Star Wars Black (The Mandalorian): Heavy Infantry Mandalorian by Hasbro

Six episodes in and I am still enjoying the hell out of The Mandalorian. And I’m overjoyed that Hasbro has released at least a few action figures from these episodes. Sure, there’s opportunity for plenty more. Sure, I’m hoping Hasbro goes full guns on this series. But whatever happens, I’m still plenty happy with what we’ve got. Today I’m having a look at the Heavy Infantry Mandalorian who turned up in Chapter 3: The Sin.

I’ve got nothing new to say about the packaging, other than this box is a little wider than most Black Series packages, and that’s to accommodate the extra gear. And in keeping with tradition, we don’t know a hell of a lot about this character. Well, other than he seems like a real prick at first. He even picks a fight with the titular Mando, to the point where the vibro-blades come out, all in what seems to be mostly a case of misplaced jealousy. But in the end Mr Heavy proves that Mandalorians stick together when he jumps in to support Mando as he breaks bad with his employers.

What we do know is that this guy is an absolute bruiser and that his armor and gear (at least to me) step just a little bit closer to Boba Fett’s familiar armor. I think a lot of that comes from the helmet and the forearm armor. Unlike most of the other Mandos, this guy is armored up from head to toe with the sculpted under-suit really only showing in his upper thighs and his elbows. This guy has obviously proven himself, because his armor is so complete and in relatively good condition. Not to mention that with his heft, it must have taken a lot of that precious besker steel to outfit him. The armor itself is pretty smooth and simple with a mostly blue deco. The exception is in the brown kneepads, lower right leg, and left leg cuff. It gives him that slightly ragtag look, like maybe those are the last pieces he needs to upgrade when he gets his next big score. The forearms feature some nice detailing in the way of panel lines and gizmos, and he’s got a hefty belt with a number of brown pouches, each with painted snaps. The armor is rounded out with some sparing and effective silver brushed weathering, some of which is emphasized in the sculpt with pockmarks and dents. This is a great looking figure!

Of course, one of the big draws in this design is the weaponized jetpack, which looks passingly familiar to the one worn by Boba. This one lacks the central missile and seems to have beefier thrusters, but makes up for it by powering two pretty impressive weapons via two cables. The heavier segmented cable coming out of the right side attaches to his big gatling laser, somewhat reminiscent to the one worn by Baze Malbus in Rogue One. And I’ll come back to the gatling laser in a bit.

The smaller gray cable attaches to the weapon mounted on the left gauntlet. I haven’t re-watched the episode recently, but I don’t remember him actually using the gauntlet weapon, so I’m not sure what it’s supposed to be. Maybe just a big-ass flame thrower? That would be cool.

The helmet also strikes me as more reminiscent of Boba’s than the one worn by The Mando, but I think that has to do with the pock marks and the range finder. The helmet is mostly blue to match the rest of the armor, and features lighter blue paint apps for the “cheeks” and more of that silver brushed weathering. The range finder is on the left side of the helmet, is sculpted in place, and a lot beefier than the one on Boba’s helmet. I dig it!

And how about that big-ass blaster! That’s how you make a statement! This beast of a weapon looks like the kind of thing that would be mounted on a tripod, but they don’t call this guy Heavy Infantry Mando for nothing. He’s up to the task to wield this thing like a champ. The weapon can be pegged into the side of the jetpack for storage, and I’m impressed that even with all this gear on his back, the figure has no problems standing up. The giant death stick is just packed with sculpted detail, has some beautiful silver and blue paintwork near the muzzle and barrels, and even features a swiveling hand grip on the top allowing him to hold the weapon perfectly in a number of firing positions.

 

Oh boy, do I love this figure! Naturally, it would be great to get figures of all the Mandalorians in the series, but if we only get one, I’m glad they went with this one. He’s an absolutely gorgeous figure from sculpt to paint, and his giant weapon and near perfect balance makes him loads of fun to pose and play with. And I’m kind of glad that he didn’t turn out to be a total asshole by the end of the episode. Will we be seeing more of him? Well, we don’t have many episodes left, so who knows? I can’t imagine how the writers will spend the last two episodes they have wrapping things up, but I’m excited to find out.

Marvel Legends: The Punisher War Machine by Hasbro

I was going to keep pressing on with the Wendigo Wave this week, and I probably still will next Marvel Monday, but for today I decided to take this detour and have a look at another one-off Exclusive. It’s Frank Castle wearing the Punisher-branded War Machine armor! I want to say this one was exclusive to Gamestop, but I grabbed it off of Amazon, so I wasn’t really paying attention. It’s a figure that I was not going to go crazy hunting down, but when it popped up in my recommendations at just a few bucks over retail, I took a bite.

The package is pretty much the same old stuff, but I particularly love the deco on this one. The art on the side panels looks great and the War Machine logo on the bottom front panel with The Punisher spray painted over it is just plain awesome. There’s not much of a blurb on the back, but the figure references The Punisher #218-220 where he adopted the War machine armor after Rhodey was killed in Civil War II. As a concept in the comics, the idea really tickled me, and as a device to sell a repaint of a figure, well it works for that too. But in all honesty, I don’t think you even need to be familiar with the circumstances to get a kick out of this one.

