Star Wars Black (Solo): Moloch by Hasbro

Solo may have had disappointing returns at the Box Office, but I enjoyed the hell out of it, and Hasbro is still supporting it with their 6-inch Black Series. Not only are we getting a second wave of figures hitting soon, and not long around the film’s home release, but Target is offering a Deluxe Exclusive of Moloch, the Grindalid Enforcer of the White Worms!

Like Target’s other Black Series Exclusive, Moloch comes in a larger, bulkier version of the standard Black Series box. As this is an exclusive, there’s no number on the side, but you do get a little bio blurb on the back and the package is totally collector friendly. The wider box allows this larger figure to be viewed through the window beside his accessories and I think he displays great in the package. I may actually keep this box!

And he’s not too shabby out of the box either! I thought this Moloch had a cool design in the film and Hasbro has translated it to action figure form quite nicely. He has sculpted plastic robes with a an additional layer cast in a sleeveless soft plastic with the sleeves sculpted onto the arms. It gives the figure’s outfit a lot of depth and the robes themselves feature some texturing as well as sculpted stitch lines. You can even see his sleeves protruding from the shorter sleeves of the robe. He’s also wearing sculpted gloves with reinforced leather-like patches on the backs of his hands.

Moloch looks like a humanoid, but looks can be deceiving. He’s apparently the same species as Lady Proxima, and that means that he’s really just a big worm with arms. If you peek under the robes, you won’t see legs, but just a big, bloated worm body and I really dig that. The stubby worm legs actually run all the way up his body. Here’s a case where I really wish Hasbro had gone for softgoods for this Moloch’s robes. It would have allowed me to get a much better look at the worm body under there, but I suppose you could argue that the costume wouldn’t have looked as good. Either way, being a worm means that there aren’t a lot of points of articulation on this fellow. The arms have the usual rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists, but apart from a ball joint in the waist, that’s all you get.

The figure comes unmasked in the package, but I started out with his face all closed up. The covered worm body protrudes out of the robes and hunches over to have the “head” encased in a giant ring and mask with breathing apparatus. There’s some particularly nice attention to detail here in the sculpt. The surface of the mask looks pitted and old in some areas, there’s further detailing on the flat “nose” piece, and the segmented tubes that come out the sides are a nice touch. The bulk of the mask is not removable, but the face plate can be taken off to get a look at Moloch’s real mug inside.

And it turns out he’s a blue-eyed slug. Hasbro did a fantastic job with the sculpting and paint on the worm head. He’s got some cool wrinkling around his eyes and a pair of slits for nostrils. The skin tone has some different shades and there’s a slightly glossy finish, which makes the plastic look like honest-to-god alien worm skin. Obviously, the removable mask isn’t a surprise, since the figure comes packaged with it off, but this feature still delighted me to no end and goes a long way to make this figure feel like it’s worth the Deluxe price tag.

In addition to the removable mask, Moloch comes with two more accessories. The first is this staff. I’m not sure if this is meant to be a weapon, like a mace, or just some kind of badge of office, and I’m not even sure what the disgusting mass is supposed to be at the end. He may just run around threatening to touch people with it. Either way, he can hold it well in his left hand.

The second accessory is his blaster pistol, which can be worn on the holster on his belt. I’ve been a big fan of the blaster designs in some of the new Star Wars movies in general, but definitely in Rogue One and Solo in particular, and this little gun is a good example of why. It’s not what I would consider a conventional Star Wars design, but it has that same sense of a realistic looking firearm modified with sci-fi bits. I also really dig that they actually painted the wood grips.

Unlike the other Deluxe Target Exclusive in this line, Moloch was really easy for me to find. My Target had three of him on the shelf and he’s still been there the last few times I’ve been through the toy aisle. Granted, he’s not an army builder and maybe not as iconic a character as that Green Space Pig, but he is in excellent figure and I’m very glad I picked him up. The extra $10 he runs is somewhat justified by the larger size of the figure, although I can’t help but think that if this was a Marvel Legends he would have been the same price as a regular figure. I think the biggest missed opportunity is not giving him a Corellian Hound. I would have happily ponied up a little extra to get one of them!

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Marvel Legends (Thanos Wave): Songbird by Hasbro

After a slight detour, I’m back to metaphorically spinning the non-existent Wheel of Legends and randomly picking another figure from my enormous backlog to open. And as you already know by the title, my grubby paw emerged from the big box of Hasbro goodness clutching onto Songbird from The Thanos Wave!

I love me some Thunderbolts and ever since Hasbro released a Legends version of that team back in 2013 at SDCC, I’m always happy to add some more members. And along comes Songbird who admittedly feels a little out of place in this wave. I’m never sure how Hasbro decides to drop certain characters into certain waves, but it’s clear that they play the themes of these waves fast and loose, and hey… if it allows them to slip in a comic character we might otherwise not get, I’m all for it. I’ve got nothing much to say about the packaging, other than she looks great framed on the tray with her giant effect part behind her.

I feel like Melissa’s been wearing this costume (or a close variation of it) since forever. Or at least since she cast off her goofy greens from her Screaming Mimi days and began dolling out Justice like Lightning!™ And why not? This black and white bodysuit is a clean, sexy, and modern look that stands the test of time. Hasbro did a nice job recreating it mostly in paint, with bright and vibrant whites and sharp lines around the black bits. Even the lines around those black crescents on the outside of her legs are razor sharp. I’m also happy to report there’s no bleed-through in the white, which is pretty common with white paint on darker bucks. Extra sculpting comes in the form of her gold accessories. These include her segmented arm bracers, her belt, and her shoulders, of which the later two are separate pieces. The deco is rounded out with a little pink paint on her neck piece and belt.

