Marvel Legends: Hellfire Club Boxed Set by Hasbro, Part 2

On the last Marvel Monday, I ran over my word and picture count while gushing over the first two figures in the Hellfire Club Exclusive boxed set, so today I’m back to wrap things up with a look at the ladies: Emma Frost, Jean Grey and, thanks to a head-swap, Selene Gallio! But before hitting the figures, let’s have a look at one last bonus in the packaging…

I mentioned this last time, but neglected to show it. Probably because I didn’t want to make anyone else feel bad, but my set came with a handwritten invitation to join The Hellfire Club. This beautiful document was neatly folded into an envelope with a facsimile wax seal (it’s only printed) and tucked into the reverse of the portrait that covers the tray. Look at that! It’s signed by all four of The Inner Circle. I haven’t replied yet, but I plan on accepting. I am, however, a little apprehensive about the initiation. OK, on with the figures!

Emma Frost once again graces the Marvel Legends line! We last saw her as a Walgreens Exclusive in her black Dark Reign outfit. Here she’s the White Queen, donning a more traditional outfit and looking damn fine. Her costume is dominated by a flowing white cape with sculpted fur shoulders and a shimmering blue stone clasp securing it around her neck. The cape affords her a bit of modesty, as underneath it she’s wearing her underwear and a white corset, along with a pair of thigh high high-heeled boots, and gloves, which go all the way past her elbows. We sure didn’t have any action figures like this when I was a kid! Hell, we didn’t even get a Slave Leia until Power of the Force 2.

The bulk of the sculpted detail in this costume went into her corset and they did a very nice job on it indeed! It actually looks like it’s sculpted separately from the figure, as the bottom half hangs down and there’s a clear delineation between the top of the corset and the top of her chest. You also get some sculpted stitching and lacing running up the front, as well as defined edges. It’s a very nice piece of work as opposed to having just painted it onto the figure. The top edges of the gloves also have sculpted borders and I’m surprised at how well the figure stands, despite having high-heels. All aspects of the white costume look bright and clean and pop nicely against her skin.

I’ve spent some time trying to decide whether this portrait is the same sculpt as the alternate head that came with Walgreens Emma Frost, and I’m pretty sure that it is. The hair looks identical and the facial structure the same. The reason it’s tough to tell is because the paint here is so much better. In fact, it’s shocking how much better it is over a figure that was released only about a year ago. This portrait includes her straight hair that hangs just above her shoulders and some very sharp paint on her lips, eyes, and eye shadow. My figure has a slight speck under her right eye, which I do not believe is intentional, but it does look like a tiny mole, so I don’t have a problem with it.

The articulation here is everything I expect from the Legends ladies, which means we get rotating hinges in the elbows as opposed to double-hinges and bicep swivels. I’ve been hoping that Hasbro would start promoting equal articulation for the gals by now, but I doubt that’s ever going to happen. Otherwise, the arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders and hinged pegs for the hands. Emma has an optional pair of fists as well. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have double-hinges in the knees, swivels in the thighs, and hinges in the ankles. There may be rockers in those ankles, but I can’t get them to budge. The neck is both hinged and ball jointed. I’m really happy to have this figure in my collection, since the Dark Reign version, while a nice figure and a worthy stand in, wasn’t iconic to me. Moving on to Jean Grey!

Oh my! Corrupted Jean Grey may by another reason why these figures were an online exclusive, because I really couldn’t see kinky Jean Grey hanging on a peg in the aisles at Target or Walmart. [Then again, I have since been reminded that the Black Queen served as a Toys R Us Exclusive in Hasbro’s previous Legends line a little while ago.] Although it would have been a good opportunity for a Build-A-Torture Rack accessory! If you were with me last time, you know that Shaw and Pierce were straight repaints of the same body from the neck down, and that’s largely the case with Emma and Jean here, as we go from White Queen to Black Queen. However, Hasbro did use a few accessories to distinguish these gals. The most obvious change is in the capes, which are completely different. Jean’s is a little shorter and is sculpted with a rather dramatic wind-blown look. She also has a sculpted rose, which looks like it’s meant to serve as a clasp. Less dramatic, but no less outrageous is her spiked collar! Everything else on the body itself is identical and I think this outfit looks fantastic in either black or white.

The portrait appears to be entirely new and I like it a lot. Jean has her hair up in a bit of a bun to show off that spike collar, and she’s got some red eye shadow to match the color of her hair. As with Emma, the paint applications on the face are crisp and clear and look fantastic.

While Emma came up light on the accessories, Jean comes with a whip and a third pair of hands, so that she can hold it. Yup! Just in case the outfit didn’t drive home the BDSM theme here! The whip is recycled from the Black Cat figure (from the Ultimate Green Goblin Wave), meaning it has that kind of goofy claw on the end of it. Not that I would tell Jean it looks goofy, because I imagine that it hurts a lot.

And that brings us to Selene Gallio, which is simply an optional head for the Jean Grey figure. It’s really cool that Hasbro tossed this one in as an extra and I think the portrait has a lot of character, but it feels a little more like a caricature when compared to the Emma and Jean head. Maybe that’s just because they were going for a specific expression here. She’s got purple eye shadow to match her purple lip gloss and as with the other ladies, the paint is executed flawlessly here. It’s a shame that this body isn’t available as a single packaged figure, because I sure wouldn’t mind having another to display as Selene, but between the two, I’ll likely keep the Jean head on the figure for display. For the record, it actually works pretty well on the Dark Reign Emma Frost body, and since this will be my go-to Emma Frost for Legends, that’s a pretty good option. And while we’re on the subject, you can swap the two Walgreens Frost heads with this Emma, but the skin tone doesn’t match. But with this beautiful noggin, why would you want to?

Wow, what a great set! This box went for $79.99 on Hasbro Pulse, which puts it at $20 a figure. Not bad, even with all the recycling, as the packaging adds a lot to the value here, and as I’m sure I’ve said numerous times, there was no way these figures were going to get a regular retail release. Sure, I have no doubt that adult collectors drive this line, but they don’t carry that “Adult Collectible” moniker and are still considered toys. Kids were probably not going to be too keen on a pair of dudes in 18th Century dress, and I doubt the parents would be up for getting the kids Emma Frost in her undies and Dominatrix Jean Grey. I was glad to see this one stuck around on the site a little while, at least long enough for me to order one with no trouble. Obviously, it has since sold out and seems to be selling for around double on Ebay, although it’s possible to find the individual figures listed there as well.

Marvel Legends: Hellfire Club Boxed Set by Hasbro, Part 1

As I may have mentioned last week, I’m stepping away from doing consecutive reviews of particular Marvel Legends waves in order to get to some multipacks, exclusives, and older figures. That’ll probably be the case through to the end of the year, but who knows? Maybe I’ll work at least one more complete wave and Build-A-Figure in before the end of the year. For now, I’m kicking this madness off on this glorious Marvel Monday with a look at the Exclusive Hellfire Club 4-Figure set that was released through Hasbro’s online Pulse store! The set includes The Inner Circle of The Club: Sebastian Shaw, Donald Pierce, Jean Gray (or Selene Gallio if you prefer), and Emma Frost. I originally planned to check out the whole set today, but I ran a little long, so instead we’ll look at the packaging along with Shaw and Pierce, and some accessories, and next week we’ll check out the ladies.

Hasbro has been well known for their elaborate Marvel Legends boxed sets, many of which released as San Diego Comic Con Exclusives. But with no Comic Cons happening, they’ve been seeking other routes for these impressive sets. I think this one was referred to as a PulseCon Exclusive, but whatever the case, it became available to Premium Members of Hasbro Pulse first and then to everyone else later. Now, I have had some terrible experience with Pulse this year. Most of what I pre-order shows up through Amazon Prime first and cheaper, so I wind up cancelling the Pulse pre-orders. I’ve also been shut out on a lot of pre-orders because they sell out so fast. Well, this time I was able to get in and get out without too much bother, but it has since sold out. The packaging here may be their best yet, as it not only relies on a special box, but also multiple cool components of presentation. On the outside, it cuts all the class of the prestigious and exclusive club that it represents. There’s an embossed iron gate on the front to keep the riff-raff out and an impressive gold and crimson foil H-seal in the middle. The back panel of the box features framed portraits of the figures inside.

