Marvel Gallery: The Wasp by Diamond Select

Try as I might, I continue to find Diamond’s Marvel and DC Gallery statues to be mostly irresistible, especially when they go on sale and dip below the $30 mark. As I showed in one of my Toy Tours, I’ve found a spot to display these in their boxes up on a high shelf in my Comic Office and so I can’t really use lack of space as an excuse to take a pass anymore. Still, I do try to be more selective in which ones I buy. I’ve had my eye on The Wasp here for a little while, and when she hit that magic price point, I went ahead and picked her up.

This is a pretty big package for a fairly cheap statue. As always, the goods come in a collector friendly box with the statue surrounded on four sides by generously sized windows: Top, front, and sides to let in plenty of light and show off the figure inside. It’s a good deal if you’re buying it at your local comic shop, so you can check out the paint quality. Alas, I’ve never seen these in a store and I get all my DST Gallery statues online. Fortunately, I haven’t had too many issues with the paint. The back of the box has a little blurb about The Wasp and calls out that this piece was sculpted by the great Jean St. Jean. Unlike most of these figures, Wasp does require just a bit of assembly. Her wings come separated from her body and you have to peg them into slots. They go in easy and she’s all ready for display!

Hands down, what I like about this statue the most is the choice to go with the classic costume and the wonderful way it’s been sculpted and painted. Janet has had a number of wardrobe changes over the years, and truth be told, I do like most of them, but the retro-stylings here will probably always be my favorite. The red dress features flared shoulders, a very short skirt, and a neckline that plunges all the way to her belt, but since it’s worn over a black bodysuit it manages to titilate and be modest at the same time. The red boots and gloves are also sculpted with some nice detail, as is the blue “W” situated just above her chest. The dress, boots, and gloves all have a glossy finish, which contrasts quite nicely with the matte finish of the black suit. You get some very nice sculpted wrinkles in the dress, as well as some rather well defined contours of her body showing through.

Unfortunately, the portrait is pretty average. I’m not going to say it’s bad for a statue in this price range, but I will say it falls short of what we got with a lot of the previous ladies in this series. It’s a little too full-faced for me, as I tend to like Janet a bit more on the pixie side, as it suits her alter ego. I’d say she’s more of a handsome woman, than a pretty one, and that’s what’s known as a backhanded compliment. Oops, I probably shouldn’t say backhand around Janet. Still, when it comes to the portrait, I may be letting her more modern interpretations color my view of what is clearly a very classic version of the character. The paint is overall OK, but her left eye is drifting a bit. I’ve certainly seen worse on far more expensive pieces. I do like her blue headphones and microphone, and her antenna are a little on the chunky side to keep them from being too fragile.

The wings are cast in tinted clear plastic and feature a rather pretty gradation from clear to green to blue at the tips, and with black spots near the top edges. You also get some sculpted membrane running throughout. Like the antenna, they’re a little thick, but that’s obviously to make them less fragile, and I think they look great.

As for the pose, well it’s a homerun! Wasp is captured in mid flight with her left leg drawn up and her right foot just grazing the base. Her body arches as she turns to face an unseen adversary, while she powers up her Wasp Sting with her right hand. The effect is a translucent yellow sphere with some crackling energy around it, and I think it looks pretty convincing. This is a perfect pose for showing off the character with a lot of excitement and energy.

The base is pretty elaborate and very nicely detailed. One of my nitpicks with this series has been the fact that DST calls these dioramas, but most of them just have generic bases. I’ve always thought that was just a licensing thing, but here the figure actually lives up to the name with a pretty cool base that tells a story. The ground is shattered, a street signpost hangs at an angle, water and smoke rise up between the cracks in the pavement. It’s all exceptionally well done and speaks of a desparate battle being waged. My only gripe is that it doesn’t really take advantage of Wasp’s diminished size. Indeed, the scaling actually makes her look bigger than a normal person. It seems like a rather large (no pun intended) oversight or a missed opportunity, but it’s not enough to ruin the statue for me.

As much as I dig The Wasp, the character is only represented in my collection by a handful of Hasbro and Toy Biz figures, so it’s nice to have something a little more substantial and waspy to enjoy. At one point I waffled on getting one of Sideshow’s statues of her, but the decision was made for me when that particular piece sold out. Even at the MSRP of about $45, I think this is a pretty well-executed piece. The portrait is definitely not as nice as the original solicitation photos, but the only reason I make a point of that again is because the female portraits in this line have been generally exceptional. That’s especially the case when you look back at Rogue, Emma Frost, or Madelyne Pryor. But I have certainly passed on far pricier statues that have looked worse. I grabbed Ms. Van Dyne for $25 on Amazon and I’m mighty happy with that deal. She’s big and beautiful and generates a big buzz for a little money.

Marvel Gallery: GamerVerse Spider-Man by Diamond Select

Since I’m between waves of Marvel Legends, I thought I’d take this week’s Marvel Monday as an opportunity to check out another Marvel Gallery statue by Diamond Select. I’ve cut down on my buying of these statues quite a bit, not because I don’t like them, but rather they just take up a lot of space that I don’t have. And while I don’t mind storing action figures in boxes, it seems silly to buy statues and not have them on display. Still, every now and then one shows up at a price I can’t resist, and that was the case with this one!

As the name suggests, this statue is inspired by the Spider-Man PlayStation game, which I own but still have not gotten around to playing. Although, I do have a vacation coming up with nothing planned, so I may remedy that soon. As always, the packaging for this line is superb, with windows on the front, top, and both side panels, and the statue itself encased between two transparent trays. The box lets in plenty of light, and I do actually display most of these in the box, almost like it’s its own display case. On the back you get a picture of the statue and a little write-up about Spider-Man, just in case you’re considering purchasing the statue, but don’t know who he is. Let’s open up the box and see what we got!

