Indiana Jones: Escape From The Lost Tomb (#77013) by LEGO

I don’t have a heck of a lot of regrets in my decades of toy collecting, but one that I do have is not getting in on the previous Indiana Jones LEGO sets, because if you haven’t looked lately they go for a lot of monies. So, when LEGO announced some new sets to launch in advance of Indiana Jones 5, I jumped on board as quick as I could. There are three sets up for sale right now, two based on Raiders of the Lost Ark and one on Last Crusade, with a fourth based on Temple of Doom that mysteriously disappeared and may have been cancelled. I’ve already built two of the three sets, and I’m starting today Escape From The Lost Tomb!

Oh God, it’s so good to see Indy themed LEGO packaging again! It makes me want to bust out my Nintendo DS and re-play some LEGO Indiana Jones. I don’t know what kind of tortured PR rationale goes into naming these sets, but clearly The Well of Souls was off limits. Maybe the word Souls isn’t cultural sensitive enough in some countries. But whatever the case, this set depicts the final resting place of the Lost Ark of the Covenant from Raiders, and gives you everything you need to recreate the recovery of the Ark and the subsequent escape from The Well of Souls. At exactly 600 pieces and only one thick instruction book, this set is a fun and satisfying build that gives you the playset, the Ark, and four Minifigs. Oh, and also a whole lot of snakes! Why did it have to be snakes? Let’s start with the Minifigs!

The set includes four Minifigs: Indy, Marion, Sallah, and a Mummy and each of these is excellent. Indy looks as iconic as can be with his printed leather jacket, satchel and fedora-hairpiece combo. He even has his holster printed on his belt. He comes with his coiled whip, and I actually got two of them in the set. They did a great job on the whip, as it’s flexible and the end can even be plugged into a stud. Marion has her printed dress with hairpiece and she comes with a torch to fend off all those snakes. Each of these figures have two printed faces.

Sallah and the Mummy are also really well done. I do feel like they skimped on Sallah’s printing a bit as there’s nothing from the waist down, but he still looks good. He has a turban on his head and just the one face print. He doesn’t come with any accessories, which is a shame. They could have at least thrown in a shovel from some other set. The Mummy is suitably gross with some really intricate printing both front and back.

And here’s the Well of Souls all built and ready to be explored! I think the scale here is really good for a set of this size, as it recreates all the basic beats of the movie set without skimping. Even Kenner’s old Well of Souls playset didn’t include the two statues. There’s some excellent detail in the wall in the back with different textured bricks, some gaps to show it’s crumbling down and lots of stickers with hieroglyphs. There are a pair of sarcophagi on the back wall, flanking the alter that holds the Ark, and a little archway leading up to it. The statues are on swiveling bases, and the one on the right has a handle for a play gimmick we’ll see in a minute.

It’s worth noting that my set included two of the wrong pieces, for building one of the statues. If you look close you can see the two gray pieces that are holding the hips on the statue on the left, whereas the statue on the right is built correctly. It’s a lucky coincidence that the pieces they included were still able to be used in the build, even if it throws the coloring off a bit. I even went back through the instructions to see if I had used the wrong ones earlier, but nope. Anyway, I really dig the build on these statues and some of the creative uses of pieces for the abs and the face. Each uses three stickers to add some detail.

Speaking of detail, the hieroglyph stickers are fantastic, and one even recreates the R2-D2 and C-3PO cameo in the movie. I remember seeing that image in one of the books I got about the movie and thinking it was the coolest thing ever.

The Ark itself is a pretty neat build. The pieces they used to recreate the angels on top is really creative and there are some stickers on each side to give it a little more detail. You also get the carry bars, so Indy and Sallah can transport it. Just don’t open it!

The back of the playset is a little unfinished, and you can see where some of the gimmicks are set up. I do like the little raised platform and covered hallway as it offers a little more play space for figures. On the right you can see a little chute that can be used to drop snakes into the front of the playset using the lever. They drop out to the left of the Ark alter right where the snake is coming out of the wall. It’s funny because I had no idea what that was going to be even when I was building it. Each of the snakes on the floor come with clips to keep them in place.

The main play gimmick in the set has the right statue fall back and knock down the wall, so you can recreate the scene where Indy pushed it over to make their escape. It’s very simple engineering and works well, but you have to hold the statue and wall in place if you transport the playset because there’s nothing holding either up. Some kind of catch might have been worthwhile. Still, I’m impressed how well everything holds together even after I knocked that wall down about a dozen times.

The final feature recreates the scene where Marion goes through the fallen wall and the Mummy springs out and scares the shit out of her (and 12yo me as well!). The Mummy Minifig hides under the raised platform and when you pull on the technic piece the platform swings out to reveal him. Again, a very simple bit of engineering that works beautifully. I also dig the creepy sticker in the alcove which features some spiderwebbing and mysterious eyes glowing in the darkness.

At $40, this is one of the few times I can say that a LEGO set feels like a decent value. This is a fun build, although there is some redundancy here as you are building the same statue twice. Still, with four Minifigs and some solid play gimmicks, this set recreates the sequence of the film very well and offers a bunch of fun display options when its on display on the shelf. It also reminds me of just what a perfect fit LEGO and Indiana Jones really is. If you aren’t up for the big challenge and price tag of the Temple of the Golden Idol set, then this is an excellent pick up. Or do what I did and just get both! I’ll be checking out the larger set when I revisit with this line in a couple of weeks.

The Flash: Batmobile and Batman Unmasked by McFarlane

I can think of few toy reveals that rippled outward with such a shockwave of excitement than McFarlane’s take on the Batmobile from the upcoming Flash film. It speaks volumes of how iconic that design has become in the three decades since it appeared in the ’89 Batman film, and makes me wonder why Mattel didn’t cash in on some of that love back when they had the DC license. And while I have no interest in seeing The Flash movie, I guess I have to at least be thankful that it resulted in this ’89 Batman resurgence and some cool toys. Today I’m checking out both the Batmobile and the Target Exclusive unmasked version of Michael Keaton as Batman. Let’s start with the Batmobile! This thing is a little too big for my regular photo staging area, so I had to improvise!

This sweet ride comes in a fully enclosed box that’s drab and boring. It’s a pretty good sized box, but that’s to be expected as this is a 7-inch scale car with very little assembly required. In fact, all you have to do is free it from it’s plastic bag and plug in the rear fins to get it ready to patrol the streets of Gotham. If you pop open the canopy, you’ll find a collector card hidden in there, similar to what we see included with all of McFarlane’s DC Multiverse figures.

Oh yeah… that’s the stuff! This design is still as dead sexy as ever, and McFarlane did a nice job recreating all those sleek curves. But make no mistake, this toy is a textbook example of give and take, so let’s get some of that stuff out of the way first. McFarlane had to play with the size here a bit to get it at the price point they wanted. As a result the car is a tad smaller than it should be, but I don’t find it that noticeable. It certainly doesn’t feel as downscaled as McFarlane’s 66 Batmobile. Along with the scale, the car also lacks the heft you might expect. The plastic is nice and sturdy, and the toy actually feels quite rugged in hand, but in the end it is mostly just a plastic shell. Indeed, as we’ll see the only play feature you get is the opening canopy and the rolling tires. I’m guessing pop up machine guns would qualify as forbidden by Warner Bros weird No Guns policy. Sure, I would have happily paid a bit more to get some extra gimmicks, but I’m also fine with them being left out. Finally, the profile of the canopy is definitely higher than the actual car, but it’s another thing that doesn’t really bother me all that much.

