Marvel Legends: Professor X and Hover-Chair by Hasbro

Oh look, it’s two Marvel Mondays back-to-back because I really shat the bed again last week and didn’t get to do any content since last Monday. I can keep apologizing, but it was a rough week last week and I have a million excuses from being crazy busy at work, to having to go out of town, and finally getting my car sideswiped by an asshole. This week might not be much better since I have to take the car in to the body-shop, arrange for a rental, and I still have another crazy week at work ahead of me. But we’ll see what we can do. In the meantime, I’m continuing my streak of X-Men Legends content with a look at Professor X and his hoverchair! Holy shit, I’m so happy Hasbro finally got around to this one!

This set is part of Hasbro’s Deluxe Riders releases, the same subset that gave us Deadpool’s scooter and Black Widow’s motorcycle and many more. The box is really long because of the way they chose to package the chair in pieces, like it’s been squished flat. It works well enough, but this is one of the few X-Men boxed sets where I was not tempted to keep the packaging. The window lets you get a look at the figure and all the parts, the lower left hand corner sports the Marvel 80 Years logo and for some weird reason Xavier’s name doesn’t appear on the front of the package, just the X-Men logo. Obviously there’s some assembly required, but nothing too bad.

The chair basically comes in two halves, which get pegged together with the two cushion pieces going in between them and the hover effect part plugging in the bottom to serve as a stand. Everything fits together perfectly and none of the connections are permanent, so if you want to take it apart and return it to the box you can certainly do that. My only real gripe here is that the way it’s constructed doesn’t allow for the front piece to slide open like I remember it doing in the cartoon. Yeah, that’s pretty nit-picky on my part, but I thought I’d toss it out there anyway. With the chair occupied, the cushions aren’t very visible, but Hasbo put a lot of nice detail into them, so I thought I’d show them off. I’ll come back to the rest of the chair in just a bit.

And, I’m not trying to be insensitive, but here’s a look at Xavier before he goes into the chair. And yes, he’s standing, but it was the easiest way to show him off. There’s not a whole lot to say about this figure as it appears to be a re-use of the suited body we’ve seen many times already and most recently as Nick Fury from the MCU Captain Marvel Wave. Hey, I’m not complaining, it works fine for Professor X, and we did get some new hands, which are very character specific. This time around, the suit is painted green, the shoes are brown, the shirt is white, and the tie is a blue and black stripe, which to me really clashes with the jacket, but that’s what I recall him wearing in the 90’s cartoon so it works for me. My figure’s legs are seriously warped, but in this case, that’s not going to matter much because he’s going into the chair and staying put.

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sold on this head sculpt when I first saw it, but in hand I’m actually quite pleased with it. The facial detail is very well defined, features a rather stoic expression, and it certainly has tons of personality. And then you have those eyebrows. Did they go to far? Yeah, maybe a bit. I thought they were going to bother me a lot, but I’ve gotten used to them rather quickly. OK, let’s get him into the chair!

Xavier fits into the chair very easily and there’s even a sculpted plastic blanket to tuck in around his legs. Boy is that a great little touch! Unlike the necktie, the chair doesn’t seem based too closely on the cartoon, but to be fair I’m more used to seeing X in the more traditional wheelchair these days. The golden-yellow plastic looks great and is very appropriately used here. The sculpt for the chair features just the right amount of detail to give it that animated/comic look, while at the same time not looking too simple. There are some panel lines, some vents on the sides, as well as a painted panel of components on each side. Besides the spot-on aesthetics, I really dig how big and beefy this chair is. It doesn’t feel like they had to compromise the size at all and I think we owe that to the way they were able to break it down into parts for the packaging. No, the effect part isn’t all that convincing, but it does serve as an excellent stand. Would I rather they just went with something clear? Probably, but I’m fine with what we got.

I would have been perfectly content if that was all there was to the chair, but Hasbro also equipped it with some sliding panels in the arm rests, which open to reveal instruments. So cool!

Professor X also comes with a Cerebro helmet and effect part, and oh boy did this not turn out so great. The helmet looks really awkward on the figure, like it’s supposed to be some kind of breathing apparatus as opposed to a telekinetic enhancement device. A big part of the problem is the point that should be positioned on Xavier’s forehead is down over the bridge of his nose and the cables coming off of it just look weird. And to make matters worse the effect part is just an explosion of white goo that looks shockingly bad. I think the way to go here would have been to do a second portrait with the helmet part of it, and a better looking effect part which is detachable. Is it too much to ask for? Well, they included a second portrait in the box, but it obviously isn’t Professor X.

Nope, it’s the Shadow King. Now, I don’t want to seem ungrateful because this is a beautiful little piece of work, and it’s meant to go on the Kingpin Build-A-Figure. The sculpt is absolutely gorgeous and it has some excellent paintwork to back it up. The tiny glasses are removable, which I promptly found out when trying to remove the head, as they flew off and I had a good time hunting them down on the floor. Now granted, if you didn’t complete the Kingpin BAF, this extra noggin isn’t going to mean much to you, but I’m glad they included it.

Sure, I have a few little gripes with this set, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that I don’t love it. The figure is nothing outrageously special, but couple him with the chair and you’ve really got something here. I think it’s wonderful that Hasbro has found a way to get us some of these vehicles into the line, and while it’s odd to classify Xavier’s chair in the same category as a motorcycle or scooter, it was brilliant to include it as part of this assortment. I’m not sure how much this one originally retailed for, but I picked it up for $30 and it’s worth every damn penny to add Professor X to my X-Men Legends shelf.

Marvel Legends (Caliban Wave): Gambit by Hasbro

Last time I promised y’all crawdads and gumbo, and here we are zipping back to the Caliban Wave with a look at you know who. “Who? To my friends, de name’s Remy LeBeau. To my enemies, it’s Gambit!” Yes, the ever quotable Gambit. He’s a character I love to hate. Or is that hate to love? Maybe it’s both. Alls I know is he frequently made me want to punch my TV screen whenever he appeared in the X-Men cartoon. Whatever the case, he’s a staple of my X-Men stable and it’s about time we got him in the modern Legends line!

Gambit is the fourth figure I’ve opened in this most solid of waves, and he’s definitely one of my more anticipated figures. It’s been a long time since I owned the Toybiz Legends version, and I still have some fond memories of that figure, especially that they had the balls to do a soft-goods jacket in that scale. Hasbro has shied away from any soft-goods in Marvel Legends and they even use it frustratingly sparingly in the Star Wars Black Series. Anyway… Can Hasbro’s modern version outmatch my fondness for the old figure? Let’s find out right now.

