Transformers Titans Return: Flintlock and Sergeant Kup by Hasbro

Behold! For the long, dark night has ended and I have a new Converto-change-a-bot® to look at on Transformers Thursday! Yup, I’m pretty excited about it, especially since it’s part of the new wave of Deluxes, because I have been totally digging the Titans Return Deluxes! And it’s Kup! Oh, excuse me, Hasbro lawyers… Sergeant Kup! With how terrible Hasbro’s distribution is around here, I don’t even want to tell you what kind of backroom deals I had to do to get this guy in a reasonable and timely manner. …Best not to dwell on it. …Ebay. It was Ebay. But he was actually only a couple of bucks over retail, so I did good.

The card art features Kup’s properly perturbed and cranky looking head descending onto his geriatric-robo-body. Or is that Flintlock’s head? These Head/Titan Masters always confuse the hell out of me. Anyway, the last time we saw Kup was as part of the Generations line back in 2013. I thought it was a nice looking figure with some clever engineering, but it wasn’t really my G1 Kup so I recently sold him off in anticipation of this release. Shrewd move or hasty mistake? Let’s press on and find out. Kup comes packaged in his robot mode, but I’m starting with his alt mode.

Now this is an alt mode for Kup that I can get behind! My biggest issue with Generations Kup was that he was an Earth truck. Here we’ve got a pretty cool looking Cybertronian truck that’s certainly inspired by the original toy. The two-tone blue deco is very evocative of the original and I think it looks great in spite of the fact that there aren’t a ton of paint apps here. You do, however, get some nice sculpted details in the mold, which includes panel lining and a bunch of hatches on the sides.

The clear canopy that opens to reveal the driver’s compartment, and of course his Titan Master buddy Flintlock can fit in the driver’s seat.

Kup’s guns are designed to mount in the back of the bed, where they mainly just fill up that space. You can turn them around to have them fire behind him, or even combine them to form a gunning station for a Titan Master. There are also ports on the sides where they can be pegged in as well. All of these are pretty cool options. With the guns out of the bed, you can also make use of some of the tiny foot pegs and load up the back of the truck with Titan Masters.

And here’s a quick look at Flintlock. Still no paint apps on these little guys, but I like him. Articulation still consists of ball joints in the shoulders and neck. The legs are fused together, but have hinges in the hips and knees.

Kup’s transformation features some cool engineering. I really dig the way the side panels of the truck fold to become his lower legs, and the way the canopy forms his chest with the front of the truck behind it. The robot mode borrows more from the original toy than it does the Sunbow character art, especially in terms of the squared off shoulders and arms. There’s not a lot of that rounded and more organic aesthetic that was introduced with the movie designs. Well, maybe a little in the legs, but even that is a stretch. I thought that was going to be a big sticking point for me and this figure, but it really hasn’t been. I credit that to how clean and well proportioned this robot mode looks.

Another cool feature about the figure is how Kup can store both of his guns on his back. It doesn’t add too much bulk to him and it actually kind of looks like a jetpack, albeit a hollow one. Also, thanks to that clever leg transformation that I mentioned earlier, Kup doesn’t suffer from hollow leg syndrome when viewed from behind. That’s always a plus!

The deco here is more of the same that we saw in his alt mode, but you do get the addition of some of that dark gray, which breaks up all that blue and blue. He also has some yellow paint accents and an Autobot insignia at the top of his chest. I’ll confess the arms below the shoulders strike me as a bit unfinished. A few paint hits there would have helped, but all in all I think the coloring here is pretty good.

The head sculpt is pretty sweet too. The rounded style of his “helmet” and the cranky, scowling mouth is perfect for him. He looks like he’s about to scream, “Hey you damn petro-rabbits… get off of my lawn!” In the shot above, you can probably see a little mold flashing on the edge just in front of his face. I could have done without that. but I guess you have to get in pretty close to really notice it.

Kup comes with a pair of twin guns and I love these things. They’re pretty short and compact and he looks great dual wielding them. You can also stick them together to form a double-barreled weapon with a place for a Titan Master to sit. Personally, I prefer them as separate guns, but it’s always nice to have options.

If you can’t tell by now, I’m extremely pleased with the way Kup turned out. Stylistically, there were certainly some compromises here, but I’m cool with that. He’s a great looking figure and I think he fits in quite nicely with Titans Return Blurr, Hot Rod, and even Generations Arcee. I’m getting into the mindset that Hasbro can do no wrong with the Titans Return Deluxe figures, and that appears to still be the case with this latest assortment. I’m actively hunting down Perceptor and Top Spin, and I’m even pretty stoked for Quake. To be honest, I’m even looking forward to getting Krok.

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Zenescope’s Robyn Hood Sixth-Scale Figure by Phicen Ltd.

There’s no better endorsement for a first purchase than following it up with a quick second. I had Phicen’s Mercy Dante in hand for just a few hours before I found myself clicking the Buy It Now button on another release in the Zenescope-Phicen partnership. I’ve had this figure for a while now, allowing myself some time with her and also waiting until I had enough time to do her justice, and I’ve finally been able to set aside enough time to do just that. So let’s dive in and check out Robyn Locksley, aka. Robyn Hood! But first… background!