Break the velcro seal and the front opens to reveal an illustrated portrait of the Inner Circle and it is a magnificent piece of art! The back of this card has an envelope that contains a facsimile letter. The obverse sides of the flaps have portraits of each of the four characters, and finally we get to the tray of figures, presented with a backdrop showing the luxury of the Hellfire Club’s parlor. I’ve managed to pick up nearly all of the modern Legends SDCC Exclusive sets, and none has really come close to how polished the presentation is here. Hasbro just put a ton of love into this one and it shows. So, let’s dig in and we’ll start out with a look at Sebastian Shaw!

Don’t judge me, but I sure do dig me some fancy 18th Century formalwear. Seriously, if it were socially acceptable to dress like this today, I’d be down for it! I’d also go by the name Martin Chuzzlewit and carry a silk hanky and a tin of snuff around with me. And who would have thought we’d get a beautiful example of this historic wardrobe with a Marvel Legends figure! Sebastian’s sculpted apparel includes a navy blue gentleman’s jacket with vest, all sculpted in soft plastic as one piece, with the sleeves sculpted onto the arms. The sculpt is great, the vest isn’t too bulky even if the arms are, and the jacket includes a stylish tail that extends down the backs of the legs. The vest is red with a textured pattern, and the jacket includes brass painted buttons and a flared collar. The jacket sleeves have exposed ruffles that would make Jon Pertwee proud. Superb! His gray culottes end just above his calves to expose his white socks (no doubt silk!) and his buckled shoes. Considering how limited the uses for this body must be, it’s nice to see Hasbro put so much work into it. It’s the perfect outfit for sitting in overstuffed chairs by the fire, sipping brandy, and discussing how you’re going to exert your wealth and power to control the world government.

Hasbro also did an admirable job on Mr. Shaw’s portrait, complete with a vintage-style ponytail, tied with a ribbon, impressive mutton chops, and a devastating widow’s peak. High arched eyebrows and a broad, smug grin, completes the head sculpt nicely. As has often been the case with the Legends villains, this likeness is just brimming with personality. Shaw has an affable face, and those are the villains that you have to watch out for!

Despite his stuffy outfit, Pierce still enjoys all the usual points of articulation I expect out of my Legends dudes. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have double-hinged knees, swivels in the thighs and the tops of the socks, and the ankles have hinges and lateral rockers. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, double-hinges in the elbows, swivels in the biceps, and hinged pegs in the wrists. There’s a swivel in the waist, an ab-crunch hinge buried up inside that coat, and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed. What a great figure! You might say that its so nice, Hasbro used it twice! In the same boxed set!

Donald Pierce is a straight repaint of Shaw from the neck down. And while it may seem rather cheeky to recycle a whole body in the same set, I honestly don’t mind it here. This costume is so well done and in fairness it works just fine for both characters. It probably doesn’t hurt that since both figures are brand new to me, it doesn’t feel as much like a rehash. I’m not even sure if that makes sense or it’s just that HasBRO kool-ade that I coif working its magic. Now, I will say that I wish Hasbro had added some tiny bit of sculpting trickery to set them apart, like maybe change up the cravat. But I’m still OK with what we got. Pierce’s outfit is decked out in more earthy tones with a brown jacket and slightly green culottes, while his vest is a green. He has the same cravat as his colleague as well as the same shoes.

And once again we see a portrait just brimming with personality. The facial features are wonderfully detailed, the eyes are a striking blue and he has a broad and somewhat imposing smile. While Shaw came across as more congenial to me, Pierce looks to be hiding malice, and not really hiding it too well. The articulation is obviously identical to what we saw with Shaw, but before moving wrapping this up for the day, we can check out some of the gents’ accessories.

For starters, you get a pair of fists, which can be used for either Shaw or Pierce, but I’m going to go ahead and give those to Shaw, because Pierce comes with his very own and very specific replacement cyborg hands! And might I say that there’s nothing quite as cool looking as a bloke in fancy dress sporting a pair of cybernetic meat hooks. The right hand is sculpted as a gun-holding hand and the other is kind of a graspy hand. But wait? Gun holding hand? Guns??? Yup, let’s check out the guns!

These both look familiar, so I’m pretty sure we’ve seen them before and both are very sci-fi designs. No doubt these are the best technology money can buy! The pistol works best with Pierce’s Cyborg hand and Shaw can hold the rifle quite well. Are they shining examples of 6-inch scale weaponry? Nah, not really. They’re cast in black plastic with no paint applications and the sculpts are a little soft. But I’m never going to complain about getting some extra guns in with my action figures.

You also get the Hellfire Book, which is a really cool little sculpt. It’s molded so that it’s perpetually open so that the members can peruse it’s page. The binding has a nice leather-like texture to it and there’s raised letterings sculpted into it. The front cover also bears the Hellfire H-insignia. Yup, the same one that’s on the front of this boxed set. Inside the book there are some charts and squiggly lines to denote text. I’ve been a book collector nearly all my life, so I can really appreciate getting such a cool little book in this scale. Sure Boss Fight Studios has done it better and in a much smaller scale, but this little plastic tome is still really neat.

And finally, you get both Wolverine’s mask and Magneto’s helmet as trophies. These are beautiful little accessories, and I wish there was a little shelf above that fireplace on the backdrop where you could display them. I don’t have anything else to say about these pieces, except that they’re welcome bonuses. And with that, I’m going to break for today. I’m also going to reserve any final judgements on this set until next Monday when I review the other two figures, but so far I’m digging this set more than most of the recent Legends Comic Con Exclusives. In my mind, exclusives should be comprised of figures that were never likely to make it to the toy aisles, and I think that fits these two fancy gents to a tee. Sure, Hasbro has amazed me with the obscurity or downright bizarre nature of some of the characters they’ve sent to the pegs at my local Walmart or Target, but I think these fellows would have been pushing it. Come on back next Monday and we’ll wrap it up with a look at Emma and Jean… and Selene!

G.I. JOE (Retro Collection) AWE Striker and Crankcase by Hasbro

The love that GI JOE has been getting these days is causing my heart to swell, and I’ve been doing my part to support the return of the Real American Hero in every way possible. Case in point, I probably have five or six AWE Strikers in storage and yet I simply could not resist picking up another one when I saw it on the shelf. I was also surprised to see that I had never reviewed any of the pass releases here, so this one got pushed to the head of the line.

The original Real American Hero line had some of my favorite package art, and that’s really saying something, because the 80’s had a ton of toy lines with great looking packages. But the GI JOE stuff felt so iconic to me, even back then, and the action scenes on the front of the boxes and cards always made me want to play with the toys. This 2020 release of the AWE Striker mimics the original 1985 box quite well. From the artwork and window for the figure on the front to the filecard on the back, Hasbro nailed it.

The box even feels like it’s made out of the heavier corrugate stock they used to use as opposed to the flimsy cardboard employed now. My only complaint is that Crankcase’s filecard is multi-lingual and rather abbreviated. Inside the box, the vehicle comes wrapped in plastic and in need of some assembly and it even includes a sticker sheet! But before I put it together, let’s have a look at the figure.

Crankcase is styled to fit right in with the modern JOES introduced in the 25th Anniversary Collection, meaning that they are a bit bigger than the vintage JOEs and a little better proportioned. I’m thrilled they went this way because I don’t think they plan on releasing a lot of figures in the Retro line and so these toys can just slide right into my existing collection. Heck, Crankcase even comes with the same style of personalized stand that we got with those 25th Anniversary figures! I’m happy to say that this new figure’s design sticks close with the ’85 version of Crankcase. He has the same green top, with sleeves rolled up, black gloves, khaki trousers, and brown boots. He also has brown web gear, which is removable, although the gun sculpted in the holster is not. And that’s the only shame about this figure: He doesn’t come with any weapons.

