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

On Monday, T4H put up their remaining stock of Advent of Decay figures, and as usual it was like feeding time at the zoo. The site sputtered, I crossed my fingers and bit my lip, but in the end I got what I was looking for. Granted, I was only after two figures, and both were doubles of ones I already have. And one of those, I’m checking out today! I already have the packages for these in storage and since she’s a Legion Builder, she doesn’t have a bio card, so let’s just jump right in and check out the Vampire Legion Builder!

As far as the figure itself goes, there’s very little here that we haven’t seen before, but that doesn’t make me love this bloodsucking femme-fatale any less. From the neck down, this is the same armored female sculpt we saw on both Gwen Heavensbrand and Lucretia. The sculpt is as gorgeous as ever with all the tiny rivets, overlapping plates, sculpted straps, and chainmail that I love to gush on and on about. Her shoulder armor consists of the less ornate, segmented pieces, which are perfect for rank-and-file soldiers, and as always these are totally optional. And because this is a Legion Builder, there are no additional paint apps on the body, just a glorious coat of slick, high-gloss black. While I’m curious to see how she would look with the chainmail colored in gray or silver, I have to admit the totally black makes for quite a foreboding and sinister look. The ensemble is finished off with the ubiquitous brown sword belt, which can be worn around the waist or over the shoulder.

You get two different heads with this Legion Builder. The first is the unmasked portrait and it’s pretty cool. She has the same ashen skin tone as the other Vampires in the line and the same exaggerated pointed ears, which are similar to the Mythic Legions elves. I like it the head sculpt, but I don’t think it’s some of their best work in the line. Her right eye is bigger than her left, and I’m not sure if she’s supposed to be popping one eye like Deadpool or if it’s just how the sculpt came out. My bet is that it was the later and not intentional. The yellow fangs are also a bit lopsided, when I get in really close. I don’t want to pick on it too badly, but there are definitely some nitpicks to be had here. Her face is framed in a tight fitting black helmet with a magnificent purple plume spilling out the back. The plume is also removable, if you’d rather not have it.

The alternate head is fully enclosed in the helmet, except for the ears. And yes, I’ll admit it seems really impractical to expose your ears, especially when they’re that big, but I think it looks great. If the enclosed helmet looks familiar, it is indeed a straight repaint of the one that was included with the Elf Legion Builder and I’m certainly cool with that. I like to think that these Vampires might be some kind of kin to the Elves in this Universe. Let’s move on to the weapons!

For starters, you get the classic two-handed fantasy-style sword that we’ve seen over and over again in this line. As always, I love the design of this weapon, and it’s nice to see the blade painted silver and the hilt painted black to match the armor. Some Legion Builders don’t have paint applications on their weapons, so this was a nice surprise. She also comes with a circular shield, and while this is not the first time I’m seeing this particular shield, it was the less commonly used shield from the previous lines, which makes it most welcome. This piece is painted all in black and mine has a few scratches on the surface, which is certainly not intentional, but I’m OK with it because it looks like normal wear-and-tear. This shield also features the new hand grip that pegs into the back. The more I play around with these new grips, the more I wish they had kept with the clips.

Next up, Lady Vampire comes with a standard shield spear and boy do I have a lot of these now! It feels like T4H pack this one in with every other figure. Once again, I’m happy to see that T4H splurged on some paint applications, as the shaft is black and the tip is painted silver. It’s definitely one of my favorite examples of this particular weapon and she looks great wielding it.

And that brings us to the final two accessories, these amazingly bad-ass twin swords. These remind me of the sickle-swords often associated with  Ancient Assyria and they are absolutely fantastic. The elongated black handles have sculpted grips and those sexy curved blades are kissed with some brilliant silver paint. I’m tempted to give her another belt and strap them both around her shoulders so she can wear these crisscrossed on her back.

Oh yeah, and they can also be tabbed together to create one long double-bladed weapon. Holy shit this is a cool and versatile set of weapons!

This Vampire is just another great example of how much fun these Legion Builders can be and it still amazes me that this is an example of one of the budget figures in the line, originally priced at about $22. And while she may not have the extra bits of flourish painted onto her armor, with a wonderful little arsenal of weapons and two different heads to choose from, there are plenty of display options to be had. And T4H sure know what they’re doing, because I simply had to have a pair of these to pose as bodyguards behind Lady Lucretia or Baron Volligar. l really enjoy the Vampires as a faction in this line and I still have the regular Vampire Knight to open, plus the original Vampire, Carpathias will be on his way once T4H start shipping out the All-Stars Pre-Orders!

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Marvel Legends: Magik by Hasbro

No random review for this week’s Marvel Monday, as I picked up the Walgreen’s Exclusive Magik last week and was so excited that I bumped her to the head of the line. And to truly appreciate how excited I am, you have to realize that I’ve been jonesing after this figure since 2015 when she was released as part of the SDCC Exclusive Book of Vishanti boxed set. I missed the window to buy that set and wasn’t willing to pay what secondary sellers were asking for it. I had basically written her off, but thanks to this unlikely partnership between toy-maker and corner drugstore, I’ve finally got my mitts on this magical minx.

Magik is actually the third figure in that set to get a regular retail release, as we eventually got Brother Voodoo, and Dormammu turned up as a Build-A-Figure. That just left me missing the comic version of Hela and the Astral version of Doctor Strange, and I guess I can live with that. The package features the X-Men logo on the front and a Walgreens Exclusive sticker on the front. And one look at the tray shows that this box is crammed with goodies, so let’s get started!

