Marvel Premier Collection: Gamora by Diamond Select

It’s Day Two of Marvel Week and today I thought we’d give the action figures a rest and open up a statue from Diamond Select’s Marvel Premier Collection. These are roughly Sixth-Scale resin statues, mostly based on modern appearances of the characters. I only own one other piece from this line, the Clayburn Moore sculpt of Spider-Gwen, and I was pretty happy with her. Picking up Gamora here seemed like a no-brainer, especially since I was able to get a pretty decent deal on her. Let’s check out the most dangerous woman in the Universe!

Gamora comes in a fully enclosed box with photos of the statue on all four panels and features the “Guardians of the Galaxy” logo and calls out that it was sculpted by the wonderful and prolific Jean St. Jean. The presentation here is very serviceable, but not all that appealing from an artistic standpoint. It feels like the box layout was thrown together pretty quickly. That’s not really a sticking point for me, as I just keep my statue boxes for the possibility of future storage, moving, or god forbid… resale. Inside the box, you get a colorful card showing the limitation as well as the number of the statue in the box. Gamora is wrapped in plastic and encased between two styrofoam bricks, and she comes fully assembled and all ready for display.

Standing about 12-inches tall, Gamora is based on her more recent look in the pages of Marvel Comics and wearing her white space space armor. Some fans refer to this as her “Stormtrooper Armor” and I think the comparison is fairly valid. It’s quite a departure from her more revealing classic outfits, but it still shows off her shapely curves, and I’ll confess to being a fan of this new look the very first time I saw it. The pose here is pretty conservative. Gamora stands on an alien landscape with a rather intimidating rifle cradled in her arms (What? No Sword?), and her long hair blowing in the breeze. The heel of her left foot is raised giving the piece just a little hint of anticipated action. Overall, I like what we got here, but then I tend favor “museum-style” poses in favor of the more dynamic stuff. It’s not that I don’t like action poses, but they tend to have a better chance of going wrong.

Every last detail on this statue is incorporated into the actual sculpt, and this is particularly apparent in the cut panel lines that run throughout the armor. There’s a nice sense of depth between the armor plates and the underlying black suit, and you also get some ribbed sections along the top of her back and underarms. The panel lines are neatly painted in black and you get some pale gray panels, as well as some crimson accents. I have no complaints about the quality of the paint on this piece. The lines are reasonably sharp, and there are no apparent flubs. What’s more, the application is even and there are no visible brush strokes. The whole suit gives me a strong Mass Effect vibe, which isn’t a bad thing as I happen to dig the aesthetics of those games… well three of them, at least.

I love the way the portrait came out. Her face is flawless and beautiful and even the painted patches around her eyes are part of the sculpt. I just adore the shape of her nose and the ridge leading down to her lips. No, I don’t have some creepy nose thing, I just appreciate how good it looks. The pupil-less white eyes are rather mesmerizing and they used a nice, rich red paint for her lips. The hair sculpt is good, albeit a bit on the chunky side. It looks like it was sculpted from a separate piece, which gives her a clean hairline. The downside to the hair blowing off to the side is it limits the options for display angles. She looks great from the front or turned a bit to her right, but it means that the right side of the statue is closed for business. Hey, most statues have an intended “sweet spot” for display, and I’d say this one has at least a few.

Gamora’s  rifle features a rather boxy and utilitarian design that emphasizes function over form. I can dig that as it makes it appear more like a legitimate piece of military hardware. The black and gray deco gives it a convincingly realistic finish, and it’s equipped with what looks like a magazine, but maybe it’s a battery pack, and a scope. Gamora practices poor trigger discipline, but then I’d kind of expect that from her. It’s what makes her so dangerous!

The rocky alien landscape they did for the base looks great. They packed all kinds of little details in the rocks and terrain and the brownish-orange paint gives it a hint of Mars. If you look closely enough, you can see that they sculpted panel lines on the bottoms of her boots. The alien landscape is placed on a raised, circular platform.

The bottom of the base features the declaration of limitation. In this case, mine is 153 of 3,000. I think that’s one of the lowest numbers I’ve ever gotten on one of these things!

The Marvel Premier Statues tend to have an MSRP of around $130, but Gamora is available on Amazon at the time I’m writing this for well under $100. I’m always glad to save money, but I would have been perfectly happy with this piece had I picked it up at full price. The modern costume might not be for everyone, but I can appreciate her new look, and the artistry and craftsmanship on display here are both excellent. Tomorrow, I’ll keep this Marvel Week rolling along and turn my attention back to Hasbro’s Legends line!

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Guardians of the Galaxy: Drax the Destroyer 1:6 Scale Figure by Hot Toys

Collecting Hot Toys is not a hobby for the impatient and this is not news to me. Figures can go up for pre-order eight months to a year before they’re expected to ship, and even then you can almost always expect delays. This can be frustrating when you’re buying figures that are tied to movies. It’s doubly so when you’re trying to complete a team from a movie. My first HT figures from the original Guardians of the Galaxy (Star-Lord and Gamora) arrived more than two years ago. Rocket and Groot showed up a few months later. And ever since, I’ve been waiting for the arrival of Drax the Destroyer. Well, the Guardians sequel has come and gone and finally this cardboard shipper turned up on my doorstep, almost a year since I pre-ordered him.

Granted, Drax’s road to release has a more troubled history than most, and I can’t say as I know any of the details. I’ve heard rumors that point to Hot Toys having issues with the likeness approval and for a while it looked like we might never get a Drax at all. Fortunately, all parties were eventually satisfied enough to ink a deal and the figure was produced, allowing us to finally complete our original MCU Guardians team.

Despite the long delay between figures, the presentation here is identical to the rest of the HT Guardians. I love the package art design on this series and they all look great when lined up on the shelf. Unfortunately, HT has really been skimping on some of their packages lately, and that trend hit the Guardians series big time. What we have here is basically a pretty flimsy window box with an illustrated sleeve around it. Granted, I just use the packaging to store the extra accessories, but it upsets me when Hot Toys takes away premium packaging while continuing to raise prices. It’s extra annoying when the figure in question is rather light on the accessories, but I’m getting ahead of myself. The tray inside the box is exactly what we’ve been getting all along. The figure is surrounded by his extra hands and weapons, and there’s a figure stand nested between his legs.

For the most part, Drax almost looks like he jumped right off the screen… almost. There’s something about the upper body that just doesn’t click with me. I’ve spent some time comparing him to screen caps (something I almost never have to bother doing with Hot Toys figures) and while some look pretty close, others look far off. In the end, I’m still undecided on the torso. From head on it looks fine, but if turned to profile it looks too thin. Either way, I’m certain that the arms needed to be beefier.

On the other hand, I think they did an amazing job on his raised “tattoos” Normally, there isn’t a whole lot of opportunity for detail on a shirt-less figure, but they really did a nice job here. Coupled with this raised detail, the speckled skin looks pretty close to the body paint used by Bautista in the film. Realistic skin tones has never been a problem for Hot Toys, even when it’s an alien color. Of course, the bare arms mean exposed joints, and that’s always a downer on these figures. The rotating hinges in the elbows really make this feel more like a run-of-the-mill action figure. Hot Toys did a beautiful job with the seamless elbows on their Hulk figure, but it probably wasn’t an option here because of the sculpted tatts. On the plus side, there’s virtually no restriction on Drax’s articulation, which makes him a lot more fun to play around with than most Hot Toys.

