Transformers Titans Return: Chasm and Quake by Hasbro

It’s Transformers Thursday again, and I’m continuing to work my way through the most recent wave of Deluxe Class Titans Return figures, and if you’re keeping score at home, I’m really enjoying this line a lot. Hell, in the last two weeks, I’ve opened some fabulous modern updates to Perceptor and Topspin and here we are today with an update to the G1 Targetmaster, Quake. No, he’s not a Targetmaster any more, but c’mon… It’s Quake! Quake’s back! Quake was one of the few G1 Headmasters that I actually owned. I’m excited!

Aaaand… he’s a repaint of Hardhead! Huh, well look at that. Yup, the repaints have been creeping into Titans Return little by little and Quake is actually one of two repainted figures in this wave. At least the repaint mania hasn’t reached the depths of Combiner Wars yet, where Hasbro practically pounded each mold into dust trying to sell it again and again. Suffice it to say, my excitement is tempered a bit, but I’m going to go ahead and pour a little extra golden, fortifying Jameson into my glass, check him out and see if he works. As usual, let’s start with his alt mode…

Well, I certainly do have some mixed feelings about the alt mode. On the one hand, Hardhead is a pretty distinctive tank design and this mold nailed it perfectly. As a result, when you repaint it, it’s going to be very obvious who it was originally intended to be. It’s tough, if not impossible to look at this guy and not see a Hardhead repaint. It doesn’t help that this is one of the few Deluxe Titans Return molds without ways to customize the weapons load out. Being able to mount the gun differently would have helped. And, of course, the original G1 Quake was a pretty conventional looking Earth tank, so this isn’t even close. But I’m happy to go with this as what he might have looked like before he got to Earth and scanned one of the local tanks.

With that having been said, this is still a great little futuristic tank design with plenty of sculpted detail, and I think the Quake deco looks phenomenal on it. The brownish-red, blue and gray go great together and those Decepticon insignia with the lightning bolts behind them really helps to sell the homage. Maybe this design is standard for tanks on Cybertron. Maybe Quake and Hardhead got onto the same line when they were handing out alt modes. Who knows? They’re toys, and I don’t need to overthink them. Especially when I’m being made agreeable by delicious booze.

If this little repaintpalooza hasn’t fully angered you yet, you should know that Quake’s little Titan Master buddy, Chasm, is very nearly a direct repaint of Hardhead’s Furos, but obviously with a different face sculpt attached to his back. This is one of the better, more detailed head robot molds and it looks pretty good in the new colors. I can’t tell if the their little heads are the same or not. Chasm’s face looks more angular to me, but it could just be an illusion from the lack of paint and the different color plastic. Either way, he can still sit in the cockpit of the tank, and the back of the cannon will also open up to give him a gunner chair. You also get a bunch of tiny foot pegs to load up more Titan Masters if you want. On to the robot mode…

As expected, the robot mode holds no surprises either. No remolded bits. It’s just a repainted Hardhead. Still, it’s amazing how a little paint can change up a figure and I’ll be honest, this is working for me. Once again, the paint scheme looks great, and Hasbro even managed to get the lightning bolt emblems visible on the front of his shoulders. I don’t remember that being the case on the original figure. This was a great looking figure when it was first released, and it still is.

Unlike the alt mode, Quake’s robot mode lets you mix things up a bit to make him look a little different than Hardhead. I’ve opted to leave the cannon pointing straight up. Yeah, it’s not much of a difference, but every little bit helps, and you can still angle it forward for when he needs that extra firepower. You also have the option to just remove the cannon altogether. An extra peg port on the arm would have been cool to attach it there, but nope.

At least the head sculpt is new and it’s pretty fantastic. I really dig the detail in the “helmet” and the yellow face and red eyes are perfectly painted. I’d say this is a perfect update to the original figure’s noggin.

Quake comes with the exact same gun as Hardhead, only this time it’s cast in gray plastic. It’s a cool gun. I got nothing else to say.

Quake repainted from Hardhead is going to work for some and for others, not so much. Would I rather have had a brand new mold? Of course, but we all know how the game works and Hasbro needs to get enough scratch out of their molds to make more. If these were more costly Voyager Class figures, I might have had a different and more critical opinion, but in this class assortment, I’m fine with what Hasbro did here. Quake doesn’t feel like a quick-and-dirty cash grab to me. He’s no Breakaway. Maybe it’s just me being made amiable by the whiskeys, but Quake genuinely looks like some care and love went into him and when all is said and done I like him.


Marvel Legends (Mantis Wave): Rocket Raccoon and Groot by Hasbro

Back again? Ready for a second helping of Marvel Monday? That’s what I like to hear!  Earlier today, I looked at Star-Lord from the Marvel Legends Mantis Wave and tonight I’m checking out Rocket Raccoon and Baby Groot! So, “Come a little bit closer,”and let’s kick this off…

First off, let’s deal with the obvious: Even with Mantis’ torso in there, this tray feels light.  On paper, it seems like there’s an awful lot of stuff in there, what with two figures, two weapons, an alternate head, and a BAF part, but when I’m looking at this much empty space in the package and a twenty dollar price tag, I have to think there was something else Hasbro could have crammed in there. Last time around, Rocket came with his rather large rifle, the extremely large Hadron Enforcer, and an even larger BAF Groot torso and head. I’m not sure what else Hasbro could have packed into this one (maybe the bomb with the death button?), but my first impressions are still that this package needed something more. That having been said, Rocket is an entirely new figure, but I’m still going to start off with a quick comparison shot of him beside the Rocket from the first movie.