And here’s Illyana freed from her cardboard and plastic Limbo, and what a great looking figure she is! The costume is comprised of a mix of paintwork and sculpted detail, with the paint making up the sleeves and glove on her right hand, the upper part of her thigh-high stockings, and her shorts. The top is sculpted with some raised lines and a Power Girl-style boob window, the goth boots each feature a brace of straps and buckles, and her left arm and shoulder features her Eldritch armor that appears via the Soulsword. The ensemble is tied together by a wide black belt with silver painted buckle and eyelets. I’ve got to say, both the sculpted detail and paint on this figure is especially sharp. It’s worth noting that there are a few differences between this release and the one packed in the SDCC set. Most notably, the boots were simply painted on the SDCC version, whereas this Magik is borrowing Nico Minoru’s footwear.

The portrait is every bit as impressive as the rest of the figure. Again, the detail is sharp and the paint on the eyes and lips is immaculate. I especially dig the black added to her lipstick. He hair sculpt features a rather pronounced set of bangs with strands of hair falling forward over her shoulders, a third falling back over her left shoulder, and the rest cascading down her back.

And if a great figure wasn’t enough, this tray also comes packed with extras, including two swords and a passel of magic effect parts. The obvious accessory here is The Soulsword and it is indeed a cool piece of magical cutlery. The extended grip allows for two-handed use, and the extremely broad blade is made of translucent yellow plastic with black lines running through it from the hilt.

She also comes with this blue energy sword, which I can’t place from the comics, but that doesn’t make it any less welcome. It’s got an extended silver grip with not much of a guard, giving it a distinct lightsaber-y vibe. The translucent blue blade is thin and straight, and you also get a blue energy effect part to snake around it.

And if you dig that effect part, you’re in luck, because Magik comes with no less than three more! These are all similar blue lightning magic-energy pieces, and if you collect Star Wars figures, you’ll likely find these similar to the Force Lightning pieces that Hasbro sometimes likes to include with the Dark Jedi characters. You get two small ones, which are perfect for her hands, and a longer sleeve, which can go over either arm. I’m not usually a big fan of these pieces, but I’ll confess I’m having some fun with these.

I’m at a total loss for explanation over the red repack of Kitty Pryde’s Lockheed. I thought it might be some reference to the link between Shadowcat and Magik in Limbo or just something I never came across in the comics. Or maybe it just looked magical and Hasbro wanted to get some more use out of that rather particular sculpt. Either way, this little dragon is cast in a translucent red gummy-like plastic and actually features some paint applications, including some gold to bring out his scales and some black for his horns. He’s neat! I dig him!

Finally, Magik also comes with a flaming skull, and it doesn’t take an astute student of Marvel Legends to recognize this as one of Ghost Rider’s noggins. Why the skull? Eh. It’s creepy and magic-y and who’s going to complain about getting a burning red skull as an accessory? And yes, the jaw is also articulated and there’s still a ball socket up in there if you want to use it as a head on one of your other figures.

If you’re like me and you missed out on the SDCC version, than this release of Magik is a real treat. Not to mention that as far as I’m concerned, I think this one is actually the better figure. It was really weighing on me that I missed out on this figure back then, but this is one of those cases where everything worked out for the better. She’s an amazing little figure, with a great inventory of accessories, and a welcome addition to my X-Men Legends!

One Piece: “Flag Diamond Ship” Nico Robin by Banpresto

Three Saturday Anime reviews in a row means It might be becoming a habit again, which would be great because I have a big backlog of Prize Figures and Figmas to open and review. Then again, with the Silly Season upon us, my time will be getting tight again, so we’ll see how this goes. Today I’m getting completely caught up with Banpresto’s Flag Diamond Ship series with a look back at Nico Robin. I missed this one when it first came out, so I had to double back for her. It cost me a little bit extra, but I didn’t get beaten up too badly.

As usual, this roughly 9-inch scale figure comes in a fully enclosed box with lots of pictures of what’s inside. It’s collector friendly, and I dig these boxes because, rather than tossing them, I can flatten them out and file them away so they don’t take up a lot of room. There is some minor assembly required here, mainly putting the two halves of Robin together at the waist and while the fit was a little tight on this one, I was eventually able to get her set up and ready to go.

I’m fond of pointing out that my first two figures in the Flag Diamond Ship series, Nami and Boa Hancock had a strong pirate flair to them and after that the series just started doing it’s own thing. Well, Robin here fits more closely with the design of those first two figures, but she’s still sporting something of a pirate-cowboy mash-up. She’s also one of the simpler designed figures in the series, as there isn’t a whole lot to her costume, and I mean that both literally and figuratively. Robin sports a tan jacket with red liner, which she is holding open to expose her skimpy black bikini-style top. Moving downward, she’s got a black micro-skirt with a wide gray belt, and finally, a pair of brown buccaneer boots. The ensemble is punctuated by an oversize brown fedora, a multi-colored head scarf, and a single flintlock pistol strapped to her right thigh.

The portraits in this series have all been great, and Robin does nothing to buck that trend. She sports a somewhat serious expression with her hair and the head scarf both blowing off behind her. Her facial features are perfectly printed and the white, purple, and lavender pattern of the scarf is also neat and clean and offers a nice contrast to her black hair. The fedora is tipped down low over her face, so this is a statue that really demands being displayed at eye level if you don’t want to obscure her pretty face.

I’m not sure whether Robin is putting on her jacket, taking it off, or just flashing her goodies, but whatever the case I like the pose. As I mentioned there isn’t a huge amount of detail here, but that’s more because of the style and not an intentional omission. Most of the outfit’s detail can be found in the boots. They have a cool suede look about them, with sculpted gold painted fixtures and laces. There’s a nice braided band around her hat, and the jacket features stitch lines on the outside as well as the liner. Finally, they put some excellent work into the flintlock. The paint is simple, but overall pretty clean and her skin tone looks great.

Rather than traditional bases, this line has been using plastic pieces that fit into one of the figures’ feet as a stand. The more recent releases have abandoned the effort to make these pieces look like anything other than hunks of plastic. Robin’s on the other hand is sculpted to look like… eh, a crumpled piece of cloth? Maybe? I don’t know, but whatever it is, I like that they gave it some detail. Unlike some collectors, I haven’t had any major issues with these unconventional stands, although Robin’s doesn’t fit quite as flush as the others so there is a tiny bit of wobble to her.