Well, still no soft-goods here, and I’m pretty sure that’s a good thing, even if the coat here is instantly familiar. We saw it all the way back in 2012 on Fantomex and since then Hasbro has recycled this jacket so often that if it wasn’t made of plastic, it’d be threadbare by now. But it works, and it works very well for this figure. With its stylish high collar and the segmented lapels, this jacket looks great in brown, and the sculpted sleeves on the arms fill in the holes to make the illusion that it’s all one garment work almost perfectly. And there’s some amazingly subtle detail in it, from the creases and texture of the fabric to the sculpted rumples and stitch lines. Some of these details didn’t show up quite as well when cast in black or white, but it sure does now.

Under that coat there are some great colors and a surprising amount of new sculpting going on. The boots, the collar piece and the piping running along his belt line are all sculpted details, which could have probably been phoned in with simple paint detail. And speaking of paint, I really love the metallic purple and blue they used for his suit. When contrasted with the brown matte of the jacket, it pops beautifully. The body’s articulation is standard stuff except for two surprises. The elbows don’t have the usual double-hinges, but instead are rotating hinges. Aesthetically, I guess it works better for the sculpted sleeves, but it does inhibit the range of the elbows over what I’m used to seeing.

With the costume portrayed so well, it was up to the head sculpt to make or break this figure, and I’m happy to say that the portrait succeeds on all fronts. From the way his shock of hair protrudes from the top of his cowl to the very subtle traces of his beard and mustache, Hasbro did Gambit proud here.  The jutting chin, prominent nose, and black and red eyes are all quite unmistakable. And while it may sound like a joke, I think these are some of the best ear sculpts Hasbro has done yet. Seriously!

Gambit comes with a few accessories to round out the package. Obviously, he comes with his Bo staff. It’s nothing special, just a gray segmented staff, which can be gripped in his right hand and cradled in his left.

Next up, he comes with a little energized playing card effect part, which can be laced around his hand and works exceptionally well on his left hand with the two pointing fingers. I actually dropped this goddamn thing while I was shooting and it took me ten minutes of crawling on the floor to find the thing. Happily I eventually did, otherwise the cats would have claimed it as their own and I never would have seen it again.

The second effect part is connected to an alternate left hand, which has him throwing three charged cards. This one looks pretty great too and it should be a lot harder to lose since it’s attached to a hand.

I hope y’all aren’t tired of X-Men yet, because I’m going to keep this Mutant ball rolling along next week. The last couple years has been like an X-Men Renaissance within the modern Marvel Legends line. It’s like Hasbro has been working overtime to pack as many X-Men into the lineup as they possibly can, and I’ve got no problems with that! 2019 even upped the ante with some superb multi-pack box sets in addition to stacking the decks with excellent waves like this one. I won’t give away who I’ll be opening next week. You’ll just have to read my mind!

Mythic Legions (Advent of Decay): Orc Legion Builder 2 by The Four Horsemen

Well, ain’t this a kick in the head… I actually made it through the week with three updates! I had a ton of options for content today, but in the end I just went into the Toy Closet and decided to open the first thing that hit me in the head from the toppling piles of shame. And it’s from Mythic Legions! You can never go wrong with Mythic Legions! This time I’m going all the way back to the Advent of Decay Series to check out Orc Legion Builder 2! At this point we’ve seen the packaging a hundred times, so let’s just jump right into the figure.

The original Orc Legion Builder was the last figure from the original Kickstarter that I reviewed back in 2016. This new version makes use of the new female parts from Advent of Decay to give us an Orc Femme Fatale. No, she’s not the first She-Orc I’ve reviewed here. That honor goes to Queen Urkzaa, and we’ll see some of those same parts used here. The left arm is almost identical to Urkzaa’s, being bare from the shoulder to the elbow and featuring the same grieve. The key difference here is this figure is wearing a full gauntlet as opposed to having a bare hand. The right arm breaks up the symmetry by being completely encased in armor and features a pauldron as well. Yup, OLB-2 only comes with the one Pauldron. The belt and groin armor are the same as Urkzaa’s, but this new Lady Orc includes plated hip armor attached to it. The legs are identical to Urkzaa’s down to the ankles. They’re bare down to the knee armor and in this case armored all the way down to her toes, whereas Urkzaa had bare feet. The biggest difference is in the chest armor, where Urkzaa made due with a simple armored bikini top and OLB-2 has full plate up there, exposing only her midriff.

Of course, the Legion Builders are slightly less expensive figures than the regular releases and that means they tend to have fewer paint apps and flourish. Still, what’s here is great. I love the shade of green they use for Orc flesh and, as always, I really dig the crude and jagged look of the Orc armor. The paintwork gives it a worn and weathered appearance, slightly darker than Urzkaa’s. The decision to include only one pauldron allows for the large sword to be worn on the back instead of the waist, which doesn’t work well with two pauldrons. Plus, it fits the look of the armored sleeve better. Still, it would have been nice to get a second, seeing as how this is a Legion Builder and meant to be kitted out as army builders. That second Pauldron would have allowed for a little more variety when displaying multiples. But hey, I’m not going to hold that against her.

The head sculpt features a smooth helmet that extends over the eyes and the bridge of her nose with cheek guards sweeping forward to points. There’s a pointed ridge that runs across the top like a mohawk and the eye slits are completely blacked out with no visible eyes behind them. The lower portion of the face is exposed showing a determined mouth with two tusk-like teeth protruding up from the lower jaw. She has pointed ears and a ponytail spills out the back of the helmet. resembling a horse tail. I’m assuming that’s intended to be her hair, but I suppose it could devised as something added to the helmet for ornamentation purposes.

When it comes to weapons, Orc Legion Builder 2’s arsenal is a total throwback to the original Kickstarter accessories. The sword is the two-hander with the slightly leaf-shaped blade that we’ve seen over and over again. And hey, I can’t deny that I still like this sword a lot. Many of the Legion Builders’ weapons are just one color, but this one is silver with a yellowish wash to make it look a little rusty.

