Transformers (Robot Enhanced Design Series): Bumblebee by Hasbro


I’ve been slowly working my way through Hasbro’s line of non-transforming Transformers figures, and overall I’ve been pretty happy with this line. Sure, I’ve had some nitpicks here and there, but so far I think the good has definitely outweighed the bad. Let’s see if we can continue that trend with Bumblebee!

Well, I can’t say as I wasn’t warned in the comments of my last RED review, but when I took this guy out of the shipping box, I was kind of shocked at what I saw. Why is he so freaking big? Why does he look so much more cheaply made than the others? Yup, before I even open this guy up, I’m having my doubts. That can’t be a good thing!

So, out of the box and in hand, I’m finding a little to like here. Like the others, he’s a hefty figure, thanks to the oddly dense plastic Hasbro has been using. He’s even a little more so, because he’s so chunky. Overall, he looks pretty good on his own, although I wish they had stuck a little closer to the Sunbow design. His forearms should be tubes, not rectangular, and I think they could have done a better job stylizing his chest. Still, I’m not hating the aesthetic. There’s a bit more sculpted detail here, than on the other figures, as seen in the panel lines and vents in his legs.

The coloring on the body is nearly all from the black and yellow plastic, although you do get an Autobot emblem on his chest. Hasbro also added in some silver dry brushing to look like weathering. I find it to be a really weird choice, as it’s used so sparingly that it’s like an afterthought, and it’s not present on any of the other RED figures I own.

Speaking of weird, the chest piece is removable and doing so reveals a whole painted and detailed slab. It looks like they had to do this to make a hinge in the torso work, but if you use that hinge to bend him over, the chest just pops off. So why bother? It would have been cool if it was designed to look like his inner workings, for repairs and such, but it’s just a slab. And adding this one point of useless actually hurts the figure, as even if I don’t use it, the chest piece can shift out of position. WHY???

On the flipside, the spare tire on his back is removable, which I guess is pretty neat. He can throw it at Decepticons if his gun runs out of power!

The head sculpt is pretty good, and while I had some issues with the body, the portrait is definitely Sunbow bumblebee. The facial features are a bit soft, but other than that I can’t complain. I like his big blue eyes and his little smirk too.

With the exception of that chest hinge, articulation here is solid, and he is indeed fun to play with. The arms have rotating hinges in the elbows, swivels in the biceps, double hinges in the elbows, and the wrists are on hinged pegs so that they can be swapped out between a set of gun-holding hands and fists. The legs have ball joints in the hips, swivels in the thighs, double hinges in the knees, and hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. He can swivel at the waist, and the neck is ball jointed.

Bumblebee comes with a few accessories, the most notable is his blaster, which includes two firing effect parts. The sculpt is a tad soft, but it’s an interesting design and it fits well in either of his hands. The effect parts are cast in translucent yellow plastic and peg into the muzzle of the gun.

And finally, he comes with an Energon Cube, which is a welcome bonus, especially since the one that came with Megatron was permanently attached to one of his hands.

I don’t hate this figure, but it’s a very strange entry into this series. Other than it being a non-transforming Transformer, it doesn’t really feel like it belongs with the others. It’s not at all to scale, and it even feels like some of the design elements are different. As a stand-alone figure, it’s not bad, but then I can’t help but think, if I’m going to own a stand-alone non-transforming Bumblebee figure, it should be something more special and higher quality than this. Maybe I’ll make him a desk buddy for a while, but he sure isn’t going to be displayed on a shelf with the other RED figures. And that makes me wonder what other oversized oddities this line has in store for us. Well, I’m only collecting the G1-style figures, so that means I just have Soundwave left to check out, and then I’ll be caught up.

Marvel Legends Iron Man Helmet by Hasbro

It’s been a busy weekend for me, and I’m a little pressed for time on this Marvel Monday, so I thought I’d stick with something that would be a little quick and easy. Hasbro has been using the Marvel Legends moniker to release some toy versions of full-size MCU prop replicas, and while I’ve been able to resist a number of them, I’ve been snapping up most of the wearable helmets. I actually already reviewed the Ant-Man Helmet a little while back, but the one I’m looking at today was actually my first purchase in this line. Let’s check out the Iron Man helmet!

As with Ant-Man’s helmet, this one comes in a fully enclosed box with lots of pictures of the toy inside. The pictures on the box appear to be re-worked a bit, but I’m not going to complain too much because the look of the actual item isn’t too far from the pictures. The helmet comes fully wrapped in plastic to protect the finish, which is most welcome! While the helmet does not require any assembly, you will need a screwdriver to get into the battery compartment if you want to make use of the electronics.

Out of the box, this thing is pretty impressive for a toy! It is a fully enclosed piece and can be worn and removed just by slipping it on over the head. I’ll get to more on that when we open her up. On the outside, it seems like a pretty good recreation of the on-screen prop. One of the things I miss about the early Iron Man armors is the fact that the helmet was a physical object and not just something that magically appears thanks to the help of CG special effects. As with the real deal, this helmet is more about smooth curves than it is about hyper-detail. As a result, panel lines are used sparingly, there are a few faked out bolts, but not a lot more to distinguish the sculpt. And that’s fine by me!