The portrait is excellent. If they really did invest all that extra lead time in the likeness, I think it paid off in spades. Once again the skin tone is spot on and the sculpted tatts look great. His eyes feature that eerie spark of life that I’m used to seeing in my Hot Toys figures. Alas, I think this is a character that really needed an extra portrait showing some emotion. If this were a Guardians Vol.2 version, I’d say a laughing portrait, but in this case, rage would have done nicely. Still, for someone like me, who tends to pose these figures in fairly subdued stances, this neutral portrait works fine in context with the rest of the team.

Drax’s outfit is pretty simple, as it amounts to just a pair of trousers and some boots, but HT packed a lot of detail into them. The trousers include all the detailed belts and straps and fixtures that really look fantastic. The boots are also very intricately designed right down to the sculpted treads on the soles. You also get a second pair of red trousers, which I was not expecting. I’m not sure that I’ll ever bother to change them out, but I love that they were included as a bonus.

Besides the change of pants, Drax comes up really light on the accessories. You do get the usual assortment of hands, in this case there are three pairs (fists, relaxed, knife-holding) and one specialized right hand. His knives look amazing. The hilts are beautifully sculpted and the blades feature some red inscriptions. These have a nice weight to them and the silver finish is quite striking. The boots have molded sheathes for his knives, but these are a real tight fit. Plus, for reasons I cannot explain, the blades are designed to detach from the grips, so when trying to remove the knives from his sheathes the handles often just pop off.

Drax also comes with the bazooka he had on the Kree Warship, The Dark Astor. They did a particularly nice job with the rusted finish on the tube, and even the areas that are black have a little wear and tear painted on, as well as a blue lens over the scope. Overall, this is a pretty nice sculpt, but it has no moving parts and it feels really light. The specialized right hand that I mentioned earlier is designed to hold this weapon and it does that quite well. Unfortunately, there isn’t enough range of motion in the elbow to get the shoulder rest onto his shoulder. He can still hold it very convincingly and even line up his eye with the scope.

The final stop on any of my Hot Toys reviews is always the stand. In this case it’s the exact same design we saw with the rest of the Guardians team with an illustrated base that looks like the deck plating of a space ship. My OCD give thanks to the Supreme Intelligence that they did change this up, because I like my bases to match.

So, here’s the thing: Drax is an excellent figure… by anyone else’s standards. But, I collect Hot Toys to be blown away and Drax here doesn’t quiiiiite make it to that “blow me away” level. I still can’t say I’m disappointed in him. I needed to complete my MCU Guardians and I’m very happy that I no longer have a Drax-shaped hole on my shelf. And to be fair, he looks fantastic with the rest of the team. I just feel that there are several opportunities for improvement here. If he were a one-off standalone figure, I might come down a lot harder on him in the end. I will, however, unequivocally declare that at $220, the value just isn’t here. Sure, Hot Toys releases at or under $200 are getting almost non-existent these days, but here’s one that should have been.

On an administrative note, I am now officially FOUR waves behind in Marvel Legends. I have the Warlock and Mantis waves stacked in the corner, I’m piecing together the Sandman wave, and the Spider-Man: Homecoming wave is hitting stores now. I don’t know what I’ll be jumping into next Marvel Monday, but I’ve got to start coming up with a plan to get all caught up! 

Marvel Legends (Titus Wave): Nova, Vance Astro, and Titus by Hasbro

Since I detoured last week and I’m now officially three waves of Marvel Legends behind, I’ve decided to pack the next three weeks worth of Legends reviews into one sitting and knock out the rest of the Titus Wave today. I’ve got two packaged figures left and the Build-A-Figure, so in the interest of brevity I’m just going to throw out a few thoughts on each figure and otherwise let the pictures do the talking.

I really hate throwing multiple figures into one review, because it craps all over my tired and repetitious formula nuanced flow. Anyway, the packaging is all more or less the same, so I’m only showing off Nova in the box in order to keep today’s triathlon as brief as possible. Do you think they branded Nova big enough? Anybody going to miss that? No? Didn’t think so. Keep in mind, that this is Sam Alexander, as opposed to Richard Rider, who we got a few years back in the first Guardians of the Galaxy wave! Sam’s was a fun and pretty well received book, so I think this figure was probably high on a lot of people’s lists.

Nova is appropriately built on a smaller, teen buck and it makes all the difference in creating a distinctive new member of the Nova Corps for my display. There’s also a surprising amount of new sculpting on this figure. The gold boots are simply painted on, but you get new sculpting in the gauntlets and torso. The dark blue and gold deco of the Nova Corps is always a favorite of mine and I’m in love with the gold paint they used here. It’s very shiny and consistent. I also really dig the head sculpt, although the plastic used for that famous helmet looks a little rough in a few areas.

Nova’s articulation is pretty damn good, especially for a little guy. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders and hips, double hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps. The legs have ball jointed hips, double hinges in the knees, and swivels at the tops of the boots and again up in the thighs. The ankles have hinges and lateral rockers. The torso includes a waist swivel and an ab crunch, and the neck is both ball jointed and hinged. This is a great looking figure and does the character proud.

I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that Nova comes with a tiny Phlish figure. I really have to give Hasbro props for adding something like this, but seriously, what am I supposed to do with it? It just lies there waiting to be lost. Sorry, Phlish, but I’d much rather Nova just came with The Nullifier instead. Next up… Vance Astro!

I last encountered Major Victory in Fight for the Future, part of the double-sized Guardians 45th Anniversary issue. Wow, has it been three years already? Vance and his team of Guardians rescued Geena Drake from a slave camp. He made quite the entrance, with Cap’s coveted shield preceding him by at least a couple of panels. But ultimately it felt like a glorified a cameo. Why are we getting this figure now? Who cares, he’s a character with a far reaching pedigree and he’s pretty cool too!

Yes, he’s definitely the “budget saver” of this wave, as there’s zero original sculpting from the neck down. That said, his deco looks sharp, particularly that snazzy metallic blue. The paint lines are pretty clean and he has his little crest tampo’ed on the left of his chest. The head sculpt looks damn cool with that shiny blue finish. Articulation is your standard Legends fare, which I just recounted with Nova, so in interest of brevity I’m not going to run through it all again.

Appropriately enough, Vance comes with Cap’s shield, which is recycled from one of the countless versions of Legends Captain America that we’ve seen over the past few years alone. It has a red back and features the familiar wrist clip with a peg to store the shield on his back. My guess is that Vance isn’t going to be high on a lot of collectors’ lists, but I’m happy to have him. And that brings us to the BAF of the wave… Titus!