Wow… what a difference a couple of years makes, eh? The new rocket is a little smaller, but this time Hasbro went all out and gave him full articulation. That’s crazy impressive for such a small figure. With rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, knees, and tail; ball joints in the hips, torso, and neck, and swivel cuts in the thighs, wrists, and ankles, this little trash panda has almost as much articulation as a regular sized Legends figure. I’m extremely impressed… you did good here, Hasbro!

Equally impressive is the new sculpt. I’d say the sculpted hair is about on par with the last Rocket, but the proportions on this figure look so much better to me, particularly around the neck, which isn’t so awkwardly thick. I’m still partial to Rocket’s orange jumpsuit, but this new blue outfit offers a little more room to shine when it comes to the sculpted detail and the paintwork is crisp and clean. Again, very impressive for such a tiny figure.

You get two heads, one neutral and one yelling. Both are excellent sculpts, but I’m a little partial to the open mouth one. The paintwork is really good, but it does have a weird halftone newsprint quality to it. It’s really only noticeable to me when I get in close with the camera. The yelling head has Rocket a little wall-eyed, but again, it’s tough to really notice under normal scrutiny.

Rocket comes with two different pistols, which are very detailed sculpts for such tiny pieces. They’re painted silver with a black wash that makes them look well used. They fit perfectly into his tiny little rodent hands. These aren’t as impressive as his rifle from the first movie, but they look great.

The other figure in the box is Baby Groot, and he’s more of an accessory than an actual figure. He’s a totally static piece, depicting him in his Ravager jumpsuit. It’s a solid effort for what it is, although mine is a googly eyed little bastard. I think it would have been cool if Hasbro had sculpted him to sit on Rocket’s shoulder, but he’s still a welcome addition to the package. He can also stand on his own surprisingly well.

Everything about Rocket makes him an impressive little figure and really shows the huge improvements that Hasbro can make over the course of just a couple of years. I’m still tempted to pick at the value here, because $20 is the going price of this set and there just isn’t a lot of plastic here. If it weren’t for all the added articulation to Rocket, I’d make that more of an issue, but truth be told, I’m fine with it. In the end, it’s not about what’s missing from the package, but what’s in it, and I think Hasbro went all out on this little guy.

Marvel Legends (Mantis Wave): Star-Lord by Hasbro

It’s another double-feature Marvel Monday today, folks, as I try to climb my way out of the pile of backlogged waves of Marvel Legends that are taunting me from the corner. Today I’m dipping into the MCU figures of the wave with a look at Star-Lord this morning, and Rocket & Groot later this afternoon. Let’s shang-a-lang this…

Heeeey, you can’t fool me. We just looked at a Guardians Vol. 2 Star-Lord in the last wave… What gives, Hasbro? Yes, this is a second version of Peter Quill, this time with the longer coat and scarf. To be clear, this is Star-Lord and not in any way The Fourth Doctor! Understandably, a lot of this figure reuses parts from the last release, so this review should go pretty quickly! Let’s start off with a direct comparison to the release from the last wave with a pair of Pratts.

OK, so the underlying buck is the same, but the arms are new to make up the sleeves of the new coat and also to include a pair of sculpted finger-less gloves on the hands. This new Star-Lord looks a little taller, but I think that’s just because the coat sits a little higher on the shoulders and the head may fit a little higher on the ball joint. Since the bucks are mostly the same, the articulation here is identical. so feel free to duck back and check out the articulation rundown for the Titus Wave figure.

The new coat is very nice. While it invokes his look throughout most of the first movie, the garment was redesigned for Vol. 2 and that makes it a lot different than the one on the figure from the first film. It’s not worn and tattered, and it doesn’t have all the armor bits attached to it. The sculpt is a little on the soft side, but there are still some nice details here. I particularly like the reinforced area around the shoulders, and all the seams are present. This is definitely my preferred look for the character. I’m sure the shorter jacket would be preferable in a fight, as it’s not as cumbersome, but this look has more of a swashbuckling and adventurous flavor.

The scarf is removable and simply hangs around his neck. It looks good, but it does obscure the printing on his shirt. While we’re on the subject, the shirt features the same printing we saw on the previous figure, but the shirt itself has been repainted to be a much lighter color. Did he have two colors of the same shirt in the film? I can’t remember. To be honest, I’ve seen the film three times, and I don’t even remember him wearing the scarf. It’s tough to see with the longer coat, but he still has the thigh pegs to hold his guns. Also, in the above shot, you should be able to make out the Walkman accessory that he comes with. It can tab right into his belt, and the previous Star-Lord release has the same tab, so you can use it on either figure. It’s a pretty lame accessory, though, as there are no headphones and no paint.

The new and expressive portrait features a slight smirk. It’s solid enough, but I don’t think it’s as good as the likeness we got on the last figure. The sculpt is fine, but I think the paint might not be quite so on point this time around. I’ll admit, I’m really nit-picking. Besides, the heads are interchangeable, so you can mix and match as you like. It’s certainly worth noting that this version of Star-Lord does not include the masked head, so if you want that look, you’re going to need both figures.

Last up, we have the guns, and these are the same sculpts as last time but with some variation in paint. The silver paint from the last release has been updated to a darker gray. I’m not sure why Hasbro did this, as they’re obviously supposed to be the same guns, but it’s not something that really bothers me.

This second Star-Lord is a fine figure. I do like the longer coat look better, but if pressed, I ‘d have to say that the release from the last wave is my favorite of the two. I know some people are pissed that Hasbro double-dipped on the character between the waves, and that feeling is probably aggravated by the fact that this time around you do have to buy him if you want all the BAF parts. That having been said, I like the idea of having both with inter-changeable heads. It gives you a number of display options. In the end, I’ll probably display this one with the masked head from the previous release and cast the smirking head into the Tote of Forgotten Accessories!