When I pre-order these figures, I can usually get them for between $20 and $25, but I had to go to hunt Nico Robin down and she set me back a full $30, and you know what? She was still well worth it. The quality on these figures continues to impress me and at about 9-inches tall, they make for impressive display pieces. These are definitely not what I tend to think of when I think of Prize Figures. As of now, I believe Banpresto has three more of these figures planned, including second versions of both Nico Robin and Boa Hancock, but it doesn’t look like they’ll be arriving until next year.

Star Wars Black (Solo): Rio Durant by Hasbro

I only caught Solo once in the theaters, but I picked up the Blu-Ray when it was released and I’ve re-watched it three times since then. It’s a movie that continues to settle in my heart as an example of what these Star Wars Story films should all be aiming for (if and when they do any more) and it introduced some fun new characters into the Star Wars Universe. One of those was the Ardennian pilot, Rio Durant, may he Rest In Piece. Oh, um. Spoilers?

Dialing in at figure #77 in the current series, Rio was one of those characters that I wanted to get as a figure the moment I saw him. He was likable, and his weirdly endearing alien design made him a great choice for the plastic treatment. But as news of Solo‘s disappointing earnings filtered in, I would have bet real money that a Rio figure was just a pipe dream. The tooling and articulation needed for the extra set of arms would be extensive, and I was convinced the Black Series Solo figures were going to be a one and done wave. But happily, Hasbro proved me wrong and here he is, so let’s open him up and check him out!

With Rio out of the package, I find myself instantly impressed with all the work Hasbro put into this guy. I mean, seriously, we’ve had figures of main characters in the Original Trilogy that don’t feel nearly as well executed as little Rio here, and while he was far from a background character, he didn’t have a huge amount of screen time either. So, where do I even begin? Well, let’s start with his flight suit. It’s a unique looking suit, but it still has that unmistakable Star Wars flavor to it. It’s mostly blue and gray with some silver and red highlights. I dig the tightly compressed bands of rings on the sleeves and lower legs, as the sculpted lacing reminds me a bit of the Compression Suits from Alien.

The control box on his chest is a separate piece held on by the wide, orange harness. There’s a hose that runs out of the box, connects with the left shoulder strap, and then connects to the microphone and earpiece on his head. The harness and box features some great sculpted detail and extra paint hits. The white belt is also sculpted separately and has plenty of detail, including a tiny belt buckle, pouches, and a functional holster for his blaster pistol. There’s a little bit of weathering on the belt, but I think it should have been applied more heavily and evenly throughout. I think the fact that the belt and holster are too bright and new looking is the only nitpick I can come up with.

The head sculpt is excellent, but then the Black Series has always been great at recreating the aliens. All his little wrinkles are present and the gradation in skin tone from the brown in his face to the blue-gray in the back of his head is well done. There’s also a notable scar running across his forehead, and I’m not sure if that’s screen accurate or just a mishap in the mold, but either way it adds some character. I think the only thing missing are his whiskers, and that would be tough to do in this scale.

I was surprised to see that the goggles are sculpted separately and can be pulled down over his eyes, or removed altogether. What a great touch! The strap is sculpted in soft plastic and there’s a translucent red piece for the lens.

So let’s talk arms!!! I was particularly interested to see how they were going to do his arms, and they look pretty damn natural, with one set connecting to the body just a bit above and behind the other. His four hands feature finger-less gloves and he’s got a red band around one of his left wrists. And so long as we’re talking arms, let’s go into articulation. Rio has got it in spades, which is especially cool for such a short figure. Each of his arms have ball joints at the shoulders, elbows, and wrists, and swivels in the biceps. His legs are ball jointed at the hips and have rotating hinges at the knees and ankles. There’s a ball joint in both the chest and the neck. The range of motion on most of these joints is very satisfying and I’ve been having a blast playing around with this guy ever since I got him.

Rio comes with two weapons and he can hold either in any of his four hands. The first is a scoped blaster pistol that fits into his holster.

The second is what looks like the blaster equivalent of a sub-machine gun. In addition to the regular grip, this has a grab bar coming out of the side and a second grip under the barrel. Both of these are cool and unique designs and very welcome additions to my collection of 6-inch scale Star Wars weaponry.

For a line that sometimes feels pretty damn mediocre, Star Wars Black has a distinct way of surprising me just enough to keep me collecting it. Rio is one of those figures. He’s an absolute homerun, featuring some fantastic sculpting and paintwork and a perfect execution of a cool alien design. This is exactly the kind of figure I expect out of what is supposed to be a premium collectors’ series. I dig him so much, if I had any skills as a DIY person, I’d already be building an Imperial AT-Hauler cockpit for him to sit in. For all the shit I give Hasbro for the Black Series figures they clearly phone in, I’ll happily give them the highest of praise for this one. Fantastic work! Now I just have to hunt down Beckett and Val!

Mythic Legions (Advent of Decay): Xarria by The Four Horsemen

It’s the day before Thanksgiving, and one thing I am definitely thankful for is Mythic Legions! I’m trying to be as diverse as possible on my first pass through the Advent of Decay reviews. So having looked at a human knight, an elf, a vampire, and a goblin, I’ll be checking out a demon today. Behold, the mighty Xarria!

Xarria is not the first demon in the Mythic Legions lineup, but she is my first demon and she’s the first female demon. I passed on the previous demons, because I wasn’t all that keen on their colors, but I found Xarria to be irresistible at first sight. According to her bio card on the package insert, she’s a top general in the Circle of Poxxus, and while I don’t know what that means, it sounds very impressive. She’s also an accomplished spell-slinger and a lady that I would not want to mess with. Let’s get her open and see how she looks!