Diamond’s Gallery statues tend to waffle between subdued museum-style poses, and those with a hint of action. Both have their merits, but I think the composition of this piece really shows the excitement that a good action pose can deliver. Spidey looks like he just landed on the roof of the cab and is instantly ready to fire off his web at an unseen foe. It could easily pass for cover art, and that’s a great compliment. Yes sir, I like this pose a lot!

One of the big features of the game is the ability to unlock a bunch of different suits, and pictured here is Spider-Man’s Advanced Suit, probably best distinguished by the large, white spider emblems on the front and back. This seems to be one of the most prominent suits featured in the game, as I see it merchandised a lot, and I like it enough to have plunked down the scratch for the Hot Toys release some time ago. I think it’s the colors that make it so appealing to me, as the white really compliments the bright blue and red of the rest of the suit. I especially like the return of this particular shade of blue dominating this costume. It’s far more appealing to me than the darker blue or black of some of Spidey’s MCU outings. Regardless, the colors are beautifully represented on this statue, and when mixed with the bright yellow of the cab roof, this statue is a feast for the eye!

Just about every detail of the suit is part of the sculpt, from the deep cuts in the web pattern to the puffed out reinforced seams. There’s a nice wash to bring out the webbing on the red portion of the suit, as well as add a little definition to the muscles, while the blue portions are left clean and slick. The figure does a splendid job of capturing Spider-Man’s physique, with the suit fitting him like a second skin. Overall, the paint lines are solid, but there is definitely some slop around the longer white spider legs on the front of the suit. The closer you get in, the more apparent it is, but it’s not something that is going to bother me while I’m admiring this piece on the shelf. It ain’t bad for a budget statue, and truth be told, I’ve seen worse on more expensive pieces.

The portrait is great, albeit not at all expressive. You don’t get any variance in the apertures of his eyes, nor do you get any hint of the contours of Peter’s face under the mask. Still, the portrait exudes a confidence, which I like. After all, isn’t that why Peter wears the mask? So his foes can’t see his fear! Either way, it came out really nice and I particular love the texture they gave to the eye pieces. Very nice!

Diamond often refers to these Gallery Statues as PVC Dioramas, but I think that has more to do with their licensing scope, as a lot of them have simple bases and are anything but dioramas. Here, it’s nice to see the phrase being applicable, as the top portion of the cab makes for a wonderful base, which not only tells a story, but frames Spider-Man in his home environment. The base incorporates just enough of the cab roof to sell it, and the Daily Bugle advertisement is just icing on the cake! It’s just absolutely perfect.

Diamond rarely disappoints me with their Gallery line, so when I say that I think this is one of the better ones, that’s meant as high praise. Sure, you have to keep in mind that these are budget statues, with MSRPs of about fifty bucks, but even taking that into consideration, I think these are a great value. Go back and read some of my old Kotobukiya reviews, and you’ll see that I rarely wrote one where I didn’t say they were some of the best values in statues out there. Well, now Koto’s statues retail for about twice what they used to, forcing me to pass that trophy along to Diamond Select and these Gallery Statues. This one just really captures the character perfectly, and the colors are just phenomenal. It also doesn’t hurt that I grabbed this one on sale for only thirty bucks!

Marvel Gallery: Emma Frost (FCBD Edition) by Diamond Select

I was supposed to be spending this Marvel Monday diving into a new wave of Marvel Legends, but then I realized I should take this opportunity between waves to have a look at some of the other Marvel related collectibles waiting to be reviewed. And it just so happens that I have a new(ish) and unopened statue from Diamond Select’s Marvel Gallery series, so let’s have a look at Emma Frost today!

DST did something kind of weird with this release, making the translucent diamond version of the statue the regular edition and this regular-looking version this Free Comic Book Day Edition of the statue. Seems like that should have been the other way around. Not that this one is any more difficult to get than the regular flavor Emma, and it doesn’t seem to be any more expensive either. As always, the statue comes in a multi-window box, which lets in plenty of light from the top and sides. The PVC statue comes fully assembled and suspended between two clear plastic trays. While this figure is scaled about the same as other releases in this line, her pose makes for a really tall box! The front of the box is marked with the Free Comic Book Day tag and everything about the box packaging is totally collector friendly.

And here she is out of that box and ready for display on the shelf, and damn she’s just all sorts of beautiful! Emma stands atop the remains of a Sentinel, taking a slow and sultry victory lap, with her right arm stretched above her head. The composition is so simple, and yet so elegant, and that goes for pretty much everything about this piece. I do love me some museum-style poses, and this one adopts that style only with a side-order of sexy thrown in. It certainly accentuates, Emma’s lovely curves and just exudes power and confidence. And while this is a fairly large and impressive piece, it doesn’t require a whole lot of real estate to display it, just make sure you’ve got a shelf with a lot of vertical clearance!

The outfit is all cast in a striking pearlescent plastic, which gives it a lovely sheen, while the cape has more of a matte finish to it, creating a subtle but welcome contrast in what is an almost entirely white costume. Sometimes this sort of plastic can look cheap, but that’s certainly not the case here. Sparse and subtle details in the costume include sculpted stitch seams, which run up the up the middle of her leggings, and several more on her top. The high-heeled boots have some light rumples where her ankles are flexed and the top edges are well defined. There are two branded X-Men discs, one used as a belt buckle, and another up in the center of her chest, which secures the front of the cape, while the back is secured at the collar. The way the cape is attached gives it a cool cut-out effect, leaving her shoulders bare. And speaking of bare skin, DST did a really nice job giving Emma’s exposed bits a nice, warm skin-tone, which pops against all that white of the costume. There’s certainly a lot to love here for such a simple look.

The portrait is equally praiseworthy with Ms. Frost looking as striking as ever. The paint applied to the eyes and lips is pretty sharp and clean, and if you look close you can make out her choker collar buried under her chin and between her cascades of hair. The hair is sculpted separately from the head, giving it a great sense of depth and I really dig the way it frames her face, The hair itself is painted with a sandy matte finish, which looks so much better than when they try to go full on yellow blonde and add a wash. The hair sculpt offers just enough to show some detail, but remains soft, and I think they did a nice job with the way it bunches around her shoulders, making it look quite natural.

