Marvel Legends (Infinity Saga): Odin by Hasbro

I make it no secret that so far I’ve been mostly indifferent about the Post-Endgame MCU. Sure, I was excited about No Way Home, and that excitement paid off big time, but I had no interest in Shang-Chi and The Eternals, and I couldn’t make it through either one. Maybe Hasbro has its doubts too, because while cartloads of Eternals and Shang-Chi figures languish on the pegs at my local Target, the Infinity Saga figures seem to be selling really well!

What’s Infinity Saga? It’s Hasbro rifling through the older MCU movies to see who they haven’t done yet. These are designed more like stand-alone releases, without any connecting waves and no Build-A-Figure parts. It’s a good idea, and I have a short list of characters I’d like to see make this side-series. One of those happened to be MCU Odin… and here he is! The packaging is quite distinctive, although the top flap of mine looks like someone tried to get into it before I did.

I was surprised to realize that we haven’t seen Sir Anthony Hopkins’ take on Odin in Marvel Legends yet, and I’m happy to say they mostly did the character proud. The figure comes wearing his full Asgardian armor, hitting a lot of the stylistic beats found in his son Thor’s outfit. The intricately sculpted scrollwork pattern on his breast plate looks especially good! The rest of the outfit consists of a brown suit with quilted patterns in the arms and legs. He has shoulder armor, wrist bracers, and some shiny brown boots. The cape spills over his shoulders, but without that hovering effect that Thor somehow pulls off, and stops just short of reaching the ground. It may not look like it, but it does seem to make Odin rather back-heavy, and unless he’s in a pose where the cape is touching the ground and adding support, he tends to fall over a lot.

When first looking at him in the package, I thought the extra was just to supply one without the helmet, but the helmet is actually removable and can go on either head. And what an epic headpiece it is! The wings and horns are exaggerated to the extreme, leaving no doubt that whoever is wearing it is the most important person in the room. The helmet is cast in soft plastic so it fits the heads well, but not so soft as the horns and wings get all bendy. It has something of a matte finish to it, but if you catch it in the light just right, it will shine!

As for the head sculpt, I’m a little divided on that matter. There’s clearly some Hopkins in there, but I don’t think the likeness is a slam dunk. On the other hand, I really like the detail in it. The facial hair looks great, the eye patch looks well weathered, everything about this looks good even if the likeness isn’t as strong as I would like it to be. Yeah, some might say it’s not a good sculpt if they tried at the likeness and didn’t get it, but I’m strangely OK with it.

The other head has The Great Odin offering a friendly smile, and at first I did not notice the smile, which is why I just thought this was an extra head sans helmet. But yeah, the smile is clearly there. I think the problem is that it’s just a small and localized change to the head sculpt making it not terribly obvious. I do prefer the first one.

The articulation here features all the usual points I expect to find in my MCU Legends dudes. That means rotating hinges in the shoulders, double hinged elbows and knees, ball jointed hips, swivels in the biceps and thighs, hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles, and hinged pegs in the wrists to swap out his extra set of hands. The neck is both hinged and ball jointed, and you get a ball joint at the waist, so as not to break up his armor with the usual ab crunch. You can get some nice poses out of him, but I think he looks best just standing there and being majestic.

In addition to the extra hands, Odin comes with his staff, which is cast in the same gold plastic as his helmet. It looks good, although I don’t really remember it in the movie well enough to comment on its accuracy. He has one pair of hands designed to hold it, so he can wield it with right, left, or both! The other set of hands includes a right fist and a left gesturing.

Considering it’s been six years since we last saw Odin in the Legends line, it’s nice to see him available again. Plus, the previous release was the comic version, and I Build-A-Figure as well! I think the MCU version was long overdue. Laying aside my issues with the likeness, I still think this is an excellent figure and I was surprised at how excited I was to finally get him in the collection!

Transformers Kingdom (Golden Disk Collection): Jackpot and Sights by Hasbro

I had planned on skipping these Amazon Exclusive Golden Disk Collection repaints, but one night when some of them were presented to my drunken self by Amazon, I guess I must have slammed that BUY IT button, because they later showed up at my door. That’s fine. I am, however, a little embarrassed by the fact that I still haven’t reviewed some of the original figures that these are repaints of. Indeed, I actually did an entire photo shoot with Jackpot here, while under the impression that I had reviewed Studio Series Jazz. But nope. Had I known that, I probably would have gone with more of a joint review, but let’s just press on anyway.