Like Vance, Titus may not have been high on a lot of people’s lists either, but unlike Vance, Titus is a pretty new character, and a short lived one at that. Or wait… didn’t he come back shortly after? Either way, none of that makes him any less welcome to me. No sir. Why? Because he’s a giant space tiger with a cyborg eye and a gun arm for Chrissakes! If you haven’t been keeping track, Titus is built with six parts scattered throughout this wave (Don’t forget, Star-Lord didn’t come with one!), making him a pretty standard BAF. As a former Special Ops of the Nova Corps, his buck features the very attractive dark blue and gold deco, but lacking the Nova symbol on his chest. He’s got a sculpted robot right arm, which looks very Colossus-y and leads into a massive four barrel instrument of death. His other arm is punctuated by a grasping tiger claw.

This head sculpt! I have to tell you, this is a thing of beauty. Besides all the great sculpted fur and that partially agape jaw, and those teeth, I think it’s the angry wrinkling in his nose that impresses me the most here. The cyborg eye is pretty cool too. When you set out to sculpt the portrait for an alien tiger cyborg, it’s pretty much guaranteed to have some personality, but Hasbro really went above and beyond here. I love it.

And articulation is what we’ve come to expect from most of the BAF figures. It’s actually quite similar to what we saw with Nova and Major Victory. The only real differences are single hinges in the elbows and Titus doesn’t have the extra swivel in the lower legs. Still, not bad at all for a big guy!

And that’s a wrap for the Titus Wave, another very solid assortment of figures and I really dig that Hasbro broke the Guardians Vol 2 wave into two so we could get more comic based characters. I haven’t decided yet whether I’ll be jumping into the Mantis or Warlock Waves next, but before I go with either of those, next Marvel Monday will be another Trifecta of Legends reviews (I promise, this isn’t going to be a regular thing) as I address some unfinished business with a fairly old wave of figures.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Ships and Figures by Hasbro

I can still remember seeing the first images for Hasbro’s Guardians of the Galaxy ships and thinking, “Holy crap, they’re going full Star Wars on this movie and it’s going to be so amazing!” Then the facts came out that the ships we were seeing were scaled for tiny little 2 1/2-inch figures and that threw a bucket of cold water on my celebration. I’m not sure why. To this day one of my favorite of the lesser 80’s toy lines is Kenner’s MASK, and those figures were right about at the 2 1/2″ scale. In the end, it didn’t matter because I had too many other things vying for my wallet to be able to start in on this line and even when it was swept away on clearance, I stayed away. Fast forward to a week or so ago and a friend of mine decided to get rid of his Guardians collection and I took it off his hands for the cost of shipping it to me. Hey, that’s what friends are for!

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And behold! I should note that this is not a complete set. It’s actually missing the Sakaaran Necrocraft and one of the figure packs. But it’s still a good chunk of it. It’s rare that I try to tackle most of an entire toy line in one Feature, let alone in bonus Saturday content, but the circumstances here just seemed to warrant it. Frankly, I’ve got too much else to look at without taking up half a dozen regular Feature slots with these toys. But, I’ll confess I had a whole lot of fun opening these up yesterday, putting them together and applying all the stickers. STICKERS! I LOVE ‘EM!!! It was kind of like Christmas in February. Anyeay, there’s a lot here to look at. I’m not going too terribly in depth. Let’s dive right in with the ships. We’ll start small with the Nova Corps Starblaster and work our way up.

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It’s almost too weird to wrap my head around the fact that I’m holding a toy of a Nova Corps spaceship. Wow! We comic book nerds live in wondrous times! I really enjoyed the ship designs in Guardians and the Nova Corps patrol ships are a great example of why. The shape and color scheme give it an insectoid vibe, like a wasp or hornet, and this is a pretty cool recreation of the ship we saw on the big screen. The eight wings are all textured and the main body of the ship also has a little bit of sculpted detail, but Hasbro didn’t go particularly wild on it. The ship includes an action feature that deploys all the wings in unison when you fold out any one of them.

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With the wings deployed, this is a fairly sizable toy, which leads me to believe they were on to something when they went with the 2 1/2-inch scale. The wing span would have been enormous on a proper 4-inch scaled ship. The wings include peg holes where you can attach a missile launcher and some weird translucent red weapon pieces. I’m not a fan of the extra parts, but at least they are optional and I can leave them in the box.

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The Patrol Ship comes with a Nova Corps Officer. I’ll deal with all the figures in a bit more detail at the end. The canopy on the ship opens up and there’s plenty of room to put the figure inside. There’s also a surprising amount of detail sculpted into the cockpit. Moving on to the Warbird…

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This is the Ravager ship that Rocket Raccoon was flying toward the end of the flick when defending Xandar against The Dark Aster and it’s another example of what I love about the ship designs from the film. It’s a bit unconventional, but evocative of a flying wing. While the detail was sparing on the Nova Corp ship, Hasbro went to town on this one. The sculpt features all sorts of panel lines and vents and machinery in the engines. It really looks damn good. The grey plastic has a bit of a sheen to it and the black and deep blue makes for a pleasing deco. The rest of the markings on the ship are achieved with stickers.

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The action feature on this one is a lot more subtle than the Nova ship. The top wings can be angled ever so slightly in an higher position. It’s really barely even noticeable. Of course, the cockpit also opens up and the included Rocket Raccoon figure can sit inside. Actually, he just kind of lays inside, since he’s a totally static figure. Again, there’s some nice sculpted detail in the cockpit. Yes, you also get a missile launcher and more of the translucent weapon parts to peg in around the ship if you want to. Next up… The Milano!

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Star-Lords ship is the biggest one in the line, although it’s obviously scaled quite a bit back from how big it really should be in relation to 2 1/2-inch figures. I’m cool with that, because if Hasbro hadn’t taken creative license with the size, it would have been massive. Like the Warbird, The Milano is loaded with sculpted panel lines and little details along the hull. The gray plastic is the same used on the Warbird and it looks great here, particularly with the blue and yellow deco. The extra color and markings come from the stickers. And yet again, you get a missile launcher and extra translucent weapons to peg on if you want.

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Two of the wings are articulated and can fold back or be positioned in line with the other wings. It’s not a big deal. You also get some electronics in the toy. It makes a few different attack sounds and the angled “T” on the nose of the ship lights up and flickers. The canopy opens and the cockpit can fit three figures. Again, it’s definitely scaled back, but I think it’s cool they made extra room for more than just one figure.

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Speaking of figures, they mostly come in two-packs, although the one with Rocket is a three-pack. What sucks about these is that Hasbro packed them in a way that if you’re going for a complete set of figures and ships, you can’t avoid getting doubles. Star-Lord comes with The Milano, but he also comes packed with Gamora. You want Groot? You’ve got to buy both Rocket and the Nova Officer, which come with the Warbird and Nova ship. On the brighter side, Drax comes with Korath, so no double dipping there, and while Ronan comes with Star-Lord again, it’s the long jacket version, so at least it’s not the same figure. Each of the figure packs come with one large missile launcher and a sprue of translucent weapons, all of which are goofy over-sized junk. At least the missile launchers, which are way too big for the figures can be mounted on the ships for extra firepower. On second thought, I suppose even the translucent ones can be added to the ships. The figures themselves are pretty rough. Their hands are oddly large to be able to hold the crappy accessories and all of them (except Rocket) have five points of articulation. Let’s run through them real quick…

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Star-Lord is ironically one of the worst. His head is hilarious and he won’t stand up unless you lean him forward. Gamora is passable for the scale, I guess. They did actually sort of get a little bit of the likeness in there.