Pretty god-damned fantastic, I’d say! I tend to spend time talking about parts recycling in my Mythic Legions reviews, but that won’t be the case today. The bulk of this figure is made of parts that I’m experiencing for the first time right now, but we’ll be seeing them again many times over before I’m through with Advent of Decay. And as we’ve already seen, females figures are one of the major additions in Advent of Decay and Demon or no, Xarria is definitely a lady! The buck features bare upper legs, nearly bare arms, bare midriff, and a chest protected by her crude armored brassiere. Not to be confused with her brazier, because I’m sure she’s got one of those too. She also has a pair of rough, jagged shoulder armor pieces, which peg into her back and are, as always, optional.

The rest of her armor consist of wrist bracers, lower legs, and a belt with hip armor. It’s all the same crude and worn style, basically a slightly more diminutive version of the Orc armor we’ve seen several times in the past, with a pitted iron finish that looks amazing. The leg armor terminates at her demonic hooves, and she has a sash that hangs down from the center of her belt to conceal her demon lady parts. In addition to the excellent paintwork on the armor, I really dig the shade of red used for Xarria’s skin. It features some gradations of skin color from deep read to an a fiery orange. She also has some black striping (possibly tattoos?) displayed on her back and the left side of her body.

And that brings us to the head sculpt, and boy is it superb. Xarria walks that fine line between being a hideous demon and maybe just a little bit hawt. OK, I find her more than a little bit hawt. The curved, segmented horns protrude from the top of her an imposing height, she has tall, pointed ears not too dissimilar to the elves, and two yellow pupil-less eyes. Finally, she has a ponytail that spills up out of the ring on her head and terminates with some bright blue paint. Let’s move on to the accessories…

So, first off, Xarria comes with this imposing staff to channel her magic prowess. The shaft is gold and the head is cast in gray plastic and has a purple orb embedded in the middle and another one at the tip. It’s a cool looking piece, and since the top comes off, there’s some opportunity for customization there. This is the first time I’ve seen this accessory, and I’m pretty sure it was introduced in Advent of Decay, but either way I know we’ll be seeing it again. My only real gripe with this staff is that it’s pretty thick where she’s most likely to grip it and that can stretch out her grip, making her other weapons fit loose in that hand. Still, I’ve found that squeezing the hand shut for a bit will help.

But sometimes your mana is low and fools still need killing, and so Xarria also comes with two weapons: A dagger, and a what I guess might be termed a falchion. And, yes she also has the usual belt so she can carry her blades either on her waist or across her back. And here’s where this figure starts to lose me a bit. The dagger is the typical cruciform-hilted weapon that we’ve seen matched with swords and packed in with many of the knights. The blade is painted silver and the grip is painted gold. I really like this dagger, but it doesn’t feel like it really fits the character all that well. I happen to think that a demoness like Xarria should be packing a more exotic blade.

And that goes double for the falchion. This is the first time I’m seeing this particular sword in the line and I really dig the design. It’s got a dramatic curve, a swell to the blade and a nasty-looking clip to the point. The hilt is interesting as the grip curves opposite the blade instead of continuing it. The knuckle-guard is short and doesn’t connect with the pommel, and the weapon is painted to match the dagger with a silver blade and gold hilt, and I should mention that the blade on mine has a bit of gold paint spilled on it, which is one of the first QC issues I’ve had on any of these figures. But like the dagger, this sword just doesn’t really work with the character for me. Now, I kind of get it. The demons are something of an anomaly in this line, as there have only been three so far. And given Mythic Legions’ strategy of re-using accessories, it makes sense that T4H didn’t want to design a bunch of weapons that would only be intended for a few figures. But I’d still argue that there were better choices than these. It feels like someone just reached into a bin of weapons and randomly drew a couple out for poor Xarria.

Holy hell, for possibly the first time ever, I’m actually finishing up a Mythic Legions review without claiming that it’s my new favorite figure! Now, that’s not to say Xarria is in any way a bad one. I dig her a lot. She’s got a cool design, I love the paintwork on her armor, and what’s not to love about adding a demon to my Legions shelves? No, my big sticking point with this figure is just the weapon selection. They feel like the result of a random grab bag, rather than any kind of thoughtful choice, and unfortunately that drags down my feelings for the figure as a whole. Or maybe it was shrewd thinking on the part of T4H, because now I’m seriously thinking about picking up the Dark Forces Weapons Pack to get Xarria properly equipped with some proper demon weapons.

Marvel Legends (SP//dr Wave): Elektra by Hasbro

Blah. It’s my first Monday back at work after a long vacation and that’s bumming me out. Luckily, I can cheer myself up by opening one of the two dozen or so Marvel Legends figures that are piled in a box in my Toy Closet. And this week I’m not playing favorites, just reaching into the box with my eyes closed and pulling out… Elektra! And while I’m stoked to be getting a new comic version of Elektra for my Marvel shelf, I was hoping to draw another figure from the Cull Obsidian Wave, because I’m getting close to completing it. Ah well, maybe next week!

Fun fact! I was once on a flight where they were showing the 2005 Elektra movie and after twenty minutes I chose to take off my earphones and stare at the seat in front of me rather than watch it. Maybe Hasbro will release the Jennifer Garner version of her in 2025 for the 20th Anniversary! In the meantime, here’s a very badly needed update of the comic version by Hasbro (I never did find me that 2008 two-pack) and no, she doesn’t come with as many goodies as the old Toybiz version.

The figure, on the other hand, is a nice improvement, and that’s not meant as a knock on Toybiz, because I think their Elektra is one of the few that still hold up fairly well today, even if it isn’t all that favorably looked back on by most. Indeed, the reason I’m bringing that figure up so much is that it was one of a handful that I was truly sorry to see go when I sold off my collection. But not anymore. This Elektra looks great and manages to do a lot with very little new sculpting. Indeed, the costume here is achieved almost entirely by paint, using only the belt and sash for sculpted detail. Honestly, it works, but I would have loved to at least see some sculpted wraps on her wrists and legs. At least the paint is pretty clean and the red is vibrant!

