If you came by Friday looking for new content, than you know I took a long weekend away from toy bloggery to recoup from a long work week. But here I am, back in the saddle, somewhat rested and ready for Marvel Monday! I’m up to the second to last figure in my jaunt through this Fantastic Four-themed wave of Marvel Legends, so let’s check out some hawt Shulkie action!
I’m not terribly familiar with this version of She-Hulk, other than she went all Grey and savage after duking it out with Thanos? I think that’s right. Anyway, considering that we’ve already had a Marvel Legends Red She-Hulk way back near the beginning of the current series, and now Grey She-Hulk, my obvious complaint is that we still don’t have regular GREEN She-Hulk, but that has since been remedied by a one-off release, which I’ll get around to looking at in the weeks ahead.
But grey or not… Wow what a figure! Jennifer looks like she’s sporting all new sculpting, and she is ripped! Literally and figuratively! This tall girl features the remnants of her tattered blue jeans sculpted onto her legs, and the top half of her shredded blouse covering her shulkies. The blouse is sculpted separately out of soft plastic and attached to the figure, which really gives it a wonderful bit of added depth, as opposed to if it were just sculped as part of the body like the jeans are. Not that they’re bad. They actually have some decent texturing and the paintlines between the blue denim and her grey skin are pretty sharp. She-Hulk is sporting a serously tight six-pack, and the bare feet are possibly also new sculpts. About the only thing I don’t like here are the slashes of neon green paint, which look like an afterthought, and don’t do much for what is an otherwise great looking effort.
And as good as Shulkie’s bod turned out, the portrait is every bit its equal! Hasbro did a fantastic job with this head sculpt. This head puts the SAVAGE in She-Hulk while still managing to retain Jennifer’s beauty. She’s brandishing the best set of choppers her law firm’s dental plan can buy, and I really dig the wrinkle in the bridge of her nose and the severe eyebrows that join it. Her eyes are green and lack pupils adding to her fierce visage. The hair sculpt is also worthy of praise. It’s wild and chaotic and looks amazing. You get some green wash mixed in with the black to match her green lips. And yeah, unfortunately you also get a rather prominant neon green slash across her nose, which I could have done without.
There are no big surprises in the articulation, and what we got is generally pretty good. I’ll pitch my usual fit over the use of rotating hinges in the elbows instead of double-hinges like the guys get. I realize that Hasbro probably does that because the gals arms are thinner, but that’s certainly not the case here. I’m also not crazy about the designs of the hinges in these elbows as they can be rather unsightly. Everything else is business as usual, though, making Shulkie a fun figure to play around with.
Jennifer comes with two sets of hands: Fists and grapple hands, and both are quite welcome. I thought I remembered Hasbro teasing a second head with this figure, but it isn’t here. It did, however, turn up in the Green She-Hulk. I guess that makes sense given this one comes with a BAF part, and the Green Shulkie does not.
When I bought this figure, the Green version had not yet been revealed, although I knew it was inevitably coming. I assumed that when it did, I would feel cheated that I had to buy this one to get a BAF part. But, this is such a great figure, that it’s hard to really feel bad about having it in my collection. Sure, I absolutely wish that Green She-Hulk was in this wave and this Grey version was the one-off exclusive, but I’m not going to get too upset about that. This figure just looks so good, that I don’t mind owning two of the same sculpt.
I remember buying the original Witcher game, hoping to slum it with the graphics turned all the way down, but even then my computer at the time just laughed and spat out the disc. A short while later, The Witcher II came to the Xbox 360, and I rejoiced, as I would finally get to sample the series I heard so much about. But after jumping in, I quickly felt like I was dropped into the middle of the dense lore and missing out on a lot of backstory, so I decided that I would shelf the game until I could eventually experience the first. Time passed and eventually even my new mediocre computer was capable of running the original Witcher, which was at that point a rather old game. With all the settings turned up, I quickly lost myself in the deep and rewarding game world, and it was everything I hoped it would be. And the rest is history. I still haven’t made the time to play Witcher 3, but I have since enjoyed the hell out of the comics and the TV series was… well, it was OK. And that brings us to McFarlane’s Geralt figure!
his is the Gold Label release, which is proudly called out with gold foil on the top left corner of the box. What’s that mean? I dunno. It seems like just a repaint of the regular version. I think these were supposed to be some kind of premium chase figures, but I got mine on clearance at Gamestop, so I’m not sure how difficult that chase was. They had both versions, but I went with this one just because I thought the more colorful deco showcased the sculpt a little better. The window box is collector friendly, unless you want the stand, which is secured to the back of the insert under a sealed bubble. For that, you’ll have to rip and tear!
And here he is, Geralt of Rivia, looking intimidating as all hell. Straightaway I’ll say that I absolutely love the sculpting they did here, but then McFarlane has always been known for delivering great sculpts! As I already intimated, I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of time in the first two games, but have still yet to crack open my copy of Witcher 3. That having been said, his armor appears to be patterened after the suit he starts the game with, and the one featured in most of the game shots I’ve seen, so I’m at least passingly familiar with it. The sculpt features some intricate detail in the chain mail, as well as some textured quilting in the upper legs. There’s stitching recreated on the leather bits, and boots, and the armor is layered onto the figure to make for a very complex and convincing look. When it comes to detail, it seems like nothing was overlooked. The torso armor is sculpted in soft plastic and wrapped around the figure, concealing the articulation in the chest. It’s executed very well, without making the figure look too bulky or throw off his proportions. Other cool little additions are his tiny amulet and the trophy hook hanging from his belt.
On his back, Geralt has two functional scabbards for his swords. These are partially open on the side facing his back, which is unfortunately a little unsightly, but they acommodate the swords very well. The scabbards are also the only place on the figure where the paint disappoints a bit. It just isn’t as sharp as it could be. The original version of this figure was quite drab and dark, but this Gold Label release features a more colorful tan and brown deco, which as I said earlier, really brings out the detail in the sculpt. The boots are black, he’s got a reddish-brown belt, and the silver paint used for the chainmail and the fixtures, is quite striking. I may still look at picking up the regular release, but right now I’m pleased that I went with this one.
