G. I. JOE Classified: Stalker by Hasbro

If you weren’t a kid playing with GI JOE in the early years, it might surprise you to see how conservative the early figures actually were. A good number of them were straight up military style characters, completely oblivious to the Battle Android Troopers and zombie clone emperors that would come later. And while I personally have grown to love the batshit crazy spectacle that GI JOE would eventually become, I still have a burning nostalgia for those original grounded figures in their green fatigues and mostly real world weapons.

Enter Lonzo Wilkinson, aka Stalker: Army Ranger and all around Infantry bad ass. This was the kind of real world stuff that Hasbro would eventually drift away from to make GI JOE more appealing to parents who didn’t want their kids to grow up and have… what? Distinguished careers in the armed forces defending their country? I dunno. But to be fair, I think the eventual drift to the sci-fi stuff probably made the line more appealing toward kids as well. When Real American Hero launched, I was still watching stuff like The Guns of Navarone and D-Day with my Dad on Sunday afternoons, and my brother and I would go out and pretend we were storming German machine gun positions or scouting Japanese island fortifications. But much like Westerns, those genres were falling by the wayside in post-Star Wars cinema, and GI JOE evolved with the times. But I will always have a special place in my heart for these original straight-arms!

Out of the package and all geared up, Stalker is ready to take on all those high stress combat situations he specializes in, and boy is this figure beautiful! He’s clad in straight up camo fatigues with a long sleeved pullover and textured trousers. You get some sculpted elastic around the neck and wrist cuffs, fingerless gloves, high laced boots, and all the usual rumples and wrinkles in his fatigues. The camo coloring is a lot more subdued than the brighter green on the original figure, giving it a little more of a realistic punch. The shoulder straps, which were sculpted as part of the original figure are now cast in soft plastic and actually worn by the figure. This includes some pouches and a non-removable canister grenade and dagger.

His back has a removable scabbard for his sub-machine gun and a separate slot for the magazine. The scabbard has all sorts of great texturing and details. He also has a hard case holster on his right hip for his pistol and barrel extender, and a scabbard on his left leg for his fighting knife.

The head sculpt is a fantastic homage to the original figure, with tons of personality. Lonzo looks every bit the hardened combatant, born fighting the gang wars on the streets of Detroit. He looks like he’s assessing a fortified enemy position right before grabbing his gun and muttering, “well, let’s do this.” Or perhaps seeing Cobra’s latest hairbrained combat contraption hit the battlefield and unleashing his battlecry, “I’m getting too old for this crazy shit!” His bushy eyebrows and perfectly groomed mustache give him a distinguished look, and I just love every bit of this portrait.

The beret is removable and yet it fits the head well enough so it’s not constantly falling off.

The figure also comes with a scarf for his neck, which I kind of waffle back and fourth on. It’s a great sculpt, and I love the knitted texture, but it rides a bit high on the figure. I will likely wind up displaying him with it on, but when I’m handling the figure, I prefer to remove it, so you won’t see it in too many shots here. OK… let’s talk gear!

Starting with the small stuff, Stalker comes with a simple little combat knife with a black grip and a painted silver blade. It fits perfectly into his trigger finger hand, or the off hand for that matter. I’ve said it before, Hasbro is getting a lot better at making these knives feel more substantial and fun accessories, rather than something that gets lost or never removed from the sheath.

Following that, you get a pretty standard automatic pistol modeled after the M1911A1 listed among his specialties. It’s cast all in black with some very nice detail and a non-removable extended magazine jutting out of the bottom of the grip. It also comes with a barrel extender, which is not like any barrel extender I’ve ever seen. I own enough guns to call myself an enthusiast, but certainly no expert, so it could definitely be something I just haven’t seen before. It looks kind of silly, and I doubt I will get much use out of it.

Next up is his sub-machine gun, which is a pretty close match for the M-32 Pulverizer, that came with the original figure. It’s a fictional model, but definitely has a real-world style design and I really dig it. It certainly hits some of the beats of the M-3A1 “Grease Gun,” which was among the list of weapons Lonzo is proficient in. The magazine is removable and both store in the scabbard on his back.

And finally, we bring out the big boy, which looks to me to be the most fictional design in Stalker’s arsenal, but still not too far out there. Again, you get some really nice sculpted detail on this beast. It also has a removable box magazine with a belt of ammo coming from the magazine and feeding into the side of the receiver, which is a really weird design.

I’ll be honest, it surprises the hell out of me to see Hasbro release a figure like Stalker here. Apart from some fictional gun designs, everything about this guy is grounded and gritty. This is as close to a real-world Infantry figure as you’re likely to find in the toy aisles these days, and I’m actually proud of them for doing it. It also shows just how wonderfully diverse a toyline Classified has become by embracing both GI JOEs realistic roots and the crazy shit from later on. Frankly, I’m here for all of it! It’s only January and I have to say Stalker is already a candidate for one of my favorite figures of 2023!

Dungeons & Dragons (Honor Among Thieves): Gelatinous Cube by Hasbro

Welcome to my cursed review! I had this one all done and ready to go a few weeks ago as a follow up to my look at Bobby and Uni from the D&D Cartoon Classics line, but then my computer lost its saving throw against Windows Update and got killed. It took me a week to get the computer to a point where I could comb through it for files and I managed to recover several thousand pictures from it. And after going through all of them, I found that the pictures for this review were not among them, so I had to just bite the bullet and reshoot. But as I was setting it up, I realized how ironic it was that this was a review that really didn’t merit the double effort, but I guess it’s worth offering up as a cautionary tale. So, let’s just get through this quick and dirty so we can all go back to our lives.