He does have a removable helmet and an excellent head sculpt. The detail is great and his orange hair color matches that of his predecessor. The only big difference is this version has a beard, where I’m pretty sure ’85 Crankcase just had a mustache. OK, let’s move on to the AWE Striker…

The required assembly is quite simple. You just have to snap on the roll cage, attach the wheels, and pop on the cannon, antennae, and a hose. Then slap on the stickers and she’s good to go! It’s hard for me to think of a more versatile and fun vehicle for the JOEs. Oh, there were plenty of vehicles that I liked more, but you’d be hard pressed to pick a better all-purpose way to get your JOEs into trouble.

It’s been a long time since I played with the original toy, but this one looks like the spitting image of what I remembered. Is it the same mold? That I couldn’t tell you, but it is date stamped 1985 on the undercarriage. I can say that it looks nearly identical to the 25th Anniversary release, with the most notable change being the color of the seats. [Sadly, I don’t have easy access to that vehicle right now, but I do plan on digging it out of storage in the near future and I will update with comparison shots when I do!] Either way, I cannot overstate how impressed I am with the detail on this vehicle. For what is a rather small and inexpensive toy, the designers went absolutely crazy making sure every little bit was crafted with a sense of purpose and realism.

For starters, the AWE Striker has a working suspension, which you can test just by pushing down on the chassis. The front wheels do turn, as does the steering wheel, but they are not linked together. The front ramming bar has two headlamps with clear plastic on the fronts, there are mesh running boards on the sides for JOEs to ride on, and the engine cover can be removed to show a very detailed engine under it. That’s a nice touch if you want to have your JOEs performing maintenance or have it blown off by a direct hit from a Cobra weapon.

 

The cabin has sculpted padding in the seats, a static shifter, and the passenger side has a targeting camera which connects to the cannon on top with a hose. The cannon cannot only rotate, but also pivot up and down a bit, and I can’t say enough how happy I am that Hasbro resisted putting a giant missile into this weapon. Indeed, there are no play gimmicks, no bells or whistles, no lights, just pure 100% fun!

The AWE Striker set me back $24.99 at Walmart and I think that’s a great value. The craftsmanship on display here is top notch and with a figure included, you’ve got everything you need to go on some adventures in the backyard. You’re even better off if you can dig out three 25th Anniversary figures and load this puppy up! Sadly, this vehicle sold out damn fast on Walmart’s site and my store hasn’t restocked. I was smart enough to pick up two of the HISS Tanks (review coming soon!), but I really wish I had grabbed one more of these as well!

Marvel Legends: Nimrod, Psylocke, and Fantomex by Hasbro

After detouring for a couple of Marvel Mondays, this week I’m back to looking at Marvel Legends. And yeah, I Know I said I was going to start digging into the Sugar Man Wave, but before I get into that, I thought I’d tear into this new three-figure set that hit my doorstep from Amazon last week. And I hope you aren’t all X-Men’ed out because… IT’S MORE X-MEN!!!

This rather large boxed set comes to us as an Amazon Exclusive, and these days I find those are the best kinds of exclusives. Not only was I able to pre-order it without a headache, but did you forget to pre-order? Well, no worries, it’s still up on the site, at least is at the time I’m writing this. The presentation is pretty snappy, with a silver box and a crisp and clean gold X-logo to brand it up. I wouldn’t mind returning these figures to the box for display, and I probably will for a while. That is until the Toy Closet gets too cluttered and I have to start taking extreme measures by culling boxes again. I’ll also throw out there that this is a damn heavy box, as it contains a lot of plastic! Let’s have a look at the figures, and I’ll start with Fantomex first!

We last saw Fantomex waaaaay back in Wave 2 of Modern Legends as part of the Anim Zola Wave. Holy hell, that was eight years and what seems like about a million figures ago! I actually expected a repack, which goes to show you how much I wanted Nimrod, but upon closer inspection I was pleased to see that this is an updated figure. Did we really need a second attempt at Fantomex after all this time? Are there not other characters without figures patiently waiting for their turn? Yeah, but I will say that I’ve always loved Fantomex’s costume. He just looks so bad-ass. But, honestly this one perplexes me a bit. It would have made more sense to just repack him, but let’s dig out the original and do a quick comparison!

At first glance they look quite similar, but a closer inspection shows that they are entirely different figures. I think the older figure still holds up quite well, but this new release has a better build and is slightly better proportioned. Hell, just getting rid of those prehistoric ball joints in the hips is a big improvement. I thought the jackets were the same, but it looks like the older one is sculpted to look like it’s blowing to the right a bit, while the newer one hangs down straight. Otherwise, the two plastic garments are nearly identical. The gunbelt is new, and that makes sense, since the guns are also new. The new figure has a smaller belt buckle, and thigh straps to hold the holsters in place. The older figure has sculpted straps just above the knees, whereas the new one does not. On the downside, the tops of the boots on the new figure are separate pieces and held on by friction. And when I say “held on” I’m being generous, because they are constantly sliding down to his ankles. The old figure had these sculpted on and it was much better. Finally, the gauntlets on the newer figure are flared much more dramatically at the elbows. I think this looks better, but it does interfere with the elbow hinges a bit. Both figures have balance issues, but I think the new one is slightly better. All in all, I’d say the new version is the better figure, but there are still some compromises going on here.

The head sculpt is definitely an improvement over the old one. The noggin is a little bigger to better fit the body, and the sculpting and paint are both tremendous improvements. The eyes on the new figure are look absolutely fantastic. The black striping is a little different, and this new head shows a little less of the facial features under the mask. I really love what they did here.

As I already mentioned, new Fantomex gets new guns, and these are pretty great little sculpts. They’re a little bigger and beefier than the old guns, and they look a little less sci-fi and a little more credible as real world automatics. They’re cast all in gray plastic, with no paint operations, but they have lots of great detail to make them stand out. Also a huge improvement is how well the new figure can hold his guns. The old figure could barely hold his and he couldn’t hold them straight at all. So, chalk that up as another win for new Fantomex!

This figure also comes with some really cool effect parts for his guns. You get a pair of blast effects and a pair of smoke effects, which simply peg into the ends of the muzzles. These are tiny, and hopefully I can keep from losing them, because they are probably some of my favorite effect parts I’ve seen in the Legends line so far.  All in all, this is an excellent update to what was already a pretty good figure. And while I’m not sure I really needed to pay out for a second release of the character, I’m not terribly put out by it either. And that brings us to Psylocke!

Psylocke is another double dip, but at least she’s a variant as she comes in her Uncanny X-Force costume. Sure, we just got her a couple of years back as part of the Apocalypse Wave, and I’m ashamed that I can’t post a link to that review, because I haven’t opened her yet and that entire wave is part of my backlog. I’ll get to that wave eventually! Either way, it’s nice to have this version to go with Fantomex. Plus the Apocalypse Wave Psylocke tends to go for a good chunk of change these days, so for some this may be Consolation Prize Psylocke! Like the previous release, this figure relies almost exclusively on paint to detail her costume, but it works just fine. The sash is actually a newly sculpted piece, now white and with an X-Force logo in the center.

The head sculpt looks new to me, but it’s close enough to the original that it may just be from variances in the molding process and paint. It’s also worth pointing out that the skintone on the new figure is a bit paler than the last one, but that may also be due to coloring variation as opposed to being intentional. Either way, the new figure looks great. The paint applied for her eyes and lips is nice and sharp, and I dig the purple they used for her hair.

X-Force Psylocke comes with the same effect parts as the previous release, although the coloring on these new ones is overall a lot nicer. She also comes with a swappable right fist, which works a little better with the blast part, but isn’t really necessary, as it will work well enough with the accessory holding hand too. All of these look great, but I’m extremely partial to the Katana. She just looks fantastic wielding it. It may seem like I’m running through this figure rather quickly, despite not having reviewed the original yet, but it’ll happen. Plus, I still have the main attraction from this three-pack to cover, so let’s have a look at Nimrod!

