Battlestar Galactica: Cylon Centurion by Bif Bang Pow

Yup, Transformers Thursday’s hiatus continues. It’ll be back soon. I promise! In the meantime… A while back I picked up a whole bunch of Bif Bang Pow’s Mego-Style figures from the original Battlestar Galactica series. Oh yeah, I love how I’ve lived to be so old, that I have to preface every goddamn thing from my childhood with either the words “classic” or “the original” because it’s all been recycled. Anyway, I opened Starbuck and Apollo and then got sidetracked by something else and the rest of the figures wound up in a box in the corner of the closet. UNTIL LAST WEEK, when I uncovered them and opened up Lt. Athena. Today I’m continuing to open the line with the Cylon Centurion!

It rarely ever bothers me to tear into an action figure package, but opening these gives me a few pangs of regret. The presentation is so good, and these figures look absolutely amazing on their cards. All the Mego figures I had as a kid were hand-me-downs from my uncle, so I don’t think I ever actually got to open a new one, so the experience is kind of neat. Also, the Battlestar Galactica license works perfectly here, right alongside the vintage Space 1999 and Star Trek figures as well as BBP’s Mego-Style Doctor Who releases. The card is generic with a giant Cylon head on it and a sticker to denote the character. The back has a “Collect Them All” style layout with some of the other initial releases in the line.

I can’t put into words how much I love the original Cylon design. I think it’s better than or at least on par with anything that came out of Star Wars, and there are at least several episodes of the Classic Battlestar that I would put up against Star Wars any day. FIGHT ME!!! And in terms of blending that cool design with the Mego style, I’d say BBP did an fantastic job here. This is a fairly complex figure with a lot going on and I think it’s pretty obvious that they poured a lot of love into it. Unfortunately, I’m going to have a lot of stuff to pick at.

But before I get all nitpicky, I’ll say that the costuming is a thing of beauty. It starts with a standard Mego-style buck wearing a black bodysuit, and then come the layers. The legs feature plastic boots with vac metal shin guards and the thighs are wrapped in a black leather-like material. Next comes the enormous chest torso covering, which incorporates the sculpted belt, a ribbed covering over the pelvis, the chest and shoulder armor, and the backpack. Again, all done in one piece and served up with some beautiful vac metal goodness.

The backpack has a little paint detailing and he has a cloth butt flap with silver discs attached to it to make a pretty cool effect. The arms have plastic bracers on the forearms with a combination of vac metal armor and black ribbed areas, and there are two silver rings around the elbows.

The head sculpt is excellent, but because it’s made of softer plastic and sprayed silver, it doesn’t match the shiny lustre of the rest of the armor. It’s kind of a shame, but I have to imagine that it’s similar to what we might have gotten from a Mego Cylon. As for the visor strip, I’m not sure what they were shooting for here. The bulk of the visor is painted black and there’s a thin red strip running across all the way at the top, but it doesn’t really convey that there’s just supposed to be a single red eye travelling back and forth. I would have much preferred if they had just painted the red eye onto the visor.

OK, so notice how all of my shots have been just the figure from different angles and not in any cool poses? Well, one of the big bummers about this guy is that all that armor renders the articulation almost entirely useless. The only joints that can be fully utilized are the neck and the rotating hinges in the wrists. I can get his arms and legs to move a little bit, but they won’t move enough to hold a pose. It’s a good think he looks so good just standing there.

The Cylon comes with two weapons, his rifle and sword. The rifle is a simple, but decent, recreation of the ones they carried in the show. I really loved the bayonets they had on the ends. The sword is pretty simple too. I don’t recall them whipping these out all that often, except once when they were going to execut Baltar. So here’s the other big bummer… The Cylon can barely hold his rifle. The hands are definitely not sculpted to do so, but I was able to make it work… just barely. The hands themselves are hard plastic, so I just had to push it in there really hard and hope that the finger didn’t snap. The sword worked a bit better, but only because the grip is thin. Obviously, the hands are original sculpts for this guy, so why not mold them to hold his weapons? WHY NOT???

There’s a lot to love about this Cylon Centurion, and a lot to feel let down over. In the end, this is one figure that might be better off left in the package, but who knew? The Colonial pilots featured great and useful articulation and are tons of fun to play with. Good thing I have an extra Cylon that’s still carded! But even if I didn’t, I’m not unhappy that I opened him, because I need a loose one to display with my other Galactica figures. Oh yeah, and BBP also released two variants of this guy, a gold Commander, and a tarnished “battle damaged” version. I’ll get to checking those out eventually.

Battlestar Galactica: Lt. Athena by Bif Bang Pow!