Robyn Locksley was just your average everyday baby that was saved from a satanic ritual in a fantasy realm called Myst, portal-ed to another world called Earth, and left on the doorstep of what might as well have been a crack-house. Needless to say, Robyn had a rough upbringing, which included selling illegal drugs for her foster father to pay for her ailing foster mother’s medicine, getting kicked out of the house after her mother died, and then beaten within an inch of her life and having her eye slashed out by an underprivileged jock who’s father basically runs the town. OK, she did steal the guy’s car and total it, but that’s hardly an excuse! And just as things couldn’t get much worse for her, she was summoned back to Myst, where she adopted the guise of Robyn Hood and helped the downtrodden people of Bree overthrow their asshole tyrant of a king. She bounced between Myst and Earth a couple more times, but eventually she settled down back on Earth and opened up a detective agency/vigilante service, where she investigates weird doings and serves up justice at the point of an arrow. Robyn Hood is a fun read. The first three collected trades take you through her adventures in Myst, but her ongoing book, on which today’s figure is based, sees her plying her trade on present day Earth. She’s also appeared in quite a few of Zenescope’s crossovers and one-shots, but I better not get ahead of myself…

Like Mercy, the figure comes in a generic shipper box with the character’s name on it. Inside, you get a colorful, high quality box with a deco designed to match Mercy’s should you wish to line them up on the shelf. There’s colorful character art on the back and side panels, the character’s name on the other side panel, and a nice logo for The Grimm Universe on the front. Unlike Mercy’s box, which featured a wrap-around magnetized cover, this one has an illustrated sleeve and an opening front flap for the box. I really love the presentation here and I’d actually rate it higher than what we’ve been getting out of Hot Toys these days. Inside the box, the figure is nestled in a cut foam tray with a second layer beneath with more goodies hidden below.

Robyn comes out of the box wearing most of her outfit (hey, clothes are not something you can take for granted with Phicen!), but she does require a little bit of work to get her look complete. The base costume includes her stylish, midriff revealing top, tactical pants and high, buckled boots. The top and bottom garments are beautifully stitched and consist of a mix of the camo cloth and a black pleather material, which does a great job recreating the modern outfit that she wore in Legacy and her ongoing comic. She also has a very soft cloth hood that hangs down off of the back of her top.

The boots are actually boot feet and they look really great. They feature some nice, clean stitching, silver buckles running up the sides, and treads sculpted into the soles. The bottoms of the feet include chunky peg holes that work with any of Phicen’s stands, but more on that later. The ankles joints are pretty strong and capable of holding her in just about any pose I could think of.

Robyn’s outfit is rounded out by a belt and a pair of bracers on her forearms. The belt features a sculpted belt buckle and has four brown leather-like pouches on each hip. The bracers are basically pleather sleeves, which slide on the forearms and mate nicely with the painted, finger-less gloves that are sculpted as part of the hands. Each bracer is also fitted with a plastic armor plate with sculpted straps. Another extras includes a strap for her right bicep, which holds four throwing daggers. This is an amazing accessory, but oh boy is it flirting with danger by putting those sharp daggers near her skin. Care is recommended whenever manipulating that arm so as not to puncture anything!

Robyn also comes with an rig of hip pouches that clips into the rings to the left and right of her belt buckle, and again on the back of her belt. These pouches have opening flaps, which secure with velcro and can be used to hold all her extra arrow tips or whatever else you might want to throw in there. Extra bow string? Magic crystals? Sure, why not?

The beauty of her outfit is that it doesn’t restrict her movement hardly at all, and that’s a wonderful thing when dealing with the Phicen body, which is based off a stainless steel skeleton that claims to mimic 90% of human flexibility quite. The ultimate test was being able to get her down on one knee without fear of pulling any stitches in the clothing or popping any joints. I don’t know of too many of my Hot Toys that could do the same. Keep in mind that the only seams on this entire figure are at her wrists and her neck. Truly a work of art!

The portrait is very nice, although it’s worth noting that Phicen is still a ways off from reaching the mad head skillz of Hot Toys. That having been said, I think this is a great likeness for the character. Her left eye, which I’m pretty sure I mentioned was gouged out by an asshole with a piece of glass, has the mystical eye that she um… grew? in the Realm of Myst and helps her to see what her bow sees. Her remaining real eye has something pretty close to that spark of life that we see in Hot Toys’ figures, and the paint for her eyebrows and lips is immaculate. Robyn features long blonde rooted hair, which can be difficult to get under control. A little touch of gel helps, but I feel like there’s always going to be one or two fly-away strands.

The cloth hood is capable of holding all her hair inside it, or you can snake some of it around and off her shoulder. Again, the more you play with it, the more you can get the hair under control and tucked away. Either way, I think the hood looks great on her and I really dig the soft material they used for it.

Robyn comes with a nice assortment of hands, and here’s where one of the figure’s main flaws comes into play. These are an absolute bitch to change out. The sockets in the hands tend to grip tighter than the sockets in the skeleton, which means the ball joint is more likely to come out of the arm than the one in the hand. On a Hot Toys or Sideshow figure, this is no big deal, but on a Phicen it’s incredibly frustrating to get the ball back into the arm socket, because you have to be careful about stretching or damaging the skin. The alternative is to have a hair dryer handy to heat up the hand enough so that the ball joint is more likely to pull out of the hand. I’ve had success with this in the past, but I currently don’t own a hairdryer. As a result, you’ll note that all the pictures I shot use the same two hands. I got those in and I’m sticking with them for now! Anyway, the ones on her are designed for holding the bow and knocking an arrow. You also get two tight holding hands, and two pairs of hands in slightly different relaxed states.

Of course it wouldn’t be Robyn Hood without her trusty bow and quiver of arrows. The quiver is plastic and is slung over her shoulder with a belt and working buckle. The arrows all feature interchangeable arrow heads. You get standard heads for each one, plus a few specialized types. These include a bullet arrow and a syringe arrow. She even comes with a length of string to tie around a grapple hook arrows, although i haven’t messed with that yet. One issue here is that the arrow heads tend to fit loosely on the shafts. This makes it super easy to swap them out, but they also have a habit of dropping off in the quiver if you put them in with the quills up. Which is why you’ll see most of the pictures with the arrows stored in the quiver with the tips up.

The bow itself is a beautiful piece. It’s sculpted with sensual curves and cast in a beautiful pearlescent green and gray plastics with the fixtures painted gold. Phicen’s boxed figures can sometimes be a little lacking in the quality of their accessories, but that is certainly not the case here. Indeed, my only complaint with the bow is that the string doesn’t have enough give to pose her with the string drawn back. Seeing as how some sellers piece these figures out, I’m tempted to try to get a second bow for her and re-string it with something a little more pliable.

