Transformers “Power of the Primes” Blot by Hasbro

Last week I diverted away from the Power of the Primes Terrorcons to have a look at Punch-Counterpunch, so let’s swerve back on course this week by opening up my third of the Deluxe Terrorcons… and it’s Blot!

Man, Hasbro came up with some great names for the Terrorcons. Even in a team with characters named Cutthroat and Rippersnapper, Blot is still a stand out moniker. He comes packaged in his robot mode with some great character art at the top of his card in his beast mode. You get the Generations emblem in the upper right corner and the brand name running up the side which, even after a few lines of this package style, will never stop looking weird to me. I’ve been starting off all the Terrorcon reviews in their robot modes, so let’s get Blot out of that bubble and check him out…

Blot is built off of the same engineering as Rippersnapper, and just like Cutthroat and Sludge, he borrows some parts but the majority of the figure has been reworked to make Blot his own bot. With that having been said, I really dig Blot’s overall profile. He’s got a big, beefy chest, powerful forearms equipped with slashing blades, and some beast legs folded up on his lower legs that adds to his bulk without being too kibble-y. The back of the package refers to him as a foot-soldier and that’s exactly what his robot design conveys to me. To me, this is a no-nonsense Decepticon trooper through and through.

Even from the back he looks great. The beast kibble is worn as a backpack, and it adds to his upper body bulk without detracting from the aesthetic at all. His lower legs are filled out, and everything else back here is nice and clean. I’m such a fan of Hasbro taking those basic G1 scramble city limb robots and fleshing them out in Deluxe Class figures and Blot here is another fine example of why. I didn’t think they’d ever top the Aerialbot limbs’ Deluxe makeovers, but these Terrorcons are giving them a run for their money.

Blot’s deco is absolutely superb. The blue is so dark that it almost might as well be black. Add the purple and you’ve got the makings for perfect Decepticon colors. The additional silver, yellow, and metallic blue paintwork gives the figure a great premium finish that we’ve been seeing in a lot of these Deluxe Class figures recently. As much as I loved the Deluxe figures in Titans Return, the early releases suffered from a severe lack of paint apps, whereas Hasbro has been killing it with the paint on a lot of these Power of the Primes figures and it is much appreciated.

And that brings us to the head sculpt, and I’m happy to say that Blot is characteristically sporting a flat slab of head. The squared off “helmet” looks like it’s made to take a beating. The face is painted silver and he has a red visor across the top. Every bit of his face makes him look like an unpleasant fellow. I get the feeling that the phrase, “Oh crap, Blot showed up!” is a line often spoken at Decepticon gatherings.

In addition to his Prime Armor piece, Blot comes with his weapon. Back in the day, this was referred to as a slime gun and oh boy am I sticking with that! I’d like to think this thing just burps out nasty splotches of acidic, sticky slime onto his foes, which sends them staggering off and screaming, “OH PRIMUS, IT BURNS!!! GET IT OFF ME!!!!”

Oh yeah, you can also mount it on him on either the left or right side as a shoulder cannon. It’s nice to have options, plus this gives Blot the ability to use the gun for long range attacks while slashing up close enemies with his claws.

With some shared engineering and parts, Blot’s transformation is a little like Rippersnapper’s, but there’s enough new here to make him feel unique and the end result is this wonderful little ball of WTF. It’s like a cross between a slobbering fantasy beast and something out of MechWarrior and I love it to pieces. I especially dig how folding in the robot hands rolls out the third claw for his beast hands. The boxy head is nestled between two silver and yellow armor plates and there are little nozels, which I presume are designed to deliver some kind of hot death to Autobot fools.

There’s a protrubance behind his head that allows you to plug in his slime gun. I just wish he came with two so I could double it up and get a little symmetry going. The deco here is pretty much the same as his robot mode, which is a good thing. One irritating thing… both Blot and Rippersnapper have rub signs in their beast mode, but they omitted it from Cutthroat’s. Go all in, or don’t do it at all, Hasbro!

Three Terrorcons down and three direct hits! I absolutely love what Hasbro is doing with these guys. I’ll admit, Power of the Primes has been pretty hit-and-miss with me, but so far the Terrorcons have been making up for a whole lot of stumbles. This is easily my favorite sub-group since the Titans Return Aerialbots. And with just one more Deluxe and one Voyager Class left, I’m getting pretty excited about finally combining them to form Abominus!

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Predator (Dark Horse Comics) by NECA

The Predator hit the theaters a couple of weeks back like a wet splat. I saw it on opening night and I really enjoyed it, but I could easily see why a lot of people didn’t. Even if the newest film in the franchise didn’t feel like it was edited in a blender, let’s face it, the original Predator is damn near a perfect film and I hold the second in very high regards, but everything after that has sucked hard. Maybe my expectations were low, but at least I had fun seeing this one. But forget about the movie, today I’m talking comics. Sure, I will be reviewing some Predator figures from the new movie, but in the meantime, I picked up today’s figure from a Twitter buddy and thought I’d have a look at him before the new ones start rolling in.

The box has seen better days, but it’s still a thing of beauty. Like a forerunner to NECA’s Ultimate Series, this Predator comes in a colorful and collector friendly box with the front panel recreating the brilliant cover art from The Concrete Jungle, Issue #1. On cold dark nights, I still have nightmares about the day I was moving out of state and I gave a huge box of comics to my brother’s girlfriend’s brother and this issue was in it. I spring awake and then scream because only then do I realize it really happened and wasn’t just a horrific dream. Oh well… live and learn. In addition to the cover art, the box also has some comic panels from the Dark Horse comic series.

NECA has created quite a little niche by creatively repainting their figures to reproduce their look in both comics and video games, and that’s exactly what we’re looking at here. I don’t own all of NECA’s Predators (far from it!), but I think I’d be safe in saying that the majority of the parts and sculpting on figure has been used before. The figure’s deco makes brilliant use of some blues and reds to simulate the coloring of the cover, along with some silver paint hits to further simulate the art. It not only works well as a recreation, but I think the colors look particularly striking on the figure alongside the Yautja’s yellow skin. Additional black paint is used to pick out some of the details in the leg and arm armor.