And it’s nice to see that all that extra sculpt went into what is a fantastic portrait. The paint on the eyes and lips is nice and clean, and I love the way they sculpted her hair and the scarf tied over the top of her head. There’s a little bit of mold flashing on the jawline and I wish Hasbro would get that shit under control, but I can probably clean it up a bit with a razor.

Elektra comes with two accessories: Her set of sai weapons. Like I said earlier, it’s a lot less than we got with that old Toybiz version, but at least the essentials are here. Maybe I’ll dig out one of my Articulated Icons figures and lend her some of those weapons. These appear to be repacks of the ones that came with Netflix Elektra, but with a more metallic finish and painted red wraps on the grips, which also crisscross the guards. All in all, I think these look a hell of a lot nicer than their last appearance. Also like the Netflix Elektra, this version’s right hand is sculpted to hold the Sai outward, with two of her fingers wrapped around the guard. It would have been cool if Hasbro included a second left hand like this, but I guess it wasn’t in the budget.

Articulation here is solid, and there’s nothing bad or unexpected here, but Elektra is one of those figures that shows some of the limitations of Hasbro’s female Legends. My big issue continues to be the elbows’ rotating hinges. It’s long past time Hasbro give the ladies those double-hinges. The ball joints in the hips are also a bit limiting for a character as agile and acrobatic as Elektra. Finally, the belt and sash can get in the way sometimes, and it tends to ride up above her hips on certain poses. Finally, her ankle hinges appear feel like they’re ratcheted, which is weird. I thought they had no room to go back and point her toes, but it just required a bit of extra force. Still, all in all, she’s loads of fun.

It surprised me that it took so long after Elektra’s Netflex debut to get us a comic version, but hey better late than never. I think she turned out great, although a little more fresh sculpting would have been welcome. Especially since, as we’ll eventually see, this wave has quite a few of what I would call budget figures. With a repaint of Daredevil, and two more Spider-Man variants, it feels like Hasbro could have plunked down a little more money on the sculpt or a few more accessories. But hey, I bought her, and I’m quite happy with her, so I guess they know what they’re doing.

One Piece: “Flag Diamond Ship” Vinsmoke Reiju (Code: B) by Banpresto

Holy hell, it’s two Anime Saturday reviews in a row! This miracle is being brought to you by my vacation and the fact that I actually had time to squeeze in some more content this week. I’m not sure how consistent it will be going forward, but I’m going to give it my best try. Anywho, I’m back this Saturday morning with another one of Banpresto’s Flag Diamond Ship figures, and this time it’s Vinsmoke Reiju!

These roughly 9-inch scale figures continue to release in pretty typical, fully enclosed prize figure boxes. There are some great photos of the figure on all four panels to give you a good idea about what’s inside. And of course the box also states the aim of the series, “to create a figure that exudes the female form” including “proportional balance!” Hey, I’m all for that, but it makes me wonder what kind of ladies are hanging around the Banpresto offices, and maybe I need a job there! Anyway, there is some minor assembly required here, so let me get Reiju together and we’ll check her out!

The initial releases made me think that this was going to be a traditional pirate-themed line, but it has since managed to stray to the point where the only common thread I can see is that of lovely ladies. And that’s fine, because I still like what I’m seeing, even if Reiju’s costume here is all over the place! She’s a black half-jacket zipped almost all the way down to the bottom with a purple half-shirt peaking out, long black gloves, a black micro-skirt with a wide black belt and a purple waist scarf, high black socks with knee pads, and stiletto boots. The ensemble is topped off with a peaked officer’s cap and a pair of revolvers and… yeah, like I said, I’ve got no idea what they were going for here, but I dig it.

I also love the portrait here. The right side of Reiju’s face is mostly obscured by her short pink hair, although you can still make out her tiny lips and nose and one perfectly printed eyeball, with her family’s signature eyebrow above it. And while it looks like she’s just stretching, she’s actually got a nasty surprise behind her back in the form of a combat knife.

In addition to getting all the curves in all the right places, the sculpt packs some nice detail where it’s needed. I’m especially impressed with the work put into the pistols as well as the combat knife, which features a serrated back edge.

Paint has been generally solid in this line, and I think Reiju here comes close to being the best so far. I like the use of high gloss black for the cap, gloves, belt, cape, and even the bands around her boots, as it contrasts well with the matte black used for the jacket and skirt. The pistols have a nice metallic gray finish with brown painted handles. The zipper and pocket clasps are precisely painted in gold, and even the silver paint on her belt buckle is sharp and clean. She has a nice warm skin-tone, and the sixes on her thighs are perfect!

The series continues to eschew proper bases in favor of plastic bits that fit onto one of the figure’s feet to stand them up. In this case it’s a black block that Reiju’s left foot slots into. It works perfectly for a stand, but I wish they had dressed it up into like a wooden crate or something. At least it matches the color of her boots, so it doesn’t really stand out.

I pre-ordered Reiju when she was first solicited for $20 and that feels like an absolute deal. She’s big, she’s beautiful, and her eclectic biker-chick-cowboy-pirate design certainly demands attention. The quality on these figures continue to impress me and I know I’ll be on board for as long as Banpresto can keep it up! There are a few more scheduled for release early next year, but I still have one more in the hopper to open up before the end of this year!

Transformers “Power of the Primes:” Wreck-Gar by Hasbro

Wow, Walgreens sure has been killing it with the Hasbro exclusives lately. Star Wars, Marvel Legends, and even Transformers have all been represented. And as strange a partnership as it is, I’m happy for it because either one of the two Walgreens nearest to me seem to always have me covered. And so the moment Wreck-Gar turned up in my Twitter feed, I made a quick trip to Walgreens around the corner and happily found him on the shelf! And all this when I thought I was completely done with buying Power of the Primes Deluxes!