They did a beautiful job on this portrait, recreating a solid likeness to the in-game model. The rather intricate hair sculpt is cast separate from the rest of the head, making for a clean hairline. His scar is carved right into the plastic, there are some subtle lines in his face, and the facial hair is quite remarkable. But beyond an excellent sculpt, the paint really turned out to be amazing. From the gray used for his hair to the gloss on his bottom lip, the life-like eyes and the razor sharp deep crimson gash, everything here is just superb. Even the skin tone is nuanced.
I was most curious to see what the articulation was going to be like, since the last time I was collecting McFarlane figures, they were little more than semi-poseable statues. Well, that certainly isn’t the case any more. The articulation here is well thought out and feels great. The double hinges in the elbows and knees are chunky and allow for tight bends. I was especially surprised to find there were even hinges in the toe of the boots! He’s capable of wide stances in the legs and his arms have the ability to reach back to draw his swords. My only gripe here is that the neck doesn’t allow for the head to look up enough. And that’s probably mostly because of the long hair.
Naturally, Geralt comes with his two swords. The “silver” sword features a sharply downturned crossguard, whereas the “steel” sword has the straight guard. These each have painted grips, but unfortunately the blades and hilts were left as bare gray plastic. I really think these needed actual silver paint to make them look more snappy, especially for a premium Gold Label release. Heck, even if they just painted the silver one to distinguish it, that would have been cool. The sculpts on the weapons are fine, and the blades aren’t too bendy, but they just look rather unfinished without the extra paint.
Geralt’s hands are sculpted so that he can wield the swords in either hand, or dual wield at the same time, for those particularly desparate battles against both humans and monsters! The articulation also allows for him to wield either weapon two-handed, which is excellent!
Other than the swords, Geralt comes with bubkis, so he’s a little light on the accessories. I would have liked to see a magic effect part or maybe some daggers. He does come with a branded figure stand, but it’s pretty small and unimpressive. Maybe I’ll dig into my Marvel Legeds effects parts to give him an Igni spell.
I was really close to passing on this line, since I’m trying to limit myself to what I’m already collecting, and not expand into new areas. But, when I’m face to face with a great looking figure on clearance, you just know it’s going to come home with me. And I’m glad I made that decision, because this is an all around wonderful figure. Yes, the unpainted swords irk me, but it’s nothing I can’t fix with a silver Sharpie. In the end, the best compliment I can pay Geralt here is that after playing around with him for about an hour, I went ahead and bought the rest of the line!
Last week I kicked off a look at the Super Skrull Wave with Mr Fantastic and The Human Torch, and as promised I’m back on this Marvel Monday to check out the second half of The Fantastic Four with Sue Storm and Ben Grimm!
I’ve got nothing new to say about the packaging, so let me take this moment to point out that Hasbro has just solicited pre-orders for their third round of Marvel’s First Family. First, we had the Walgreen’s Exclusives in their classic blue and black. The Wave I’m looking at today is the more modern black and blue, and the upcoming figures will feature their blue and white costumes made famous by Roger Corman! Er, I mean John Byrne!!! OK, let’s start with Sue Storm!
The Invisible Woman utilizes the same body as her predecessor, with the exception of her new feet. These feature wedge-heels and the same spikes on the bottoms as the other figures in these costumes, making her stand a bit taller than the Walgreens Exclusive figure. Obviously, you get the same black buck with the blue bits painted on, and I’m happy to note that the blue is a lot cleaner on this figure than it is on my Reed and Johnny. Also, since the female buck uses rotating hinges in the elbows, you don’t get the unpainted pins that the guys have.
Unlike the previous Sue, this one does not feature the semi-translucent arms, which is fine. I liked that feature on the other one, but it’s nice to have a fully solid version as well. She only has one set of hands, a powers casting hand on the right and a fist on the left.
I really dig the portrait here, Sue is as pretty as ever, but if I compare it with the older one, than I think I like that one a bit more. The lips are sharper on the Walgreens release, but yeah I’m really nitpicking to find a reason to favor one over the other. And if you like your superpowered MILFs with fuller lips, than this one might scratch your personal itch. Both of their hair looks great, the new version’s hair is a little darker and longer and a little more dynamic, making her coif the standout improvement here. But again, it’s all a matter of personal taste.
It probably goes without saying that this new release does not include HERBIE, like the last one did. It does, however, include a forcefield effect part, which is designed to plug into her right hand. It looks great, but I think it looks even better with Walgreens Sue, thanks to her translucent arm. Let’s move on to The Thing!
Grimmy uses mostly the same body as the previous release, but mixes things up with the paint. Walgreens’ Thing was a darker and more matte orange with some heavy wash to bring out the individual crags and creases. That black wash is gone here, although the crevices are sculpted well enough that they still stand out just fine. In addition to being a lighter orange, there’s also some yellowish wash around the chest, shoulder, and arms. It looks OK, but I’m going to give the nod to the older one as my favorite. And I have to throw it out there, that this is still an absolutely superb sculpt, so you really can’t go wrong with either one.
Ben’s wardrobe gets most of the new sculpting here, as instead of just wearing a pair of shorts, he’s now got a wide belt with a 4-logo in the center. The belt is blue, while the shorts are blue and black. Honestly, I think this belt and shorts combo would work fine with either set of costumes.
The head sculpt appears to be new, or at the very least has a much more promiently sculpted lower lip, making Ben look extra pouty. I’m not hating it, but I don’t think it’s as nice as either of the heads that came with the Walgreens release. And yes, that’s right. You only get the one head with this one.
And while we’re on the subject, you also don’t get any extra hands with this release either. Instead, The Thing just comes with a pair of fists. So, I guess it’s always Clobberin’ Time! Despite the color shift, the old hands look like they would match fairly well on this figure, but I could not for the life of me get the fists on this figure to come off, and I didn’t want to force them.