The back of the figure is bathed in a deep crimson shadow with black wash, save for that one blot of blue paint that landed on my figure’s left leg. The back is intended to soak up the shadows from the comic cover’s mostly red field, which makes this a figure that is best viewed from the front or a front-focused angle, in order to make the comic inspired paint effect really work.

That’s not to say that this figure is all about the paint job, because the sculpt is quite spectacular too. What can I say? NECA knows their away around Predators and their gear and here it really shows. The attention to detail on the arm bracers is particularly well done, although the left arm computer doesn’t actually open on this figure like it does on a lot of their regular Preds. The right arm bracer also has a bunch of sculpted detail and the blades will extend and retract. He has a sculpted leather belt, complete with detailed stitching and he also has a pair of bone trophies on strings that crisscross his chest. The plasma-caster on his shoulder is mounted on an articulated arm and the whole assembly is removable. Add to that the sculpted body net and the great texturing on his skin and you’ve got a figure that is clearly a labor of love.

Articulation here is standard NECA, which means a whole lot of of rotating hinges. With that being said, this particular Predator isn’t the most fun figure to pose. Most of the articulation points don’t offer a whole lot of range and he has tiny hoses in his shoulder and left arm that will pull out of their sockets at the hint of re-posing. Plus, as always, the plasma-caster is a tight fit on that shoulder and moving the head will frequently knock it off. Nonetheless, I was still able to get some cool poses out of him for the shelf.

Most of my Predators from NECA are of the Ultimate variety, so I’m used to getting a fair number of accessories with them. This Dark Horse Pred only comes with a couple. In addition to the plasma-caster, you get his staff, which is a grizzly piece of work. The top of the staff is capped off with a rotting skull and the attached spine snaking down around the shaft. There are some additional bones and finery attached as well. His left hand is capable of holding it, but the grip is a little loose.

In the past, I haven’t been an avid collector of NECA’s comic and video game repaints, but I mainly picked up this Predator because I have the Dutch and Linn two-pack from the Alien Vs Predator arcade game on pre-order and wanted a similarly painted Predator to go with them. With that having been said, I think I’m enough in love with this ugly motherf’er to motivate me to hunt down some more. And unlike a lot of NECA’s regular figures, the video game and comic releases don’t seem to get too pricey on the aftermarket. Hopefully, the next time a NECA Predator crosses my desk, it’ll be the fugitive from the new film.

Marvel Studios “First Ten Years:” Iron Man Mk XXIII, Pepper Potts, and The Mandarin by Hasbro

Yup, the random Marvel Legends reviews are getting put on hold once again so that I can push one of these First Ten Years releases to the head of the line. This Amazon Exclusive boxed set of three figures from Iron Man 3 hit my porch this past weekend, and I was just too excited not to open it up right away. Let’s take a look!

Iron Man 3 feels like it was one of the most polarizing of all the MCU films. I still encounter people who have raging hatred toward it, and I really can’t see why. I can still remember when it hit home release on Blu-Ray and I must have watched it three times over the course of a couple of days, and my love for it didn’t even tarnish one bit. Hell, I’m long overdue for a re-watch now! Anyway, this is the first three-figure set I’ve picked up in this First Ten Years line, but the packaging is still the same. It looks good, it’s collector friendly, but I’m still not going to be keeping the box. With three figures to cover, let’s just dig right in and start with Pepper.

Never did I think I’d be so happy to own a Gwenyth Paltrow figure, but Pepper has been in a hell of a lot of MCU films and it’s long past time she got the Legends treatment. And It seems only logical to go with the movie where she actually got involved in the action. I mean, black sports bra or business suit? That’s not even up for debate. Unfortunately, this figure turned out decidedly average. In terms of sculpting and paint, this isn’t exactly a complex figure, nor did it need to be. The new sculpting for the top of the torso, as well as the bare feet, are new and appreciated, but the paint could have been a lot better, and that’s pretty sad considering it’s just a black top and black pants and virtually no intricate detailed paint hits to be had. The paint lines around her waist are downright sloppy and the bra straps could have been cleaner too. Hasbro has been doing some pretty nice paintwork in this line on even the little things like pouch buttons and belt buckles, so to see this kind of carelessness on a figure that required so little really hurts.

I do think the head sculpt is pretty solid for a 6-inch scale figure. It’s not a dead on likeness, but I can see some resemblance in there. I’d believe that Paltrow has one of those faces that could be tough to get right (I’d argue that even Hot Toys didn’t quite nail her perfectly), so I’m willing to be a little forgiving here. She also doesn’t strike me as the kind of person who would approve an action figure likeness, so I’m pretty surprised we got this release at all. Either way, the printing on the face is pretty clean and the hair sculpt looks good. Maybe since now Hasbro has done the head sculpt we can look forward to getting another version of Pepper.

Articulation is everything I expect to find in an MCU Legends lady. That includes rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. The legs have ball joints in the hips, swivels in the thighs, and double hinges in the knees. The ankles have both hinges and lateral rockers. There’s a ball joint just under the chest, no waist swivel, and the neck is ball jointed and hinged. I will say that the ankle joints look really chunky and I think they blew up her feet a bit to make them work a bit better with those larger joints.