I gotta say, I absolutely love the design of the character. He’s got a sort of Bruce Timm stylized look to him that is so bizarre and unique when presented among the regular looking characters. It’s like because he hails from the future, he actually looks out of context in the present. Same goes for how smooth and nearly featureless his body is, making him look sterile and super advanced. It’s just brilliant and it’s even better when presented as this giant slab of an action figure! The entire body is comprised of some lovely pearlescent white plastic that gives him a cool sheen, disturbed only by the pink pin-striping and the translucent pink triangle embedded in his chest and showing off just a hint of some finely sculpted circuitry. From behind, Nimrod shows off some red paint accents and his translucent pink wings, which peg into his back, making him look all the more impressive.

Nimrod’s head is barely a head, but more like a bump coming out of his torso with a face in it. The silver face is framed with some red paint, and otherwise just sports white eyes, a black slit for a mouth, and some black grills in his cheeks. Elegant, simple, and just a tad creepy.

And if you want to go for something a little more classic looking, Nimrod comes with a swappable head with a red face. At first glance it looked fairly similar to the standard head, but it is actually a completely new sculpt, and I think I’m actually partial to it. It has a little more personality and adds a bit more color to the figure.

In terms of articulation, he does indeed feel like a Build-A-FIgure, in that he has all the right points, but being a chunky boi, some of these points don’t offer  quite as much range of motion. The exception would be in the shoulders’ rotating hinges and the fact that the shoulder armor is happily quite flexible. As a result, I was surprised at the amount of movement I could get out of the arms. There are swivels in the biceps, and the elbows are only single-hinged, but you can get a full 90-degree flex out of them. The hands are on hinged pegs. I believe that’s a ball joint in the torso, but mine only wants to swivel, and it snaps back each time I swivel it. I’m not sure what’s going on in there, but I’m not going to risk forcing it, just in case something is stuck. The legs appear to have rotating hinges in the hips, but there’s really very little range in them. The knees are double-hinged, and thus quite good and the ankles have a little bit of movement in a hinge, but not much.

In addition to the extra head, Nimrod comes with two sets of hands, fists and open, and two blast effect parts that plug into the open hands and look pretty sweet.

Marvel Legends never ceases to surprise and amaze me. I mean, it’s been clear that Hasbro has pulled out all the stops with this line a long time ago, but still… getting a set like this is just so magical and I think it really demonstrates what a strong following this line has. It’s an $80 set, which is probably why it wound up as an online exclusive, I’m not sure the Walmarts and Targets would want to take up this much real estate on a planogram for a set this expensive, and populated by characters that your average normie isn’t going to recognize. But while the set may seem pricey, it costs out fairly well at $20 each for Psylocke and Fantomex, that leaves $40 for Nimrod. OK, so Hasbro’s repacks of Build-A-Figures usually run out at the $30 price point, but since this is an entirely new figure, that’s probably where the extra ten bucks comes into play. Either way, it’s a fantastic set and three solid additions to my ever growing Legends collection.

Masters of the Universe Origins: He-Man and Skeletor by Mattel

If you’ve been with me for a good part of my decade long journey here on FFZ, you probably know that I went deep into Masters of the Universe Classics. I braved the horrors of a hundred ordering days. I dealt with site crashes and instant sell outs. I coughed up confiscatory shipping rates. And I have no regrets. It was all worth it. I have a beautiful MOTUC collection, which takes up a lot of space. I love these figures and I will die with these figures. But when they started with the Filmation versions, I declared that there was no way in hell I was doing it all over again with a brand new line. I drew my line in the Eternian sand and said I bought my last He-Mans. My willpower held. And when Super7 announced the Vintage style figures, I again held fast. Yeah, I bought a bunch of those Super7 ReAction figures, but that’s a story for another time. When Mattel re-launched the He-Mans yet again with Origins, I was confident my resolve would continue to be firm.

Hey, look! I bought new He-Mans figures! Well, there was only so much my willpower could take! So, here’s the thing. I never owned any MOTU figures as a kid. My parents were big into my investing in the toy lines I already collected. So, if I asked for a He-Man I would get, “Why don’t you get another GI JOE or Transformer and build up one of those collections?” It was sound advice, and to be fair my best friend at the time had everything MOTU put out, so I could always play with them over there. As a result, those old toys have something of a mystical attraction to me. It’s why I nearly caved and collected Super7’s vintage line, and it’s certainly why I gave in and started buying Origins. So what is this line all about? Well, it recreates the vintage figures with added articulation. Hense the tag line, Modern Posing, Retro Play! The figures come on vintage style cards, which are totally not collector friendly and meant to be torn open in the car while you’re driving home from the store. Yeah, just kidding about that. Don’t do that. You’ll crash and die. Let’s kick things off with He-Man!

Here’s the most powerful Man in the Universe and I think he looks great! He is not simply a copy of the vintage figure with added articulation, but he’s close enough to really invoke the feel of the originals. The body type is mostly unchanged with He-Man being as burly as ever, but now that he has working knees he isn’t stuck in that squat pose. As a result, the figure is ever so slightly taller than the originals, but really presented in the same scale. The sculpted muscles look great, and they should, because we’re going to be seeing them again and again in future figures. He still has the rubbery-plastic chest harness, which clips on in the back, and includes a loop so he can wear a weapon on his back. The rest of the outfit includes the sculpted belt and brown furry barbarian diaper, which looks nearly identical to the original figure. The boots have the sculpted wraps and fur fringe at the top, only now that fringe is painted yellow. He has sculpted wrist bracers to match his belt, which is probably the biggest departure from the old figure. In hand, I absolutely love the feel of this figure, the colors pop, the proportions are great, and it just begs to be played with.

The head sculpt is a merging of old and new. He has the angry barbarian expression, gritting his teeth as if he plans to dine on your entrails. It’s very unlike what I’ve become used to seeing as He-Man, but still very faithful to the original. The hair is a longer coif than he originally had, and it’s cast in a separate piece of plastic to give it some depth as it hangs down over his forehead and frames his face. I do kind of wish they had gone for a closer recreation of the vintage look, but that’s not to say I don’t dig this portrait, and I suppose it goes a long way to make this it’s own figure. I’m fine with that.

He-Man comes with the same weapons load out as he originally had. That includes one half of the Power Sword, a shield, and a double-bladed battle axe. The axe and shield are both fantastic. The shield actually has both a grab bar for He-Man to slide his hand through and a clip to attach it securely to his arm. The sword, It’s the sword that I have some mixed emotions about. They followed through on the old gimmick that he and Skeletor would each have half of the Power Sword and they could be pegged together. I think that’s a great concept, but it means that half the sword looks like crap. It would have been great if Mattel could have ponied up for a completely finished sword as well.

As for the articulation, He-Man is now loaded up with rotating hinges. He’s got them in the shoulders, elbows, wrists, knees, and ankles. He’s got swivels at the tops of his boots and his waist, and a ball joint in the neck. Plus, the jointing system is modular, so you can pull him apart and swap parts, at least that’s the theory, I don’t plan on trying it with my figures. The result is all the nostalgic aesthetics of the original toys with some added playability. It’s truly a match made in heaven! Let’s move on and check out Skeletor!

MYAHHHH!!! Just like the good old days, Skeletor makes use of the same basic buck as He-Man, with just a few obvious differences. The forearms lack He-Man’s wrist bracers, and the lower legs and feet are completely different. And that’s where that modular construction comes in handy for Hasbro and no doubt does a lot to help keep the cost of these figures down. The belt and barbarian diaper are still there, but partially concealed under the new belt and loin cloth that’s attached around the waist. Skeletor also has his iconic chest armor with attached shoulders, and the sculpted crossbones on the front. Like He-Man’s this attaches together in the back, but unlike He-Man’s it does not have a loop for his weapon. You can still, slide it into the straps and it works just fine. Overall, I think the figure looks great, the colors are vibrant, but his webbed feet are a tad small! And since the bodies are the same, we get the exact same articulation as we saw with He-Man.

As with He-Man, Mattel went in a new direction for the head sculpt, and therein lies the biggest bone I have to pick with Skeletor! I really would have liked something closer to the vintage head. I’m not hating this, but I’m just not loving it either. It looks so much more primitive than the original head, particularly the way the teeth are done. And I’m just not sure about those red eyes. This would be a great opportunity to do a running change. Or maybe give him a better head in a Battle Armor version, so I can swap it out.