Hasbro acquired the license for Dungeons & Dragons a little while ago and seemed to be completely uninterested in doing anything with it, aside for some horribly generic looking Kre-O sets. REMEMBER, KRE-O??? I’m sure that building system had the folks over at LEGO sweating their balls off in fear of competition. Anyway, I guess the brand is finally getting it’s big push with the upcoming movie, Honor Among Thieves, and a toy tie-in. Unfortunately the brand is also mired in one controversy after another to the point where players are boycotting the film! I’m actually looking forward to seeing the movie, which is probably more a commentary on the sad state of cinema these days, than genuine enthusiasm. Still, I’m not really interested in the figures from it. I was, however, keen to buy a 6-inch scale Gelatinous Cube, because… come on… why not? If nothing else, it would make a fun accessory for the toon figures. The box dubs this as being from the Golden Archive, and I can’t possibly imagine what that may mean. The packaging is a fully enclosed, flat box, which means the cube has to be assembled, so let’s cobble it together and see what we’ve got!

The cube comes as six flat sides of soft rubbery semi-transparent plastic squares. There is a rather deliberate design to the way they lock together, but I use that term loosely, because nothing really fits together all that well. If you look closely at the pictures you can probably see places where the seams are pushed in or not aligned properly. It’s like trying to get the lid on a Rubbermade food storage container after it’s gotten old and warped. Plus, I got a hairline crack in one of the corners while assembling it. The top square is particularly vexing as it keeps wanting to burp open. Once it is together, the seams are really obvious and make it look like a container, which works against what is otherwise a fairly decent gelatin effect in the blue translucent plastic.

The sides of the cube are peppered with things that it’s sucked in and cannot absorb, as if they’re being pushed out to the surface and will eventually be rubbed off and discarded. It’s a pretty cool idea and some nice insight into the digestive system of these creepy cubical critters. These pieces peg onto the sides into specifically shaped compartments and range from weapons to chunks of bone, and other inventory items carried by the cube’s recent meals. The package boasts these as accessories, and it’s true some of them can be used by your 6-inch scale adventurers, but many are just literal junk, which I guess can be strewn about your dungeon as mere decorations. There’s a very cool ax and bow, a satchel, and a book which makes for a great questing item.

Opening the top of the cube reveals a sort of claw designed to hold a figure as if it is suspended within the cube and being digested. There are also some peg holes on the bottom plate to stand figures. I think the claw makes for a decent enough effect when the figure is viewed from the outside. The gelatinous plastic doesn’t obscure the post completely, but it looks OK.

There’s also a shield which can be removed to reveal a hole that a figure can stick his hand through, presumably so his fellow party members can try to pull him free. It’s a cool feature, I guess.

The Gelatinous Cube has an MSRP of $35, and that’s downright ridiculous. It’s a cool idea, and I’ve had some fun with it, and I can’t say I regret buying it, but it’s pretty poorly made and definitely not worth the asking price. Maybe if it had come pre-assembled so that it fit together better, but even then it’s just way too much money for what I’m getting here. At $20? Sure, I guess. I think they should have included some more useful stuff with it, like maybe a 6-inch scale skeleton. It does work very well with the toon figures, which is nice, because I doubt they’ll get anyone other than Venger to fight.

Marvel Legends (Bonebreaker Wave) Darwin and Siryn by Hasbro

I gave notice on New Years that Marvel Monday’s days were numbered in 2023, and since then I’ve decided that I’m going to pull the plug after I’m done looking at the Bonebreaker Wave. That means that next week I’ll finish off this wave with Sabretooth and the Bonebreaker BAF and then that will be that. Just to clarify, that doesn’t mean I’m done with checking out Marvel Legends figures here, but rather the line will no longer have a dedicated day, and Marvel Legends reviews will be few and far between. The goal is to be more selective in what I buy from this line, but I’m not quitting entirely. Case in point, I did pre-order the Franklin and Valeria figures, but then I’m always going to go for the Fantastic Four stuff. OK, so let’s get this penultimate review started with a look at Darwin and Siryn…

These figures each come with a half of Bonebreaker’s tank chassis, and it makes sense that these would be bundled with the figures with the slightest build. Seeing these also make me really excited to see how Bonebreaker’s assembly is going to work. For the most part, BAFs are pretty much all the same: plug the limbs and head into the torso and you’re good to go. Bonebreaker is a whole different thing, and that intrigues me. Anyway, let’s start with Darwin, because I’m going to have the least to say about him.

Darwin is yet another figure that primarily makes use of a painted buck, in this case one of the Spider-Man bodies, for the bulk of his costume. Indeed, like Vulcan the only original sculpted piece here is his belt. Does it work for the character? Yeah, it sure does. Darwin is one of those Mutants who’s ability isn’t really visible or tangible and the slight build of the body is certainly appropriate. But, at the same time, this is the third “budget” figure in this wave and this is a big part of what’s making me grow tired of this line. As the price goes up, Hasbro is going to need to cut this shit out and find a way to give collectors something more, or else they’ll continue to lose people like me. I suppose you could argue that the BAF in this wave required a lot more tooling and maybe that’s the case, but still. The paint is appropriate, but nothing special. At least the pattern of the suit makes the colors of all the pins match.