The head sculpt is quite good too! Ms. Gold is sporting some full lips and green eyes. Like her suit, the paint here is pretty sharp and clean. They also did a nice job painting the highlights in her hair, which is sculpted to fall about her shoulders and down her back fairly naturally. It does, unfortunately inhibit some of the neck articulation, so it’s not too easy to get her looking up when in a flight pose.

And speaking of articulation, Songbird holds no surprises in that department. You get rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have double hinges in the knees, swivels in the thighs, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. There is no waist swivel, but there is a ball joint under the chest, and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed. She’s lots of fun to pose, but I do wish she came with a second pair of hands. The ones she has work well for flight, but optional fists would have been welcome additions.

As we already saw in the packaged shot, Songbird comes with one big accessory and that’s her energy wings. This effect part is just one big piece of translucent pink plastic, which pegs into the hole in her back and looks pretty damn nice. It does maker her a tad back-heavy, but I was able to get her standing with it without too much trouble.

Getting a comic-inspired Songbird in what is more or less an MCU Infinity War themed wave was a really nice surprise. I mean, can you even imagine what the meeting with the retailers must look like? Hasbro: “Infinity War is going to be the biggest movie event of the year. The kids are going to want to relive it with the action figures!” Walmart Rep: “I like it! What’ve you got?” Hasbro: “Spider-Man! Thor! Iron Man!” Rep: “Brilliant!” Hasbro: “And Songbird!” Rep: “Who the hell is that? Is she in the picture?” Hasbro: “Well…” It’s yet another example of how Hasbro is treating this line as a labor of love and willing to take risks to get as many characters out to the fans as possible.

Transformers “Power of the Primes” Abominus Combined!

Well, it took me a month, but I finally got through my look at Hasbro’s modern updates to the Terrorcons. These four Deluxe and their Voyager Class leader were all great figures on their own, but the real treat of getting them all together is combining them into Abominus and that’s what I’m going to do today! Hasbro’s modern Combiners have been pretty hit-or-miss with me. I loved Superion, Defensor, and Bruticus, and I thought Computron was solid, but I wasn’t a big fan of Menasor. Here’s hoping that Abominus turns out to be another win!

Of course, the Combiner Wars and Power of the Primes combiners are inspired by the old Scramble City design, which means that the limbs can be combined any way you like. Arm? Leg? Doesn’t matter. When it comes to the combiners that I’m familiar with (like Superion, Menasor, or Computron), I’m a real stickler on which figure becomes what based on the Sunbow cartoon series. But as I’ve noted a few times during my Terrorcon reviews that I never owned the original Terrorcon toys, nor are the characters all that meaningful to me. I was a teenager and getting out of Transformers by the time these guys were released, so I’m just doing my own thing here. And after some experimenting, I’ve found a combination that I dig the most and I’m going with that one. So I’ll apologize in advance if this isn’t the configuration most people are looking for.

Whatever configuration you choose, I have to say he’s quite spectacular. Not only do I think he’s pretty well proportioned (apart from those tiny feet!), but he holds together beautifully and can stand without toppling over like Menasor loved to do. I went with Blot and Sinnertwin as the legs because they strike me as the bulkiest and I think their leg modes compliment each other pretty well.  Meanwhile, I like the way Cutthroat’s wings look coming off the shoulder as well as Rippersnapper’s guns angled up off the other. I also used their respective Prime Armor as the hands, just to match the deco of the arms.

Hun-Gurrr makes for a fantastic torso. His pinkish slab of chest has some great detail on it, including the circular vents in the abdomen and the paint paint hits, which include silver, red, blue, and yellow all look great. I especially love the little twin Decepticon insignia that appear on the outsides of the chest, as well as the larger one on his right hip and the rub sign on his left. The contoured shoulders are quite distinctive and the foil stickers are a great touch. For a combiner made of up five really solid figures with really solid alt modes, I’m surprised Abominus turned out so well. It feels like very little (if anything) was sacrificed here to make it all work.

The head is a nice homage to the original toy, especially the helmet, which features the long side vents and extended antenna. The face is rather organic looking with a very pronounced chin and a yellow visor in place of eyes. The antenna are made of rubbery plastic and mine are a tad warped, but nothing too bad.

Alas, the stability of this guy really takes a hit when I started to pose him, which is why I really couldn’t do a lot with him for the pictures. The ratchets in his hips aren’t very subtle or strong, so the moment I put him in a wider stance, they give out and he either does a split or topples over. As a result, he’s not the most interesting toy to pose and photograph, but I’m still not too bummed out about it. He stands fine in neutral poses and that will work for when I choose to display him in combined mode. Another real plus is ho well he stays together. Even after playing around with him for quite a while, I never had any of his limbs detach or his shoulders come apart. That’s a lot more than I can say for most of the Combiner Wars Gestalts, and that goes a long way to make for a fun toy!

Abominus was a wonderful surprise, as I thought Hasbro would have been more or less done with combiners at the end of the Combiner Wars. Of all Hasrbo’s modern Combiners, I’d rank Abominus pretty high. Superion still holds the top spot for me, but I’d probably put this Terrorcon Gestalt on par with Bruticus as a close second. He looks fantastic and he holds together well enough that he’s actually fun to play around with. Sure, I’d love more stability in action poses, but when everything else is so good, I’m willing to accept compromise. I rarely display any of my combiner teams in their Gestalt modes, but here’s one where I’d be tempted to do it. And with that said, I’m going to be taking a little break from Transformers for the rest of the month as I try to get through some other things. I still have some unfinished business with Power of the Primes. Reviews of Leader Class Optimus Prime and Rodimus, as well as Predaking are all coming, but probably not until November.