And yes, this is a repaint, but a repaint of one of the few Marvel Legends figures I don’t own. Yeah, I was shocked too, but apparently War Machine Mk III came in a two-pack with that garishly colored “Disco” Iron Man and I couldn’t see clear to dropping $40 on it. Hey, looks like sometimes I do exercise self control. Go me! Anyway, at least that means this figure is new to me, and it turns out that it’s pretty damn good! The Mark III armor looks a lot beefier than the previous Legends War Machine from the Hulkbuster Wave and I dig that. The bulk of the figure is cast in a dark gray with a little speckling to give it a pretty convincing metal look. Indeed, both the sculpt and coloring of the plastic conspire to make this figure look heavier and more substantial than it actually is… a lot like armor! Some basic paint apps on the body include silver brushed weathering, which looks quite effective, some silver accents, and bright blue paint hits to signify the blasters on his gauntlets. And then you’ve got the new stuff for The Punisher deco!

Yeah, this stuff looks great! It not only includes his iconic skull emblem on the chest, but also some kill counts in the form of tiny Punisher logos. He also retains the “000” on the right bicep. The head hasn’t changed as much, retaining the silver face plate and blue eyes. On the downside, repainting an MCU suit means that this guy doesn’t quite match the suit we saw in the comics, which had more of an organic design to it, particularly in the legs. But when the end result looks this good, I can live with that.

The figure comes with a fair number of accessories to mix and match. First off, he has twin machine guns, which can tab in under his forearms with hinged drop-down magazines. These can also be stored by tabbing them into his hips. Instead of popping out of the armor, I presume he just touches his forearms to his hips and they attach and equip. It’s a cool concept, but I’m not really in love with the designs of these things. They barely look like guns at all.

There are notches behind his shoulders for his other accessories, the shoulder cannon and the baton. There’s a cannon barrel that plugs in on the left shoulder to make it look like the cannon is retracted and just pointing up, while the right shoulder takes a piece that looks like the hilt of his baton where it is supposed to be stored.

By replacing the left shoulder piece with the fully articulated cannon, it can look like it’s been deployed for action. The cannon features a bright blue paint app on the edge of the barrel and it can rotate left and right.

As for the baton, you just pull out the partial baton piece and use the full one in either of his hands. Yes, there are two accessory-holding hands to replace the fists. The baton may seem silly when considering the awesome arsenal of the War Machine armor, but I like it. It’s one of Punisher’s trademarks and it’s addition helps drive home that this is indeed Frank Castle in the suit.

And just to try it out, the Castle head from my Retro Wave Punisher does fit, sort of. It doesn’t actually lock down and secure, but it looks fine balanced on that ball joint if you’re going for an unmasked look. I think it works great.

For a figure that I was content to skip, I found this one to be a really pleasant surprise. Maybe a lot of that has to do with the fact that I don’t own the original War Machine version of this sculpt, but I also think that it’s just a great idea and a fun figure, regardless. Sure, a few of the attachments could have used some refinement, but now I’m just nitpicking. Indeed, I like this figure so much, I may just circle back and pick up that original one in the two-pack.

Reaction Robotech by Super7

It’s been another trying week for me, and by that I mean trying to get time to contribute any content here. To be honest, the one day I had any meaningful time, I spent being a lazy slob and reading comics and drinking whiskey, so I have no one but myself to blame. I almost wasn’t even going to bother checking in at all today, but then I got a huge lot of Reaction figures from Super7 that were on sale and I decided I’d drop in today with a quick look at some of them, or to be more specific… the Robotech line! If you’re not familiar with it, the Reaction line has had its share of ups and downs. It started with good intentions, take the original prototypes of the never produced Alien figures and release them. There were probably more than a few other licenses this would have worked with, like The Last Starfighter, which also had unproduced figures. But then Funko went berserk and started producing them for every license they can get a hold of. Some of these were pretty cool. I liked the 80’s Slashers and the Big Trouble in Little China figures, but a lot of them were just garbage. Well, Super7 has taken back their ball and it looks like they’re doing some interesting things with it. They produced six figures in this Robotech line, but I’m only looking at three of them today.

Robotech was huge for me growing up. Back then, I didn’t know that it was a cobbled together mess of something called Macross, but in that regard I guess it was the first anime series I was exposed to. I loved it and I wanted those Matchbox toys something fierce. I never got them, because my parents were shrewd about me investing in toy lines I already collected rather than branching out, and in retrospect it was a good idea. Nonetheless, when I first got wind Super7 was doing Reaction Robotech, I dreamed of seeing Rick Hunter, Roy Fokker, and the like all on beautiful cardbacks. And who knows? Maybe even some bigger vehicles. Well, Super7 went a different way and gave us the vehicles instead. It was a weird move to make, especially in the 3 3/4-inch scale, and so I passed until a few turned up cheap. Ultimately I picked up The SDF-1, VF-1S, and a Zentraedi Battle Pod. I’m not opening these, but we’ll take a quick look at them in package.

The SDF-1 is obviously the biggest of the bunch, although since it isn’t in scale, the card size is the same as the others. The card art is pretty cool, especially the way it shows it towering above the city-scape. The figure itself is a great sculpt for a figure in this size and I think the coloring is pretty on point too. It strides the fine line between being retro and actually looking like a decent figure. Articulation includes swivels in the shoulders and hips, and I’m not sure if the head can turn or not. This one was easily the most unlikely candidate for this type of figure, but in the end, I think they did a nice job with it. The back of the card has a little blurb about the vehicle as well as artwork for each of the six figures available in this line.

Next up is the VF-1S Veritech Fighter, and as the back of the package points out, it’s Roy Fokker’s Skull One. Once again, this is a decent sculpt for the format, although the proportions feel a bit off on this one. I feel like the legs should be longer and beefier to make up for the broad shoulders, but maybe they were intentionally going for a certain retro charm. The paint on the figure is especially well done, with the appropriate black and yellow accents and the Jolly Roger stamped on the chest. You get the straight five points of articulation and there’s a rifle included. The rifle can be held in the hand or clipped to the forearm.