But what impressed me the most at first sight was the quality of the paint. Let’s face it, mass produced toys are not usually known for their precision of paintwork. Hasbro has gotten a lot better, but when you consider something this big, there’s a lot more room for things to go wrong. Amazingly, the finish on this is damn near flawless. The gold used for the face plate is perhaps not quite as luxurious as it looks on the box photo, but it is very nice. It goes for more of a sumptuous satin finish, rather than something bright and reflective, and I dig it a lot. The red on the other hand, does manage to achieve that lovely new-car shine that Stark’s suits tend to flaunt. It’s similar to some of the better finishes they’ve used for the Legends MCU Iron Man figures. I have to scrutinize this thing pretty closely to find any imperfections. Mine has a slight blemish behind the left ear, which really only shows up under bright light, and I can’t be certain it wasn’t something that happened after it had been on display.

The electronics include the light up eyes, which are clearly visible even under the bright studio lights, offering a cool, blue hue when fired up. These will sometimes activate when I pick up the helmet, but always when I remove and replace the face plate.

Removing and attaching the face plate also sets off a litany of sound effects, like servos firing and clamps releasing. It’s very well done and sounds as if all sorts of stuff is going on inside the helmet. The face plate comes completely off and then can be attached in the up position, where it is held fast by magnets. No, it’s not actually sliding up there, and it’s recommended to remove all contact between the two pieces before putting it in that position so as to avoid scratching the finish. The face plate is extremely secure whether in the up or down position, and it makes me wish that Hasbro had used similar magnets to hold the back plate on their Ant-Man Helmet. That one uses a pair of weak friction hinges, which fail every time.

Inside, the helmet does have some finished details, but it also has some more practical stuff going on, like the straps that come in contact with your head. These are adjustable and the helmet, while snug, does fit fairly well on my adult-sized cranium. Still, I will admit that It does get a little claustrophobic in there after a while.

The face plate is also detailed with some interior sculpting on the back. I like the hexagonal patterns, the gears in the cheeks, and the vocalizer plate right where the wearer’s mouth is positioned. The eye slots are surprisingly large on the inside, and yet don’t seem out of scale on the outside.

This helmet set me back about $99 when I got it back in 2019, and if you hunt hard enough, you can probably still find some retailers selling it at that price, although others seem to be asking a good $30 more in some cases. Ultimately, I’m extremely pleased with how this came out, and I’d say that it’s easily the best quality of any of the Hasbro helmets I’ve picked up, and that includes both Marvel and Star Wars. Not only does it look pretty close to the real thing, but the engineering and use of magnets makes it feel a bit more like a premium collectible than a high priced toy. Sure, you can do a lot better, if you want to invest an additional $300-400, but this one suits me just fine! And yes, these chrome paper towel holders make excellent display stands!

Marvel Legends (Super Skrull Wave): Super Skrull Build-A-Figure by Hasbro

Yes, last week I flubbed my Friday content again. I promise you, it’s coming back, but it may be sporadic for a while. But at least Marvel Mondays have been pretty consistent and now that I’ve had a look at all the packaged figures in the Super Skrull Wave, it’s time to pop together me some Super Skrull!

Most BAF’s have six pieces: Four limbs, a torso and a head. Super Skrull has all those, plus an additional head, an effect part, and two additional arms! Otherwise, everything is pretty standard here. The extra head and arms sort of make up for the fact that this guy is not big, and there’s really nothing about him that prevented Hasbro from releasing him as a regular boxed figure. Heck, even with those extra pieces, he should have worked out.

that’s not to say Kl’rt isn’t a beefy figure, because he is, but we’ve had bigger boxed releases. He is a pretty simple figure, with most of his costume achieved through a rather attractive combination of black and metallic purple coloring. He also has a bit of blue wash over the black bits. He does have some new sculpting for his V-shaped tunic, which flares out at the shoulders and was mostly likely purchased at the same store that Yellowjacket shops at. Of course, the reserved amount of new sculpting here only takes into account his regular arms, and not the ones powered up with The Fantastic Four’s powers.

As mentioned, you get two portraits, one offering a sinister, toothy grimace, and the other a bit more serious. The former offers a lot more personality, but I rather like the grim visage of the later one as well. Both sport some excellent sculpting for the facial detail, including those horizontal ridges in his prominent chin, and his long elf-like ears. He also sports a form-fitting skull cap as part of the head sculpt. The piercing yellow pupil-less eyes are well-done, and there’s a wash over his green skin to bring out some of those lovely details.

Super Skrull’s articulation is standard stuff, and that remains the same no matter which arms you decide to display him with. That includes rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, swivels in the biceps, and double-hinges in the elbows. The legs have rotating hinges at the hips, swivels in the biceps and the tops of the boots, double-hinges in the knees, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. There’s a swivel in his waist, an ab-crunch hinge, and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed.

The extra right arm exhibits the powers of both Sue Storm and Reed Richards. It gradually becomes translucent from the elbow on and the forearm is stretched and the fist is oversized. It makes for a pretty cool combination of effects.

The extra left arm transitions into orange stone just above the elbow and ends in a giant fist, thus exhibiting Ben Grimm’s powers.

And finally, you get a large flame effect part to attach to either regular arm to show off Johnny Storm’s powers. All of these power-stealing effects are pretty well executed on the figure and makes him a lot of fun to play around with. And unlike the recent Dr. Moira figure, Super Skrull’s arms are easy to pop off and pop back on again, which is one of the benefits of making him a Build-A-Figure.

