Mythic Legions (Wasteland): Thumpp by The Four Horsemen

I know what you’re saying. Dave, you lying bastard! You said you were all done with the Goblins, and now you’re back with another. Well, truth be told, after collecting all my Gobbies together and realizing that I was missing the one released in the Wasteland assortment, I just couldn’t let that stand. I friend of mine was willing to trade me his for one of my extra Skeleton Legion Builders, and here we are today‚Ķ let’s check out Thumpp!

According to his bio, Thumpp is the very nephew of the Goblin King, No’glin, and commander of an elite force fighting under the flag of Gorgo Aetherblade. He’s a war veteran and has the scrapes to prove it! And was part of an early release at the 2019 DesignerCon. He was later made available to a wider market as part of Wasteland. There’s some stuff I like here, and some stuff I don’t, so let’s get cracking!

Thumpp is built on the standard armored Goblin body, with the addition of some segmented hip and groin armor, and the spiked collar, which we’ve seen a lot of the Goblins wearing. The paint here is standard dark iron, with some excessive rust showing in all the little nooks and crannies of the suit. Other than the orange rust, the only bright spot here is the silver paint used on the chain mail that peeks through at the joints. As always, the finish looks great, making the armor look like it’s been through more than a few campaigns!

On the downside, Thumpp makes use of the big shoulders we last saw on Gonxx. They worked fine on him, but he was built off the burlier Dwarf body, and here they are kind of big and bothersome. Don’t get me wrong, I think they look good on him, but they restrict his movement in the arms, and don’t work well with the collar. They were also crazy difficult to get pegged in, and yet still seem to pop out quite easily… that’s a bad combination! In the end, I will likely use these for displaying him on the shelf, but whenever I’m playing around with him, they’re coming off.

Thumpp gets one head, and it’s pretty fantastic. The portrait certainly fits the role of a seasoned warrior who’s sick of everyone’s shit. The skull cap is painted silver, which is one of the few times, TFH didn’t accessorize the deco to match the rest of the figure, but I don’t mind it. I love his bulbous chin, which looks like a giant air-filled dewlap, with various wart-like bumps. He’s got piercing yellow eyes, and a pair of big tusks rising from his lower jaw. This is definitely one of my favorite Goblin portraits of the bunch!

Thumpp comes with three weapons, one of which, his war hammer, is mentioned in his bio. This isn’t the one that was prevalent in the earlier releases, but rather the Dwarf hammer that was introduced in Advent of Decay. I think it’s a pretty good fit for him, even though it is really long and towers above him. The slender shaft and spiked counterweight makes me think he could reasonably wield this with some effect, despite his small size.

Next up, he has the one-handed axe, which we saw last time carried by the Goblin Legion Builders, so I won’t spend a lot of time on it. This one is fully painted out with a brown handle to go with the woodgrain sculpt. The axe head and pommel are both painted as steel, and they really did a nice job even putting some forging lines in it. I think it looks great slung on his belt.

And finally, you get the sickle sword, which we’ve seen quite a few times, but I tend to associate it with the Vampire Legion Builder the most. It also usually comes in pairs, with one socketed at the pommel and one pegged, so they can be joined together to form a crazy looking double-bladed slicer-dicer. The peg on the bottom of the pommel is a little obvious, and it would have been cool if they had crafted a pommel piece to put on it for when they only hand out one to a figure. I like this sword a lot, and it works OK for the Goblins, but I think the red painted hilt feels off. I wish they had went with dark gray.

And that’s Thumpp! There were a few choices with this figure that didn’t entirely work for me, but all in all I still dig him quite a bit. The shoulders are fine for display, but I take them right off when I’m going to be handling him to save on frustration. Either way, I think he makes a great addition to the Gobbie shelf, as the very last (for reals this time!) Goblin entry to my collection. At least until TFH released the Deluxe Goblin Legion Builder! No Goblins next time! I swear!

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

My backlog of TBLeague’s figures is pretty big right now. It’s so big, that I’m cutting myself off of buying any more until I can get caught up. There’s another reason for me to slow down with these too, but I’ll come back to that at the end, when we talk price. The last time I checked out one of TBLeague’s seamless sixth-scale figures was back in December of last year with the Knight of Fire, so I’m long overdue!

Saintess Knight is another one of TBLeague’s original concept figures, and they seem to be doing fewer and fewer licensed releases. And that makes sense, because they’re quite good at designing some compelling characters, and it also saves them having to pay out licensing fees for someone else’s intellectual property. As was the case with the Knight of Fire, The Saintess Knight is available in three different versions: Silver, Black, or Gold. Once again, I went with the silver one, which may or may not have been a good idea. I don’t have anything new to say about the packaging. She comes in a very durable box with a tri-fold top that secures to the sides with magnets. There’s some artwork on the front, and a shot of the figure on the back, and as always the interior of the box smells like tea. No, really. It smells like tea!

You never really know how involved the setup with these figures is going to be. Sometimes it’s a frustrating and time-consuming affair, but here it wasn’t so bad. She comes out of the box headless, with the body wearing her white, long-sleeved arming doublet, white trousers, a leather-like outer skirt, and a faux chain-mail inner skirt, and finally her cuirass and armored boot-feet. That leaves her shoulders, leg armor pieces, and forearm armor to put on. In the past, TBLeague has relied on elastic straps with TINY clasps to secure the shoulders, but here they used sculpted plastic for the straps on all the armor pieces, and boy was that a great improvement. Not only is it easier to get these pieces on, but I’m not worried about snapping or stretching the elastic in the process. Hopefully, they will never EVER go back to the elastic straps.