And finally, here is the Zentaedi Battle Pod, and I think this is without a doubt the best looking of the bunch. The sculpt is simple, but it looks dead on, and the paint looks great. Because of the unusual design, the articulation is a little different. You still get rotating legs at the hips, but there’s obviously no arms or head. Instead, Super7 gave the guns ball joints, which is a mighty nice surprise, especially for a figure in a strictly 5-POA style collection.

I dig these figures quite a bit, but I haven’t decided whether or not I’m going to complete the series, and I probably won’t buy doubles to open unless I can find them for really cheap. As is the case with a lot of Reaction figures, the appeal here is supposed to be in the presentation. On that note, I probably would have preferred Super7 went with screen grabs from the cartoon for the card art, or even just copies of the animation models. Don’t get me wrong, I like what we got here, but direct art from the show would have been better suited to what they’re doing here. And I’d still like to see Super7 expand this line to the actual characters from the show. I’d buy all of those in a heartbeat.

Marvel Legends (Wendigo Wave): Cannonball and X-Force Wolverine by Hasbro

Welcome to another Marvel Monday! I’m doubling up today in a never-ending effort to get caught up on the unopened Pile of Shame© in my closet. Yeah, it still feels like digging a hole in the sand, but for the first time in a while, I feel like I don’t have quite as many Marvel Legends coming in, so maybe I am getting a little closer to being current.

And let’s just go ahead and hit the Wendigo Wave again, because most of that assortment is on top of the Pile and I don’t feel like digging through it only to have it collapse and bury one of my cats in the avalanche. Plus, Cannonball and X-Force Wolverine are a couple of figures that I think I can do proper justice to in a somewhat abbreviated format. I’m going to start with Wolverine!

I was expecting X-Force Wolverine to be mostly a repaint of the Logan we got back in the Juggernaut Wave some three years ago, and while I was partially right, there is just enough new sculpting here to make it feel a little fresh. The main changes are in the forearms and lower legs. The previous figure featured the flared comic-style boots, whereas this one sports a pair of heavier combat-style kicks with chunky treads. On the arms, he’s got heavy gauntlets and the more robust blades protruding from his fists. Unfortunately and inexplicably, Hasbro omitted the extra pair of claw-less fists and that sucks. What’s the deal, Hasbro? There was certainly plenty of room in the package for them. Finally, we get a new belt, this time with the X-logo on the buckle. With the recycled body comes identical articulation, right down to those wonderful extra crunches in the shoulders.

I was surprised to see a few sculpting tweaks to the head. It’s nothing major, but welcome all the same. My only complaint here is that the features on the lower half of his face are a little soft, like they were on the previous release. The gray and black deco looks great on the mask and the eyes are painted red giving him a distinctly sinister look.

The rest of the suit is repainted in the X-Force colors, giving us that sharp black and gray combo with the space behind the X on the buckle red. Nitpickers will have prime opportunity to complain that the pegs inside the knee hinges are left unpainted, thus showing gray in a field of black. The elbow hinges aren’t effected because his elbows are left bare. The paint lines on my figure are pretty crisp and clean, although there is a bit of gray on the black area of his chest. All in all, X-Force Wolverine is a solid variant that fills a very obvious hole in the Legends X-Men roster. It’s a well put together figure, and seeing as how long it’s been since the Juggsy Wave, I’m not complaining about seeing this one again so soon. Let’s move on to Cannonball!

Oh boy! There’s two ways for me to approach Cannonball. One is based on what we got, and one is based on what we didn’t get, and y’all no doubt know where I’m going here. What we got is pretty great. From the waist up the sculpt is excellent. He features his purple bombers jacket, brown gauntlets, and a painted white shirt.

The portrait is also pretty great. He’s got a rather fierce expression with the kind of gritted teeth one would have if one was shooting explosive force out one’s lower half. The goggles and aviator style cap look fantastic, especially with his short blonde hair spilling out the top of it. I got no complaints here!

From the waist down we get this effect part of Cannonball flexing his Mutant abilities and blasting off. It’s a decent looking piece, although I would have liked a little more paint around the transition between his body and the blast effect. As it is, it’s just a sharp and jarring line where the effect part plugs into the waist. Ahh, but maybe that’s a minor gripe, especially where I’m going next. That’s right, Cannoball has no legs, and this is outright inexcusable, and yeah, I know I already used that word in this review about Logan’s missing fists. I get it, throwing in a normal lower half for Cannonball is a lot more costly than repacking a couple of fists for Wolverine, and yet I can’t help but feel it’s the more outrageous omission of the two. Hasbro gets so many things right with Legends. They go above and beyond so many times. To not include a normal lower half for Cannonball is just so wrong. And as good as the effect part looks, the figure still looks kind of dopey just standing there on it. It feels like it should have been sculpted with a wider base that would have allowed Sam to be on an angle like he’s in flight.

So, today’s Marvel Monday was a real mixed bag. X-Force Wolverine is fine, so long as you weren’t expecting anything terribly new and exciting. It’s just a costume change, and not a terribly dramatic one at that, and that’s OK. Cannonball is superb from the waist up, the effect part is fine, and what’s here is so much better than the one we got from the old Legends line in that two-pack with Domino. But not being able to display him with his powers turned off really sucks. Maybe Hasbro will do right by us and toss in those legs in a later wave, but at this point I kind of doubt it. At best, I’m thinking we might just get an apology figure with legs in a future multi-pack. And you know what? I’ll be the idiot that lines up to buy it!