 

Pepper’s right arm can detach at the shoulder and be swapped out for the one wearing the Iron Man armor sleeve and gauntlet. There’s also a repulsor blast effect part that plugs into the palm. This extra arm is a great addition and I’ll likely display the figure with this look most of the time. On the downside, there’s no articulation in the wrist, which means getting the repulsor effect to fire in a convincing manner isn’t easy. She can’t hold her the arm straight out without the effect shooting at a downward angle. Moving on to The Mandarin…

Now here’s a figure I never thought we would ever get. I’m sure there are still people salty over how Iron Man 3 treated one of Iron Man’s iconic arch enemies. Me? I thought it was great fun and a pretty cool twist, but then I was never a big fan of The Mandarin in the comics or the cartoons. Either way, here he is Trevor Slattery all decked out in his theatrical garb and looking pretty damn great. He’s sporting a pair of camoflague pants, military style boots, and a tunic and waist wrap that has a little bit of a Middle Eastern flavor to it. The real draw here, however, is the coat, which features some really nice attention to detail in the sculpt and some beautiful gold leaf paint on the fixtures and sleeves. Even the coat itself has an embossed floral motif running through it. Oh yeah, they even sculpted all ten of his rings on his fingers.

This head sculpt is absolutely spot on as well. From his long beard to his man bun, I think they did a nice job recreating Sir Ben Kingsley in the makeup.

The articulation here is good, but a lot of it is really hindered by the soft plastic coat. It’s also lacking some of the points we’re used to seeing on the male characters in this line. The arms have rotating hinges at the shoulders, elbows, and wrists, and no bicep swivels. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have double hinged knees, swivels in the thighs, and the ankles have both hinges and lateral rockers. There’s … The neck has both a hinge and a ball joint. So, what’s here is good on paper, but apart from some gesticulations with his arms, I didn’t find him to be all that much fun to pose. And that brings us to the final figure in the set…

And also the quick and easy repaint: The Mark XXIII Hot Rod armor. I’m pretty sure this is a repaint of one of the War Machine figures (Hulkbuster Wave?), if not I’ll happily stand corrected. It’s also a figure that I have a bit of a disconnect with. I want to applaud the paintwork here because it really is excellent. The gun metal finish on the torso, upper arms, and head all looks great and the flame motif on the legs and metallic red paint on the lower arms also looks superb. So what’s the problem? I just don’t really like this deco all that much. It wasn’t a stand out armor for me in the film, and in as a figure I think it just looks unfinished and strange.

Because he’s a repaint of an earlier figure, he doesn’t come with any extra goodies. No extra hands, no repulsor effect parts, and that’s all pretty disappointing considering the price of this set, which I’ll get into presently. I don’t dislike this figure, but it feels like one of those lone Walmart Exclusives that I would pass up because it doesn’t feel essential to my collection and it doesn’t have a BAF part. Yup, just like all those Back in Black Deadpools that are clogging up the pegs at my local Target.

Wow, what a mixed bag this set turned out to be! I was excited for both Pepper and The Mandarin, but Pepper turned out to be a pretty mediocre figure and while The Mandarin is pretty solid, it doesn’t justify the $70 I paid for this set. Especially since I could have easily passed on the Hot Rod armor. Hell, $70 for a three-pack of normal sized figures without much in the way of accessories is pretty high even if they all turned out to be excellent must-have releases. Even more surprising to me is that the set appears to have sold out on Amazon, as currently only available from Marketplace scalpers at twice the price. If this were just Pepper and Mandarin at $40 I would have been a lot more satisfied with this purchase, as it is

Transformers “Prime Wars Trilogy” Punch and Counterpunch by Hasbro

I’m supposed to be opening up another Terrorcon today, but then this fellow landed in my mailbox and I thought I’d bump him up to the front of the line. By 1987, I was 15 and I was already already getting out of buying Transformers. It was that strange time in my life where I felt I was too old to be buying toys to play with, and had yet to discover the joy of buying toys to collect them. As a result, a lot of the later and more gimmicky G1 releases passed me by. One of those was the very clever double agent known as Punch and Counterpunch. This character got a release a little while back thanks to a clever reuse of the the Classics Sideswipe-Sunstreaker mold, and now he’s getting a brand new, and all original, update thanks to this Amazon exclusive.

Exclusives often mean premium packaging, and that’s certainly the case here. Punch-Counterpunch comes in a collector friendly box with some bitchin’ artwork and a front flap that opens to reveal the figure through a window. He comes packaged in his robot mode as Punch with that weird Prime Armor Zodiac Wheel illustrated behind him on the tray. Before getting started, I should point out that this figure left the factory with a pretty serious QC issue, that being the shoulder joints assembled wrong. It doesn’t effect the figure in robot mode, but it does hinder the transformation. Thankfully, there’s a very helpful review on Amazon that explains how to do the fix. It’s quick and easy and doesn’t even require any tools. And with that behind us, let’s start with the auto mode!

Punch-Counterpunch is a snappy blue sportscar not too dissimilar from the original G1 toy only with all the curves and contours of a modern vehicle. I love the styling on this car and you get some nice sculpting in the form of hood vents as well as details to the front and back bumpers. The rear window is stickered silver, but the windshield and side windows are clear plastic, as are the headlamps. Some extra paint hits include the red wheels, silver vents just behind the front wheels, silver and black on the front grill, and red on the tail lights. The auto mode facilitates Punch-Counterpunch’s murky allegiances by forgoing any faction symbols.

There’s a peg port on the top of the car, so you can plug in his yellow gun, or you can attach the included Prime Armor. Using the Prime Armor isn’t my first choice, but I do like that they sculpted boosters on it. Moving on, let’s check out Punch!

Oh, man! Punch’s robot mode takes the squat and boxy G1 design and polishes it up to a fine shine. The proportions are great and the car kibble is neatly confined to being folded up into his lower legs or tucked off the back of his shoulders. He doesn’t have any actual feet per-say, but he stands fine and I don’t even mind the gaps that are in his legs below his knees. The sculpted detail on his chest looks great and really invokes the designs on the original toy. As for the coloring, the blue and yellow makes for a beautiful combo, and overall this update matches the deco of the original toy quite well, right down to the red hands and the silver and red paint hits on his upper legs. Gone is the original toy’s rub sign and instead, Punch proudly wears the Autobot insignia in the center of his chest.