Well, this is a pleasant surprise! I was expecting the crappy brown box that the past Amazon Exclusives came in, but this is colorful and pretty nice, even if the artwork is kind of bland. The figures inside come tied to a corrugate tray, so it’s nothing fancy, but at least the box is collector friendly should you decide to keep it. I was already out of playing with Transformers by the time Jackpot and the Action Masters arrived, so I didn’t have the original figure, but I love that we’re getting modern transforming toys out of them. Let’s start with Jackpot’s alt mode.

The car is a straight repaint of Studio Series Jazz, and this is an excellent little recreation of the Porsche 935 Turbo. All the familiar beats are here from the semi-squared off front bumper, the down sloping hood, to the beautiful rounded swells over the wheel wells, and the prominent spoiler. This mold made for an excellent Jazz and it certainly cuts a different look with this wild new black and yellow deco. It very nearly makes it look like the mold has had some tweaks, even though that’s not the case. The added silver to the front bumper looks great, as does the orange on the headlamps and rear bumpers. Jackpot sports some snappy translucent orange on his windows, and an Autobot emblem on the front middle of the hood. Considering the G1 Jackpot had no alt mode, I think this turned out pretty cool.

I don’t have a lot to complain about here, except maybe the clips holding on the front wheels look a tad cheap. There’s a slight difference in yellow where the painted plastic meets the colored plastic, but neither nitpick is a big deal. I don’t know how collectors unfamiliar with the original character will take to this paint scheme, but I dig it.

Jackpot comes with a repaint of Jazz’s gun, which can be plugged into the socket on the roof to weaponize him. He also comes with a blast effect part for the gun. Cool!

As with Jazz, transforming Jackpot holds no surprises. It’s not all that dissimilar from the recent Datsuns. He’s pretty quick going to and from either mode, and the panels lock together fairly well in the auto mode. Like the Datsuns, he’s a bit broad shouldered, but otherwise the proportions are just fine and he makes for a great and very classic looking robot. Yeah, his lower legs are hollow, but I’ve come to expect that. His roof and doors fold up neatly on his back, although I would have preferred he kept the G1-style door-wings, but that’s something I miss more on the Jazz version than this one. As for the deco, it doesn’t really change much from his auto mode, other than adding some orange to his feet and lower legs. It’s not a perfect match for the original figure, but certainly close enough for me.

The only new sculpting here is found in Jackpot’s head, and it’s a great update to the Action Master portrait. I’m not a big fan of the super obvious seam running down the top center of his “helmet,” but otherwise I like the head just fine. The orange visor matches his deco nicely, and the styling of the sides of his head look really cool.

In addition to the repaint of Jazz’s gun, Jackpot comes with his buddy Sights. Yeah, the homage here is a tad off. Sights is still a robotic bird (and a great one at that!), but he transforms into a battle axe instead of a photon cannon, which makes his name rather curious, but it’s fine. You can still work him into a gun of sorts, but I think I prefer him as an axe.

In the end, I’m glad i picked up this figure! I love updates to some of the more obscure G1 toys, and it’s cool to get a transforming version of Jackpot into this collection. Going with the Jazz mold was a no-brainer, and it’s nice to see such an excellent figure get repainted into another character. Sure, Jazz is still my favorite of the two, so don’t take the fact that he got passed over for a review as meaning otherwise, but Jackpot turned out to be a fantastic re-release of an already fantastic mold!

Mythic Legions (All-Stars 4): Mephitor by The Four Horsemen

It was a rocky week leading up to Christmas, but I’m happy to put the Silly Season behind me and try to get things back to normal with another installment of Mythoss Monday! And today I’m digging into the newly shipped All-Stars Wave 4! I did not go too deep into this Wave, only picking up two regular figures and one Troll, so I’ll probably run through all of these figures in the next few weeks. So let’s jump right in and check out Mephitor!

Mephitor is one of two figures in this Wave which are essentially Masters of the Universe homages, and if you can’t tell from the packaged shot, this fellow is a very obvious nod to Snake Mountain’s smelliest of villains, Stinkor! Mephitor has his own backstory, which declares him to be something of a mercenary spy! He sniffs out information and sells it to whichever faction suits him. And while TFH didn’t make this figure actually stink (thank heavens for that!) he bio does disclose his ability to spray a deadly stink gas a this enemies!

Mephitor is built off the Goblin body, so that makes him just a little stinker. The armored bits have been repainted orange and given a bit of weathering, making them look a little drab and well worn. His gauntlets are maroon and he has black and silver under-armor exposed on his upper legs and biceps. The waist piece has been seen before on the Goblins as well, this time painted in orange and maroon. Instead of the crude Orc-style shoulders that most of the Goblins wear, Mephitor sports a pair of more civilized shoulder pieces, along with the a spiked collar. There isn’t a lot of detailed paintwork here, other than the painted straps holding on his leg armor, and the gold medallions on the shoulders. Still, all in all it’s a great looking deco.