The base hints at being a piece of Sentinel scrap, although it’s hard to make out what exactly. I’m thinking probably a couple of fingers. It looks fantastic and features some wonderfully weathered paint, and the sculpt itself is all nicked and scratched showing that this Sentinel saw some action before Emma brought it down. The cold dirty metal finish also makes for a lovely contrast to the clean white look of the figure. The base is, however, very small compared to the rest of the piece, and while that is certainly welcome in a sense of preserving real estate on the shelf, it doesn’t really convey the sense of Diorama, which is exactly what DST continues to call these. Although, I’ve gone down this road before in these reviews, and I have a feeling the diorama moniker has something to do with licensing.

I have absolutely no room these statues, and while I’ve been better about being more selective, I still continue to buy them. Why? Because they look great and are probably the best value on the statue market these days. For what is essentially a budget line of statues (Emma cost me $50), DST really does bring their A-game to a lot of these Gallery releases. And that goes double for Ms. Frost here. She’s absolutely stunning in every way, and other than in the materials used, I’m not seeing a whole lot of difference between this statue and some of DST’s much higher priced Premier Editions. Hell, I think Emma here is at least as good, if not slightly better than a few of those, and they rank in at the $150 range. Throw in the fact that these Gallery statues often turn up for sale at under the MSRP, and it’s hard to go wrong here and even harder to resist temptation when they turn up in my browsing.

TRON: Tron and Sark by Diamond Select Toys

In the past few weeks, I’ve taken a spin through the various figures based on the failed franchises that Diamond Select has raided from Disney’s dumpster. We saw figures from The Black Hole, we saw a figure of The Rocketeer, and now I’m checking out their figures from the original TRON. And yeah, TRON may have been a failed franchise, but I have an unending reservoir of love for it and it’s sequel. I can remember my poor parents hunting everywhere for those Tomy TRON figures and Lightcycles when I was a kid, and while I was beside myself with joy when I finally got them… Getting these DST figures as a kid would have been like a dream come true.

Here they are in their collector friendly window boxes, and like most of DST’s figures these Programs are about seven inches tall. The history and distribution behind these figures is a bit convoluted. I’m pretty sure that these are the same figures DST released as part of their Kingdom Hearts line, but I’ve never been a fan of those games, and so those passed me by. The pair I’m looking at today were available in different versions of this assortment. I found these at Walgreens, but there are other versions that include some effect parts. There was also a third figure, Flynn included in this assortment, and a red Infiltrator variant included with the others. Regular Flynn is supposed to be hard to find, but I managed to find one online just yesterday and I’ll probably review him to at some point. For now, let’s start with Tron.

He fights for the Users! I am still so smitten with the aesthetics of the original TRON, but I think it’s one of those things where you had to be there for it. The suits, which were lit up in post-production, are something that isn’t easy to translate into action figures. That’s probably why Tomy went with translucent colored plastic when they made their figures. It was a neat effect, but it didn’t really look like the characters on the screen. Here, DST has done a pretty fine job embracing the actual character designs. Tron features a body cast in pale gray with the piping and circuit patterns printed on in light blue. Sure, it lacks the vibrant lighting effect the Programs had on the screen, but it otherwise looks great. Some of the blue effects are part of the sculpt, but overall Tron’s body utilizes sculpted details sparingly. You get some rumpling and definition in the boots, he has his tubular arm bracers, which extend over the backs of his hands. and finally the armor pieces on his shoulders and biceps.

The portrait is a pretty solid likeness for Bruce Boxleitner. It’s a little over simplified, but I can definitely recognize him in there. I like the gray paint they used for his “skin,” although in some shots from the film it’s not much different from the pale gray of the suit. This is a case where it may not be 100% accurate, but it looks good on the figure. The helmet looks like it might be sculpted from a separate piece, which gives the whole head sculpt some appreciated depth, and it has more of those great blue piping and circuit patterns printed on it.

The articulation here is quite good, and I’m particularly pleased to see DST went with ball joints in the hips, rather than those weird lateral hinge and T-crotch they often favor. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, there are swivels in the biceps, and the elbows have double-hinges capable of very tight bends. The legs have swivels in the thighs, double-hinges in the knees, and the ankles have hinges and lateral rockers. There’s a ball joint just under the chest and another in the neck. The joints are all strong and serviceable, making Tron lots of fun to pose and play with.

Tron comes with two accessories: His Identity Disc and a plain black stand. The Disc has a peg which allows it to be stored on his back, like in the film. He can sort of hold the disc by sticking the edge between his thumb and index finger, but it’s certainly not a tight grasp. I had to make use of some blue-tack to keep it in place for many of these pictures. Let’s move on to Sark…

Sadly, I don’t have as much to say about Sark because I’ve already covered it all with Tron. But don’t let the fool you into thinking that I don’t love this guy. General to The Master Control Program, Sark was a great villain and a pretty damn cool character design. Pretty much everything I said about Tron’s body rings true for Sark, only he features a darker gray plastic and red piping and circuit patterns. His suit is also a little more bulky than Tron’s, which makes him look a little more imposing. Despite the different suit, the articulation remains identical.

While Tron’s portrait was solid, I think Sark’s is spectacular. David Warner is my boi. He just makes everything he appears in better, and the folks at DST did a wonderful job with his likeness on this figure. I’m also a big fan of Sark’s elaborate helmet. It’s like a hood with extra bits added to protect his noggin when he’s engaging in those crazy games. I really can’t say enough good things about how well this head sculpt turned out.

And like Tron, Sark comes with his Identity Disc, which can be pegged into his back for storage or sort of held in his hands if you have a little patience and don’t jostle the table he’s standing on too hard. He also has a plain black figure stand, which really isn’t necessary since these guys stand great on their own.