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Drax and Korath are fairly decent, I guess. They actually got all of Drax’s tats painted onto him and Korath’s armor looks pretty cool for such a little figure.

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Groot looks surprisingly bad, considering he was the biggest figure they had to work with. Rocket is passable, although he’s obviously way out of scale, otherwise he would be too tiny. At least his tail makes it so he can stand.

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I’d say the Nova Corp Officers are the best. They’re colorful and the uniforms look pretty good. Also, it’s not so bad having a couple of these, since they can be seen as troop builders.

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In the end, I’ll say that I was surprised by how decent the ships are and not at all surprised by how forgettable the figures turned out. The line definitely pulls at some of my nostalgia strings. Maybe a little bit of MASK, but also a little bit of Mattel’s Battlestar Galactica ships from the 70’s that got pulled from the market because of missile choking syndrome. Apart from having Gamora and Drax to sit in my Milano with Star-Lord, I could have easily done without the separate packs of figures. Which makes me think that Hasbro should have just not bothered with the separate packs and just bundled all the figures with the ships. I haven’t decided whether or not I’m going to bother picking up the Necrocraft and the Ronan figure pack. I’m not as fond of the Sakaaran ship designs and I don’t really want to buy another Star-Lord just to get a tiny Ronan. I suppose this line was a valiant effort on Hasbro’s part and it’s just a shame that the market wouldn’t have supported a proper 3 3/4-inch line. A Millennium Falcon-sized Milano with a back that came off and doubled as a playset would have been amazing.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Rocket and Groot 1:6 Scale Figures by Hot Toys, Part 2

Yesterday I took a look at Hot Toys’ Rocket Raccoon and, as promised, today I’m back to look at his giant buddy Groot! We already checked out the packaging, so let’s just jump right in…

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Hoo boy, is this a big and weighty figure! Even with a bit of a hunch, he stands a full head and shoulders above your average human sized Hot Toys figure. That’s doubly impressive considering that every tiny spot of this figure is covered with sculpted bark. The look and texture of Groot’s skin is beyond realistic. When I touch it I fully expect to feel wood rather than plastic. And it’s not just the wood grain on his skin, but the vines and tendrils that wrap around his arms and legs and the little sprigs that randomly crop out form various places on his body. This is a sculpt fashioned with love. I have no doubt of that!

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The paintwork is also phenomenal. There are subtle shades of brown for the bark and green for the vines. I think my favorite thing about the paintwork, however, is the little hints of green around some of the bark pieces, which looks like moss growing on an overturned log. Simply stunning.

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The stock portrait is Groot’s regular stoic expression, which is a dead ringer for his big screen counterpart. Again, it shows that the wizards at HT are not only good with human likenesses, but can recreate just about anything in plastic. The painted eyes definitely have that spark of life and while I don’t like to throw the word around to often, this portrait just strikes me as perfect.

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The alternate portrait, which I believe is a Sideshow Exclusive, is his angry face, and boy you don’t want to get Groot angry. In this case, it’s not a complete head swap, but rather the front of the face comes off, sort of similar to the way Figuarts and Figma does it. If you’re going for an action pose on the shelf, this portrait really sells it.

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Articulation consists of a lot of really chunky and powerful rotating hinges. He also has a ball joint in the upper chest. While the smooth hinges are visible in the elbows and the backs of the knees, Hot Toys went a long way to try to conceal the rest. The hips, for example are shielded by some bark plates attached by hinged arms. I love the little touches like that!

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In addition to the extra portrait, Groot comes with some extra hands, of course! The figure has a pair of relaxed hands attached when he comes out of the box. The second pair are angry, grabby hands. You also get an extra right hand with translucent fingers to simulate him blooming those glowy spores. You also get an extra pair of wrists posts in case you snap one off. Good thing too, because I snapped one off. With nearly 20 Hot Toys figures on my shelves, that’s the first time I’ve ever had that happen to me.

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Groot comes with the same style stand as Rocket, which also matches the ones used for Gamora and Star-Lord. In this case the rod and waist clamp makes perfect sense to handle this tall and rather heavy figure. However, you also get a very clever connecting piece, which allows you to attach Rocket’s stand to Groots and pose the little guy riding on Groot’s shoulder.

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“Quit waving to the camera. Yer making us look like a bunch of idiots!”

If ever I needed a reminder that I collect Hot Toys figures as a form of art, Groot is the figure to do it. The sculpting, attention to detail, and overall craftsmanship on this piece really is awe inspiring. And while the $360 price tag here is no small thing, it’s hard for me to believe that the character could be done better justice in a more expensive statue. Indeed, the fact that Groot turned out so wonderfully allows me to push a little of the cost of this set into his column and away from Rocket. Hey, whatever I have to do to sleep at night, right? Don’t get me wrong, they’re both great figures, and I couldn’t imagine displaying one without the other, but Groot is without a doubt the star here. Hot Toys’ has been killing it with their Guardians lineup ever since Star-Lord first shipped and while I’m still a little disappointed we won’t see a Ronin or Nebula the Guardians themselves have been a welcome treat. And that just leaves the question: Where’s Drax? While the figure remains in licensing limbo, a new prototype was shown as recently as July and is currently pencilled in for a 2016 release. I feel pretty confident he’s coming, but for now nothing has been set in stone. Why would it be set in stone? Shut up, Drax, it was a metaphor.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Rocket and Groot 1:6 Scale Figures by Hot Toys, Part 1

With some new Hot Toys figures rolling in, it’s long past time that I get around to reviewing this pair of figures from Guardians of the Galaxy. Seriously, this pair has been on my shelf for so long that I forgot I never gave them the spotlight. So, in keeping with the theme of Marvel Monday, I thought I’d put off my return to the Legends Hobgoblin Wave just one more week in favor of these beauties. These figures were available separately or together in the bundle I’m looking at today. I’m going to kick things off with a look at the package and Rocket, and tomorrow I’ll swing back and look at his arboreal buddy, Groot.

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Holy hell, that’s a big box. I mean, I’ve yet to buy a Premium Format Statue, so everything is relative, but still. It’s big! It’s not quite as big as Hot Toys’ Hulk, but it’s no slouch either. It’s taller than a regular Hot Toys figure box and more than twice as wide. Surprisingly, everything comes laid out in a single tray and that includes both figures, two stands, an alternate head and hands for Groot, alternate hands and feet for Rocket, Rocket’s gun, and a pair of potted Baby Groots. The deco is designed to match the look of the Star-Lord and Gamora boxes, and that makes me happy because I actually save these packages and my OCD gets aggravated when things don’t match. The star-field and grid background still remind me of the kind of 80’s cheese you’d see on a VHS tape sleeve or PC game box. Hopefully that’s intentional. The character art of Rocket & Groot is fantastic. The only complaint I have about the packaging is that the box itself is made of pretty light cardboard stock and for a box this big, it tends to get shelf worn pretty easy.