Next up, it’s the familiar old battle axe. This is actually the exact same axe that came with the first Orc Legion Builder only now in silver with the same yellowish wash as the sword. Previously, this axe often included an axtra blade so you can change it from single to double-bladed. That’s not the case here. Again, I get it that these are the less expensive figures, but it would be nice to have more display options for army builders.

And finally, yup you probably guessed it, it’s the spear. At this point, I probably have more of these spears than any other accessory in the history of my collecting. There’s nothing wrong with it, but I’m ready for something else to take its place. This weapon is painted to match the others, so once again it’s all silver with a yellow wash.

I love this figure, and I actually wish I my budget would have allowed me to pick up one more. Mixing her up with the male Orc Legion Builder grants some nice diversity to my Orc army’s ranks. But obviously my big complaint here is the tired selection of weapons. We’ve seen these so many times now, and Advent of Decay introduced so many new ones. I would have liked to get at least one of the new ones with this figure. Some of the newer crude-looking weapons have been so underused and they would have been most welcome bundled with this figure.

Aliens Vs Predator Arcade: Arachnoid Alien and Razor Claws Alien by NECA

My Toy Closet has become something like an archaeological dig these days. So much so that I’ve really pulled way back on what I’m buying and trying to take the time to unearth the unopened treasures that lie under the levels of cardboard strata. This past weekend I unearthed a particularly interesting box of NECA goodies, a lot of which center around Capcom’s 1994 beat-em-up classic, Aliens Vs. Predator. In an effort to clear out this box, I’m going to try to check some of this stuff out each week until I get to the end. There are eight figures in the series total and today I’m starting with two of the three Aliens released from the game.

And here’s Arachnoid and Razor Claws in their boxes. You’ll notice that Chrysalis Alien is unaccounted for and that’s because I haven’t been able to find him at Target, or online for a decent price. I may wind up over-paying for him at some point, but for now let’s just have a look at this gruesome duo. They come in collector-friendly window boxes, which I dig a lot more than the sealed clamshells. I’m going to start with Arachnid!

So, this guy reminds me a lot of the Xeno Warrior from Aliens, but with enough key differences to set him apart. I believe it’s a new sculpt, but I don’t own all the NECA Xenos, so I won’t stake my (admittedly next to worthless) reputation on that. As with all of NECA’s Aliens, there is some absolutely amazing detail work in this sculpt, which really brings out the Giger flavor in the design. Why he’s called an Arachnoid, I don’t know because there really aren’t any arachnid influences that I can see. He does have fairly typical arms and legs, the usual exposed rib-cage, and a pretty basic segmented tail. This fellow only has four of the stalks protruding from his back and he has bone-like loops hanging off his forearms. The coloring features a very pale blue with a black wash to pick out all that lovely detail.

The head sculpt features the usual elongated head. The cranium is overall pretty smooth, but it does feature a spiked ridge running down the center. The front half is blue, while the back half is decidedly cockroach colored. The mandibles are the usual mess of sinew webbing and the jaw opens to reveal the secondary mouth, which can extend out past the jaws.

I dig this guy a lot, but if you’re looking for something vastly different than the regular Xeno’s I don’t know if this one will scratch your itch. He’s definitely got a lot of unique stuff going on, but I really had to compare him to my Alien and Aliens Xenos to pick out all the differences. Still, I’m sure the die-hard fans out there will spot the differences a lot easier than me. The coloring adds to his distinctive look, and helps makes him stand out as a video game character. With all that having been said, he takes second place in this pair to my favorite…

 

 

Razor Claws is just so damn awesome on every level.  He features a completely different body sculpt, with a lot more sharp detail, particularly in the legs. The structure of the torso still shows off the rib-cage, but with an entirely unique structure. Of course, the biggest differences here are found int he giant razor clawed hands and the tail, which possesses a cycle-like blade at the end. This fellow still only has four tubes coming off his back, but these are longer and taper to points at the ends. He’s also missing those extra toes that the Arachnoid has, and he has pretty powerful looking talons jutting out from the front of his feet. The coloring here is also gorgeous. He has a reddish and almost pink finish and just like his comrade, the black wash brings out all the exquisite detail in the sculpt.

The head is also completely different, with a totally smooth cranium, tusk like horns protruding from his chin, and the same articulated jaw with the secondary mouth that extends outward. The cranial plate is somewhat translucent so you can just make out some of the detail that’s going on underneath it. Overall, it’s a simpler styled head than the Arachnoid, but my personal taste makes it my favorite of the two.

And I can say that pretty much about the entire figure. Not only does this Xeno look a lot more distinctive than his Arachnoid brother, but he also looks like an absolute killing machine. Between those shredding claws and that extra blade on his tail, this fellow looks like he’s just designed to leap on Colonial Marines and eviscerate them in a matter of seconds. Plus, there’s just something about the coloring that really does it for me.

I’m always looking to add some new Xenomorphs to my collection, so even if I wasn’t a fan of the quarter-munching arcade game, I would have still been all over these. But the fact that they are realistic interpretations of the 16-bit pixelated game characters makes them all the more sweeter. And even if you aren’t looking to collect all the Arcade figures, I think these fellas would be right at home in any NECA Aliens collection. They look fantastic together, and I just know I’m going to wind up dropping a lot of money to pick up the last one and complete the set. Next week, I hope to be back to check out the Predators in this line!

Marvel Legends (Caliban Wave): Jubilee by Hasbro

Well, folks, I’m not off to a good start for the new year, as I wasn’t able to check back in again last week after Marvel Monday. I’m still swamped with stuff that’s wrestling for my time, and it’s probably going to be a few more months before I’m locked back down to regular updates. Nonetheless, I’m back to spread more X-Men loving today and I have a good feeling that the rest of the week will work out. Today I’m headed back into the Caliban Wave with a look at Jubilee!

I guess you can consider Jubilee here an apology figure. Hasbro gave us to her a few years back as a Build-A-Figure, which was an odd choice in and of itself. Then to add fuel to the fire, the Wave was notoriously hard to find and complete. I don’t think I ever saw any of the figures once, although I heard tell it wound up as a Toys R Us Exclusive. Needless to say the figures went for big money online. Beside that, the Jubilee BAF wasn’t based on the classic look for the character anyway, so here’s Hasbro taking a brand new stab at getting her into the hands of collectors.

