and he is indeed fun to play with. The arms have rotating hinges in the elbows, swivels in the biceps, double hinges in the elbows, and the wrists are on hinged pegs so that they can be swapped out between a set of gun-holding hands and fists. The legs have ball joints in the hips, swivels in the thighs, double hinges in the knees, and hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. He can swivel at the waist, and the neck is ball jointed.

Bumblebee comes with a few accessories, the most notable is his blaster, which includes two firing effect parts. The sculpt is a tad soft, but it’s an interesting design and it fits well in either of his hands. The effect parts are cast in translucent yellow plastic and peg into the muzzle of the gun.

And finally, he comes with an Energon Cube, which is a welcome bonus, especially since the one that came with Megatron was permanently attached to one of his hands.

I don’t hate this figure, but it’s a very strange entry into this series. Other than it being a non-transforming Transformer, it doesn’t really feel like it belongs with the others. It’s not at all to scale, and it even feels like some of the design elements are different. As a stand-alone figure, it’s not bad, but then I can’t help but think, if I’m going to own a stand-alone non-transforming Bumblebee figure, it should be something more special and higher quality than this. Maybe I’ll make him a desk buddy for a while, but he sure isn’t going to be displayed on a shelf with the other RED figures. And that makes me wonder what other oversized oddities this line has in store for us. Well, I’m only collecting the G1-style figures, so that means I just have Soundwave left to check out, and then I’ll be caught up.

Marvel Legends Iron Man Helmet by Hasbro

It’s been a busy weekend for me, and I’m a little pressed for time on this Marvel Monday, so I thought I’d stick with something that would be a little quick and easy. Hasbro has been using the Marvel Legends moniker to release some toy versions of full-size MCU prop replicas, and while I’ve been able to resist a number of them, I’ve been snapping up most of the wearable helmets. I actually already reviewed the Ant-Man Helmet a little while back, but the one I’m looking at today was actually my first purchase in this line. Let’s check out the Iron Man helmet!

As with Ant-Man’s helmet, this one comes in a fully enclosed box with lots of pictures of the toy inside. The pictures on the box appear to be re-worked a bit, but I’m not going to complain too much because the look of the actual item isn’t too far from the pictures. The helmet comes fully wrapped in plastic to protect the finish, which is most welcome! While the helmet does not require any assembly, you will need a screwdriver to get into the battery compartment if you want to make use of the electronics.

Out of the box, this thing is pretty impressive for a toy! It is a fully enclosed piece and can be worn and removed just by slipping it on over the head. I’ll get to more on that when we open her up. On the outside, it seems like a pretty good recreation of the on-screen prop. One of the things I miss about the early Iron Man armors is the fact that the helmet was a physical object and not just something that magically appears thanks to the help of CG special effects. As with the real deal, this helmet is more about smooth curves than it is about hyper-detail. As a result, panel lines are used sparingly, there are a few faked out bolts, but not a lot more to distinguish the sculpt. And that’s fine by me!

But what impressed me the most at first sight was the quality of the paint. Let’s face it, mass produced toys are not usually known for their precision of paintwork. Hasbro has gotten a lot better, but when you consider something this big, there’s a lot more room for things to go wrong. Amazingly, the finish on this is damn near flawless. The gold used for the face plate is perhaps not quite as luxurious as it looks on the box photo, but it is very nice. It goes for more of a sumptuous satin finish, rather than something bright and reflective, and I dig it a lot. The red on the other hand, does manage to achieve that lovely new-car shine that Stark’s suits tend to flaunt. It’s similar to some of the better finishes they’ve used for the Legends MCU Iron Man figures. I have to scrutinize this thing pretty closely to find any imperfections. Mine has a slight blemish behind the left ear, which really only shows up under bright light, and I can’t be certain it wasn’t something that happened after it had been on display.

The electronics include the light up eyes, which are clearly visible even under the bright studio lights, offering a cool, blue hue when fired up. These will sometimes activate when I pick up the helmet, but always when I remove and replace the face plate.

Removing and attaching the face plate also sets off a litany of sound effects, like servos firing and clamps releasing. It’s very well done and sounds as if all sorts of stuff is going on inside the helmet. The face plate comes completely off and then can be attached in the up position, where it is held fast by magnets. No, it’s not actually sliding up there, and it’s recommended to remove all contact between the two pieces before putting it in that position so as to avoid scratching the finish. The face plate is extremely secure whether in the up or down position, and it makes me wish that Hasbro had used similar magnets to hold the back plate on their Ant-Man Helmet. That one uses a pair of weak friction hinges, which fail every time.