Skeletor comes with two weapons, one of which is the half of the Power Sword, which I’ve really already discussed. It’s a great gimmick, it gave my buddy and I lots of play value as kids, with Skeletor trying to unite the two halves. But it makes for a f’ugly half of an accessory. It would have been so cool if Mattel could have included full versions of both swords in the package. But hey, I’ve already been over this.

The other accessory is his infamous Havok Staff, and this is a magnificent looking piece!. It’s molded in pretty stiff plastic and the detail on the ram’s head is great. I also dig how he can now hold it in both hands thanks to that added articulation!

In case you can’t tell, I’m absolutely in love with the idea behind this line, and at a $14.99 price point, Mattel has managed to keep these pretty inexpensive, especially when I’m used to paying $20 for Hasbro’s 6-inch figures and Deluxe Transformers. I was a more than a little concerned that these were made a Walmart Exclusive, and I still think that’s a bad idea, but I was surprised to find that even my shitty Walmart that never gets any good toys (INCLUDING THEIR OWN EXCLUSIVES!!!) actually stocked these, so I was able to get this pair as well as Prince Adam and the Sky Sled and Battle Cat too! Of course, these have all since sold out and no re-stocks have arrived since, but I’ve managed to pre-order the rest on the website, so hopefully that goes well. How deep will I go here? I’m trying to tell myself to stick to the core characters and not go All-In, but I think a lot of that will have to do with their availability. If I see a new MOTU Origins figure on the peg, it isn’t likely that I’m going to leave it there, but maybe I can keep myself from buying a bunch online. We’ll see! In the meantime, these two have been permanent residents of my desk and have been battling it out a little bit every day!

Transformers Siege: Starscream, Skywarp, and Thundercracker by Hasbro

It’s a fine testament to how far behind I am in my reviews that I just managed to assemble my trio of Decepticon Seekers from Transformers: Earthrise and I still haven’t reviewed the ones from Siege yet. This was a fact that came to light as I sat down to start writing the review of the newer figures. So, fair is fair. Today I’ll finally get around to taking a look at the three Decepticon Seekers from Siege! Of course, Siege features the Transformers in their original Cybertronian modes, and in this case the Seekers are based off of the Tetra Jet design that was introduced in the Sunbow cartoon and has since been more or less accepted as the official original alt forms of the Seekers. It’s a cool design, but since it was designed for a cartoon and without the restraints of practical toy design, these have been rather difficult to reproduce in action figure form. Hasbro approached something like it (but not really) with their figures based off the Fall of Cybertron figures. Third party designer Impossible Toys had a crack at it and managed to produce some really nice jet modes, but with some pretty janky robot modes. And here we are now back to Hasbro with something of a compromise.

And just to complicate things, the packaging and distribution of these figures varied. Starscream and Thundercracker were regular Voyager Class releases and as such they come in typical Siege style packaging. As always, these boxes look great, feature some amazing artwork and allow you to get a good look at the figure in robot mode before opening. Much to the chagrin of some collectors, Skywarp was offered later as an exclusive and has since been a bit tough to get a hold of at a reasonable price. He was also packaged differently, this time in boxed set called The Phantomstrike Squadron, and came with three little Weapon Masters figures. All three of the Seekers feature the exact same mold, except for some variations in the head, so let’s just take a look at Starscream’s alt mode first and then check out the different decos found on his comrades.

This is not a dead ringer for the Sunbow Tetrajet design and I’m not faulting Hasbro for that, because of the clear challenge that stems from working with the design. As we will soon see Hasbro clearly made some sacrifices to the jet mode to preserve the robot mode. Still, I’d say that this captures the spirit of that original Tetra Jet , and it’s likely as close as we’re going to get without interjecting insane Masterpiece levels of panel-shifting transformations. This design de-emphasizes equality of the jet’s four points by diminishing the wings and extending the snout, for lack of a better term. The result is something that evokes the basic design of the Colonial Viper from Battlestar Galactica more than the original Tetra Jet, especially with the three thrusters in the back, but I still dig it. It totally works for me as a Cybertron design in that it’s different enough to look like an alien vehicle, and yet it’s still similar to the Earth design that the Seekers later adopted.

On the downside, this alt mode is almost as much kibble as it is jet, with the bulk of the robot body hanging out in the undercarriage and the chest piece rather awkwardly on display from the back. The undercarriage junk doesn’t bother me so much. To be fair, the down-swept wings do conceal some of it and it does provide a nice platform for the jet to rest on. And because this is an alien design, who’s to say that’s not what it’s supposed to look like. Besides, Primus knows we’ve had plenty of regular jet modes over the years with as much robot undercarriage as these toys. But as much as I’ll defend that stuff, the chest piece on the back bugs me a lot, just because it’s so painfully obvious what it is, I’ve tried to tell myself that the two intake fans don’t look out of place there, and that the faked out cockpit could be some kind of generator, but it’s just impossible for me not see it for what it really is. Starscream also has a pair of guns that peg in under his wings.

Starscream’s coloring is similar to what we’re used to seeing on him in his Earth mode. The jet is mostly bare gray plastic with some red and blue painted trim. There’s also some darker gray around the cockpit and vents and the yellow cockpit looks great. He also has Decepticon emblems on each side near the back. The jet also includes Siege’s signature weathered look with some dirty markings scattered around the hull. It’s used sparingly here and I think it’s pretty effective. Finally, I have to compliment Hasbro on the detail in the panel lines on this toy. Siege has been all about they hyper-detail and that’s definitely still the case here. I just love how busy the sculpt is, especially on a design that’s relatively simple like this one. Let’s take a quick look at the decos for the other two Seekers!

No surprises here! Thundercracker remains true to form with his mostly blue colored plastic, and he shares the same red paint accents as Starscream has along the edges of his wings and near the sides of his cockpit. The cockpit frame itself is black, as is the blunt nose of the craft. He has the same yellow cockpit and Decepticon insignia, although his are a little muted against his the blue hull. Finally, Thundercrackers weathering is achieved through silver paint, which I think looks more like chipping and abrasions in his finish than Starscream’s dirt. It’s a bit over the top, but I don’t hate it. Like Starscream, I think the deco looks fantastic. Onward to Skywarp!

Skywarp adds the most color to the mix, making his deco a little atypical. His wing. Rather than being mostly black, it’s reserved for his wing area, with the snout of the jet being painted silver and the tip purple. You get more purple trim on the wings and around the sides near the yellow canopy, and more silver in the grills. It’s a striking deco that looks amazing, even if I’m used to seeing more black in my Skywarps. Like Thundercracker, SKywarp has a bunch of silver painted abrasions and wear, showing that he’s seen some action in his day.

OK, so now that we’ve checked out the alt modes, let’s turn back to Starscream and have a look at his robot mode!

Transforming these guys isn’t too bad, and there’s actually some pretty clever stuff going on, like the way the nose of the jet splits to become the familiar shoulder intakes. Indeed, the only gripe I have about the transformation is that the friction hinges that hold the chest piece on isn’t up to the task and I’ve yet to be able to transform Starscream without it falling off. The others are a little better, but it still probably pops off at least half of the time. Once transformed we get a very familiar G1 Seeker robot mode, which makes me appreciate the alt mode a lot more. I’m just all kinds of impressed they were able to get this robot mode out of that Tetra Jet. The proportions are great and even the articulation is solid and fun. Sure, we already know the cockpit chest is a feake-out, but I don’t have a problem with that. Indeed, my only real complaint here is that the unfinished side of the wings face forward, but Hasbro even tried to pretty them up by stamping Decepticon insignia on them and giving them a little painted trim. From behind he’s mostly a wall of wings, but a nicely finished one. Even his lower legs fill in!

The portrait is superb. I love the detail work that went into the “helmet,” the flashy silver paint used for the face, and the glaring red light-piping in the eyes. And once again, I have to call out how amazing all the panel lines are in the mold itself. Even the transparent cockpit in the chest features etched circuit-like patterns, and is flanked by those awesome looking fans. I also really dig how he’s got thrusters emerging from the middle of his feet, even though these aren’t really part of his Tetra Jet mode.