The head sculpt is certainly decent enough, with his bug eyes, sunken cheeks, and atrophied ears. It conveys the creepiness of his appearance pretty well and it’s quite reminiscent of a Roswell alien.

You get two sets of hands: One pair of fists and one pair of grasping hands. Their enlarged size adds to Darwin’s creepy aesthetic. It’s kind of interesting that between Darwin, Vulcan, and Havok we got three different bodies and all three of them have the shoulder crunches. That extra bit of articulation is always nice, but we’ve seen this body countless times, so I won’t run down all the points here. I don’t know, there’s nothing inherently wrong with this figure, but it’s nothing special either and with the $25 MSRP, I could never have justified buying Darwin had I not found him on Amazon for $17. It’s kind of funny that as Hasbro raised their prices, I’ve subsequently lowered what I’m willing to spend on these and $17 or less seems to be my new sweet spot. Let’s move on to Siryn.

After the drab colors and tired sameness of Darwin, Siryn offers something a little more interesting. I could go into how outrageous it is that we get Siryn before Banshee, but Sean quickly followed in a 60th Anniversary set with Gambit and Psylocke in the blue and yellow uniforms. It’s a great looking set, but I’m trying to get out of this line so I’m going to give it a pass unless it goes on discount somewhere. But, back to Siryn… She’s certainly a nice looking figure with some beautiful colors. The hunter green and the bright canary yellow look so great together, and the yellow paint looks pretty fresh and doesn’t suffer from much in the way of bleed through. Sure, the body doesn’t utilize much in the way of fresh sculpting, apart from the tops of her gloves and boots, but the addition of the cape goes a long way to make her distinctive.

I like the head sculpt a lot, but I’d like it a lot more if it weren’t the only one we got. Yup, no shouty head and it’s like Shriek all over again. And honestly, if we’re only going to get one head, I would rather it be the one that shows off her super power. It’s an especially egregious omission when the shouting portrait is featured on the freaking box art. With that being said, what we got is still a fine effort. The hair sculpt is rather dynamic, giving the sculptors a chance to strut their stuff. It looks great, but I would rather it was blowing back, like she’s flying. I don’t want to be too hard on it, because I do think it’s overall some very nice work.

The body is one of the newer female bucks, which means we actually get the double-hinged elbows. Maybe there’s some irony in the fact that Hasbro is finally addressing one of my big gripes after I’ve decided to scale way back on buying these figures. You get a pair of fists and a pair of open hands as display options. That’s nice, but I’d rather they just included the open hands and poured the fist plastic into a second head mold. The joints all feel great, and she’s lots of fun to play around with, but the cape can be problematic.

The cape is what it is. It’s made of a thin, almost papery fabric and attaches to the figure at the shoulders and wrists with holes for those joints to pass through. The shoulder attachments seem fine, but I’d be worried about the wrist holes tearing if I were changing the hands out a lot. As it is, I’ll likely just keep the open hands as opposed to the fists. The cape is difficult to work with when it comes to posing her. Sometimes it looks great and sometimes it just looks awkward. I’m not going to make a big deal out of it, because it’s hard for me to come up with a better way to do it. It’s just a fact that some things that look great on a comic panel aren’t always going to translate well to a figure.

If Siryn came with a second head, I would have loved this figure, but as it is I just like her. I’m at the point with Marvel Legends where I see all the new releases through the filter of the new price tag, and it isn’t usually kind. And I gotta tell you, Hasbro, if you’re asking $25 for this figure, you really needed to toss in that second head.

I don’t want to sound like a broken record, and it’s fear of doing just that which is a big reason as to why I’m scaling way back on my Marvel Legends buying and reviews. And that’s no way to start every week. I can still get enjoyment out of these figures, but more often than not it just feels like reviewing them is becoming a chore. That wasn’t so much the case with Siryn, but it sure as hell was with Darwin. It’s just the same old body over and over again with a bit of paint and new head and new hands slapped onto it. I want to be excited about what I write about here, and maybe by cutting way back on the frequency of these reviews I’ll be able to be excited about writing about Marvel Legends now and again. Next week, we’ll wrap this whole thing up with Sabretooth and Bonebreaker!

ThunderCats Ultimates: Electro-Charger by Super7

As promised, I’m back today to round out the week with a look at the very first vehicle released in Super7’s ThunderCats Ultimates line. Besides being absolutely stoked to be getting Mandora the Evil Chaser’s flying police motorcycle, I was also curious to see how this toy would turn out as an indicator of future possibilities. And I’m not just talking about the ThunderTank, but more so the variety of one-person vehicles released in LJN’s original toyline. Not long ago, I bought a vintage LJN Skycutter, which scales fairly well with the Ultimates figures, but I’d love to see Super7 get to work on their own version of the Skycutter, Nosediver, and other fun little vehicles! Hopefully, you already checked out my look at Mandora from a few days ago. If not it should be right below this one, otherwise… let’s get to it!

The Electro-Charger comes in a window box, with the window wrapping around the front and top panels. The front has the classic ThunderCats logo and it identifies the Electro-Charger as “Mandora’s Interstellar Transport Vehicle!” The back panel of the box has some shots calling out some of the toy’s features, as well as a cool photo of Mandora with her sweet ride. The toy is 99% assembled (only the rear antenna needs to be attached), so it displays great in the box, and the packaging is totally collector friendly. Just pop off the antenna, and you can use the box as a garage!