Inside, the helmet does have some finished details, but it also has some more practical stuff going on, like the straps that come in contact with your head. These are adjustable and the helmet, while snug, does fit fairly well on my adult-sized cranium. Still, I will admit that It does get a little claustrophobic in there after a while.

The face plate is also detailed with some interior sculpting on the back. I like the hexagonal patterns, the gears in the cheeks, and the vocalizer plate right where the wearer’s mouth is positioned. The eye slots are surprisingly large on the inside, and yet don’t seem out of scale on the outside.

This helmet set me back about $99 when I got it back in 2019, and if you hunt hard enough, you can probably still find some retailers selling it at that price, although others seem to be asking a good $30 more in some cases. Ultimately, I’m extremely pleased with how this came out, and I’d say that it’s easily the best quality of any of the Hasbro helmets I’ve picked up, and that includes both Marvel and Star Wars. Not only does it look pretty close to the real thing, but the engineering and use of magnets makes it feel a bit more like a premium collectible than a high priced toy. Sure, you can do a lot better, if you want to invest an additional $300-400, but this one suits me just fine! And yes, these chrome paper towel holders make excellent display stands!

The Witcher: Eredin Breacc Glas by McFarlane

Well, looky here! I actually made it back on a Friday for some hot and tasty end of week content! It wasn’t easy to carve out the time, but I’m glad I was able to. And hopefully, I can start to make this a habit again. Today I’m digging into another McFarlane release from The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and it’s the leader of The Wild Hunt himself, Eredin Breacc Glas!

Needless to say, I was pretty impressed by Geralt when I reviewed him a few weeks ago. So much so, that I quickly set about picking up some of the other figures in this line. The packaging is pretty much the same as we saw last time, sans the Gold Label. You get a collector friendly window box with a stylish red backdrop behind the figure, and a photo of the figure on the back. Nothing mind-blowing in terms of art design here, but I have to respect McFarlane for letting the figure do all the talking. Let’s get out The King of the Wild Hunt and have a look!

This character design feels like it was tailor-made to get the action figure treatment, and McFarlane did a fine job with it. Eredin’s nightmarish armor is fully realized in what is a pretty complex and layered sculpt. The crimson armor is designed to summon up the horrific image of a flayed man, with bronze accents giving off the hint of exposed bone amidst the quilted and armored plate red meat and muscle. And it is quite glorious! Easily my favorite thing here is the breast plate, which is not only adorned with a rib-cage like motif, but also has rib-like spikes protruding over it. These are cast in soft plastic, so as not to be brittle and breakable, and it just looks simply amazing. His forearms are protected by crudely hammered bronze bracers full of pitting and rough texture, while a series of brown “leather” strips cascade down from the center of his belt, both front and back. Intricate details include the sculpted rivets on his armor plates and stitching on the belts and straps.

The skeletal visage is carried over to his back, where more brass fixtures mimic his spine and the back of his ribcage, meanwhile his right shoulder is protected by a collection of boney barbs and a tattered textured cloak. The cloak is cast in soft plastic and is designed so as not to impede the arm’s movement.

Eredin’s head is fully enclosed in a helmet with a skull-faced visor that reminds of General Kael from Willow… and that ain’t a bad thing! The bronze colored helmet has its share of cuts and crags, no doubt the remnants of many battles. Nothing of Eredin’s face can be seen through the black void of the eyeholes, but his black coif of hair can be seen cascading out the back of the helm. The headpiece is punctuated on top by a series of tall spikes forming a crown.

The packaging claims Eredin sports 22-moving parts, and that certainly comes across in just how fun a figure he is to play with. Articulation points include rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, wrists, and hips. The knees have single hinges and the ankles have hinges and lateral rockers. There are swivels up in the thighs and the toes of his boots are hinged. Finally, you get a ball joint under the chest and another in the neck. The jointing on these McFarlane figures feel satisfyingly solid and chunky.