So, just like last time, I prefer the previous Walgreens releases to these new ones, but I will say that I like this pair a bit more than I did Johnny and Reed. Sue just looks great in any costume (Ahem, Malice in bondage outfit, Hasbro. Please!) and her forcefield effect part is a great bonus. Meanwhile, The Thing is such an amazing figure, even this somewhat lacklustre repaint can’t diminish him. It’s a shame that Hasbro didn’t throw in the extra hands, but in fairness they had to leave room for the BAF parts, I guess. All in all, I don’t dislike these costume designs or the figures, but these will not be my first choice to represent the Fantastic Four on my shelf.
And, we still have two more figures in this wave to look at! So, come on back next Monday and we’ll keep this wave rolling along with a look at Shulkie. GREY Shulkie!
I swore I wasn’t going to be buying any of the Beasts in the Kingdom line, because I’m running out of display and storage space. Plus, while I love the Beast Wars TV series, I was never all that into the toys. But it’s also no secret that I’ve rarely ever been able to keep my word when it comes to not buying toys. And for me, the deciding factor was when I fired up the Netflix series and started giving it a watch. The very next day, I was browsing the toy aisles at Target and Blackarachnia followed me home.
I have not been able to get into the other two Netflix series: Siege and Earthrise. I think they look great and I love how the animation models follow the toys so perfectly. But to be honest, they are so depressing to watch. I think they try way too hard to be grim-dark, and it just doesn’t work for me. I made it through most of Siege, but only about half of Earthrise. I wasn’t going to watch Kingdom at all, but I was really curious how they were going to work both Beasts and conventional Transformers into the same series. The result was interesting, and so has been the series so far. I don’t love it, but it does have me coming back for more. So, let’s check out my first Beast… The Predacon Blackarachnia! And as usual, we’ll start with the alt mode!
I’m going to be extremely generous when looking at this alt mode, because it just can’t be that easy to make a very humanoid robot transform into a realistic spider. And with that having been said, I think this figure does a pretty good job at it. The body has some robot kibble showing on the sides, but come on… it’s a spider and it looks fine! The engineering here isn’t mindblowing, as the bot basically folds up into a ball with the shoulders crunching under the spider head, and the arms and legs partially gathering under a body shell. It holds together fairly well, although one of my figure’s legs doesn’t lock up like it should. It’s not a critical problem, but it does make it harder to tighten up the seams in her body.
The body and legs are black with some nice texturing, and she has red spots on her back and a bunch of red eyes peppering her little spider face. The spider butt has something that I guess sort of resembles spinnerettes, protruding underneith. There are also a bunch of yellow bumps that sort of look like eyes. I’m no doctor of spiderology, but I don’t think spiders have peepers on their hineys, so I’m not sure what those are supposed to be. The black and red of the body is nicely offset by the yellow bits, which kind of look like the color of the goo that would come out if she were squished.
Blackarachnia’s legs have some pretty useful articulation. Each cluster of legs attaches to the body with one hinge, but then each leg is ball jointed further on down so it can be posed independently. The legs also do a pretty good job of holding the weight of the figure. All in all, I think this mode delivers pretty well for a Deluxe. So how about that robot mode?
Clearly, the robot mode was the design focus for this figure, because it’s outstanding! And seeing it really makes me appreciate the spider mode even more. Blackarachnia is clearly both all spider and all woman, with organic curves to her legs, wide hips, a narrow waist, and some rather impressive venom sacs. The spider’s butt lumps wind up on her pelvis, and what passed for spinnerettes become her claw-like hands. I also love the striking black and yellow coloring. She even looks great from the back, with the exception of those holes in her lower legs. Her spider body folds up neatly to form a backplate. What’s more her sizeable feet make her easy to balance, despite that leg kibble.
Yes, she’s got leg kibble for days, and I absolutely love how this design just owns it. The legs look really cool and aggressive in the way they angle away from her body, almost like skeletal wings. Granted, they have to be tweaked almost every time I pose her, but it’s worth the effort. I seem to remember in the TV show that Tarantulus’ leg kibble actually functioning as guns, but I can’t remember of Blackarachnia’s shared that function or not.
The head sculpt is excellent, and should satisfy fans of the Beast Wars series. At first, I though the sculpt was a little soft, but it’s really not. There’s plenty of detail in there. I like that they used a lighter shade of yellow for her mouth area, and she even got a little lick of red paint on her “crown.” I also dig the Predacon emblem painted on her collar.
Blackarachnia’s articulation is absolutely fabulous. She’s got rotating hinges in the shoulders, swivels in the biceps, hinges in the elbows, ball joints in the hips, swivels in the thighs, double hinges in the knees, and hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. Some of these points are in service to her transformation, others are just there to make her loads of fun to play with.
Of course, Blackarachnia comes with her trademark crossbow-type weapon, which pegs surprisingly well into either of her claw hands.
I have to say, I’m glad I weakened, overcame my self-imposed Beast Bot Ban, and picked up this figure! She’s been on my desk ever since I first opened her up, and I’ve been messing around with her a lot in my downtime. The transformation isn’t too fiddly, although I do wish that one leg locked up properly in her spider mode. Even still, she looks fine in her alt mode, and exceptionally good in her femme-bot mode. But, the real question is… do I like her enough to buy more Beast Bots? Time will tell!
I was still a young’un when Pac-Man made it’s arcade debut in the United States, and boy was I into it. It was easy to learn how to play, and that combined with the colorful graphics, and cartoony characters, had it sucking away every quarter I could wrestle from my poor parents’ pockets. But Pac-Man’s popularity quickly transcended the arcades, and it’s absolutely impossible to overemphasize how powerful and invasive Pac-Man Fever became. There were books, stickers, candy, t-shirts, ballcaps, games, puzzles, ice cream bars, gumball machines, pasta, a cartoon series, and even a hit record. It was nuts! And despite all that, there weren’t really any action figures, and that was disappointing. Many decades later, I’m an old man and I still love me some Pac-Man, and luckily the yellow chomper has had the staying power to still be crazy popular in an era where just about everything can get an action figure!
Enter S.H. Figuarts… OK, I wasn’t expecting that! It’s a brand known for some highly articulated collectible figures. When I first discovered Figuarts, it was mainly focused on anime characters, but it’s since branched out to include lots of different franchise. Pac-Man comes in a beautiful little window box that shows off the figure inside and features some nice artwork of the maze, as well an approving Pac-man on the front. Obviously, Pac-Man sports a rather unique character, so I’m pretty excited to see what they did with him!