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Rocket is a rather unconventional Hot Toys figure, what with him being so small and being a rodent. He features fully sculpted fur, which was a sticking point for me until I got him in hand and realized it was the right way to go. Doubly so since I’ve seen some rather dubious pictures of their flocked Chewbacca figure. Instead, there isn’t even the tiniest space on this figure that doesn’t feature some sculpted detail and that’s impressive. Rocket’s costume consists of his little orange jumpsuit, which is cloth and beautifully tailored. I imagine it’s hard enough to tailor 1:6 scale clothes, so I’m doubly impressed with all the little stitching on this smaller raccoon space suit. It’s also reinforced with all the plates, shoulder pads, and harness seen on the big screen outfit.

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The portrait features Rocket with a rather fierce look on his little face. I like it a lot as it shows some wonderful little sculpted teeth and I think it captures his personality quite well. Although considering his size, it seems like HT should have ponied up for an alternate head. It doesn’t feel absent in this two-pack, but certainly in the single boxed figure. The wire whiskers are a great touch and the glossy paint on his nose makes it look appropriately wet. Hot Toys is no stranger to producing life like eyes on humans, but it turns out they can do some mighty fine peepers on a raccoon as well, because these look great.

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The articulation feels more like a conventional action figure than a usual HT product, but that’s a given considering his size. I don’t usually go into detail on articulation with my HT figures, because the points are covered up and it’s not a sticking point with me on these figures. With Rocket, it’s pretty easy to see what’s there and he’s pretty much got rotating hinges all around and an extra ball joint at the base of his neck. The tail is a straight ball joint and it does have a habit of popping off when posing, but it just pops right back on again. The figure stands surprisingly well on his tiny little feet and appropriately enough, you can use the tail to counterbalance him.

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It wouldn’t be a Hot Toys figure without extra hands, would it? No exceptions for raccoons! Rocket comes with a pair of relaxed hands, a pair of adorable little fists, a pair of hands designed to work with his gun, and a pair of feet. The extra feet remind me of the “action feet” that Sideshow used to include with some of their 1:6 Scale GI JOE figures as a substitute for articulation in the middle of the foot. Options are nice, but I frankly have no need for these.

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Rocket comes with his trusty rifle, which is about as tall as he is. The attention to detail that HT put into this piece is almost ridiculous and in the few short years that the flick has been out, this weapon has become as iconic to me as anything in Star Wars. I should note that I found it extremely difficult to get Rocket’s gun-gripping hand around the grip and now that I have, I doubt I will ever take it off, even if I swap hands. Ah, but y’all know me and the fact that I don’t often use a lot of the extra hands and I can’t imagine ever wanting to display Rocket without his weapon.

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I might as well talk about the Potted Groots here, because I see them mostly as accessories for Rocket. The original solicitation for this set advertised a Potted Groot as the Sideshow Exclusive for this set, but it does indeed come with two. One is just the stalk with the head and the other has his arms out like he’s dancing. These are beautifully crafted little pieces and I always have one of them displayed on Rocket’s base, even though the big Groot is behind him.

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Speaking of bases, Rocket comes with the same style of figure stand that we saw with Star-Lord and Gamora. The only difference is rather than the crotch-cradle stand, Rocket features a transparent rod that plugs in and an adjustable gripping claw for the waist. This style of stand may seem like overkill for the little raccoon, but Hot Toys went this route for reasons that will be clear in tomorrow’s wrap up.

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I usually talk financials at the end of a Feature, but I’ll toss it in here because it pertains mostly to Rocket. As part of the $360 set, Rocket’s price seems palatable to me, because in my head, I’m figuring Groot could be a $260 figure, but the $160 HT is asking for Rocket alone seems outrageous. At that price, he should have come with a second portrait and possibly even the Hadron Enforcer to sweeten the pot. It’s not a question of quality or craftsmanship, because that’s certainly all there, but when I consider that some of my first full sized Hot Toys were around $160-170, I just can’t see where all the money went. Maybe it’s a moot point, because I can’t imagine too many people buying Rocket without Groot and like I said, in my mind the two-figure bundle seems more reasonable, at least as far as Hot Toys prices are concerned.

Tomorrow, I’ll be back to check out Groot!

Disney Infinitey 2.0: Guardians of the Galaxy

Yeah, it’s a little Sunday bonus feature this week as I’ve been on a bit of a Infinity 2.0 kick lately. With 3.0 Star Wars announced and on its way (I’m so excited!!!), I thought I better throw things into high gear and start opening and playing with the crapload of 2.0 figures that I’ve got around here. I’ve already looked at all The Avengers figures and I’ve played that Playset through at least once with each character. Now it’s time for The Guardians of the Galaxy!

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I don’t have in-package shots of everything, but there’s the Playset 2-pack that comes with Star-Lord and Gamora. The Playset piece is a clear plastic Milano and it unlocks the new game to play with any of the Guardians pieces. As always, playing through the game with different characters will unlock all sorts of new toys for the Toy Box and awards plenty of opportunities to earn heaps of blue sparkles so you can buy those toys. I can’t stress enough how much fun I’m having screwing around with the Toy Box.

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There’s the entire team… what a bunch of A-Holes! Rocket, Groot, and Drax are each sold individually and they are all playable in the game. The game itself takes place in Knowhere with missions being doled out by Cosmo and The Collector with Yondu as a supporting non-playable character and Ronan as the Boss. Knowhere is full of all sorts of classic video game tropes like moving platforms, rails, gun turrets and the like. It makes for a bit more interesting environment than The Avengers NY stage, but I did find the level design a bit confusing. There’s a little more 3D platformer-style puzzle solving in this Playset and this time around you’re fighting Sakaaran instead of Frost Giants and I found the diversity of enemies in this game a lot better than in The Avengers Playset. I got burned out on fighting Frost Giants a lot quicker than I did the baddies in this game. Eventually you do get to travel to The Dark Astor and fight your way to Ronan for the final battle. You can also collect Crossover Coins in the game to unlock Iron Man and Nova as crossover characters, providing you own the figures. Since none of the Guardians can fly, playing through this Playset as Iron Man or Nova gives you a brand new perspective and allows you to reach areas that were otherwise closed off to you.

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I’ve grown really fond of the style and execution of these little statues. I love my little set of Avengers and now I’m equally smitten with my cute little stylized Guardians. They’re plenty cute and yet still manage to convey all there is about the characters themselves. For stylized statues of this size some of them have some pretty great attention to detail. Star-Lord’s mask and guns, for example, are particularly well done. I also think Gamora is just adorable in this re-imagined Disney Princess look. I’ve seen some criticisms of the paint quality on the Infinity statues, but honestly, I haven’t had many issues and most of these I purchased online, sight unseen. Sure, some of the lines aren’t as sharp as they could be, but these are small inexpensive game pieces, not high grade collector items.