If you are familiar with TBLeague’s figures, one of the things you may notice first about the Saintess Knight is that she shows virtually no skin. And yes, these figures usually show a lot of skin, so you can appreciate and marvel at the seamless body. This may turn some people off, because truth be told, this figure could have been executed with a regular jointed body, and you wouldn’t know the difference. It does, however, still benefit from the uncanny articulation provided by the stainless steel skeleton underneath. Either way, the figure does look very good. The armor pieces are cast in a soft, pliable plastic, but the paint is pretty convincing as forged steel. Indeed, the paint on these pieces is quite exceptional, and even the fabric “chainmail” looks quite good. I do, however, have a couple of nitpicks. Firstly, the strings that secure the front and back pieces of the cuirass is a little messy. It can be knotted and the excess cut off, but I haven’t made that decision yet. Secondly, the white arming doublet tends to pick up some soiling from the armor pieces. It’s not a devastating flaw to me, but had I known that I probably would have chosen the Gold or Black Versions, as they have darker undersuits.

The helmet is quite a thing of beauty, and is based off of what I believe to be a 15th Century Armet. It’s silver with reinforced golden bands, which matches the beautiful raised scrollwork you can see on the cuirass and shoulders. There are narrow slits for the eyes, and some additional vertical slits to provide ventilation. What I really dig about this helmet is the way it opens up.

Not only does the visor lift up, but the lower guard hinges open as well, both of which is necessary to place it onto the figure’s head. Underneath, you get a pretty standard, but beautiful, head sculpt with a very neutral expression. The paintwork for the eyes and lips is both precise and clean, and looks absolutely fantastic. The only sticking point here is getting as much of the hair into the helmet as possible. She has a fairly short blonde coif, but I think they could have made it even a bit shorter to help keep it under control while the helmet goes over it. Like the armor, the helmet is cast in pliable plastic, which makes it a bit easier to get onto the head without fear of breaking it. Let’s check out some accessories!

First off, she comes with a gorgeous single-handed sword and scabbard. And they even addressed one of my previous nitpicks on another figure, by giving her a belt loop to secure the scabbard to her. Yes, that seemed like a pretty big oversight on some previous figures, but it goes to show that TBLeague is always looking for improvements. The white loop fits snugly around the scabbard near the throat and holds it in place perfectly. She also comes with hands designed to hold the sword, in addition to her fists and relaxed hands. I’m also happy to report that swapping the hands on this figure was easy, which is not always the case.

The sword is made entirely of plastic, which is fine. I think the days of getting die-cast blades out of TBLeague are gone. Nonetheless, this is a beautiful piece, with raised decorations on the blade, a gold crossguard, and a gold scent-stopper pommel. The turned grip is silver, and while I called it a single-handed sword earlier, I suppose this could count as a hand-and-a-half, adding a little more versatility to its handling.

Next up, you get a round shield, done up in the same silver and gold deco as the armor. This is a pretty simple concave disk with an elastic strap and a grab bar on the inside. The outer surface is etched with a woodgrain pattern, a reinforced gold decoration, and a rather large boss in the center. All in all it’s a nice piece, and worth noting that the shield design changes depending on which version of the figure you bought.

Finally, the Saintess Knight comes with a gigantic Great Sword., which is just a hair shorter than the figure itself. It’s a pretty generic style sword with a wide crossguard and a ridiculously long grip. It’s hard to imagine her wielding this with any success in battle, but it’s a cool looking piece nonetheless, and it makes for a nice bonus accessory.

As a figure that doesn’t show a lot of skin, the Saintess Knight may not be every Phicen fan’s cup of tea. As I mentioned earlier, there’s nothing here that couldn’t have been done with a regular jointed figure. With that having been said, I think she turned out great, and I really dig the armored female warriors that TBLeague has been putting out. The only real sticking point with me here is the price. One of the appealing thing about TBL’s releases has been the value, as most of the figures have been releasing around the $159 price point. Saintess Knight, however jumped to $209, and that seems like a big jump, considering she doesn’t even come with a base or figure stand. Indeed, I’m racking my brain as to what made me pre-order this figure at that price point. It’s quite possible booze was involved, and I could have certainly done worse, but if this is a sign of things to come, I’m going to be a lot more selective about which TBLeague figures I pick up.

Golden Axe: Tyris Flare and Blue Dragon Mount by Storm Collectibles

If you’ve been hanging around here the last year or so, then you know how much I’ve been digging Storm Collectibles’ line of figures based on the SEGA Golden Axe arcade brawler. I’ll refer you back my look at the first release, Axe Battler, but there have also been an assortment of Skeletons, as well as Death Adder and his clones. Yessir, I love me some Golden Axe, even if it is singularly responsible for me still misspelling the word Ax just about every damn time. When Axe Battler was first revealed, I remember crying about how I would happily shell out the money to buy a repaint of the Red Dragon Mount if it meant getting us Tyris Flare, and happily Storm Collectibles has obliged!

Of course, Tyris Flare being one of the three playable characters in Golden Axe. She has stronger magical abilities, seems to move and attack a bit faster, but lacks the tank-like constitution of the burly Axe Battler. The packaging here is quite similar to that previous release, although the art and quality of the box feel slightly more polished. This box didn’t immediately tear when I opened it! You still get the cool artwork from the character select screen on an insert in the back of the box. Tyris comes on a tray with all her extras spread out around her, while the her Dragon Mount is secured in a tray under that one, and requiring his tail to be popped on before display. Let’s start with a look at Tyris!

Definitely one of the hottest pixelated babes to grace my SEGA Genesis, Tyris shows up to the fight wearing a skimpy bikini, white with red borders, as well as a pair of matching arm bracers, and high buccaneer-style boots. The bikini is sculpted as part of the figure, and Storm did some clever stuff, like using the straps on the back to help conceal the seams in the rather copious amount of jointing found here. I say “help conceal”, because it really doesn’t succeed completely. For a figure that shows this much skin, the jointing here can be pretty noticeable. It’s nothing worse than we saw with Axe Battler, and this is definitely a case where the added articulation is worth the sacrifice. Still, I wouldn’t mind seeing TBLeague take a crack at this line with their Phicen Seamless bodies. With all that having been said, I think she looks great, and they did an especially nice job sculpting the musculature in her abs.