With all that having been said, I think this toy looks fantastic. The car has a beautiful glossy sheen to it that makes it look like it just rolled off the assembly line. Alfred really is an expert at buffing and waxing! You get some beautiful sculpted detail in that bullet shaped turbine in the front, and while I recall that being black in the film, I think the gunmetal gray here looks good. There are sculpted panels where the machine guns would pop up are present, as well as some additional panel lining on the sides. Yes, under bright lights the canopy is gray, but the variance between the gray and black is a lot more subtle in room lighting. When I first took it out of the box I barely noticed it, but under studio lights it can’t be missed. It’s not optimal, but it sure isn’t a deal-breaker for me either.

The rear of the car has a central turbine in gunmetal gray with two pairs of silver exhaust pipes and two sets of red taillights. The organic curves of the fins look great, as does the sculpted vents positioned between them. The tires are made of rubber and have gold bat symbols on the wheels, and you get some silver pipes and detail on the side cutouts, as well as circular vents angled away from the rear wheels.

To open the canopy, there’s a button just in front of it on the hood. It releases the catch and allows you to slide the canopy forward to reveal the driver cabin. There’s only one seat and while it isn’t accurate, it works fine for this toy. I’m extremely happy with the level of detail in here. You get a fully sculpted seat, which even has some sculpted stitching on the cushions. The banks of instruments and gauges are all picked out with silver paint and it all looks really sharp. The steering wheel is positioned dead center, but does not turn. Let’s switch over to have a look at Unmasked Batman and then we’ll get him in the Batmobile!

I’m using McFarlane’s in package solicitation shot here because mine got pulverized in shipping. It’s the same style packaging we’ve been seeing in the DC Multiverse line only branded for The Flash film and with the foil Gold Label corner. You get a stand and a collector card too. I almost wasn’t going to buy this figure, but he was billed to ship before the regular masked version. And I’m pretty glad I did, because my masked version probably won’t arrive until next week and I wouldn’t have had anyone to put in the Batmobile!

I won’t get too long winded here, because I’ll probably do a comparison when the masked version comes in. The suit is a lot different than I expected and I would have preferred something mare akin to the ’89 film. Here it looks more like sculpted armor and less rubbery, which sure ain’t bad, but just different. The sculpted muscles are a tad more pronounced and angular in some areas, particularly in the abs, I really love the detail on the forearm bracers, you get some panel lines in the upper legs, and the boots look great. Yeah, I’m bummed that the belt is now black instead of yellow, and a little surprised that the bat symbol is more orange than yellow here. Still, I think the suit looks great and I especially dig the glossy finish.

The cape is cloth, and while it looks a bit thin under the studio lights, it looks fine with the figure in hand and under normal lighting. Obviously, they went with softgoods here to make him work with the Batmobile, but I really wish they would choose softgoods over plastic more often. It just makes the figure so much more fun to play around with. Speaking of which, Batman hits all the usual points of articulation that are standard for the DC Multiverse line. The only thing I can really complain about are the continued lack of thigh swivels.

And then there’s the portrait. Well, from certain angles I can see Keaton in there, but not enough to make the likeness anywhere near a slam dunk. I actually think the flat paint is what’s letting down the likeness more than the sculpt. Considering you had to buy a whole different figure to get the unmasked head, I think this probably should have turned out better.

Batman comes with two sets of hands: One pair of fists and one pair of accessory holding hands. The included accessories are his grapple gun and a batarang, both of which are silver. Both are nice sculpts, but it’s a little odd that they aren’t black. Maybe they’re silver in the film? Someone will have to let me know, because I’m not going to see it.

Getting Batman into his ride is pretty easy, thanks to that cloth cape. He sits a little close to the steering wheel, but if you have more patience then me, you can probably get his hands on the wheel. I’ll make more of an effort when the masked Batman comes in.

Overall, I like this figure a lot, but I’m sure I’ll like the masked version even more. Chances are, I’ll wind up leaving this one in the Batmobile and displaying the masked version beside it. Then again, I do have McFarlane’s giant Batwing coming in at the end of this week, so I guess one of them may wind up sitting in the cockpit while the other stands beside the Batmobile. As for the Batmobile… If you’re looking for a perfect rendering of the 89 Batmobile that will hold a figure, well this isn’t it. But then, I don’t think such a toy exists. The old Kenner Batmissile Batmobile released in 1992 is your best alternative option, but it’s scaled for smaller figures, has some silly play gimmicks, and has it’s own share of inaccuracies in the design. It’s also selling for three or four times what this one is if you can find one complete and in good condition. Considering that McFarlane’s put this out at $60 seems like quite an amazing feat, and considering how quickly it sold out everywhere, I’ll go out on a limb and call it a success. I pre-ordered this at three online retailers just to be sure I got one. Only one of those retailers delivered the goods and that was Target. Another retailer outright cancelled, and my Amazon pre-order is in limbo and will likely be cancelled too. There’s certainly some room for improvement in this toy, but I love it and I’m glad I was able to get one!

ReAction TRON Lightcycles by Super7

A few weeks ago, Super7 announced that they were doing a series of TRON figures for their 3 3/4-inch ReAction line, which was one of those good news and bad news scenarios. The good news was they were doing a wave of carded figures and some Lightcycle sets, and that we were going to get some figures that have never been done before, like Yori and Ram. The bad news was these were being listed as Disney Park Exclusives. In the end, two of the Lightcycle sets (Tron and Flynn) were sold on the ShopDisney website, but the quantities seemed to be limited. I was able to get a set, but it looked like they sold through in about an hour or less. Granted, Disney World is only about three hours from my home, but I didn’t want to have to drive up to Orlando to get the rest of the toys. Luckily a buddy of mine took his kids up there and was able to score me the Ram Lightcycle set, but they didn’t have any of the carded figures. Still, I’m happy I got what I did, so, let’s take a look at these beauties!

All three sets come in nearly the exact same package with the only difference being the name of the character on the front. You get a window box with an extended back flap and it shows off the toys beautifully. Each box has a grid pattern that’s very evocative of the movie with the TRON logo emblazoned on the backflap. The figures are placed beside their respective Lightcycle in a clear plastic tray with their Identity Disc beside them. These look absolutely fantastic in the packages and everything is collector friendly. The back of the box shows the four carded figures, including Yori, Sark, Grid Warrior, and a repaint of Flynn from when he absorbed an enemy’s energy and turned red. Let’s start with the figures!

When Tomy did the original TRON figures, they went with a pretty cool translucent plastic look. These made for some very distinctive looking toys, but they weren’t great likenesses for the characters on the screen. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted those figures something fierce and they were extremely difficult to find. Eventually my Uncle got me a set and I had a ton of fun with them, but not so much fun working off the cost of the toys by mowing lawns that summer. With that having been said, it’s cool to get retro-style versions that actually look like the movie characters and I’m really happy with how these turned out. The figures are each cast in the same light blue plastic with their circuit patterns printed in darker blue. The printing is razor sharp and I think they look really nice. If I had one gripe it’s that Ram should be shorter, but they obviously wanted to reuse some parts and that’s fair enough.