I don’t own the BAF Jubilee, but comparing this one with some pictures, it looks like there’s definitely some recycling here, at the very least her yellow trademark jacket looks the same. And they did a nice job with it. It’s cast in retina-melting yellow plastic, features a high, popped collar, and comes down to behind her knees. The sleeves are sculpted onto the arms, rolled up to the elbows, and she sports a pair of blue gloves, which match her boots. Under the jacket, she casts off the black outfit from the previous release in exchange for her blue shorts and pink top. There are some lovely little touches in the sculpt, including the buttons and the pin on her chest, all of which are neatly painted in gold. Her sculpted black belt features a gray belt-buckle, and the shorts have some sculpted tailoring and cuffs around her thighs. The colors on this figure are fantastic!

The portrait is pretty tight, although my figure has a bit of a wall-eye thing going on. I’m not so sure that it’s just the paint to blame, as the eyes really do look a little too far apart. Everything else is fine, though. The paint on her lips is sharp and clean, the earrings look great, and I love the sculpting they did on her hair. I particularly dig the way her transparent pink glasses came out. It’s never easy doing eyewear in this scale, but these fit the figure perfectly.

Now, with all the gushing aside, I will say that while I was quite excited to get this figure, now that she’s in hand I’m a little cool on her. Part of the problem might be that the plastic is really gummy on mine, particularly in those double-hinged knees and in the neck hinge. It’s weird. Working some of her joints feels like a dubious prospect and most of those hinges would rather try to warp than actually work the way they’re supposed to. Add to that the lack of any effect parts, and she’s just not as much fun to play around with as she might have been. I’m surprised Hasbro couldn’t even cough up a few of those hex-type effect circles that clip to the wrists. Yeah, I’ve got tons of them, but that’s not really the point.

She does, however, come with a couple extras, namely this second portrait with removable glasses. And yup, this one has her blowing a bubble with her gum. I love that they included this one, it’s a wonderful effect, and the removable glasses were a nice touch. Unfortunately, this head does not fit right on my figure. It won’t snap in properly and when I try to apply pressure, the gummy neck joint just bends. I can sort of make it work, but it’s just another example of how the QC on my Jubilee isn’t up to snuff.

I guess Jubilee turned out a little disappointing. The figure looks great, and she’ll be fine representing on my X-Men shelf, but the mushy plastic on this figure drags her down a lot. When I open a figure for Marvel Mondays, that figure usually stays on my desk for the week so I can play around with them on my down time, but Jubilee just isn’t that much fun, so I think she’ll be going right up on the shelf. Next week, the X-Men train rolls on. Who will it be? I won’t know for sure until I start digging through the Legends pile, but I feel like I have a hankering for some crawdads and gumbo.

Marvel Legends (Caliban Wave): Beast by Hasbro

I’m going to keep an X-Men streak going on Marvel Mondays for at least a few more weeks, although I’m not sticking to any one wave. Today’s figure is one I was really excited to get and it is indeed Dr. Hank McCoy! I thought this was the first time I was dipping into the Caliban Wave, but it turns out I already opened and reviewed Blink a little while back.

Beast is so essential to the X-Men lineup, it surprises me it took this long to get him and this long for me to open him. It’s also impressive that even with his rather large stature, Hasbro was able to cram an extra set of hands and Caliban’s noggin in there. Hell, they probably could have made Hank a BAF himself and I would have been cool with that.

And I’m certainly pleased with the look Hasbro went for here, as this is definitely my favorite version of the character. He’s big, burly, no shirt, and just a big slab of muscle and blue fur. His entire outfit consists of some blue undies and his branded yellow X-Men belt. And I have to say, both the detail in the sculpt and the beautiful gradations of blue conspire to make Beast a great looking figure. Virtually his entire surface is covered in sculpted fur texture, with extra thick patches on his chest, shoulders, back, and around his neck. He’s got giant feet and hands, along with an additional set of swap-out hands, which include a hand-standing hand and a fist.

Hasbro went all out on the articulation here, so much so that I’m getting some flashbacks to the Toy Biz days, where articulation often took a front seat to aesthetics. Thankfully that’s not quite the case here, although I will say that with all these points of articulation, I think Beast looks better in action poses than simply standing prone. Nonetheless, lets run down all of those points! His arms have the butterfly shoulder crunches, rotating hinges in the proper shoulders, double hinges in the elbows, hinged pegs in the wrists, and swivels in the biceps. The legs are ball jointed in the hips, double jointed in the knees, and have swivels in the thighs. The ankles have hinges and lateral rockers, and there are hinges in the feet. There’s a swivel in the waist, a ball joint under the chest, and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed. Needless to say, this figure is tons of fun to play around with!

If there’s one thing that I’m torn on here it’s the portrait. Don’t get me wrong, it looks great, but it also lacks some detail in the sculpt, particularly around the mouth and the teeth. The teeth are really just painted lines, and the paint is a little rough. It looks more like an animated portrait, and that’s not a bad thing, but it’s at odds with some of the more detailed head sculpts we’ve seen out of Hasbro in the past. With that being said, the hair and whiskers looks great and the fierce expression is certainly packed with personality. Still, I’m going to have to say it. We should have gotten a second head sculpt with this figure. Beast shouldn’t only be characterized in a furor like this. I would have loved a calm portrait for Hank.

But hey, I don’t want to end this look on a downer, because I really do dig this figure a lot! I was still playing around with him long after I was done snapping pictures, and this big lovable guy has been sitting on my desk for a few days now so I can pick him up and play with him on my downtime. With Beast, the core X-Men characters continue to pour onto my Legends shelves, and I say keep ’em coming, Hasbro. I ran short of time to do a decent group shot this week, but I’ll make up for it next week when I keep the Legends X-Men love train rolling along!

Cowgirl Sixth-Scale Figure by Phicen/TB League

It’s a brand new year, and boy am I ready for that! One of my many little resolutions for 2020 around these parts is to start digging into my Sixth-Scale figures and get caught up before all the pre-orders that were delayed last year start piling up in about a month. Yeah, that’s like a year’s worth of Hot Toys that all got bumped. So, this week I had a perusal through a stack of boxes looking for something to open and review, and I decided to go with one of TB League’s (formerly Phicen) offerings. This little lady was released last year and marries two of my favorite things… Lovely Phicen figures and The Old West! Giddyup, Cowgirls!