From behind he looks pretty clean too, although here he’s displaying almost all blue, which is a little hint about his alter-ego. The two halves of the car front on his shoulders are more pronounced from this angle, but I don’t think they look bad at all. And because the backs of his legs are the fronts of Counterpunch’s legs, they look finished as well. All in all, this is a great looking robot, which is all the more impressive when you consider that he’s something of a Triple-Changer.

The head sculpt is also a very nice homage to that of the original figure’s noggin, albeit it’s a lot more stylized here. He still has the black top to his “helmet,” but the antenna are a lot more pronounced. His silver mouth plate looks great and he has a set of narrow aqua-colored eyes. The top portion of the “helmet” is hinged so that it reveals the eyes on this side of the head while obscuring the ones on the other. As a result, it does have a habit of flopping down sometimes, but it’s not a big deal.

Punch comes with a yellow pistol, which we already saw mounted on top of his car mode. It’s all yellow and matches his chest. I like the design of this thing and it has some nice sculpted detail going for it. I seem to recall the original toy having a double-barreled gun, so some of the purists out there may scoff at this design. So let’s transform Punch into Counterpunch and send him into Decepticon territory.

Changing Punch into Counterpunch is super easy. Punch’s back becomes Counterpunch’s front. Just re-position the shoulders so the front quarter-panels of the car are flared out, rotate out his fists so the blue ones are showing, and flip the “helmet” up on his head to reveal his eyes and cover Punch’s. Finally, you flip up the panel revealing his Decepticon insignia and he’s all ready to go. Just like Punch, Counterpunch is a fantastic update to the original G1 figure and there’s nothing going on here that would really suggest he’s hiding a completely different robot mode. The shoulders can get in the way of the arm articulation a bit, but they look great, especially with those red mag wheels facing front and center. I also love how they faked out his windshield on his chest while the real one is folded up into his legs.

While Punch’s deco featured a combination of blue and orange, Counterpunch is mostly blue, with just a bit of orange poking out. He’s also got some really nice purple paint on the panels of his lower legs. From behind, Counterpunch is just as clean as his counterpart. I also like to add the Prime Armor piece to his back because it’s sculpted to look like a jetpack, while also hiding a lot of the orange of Punch’s torso. It’s nice to finally have a use for one of these Prime Armor pieces, since the gimmick doesn’t do a lot for me.

Counterpunch’s head sculpt is pretty damn distinctive with a silver chin showing through his chunky armored blue face and a pair of red eyes peeping out from under his black “helmet.”

I think it would have been cool to get an extra gun for Counterpunch to use, but alas he has to make due with Punch’s yellow blaster. It seems like a bad idea, as it’s a pretty distinctive looking gun and I would think at some point one of the Decepticons would be in a battle and say, “Heeeeey, isn’t that Autobot using Counterpunch’s gun? And where the hell is Counterpunch anyway?” 

In addition to the Prime Armor piece, you also get a Prime Master named Prima. I like the silver and translucent blue deco on this little bot, but to be honest, if I’m not getting a Pretender Shell, than I really haven’t got a lot of use for these Prime Masters, other than maybe populating one of my Titan Class cities.

Despite not having a whole lot of attachment to the character, Punch-Counterpunch turned out to be a really amazing figure. The robot modes are engineered beautifully and with an equally great alt mode, it doesn’t feel like anything was sacrificed for this rather unique gimmick. Indeed, I’d dare say that I rank this figure among my top five or so recent Deluxes and that’s saying a lot! This release was an exclusive to Amazon and at $25, he was a bit more than your average Deluxe Class Transformer these days, but not so much so that it felt like I overpaid. Sure, the QC issue is inexcusable, but I’d be more critical of the shoulder problem if it weren’t so easy to fix. Currently, Punch-Counterpunch is sold out on Amazon, but they do have an option to notify interested buyers when he becomes available again.

Replicade Sixth-Scale Centipede Cabinet by New Wave Toys

Good morning, Toyhounds… Today’s review is a bit different, as it straddles a fine line between collectible and video game. It’s actually both! And the subject of a Kickstarter that I backed last year by New Wave Toys. This Sixth-Scale fully operational Centipede cabinet is intended to be the flagship release in a series of Replicade cabinets and the Kickstarter was a huge success. Not only was it easily funded, but the project runners did a great job of keeping backers in the loop with plenty of updates and videos along the way. The original shipping date was supposed to be April, but it arrived to me this week. All in all, that’s not too bad a delay for Kickstarter projects. It’s easy to excuse delays when the project directors use the time getting things right and from the looks of it, it was time well spent.

The cabinet comes in a colorful shoebox style box, fully illustrated with a nice matte finish and plenty of pictures of what’s inside. Lift off the top and the goodies are wrapped in soft foam and plastic. The presentation is nice and professional and everything is collector friendly. The cabinet itself comes all ready to go, you just have to plug it in, peel the protective plastic off the screen and you’re ready to start blasting away at some goddamn centipedes.

Included in the box is a baggie with a micro USB charging cable, an instruction booklet, and a packet of miniature arcade tokens, which you can actually feed into the coin slots, or place on the deck to relay the message: “Back off, man, I’ve got the next game!” The unit can be played right away if you plug it in, otherwise it takes some time to charge in order to play off the battery. I originally charged it for an hour and found that it was still not enough. I was a bit worried the battery might be having problems, but I left it charge overnight and found that was all it took. There’s a charging light on top and when it turns from red to green, you know you’re good to go!

Also included is this die-cast Atari replica coin slot key-chain. It’s a satisfyingly heavy piece with textured edges and if you press in the face plate it lights up red. I love this thing, even if it is too heavy for me to ever use it for a key-chain. I’ll likely wind up displaying it somewhere near the cabinet itself. The key-chain was available as a $25 pledge reward, but it was also included with the cabinet at the tier that I backed. It also looks like it’s going to be included in the retail release of the cabinet. OK, enough with the extras… let’s get on to the main event!