This is one of the rare cases where I was probably more excited for the Build-A-Figure in a wave than I was any of the particular figures. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for getting as many versions of The Fantastic Four as I can, but having added the Walgreens figures to my collection not all that long ago, these black-and-blue costumed figures weren’t terribly high on my list. Doom turned out to be a surprise as to how big an improvement he is over the last one, and while She-Hulk is an excellent figure, I was mainly waiting for the green one to show up. On the other hand Super Skrull was a figure I was very happy to see getting added to the modern Legends line up. And while I would still argue that he could have been done as a boxed release, I’m just happy to have him!

Transformers (Robot Enhanced Design Series): Coronation Starscream by Hasbro

While haters gonna hate the idea of a line of Transformers figures that don’t transform, I’m a pretty big fan of the Robot Enhanced Design series. Sure, Hasbro and other companies have been getting closer and closer to developing cartoon-accurate versions of these characters that can transform, but the RED figures let them go all the way. Megatron and Optimus Prime were pretty good, I still have to double back and take a look at Soundwave, but for now I’m bumping Starscream to the head of line!

Technically, he’s Coronation Starscream, which means he comes with the accessories needed to display him based on that comic-relief scene in the ’86 movie where he proclaimed himself leader of the Decepticons, donned a crown, cape, and shoulderpads, and had the Constructions make use of their hitherto unknown collective skill at playing the trumpet. It’s a great scene, but I must not place as much stock in it as a lot of other fans, because the coronation parts included are not a selling point for me. So, let’s get them out of the way first…

The plastic shoulderpads plug into the backs of Starscream’s shoulders and the purple cape pegs in between them. It’s bizarre how similar it is to the technique used by The Four Horsemen’s to secure capes to their Mythic Legions figures, but it works. You also get a crown. The crown is kind of goofy in how large it is, and it’s a shame they couldn’t have given it a lick of gold-leaf paint to make it stand out more, but if you want to display an Emperor Starscream, I guess this works well enough. And now, I’m tossing all these parts into a bin, because I’ll never use them again.

Ahh, there’s the Air Commander that I know and love! From a sculpting standpoint, I think this figure looks great. They rounded out the edges, and gave him that sylized look that the transforming figures can’t quite get totally right. You get some panel lines for detail, but enough simplicity to keep it in line with his Sunbow counterpart. You do get intake fans in his chest, instead of vacant holes. It would have been cool to have these removable, but I don’t dislike them at all. As for the coloring? Well, the red and blue bits look great, but the gray is a bit too dark for my taste. I was actually a bit shocked when I first saw him in person at how dark the gray really is under normal lights, albeit it looks much better under the bright studio lights. I’ve grown a little more used to it, but it’s never going to be exactly what I wanted. The gold paint for his canopy looks fine, and I haven’t yet made my mind up about the scorch marks on his null rays.

From the back, Starscream really benefits from his non-transforming design. He’s clean and sleek with some well-toned thruster calves and his wings are finished on the backsides as well, along with some darker gray paint.

The head sculpt is excellent, and I like the smarmy smile on his face. As a person of German heritage, my people have a word, Backpfeifengesicht, which roughly translates, “A face that is badly in need of a fist.” I don’t know what the Cybertronian word is, but Starscream’s got it. And I mean that in every complimentary way. The paint is a little sloppy, but the eyes do have a nice reflective quality that at some angles almost looks like light-piping.

While articulation isn’t usually a big issue in tranforming Transformers these days, the RED concept allows for a bit more refinement when it comes to jointing. Starscream features a lot of great potential with plenty of rotating hinges, double-hinges, and swivels in strategic places. The wings are designed to hinge and not be an impediment, and he even has a the ability to rotate and bend in the waist. Which leads me to the soft joints. I mentioned in my reviews of Prime and Megsy that the plastic used here is kind of weird. It has a dense and solid feel to it that makes for a satisfyingly hefty figure. But, strangely it also makes for some really gummy joints, which is disappointing. Starscream does come with two pairs of hands: One set of fists, and a pair of relaxed open hands.

Last on the accessory list are a pair of purple energy blasts, which fit onto the barrels of Starscream’s null rays. These look really good, but the null rays don’t always handle the added weight. The weapons peg into Starscream’s arms in a very strange way, with the peg being on the arm and an extended socket on the weapons. It’s not a very deep connection, and they tend to fall off a bit too easy. Add the effect parts, and they tend to droop or fall off completely.

Re-reading this review, I was kind of surprised about how much nit-picks I had. Oh yeah, I also feel Starscream is a bit too tall when displayed next to Megatron. Damn… there goes another one! But, I was surprised, because I really don’t hate or even dislike this figure at all. There are a few odd design choices, I’m not a big fan of the plastic they’re using, but all in all its a fun figure that hasn’t diminished my love for the line. On the contrary, I’ll be the first one pounding the pre-order button when Hasbro inevitably repaints him into Thundercracker and Skywarp. And again, when he’s remolded into Dirge, Thrust, and Ramjet. But I’ll draw the line at Acid Storm. Shit, no I won’t.

Marvel Legends (Super Skrull Wave): Doctor Doom by Hasbro

Yeah, once again I missed posting new content on Friday last week. Sorry about that. Wednesdays and Thursdays toss me some weird work hours, so it’s bound to happen now and then. But, it’s a spanking new week and I’m about to open the last figure in the Fantastic Four themed assortment of Marvel Legends. Are you ready for Doom???