Transformers Titans Return: Freezeout and Topspin by Hasbro

It’s been a long while since I’ve had the opportunity to gas on about how much I love the G1 Jumpstarters toys. So many of my friends hated them, but I could never understand why. They had, what I always considered to be, Cybertronian alt modes, they’re robot modes actually looked like designs right out of the Sunbow cartoon, and they transformed instantly, making them loads of fun to play with. And oh boy, did I play with mine. They were in every battle. Particularly Topspin, just because I liked his alt mode a little more. What’s that? They were bricks? Yeah, so were a lot of G1 Transformers. That never stopped me from having fun with them.

Needless to say, I’ve been looking forward to this review ever since I saw Hasbro’s first promo shot signaling Topspin’s return to the toy aisle via the Titans Return line! It actually surprised me that it took this long to get us an updated Topspin, especially since the character was so high profile in the much beloved Wreckers comics. Indeed, the character even got the third-party treatment quite a few years back from Mech Ideas. Could Hasbro possibly churn out a better figure at about half the price? Let’s find out… but I’ll save the comparison for the end.

So, Topspin’s alt mode is a Cybertronian jet, which definitely pays homage to the original toy, but brings some new stuff to the table as well. Now, I always thought that the two pylons coming off the front were both cockpits, kind of like Slugslinger. Whether or not that was ever intended, this new version gives Topspin a proper single cockpit right in the middle of the jet, making those two pylons just twin nosecones of some sort. I’m strangely OK with that. Everything else is more or less right on target. The stubby wings are pushed up from the back a bit, and they have a nice little angle to them. I’m also pleased to say that this update hides the robot arms a lot better than G1 Topspin. The hunched back features a pair of intakes behind the cockpit, and Topspin wears his folding landing gear in full view, right between the nosecones. I really dig this alt mode a lot, and I can really picture him dogfighting with Triggerhappy over the metallic landscapes of Cybertron.

Oh, and will you just look at the thrusters on this guy! These are some proper Space 1999 Eagle kind of rocket boosters. Fantastic!

The coloring is very much on point. You get the very familiar blue and off-white plastics for the body. The cockpit canopy is cast in translucent blue plastic with some paint that matches the body very well. The intakes are gold framed in black and there’s some of absolutely gorgeous silver paint on the pylons and guns. The wings also have some silver with red striping to mimic the stickers on the original toy. There are a few different configurations for the guns. My favorite is the stock, under the wing, configuration. My only gripe here is that the hollow portions are exposed from the top. I wish those were filled in. Ah, well!

Topspin’s little Titan Master is Freezeout and as far as these little guy’s go, he’s about as typical and nondescript as you can get. He shares the same blue and white plastic as Topspin, features no paint hits at all, and has a big screw in his chest. And, of course, he can sit inside Topspin’s cockpit and pilot his bigger half. You also get some tiny foot pegs on the wings, in case you want to load Topspin up with more little bots. Unlike the original toy, Topspin obviously doesn’t just flip into his robot mode. Nevertheless, the transformation is still pretty simple and features a few clever little moves.

And the result ain’t too shabby! Topspin gains a less squat and overall better proportioned upgrade and fits in beautifully with his fellow Titans Return Deluxes. He even keeps the original’s same silhouette by wearing his wings on his shoulders. There are some really solid callbacks to the original toy here as well, particularly in the panel lining on his chest, the lower position of the Autobot emblem, and even the blue hinges down near his robo-groin. I especially love how they took the intake sticker designs from the original toy’s knees and turned them into the fully realized intakes that you see in his jet mode. Likewise, you get painted panels on his shoulders and striping on his wing shoulders to match the G1 stickers. If I could change one thing, I probably would have had the spot on his right chest painted in to look like the catch on the original toy. Then again, I could probably do that with a Sharpie myself.

From the back, things are pretty interesting. The twin nosecones and cockpit canopy fold in to form his back in a sort of criss-crossing diagonal configuration. These pieces don’t really lock into place, but they hold there really well. As a result, Topspin looks really nicely filled out from the back. It would have been nice if the hinges in the wings allowed them to fold all the way back. Yes, that would spoil a big part of the G1 design homage, but sometimes they can be a bit cumbersome jutting out like that.

Freezeout forms a very respectable head that follows through on the homage nicely. The “helmet” really evokes the old style and the gold stripe sticker on the original toy is recreated here both in sculpted detail and paint. The silver used for the face is beautiful and there’s a different shade of blue used for the visor. Topspin sports a pretty stern expression, confirming what I already know: You don’t mess with a Wrecker!

I also want to throw out there how much I love Transformers with thruster cones in their feet. two of Topspin’s four engines wind up in his heels.

And then you have these guns… I love these guns!  The over-and-under barrels look great, and I dig the sculpted coils on the lower barrels. The silver paint also looks superb on these. Seriously, this silver paint that we’ve been seeing for the last couple of years is the best thing that’s happened to Hasbro in a long time. I hope they never stop using it. As cool as these twin guns are, sometimes you really need to make a statement… and that’s when you combine them for…

QUAD DAMAGE!! Holy shit, look at this thing! It’s both ridiculous and breathtaking at the same time. It’s a weapon fit for a Wrecker. I shall call it The Streetsweeper! Wreck’n Rule!