Star Wars Black (The Mandalorian): Cara Dune by Hasbro

We’re four episodes (five if you count today!) into The Mandalorian, the new Star Wars series on Disney+, and I’m happy to say that I’m enjoying it a whole hell of a lot. It’s refreshingly simple, well crafted, and the backdrop is rich with the Star Wars Universe. I already reviewed the Black Series figure of the titular character, and now I’m back to check out Cara Dune, a character that made her appearance the very same week that her figure was hitting my doorstep. Now that’s some pin-point timing on your distribution, Hasbro! Too bad you ain’t got none of them Baby Yoda’s to sell. What? Mattel is making that? WHAT?? It won’t be out until later next year? What the hell is going on over there, Disney? Don’t you and Hasbro like money anymore???

Setting aside the lack of Yoda Babies, we are introduced to Cara Dune in Chapter Four: Sanctuary, which plays out like an old episode of The A-Team. Or that episode of Enterprise where they have to defend a colony against Klingon raiders by teaching the locals how to fight. Here, The Mandalorian and his new associate, Cara, must defend a village from raiders who also happen to have a pet droidified AT-ST and they need to improvise. Despite an eye-rolling cliche clip of the villagers getting drilled with the use of quarter-staffs, it was most enjoyable and the script does a nice job fleshing out Cara’s character and actress, Gina Carano does an equally fine job bringing her to life. I’m presume we’ll be seeing more of her, but instead of speculating, let’s have a look at her figure.

As a former Rebel fighter and all around roughian, Cara comes sporting a set of armored fatigues that look right at home in the Star Wars Universe. The ensemble consists of a chest-plate, shoulder armor, grieves on her forearms, and a single right knee-guard, because to hell with the left knee, right? The outfit is all part of the body sculpt, which makes some nice use of texture for the chest and back pieces, as well as the outer portions of the legs. She’s got a couple of sculpted gear belts, one of which supports a working holster on her right hip. Her boots have sculpted wraps leading up to her knees as well as some code cylinders strapped to her lower right leg. The blue, gray, and black deco is certainly distinctive, and there are plenty of silver paint hits to the buckles and gear. There’s also some very nice weathering on her armor, which looks good and is used sparingly. Finally, a tattooed segmented band encircles her right bicep. The sculpt and paint here are both excellent, and I also dig how the figure’s build matches Carno’s powerful stature.

And speaking of matching, the portrait here is a pretty solid likeness for the actress, but I don’t think it’s among their best. I think it’s very good from certain angles, but from others it loses me a little. But hey, if we’re grading the Black Series on a curve because of some truly lackluster portraits, I think this one still ranks in around a B+. Not as good as what we’re seeing from Hasbro’s Marvel Cinematic Universe figures from down the hall, but I’m not going to quibble about it. The hair is particularly well done, sculpted separately from the head and covering part of her right face, while strands fall down the other side between her cheek and ear.

I’ve already mentioned the functional holster, which holds her blaster pistol, and includes a retaining strap that fastens with a peg and hole. We got to see this weapon up close and personal in her battle with The Mando and it features a lot of great detail in the sculpt as well as painted grips. The pistol strikes me as a little demure for her, but nevertheless it appears faithful to its on screen counterpart. She can hold it in either hand, but it works best in the right hand with the hooked trigger finger fitting through the trigger guard.

Next up, she comes with a little combat knife, which can be held in either hand. I struggled for a bit to figure out where this goes on her outfit before spotting a little slot on the side of her left boot. It’s a simple accessory, but still quite welcome.

And finally, Cara comes with a weapon that seems more suited to her stature and that’s this heavy blaster rifle. This big boom-stick features a cool over-under double-barrel design, not to mention two big drums of whatever passes for ammo in the Star Wars Universe these days. Like the pistol, there’s some excellent detail work on this weapon, brown paint on the grip and stock, and it includes a grab bar on the top so that Cara can wield it with both hands.

It also includes a shoulder strap, so she can carry it on her back. Nice!

At a time when I’ve been considering slowing down on the 6-inch Black Series, Cara comes along and rekindles my interest in this line. Or perhaps it’s more accurate to say that’s the case for The Mandalorian in general. I don’t see myself buying a lot of figures from Rise of Skywalker, because I just don’t think I’m going to end up liking the film all that much. Hopefully time will prove me wrong. But The Mandalorian is another story entirely and I sincerely hope that Hasbro starts pumping out figures from this line at a quick pace. There’s already quite a few that I’d like to see from the first handful of episodes.

Transformers Siege: Prowl and Barricade by Hasbro

It’s been a real struggle for me to get back to three reviews a week. I mean, you can see how well it’s been working out for me. So, until I get there again, In an effort to get caught up, I’m going to be trying to bundle reviews a bit more often, especially when it’s appropriate. And when I’ve got two Transformers police cars from the same mold waiting to be opened, this seems like one of those appropriate times. Let’s check out Prowl and Barricade!

If you comb back through FFZ, you will find evidence of my undying love for Prowl. The original G1 toy was one of my first Transformers, it was my favorite Autobot mold, and whenever I played with my convertorobots, he stood prominently as Optimus Prime’s first lieutenant and all around right-hand-bot. Hell, even when I watched the Sunbow cartoon I would lament and stew over the fact that Prowl wasn’t in it more often. I’ve been patiently waiting for my boy here to get a proper toy update. After all, the Classics version has aged horribly and the Combiner Wars version was really never more than a place-holder for me. As for Barricade, well I’m not someone who’s anxious to see a lot of Bayverse Transformers shoe-horned into my regular Transformers line, but I will admit that seeing Barricade turn up in Siege has intrigued me a bit. He was one of the cool things I liked about the original film and doing him as a repaint of Prowl seemed like a no-brainer. So let’s start with the alt modes!