If you can’t tell, I absolutely love these figures. Maybe some of that comes from the fact that these are fulfilling a wish that I’ve had since I was a little kid, but I think a lot of credit has to go to Diamond Select for the work. These feel like a labor of love, because why else would they release them? I doubt these are going to be best sellers for them, because despite the big-budget sequel, I feel like TRON continues to languish in a sort of cult status. Sure there are other middle aged nerds like me who remember it and appreciate it and will want to own the toys, but I don’t think that will translate to big sales. And as I write this, I’m kind of talking myself into buying the other versions, if not just for the extra effect parts, but also just to show DST how much I appreciate these and how badly I want a second wave with Ram, Yori, and a Warrior. Oh man, I can’t imagine how good a Warrior would look in this line.

The Rocketeer by Diamond Select

The folks at Diamond Select have been busy raiding old Disney movie licenses for action figure fodder. Not long ago I checked out their offerings from the 1979 sci-fi flop, The Black Hole, and I’ve yet to getting around to their Tron figures. Well, now I’m back to have a look at their figure from the 1991 film The Rocketeer! To my knowledge, I believe this figure was actually released as part of the same case assortment as the two Black Hole figures. At least I got them all in one assortment from an online retailer.

I’d say the packaging is overcompensating for the film’s poor Box Office take, but then Diamond uses this over-sized presentation for all their Select figures. It looks nice, but it’s not collector friendly and when I’m done opening these, it feels like there’s usually a lot more trash to throw out than toy to keep. And if you decide to keep it sealed, DST made the dubious decision to package him without his helmet on. More on that in a bit! Despite not garnering the reception Disney had hoped, The Rocketeer seems to have come into its own lately with fans rediscovering just what a fun and charming movie it is, and that’s cool because we’re seeing some of that expressed through the collectible market. Funko had a couple of tries with both a 3 3/4-inch ReAction figure and a 6-inch Legacy figure. The ReAction figure was OK, but I never bothered with the Legacy release. Let’s see how DST did!

As you can see from the packaged shot, he comes out of the package without the helmet on, but I’m starting with the helmeted head, because that’s the look that I was most excited about. To me, the design of Cliff Secord’s costume is so iconic that it practically transcends the comic and film it’s based on. The retro Flash Gordon look of leather tunic and Art Deco hood ornament helmet is such a thing of beauty. And I think DST did a pretty solid job recreating the costume here. The trousers flare at the thighs in military fashion and his high boots look fine even though there isn’t a lot of detail to them. The tunic has a glossy brown finish to give it a leathery look and the chest piece is surrounded by sculpted buttons. If I have one complaint here it’s mostly with the odd jointing that DST uses. So let’s touch on that before moving on.

The legs use rotating hinges in the knees and ankles, which is fine, but I’ll never understand why they go with these lateral hinges in the hips. They just look weird. I’m not sure if there’s any articulation in the torso, but mine doesn’t want to move and I’m not going to force the issue. So that means no waist swivel, ball joint, or ab crunch. That’s pretty disappointing. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders, swivels in the biceps, and double-hinged elbows, which is fine, but the arms look a bit pinched and weird. Finally, the wrists and neck are pegged ball joints. You get a few sets of hands to swap out, including one pair without gloves. Some of the hand choices are odd. For example, there’s one that clearly looks like it’s meant to hold a gun.

With that out of the way, let’s get to the good stuff. The helmet looks great. The big bug-like eyes and the segmented mouth grill are painted in black, while the rest of the helmet is painted over with a weathered brass finish. Of course, the design looks best in profile to show off that lovely back-swept fin.

And he’s not called The Rocketeer for nothing! DST did a wonderful job recreating the rocket pack, in all it’s curvaceous and bulbous glory. It’s got grills and rivets, and I can even make out the fan under the circular grill in the middle. There are some exposed cables sculpted above the thruster modules, and yes they even sculpted and painted the piece of chewing gum used to plug the leak in the film. The silver finish has a nice metallic sheen to it and gives way to a more functional gray down below, while the tips of the two tanks are painted bronze to match the helmet. Sadly, the pack is not removable.

On a downside, the un-helmeted Secord head is kind of embarrassing, and I’m not even talking about the likeness. The sculpt is really soft, the expression is strangely derpy, and the paint is really amateur, giving it a mannequin-like appearance. When I first saw this head I was instantly reminded of the Vault Dweller figure that Funko did for their short lived Fallout line. And I can’t say enough about how much that isn’t a complement. This just looks wooden and not at all befitting of a $25 collector figure. On their worst day Hasbro is turning out much better portraits than this in either their Marvel or Star Wars figures.

In addition to the hands and the extra head, you also get a replacement chest flap where it’s partially unbuttoned and hanging off. It’s not a bad bonus, I guess but I’d rather that cost went into a better portrait. It’s also the most likely reason we didn’t get some articulation in the torso.

And the figure also comes with the blueprints for the rocket pack, which is beautifully printed on a stiff piece of thin cardboard. This is a pretty cool addition and it’s a lot more high quality than I expected it to be.

The figure also comes with some excellent effect parts. First, you get two thrust pieces that plug into the rocket pack’s thruster cones. They’re cast in semi-translucent plastic with a yellow-orange tint to them.

And saving the best for last, you get this blast off effect piece that doubles as a display stand. The sculpting here is excellent with all the swirls of the rocket thrust mingling with a chalky smoke at the bottom. It also does a great job of holding the figure.

If I had to recap this review in one sentence, I’d say that I like this figure, but I don’t love it. Now, while I confess that I do enjoy the movie, I was originally going to pass on this figure. The fact that it was bundled in with The Black Hole releases was what made me concede to just order the case. There’s some good stuff here, to be sure, but DST has been doing their Select line for a long time, they should be on top of their game by now, and some aspects of this figure just doesn’t reflect that. I think I wound up paying about $24 for this guy, and while you definitely get quite a bit in the package to add value, I’d rather some of that just went into fine-tuning the figure itself.