So, before wrapping up me spooging all over what is a truly fantastic figure, it’s time to pull out the Mech Ideas version of Topspin (called Apex) for a quick comparison. To put things in perspective, Apex was released back in 2013 along with Not-Twin Twist by one of the smaller third-party convertobot makers. They were packaged separately, but I bought them as a set for $70 and reviewed them very favorably back then. As far as 3P Transformers go, $35 a figure is pretty cheap, even when you consider that these guys were closer to the modern Legends Class than Deluxes. Let’s check out the alt modes…

Yeah, this fellow’s alt mode hasn’t aged very well. I like to think that Apex is supposed to be a much larger craft with that little triangular window housing a sizable bridge. It’s definitely a different take on the original vehicle design, but it feels really bland to me now and way too squat. You could add a little more to it by plugging Apex’s guns into the top, but it doesn’t change it up that much. I think Topspin’s alt mode blows this one out of the water. The design is more interesting to me and it makes far better use of paint apps. Transformation on Apex is also more fidgety and complex. Let’s move on to bot modes…

Pretty much the same thing here too. Besides being considerably smaller, Apex looks a lot rougher in comparison to Hasbro’s official figure. Some may prefer the busier and more complex sculpting of the chest, but I think it looks more unfinished. I also think the Seeker-style shoulder intakes work against the character homage. The shoulder wings on Apex don’t really lock in at all and his joints were fairly loose out of the package and haven’t gotten any tighter. What does all this mean? Nothing really. Except maybe that Hasbro has been taking notes and getting more creative with their designs and engineering. At the very least, I find it interesting that they are able to produce a Deluxe figure that is (in my opinion) every way superior to a figure that sold for twice as much and had no safety regulations working against it. Apex still has some merits. I don’t want to pile on the hate, but in the end…


And here’s the part where I remind myself that Titans Return Deluxe figures can do no wrong in my book. That statement continues to ring true, as Topspin is a real treat. He’s not only the first true modern update of one of my favorite oddball Transformers as a kid, but he’s an absolutely stellar update on every level. I cannot wait until I can pair him up with his fellow Jumpstarter, Twin Twist. Hopefully it won’t be long. Next Thursday, I’ll keep on moving through this wave with a look at one of the repaints!

Marvel Legends (Mantis Wave): Adam Warlock by Hasbro

As promised, I’m back this evening with a Marvel Monday double feature. Yeah, I’ve got to start doubling up on some of these Marvel Legends reviews if I ever have a hope of getting caught up. One a week just ain’t cutting it no more. Earlier today, I looked at Ex Nihilo and tonight I’m checking out the other half of the “Cosmic Protectors,” Adam Warlock!

Let’s face it, you can’t bounce around Cosmic Marvel for long without bumping into this guy. Hell, it only took two Guardians of the Galaxy films for the MCU to tease his coming. Actually, only one if you still want to count the easter egg in The Collector’s lair. It was all the way back in 2012 that we last saw him grace Hasbro’s Marvel action figure lines, where he was bundled with The Mad Titan Thanos in one of the 3 3/4-inch Marvel Universe comic packs. That was a pretty great figure, but needless to say it’s long past due that we got Warlock in the 6-inch Legends line.

Warlock sports his modern costume, which is beautifully executed here. Sure, I still miss the iconic trappings of his classic cape and staff, but there’s something to be said about this snazzy new look as well. The outfit is executed predominantly through paint, as you get a black buck with deep crimson accents. The quality and application here is excellent and he doesn’t suffer from a lot of that bleeding you often see when they paint over black plastic.

Indeed, the red paint lines are surprisingly crisp and I really dig some of the features of the motif here. You get the crimson lightning bolts coming off from around his shoulders onto either side of his chest and back. These contrast nicely with the reversed color palate black bolts running up the crimson on his legs and on his gauntlets. I also love the crimson palms and fingertips on his gloves. For me, nothing will replace the classic look, but this one suits the modern Marvel aesthetic perfectly and it makes me curious as to what the MCU version will look like. The painted costume is rounded out by the sculpted belt and sash, which are a separate piece. The belt is painted with a rich gold and has sculpted patterns and the sash is red with a black bolt pattern running down the center.

The solid body work is partnered with a fantastic head sculpt. Warlock sports a neutral, almost serene expression. There’s some particularly solid detail work in the facial features. The skin tone has an appropriate touch of orange to it. The eyes are a little weird. They work pretty well under casual inspection, but the closer I get, the more I think they could have been cleaner. Still, all in all I’m very happy with what we got.

As a real treat, Hasbro included a second head, to change the figure into Warlock’s evil future incarnation, Magus. Hot damn, this is an amazing piece of work. The expression is masterfully done and the painted features are superb. Even the hair sculpt is great. Yes, I do believe this head may warrant buying another Warlock figure to display it on.

The articulation is pretty standard. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, swivels in the biceps and double hinges in the elbows. I should also point out that those shoulder joints feature ratchets in the rotation. The torso features an ab crunch hinge and a swivel in the waist. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have swivels in the thighs and lower legs, and double hinges in the knees. The ankles are hinged and feature lateral rockers. And finally the neck is both hinged and ball jointed.

Warlock’s other accessories include two effect parts, which I believe I last saw packed in with Havok from the Juggernaut Wave. These are cast in a cool metallic blue and fit around his wrists. The color is actually pretty close to Havok’s but these have more of an opaque finish. They’re somewhat similar to the hex effects we’ve seen a billion times now, but I haven’t become completely fatigued by them yet and they still make for some pretty cool display options.