Out of the box and measuring in at just under 12-inches tall, I have to say this cabinet is an impressive piece of design and craftsmanship. With so many cheaper playable mini cabinets on the market these days, this one really needed to stand out and now that I have it in hand, I can comfortably affirm that it does. From the shape of the cabinet to the choice of materials and attention to detail, these guys did their homework resulting in a replica cabinet that does its full-sized cousin proud. Everything about this piece exudes quality.

The marquee on the top lights up to call attention to the crisp and colorful transparency. It automatically comes on during the boot-up routine and will stay on until you power down the cabinet. There is an option in the menu screen to disable the light, but I don’t know why anybody would want to do that. The boot up is not your typical ROM boot up, but rather shows the New Wave Toys logo, followed by a screen that proudly proclaims the cabinet to be fully licensed by Atari.

The side panels are wood with beveled edges and the artwork on the sides is printed on, which was definitely the way to, as opposed to slapping on some stickers. The coloring is vibrant and reminds me of why I’ve always had a thing for early Atari artwork. Looking back, it’s like they were compensating for the simple graphics by drumming up the excitement with this stuff. It’s a lost art these days, but boy does it mash down on my nostalgia buttons. It’s a shame that most of the arcades I visited back in the day used to pack these cabinets so close that a lot of the time you couldn’t see the artwork.

And speaking of mashing buttons, the control deck has a nice satin finish with plenty of color. The deck features light up player select buttons, a fire button, and a track ball. During production, the development team posted videos about the challenge of getting the track ball to perform just right. They even added a sensitivity toggle in the menu screen. I think it works pretty damn smooth on the default setting, but the option is there to tweak its sensitivity up or down a notch. The construction here is all around solid with the buttons are all a perfect fit. The controls respond beautifully.

Indeed, I think I was most surprised about how comfortable this thing is to play. I was expecting a highly accurate scaled replica with the novelty of being able to turn it on and play it, but I didn’t really expect to spend a huge amount of time playing it. And yet that’s exactly what I’ve been doing since it turned up. Playing it doesn’t feel awkward or cramped at all, and before I knew it I was just lost in the game and trying to get my name on the High Score roster. And yes, the cabinet does save scores after you turn it off.

Below the deck you get the light up coin slots on a metal plate, and as mentioned earlier you can actually feed the tiny tokens into the slots. There’s a key sculpted permanently into the lock, which allows you to open it up revealing a little storage compartment inside. Pressing the left coin slot button will add credits to the game, while pressing the right coin slot button will bring up the options menu. In addition to controlling the track ball sensitivity and the marquee light, this menu also lets you adjust the volume and the brightness of the screen.

The back of the unit features the speaker, which puts out some very clear sound. The sound effects in Centipede are so damn iconic and they are reproduced beautifully by the machine. The default volume setting is where I keep it, but there’s room to turn it up even louder. The back also features a faux access hatch with sculpted keyhole and below it is a sticker designated this as one of the limited Backer Edition cabinets. The bottom of the cab has four rubber feet to keep it from slipping.

This initial cab has received some very positive (and well deserved) write-ups in some pretty prominent magazines and in addition to now being for sale at New Wave Toys’ website, it looks like some retailers like Best Buy, are offering pre-orders. If you can’t tell, I’m very happy with this purchase. I got in on the early bird tier of the Kickstarter, which means this beauty only cost $90. That’s quite a step down from the $160 it’s selling for now, but even at the higher price point it’s easy to see where the money went.  Every aspect of this little cabinet shows care and craftsmanship and I truly believe that this is a labor of love on behalf of its developers. I’m not usually a fan of people launching another Kickstarter project before the first is fulfilled, but I still took a gamble and jumped on their Tempest cabinet and with this one in hand, now I’m very glad I did.

Marvel Legends (Thanos Wave): Taskmaster by Hasbro

After two weeks of Marvel Monday Double-Features, I’m taking it easy today and going back to looking at just one figure. I’m also back to spinning the Wheel of Legends™, which isn’t actually a wheel, it’s just me rolling up my sleeve and plunging my hand into a box of figures and randomly drawing one out. This time I hit on Taskmaster from the Thanos Wave, which also happens to be my first figure from this assortment!

I was lucky enough to come across Taskmaster on the pegs while getting groceries at the local Target. I haven’t been so lucky with some of the other figures in this wave, particularly Iron Spider and Captain America, which have been eluding my toy hunts, and selling for scalper prices at most of the online retailers I visit. This is probably one of those waves that I should have just bought online in one shot, but I didn’t realize that until it was too late.

And here’s Taskmaster out of the box and brimming with all his Classic-styled goodness. Yup, it was only a couple of years ago that we got the previous release of Taskmaster, but that was a more modern appearance and as much as I loved that figure, this is the one I was truly waiting for. Who needs all that tactical armor when you’re this good at what you do? The dark blue body suit features painted orange sleeves, an orange and white area around the neck, and good old fashioned buccaneer boots and gauntlets both in white. Newly sculpted bits include a holster on his right thigh held on by straps, which feature sculpted stitching and gold-painted buckles. He has a single strap around his left thigh, and a waist belt with several pouches and a gold belt-buckle with his emblem on it. From the back, Taskmaster is just a wall of cape, and that’s a good thing, because Taskmaster without a cape never felt right.

Taskmaster’s hooded portrait is absolutely fantastic. The hood is borrowed directly from the previous release and here we get a better look at the sculpted gold cord that holds his cape around his neck. It’s also secured with a peg in his back. And, oh man, that head sculpt! The skull has a great finish that looks like decaying bone with a broad rictus grin and deep set eyes. The hood is not attached to the cape, which means it doesn’t curtail the neck articulation.