Transformers “Power of the Primes” Hun-Gurrr by Hasbro

It’s Friday again, Toyhounds, and I’m more than ready for the weekend. I’ve clawed my way through another hellacious work week and now it’s time to reward myself by opening up a brand new Robochangeformer. I’ve spent the last five weeks or so checking out the four Deluxe Terrorcons and that just leaves their leader, the mighty Hun-Gurrr. Let’s see if I can make it through the whole review without messing up the number of r’s at the end of his name, eh?

As the leader of the Terrorcon Combiner team, Hun-Gurrr is a Voyager Class and comes in a pretty standard Voyager Class window box.  He’s packaged in his robot mode, and you get some fantastic artwork of his double-headed beast mode on the front with epic sparks behind him and green flame shooting out of one of his mouths. It’s all very metal. The package is collector friendly, but be sure to have some snippers handy to cut all those plastic ties that are holding him into the tray. Let’s jump right in and check out his robot mode…

Hun-Gurrr’s robot mode takes the basic elements of the G1 toy and adds plenty of polish to make for a more stylized and all around better looking bot. The shoulders are a bit less pronounced and the legs are less blocky and a lot more interesting too. But the biggest improvement for me is the chest. The beast mode’s tail forms the middle of the torso, and I think it’s very reminiscent of the way some Decepticon jets wear their cockpit on their chests. Very cool! And while I do indeed like this robot mode well enough, I can’t help admit that the proportions are off. His arms and upper body look incredibly bulky when compared to his rather diminutive legs. It looks like a lot of weight for those chopsticks to handle, and his feet seem even smaller still! Now, it’s not a deal-breaker for me by any means, but I think the disconnect between his upper and lower half keeps him from being a top-shelf design.

From the back, Hun-Gurrr looks pretty good. He does have a boxy, but manageable, backpack, which is made up from the collapsed chest piece of his torso mode. He’s got some hollow leg syndrome going on, but I love how the lower jaws of the beast mode heads form heel spurs to keep him stable. And so while those feet are kind of puny, they do a fine job of keeping this bot upright. One more thing that I’m not all that fond of here is the way the beast feet hang off the backs of his forearms without really locking into place. It’s not uncommon for these to be flapping in the breeze while I’m posing this guy. A couple of clips would have worked wonders there. As for the deco, well it’s mostly faithful to the original toy with a muted combination of off-white and dark gray with some pinkish accents. We also get some metallic blue paint hits on the shoulders and foil stickers on the sides of his lower legs, that really make things pop. Finally, Hun-Gurrr features a foil Decepticon insignia sticker on each shoulder, with the left one being a rub sign.

Hun-Gurrr’s head sculpt is a decent nod back to the original toy’s portrait. The only thing painted here is his silver visor, the rest is left as bare pink plastic. The face has sunken cheeks and is rather angular with a pronounced chin and nose. The facial features are a little soft, and it’s not one of my favorite head sculpts in this assortment, but I still like it well enough.

Sadly, Hun-Gurrr doesn’t come with a rifle, but he does come with two Prime Armor pieces (also serving as Abominus’ feet), which can attach to his arms to form double blasters. I do like these pieces, but they add to his already bulky upper body. They also have a slot to plug in the Terrorcon Enigma and one other Prime Master, if you’re into that kind of thing. All in all, these work well as weapons, but I would have preferred a rifle. Let’s move on to the beast mode!

Hun-Gurrr’s alt mode is a four-legged wingless dragon thing and… hey… we’ve seen this before. Yup, this is extremely similar to Sinnertwin’s alt mode and I always thought it was weird having two such similar cyber-beasties on the same team. Still, between the larger size, vastly different deco, and skewed proportions, I think the two are distinctive enough from each other to make it work. Sinnertwin kept a fair balance between body and heads, whereas Hun-Gurrr’s necks and heads really dominate.

That’s not to say I’m totally in love with this alt mode. When you know what you’re looking at, it should be pretty obvious that it’s more or less the robot mode standing on his hands with his legs up in the air. The biggest issue I have is that the design doesn’t do anything to hide the robot mode’s pelvic area. Plus, the tiny, atrophied front legs just look weird to me. Still, the beast heads are a lot more fun on this mode than what we got on Sinnertwin and knowing that this design is in effect a triple changer with a torso mode, I’m willing to forgive a lot.

Hun-Gurrr rounds out the Terrorcon package pretty nicely. To me, he isn’t the high point of this team, but considering how much I’ve loved these figures, that’s not something to be ashamed of. He’s still a very good figure and a whole lot of fun. And that seems to be a running theme with Hasbro these days. The Deluxe Class figures have been mostly excellent while the Voyager Class figures have ranged from solid to underwhelming. Of course, I still have one more thing left to look at before I’m finished with the Terrorcons, so come on back sometime tomorrow and I’ll combine them to form… ABOMINUS!!!

Marvel Legends: The Thing by Hasbro

Once again, I have to put the random Marvel Legends reviews on hold as I push a figure to the head of the line. And it should come as no surprise that I’m doing that for Ben Grimm. To know me is to know how much I adore the Fantastic Four. It’s that one comic that most captured my heart as a child and kept me coming back for more, right up until it was shit-canned over copyright-politics. Hopefully that’s getting hammered out now with the recent shifts in the big corporate landscape. But either way, I’ve dreamed about a Marvel Legends re-do of Marvel’s First Family ever since the line came back and now thanks to some exclusive releases through Walgreens, of all places, Ben Grimm marks the last release of the Marvel Legends Fantastic Four!