Yee-Haw! Here’s the part of the review where I gush over TBL’s packaging and lament that we don’t get the same quality out of Hot Toys’ more expensive figures. Seriously, the presentation is really solid with a durable cardboard shoebox and an illustrated tri-fold magnetic cover. Ok, so the artwork here isn’t anything special, but these boxes feel so much better than the flimsy window boxes that Hot Toys has been using for a lot of their releases these days. Remove the top and you get your figure and all her accessories nestled in a foam tray. And as with all TB League releases, this lovely cowpoke’s head comes separate from her body. It’s creepy, but I think they do that so it can be wrapped in plastic better. TBL is known for mining their source material from Indie (read cheaper to acquire) licenses, but this little lady is one of their concept figures, or at least I’m 99.9% sure she isn’t based on any specific license or property. But hey, if there’s a comic somewhere with Cowgirl in it, I’ll jump on board. There’s a little bit of set up required here, but nothing too bad, so let’s check her out and see how The West was fun.

Cowgirl is the result of a painstakingly researched pursuit of authenticity. The creators of this figure really wanted to capture all the historical details of your average late 19th Century hawt blonde gunfighter absolutely perfectly, and it shows! From the leather studded top that does little more than hold her large doggies in place to the leather panties that protects her modesty south of the border, she looks like she jumped straight out of the history books! Yeah, I’m funning with ya, but if you weren’t expecting something like this outfit out of a TBL female gunfighter, than you need to revisit some of my other reviews and acquaint yourself with the copious T&A of their previous releases. Apart from her skimpy top and bottom, Cowgirl sports a pair of long black leather leggings with knee-pads and some nice fringe coming off the sides. Each of these leggings hooks to her panties similar to a garderbelt. The outfit is rounded out by a dual-holstered gunbelt, a pair of boots, complete with spurs, fingerless gloves sculpted onto the hands, and a felt fedora to top off her pretty head.

And speaking of pretty heads, TBL has been getting better and better with their portraits, and I have to say I like this one very much. She sure is purdy and the rooted blonde hair falls naturally about her head. The paint quality on the eyes and lips are both quite lifelike, even if the eyebrows and overall skin texture don’t quite meet that uncanny realism we see in those top-tier Sixth-Scale figure producers. There isn’t a lot of expressiveness in the face to support some of the more action-packed poses, but I still like what we got here a lot, it’s quality work. Indeed, I have a feeling that the customizing community of Phicen collectors will be happy to add this head to their collection. The hat holds it’s shape well and fits her head nicely. It stays on quite well too. I’m always happy to see an actual felt hat in this scale, rather than a plastic one.

The skimpy outfit does it’s job in allowing the Seamless Phicen Body to strut it’s stuff. I’ve lost track of what body type they’re up to, and to be honest I could never really keep them straight anyway. Suffice it to say the soft plastic skin surrounds a stainless steel skeleton that offers what is probably the most realistic human articulation available in the action figure market today. And without actually seeing where all those joints are, it’s fun to discover all the crazy little nuances that are locked away in her articulation. Likewise, this is an extremely well balanced figure (insert joke about her being top-heavy here), and I found her able to hold her own without needing a stand. Which is good, because she doesn’t come with one. Not that I would trust her to stand on the shelf for long periods of time without one. Thankfully inexpensive stands for figures in this scale can be had pretty easily.

And as great as the body is, that’s not to say the craftsmanship and detail in the outfit take a backseat. The stitching and studs on the leather (well, leather-like substance) look great, along with a little bit of weathering, and that big red stone in the middle. And while my Cowgirl does suffer the occasional nip-slip when posing, the top piece of her wardrobe does a good job at rustling those doggies. The gunbelt features a silver painted buckle and a string of sculpted cartridges running around its length. The holsters fit the guns very well, although they tend to slide to the front from time to time. Another thing to watch for when posing Cowgirl are the clips for her leggings. These will sometimes come un-clipped with leg movement and have to be re-clipped. Finally, the sculpted boots include some lovely decorative work around the tops, silver studs across the fronts, silver medallions on the sides, and working spurs!

Moving on to accessories, and here’s where the figure takes a couple of hits, and I’m talking about her shootin’ irons. Make no mistake, these are incredibly detailed revolvers with silver finish and brown painted grips. The detail and level of articulation on these are quite impressive. The hammers can be cocked back, the chambers spin, and they can even flip out for loading or be removed from the guns entirely. What’s my gripe? Well, they’re obviously modern pistols and not age-appropriate single-actions. It really feels like the folks at TBL just re-purposed some guns from another figure set. And I get it, I don’t really know the intent behind this character. Taking the outfit into consideration, maybe she isn’t supposed to be from the past. Maybe she’s some kind of sexy cowboy-themed bounty hunter or vigilante, and if so that’s fair enough. But, I’ll still be looking for some more authentic pistols for her online. Naturally, Cowgirl comes with a pair of trigger finger hands and these work very well with the pistols.

And as impressive as the articulation on these guns is, it may be a little too much. The action on these is extremely delicate and the chambers are held in only by friction, so it’s not uncommon for the chamber and the retaining pin to fall out when I’m posing the figure. Indeed, one of them even disappeared somewhere on the floor of my studio while I was taking pictures for  this review. The hunt for it continues. It’s a race against time to find the little shiny things before my cats do. But all the more reason for me to hunt down some new guns for her.

Fortunately, she does come with a rifle that better suits her presumed time period, and that’s this beautiful lever-action. Now, I’m a real sucker for lever actions. I own four of the real deals, so this accessory is near and dear to my heart, even if it doesn’t seem to be based on any specific firearm that I can recall. The sculpted detail here is just packed with character, from the wood-grain patterns in the stock and forearm to the screws, barrel bands, and bolts holding the receiver together. Even the coloring is beautiful, with a lush brown for the wooden pieces and a convincing gun metal gray for the rest. This accessory features no articulation, and considering the troubles I had with the pistols, maybe that’s for the best. I sling or maybe even a scabbard to carry it on her back would have been cool, but either way it’s plenty cool.

You do get a few other extras in the box, the first of which is a rope, which while simple enough doesn’t go unappreciated. I’ve even tied mine into a noose for he to hold.

The final accessory is a combat knife and sheath, but it suffers the same issue as the guns. With it’s black segmented grip and sawback edge, It looks like a modern survival knife and not something someone would be carrying around in The Old West. I would have loved to have seen a beefy Bowie knife included here or maybe a Civil War era sword-bayonet, but no such luck. Hey, extras are always nice, but I doubt I’m going to display this piece with her. Nonetheless, she does come with a tight grip right hand that holds it very well.