The deco continues to carry Starscream’s iconic colors, with more red and blue showing up in the robot mode. Some might argue that the weathering looks a little overdone here, and I’d be inclined to agree. It doesn’t ruin the figure for me at all, but I would have liked if they had toned it back on the legs a bit. I actually don’t mind the silver wear on his torso at all.

Starscream’s wing guns can be attached to the pegs in his shoulders or forearms. He can even hold them like regular guns if you want. There should be a configuration that pleases everyone, but I prefer them on the shoulders so he can aim them straight down his arm like he did in the Sunbow cartoon. In short, this is a great looking figure with some cool engineering and he’s loads of fun to play with. Let’s take a quick look at the other decos…

In robot mode, Thundercracker’s color scheme holds no surprises. He’s still mostly blue with some black trim and bare gray plastic making up the frame of his torso. The weathering here is all silver and he’s got a lot of it on his lower legs. I like to think that’s just Autobot blood that’s splashed all over him while he was kicking the shit out of one of them. Yeah, that got dark! G1 Thundercracker was the first Decepticon jet I owned as a kid, and the only one I had for a long while, so while his deco is probably the more boring of the three, he’ll always have a special place in my heart. So, other than the fact that this figure looks great, is there anything else to say?

Well, yeah. Thundercracker actually got his own unique portrait! The “helmet” is the same as on the other two figures, but Hasbro gave Thundercracker a big energon-eating grin. Or maybe it’s more of a smirk. Either way, I think it would have better suited Starscream, as he tended to have the most personality of the three. Curious that Hasbro decided to give it to Thundercracker.

And that brings us to Skywarp! While his deco stood out a bit in his Tetra Jet mode, as a robot everything falls more or less into place where I expected it. You basically take Thundercracker’s color palate and swap blue for black and black for purple. The only other real difference is that the fans in his chest are black as well. I’ve always been partial to Skywarp’s coloring, there’s nothing quite so striking as that sinister Decepticon blend of black and purple and it looks as great as ever here. Once again, there’s plenty of silver paint splattered around his lower legs, and I wouldn’t have minded if Hasbro held back on that a bit. And before we wrap things up, let’s take a look at Skywarp’s Weapon Masters!

Because why should Soundwave and Blaster be the only ones to have little robot pets? I’m not sure why Hasbro decided to give Skywarp these guys, but maybe it was just so they could get it to fit into a certain price point assortment. Either way these little guys from right to left are Fracas, Terror-Daxtyl, and Shrute. Each of these transform into a different weapon and each comes with some effect parts. And yes, I just realized that I didn’t take enough time to contemplate what a f’cking metal name Terror-Daxtyl really is. Sorry. I’ve been a little mixed on the Weapon Master figures. I like the idea of having little robots to interact with the bigger ones, but the weapons they turn into are often mixed bags. Let’s take a look…

Terror-Daxtyl transforms into an axe, which always brings me back to the eternal question: How much must it suck to be a robot that transforms into something you hit things with!?! It’s kind of a crazy idea, but he does make for a decent looking axe and the effect part is pretty impressive.

Both Fracas and Shrute transform into double-barrel blasters and while the molds are each different the engineering here is exactly the same. They’re a bit chunky but they work just fine. Shrute has a pair of bulbous yellow blast effects and Fracas has thinner blue electricity effect pieces.

Oh boy, I really dig these guys! I was perfectly content to keep the Fall of Cybertron versions as my Cybertronian Seekers, and while I still like those figures quite a bit, the Siege Seekers have quickly supplanted them and become my new favorites. Oh, there’s more than a few points worth picking at with these figures, particularly when it comes to the alt modes, but overall I think Hasbro made the necessary compromises in all the right places. We get some solid re-imaginings of the Tetra Jet designs while producing three superb robot modes, all of which manage to capture everything I love about the iconic G1 Seekers that I loved as a kid. It’ll be fun to do some side by side comparisons when I get around to looking at the Earthrise Seekers, and hopefully that won’t be too far off!

Marvel Comics: Domino (Exclusive) Premium Format by Sideshow

Yeah, another week of abbreviated content. I didn’t make it back on Wednesday because of real life craziness, but at least I did double up for Marvel Monday. And to make up for it a bit more, I’m tackling a big one to end off the week! Sideshow’s delectable quarter-scale Premium Format figures are the bane of my existence. They’re so big and expensive, and yet they’re so damn pretty. I shouldn’t buy them, but I always want to. I’ve only reviewed one of these beauties before, and that was the Batman Returns Catwoman I won from one of Sideshow’s contests about three years ago. Yup, people actually win those! Free is great, but as any good drug dealer knows, it’s that first free hit that hooks you. Since then I’ve picked up a few more but haven’t gotten around to reviewing them, mainly because it takes a lot of effort to gerry-rig my little photo stage to handle them. Anyway, I’d like to remedy that by starting to review some of these, and what better place to start than the one I got in this week! I’m like a kid on Christmas morning!

It’s Domino! A character that I’ve been in love with ever since lucky Neena Thurman first graced the pages of Marvel Comics. Hell, X-Force #11 from 1992 was one of the first comics I ever got CGC graded. When Sideshow solicited this one, I knew I had to have it, but not just because it’s Domino, but because the composition is so amazing. But I’m getting ahead of myself. As always the statue comes in a box massive enough to house the 20-inch tall statue and plenty of Styrofoam to protect it. The box is made up to look like a giant slot machine and has some cool touches, like X-Men stickers ripped off one side and the machine’s marquee branded after Domino herself. There’s a silver foil sticker on the bottom left corner of the front panel to denote that this one is a Sideshow Exclusive, limited to 1,000 pieces.

Inside the Styrofoam, it looks like something that’s been cocooned by spiders. As expected, there is some unwrapping and assembly required here, and this phase tends to be the most stressful of the un-boxing. Are all the parts going to be OK? Is everything going to fit together properly? In this case I’m happy to say, Yes and Yes. Assembly includes attaching the figure to the base with a key tab that protrudes from her butt. Next up, the hands (each holding a gun) gets attached and held by magnets. The slot machine arm keys into the side and attaches to the toe of Domino’s boot with a magnet, and finally the head attaches by magnet as well. When all is said and done, this is a very solid and pretty heavy piece all ready for display. I’ll also note here that there is no mixed-media in this figure, so the entire costume is part of the sculpt.

And what a display it is! Domino sits playfully on top of a leaning X-Men-themed slot machine with her legs crossed and one foot resting on the arm. She leans back to support herself with her right hand, still holding a pistol, while she draws the pistol in her left hand up near her neck and points it to the ceiling. I don’t think Sideshow has ever managed to have the base upstage the figure itself in one of these Premium Formats, this might be pretty close. In truth, they both just complicate each other tremendously well. I tend to waffle between preferring classic museum style poses and something more dynamic and action-y, but this one introduces a whole new ballgame. It’s wildly creative, it’s deliciously meta, and it understands the character so well.

Of course, this is a pretty modern look for Domino, which really just means that her traditional black cat suit is enhanced with a lot more detail and a more tactical look to it. And while we already have a Domino for the films and I wouldn’t take any of that away from the glorious Zazie Beetz, I do think that this version of Domino has a realistic quality to her, which would have worked fine for the big screen. The bulk of the suit is a delightful mix of black and blue, which comes out beautifully under the studio lights, and is enhanced with patches of exposed ribbed blue “material,” presumably to add a little flexibility. Again, it’s all sculpted, but I have no quarrel with the decision because the end results are quite spectacular. Everything from the zipper track to the stitch lines, and the subtle wrinkles here and there make for a very convincing garment, even if it is all polyresin.

The suit is covered with tactical gear, all held on by sculpted segmented belts. Her inventory includes all sorts of pouches, slots for extra magazines, empty shoulder holsters under each arm, and a futuristic looking gun strapped to her right thigh. The gun is a great example of all the detail that went into the sculpt. The hard-molded style holster is textured and features sculpted rivets that simulate holding it together. There’s a sculpted retaining strap locking the weapon into place and the weapon itself is just brimming with detail. The twin pistols in her hands enjoy all that same great attention to detail. The X-branded belt buckle breaks up the blues and blacks with a bright red glossy background.