Adam Warlock is another solid release in these Guardians-themed assortments. Once again, I want to applaud Marvel for taking the opportunity and use these MCU-inspired waves to dig deep on comic characters. It would be so easy to sell retailers on an assortment of characters hot off the screen of Marvel/Disney’s latest billion dollar blockbuster. Instead, they’re tossing in plenty of treats for the comic fans. Not that Adam Warlock is an obscure character by any means, but getting him out there in his modern look and pairing him up with Ex-Nihilo really shows that Hasbro is willing to take some risks with this line. And it seems to be working, as there appears to be no end in sight!

Marvel Legends (Mantis Wave): Ex Nihilo by Hasbro

After a brief detour, I’m steering the good ship, Marvel Monday, back to Marvel Legends. These things are piling up around me like crazy and I’m beginning to think running a whole week of Legends is going to be necessary if I’m ever getting caught up. Maybe I’ll do that for the next wave, for now I think I’m going to double up on the shared slots, which means I’ll have a second review going up this evening. In the meantime, I decided to go for the second Guardians Vol.2 wave and I’m kicking it off with Ex Nihilo, straight from The Garden on Mars!

Of course, Marvel split this assortment into two waves so that they could include some comic-based figures along with the MCU Guardians. Call me crazy, but I was quite pleased to see Ex Nihilo revealed in this wave, as I am a big fan of Hickman’s run leading up to the Avengers: Infinity story arc in general and Ex Nihilo and Abyss were some interesting additions to the Marvel roster. Indeed, if anything about the news of this release disappointed me it was that there wasn’t an Abyss figure included in the wave as well. Hell, a Ex Nihilo, Abyss and Aleph three-pack would have been sweet. Anywho… Ex Nihilo shares a slot with Adam Warlock as the “Cosmic Protectors,” which is a pretty unlikely title for him at his introduction, as he was kind of a prick in the beginning, but he came around in the end.

No doubt, Ex Nihilo is a distinctive looking fellow, so much so that it’s hard to believe that he could be considered one of the budget figures of the wave. And yet, he makes use of a standard buck with just a new head sculpt. I’m sure I’ve seen those hands before, although I’ll concede that the bare feet are probably new. The only paint on the body is the Omega-like emblem printed on his chest.

The gold colored plastic looks pretty good, but not quite as good as the original promotional pictures. The final figure isn’t quite as vibrant and there’s some of that annoying swirly pattern evident here and there. So, yeah… it didn’t turn out quite as nice as the teasers, but he’s not bad at all. Under the right lighting the gold is very pleasing on the eye.

The head sculpt depicts Ex Nihilo with a toothy grimace. I think this was actually a good expression to go with, since the figure is pushing him not as a mysterious threat dropping Origin Bombs on the Earth, but as someone who eventually allied with The Avengers against The Builders. Either way, I think the sculpt is excellent, the teeth are exceptionally well painted, as are the green eyes. I really dig the subtle black outline around the eyes. Seeing as how the figure required only the minimum of painted detail, it’s nice to see they did it right!

The articulation is pretty standard. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, swivels in the biceps and double hinges in the elbows. The torso features an ab crunch hinge and a swivel in the waist. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have swivels in the thighs and lower legs, and double hinges in the knees. The ankles are hinged and have generous lateral rockers. And finally the neck is both hinged and ball jointed. The joints on this guy feel great and he is a lot of fun to play around with.

I would imagine that Ex Nihilo has a number of Legends collectors scratching their heads. He’s from a story that’s not old enough to be classic, and not recent enough to be all that relevant. To my knowledge he’s never really been affiliated with The Guardians of the Galaxy either, although he is part of Cosmic Marvel. Nonetheless, he comes from a solid run of The Avengers, and I’ve wanted some figures from this run ever since it debuted. The fact that we’re only getting Ex Nihilo now gives me hope that we could still see some other figures from this book. In addition to Abyss, I’d love to get a Starbrand, and while Captain Universe is part of a wave hitting the shelves now, I’d really like the Tamara Devoux version as well. Either way, I’d say this wave is off to a solid start. And as mentioned earlier, I’ll be back later tonight to check out the other half of the “Cosmic Protectors:” Adam Warlock!

Transformers Titans Return: Convex and Perceptor by Hasbro

I’ve been on a third-party convertobot streak for the last four Transformers Thursdays, but I thought I would turn my attention back to the official stuff for a while. I’m also dog tired from a pretty brutal week at work, so hopefully I can make it through this review before I run out of steam. Just pardon me if I’m a little more brief than usual. Anyway, today I’m digging into the most recent wave of Titans Return Deluxe Class  figures and I thought I’d start things off with Perceptor.

I always liked Perceptor. He had a pretty unique personality in the Sunbow cartoon and was basically an Autobot nerd back when it wasn’t all that cool to be a nerd. Plus, his G1 toy was fantastic and featured a particularly good robot mode. I’d say it’s long past time he’s had a new figure, since it’s been six years since we got the last Perceptor as part of the Reveal The Shield line. There was a lot I liked about that figure, and a lot of things that came up short. It was a good try, but it eschewed Perceptor’s microscope mode for an SUV and that never sat right to me.

Well, clearly some of the thinking has changed at Hasbro because this new version is indeed a microscope and a pretty cool little one at that. I kind of get Hasbro thinking that kids would rather play with a truck than a microscope, but the Microman toys were such an integral part of Transformers history that it seems a shame to ignore them. Besides, how terrible is it to have a kid playing with a microscope? Back in my day, there were all sorts of toys that were designed to get kids curious about “the science!” Anyway, as if you needed any more indication of who this microscope is supposed to be, the the red, teal, black and silver deco is unmistakably Perceptor. The only thing missing is the big Autobot emblem on the front of his tube, and I can probably remedy that with one of the repro sticker sheets that I have lying around. I just can’t tell you how happy this little microscope makes me.