I sure as hell am!!! I’ve been a fan of The Fantastic Four since I was a wee lad, and Doctor Doom was a big part of my love for Marvel’s First Family’s book. He’s remained one of my all-time favorite Marvel villains. The iron-fisted monarch of Latveria was last seen in Marvel Legends all the way back in 2012, in the very early days of the line’s reboot. He’s also been seen again since in a Retro Carded release. I had plenty of good things to say about the 2012 figure, so let’s release doom from his Capitalist Retail Prison and see how this one stacks up!

I was expecting a somewhat retooled figure, but what we got is a completely new one. And I guess that’s to be expected since it has been almost ten years. TEN YEARS!!! This is a more modern version with a lot more realism applied to the detail. So, if you like a more clean and classic look, you may still want to hang on to the older release, but even still, I think this one is a vast improvement on almost every level. He still looks as iconic as ever with his hunter green tunic, hood, and cape, and his armored limbs. The tunic has some great looking sculpted folds, and it’s textured throughout to make it look pretty convincing for plastic fabric. The wide belt has an ornate gold buckle, and a functional holster on his right hip. The holster is possibly the only thing about the older figure that I prefer over this one, because it had a strap on the top flap that fed through a loop, rather than a peg. This one is still fine, though, and even has an D monogram on the top flap.

The cape on the previous figure was cast in one piece with the hood, and that was not such a great idea. It meant that the hood popped up any time the cape bumped on the floor, or the figure rested its weight on it. It also meant that the hood didn’t turn with the head. Here, they’re separate, and that’s definitely the way to go. Like the tunic, the cape is textured and has some excellent sculpted folds to make it look like fabric that is falling about the figure naturally. IT does extend all the way to the floor, but can be angled backward for those wider stances, and not be too obtrusive. It actually helps support him in some poses. The cape hangs around Doom’s neck via two sculpted golden chains and two large medallions. It looks great!

The armor is beautifully colored with a metallic silver finish. The plates are a mix of smooth curves and angled folds. There are sculpted rivets and hinges, and I really like the way the knee and elbow guards are designed. You can also see sculpted chain mail peeking out inbetween the plates.

You get two choices when it comes to portraits, and I’m a bit torn on which one I prefer. One strikes me as a more classic look, and it features the sculpted rivets holding the plates together, and a more rounded hood. The other is all smooth, sans rivets, and has a more sinister expression thanks to the eye holes having a downturned brow. Even the mouth hole is scowling. The mask was removable on the previous figure, but that’s not the case here on either head. The hood here billows out more near the bottom, giving it an Emperor Palpatine kind of vibe. Ultimately, I think I will go with this one for display. I like the rivets, but this one has a more villainous visage.

Articulation is mostly standard stuff, although it’s worth noting that the torso articulation is concealed as a ball joint under the belt, whereas it was under the chest and clearly visible on the older figure. Also unusual is the neck piece, which is ball jointed where it meets the body, and then ball jointed and hinged where it meets the head! The legs have rotating hinges in the hips, swivels in the thighs, double-hinges in the knees, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, swivels in the biceps, double-hinges in the elbows, and hinged pegs for the wrists. You get two pairs of hands, which include one set of fists, a gun-holding right hand, and an evil graspy left hand.

Doom’s one accessory is his pistol, which is very similar to the one issued with the previous Doom, but it is still a new sculpt, and cast all in black. If you’re looking for a Doom with more accessories, you might want to look into the Retro Carded release. And yeah, I’ll get around to looking at that one eventually!

Doom is easily my favorite figure in this wave, and I’ll likely be displaying him with the Walgreens versions of The Fantastic Four. And eventually, I’ll have the Haslab Galactus looming behind them all. Don’t forget, kids… the Big Boi’s campaign ends tonight! The sculpting on this guy is just top notch, and they did a beautiful job on him all around. On the downside, he was impossible for me to find at the stores around here, and I wound up having to pay a bit extra for him from a second-hand seller online. I was apprehensive about doing that, since I already had the older version, but now that he’s in hand I think it was totally worth it! And that’s a wrap for the boxed figures in this wave, come on back next Monday and we’ll have a look at the Super Skrull Build-A-Figure!


Marvel Legends (Super Skrull Wave): Grey She-Hulk by Hasbro

If you came by Friday looking for new content, than you know I took a long weekend away from toy bloggery to recoup from a long work week. But here I am, back in the saddle, somewhat rested and ready for Marvel Monday! I’m up to the second to last figure in my jaunt through this Fantastic Four-themed wave of Marvel Legends, so let’s check out some hawt Shulkie action!

I’m not terribly familiar with this version of She-Hulk, other than she went all Grey and savage after duking it out with Thanos? I think that’s right. Anyway, considering that we’ve already had a Marvel Legends Red She-Hulk way back near the beginning of the current series, and now Grey She-Hulk, my obvious complaint is that we still don’t have regular GREEN She-Hulk, but that has since been remedied by a one-off release, which I’ll get around to looking at in the weeks ahead.

But grey or not… Wow what a figure! Jennifer looks like she’s sporting all new sculpting, and she is ripped! Literally and figuratively! This tall girl features the remnants of her tattered blue jeans sculpted onto her legs, and the top half of her shredded blouse covering her shulkies. The blouse is sculpted separately out of soft plastic and attached to the figure, which really gives it a wonderful bit of added depth, as opposed to if it were just sculped as part of the body like the jeans are. Not that they’re bad. They actually have some decent texturing and the paintlines between the blue denim and her grey skin are pretty sharp. She-Hulk is sporting a serously tight six-pack, and the bare feet are possibly also new sculpts. About the only thing I don’t like here are the slashes of neon green paint, which look like an afterthought, and don’t do much for what is an otherwise great looking effort.