The Black Hole Figures by Diamond Select, Part 2

Seemingly out of nowhere, Diamond Select decided to toss out some figures from Disney’s old and oft forgotten sci-fi ditty, The Black Hole. And this pleased me to no end! A couple of days ago I checked out the V.I.N.CENT and B.O.B. two-pack and today I’m going to open one of the coolest evil robots to ever hit the big screen… Maximilian!

I showed off the packaging for these figures last time, but here it is again, in case you’re just joining us. DST is infamous for large, wasteful, and ultimately not collector-friendly packages. Although honestly in this case, Maximilian is so big, I guess the package size is more or less justified. The artwork features the rather distinctive logo of the title, and the computerized grid pattern used in the opening credits. I do believe that was the longest computer animated sequence generated for a film up to that time. And as long as we’re talking about the film, I can’t overestimate how awesome I thought Maximilian was, and that opinion holds true even after my most recent viewings. The imposing, silent robot was terrifying to behold and made even more so by the fact that Dr. Reinhardt didn’t seem to have complete control over him. One of my favorite little nuggets of dialogue in the film was when Reinhardt begs Kate to protect him from his pet killer robot. I never thought the old MEGO figure did Maximilian justice.

Now this figure? This does him justice! Maximilian’s casing is a lot simpler than V.I.N.CENT and B.O.B. with minimal panel lines and lots of smooth surfaces. He’s also built like a linebacker with broad shoulders and a stout barrel chest. His deep crimson coloring makes him look all the more sinister, and there are some spots of silver dry brushing here and there to recreate some weathering. Like his smaller co-stars, Maximilian is a hovering robot and so a stand is pretty essential to this figure. In this case we get a chunky black post on a very large disc. It isn’t as dynamic as the articulated stands we saw last time, but it’s far better suited to the task of holding the figure up. His “legs” are something like anti-grav stabilizers, and include articulated flaps to help control his movement. These “legs” are also articulated at the hips so that they can move outward, but the design of the arms kind of inhibits the ability to use those points.

Maximilian’s head is just a giant grim bucket. There’s no attempt to reproduce a face, instead he just has a red visor for eyes. The piece is translucent red plastic and if you catch the light right it can produce a bit of a glowing effect. I do kind of wish they had included some light piping with this guy. There’s actually a second head, but I’ll save that for last. For now, let’s have a better look at those arms!

The design of Maximilian’s arms is so damn unique! Each shoulder projects three separate arms, which hang down together like they’re on a carousel. By rotating, Maximilian can select a different arm to face forward, or he can deploy all three of them at once like a robotic spider. Four of these arms have the same sculpted beam emitters on the ends, while the remaining two are fitted with powerful silver claws, but I’ll come back to those in a moment.

Diamond included some effect parts for the beam arms, but I don’t think they’re all that effective. If you collect Star Wars figures, than you’ll no doubt recognize these as being similar to the Force Lightning pieces Hasbro sometimes includes with their figures. They just kind of hang off the arms and I guess they look OK, but they’re certainly nothing special.

Maximilian comes with two sets of attachments for his closed claw arms. One set with the claws spread open like blades, and another with a spinning effect. I really dig the regular blades, and I’ll likely display him with at least the left one of these attached. The spinning blade effect is a decent enough try, but it doesn’t quite work for me.

One last bonus accessory for Maximilian is the one I mentioned earlier: A spare head. This one has Dr. Reinhardt’s eyes visible through the visor. It’s a reference to the bat-shit crazy ending where the Cygnus gets dragged into the titular Black Hole and Maximilian and Reinhardt are fused together. With the Doctor trapped inside his creation he’s deposited in a bizarre hellscape, where we only get a small glimpse of his fate. It’s such a strange ending for what was otherwise a fairly grounded sci-fi flick. Not to mention very uncharacteristic for a Disney film. But then, this film is an all around strange bird indeed!

Before wrapping up, Maximilian’s package includes the parts needed to complete the diorama pieces that came with B.O.B. and V.I.N.CENT. It’s a simple piece of deck with a railing and a cardboard backdrop. A nice bonus, to be sure and while it’s too small for Maximilian, the other robots look quite nice displayed on it. There are also some connector pieces so if you somehow should find yourself with two, you can attach them together.

Maximilian isn’t as intricate or complex a design as the other robots, but he’s still a big, imposing, and all around fantastic figure. Hell, all of these are fantastic figures. I don’t know what possessed DST to gamble on a release of these robots featured in a mostly forgotten film from over 40 years ago (FORTY YEARS!!! HOLY HELL, I’M SO OLD!!!) but I’m so very glad they did and I hope it pays off. I’m sure this line going any further would be too much to hope for, but if we were to get one more wave like this, I’d love to see a Sentinel Robot and S.T.A.R. They were both great designs and would make for really impressive figures in this scale.

The Black Hole Figures by Diamond Select, Part 1

I was only eight years old when my parents took me to see Disney’s The Black Hole, as a result the only thing I remembered about it was being bored to tears whenever the robots weren’t on screen. Revisiting it as a teenager and adult allowed me to find more value in it, but it’s still a really strange movie with some serious tonal problems. Like one minute the robots are fun and goofy, and the next we find out that the crew of the Cygnus have been lobotomized and are now zombie slaves suffering a state of living death. Anthony Perkins’ character gets disemboweled by a robot with a weed whacker, and the movie ends in a terrifying robotic retelling of Dante’s Inferno. HOLY SHIT, DISNEY!!! I was legit surprised to find the film available and unedited on Disney+ and I re-watched it for the first time in probably 10 years.

Despite all the dark shit, the movie got toys. But hey, it was PG and plenty of R-rated movies got toys in the 80’s, so that’s not so weird. I only had the robots from the 3 3/4-inch line, and I basically integrated them into my Buck Rogers or Star Wars figures when playing with them. For whatever reason, I have a lot of nostalgia for those figures, and I guess, to some extent, the movie as well. So when Diamond revealed they were making some Black Hole figures, I sure as hell jumped on board. The releases consist of the good robots, V.I.N.CENT and B.O.B. (hereafter spelled without the periods) in a two-pack, and the evil robot Maximilian. These are Diamond Select releases, so naturally they come in ridiculously huge boxes. They look magnificent, but they aren’t collector friendly and they seem kind of wasteful. I’m always amazed at how much trash is left over after opening Diamond Select figures. I’m breaking this review up into two parts, today we’ll start with the two-pack and Friday I’ll check out Maximilian.