While I’ve had almost nothing but praise for this figure, there is one big oversight that’s pretty hard to swallow. Robyn Hood comes with no stand. Zip! Now, luckily I have a healthy supply of the generic Sixth-Scale stands that you see her resting on above. Indeed, the stands that came with my other Zenescope Phicens aren’t much to get excited about, which is why I swapped them out with these better ones. But still, it takes some balls of steel to release a Sixth-Scale figure at this price point and not even toss in a goddamn stand! It’s a good thing I’m so smitten with her, that I’m willing to overlook those kinds of shenanigans.

While Phicen’s generic figures still tend to be pretty affordable, the boxed and licensed figures are slowly creeping up there in price. Previous Zenescope Phicens like Mercy Dante and Van Helsing ran around $159, while Robyn here jumped to $179 and quickly sold out at most retailers. Oh, I’m not complaining, mind you. She’s still clocking in at well under even what Sideshow is charging these days. The fact that someone is producing high quality collectible figures based on my beloved Zenescope books is reason enough to get me to open up my checkbook before even asking “how much?” And besides, there’s a lot to love here and it’s pretty easy to see where the money went. The body is killer, the head sculpt is solid, and the costume and gear are both fantastic. Sure, there are a few little design hiccups here and there, but it’s sometimes easy to forget that Phicen is a pretty small fish in a big ocean of accomplished Sixth-Scale figure companies. I’ve still got one more release in Phicen’s Zenescope partnership to look at, so probably sometime next month I’ll swing back and check out Liesel Van Helsing!

Marvel Legends (Titus Wave): Yondu by Hasbro

Guardians Vol 2 is in the theaters, and what a fun ride it is! It’s got action, laughs, and some wonderful characters, and a soundtrack that’s so cool it has no business being in a modern Hollywood flick. I’ve only been to see it once so far, but I’ll likely be back when I can find some time next weekend. And as careful planning and professionalism luck would have it, I’m also in the process of checking out the new Guardians themed wave of Marvel Legends. Last week I looked at the new Star-Lord figure and today I’ll be checking out Yondu!

No spoilers here, but I will say that I was happy to see Yondu play an expanded role in the new movie and Michael Rooker was fantastic in it. Of course, I was disappointed last time that Yondu didn’t get a Legends figure, but all is forgiven now, as thanks to the inclusion of two head sculpts, this figure can really work for either movie. I’ve got nothing new to say about the packaging, so let’s dive right in!

Captain Udonta’s outfit features his long duster and other Ravager garb, and boy did Hasbro go nuts on the detail here. The jacket itself is replete with rumples, stitching, reinforced patches, textured areas, and even a bit of wear and tear. For all the times that Legends gets by with a simple (and perfectly suitable) painted buck, it’s figures like Yondu that show Hasbro can really shine when dedicating themselves to an entirely new sculpt. Under the coat, you get more of the same, including texturing on the vest, individually sculpted buttons, as well as all sorts of buckles and straps. As soon as I had Yondu out of the package, I spent a good deal of time just turning him over in my hands and getting lost in all the amazing minutia of his outfit. All around, this is nice work!

Ravager outfits aren’t the most colorful costumes, so Yondu gets by without a whole lot of paint. Still, what’s here is pretty good. You get some gold fixtures on his coat, including the Ravager emblem, which turns out to be pretty critical in one hilarious little movie sequence. The shoulder strap is painted a lighter brown to distinguish it from the coat. Under the coat, you get some additional paint for the buttons of his vest and the harness he’s wearing over it. Of course for some great added color, we can look to the portraits!

The stock portrait features Yondu with the crest we saw in the first film, and part of the second. Overall, I think this is a really solid sculpt and a pretty good likeness to Rooker. The paint for the eyes is applied clean and straight, and while the paint for the teeth is passable, it could have been a tad sharper at the corners of his mouth. I’m also considering taking a silver sharpie and coloring a little silver on his teeth. Still, I’m nit-picking on a figure that has very little to complain about.  I like the grimacing expression and the fact that the whiskers are part of the sculpt is pretty cool.

The second head features Yondu with his fin. This is something of a plot point in the film, but I mainly like it because it nods back to the look of the character in the comics. The sculpt and paintwork on the fin are both particularly good. You can also see here that he has the scarring sculpted into the side of his head, which is actually present on both head sculpts. This sculpt also features Yondu’s lips pursed up into a whistle, which makes this portrait work particularly well if you plan on displaying him with his arrow in action.

And speaking of action, the articulation here is identical to what we saw last time with Star-Lord. In case you missed that review, here’s a rundown… You get rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, double hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps. The legs are ball jointed at the hips. have double hinges in the knees, and swivels in both the thighs and the boots. The ankles are hinged and have lateral rockers. Yondu wasn’t exactly super agile in the films, as he lets his arrow do most of the work for him, so I think the pose-ability here is far more than adequate.

In addition to the extra head and the Titus BAF part, Yondu comes with his deadly arrow. The arrow here actually features an effect part so that you can display him with the arrow flying out of its sheath on his belt. The effect works surprisingly well, but I do think it was a little cheap of Hasbro not to drop a second arrow in the package, so you could put it in the sheath for when he isn’t using it. Ah, but considering all the work they put into the figure, I’m inclined to give them a pass on that.

I may only be two figures into this wave, but so far Hasbro is really nailing it with these Guardians Legends. Like Star-Lord, Yondu is a great figure and hits all the right points from sculpt to paint to articulation. I’ll confess that I will very likely be picking up a second Yondu, just so I can display one from each movie and an extra arrow to snip the effects part off of. And while I know it’s just a pipe dream, I really wish there was some way that Hasbro could get us a figure of Kraglin in the Legends scale. Hell, even if they boxed him with a repacked Yondu, I’d still buy that in a heartbeat. Anyway, on the next Marvel Monday, I’m going to finish off the MCU Guardians in this wave with a look at Drax.