In case you missed the memo, DC Friday is on hiatus for a little bit, as I’m all caught up and waiting to pick up some new statues or figures. It’ll return, but probably not as a regular ongoing thing. In the meantime, it’s almost Spring, and I’ve been getting a jump on my Spring Cleaning. That means going through boxes of stuff, deciding what, if anything, is going off to Ebay to make room for more toys, and also discovering things that I totally forgot I had. It also means I have a busy weekend ahead of me, so let’s get started! One of the boxes I discovered contained a whole bunch of Bif Bang Pow’s Mego-style figures from Battlestar Galactica and Doctor Who! I looked at BBP’s Starbuck and Apollo from this series waaay back in 2015, where I also reminisced a bit about what Mego meant to me. I won’t rehash it all here, but I’ll just say that if my love of toys were an epidemic, Mego would be patient zero. It all started back when my uncle gave my brother and I his Mego DC, Star Trek, Planet of the Apes, and Gabriel Lone Ranger figures, and ever since this format has been like a super concentrated shot of nostalgia. And while Battlestar Galactica had its own vintage toy line, the series is so perfect for the Mego treatment. Hell, if these figures don’t look like they jumped right out of the late 70’s, well then I’ll be the son of a daggit.

The packaging is identical to what we saw for Apollo and Starbuck. The cards are generic with head shots of the characters on the front and a “Collect Them All” style layout on the back. The character’s name appears at the bottom, and sometimes this was done with a sticker. The figure itself comes in a big bubble with her flight helmet in front of her. I have to hand it to BBP, because the presentation feels so damn authentic. The only thing that would have probably been different is that her helmet would have been loose in the bubble with her and not secured with a smaller plastic piece. I’m not usually one that hesitates to open toys, but this is one where it gave me some pangs of regret. Partly because she looks so damn good in the package, and partly for reasons I’ll come back to at the end.

Out of the package, Athena comes wearing a more demure version of the Colonial flightsuit that we saw with Apollo and Starbuck. Naturally, it’s been reduced to fit the fashion doll proportions of Athena’s body, but there are also some changes, like the color of her pants and boots. The jacket is made of the same material, which looks like a dead ringer for the jackets worn on the show, and comes complete with sculpted plastic buttons running up the sides of the front flaps. On the downside, Athena’s flight jacket doesn’t have the reinforced strips on the shoulders, nor does it have the patches. It’s likely that BBP couldn’t make these work on the smaller jacket, or maybe they just didn’t want to bother. The underlying shirt is a softer cloth, it’s also sleeveless so that the jacket sleeves fit the figure better. Taking it off for display isn’t advised, as the jacket has transferred some brown die to the figure’s arms.

While Apollo and Starbuck has surprisingly good likenesses for this style of figure, I don’t think BBP was attempting accuracy for Athena. Or at least I hope not, because this looks nothing like her. The head is typical fashion doll style with some passable paint apps, and a copious coif of rooted hair. It can be tough to keep it under control, but I’m glad they went with it. It’s probably the one thing here that most resembles Athena in the series, and I think it also adds to the authenticity of the Mego stylings.

If I’m not counting the lack of likeness, the biggest disappointment about this figure is the gun belt and holster. It’s the same rig used for the guys so the fit is absolutely terrible. The belt itself has a whole bunch left over in the back to hang free, and likewise the thigh strap for the holster is way too big and just kind of hangs there around her leg. The holster came secured with a clear rubber band, and I’ve opted to leave it on just to keep holding the holster in place. This aspect of the figure just feels like a cheap cop out on BBP’s part, but I seem to recall Athena being one of the later figures released in the line, so they may have just been eager to wrap up the line and call it a day.

The Colonial blaster is identical to the ones that came with Starbuck and Apollo. It’s a pretty good sculpt for a Mego style accessory and the paint is fairly good. Another major drawback for this figure is that her hands aren’t sculpted so that she can hold it.

Athena’s other accessory is her flight helmet and this is the same piece that came with the other pilots. I think BBP did a nice job on these. I was afraid it would be really loose on Athena, but it fits her pretty well thanks to all that hair. I suppose you could tuck it all into the helmet, but it looks fine with the hair hanging out the back as well. The plastic on the helmet feels rather light, but that’s all part of the faux-Mego charm.

This is all about the nostalgia, folks. If Mego doesn’t give you the warm and fuzzies, then nothing about this figure is likely to be appealing. No doubt, there are a few disappointments here, most of which revolve around her blaster and holster rig, but overall, I think she still displays well and she looks great alongside the boys. On the downside, I don’t think BBP produced a large number of this figure (or Lucifer) and so Athena can be crazy tough to find. Just for shits and giggles I tried finding one on Ebay and was only able to uncover a single sold listing. Hell, it took some doing for me to find her back when she was originally released. Is she worth hunting down and paying a premium for? Not on her own, no. But if you’re looking for a complete set, or at least a nicely fleshed out display, then I think she’s a must have for this collection. Just looking up at this trio on my shelf makes me wish BBP had some kind of laminated cardboard hanger deck to display them on.