Out of the box, this thing looks absolutely amazing. The design looks a lot like a police motorcycle model kitbashed with a spaceship model, and I mean that in the most loving way imaginable. The clean white plastic looks fantastic, and the toy is all about those sweeping curves and smooth rounded surfaces. The translucent red caps on the front of the wings are reminiscent of the bussard collectors on the USS Enterprise, while the yellow star, windshield, and transparent yellow headlamp and side panels drive home the police motorcycle motif.

There’s sides of the space bike are fitted blue panels and silver exhaust tubing, with some lovely burn marks painted around the edges. The blue paint contrasts beautifully with the white and the silver paint on the pipes has a gorgeous satin finish. The two seats are ribbed and painted black with an extended back on the rear seat. Below that you get the Interplanetary Control Force emblem printed in yellow, a tall antenna, and a single yellow rear tail light. Super7 did a beautiful job recreating the cartoon model of this bike in plastic, and it sure is an impressive toy to hold.

The dashboard sports some excellent detail with a painted control console and a set of silver handlebars with black grips. You also get two console display options, thanks to swap out instrument boards which connect to the dashboard via magnets. The first option is a display screen, which I think is how the console appeared in Mandora’s debut episode. The second panel features a host of switches and buttons. This panel was showcased in the episode Cracker’s Revenge, where Captain Bragg’s avian companion Crownan had to operate the bike because Mandora was tied to it and it was speeding out of control.

Just like in the cartoon, the Electro-Charger has retractable tires to allow it to land and be driven just like a regular motorcycle. Depending on the episode, sometimes the wheels were deployed even when it was in flight. I’m guessing that was an animation error, rather than being intentional. There’s no mechanism to deploy the wheels, instead you first have to remove the two hatches, which are held on by clips. Once those are off, you can open the hatch on the back of the bike with the Interplanetary Control Force insignia to push down the back wheel, while the front wheel can just be grabbed and pulled out through the open hatch. There’s also a flip down kickstand in the middle, but I didn’t find it was really necessary, as the bike seems to sit fine without it.

The kickstand also houses the hole which the translucent flight stand can be pegged into. It’s a rock solid connection and it displays the bike in a slightly inclined manner. Mandora herself fits perfectly on the bike and you can use a few different pairs of hands to grip the handlebars, depending on how tight you want that grip to be. I found the looser grips work just as well and are easier to get her hands on and off the grips. And boy does she look fantastic on the bike!

The back seat is roomy enough for Lion-O or any of the other ThunderCats to catch a ride, showing just what a good sized vehicle this is!

And as I mentioned yesterday, the Electro-Charger comes with Mandora’s Enzyme Catalyzer, or Soap Gun if you prefer. There’s even a hatch just below the handlebars that has a compartment to store it, which is where she kept it in her debut episode.

The Enzyme Catalyzer consists of the gun portion and the soap tank with a rubber hose running between them. There’s a grab bar on the tank so she can hold it in one hand while wielding the nozzle like a gun. You also get a soap spray effect part to attach to the nozzle! I love it!

It’s hard to believe that so many decades later, we finally have Mandora and her Electro-Charger in toy form! This is a beautiful and impressive toy, but with a price tag that is not for the weak of wallet. At $150, this one really tests the ThunderCats fanboy chops, and I can certainly see sticker shock preventing some collectors from buying it. With that having been said, the bike showcases some top notch craftsmanship, and I have absolutely no issues with mine when it comes to the paint or the overall build. It’s quite simply immaculate, which really bolsters my confidence in the upcoming ThunderTank. I was maybe a wee bit concerned about the possibility of buyer’s remorse on this one, but that certainly has not been the case and sure am happy to be able to display this in my collection! While it was offered as a pre-order, a number of online retailers are showing it in stock as we speak.

ThunderCats Ultimates: Mandora by Super7

From what I’ve been hearing, we’re about a month away from Super7’s behemoth ThunderTank shipping out, but this month, we got another vehicle in the ThunderCats line with Mandora and her Electro-Charger both arriving here last week. I know, I have a few older ThunderCats releases on my backlog, but I couldn’t resist pushing the Evil Chaser and her sweet ride to the front of the line. These were released separately, so I’m going to check out Mandora today, and then we’ll have a look at the Electro-Charger on Friday!

Super7’s Ultimates packaging looks slick as ever. You get a beautiful window box with a sleeve over it. Lift off the sleeve, which is adorned with a red foil Eye of Thundera, and you get treated to a great look at the figure and accessories inside the box. The back panel has some nice character art, along with a little bio blurb about the character. Working for Interplanetary Control Force, an organization of interstellar space cops, Mandora is known as an Evil Chaser, and appeared in around half a dozen episodes of the original cartoon, peppered across both seasons. In her debut, she travels to Third Earth to recapture a trio of evil fugitives, which Lion-O accidentally set free. And yes, Super7, I’d like figures of Plutar, Burnout, and most of all Quick Pick, please and thank you!

Out of the box, Mandora is ready to hunt down fugitives no matter where they hide! Her costume is the spitting image of her animated counterpart, with a black bodysuit, sleeveless on the left side, red and pink boots and gauntlets, a gray belt with white and red belt buckle, some pink shoulder pads, and, what is that a half-jacket? Half a chest armor? I don’t know, but it looks great! While the shoulders are sculpted separately, sadly they are not designed to be removable, so you can’t recreate that bare shoulder look from her debut episode. Bummer! She also has a gray scabbard on her right leg to hold her boomerang!