The head sculpt is repainted from Thistlethorn, a figure released as part of the Advent of Decay, and one of the few releases in that Wave that I passed on due to budget crunch. I will say, that the repaint is quite striking and I had to go back and compare photos to confirm that it was indeed the same head. Mephitor has a overtly skunk-like appearance, with sculpted fur, pointed ears, and a mostly black face, with white circles around the eyes, a white nose, and a white stripe surrounding his crested ridge. It really works well as a Stinkor homage!

I was surprised to find a bonus head in there too, and I’m not sure if this was a new addition or if I just forgot it was included. This one is simply a Goblin head repainted black, with yellow eyes and bone-colored teeth. I doubt I’ll ever display it on this figure, but maybe I’ll use it on one of the Goblins. It’s awesome!

Moving onto his gear, Mephitor comes with the standard knightly sword, which we’ve seen many times before, and yes it’s still one of my favorites! The blade is painted silver and the hilt is a beautiful shade of electric blue, with the grip being matte and the cross-guard and pommel having a metallic finish. There’s some silver over-spray on the hilt, but it’s not too bad.

You also get a circular shield, which is painted in the same matte electric blue and with metallic blue used for the rivets. These colors really pop beautifully when displayed with the orange and maroon of the armor.

And last, but not least, Mephitor comes with a crossbow, which was introduced in Advent of Decay and seen here several times since. It has a real string, and it’s painted in silver and blue to match the rest of his gear. You have to get a little creative to get him to pose with it in a firing position, but he can get there!

Rather than get them all, I’ve been fairly selective when it comes to Mythic LegionsMOTU homage figures. Why? I don’t know. Initially they seemed kind of gimmicky, but I think some of them look original enough to fit in Mythoss. Mephitor was definitely one of those that I had to have as soon as I saw him. At this point, if I had it to do over, I probably would have grabbed them all. This is a great little figure, and adds a cool new race to the Mythoss melting pot. I also dig how his bio suggests him to be a loner and that’s why we’ll probably just get this one example of his race. But who knows? Next week, I’ll check out the other MOTU homage in this Wave… that is unless he leaves me at a moss for words.

Merry Christmas!

I’ll confess I feel like a failure this year, as I did not make it back for Friday’s review, nor did I have time or energy to prepare my usual Christmas review. The later is a real shame, because I had some fine candidates for what has become a day for my Big Toy of the Year review.

In the end, work left me with little time, and that little time was spent drinking and playing video games. Christmas has been an emotional drain on me these past few years, and while I would have found some solace in doing content here, I just didn’t have it in me. And so I just chose the lazy way out with escapism.

But… next week is an opportunity to do better, so we’ll see how that goes.

I mainly wanted to stop in and wish everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Holiday, or just a plain old enjoyable weekend!

By figurefanzero

CyberFrog and Salamandroid PVC Figures by All Caps Comics

CyberFrog was born in the 90’s, the creation of comic book veteran and human ray of sunshine, Ethan Van Sciver, but he was re-born just a few years back, birthed from the cataclysmic war for the hearts, minds, and spending money of comic book fans. As the big corporate comic producers seemed to delight in antagonizing their established fan base, many creators decided to go it on their own, building a fanbase and support through crowdfunding projects. Like it or begrudge it, it’s been a huge movement in the contemporary American comic industry, and no one has been more successful at it than Mr. Van Sciver. I for one was happy to see CyberFrog return, and I’ve been an eager supporter of each and every one of these projects, which by now has run the gamut from comics to toys! Today we’re going to talk about toys!

For the uninitiated, our cybernetically enhanced amphibian hero came to our planet to befriend the bodacious Heather Swain, eat buckets of fried chicken, and defend humanity from the evil swarm of space hornets, known as The Vyzpzz. Fighting at his side is his giant brother, Salamandroid. Blood Honey saw the return of CyberFrog, shedding a good bit of the original comic’s 90s schlock (meant as a compliment!) and elevating the material by introducing a ton of heart and soul. Not to mention some incredible art and colors! The follow up, Rekt Planet, is still a work in progress, but is due to release next year. There are legit action figures coming, but in the meantime, we have this pair of PVC collectibles to tide us over!