Battlestar Galactica: Lt. Starbuck and Captain Apollo by Bif Bang Pow!

Megos! Collectors these days seem to either love them or hate them, but as someone who grew up playing with these dolly-like figures back in the 70’s, I can’t help but have a soft spot for them. From World’s Greatest Super Heroes to Star Trek and Planet of the Apes, Mego was where it was at before Kenner turned the action figure industry (such as it was) on its collective ear with the 3 3/4″ scale. As a result, it makes me happy to see that some toy companies have been keeping this style alive with Faux-Megos, because like it or not, they are an extremely important piece of action figure history. I don’t buy a lot of these, but rather only seek out the ones that really fit the flavor of the 70’s and scratch my nostalgia itch. It’s hard to think of any that fit that bill better than Classic Battelstar Galactica. I’ve got a bunch of these, but today I thought I’d start with the two Colonial Viper Pilots, Lt. Starbuck and Captain Apollo.

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In typical Mego fashion, the figures come on simple cards and bubbles with the bubbles orientated to the right. The cards are made from quality, heavy stock and feature a starfield with an illustrated Cylon head, no matter which character is in the package. There’s a little personalization with the character name on the card, but even that is placed with a sticker.

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The coffin-style bubbles are pretty big, and they need to be to hold an 8-inch scale figure plus accessories. The figures themselves come secured to some inner plastic tray pieces with twisty-ties. These do a fairly good job of keeping the figure in place, although my Apollo came with his blaster rattling around in the bubble, so results may vary. I dig the presentation on these so much, I’ve kept them carded for the year or so that I’ve had them, but having just got a box of Mego-Style figure stands, I was anxious to get them out and display them.

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The back of the card is fantastic. You get head shots of the six figures available (several more would be added later), a nice piece of vintage art with a Colonial Viper blasting away and those great lines spoken at the end of each episode, which are impossible for me to read without hearing them in Lorne Greene’s voice. I don’t think I could properly express how much I still love this show. It felt like a proper mix of Star Wars and Star Trek and it’s still one of my go-to series whenever I’m looking for something quick to watch while I’m eating dinner or just killing time. If you haven’t seen it, go watch the two-parter “The Living Legend” with Lloyd Bridges as Commander of the Pegasus, or another excellent two-parter, “Guns of Ice Planet Zero” which plays out like The Dirty Dozen in space. Brilliant stuff!

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And here they are, out of the package, Starbuck and Apollo. The figures I’m looking at today are virtually identical from the neck down, because they’re each wearing their Colonial uniforms. The only difference there is that Apollo’s holster is correctly positioned on his left hip, whereas Starbucks is on his right. In keeping with the Mego Style, the uniforms are proper soft goods, which is where these figures get a lot of their charm.

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The uniforms consist of khaki pants and matching sleeveless t-shirts, the flight jacket, a belt with holster and leg strap, and boots. I think BBP did a great job with the tailoring on these. Other than clipping some stray threads and adjusting the belts, I didn’t have to futz with them too much with the clothes out of the package. The pants and belt do bunch up a bit at the waist, but they still look good, especially for this scale.

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The flight jackets are made out of a textured material that mimics the jackets on the show pretty well. They feature shoulder patches and plastic buttons running down the fronts. They ride a little higher than I would like, but even with that being said, I think they turned out great.There isn’t a lot of detail on the boots, but what they lack in show accuracy they make up for copying the style of those classic plastic Mego boots that almost every figure had.

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The head sculpts are pretty darn good considering the style BBF was going for here. I’ve got no problems at all seeing the great Dirk Benedict and Robert Richard Hatch (Sorry, Apollo!) in those likenesses, but keep in mind realism wasn’t what they were after here rather than copying a toy style from 40 years ago. I’m also happy to see that the heads aren’t soft and squishy and yes, these noggins have that slightly over-sized charm not uncommon for the time.

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Each figure comes with a Colonial Blaster, which can be held in either hand as well as tucked into the holsters. The sculpt and paint apps for these are definitely above par for what we used to get with these types of figures in the old days.

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Probably the most impressive piece here are the flight helmets. These are sculpted plastic and feature some great paintwork and fit onto the figures very well. Just the fact that these were included makes me believe that BBF went all out on these guys, as they could have easily left them out and the figures would have still felt complete. The only other thing that could possibly be missing from these are the poncho’s they sometimes wore.

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I’m totally in love with these figures! BBF did a wonderful job striding that fine line between retro homage and quality. These are definitely better than what we would have had back in the day and yet they’re close enough to ooze retro charm. It’s worth noting that Battlestar did indeed have action figures back in the day, they were made by Mattel and clocked in at around 4-inches. I had a bunch of those and they were cool, but I would have killed to have figures like these to go with my Star Trek Megos. I would have been in crossover heaven!