Out of the package, and we get Pac-Man’s large spherical head-body with short arms and lugs jutting out from it. The eyes and eyebrows are sculpted as well as painted, and the mouth has some depth to it and includes a big red tongue in there. His portrait is rounded out by a jutting nose. Pac-Man has been stylized in a lot of ways over the years, but I’m really glad SHF went with this one. It’s simple, it’s iconic, and I think it captures the character perfectly. It’s also the design used for Namco’s 3D Pac-Man games on the PlayStation, and I really dig those games a lot.
For such a simple design, SHF managed to cram a decent amount of useful articulation in here. There are rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, upper legs, and knees. The hands are mounted on ball joints, so they can be swapped out, and the ankles are not only hinged, but also have lateral rockers to keep his feet flat in wide stances. Also impressive is the way the legs can shift forward and back on tracks along the bottom of his body. These tracks help to put him in running poses. All this makes him a surprisingly fun figure to play around with!
Pac-Man comes equpped with two bulbous fist mittens, and these can be swapped out with a set of open handed mittens, and even a right hand giving the thumbs-up!
You also get a swappable face plate, which is actually the entire front hemisphere of Pac-Man’s head-body. This extra face has Pac-Man offering a wink, and while it’s a bit limited as far as expressions go, it does look fantastic with the thumbs up hand! I can easily see this being the way I display him most of the time.
Pac-Man does feature a socket where his Pac-Anus should be, and that’s to attach him to a standard SHF-compatible figure stand. No, he doesn’t come with one, which feels kind of like a big omission, but I’ll come back to that at the end of the review. He absolutely does not need support to stand in most poses, but it’s a nice option for some more dynamic stuff.
Pac-Man does come with a couple of simple accessories: Some pixelated cherries and a Ghost. The cherries are a nice display piece, and they have a socket in the back to suspend them using an SHF stand. The Ghost is just too small to be any fun, but it looks good displayed beside him, and it can also be socketed into a stand. No pellets are included, but I found that Airsoft pellets are a decent stand in.
Honestly, the only downside to this set is that I want Ghosts! I’m actually kicking myself for not picking up the Funko Pop! Ghosts, because they would have displayed pretty well with him and now they go for crazy money. I’d love to see them get the SHF treatment, even if the only articulation would be in their arms, and how about a Ms. Pac-Man? And while we’re on the subject, I would be all on board Figuarts doing similar figures based off the Saturday morning cartoon designs. Sure, I griped about not getting a stand, but not really, because this figure cost $20, and that’s a pretty amazing deal for this quality of toy. I’ve wanted a figure like this my whole life, and to finally get it for so cheap, I can’t be anything but happy!
Today, I’m jumping in the Wayback Machine and setting the destination to Unfinished Business! Averaging one Marvel Legends review a week is not nearly enough to keep up with this prolific toy line, and waves do sometimes fall by the wayside. Some of these I may let go, but others I plan on getting back to. And since it’s The Fantastic Four‘s 60th Anniversary, why not return to the Super Skrull Wave! Marvel’s First Family remains one of my all time favorite comic books for the majority of my life, and along with Spider-Man, it was the first Marvel Comic that I began reading regularly when I was a wee lad. There was no way I wasn’t going to come back to these figures eventually!
I had planned on doing all of the Fantastic Four in one review, but I’m coming off a brutal six-day work week, and I just didn’t have the time to complete it, so today I’m taking what I do have, and having a look at Reed Richards and Johnny Storm! We last saw these characters in Marvel Legends as part of a series of Walgreens Exclusive releases, where they turned up in their Classic blue and black uniforms. Now we’re getting them in their more moden black and blue uniforms! Let’s start with Reed!
The body here seems to be mostly recycled from the previous Mr. Fantastic, which means the costume is achieved mostly through paint, and that works. We do get some new sculpting in the feet, including their weird spikey boots. Honestly, I don’t dislike the costumes, as they’re kind of a palate swap with a few added stylistic flairs, and the blue and black still look quite striking when contrasted off each other. That’s not to say these come even close to the classic costumes in my realm of personal taste. They aren’t as drastic as The Future Foundation re-design, nor are they terrible like the red and black re-design. They’re just different. As for the painted costume on the figure, well the paint lines could have been sharper, the blue scratches pretty easily, and the lower pins in the elbows aren’t painted to match. In short, it’s OK, but nothing special.
It remember it took me a while to get used to Reed with a beard, but I got eventually warmed up to it. Still, I’m not crazy about how it turned out on this figure. It looks like an odd mix of sculpt and paint, and the gray printing doesn’t look natural, and I think the mustache looks the most off-putting. This isn’t a terrible portrait, but it’s not a great one either. Legends has proven itself capable of much better, and I vastly prefer the classic portrait on the Walgreens Exclusive figure.
Articulation holds no surprises, so let’s jump straight to the effect parts. This version of Reed comes with stretchy fingers. Yeah. extra hands with stretched fingers. These are friggin creepy and I don’t like them. The previous release of Mr. Fantastic had some cool and massive stretched arms. These just feel like a huge step down in comparison. Reed Richards has one of the coolest and most useful super powers out there and here it looks like he’s about to use them to reach up the chute and steal candy bars from a vending machine. Thank you, but no sir.Let’s have a look at The Human Torch.
The Walgreens Exclusive gave us Johnny Storm in full Flame On! mode, so I was excited to get this release of him just wearing his costume. And it’s a pretty solid figure. Everything I said about Reed’s costume holds true here, although the blue didn’t hold up quite as well on this one. I do have to give Hasbro credit for not cheaping out and using the same body for both figures. Johnny actually features the lateral crunches in the shoulders, giving him a bit more articulation. Otherwise, there’s not much else to say here.
The portrait is decent, but again not exceptional. I like that they gave him a little smirk. The hair is sculpted separately from the rest of the head, giving him a seam for a clean hairline. The eyes could have used a bit more precision when they were painted, but all in all, this isn’t bad.