One might expect crowdfunded perks like these to ship in polybags, but nope! Each figure comes in a collector friendly window box, which lets you get a look at the goods inside while still offering some gorgeous art and coloring. This professional packaging would stand out on the shelf of any toy aisle, and I do plan on displaying the figures in the boxes. I got this pair by going All In on the Rekt Planet campaign, a decision which seems to have paid for itself several times over, as there are going to be plenty more goodies coming. But I’ll confess, aside from the actual book, these PVC toys were what I was most excited for! Let me get them open, and we’ll start with a look at CyberFrog!

I suspect that it’s always a challenge to bring 2D characters from comic panels into the tangible 3D world. It’s probably extra challenging when dealing with highly original and stylized designs like these. Nonetheless, All Caps Comics pulled it off brilliantly. CyberFrog oozes personality as he strikes his hero pose, squatting on his haunches, one hand planted firmly on the ground, and the other trailing behind him. The sculpt is relatively simple, preserving the comic book feel, but you still get some nice touches, like the cut lines segmenting his legs, fingers, and feet, and some muscle definition in his amphibian bod.

The portrait is simply splendid, with his bulging yellow eyes and furled froggie brow. CyberFrog is over The Vyzpzz’s shit and his expression shows it!

And as great as the sculpt here turned out, the coloring certainly does its part to impress. The luxurious metallic silver paint is quite striking in person, especially when contrasted with the bright metallic green used for his cybernetic parts. Hasbro should take note, because I’d love to see this kind of paint on some of their figures. You also get a deeper hunter green for his froggie parts, as well as touches of bright blue and yellow. Beautiful! Let’s turn our attention to Salamandroid!

Holy shit, this figure is gorgeous! As in the comic, Salamandroid positively dwarfs his little brother, making this a hefty chunk of PVC. Sal stands majestically on all fours, poised to leap into action and fulfill his sworn duty to protect CyberFrog. He has the same deep cut lines segmenting his artificial limbs with reinforced joints in his back legs, making them look like coiled springs ready to launch him at his foes. He has a pair of hulking shoulders and curved bracers on his fore limbs, each with large blue stones set in the center.

Sal is a gentle, childlike giant, right up until his anger is roused, and that’s certainly reflected in this portrait. His adorable and lovable mug is punctuated by narrow red eyes, two rows of sharp teeth, and a long crimson tongue. His head is framed with dual silver rings, and there are cybernetic cables protruding from them into the skin around his neck. I also love the silver hump that arches back from his neck.

As with CyberFrog, Sal features a premium paint job. You get a lot more of that snappy silver on his limbs that we saw on his little brother. His skin is a soft powder blue with some greenish-gold speckling on his back, meanwhile his silver cybernetics are reinforced with metallic blue accents. Sal also features some charcoal gray paint on his arm bracers, and the cut-outs in his shoulders.

And I sure can’t fail to mention Salamandroid’s impressive tail! This long and fearsome whip is painted with more of that deep metallic blue with the segmented lines painted in black. The tail is softer plastic than the rest of the figure, and features a wire running through it that allows it to be posed a bit, which will sure come in handy when trying to find shelf space for this big boi!

Never in a million years did I expect to ever see CyberFrog toys, let alone toys produced at this level of quality. The sculpts capture all the fun and personality of these characters, while the paint makes these figures sing. I’m not sure what the availability of these are right now, but I do know that you can pick up limited gold or silver versions on the official CyberFrog Ebay Store. As I mentioned earlier, All Caps Comics has a wave of fully articulated action figures in production, which will include CyberFrog, Heather Swain, and a Vyzpzz. A Salamandroid figure for that line hasn’t been shown off yet, but I have every confidence we will see one released eventually.

Holiday Update Schedule!

Well, the bad news is that it was a working weekend of Holiday craziness, so I’m not doing any new content today. The good news is I don’t anticipate skipping any other days over the next two weeks.

I will likely wind up bumping what would have been today’s Mythoss Monday over to Wednesday, and then just carry on business as usual.

I do have about a month-long hiatus planned for around March of next year, as I will be moving, but I’m also hoping to get ahead on some content, so I can still drop maybe one review a week when the time comes. But more on that will be forthcoming.

Hope the run-up to the Holidays are treating you all well, and I’ll catch ya back here in a couple of days!

By figurefanzero

Knight of Fire (Silver Version) Sixth-Scale Figure by Phicen/TBLeague

More and more of my Sixth-Scale budget has been going to TBLeague releases these days. They continue to offer some amazing stuff at a decent value, while moving away from the indie licensed stuff in favor of their original concept figures. And it doesn’t hurt that most of these are sword-wielding hot babes! Today I’m having a look at one of three versions of The Knight of Fire! There’s a lot I like about this figure, and a few things I don’t, so let’s dig right in and check her out!