Just like the Tomy figures, these guys have Discs that peg into their backs and can be held in their hands, by either gripping the peg or holding the Disc from its side. Tron and Flynn have identical Discs, while Ram’s has a different pattern printed on it. In following with ReAction’s retro theme, these figures have five points of articulation, with points found in their shoulders, hips, and head.

The Lightcycles all use an identical mold, with the only difference being the coloring in the shell and the wheels. Tron’s is orange, Flynn’s is yellow, and Ram’s is red. Tomy’s cycles only came in yellow and orange, and I think the idea was that Sark’s was supposed to be the red one, even though it should have been blue, but that color was never released in the Tomy line, and so far it isn’t in this one either. The fact that Sark was released on card makes me wonder if there will be a blue cycle released by Super7 at all. I’d definitely pick one up if they do make one and it’s offered on the Super7 website.

The cycles are cast in pretty light plastic, but they still feel durable. The Tomy versions had ripcords that would make them go and heavier rubber rear wheels to give them more heft, but I’m fine with deep sixing that gimmick. These do stand pretty well on their own and they can even be made to lean a bit to make it look like they’re leaning into a turn. The colors are done mostly within the plastic and the shells have a beautiful sheen to them that really makes them pop under bright lighting. Now, I will say that the sculpts look a bit crunched, almost super-deformed when compared to the Tomy cycles, which are proportioned a bit longer. It’d not a deal breaker for me, and I didn’t really notice it until making a direct comparison, but it’s definitely there.

The cycles open up in a similar fashion to the vintage toys with the shell lifting forward to give access to the interior and locking up tight again when lowered. Something I really love here is how you put the figures inside. The Tomy versions had them sit in the cycles, but these have the figures lean forward. Of course, in the film, the Lightcycles formed around the driver while they were leaning forward in this fashion as if they were holding the front wheel. This design mimics that idea a lot better. There’s also a peg inside if you want to stand the figure in the cycle, but I can’t really see the purpose of that.

I’m probably the easiest sell there is when it comes to TRON toys, as I’ll pretty much buy whatever I can get my hands on. With that being said, I absolutely love these! Everything from the packaging to the figures to the cycles themselves just have a wonderful charm to them. And again, while I loved the original Tomy toys, as a kid I think I would have liked the style of these figures even more. What I don’t love is Super7’s way of distributing these. I don’t pretend to know how licensing works, but my guess is that Disney would only allow the partnership if they were sold primarily as Park exclusives, and all that does is screw the collectors. It’s nice that Super7 was able to sell a couple of the sets online, but these kinds of arrangements really suck. What’s even worse is the HUGE disparity in price. The cycles that I bought from ShopDisney were $39.99 each, but at the Parks they are selling for $69.99 each. Seventy bucks for each of these is absolutely outrageous. I actually couldn’t believe it until my friend texted me from the park and asked if I still wanted it, and sure enough Ram’s set has the $69.99 price sticker on the bottom. I was willing to blow that amount on one just to complete the trio, but I doubt I would have spent it on all three. Will I be getting the carded figures? Probably. I’ll just have to find one of these weekends when I have nothing better to do, I’ll drive up to see if I can find them.

By figurefanzero

DC Multiverse (Titans): Arsenal and Raven by McFarlane

While most of my time collecting DC Multiverse has been going back and picking up older figures on sales and clearance, I did pre-order a couple of new waves which came in over the past couple of weeks. And while I always feel a little guilty about checking out new figures with so many older ones waiting their turn, I’m still going to bump these to the head of the line. So, today I’m going to kick off a look at the Teen Titans Wave!

This assortment consists of four figures with Arsenal and Raven being the focus of today’s review. This wave came in slightly bigger boxes than usual, as each figure also has parts to build a rather uncharacteristically large Beast Boy. Arsenal has his legs while Raven has his head and hands. As usual, I’ll check him out after I’ve been through the rest of the figures. I don’t have anything new to say about the packaging, except I finally decided to toss some DC Multiverse boxes, and that meant ripping the character cards and figure stands off the back of the tray. Let’s start with Arsenal.

The last time I looked at an Arsenal figure was nine years ago when I checked out DC Collectibles figure from Red Hood and the Outlaws and I liked it quite a bit. This version is a different look for the character, but not drastically so. You still get a two-tone red and maroon suit, shoulder and bicep tats, and the baseball cap. The proportions are nice, giving Roy a lean and lithe look, The suit features some fine texturing on the red parts as well as some intricate detail on some of the reinforced maroon bits, giving the costume a nice bit of complexity. The boxy quiver plugs into his back and the cluster of arrows is a separate sculpted piece, so I guess you can pull it out if you want to display him having shot all his arrows? Sure why not!

The portrait is solid, although I’m not a huge fan of the visor and preferred him with just the domino mask, but that’s just me. The backwards baseball cap has some very nice texturing and appears to be sculpted separately from the head. I like the little lick of hair that’s jutting out above the hat band.

The tattoos are printed crisp and clean and look really good, especially with the neon yellow-green coloring. It’s a bit of a shame the one on his left arm has the bicep cut running through it.

In addition to the quiver and arrow cluster, he comes with his bow. I dig the bow itself, but I absolutely hate it when the strings are done with plastic instead of actual string. It just looks terrible. I usually like to leave my figures stock, but I will likely clip the plastic string off and tie a real one on. Also, it’s pretty disappointing that you don’t get a single arrow for him to knock into the bow. At least the articulation works well with the bow itself, or reaching over his shoulder to grab another arrow. All the joints on this guy feel great right out of the box.

Taken on his own, I like this figure well enough, despite some big missteps with the accessories. The sculpt is solid, the coloring looks nice, and the articulation makes him pretty fun to mess around with. Still, all in all, I like the overall look of the DC Collectibles version a bit better. Granted, a lot of that has to do with differences in character design, and the articulation on that DCC figure can’t compete with what we got here. So, in the end, I’m happy to have both. Now let’s have a look at Raven!

The only Raven figure I have in my collection is Mattel’s old DC Universe Classics version, which looked OK, but was really designed for one pose, so she wasn’t a lot of fun. I almost picked up DC Collectibles Earth One version a few times, but I was not a big fan of that design, so I never did. I think this modern look is pretty cool and it gave McFarlane some interesting design beats to work with. Most of the suit’s detail comes in the sculpted pattern on the front of the torso, with the segmented built of red and gold disks adding some color. Speaking of color, I dig how the leggings and boots are a dark shade of blue rather than black like her one-piece. I didn’t even really notice until I got her under bright lights and it looks good. The red and gold disk just above her chest serves as a type of fastener for the cape and hood and matches the design of the belt. There’s some nice texturing on the cape, and thankfully it isn’t too big and heavy.

I really dig this portrait! The hood is attached to the head to allow for some decent movement in the neck and I love the layered look with the hair sculpted between the hood and head, and a few strays peeking out below her right eyebrow. She’s got some glittery pink paint applied to her eyes and mascara and a very deep maroon to her lips.