Wreck-Gar comes in the standard Power of the Primes packaging with some pretty cool character art up at the top of the card. And unlike some of Hasbro’s other Walgreens releases, there’s no sticker or anything to indicate he’s a retailer exclusive. The bubble gives a great look at the figure in robot mode (albeit slightly mis-transformed to fit in the package) and there’s an illustrated insert showing the toy in his alt mode. Let’s start there…

If it wasn’t apparent from the packaged shot, Wreck-Gar is very nearly a straight repaint of the Deluxe Protectobot, Groove from Combiner Wars. Indeed, when he’s in his motorcycle mode, the coloring is the only difference. I liked this motorcycle well enough when it was Groove, and I still like it now. Yes, it’s a bit boxy, but motorcycle Transformers have always been tricky designs, especially when you’re going for a more boxy G1-style robot aesthetic. Plus this guy is a combiner limb too, so that has to be factored into the design problems. Taking all that into account, I think they did a pretty nice job. And hey, he’s still not nearly as chunky as the original toy! The new deco certainly sells it as Wreck-Gar. You get a lot of orange along with some red, black, gray, brown, and silver. There aren’t any complex paint applications here, but the range of colors is pretty high for a modern Deluxe. The clear windscreen has an Autobot symbol printed on it, and the headlamps covers are clear plastic.

Features include a turning front wheel, which is not tied to the handlebars, and a flip-down kickstand. It’s worth noting that the wheel swivel on my figure is crazy tight and when you couple that with the fact that the wheel struts are soft plastic, I had to be pretty careful when turning it so as not to stress the plastic, and I doubt I’ll be doing it again. It’s not a big deal in motorcycle mode but, as we’ll soon see, that swivel can be used for tweaking the transformation, if you so choose. And speaking of which, let’s go ahead and check out his robot mode.

As expected, the robot mode is simply a repaint of Groove with a new head slapped on him, and all things considered I think it works pretty well. Sure, he’s missing his rather distinctive nipple guns, and he doesn’t have a tire on his shoulder. Plus, it would have been cool if his combiner connector was painted silver to simulate the engine, but I still like how this guy turned out.

From the back, we can see that he wears the front of the motorcycle as a backpack, and while it does stick out pretty far, I don’t think it’s all that bad. And here’s where that front wheel swivel comes in. On Groove, I like to turn the wheel sideways as it makes the backpack a little less cumbersome, but given how tight the swivel is on this figure, I think I’m going to leave it be.

And that leads me to my other real gripe with this figure. The head is so damn tiny! Obviously they sized it so it could flip back into the compartment on his back, although I would argue that it wasn’t necessary. Well, maybe to make him into a combiner limb, but that’s not something I plan to do with him, so I would have rather just had a larger head. And that’s a shame because the sculpt itself is fantastic. They recreated the front of the motorcycle and handlebars that the G1 figure had as a “helmet” really well and his tiny beard and mustache are there too. I just with his noggin were bigger.

The figure comes with two accessories: A Black Prime Armor piece, which is getting tossed into the Tote of Forgotten Accessories™ and a bladed axe kind of weapon. The weapon looked familiar and sure enough it’s the same one that came with the Wreck-Gar figure from the 2011 Reveal the Shield release.

For what is essentially a quick-and-dirty repaint, I find myself enjoying this figure a lot. Yes, even with his small head! The 2011 Wreck-Gar was a decent figure, and his asymmetrical design really sold him as a Junkion, but mine broke during transformation, which was pretty disappointing because I don’t transform these toys a lot. Either way, I think this one’s boxier physique sells it more as a G1 homage, and for that I’m willing to give it the nod as my favorite of the two. If I still had the 2011 version, I’d try to do a head swap. Maybe I still have him kicking around somewhere! On a side note, I have one more Power of the Primes Deluxe to open up and review and then I’ll start hitting some of the bigger bots I missed out on. Hopefully, that’ll give me enough Transformers to talk about until the new line starts showing up!

Star Wars (Rogue One): Imperial Combat Assault Tank by Hasbro

I make it no secret that Rogue One is my favorite of all the modern Star Wars flicks. Hell, if you take away the nostalgia boost from A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back, it may even be my favorite of all time. But that still didn’t get me to shell out $80 for Hasbro’s Assault Tank because, well… it seemed like an awful lot of money. But Amazon had a Deal of the Day on this baby last week, reducing it to $48 and even then I thought good and hard before finally giving in. Was it worth it? Let’s open it up and find out!

Behold the faux vintage packaging! The old style silver border and the Kenner logo really punches me in the nostalgia button and makes for a very handsome bit of presentation. I also really miss the days when they used to just let pictures of the toy and a bunch of figures do the talking. And because it’s a fully enclosed box, it’s also collector friendly, so I won’t feel tempted to throw it out. Also notice that they finally stopped calling this thing a Hover Tank? Apparently, it was originally supposed to hover in the film, but that got nixed for the final production and I guess the toy companies never got the memo. This resulted in “Hover Tank” appearing on the packaging of the LEGO set and the pilot figure. I kind of wish they kept the name on this package, though. It would have been another cool mistake for the ages, along the lines of the whole 4-LOM/Zuckuss mix-up. Anyway… The tank comes out of the box with very little assembly required, and it can indeed go back in the box, which is always a big plus for me when it comes to this vintage packaging. All you have to do to get the tank ready for action is load up the cargo containers on the back and plug in the guns on the sides. There are no stickers to apply either.