Most of the TBL figures I’ve purchased lately have been Deluxes, which means they often come with elaborate bases or some kind of set piece prop, but Cowgirl bucks that trend. The plus side of that is she was a little cheaper, around $149 if I remember correctly. The downside is, I think they could have done something cool like a saloon door or a wagon wheel or something to display her with. As she stands, I think she’s a pretty cool figure. I love the outrageous costume, the portrait is great, and I don’t think I’ll ever stop being impressed by Phicen’s seamless bodies. My biggest gripes here come in the accessories, and maybe that’s more my personal preference. A couple of single action six-shooters and a big Bowie knife would have been perfect for her, but maybe I’ll be able to supply those things somewhere down the road. As it is, she’s certainly a nice break from the fantasy and medieval style warrior women we’ve been seeing from TBL lately. Not that there’s anything wrong with those, but Cowgirl adds a little spicy variety to my shelf.

Marvel Legends (X-Men): Wolverine, Jean Grey, and Cyclops by Hasbro

Hey, folks! It’s the last Marvel Monday of the year! I keep wanting to wrap up that Wendigo Wave, but distractions keep coming my way. In particular, I had several X-Men-themed boxed sets hit my stoop by way of Santa himself, and I thought I’d knock out one of these before the end of the year. Today I’m checking out what I like to call The Apology Pack, wherein Hasbro says they’re sorry and makes good on a new Jean Grey figure. But they can’t be too sorry, because they’re making us buy two other re-do’s with her! Well, sort of. Trust me, it’s all worth it in the end.

Because there’s nothing about this glorious set that would even make me hesitate buying it had I not received it as a Christmas gift. Sure, I don’t consider “Bomber Jacket” Summers essential, and sure Hasbro could have just thrown in the extra Logan heads with a single Jean Grey release, but just looking at this set makes me so happy, I don’t care. I don’t know if it’s the snappy blue color of the box that makes that X-Men logo stand out. Or maybe it’s just seeing this much 90’s-Jim Lee-glory in one package. Either way, it’s hard to quantify how much greatness is packed into this box. There’s a lot of stuff to look at, so let’s jump right in! And going from left to right, we’ll start with Logan!

If you collected the Apocalypse Wave then surely you recognize this figure, or at least the body, which appears to be completely recycled here. I haven’t gotten around to opening all of that wave yet, so that makes him relatively new to me. Although, to compare him to a figure I have opened, he does still share a lot of the body used for Wolverine from the Juggernaut Wave. You get those wonderful flared boots, a belt with an X-buckle, and shoulder armor. The coloring here is absolutely exquisite, with the bright yellow leggings and top, complete with tiger stripes. The boots are blue with black trim, and his gauntlets, undies, and shoulders are all matching blue. Toss in the bright red belt and you’ve got a feast for the eyes. This figure comes out of the package with Logan’s bone claws equipped, which is a little something more to set it apart from the Apocalypse Wave Logan.

The figure also comes with the battle damaged head sculpt, and man is this thing great! The flared out “ears’ are tattered, and rips in the top of his mask have his sculpted hair spilling out on top. Couple all that with an absolutely raging expression, and this makes for one badass portrait. Between this head and the bone claws, there’s definitely good incentive for double-dipping on this version of Wolverine, should you already own the previous release.

The articulation here is identical to what we’ve seen with the past two Wolverines I mentioned, so I won’t go through a whole run down. I will, however, point out that he features those shoulder crunches, which adds to the posing possibilities. To be honest, if the damaged mask head and bone claw fists were all he came with, I think it still would have been a very worthwhile variant for my collection, but there’s still more to talk about.

If you don’t have that Apocalypse release, you also get the regular masked head and the regular adamantium claws seen on that figure, which certainly adds to the value of the set. The claws are included in separate fists, so you don’t have to pull out and swap each one. The middle claw on my figure’s right hand angles a little funny, but they are pretty fragile and prone to warping.

The regular masked head sculpt appears to me to be identical to the one included with the Apocalyse Wave, and that ain’t a bad thing because it’s a fantastic sculpt. But wait, we’re still not done!

You also get a completely unmasked head with a mask that can be worn down the back of the neck. I think these are the same that were included with the brown suit retro release, another figure I haven’t gotten around to opening yet, but still a nice bonus. So with three sets of heads, two different sets of clawed hands, and the mask, I sure don’t feel bad about having to buy what is essentially a figure that I already own. Let’s move on to Jean Grey.

For many, Jean Grey will be the star of this set, because the last Jean that Hasbro released in modern Legends wasn’t so great. I didn’t have a big problem with it at the time, but looking at it now, I can certainly admit that it hasn’t aged well. Here we get the same Classic 90’s look for the character, but completely redone. Gone are the hideous ball-shaped hips, and in its place a body that looks a bit better proportioned and less awkward. The suit has a bit more of a mustard color to it than the brighter yellows of Logan and Scott’s costumes. And while I will admit to liking the metallic blue they used for the original figure, the more subdued darker matte blue they used for this suit is a lot more sensible. And the bracers still have a glossy finish to them to satiate my love of shiny things. The thigh panels are also more subtle here, and the shoulder pads are redesigned.

The figure comes out of the box with a brand new head sculpt depicting Jean’s voluminous flowing red coif, which mostly conceals her form fitting partial hood. And I have to say this portrait is a little hit and miss. The hair looks great, the eyes look great, and the lips… well, that’s where it starts to lose me. I’m sure they were going for full and sultry, but what we got is just a little off. I can’t quite put my finger on what exactly it is, but I think the mouth is the one part of this portrait that lets it down.

You also get a second portrait, this time with her hair pouring up out the top of her headpiece in a sort of pony-tail affair. This portrait is also overall pretty good, but once again, there’s just something about the lips. Here I think it’s just a case of them being too big. I don’t know. I’m not totally hating on either of these heads, but Hasbro has been doing a great job with the female portraits lately, and these two just feel like they missed the mark a bit.