As with Axe Battler, you get two different heads: One with a fairly neutral expression, and one showing her battle face. I think both are excellent and reflect the beauty of the character. I can’t decide on a favorite so I’ll likely switch off depending on what kind of poses I use for displaying her. The hair is sculpted separately from the head, and that adds a lot of nice depth to it, especially the way her bangs fall over her forehead. This piece can actually be removed, similar to a Figma or Figuart, but I’m not sure why, since we aren’t swapping faces here, but rather the entire head.

I do like how her fierce expression head has more going on with her hair. It’s splayed out down near her shoulders, as if her coif is whipping around from the action of the battle.

In addition to the two heads, Tyris comes with a whole passel of different hands. You get Fists, sword-holding hands, relaxed hands, grapple hands, and finger-pointing hands. Some of these really add some nice options while posing her.

And posing her sure is fun. Her articulation consists of a lot of rotating joints, double-hinges, and double-sided ball joints. It’s also worth mentioning that, like Axe Battler, the balance on this figure is quite impressive. She’s even capable of standing on her tip-toes without the assist of a stand! Axe Battler spent a long time on my desk so that I could grab him and fiddle about with him on my downtime, and I imagine that will be the case with Ms. Flare as well. She’s just lots of fun to play around with and damn hard to put down!

Apart from a whole bunch of hands, Tyris comes with her trusty sword, and it’s an absolutely gorgeous little weapon. The blade has a bright silver finish, with raised gold decorations running nearly half the length of the blade. The hilt has a dark iron finish, with a down-turned crossguard, and an extended grip so the sword can be wielded single or double-handed. It’s easy to get the grip into either or both of her hands, and she holds it just firmly enough to keep it from slipping. Let’s move on to the Dragon Mount!

I won’t spend a whole lot of time on this glorious blue beast, because he really is a straight repaint of Axe Battler’s Red Mount. It was a strikingly beautiful toy then, and it’s every bit as beautiful with its new coat of paint. The blue looks really nice, although the pea-soup green used for the claws, belly, reins, and saddle makes the figure not as flashy as it could have been. The pixel art in the game utilized a bit brighter shade for these parts, but I can’t say I dislike what we got.

The head is an amazing sculp, featuring some exceptional detail in the fins, horns, and the texturing of the skin. You get a little gradient to the shade of blue at the tips of the horns and fins, as well as the beak. The individual teeth are painted white, and the tongue a very bright red.

As with Axe Battler and his Mount, Tyris fits perfectly on the Blue Dragon, and looks damn good riding him. Her feet pass through the stirrups, and her sword-hands can be used to grip the reins and lead the dragon into battle! As I mentioned in the Red Dragon review, I would have liked to have a little more lateral movement in the legs to give him a wider stance, but they really just rotate where they meet the body. Nonetheless, the figure stands well, even with a rider on his back.

One nice surprise here is the change of dragon breath effect parts. In the game, the Red Dragon shot fireballs and the Blue Dragon had more of a flamethrower attack. That is conveyed here with this gigantic flame effect part. It simply rests on the ground with the other end fitting into the dragon’s mouth.

Wow… it’s so cool to finally have Tyris on my shelf! When Axe Battler first released, I could only hope that he wasn’t going to be a one-off release, but now it’s clear that Storm is continuing to play with extra credits! Yes, they have been milking some of the molds by giving us lots of two dragon mounts, skeleton variants and Death Adder clones, but if that’s what they have to do to make this line work, I’m still All-In! I’m still hoping we get some more rank-and-file enemies, like Heninger, Longmoan, and the Amazons. So far, the only brand new figure teased are The Bad Brothers, and I’m patiently waiting for that pre-order to drop!

Mythic Legions (Advent of Decay): Goblin Legion Builder by The Four Horsemen

I haven’t done a count recently, but I know that I’m close to being all caught up on reviews of my current Mythic Legions figures. Today, for example, I’m having a look at the very last Goblin in my collection, but don’t worry… there will be more! This time, we aren’t looking at a specific Goblin character, but rather the Legion Builders, which are meant to be generic troops to strengthen your army. I bought a pair of these, and opened them a while ago, so I don’t have an in-package shot to share, so let’s just jump right in and check out these little green bastards!

Unlike last week’s figure, Gonxx, these Goblins return to the slighter build, which has been the norm. Gobbie is decked out in full armor, colored in a deep, dark shade of iron gray, with all the pitting and scrapes that make these sculpts look so damn convincing. This is armor that’s seen its share of battles, and probably saved the wearer’s life on many occasions. Either that, or another Gobbie got killed and this one just claimed his suit. As is often the case with these Legion Builders, there are no additional paint operations on the body, so you won’t see any painted rivets or belts, but I don’t mind. I love the slight upturn at the toes of the long boots, and the angular shoulders are the perfect marrying of style and practical crudeness. He also dons a collar with upward spikes, no doubt protecting the neck from a lucky decapitating swipe of some do-gooder’s blade. The collar, is the only nitpick I have here. It looks great, but it pegs in in the back and that pushes it forward. It doesn’t take much to push the tab out of the back when handling him.

You get two heads to help customize the Legion Builder into multiple troopers. The default comes sans helmet, and lets all his ugly hang out in the open. But generic soldier or no, the portrait is still outstanding. His bulbous wrinkled nose, deep set yellow eyes, bald pate, and pointy Yoda-ears all look great. And yet it’s the mouth that really makes this portrait shine. The wide mouth is packed with a brace of nasty teeth, framed by two upward jutting fangs, likening him to be a lesser cousin to the Orcs of Mythos. I could easily imagine these fiendish chompers biting chunks out of heroes in battle.

The other head may look familiar, as it’s the same sculpt we saw with Gonxx, and it’s still every bit as glorious a noggin. The paint here lacks the detail and rusty patina that came on the named figure, and in its place is just more of that deep iron finish to match the rest of his armor. You do, however, get some great paintwork visible inside the eye holes, showing off those beady eyes. The sculpt and paint are so good, that if I didn’t know better I’d swear the mask could be removed to show a full face sculpt beneath it. It’s worth noting, that this head works best with the spiked collar removed. OK… Let’s check out his weapons!