Eredin comes with one accessory and that’s his rather distinctive sword. This piece of plastic cutlery is a lot more impressive than either of the blades that came with Geralt, thanks mostly to a great paintjob on the blade and hilt. The turned grip is painted crimson to match his armor, and is extended to allow for double-handed wielding. And thankfully, the figure’s articulation is up to the task! The vicious looking blade includes multiple angles to the edge and a jutting spike, and I really dig the rather utilitarian hand guard that plunges parallel with the grip. It’s a great looking piece that clearly favors function over aesthetics in its design.

And finally, you get a figure stand, which is easily the least impressive thing in the box. Yup, it’s the same one that came with Geralt, complete with The Witcher III branding. It’s simple, small, and totally inconsequential. But it does a decent job of holding him up, and I’m never going to complain about getting a stand.

I absolutely have to keep resisting the urge to plunge into McFarlane’s DC figures. I just can’t open that floodgate again. I’ve been wronged too many times! BUT, THAT REBIRTH SUPERMAN SURE IS TEMPTING!!! So, it’s nice to have a small and manageable line like The Witcher to sample what has been some truly excellent work by McFarlane. And just for an added treat, when I went to hunt this figure down along with Ciri, I found him on clearance for about $11. Not too shabby, as I would have been perfectly happy with him even at the full $20. I don’t think I’m going to go nuts with all the repaints of Geralt that McFarlane is pushing out, but I’ll likely keep grabbing any new sculpts that come my way.

Ultimate Voltron by Super7

I did some reorganizing in the closets this weekend and found some stuff that I never got around to reviewing and set aside a small stack of goodies. Among that pile is Super7’s stab at creating a stylized and articulated 7-inch version of the Legendary Defender of the Universe, Voltron, for their Ultimates line!

Everything about this packaging screams premium! You get classy angled edges and a swank glossy black sleeve with foil lightning bolts surrounding a foil Coat of Arms. Lifting off the sleeve reveals a foil window box with Voltron and his accessories filling out the inner tray quite nicely! The rainbow Voltron logo is situated below the figure and the back of the package has the opening narration of the cartoon series. Everything is collector friendly, and that’s a wonderful thing, because this is a figure I intend to display in the packaging. Let’s get him out and have a look!

Obviously, this is a Voltron figure that does not separate, which allows for creating a sculpt with all the stylish flare of the big robot’s animated appearance. And I’m happy to say that Super7 took full advantage of it! The limbs are devoid of the more unsightly lion kibble, with those details softened and blended into the robot. The arms are a bit more rounded, while the legs are left more boxy. Meanwhile, the torso is perfectly proportioned. And while the goal here was to create a simpler and more animated look, there’s still plenty of nice detail, particularly in the lower legs, the “belt,” the chest crest, and of course the head sculpt. Along with a solid sculpt, the colors are vibrant with a mix of metallic and matte finishes to offer some nice contrast.

Unfortunately, as I really started to scrutinize the figure, the cracks in the foundation began to show themselves. There are some weird imperfections in the plastic, like creases and blemishes showing some problems with the molding process. Likewise, the paint application shows a lot of inconsistencies. It’s sharp in some areas, messy in others. There are a number of flubbed areas where brush strokes and swirls can be seen. No single one of these nitpicks is terrible, but when they all form together, the figure just doesn’t stand up to careful inspection.

But where this figure really flops is in the articulation. Now, Super7 is a stand up company, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they did a complete run down on the articulation when they solicited it. But, I bought mine from an online retailer, which simply listed it as Super Articulated. What I got was profoundly disappointing. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, there are swivels in the biceps, hinges in the elbows, and rotating hinges in the wrists. All that is pretty good, although the shoulders tend to look rather awkward when angled out. It’s the legs that really hurt the figure. The hips have front and back rotation, and that’s it. No lateral movement at all. The figure is sculpted with a bit of a wide stance, but again… that’s it. The knees are hinged. You do get rotation in the waist and the neck. Voltron can achieve some decent looking modest poses for display, but sadly I did not find him to be a fun figure to play around with.

As for accessories, you get two extra hands, with the lions’ mouths open. Why Super7 didn’t just hinge the mouths is beyond me. Maybe they felt the hinge wouldn’t hold the accessories well, and that’s fair enough. The regular lion hands have soft mouths to grip the accessories pretty strongly.