The standard portrait is superb. Domino sports her trademark pixie cut and offers a sideways glance and a knowing smirk. It’s like she’s thinking, “My luck is going to hold out, but yours is about to change.” I love the pale coloring they used for her rather unusual skin tone and the iconic spot around her left eye is crisp. For that matter all the paint work on the face is sharp and crisp. The sculpt for her hair is intricate and almost looks like it’s layered. The hair color follows the same pattern as her suit, being black with some blue-purple highlights. The only thing that sucks about this portrait is that the Sideshow Exclusive comes with a second, and that’s going to make for some tough decisions…

The Exclusive head features longer hair, the left side of which is blowing off to the side a bit. The head is turned to face her gun and her lips are pursed. It looks fine just like this, but it’s intended to be displayed with the addition of one extra piece.

 

Add the smoke effect to the gun barrel and now she looks like she’s blowing the barrel of her pistol after having fired it. I love the way this turned out and it’s creating quite the conundrum on which look to go for. The pixie cut from the standard head is more Domino to me, but the Exclusive looks so good. Luckily they are easy to swap, so I may just wind up doing that every couple of weeks.

And that brings us to the base, which is usually not something I need to spend a lot of time on when discussing statues, but here’s the exception to that rule. This is just amazing from both a composition standpoint as well as execution. It offers an on the nose nod to Domino’s mutant power, but it has a lot of fun with it too.

Sideshow went above and beyond with the detail in the bullet-ridden one-armed bandit. It has a steel sheen to the sides and back and the sculpted bullet holes look quite realistic. The back of the unit has all the vents and bits that you would expect to find on something like this. The coloring on the upper and lower marquee are beautifully illustrated. It would have been cool if SIdeshow added some lights to this base, but I don’t think that’s something they ever do in the Premium Formats. I particularly love the bullet holes in the plastic screens that cover the top marquee and the rollers. The later of which look convincing enough that I’d swear I could pull the lever and watch them spin.

Finally, the Days of Future Cash slot-machine rests on top a pile of Deadpool-branded tokens with spent bullet casings peppered generously throughout. Under this pile of loot is a simple black circular base. Lift it up and you get a little Domino artwork along with the limitation of the statue. Mine is hand-numbered 208/1000.

It’s s funny thing buying these Premium Formats. I always go into the purchase with sweaty, nervous palms and yet I’ve yet to be disappointed with one of these pieces when they arrive. And that’s saying a lot because they sure ain’t cheap. At $585 ($570 for the regular edition), I fear these statues are creeping past my budget right when I’m starting to get into them. But it’s easy to see where the money went, as Domino makes for an impressive presence on the shelf, and I can’t find anything on the piece to even nitpick about. The sculpt, paint, and overall design came together so beautifully. I’m certainly glad I didn’t pass this one oup.

Marvel Legends: The Punisher War Machine by Hasbro

I was going to keep pressing on with the Wendigo Wave this week, and I probably still will next Marvel Monday, but for today I decided to take this detour and have a look at another one-off Exclusive. It’s Frank Castle wearing the Punisher-branded War Machine armor! I want to say this one was exclusive to Gamestop, but I grabbed it off of Amazon, so I wasn’t really paying attention. It’s a figure that I was not going to go crazy hunting down, but when it popped up in my recommendations at just a few bucks over retail, I took a bite.

The package is pretty much the same old stuff, but I particularly love the deco on this one. The art on the side panels looks great and the War Machine logo on the bottom front panel with The Punisher spray painted over it is just plain awesome. There’s not much of a blurb on the back, but the figure references The Punisher #218-220 where he adopted the War machine armor after Rhodey was killed in Civil War II. As a concept in the comics, the idea really tickled me, and as a device to sell a repaint of a figure, well it works for that too. But in all honesty, I don’t think you even need to be familiar with the circumstances to get a kick out of this one.

And yes, this is a repaint, but a repaint of one of the few Marvel Legends figures I don’t own. Yeah, I was shocked too, but apparently War Machine Mk III came in a two-pack with that garishly colored “Disco” Iron Man and I couldn’t see clear to dropping $40 on it. Hey, looks like sometimes I do exercise self control. Go me! Anyway, at least that means this figure is new to me, and it turns out that it’s pretty damn good! The Mark III armor looks a lot beefier than the previous Legends War Machine from the Hulkbuster Wave and I dig that. The bulk of the figure is cast in a dark gray with a little speckling to give it a pretty convincing metal look. Indeed, both the sculpt and coloring of the plastic conspire to make this figure look heavier and more substantial than it actually is… a lot like armor! Some basic paint apps on the body include silver brushed weathering, which looks quite effective, some silver accents, and bright blue paint hits to signify the blasters on his gauntlets. And then you’ve got the new stuff for The Punisher deco!

Yeah, this stuff looks great! It not only includes his iconic skull emblem on the chest, but also some kill counts in the form of tiny Punisher logos. He also retains the “000” on the right bicep. The head hasn’t changed as much, retaining the silver face plate and blue eyes. On the downside, repainting an MCU suit means that this guy doesn’t quite match the suit we saw in the comics, which had more of an organic design to it, particularly in the legs. But when the end result looks this good, I can live with that.

The figure comes with a fair number of accessories to mix and match. First off, he has twin machine guns, which can tab in under his forearms with hinged drop-down magazines. These can also be stored by tabbing them into his hips. Instead of popping out of the armor, I presume he just touches his forearms to his hips and they attach and equip. It’s a cool concept, but I’m not really in love with the designs of these things. They barely look like guns at all.

There are notches behind his shoulders for his other accessories, the shoulder cannon and the baton. There’s a cannon barrel that plugs in on the left shoulder to make it look like the cannon is retracted and just pointing up, while the right shoulder takes a piece that looks like the hilt of his baton where it is supposed to be stored.

By replacing the left shoulder piece with the fully articulated cannon, it can look like it’s been deployed for action. The cannon features a bright blue paint app on the edge of the barrel and it can rotate left and right.

As for the baton, you just pull out the partial baton piece and use the full one in either of his hands. Yes, there are two accessory-holding hands to replace the fists. The baton may seem silly when considering the awesome arsenal of the War Machine armor, but I like it. It’s one of Punisher’s trademarks and it’s addition helps drive home that this is indeed Frank Castle in the suit.

And just to try it out, the Castle head from my Retro Wave Punisher does fit, sort of. It doesn’t actually lock down and secure, but it looks fine balanced on that ball joint if you’re going for an unmasked look. I think it works great.

For a figure that I was content to skip, I found this one to be a really pleasant surprise. Maybe a lot of that has to do with the fact that I don’t own the original War Machine version of this sculpt, but I also think that it’s just a great idea and a fun figure, regardless. Sure, a few of the attachments could have used some refinement, but now I’m just nitpicking. Indeed, I like this figure so much, I may just circle back and pick up that original one in the two-pack.

Marvel Legends: Emma Frost (Walgreens Exclusive) by Hasbro

Folks, I’m really trying to get back to a regular three-post rotation for content each week, but it hasn’t been easy. I almost had it last week, but stuff came up and I just didn’t have the time. Maybe this week will be different. In the meantime, it’s another Monday, and that means time to open another Marvel Legends. And today I am once again forgoing random chance and taking a look at a figure that was just pitched at my porch by an Amazon delivery driver. It’s the Walgreens Exclusive Emma Frost!

No, that’s no mistake. I had to go to Amazon to get this figure, which is unusual because my Walgreens has been pretty good at getting their exclusives on the shelves. I’m not sure if I missed this one, or just didn’t get lucky, but when I saw her turn up on Amazon at a sort of reasonable price, I gave up on my luck changing and jumped at the chance. Hasbro’s last crack at Frost wasn’t exactly a 10 out of 10, but I still would have been happy to have found her at a price that wouldn’t have prohibited me eating for a week.