For starters, he comes with the Orc scimitar that we’ve seen on a few occasions in the past. As with each of these weapons, the entire piece is painted over in silver, with no flourishes of color on the hilt. It still works well, and the finish does manage to bring out all the scrapes and nicks in the blade. Previous paint work on this sword make it look like the hilt is made of bones or even teeth, but here it just looks like it’s all metal but designed to mimic actual bone, which I suppose is pretty cool too. The blade is a bit long for the slighter Goblin frame, but I think it still works for him, and he can wear it on his belt without much trouble.

Next up is the silver one-handed axe, which accidently made it into a few shots last week with Gonxx. And while there are once again, no additional paint operations on the weapon, it does come with a great looking skull, which can be skewered through the tip of the axe handle, adding a ton of personality to the weapon. It’s great that this adornment got added to a lowly Legion Builder!

And finally, you get a standard silver spear, which is the same type we’ve seen over and over (and over!) again since the original Kickstarter figures. These spears are pretty long even for the human-sized figures, so it might be a bit of a reach for these half-pints to wield it. It wouldn’t have been my first choice for these little guys, but it’ll do in a pinch!

And that’s the Goblin Legion Builder! It took restraint (and a tight budget) to limit myself to just a pair of these guys, but in a perfect world, I’d have a half-dozen. I dream of some day TFH actually stocking their store with Legion Builders all the time, but that could be dangerous to my finances, so maybe it’s better if they don’t! I should note that there is a Deluxe Goblin Legion Builder coming soon and I’m really looking forward to adding him to my army of little green meanies!

GI JOE Classified: Alley Viper by Hasbro

GI JOE Classified has been a dangerously expensive line for me to collect, because it’s full of so many darn troop builders! And troop building is one of those ultimate expressions of excess that I wished I could do as a kid. I can remember asking for another Cobra Trooper or Stormtrooper and being told, “No! You already have that one!” But, now I’m an adult with disposable income, and it’s only natural that I went kind of crazy with the Cobra Infantry and Battle Android Troopers, so I tried to restrain myself when it came to the Alley Viper. Three seemed like a good number, and that’s how many I wound up with… for now!

Truth be told, the original Alley Viper was first released during that Dark Age between when I was no longer getting toys to play with as a kid, and had not yet discovered buying toys to collect them as an adult. This guy first appeared on the shelves in 1989, which would have been the year before I went to college. As a result, I wasn’t even really aware that Cobra had an Urban Assault Trooper until I got back into collecting GI JOE around 1999 or so. And I’m all for getting to experience some Classified figures that I didn’t have as a kid! As always, the box is nice and colorful, his large array of weapons is laid out around him, and the character art even pictures a couple Alley Vipers to subliminally tell you to buy more than one!

Out of the package, it’s hard to first notice anything but the colors… Oh, the colors! The Alley Viper fatigues consists of an retina-sizzling orange and blue camo, with some black and brown thrown in just to keep things somewhat grounded. Love it or hate it, GI JOE Series Eight was knocking on the 1990’s door, ushering in an age of obnoxious toy colors. The Alley Vipers were billed as being brave, and let’s face it, you’d have to be to go into battle wearing this! Once we’re past the deco, I have to admire the attention to detail that went into the fatigues and gear. His vest is a veritable slab of pouches, which extends to his right shoulder. He’s got more pouches on his belt, sheathes for his knives on his right forearm and left shoulder, and a holster for his pistol on his right thigh. And then there’s that gorgeous blue shoulder pouch with the orange Cobra insignia! It’s a lot to take in all at once, and before you can process it all, he’s probably already killed you.

The Alley Viper’s head is encased in a form-fitting, open-faced helmet. with snake fangs emerging from the chin guard, and a textured blue mask beneath it, showing only his determined and hate-filled eyes. There’s a hinged visor, which can be lowered to shield his face, and has only a circular screen in the center for detail. I presume this is some type of imaging sensor that allows him to see, but it sure makes him look creepy and inhuman. The black embossed Cobra emblem at the forehead is a nice touch as well!

The black backpack pegs into the back of the figure and is a superb nod back to the original figure’s backpack. Like the Viper’s fatigues, there’s a crazy amount of detail in the sculpt. In addition to the Cobra emblem at the top, there are magazines sculpted into the sides, a cluster of grenades down at the bottom, more pouches, and what looks like a landmine in the center. The grapple gun, which I believe was sculpted into the original figure’s backpack, is even removable here.

I’m not sure if this is supposed to be a dedicated grapple gun, or just a rifle that also has the ability to fire the hook, but I’m leaning toward the later, because it seems like a pretty big piece of kit to haul around just for those times when you need to grapple somewhere. Regardless, the rifle has a scope, as well as a ring at the muzzle to attach a string (not included). The hook is removable, and it also has a ring to attach the other end of the string (still not included). Let’s check out what else this guy’s got!

Well, any good Urban Commando needs some blades, and the Alley Viper comes with two identical knives that fit in the aforementioned sheathes. I’m a big fan of the one on his shoulder, as it’s well placed and stays put, because it’s secured to the vest. The one on his right forearm is a lot more floaty. It tends to swivel on his wrist, and slide as well. It is removable, and while it hasn’t annoyed me enough to do that yet, it’s nice to have it as an option. Knife accessories in this scale are seldom all that interesting, but I still enjoy getting them.

Next up is his pistol, which fits very well in his thigh holster, as well as in either hand. I really dig this design, as it’s not too sci-fi-y, but rather looks like a fairly credible real-world design. I’ve got nothing much else to say about it, other than it gets my stamp of approval.

Now we’re moving into the heavier hardware with this compact bullpup-style carbine. This is a nice update to the weapon that came with the original Alley Viper, complete with a scope, foregrip, and a crazy positioning of the magazine, which juts out the back at an angle. The weapon is cast entirely in black plastic, the sculpt is great, and while I personally am not a fan of the design, it’s still a great-looking weapon. I was thrilled to see that the magazine was removable too!