DC Bombshells (DC Designer Series): Poison Ivy by DC Collectibles

After a little mid-wave sabbatical last week, I’m back on target to work on finishing off this amazing assortment of action figures based on the DC Bombshells art and statues. The third figure up on deck is Poison Ivy!

If you’ve been on board since the beginning of the wave, then you already know all there is to know about the packaging. It shows off the figure wonderfully and it is totally collector friendly. You also get some nice character art on the side panel so you can identify who is who when the boxes are lined up on a shelf. I have to be honest, Ivy was probably my least anticipated figure of this wave, so let’s see how she ranks among some pretty stiff competition.

Batwoman was aimed at America’s Greatest Pastime, Wonder Woman referenced WWII Posters, and Poison Ivy here is squarely targeting the cheesecake pin-up style of the 1940’s. As such she comes wearing not much at all, just her chlorophyll-infused skivvies: Bra, panties, stockings, and high heels. All of her outfit is integrated into the sculpt, so the only thing on this figure that’s achieved by paint alone are her amazingly cool tattoos and the vine patterns on her legs, which I assume are supposed to be part of the stockings, but this is Poison Ivy, so you never know! Particularly nice touches include the sculpted bow in the center of her bra and her garter belts. I’ll also note that this is one of the few times I can remember where a figure in this scale had high heeled shoes that didn’t come out looking like granny shoes. Ivy comes out of the box with a pair of fists, which I don’t find a lot of use for with this figure. Luckily, she does have two other pairs of hands to choose from.

The portrait definitely has the whole pin-up style down pat. I don’t think they were going for any specific actress, but the hair style feels influenced by the famous pin-up artwork by Alberto Vargas. The paint applications for the eyes and lips is quite good, and the sculpted rose in her hair is a very nice touch. This shot also provides a better look at her lovely tats… and by that I mean tattoos!

The articulation here is right in line with what we saw for the last two figures and as such it’s some of the best pose-ability I’ve seen in any of DC Collectibles’ lines. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, with swivels in the thighs, and double hinges in the elbows. The hips are ball jointed, but also seem to have a sort of hinged dog-bone up in there, that allow for even more range of motion. Further down we get swivels at the tops of the stockings, double hinges in the knees, and the ankles have hinges and lateral rockers. There’s an ab crunch hinge and a ball joint under the chest, and the neck is ball jointed. My figure’s left bicep swivel was stuck, but a little warm water fixed that. I should also note that while those heels look great, Ivy is a difficult figure to keep standing!

If Poison Ivy stumbles a bit where the others excelled, it would be in the area of accessories. Now, don’t get me wrong, the accessories she comes with are definitely on point for the character, but by their nature, I didn’t have quite as much fun using them with the figure as I did with the previous two releases. It might also have something to do with the fact that the other figures were kitted out more for action, whereas Ivy is in her underwear. I wouldn’t call these complaints, she just has a different feel to her in that sense. With that having been said, the first accessory is a simple rose.

The other accessory is a little more interesting and also a tad frustrating. It’s a coil of vine with a snapping head on the end. I like it. It’s a cool looking piece, but it’s hard to figure out exactly what she’s meant to do with it. None of the official photos of the figure that I’ve seen have her interacting with hit. I managed to come up with some OK things for her to do with it, but I still feel like I’m missing out on exactly what was intended here.

I feel as if I’m more critical of this figure than the others and I’m not sure why. The truth is she’s a fantastic sculpt with some beautiful coloring, and a superb level of articulation. It’s true that Ivy is my least favorite figure of the three I’ve opened so far, but in this assortment of figures, that’s not something she should be ashamed about. On the next DC Friday, I’ll wrap up the wave with a look at Harley Quinn. Was I saving the best for last? The worst for last? Come on back and find out!

Robot Vinyl Collection: Vehicle Voltron by Toynami

I almost wasn’t going to do an update today. This week has been craaaaazy and time has been so short. Also, I am still without any new Transformers to look at on this increasingly inaccurately named Transformers Thursday. I will, however, promise here that I’ll have a new Transformer for next week. Cross my heart and swear to Primus! Anyway, at the last minute, I looked at my pile of shit unwanted treasures, that I’m slowly getting around to listing on Ebay, and realized there was something in there I hadn’t reviewed here… and it’s a combiner robot, so it sort of fits the Transformers Thursday theme! So, let’s take a look at Toynami’s Vinyl Vehicle Voltron! Holy cats, say that five times fast!

Voltron comes in a clear plastic box, on a clear plastic tray, and this presentation works very well for display purposes if you don’t want to take him out. In fact, as we’ll soon see, he’s probably better off left in there. I think I’ve only had this guy out of the package twice and one of those times is right now. Anyway, the packaging is very nice, albeit very fragile. You may note that the bottom of the box proclaims this release as Volume 3 in the Vinyl Robot Collection. I know that they did a Lion Force Voltron before this one, but I had no idea that there were other releases, including a Zentraedi Heavy Artillery Battlepod, which I kind of wish I knew existed before it hit an approximate value of all-the-damn-monies on the secondary market.

The back of the package features a nice write-up about the series and has a picture of the toy inside. Other than my forever undying love for Vehicle Voltron and the lack of associated merch, I can’t for the life of me remember why I bought this. I’m not a huge fan of vinyl toys to begin with and while this figure is not without its merits, it really never had any place in my collection. I do remember it was on clearance, so I’m sure that had a lot to do with it. And with that resounding vote of confidence, let’s open him up and check him out!

Standing about seven inches tall, this figure is every bit a vinyl toy. The sculpt is soft, but honestly I think it works well with the animated design. And make no mistake, this sculpt is a very animated look. The details are simple, and you’ll note he’s missing some pretty obvious features, like the propeller blades on his shoulders. The simplification of detail is particularly apparent on the back, although they did keep the tank treads for some of the vehicles. Keep in mind, none of this really bothers me, as its a stylistic choice, and one that certainly sets him apart from the other Vehicle Voltron figures that have been on the market. What does bother me is that for a figure that doesn’t do much of anything, he really can’t even stand straight. I want to say it’s from the legs warping in the package, but as I take a good look at the legs, it seems like they aren’t even and that causes the figure to lean a bit to one side.