Raven shares the same articulation as Arsenal, and after suffering through so many of Hasbro’s female arms with limited articulation, I’m always happy to see the gals here get the same double-hinged elbows and bicep swivels as the dudes. I do wish she came with the flight stand that McFarlane sometimes throws in with the flying characters, but I can always borrow one from another figure, I guess.

Raven comes with a pair of translucent pink effect parts, which replace her hands and unfortunately these didn’t turn out so great. The pieces themselves look fine, but since they replace the hands, the wrist pegs can be seen inside and really spoils the whole effect. Either these needed to be designed to go onto the hands, or they needed to make those wrist pegs translucent pink as well. I don’t know how anyone thought these looked good enough as a final design, but it’s a pretty big fail.

Both Raven and Arsenal are solid figures that lose points for some poorly implemented accessories. Arsenal really needed a single arrow and an actual string on his bow. I can fix the string issue and borrow an arrow from the DC Collectibles release, but I shouldn’t have to. Meanwhile, Raven’s effect parts just don’t work with those unsightly wrist pegs. Still, I dig both of these designs well enough and it’s cool to have the characters represented on my McFarlane shelves. When I revisit this wave, I’ll check out Donna Troy and Nightwing, as well as the Beast Boy figure!

Super Mario Bros Movie: Mario and Luigi by Jakks Pacific

People who know me know I’m a SEGA guy. I had a Master System before an NES and a Genesis before an SNES. And despite some epic schoolyard brawls over which was better, I eventually learned that it’s only a rivalry if you’re a shareholder in one of the companies. Oh yeah… also, SEGA obviously lost the battle anyway. Suffice it to say that I’m still a big fan of many Mario games, and I was excited to see the movie, which turned out to be absolutely delightful. I laughed a lot and had fun picking out all the little hidden nods. Jakks Pacific gave us some toys from the movie, which had a big presence at Target, and I eventually snapped up Mario, Luigi, Toad, Peach, and Bowser. Today I’m having a look at the Mario Bros themselves!

Obviously, this is not Jakks first outing for Mario. They’ve had an extensive run of toys based on the games for a while now, and I even reviewed their 4-inch Mario and Luigi figures all the way back in 2015. These new offerings weigh in at 5-inches, making them not only bigger than the regular line, but the Figma release as well. The figures come in window boxes to show off the goods and you get a big picture of Mario on front, regardless of what character is inside. With the black backdrops, these aren’t the most striking package designs out there, but they do let the figure do the talking, and in this case that ain’t a bad thing. Let’s start with Mario!

So, first off, I love that the movie did not mess with the look of the characters at all. These aren’t updated or modernized or any of that nonsense. These could have been based on one of the recent games and I wouldn’t know any difference. The proportions are really nice, with Mario having a short and chunky build and a gloriously big head. A lot of the coloring on this figure is in the plastic, which makes for some bright and shiny colors that really pop and not a lot of room for paint flubs. And what paint is here is pretty sharp and clean. I especially like the shiny gold paint used on the clips for his overalls. Sculpted detail is kept to a minimum to convey the cartoony look, but you do get some stitching around the overalls and laces in the shoes.

Oddly enough, one of the call out features on the boxes are the “realistic eyes” which leads me to believe the person who wrote that has never seen real human eyeballs. I’m kidding, and clearly its referring to the way the eyes are designed with actual clear plastic lenses and the eyeball painted behind it. It gives a bit of an illusion that the figure’s eyes are moving to always look at you. It’s not really that spectacular an effect, but the eyes do look great and I think it’s cool that they tried something creative like that. The rest of the head sculpt is spot-on Mario with a bulbous nose and big broom of a mustache. The hat actually looks like it’s a separate sculpt and attached to the head. Que Bella!

When you get down to it, the articulation here really isn’t all that different than the older 4-inch figures, and that’s not a bad thing. The knees are still single hinges, the hips are ball jointed and you get rotating hinges in the shoulders. The big difference here is the rotating hinges in the elbows, which offers a bit more display options. Mario is still a chunky little dude, so the range of motion is limited, but he can still run, jump, and do the usual Mario things. All the joints feel great, and overall the figure has a great in-hand feel that begs to be played with.

Mario comes with one accessory and that’s his plunger. It’s simple, his right hand is sculpted to hold it, and here’s where my only nitpick with the figure lies. I usually talk about price at the end, but let’s do it here. These figures debuted at $20 and that’s a spicy meatball! They really needed some more extras to justify that price. A simple power-up block, a super star, a little static Goomba… anything would have helped. Heck, even Jakks’ smaller and cheaper 4-inch line each came with a cardboard power up box with a little mystery bonus accessory in there. OK, let’s move on to Luigi!

I don’t want to snub Green-Mario, but pretty much everything I said for Mario holds true here and I don’t have much else to say other than the figure looks fantastic. Luigi is taller and a little less chunky, and his overalls are darker blue, but that just makes the bright green pop all the more. Because of his longer legs and arms, it’s a little easier to get Luigi into those running poses, but the points of articulation are all the same.

Luigi’s accessory is a flashlight, which he carries in the movie and while it’s not the same style as in the games, it’s still appropriate if you’re a fan of his Haunted Mansion series. I really liked that a number of his solo scenes in the movie paid homage to those games. The flashlight is a bit more substantial than Mario’s plunger, but again, just getting the one accessory hurts the value a lot. In the movie he carried a tool bag for a while and maybe they could have given one figure the bag and the other the stuff to put in it.

I picked up Mario as soon as I saw him and while I loved the figure, the price point seemed too high to go in on the rest of the lot. But shortly after these got released, Target put them on sale for $13.99 each and that’s when I grabbed the remaining three figures. I guess they started to sell really well, because shortly after they went back to $20 and they seem to be holding there at most retailers now. I think $15 would have been the magic number. But quibbling about pricing aside, these really are excellent figures. The simple sculpts capture the character’s perfectly, the colors look great, and they are fun to play around with. Next week, I’ll finish up this assortment with a look at Toad, Peach, and Bowser!

Gunslinger Spawn by McFarlane

Having taken that deep dive into McFarlane’s DC Multiverse has resulted in collateral wallet damage along the way. That means that I’ve been dipping into some of McFarlane’s other offerings, including Warhammer and Spawn, both of which you’ll be seeing crop up here now and then. I haven’t collected Spawn since the early 2000’s when they would turn up at KBToys Outlet and I couldn’t resist those sculpts. The closest I’ve come to checking out any here on FFZ has been a figure and statue of Angela, but those don’t really count as she has passed into Marvel’s ownership. So, let’s pop this Spawn cherry and have a look at a Spawn figure that goes right after my heart… Gunslinger Spawn!

If memory serves, I came across this figure a little while ago, but it didn’t have the chaingun, so I passed. That could be just my memory playing tricks on me, but it eventually popped up on Amazon for a ridiculously small amount of money with the chain gun, so I went for it. The box has a huge wrap-around window that shows off the figure against an orange stormy backdrop. Everything here is collector friendly, with the exception of the stand. To get that you have to rip it off the backdrop, and since I’m displaying this figure in the box for now, I don’t want the stand that bad.