And oh man, I couldn’t be happier to be holding this. For the most part, finding the Walgreens exclusives hasn’t been too difficult for me. I was able to pick up most of them at the store around the corner from my home and a couple I grabbed off their website. Ben was a little tougher, but after hitting a Walgreens about ten minutes away, I believe I found a new untapped source because they had piles of Legends and quite a few of their past exclusives. I think a big reason finding this set me at ease is because I was afraid of how much I would have been willing to pay for it on the secondary market if it came to that. The packaging is the same as we’ve been getting all along, and Ben is quite possibly the largest figure I’ve seen crammed into one of these window boxes. Not to mention the extra parts really push that tray to its limits. There’s a Walgreens Exclusive sticker on the window and not much else to say, other than bye-bye to this packaging, because it’s clobbering time!

Here’s Ben out of the box and looking damned near perfect. When it comes to the sculpt here, there’s nothing at all for me to pick at. His costume consists only of his blue shorts with a black waistband and the rest of the figure is covered in glorious orange rock. The craggy skin is chock full of detail with an intricate network of crevices running between the rocky scales all picked out by a dark paint wash. The orange used for the skin is brilliant and combines with the blue shorts to make for a very colorful figure that looks like he just jumped out of a Marvel comic panel.

The Thing comes with two heads, both of which capture the character perfectly, complete with prominent craggy brow and baby blue eyes. The first head features a slightly neutral expression, although he still looks mildly pissed off. The second head is full on Clobbering Time with teeth exposed and a gaze that says he’s looking to do some damage. Honestly, I probably would have been perfectly happy with either head, and it’s a real treat that with all the original sculpting that went into this big boy, Hasbro still managed to sneak the extra portrait in there.

The same could be said for the extra set of hands. Ben comes with a set of fists and a set of open, clutching hands. Had they just mixed and matched these, I would have been fine with that, but the ability to swap out either or both is just a wonderful bonus. These also work well with the articulation for coming up with all sorts of clobbering poses. And if I had one thing about the figure that I absolutely had to nitpick, I would say that the rotating hinges in the elbows don’t offer the range of motion that double-hinges would have. Although, I will concede that the existing elbow points don’t interrupt the sculpt as much as the other option would have. Either way, it’s a compromise that I’ll happily accept.

Besides the elbows, the articulation here is right on par with most of Marvel Legends‘ big boys. The shoulders have rotating hinges, the wrists have hinged pegs. There are no bicep swivels, but that’s where the rotating hinge elbows come in. The torso features a swivel at the waist and a ball joint under the chest. The neck has both a hinge and a ball joint. Finally, the legs feature double hinges in the knees, swivels at the bottoms of the shorts, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles to help keep his big feets flat on the ground.

I try not to throw around the word “perfect” a lot when I talk about my toys, as it tends to cheapen the word, but I’m going to go ahead and roll it out for this review. I thing Hasbro did a fabulous job with The Thing. I’d like to think that’s not just my love of the comic and the character creating bias, but rather just recognition of a job well done. The sculpt and coloring are spot on and including the extra head and hands with what is already a big figure with so much new sculpting, well that just goes above and beyond!

Transformers “Power of the Primes” Sinnertwin by Hasbro

Happy Friday, Toyhounds! It’s been a bitch of a week, but I’m cooling down with a couple of adult beverages, easing into the weekend, and rewarding myself for a job well done by opening up the last of the Power of the Primes Deluxe Terrorcons! If you’ve been around for my looks at Blot, Rippersnapper, and Cutthroat, then you know that I am absolutely smitten with these foul and evil little cyber-beasties. And so without further delay, let’s check out Sinnertwin!

Here’s a quick look at him in his package, and once again I’ll say that I’m not a fan of this overall design, but I do love the character art on these cards. I’m anxious to see the packaging for the new line and hope we get something a little more inspired and exciting. Anywho… The Terrorcons are all packaged in their robot modes, but you get a picture of the beast mode on the bubble insert to give you a good idea of what else you’re getting. Give me a second to get him free and we’ll start with his robot mode!

And what a nice, clean robot mode it is! Sure you get his beast legs on the side of his robot legs and his beast heads hanging down his back, but what’s here is pretty tidy and there really isn’t a lot of kibble to complain about. I like Sinnertwin’s big boxy chest, and while his arms do look a little diminutive compared to the rest of his body, I’d like to have the shoulders bulked up a bit, it’s nothing so bad that it ruins the figure for me. His combiner connector is pretty obvious and there’s a curiously large hole in his chest to accommodate the Prime Armor piece.

The coloring makes a strong statement with mostly yellow and blue, spruced up with some red and silver paint hits. There’s even a little purple on the panels of his chest. He’s rather bright and cheerfully colored for a Decepticon, which is probably why there’s a Decepticon insignia on both his chest and his left shoulder. The extra paint on his legs really goes a long way toward a more premium feel, and they even painted some silver in on the outsides of his upper arms and shoulders. All in all, I find his deco pretty pleasing and more than a little reminiscent of Titans Return Wolfwire. And I guess that’s not a bad thing.

Sinnertwin features a rather robust head with a well-defined blue “helmet” and a rather stern looking face. The silver paint on the face looks great, but on close inspection the yellow paint on my figure’s eyes could have been a lot cleaner. I didn’t even really notice it until I got in close, but it’s the first time I’ve seen anything close to sloppy face paint on one of my Transformers in a long while.

In addition to his Prime Armor piece, Sinnertwin comes with a pretty simple gun, which he can hold in either hand or can be mounted on his shoulders if you want to really mix things up.

Sinnertwin’s transformation won’t win any awards for ingenuity, so feel free to just toss out the instructions. You simply tuck away the robot head, fold out the beast heads, fold the legs back into the body and deploy the beast legs. With just a few more tweaks, you’re all done. In keeping with the Terrocon pedigree, Sinner’s alt mode is a weird two-headed wingless dragon kind of thing. And here’s where this figure starts to fall a little flat for me. There’s nothing overtly wrong with his alt mode, but it doesn’t really impress or excite me either. I mean, he’s OK and all, but he’s no Twinferno. The dragon colors remain true to the robot mode and it’s nice to see that all that paint on the robot mode’s legs is still on display in this mode. I will say that I dig his adorable little split tail!