And finally, the Alley Viper comes with a more traditional rifle featuring a detachable magazine in front of the grip, just the way I like them. Like the previous carbine, this rifle is cast all in black plastic and has some wonderful detail in the sculpt. This is probably the gun I’ll have these guys carrying most of the time for display purposes. My only nitpick with the Alley Viper and his arsenal is there’s no way for him to carry everything, or even anywhere to attach any of his rifles, except for the grapple gun.

I’ve saved the Alley Viper’s most iconic piece of kit for last, and that’s his riot shield, and boy is it a beauty. This defensive shield shares the same orange and blue deco as the Viper’s fatigues, and has a bold and beautiful Cobra emblem sculpted into the top center. It attaches to the figure’s arm with a pair of straps, and even has a pivot, so it can be positioned in a variety of ways independent of how the figure is posed. It also has a sticker on the interior side, which I presume is a viewscreen, so the Viper can still see what’s happening when taking cover behind it. A lot more safe and secure than the slits in conventional riot shields!

As I mentioned at the start, the Alley Viper is my first Cobra troop builder in the Classified line based off a figure I did not own as a kid, and that makes him a real treat. I wasn’t sure how I would take to the crazy colors, but now that he’s in hand I have to admit that he’s got an unabashed beauty about him that I wouldn’t dare change. There’s a sublime variety of weaponry packed in with him, that makes it possible to kit out multiple figures with some variety, and that’s always a plus. But whatever weapons I give him, that beautiful shield will always be a must! Hasbro hit an absolute home run with this figure, and it’ll take some serious restraint to keep me from getting a few more!

Transformers Legacy: Dragstrip by Hasbro

Lately collecting Transformers for me has become a cycle of conflict. It goes something like this. Oh no, they’re doing him again. We just got him and I don’t need to buy another. Oh, but look at how much better he looks than the last one. Oh, and it’s actually been five to ten years since we last got him. Huh, seems like it was more recent. Oh, what the hell, I’ll buy him anyway because he really is a big improvement. Transformers is the only line I collect, where it feels like I’m constantly upgrading to a better version of an existing character, and yet I’m a sucker for convertorobots, so I usually do it.

And here we go again, because it’s Dragstrip! A character that last saw release in aptly named Combiner Wars back around 2015. And while it feels like that was just yesterday, it really was quite a while ago. As with Hasbro’s last crack at the Stunticons, Dragstrip and the other limbs are Deluxes, but this time it looks like Motormaster will be a Commander Class, which I think is the new Leader Class. That classification makes sense, since those figures have been getting smaller, but coming with more stuff. And, unlike the Combiner Wars version, this Motormaster will have a trailer. Anyway, we’ve seen the Legacy packaging before. I dig the deco, but I’ll continue to complain about the toy being exposed to the elements, not to mention the disgusting booger-mining fingers of children. Just put them in closed boxes, Hasbro. Let’s start with the alt-mode…

Nice! One of my many issues with CW Dragstrip was that the mold was obviously intended to double as Mirage. And so, while we did get an F-1 racer, it wasn’t really the Dragstrip I knew from the G1 toy or the Sunbow cartoon. This version fixes that very well, most notably giving him his distinctive double wheels on the front and the exposed engine on the back. The vehicle is very compact and boxy, and I absolutely love it. I particularly dig what they did with the front scoop, giving him what looks a bit like a cow-catcher on a locomotive, perfect for ramming Autobots off the road!

The colors here are also spectacular! Hasbro took the basic yellow and red stripes from the original toy, but added in some of the brownish-gold from the Sunbow animated model. Toss in the beautiful silver paint on the engine, and the black wheels, and you’ve got a striking color scheme, that manages to pay respects to both G1 versions that I love so much! The large Decepticon insignia on the front is a great touch as well!

Dragstrip comes with a pair of guns, which can be pegged into the holes on the top sides of the vehicle if you like to weaponize your racecars!

Transforming Dragstrip is just complex enough to be satisfying, but not annoying. The result is an absolutely stellar looking robot mode, which again pays respects to the character’s roots. Gone is the f’ugly combiner port chest, and in its place is the open cockpit with the silver exposed engine block, just like the toy and Sunbow versions. Other great call-outs are the spoilers making up the feet, and the position of the wheels, with the backs landing on his lower legs, and the double fronts on his shoulders. Here, Hasbro went with the Sunbow look of having the shoulder wheels line up front to back, rather than on top of each other like the toy. He even has the shoulder ridges, which remind me of the ridges armor sometimes had to prevent decapitation in battle. Even from the back, he’s pretty damn clean and tight.

The head sculpt is a welcome departure from whatever the hell it was that we got with the Combiner Wars figure. While, I eventually warmed up to that figure, I never stopped hating the portrait. Here, we get a very Sunbow looking head sculpt, featuring the bold red visor, red plates on the sides of the “helmet” as well as the little “ears” jutting out the sides.

The color scheme in robot mode is pretty much identical to the alt mode. It’s dominated by thes ame bright yellow and brown-gold accents. I do like how the red stripes land on his arms. Really, the only thing missing here is a little Decepticon insignia near his left shoulder. Indeed, there’s no faction symbol in this mode at all, but I suppose that can be easily fixed with a repro-sticker.

As we saw while looking at the alt-mode, Dragstrip comes with a pair of pistols, which can be combined into one gun, as well as wielded separately. It definitely references the Sunbow gun over the original toy’s, particularly with the inclusion of the scope. The guns look OK when combined, but it does give them two sets of grips, which is a bit weird. I will likely display him with just one pistol and set the other aside, or peg it into his back for storage. The black and purple deco on the guns is excellent!

Almost everything about CW Dragstrip felt like a compromise, whereas the Legacy version is 100% its own thing, and I absolutely love that! Hasbro executed this figure with style and precision, and apart from the bot mode missing a faction symbol, I can’t find anything bad to say about him! Indeed, it’s especially interesting how there’s virtually nothing about him that advertises the figure as doubling as a Combiner limb. No obvious ports or connectors, no extra parts, nothing! Only a tiny graphic on the box suggests he’s part of a Combiner team, and I suspect that’s because all the Combiner stuff will be found in Motormaster.