The coloring on this figure is absolutely fantastic. Yes, if you get in close enough you can see some less than crisp paint lines, but just viewing the figure in hand with the naked eye it looks really good. The blue and red paint are both vibrant and when coupled with the immaculate white, and the silver and yellow, you get a figure that really pops on the shelf. Voltron has always been about bright and attractive coloring and this figure conveys that very nicely.

As a vinyl toy, one shouldn’t expect much in the way of articulation, and that is certainly the case here. The shoulders will rotate, the head will turn, but the rest of the articulation consists of various swivel cuts, which are probably more a byproduct of the figure’s assembly than actual intended points of articulation.

And that, my friends, is all there is to say about Vinyl Vehicle Voltron. If you’re a fan of vinyl toys, this may be a nice piece to have in your collection. I’m not, and to me this figure really misses on all points. Voltron toys are fun because you can either combine and separate them, or because they can be posed and played with, and this one does neither. I understand that isn’t the point of this release. But, if you’re going to make a figure that’s designed to just stand there and look pretty, well I think you should at least make sure it’s capable of standing straight. Since it’s release many years ago, these figures seem to be fairly collectible, so I’m hoping I can get back what I paid for him on Ebay and that’s where he’s going!

Star Wars Black (Rogue One): Director Krennic by Hasbro

I’m really pressed for time today (and that may be the case for the rest of the week), so I decided to dig into my stack of unopened 6-inch Black Series figures and find one that I could do justice to in fairly a brief amount of time. I ended up with Director Krennic! Did I mention I’m pressed for time? So, let’s go!

Now, to be clear, picking Krennic for a quick-and-dirty review isn’t meant as any slight against the character. Truth be told I was captivated by this guy from his very first scenery-chewing appearance. Part of my love for Krennic has to do with the way his character was written, but a lot of credit has to go to Ben Mendelsohn, who was absolutely fantastic in the role. As great as it is, Star Wars has not been a saga I look to for deep and complex villains, but Krennic actually felt more like a fleshed out character as opposed to just a foreboding guy in a suit. GO AHEAD, FIGHT ME!! In fact, of all the characters in Rogue One, I’d say that I enjoyed Krennic and Bodhi Rook the most, because they felt the most like real people to me.

Hot damn, do I love the Imperial uniforms! Krennic dons his very smart looking, and rather uncommonly seen, white Imperial officer’s tunic and jodhpur-style trousers. It’s a fairly simple sculpt, but it looks absolutely fantastic. The insignia on his chest is sharp and there are some subtle rumples on the tunic to replicate the look of cloth. But if we’re talking great looking plastic cloth, kudos has to go to this cape.

At first, I’ll confess to being a little disappointed that Krennic didn’t come with a cloth cape, but the sculptors did a really fine job on this plastic one. Between the wrinkles and the tailored seams, I’d be hard pressed to tell that it wasn’t actually made of cloth if all I had to go on was some pictures. It’s also very easy to take off the figure, as it just rests on his shoulders.

As for the portrait, it’s pretty damn great. Wow, did I just say that about a 6-inch Black figure? I did! Of course, it’s still a fairly soft sculpt with some very basic paint, but the likeness is undoubtedly there.

Removing the cape allows for a better look at the functional holster on his belt, which holds his rather unique looking gun. Both of his hands are sculpted to hold it fairly well.

The articulation here is pretty standard stuff for the Black Series. You get rotating hinges in his shoulders, elbows, wrists, and hips. He’s got double hinges in his knees, and his ankles have hinges and lateral rockers. There’s a ball joint in his waist and both a hinge and ball joint in his neck. I really wish we could get some bicep swivels on these figures, although in the case of Krennic here, I guess he doesn’t need to be super-pose-able.

And there we have Krennic, a great character and a great figure! I love this guy so much that I picked up three extra Death Troopers (before I even had Krennic), just so that I could set him up on the shelf behind him. The only sad thing is that Krennic is probably the last of the 6-inch Black Series figures from Rogue One I have to look at. It still kills me that we didn’t get Bodhi or Saw, but then I’m still trying to hunt those down in the 3 3/4-inch versions. In the wake of Krennic’s release, we’ve already seen images of the up and coming 6-inch Black Admiral Thrawn. I’m hoping that these releases have broken the seal and we’re going to start getting some more Imperial Officers, because I’ll army build the hell out of some of them once Hasbro starts releasing them.

Marvel Legends (Titus Wave): Star-Lord by Hasbro

It may be Marvel Monday, but I already have my sights set on Thursday, because I have my tickets to see Guardians Vol 2 at the local CineBistro, where I’ll be sitting in a recliner made of rich Corinthian leather and sipping on a spiced bourbon while a space-raccoon cracks wise and kills things on the big screen in front of me. It seemed only fitting today to kick off the Guardians-themed wave of Marvel Legends, so let’s do just that with the second Marvel Legends version of the MCU’s Peter Quill.

While this is a Guardians Wave, Hasbro has populated it with a mix of figures from both the comics and the MCU. Indeed, only three of the seven figures (eight if you count Titus) here are from the film, and that’s something that I absolutely love about what Hasbro is doing with Legends these days. The comics are actually getting a bigger focus than the soon to be billion dollar blockbuster. How cool is that? And don’t worry, the rest of the Guardians Vol. 2 team is still coming, split into another assortment. Let’s bust Quill out of here and check him out.

Hasbro last took a crack at MCU Star-Lord back in 2014 with the release of the original film… and what a difference a few years makes! I’m not going to shit talk that original figure, because I do still like it a lot, but I’ll be happy to point out the improvements when we get to the portrait. In the meantime, here we have Star-Lord in his updated look for the sequel.