Out of the box and everything about this figure just oozes badass! My love of Westerns should be well documented here, so naturally this figure is right up my alley, and there’s so much to love here! Spawn dons a red duster-style coat with some crazy lapels forming a popped collar that swirls around his head, while the coat itself fans out a bit at the bottom. The coat is cast in soft plastic with the old trick of sculpting the sleeves as part of the arms, and it looks fine here. His forearms have some vicious spiked plates strapped to them and he’s got more spikes ringing his biceps, the tops of his grieves, and the boots. So… SPIKES!!! There’s some fabulous sculpted stitching in the jacket and on his grieves, and you get some sculpted pouches on the back of his coat’s belt, which would could have used some paint. The tiny spurs on his boots look great!

And just look at all the detail in the gun belt! Double rows of cartridges, all individually painted with the belt buckle picked out in a dull silver. Similar attention to detail can be found on the holsters, which have some sculpted patterns, silver bands, and there’s a sculpted knife and more pouches on his leg. Damn, I love this stuff!

The portrait is basically Spawn in a stovepipe hat. There’s some great texturing on the hat itself. It’s ringed at the base with a silver band and skulls all around. More skulls adorn his necklace, because they just go so well with all them spikes. What can you say? The dude loves skulls and spikes! The mask has some faint contours of his face with some absolutely beautiful green eyes that practically look like they’re glowing under the shade of the hat’s brim. So cool!

The articulation here is pretty good, making for a fun figure to play with, so long as you’re careful of all those spikes. McFarlane doesn’t bother with stupid safety regulations, and these things are pretty damn sharp! The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, and double-hinged elbows, which offer a decent range of motion. There are ball joints in the hips, double-hinges in the knees, and rotating hinges in the ankles, which are a little hindered by the sculpted grieves. Finally, you get ball joints in the neck and under the chest.

Gunslinger Spawn comes with a pair of bitchin’ single action long barreled revolvers, each with some nice silver paint and twisted, demonic grips. His only sets of hands have trigger fingers, which work with these shootin’ irons quite well. These also fit comfortably in the holsters.

And the real showpiece accessory here is the chain gun, and oh boy is it a thing of beauty! It’s got a steampunk design with a demonic theme going on. The piece is decked out in silver and bronze with lots of bolts, hoses, and skulls to show it means business. Despite not having a set of hands specific to work with this big gun, the trigger hands do a fine job of holding it.

Gunslinger Spawn is a fine example of why I’ve become so infatuated with McFarlane figures lately. I picked up this beauty online for $12 and that’s just ridiculous! The sculpt is outstanding, the paint is solid, and the accessories are fun! I’ve had him on my desk for a couple of weeks now, and find myself picking him up and marveling at him every now and then on my down time. I usually get my Western fetish fix buying single-action and lever-action guns, so it’s nice (and a lot cheaper!) to get some toys every now and then. The idea of a Gunslinger Spawn could have easily taken a wrong turn at silly, but everything about this guy just turned out so cool and I dig him a lot!

G.I. JOE Classified: Cover Girl by Hasbro

Hasbro continues to have the Classified release gun set to full auto, and I sure ain’t complaining. I have had some issues with their other lines of late (some of those may not have been published here yet… but they will!), but it seems that I can continue to count on this line to be evergreen. I also love how impossible it is to predict what figures we’re going to see next. Case in point… Cover Girl was mainly known as the Wolverine driver and I’d probably rank her as a C-lister at best in terms of the G.I. JOE fiction, but I was still delighted to see her solicitation come up, and now I’m excited to check her out!

This is the first time I’m looking at a regular release Classified JOE without a window box. I talked about my issues with this back when I looked at Indiana Jones, so I won’t go through it again. The figure comes wrapped in a GI JOE branded paper bag with the accessories in another bag, stuffed in an illustrated cardboard footlocker. And that’s pretty cool. What isn’t cool is how much I absolutely hate this character art. I have no idea what were they going for here, and I’m not going to bother to speculate. If you’re going to take the window away, at least give us some decent art on the cover. Well, it’s all probably moot, since Hasbro just announced that they’re returning to plastic windows for their 6-inch lines. Anyway… Courtney is an interesting release, as she was originally bundled as the driver for the Wolverine, and I hate to break it to you, but there ain’t no Wolverine in that little box. That’s OK, though… let’s check her out.

And what we have is another Classified figure that perfectly strides that line between homage and modern update. Her trademark bomber jacket has some sculpted white fur fringe around the neck, and some great detail in the pockets, buttons and tailoring lines. It’s cast in soft plastic with the sleeves sculpted on the arms, and I think it looks great! The RAH figure had matching cream-colored top and trousers, but here we get the trousers in khaki, which adds a little more color. There are reinforced patches on the fronts of her thighs, knee guards, and high brown boots with olive green reinforcements on the fronts. I love the way her pants legs bunch up at the tops of the boots, and they gave her some finger-less gloves, which the RAH figure lacked. This figure also adds a double belt with a slot for her wrench and two thigh rigs, one for her pistol holster and one to hold her PDA. She certainly looks the part of a rough-and-tumble combat mechanic, and it’s a nice nod to her RAH file card, which listed her as having proficiency in diesel mechanics and gas turbine technology.

I was in love with the portrait from the original solicitation shots, mainly because I could see some likeness to J. Scott Campbell’s particular style, whether intentional or not. The final production head loses a little something, but I still think it’s pretty great. The curve of the nose, the arch of the eyebrows, and the full lips are where I see the most JSC in there. The eyes have some nice printing and I think the hair sculpt looks solid.

I’m at the point where I’ve looked at enough of Classified that running through articulation gets redundant. I will say that I’m thrilled to see the double-hinged elbows and bicep swivels in the ladies, and that this figure has some nice range of motion and balance to her. I had no issues with stuck joints allowing Cover Girl to skip the hot tub, aka microwaved coffee cup of water.

Her PDA is a simple but wonderful accessory with a sticker on the front showing the schematics to her beloved vehicle. The printing here is so on point, making it look like it’s an actual glowing screen. I’d like to think that she knows the Wolverine by heart and she just carries that around so she can look at it lovingly when the two are apart. The storage slot for it works very well too! She also has the simple black wrench, which I would have preferred be painted silver, but it’s a great inclusion.

Courtney comes with a very nice automatic pistol with some silver paint on the slide. She held proficiency in the use of the M1911, and this stands in pretty well as a modern version.

And finally she comes with a shotgun for when she empties all dozen of the Wolverine’s missiles and she has to climb out and take care of business herself. The sculpt here is a little softer than the pistol, but it sure isn’t bad, although it’s weird to see bolt action on a military shotgun. I like that Hasbro threw in some olive paint on the foregrip. It’s a unique and nice looking gun, and I wish there was a scabbard for it for her back like Flint got.

Damn, this is a great figure! Granted, I have mixed feelings about getting vehicle drivers as single release figures. Does getting Cover Girl mean we have no chance at a 6-inch scale Wolverine? Does it make it more of a possibility? Probably the former. I have no doubt that Hasbro could do a pretty good Wolverine in this scale as a HasLab project, but if it were a possibility I’m sure they would have saved Cover Girl to bundle with it. Besides, I’m sure there are a bunch of GI JOE vehicles that would be considered more iconic and more likely to have a chance. Either way, I’m happy to have Courtney on my shelf! But Hasbro really needs to do a do-over on Scarlett. She just does not hold up at all.