I already have the box in storage, but here’s some promotional art! TBLeague has recently learned the lucrative art of offering variants of their original concept figures. These entail doing different decos for a figure’s costume, usually different head sculpts and hair colors, and a slight variation on their accessories. It’s a smart move to make the cost of each figure go a little further, and it can make choosing which one to get a little difficult. And sometimes, I can’t choose and just get them all, but I’ll save that for another time. The Knight of Fire came in Silver Armor, which we’re looking at today, as well as Black and Gold. Who are the Knights of Fire? Well, that’s up to you to decide!

Here she is all set up, and getting her ready for display was no small feat! The armor for her arms, legs, and shoulders, all had to be put on with varying degrees of difficulty. The gorget and cape also had to be attached, and what you can’t see is a shoulder harness, which holds some of these pieces in place, that had to be fitted to her as well. I guess my middle-aged fingers just aren’t all that good with teeny-tiny clasps these days. Still, a lot of patience and a few colorful metaphors got me through it. And overall, I think it was well worth it! TBLeague is usually content with letting these ladies go bare under the armor, as it shows off the lovely Phicen seamless body, but in this case, our fiery knight is wearing a body stocking, and here is something that I’m not entirely convinced was a great idea. Don’t get me wrong, I respect the craftsmanship that went into creating what is essentially a super fine fishnet suit, but it hangs a bit loose in some areas, and there are heavy seams on the insides of her legs. I find myself thinking that the figure would look better without it. Then again, it is rather distinctive, so I guess my final opinion is still undecided.

The armor is absolutely gorgeous. TBLeague sculpts each individual piece out of plastic, which isn’t so heavy that it weighs the figure down, but not so light that it’s delicate. Oh some of the straps can be pretty delicate, but not the plastic itself! Her silver cuirass is sculpted to look like it’s made from many interlocking plates, each with a silver sheen and golden borders. Hip armor hang down from each side via laces, and a faux chain sash protects the treasure betwixt her legs. The forearm pieces feature hooked spikes, while the leg armor has silver skull ornaments protecting her knees. The epic shoulders remind me of a horned beetle, and feature some satanic looking ram skulls. The cape reaches down to the backs of her knees, with a black back and an illustrated flame in the lining. There’s a wire running through it to help it stay put in some dynamic poses.

Most of the pictures I shot have Ms. Fire Knight wearing her helmet, but it is removable. Our Silver Knight features short blonde hair and a very pretty face. TBL is getting quite good at painting lifelike eyes, while also doing sharp operations for the eyebrows and lips. Even the skin tone has come a long way since their earlier figures. As for the helmet, it accessorizes nicely with her armor, carrying over the silver plates and gold borders. You also get some red jewels, and an impressive set of horns. The plastic used for the helmet feels a bit softer than the rest of the armor, but it holds its shape perfectly and has a very snug fit. The hardest thing when putting it on is getting it on without her hair getting pushed in front of her face. At the same time, taking the helmet off does a number on her coif, so be prepared to style it, if you take the helmet off a lot.

The Silver Knight of Fire comes with two weapons and some extra hands. You may note that I have not changed the hands for any pictures, and that’s because they were a real bitch to get off the first time, and I didn’t want to end up pulling the ball joints out of the wrist sockets. Every now and then this is a problem with TBL’s figures. I haven’t encountered it in quite a while, but here’s proof that it does turn up from time to time. Her sword comes with a plastic scabbard, which is a nice bonus, but there’s really no way to get her to wear it, unless you fashion a custom belt or hang it from a string. Still, the texturing on it is gorgeous and it fits the blade perfectly. The sword has an extended grip for single or double-handed use. The blade is made of plastic, which I only point out because sometimes TBL ponies up for some diecast metal blades, but not here.

Her other weapon is her trident, which comes on a very long shaft and has sculpted grips in two places. The three blades are heavily stylized, and there’s an ornamental ring below it with a red stone that matches the ones on her helmet.

I like this figure enough to consider grabbing the Gold Version, but the body suit still gives me pause. Yes, the mesh suit is totally removable, but I’d say that it would be easier to cut it off the figure, rather than deal with taking all the armor off, and I just can’t bring myself to do that. A sword belt would have also gone a long way to justify the inclusion of the scabbard. Still, I really love everything else about the figure, particularly the armor design, which is something TBL just keeps excelling at. She’s an eye-catching figure and one worth considering.