And as good as Shulkie’s bod turned out, the portrait is every bit its equal! Hasbro did a fantastic job with this head sculpt. This head puts the SAVAGE in She-Hulk while still managing to retain Jennifer’s beauty. She’s brandishing the best set of choppers her law firm’s dental plan can buy, and I really dig the wrinkle in the bridge of her nose and the severe eyebrows that join it. Her eyes are green and lack pupils adding to her fierce visage. The hair sculpt is also worthy of praise. It’s wild and chaotic and looks amazing. You get some green wash mixed in with the black to match her green lips. And yeah, unfortunately you also get a rather prominant neon green slash across her nose, which I could have done without.

There are no big surprises in the articulation, and what we got is generally pretty good. I’ll pitch my usual fit over the use of rotating hinges in the elbows instead of double-hinges like the guys get. I realize that Hasbro probably does that because the gals arms are thinner, but that’s certainly not the case here. I’m also not crazy about the designs of the hinges in these elbows as they can be rather unsightly. Everything else is business as usual, though, making Shulkie a fun figure to play around with.

Jennifer comes with two sets of hands: Fists and grapple hands, and both are quite welcome. I thought I remembered Hasbro teasing a second head with this figure, but it isn’t here. It did, however, turn up in the Green She-Hulk. I guess that makes sense given this one comes with a BAF part, and the Green Shulkie does not.

When I bought this figure, the Green version had not yet been revealed, although I knew it was inevitably coming. I assumed that when it did, I would feel cheated that I had to buy this one to get a BAF part. But, this is such a great figure, that it’s hard to really feel bad about having it in my collection. Sure, I absolutely wish that Green She-Hulk was in this wave and this Grey version was the one-off exclusive, but I’m not going to get too upset about that. This figure just looks so good, that I don’t mind owning two of the same sculpt.

Marvel Legends (Super Skrull Wave): The Invisible Woman and The Thing by Hasbro

Last week I kicked off a look at the Super Skrull Wave with Mr Fantastic and The Human Torch, and as promised I’m back on this Marvel Monday to check out the second half of The Fantastic Four with Sue Storm and Ben Grimm!

I’ve got nothing new to say about the packaging, so let me take this moment to point out that Hasbro has just solicited pre-orders for their third round of Marvel’s First Family. First, we had the Walgreen’s Exclusives in their classic blue and black. The Wave I’m looking at today is the more modern black and blue, and the upcoming figures will feature their blue and white costumes made famous by Roger Corman! Er, I mean John Byrne!!! OK, let’s start with Sue Storm!

The Invisible Woman utilizes the same body as her predecessor, with the exception of her new feet. These feature wedge-heels and the same spikes on the bottoms as the other figures in these costumes, making her stand a bit taller than the Walgreens Exclusive figure. Obviously, you get the same black buck with the blue bits painted on, and I’m happy to note that the blue is a lot cleaner on this figure than it is on my Reed and Johnny. Also, since the female buck uses rotating hinges in the elbows, you don’t get the unpainted pins that the guys have.

Unlike the previous Sue, this one does not feature the semi-translucent arms, which is fine. I liked that feature on the other one, but it’s nice to have a fully solid version as well. She only has one set of hands, a powers casting hand on the right and a fist on the left.

I really dig the portrait here, Sue is as pretty as ever, but if I compare it with the older one, than I think I like that one a bit more. The lips are sharper on the Walgreens release, but yeah I’m really nitpicking to find a reason to favor one over the other. And if you like your superpowered MILFs with fuller lips, than this one might scratch your personal itch. Both of their hair looks great, the new version’s hair is a little darker and longer and a little more dynamic, making her coif the standout improvement here. But again, it’s all a matter of personal taste.

It probably goes without saying that this new release does not include HERBIE, like the last one did. It does, however, include a forcefield effect part, which is designed to plug into her right hand. It looks great, but I think it looks even better with Walgreens Sue, thanks to her translucent arm. Let’s move on to The Thing!

Grimmy uses mostly the same body as the previous release, but mixes things up with the paint. Walgreens’ Thing was a darker and more matte orange with some heavy wash to bring out the individual crags and creases. That black wash is gone here, although the crevices are sculpted well enough that they still stand out just fine. In addition to being a lighter orange, there’s also some yellowish wash around the chest, shoulder, and arms. It looks OK, but I’m going to give the nod to the older one as my favorite. And I have to throw it out there, that this is still an absolutely superb sculpt, so you really can’t go wrong with either one.

Ben’s wardrobe gets most of the new sculpting here, as instead of just wearing a pair of shorts, he’s now got a wide belt with a 4-logo in the center. The belt is blue, while the shorts are blue and black. Honestly, I think this belt and shorts combo would work fine with either set of costumes.

The head sculpt appears to be new, or at the very least has a much more promiently sculpted lower lip, making Ben look extra pouty. I’m not hating it, but I don’t think it’s as nice as either of the heads that came with the Walgreens release. And yes, that’s right. You only get the one head with this one.