His costume isn’t all that different from the first film, but I really like that he has the shorter coat now. He wore both the duster and the jacket in the first film, and since we only got the duster version last time, it’s nice to get the other option this time. There’s a good deal of sculpted detailing in the jacket, and that includes texturing, some reinforced areas, and piping. As is often the case, the jacket is basically a separate vest with sculpted sleeves to create the illusion that it’s all one piece. This allows you to pull back the flaps and get a better look at the shirt underneath.

His t-shirt has the printing across it that we’ve all seen in the trailer. Pratt himself has explained that this is some kind of licensed merch from the Guardians Universe and even suggested that it’s the brand name for some kind of candy. I really love that idea. From the waist down, things are pretty simple and straightforward. There’s a lot of sculpted detail on the trousers and boots, but nothing extraordinary or worthy of mention. I did notice that his thrusters are conspicuously absent from his ankles and I’m wondering if there’s a reason for that. If there is, I guess I’ll know soon enough. Star-Lord also includes pegs on his hips so he can wear his guns. These work quite well if he’s standing with his legs straight, but the guns tend to pop out when you give him wider stances.

The portrait is such a huge improvement over the original Legends Star-Lord. I think the first one works as maybe an animated version, but this one actually bears a decent likeness to Pratt. The facial hair is part of the sculpt and not just painted on like last time. I really couldn’t be happier with how this head turned out.

He also comes with an alternate masked head. This sculpt reflects some changes in the actual movie mask as well as some overall sharper sculpting. There are some new gold detailing on the back and overall, I’d say the paint here is much sharper, particularly on the eyes.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, the new head does fit perfectly on the 2014 figure. There is a slight difference in the skin tone, but it’s close enough to work for me. And that means I’ll definitely be picking up a second Guardians 2 Star-Lord and retiring that old head.

The articulation here is pretty much the same as we saw on the last Quill figure, and that’s not a bad thing. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, double hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps. The legs are ball jointed at the hips. have double hinges in the knees, and swivels in both the thighs and the boots. The ankles are hinged and have lateral rockers. There’s a ball joint just under the chest, and both a hinge and ball joint in the neck. I’ve had this guy on my desk for days and I’m still not tired of playing around with him.

If this figure comes up a little short anywhere, it’s in the accessories. Star-Lord doesn’t include a BAF part, and doesn’t come with his Walkman like the original Quill did. Sure, I could always borrow that one, since I have two of those figures, but I’d say it’s odd that they didn’t at least repack that one in this box. As we’ve already seen, he does come with his twin blasters, which are beautiful sculpts. I love the designs of these guns.

While a few more accessories would have been welcome, it’s hard for me to find any other faults with this figure. Hasbro did a fantastic job on all fronts, but it’s the improvement in the likeness that really hits home. I won’t be double dipping on the Hot Toys Star-Lord, I’m still happy with mine from the first movie, so it’s nice to be able to have Quill from the sequel represented on my Hasbro 6-inch shelf. Next week, I’m going to be pressing on with the MCU figures, while the hype for the movie is still high and after I’ll be digging into the comic based figures.

DC Designer Series: Batgirl (Babs Tarr) Statue by DC Collectibles

I’m taking a mid-wave break from reviewing the excellent DC Bombshells action figures to check out a statue that’s been long overdue for my collection. It’s rare that I court a statue for as long as I longed after this one. Sure, sometimes I’ll waffle a bit and other times I’ll wait for a deal, but this Babs Tarr Designer Series Batgirl Statue is one that I started eyeballing way back when the teaser art was first introduced. Then it was revealed to be part of the B&W Series. I loved the art direction, loved the sculpt, but wasn’t keen on it being a B&W piece and it was too small to really fit in with my mostly 9-inch or 12-inch scale statue collection. But, as if in answer to all my reservations, DC Collectibles re-worked the statue back in 2015 as a full color sixth-scale piece. I was in love again, but there were so many reports of QC issues and statues arriving broken, despite being new in sealed boxes. Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago, when my infatuation finally won the day, and I decided to roll the dice and risk disappointment or else forever regret what might have been.

While this is my first DC Designer Series statue, the packaging is very similar to my beloved Cover Girls line. It’s a fully enclosed and collector friendly box with a brick of styrofoam inside that houses the statue. The box on mine is a little beat up and there’s some heavy rubbing on the sides. Oh, man. I can’t tell you how nervous I was as I sliced the tape and prepared to reveal the statue inside. The Interwebs are littered with pictures of this statue with pieces broken off of it, I was terrified mine was going to be a mess, and this distressed box isn’t helping to calm my fears. Nevertheless, I came this far, and I just had to see how my luck turned out…

Well, it turned out pretty freaking great, thank you very much! Not only did the statue arrive without any breakage, but the paint quality and overall coloring on this piece are both superb. Setting her up simply requires that you peg her foot into the base with the metal rod and she’s all ready to go. Before getting started, I will mention that while this figure is billed as being cold-cast porcelain, there’s definitely some mixed media going on, namely the plastic used for her the skin tone of her face, and I’m pretty sure the hands and some other fixtures are resin. That’s not a complaint, mind you, as the results are fantastic, but just an observation. And the statue still has a remarkable heft to it, especially as I’m used to the smaller Cover Girls.

Where to begin the love fest? Well, for starters I think the pose really captures this iteration of the character perfectly. She’s got one foot kicking back behind the other, a little playful lean on her right hip, and her left hand fiddling with the pouch on her utility belt. They did such a great job bringing this costume to life. There’s just enough detail to keep things interesting, but it still manages to capture that rather simple animated art style of the book. And she’s so damn colorful! Granted, a big part of that comes from this costume design, but credit has to be given to the team of artists at DC Collectibles for translating it so perfectly into this piece. The purple and black matte finish on the suit is smooth and practically flawless and it contrasts so beautifully with the bright and glossy yellow used on her big, chunky boots, gloves, bat symbol and utility belt. Some silver paint on her zippers and black lacings on her boots round out the costume beautifully.