The scope itself is hinged so that it can look straight down on the tray or angle outward to examine something in front of him. What’s even cooler is that the knob on the microscope actually causes the tube to extend and retract. The tray is also specially designed to hold a Titan Master figure. I really dig that Hasbro tied Perceptor’s microscope mode into something specific to this line, like examining the little head robots. I love this mode so much, I’m not even going to acknowledge that there’s an “unofficial” tank mode, but there is as evidenced by the sculpted tank treads.

While he may be small, you don’t actually need a microscope to get a good look at Convex, Perceptor’s little Titan Master buddy. He’s cool enough, but he suffers from Hasbro’s continued reluctance to hit these little guys with some paint. As such, Convex is just red and black plastic. But while he isn’t anything special, I have to say I wholeheartedly approve of his name, Convex, which is such a great name for a head robot paired with Perceptor.

Perceptor’s transformation is super easy, but who’s complaining when the results looks this good! He features a very clean and well-proportioned robot mode, which hits all the right points of the G1 character. He wears his silver faux dials on his forearms, his translucent tray becomes a chest shield, and his microscope lens becomes an enormous shoulder cannon. In terms of pure homage, this figure is a winner.

He’s also pretty clean from the back and no hollow leg syndrome. Well, not completely hollow… just recessed. There are some lovely paint apps on the sides of his lower legs to replicate the stickers on the original toy. He also features a peg in the middle of his back, where he can store his rifle. I should also note that the right shoulder on my figure isn’t at all droopy, I was just a dope and neglected to straighten it out all that well for these photos. Any other day, I would have re-shot those, but I just don’t have it in me today. If nothing else, my carelessness demonstrates that you can pull the arms out a bit to get an even better range of motion. Yeah… that’s why I did it!

The Titans Return line has produced some great head sculpts, and Convex is no different. I really dig the depth to his “helmet” and the way it extends out on the sides of his face. The silver paint is beautiful, both on the face and all over the rest of the figure, and the yellow eyes are sharp and bright. The cannon does sit pretty close to Perceptor’s head, but it’s mounted on a hinged arm, so you can angle it upward to get it out of the way, or if you want you can actually stow it away on his back.

Perceptor comes with a sniper rifle, complete with a little molded biped stand. I seem to recall this being a thing with him in the IDW comics. I like the gun well enough, but I would have preferred something more akin to his G1 weapon. It has some pegs on the side so it can plug into any of the Titans Return vehicle modes and it also has the ubiquitous seating area for a Titan Master to operate it.

I’m beginning to believe that the Titans Return line can do no wrong by me, at least not in the Deluxes. These figures have all been great and Perceptor keeps that trend chugging along happily. He’s also all the more special for actually having a proper Microman alt mode. And with Hasbro now willing to give us boom boxes and microscopes, is it too much to hope that a trio of bots merging into a camera could be too far behind? Probably, but at least now I can have a solid foundation on which to build some hope. In any event, Perceptor sets this wave off to a very strong start and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for me next week when I open up Topspin!

Marvel Legends: Boomerang, Ultimate Beetle, and Electro by Hasbro

It’s Marvel Monday, folks, and I’m turning back the clock and digging up three figures from 2014’s Marvel Legends Ultimate Green Goblin Wave, which have been buried at the bottom of my Toy Closet for a while. And no, I won’t be looking at the Build-A-Figure yet, because I’m still missing one figure from this wave. Got a Green Goblin head? I have a new waffle maker! Mail me the Gobby Head and I’ll mail you a waffle!

These fellas were all part of a wave that was tied to Amazing Spider-Man 2, a film which I’d be more than happy to never be reminded about again. Much like the recent Guardians of the Galaxy waves, this one was a mix of comic and movie-based figures. As I stressed last Monday, I’m not a big fan of tossing a bunch of Legends figures into one review, but I’ve got waves of these goddamn things piling up, so I can’t afford to go back and do this trio individually. Let’s start with Boomerang!

There’s so much I want to like about this figure and yet so much that I don’t like about this figure. Boomerang is built on a black buck with white plastic used for the buccaneer boots and and the gauntlets, but the rest of the white details of his costume are painted on and they look pretty shabby. The black bleeds through, particularly on the stripe across his chest. It’s a real shame, because the contrast between the white and black plastic otherwise looks great, and even the paint used for his belt isn’t too bad.

I really dig the piece Hasbro provided for his back. It holds the four boomerangs that he comes with, one large pair and one smaller pair. Yeah, it looks kind of ridiculous, like he’s wearing an old TV antenna on his back, but it suits him. It’s also removable if you decide you don’t want it. Boomerang’s left hand is perfectly suited to holding either the large or small boomerangs. Unfortunately his right is not. At first, I thought they tried to make it different so that it could hold the bigger ones better, but upon closer inspection, it’s clearly a gun hand. The smaller boomerangs won’t stay in there at all and even the bigger ones have issues falling out. It’s hard for me to believe Hasbro didn’t have a better right hand lying around to use with this figure.

Grrrr…. Boomerang is wearing the exact expression I had when I first saw this head up close. I hardly ever say this about a Marvel Legends figure, but the portrait on this figure is a mess. It looks like it was fashioned out of sculpting putty and the paintwork is an atrocity. Seriously, it’s like someone’s first attempt at a custom job. Hell, it’s like I attempted a custom job… and I’ve got no skills whatsoever. This line has had some truly spectacular head sculpts and Hasbro usually injects a lot of effort and personality into the villains especially. I don’t know what happened here, but it looks like they just didn’t care.