You get no less than three different heads to choose from, all sporting her RoboCop-inspired visor with yellow ponytail sprouting from the back and back-swept headphones. The only difference between the first two heads is the way her ponytail is positioned. The first has it dropping straight down, while the other is a windblown look.

The third head has the ponytail blowing in the opposite direction and Mandora gritting her teeth. Her visor is also changed to a tracking display. The paint on my figure’s second head could be a little cleaner, especially when you punch in real close with the camera, but I don’t have any issues with the other two. I might as well take this opportunity to address the skin tone. Super7 went with bare, unpainted plastic for the skin which looked really waxy in the promo shots. In hand, I think it looks fine, and I’d even go so far as to say I think it turned out better than if they had painted it.

Mandora has pretty much the same articulation as the other two ladies of the line, which means it’s definitely serviceable, but far from the best. The legs have ball jointed hips, rotating hinges in the knees, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. The neck is ball jointed and there’s a ball joint under the chest. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and elbows, with hinged pegs for the hands to swap them out. And boy do you get a lot of hands! You get fists, relaxed hands, grasping hands, accessory holding hands, you even get a right pointing hand and a right thumbs-up hand. As for the articulation, the biggest issue remains the range of motion in the elbows and knees, which does feel limited. Thankfully, there are slits cut in the back of the shoulders to keep them from hindering the shoulder movement.

As for accessories, Mandora has an inventory of goodies that hits most of the beats. Her trademark boomerang is front and center, actually she has two of them: One standard, and one with a trailing motion effect. The boomerang is nice and colorful with a white base and blue and red accents. The motion effect has a semi-transparent red trail that looks great.

Next up, you get a set of handcuffs with real chain connecting them. The cuffs do not open, but you only need to pop off a figure’s hands to slip them on.

She has her ID badge with her picture printed on a sticker.. Depending on which episode you’re watching, Mandora sometimes flashed her badge with her picture upright and sometimes with the badge part at the top and her picture upside down. The sticker on my figure’s accessory is kind of rough, with some chipping on the edges, but it’s pretty small and hard to notice with the naked eye.

And lastly, you get her computerized ticket book and the tracking device she used to hunt fugitives. Both of these are pretty simple accessories, but cool additions nonetheless. Pity we didn’t get some tiny paper tickets to hand out to Snarfer. Assuming we actually get Snarfer. Yeah, I’m pretty sure we’ll get a Snarfer.

I was super excited when Mandora first got solicited and now that I’ve get her in hand, I’m thrilled to have her in my collection. It always surprised me that she didn’t get an LJN release in the original toyline, as she’s a damn cool looking character, and she sure came back for a good number of episodes. Now, naturally the big omission with Super7’s figure is her enzyme-catalyzer (aka. soap gun). Super7 didn’t forget it, but rather chose to bundle it with the Electro-Charger. I was always going to pick up her ride, so I don’t mind it getting put in with the bike, but I can see why some collectors might consider it a cheap move. Not everyone is going to buy both the figure and the bike. So yeah, I think they should have included it with the figure. Come on back Friday and we’ll have a look at the Electro-Charger!

Marvel Legends (Bonebreaker Wave): Havok and Vulcan by Hasbro

Well, it was an eventful weekend here at FFZ Central, with the computer that I use to do all the work for this blog crashing after a forced Windows update. I do backups every week, so it wasn’t a catastrophe, but I had about three reviews worth of photos that are now locked away on the HDD. After a few long and unsuccessful recovery attempts, it looks like I’ll have to wait a few days to borrow a boot USB from a friend and see if I can save them. In the meantime, I got myself set up for work on another computer and I’m ready to go… so let’s get this Marvel Monday rolling with a look at some Summers Brothers!

It seems like you can’t swing a mutant cat around the X-Men Universe without hitting a Summers, in this case Alexander and Gabriel. This is Alexander’s third outing in Hasbro’s current run of Marvel Legends, but it’s the first time we’re seeing Gabriel, so that’s cool! Both of these are pretty simple figures, so even though I’m doubling up, I don’t think today’s review will take all that long… let’s start with Vulcan.

So, when I first saw this wave solicited, I noticed them extra shoulder crunches in Havok and Vulcan and instantly figured these shared the same body. Imagine when I got them in hand and realized how wrong I was. On the contrary, the Vulcan body appears to be entirely new to me, so I’m not sure if this is the debut of a new buck or I just missed it’s premier on another figure somewhere along the way. I’m actually pretty bad about spotting recycled parts on these figures, so either one is certainly possible. With that having been said, I think it’s a great looking figure, even though the costume is achieved almost entirely by paint… yes, you get a sculpted belt, but that’s it. The dark blue and bright red coloring is certainly appealing, and the gold boots and belt add that extra pop. The proportions seem great, I like the sculpted muscle definition, and while the feet are still kind of pancake-y, they’re not nearly as bad as the ones from that recurring Spider-Man buck… oh, you know the one!

I do really like the head sculpt here! Gabriel features that unmistakable strong Summers jawline, a giant slab of chin, a broad mouth, and some excellent lines of definition in the face. I also dig the golden paint used for his rather deep set eyes. The hair is sculpted separately from the head, giving it a sharp hairline and some excellent detail as it juts out over the forehead. This is, without a doubt, one of my favorite Legends portraits in a while, and that’s saying something because they’re generally pretty good.