Mythic Legions (Advent of Decay): Gonxx by The Four Horsemen

We’re heading toward a solemn day on this Mythos Monday, because I’m having a look at the second to very last Goblin figure in my Mythic Legions collection. Oh, I’ll bet there will be more coming, but this one almost catches me up on what we got so far. And while I’ve been a big fan of all the new creatures and races introduced in the Advent of Decay assortment, these little green bastards continue to have a special place in my heart. Let’s check out Gonxx!

Gonxx is not just any Goblin! No, he’s the Commander of the Goblin Army! And as his bio reminds us, the Goblin Army is nearly infinite in size, so this guy has some major responsibilities riding on his little green shoulders. We’re also told that under his command, the vast armies of The Gobhollow Caverns are now aligned with The Legion of Arethyr, and that can’t be a good thing!

Gonxx is quite a distinctive little bugger, mainly because he doesn’t utilize the slighter body used for the other Goblins. Nope, this guy makes use of the same assortment of pieces as the Dwarves, making him a stockier and more robust Gobbie. As such he really stands out on the battlefield among his pulsating green sea of troops. From the neck down, there’s nothing here that hasn’t been seen before, it’s just a mix of knightly armor and orc armor, all painted in mix of black, brown, and deep bronze, with a hint of shiny copper chainmail peeking through the joints. It works really well, giving his armor a well-worn look, which is brought out beautifully with the heavy paint wash. The rust spots on the shoulders are especially well done! I also really like the use of the more primitive groin piece, with it’s sculpted fur and hanging rings. I look at this guy, and can’t help but wonder if that suit is padded to support a spindly Goblin body, or he really is that buff!

Gonxx comes with a helmeted head, which really follows through on making this guy look like a little tank. The helmet features a reinforced comb running from his nose and straight up the through the back, and there’s a single spike jutting out the back. The lower portion of his face is secured with a bulbous mask, with holes to help him breath. His two beady yellow eyes peek through the eye slits, and his floppy green ears jut out the sides. If this guy were a video game boss, those ears would be your best bet for a weak spot! The helmet has the same rusty brown finish as the rest of the armor, and when coupled with the pitting and scratches in the sculpt, looks absolutely amazing. TFH’s ability to make plastic look like metal will never cease to amaze me. The mask is convincing enough to look like it might rest on actual hinges, but it cannot be moved, so we’ll never actually get to see Gonxx’s lovely mug. I’m OK with that!

As the Commander of the Goblin Armies, Gonxx comes pretty well outfitted with weapons. And let me jump in here first, by saying I accidently put a silver axe on his belt, which he DOES NOT COME WITH. Just consider that accessory as a sneak peek into next week’s review! He does, however, come with this big honkin war hammer. If this thing looks familiar, it should, because it was a fairly common hand-out back in the original Mythic Legions assortment, and we’ve seen it peppered throughout the line ever since. It’s a pretty big weapon even for the regular sized figures, so it’s doubly impressive that Gonxx can handle it. The sculpt is as gorgeous as ever, and it has the same painted worn finish as Gonxx’s armor.

Next up, you get a spiked flail on a real chain. This weapon is a lot less common, but we did see it before, at the beginning of the year with Hadriana. I really dig it and I’d love to see it included with more figures in the future.

And finally, Gnoxx comes with the big two-handed sword that was common in the first assortment. This is a tad large for him to wear on his waist, so I opted to remove one of his shoulders and have him wear it on his back, using the belt as a cross-strap. The blade has a beautiful silver finish, and the hilt is left grungy and brown to match the armor. You could argue that this sword is over-used, but I’m always happy to get another one!

Gonxx is a great addition to the Goblins of Mythos, and I really dig that they built him off the bulkier parts to make him stand out among his fellow Gobbies. And while he’s the only Goblin so far to not show his beautiful face, I think the helmet is so distinctive, that leaving him masked works fine for me. Sure, apart from that noggin, there’s nothing new here, but as usual, TFH managed to pull from their inventory of existing parts, apply some new paint, and give birth to an awesome new creation. And that leaves us just one more Gobbie to go, so next week, we’ll have a look at the Goblin Legion Builder!

Flash Gordon (The Original Superheroes) by NECA

Growing up, Flash Gordon was a big deal to me. No, not the original serial! I’m old, but not that old. No, I’m partly talking about the 1980 Dino De Laurentiis movie masterpiece, but also the Filmation cartoon. The cartoon was absolutely amazing to me, and I loved how it was separated into Chapters, giving it a serialized flavor like the original. It didn’t hurt that it hit at the peak of Star Wars Mania, giving me a regular dose of fantasy space opera. The cartoon still holds up, and laid a lot of the foundation for Filmation’s subsequent He-Man and the Masters of the Universe cartoon, and I think it’s worth checking out. Of course, all this is pertinent because NECA acquired some rights to the classic King Comics characters, and Flash happens to be one of them.

I’m pretty sure NECA started with figures from the Flash Gordon and the Defenders of the Earth cartoon, and I’ll get to those eventually, but I thought I’d start with what they’re calling The Original Superheroes. There are three numbered figures in this assortment: Flash, Ming the Merciless, and The Phantom. The figures come in attractive and collector friendly window boxes, which have some printed distress to reflect the age of the characters, and a slightly exaggerated half-tone printing to evoke the flavor of the old comic strip. To be clear, this Flash Gordon is not based on the Filmation cartoon, but the look is close enough to work for me.

Flash has had a number of difference comic costumes throughout the decades, but this one ranks in as among my favorites. It’s simple, but colorful, and pretty much the perfect look for a swashbuckling space hero. The bright red shirt is painted onto the figure buck, but features the row of sculpted gold discs around the wide collar. The dark blue trousers have gold stripes on the sides, and feature some nice highlights to give it that comic art flavor. And the costume is rounded out with a belt cinched over a padded yellow wrap. The belt has a permanent holster for Flash’s pistol, and a peg hole to attach the scabbard for his sword. Delete all but three of the collar discs, and the weapons, and you have a fine stand in for Filmation Flash.