And speaking of articulation, here is everything I’ve come to expect in my Legends figures. The arms have 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 at the thighs and tops of the boots. The ankles are both hinged and have lateral rockers. Taskmaster has a swivel in the waist, an ab-crunch hinge below the chest, and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed. All the joints feel great, and Taskmaster even has some strong ratchets going on in those shoulders of his.

Taskmaster comes with both a sword and shield. The sword is a repack of the one included with Baron Zemo way back in the Mandroid Wave. The hilt has been repainted to be a little less yellow and more of a pale gold. My only complaint here is that there isn’t a loop or something for him to wear it. The shield is the same mold used for the previous Taskmaster’s shield, complete with a hinged clip and a peg. It works really well, but I worry that the clip will stress and break over time. He can still wear the shield on his back, but seeing as how I’d have to remove the cape to make that work, it’s not something I’m likely to do a lot.

Taskmaster also comes with a pistol, which happens to be the same mold they used for Paladin’s guns from the Sasquatch Wave. Unfortunately, I somehow managed to lose Taskmaster’s gun after opening the package. I’m sure it’ll turn up, but for the purposes of this review I borrowed one from Paladin. After all, he has two guns and just the one holster so it seemed only fair to have him share. Anyway, the mold is the same, but Taskmaster’s gun is colored to match his sword’s hilt, so it’s more of a pale gold than the one you see here in the pictures.

I didn’t think I could be this happy about getting another release of Taskmaster so soon, and yet here I am absolutely thrilled to have this figure on my shelf. I’ll go out on a limb and say that this is probably the version that most collectors were looking for and I think Hasbro’s intentionally strategic in the way they release these. With no Classic version out, more people were probably going to say, “Well, I’ll get this version in case they never do another.” But with this line, it’s becoming more and more apparent that no character is off the table. Not that I mind, the modern version is certainly no slouch, but this one is a terrific figure and it just scratches a certain itch.

Transformers “Power of the Primes” Cutthroat by Hasbro

It seems like all I’ve been doing this week is working and sleeping, but the weekend is here and I’m going to ease into it by taking some time to enjoy myself and open up a brand new Transformer! It’s been a while again since my last Transformers reviews, but I had some other things I wanted to get caught up on. That’s all done and now I’m ready to continue my look at the Power of the Primes Terrorcons. I should be able to stick with Transformers on Fridays at least for the next few weeks. A while back I reviewed Rippernsapper and today I’m opening up Cutthroat!

I don’t have much new to say about the packaging, except that I really dig the character art on the card. Cutthroat is shown in his beast mode and looking mighty fine. I’ll also toss out there how surprised and pleased I am that Hasbro can still get away with using the name Cutthroat on a children’s toy. Yeah, it has other, less violent, meanings, but it’s still a word that conjures up a pretty grisly imagine in my mind. I’d like to think this Terrorcon got his name not because he drives a hard bargain, but rather because he literally slices people’s throats with the sharpened edges of his metal wings. When I looked at Rippersnapper, I started with his robot mode, so let’s keep that trend going for the rest of the Terrorcons…

When I first glanced at pictures of Cutthroat I wrote him off as a quick-and-dirty recycling of Swoop. Getting him in hand tells a whole different story. There are certainly similarities, but so much of this guy has been completely reworked that the resemblances are fleeting. The arms and upper legs are the same, the torso has a similar shape, the combiner port is still buried in the back, and both bots wear their beast heads on their chest and their wings on behind their shoulders. But what impresses me is how much re-sculpting Hasbro did here. The wings are completely redone, as is the detail work on the torso. The lower legs are completely new as well. His profile may be similar, but Cutthroat is bulkier and decidedly less sleek.

He’s a damn clean looking robot from behind too, and you have a few different options on how you can position his wings. The deco on this figure is pretty out there, but it’s certainly faithful to the original toy. You get some dark green in the torso and lower legs, some purple in the wings, hands, and around the neck and chest, and yellow in the arms, upper legs, bird legs, and “helmet.” These are not colors that I would think to put together, but I can’t say as I hate it. Little extras like the silver and blue paint hits on the legs and silver up near the shoulders make for a nice touch.

I like the head design a lot, but it doesn’t scream Cutthroat to me. With that having been said, the yellow “helmet” looks great and the silver face and red eyes are both sharp and snappy. He’s got a bit of a grim expression, maybe a little pissed off, but he’s not quite selling me on being a vicious Terrorcon.

Cutthroat comes with two accessories, but only one of them really matters to me and that’s his gun. It’s a compact double-barreled rifle, which is a pretty good update to his original G1 weapon and he can hold it in either hand.

The other piece is his Prime Armor, which attaches to each side of the bird head on his chest and has a compartment to put a Prime Master figure in there if you like your robots with ridiculously beefy chests. I’d toss it away, but it doubles as a hand for Abominus, so I guess I’ll need it when I eventually combine these guys.

Cutthroat transforms into some kind of monster bird and once again I’m pleased by the way he sets himself apart from the Swoop mold. The beast head still folds up over the robot head and the arms still fold in at the sides, but instead of folding up onto the back, the legs just collapse to make a longer body. From the front he’s got mostly bird stuff going on, but the stubby tail in the back looks decidedly more reptilian. He has a notch on his back where you can stow his gun between his wings and it looks like it could still serve as a functional weapon for his beast mode.

The colors here are more or less the same as in his robot mode. As for articulation, you get ball joints where the legs meet the body and hinges about halfway down. The wings are hinged at the body so they can flap and hinged again about a third of the way in so they can close up or spread out. The mouth is hinged, but the neck can only look up so far, which isn’t always the best for flying poses, but it works fine for when he’s just standing around.

I mentioned in my Rippersnapper review that these will be the first versions of the Terrorcons that I’ve ever owned and so far I’m enjoying the hell out of them. Cutthroat is a great looking figure and he’s loads of fun to play around with. I love when Hasbro takes the old basic-sized G1 toys and beefs them up to Deluxes. It really fleshes out all new possibilities for these characters. Next week, I’ll tear open another of the Deluxes, because I’m anxious to get through these guys and combine them to form Abominus!