Here she is ready to patrol the streets of your neighborhood and haul away all of your Kyber crystals. The TX-225A “Occupier” Tank doubles as both an armed cargo carrier or troop transport. I’m starting out with it set up first as the former, with the three cargo containers loaded up in the back. My first impression out of the box is that this toy has a real nice heft to it, which hasn’t been the case with most of Hasbro’s vehicles these days. Many of them have had a hollow and cheap plastic feel, but this tank feels solid. It’s a decent size, but not impressively large. I’ll talk about scale again when we load some figures onto it. Beyond that, I’m not sure what to talk about first, the sculpt or the paint, because both stand out right away as being exceptional. Let’s go with the paint first…

It’s all about the weathering, folks. Hasbro dry-brushed the hell out of this thing, giving it tons of wear and tear and making it feel right at home in the used-future of the Star Wars Universe. It’s one of the things most missing from a lot of Hasbro’s vehicles these days, they come out of the box with little to no paint apps and looking all bright and shiny. It tends suck a lot of the character out right out of the designs. Nearly every edge on this tank is painted to look like the finish is scraped down to the bare metal. There are blotches of wear and tear scattered around the body, there are abrasions near the hatches to show frequent use, and even the overall paint job looks like it’s been blasted by Jedha’s harsh climate. This is exactly the kind of personality and craftsmanship that we don’t usually see on Hasbro’s Star Wars vehicles, and it really sets this one apart as being a collector’s piece. It looks like a workhorse that’s been patrolling the streets of the Holy City of that desert moon for years. I love it!

As for the sculpt, there’s some wonderful detail work on the hull that reminds me of some of the old WWII tank models I used to build with my father when I was a kid. You get mesh grating, straps, hatches, panel lines, bolts, and compartments on the sides, just to name some of the highlights. There aren’t any play gimmicks here, just some cool practical features. The vehicle rolls along on two real working rubber treads, which I personally dig a lot more than a hover tank any day! There are double-barreled cannon mounted on each side of the driver compartment and these can swivel 180-degrees to lay down destructive fire in front, above, or behind. You also get a double-barreled cannon peeking out the bottom front section, which can swivel left and right.

There’s a hatch on top that can be removed to allow engine access. The side hatch actually looks like it could open too, but that’s just part of the sculpt. Hasbro even coughed up a lick of paint for some of the components in there. The hatches locks in flush with the body of the vehicle and it actually takes a bit of work to get it open.

Two additional hatches are there for personnel. One allows the driver to pop his head out and see, while the one behind it accommodates the tank commander. These are basically cannon-fodder hatches, or if my old war movie knowledge is applicable, perfect for lobbing grenades into.

The entire plate over the driver compartment is also removable to give you access and also to see how much incredible work Hasbro put into it.  There isn’t an inch of this interior that isn’t packed with detail. There’s grating on the floor, wires and controls on the walls, a shifter lever, control yokes at each seat and a little sticker showing some gauges on the dashboard. If you get all the way in there, you can see a hatch behind the driver’s seat that leads into the back. It doesn’t open, but for a moment, I thought it did.

Also, check out how much detail is sculpted into the inside of the removable hatch! There’s a fan and ventilation system and I love how the filter compartments are sculpted underneath where the vents are on the outside of the panel. This kind of stuff is just so damn cool.

The three cargo containers simply lay in the bed of the tank, but they stay put quite well and are easy to lift out. Removing them allows you to slide the flooring to each side, revealing an area with foot pegs, turning the tank into a troop transport. There are eight pegs in there. We’ll load it up with some troops in a little bit. But first…

Here’s where things get really mind-blowing. One of the cargo containers actually opens and you can remove three of the storage cylinders. I didn’t read a lot about this tank before I bought it and I certainly wasn’t expecting that. That goes double for the fact that you can open each of the three canisters…

…and slide out the Kyber crystals. OK, sure the interiors are made of super soft, gummy plastic. And they don’t really look like anything. But come on, I’d still say that’s going above and beyond! These are the kinds of features that I love in toys. Forget about the electronics and the spring loaded gimmicks. Just give me stuff like this! OK, so we’ve seen all the tank has to offer, let’s take her for a spin with some figures.

For this review, I’m using all 5-POA Rogue One figures. I haven’t been buying many of the 3.75-inch Vintage Collection stuff, and besides, 5-POA is the only way many of the Rogue One figures have been released anyway. These figures fit perfectly in the tank’s driver compartment. The driver seat is raised so that his head will poke out the top of the tank, and I had no trouble replacing the hatch with a Stormtrooper in the co-pilot seat. I’ll likely end up picking up a few of the Vintage Collection Tank Driver, because the 5-POA one is only available as part of the Jedha 4-pack, and he’s the only troop builder in that set.

With the cargo containers removed and the floor plates slid back, the tank will comfortably transport six Stormtroopers in the back. Keep in mind that the foot pegs do not work all that well with the 5-POA figures, nor are they positioned all that well to hold the figures this way. Still, I really dig this as a troop transport and if I dig out a couple of my super-articulated Stormies, I could add a few sitting on the tailgate.

As far as scale is concerned, the tank is definitely a bit undersized, but not by too much. Most of the stills from Rogue One that I consulted show the top of the tank at about the same height as the Stormtroopers escorting it on foot. In the case of the figures, they stand a smidge taller. Personally, I think the figures look fine riding on it, but when they’re walking alongside, it’s when I can see that the vehicle needed to be a bit bigger. It’s not a deal-breaker for me, especially when you consider how many Star Wars vehicles have been down-sized to make the toys work. Although I suppose there’s a case to be made that Hasbro could have scaled this thing properly without breaking the bank, and for $80, they probably should have.

In the end, this is a very, VERY nice toy. The quality and attention to detail feels more in line with the work Hasbro put into the heavy hitters like the huge Millennium Falcon and AT-AT Walkers. Hell, when it comes to the paintwork, I’d say it’s better. And yet I’m still torn on the sense of value here. As nice as it is, my gut reaction tells me that the original MSRP of $80 is WAY too high for this. But then I look at the prices of some of Hasbro’s other recent vehicle releases. Both Kylo Ren’s Silencer from The Last Jedi and the TIE Striker from Rogue One retailed for $50, which is a lot, although granted both of those came with pack-in figures. So grading on the scale of Hasbro’s other ship prices, maybe this one isn’t so bad, but I knew I was never forking over $80 for this. At $48 I’m glad I picked it up, but even at that price, I feel like it should have included a pack-in of the Tank Commander figure.