You get two head sculpts, the first features the blue form fitting headgear, which frames his face, but allows his coif to fly free up top. This look is tied mostly to the comics, as I don’t recall him wearing it in the Filmation series. I like it enough to be torn on whether or not to use it as my default head for display.

The decision becomes more difficult considering how strong the portrait sans headgear is! This one is a direct hit on so many levels. The facial sculpt, dominant jawline, the paint details, the shadowing on the cheeks, and most of all the hair. It’s all superb, and normally I would be 100% for using this as my default display noggin, but I’m still probably going to go with the blue headgear, only for the sake of variety, as I can enjoy this portrait on my Defenders of the Earth Flash.

The package boasts 33 points of articulation, and this figure does indeed have some excellent poseability. It’s all very standard stuff, but most of the points feature an impressive range of motion. The arms ahve rotating hinges in the shoulders, swivels in the biceps, double-hinged elbows, and hinged pegs for the wrists. The legs have rotating hinges in the hips, double-hinged knees, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. There’s a swivel in the waist, an ab-crunch hinge in the torso, and double ball joint in the neck. Oh yeah, he even has hinges in the feet! Flash comes with two sets of hands, consisting of one pair of fists, a right gun hand, and a left sword hand.

The sword is a real beauty, and it comes with a plastic scabbard, which offers a good fit for the blade. The sword has a straight silver blade with a gold and aqua blue hilt, and painted red jewels in the crossguard. The scabbard is painted in a brilliant blue with a gold throat and tip. The scabbard pegs onto the belt quite firmly, allowing it to swivel to accommodate different poses, and it stays put without popping off. There’s just something I love about space heroes wielding conventional swords, and I wish we’d see more of it. It makes a lot more sense to me to repel boarders in space with trusty old steel, than to be firing weapons that could damage ship consoles, or rupture the hull.

Flash’s pistol is also a little work of art. It’s not quite retro-chic, but it does have a nice shape and design, and it’s packed with a load of detail. The deco is similar to Flash’s trousers, with a dark blue/black finish and some lighter blue highlights.

You also get two effect parts for the pistol, one is a simple muzzle blast, while the other is a full on beam and a contact explosion at the end. Both are cast in translucent yellow plastic, and fit over the end of the gun. These are both great, but the full beam is just absolutely awesome. Indeed, this is probably one of my favorite effect parts in recent memory.

NECA really knew their audience when it comes to this figure and me, and if I were making a list of favorites for 2022, this figure would be high on that list right now. I was more excited to get this one in hand than almost anything else I can think of in recent memory. We’ve had some decent figures release now and then from the 1980 Film, but not a lot when it comes to the classic comic character or his early cartoon exploits. The figure is versatile enough for me to stand in as the Filmation Flash, but I think he works best leaping from the pages of the timeless funnybook. On that note, NECA did give us an SDCC variant of this figure on a Filmation style card, but I’m getting ahead of myself there. Next week, I’ll revisit this series with a look at Ming the Merciless!

ThunderCats Ultimates: Lynx-O by Super7

The second season of the ThunderCats cartoon was a big flipping deal for me. It opened with a five-part series that might as well have been a movie. We got the addition of three new Cats from Thundera, new vehicles and new enemies. It was an exciting time be alive! I never owned LJN’s ThunderCats toys as a kid, mainly because my Birthday presents, Christmas gifts, and my allowance were already spread out over too many other toy lines. But, in classic 80’s cartoon fashion, we were getting treated to a whole new series of 30-minute toy commercials for a bunch of cool and brand new shit!

Enter Lynx-O, who would serve as wise elder to the ThunderCats and could also actually fight, because he wasn’t a ghost, unlike some wise elders. Lynx-O escaped the destruction of Thundera, along with Pumyra and Bengali, in the most unlikeliest of coincidences. He was rescued by a Berbil ship that just happened to be passing by, but not before being blinded by a blast of fire. Lynx-O was undoubtedly the stand-out character among the three new additions, and he would quickly become one of my favorite Cats on the show. As usual, the figure comes in a beautiful window box with an outer sleeve and some kick ass artwork on the back. Let’s get this Cat loose!

Lynx-O sports a clean and simple design that vibes well with both the original toy and his animated counterpart. He’s got a black bodysuit, which is painted right onto the buck, with just a shoulder cuff on the right arm, and a sleeve that extends just past his elbow on the left. He sports a pair of red undies with a sort of inverted vest that extends up to his shoulders, a beige belt, sculpted beige wraps around his lower legs, red boots, and a red ThunderCat emblem on his chest. You also get some painted markings around his wrists. The colors on this figure look great, with the bright reds contrasting with the glossy black for a deco that really pops. I just love his design, and Super7 did a beautiful job with it.

The stock portrait is amazing and just loaded with personality and detail. The eyes are shut, showing his red eyelids, framed with black eyeliner. He has bushy white eyebrows and mustache, but his beard is orange with black fringe and spots. There’s some great definition in the structure of his cheekbones and brow, and his bald pate is adorned with a sculpted red bandana, which is tied at the back. Even his ears are quite distinctive, with white interiors, and some black at the tips. I’m so pleased at how this portrait came out, especially since I was a tad disappointed with the Pumyra portrait that we got from Mattel, and from what I’ve seen, it doesn’t look like Super7 improved on it much, but I’ll save that for a later review!

Lynx-O also comes with a second, more expressive portrait. Here, he’s snarling and clearly heading into battle against some troublesome Mutants, Berzerkers, Lunatacs, or perhaps even Mumm-Ra himself. This one is every bit as fantastic as the other, but I associate Lynx-O with more of a calm and disciplined nature, so I’ll likely be displaying the figure with the first one most of the time.