The portrait is just plain adorable. I love the way her head tilts down to the left while she glances up to the right with her big green eyes. And that smile says it all! Her cowl appears to be sculpted separately from the face, which gives the head some welcome depth, even more so than if there were just sculpted lines. The reddish-orange hair swirls around her neck and drapes down her left shoulder. There’s so much personality in this portrait, and like the pose I think it just captures Babs Tarr’s Batgirl perfectly.

The beast of a base is a simple black disc, which is a heavy slab that all but ensures Batgirl won’t be taking any dives off the shelf. It has a bat symbol cut deeply into it, and I really dig the way they outlined the cut lines with purple paint. It makes for quite a striking statement. The bottom of the base features the hand-numbered limitation. Mine is 1,990 of 5,200.

It’s always a tricky thing, pining after something on your want list for so long. Can it possibly live up to the anticipation and expectations? Well, in this case, Batgirl certainly did. I was in love with this statue when I first saw it, and I’m just as much now that it’s in hand. It’s been so long since this statue debuted, I don’t even remember it’s original MSRP. I’m guessing it was somewhere in the $100-125 ballpark. I picked up mine from a comic shop on Ebay for about $85 shipped and I am so damned happy to finally have this gal on my shelf. Every little thing about this piece works for me. The colors are gorgeous, the pose is so perfect, and I actually set her on the shelf beside my desk, at least temporarily, so I can admire her every now and then, before retiring her to the display case in the spare room. I’m looking forward to picking up some more statues in this series, and I’m pretty sure my next one will be the Amanda Connor Starfire.

Pop! Vinyls (Doctor Who): The 9th and 10th Doctors by Funko

It’s another Transformers Thursday without any new Transformers. It’s also the day after I just pulled an all-nighter at work and I’m really tired and want to go to bed. But the show must go on, so let’s see what I have lying around here that I can do quick-and-dirty. Of course! Pop! Vinyls!!! Also, Doctor Who is back and I can’t even tell you how happy I am about it. While we’re only two episodes into Series 10, I’m really digging it so far and it made me want to get out some Doctor Who merchandise. Sadly, Character Option doesn’t seem to know what they’re doing with the license any longer and the Doctor Who action figure market has all but dried up. But if there’s one thing you can count on in this universe it’s Funko and never ending empire of Pop! Vinyls. I’ve already looked at the 11th and 12th Doctor Pop!s, so today I thought I’d round out the NuWho Doctors with a look at Nine and Ten.

The packaging here is pretty standard Pop! Vinyl fare. If you’ve bought one of these (DON’T LIE TO ME, YOU OWN AT LEAST ONE!) then you know what to expect. The adorable little figures come in window boxes branded with the series and number of the figure. These are #221 and #294, which shows that a lot of Television Pop!s have come between these two releases. Yup, it’s kind of odd that Ten comes before Nine in their numbering, but don’t worry about it, it’s all just Timey-Whimey. The boxes are collector friendly, but you can still sort of enjoy your Pop! without taking it out of the box. Indeed, this is one of the few lines of collectibles where I always keep the boxes. They’re not much bigger than the figure itself, and when they’re in the box you can stack them. Why the hell do these say Age 14+ on the boxes? These are practically chew toys, so I’m not sure how they can be dangerous. Eh, who knows? Let’s go in order and start with Nine.

To me, The 9th Doctor has one of the least distinctive looks out of all of the Time Lords’ incarnations, and yet I have to admit, I’d know who this is even if you handed it to me without the box and covered up the Sonic Screwdriver in his hand. Being able to recognize the character is the biggest compliment that I can pay one of these ridiculous things and since I don’t really find Nine’s outfit all iconic, this Pop! is doubly successful. The head isn’t bad either. I think they actually gave him bigger ears too!

Pop! Nine also has some of the best paint I’ve seen on any of my shamefully large collection of these stupid things. Granted, he’s wearing a black jacket, black trousers, and black shoes, but the jacket and shoes are glossy and the trousers are matte, so you still get a little variety in there. I really like the purple paint they used for his shirt, and the paint apps on the screwdriver are especially good. Apart from a little chipping to the flesh tone on his right hand, this is as close to an immaculate Pop! as I have ever seen. One might even say… FANTASTIC! Moving on to Ten…

The 10th Doctor is a total slam dunk, largely in part to his very iconic costume, and also to the really wonderful job the Wizards of Pop! did on this figure. I swear, I think I could probably recognize him just by the head alone, thanks to the tufted wave of hair at the front and those glorious sideburns. But if that doesn’t give it away, the brown jacket, blue suit, and red and white “sand shoes” definitely drive the point home. And, of course, he also has his trusty Sonic Screwdriver in his right hand.

And today lighting is striking twice because the paint on this one is just as good as what we just saw on Nine. Sure, there’s a little slop on the shoes, but when you buy Pop! Vinyls sight unseen like I do, you run the risk of some nightmarish paint. It’s always great to see a pair of beautiful pieces like these.

I know I don’t spend a lot of time here showcasing my Pop! Vinyls, probably because I’m ashamed to admit I own so many. Still, it wouldn’t be a bad thing to sneak some more in here and there. If nothing else, it makes for an easy day for me, because… well, how much can you really ever say about these things? Maybe I’ll try to get through all the Doctor Who ones, while Series Ten is running. It’s worth noting that there are a number of variants for some of The Doctors, but I’m not that crazy yet to pick up all of those. Some of them? Yeah, but not all of them. And so Nine and Ten here complete my NuWho Doctors nicely. Wait, what’s that? They did a Pop! Vinyl War Doctor? Oh, for heaven sakes, I guess I have to get that one too.

Predator 2: Ultimate City Hunter by NECA

It’s been a couple of months since I last checked in with NECA’s amazing line of Ultimate figures, and that just won’t do! Luckily, I happen to have their Ultimate City Hunter from Predator 2 hanging around and waiting to be opened. I should first go on record by saying that I really dig this movie a lot. Taking the franchise out of the jungle and into the city was a great idea, and Danny Glover was a great choice as the lead. It wasn’t just more of the same, but rather felt like something new and different. And so, while I’m not really collecting NECA’s regular Predator line, I am all-in on the Ultimate figures, and I was really excited to get this one.