Obviously, Siege is focused on Cybertronian alt modes, so my hopes for a proper Datsun are quickly dashed. What we get instead is a Cybertronian interpretation of the Datsun and it looks remarkably like its Earth counterpart. The only big difference is the atrophied cabin, after all these aren’t supposed to be vehicles for meat-bags, and the translucent wheels for cruising down alien roads. There are also some exaggerated contours to give the body more of a futuristic flavor. And hey, I can get behind all of this just fine. Prowl’s white body and black trim certainly looks familiar and while the Cybertronian script on the sides is unintelligible to me, it mimics the police markings just fine. There’s even a light-bar and an off-set Autobot emblem on the front of the hood. I dig it.

 

As for Barricade, he retains a good deal of his coloring from the first film and I’ll be the first to say this deco looks great. A black-and-gray body with white doors and the same alien “police” script on them gives us a perfect Cybertronian nod to the Bayverse Decepticon. The translucent purple used for the faux canopy is gorgeous and the same plastic is used for the wheels as well. The snappy new deco is tied together with a Decepticon emblem stamped on the front of the hood. It’s a great looking car!

Each figure comes with a weapon, which can be plugged into the light-bar for those rolling highway battles. Prowl’s actually resembles his G1 gun quite a bit, while Barricade’s is a double-barreled weapon which can split into two pistols. Transforming these guys is a pretty straight-forward variation of the original toy. Sure, it’s a bit more complicated, but not too much. I was able to get these guys to robot mode and back without any instructions, so you know it can’t be that hard. So how’s about them robot modes?

Yeah, what we have is very similar to the Prowl I know and love. His proportions aren’t quite perfect, as he strikes me as having extra broad shoulders. It’s a similar style to Siege Sideswipe and it is not by any means a deal-breaker for me. Quite the contrary, I think these guys look fantastic. The jutting hood chest remains my all-time favorite Autobot design, complimented by the door wings. Conspicuously absent is any sign of shoulder-mounted guns, giving all the third-party companies out there a chance to make some money. The lower legs still form out of the hatchback, but in this case heel-spurs are added to fold out and grant stability. These guys aren’t quite as well polished when viewed from the back, but I’ve certainly seen worse.

As for the decos, they remain pretty faithful to their respective car coloring. Prowl adds some yellow paint accents on his lower chest as well as the sergeant stripes on his biceps, which is just a lovely touch. Barricade adds a new color to the mix, which is like a pale gray-lavender for his arms, upper legs, and torso. As with all Siege figures, there’s a lot of detail to the sculpts by way of panel lining, and Barricade shows these off much better because of the lighter color plastic.

If you’re looking for a G1-faithful portrait, Prowl’s head sculpt is just about perfect. I don’t think I would change a thing about it. The “helmet” is well defined and includes the red horns jutting out from the center ridge. His noble Autobot face features some snappy silver paint. I’d go so far as to rate this portrait right up there with the Masterpiece version, it really is that good!

For Barricade, I’m happy to say that Hasbro designed a brand new face because the f’ugly Bayverse bug-faces just don’t belong in this line, and I really like what they did with it. His facial features aren’t quite as sharp as Prowl’s, but he does look appropriately grim. The brown face is an interesting choice and I suppose it goes well with his darker deco. The “helmet” is similar to Prowl’s as it shares the central crest with protruding horns, in this case purple, but there’s enough differences to set it apart and make it distinctive.

Obviously the guns we saw in their alt modes can be wielded in their hands. Once again, Prowl’s pays homage to the original G1 figure’s gun and is cast in white plastic. Barricade’s can be used as a single weapon or split into two pistols.

So far Siege has failed to truly disappoint me and that track record isn’t going to be upset today. Prowl and Barricade are excellent figures, and coming from me, that’s saying something because I hold my Prowl figures to high standards. Actually, I’m usually just happy enough to get them at all, but in this case Hasbro did the design proud in both robot and vehicle modes. These guys look great, are quick and easy to transform, and they are tons of fun to play around with. Of course, we haven’t seen the last of this mold, and Siege Smokescreen will be hitting my doorstep sometime next week. I probably could have waited and reviewed all three together, but I’ll just have to come back and give him his own look when I get the time.

Marvel Legends: Emma Frost (Walgreens Exclusive) by Hasbro

Folks, I’m really trying to get back to a regular three-post rotation for content each week, but it hasn’t been easy. I almost had it last week, but stuff came up and I just didn’t have the time. Maybe this week will be different. In the meantime, it’s another Monday, and that means time to open another Marvel Legends. And today I am once again forgoing random chance and taking a look at a figure that was just pitched at my porch by an Amazon delivery driver. It’s the Walgreens Exclusive Emma Frost!

No, that’s no mistake. I had to go to Amazon to get this figure, which is unusual because my Walgreens has been pretty good at getting their exclusives on the shelves. I’m not sure if I missed this one, or just didn’t get lucky, but when I saw her turn up on Amazon at a sort of reasonable price, I gave up on my luck changing and jumped at the chance. Hasbro’s last crack at Frost wasn’t exactly a 10 out of 10, but I still would have been happy to have found her at a price that wouldn’t have prohibited me eating for a week.