Johnny comes with swappable flame hands, a right fist and an open left, as well as flame effect parts to snake around his arms. They are kind of subtle, but I think they look great. Of course, if you have the previous release, you can mix and match for some real fun.
The heads do indeed swap and the shoulder flame piece fits just fine. I really love the way it looks on this figure. And you can also plop this head onto the fully flamed Johnny as well. In the end, though, this release really just makes me wish Hasbro had given us a Johnny Storm in the classic suit.
There’s another flame piece included that is designed for the Super Skrull BAF, but it can also be used with Johnny to give him some extra oompf.
I may sound like quite a downer in this review, but to be fair the Walgreens Exclusive versions were a tough act to follow. The classic suits meant that I was always going to like those better, and there’s nothing about this pair that makes me want to love the modern suits on these figures. I haven’t priced the Walgreens figures lately, but if they’re crazy money these days, at least these guys can fill that Fantastic Four shaped hole in your collection without breaking the bank. Next week, I’ll have a look at Sue Storm and The Thing!
Much like the good Doctor himself, Character Options’ 5 1/2-inch Doctor Who action figure line continues to defy death. Despite being more-or-less cancelled a while back, CO manages to let a slow drip of releases trickle out each year. Sure, many of these are repacks and repaints, but some are new! I’ve been picking up a lot of these sets over the last year or so, but with how bad the show has been these last two series, I wasn’t too eager to start opening them. Luckily, when I was recently on vacation I got a couple new Classic Who Blu-Ray palate cleansers and now I’m psyched up and ready to start tackling some of these!
Today I’m checking out the latest release, which is The Second Doctor and TARDIS from the 1967 serial, The Abominable Snowmen. CO teased this one, along with a prototype of The Yeti a long while back, and while I’m sad to say there’s no Yeti in here, I’m glad to see The Doctor figure finally made it out! If you’ve picked up any of the MANY of these Doctor and TARDIS releases, you should know what to expect. The goods come in a window box with the toys positioned against a printed background, making for a wonderful display if you are inclined to leave it sealed. Sadly, my box got a bumped corner while making its way across The Pond. Character Options shipped it fast, but put no packing in the box whatsoever.
Yup, while most of the recent releases have been widely available online, this one is a Character Online Exclusive, so I had to go right to the source to get it. The back of the package has a copious amount of copy about the story, which sadly remains one of the lost ones. About the only thing I don’t like about the packaging is that it’s branded for the current series. I’m not a fan of the logo, and I think one of the Classic logos would have been a lot more appropriate here. If you haven’t experienced this story, The Abominable Snowmen is currently available as an audio track drama, there are some pretty cool fan recreations online, and I’ve enjoyed the story at least a couple of times through the novelization. OK, let’s get this open! And if you stick with me until the end, I’m going to do a little bonus comparison and bonus mini-review of the last Second Doctor and TARDIS release from The War Games!
The TARDIS lands in The Himalayas in Tibet (Not India, Victoria!!!), and before going out on his expedition, The Doctor dons a mighty fur coat, which later leads to Jamie mistaking him as a Great Hairy Beastie! This coat has become something of an iconic look for The Second Doctor, probably because he wore a variation of it in The Five Doctors, which makes this figure a double treat! And what a great figure it is! The sculpting on the coat is absolutely magnificent. The texturing is brilliantly done, and the darker patches are not only painted in, but part of the sculpt as well. The wooly garment is cast in soft plastic and attached over a standard Second Doctor figure, resulting in some nice depth, while also making it look appropriately bulky. You can see his collar and tie peeking out from the top, while his checkered trousers protrude from the bottom to his brown shoes. The sleeves are sculpted as part of the new arms and match the coat perfectly. The sculpted string that ties the coat closed is a little understated. I may actually tie a real string around it for better statement.
Character Options has delivered some great portraits of Patrick Troughton in this line, and this one is another cracker! Actually, they may be all the same sculpt! His facial details are nice and sharp, as is the sculpted hair. It’s the usual serious expression that we’ve seen in the past, and while I’d love to see a smiling portrait for The Second Doctor, I realize that CO is dependent on recycling parts to keep the cost of these sets low.
The articulation here harkens back to the older figures in the line, which mainly means that the shoulders simply rotate and do not have any lateral movement. In fairness, I don’t think CO has turned out anyof the older Doctors with the updated articulation, and I’m not sure how well that would have worked with the fur coat anyway. In addition to those rotating shoulders, the arms have bicep swivels and elbow hinges which can do a full 90-degrees, which is impressive with the bulk of the coat. His wrists swivel, and I love how the hands are half obscured by the sleeves. The legs are the normal t-crotch, thigh swivels, and hinged knees, but with the coat going all the way down to the knees, the hip articulation is rendered inert. At least the knees allow him to go into a walking pose. The Doctor doesn’t come with any accessories, and while I understand that the only thing making these possible is CO doing them on the cheap, I can’t help but wish they had included the sacred Ghanta in there. Ok, let’s move on to the TARDIS!
I was extremely excited to get this TARDIS, because it’s the Error TARDIS that was used when the BBC crew rebuilt the doors on the prop and put the sign on the right door instead of the left. It appeared that way for a bunch of stories, and as such it makes this an extremely unique addition to my fleet of CO TARDISes. As we’ll see in the comparison shots in a bit, this is just a redress of The War Games TARDIS, which includes the flat roof. Although this one does omit the handle and simply has the keyhole. After watching a lot of modern Who, it’s sometimes shocking to see just how battered the old Type-40 often was in Classic Who. I actually liked it better that way. It made the TARDIS look appropriately ancient and well-traveled.
So naturally, it’s the deco that really makes this one sing to me! The distressed paint job is fantastic and really hammers home the decrepid look of some of those early TARDIS props. It appears to use a white wash in with the blue to give it that look and I just love it. Each window has two of the six panes frosted, and the POLICE BOX signs are appropriately faded stickers. As usual, the back of the TARDIS features the rather unsightly speaker. These piercings have been included on the TARDIS releases that were gutted of the electronics, but here we see the triumphant return of the lights and sounds! With the help of three AAA batteries, the roof lamp will flash yellow and the glorious wease of the engines will sound when you either pick up or put down the toy. It sounds great and, I gotta tell you, I still smile from ear to ear like a kid whenever I activate it. I simply couldn’t have imagined owning a toy like this back in the day.