The Ultimate line’s packaging features beautifully illustrated boxes with a front flap that opens to reveal a window and the figure inside. There are some great pictures of the figure in action, and the name of the franchise is printed on the side panel, so you can line these boxes up on the shelf as if they were chunky VHS tape sleeves. Everything is collector friendly, so let’s carefully take this guy out and start with a look at the figure itself.

NECA has been doing Predators in this scale for what seems like forever, so it should be no surprise that they’ve nailed the sculpt. Indeed, I think you’d be hard pressed to find another figure in this scale that has more loving attention to detail and is this screen accurate to its source material. I’m sure a veteran Predator collector could point out some parts reuse on this guy, but the only other Predator I own is from the Aliens Vs. Predator 2-pack, so this is all new to me. I don’t know what flavor plastic they use for the skin, but it’s incredible stuff. It has a glossy and almost translucent sheen about it that takes the various painted skin patterns and makes it look real and it also contrasts beautifully with the pitted and ancient looking armor pieces. The net body suit is part of the sculpt as well, and he even has that bone handbag-looking thing hanging off his side. Anyone know what that is?

From the back, you can get a better look at some of that armor detail. Again, the pitting and wear in the sculpt, along with the aged patina, really sells these plastic parts as well-worn metal. As for the rest of the detail, just check out the intricate scaled pattern in his right shoulder guard, or the medical kit pod on the center of his back. Oh, and see that track running down from his left shoulder. Is something missing there? Well, I’ll get to that in a bit.

The helmeted head is equally fantastic. It looks like it’s made out of hammered copper, thanks to the intricate pitting in the sculpt and the beautiful paint wash. The dreadlocks spill out the back and sides, and each one is an individual piece with its own unique detail and paintwork. Now, as much as I love and respect the amount of work that went into this masked head, this is the last time you’re going to see it on the figure in this review, and that’s for two reasons. First, the ball joint piece has a habit of coming out inside the head and is a bitch to get out. This makes swapping the heads a pain in the ass. Second, the unmasked head is so damn great that I want to keep it on the figure all the time.

Because just look at it! I can never decide whether the markings on the Predator’s head reminds me of a snake or a cockroach, but either way it’s deliciously repulsive and recreated here just perfectly. The beady little eyes can just barely be seen under the pronounced brow ridge, and those mandibles? If those aren’t a work of art, then I don’t know what is. He may be one ugly sonofabitch, but I’m most definitely in love with every bit of this portrait.

This line has been a champion of solid articulation and City Hunter is no different. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, swivels in the biceps, and double hinged elbows. The legs have rotating hinges in the hips and ankles, swivels at the hips, and double hinged knees. There’s a ball joint in the torso and another in the neck. Not bad!

Before moving on to the accessories, City Hunter has a few tricks up his sleeves… literally! His right gauntlet features a twin set of vicious looking blades with some nasty serrated edges. These will extend a little bit just by pulling them out. These are also among the many aspects of the figure that I would recommend being careful with. They are fairly rigid and probably pretty easy to chip or crack.

His left gauntlet features his self-destruct computer, which hinges open and shows the alien characters on the displays. The hinge on this device is another part of the figure that feels extremely delicate. It’s also an area that I find myself gripping when changing the right hand, which is probably not the best of ideas. Of course, as a release in the Ultimate line, The City Hunter comes with a ton of stuff and a bunch of extra hands to interact with all the accessories. But before I go on, I do have to circle back to that empty track on my figure’s left shoulder. Unfortunately, my City Hunter came without his shoulder cannon. I have been able to rectify that with a replacement from the retailer, but it hasn’t arrived yet, and I firmly believe in pressing on with the review based on how the figure arrived. When the replacement does arrive, I’ll update this review appropriately. Now, let’s get to what my figure did come with.

First off, he comes with his spear, in both its retracted and deployed forms. The retracted spear can be clipped to his back, which points to one of the many things I love about this figure, that being his ability to carry all his weapons at once. He also comes with left and right hands designed to hold the weapon. I’m glad they went with two different pieces, rather than try to make the spear telescope. This route allowed for better sculpts of both and probably a much sturdier extended spear.

Next, he comes with his Net Launcher. This piece can be pegged into his lower left leg for storage. He also comes with a left hand specifically designed to hold it. The fingers are flat and they go right into the groove on the back.

The Smart Disk, or Glaive, can be stored on his right hip, and it’s a damned fine sculpt, complete with little gears on the back and finger holds.`

The final weapon in City Hunter’s arsenal is the retractable laser on his left gauntlet. You get two covers for this, one that pegs in flush with the gauntlet to depict it closed and another that depicts it deployed and ready to fire. As subtle as it is, I think it’s fantastic that NECA included these little pieces. It really shows how much thought and love goes into designing these figures and what kinds of extra features they can include.

The last accessory isn’t a weapon, but rather a trophy in the form of a skull and spine. This is a brilliant sculpt, especially for this scale, and the paint features a grisly red wash that suggests it’s a fresh kill. This piece looks so great, it really makes me want to go back and pick up the Predator accessory kit that NECA released a little while back.

It’s a remarkable thing that NECA can keep the prices of these Ultimate figures just under the $25 mark. The sculpt and paint are incredible and they really pack a crazy amount of stuff into the box. Granted, my figure was missing one of those extras, but it was easy to resolve, as I’m getting a second figure as a replacement and I’ll happily use the extra one to display the masked head. If picking up this figure has a downside for me, it’s that it really makes me want to start collecting more of NECA’s lovely Predators. It’s an urge that I’m trying to stave off, because there are so many of them and the last thing I need is another line to collect. hopefully, I can last at least until the Ultimate Jungle Hunter comes out. What’s that? It came out yesterday? Dammit!