And yes, this new release is sort of a consolation prize, because she isn’t Emma in her traditional white costume. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of Dark Reign, and I can’t deny the appeal of the black costume, but seeing as how this is currently my only Emma Frost on my Legends shelf, it’s not the iconic look I would have preferred. In terms of sculpting, this is one of those figures that relies heavily on paint to create the costume. Her black one-piece is all paint, with skin-tone recreating the split down the middle. Likewise, her sleeves are painted to be cropped short, and even her thigh-high stockings are painted with some gray lines running across them. She has high-heels, which I’m sure we’ve seen before, and there are separate pieces that hang around her wrists and ankles to create the illusion of the tops of her boots and gloves.

From the neck down the only other new stuff we get is a wide belt, a pair of shoulder armor, and her jacket-cape-thingy. I do really dig the slight billowing effect of her cape, and the sculpted stitch lines are a great touch. She also features red branded X’s on her shoulders, which I don’t really remember from the art, but I like them all the same. With that having been said, everything looks pretty good, although there’s fair amount of black paint spray around her chest. At least the silver buckle and eyelets on her belt are neatly painted.

The head sculpt here is absolutely fantastic. She’s very pretty and the paintwork is a heck of a lot more crisp and clean than some of those lines on her costume. The metallic blue lipstick is a nice touch too. The blonde hair is sculpted as a separate piece of plastic, which gives it that lovely degree of depth. It partially hides her right ear and the left side of her face.

The articulation here follows the usual Legends gal pattern. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and elbows. The wrists are on rotating pins, allowing you to swap the hands between fists and the open magic-casting hands we’ve seen plenty of times before. The legs have ball jointed hips, double-hinges in the knees, swivels at the tops of her stockings, and ankles with both hinges and lateral rockers. And yes, it is a royal paint in the butt to get her to stand with those heels, but hey who needs practical when they look that good, eh? Finally, Emma has a ball joint under her chest and a hinged ball joint in her neck.

And in case you thought I forgot, Emma does come with a second head sculpt featuring her shorter cropped hair and metallic red lipstick. It’s every bit as good as the other head, possibly even a tad better, but you know what? It’s also like a big F*CK YOU to me, because now I have a perfectly iconic Emma Frost head without an iconic body to put it on.

Does it sound like I’m a little angry at this figure? Eh, I’m really not. It’s a great looking figure and certainly not a bad addition to my Legends line-up, but it isn’t the Emma Frost I wanted. Hell, I don’t even have any Dark X-Men to display her with on the shelf. Hey, Hasbro! There’s a great idea for an Amazon Exclusive. Do a Dark X-Men six-pack like you did with A-Force and Alpha-Flight to go along with this Emma. Hell, most of them would just be repaints anyway, and dopes like me will buy it. Anyway, Consolation Prize Emma set me back $28 on Amazon with that lovely free Prime shipping. So, yeah, I had to pay a premium for her, but at least I didn’t get too beaten up. Now if only Danni Moonstar would drop a couple of bucks, I’d bite the bullet and pick her up as well.

Star Wars Black (Solo): Han Solo (Mimban) and Chewbacca by Hasbro

So, the other night I re-watched Solo on Disney+ and about half way through it I got up, dug out all the Black Series figures from the movie that were on my Pile of Shame© and had a hell of a time ripping them open while finishing the movie. And since I did that, I thought I’d go ahead and start reviewing them in pairs. I’ve already looked at quite a few figures from the film, and today I’m pressing on with Han Solo in his Mudtrooper uniform and his new found friend, Chewbacca.

Of all the Star Wars films, both good and bad, Solo feels like the one that just kind of came and went. The lead up to its release seemed to be dominated by talks of messy production and re-shoots, but once it hit the theaters I don’t recall hearing much about it, other than it was a disappointment for Disney at the Box Office and it resulted in them tabling any future plans for the Star Wars Story films. Me? I enjoyed it quite a bit in the theater and I’ve probably watched it two or three more times since it hit Blu-Ray. And now that I find myself casually viewing it again on Disney’s streaming service, I have to say that it’s held up just fine each time and other than a certain shoe-horned cameo at the end, I’ve got no complaints. Let’s start out by looking at Han.

Serving with the 224th Imperial Armored Division, Corporal Han Solo in his Imperial Mudtrooper outfit is a figure that I was anxious to get my hands on. I loved the whole sequence in the film and I really dig this particular uniform. It’s a nice blend of familiar Imperial fashion call-outs with some new stuff thrown in, and Hasbro put an exceptional amount of work into making this figure something special. Here it is stripped down to the basics with the familiar cuirass previously seen worn by the AT-AT Commanders. The backside of the armor features a sculpted backpack sort of thing with some detailed panels. The cuirass is not removable and is sculpted over what looks like a fairly typical Imperial Officer’s uniform tunic, but with added shoulder armor and bicep armor, with the right bicep painted red. The high boots feature a liberal dusting of what is probably supposed to be mud, but it actually looks like it would work well for snow or ash. In addition to the dirtied up boots, there’s some absolutely lovely weathering applied to the cuirass. Even if this was all there was to the figure, I’d have been happy, but there’s plenty of gear to add on to him. But before getting to that…

Let’s talk about the portrait! Hasbro has had some troubles in the past getting Harrison Ford’s likeness as Solo quite right, but I Think they’ve had a lot more luck with Alden Ehrenreich. Their first figure from the film looked great, and I think the likeness on this one is another direct hit. The hair and contours of the face are right on the money, as are pretty much all the facial features. And the printing used for the face is also excellent. OK, let’s start loading him up!