I don’t have a lot else to say about the articulation, as it doesn’t really offer much new, apart from those shoulder crunches, which we see from time to time. The double hinges in the elbows and knees have some excellent range of motion, it’s nice to see swivels in both the thighs and the tops of the boots, and the rockers in the ankles keep his feet flat in wide stances. All the joints feel nice and solid, and he is loads of fun to pose and play with. You get two pairs of hands here: One set of fists, and one set of sort of grasping hands. Vulcan really could have used some effect parts, but when we turn our attention to Havok, it’s easy to see where all that money went.

As I mentioned, this is the third version of Havok in this line, which seems a tad excessive to me, but I’m sure there are fans happy to see him again, especially with his rather iconic helmet. But, when looking at these two figures together, they both seem like budget figures for the wave. Like his brother, Havok’s suit gets no sculpted details, and in this case very little paint either. Instead, you get a completely black body with his power emblem printed on his chest. It all looks fine, but it’s still a very low effort figure on Hasbro’s part. It’s a different body from the Juggernaut Wave release, this time with the aforementioned shoulder crunches.

I was interested to see how this rather distinctive helmet design would look out of the comic panels and on an actual figure, and I think it turned out pretty good. The rest of the head, however, is kind of messy. I like that the hood is actually part of the face sculpt, including those two strips that run across his cheeks, but the paint lines here are really sloppy, and my figure even has some stray black marks on his chin. I also have to call out the halftone printing for the facial features. This method always looks blurry up close, but it’s so rough here, that it even looks blotchy from afar.

While Vulcan got cheated out of effect parts, Havok here is loaded up. You get two pieces for his wrists, and a big piece for his back. All of these appear to be brand new and look great. The wrists pieces are cast in transparent blue plastic, and are similar in principle to the ones that came with the Juggernaut Wave release, but these are flat, smooth on one side, and have some raised edges to the circles on the front. They’re a lot heavier than the old style, but if you press them up the arm a bit, friction will usually hold them in whatever position you want. The large one plugs into the hole on the back. It’ll be interesting to see if these get recylced as much as the older style. I would love a set colored for Scarlet Witch.

I’m happy to have Vulcan and a Classic Havok for my collection, and this pair does the trick, while not exactly blowing me away either. If the Vulcan body is indeed a first, than I suppose that’s a big deal, as it’s a great looking figure, but as someone who is trying to ween myself off this line, introducing new bodies at this point isn’t a big deal to me. I suppose if this line were sticking to the $20 price range, than simpler figures like this would be fine, but as the price creeps ever upward, I’m looking for a little more for my money. Luckily, I was able to grab this pair off Amazon for $17 each, which also gave me two more pieces for my Bonebreaker BAF, and to be honest, if it weren’t for those, I would have likely passed.

Down and Out…

So, the most recent Windows Update KO’d the computer that I use for FFZ. I’m in the process of trying to recover the photos for Friday’s review. If I’m successful, I should have it up sometime by late afternoon.

The larger problem will be setting up shop on one of my other computers. It’ll take me some time, and that may disrupt regular updates next week. Hopefully not, but we’ll see how things go!

Thanks in advance for your patience and understanding!

UPDATE!!!

OK, so I haven’t had any luck recovering the photos, but I do have a friend that’s going to lend me a recovery USB so I can try again early next week. As a result, the review for Hasbro’s Gelatinous Cube will be delayed until I can either recover it or completely reshoot and re-write it.

I do have everything up and running on my other computer, so I should be able to resume normal operations next week with Marvel Monday! Hopefully I’ll see you all then!

By figurefanzero

Dungeons & Dragons (Cartoon Classics): Bobby and Uni by Hasbro

A short while ago I kicked off my look at Hasbro’s new figures from the old Dungeons &Dragons cartoon. It was just a little ditty about Hank and Diana. I thought Hank was pretty good, but my Diana figure had multiple QC issues. I have since received a replacement, so I’m going to revisit her at the end of today’s post. In the meantime, let’s take a look at Bobby and Uni!

This line is utilizing Hasbro’s no plastic packaging, but I’m still digging it well enough. The presentation is the same as a traditional card and bubble, only with the bubble replaced with a little enclosed box. The character art is excellent and the side of the box-bubble lines up with the other figures to create a mural. Although as of now I think I’m missing some panels between Diana and Bobby. Overall, everything here is nice and colorful and really captures the spirit of the old toon. I buy almost all my toys online these days, so not being able to actually see the figure before I buy it isn’t really an issue for me, but had I been able to see the paint flubs on my first Diana figure through a clear bubble, I would have left her on the pegs, so I can appreciate that the no-plastic packaging is a bummer for those of you who still shop brick and mortar.

Luckily, I made out great this time, and neither my Bobby or Uni have any paint issues. I’ll also note that I boiled this pint-sized barbarian before trying to work his joints, because I didn’t want another elbow snap incident. The pins on these figures are extremely fragile and while it may be possible to gently work through a stuck joint on other figures, please do not try it with these until you apply some heat! It worked well enough, and so I happily I have no QC issues to report this time.