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The in-game versions of the characters all have their own thing going on. Naturally, Star-Lord is very shooty and he can hover a bit with his ankle jets. Gamora has both a sword and gun attack. Rocket is even more shooty then Star-Lord. Groot can punch into the ground and have his branches surface right under a distant enemy. And Drax is all a spinning deathtrap of deadly knives. They all have their little catch phrases appropriate to the characters to give them an extra dash of personality.

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I bought these back when one of the Big Box retailers was having a huge sale on them. The Playset pack was only $20 and the single pack figures were $9 each. There are two more Guardians figures available, Yondu and Ronan, and I’ll definitely be picking them up and featuring them here at some point. Neither are playable in the Guardians Playset, but as always, they can be used in the Toy Box. In the meantime, I’ve got to try to rip myself away from tinkering in the Toy Box so I can get started on playing the Spider-Man set through with all of those figures.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Gamora 1:6 Scale Figure by Hot Toys

The second release in Hot Toys’ Guardians of the Galaxy line is here and it is none other than Gamora! Man, do I have a thing for green girls! I’m guessing it started way back when I was an adolescent watching Star Trek. Factor in that GotG is currently one of my favorite movies of all time and it should be no surprise that I was beyond excited to get this lovely lady into my collection. While I’ll admit that the big screen version of Gamora lost a little bit of her hard edge from the comics, I still liked the treatment of the character and Zoe Saldana did a damn fine job bringing her to life. So far Hot Toys’ track record has been pretty good about releasing the Guardians figures on time. Both Star-Lord and Gamora made their original estimated window of release. Rocket and Groot, on the other hand have now been pushed back a month… twice. And what about Drax? Where the hell is he at? The pre-orders still haven’t dropped and I’m getting a little worried that the team may not be complete. Anyway, it’s worth noting that I’ve been sitting on Gamora for quite a few weeks now as I work my way through my backlog of other acquistions, so today’s Feature is long overdue. Let’s look at that packaging…

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If you like gaudy cheese then these Guardiaans packages will be right up your ally. I do’t hate them, but they do lack the reserved style and gravitas of some of the other recent Hot Toys releases. I’d like to think of it as intentionally designed to match the crass and retro charm of the movies’ anti-heroes, so let’s just go with that. The figure comes in a simple window box with a sleeve over it. There’s an illustration of Gamora on the front looking all sexy and badass, the Guardians logo on the top and a throwback 80’s grid pattern that still reminds me of something you might see on an old PC game box.

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The boxes are designed to match and have the characters’ name on the side panel set against a starfield. Star-Lord’s box was dark blue and Gamora’s is green. All in all, not bad. Gamora comes on a single tray with her stand and extra bits. You will have to do some careful cutting of plastic wrap on the hands and feet and head, but once you free her she’s all ready to go.

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And what a beauty she is! One of the coolest things about this figure is all the detail that I feel like I’m seeing in her costume for the first time. Yeah, I’ve seen Guardians half a dozen times in the cinema and probably another dozen times on Blu-Ray, but it’s a dark movie and it’s tough to pick out a lot of those details. I’m particularly talking about the metallic blue scribbles running from her shoulders all the way down to her boots. These highlights show up beautifully on the figure and really make the outfit pop. The mesh front also looks great and gives offers more than a hint of cleavage and a peek at her bellly button.

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Gomora’s belt featues various silver painted fixtures and a “holster” to hold her collapsed sword. I know, sheathes and scabbards hold edged weapons, but neither of those terms really apply to this thing, so I’m going with holster. She also has sculpted plastic bands tied around her right thigh and a strap across her left thigh. The boots are a rather distinctive design with cut outs in the heels and some cool texturing on the fronts. The super tight pants can be a little restrictive to hip articulation and the boots don’t offer a lot in the way of ankle articulation. Of course, that’s often par for the course with Hot Toys’ figures. I’d wager that I could get a little more movement out of her legs if I tried, but at the same time I don’t want to risk pulling the stitching.

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The arms are fully enclosed with that rubbery skin we’ve seen before. I only own one other HT release with this on it and that’s their Resident Evil Ada Wong, who actually has it on both her arms and legs. I like it a lot, but it does make me a little more leary about posing the figure. I’ve seen a couple horror stories about the inner mechanisms tearing through Gamora’s arms, and I can just barely make out a bump, probably from the joint, under the skin in her left bicep that might be the problem. The instructions are very specific about what you can and can’t do with them, and I feel like as long as I support the bicep with one hand when articulating with the other, things are going to be OK.

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And that brings us to the portrait, which is pretty spectacular. It’s a dead ringer for Zoe in the makeup and the detail is all there right down to those thin silver patterns and scars on her cheeks. This is one of those HT portraits that, with the right lighting and a photographer far better than myself, could easily be made to look like the real thing. The rooted hair, which is often a matter of contention for collectors looks pretty good right out of the box. It helps that Gamora’s hair just falls free and is a little wild, so styling isn’t necessary. I do like how it can be swept to one side or the other and it’ll sort of stay there for a wind blown look. The metallic red highlights are also a nice touch.

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One place that Gamora comes up short is in the accessories. This is a Hot Toys figure, so you know you’re going to get extra hands, and while I’m not someone who gets a lot of use out of a passel of extra mitts it at least adds value to the figure. In this case, however, you only get a total of three pairs, and by HT standards, that’s not a lot. The figure comes with the relaxed hands attached and the tray has a pair of fists and a pair of weapon holding hands. That having been said, the hands do look great and come complete with the sculpted and painted rings on her fingers and painted fingernails. The sculpted wraps around her forearms do a nice job of concealing the wrist joints and enforcing the illusion that the entire figure is covered with “skin.”

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She also comes with two versions of her sword, one collapsed and one extended. It looks very nice, but the extended one feels super delicate because by design it’s a very thin blade with a forked tip. Here’s an instance where a little diecast would have probably helped. Considering the cost of the figure, if you’re only going to put a couple accessories in the package, you might as well go all out.

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And finally you get her stand, which is the same one that came with Star-Lord only with a new nameplate. I like the bases on these a lot. They’re roomier than the regular Hot Toys stands and feature a graphic to simulate the deck of a spaceship. They’re going to look really sharp when displayed together with the entire team.

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Gamora is a great figure, but she’s also an extremely basic one. Action figures are, afterall beholden to the character designs they are based on, and there isn’t a whole lot to Gamora to make her compex. Mores specifically, she doesn’t have a lot of gear. She has just the one signature weapon, and so while some may find her wanting on the accessories and extras, especially when compared to Star-Lord, the truth is she still feels complete to me. Value, on the other hand, is a different matter entirely. Gamora does slip in at just under $200, a rare thing for Hot Toys these days, but when you consider how light she is on the extras, it doesn’t feel like such a great deal. One might argue that the rubber skin on the arms adds cost, but then my Ada Wong figure has the same on both her arms and legs, came with a crap-ton of weapons and extras, and she shipped at the same price. In the end I’m sure some of it comes down to the likeness and licensing fees, but I’m sure a bigger part of it is Hot Toys knowing they can goose collectors for a high demand item. For me, it was still worth the money to have such a fantastic representation of the character on my shelf, but it’s going to be hard for me to keep collecting HT with any gusto if prices continue to climb. And I’m really starting to feel the pinch in the wallet.