The extra uniform pieces consist of a cape, a helmet, goggles, and a breather mask. The cape features some particularly great sculpting and weathering, and I like that it’s not too cumbersome, because even as it is, it seems like the most impractical thing to include on an infantry uniform. [OK, that was only true until I realized it’s probably a rain poncho and not a cape.] It’s designed to tab into two notches on his shoulders, but mine doesn’t like to do that, which isn’t a big problem because it stays on just fine by hugging his shoulders.

The helmet fits perfectly and includes a chin-strap. The breather mask has two partially sculpted straps that hold it on simply by friction and the tubes run behind the head and plug into the holes on the top of the backpack. Finally, the goggles can be worn up on the helmet or down over the eyes. One of my frequent complaints about the Black Series is that it doesn’t often make use of the larger scale, but here’s a figure that really does. I’m sure all of this could have been done in the smaller 3 3/4-inch scale, but I don’t think it could have been quite as well executed as it is here. I mean, it would have been much easier to just sculpt the goggles, helmet, and mask all as one piece, but I’m happy to see Hasbro rose to the challenge here.

The final accessory in the box is Han’s E-10 blaster rifle. It’s a nice change-up form the usual Imperial small arms and features some great detail in the sculpt. The forearm grip is even folded down so it can be held in both hands. And since I’m looking at two figures today, I’m just going to skip the usual run-down of articulation. There’s nothing new here, and I’ll just say how I wish Black Series made use of double-hinged elbows like Marvel Legends does. The rotating hinges are OK, but I would really like a better range of motion in those elbows. Moving on to Chewbacca…

I actually don’t have a whole heck of a lot to say about Chewie here. I was actually going to pass on this figure, but I found it on sale and I decided I needed him to stand beside young Han Solo. It seems to borrow the same body sculpt as the original Black Series Chewie, but with a very different paint job. Gone is the more uniform brown and in its place is a mix of dark brown and light tan. Unfortunately, I don’t think the new paint does the sculpt any favors. It looks very basic and the radical differences in color shades makes this look more like an animated version of Chewie to me. Maybe a wash would have helped. Of course, Chewie’s more familiar bandoleer strap is replaced here with the Y-shaped baldric and satchel.

We do get an entirely new head sculpt, which I think is a fairly solid and I dig the goggles, which have an elastic strap and can be worn up on his forehead or down over his eyes. Once again, I’m going to take the lazy way out and not run down the articulation. I’ll just refer you to my review of the original Black Series Chewbacca review from many years ago.

Chewbacca comes with the blaster rifle he wielded in the film. I’m not sure what this one is called, but it’s a formidable weapon for a formidable Wookie. The sculpt features loads of detail, the forearm grip is painted brown, and there’s a small side grip that’s actually articulated and can fold in or out. It’s a great looking gun, I just wish they had re-sculpted Chewie’s left hand so that he could hold it by the forearm.

In the end I couldn’t be happier with the way Mimban Han turned out. It’s rare that I can give the Black Series the nod for going above and beyond, but Hasbro did just that on this figure. All the removable gear makes him lots of fun, and he’s just a great looking figure. Chewie isn’t quite as big a success story. There’s a lot of recycling here and the paint just doesn’t do the sculpt any favors. It’s not a terrible figure by any means, and I’m ultimately glad I got him, but I’m also glad I didn’t have to pay full price for him. And I have to say, it’s been fun going back and checking out figures from Solo. So much so that I may try to squeeze a couple more into the mix next week.

Marvel Legends (Wendigo Wave): Guardian by Hasbro

The Marvel Legends Alpha Flight six-figure set just landed on my door and I want to dig into it more than anything! But, I also know that I’m going to need to set aside some serious time to do that, so today’s not-at-all random pick for Marvel Monday is another member of Alpha Flight, who just so happened to be released in the X-Men heavy Wendigo Wave.

Yes, it’s James Hudson… Guardian… Weapon Alpha… and leader of Alpha Flight! And I promise to try to be as sensitive to my brothers from The North as possible during this review. Because why shouldn’t Canada have its own team of National Superheroes! And in any case, any character coming from the prolific pen of John Byrne has me on board 100%. As you can see, this is a pretty crowded package, and poor Guardian is being pushed off to the side by the significant bulk of the BAF torso and tail. Let’s get him out of there before he’s crushed.

Guardian proves that you don’t need the stars and stripes on your flag for it to inspire a great looking costume! Seriously, I love this suit! It’s pulled off here with beautiful pearlescent white plastic and some vibrant red paint. The lines are pretty crisp, especially around the prominent maple leaf on his chest, and other than some unpainted pins on his inner right knee, he’s just gorgeous. And sure, it’s obvious that when it comes to sculpting, Guardian is one of this wave’s budget figures, as the entire suit from the neck down is achieved by coloring alone, but I got no problem with that!

The new sculpting shows up above the neckline, and what we got is pretty damn good. The pearlescent tight-fitting cowl only reveals the lower half of Hudson’s face, and it’s advertising one of the biggest scowls I’ve ever seen on a Canadian before. Hey, I live in Florida and a lot of them vacation down here and all the ones I’ve met seem like lovely, happy people. I calls it like I sees it. Guardian, on the other hand, looks like he’s ready to put someone’s head through a wall.

I’m happy to see that articulation in The Great White North is the same as it is down here. Guardian sports rotating hinges in his shoulders and wrists, double-hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps. His legs are ball jointed at the hips, have swivels in the thighs and lower legs, double-hinged knees, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. There’s a swivel in the waist, an ab-crunch hinge in the chest, and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed.