And boy did Hasbro do a great job capturing everything about this character! He’s perfectly proportioned as the youngest member of the party, and to me his two defining aspects of his costume are his big, chonky boots and his slightly askew horned helmet. Hasbro got these absolutely perfect, and with his little furry diaper, his studded chest harness, and his wrist bracers. He could easily pass as He-Man Jr. The harness is cast in soft brown plastic and appears to actually be worn by the figure, which gives it some great depth, and there are no unsightly seams. The articulation here is right in line with what we saw on Hank and Diana, and I while the fur diaper does restrict his hip movement a bit, he’s still lots of fun to pose and play with.

As for the head sculpt, I think this is the best out of the three so far. Not that Hank or Diana had bad portraits, but Bobby’s is just a dead ringer for his animated counterpart. The yellow hair is sculpted separately from the head and the helmet is also separate, which elevates the whole shebang, as opposed to if they just sculpted everything as one piece. The printing on his eyes looks great as do the scattershot freckles on his cheeks. The portrait is rounded out by a button nose and slightly crooked mouth. I think this likeness will be the tough to top.

Bobby comes with his magic weapon, which is an enchanted club. I always thought it was interesting that out of the whole party only two members got offensive weapons, and one of them was young Bobby. But it certainly fit his character, because he was a brave little scrapper. The club is pretty straightforward with a conical shape and an angled tip at the head. It narrows to nearly a point at the other end to fit into Bobby’s right hand.

In addition to his club, Bobby comes with his pet unicorn, Uni, which falls somewhere between being a figure and an accessory. Like Bobby, Uni turned out looking just like her(?) cartoon counterpart. It’s a simple sculpt with a smooth off-white, almost yellowish, body. The hooves are painted black and the hair on her head and tail is red. Once again, I love how the hair is a separate sculpt with the horn popping up through the middle of it, and her giant purple printed eyes are certainly on point. Uni only has one point of articulation and that’s her neck, and I think considering her size that’s totally fine. I certainly didn’t expect articulated legs!

I don’t how Bobby is regarded among fans of the series. It’s my experience that younger kids who are deliberately inserted to be relatable to the audience are not well received. With that being said, I actually liked Bobby in the cartoon. Uni, on the other hand, I absolutely hated. No disrespect to Frank Welker, but oh boy did Uni’s bleating get annoying. I used to wish that the party would get lost in the desert and have to eat her, because everyone knows that unicorns are both delicious and nutritious and come with their own toothpick. Either way, this pair turned out great and I am getting really excited to get the rest of the party. I don’t know when Sheila, Eric and Presto will be releasing, but I did just get shipping notification on Venger and Dungeon Master, so they will be on deck for review soon. But, before signing off…

I’m so very pleased to report that the replacement Diana figure that I received fixed all of the problems I had with the first one I got. The paint is immaculate, there’s no ugly blemishes on the plastic around her joints, and thanks to her spending a little time soaking in the hot tub (aka coffee cup), her joints are all fine. It doesn’t excuse the terrible figure that I originally received, and I’m hoping that it was an isolated incident, but I’m a lot more optimistic about this line! And I’m going to keep the Dungeons & Dragons love rolling along on Friday with a look at Hasbro’s Gelatinous Cube!

Marvel Legends (Bonebreaker Wave): Maggott by Hasbro

It’s time for me to open and start looking at a new wave of Marvel Legends, and as I laid out in my New Years Post, it may be the last complete wave of Marvel Legends I look at here. And then again, it may not. I completed this wave sometime at the end of November when it started going on sale, but even if it hadn’t I really wanted the Bonebreaker BAF, admittedly more than some of the figures I had to buy to get it. But then that’s just one of the reasons I’m scaling back on collecting this line. Now, with that having been said, I’m starting this assortment on the highest of notes with Maggott, a character that I thought would never, ever be made into a figure, and one that will likely be the high point of this wave for me.

Maggott represents both the pinnacle of Mutant weirdness and the epitome of underused characters. I remember re-reading some of his earlier appearances maybe ten years ago and then hunting to see if I had missed any story arcs with him, and sadly the answer was no. And the odd cameo here and there just served to whet my appetite and get my digestive juices flowing for more Japheth. His bizarre symbiotic relationship with his slugs Eenie and Meenie are exactly the kind of repulsive body horror that I love to encounter in my funnybooks.

And even if all that weren’t true, I’d still absolutely love this figure because of the great colors and the unique sculpting. Maggott is built on one of the beefier Legends frames, showing that his slugs have been keeping him well fed. The torso is just a generic buck with a white painted shirt, but just about everything else on this figure features some great sculpted detail. His outfit is characterized by a a pair of dominating shoulder pads with a forge hammered finish and some nicks and scrapes, along with giant yellow studs, and a long textured trench coat, with some really nice detail work in the stitching and pockets. He’s got rolled up yellow sleeves and red, fingerless gloves, which match his textured trousers. His chunky boots are blue to match his coat and he has a pair of studded gray knee guards. Wow, this figure is a looker!

The head sculpt is also excellent and packed with personality. He sports a broad nose and an even broader, toothy grin. He has a prominent brow, jutting chin, red eyes, and a shock of white hair protruding from above his forehead.

Articulation holds no surprises. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, swivels in the biceps, double hinges in the elbows, and hinged pegs in the wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, double hinged in the knees, and have swivels in the thighs and at the tops of the boots. The ankles have both hinges and lateral rockers. You get a swivel at the waist, an ab crunch hinge, and the neck is hinged and ball jointed. All of the joints feel solid, and the trench coat doesn’t interfere with the range of movement too badly.