Naturally, Voltron comes with his Blazing Sword and Shield and these accessories are absolutely gorgeous! The sculpts are great and they are actually vac metalized so they have stunning silver finishes. As mentioned, the grippy lion head hands hold them extremely well, although the joints in the shoulders and elbows aren’t always up to the task to hold their weight for long.

And finally, you also get a Summoning version of the Blazing Sword with a blue hilt and a glow-in-the-dark blade. Necessary? Nope! But it sure is a heck of a nice bonus!

I was really excited to finally open this figure, but I’m sorry to say it did not live up to my expectations. You get some stellar packaging and a figure that looks pretty good just standing on the shelf, but I found him to be frustrating to pose in any meaningful manner, and in severe need of some lateral hinges in those hips. Added to that, the strange imperfections in the molding, and some sloppy paint just doesn’t reflect the $45 price tag. There’s definitely some stuff to like here, but not enough to make this a happy purchase.

Marvel Legends (Super Skrull Wave): Super Skrull Build-A-Figure by Hasbro

Yes, last week I flubbed my Friday content again. I promise you, it’s coming back, but it may be sporadic for a while. But at least Marvel Mondays have been pretty consistent and now that I’ve had a look at all the packaged figures in the Super Skrull Wave, it’s time to pop together me some Super Skrull!

Most BAF’s have six pieces: Four limbs, a torso and a head. Super Skrull has all those, plus an additional head, an effect part, and two additional arms! Otherwise, everything is pretty standard here. The extra head and arms sort of make up for the fact that this guy is not big, and there’s really nothing about him that prevented Hasbro from releasing him as a regular boxed figure. Heck, even with those extra pieces, he should have worked out.

that’s not to say Kl’rt isn’t a beefy figure, because he is, but we’ve had bigger boxed releases. He is a pretty simple figure, with most of his costume achieved through a rather attractive combination of black and metallic purple coloring. He also has a bit of blue wash over the black bits. He does have some new sculpting for his V-shaped tunic, which flares out at the shoulders and was mostly likely purchased at the same store that Yellowjacket shops at. Of course, the reserved amount of new sculpting here only takes into account his regular arms, and not the ones powered up with The Fantastic Four’s powers.

As mentioned, you get two portraits, one offering a sinister, toothy grimace, and the other a bit more serious. The former offers a lot more personality, but I rather like the grim visage of the later one as well. Both sport some excellent sculpting for the facial detail, including those horizontal ridges in his prominent chin, and his long elf-like ears. He also sports a form-fitting skull cap as part of the head sculpt. The piercing yellow pupil-less eyes are well-done, and there’s a wash over his green skin to bring out some of those lovely details.

Super Skrull’s articulation is standard stuff, and that remains the same no matter which arms you decide to display him with. That includes rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, swivels in the biceps, and double-hinges in the elbows. The legs have rotating hinges at the hips, swivels in the biceps and the tops of the boots, double-hinges in the knees, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. There’s a swivel in his waist, an ab-crunch hinge, and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed.

The extra right arm exhibits the powers of both Sue Storm and Reed Richards. It gradually becomes translucent from the elbow on and the forearm is stretched and the fist is oversized. It makes for a pretty cool combination of effects.

The extra left arm transitions into orange stone just above the elbow and ends in a giant fist, thus exhibiting Ben Grimm’s powers.

And finally, you get a large flame effect part to attach to either regular arm to show off Johnny Storm’s powers. All of these power-stealing effects are pretty well executed on the figure and makes him a lot of fun to play around with. And unlike the recent Dr. Moira figure, Super Skrull’s arms are easy to pop off and pop back on again, which is one of the benefits of making him a Build-A-Figure.

This is one of the rare cases where I was probably more excited for the Build-A-Figure in a wave than I was any of the particular figures. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for getting as many versions of The Fantastic Four as I can, but having added the Walgreens figures to my collection not all that long ago, these black-and-blue costumed figures weren’t terribly high on my list. Doom turned out to be a surprise as to how big an improvement he is over the last one, and while She-Hulk is an excellent figure, I was mainly waiting for the green one to show up. On the other hand Super Skrull was a figure I was very happy to see getting added to the modern Legends line up. And while I would still argue that he could have been done as a boxed release, I’m just happy to have him!