Once upon a time, CO used to use printed inserts inside these TARDIS toys to show the interior, and I really wish they still did that. It would probably be pretty simple to print out an image, at least for someone with more time and motivation than me! As it is, the interior is completely unfinished. I may be content with just putting some black construction paper in there. As usual, the right door is spring loaded and will lock open, and uses a button on the floor to slam it closed. OK, let’s bring in The War Games set for some comparisons!
We get the same basic sculpt, but different coats and arm sculpts. The new release has a touch of blue in his collar, and the trousers and shoes are different colors. For the life of me, I can’t tell if the head sculpts are the same or not. They look different, but I’m possibly attributing that to the dramatic variations in the paint. The War Games release has a much more heavy handed paint job. It’s not bad, but I definitely prefer the newer release, as it just looks more natural to me. Either way, both are excellent figures.
As I mentioned, the TARDISes are the same sculpt, with the exception of the handle appearing on this one, and the older one missing the light in the roof lamp. The War Games TARDIS has a darker and more uniform paint job. Interestingly, the front POLICE BOX sign is black lettering on a white background, but that’s inverted for the other three sides. I never noticed that before getting this toy in hand. These signs are still well worn, but much easier to read than the ones on the newer release. Obviously, the PULL TO OPEN sign is back where it belongs on the left door, and it is printed with white letters on a blue backdrop with a much neater presentation. And, as I mentioned earlier, the speaker is still there despite no electronics, and the battery door is glued shut.
Any Classic Who set that Character Options releases is an instant buy for me, and The Abominable Snowmen set is an absolute treat. I had all but given up on this ever seeing the light of day. Yes, I wish it came with the Yeti we saw a while back, but getting the Error TARDIS ain’t too shabby. Besides, I would not put it past CO to re-release this Doctor with The Yeti at some point down the road, and I will happily throw my money at it if they did. Who knows? Maybe even with Victoria or Jamie. Hey, CO just revealed that we’re finally getting Ian Chesterton, so anything is possible! And with that note, I really enjoyed reviewing this release, so I’m going to make it a habit to start working some of the Doctor Who sets that I picked up over the last year or so back into my normal rotation!
My backlog of Transformers reviews is growing, and while I’d like to get to some of the older stuff, I’m always tempted to check out a new figure that arrives. Maybe I’ll do a Backlog Week and hit some of the really old figures I missed. As for Tracks, well he was getting a pretty lukewarm reception among collector circles by the time my pre-order arrived, so I was a little apprehensive about checking him out.
Here he is in the Kingdom packaging, and I still don’t know what the intention of this line is. Cars? Beasts? It’s just a free for all! But I’m going to start watching the Netflix series this week, so we’ll see what it’s all about. We last saw tracks about ten years ago in the Reveal The Shield line, so I think this figure is more than overdue, and I’ll do a comparison between the two figures at the end. For now, let’s get started with his alt mode.
I don’t usually start by commenting on the transformation, but I think it’s justified here. Transforming Tracks can be a little annoying when you’re going into car mode. There’s a lot of precise positioning, which we haven’t seen a lot of in the Deluxe Class toys of recent years, and even when you get it all correct, the results are problematic. I can get just about everything to lock in perfectly, but the two front quarter-panels always refuse to peg in flush with the hood. Squeeze them into place, they keep popping back out, and apparently this isn’t just an issue with my particular figure, but pretty much all of them. It makes me wonder whether this was an issue on the prototype, and they just said screw it, or whether it was an issue that cropped up during production. Solcitation pictures don’t show the problem, so I’m guessing it’s the later.
And that’s a real shame, because looking past that, the rest of the car looks great. There’s no license markings, but it’s clearly a close approximation of Tracks’ G1 Corvette mode. It’s got some sexy curves, and sure there are a lot of seams from the interlocking plates, but that’s often par for the course. The vibrant electric blue plastic, along with the crimson flame on the hood and the Autobot insignia make for a knockout deco. The windows are smoked, there are some gray bumpers, and black grills under the headlamps. and the wheels are painted silver. There are some exposed pins that can be a little distracting, but it’s hard to nitpick them when the car doesn’t even lock together properly.
You get some weapon ports on the sides front quarter panels, another back near the trunk, and one in the back, where you can plug in a blast effect to mimic flaming thrust. Pretty cool! Tracks doesn’t come with a blast effect, but you do get a black gun and a rack of white missiles.
Tracks can still convert into his flying car mode, which looks fine. It would have been nice if the arm pieces tabbed into the car, but I guess that’s not a big deal, as they stay in place pretty well. I’ll throw out here my apologies for shooting Tracks against a white backdrop. I wanted to really bring out the gorgeous blue plastic in the pictures, but it makes his white parts, like the wings, really hard to see. And while we’re on the subject, I would have really liked a couple of red stripes on those wings.
The robot mode is not too shabby, but I think it lacks the cleaner and more refined modes that we’ve been seeing in other recent Deluxe Class bots. I think this bot is a better homage to his G1 toy than his animated counterpart, and that’s definitely not a bad thing. Plus, he looks fine right alongside his fellow Kingdom and Earthrise Autobots. The chest is faked out, as the actual roof of the car is folded up into his backpack. Some people cry foul at this practice, but it doesn’t bother me. It allows for better proportions, and in this case, it also allows for the Autobot symbol to appear on the chest, but not on the car. The backpack locks into place, and gives his missile rack a place to plug into. From behind, he’s mostly a slab of car plates, which is fine. His legs do close up all around, but I’m not terribly keen on the gaps for his feet. I know, he’s a robot, but it’s at odds with the G1 aesthetic.
The head is perfect, I wouldn’t change a thing. Tracks’ mix of red face and white “helmet” is so bizarre and unique that it’s become iconic. The shoulders are a little broad, but that’s always been the case for Tracks. It’s hard to help it with the wheels positioned the way they are. I do wish the wings were attached to his body and not the shoulders, because they move when you articulate his arms, and I’d much prefer they stay put.