And yes, this new release is sort of a consolation prize, because she isn’t Emma in her traditional white costume. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of Dark Reign, and I can’t deny the appeal of the black costume, but seeing as how this is currently my only Emma Frost on my Legends shelf, it’s not the iconic look I would have preferred. In terms of sculpting, this is one of those figures that relies heavily on paint to create the costume. Her black one-piece is all paint, with skin-tone recreating the split down the middle. Likewise, her sleeves are painted to be cropped short, and even her thigh-high stockings are painted with some gray lines running across them. She has high-heels, which I’m sure we’ve seen before, and there are separate pieces that hang around her wrists and ankles to create the illusion of the tops of her boots and gloves.

From the neck down the only other new stuff we get is a wide belt, a pair of shoulder armor, and her jacket-cape-thingy. I do really dig the slight billowing effect of her cape, and the sculpted stitch lines are a great touch. She also features red branded X’s on her shoulders, which I don’t really remember from the art, but I like them all the same. With that having been said, everything looks pretty good, although there’s fair amount of black paint spray around her chest. At least the silver buckle and eyelets on her belt are neatly painted.

The head sculpt here is absolutely fantastic. She’s very pretty and the paintwork is a heck of a lot more crisp and clean than some of those lines on her costume. The metallic blue lipstick is a nice touch too. The blonde hair is sculpted as a separate piece of plastic, which gives it that lovely degree of depth. It partially hides her right ear and the left side of her face.

The articulation here follows the usual Legends gal pattern. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and elbows. The wrists are on rotating pins, allowing you to swap the hands between fists and the open magic-casting hands we’ve seen plenty of times before. The legs have ball jointed hips, double-hinges in the knees, swivels at the tops of her stockings, and ankles with both hinges and lateral rockers. And yes, it is a royal paint in the butt to get her to stand with those heels, but hey who needs practical when they look that good, eh? Finally, Emma has a ball joint under her chest and a hinged ball joint in her neck.

And in case you thought I forgot, Emma does come with a second head sculpt featuring her shorter cropped hair and metallic red lipstick. It’s every bit as good as the other head, possibly even a tad better, but you know what? It’s also like a big F*CK YOU to me, because now I have a perfectly iconic Emma Frost head without an iconic body to put it on.

Does it sound like I’m a little angry at this figure? Eh, I’m really not. It’s a great looking figure and certainly not a bad addition to my Legends line-up, but it isn’t the Emma Frost I wanted. Hell, I don’t even have any Dark X-Men to display her with on the shelf. Hey, Hasbro! There’s a great idea for an Amazon Exclusive. Do a Dark X-Men six-pack like you did with A-Force and Alpha-Flight to go along with this Emma. Hell, most of them would just be repaints anyway, and dopes like me will buy it. Anyway, Consolation Prize Emma set me back $28 on Amazon with that lovely free Prime shipping. So, yeah, I had to pay a premium for her, but at least I didn’t get too beaten up. Now if only Danni Moonstar would drop a couple of bucks, I’d bite the bullet and pick her up as well.

Marvel Legends: The Grandmaster and The Collector by Hasbro

In addition to the non-stop torrential rush of Marvel Legends waves, Hasbro has also been cranking up the multi-pack releases. And I’m just talking the normal retail stuff. To make matters even more challenging for the collectors’ wallets,  they’ve also included a lavishly packaged two-pack for SDCC this year. Pulled straight from the MCU flicks Guardians of the Galaxy and Thor: Ragnarok comes The Collector and The Grandmaster!

The snazzy packaging looks like a drum with windows on each side to show the figures. It actually opens up too, so both figures can be displayed side-by-side in half-tubes. Flip it around and you get the poster art from each flick on the back panels. This is some really nice packaging, but mine was fairly worn even by the time it got to me, and I don’t think it’s going to be easy to store, so I’ll likely be getting rid of it, like I do most of my Legends packaging. Let’s start with The Grandmaster first!

Grandmaster is sort of the non-essential figure here, since he was issued at retail with a different head, and in a two-pack with Korg, a set that still sits unopened on my Pile of Shame. I will get around to it eventually, but this will be my first experience with the Grandmaster figure. Let me say straightaway, that while this is a great looking figure, it isn’t all that much fun to play around with. A lot of that has to do with his lavish golden robe, which is sculpted in soft plastic, is fairly form-fitting, and thereby limits the articulation in the legs and torso quite a bit. This might have been a really good time to try some soft-goods, especially since Hasbro recently cranked out a golden cloth robe for a certain guy over in the Star Wars Black Series department. Indeed, pretty soon I’ll be checking out a Black Series figure with some outstanding cloth robes! Now that I think of it, cloth robes would have been a great idea for this particular SDCC release, to further set it apart from the retail figure. Now, with all that having been said, the robe still looks nice, it’s sculpted with a faint texture, and it pegs together right where the sculpted red belt is meant to be tied. I also really dig how it bunches up on the floor behind him.

Under the plastic robe, he dons a pair of leisure pants, which have an otherworldly purple-platinum sheen and a long sleeve shirt, which is blue and red with a wide red cummerbund worn at the waist. His eccentric outfit is finished off with a pair of funky gold sandals. Grandmaster sports a sculpted ring on his right hand, and painted-blue nail polish on his fingers and toes.

The Jeff Goldblum likeness is pretty solid, especially from certain angles. As mentioned earlier, the head sculpt is the primary exclusive thing about this figure. Here he’s smiling, whereas the retail version has a more neutral expression. Your personal preferences may vary, but I really dig this portrait and I think it captures a lot of the madcap personality of the character. As usual the half-tone printing for the facial features does a fine job for the detail in the eyes and mouth.

The Grandmaster comes with a couple of cool accessories. The first is his infamous Melt Stick, which is cast in gold plastic and can be held in his right hand and cradled in the left. This is a simple, but fun accessory, providing you aren’t the one being melted by it.

The second accessory is the pile of melted goo. Is it supposed to be Carlo? That I’m not sure, but I kind of hope it is. Yeah, it’s just a lump of plastic bubbles, but fun nonetheless. Let’s move on to Grandmaster’s brother, The Collector!

Taneleer Tivan is the true exclusive figure of the set, as for now he has not been made available at regular retail. He’s also one of the MCU characters that has been most sorely missing from my collection. Benicio Del Toro’s weirdly eccentric performance fit Guardians of the Galaxy like a glove and made The Collector, even with his brief screen time, a truly memorable character. And Hasbro sure did a nice job with this figure. The outfit includes some great detail in the sculpt, particularly in the torso, where the texture and patchwork nature pays homage to a 19th Century waistcoat, complete with strings of sculpted beads reminiscent of the chains on a fob watch. His sculpted furry cape pegs into the back and is worn over the shoulders and plunges behind his neck. I think the sculpted sleeve on the left arm is supposed to be part of the cape, as the speckled pattern matches the interior of the cape. You can take off the cape, but it looks kind of funny since the sleeve remains.

As with his brother, The Collector’s portrait turned out great. It’s a fine likeness for Del Toro and I particularly love the high hair, which is again sculpted as a separate piece from the head. You also get a second head sculpt with The Collector wearing his special goggles.

One final accessory in the box is The Orb that housed The Infinity Stone of Power. It’s a simple little ball packed with a lot of tiny detail. The only downside here is The Collector’s hands really aren’t designed to hold it all that well. I can make it work, but it’s a careful balancing act. It might have been better to give him an extra hand with The Orb sculpted into it, or an extra hand with a peg in the palm and a peg-hole on The Orb.

It may irk some to have to buy a second Grandmaster just to get their hands on The Collector, but I get how the business works and sometimes Hasbro has to get some extra money out of a figure in order to make producing another one more cost effective. Truth be told, I would have much rather had The Collector in a box with some of his menagerie, similar to what Hasbro did in the 3 3/4-inch scale for another SDCC Exclusive. Maybe throw in Cosmo and Carina. I would have paid extra for that. But I’m still really pleased they finally got this figure out and that it was pretty easy to get off of Pulse. Maybe not essential for all Legends collectors, but to me that’s what Exclusives should be all about.