Transformers (Robot Enhanced Design Series): Coronation Starscream by Hasbro

While haters gonna hate the idea of a line of Transformers figures that don’t transform, I’m a pretty big fan of the Robot Enhanced Design series. Sure, Hasbro and other companies have been getting closer and closer to developing cartoon-accurate versions of these characters that can transform, but the RED figures let them go all the way. Megatron and Optimus Prime were pretty good, I still have to double back and take a look at Soundwave, but for now I’m bumping Starscream to the head of line!

Technically, he’s Coronation Starscream, which means he comes with the accessories needed to display him based on that comic-relief scene in the ’86 movie where he proclaimed himself leader of the Decepticons, donned a crown, cape, and shoulderpads, and had the Constructions make use of their hitherto unknown collective skill at playing the trumpet. It’s a great scene, but I must not place as much stock in it as a lot of other fans, because the coronation parts included are not a selling point for me. So, let’s get them out of the way first…

The plastic shoulderpads plug into the backs of Starscream’s shoulders and the purple cape pegs in between them. It’s bizarre how similar it is to the technique used by The Four Horsemen’s to secure capes to their Mythic Legions figures, but it works. You also get a crown. The crown is kind of goofy in how large it is, and it’s a shame they couldn’t have given it a lick of gold-leaf paint to make it stand out more, but if you want to display an Emperor Starscream, I guess this works well enough. And now, I’m tossing all these parts into a bin, because I’ll never use them again.

Ahh, there’s the Air Commander that I know and love! From a sculpting standpoint, I think this figure looks great. They rounded out the edges, and gave him that sylized look that the transforming figures can’t quite get totally right. You get some panel lines for detail, but enough simplicity to keep it in line with his Sunbow counterpart. You do get intake fans in his chest, instead of vacant holes. It would have been cool to have these removable, but I don’t dislike them at all. As for the coloring? Well, the red and blue bits look great, but the gray is a bit too dark for my taste. I was actually a bit shocked when I first saw him in person at how dark the gray really is under normal lights, albeit it looks much better under the bright studio lights. I’ve grown a little more used to it, but it’s never going to be exactly what I wanted. The gold paint for his canopy looks fine, and I haven’t yet made my mind up about the scorch marks on his null rays.

From the back, Starscream really benefits from his non-transforming design. He’s clean and sleek with some well-toned thruster calves and his wings are finished on the backsides as well, along with some darker gray paint.

The head sculpt is excellent, and I like the smarmy smile on his face. As a person of German heritage, my people have a word, Backpfeifengesicht, which roughly translates, “A face that is badly in need of a fist.” I don’t know what the Cybertronian word is, but Starscream’s got it. And I mean that in every complimentary way. The paint is a little sloppy, but the eyes do have a nice reflective quality that at some angles almost looks like light-piping.

While articulation isn’t usually a big issue in tranforming Transformers these days, the RED concept allows for a bit more refinement when it comes to jointing. Starscream features a lot of great potential with plenty of rotating hinges, double-hinges, and swivels in strategic places. The wings are designed to hinge and not be an impediment, and he even has a the ability to rotate and bend in the waist. Which leads me to the soft joints. I mentioned in my reviews of Prime and Megsy that the plastic used here is kind of weird. It has a dense and solid feel to it that makes for a satisfyingly hefty figure. But, strangely it also makes for some really gummy joints, which is disappointing. Starscream does come with two pairs of hands: One set of fists, and a pair of relaxed open hands.

Last on the accessory list are a pair of purple energy blasts, which fit onto the barrels of Starscream’s null rays. These look really good, but the null rays don’t always handle the added weight. The weapons peg into Starscream’s arms in a very strange way, with the peg being on the arm and an extended socket on the weapons. It’s not a very deep connection, and they tend to fall off a bit too easy. Add the effect parts, and they tend to droop or fall off completely.

Re-reading this review, I was kind of surprised about how much nit-picks I had. Oh yeah, I also feel Starscream is a bit too tall when displayed next to Megatron. Damn… there goes another one! But, I was surprised, because I really don’t hate or even dislike this figure at all. There are a few odd design choices, I’m not a big fan of the plastic they’re using, but all in all its a fun figure that hasn’t diminished my love for the line. On the contrary, I’ll be the first one pounding the pre-order button when Hasbro inevitably repaints him into Thundercracker and Skywarp. And again, when he’s remolded into Dirge, Thrust, and Ramjet. But I’ll draw the line at Acid Storm. Shit, no I won’t.