The beast heads can move independently of each other and the jaws can open and close, but I’m not a big fan of the hollow necks, especially when I position one of the heads up high and it’s really obvious. I do like that they added some silver paint to the top row of teeth. It’s a shame that paint for the bottom choppers wasn’t in the budget. At least the purple horns and red eyes are a nice touch.

Sinnertwin also has a port on his back so you can plug in his gun, because everyone knows that two-headed dragons are even more bad ass when you strap a laser gun to their back. You can also plug it into the holes at the top of either of his front legs. And here’s a real surprise… I think the Prime Armor piece works beautifully on this guy in his beast mode. It bulks him out nicely and adds some spikes. You can also still put his cannon up there, so long as you’re happy with it over one of his shoulders.

The last thing I wanted to do was end this run of Deluxes on a down note, but there you have it. Sinnertwin is a perfectly fine figure, but he lacks that certain something special that I found in each of his three Terrorcon brothers. To me he’s the French Cruller in my mix of donuts. Not bad, but still my least favorite in the batch. I guess somebody has to, and you’re it, Sinnertwin. But to be fair, this was an exceptionally great assortment of figures, so really Sinnertwin doesn’t have too much to be ashamed about. And with all four Deluxe Terrorcons open, I just have their leader Hun Gurrr left! Will it be next Friday? Maybe. It just depends if I want to bump him for some more Halloween-y content or not.

Transformers “Power of the Primes” Blot by Hasbro

Last week I diverted away from the Power of the Primes Terrorcons to have a look at Punch-Counterpunch, so let’s swerve back on course this week by opening up my third of the Deluxe Terrorcons… and it’s Blot!

Man, Hasbro came up with some great names for the Terrorcons. Even in a team with characters named Cutthroat and Rippersnapper, Blot is still a stand out moniker. He comes packaged in his robot mode with some great character art at the top of his card in his beast mode. You get the Generations emblem in the upper right corner and the brand name running up the side which, even after a few lines of this package style, will never stop looking weird to me. I’ve been starting off all the Terrorcon reviews in their robot modes, so let’s get Blot out of that bubble and check him out…

Blot is built off of the same engineering as Rippersnapper, and just like Cutthroat and Sludge, he borrows some parts but the majority of the figure has been reworked to make Blot his own bot. With that having been said, I really dig Blot’s overall profile. He’s got a big, beefy chest, powerful forearms equipped with slashing blades, and some beast legs folded up on his lower legs that adds to his bulk without being too kibble-y. The back of the package refers to him as a foot-soldier and that’s exactly what his robot design conveys to me. To me, this is a no-nonsense Decepticon trooper through and through.

Even from the back he looks great. The beast kibble is worn as a backpack, and it adds to his upper body bulk without detracting from the aesthetic at all. His lower legs are filled out, and everything else back here is nice and clean. I’m such a fan of Hasbro taking those basic G1 scramble city limb robots and fleshing them out in Deluxe Class figures and Blot here is another fine example of why. I didn’t think they’d ever top the Aerialbot limbs’ Deluxe makeovers, but these Terrorcons are giving them a run for their money.

Blot’s deco is absolutely superb. The blue is so dark that it almost might as well be black. Add the purple and you’ve got the makings for perfect Decepticon colors. The additional silver, yellow, and metallic blue paintwork gives the figure a great premium finish that we’ve been seeing in a lot of these Deluxe Class figures recently. As much as I loved the Deluxe figures in Titans Return, the early releases suffered from a severe lack of paint apps, whereas Hasbro has been killing it with the paint on a lot of these Power of the Primes figures and it is much appreciated.

And that brings us to the head sculpt, and I’m happy to say that Blot is characteristically sporting a flat slab of head. The squared off “helmet” looks like it’s made to take a beating. The face is painted silver and he has a red visor across the top. Every bit of his face makes him look like an unpleasant fellow. I get the feeling that the phrase, “Oh crap, Blot showed up!” is a line often spoken at Decepticon gatherings.

In addition to his Prime Armor piece, Blot comes with his weapon. Back in the day, this was referred to as a slime gun and oh boy am I sticking with that! I’d like to think this thing just burps out nasty splotches of acidic, sticky slime onto his foes, which sends them staggering off and screaming, “OH PRIMUS, IT BURNS!!! GET IT OFF ME!!!!”

Oh yeah, you can also mount it on him on either the left or right side as a shoulder cannon. It’s nice to have options, plus this gives Blot the ability to use the gun for long range attacks while slashing up close enemies with his claws.

With some shared engineering and parts, Blot’s transformation is a little like Rippersnapper’s, but there’s enough new here to make him feel unique and the end result is this wonderful little ball of WTF. It’s like a cross between a slobbering fantasy beast and something out of MechWarrior and I love it to pieces. I especially dig how folding in the robot hands rolls out the third claw for his beast hands. The boxy head is nestled between two silver and yellow armor plates and there are little nozels, which I presume are designed to deliver some kind of hot death to Autobot fools.

There’s a protrubance behind his head that allows you to plug in his slime gun. I just wish he came with two so I could double it up and get a little symmetry going. The deco here is pretty much the same as his robot mode, which is a good thing. One irritating thing… both Blot and Rippersnapper have rub signs in their beast mode, but they omitted it from Cutthroat’s. Go all in, or don’t do it at all, Hasbro!