Street Fighter: Ibuki Bishoujo Statue by Kotobukiya

It’s been over a year since I last opened and reviewed one of Kotobukiya’s Bishoujo statues, and it’s been twice as long since my last Street Fighter Bishoujo. I haven’t given up on these wonderful works of art, but with the prices climbing higher and higher and my display space running out, I’ve had to be a little more picky about the ones I pick up. Nonetheless, Ibuki here has been on my want list ever since she was first revealed and I’m lucky that even after waiting all this time, I was still able to get her at a good price. The economy of Kotobukiya on the second-hand market isn’t always so kind.

Koto has been using black boxes for the Street Fighter releases, which really sets them apart from the white packaging of the DC and Marvel lines. There’s some wonderful artwork from Shunya Yamashita, on which the statue is based, and you get windows on the front, top, and side panels to let in the light and allow you a good look at the figure inside. Everything is collector friendly, and the only assembly required is plugging Ibuki’s pony-tail into the back of her head. Ibuki made her debut in Street Fighter III and I first encountered her in Street Fighter III: Double Impact on my beloved SEGA Dreamcast, where she became a favorite new fighter of mine.

And here’s Ibuki on the scene and looking mighty fine. She stands gracefully on the toes of her left foot with her right leg drawn up behind her. She counterbalances with her left arm oustretched and fingers held up, while her right hand is drawn to her neck, with a kunai, ready to strike. This line has offered some superb poses and Ibuki is yet another example of that. It’s a beautiful mix of elegance and kineticism and I think it captures the character perfectly, while also allowing for a few different “sweet spots” from which to admire her.

Koto’s Bishoujo statues often tend to feature colorful, glossy, and eye popping decos, and Ibuki here features none of that. Instead, you get various shades of brown, a little white, and a fair bit of skintone. It’s not a criticism, but just a fact of the character’s appearance, which is very faithful to her debut appearance. Ibuki is clad in a brown dogi, which consists of a sleeveless top and frayed shoulders, baggy pants with cut-outs at the hips, and which end just below her knees, all tied with a bow at the front of her waist. The outfit is rounded out by a pair of wrist bracers, a tight head scarf, and bandage-style wrappings on her arms and feet. It looks great, and I love the complexity in the outfit’s sculpt. From certain angles it almost looks like the dogi could have been sculpted over the figure itself, and that’s pretty cool.

The portrait is excellent. Ibuki offers a confident and playful smile with perfectly printed eyes and painted lips. The real showpiece of this portrait, however, is her distinctive hair. She has three long strands protruding from her window’s peak and hooking forward in front of her face, while two longer strands protrude from her knot-top and arch their way down and across her back. This is my first 3D representation of the character and I wasn’t sure how well this coif would translate, but the wizards at Koto did a fine job with it.

The base is a simple clear disc with a slope to support Ibuki’s foot. As usual, you get two different inserts to display on the base, one is a simple Street Fighter logo and the other features character art. These days I tend to display these statues with the character art, but I think either one looks great.

Ibuki here released at just under $60 and I was able to get her for a little bit less. I was often fond of saying that Koto’s Bishoujo line is one of the best values in collectible statues on the market. And that was back when you could get a figure like Ibuki for that price. Nowadays, they tend to release in the $70-90 price range, and while I still think they’re worth the price, the sense of good value is rapidly dissipating. I get it, prices go up, but that’s quite a jump, and with so many things competing for my collecting dollar these days, it means that I won’t be able to pick up as many as I used to. Recently I had to pass on the second versions of Chun-Li and Cammy, but that doesn’t mean they won’t still be turning up here from time to time. Indeed, all Koto has to do is put Elena up on pre-order and I’ll throw down some cash for that release right away!

Marvel Legends (Sasquatch Wave): Paladin by Hasbro

Welcome to another Marvel Monday, and if you haven’t been a regular, you should know that I’m very VERY far behind opening and reviewing my Marvel Legends figures. Last week I finally wrapped up the Sandman Wave and today I’m going to knock off another wave by opening up Paladin this morning and then coming back tonight to have a look at the Sasquatch Build-A-Figure. And then I’ll only be something like five waves behind! Holy shit… I better get started!

I guess Paladin is a generic enough moniker that the Hasbro lawyers had to slap “Marvel’s” in front of it on the box. But hey, at least his name is there. Back in the day this fella would have been sharing a slot with someone else in a box that would say something like “Mercenaries of Mayhem.” Either way, when it comes to Marvel characters, Paladin is not what I would consider an A-lister or even a B-lister for that matter. He does, however, manage to turn up a lot in the Marvel Universe. And while I’ve mostly encountered him through reading Daredevil as well as Heroes for Hire back during the Civil War, he’s crossed paths with a whole bunch of Marvel heroes and villains over the years, and he’s almost as old as me! And while collecting Marvel Legends has become all about universe building for me, I’ll still concede that he was the one figure in this wave that I was least excited for.

But that’s not to say I dislike this figure, because he’s actually pretty cool. Not everyone from the funnybooks needs a flashy costume for me to like them, but it sure helps when the character isn’t high on my list. And yet Paladin here manages to bust out from his generic design, thanks to some sharp sculpted details on Hasbro’s part. He is, after all, just a dude in a purple suit with some tactical gear and it would have been very easy for Hasbro to whip this figure up with a painted buck and make him the budget figure of the wave.

But they didn’t! The armored vest, which is sculpted as the torso, is a stand out piece of work including some really nice texturing, panel lines, and individually painted silver clips securing it on his person. Not that it’s new, it’s simply recycled from Blade, but it looked great then and it still does now. I also dig the segmented strip that runs down his spine. The legs (also grabbed from Blade) feature knee guards and some exposed ribbing behind the knees, and the armor is rounded out with some new black segmented boots and bracers on his forearms. Paladin also features a molded tactical holster secured to his left thigh with a pair of straps and silver painted buckles. I dig the look here a lot and the purple and black deco with the little hits of silver is certainly pleasing on the eye.