LEGO City: Lunar Research Base (#60350) by LEGO

This year, I’ve been dabbling with a lot of LEGO, and so far I’ve checked out two of the LEGO City Space sets. Today I’m going BIG with the Lunar Research Base, which is not only a damn cool set on its own, but also has some compatibility with one of those other sets, which we’ll check out at the end of the review! There’s a ton of stuff to look at here, so strap in tight and watch out for those G-Forces!

I got a nice deal on this set through Amazon, but the downside was they shipped it in the “Hassle Free” packaging, which means they just slap 1000 shipping labels on the box and kick it out the door. As a result, mine arrived in dire condition, so I’m using LEGO’s official picture for the box shot. Clocking in at 786 pieces, it’s not the biggest set out there, but it’s a lot bigger than anything I’ve built recently. And the piece count feels a little deceptive, because it feels like you get a lot of bang with for your buck when this one is built. When all is done, this set builds two ground vehicles, a drone, the research base itself, a rocket ship, a mineral deposit, and six Minifigs! It’s a whole world of fun in one box. Let’s start with the Minifigs!

The six Minifigs include three astronauts, a rocket pilot, and two scientists. It’s a satisfying number of Minifigs, and despite the rather high level of reuse between them, it feels appropriate and not like a cost-saving cop-out.

The astronauts all use the same bodies, helmets, and backpack harness, but one of the backpacks is built differently having clips on the sides to store tools. These are essentially the same astronauts that we saw with the Lunar Roving Vehicle set, and that’s appropriate, since we’ll see later that the two sets are very compatible. The gold helmet visors are removable to reveal that you get one man and two women. You also get hair pieces for all of them for when you remove the helmets entirely, and each head only has one face print. You get a metal detector for one of the astronauts, and I gave the other a drill taken from the large inventory of tools that comes with this set. The printing is crisp and colorful, and the backpacks each get stickers.

The scientists also share the same body, which consists of blue jumpsuits and that makes the rocket pilot the only totally unique Minifig in the set. He has an orange pressure suit and a helmet with a removable blue face shield. The pilot comes with a hair piece for when you take off his helmet and all three only have single face prints. The printing on these figures is simple, but it still looks great.

With the Minifigs out of the way, let’s check out some of the smaller builds! First up is this little solar powered robot rover. This four-wheeled little guy is a simple but fun little build. He’s got some solar panel stickers on the side to keep him powered up. There’s a light, or perhaps a camera on the front, a tail hitch on the back, and a sensor dome up top. I love the use of the translucent blue pieces for the body as you can see some of the basic mechanisms inside him. Very cool!

Next up is the Lunar dozer, which seats one Minifig. It’s a sporty little work vehicle with four big wheels, a dozer blade on the front, a little blue lightbar, red tail lights, and some lever controls for the driver. The blade is on front is hinged to angle it up and down. The dozer comes in handy for pushing around rocks or cleaning up the dig site! I love the look of this little crater-hopper and it looks like it would be fun to go off-roading around the Kepler Crater with it.

Speaking of dig sites, we get another mineral deposit, which is very similar to the one included with the Lunar Roving Vehicle. The big rock opens up to reveal blue crystals inside, one of which can be removed and taken back to the Research Base where it infects the crew with a bizarre alien radiation that turns them into violent rage zombies. Nah, just kidding. I’m sure they’re perfectly safe.

And how do you transport that big boulder of alien goodness? With a crane drone of course! This quad-thrusting workhorse has a massive claw that can capture the boulder and carry it off to be poked and prodded by the Geological Team! The big claw uses a rubber band to keep it closed, and you also get a simpler hook in case it needs to rescue the rover robot from a bad tumble.

The rocket is a neat build all to itself, and an awesome bonus for this set. It has a one man cockpit, a ladder for getting in and out, two gold dishes, which I assume are for communications. Maybe it can be used to relay messages from the Research Base back to Earth. When you pick up the Rocket to blast off, a transparent flame piece emerges from the thruster cone and the landing legs fold up, which is pretty clever. The sides of the rocket have four gold foil solar panel stickers.

The cockpit module is attached by two technic pieces, so you can detach it. I’m not sure if it’s intentional since it has no propulsion of its own, but I guess it can be used for emergencies if the engine overloads and is about to explode. The cockpit is both roomy and sparse. There’s a place for the pilot to take his helmet off and stow it and there are a couple of control panels on each side.

And then we get to the Research Base itself, which can be broken down into four basic areas: Garage, Research Dome, Lab Pylon and Airlock Pylon. The main body of the base houses the garage, which can be accessed by lifting off the Dome Section. The garage has a little work bay and lots of places for tools. And that’s convenient, because this set comes with a whole bag full of tools! The robot rover can recharge in his little alcove in the back and there’s still room for the rover dozer to come in for repairs. There are hatches to the left and right that lead off to the Pylons.

The transparent dome on the top of the Research Base opens up to allow you access. But only pretend access, because if the dome actually opened, the Minifigs would did of asphyxiation. Inside are sleeping quarters with two beds, a work station, and a hydroponics area. These scientists seem to be focused on growing vegetable life in space, and it looks like they’ve produced some sort of giant mutant carrot. It was fun building all of the plant life, and if you don’t want to follow the instructions, you can just go wild and come with all sorts of fun combinations. The central column has a circular table for coffee mugs, with additional space on thet wo end tables by the beds. There’s a smart-phone accessory, which I think is probably intended as a work tablet.

The pylons contain opening compartments. The shorter pylon has a little laboratory with room for one scientist. On top there are articulated solar panels with foil stickers and a communications dish that can rotate and angle up and down. Open up the pylon and you gain access to the lab. There’s an electron microscope and a containment jar with some microscopic organisms in it. I like to think this lab is isolated because it’s where the real dangerous stuff happens. If any of that deadly alien bacteria escapes, they can just lock it down and vent it into space, doing the infected scientist a kindness by not allowing him to be taken over and consumed from the inside out. Nah, just kidding. I’m sure it’s perfectly safe.

The middle of the longer pylon has the same articulated solar panels on top and opens to reveal an airlock. Here there are some clips to store tools and places for the returning Astronauts to place their helmets when embarking back onto the base.

Beyond the airlock is a corridor that can actually angle upward to allow it to dock with the Lunar Rover vehicle from the previous set. The engineering in the walkway is really cool in that it angles upward while keeping the two end ports perpendicular to the ground. Both the rover and the airlock use the same ports, so you just have to flip up the hatches and the two ports will line up perfectly. If you have some spare technic connectors you can even lock them together.

Wow, what a set! The Lunar Research Base has a lot going on and it took me about two nights to build. It wasn’t a difficult build at all, but there’s just a lot to it. Once it’s done this is a wonderful playset in a box with a bunch of different play patterns and lots of compatibility with the other LEGO City Space sets. It retails for $129.99, but I was able to get a little bit off of it when Amazon was having a LEGO sale. This is just the kind of thing that I would have loved to find under the Christmas Tree when I was a wee lad! I’ve got two more sizeable sets from the LEGO City Space series to build, but next time we look at a LEGO set, it’ll be time to bust out out trusty whips and fedoras!