Boomerang’s articulation is standard stuff. The arms have rotating hinges in the wrists and shoulders, the elbows are double hinged, and there are swivels in the biceps. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have double hinges in the knees, and there are swivels in the thighs and at the tops of the boots. The ankles are hinged and have lateral rockers. There’s a swivel in the waist, an ab crunch, and the neck has both a hinge and ball joint. The joints all feel good and he’d be fun to pose if he weren’t so f’ugly.

In the end, Boomerang is a huge disappointment. I was looking forward to finally getting him onto my shelf of Web Head’s enemies, but this figure is such a train-wreck, I’m not even willing to cross him off my list. With all the Spider-Man themed waves coming out each year, it may not be to out of line to hope for a do-over on this one. The joke is, since he shares a slot with Ultimate Beetle, I didn’t even need him for a BAF part. What a shame… let’s move on to Beetle…

Beetle! BEETLE! Hasbro seems obsessed with Beetle! It was just last year that we got Janice Lincoln as Beetle, and the classic version of Beetle will be part of the Spider-Man Homecoming wave that’s beginning to hit stores now. Well, this here is Earth-1610’s “Ultimate” Beetle. Unlike Boomerang, I have absolutely zero history with this version of the character. Also unlike Boomerang, this figure is pretty damn good! I take it this is supposed to be a fairly powerful suit, and Hasbro did a wonderful job with this sculpt. It has a ribbed underlying body suit fashioned in red plastic, with sculpted armor bits that are painted over with a particularly nice shade of silver. The combination looks great, although this is unfortunately that same somewhat dubious feeling plastic that Hasbro has used for some of the Iron Men armors.

The wing assembly simply pegs into the back and you get some more of that lovely silver paint connecting them and some pretty trippy metallic green paint on the front insides of the wings. It all makes for a very distinctive looking figure.

The head sculpt furthers the cyber-bug motif with some huge compound eyes, a silver painted face plate, and a pair of blade-like antenna. The paint around the eyes slops over onto the silver quite a bit, which I didn’t really notice until I got in pretty close. It does give it a little bit of a glowing effect, but I don’t think that was intentional on Hasbro’s part. Honestly, I don’t think it hurts the look of the figure much at all.

Beetle’s suit includes what I presume to be blasters of some kind sculpted into the forearms. Again, I have next to no involvement with this character. The Ultimate books just aren’t my bag. The blasters do, however, look cool and feature some nice yellow paint hits. The nit-picky among you may notice that Hasbro didn’t shell out for the dollop of silver paint needed for those knee pegs. Annoying, but I can live with it.

Beetle’s articulation makes him a nimble bug and lots of fun to play with, although this type of plastic doesn’t have the strongest of joints. They’re a little gummy, but nowhere near the worst that I’ve seen from Hasbro 6-inch figures. Certainly not enough to spoil my fun. The legs feature ball jointed hips, double hinges in the knees, and swivels in the thighs. The ankles have both hinges and lateral rockers. The arms have rotating hinges at the shoulders and wrists, the elbows are double hinged, and there are swivels in the biceps. The torso has an ab crunch, there’s a swivel in the waist, and the neck is both ball jointed and hinged.

As much as Boomerang was a disappointment, Beetle was a wonderful surprise. No, this is not my Beetle, and I’ll go so far as to say that I think the design works beautifully as an action figure, but maybe not so much on a comic panel. The figure has a few issues, but overall I’m calling it a win. And while I’m not about to run out and start buying up Ultimates comics, I have had tons of fun fiddling around with this guy on my desk during my downtime the past few days. He’s a very cool design and he will most definitely find a place on my Spider-Man Legends shelves. And that brings me to… ugh… Electro from Amazing Spider-Man 2.

I make it no secret that I did not like the Amazing Spider-Man movie, but there were at least moments in it that I enjoyed. The sequel, on the other hand, well I hated every frame of that one and I’m so happy that incarnation of the film franchise is dead and buried where it belongs. As a result, I’m not going to spend a lot of time on this figure, because it’s not really fair. It’s not aimed at me, and the only reason I have it is because he was part of a BOGO deal and he had a BAF part. The bottom line is that I think Electro was terrible in the movie, to no fault of Jamie Foxx who I’m sure did the best with what he was given. With that having been said, this figure is not without some redeeming qualities.

The design that I hated on screen actually sort of works for this figure and Hasbro certainly put some work into it. You get all new sculpting for the body with a lot of nice detail and texturing that adds some interesting qualities to what is a nearly all black buck. Electro does have some blue paint spray on the shoulders, chest, and forearms, but I don’t know that it really comes across as it should. If I was totally unfamiliar with this character and somebody handed me the figure, I’d be more prone to say he’s supposed to have some kind of ice powers as opposed to electricity. The articulation is similar to what we got with Beetle, but the legs on this figure don’t like to cooperate. I blame the sculpted cuffs on the ankles, which really curtail the range of motion there. Every time I try to get him in a wide stance, he just looks awkward.

Electro comes with two head sculpts, and I can say the same about those looking as much like ice as it does electricity. That having been said, I think the first head looks good, but the second one with the effects on the eyes, not so much.

Now, Electro does come with the electricity shooting hands, and with these in place, I think they add the needed context to make the rest of the figure fall in line. I know that’s not a ringing endorsement, but to be honest I think Hasbro tried with this figure, a lot more than they did with poor Boomerang. The sculpt is solid, and the effects hands and extra head give some welcome display options. I expected to hate this figure, but I really don’t. On the other hand, he really doesn’t have any place in my collection either. Yeah, I could put him beside my Amazing Spider-Man 2 Spidey, but while I wasn’t a fan of a fan of Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man, at least I really loved the look of the costume, here not so much.