Avengers Endgame: Captain America (2012) Sixth-Scale Figure by Hot Toys

We’re in the Endgame now! Or, more accurately, I’ve come full circle. My very first Hot Toys figure was Captain America from The First Avenger, which I reviewed ten years ago, give or take a couple of weeks. Woof! Those were some terrible photos! And here I am, reviewing what I planned to be my last Marvel Hot Toys purchase… and it would have been if I hadn’t since pre-ordered a new Black Widow. Well, maybe the second to the last. Unless we get a bunch from the new Spider-Man movie, and then all bets are off. Anyway… It’s fitting to start and (almost) end with Cap. One of my favorite Marvel characters, and one that I feel was translated almost perfectly to the MCU.

The First Avenger Cap was actually a consolation purchase, as I missed out on the Cap figure that I really wanted. Some may scoff, but Cap’s costume from the original Avengers flick is my favorite of them all, and I was hugely disappointed to miss out. But now, it seems like it was for the best, because thanks to the Time Travel elements of Endgame, Hot Toys got us a new version of 2012 Cap, without having to do a blatant do-over, and it looks to be a vast improvement. Let’s take a look!

Hot Toys rebuilt this figure from the ground up, which means new body, new tailored costume, the works! As I understand it, the only reuse here is the collection of hands. The costume recreates everything I loved about this look. It’s clean, relatively simple, and most of all it’s bright and colorful. I like that it uses actual fabric, rather than the thin vinyl material that so many of these characters wore. It looks and feels more durable, and offers a nice, rugged texture. The suit consists of various reinforced panels of cloth, all secured with immaculate stitching. The bright blue really pops, especially next to the red and white striping around his middle, and the red and maroon plastic used for the boots and gauntlets.

The boots consist of two pieces: A ball jointed foot, and a sleeve that makes up the rest. This allows for plenty of articulation in the ankles and a flat-footed stance. There’s still a seam where they meet, but it’s worked into the sculpt pretty well, so as not to be terribly obvious. It is, however, necessary to sometimes make sure the two pieces are lined up correctly. The chest star and epaulets are cast in plastic and attached to the cloth, making them stand out, quite literally. The belt features a brace of bulky pouches, and it rests fairly snug above his hips.

Cap comes with two heads, one masked and one not. The masked is likely the one I will display the figure with most of the time, and it is a beautiful piece of work. The helmet and mask are intricately detailed with some great texturing, sculpted stitch lines, and some immaculate silver paint for the “A” and the wings on the sides. There’s a very nice depth to the sculpt as well, making it look like the helmet and mask were actually sculpted on top of an unmasked head, even if that wasn’t the case. The neck piece is extremely long and sockets deep into the figure’s chest, and when combined with the high collar of the suit, leaves no neck seam at all.

The unmasked head sculpt is also excellent. Considering Hot Toys has been sculpting Chris Evans’ noggin for ten years now, it goes without saying that they’ve gotten pretty damn good at it. Besides the likeness being spot on, the paint is as amazing as usual. The eyes are lifelike, the skin tone is so real it’s eerie, and even the sculpted plastic hair looks totally on point. I also love the appropriately self-righteous expression, with the stern look and slightly furled brow. Despite this being the third MCU Hot Toys Cap in my collection, this is the first time I’ve had an unmasked head sculpt. It’s about time!

Obviously, Cap comes with his iconic shield, and it sure is different than the one that came with my First Avenger Cap! That figure’s shield had a high gloss, metallic finish that looked beautiful… for about a year and then the paint started flaking off of it. I eventually had to buy a third-party replacement. This time around, we get a more sensible, somewhat satin finish to the red, blue, and silver frisbee, and I think it looks great! The flipside is sculpted with reinforced plates and rivets, and has an arm strap and a grabber strap, which work very well with the figure, making it easy to put on and take off. Unfortunately, the straps still have working plastic clasps, which are so fragile I can all but guarantee will eventually break. Cap comes with the appropriate hands that will allow him to hold the shield on the left or right side. Unfortunately, there’s no way to attach it to his back, which seems like a huge oversight.

As I’ve said many times, I don’t expect a lot of range of motion in my MCU Hot Toys, usually because of restrictive costumes, but I was hoping for a little bit more on this one. In this case, I’m not worried about pulling stitching or over-stretching material, it’s just that the muscle padding gets in the way. As a result, he gets about average movement for these figures, but nothing crazy. On the plus side, it doesn’t seem like keeping him in an action pose is likely to damage the costume.

In addition to the shield and extra hands, Cap comes with Loki’s Staff, which is recycled from the Bruce Banner figure, which I believe was recycled from Avengers Loki. If you don’t have it, it’s a great addition and a beautiful piece. On the other hand, if you’ve been collecting for a while, you probably do have it, and in that case, it’s not all that exciting.