And while we’re on the subject, you also don’t get any extra hands with this release either. Instead, The Thing just comes with a pair of fists. So, I guess it’s always Clobberin’ Time! Despite the color shift, the old hands look like they would match fairly well on this figure, but I could not for the life of me get the fists on this figure to come off, and I didn’t want to force them.

So, just like last time, I prefer the previous Walgreens releases to these new ones, but I will say that I like this pair a bit more than I did Johnny and Reed. Sue just looks great in any costume (Ahem, Malice in bondage outfit, Hasbro. Please!) and her forcefield effect part is a great bonus. Meanwhile, The Thing is such an amazing figure, even this somewhat lacklustre repaint can’t diminish him. It’s a shame that Hasbro didn’t throw in the extra hands, but in fairness they had to leave room for the BAF parts, I guess. All in all, I don’t dislike these costume designs or the figures, but these will not be my first choice to represent the Fantastic Four on my shelf.

And, we still have two more figures in this wave to look at! So, come on back next Monday and we’ll keep this wave rolling along with a look at Shulkie. GREY Shulkie!

Transformers Kingdom: Blackarachnia by Hasbro

I swore I wasn’t going to be buying any of the Beasts in the Kingdom line, because I’m running out of display and storage space. Plus, while I love the Beast Wars TV series, I was never all that into the toys. But it’s also no secret that I’ve rarely ever been able to keep my word when it comes to not buying toys. And for me, the deciding factor was when I fired up the Netflix series and started giving it a watch. The very next day, I was browsing the toy aisles at Target and Blackarachnia followed me home.

I have not been able to get into the other two Netflix series: Siege and Earthrise. I think they look great and I love how the animation models follow the toys so perfectly. But to be honest, they are so depressing to watch. I think they try way too hard to be grim-dark, and it just doesn’t work for me. I made it through most of Siege, but only about half of Earthrise. I wasn’t going to watch Kingdom at all, but I was really curious how they were going to work both Beasts and conventional Transformers into the same series. The result was interesting, and so has been the series so far. I don’t love it, but it does have me coming back for more. So, let’s check out my first Beast… The Predacon Blackarachnia! And as usual, we’ll start with the alt mode!

I’m going to be extremely generous when looking at this alt mode, because it just can’t be that easy to make a very humanoid robot transform into a realistic spider. And with that having been said, I think this figure does a pretty good job at it. The body has some robot kibble showing on the sides, but come on… it’s a spider and it looks fine! The engineering here isn’t mindblowing, as the bot basically folds up into a ball with the shoulders crunching under the spider head, and the arms and legs partially gathering under a body shell. It holds together fairly well, although one of my figure’s legs doesn’t lock up like it should. It’s not a critical problem, but it does make it harder to tighten up the seams in her body.

The body and legs are black with some nice texturing, and she has red spots on her back and a bunch of red eyes peppering her little spider face. The spider butt has something that I guess sort of resembles spinnerettes, protruding underneith. There are also a bunch of yellow bumps that sort of look like eyes. I’m no doctor of spiderology, but I don’t think spiders have peepers on their hineys, so I’m not sure what those are supposed to be. The black and red of the body is nicely offset by the yellow bits, which kind of look like the color of the goo that would come out if she were squished.

Blackarachnia’s legs have some pretty useful articulation. Each cluster of legs attaches to the body with one hinge, but then each leg is ball jointed further on down so it can be posed independently. The legs also do a pretty good job of holding the weight of the figure. All in all, I think this mode delivers pretty well for a Deluxe. So how about that robot mode?

Clearly, the robot mode was the design focus for this figure, because it’s outstanding! And seeing it really makes me appreciate the spider mode even more. Blackarachnia is clearly both all spider and all woman, with organic curves to her legs, wide hips, a narrow waist, and some rather impressive venom sacs. The spider’s butt lumps wind up on her pelvis, and what passed for spinnerettes become her claw-like hands. I also love the striking black and yellow coloring. She even looks great from the back, with the exception of those holes in her lower legs. Her spider body folds up neatly to form a backplate. What’s more her sizeable feet make her easy to balance, despite that leg kibble.

Yes, she’s got leg kibble for days, and I absolutely love how this design just owns it. The legs look really cool and aggressive in the way they angle away from her body, almost like skeletal wings. Granted, they have to be tweaked almost every time I pose her, but it’s worth the effort. I seem to remember in the TV show that Tarantulus’ leg kibble actually functioning as guns, but I can’t remember of Blackarachnia’s shared that function or not.

The head sculpt is excellent, and should satisfy fans of the Beast Wars series. At first, I though the sculpt was a little soft, but it’s really not. There’s plenty of detail in there. I like that they used a lighter shade of yellow for her mouth area, and she even got a little lick of red paint on her “crown.” I also dig the Predacon emblem painted on her collar.

Blackarachnia’s articulation is absolutely fabulous. She’s got rotating hinges in the shoulders, swivels in the biceps, hinges in the elbows, ball joints in the hips, swivels in the thighs, double hinges in the knees, and hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. Some of these points are in service to her transformation, others are just there to make her loads of fun to play with.

Of course, Blackarachnia comes with her trademark crossbow-type weapon, which pegs surprisingly well into either of her claw hands.

I have to say, I’m glad I weakened, overcame my self-imposed Beast Bot Ban, and picked up this figure! She’s been on my desk ever since I first opened her up, and I’ve been messing around with her a lot in my downtime. The transformation isn’t too fiddly, although I do wish that one leg locked up properly in her spider mode. Even still, she looks fine in her alt mode, and exceptionally good in her femme-bot mode. But, the real question is… do I like her enough to buy more Beast Bots? Time will tell!