Indiana Jones Adventure Series: Major Toht and Rene Belloq (Raiders of the Lost Ark) by Hasbro

Just last week I was telling one of my toy collector buddies how I thought Hasbro was probably done with Indiana Jones after this wave and the few exclusives we’ve seen. And then Hasbro went apeshit and showed off something like two-dozen more figures, so boy was I wrong. I guess it makes sense, as The Dial of Destiny has got to be the really, really last time they’re going to wring any money from this license. Also, that newest trailer did not do much for my anticipation. I mean, I adore the first three Indy films, but everything about that trailer seemed tired and old. Will I see it? Yup. And hopefully I’ll be wrong on that count too. Anyway…The rest of the Raiders of the Lost Ark wave from Hasbro’s Indiana Jones 6-inch Adventure Series arrived from Hasbro Pulse, so I’m going to check out the rest of figures in pairs. Today I’ll have a look at the baddies with Renee Belloq and Major Toht and then I’ll swing back next week to look at Sallah and Marion and the Build-A-Ark.

The packaging is the same as what we saw last time with fully enclosed boxes. Inside, the figures comes wrapped in tissue paper with a map printed on it in gold and the accessories and the Build-An-Artifact parts are in a separate bag. I commented about my issues with these enclosed boxes when I looked at Indy, so I won’t go into it again now. I will say that of all the windowless boxes Hasbro has used, I like the look of this series the most. The art design really invokes the film, even if the pictures of the figures can be misleading. Let’s start off with Toht!

I have to admit, I didn’t think Hasbro had the balls to do it, but here we are: A 6-inch scale figure of a Nazi Gestapo torturer is swinging on the pegs down your local toy aisle. I’m also a little amazed that community outrage hasn’t recalled him yet, but it’s hard for me to understand the spectrum of over-sensitivity that the world runs on these days. I found Major Arnold Ernst Toht was one of the more memorable characters in Raiders. He served as both intimidating villain and comic relief, and he had a twisted sense of humor, with lots of memorable moments. There’s a great scene where Indy stops the German caravan and threatens to blow up everyone with a rocket launcher and in the background you can see Toht just walk over to a rock and sit down, like he’s just tired of all this shit and thankful for the rest. I laugh every time! And maybe the reason I’m gassing on about film memories is because I don’t have a lot to say about this figure. It’s an evil guy in a black suit. He has a soft plastic trench coat that fits over his shoulders, very similar to what the vintage Kenner figure had, and looks really good on the figure. It has a little texturing and decent detail in the sleeves and tailoring.

On first pass I think the figure looks good, albeit this is not a figure that required a lot of paint or even sculpted detail. Like I said, it’s a guy in a black suit. I like the exposed white shirt cuffs peeking out from the jacket sleeves, and the white collar and red striped tie looks good too. They did sculpt the tiny pin on the side of his chest, but it is understandably scrubbed of any actual details showing Nazi insignia. He’s got black gloves, with a trigger finger on the right and an accessory holding hand on the left. There’s nothing spectacular here, it’s all very serviceable. But, even the wrath of God couldn’t get Toht’s elbows and knees to bend, so I had to soak him in hot water for about five minutes. I honestly don’t understand it here, because there’s no paint in those areas, just black plastic. What the hell is sticking on these figures? Anyway, the articulation is similar to what we saw with Indy, and while the rotating hinges for the elbows and knees were disappointing for him, they seem a little more appropriate here.

The portrait isn’t bad, but it does fall victim to the fact that it’s hard to do wire-frame glasses well in this scale. The arms of the glasses are kind of thick and the paint isn’t as sharp as it could be. Yeah, those specs look awful. The portrait is a passable likeness for the actor, especially when viewed from straight on. But, there are some horrendous molding seams running up the side of his face that really bring the whole thing down. When I first saw these, I honestly thought the face was detachable and that the swap-out melted face wasn’t the whole head. Lately, the issues of mold flashing and seam lines is something Hasbro needs to get there arms around.

I do find it kind of strange that they made his hat removable, while Indy’s was not, but whatever. It reminds me of the scene where he takes his hat off to wipe his head revealing his male pattern baldness. Let’s move on to accessories!

Toht comes with a Luger pistol, which has a bit more detail than Indy’s revolver. You even get painted grips, which is nice. It’s still very soft and gummy plastic though.

Secondly, you get a swap out right hand with Marion’s Medallion burned into it. I think the sculpting and paint look really good on this piece, but it doesn’t go into the wrist peg all the way and so it looks pretty bad with the peg sticking up like that. I could probably go in there with a razor and shave out the socket in the hand a bit, but I can’t be bothered. Seriously, Hasbro. How do you screw up something as simple as this?

The final accessory is an alternate head with the face melting away, and this is really well done. Sure, the glasses still look bad, but I still think the sculpt and paint look great, and I am absolutely stunned that Hasbro had the balls to include something this grizzly in with the figure. It almost makes up for the shitty fit on the extra hand.

Ultimately, I think Toht is pretty average. There’s a few areas where he excels and a few more where he fails. I definitely think he could have used a few more accessories, like maybe the poker from the bar in Nepal, or the coat hanger that looked like a torture device. Hell, they could have included the actual Medallion with him too. Maybe the extra head ate up the cost on any more accessories. OK, let’s move on to Belloq.

This is Belloq in the Hebrew ceremonial outfit he wore while opening the Ark. We got a similar figure in the original Kenner line and I believe Hasbro did him in the 3 3/4-inch line that came out with Crystal Skull. I’m tempted to say I would have rather had Indy’s rival in his regular clothes and not something this scene specific, but I’ll just come right out and say that this figure looks so good, I guess I’m glad they did it. Sure, this costume gave Hasbro a lot more to work with than Toht’s black suit, but it feels like they just poured the love into this one.

The sculpted robes have a great layered look and the checkered tunic is outstanding. In addition to the sharp paint, there’s some excellent texturing and sculpted floral motifs here and there. The sash is sculpted separately and hangs down the front, and the jeweled chest board is also separate and attached with sculpted gold chains at the shoulders. The paint on the various colored stones looks great! I was expecting the boots and legs to be reused from Indy, but to my surprise they aren’t. Also, there are slits up both sides of the robes so as not to inhibit the leg articulation, and that’s nice, but it’s not like Belloq was doing a lot action poses in this scene.

I think the portrait here is excellent. The likeness is there and you get some incredible definition in the facial sculpt. The creasing around the eyes is particularly impressive. The head wrap has some sculpted Hebrew lettering on the gold plate, and while there’s a little overspray from the gold paint, you have to get in pretty close to notice it. Also, the grim expression just oozes character.

Belloq comes with one accessory, and that’s the Ram’s Head ceremonial staff. The right hand is designed to hold it, while the left hand is flat and evocative of the scene where he holds it over the Ark while reciting the Hebrew liturgy. It’s a great looking accessory with a white ribbed grip running down most of its length and really nice detail in the golden head piece. I do wish we got a second head sculpt with this figure. I realize it would be tough to sculpt Belloq’s head exploding, but I would have loved to see his terrified expression right before it happened. It would look pretty cool displayed next to melted face Toht. Of course, I’d be surprised to get Herman Dietrich, so we couldn’t display all three together anyway, which is a shame.