Here he is… but first, the stand! Yeah, it’s a weird place to start, but it’s kind of necessary for a hovering robot figure. The clear stand is a multi-hinged, multi-rod ratcheting affair that pegs into his back and really isn’t equipped to handle the weight of this solid ball of plastic. I wound up taking it down to just one rod and two hinges and it seems to get the job done. The base is rather small and has a foot peg on it, so I presume it was repurposed from another figure, which may be why the stand isn’t really optimal for these guys.

With that out of the way, I have to say this is a magnificent little sculpt that’s just packed with lovely little details and a bunch of interchangeable parts. I think VINCENT is one of those “love it, or hate it” robot designs. I’m sure a big part of why I love it so much is because I was introduced to it as a kid. Also, he had the same box-of-gimmicks kind of design that made me love R2-D2 so much. About the only thing that slightly disappointed me when I started playing with this figure was that his head cannot extend all the way up to reveal that his “face” is actually the central band of a sphere. For some reason, I always thought that scene in the movie was cool. But that’s OK. He can still close up his head completely and turn it 360-degrees when it’s open.

The tiny printing on all the panels looks really nice, and the paint is solid enough. The finish on this figure actually looks more like metal than the actual movie prop did. I do wish they used some kind of lenticular sticker for the CRT screen in his belly, but it still looks fine. Let’s start checking out all of the extras!

Yeah, VINCENT comes with a bevy of extra bits for all sorts of different display options. First off, you can replace his anti-grav emitters or “legs” so that they are retracted. Popping these on and closing up his head makes it look like he’s shut down. It’s a cool option, but probably one I’m not going to use a lot since these are extended whenever he’s hovering, and that’s how I’ll be displaying him. Not to worry, though, I went with the least exciting attachments first!

Next, he has a pair of front claw arms concealed behind flip out panels. Open the panels and you can see the retracted claws inside. These can be replaced with extended arms. And since the extended arms just peg into sockets, you can also swivel them 360-degrees.

VINCENT also has arms that are meant to extend outward from his shoulders. The giveaway here is that the closed panels are actually supposed to be the retracted claws. You just pop off these panels and plug in the extended arms. Once again, these peg in so you can swivel the orientation of the claw. With all four arms extended, VINCENT changes from a seemingly useless ball to a handy guy to have around!

The two red panels on his lower front, beside the arm panels are his retracted laser guns. Like the shoulder arms, these simply pop off and you can replace them with the extended guns. These extended pieces are partially translucent with the red tube in the center and look pretty damn neat. And thanks to the way the stand plugs into his back you can recreate his barrel roll shooting trick from when he was going up against STAR in the marksmanship competition!

And finally, the central panel opens up to plug in the drill he used to f’ck up Maximillan. Ironically, this isn’t a terribly exciting accessory, but I always thought it was poetic justice that Maximilian got gutted the same way he gutted Anthony Perkins’ character. Dr. Reinhardt even foreshadowed it. David and Goliath indeed! And that’s it for VINCENT, but wow, what a lot of cool stuff. There was clearly a ton of love poured into this little figure, and I respect Diamond for going above on beyond for a figure that probably no other company would have risked making. I mean, this is a pretty niche robot, but they certainly did him justice.┬áMoving on to BOB!

And don’t worry, I don’t have nearly as much to say about BOB. He’s supposed to be an earlier model of the same robot design as VINCENT, only he was built in Houston so naturally his voice has a Texan twang in the film. BOB’s been kicking around the Cygnus for a long while and getting abused by Dr Reinhardt’s other robots, so he’s all beat to shit. And Diamond did a really nice job recreating that here. Unlike VINCENT, BOB is mostly cast in one solid piece of plastic, so he’s a lot heavier.

It’s still possible to make out what he looked like when he was in better shape and you can see the various differences in design, like the circular display in his belly. He’s also got fewer compartments and his designation is printed down at the bottom of his body as opposed to up by his head. Unlike VINCENT, BOB’s head appears to be ball jointed so he can turn it as well as get a little up and down movement. The “helmet” has more of a stepped design as opposed to VINCENT’s rounded dome. BOB is missing one of his anti-grav balls, as well as both of his arm hatches, and his right claw arm is stuck in the extended position. The extended arm is ball jointed so you can get a little extra movement out of it. The weathering on this guy is absolutely fantastic, as is all the dents. Alas, VINCENT’s parts don’t work with BOB’s, so he’s really just there for display.

The VINCENT-BOB 2-pack comes with some diorama pieces, but I’ll save that for Part 2, because you need to have pieces that come with Maximilian to finish it. So I’ll just finish off Part 1 by saying how thrilled I am that Diamond Select came out of nowhere and made these figures. The merits of the film may be questionable, but I will forever love these robot designs. Plus, I think they are extremely well suited to being toys. That’s especially apparent here, because besides the great sculpt, paint, and detailing, DST went overboard giving VINCENT all kinds of fun attachments. BOB may not be nearly as fun to play around with, the fact that he’s included with VINCENT makes him most welcome, even if you just want to think of him as an overblown accessory. I really do love these guys, and I’m looking forward to getting Maximilian open so I can check him out in a few days.

Marvel Gallery: Goblin Queen by Diamond Select

It’s Christmas week and that’s always a busy week for me, but I’m still going to try to get in three reviews this week, including one for Christmas morning. Since there are only two more Marvel Mondays this year, I decided to get one more non-Marvel Legends review in before we say goodbye to 2019, so let’s open up another one of Diamond Select’s wonderful Marvel Gallery statues. This time we’re checking out Madelyne Pryor… The Goblin Queen!