In terms of articulation, Lynx-O follows the same basic formula that we’ve seen with the Mattel’s Classic ThunderCats. That is to say, there’s some good useful points here, making them fun to play with, but the range of motion in some of them isn’t outrageous. For the arms you get rotating hinges in the shoulders, swivels in the biceps, hinged elbows, and hinged pegs for the wrists. The legs are ball jointed in the hips with swivels up high, hinged knees, and hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. There’s a swivel in the waist, an ab-crunch hinge in the torso, and a ball joint in the neck. Lynx-O comes with three sets of hands: One pair of grapple hands, and two pairs of accessory holding hands, one hinged forward and the other hinged sideways.

As for accessories? Well, you get a few potentially cool things, but ultimately I found each of them wanting for one reason or another. For starters, you get the Light Shield. This was a cool gadget in the cartoon, but I don’t think it translated well as an action figure accessory. It clips onto his arm, and the idea is that it can shoot or deflect rays of energy. The clip is too loose, and I have to slide it pretty far up his arm to keep it from falling off. It’s OK for what it is, but I doubt I will even display it on the figure.

Secondly, you get the Tile from The Fountain, and if you’re not up on your ThunderCats lore, this one can be a bit tricky to explain or understand. It’s basically an artifact from Thundera that was used to stabilize New Thundera, in what was the final episode of the original cartoon. Now, on the one hand, I really dig that this got included with Lynx-O as an accessory, although it would have worked with Cheetara too. On the other hand, it’s just a painted square of plastic, so apart from being a very cool reference to the cartoon, it isn’t what I would consider a lot of fun, or a great display piece.

The final accessory is actually my favorite, and that’s the Brailel Board. This is basically a portable control panel that allowed Lynx-O to do… well, pretty much whatever the script needed. It could be used like a console to operate the ThunderStrike, or it could be used like a computer ro scanning device. It’s an excellent addition to the figure, and certainly one that is most associated with the character in the cartoon. Again, probably not the most exciting thing around, but I dig it a lot.

Despite my little nitpicks with the accessories, Lynx-O is a favorite new addition to my ThunderCats shelf. After Season Two kicked off, he quickly became one of my favorite characters on the show, and I think it was great that the cartoon portrayed someone with a disability as an absolute as such a strong hero. He had a razor sharp mind, heightened senses, and on more than one occasion, Lynx-O’s blindness was key to saving the ThunderCats from some dastardly trap!

Mythic Legions (Advent of Decay): Lord Aydon by The Four Horsemen

Welcome to another Mythoss Monday! I still have lots of catching up to do from the spectacularly large Advent of Decay assortment. This massive wave introduced us to the various Elves of Mythoss, and today we’re checking out one of the Wood Elves…

Yes, the Elves were a major attraction in this assortment and they added a new fantasy flavor to the Mythoss lineup. As his bio recounts: The impressively named, Lord Aristaeus Aydon, is both Uncle and advisor to Queen Artemyss Silverchord, which is every bit as big a deal as it sounds! When he’s not dishing out his stern wisdom to his beloved niece, he’s fending off inquisitive tourists mistaking him for Hugo Weaving. OK. That last bit may not have been in the actual bio.

And yet, there’s no denying that TFH were going for a major Elrond vibe with this guy, but I ain’t complaining! A great deal of the body here is reused from the Elf Ranger, which fittingly enough was a firm nod toward Orlando Bloom as Legolas. The torso, upper arms and legs, belt, and hip armor are all borrowed from that release, with the lower arms and legs given the more armored knight parts. But, what I find especially interesting here is the choice of colors. The torso armor is painted brown to give it a hardened leather look, along with silver buckles and brass studs, with the same colors matching on the scaled hip armor. The upper arms and legs feature a bronze finish, with silver chainmail exposed at the joints, and some electric blue accents. Meanwhile, the lower legs and arms have a metallic emerald finish with more of that brilliant blue, along with matching shoulders. It’s a bit of a scattershot color palate, but in the end, I do quite like it. And as always the attention to detail in the sculpt is striking, with all the tiny straps and buckles and rivets on the armor pieces.

The portrait here more than hints at the Hugo Weaving likeness. He sports a rather dour expression, synonymous with his strict teachings. The eyes have a nice gloss to them, his down-turned eyebrows are sharp, and he has a bit of pink to his pouty lip. There’s some brilliant gold leaf paint for his headpiece, and some antler-like horns protruding from the center it. My figure has a pair of nasty scars on his right cheek, which I’m assuming are intentional and not a defect. I mean, they look intentional, but I don’t recall seeing this kind of wound on any of the other figures, nor is it mentioned in his bio. It does certainly give him a distinctive quality. Of course, he has tall pointed ears, and his hair cascades down his back.

Lord Aydon is absolutely stacked with gear, so much so that he comes with two belts, one for his waist and one as a shoulder strap. These can be used to allow him to wear both of his swords at once. The shorter one is the classic knightly sword we have seen over and over again, and remains one of my favorites for it’s trusty, no-nonsense design. The other is the larger two-handed sword with the cut-outs in the ricasso, and a blade that swells near the tip. They are a matched set, with gold hilts and silver blades. Both of these blades date back tot he original Kickstarter.

He also comes with the rather shapely and ornate Elven Shield, which we’ve seen a few times now, but not enough in my opinion. This piece is absolutely gorgeous, with a satin gold finish, emerald cut-outs, and some brilliant blue stones painted into it.

Two blades and a shield is plenty for most Mythic Legions, but Lord Aydon also comes with an arrow, quiver, and one loose arrow to knock in the bow. Yup, both of these accessories are repeats. The bow is painted gold and has a black string, while the quiver is painted in green and gold to match Aydon’s armor. The arrows have silver shafts and bright blue fletching. Simply gorgeous!

Lord Aydon is an absolute homerun in my book. Not only is he a great looking figure with some gorgeous paintwork, but TFH really showed him some favoritism when it comes to his accessories. With two swords and a bow, he’s pretty much equipped for anything. Not to mention he looks great among my other Elves of Mythoss!