And that’s the villains for this wave. Toht is merely OK. I don’t hate the figure, but I don’t really love him either. A lot of my issues with him would have been fine on a 3 3/4-inch release, but this is a premium $25 6-inch figure, so I expected more polish. Belloq, on the other hand, turned out to be the breakout star here. The sculpt and paint are top notch, and I love the head sculpt. And since we found out this weekend that we are getting a plain clothes Cairo version of Belloq, I’m happier with this release even more! Next week, I’ll finish off the wave with a look at Marion and Sallah, and we’ll hunt down the Ark of the Covenant!

Silverhawks Ultimates: Bluegrass and Sideman by Super7

Last week, I dipped into the first assortment of Silverhawks figures with a look at Mon-Star and his throne. Today, I’m checking out the first of the Silverhawks themselves. Wave two actually shipped out before wave one, so we got Bluegrass and Steelwill in this assortment. I decided to go with Bluegrass first, because he’s one of my favorites and he’s kind of unique among the Silverhawk team in that he didn’t have to get quite as much body horror surgery done to him to travel to the Limbo Galaxy. He also doesn’t have a face shield and he doesn’t have retractable wings like his comrades. He is, however, an ace pilot and he flies the Silverhawks‘ spaceship, The Miraj. So while the others launch into battle he usually stays behind and strums his guitar or gets into a Battle of the Bands with Melodia! Please, Super7… give us Melodia in the next wave!

By now we know what to expect from Super7’s Ultimates packaging. There’s a foil window box with a foil sleeve that lifts off the top. Mon-Star’s Mob has red foil packages while the Silverhawks have… well, you know. The window shows off the figure and alternate heads very nicely and there’s a second tray nested beneath the top one with even more goodies! I rarely save my action figure boxes, but I dig Super7’s presentation so much that I’ve saved them all. And in terms of storage space, they add up real fast!

When it was first revealed, one of the big controversies about this line was the lack of reflective mental finish on the figures. The original toys by Kenner were vac-metalized and looked quite striking, but even as a kid I was a little bummed that they didn’t look like the cartoon. I think the paint that Super7 went with does a fine job of recreating the way they looked on show, and that’s what I was looking for with these figures. Still, clearly it’s not going to please everyone and think it comes down to a matter of personal taste. Maybe Super7 could do a ReAction line with vac-metal finishes.

In terms of sculpt and paint, Bluegrass reflects an extremely clean and simple design. The body is mostly smooth with some muscle showing, particularly on his back. You get some smooth contours and a few panel lines, but not much of anything else. I absolutely love the color blue they used, which has a subtle sheen to it but really does match the cartoon beautifully. His right arm is exposed from the bicep down, so you get some flesh tone there. The only flourish here is the red neckerchief that hangs around his neck. This is sculpted separately and while it does lay pretty well, it can get displaced when he’s posing. Articulation is precisely what we get with other Super7 Ultimates, which means rotating hinges where double-hinges would have been more welcome. Still, the joints feel good, and I didn’t have any issues with stuck parts. I did, however, get an unfortunate bit of paint rubbing on the right shoulder. It’s only really visible when the joint is extended, but it looks like something that should not have been let out of the factory, so that’s a bummer.

Bluegrass has three different portraits, which include a neutral expression, a smirk, and a smile and a wink. They’re all very nice, but I prefer the later two which do a perfect job of reflecting his personality. I think I’ll get the least use out of the first, and most out of the middle one. The paint on the face is pretty simple, but again, we’re going for a cartoon look and it conveys that pretty well. The paint lines around the contours of the face are particularly sharp. As I mentioned earlier, he doesn’t have a masked mode in the cartoon, but his yellow cowboy hat is removable, and I always loved Bluegrass’ metal mohawk. Unfortunately, poor QC strikes again as there’s some paint rubbing on the mohawk on one of my heads, but at least I’ll have it covered with the hat most of the time.

You get a ridiculous number of hands with this figure. I’m never going to complain about extras, but at some point I have to wonder how many people actually get a lot of use out of so many hands! The basics include fists, relaxed, thumbs up, gripping hands, and some designed to work with his guitar. All of these are really easy to swap out without any fear of snapped joints.

Bluegrass’ main accessory is his trusty guitar, and this is based off the one he used in the cartoon, as opposed to the one that came with the Kenner figure, but more on that later. It’s got some nice detailing on it, and the paint on the tiny strings is amazingly sharp and clean. There’s a soft plastic strap that can be attached so it can hang over his shoulder while he’s playing. The strumming and fret hands work really well with this piece. A always thought it was so wonderfully meta to have Bluegrass actually play the guitar portion of the theme song during the intro.

You get two effect parts that plug into the end of the guitar. The first has become one of my favorite effect parts in recent memory. It’s part blue and part clear plastic with musical notes sculpted into it and it looks exactly like the effect drawn in the cartoon. I love the way this looks so damn much!

The other effect part is just a blue laser, which is still cool, but it’s not laser-made-out-of-pure-music kinda cool. I actually think this is the same effect part we’ll see used as the shoulder lasers for the rest of the Silverhawks.

Bluegrass also comes with two lasso accessories, and unfortunately these aren’t impressive. One is coiled and the other is designed to loop around a figure to capture them. Both are cast in the same gray plastic as the guitar strap. I would have rather the lasso just been a piece of gray wire. These will mostly be staying in the box.

You get no less than three versions of Bluegrass’ avian sidekick, Sideman: Perched, in flight, and in guitar mode. Yes, in the Kenner toyline, each Silverhawk came with a simple bird-themed buddy with some kind of play gimmick. In the cartoon, Tallyhawk was the only bird buddy on the team for quite a while. Eventually, Mon-Star duplicated an army of Sky Shadow, and the Steelheart Twins developed birds for each of the Silverhawks to help combat the flood of Sky Shadows. Sideman’s original toy turned into his guitar and Super7 did a nice job conveying all of those modes separately, instead of trying to give us a toy that transformed.

In the two bird modes, his back is basically the body of a guitar, which kind of reminds me of when jet Transformers just wore the jet mode on their back. I absolutely love these two bird modes, because the original toy was extremely simple, with little to no paint. And while Sideman didn’t feature prominently in the cartoon, it’s still cool to get a fully painted and nicely sculpted version from the animation. These are both static pieces, but the talons are soft enough to cling to Bluegrass’ arm. I’m impressed that he can hold both with his arm out and still balance on his own.

And finally, you get Sideman in his guitar mode. This is a bit smaller than his cartoon accurate guitar, but has some excellent paint and has the bird features throughout, with the wings “folded” behind the guitar’s main body. You also get a shoulder strap for this guitar and the fret and strum hands work well with this guitar too. My only complaint here is that it is not compatible with the effect parts. Mostly likely, I’ll always be displaying Bluegrass with the cartoon guitar and the perched version of Sideman beside him.

While fans of the Kenner toyline may scoff, I really dig what Super7 is doing with this line. Bluegrass looks like he stepped right out of the cartoon, and that’s exactly what I was looking for. I also really appreciate how they are still paying homage to the bird companions, even though they didn’t get introduced until late in the TV series. I will toss out the one caveat that the QC could have used a bit more polish. There’s nothing here that egregious, but paint rubs on the shoulder and the mohawk really do hamper things a bit, and from what I hear some of the figures are shipping with a lot worse. I’ll have more to say about the QC when I check out Steelwill, but hopefully, Super7 can get that sort of stuff under control when the intended first wave finally ships.