Three Terrorcons down and three direct hits! I absolutely love what Hasbro is doing with these guys. I’ll admit, Power of the Primes has been pretty hit-and-miss with me, but so far the Terrorcons have been making up for a whole lot of stumbles. This is easily my favorite sub-group since the Titans Return Aerialbots. And with just one more Deluxe and one Voyager Class left, I’m getting pretty excited about finally combining them to form Abominus!

Marvel Studios “First Ten Years:” Iron Man Mk XXIII, Pepper Potts, and The Mandarin by Hasbro

Yup, the random Marvel Legends reviews are getting put on hold once again so that I can push one of these First Ten Years releases to the head of the line. This Amazon Exclusive boxed set of three figures from Iron Man 3 hit my porch this past weekend, and I was just too excited not to open it up right away. Let’s take a look!

Iron Man 3 feels like it was one of the most polarizing of all the MCU films. I still encounter people who have raging hatred toward it, and I really can’t see why. I can still remember when it hit home release on Blu-Ray and I must have watched it three times over the course of a couple of days, and my love for it didn’t even tarnish one bit. Hell, I’m long overdue for a re-watch now! Anyway, this is the first three-figure set I’ve picked up in this First Ten Years line, but the packaging is still the same. It looks good, it’s collector friendly, but I’m still not going to be keeping the box. With three figures to cover, let’s just dig right in and start with Pepper.

Never did I think I’d be so happy to own a Gwenyth Paltrow figure, but Pepper has been in a hell of a lot of MCU films and it’s long past time she got the Legends treatment. And It seems only logical to go with the movie where she actually got involved in the action. I mean, black sports bra or business suit? That’s not even up for debate. Unfortunately, this figure turned out decidedly average. In terms of sculpting and paint, this isn’t exactly a complex figure, nor did it need to be. The new sculpting for the top of the torso, as well as the bare feet, are new and appreciated, but the paint could have been a lot better, and that’s pretty sad considering it’s just a black top and black pants and virtually no intricate detailed paint hits to be had. The paint lines around her waist are downright sloppy and the bra straps could have been cleaner too. Hasbro has been doing some pretty nice paintwork in this line on even the little things like pouch buttons and belt buckles, so to see this kind of carelessness on a figure that required so little really hurts.

I do think the head sculpt is pretty solid for a 6-inch scale figure. It’s not a dead on likeness, but I can see some resemblance in there. I’d believe that Paltrow has one of those faces that could be tough to get right (I’d argue that even Hot Toys didn’t quite nail her perfectly), so I’m willing to be a little forgiving here. She also doesn’t strike me as the kind of person who would approve an action figure likeness, so I’m pretty surprised we got this release at all. Either way, the printing on the face is pretty clean and the hair sculpt looks good. Maybe since now Hasbro has done the head sculpt we can look forward to getting another version of Pepper.

Articulation is everything I expect to find in an MCU Legends lady. That includes rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. The legs have ball joints in the hips, swivels in the thighs, and double hinges in the knees. The ankles have both hinges and lateral rockers. There’s a ball joint just under the chest, no waist swivel, and the neck is ball jointed and hinged. I will say that the ankle joints look really chunky and I think they blew up her feet a bit to make them work a bit better with those larger joints.

 

Pepper’s right arm can detach at the shoulder and be swapped out for the one wearing the Iron Man armor sleeve and gauntlet. There’s also a repulsor blast effect part that plugs into the palm. This extra arm is a great addition and I’ll likely display the figure with this look most of the time. On the downside, there’s no articulation in the wrist, which means getting the repulsor effect to fire in a convincing manner isn’t easy. She can’t hold her the arm straight out without the effect shooting at a downward angle. Moving on to The Mandarin…

Now here’s a figure I never thought we would ever get. I’m sure there are still people salty over how Iron Man 3 treated one of Iron Man’s iconic arch enemies. Me? I thought it was great fun and a pretty cool twist, but then I was never a big fan of The Mandarin in the comics or the cartoons. Either way, here he is Trevor Slattery all decked out in his theatrical garb and looking pretty damn great. He’s sporting a pair of camoflague pants, military style boots, and a tunic and waist wrap that has a little bit of a Middle Eastern flavor to it. The real draw here, however, is the coat, which features some really nice attention to detail in the sculpt and some beautiful gold leaf paint on the fixtures and sleeves. Even the coat itself has an embossed floral motif running through it. Oh yeah, they even sculpted all ten of his rings on his fingers.

This head sculpt is absolutely spot on as well. From his long beard to his man bun, I think they did a nice job recreating Sir Ben Kingsley in the makeup.

The articulation here is good, but a lot of it is really hindered by the soft plastic coat. It’s also lacking some of the points we’re used to seeing on the male characters in this line. The arms have rotating hinges at the shoulders, elbows, and wrists, and no bicep swivels. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have double hinged knees, swivels in the thighs, and the ankles have both hinges and lateral rockers. There’s … The neck has both a hinge and a ball joint. So, what’s here is good on paper, but apart from some gesticulations with his arms, I didn’t find him to be all that much fun to pose. And that brings us to the final figure in the set…

And also the quick and easy repaint: The Mark XXIII Hot Rod armor. I’m pretty sure this is a repaint of one of the War Machine figures (Hulkbuster Wave?), if not I’ll happily stand corrected. It’s also a figure that I have a bit of a disconnect with. I want to applaud the paintwork here because it really is excellent. The gun metal finish on the torso, upper arms, and head all looks great and the flame motif on the legs and metallic red paint on the lower arms also looks superb. So what’s the problem? I just don’t really like this deco all that much. It wasn’t a stand out armor for me in the film, and in as a figure I think it just looks unfinished and strange.