Marvel Legends (Super Skrull Wave): Mr Fantastic and The Human Torch by Hasbro

Today, I’m jumping in the Wayback Machine and setting the destination to Unfinished Business! Averaging one Marvel Legends review a week is not nearly enough to keep up with this prolific toy line, and waves do sometimes fall by the wayside. Some of these I may let go, but others I plan on getting back to. And since it’s The Fantastic Four‘s 60th Anniversary, why not return to the Super Skrull Wave! Marvel’s First Family remains one of my all time favorite comic books for the majority of my life, and along with Spider-Man, it was the first Marvel Comic that I began reading regularly when I was a wee lad. There was no way I wasn’t going to come back to these figures eventually!

I had planned on doing all of the Fantastic Four in one review, but I’m coming off a brutal six-day work week, and I just didn’t have the time to complete it, so today I’m taking what I do have, and having a look at Reed Richards and Johnny Storm! We last saw these characters in Marvel Legends as part of a series of Walgreens Exclusive releases, where they turned up in their Classic blue and black uniforms. Now we’re getting them in their more moden black and blue uniforms! Let’s start with Reed!

The body here seems to be mostly recycled from the previous Mr. Fantastic, which means the costume is achieved mostly through paint, and that works. We do get some new sculpting in the feet, including their weird spikey boots. Honestly, I don’t dislike the costumes, as they’re kind of a palate swap with a few added stylistic flairs, and the blue and black still look quite striking when contrasted off each other. That’s not to say these come even close to the classic costumes in my realm of personal taste. They aren’t as drastic as The Future Foundation re-design, nor are they terrible like the red and black re-design. They’re just different. As for the painted costume on the figure, well the paint lines could have been sharper, the blue scratches pretty easily, and the lower pins in the elbows aren’t painted to match. In short, it’s OK, but nothing special.

It remember it took me a while to get used to Reed with a beard, but I got eventually warmed up to it. Still, I’m not crazy about how it turned out on this figure. It looks like an odd mix of sculpt and paint, and the gray printing doesn’t look natural, and I think the mustache looks the most off-putting. This isn’t a terrible portrait, but it’s not a great one either. Legends has proven itself capable of much better, and I vastly prefer the classic portrait on the Walgreens Exclusive figure.

Articulation holds no surprises, so let’s jump straight to the effect parts. This version of Reed comes with stretchy fingers. Yeah. extra hands with stretched fingers. These are friggin creepy and I don’t like them. The previous release of Mr. Fantastic had some cool and massive stretched arms. These just feel like a huge step down in comparison. Reed Richards has one of the coolest and most useful super powers out there and here it looks like he’s about to use them to reach up the chute and steal candy bars from a vending machine. Thank you, but no sir.Let’s have a look at The Human Torch.

The Walgreens Exclusive gave us Johnny Storm in full Flame On! mode, so I was excited to get this release of him just wearing his costume. And it’s a pretty solid figure. Everything I said about Reed’s costume holds true here, although the blue didn’t hold up quite as well on this one. I do have to give Hasbro credit for not cheaping out and using the same body for both figures. Johnny actually features the lateral crunches in the shoulders, giving him a bit more articulation. Otherwise, there’s not much else to say here.

The portrait is decent, but again not exceptional. I like that they gave him a little smirk. The hair is sculpted separately from the rest of the head, giving him a seam for a clean hairline. The eyes could have used a bit more precision when they were painted, but all in all, this isn’t bad.

Johnny comes with swappable flame hands, a right fist and an open left, as well as flame effect parts to snake around his arms. They are kind of subtle, but I think they look great. Of course, if you have the previous release, you can mix and match for some real fun.

The heads do indeed swap and the shoulder flame piece fits just fine. I really love the way it looks on this figure. And you can also plop this head onto the fully flamed Johnny as well. In the end, though, this release really just makes me wish Hasbro had given us a Johnny Storm in the classic suit.

There’s another flame piece included that is designed for the Super Skrull BAF, but it can also be used with Johnny to give him some extra oompf.

I may sound like quite a downer in this review, but to be fair the Walgreens Exclusive versions were a tough act to follow. The classic suits meant that I was always going to like those better, and there’s nothing about this pair that makes me want to love the modern suits on these figures. I haven’t priced the Walgreens figures lately, but if they’re crazy money these days, at least these guys can fill that Fantastic Four shaped hole in your collection without breaking the bank. Next week, I’ll have a look at Sue Storm and The Thing!

Transformers Kingdom: Tracks by Hasbro


My backlog of Transformers reviews is growing, and while I’d like to get to some of the older stuff, I’m always tempted to check out a new figure that arrives. Maybe I’ll do a Backlog Week and hit some of the really old figures I missed. As for Tracks, well he was getting a pretty lukewarm reception among collector circles by the time my pre-order arrived, so I was a little apprehensive about checking him out.

Here he is in the Kingdom packaging, and I still don’t know what the intention of this line is. Cars? Beasts? It’s just a free for all! But I’m going to start watching the Netflix series this week, so we’ll see what it’s all about. We last saw tracks about ten years ago in the Reveal The Shield line, so I think this figure is more than overdue, and I’ll do a comparison between the two figures at the end. For now, let’s get started with his alt mode.