Mythic Legions (Advent of Decay): Snagg by The Four Horsemen

I’ve been focusing on some of the new stuff for my first Advent of Decay reviews. So, I started with a female knight and vampire, and then showed off an Elf. Now it’s time to touch on what is easily my most anticipated addition to the Mythic Legions lineup… The Goblins! Hell, YEAH! I totally freaked out when T4H first showed off these deranged little beauties, and I knew right away that I would be getting all of them. It was impossible for me to decide which one to start with, so I just picked one at random. Let’s have a look at Snagg!

And isn’t that just one of the best Goblin names ever? Snagg! Even better, Snagg’s bio tells us that he’s a devious thief. And with his green face and blue sock cap, he kind of reminds me of Zarak, The Half-Orc Assassin from LJN’s old Advanced Dungeons & Dragons line. Not only is that not a bad thing, but I kind of demand a repaint as homage.

The Goblins are about the same height as the Dwarves, but they have a much leaner build. And like the Dwarves, they’re designed so they can borrow parts from the full-sized humans and elves. For example, Snagg has a completely repainted version of the belt and hip armor piece that we saw last week on the Elf Legion Builder. He also uses the wrist bracers that we’ll see on the Elves in future reviews. The body is rounded out with a simple set of plate armor for the torso and armored legs. I’d say that it’s a hodge-podge look that works well for a Goblin, but to be honest, I think all the pieces go together perfectly.

The paint here is excellent, particularly on the belt piece. The prominent disc belt-buckle, the individual rivets on the leather scales are painted in a rich copper. The plates on the tops of the hip-armor are mismatched with one side copper and the other a gun-metal blue. The brown belt has a great textured leather-like look to it and you get some fine silver paintwork on the buckles. Other highlights of the paint include the worn copper color of the leg armor, the metallic blue stones embedded in his arm bracers, and the heavily tarnished finish of his chest armor. Even the tiny buckles on his wrist bracers and leg armor are all neatly painted silver.

And that brings me to the head sculpt, and oh boy is it fantastic! Snagg features a cartoonishly pronounced nose and chin, balanced by the long, swept-back pointed ears. He sports a devilish grin, showing his tiny sharp teeth and two prominent fangs rising up from his bottom jaw. Two beady yellow eyes gaze out from under the stitched blue cap.

Snagg comes with a mismatched pair of shoulder armor, no doubt stolen from the dead on some battlefield. The right shoulder is pretty ornate with some blue panels that manage to match his cap, as if it’s a sad little attempt he made to accessorize. The left shoulder, on the other hand, is a simple, segmented piece with signs of rust setting in. I dig the idea behind these pieces being scavenged, but I may actually prefer him sans shoulder armor.

For a little guy, Snagg comes with quite the arsenal of weapons, which includes a standard cruciform sword, a two-hander, a dagger, and a rustic cleaver made by attaching blades to a piece of stag horn. With the exception of the last piece, I’ve seen all of these weapons before, and I love that all of these weapons are mismatched, again probably all taken from looting and thievery, as they look way too clean and shiny to have been owned by him for long. To carry his weapons, Snagg comes with two of the standard brown belts, allowing for one to be worn on the waist, and the other as a cross strap. Let’s take a quick look at each of his weapons…

The dagger is a repaint of the one that came with Lucretia, now with an entirely gold hilt. I really like the design of this one and the paint job does a good job of setting it apart. I actually had to double check Lucretia’s to make sure it was the same mold. It looks like it would be an excellent parrying dagger as well as serviceable for all the backstabbing that Snagg probably does.

The one-handed sword is the classic cruciform type we’ve seen over and over again in this line. I’m a big fan of the no-nonsense design of this piece and I’m always happy to get another. Oddly, this one is painted all in silver, which is something that T4H usually reserve for the Legion Builder figures, but I think it still looks fine. I would have liked it more if it had a rusty finish, like we’ve seen with some of the Orc weapons, but like I said, maybe he stole it.

The two-handed sword is very familiar from the previous series of Mythic Legions. I tend to refer to this one as a “Tolkien Sword,” because it reminds me of a design I saw of Glamdring once. Either way, I really dig the way the blade swells slightly toward the edge and the stylized crossguard, copper wrapped grip, and skull-crusher pommel are both nice touches. On the other hand, this sword looks totally out of place with Snagg. It’s really big compared to his height and he looks a little awkward wielding it. It just furthers the idea in my mind that he stole it somewhere and just carries it around to make a statement.

Only the stag-handled weapon looks like it might have been made for him, and it manages to be both crude and quite beautiful. The sculpt and paint on the stag handle is superb. The clever-like blade has some nasty gashes and scrapes in it and a serrated area near the grip. The back also has a metal piece with spikes sticking out of it. Now this looks like a Goblin weapon!

Snagg also comes with some other assorted bits, which confused me at first. You get a set of antlers, which are the same pieces used to adorn some of the other figures’ helmets. You also get a single piece of black horn. These aren’t compatible with the figure himself, as he doesn’t come with a helmeted head, but I’m chalking these up to being more loot that he’s scavenged. And it’s always nice to have extra pieces to share with my helmeted figures to create more display options.

And so while he may be small, Snagg is probably packing more personality than almost any other Mythic Legions figure I own. He’s also no doubt the first in what will be my serious love affair with the Mythic Legion Goblins. He’s a magnificent little figure with some superb paintwork, and clearly a lot of thought and love went into his demented design. I can’t wait to pit him against some of my brave warriors and have him try to bite their kneecaps off and steal all their shit. I’m really tempted to just keep going with the Goblins for the next month, but I promise I’ll try to be back with something a little different next week.