Other than the improved hips, the articulation here is right in line with all the other Legends gals. That means no bicep swivels and rotating hinges in the elbows instead of double-hinges. It’s worth noting that Jean comes up the lightest of the three figures when it comes to extras. There are no extra hands or anything other than the second head. Moving on to the final figure…

I said earlier that Jean Grey was probably going to be the star of this set for a lot of collectors, but I have to imagine Cyclops is coming in a close second. Sure, we just got him a little while back in the Warlock Wave, but that figure has gone on to command some ridiculous prices on the second hand market. Hell, you can buy this whole set for less than what you’re likely to pay for that earlier release of Scott Summers. As a result, the fact that this guy is mostly a recycled release maybe ain’t so bad. Obviously the big change here is the bomber jacket with newly sculpted arm sleeves, otherwise the rest of the sculpt seems to be the same, albeit with a brighter shade of yellow paint and plastic. The jacket is a great new sculpt with nice detail in the stitching and even the zipper. There’s also an X-patch on the left shoulder. I will note that the thigh and boot straps stay on a bit better on this one, but the peg that holds his belt on in the back will not stay in at all. Fortunately the jacket covers it, so you can’t really tell that it’s popped. I may just go ahead and glue it together.

The figure comes out of the box with the same head sculpt as the Warlock Wave with only the paint being notably different on the visor. Last time it had something of a glossy gold finish, now it’s straight up bright yellow to match the rest of the costume. They’re both fine, but I think I prefer this one. And while Scott comes with two fists, he does have a swap-out left hand so he can activate his visor.

The box also includes two more heads for Cyclops, each with a different style of eyeware. These include a set of red conventional shades, and a set of visor-type shades. Both are good looks, but the painted hairline on my second head is a little off and the red glasses paint on my third head is too. Neither are huge issues for me, but worth mentioning nonetheless. Ultimately, I like this figure a lot, and I haven’t decided which Scott Summers I’ll use for my regular X-Men display, but either way I think this is a fine alternative for collectors who missed out on the previous Cyclops and don’t want to drop a lot of money grabbing him from a second-hand seller.

I’m glad I was able to wrap up my 2019 run of Marvel Mondays with something special, not to mention a triple-figure review. This three-pack is an example of a box set done right. It gave us a brand new Jean Grey, a variant of a figure that is very tough to get at an affordable price, and a fan favorite with plenty of extras bundled in. And while I toss 90% of my Legends boxes because of space considerations, I was really tempted to keep this one, just because the presentation is so damn pretty. Indeed, I had such a great time playing around with these figures, I think I’m going to keep the X-Men love going a little longer. Next week, I’ll check out Beast! In the meantime, that’ll be it for me for this year. I’m going to try to make it back on New Year’s Day, but if that doesn’t happen, I’ll catch you all on Friday!

Savage World (ThunderCats): Monkian and Jackalman by Funko

Despite the ThunderCats main license passing from BanDai to Mattel and now to Super7, Funko’s weird He-man styled Savage World series continues to be our best bet for collecting a line of heroic kitties and evil mutant action figures. The first wave consisted of Lion-O, Mumm-Ra, Ssslithe, and Panthro who shipping about a month or so later for no discernible reason. Well, the same thing is happening again with the second wave consisting Tygra, Monkian, Jackalman, and Cheetara now shipping about a month later. Again, I’m not sure what the deal is with the logistics here, but because I don’t yet have a complete second wave, I thought I’d just go ahead and open the two Mutants and then check out Tygra later when Cheetara finally shows up.

The packaging is the same as the first wave with the cards featuring some individual character art on the front and the familiar Collect-Them-All layout on the back. The figures themselves are sealed into their bubbles, so this is definitely not a collector friendly line. And maybe that’s for the best, because in my experience it’s really tough to find these cards that aren’t bend or creased in some way. Mine aren’t too bad, but I’m still going to tear them open. If you look back at my review of the first Wave, you’ll see that I was extremely happy with those figures, and I’m pleased to say that trend continues with this pair. The Savage World style doesn’t work for everything, but I think it fits the ThunderCats in general quite well, and that goes double for these Mutants. Let’s start with Monkian!

Monkian has a clean, animated look about him and despite the stylized proportions, he’s still the spitting image of the character as he appeared in the cartoon, more so than the old LJN figure. Details in the sculpt include the brown straps on his legs and arms, as well as a couple of spikes jutting out from the leg wraps. His mutant monkey unmentionables are covered up by a sculpted brown skirt and simple black belt. There are also tufts of plastic fur on his shoulders and a bit down his back. But c’mon, Funko. Did you really need to print letters and numbers across his back?

The head sculpts in this line have been excellent and that’s still the case with Monkian. Again, it’s clearly a cartoon portrait, complete with his white plastic “beard” and skull-cap style helmet. The coloring here is great as well, with clean paint lines all around. They used two different shades of metallic paint for the helmet, and his deep set eyes are perfectly printed.

Monkian comes with a single weapon, and that’s his spiked flail, which is a lovely little accessory. The handle has brown sculpted wrappings, and the silver ball is placed on a bendy black tether. It can be held in either of his hands.

I’ve got all the same praise for Jackalman, and he shows off how adept Funko is in re-sculpting parts for this line. For example, the feet are identical, and the legs would be too, but Jackalman has ankle cuffs instead of the straps. The right arm is the same right down to the tufted hair on the shoulder, but Jackalman has a wrist cuff instead of the wraps. Likewise, the chest is the same, but with the three-point chest harness added. Jackalman’s left arm features a prominent piece of armor with silver studs running around the edge and a leopard-print bracer sculpted onto his forearm. He also has a plastic furry diaper very much like what we see on the He-Man figures. As with Monkian, all the correct nods to the original LJN figure are here, but this one is clearly based more on the cartoon look.

The head sculpt is wonderfully detailed, although I will concede I don’t like it quite as much as Monkian’s. I don’t dislike it, but I’m just not in love with it.

Jackalman comes with one weapon, and it is indeed his battleaxe. It’s a great looking piece, but it fits rather loosely in his hand.

I think I even surprised myself with how excited I was that we got a second wave of this line. No, the He-Man style isn’t necessarily optimal for these figures, but I still think it works well and this is a case of something being better than nothing. It’s been a long struggle just to get a collection of three Evil Mutants to stand beside Mumm-Ra and I think these figurs look great together. While Super7 is still pressing on with the Classics line that they won back from Mattel, I still think Savage World is our best bet for an extensive line, and I’m anxiously awaiting word of a possible Wave 3. And at about $13 a pop, these aren’t exactly breaking my bank account. I’ll be back to wrap up the rest of this wave as soon as Cheetara shows up!