Currently, Rocket and Groot are still on schedule for release next month. After two delays, we’ll see if that finally sticks. In the meantime, I’m going to try to revisit Hot Toys next week with a look at STRIKE Suit Captain America from The Winter Soldier.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Star-Lord 1:6 Scale Figure by Hot Toys

I make it no secret that I am an unabashed Marvel Movie-verse whore. But don’t hate me for it because it could have easily gone the other way if it weren’t for the irrepressible charm of these films. They’re fun movies that capture everything there is about the joy of comic books for me and I have a great time watching them over and over again. In fact, the Marvel flicks are really some of the only Blu-Ray’s that I bother to buy and own anymore. Guardians of the Galaxy, however, goes even one step further. It sits up there shoulder to shoulder with my favorite classic movies of the 80’s. Yup, even those timeless films that have 30-some years of nostalgia fueling my love for them. It’s delightfully goofy and crazy and sometimes corny, but more than anything else it has heart and soul. Was there ever any doubt that I was going all in on Hot Toys’ GotG line? Despite what my checking account might have hoped: No, there really wasn’t. Peter Quill is the first figure in this line to be released, and while Rocket and Groot have already been delayed, Star-Lord is one of the few Hot Toys figures in a while that seems to have shown up right on time.

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The box design is totally out there and very unlike anything I’ve seen in my rather modest few years as a Hot Toys collector. You get a colorful action shot of Star-Lord on the front with an 80’s style grid on the bottom and some really cheesy looking effects. It feels more like the box art for a late 80’s PC Game than an expensive collectible figure. I’d like to presume that Hot Toys went this route to intentionally bank on the film’s goofball nature, but I’m not really sure. It certainly looks quite jarring next to the classy and reserved presentation of their other Marvel figures, but I can’t say I hate it. Hot Toys also seems to have cut back on the box itself. Instead of the old shoe-box style with illustrated insert, this is just a sleeve around a window box. Some may take issue, but I just keep the boxes for accessory storage, so I’m not terribly upset by it. Oh yeah, the box also has the “Sideshow Exclusive” foil sticker on the front and in this case that amounts to an extra accessory.

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Once I had carefully cut away some of the plastic wrap, Star-Lord came out of the box and was ready for action. His jacket and gun belt are already on and he’s sporting his unmasked head. I’m used to having to fuss with my newly opened Hot Toys figures, but in this case it’s impressive how everything looks so good right out of the box. The t-shirt fits well and the pants have some really nicely stitched detail work, but it’s the coat (RAVENGER GARB!) that is truly the star of this A-Hole’s outfit. There are so many little brass buttons and hooks and embossed patterns littered over the leather-like surface that it only takes one look to know that Hot Toys put some love into this coat, but a lot more intensive study to truly appreciate it. The coat even has a working zipper should you like to go that route. It’s nice to have options, but I dig the look of the open coat so much, I doubt I’ll ever bother with zipping it. And quite frankly, I have bad luck with 1:1 scale zippers, I don’t want to turn myself loose on a 1:6 scale zipper on a $230 collectible figure. The armor pieces are present on his left arm and shoulder, and the bottom of the coat is frayed and tattered and even shows places where Quill has made crude repairs. Speaking of repairs, I should note that while handling the figure one of the dozens of buttons on my figure’s jacket popped off. By some miracle I managed to find the tiny thing and glue it back on, easy-peasy, but it’s certainly something to look out for. Hot Toys actually included extra buttons with Winter Soldier’s tunic, but that isn’t the case here, so be mindful of your buttons! Some could fall off and never be missed, but others could be pretty conspicuous.

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The belt is removable and features two open-style holsters, which velcro onto the pants. The guns fit the holsters really well and don’t fall out like that one gun on my Winter Soldier figure. Have I mentioned before how much I love these open-style snap on holsters? Yeah, I’m sure I have. The jacket flaps are billowy enough so that the relatively bulky guns can both be holstered under the coat without looking too obvious, although I’m not sure it would be easy to zip up the jacket with the guns attached. And yes, he also has his thruster jets attached to his boots and the controls for them attached to his pants.

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Before getting to the rest of the accessories, let’s talk portrait. I’m really perplexed by the number of people who are on the fence over the likeness here. I will confess the head sculpt looks loads better in person. Most pictures I take give him a bit of a pinhead thing going on, which I attribute mostly to the hair sculpt, but either way it is not at all the case with the figure in hand. The paintwork on the skin and facial hair is exceptional and the eyes look as lifelike as always. I wouldn’t go so far as to say this is one of Hot Toys’ best likenesses, but I do think it’s pretty spot on. I was prepared to use the masked head as a display default if I was unhappy with the likeness, but I honestly think I may go with the Chris Pratt head most of the time. I really do dig it that much.

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And that’s saying a lot, because the masked head is extremely cool, despite being an absolute bitch to get on. It feels like the ball joint is just a tad too big for the socket and if there’s one thing I love, it’s having to apply a lot of force to my delicate and expensive collectibles. It was the same story with Winter Soldier’s alternate head. Anyway, the back panel on the helmet lifts off and there’s an On/Off switch to activate the lights in the eyes and damn this thing looks great with the eyes lit up. The sculpt is gorgeous and there’s some great weathering from the paintwork. Either way, this is definitely a figure that I’ll be swapping the head on quite a bit.

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Moving on to the accessories… Star-Lord does not come with a huge helping of hands like most Hot Toys releases and that’s fine by me, because as many of you know, I’m not big on swapping out hands. In this case you get a pair of fists (which come on the figure in the box), a pair of gun holding hands, and an extra hand designed to hold The Orb or the Walkman. You also get an extra set of posts in case you snap one.

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Star-Lord’s man purse is a nice piece of work. The shoulder strap goes over the figure’s head and under the left arm. The instructions recommend popping the head to do this, but I didn’t find it necessary. Once slung on the right shoulder, you just snap the second strap around the figure’s right side. The strap running under the figure’s left arm has a tendency to twist, but otherwise the satchel looks great on him. You can even unzip it and put The Orb inside. Right now, I have mine just slung on his left shoulder and I think it looks pretty great.

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Next up, Star-Lord comes with his pair of distinctive pistols. These are plastic, static pieces with a great amount of detail, both in paint and sculpt. The checker pattern on the grips is recreated beautifully, as are the little copper pieces and the blueish burns around the barrels, presumeably from being fired. There are also all sorts of little scrapes and weathering to make them look well worn. The guns fit the appropriate hands comfortably and the trigger fingers can be tucked into the trigger guards.