Because he’s a repaint of an earlier figure, he doesn’t come with any extra goodies. No extra hands, no repulsor effect parts, and that’s all pretty disappointing considering the price of this set, which I’ll get into presently. I don’t dislike this figure, but it feels like one of those lone Walmart Exclusives that I would pass up because it doesn’t feel essential to my collection and it doesn’t have a BAF part. Yup, just like all those Back in Black Deadpools that are clogging up the pegs at my local Target.

Wow, what a mixed bag this set turned out to be! I was excited for both Pepper and The Mandarin, but Pepper turned out to be a pretty mediocre figure and while The Mandarin is pretty solid, it doesn’t justify the $70 I paid for this set. Especially since I could have easily passed on the Hot Rod armor. Hell, $70 for a three-pack of normal sized figures without much in the way of accessories is pretty high even if they all turned out to be excellent must-have releases. Even more surprising to me is that the set appears to have sold out on Amazon, as currently only available from Marketplace scalpers at twice the price. If this were just Pepper and Mandarin at $40 I would have been a lot more satisfied with this purchase, as it is

Transformers “Prime Wars Trilogy” Punch and Counterpunch by Hasbro

I’m supposed to be opening up another Terrorcon today, but then this fellow landed in my mailbox and I thought I’d bump him up to the front of the line. By 1987, I was 15 and I was already already getting out of buying Transformers. It was that strange time in my life where I felt I was too old to be buying toys to play with, and had yet to discover the joy of buying toys to collect them. As a result, a lot of the later and more gimmicky G1 releases passed me by. One of those was the very clever double agent known as Punch and Counterpunch. This character got a release a little while back thanks to a clever reuse of the the Classics Sideswipe-Sunstreaker mold, and now he’s getting a brand new, and all original, update thanks to this Amazon exclusive.

Exclusives often mean premium packaging, and that’s certainly the case here. Punch-Counterpunch comes in a collector friendly box with some bitchin’ artwork and a front flap that opens to reveal the figure through a window. He comes packaged in his robot mode as Punch with that weird Prime Armor Zodiac Wheel illustrated behind him on the tray. Before getting started, I should point out that this figure left the factory with a pretty serious QC issue, that being the shoulder joints assembled wrong. It doesn’t effect the figure in robot mode, but it does hinder the transformation. Thankfully, there’s a very helpful review on Amazon that explains how to do the fix. It’s quick and easy and doesn’t even require any tools. And with that behind us, let’s start with the auto mode!

Punch-Counterpunch is a snappy blue sportscar not too dissimilar from the original G1 toy only with all the curves and contours of a modern vehicle. I love the styling on this car and you get some nice sculpting in the form of hood vents as well as details to the front and back bumpers. The rear window is stickered silver, but the windshield and side windows are clear plastic, as are the headlamps. Some extra paint hits include the red wheels, silver vents just behind the front wheels, silver and black on the front grill, and red on the tail lights. The auto mode facilitates Punch-Counterpunch’s murky allegiances by forgoing any faction symbols.

There’s a peg port on the top of the car, so you can plug in his yellow gun, or you can attach the included Prime Armor. Using the Prime Armor isn’t my first choice, but I do like that they sculpted boosters on it. Moving on, let’s check out Punch!

Oh, man! Punch’s robot mode takes the squat and boxy G1 design and polishes it up to a fine shine. The proportions are great and the car kibble is neatly confined to being folded up into his lower legs or tucked off the back of his shoulders. He doesn’t have any actual feet per-say, but he stands fine and I don’t even mind the gaps that are in his legs below his knees. The sculpted detail on his chest looks great and really invokes the designs on the original toy. As for the coloring, the blue and yellow makes for a beautiful combo, and overall this update matches the deco of the original toy quite well, right down to the red hands and the silver and red paint hits on his upper legs. Gone is the original toy’s rub sign and instead, Punch proudly wears the Autobot insignia in the center of his chest.

From behind he looks pretty clean too, although here he’s displaying almost all blue, which is a little hint about his alter-ego. The two halves of the car front on his shoulders are more pronounced from this angle, but I don’t think they look bad at all. And because the backs of his legs are the fronts of Counterpunch’s legs, they look finished as well. All in all, this is a great looking robot, which is all the more impressive when you consider that he’s something of a Triple-Changer.

The head sculpt is also a very nice homage to that of the original figure’s noggin, albeit it’s a lot more stylized here. He still has the black top to his “helmet,” but the antenna are a lot more pronounced. His silver mouth plate looks great and he has a set of narrow aqua-colored eyes. The top portion of the “helmet” is hinged so that it reveals the eyes on this side of the head while obscuring the ones on the other. As a result, it does have a habit of flopping down sometimes, but it’s not a big deal.

Punch comes with a yellow pistol, which we already saw mounted on top of his car mode. It’s all yellow and matches his chest. I like the design of this thing and it has some nice sculpted detail going for it. I seem to recall the original toy having a double-barreled gun, so some of the purists out there may scoff at this design. So let’s transform Punch into Counterpunch and send him into Decepticon territory.

Changing Punch into Counterpunch is super easy. Punch’s back becomes Counterpunch’s front. Just re-position the shoulders so the front quarter-panels of the car are flared out, rotate out his fists so the blue ones are showing, and flip the “helmet” up on his head to reveal his eyes and cover Punch’s. Finally, you flip up the panel revealing his Decepticon insignia and he’s all ready to go. Just like Punch, Counterpunch is a fantastic update to the original G1 figure and there’s nothing going on here that would really suggest he’s hiding a completely different robot mode. The shoulders can get in the way of the arm articulation a bit, but they look great, especially with those red mag wheels facing front and center. I also love how they faked out his windshield on his chest while the real one is folded up into his legs.