And for accessories, you get the slugs, Eenie and Meenie, and these are wonderfully creepy. One is sculpted in a coil so you can wrap it around one of Maggot’s arms, while the other is arched, so you can hang it on his shoulder. Both have a whole bunch of little stubby legs, and three red eyes.

I was originally going to save Maggott for the last review of this assortment, because I was pretty sure no other figure in this wave was going to live up to him, but to be honest, I was just too excited to get him out of the box and check him out. He’s a fantastic figure, and clearly Hasbro through some money at him, because I’m willing to bet he was the most costly boxed figure in this entire assortment, not counting the BAF. I’m certainly not complaining, but it’s hard to wrap my head around what Hasbro is thinking sometimes. I can rattle off at least ten X-Men that are far more prominent then Maggot here that got far less attention when it came to their figure. Maybe it’s a case of Hasbro knowing that people are going to buy a more well known character so why bother? I honestly don’t know, but I’m glad they put the effort in here.

Star Wars Black Series: Figrin D’an by Hasbro

I know, I just checked out Jazwares Millennium Falcon a couple days ago, but I guess I’m in a Star Wars mood this week, so let’s return to A Galaxy Far, Far Away one more time before heading into the weekend. As someone who has been frequently complaining that we still don’t have Black Series Hammerhead, Snaggletooth, or a number of other Cantina Aliens yet, I was a little bitter to see Figrin D’an jump to the head of the line and make an appearance. But then I reasoned it out that Hasbro knew they could make collectors buy the same figure six or seven times and it all made perfect sense.

I was actually thinking about skipping this figure, because it’s not terribly exciting for a $20+ purchase, and I knew I wasn’t going to buy the whole band. But then Figgy started turning up at a few online retailers for $9.99 and I decided to go for it. Luckily, the retailer I bought it from had a three-figure limit, so they stepped in where my better sense would have failed me. So, yes the figure in the package is billed as the lead performer of the Modal Nodes, Figrin D’an, but he comes with three different instruments, and apparently all Bith look alike, so you can use him as several different members if you buy more than one.

Here’s Fiery Figgy out of the box, and while he look pretty good, he’s still a pretty bland figure with just a black tunic, black boots, and gray trousers to make up his costume. The only thing really distinctive here are his big Bith hands and his bulbous Bith head. But, hey, that’s not the figure’s fault as it’s still a pretty good representation of the character. A lot of the Cantina aliens were just about giving people monster heads and monster hands. It was pretty casual. Hell, even Greedo was wearing high heels most of the time. You get some sculpted rumples and wrinkles in the tunic and pants and some seams, but not a lot else noteworthy… heh, see what I did there?

The head sculpt is decent enough, albeit maybe a little soft. When we were kids, my brother and I used to call these guys Hiney Heads and that made us giggle because their heads looked like butts. It kinda still makes me giggle. Keep in mind, it was quite a bit later until any of us knew that these guys had names and that their race had a name. We sure as hell didn’t know their music was called Jizz, which is a shame because that would have made us giggle too. I do think the paint job for the portrait could have been better. Maybe a little bit of a wash or some shading? I mean, the costume was simple enough, they could have done something special with the head, but like the rest of the figure, it’s perfectly passable. It even has a little hole in its maw to stick the various instruments into.

The articulation is solid enough. You get rotating hinges in the shoulders and elbows, with hinged pegs in the hands. The legs have ball joints in the hips, rotating hinges in the knees, swivels in the thighs, and hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. There’s a ball joint under the chest and the neck is ball jointed as well. All they did was stand there and sway in the movie, so this level of articulation has them more than well covered. Except for the elbows, which definitely could have used better than a 90-degree bend to work better with their instruments.

As mentioned earlier, you get three different instruments, the first of which is the kloo horn, which I believe is what Figrin D’ar played…

Next up is the fanfar…

And finally, the fizzz. Each of these instruments vary in detail with the fanfar and kloo horn having the most and the fizzz having the least, but they all seem to be good representations of the on screen versions. Each has its own challenge when it comes to getting the Bith to hold it so that the mouth piece is actually sticking into the tiny mouth hole, which should be evident in some of the pictures. Double hinged elbows would have sure helped in this department, as well as maybe getting a set of hands specifically made for each instrument. Considering the simplicity of the figure, I don’t think one of those two improvements would be asking too much.

I’m happy to have some Bith musicians, but the cynical side of me says that these are just more evidence of Hasbro trying to stretch figure molds to the max. Yes, it’s a new sculpt, but it’s basically a musical troop builder, which is just one step better than the endless carbonized and credit series repaints that Hasbro has been pouring into this line. Now, if you want to get the remaining instruments to complete your band, you have to buy the Deluxe Nalan Cheel figure, which is a Hasbro Pulse exclusive and comes with the three larger instruments but runs close to $40. You will then need to buy at least two more Figrins in order to display one band member with each instrument, BUT… I believe there were two kloo horn players, and a little research tells me that there was an eighth member that wasn’t playing, but I think he was dressed different so I won’t count him. So, by my reckoning that would be a total of six Figins and one Nalan to complete the band. I haven’t decided to take that plunge yet, especially since Figgy is back up to $20 at most retailers. Maybe, if he drops to ten again, I’d consider it, but until then my Cantina band will remain a trio.