I’ve seen some complaints about Tracks’ legs being super loose. It’s true that they are pretty loose on my figure, but I haven’t had any problems getting them to hold his weight in a variety of poses. He hasn’t done the splits or collapsed on me once. Sometimes I miss the good old days of ball joints, as loose joints could be easily fixed, and that’s not so easy when you’re dealing with pins, but it can still be done. Mine just isn’t an issue, so I’m not going to mess with it.
As we saw in the alt mode, Tracks comes with a pistol, which looks like a shortened version of his Black Beam Rifle.
Bringing in Reveal The Shield Tracks, it’s always shocking to see how much bigger the Deluxe figures were back then. The old Tracks sure had a bitchin’ auto mode, and all his panels held together just fine. The deeper blue looks nice, and while the added color to the hood decals make for a dynamic deco, I think I prefer the simpler look on the newer figure. Obviously, these car models are from very different eras, and while I can appreciate a modern Tracks, the Classic, early 80’s design works better for me. With all that having been said, the older Tracks in car mode is just an all around better toy.
I think things get a lot more up for debate in robot mode. I think RTS Tracks is still a great looking figure, but he’s going for a very different aesthetic. He looks more Alternators inspired than anything else, and that’s nothing to be ashamed of. There’s also some really clever stuff going on with his transformation, which really delighted me when I transformed him for the first time in years. Not to mention, that RTS Tracks shares his body with RTS Wheeljack! Still, he’s got little baby arms, and stubby little wings that hang of fhis doors. Kingdom Tracks is just so much cleaner and really a fine compromise between toy and cartoon aesthetic. In the end, I’m going to give the nod to new Tracks, but it’s worth mentioning that I expected to sell off RTS Tracks when I got the new one, but now I think I’ll end up keeping him.
It’s impossible to give Kingdom Tracks’ alt mode a pass. It never should have gone to production like that. It’s especially tragic when you look at how great the rest of the car looks. The robot mode, however, is pretty damn sweet, and to be fair that’s the way I display these figures most of the time anyway. I’m sure that I come across as a Hasbro shill most of the time, and this next comment won’t help any, but if this Tracks’ gaps are the biggest Transformers screw up Hasbro has done, I think they’re doing OK. I mean, at least they aren’t making any of these Transformers figures impossible to get store exclusives, right?
If you stopped by last Friday only to find no new content, I offer my apologies. It was a busy work week, which flowed right into a working weekend. But now it’s Monday and I have a couple of days off to spend some time opening some toys! And it’s one of those Marvel Mondays, where I can sit back, have a pour of Jameson, light up a fine cigar, and reap the rewards of having dutifully purchased all the little plastic people in a Marvel Legends Wave. Sure, I was going to buy them anyway, but now I can finally assemble the Build-A-Figure, and in this case, it’s a three-headed mutant-hunting robot freak! Let’s take a look at the Tri-Sentinel!
While this guy’s design is a tad unconventional, he’s not all that different from most BAFs. You get a torso, four limbs, but in this case three heads instead of one. And yet with a total of eight pieces, they still stiffed Wolverine and gave him BAF parts at all! Tri-Sentinel goes together just fine right up until I got to those heads and then things turned into a nightmare for my pour thumbies. The heads are on ball joints and getting them into the sockets required a nightmare or pressure. At one point, I thought the problem was that each head was designed for a specific socket, but nope, I just wasn’t pressing hard enough. You’d think with all the video games I play, my calloused thumbs would have been better suited to the task, but apparently they are still soft and delicate. Anywho… As you may have already surmised, this isn’t Loki’s Tri-Sentinel, but rather the Theta Sentinel. Why’d they change the name? Who the hell knows! I’m pretty sure, this guy is original to the House of X/Power of X stories. At the very least I can say that it’s the first time I encountered the design.
And what a slick design this is! Like most technology (except for maybe televisions), Sentinel tech seems to get smaller as it gets more advanced. And while Theta Sentinel has some significant height on most regular Legends figures, it isn’t the towering, bulky arsenal-type Sentinels of old. Quite the contrary, this fellow has almost organic in his curves, and he’s super lanky in the limbs. I love me some spindly robots, because it just makes them creepier and more realistic when you know there’s no way it could be a guy in a suit. Unless it’s Doug Jones. I’m pretty sure that guy could fit into anything. This Sentinel does have some bulk in the upper torso, and those flared shoulders give him an aggressively stylish look. I also dig how the upper body tapers to such a narrow connection to his hips. He’s also got some seriously long claw-like hands, which are intimidating enough to make Lady Deathstrike take a second look!
I absolutely love the deco on this guy. The metallic purple and silver contrasts nicely with the matte black. It’s only a little bit reminiscent of the old Sentinels. Maybe just enough to get a whif of familiarity, while still looking new and fresh. It looks like all the paint lines are incorporated into the sculpt, which is always a good thing. Otherwise, there aren’t a lot of panel lines or other busy details in the Sentinel’s armor, which serves to drive home its advanced futuristic look.
The three heads are damn creepy, with what I can only describe as techno-skulls for faces. All three faces are identical with elongated mouth pieces and narrow, angry red eyes. Their heads are capped off with what could be considered a more stylized version of the old Sentinel caps. The heads all connect to an exposed area of the upper body, which is sculpted with some really nice detail, giving us a glimpse at the mechanisms under the purple armor. Ironically, as difficult as it was to get the heads in, they tend to pull out when I try to manipulate them. As a result, I find the ball joints they connect with to be too frustrating to use as a point of articulation. Instead, I tend to just turn the head where it connects to the stalk. It’s serviceable, but also a shame that I can’t get much use out of the ball joints.
And speaking of articulation, despite his rather unique design, Theta Sentinel has most of the usual points. You get rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. There’s a swivel in his waist. His legs have rotating hinges in the hips, double hinges in the knees, swivels in the thighs, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. He’s pretty nimble, and while it can take a little practice to get him to stand, he’s actually a bit better balanced than I expected him to be.