So, there isn’t a whole lot else for me to say, other than Guardian is another great example of simplicity of perfection, and what the wizards at Hasbro can do with just some new coloring and a new head. I can still remember the bitterness of getting Aurora and Northstar in the 3 3/4-inch Universe line and then nothing more after that. And that was before Legends became as prolific as it is. I never even dreamed of getting the whole Apha Flight team in Legends, and yet here I am trying to find the time to review them all. We truly live in a wonderful age!

Kenner Predators: Lasershot Predator by NECA

Even with a seemingly endless variety of Yautja hunters available, from the movies and comics and video games, to cast into plastic, NECA is still always looking for new material. They mined the old Kenner Toys line for their Aliens line, so it’s only natural they would do the same for Predator. And that’s exactly what they did here, plucking Lasershot Predator straight off the pegs of the 90’s and giving him a complete overhaul so that he will fit in with just about any modern NECA Predator on your shelf… Groovy!!!

The box is similar to what we’ve seen with NECA’s Ultimate releases. It seems like a fully enclosed box, but there’s actually a front flap that opens to reveal a window to show off the goods. It’s also an extra thick box to accommodate Lasershot’s significant stature and all the extra bits and bobs that come with him. I dig the artwork and its distinct 90’s flavor. The colors are great and the front panel mimics the old figure in a sort of clam-shell packaging. Of course, everything is collector friendly, which is great for me, because I do keep these figures in their boxes when I’m not displaying them. The box also exclaims that Lasershot features an Electronic LED Targeting Eye which I was damn excited to try out. Lasershot is known for his obsession with technology and his willingness to augment his own body to make himself the Ultimate Alien Hunter, so you know we’re in for a treat!

Many of the Kenner Pred designs were about as goofy as you can get, which makes NECA’s figure here all the more impressive. I think they managed to burn away almost all the gimmicky wackiness of the original figure, while leaving behind mostly just Yuatja badass. OK, maybe there’s still a little bit of campiness left in this guy, but I still love him. Probably the most distinctive thing about Lasershot is the purple skin, which includes a black wash to bring out the detail. Why purple? I don’t know. Maybe it has to do with all the augments he’s performed on himself. Combined with that lovely purple is his golden armor, most prominent on his lower legs, hips, forearms, and upper body. The armor trades the usual tribal flavor and trophies for what looks like ancient Yautja designs mixed with high tech improvements, and there is a ton of detail in this sculpt to reflect it. I’m particularly fond of the large blades attached to the lower legs and the organic curves of his shoulder weapons, which rests dormant on his back when not in use. He also has a skull sculpted into his belt, that’s very reminiscent of a T-800 Terminator. Lasershot is a lot to take in all at once, and the sculpt and coloring conspire to make him quite the work of art.

His portrait is no slouch either! Like any Yautja, he’s got a face only a mother would love. The purple skin is still prevalent here, and it really makes those teeth at the end of his mandibles, and the spikes around his cranium, stand out. He’s got one deep set piercing eyeball, and his other has been replaced with an artificial targeting system,nesting in a mess of grafted golden tech. A nest of brown dreadlocks spill out the back of his head, each one with a sculpted gold band. By now, NECA are pros at sculpting the uniquely hideous Predator head, and like the all the others, this one is just a marvel of tiny detail.

Lasershot comes with a bio-mask that can be worn over his head. It’s vaguely like your average Pred mask, but it has a lot more panel lines sculpted into it. The upper right side is also missing to accommodate his facial grafts. The bio mask is painted with a copper finish, which puts it at odds with the golden armor, but it still looks pretty good on him. Although, to be honest, I think I prefer him without the mask. NECA did too fine a job with that head sculpt for me to be covering it up.

The LED light advertised on the box is activated by pressing a disguised button on the top of Lasershot’s head, producing the familiar triple light targeting system we’ve seen in the films. The lights are nice and bright and can be seen fairly well even under normal lighting conditions. They can also be seen while he is wearing the bio-mask. Let’s move on to some of this guy’s weaponry.

The double cannon rig on his back can be slid up the track and angled over his shoulders. His left shoulder features the standard plasma-caster, while the right one is a harpoon launcher, complete with two optional heads. One is capture-claw and the other is just a nasty looking spike. You also get a rather thick, bendable tether to make it look like it’s been fired. The cable has a strong wire running through it, allowing it to be bent any way you like it, and it holds up really well too. The claw is good for grabbing hold of prey, while the other just looks like it would make short work of most anything.

Next up, Lasershot has an energy shield that deploys from his right gauntlet. There are two pieces that can peg into the hole there. The device looks like a pair of golden horns with a red crystal in the center. It’s actually got something of an Egyptian flavor to its design. The second piece features a translucent purple disc of energy, simulating that the shield is activated.

Finally, you get an interchangeable left hand, which is a larger claw with articulated fingers. The socket on my figure’s claw was too small, so I had to dremel it out a bit to get it to fit, but now it goes on and off easy-peasy. It looks like a nasty piece of business, and when combined with the energy shield, it gives Lasershot some nice options for close-quarter melee combat.

It’s no secret that I’ve been a big fan of NECA’s modernized Kenner Aliens, and now I can happily say that their magic works on Kenner’s Preds just as well. Lasershot is a great looking figure and lots of fun to mess around with. He also displays well going up against those Kenner Aliens or even with any of the other NECA Preds on my shelf. The addition of the LED targeting system is a particularly nice bonus, especially since at $27.99 it didn’t really drive up the cost of the figure that badly. Indeed, I’d love to them revisit the gimmick in some of their future Predators. I’ve been trying to be a little more selective about my Predator purchases, because of space limitations, but when I saw this guy on the shelf at Target he just had to come home with me, and I’m glad he did.