I don’t usually start by commenting on the transformation, but I think it’s justified here. Transforming Tracks can be a little annoying when you’re going into car mode. There’s a lot of precise positioning, which we haven’t seen a lot of in the Deluxe Class toys of recent years, and even when you get it all correct, the results are problematic. I can get just about everything to lock in perfectly, but the two front quarter-panels always refuse to peg in flush with the hood. Squeeze them into place, they keep popping back out, and apparently this isn’t just an issue with my particular figure, but pretty much all of them. It makes me wonder whether this was an issue on the prototype, and they just said screw it, or whether it was an issue that cropped up during production. Solcitation pictures don’t show the problem, so I’m guessing it’s the later.

And that’s a real shame, because looking past that, the rest of the car looks great. There’s no license markings, but it’s clearly a close approximation of Tracks’ G1 Corvette mode. It’s got some sexy curves, and sure there are a lot of seams from the interlocking plates, but that’s often par for the course. The vibrant electric blue plastic, along with the crimson flame on the hood and the Autobot insignia make for a knockout deco. The windows are smoked, there are some gray bumpers, and black grills under the headlamps. and the wheels are painted silver. There are some exposed pins that can be a little distracting, but it’s hard to nitpick them when the car doesn’t even lock together properly.

You get some weapon ports on the sides front quarter panels, another back near the trunk, and one in the back, where you can plug in a blast effect to mimic flaming thrust. Pretty cool! Tracks doesn’t come with a blast effect, but you do get a black gun and a rack of white missiles.

Tracks can still convert into his flying car mode, which looks fine. It would have been nice if the arm pieces tabbed into the car, but I guess that’s not a big deal, as they stay in place pretty well. I’ll throw out here my apologies for shooting Tracks against a white backdrop. I wanted to really bring out the gorgeous blue plastic in the pictures, but it makes his white parts, like the wings, really hard to see. And while we’re on the subject, I would have really liked a couple of red stripes on those wings.

The robot mode is not too shabby, but I think it lacks the cleaner and more refined modes that we’ve been seeing in other recent Deluxe Class bots. I think this bot is a better homage to his G1 toy than his animated counterpart, and that’s definitely not a bad thing. Plus, he looks fine right alongside his fellow Kingdom and Earthrise Autobots. The chest is faked out, as the actual roof of the car is folded up into his backpack. Some people cry foul at this practice, but it doesn’t bother me. It allows for better proportions, and in this case, it also allows for the Autobot symbol to appear on the chest, but not on the car. The backpack locks into place, and gives his missile rack a place to plug into. From behind, he’s mostly a slab of car plates, which is fine. His legs do close up all around, but I’m not terribly keen on the gaps for his feet. I know, he’s a robot, but it’s at odds with the G1 aesthetic.

The head is perfect, I wouldn’t change a thing. Tracks’ mix of red face and white “helmet” is so bizarre and unique that it’s become iconic. The shoulders are a little broad, but that’s always been the case for Tracks. It’s hard to help it with the wheels positioned the way they are. I do wish the wings were attached to his body and not the shoulders, because they move when you articulate his arms, and I’d much prefer they stay put.

I’ve seen some complaints about Tracks’ legs being super loose. It’s true that they are pretty loose on my figure, but I haven’t had any problems getting them to hold his weight in a variety of poses. He hasn’t done the splits or collapsed on me once. Sometimes I miss the good old days of ball joints, as loose joints could be easily fixed, and that’s not so easy when you’re dealing with pins, but it can still be done. Mine just isn’t an issue, so I’m not going to mess with it.

As we saw in the alt mode, Tracks comes with a pistol, which looks like a shortened version of his Black Beam Rifle.

Bringing in Reveal The Shield Tracks, it’s always shocking to see how much bigger the Deluxe figures were back then. The old Tracks sure had a bitchin’ auto mode, and all his panels held together just fine. The deeper blue looks nice, and while the added color to the hood decals make for a dynamic deco, I think I prefer the simpler look on the newer figure. Obviously, these car models are from very different eras, and while I can appreciate a modern Tracks, the Classic, early 80’s design works better for me. With all that having been said, the older Tracks in car mode is just an all around better toy.

I think things get a lot more up for debate in robot mode. I think RTS Tracks is still a great looking figure, but he’s going for a very different aesthetic. He looks more Alternators inspired than anything else, and that’s nothing to be ashamed of. There’s also some really clever stuff going on with his transformation, which really delighted me when I transformed him for the first time in years. Not to mention, that RTS Tracks shares his body with RTS Wheeljack! Still, he’s got little baby arms, and stubby little wings that hang of fhis doors. Kingdom Tracks is just so much cleaner and really a fine compromise between toy and cartoon aesthetic. In the end, I’m going to give the nod to new Tracks, but it’s worth mentioning that I expected to sell off RTS Tracks when I got the new one, but now I think I’ll end up keeping him.

It’s impossible to give Kingdom Tracks’ alt mode a pass. It never should have gone to production like that. It’s especially tragic when you look at how great the rest of the car looks. The robot mode, however, is pretty damn sweet, and to be fair that’s the way I display these figures most of the time anyway. I’m sure that I come across as a Hasbro shill most of the time, and this next comment won’t help any, but if this Tracks’ gaps are the biggest Transformers screw up Hasbro has done, I think they’re doing OK. I mean, at least they aren’t making any of these Transformers figures impossible to get store exclusives, right?