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Of course, you couldn’t do a movie Star-Lord figure and not include his Walkman. In this case, however, that’s sort of what happened. Yes, you get an 80’s style portable cassette player, but no, it’s obviously been altered so as not to look exactly like a Sony Walkman. I’m guessing there were copyright issues? Maybe? The player itself looks pretty close, but the headphones are totally off. I can kind of appreciate this since as a kid I always wanted a legit Sony Walkman, but always had to settle for knock-offs. Anyway, the biggest discrepencies here are the fact that you don’t get the orange foam ear pieces and the wire only runs to one side. Still, it looks great on him and the cassette inside does actually read “Awesome Mix Vol. 1.” All in all, it’s close enough and a fun accessory, but if a third-party were to cook up a more accurate version, I might be tempted to go for it.

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Two accessories I doubt I’ll get much use out of are the set of wrist manacles and the light orb. The manacles feel like a cheap toss-in accessory. There’s not a whole lot of detail there and the cuffs are almost large enough to put on without taking the fists off. The light orb is such a forgettable little trinket that when I was done shooting I realized that I didn’t even bother with it at all. Sorry! I think I would have rather had a rubber alien rat for him to sing into than either of these pieces. But, hey, it’s hard to gripe over extra accessories.

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Finally, the Sideshow Exclusive includes the Infinity Stone Orb. Sideshow did a similar thing with Dark World Loki, by including the Aether (another Infinity Stone) as the exclusive for that figure. It seems like a low blow in this case, since The Orb was so central to the film. I’m not one to bother much with exclusives, but in this case it was enough to make sure I went with Sideshow to get it. I wouldn’t miss The Aether from Dark World, but somehow I couldn’t imagine Star-Lord without The Orb. Hell, even the Hasbro Legends figure came with it. Still, in the end, it’s just a sculpted little silver ball.

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Of course, every Hot Toys figure comes with a stand and in this case, they have cast off the standard oval black stand that we’ve been seeing with most of the Marvel figures for something a little more movie specific. The larger seven-sided base is surfaced to look like the deck plating of a spaceship with an angled nameplate in front with Star-Lord’s name and the title of the flick. One of those bendy flight style stands would have been cool, but I like this one a lot. It feels a little more premium than what we’re used to getting and I like that all the figures from this film are going to have matching stands.

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Holy hell, this is a great figure! Star-Lord may be my favorite Hot Toys figure on my shelf right now, or at the very least tied with RoboCop as my favorite. Sure, it helps that I absolutely adore this move and I thought Chris Pratt did an excellent job in the role, but that’s not to steal any of Hot Toys thunder because they certainly did an excellent job on the figure. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve watched the movie so many times, but I already feel like everything about Peter Quill’s look (his mask, his jacket, his satchel, his pistols) is already iconic and all of that is recreated wonderfully with this release. I still stand behind the likeness, but for those who don’t the masked head is an absolutely bitchin’ alternative. As for price, Star-Lord set me back $230. It’s a lot of money for a figure, but Hot Toys has made no bones about the fact that their prices are going up and up and up with no end in sight. On the other hand, when I compare it to the $220 I spent on Dark World Loki, Star-Lord feels like a bargain. Yeah, that’s a warped way of looking at it, but it helps me sleep at night. As I already mentioned, Rocket and Groot have been pushed back until the Summer, but as of now Gamora is still on schedule to ship next month. Here’s hoping she makes it on time.

Guardians of the Galaxy Legends: Nova by Hasbro

Well, it took me long enough, but I’m finally getting to the last figure in the Marvel Legends GotG Wave: Nova. Wait, didn’t I already look at this figure? Oh, right that was the Marvel Universe version. Yes, I continue to find it odd just how many characters Hasbro is releasing in both the 6-inch and 3 ¾-inch formats and how close together these releases are. It’s possible to wander down a toy aisle right now and find a Marvel Universe Red She-Hulk hanging next to a Legends She-Hulk on Clearance. At the same time, you could probably find a Marvel Universe Nova on clearance beside this Legends version. It’s been going on ever since Marvel Legends came back and I think it’s a bit weird, but that doesn’t stop me from buying the same character in both formats. As I start moving into featuring the Marvel Infinite figures we’ll see a lot more of this curious phenomenon.

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Here’s the packaging and we’ve seen it enough times now to give it a quick look and move on. With no accessories apart from one of Groot’s spindly limbs, the package looks a little light inside, but we’ll try not to hold it against him. Nova’s been getting a lot of attention lately and I think that’s a good thing. Will Richard Rider actually appear in the GotG movie? Well the rumor that Nathon Fillion is playing him has been quashed, so the answer to that question remains to be seen. At this point it’s probably safe to chalk this figure up as a comic tie-in much like the Iron Man figure we looked at last time, although it’s not the current Marvel NOW! look of the character and it’s also not what the Nova Corps will be wearing in the movie.

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Laying aside the context of the outfit, I think this Nova is a really great looking figure. The design of the suit is identical to the one featured in the Marvel Universe version, however, Hasbro makes use of every advantage of the larger scale. The biggest improvement is in the gold armor bits. The spires on his legs and arms aren’t all floppy like on the smaller figure and that’s a huge plus. Hasbro also went all out and put the shoulder armor on hinged arms so that it doesn’t interfere with the arm articulation. It’s the same concept they tried with the GotG Iron Man figure, only it works much better here and they don’t pop off when posing him.

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The sculpt here is pretty involved and features all sorts of panel lining on the suit itself, particularly in the torso. Everything that’s painted is also part of the actual sculpt and that always goes a long way to add to the figure’s credibility. The head features a very pronounced starburst stuck on to the front, which looks good, and I can’t help but get a strong Judge Dredd vibe from the exposed portion of Rider’s face.

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The coloring on this figure is quite striking. The combination of sparkly blue plastic used for the bulk of the costume and the metallic gold on the armor is extremely effective. I’m not quite as keen on the bare gold plastic used for the belt and the helmet. I think they should have been painted to match the rest of the armor, but I can live with the difference.

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Nova sports most of the articulation that I’ve come to expect and love in this line. The arms are ball jointed at the shoulders, double hinged at the elbows, hinged at the wrists, and there are swivels in the biceps. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, double hinged at the knees, and have swivels in the thighs. The ankles feature both hinges and lateral rockers. The torso can swivel at the waist and has a ratcheting ab-crunch, and the neck is both ball jointed and hinged. All the joints on this figure feel good and he’s lots of fun to pose.

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Nova is a very welcome addition to my Legends shelf. The only really bad thing about him is that he exposes all the problems with his smaller Universe version. But unlike the Iron Man figure, I would have still happily picked up Nova even if he didn’t come with a part that I needed to build Groot. Overall, I’d say this was my favorite wave of Legends in a while, but I think that has more to do with how excited I am for the movie. Like the Winter Soldier wave, it still had its ups and downs, and I’m still hoping in vain that we might get a second wave with Nebula and Ronin and a movie version Nova Corps. I’m tempted to say they could have given us those characters with swap out variants, but then I’m still hunting for an AIM and Hydra soldier at a good price. That whole variant concept has done more harm than good and I’d like to see the end of it. Anyway, now that I’m pretty much caught up on my Legends, I’m going to start digging into the new Marvel Universe Infinite line, and I’ll start doing that at the end of the week!