The portrait is pretty solid as well, even if the design is rather generic. Paladin wears a purple hood with a black segmented stripe running from front to back, and a pair of gold lens goggles. The lower half of the exposed face has some nice and sharp facial details and an appropriately grim expression. There’s some gold over-spray on the goggle frames, but nothing too terrible.

The articulation is fun and functional. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have double hinges in the knees, swivels in the thighs and the tops of the boots, and the ankles have hinges and lateral rockers. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, double hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps. The torso swivels at the waist, has an ab crunch hinge, and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed. There’s some weird play in my figure’s hips. If you hold him by the legs, you can shake his upper half a bit, but oddly it doesn’t effect his hip joints at all.

Paladin comes with a pair of gold pistols that look like they might be from the same mold used for Nick Fury’s sidearm back in the Giant Man Wave. This time they’re cast in gold plastic. I like this gun a lot, it reminds me of a Luger and it sports some great detail. And while two guns are nice,  Paladin only has the one holster, so I guess he’s always going to have one at the ready.

Finally, Paladin comes with a tanto-style combat knife that tucks into a sheath on his right boot. The grip is painted black and the gold and guard are both gold.

Universe building! That’s what Legends is all about for me. So I’m perfectly fine getting a character that doesn’t mean all that much to me, so long as the figure is decent. And that’s certainly the case here. Paladin looks great and makes some sensible re-use from the Blade figure, while still managing to feel somewhat fresh. And that’s a wrap for the individually packaged figures in this wave. Come on back tonight and I’ll have a look at the Sasquatch Build-A-Figure!

Marvel Legends (Sasquatch Wave): Sasquatch Build-A-Figure by Hasbro

I’m back this afternoon with the second half of my Marvel Monday Double-Feature! As always, I’ve been a good little collector and bought each of the individually packaged figures from the Sasquatch Wave, and now it’s time for my reward… The Build-A-Figure Sasquatch!

Sasquatch is about as simple as these BAFs can get. There are six pieces spread out over seven figures (90’s Deadpool didn’t come with any!), and those pieces include the arms, the legs, the torso, and the head. The pieces went together real easy and the end result a big shaggy orange hunk of Tanaraq.

Indeed, I absolutely love the way this figure turned out, but I feel a little bad because I don’t really have a lot to say about it. But that’s not the fault of the figure, as it does everything it needs to do quite splendidly. The sculpted shaggy coat on the body looks great and I love the gradations in coloring from orange to brown. The coloring looks especially nice on his chest and back. I also appreciate that they added a little extra carpeting around his upper back and shoulders. The right hand is sculpted into a fist and the left into a grasping hand, each of which offer up some nice options for posing him. The sculpting on the feet is pretty spectacular too. If I had to nitpick anything here, I’d say the darker color of the wrist hinges is a little distracting against the lighter color plastic of the hands.

The head sculpt is excellent even if the facial features are a little soft. I love the broad shape of the face and the high placement of the nose. The eyes are red with pink pupils and there’s a very little bit of shading around the face itself. The bushy eyebrows and mutton chops which frame the face are well done and I dig the way the rest of the hair blows back, allowing for a bit more range of motion in the neck articulation than he might have had otherwise.

Speaking of articulation, Sasquatch has it all where it counts. You get rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, single hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps. The legs have rotating hinges in the hips and ankles, double hinges in the knees, swivels in the thighs, and lateral rockers in the ankles. There’s a swivel in the waist, an ab-crunch hinge, and the neck is ball jointed and hinged. The chunky joints on this guy feel great and he’s loads of fun to play around with.

I think my biggest complaint here is that Sasquatch is going to look really lonely on my shelf and I wish he had been the BAF in an Alpha Flight inspired wave. Yeah, that would probably never happen and I’m certainly glad to have this figure, but it also brings back those bitter feelings over the ridiculously exclusive Puck BAF Wave. Hasbro gave us Northstar and Aurora in the 4-inch Marvel Legends line, so they are certainly a good bet to appear in the 6-inch Legends lineup eventually. We did get a Guardian as part of the old Hasbro Marvel Legends line back in 2008 or so, and while I’d be tempted to go back and pick it up, that figure has not aged well, so I think I’ll hold off. Besides, it looks like we’re getting a new Guardian figure pretty soon. I guess for now I’ll just have to keep Sasquatch on that miscellaneous BAF shelf that I have down near the bottom of the case.

As for this Wave, I think it was an excellent assortment of figures and I was thrilled to be getting most of them. 90’s Deadpool and X-23 were musts for my shelf, Cable and Deathlok turned out fantastic, I’ve wanted a do-over for Domino for a while now, and even Paladin, my least anticipated figure in the bunch, turned out to be pretty good. And while I wasn’t terribly keen on getting another X-Force Deadpool, he’s such a vast improvement over the last retail release, I’ll count him as a very nice surprise. Next week I’m going back to spinning The Wheel of Legends. Which wave will it wind up on? Lizard? Thanos? Sauron? Apocalypse? Cull Obsidian? OMG… I’M SO FAR BEHIND!!!

“Here we go… Deadpool-Sasquatch Team Up and… Holy crap, that’s a lot of AIM Soldiers over there. Not really our thing, but there aren’t any Avengers in this wave so it’s just you and me, Shaggy.”

“Hasbro didn’t give me any guns, so you’re just going to have to pick me up and throw me like a spear.”

“That’s it… don’t worry, they never see this coming.” 

“Woah, big guy. Watch the fingers. I ain’t buying you dinner.”

“YEEEEEAH!!!! HERE I COME, BITCHES!!!!”