If you’re still unfamiliar with DST’s Marvel Gallery statues, please have a look through some of my past reviews, because these roughly 9-inch scale PVC figures are perfect for statue collectors on a budget. As always, they come in display boxes with windows on the top, front, and side panels to let in plenty of light and show off the goods inside. Everything is collector friendly and the statue comes fully assembled and ready to go!

And it’s no wonder why all those Goblins follow her around, because Maddie is smoking hawt! The composition features her standing atop an arcane-looking stony ground with plumes of semi-transparent smoke and a lone Goblin prostrate at her feet and huddled over some skulls. It’s definitely more of what I would call a museum pose, but the placement of her legs and the blowing of her cape do offer a whiff of possible action.

I’ll confess that I don’t recognize this precise costume from any books that I’ve read, but I’m going to assume it’s somewhat contemporary. And that’s fine because Maddie’s costumes tend to have a running theme and this one isn’t all that different from what we’ve seen in the past. She dons a pair of skin-tight leggings and a top that could only be considered modest if you find bare arms provocative. As is often the case, she’s showing off her mid-riff and more than a modicum of cleavage. Almost every facet of the costume is part of the sculpt, including the coiled wire around her arms, the fasteners for her cape.

I tend to think of Maddie wearing black, but here she has a very deep and beautiful metallic purple sheen to her outfit, with only the tattered cape being black. The coils on her arms are painted gold, as is the fastener for her cape. The lighter purple pattern running down her right leg appears to be a decal, which is the first time I remember seeing that used on one of these statues. It looks great, and hopefully it will be durable enough to last without chipping. The paint applications here are overall good. If I want to really nitpick, I could see a few minor areas for improvement in the lines between her skin and costume, but I’m talking very minor. To be fair I’ve seen far more expensive statues than this one with worse.

The portrait is quite lovely, with her pretty face shadowed by her luxurious coif of flowing red hair. You do have to get in and under her to really appreciate the work they did here, but I love the way the hair partially obscures it. The paint used for her lips and green eyes is sharp.

If there’s one area where these Gallery Statues sometimes come up short it’s the base designs, although that’s not the case here. The semi-transparent plumes of smoke make for a cool effect and the extra sculpt and paint that went into the goblin really takes this base above and beyond what we usually get. He’s got a ton of personality to him, and it’s clear that they poured just as much love into him as the rest of the piece. The skulls are a nice touch too!

DST has been killing it with the Marvel Gallery lately. Not only are the sculpts and paint on point, but I’m really digging the diverse character selection. I can’t think of all that much merch devoted to Maddie Pryor, and that makes this all the more of a welcome treat. It also makes for a nice consolation prize, because I was once considering picking up the Bowen version of The Gobln Queen, but by the time I decided to pull the trigger the prices had gone too rich for my blood. Meanwhile, this lovely little piece only set me back about $35 and you simply can’t beat that. The craftsmanship here is definitely on par with more expensive pieces I’ve seen. And that’s why despite the fact that I’ve run out of room to display these a long time ago, I’m still buying them, because I just can’t say no.

Marvel Gallery: Angela by Diamond Select

It was kind of a hectic weekend for me, so rather than my usual Monday Marvel Legends fare, I decided to go laid back and have a look at another one of Diamond Select’s Marvel Gallery statues. I have a few choices of statues to open, but since Angela doesn’t get a whole lot of merch love since joining the Marvel Universe, let’s go ahead and open her up. But first… the packaging!

As always, the statue comes in a collector friendly box with windows front, top, and on both side panels. And because the figure inside is enclosed in two clear plastic trays, the package itself works as a kind of display case, allowing you to see most of the ins and outs of what you’re getting. With so many statues these days coming in fully enclosed boxes, I like that DST is proud enough to show their pieces off. On the back panel you get a shot of the statue and a little blurb about Angela and how she fits into the Marvel Universe. If you’re new to this line, Angela is presented around the 9-inch scale and crafted from a durable PVC plastic.

Hey Aldrif… did it hurt when you fell from Heven? Angela comes out of the box all ready for display, and looking both fierce and fine. The warrioress stands upon a plot of alien-looking (Asgardian?) landscape with one leg drawn up and her foot resting on a blue crystal outcrop. She turns to her right and begins to draw her mighty blade, Xiphos, from its scabbard. It’s a beautiful pose with a tantalizing hint of the action that’s to come. This composition exudes nobility, power, and it’s got sex appeal in spades. Generally speaking, I’m happy with most of DST’s poses in this line, but this one really shines.

Every bit of Angela’s Heven Armor comes alive in the sculpt. From the segmented cuts of her thigh-high high-heeled gold boots, to her golden chest armor, and once again the segmented cuts of her armored sleeves, each of which terminate just below the scalloped pauldrons on her shoulders. She has a pair of sculpted bands encircling her left thigh and a pair of sculpted panties covered up by her wide belt and white sash. Both of these last articles are sculpted separately from the statue, which is somewhat unusual for this line, but I dig it. The belt rests on her hips, allowing the sash to trail down behind her left leg. The paintwork on the costume is beautifully executed, with a satin gold leaf and silver used for the armor pieces, and a warm and even shade used for the skin-tone. She even shows off a bit of metallic red for the bracer on her left wrist. I especially like the finish on the belt, which makes it look like worn leather with a weathered patina on the buckle and rivets.

 

Another piece of the costume that is sculpted separately from the statue is her psychically charged Ribbon. Yeah, I guess you could also just call it a scarf. This long, thin purple strip wraps around her neck and the two strands sweep down off of her shoulders. It’s cast in a fairly soft plastic, but holds it’s shape well enough. The red and gold ornamentation is sculpted down a channel in the center for the entire length of the piece.

As far as portraits go, this one is a total homerun. She’s strikingly beautiful with bright crimson paint used for her lips and eye makeup. Her pupil-less eyes are framed by the copious strands of red hair, which spill out from the top of her winged headband and down the sides of her face, while the rest spills out down her back and onto her shoulders. I could easily see this portrait rivaling that of a much more expensive statue. It really did turn out that well.