As far as Build-A-Figures go, this one was a real treat to finally get together. I kind of wish Hasbro released this figure as a Deluxe, because I wouldn’t mind having a couple more of them. Sure, we’ve seen Hasbro re-release BAFs as single packaged figures before, but somehow I doubt that’ll be the case with this one, so I’ll just be happy with the one I have for now.
And that wraps up this wave! It took me a while to get through it, but was worth it in the end. It was actually fun to be able to review some Legends that were based on a fairly modern book that I actually read for a change. As much as I can’t stand the direction Marvel has taken these days, Hickman will always bring me back to the fold. And this was a damn solid wave of figures. Indeed, the only one in the batch that I would consider a letdown is Marvel Girl, and that’s just because of her restricted leg articulation, which not only makes her no fun to play with, but she really can’t even stand up without looking awkward. And that’s a shame, because the sculpt and colors are pretty tight. I may be starting a new wave next Monday, or I may be detouring to check out something of the Hot Toys variety. We’ll see how much time I have on my hands, between now and then!
The Mandalorian sure has been getting a lot of my Hot Toys money these days, and as long as they keep the figures coming, I don’t see myself stopping. In addition to some of the main characters, we’ve been seeing plenty of Imperial troops, which should appeal to the wider Star Wars collecting audience as well. Most notably, we’ve seen some Rogue One troops resurface, and now the Scout Trooper! These guys distinguished themselves in a stand out scene of self-depricating and banter, which definitely helped to push this release to the top of my list.
The Scout Trooper comes in the usual boring and minimalist shoebox with a printed wraparound band. Yeah, I pick on the Hot Toys Star Wars presentation a lot, but it’s fine. Inside, the figure is laid out on a vac-formed plastic tray. The Scout was available in this single release or as a wallet-busting Deluxe set with the Speeder Bike and some extras. I went with the single release to see how he turned out, and that’s the one I’m checking out today!
If you’ve had any experience with Hot Toys Stormtroopers, then a lot about the Scout should feel familiar to you. Of course, these guys feature much less armor, allowing them increased mobility, not to mention being lighter and more suited to piloting the Speeder Bikes. This figure makes use of a black body suit with all the armor and gear worn on top of it. The suit is more loose than the traditional Stormtrooper suits, but it’s immaculately tailored and fits well. It even includes some stitched pockets in the legs.
The armor consists of a cuirass, backplate, shoulders, arm plates, knee and elbow guards, and hip pieces, all of which are cast in a pretty sturdy plastic with some decent weathering effects. Additional gear includes a quilted cloth cumberbund and codpiece, with a pair of large utility pouches. The utility belt is plastic, with clasps holding the hip pieces on, and the gauntlets are cast in plastic to simulate leather. The boots feature hard plastic feet with a soft plastic material for the tops, which close up along the backs with velcro. They look good, and serve to obscure the split-cut in the boots that improves ankle articulation for those wider stances. As you can no doubt tell from the pictures, the armor and boots feature significant weathering. The grunge is pretty convincing, and while I don’t think they over did it, if you’re looking for a clean and prestine Scout Trooper, this one is certainly not going to fit that bill.
The thermal detonator pack is the only part of the Trooper’s gear that needs to be attached when you get him out of the box. It clips ontot he belt rather simply, but it took me a while to get it on, because the belt curves and the clip doesn’t. Still, once it’s on it stays put. There’s some nice detail on this piece, and I do like that it’s removable even if I doubt I ever will, since I don’t want to bother with getting it clipped back on again.
The helmet sculpt looks pretty similar to what we saw in the good old days on Endor. I’m sure there have got to be some differences, but there’s nothing that really stands out to me. It has been pointed out that this helmet is sculpted with a noticeable gap where the faceplate meets the head piece. Apparently that was done intentionally to mimic the fact that the Scout Troopers’ helmets in the series didn’t close up all the way either. Yeah, I had to re-watch that scene to catch it, so I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have picked up on that if it wasn’t brought to my attention. The helmet has more of that weathered dusting, and while it looks good, I think this helmet is dirtier than the on screen counterpart. The visor has a nice sheen to it.
If you’re looking for a dirth of accessories, prepare to be disappointed, because this guy comes with the bare minimum. You get several sets of hands, most of which felt so inconsequential that I barely changed any out for the pictures in this review. But trust me, you do get extra hands! You also get the standard EC-17 pistol, which fits into the holster on his lower right leg. The pistol features an excellent sculpt, but it doesn’t feature any articulation or removable parts like we sometimes get with Hot Toys weapons. It stays put in the holster very well, and the right gun-hand is a perfect fit without causing any stress when placing it in or removing it from his grip. Sadly, it does not rattle like a spray paint can when you shake it!
One of the coolest things about this figure is how well articulated he is. Sure, technically all Hot Toys are well articulated, but their costumes usually inhibit a lot of that range of motion. That’s not the case here, and that makes this fellow a lot of fun to play around with. That’s not something I can often say about my Hot Toys. There isn’t much need to worry about stressing the costume, so you can even keep him in action poses indefinitely without fear of damage to the suit. And because of the lighter armor, he has a much better range of movement than the traditional Stormtroopers.
And what’s our last stop on any Hot Toys review? Yup, the stand! You get the typical crotch-cradle stand with a rectangular base. The top of the base has a textured terrain covering with footprints to position his feet. The nameplate is in silver and simply states Star Wars: Scout Trooper without mentioning The Mandalorian.
It’s awesome that The Mandalorian is giving Hot Toys a reason to revisit some traditional Imperial troop designs, especially since I think this release improves on the Sideshow Scout Trooper from a little while ago. Indeed, the only thing I can really find to complain about here is the price. The regular Imperial Stormtrooper from a couple years ago released at under $200. The Remnant Stormtrooper was $205. The Scout Trooper here was $220. I wouldn’t be so picky about the price if they had thrown in a sniper rifle, but they didn’t have them in the series, so I guess it wasn’t considered essential. Still, if you want this fellow with a Speeder Bike, it’ll set you back another $220, and you’d have to be crazy to do that, right? Yeah… I did that too. So, we’ll be able to have a look at the bike when that set ships in a month or so.