And that trio of reviews takes care of some long overdue business. It feels like it’s been a long time since I had this much negativity toward anything Marvel Legends related, but one out of three ain’t a great record. It’s pretty bad when the one figure I can endorse here isn’t even the version of the character that I know or care about. As for the Build-A-Figure, Ultimate Green Goblin isn’t a figure that I really need to have on my shelf, but right now he’s just missing a head. If I ever find either of the “Spawn of Symbiotes” figures at anything close to retail cost, I’ll happily pick one up to complete the wave, but I’m just as content to let it go. While there were some really solid figures in this wave, particularly Black Cat and Superior Spider-Man, the truth is that this is the first wave of Marvel Legends since it’s return that I did not feel overly compelled to complete. Next Monday, I’m going to detour to take a look at one of the many Marvel statues that I have piling up and then I’ll be jumping back into Marvel Legends with the second wave from Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol 2.

Star Wars Black (Rogue One): Sergeant Jyn Erso (Eadu) by Hasbro

Most of my backlog of stuff right now is Marvel related, which means I’m finally getting caught up on the other lines I collect. That also means I’m hitting the bottom of the piles and finding the stuff that I’ve been pushing off to the side for a number of weeks. Today, I decided to finally open up the Exclusive version of Jyn Erso in her Eadu outfit.

This figure is part of a series of Deluxe Exclusives from Kmart and as such it comes in a larger box to accommodate the base, but otherwise it’s the same branded Black Series packaging. There’s some terrible monochrome character art on the front that doesn’t look much like Felicity Jones to me, but I’m convinced that Hasbro is doing that so the figure’s portraits look better by comparison. Anyway, this presentation is very similar to the Exclusive Kylo Ren and Rey that Kmart had for The Force Awakens, hell it may even just be a repainted base. I don’t know, as I passed on those. In fact, the only reason I picked this one up was because it was so damn cheap, but I’ll come back to that at the end.

Eadu Jyn uses a lot of Jedha Jyn, but there’s also a fair bit of brand new sculpting here too. From the waist down, she’s the same, and I’m going to assume the torso is the same too, but it’s buried under her new rain parka, so it doesn’t matter. The arms have newly sculpted sleeves to match the parka and she has a breather mask that hangs around her neck and connects to a tank behind her left hip. The new sculpting for the outfit looks great, and seeing as how we got this version of Jyn in the 3 3/4-inch line, it’s cool to finally have it in the 6-inch line as well.

There’s some pretty good paint wash on the parka to give it a grungy, well-worn look and even a few holes here and there. We also get some silver paint on some of her gear. The sculpt and paint on the bodies are generally pretty solid on these figures and this version of Jyn is no different.

The head sculpt is very similar to the Jedha Jyn, but it’s definitely new, or at least reworked. Here she has her ears exposed through her hair. The quality of the sculpt is about the same, with very soft features and I think the likeness is only there if you know what you’re looking at, and even then that might be a reach. As usual, the paint is extremely basic giving Jyn that wonderful dead-inside look to her eyes and uneven paint on her lips. Hasbro has obviously shrugged off any credibility for making this a true “Collector’s” line when it comes to the paintwork on the heads.

She does come with a removable helmet, which is definitely a welcome feature. It fits really well and looks good on the figure. The paint on the helmet is a little rougher than the rest of the figure, but it kind of works because it makes it look worn and chipped. Jyn can also wear her breather mask, with the head strap designed to fit around the helmet. I sometimes question whether these 6-inch figures really use the scale to their advantage, and here’s probably one of the few good examples of that. The breather mask just looks and works a lot better here than it did on the 3 3/4-inch figure. Then again, that was a 5-POA figure and not something premium like the Vintage Collection. Maybe it’s not a fair comparison here.

As for other accessories, Jyn includes the same pistol that came with the Jedha version and she still has a functional holster to store it in. She also comes with an E-11 Blaster. You can never have too many of those! And finally, she has a little cylindrical device and I have absolutely no idea what the hell it’s supposed to be. It’s almost bizarre how prominently featured this thing is in the box. If I were to make a guess, it looks like it’s supposed to be a rope coiled tightly around something. I seem to recall there was a zip-line scene that was cut from the film. Maybe this has to do with it.

I saved articulation for last, because it happens to be the thing that comes damn close to breaking this figure for me. The points are all identical to Jedha Jyn, so that’s not the issue, but the legs are so loose and gummy on this figure, it makes her really hard to pose and stand up. I don’t know if it’s shoddy plastic, or because she was packaged in an action pose on the base, but this is the worst I’ve seen in a 6-inch Hasbro figure in a long time. It literally feels like the kind of cheap Chinese knock-off you might get loose off of Ebay for a couple of dollars.

Oh yeah, and how could I forget the base. It’s a decent sculpt and it has peg holes for her to stand on. This sort of thing isn’t a big draw for me, but I can imagine that some collectors will enjoy it and she does look pretty good posed on it.

There are no Kmarts in my area any longer, and even when there were, I rarely ventured into them as they tended to be like the Beirut version of Walmart. No offense to Beirut. The only reason I wound up with this figure was because Amazon was blowing them out at $11 a pop and I said, “well shit… why not?” If it weren’t for the wobbly legs, Jyn would be a decent figure, but I think she’s also an easy pass. Meanwhile, the Black Series continues to be such a roller coaster for me. There are still figures that I pick up that delight me and justify why I collect this line, and then there’s figures like this one, which are just so damn average that they make me wonder why do I still bother.

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.