What is pretty damn cool is the big aluminum case to put it in! This spiffy piece of luggage has a foam interior with a cutout for the staff and handles on two sides. It’s an impressive accessory, and it kind of needs to be, considering that Cap doesn’t come with a whole lot of anything else. Still, the only other thing that I could have asked for would be a mask for him to hold when using the unmasked head. That would have been cool.

As always, the final thing in the box is the stand. I don’t have a lot to say about this one, other than it looks good and gets the job done. The artwork is quite nice, and the hexagonal base is functional without taking up too much real estate on the shelf.

It’s hard to really express how thrilled I was to see this figure get made. Not getting Hot Toys’ Avengers Cap was probably one of my biggest collecting regrets over the last ten years. I just think this is his most iconic appearance in the franchise. It really straddles that line between realism and cheese. The colors scream comic book to me, and while I will admit this look wouldn’t have worked for the tone of the later movies, I liked Cap’s uniforms less and less with each redesign. The original shot up in price on the second hand market pretty quickly, so my chances of ever getting it were slim to none. And now I have an improved version on my shelf and I just can’t stop smiling!

Mythic Legions (Arethyr): Balius the Horse by The Four Horsemen

The Arethyr Wave not only introduced a gaggle of Demons to Mythoss, but it also gave us the first two horses as part of the Mythic Legions line. The showpiece horse of the wave was Aethon, companion steed of Arethyr himself, and I’ll get to them soon enough, but we also got Balius, a brown horse that’s perfect for carrying any Knight into battle!

Balius comes in a large window box, which is basically a landscape orientated version of what the large Trolls come in. It’s got some great artwork and a little Mythoss Lore printed on the back, but it’s mostly dominated by the giant window that shows you the horse and accessories. The box is collector friendly, although there are a lot of wire ties securing Balius to his tray, and I advise caution when clipping these, because I clipped one of Balius’ stirrups when getting him out!

Despite being a big fan of mounted knights and cowboys, I’m no horse enthusiast or equine expert, but from what I can tell T4H did a damn fine job on this sculpt and the proportions of the figure. And yes! Balius is indeed a fully articulated figure. The last time I had a horse figure close to this scale was when my Uncle gave me his old Gabriel Lone Ranger toys, and handling this guy is really bringing back memories! Balius has a chocolate brown coat, which turns black toward his hooves, as well as a black mane and black tail. The body is covered with a great looking fur texture and you also get some great detail in the various muscles, veins and sinew.

Balius is a solid and hefty steed with strong jointing, and as with the regular figures, his joints are all modular (mostly pegged hinges) so that they can be pulled apart and swapped out for easy customization. Each leg is jointed in three places, the tail is jointed at the base, and the neck and head are also articulated, but more on that later. The joints are smooth and easy to manipulate, but he has no difficulty holding up his weight as well as the weight of a figure. He can even hold gallop and a rearing pose on his back two legs with the tail serving as a sort of tripod support. Very nice!

The head sculpt is quite beautiful, and I’m really blown away by the realism in the face and how lifelike the eyes are. His ears stand straight up, and his bushy mane is sculpted as a separate piece, and he has a white stripe running down to his nose. The bridle is also sculpted separately from the horse, and features some great leather-like texturing and nickle-painted fixtures. What I did find disappointing is the articulation design for the head and neck. It allows for some movement, but if I try to tilt Balius’ head too far up, the joint just pops off the peg. The design was no doubt intended to avoid putting visible pins in the head, but I would have liked more range of motion there.

The saddle, includes more of that great leather texturing, as well as a sculpted strap securing it under Balius’ belly, and a red blanket with gold borders under the saddle. There’s a removable bedroll on the back of the saddle, and four looped straps which can be used to attach equipment. Balius even comes with a sword and a shield to place on him. These loops can also be used to secure a spear or halberd, but neither are included.

I am using the Red Shield Soldier, which I reviewed last Monday, to showcase how well Balius can carry a figure. I will note that I removed the groin armor piece when placing him on the saddle. Although strictly speaking it probably isn’t necessary, I just think it makes for a better fit, and it’s easy enough to pull off and tab back in again. The stirrups are made of soft plastic and are large enough to loop around the feet, but they don’t hold all that securely, especially the one that I cut getting the figure out!

I came really close to omitting Balius when I ordered my Arethyr figures, mainly because he’s so big and I’m trying to account for limited space. I was also worried about falling down a deep hole with how many horses, T4H are likely to pump out based on this mold. But in the end I threw him in there, and I’m glad I did. He’s a fantastic looking figure, and really the only thing I can nitpick is that I wish the neck articulation offered better range of motion.