The last big attraction on the statue is Angel’s blade, Xiphos, The Sword of the Stars. It has an ornate gold cross-guard with a blue stone in the center, a simple scull-crushing pommel, and sculpted wrappings on the grip. Only a small section of the silver blade can be seen between the pommel and the throat of the wide scabbard.

The base is both interesting and understated, and that’s meant as a compliment. It provides just enough context without upstaging the figure itself. You get a little patch of rocks, painted brown with a black wash to give them some nice texture. Jutting out from each side of the cluster are blue crystalline structures, one of which provides the pedestal for Angela’s right foot. If you’ve read some of my previous Gallery statue reviews, you may remember that the bases on these statues rarely impress me, but this one came out damn nice, both in design and execution.

Angela is yet another fine example of why I simply cannot quit this line, despite having no room to display more statues. Granted, I’m far from a completest, but when DST continues to deliver quality and craftsmanship like this at such a reasonable price point, I find I just can’t say no. And with prices of collectible statues continuing to climb at an alarming rate (I’m looking at you, Kotobukiya!), it’s refreshing to be able to set something like piece on my shelf for about $40. What’s more, it’s nice to see DST continuing to dig a little deep for their character selection. I’m not really reading a lot of Marvel comics these days, because quite frankly they’re become so god-awful, but I did enjoy her introduction to the MU a little ways back in Guardians of the Galaxy. But hey, even if you’re just a fan of Spawn and McFarlane Comics, you might want to consider picking up this lovely statue. I’m very glad that I did!

Marvel Gallery: Dazzler by Diamond Select

Apparently this week is all about doubling-down. I started it with Marvel Monday and here we are back to Marvel content on Friday. Plus, I looked at a couple of the Diamond Select Real Ghostbusters on Wednesday, and here we are back to DST today. Honestly, I didn’t plan it like that, it just happened! Dazzler showed up at my door a few days ago, and since I also recently picked up a CGC graded copy of Dazzler #1, it seemed like I should bump her to the head of the stack. And so without further delay, let’s brush up on our 70’s vernacular, crank up the Bee Gees, and boogie on down!

And here she is in the package, can you dig it? Like all Marvel Gallery statues, Dazzler’s box has windows on the front, top and both side panels to let the light in and let you get a good look at what you’re getting. As always, I recommend picking up these statues at a comic shop whenever possible, that way you can scrutinize the piece and make sure you aren’t getting no jive-ass paint job. You also support your local comic shop while doing it and that’s groovy! Alas, there’s nowhere around me that sells them, so I have to take my chances online. Still, I am rarely disappointed in what I get. If you’re unfamiliar, these Gallery statues are roughly 9-inch scale and cast in durable PVC plastic.

Out of the box, Alison is looking totally fab. She stands with legs together, one knee slightly drawn up, her microphone in her left grasp and her right hand outstretched to display a bit of her mutant razzle-dazzle. I like the composition here a lot. It’s not quite a museum-style pose, it’s not terribly dynamic, but maybe just the best of both worlds. It definitely captures the essence of her character. Also, she also doesn’t require a lot of real estate to display. That’s pretty important to me, since I’m running out of space and probably shouldn’t be buying more statues.

Ms. Blaire’s threads consist of her classic costume, and that’s a very good thing, because this is undoubtedly my favorite look for Dazzler. She dons her radical pearlescent-white sleeveless pantsuit with a plunging collar up top and flared bottoms down below. It hugs her body showing off all her stellar curves. And finally, Dazzler swings onto the scene in a pair of skates with a crisscross pattern designed to emulate a disco ball. Nifty!

I’m happy to say that the paintwork on my statue is sound as a pound. No, the costume doesn’t require a lot of intricate paint, but it does have a nice sheen and it’s smooth and clean. Likewise, her skin-tone is even and warm. Other than the neat silver zipper line, you get some silver on her wrist bangles, bicep cuff, microphone skates, and the miniature disco ball that hangs around her neck. She also has a perfectly painted pearl choker.

The statue makes good use of some translucent plastic for her dazzle effect. It actually reminds me a bit of the pieces that were included with Hasbro’s Marvel Legends figure. It’s attached to her wrist, but looks like it’s suspended there. I think it would have been cool to do some kind of floating light effects behind her with wire or something, but that’s probably far beyond the scope of what is a budget line. Anyway, the wheels on her skates are also translucent blue plastic, which is a great touch and totally off the hook.

And check out the portrait! She’s a stone fox, man! Her face is painted with her trademark blue eye mask, which is sharp and has a subtle glittery finish to it. Alison’s pupil-less eyes have a silver sheen to match her costume, and her pink lipstick is a little understated. Finally her hair radical orange-blonde coif of hair flows nearly symmetrically behind her. I think I would have liked more of a yellow hue to her hair, but I’m still fine with what we got.

Our final stop on this statue is a look at the funkadelic base, I think DST did a great job designing this one. You get a blue platform with a couple of sculpted stage lights, a cluster of groovy gold and silver stars, and a partial mirror ball behind her feet. It’s not as elaborate as it could have been. I was thinking her balanced atop half a disco ball, but there’s something to be said for being understated. Either way, every bit of this base fits Dazzler to a tee.

There’s no doubt about it, Gallery Dazzler is one foxy mama, and it’s great to see DST continue to slip some not so prominent characters into their Gallery lineup. It’s a little risk taking like this that shows a company has confidence in their line. And it worked well enough on me, as I’m more likely to sit up and take notice of releases like Dazzler than I am the umpteenth version of an A-Lister. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that this statue captures the character perfectly, delivers up a solid sculpt, and some classy paint. “The man” hit me up for about forty bones on this one, and if you ask me it’s money well spent, and the Gallery series continues to offer some of the best values on the statue market today. Catch ya on the flipside!