While Punch’s deco featured a combination of blue and orange, Counterpunch is mostly blue, with just a bit of orange poking out. He’s also got some really nice purple paint on the panels of his lower legs. From behind, Counterpunch is just as clean as his counterpart. I also like to add the Prime Armor piece to his back because it’s sculpted to look like a jetpack, while also hiding a lot of the orange of Punch’s torso. It’s nice to finally have a use for one of these Prime Armor pieces, since the gimmick doesn’t do a lot for me.

Counterpunch’s head sculpt is pretty damn distinctive with a silver chin showing through his chunky armored blue face and a pair of red eyes peeping out from under his black “helmet.”

I think it would have been cool to get an extra gun for Counterpunch to use, but alas he has to make due with Punch’s yellow blaster. It seems like a bad idea, as it’s a pretty distinctive looking gun and I would think at some point one of the Decepticons would be in a battle and say, “Heeeeey, isn’t that Autobot using Counterpunch’s gun? And where the hell is Counterpunch anyway?” 

In addition to the Prime Armor piece, you also get a Prime Master named Prima. I like the silver and translucent blue deco on this little bot, but to be honest, if I’m not getting a Pretender Shell, than I really haven’t got a lot of use for these Prime Masters, other than maybe populating one of my Titan Class cities.

Despite not having a whole lot of attachment to the character, Punch-Counterpunch turned out to be a really amazing figure. The robot modes are engineered beautifully and with an equally great alt mode, it doesn’t feel like anything was sacrificed for this rather unique gimmick. Indeed, I’d dare say that I rank this figure among my top five or so recent Deluxes and that’s saying a lot! This release was an exclusive to Amazon and at $25, he was a bit more than your average Deluxe Class Transformer these days, but not so much so that it felt like I overpaid. Sure, the QC issue is inexcusable, but I’d be more critical of the shoulder problem if it weren’t so easy to fix. Currently, Punch-Counterpunch is sold out on Amazon, but they do have an option to notify interested buyers when he becomes available again.

Marvel Legends (Thanos Wave): Taskmaster by Hasbro

After two weeks of Marvel Monday Double-Features, I’m taking it easy today and going back to looking at just one figure. I’m also back to spinning the Wheel of Legends™, which isn’t actually a wheel, it’s just me rolling up my sleeve and plunging my hand into a box of figures and randomly drawing one out. This time I hit on Taskmaster from the Thanos Wave, which also happens to be my first figure from this assortment!

I was lucky enough to come across Taskmaster on the pegs while getting groceries at the local Target. I haven’t been so lucky with some of the other figures in this wave, particularly Iron Spider and Captain America, which have been eluding my toy hunts, and selling for scalper prices at most of the online retailers I visit. This is probably one of those waves that I should have just bought online in one shot, but I didn’t realize that until it was too late.

And here’s Taskmaster out of the box and brimming with all his Classic-styled goodness. Yup, it was only a couple of years ago that we got the previous release of Taskmaster, but that was a more modern appearance and as much as I loved that figure, this is the one I was truly waiting for. Who needs all that tactical armor when you’re this good at what you do? The dark blue body suit features painted orange sleeves, an orange and white area around the neck, and good old fashioned buccaneer boots and gauntlets both in white. Newly sculpted bits include a holster on his right thigh held on by straps, which feature sculpted stitching and gold-painted buckles. He has a single strap around his left thigh, and a waist belt with several pouches and a gold belt-buckle with his emblem on it. From the back, Taskmaster is just a wall of cape, and that’s a good thing, because Taskmaster without a cape never felt right.

Taskmaster’s hooded portrait is absolutely fantastic. The hood is borrowed directly from the previous release and here we get a better look at the sculpted gold cord that holds his cape around his neck. It’s also secured with a peg in his back. And, oh man, that head sculpt! The skull has a great finish that looks like decaying bone with a broad rictus grin and deep set eyes. The hood is not attached to the cape, which means it doesn’t curtail the neck articulation.

And speaking of articulation, here is everything I’ve come to expect in my Legends figures. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, double hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have double hinges in the knees, and swivels at the thighs and tops of the boots. The ankles are both hinged and have lateral rockers. Taskmaster has a swivel in the waist, an ab-crunch hinge below the chest, and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed. All the joints feel great, and Taskmaster even has some strong ratchets going on in those shoulders of his.

Taskmaster comes with both a sword and shield. The sword is a repack of the one included with Baron Zemo way back in the Mandroid Wave. The hilt has been repainted to be a little less yellow and more of a pale gold. My only complaint here is that there isn’t a loop or something for him to wear it. The shield is the same mold used for the previous Taskmaster’s shield, complete with a hinged clip and a peg. It works really well, but I worry that the clip will stress and break over time. He can still wear the shield on his back, but seeing as how I’d have to remove the cape to make that work, it’s not something I’m likely to do a lot.

Taskmaster also comes with a pistol, which happens to be the same mold they used for Paladin’s guns from the Sasquatch Wave. Unfortunately, I somehow managed to lose Taskmaster’s gun after opening the package. I’m sure it’ll turn up, but for the purposes of this review I borrowed one from Paladin. After all, he has two guns and just the one holster so it seemed only fair to have him share. Anyway, the mold is the same, but Taskmaster’s gun is colored to match his sword’s hilt, so it’s more of a pale gold than the one you see here in the pictures.

I didn’t think I could be this happy about getting another release of Taskmaster so soon, and yet here I am absolutely thrilled to have this figure on my shelf. I’ll go out on a limb and say that this is probably the version that most collectors were looking for and I think Hasbro’s intentionally strategic in the way they release these. With no Classic version out, more people were probably going to say, “Well, I’ll get this version in case they never do another.” But with this line, it’s becoming more and more apparent that no character is off the table. Not that I mind, the modern version is certainly no slouch, but this one is a terrific figure and it just scratches a certain itch.