ThunderCats Ultimates: Captain Cracker by Super7

I’m trying to parse out my reviews of Super7’s third wave of ThunderCats Ultimates, since there are only three figures and who knows when more will ship. Last time I checked out Slithe and now I’m turning my attention to that cantankerous clockwork clunker and evil space pirate, Captain Cracker!

You get the same beautiful style packaging as we saw last time, but Cracker’s box is a lot smaller, as he doesn’t have nearly the chonk factor of Slithe. It seemed to cause some collectors a lot of distress to see Captain Cracker turn up in Wave 3 of Super7’s ThunderCats. No doubt, they were hoping for a more prominent character, but I was pleased to no end. As eager as I am to complete my ThunderCats and Evil Mutants, I’m fine with them peppering the waves with more peripheral characters. And it’s not like Cracker was a one and done villain. After he was introduced running afoul of Mandora the Evil Chaser, he returned for two more episodes, the third of which even got him top billing in Cracker’s Revenge!
ThunderCats character designs tend to cut two ways. You’ve got your bad-ass characters and your goofy characters. Guess which group Cracker belongs to! But goofy or not, he has the potential to make for a great action figure!

And on the whole, I think that fun potential is realized here. Despite being a robot, Cracker wears clothes! His plastic wardrobe consists of tan trousers with a brown shoe on his left foot and just a metallic peg protruding from his right knee. He’s got an orange shirt with sculpted black vest, ragged sleeves, fingerless white gloves, and a brown belt with a sheath for his dagger. The sculpt is pretty basic here, which fits for the animated aesthetic. I do think it was a little cheap sculpting the vest as part of the body, rather than making it a separate piece worn by the figure. The paint could have been a lot cleaner around those ragged sleeves. If this were a twenty dollar, off the rack figure, I could be more forgiving.

At least they didn’t cheap out on the heads, as you get two portraits to choose from. The standard features Cracker offering a malevolent mugging and evil grin, showing every one of his weird white robot teeth. Super7 did a nice job capturing Cracker’s personality with some very nice detail. The Captain has a sculpted dew-rag “tied” around the top of his head. He’s got a prominent, a pointed spike for a nose, and an eyepatch bolted to his face. His exposed right eye is drawn on his face and looks wonderfully cheesy. Cracker has what looks like whiskers for a mustache and right eyebrow. I seem to remember the mustache sparking when Cracker got mad in the cartoon.

The second head gives Cracker a surprised expression, with his jaw clamped shut and his one eye wide open. Who’s laughing now, Cracker?

The Captain comes with three sets of hands, including two fists, two relaxed hands, one right accessory holding hand and one left graspy hand. Considering he comes with two weapons, I’m kind of put out that we didn’t get a left hand for holding his other weapon. So, let’s take a look at the weapons.

The dagger is a nice piece, with a gold painted hilt and a silver blade. It fits snugly into the sheath on his belt, and he can hold it perfectly fine in that one accessory holding hand.

His other weapon is a cutlass, and this is all silver. Either they were going for something simple to emulate the animated look, or they were too cheap to paint the hilt. Honestly, I can’t remember what Cracker’s sword looked like in the cartoon, so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. It’s fine. There’s no scabbard for it, but you can thrust it through his belt when he’s not using it. It sure would have been nice to have him hold the sword in one hand and the dagger in the other, but nope!

Cracker also comes with a wrench, which I assume was included based on the scene in Mandora and the Pirates, where he threatens to take Quick Pick apart with the wrench if Mandora doesn’t give herself up. I suppose he could also use it to do maintenance on himself. Also… Can we get a Quick Pick figure, please?

And last but not least is Cracker’s bird, which I’m pretty sure was never given a name, but hopefully someone will correct me if I’m wrong. [Oh, wait. It’s Polly. It’s actually printed on the back of the box!] Actually, you get two versions of The Captain’s trusty sidekick, one with wings at his side and one with wings spread. Both of these are sculpted and painted very nicely, and both feature rotating heads. They also both feature a peg in the feet that plugs into the hole on Cracker’s left shoulder.

The peg works pretty well, but for it to work, Cracker’s arm needs to stay down. I would have loved another display option. Like maybe a way to clip the bird to his arm or a hand with a peg hole to hold him.

I like robots. I like pirates. It stand to reason that I would love a robot pirate! With that being said, I think Captain Cracker turned out pretty good, but not quite great. It felt like I had a litany of nitpicks in this review, and they started to add up. Cracker is a great looking figure, and I’m happy to have him in my collection, but I think this was a figure that needed to really win fans over for being released so soon in the line, and I’m not sure he has what it takes to do that.