Star Wars: Kylo Ren’s TIE Silencer by Hasbro

Merry Christmas, everyone! For the last bunch of Christmas morning content, I stuck to reviewing bigger items that invoked nostalgic feelings of childhood Christmases when giant playsets or vehicles would be discovered under the tree. This year, I’m coming at it a lot simpler, but with the same amount of feels. Some of my earliest and most memorable Christmas mornings involved Star Wars toys. Indeed, I’d be hard pressed to remember many Christmas mornings that didn’t involve opening some kind of Star Wars figure, toy, book, video game, etc. I remember my parents used to wrap several Star Wars figures together so I couldn’t figure out what they were until I opened them. And that one year I got the AT-AT and Snowspeeder and took them out into the snow to play was pure magic. And it was probably only magic that saved me losing my fingers to frostbite. I also have very fond memories of one Christmas and a certain rubber Yoda puppet that probably stayed on my hand until I went to bed that night. This year, with the final installment of The Skywalker Saga out in theaters, I thought it would be only fitting to turn to a Star Wars toy for my Christmas review. And pardon me if I ramble a bit, but I’ve got quite a few Jamesons in me to get me through this holiday.

I enjoyed Rise of Skywalker quite a bit. Granted, it’s not what I would have envisioned for the end of the saga. It also steps on the events of Return of the Jedi a little too much for my liking. But it was still a fun and enjoyable film. And unlike it’s predecessor I look forward to seeing it again. Today’s toy isn’t actually from Rise of Skywalker, but Kylo Ren and his TIE Silencer have been in all three of the Sequel Trilogy films, and if I remember right I think he actually had two of them in this one, because one of them got crashed and burned up. Either way, I’ve had this one for a couple of years now and it’s long past time I opened this baby up. The ship comes in an enclosed box with just a small window to show off the included figure. It doesn’t actually state the film it’s tied to, but based on the art, it seems to be branded for The Last Jedi. There’s some assembly required, and once it’s done this thing isn’t going back in the box. So let’s rip it open and see what we got!

Straightaway, I have to say how much I love this design. It consists of a strong nod to the old school TIE Interceptor, but with plenty of new stuff to make it fresh and original. The squat profile places it at odds with the usual verticality of the regular TIE Fighter design, giving it a sleek profile, which is probably a tactical advantage as well. It also makes it perfect for spinning, which made for a particularly great looking attack run in The Last Jedi when he made his approach toward General Leia’s Command Ship. The wing panels have the same textured design as regular TIEs and features extended guns at the tip of each of the wings to give it a rather aggressive look. And while on the subject of the wings, I have to say that the build on this ship is much better than some of Hasbro’s recent efforts. The plastic used for the wings is flexible, but the panels were not all warped right out of the box, and it doesn’t look like that will be a problem. What’s more, the guns on the tips are attached as part of the build, and that probably spared them from getting all warped and messed up in the box.

The body on this thing is larger than your average TIE Fighter, reminding me a bit of Darth Vader’s Advanced TIE. There’s a ton of great detail in the sculpt, including panel lines and vents, and a bunch of other bits and bobs that I would probably need the Visual Dictionary to identify. The bulk of the toy is cast in black plastic, but there is a fair amount of dark and light gray to bring out the detail. You can probably also make out the little blue paint app on the bottom, that’s the Force Link gimmick, which is used to activate the toy’s electronics. It claims to have lights and sound, but because I never bothered picking up the Force Link, those functions of the toy aren’t accessible to me. Yeah, that rally sucks, but to be fair the toy stands just fine on its own without the bells and whistles.

One of the biggest departures from traditional TIE design is the lack of the circular segmented cockpit window that’s been such an iconic part of TIE design since the beginning. Yeah, it’s kind of there, but not really. Instead, the front of the pilot cabin looks more like a traditional cockpit. It definitely makes this ship look distinctive and sets it apart from the older ships a lot more than the new X-Wing designs. At least in my opinion. Either way, this thing looks pretty vicious when viewed from the front.

While this ship happily escaped the grafting of Nerf darts onto it, the TIE Silencer does feature a weapon gimmick (Force Link not required), and that’s the pop out torpedo launchers on the sides. These are activated with a button on the back of the ship, which causes the spring-loaded weapon pods to deploy in an instant, and I really dig it a lot. The torpedoes are neon green colored missiles that are extremely bright and do a pretty good job of mimicking some kind of energy weapon. These can be retracted simply by pressing them in.

And as advertised, the ship comes with a Kylo Ren (TIE Pilot) action figure, which as near as I can tell is the same as the regular 5-POA Kylo Ren from The Last Jedi. He doesn’t come with a helmet, but the head sculpt is pretty good and even includes the scar. I’m on record as actually liking these 5-POA figures quite a bit. They scratch a certain nostalgic itch and the sculpts are actually quite good on most of them. Here you get a lot of nice texturing from Kylo’s suit and details in his wide belt. He also comes with his now iconic lightsaber.

As expected, the figure does fit inside the vehicle. The hatch on top opens to reveal a very detailed cockpit, complete with texturing on the seat and the deck plates, and even all the control panels are fully fleshed out in the sculpt. And unlike some of Hasbro’s recent vehicles, the figure fits in there quite comfortably and with plenty of room to spare.

I can’t deny that a lot of Hasbro’s 3 3/4-inch scale vehicles and ships have been really hit-or-miss lately. The first release of Poe’s X-Wing was a travesty (thankfully remedied by a new Vintage Collection release) and even the First Order TIE Fighter was plagued with wing panels that were warped right out of the box. I actually returned one of those, and I almost never do that! So, taking all that into account, I’m quite pleased with how this ship turned out. The build quality is excellent, the detail in the sculpt is remarkable, and the weapon gimmick adds to the toy without defacing it. I suppose the only real complaint I have is that the electronics require the Force Link to work, but then I’ve never really cared much for electronics in toys anyway. I guess, there’s one more sticking point with this toy, and that’s the original price tag. I seem to recall this thing retailing at around $59.99, and there is no way in hell it’s worth anywhere near that. I picked up mine on clearance a while ago for $25, and I thought that was a pretty fair price. And with my Star Wars vehicle purchases few and far between these days, I have to say opening this wonderful ship on Christmas Eve brought back a little bit of that magic for me.

And with that, I’ll wish you all a Merry Christmas and I’ll catch you again at the end of the week.