Transformers “Power of the Primes:” Prime Masters (Wave 1) by Hasbro

If you’ve been reading my Power of the Primes reviews, you may have noticed that I’ve been peppering them with a general lack of interest in the whole Prime Armor and Prime Master gimmick. But don’t take that as a personal attack on the Prime Masters themselves, because I actually love these little guys and plan on buying every goddamn one of them. Why?

Well just look at them! They’re like a cross between Pretenders and Targetmasters. These little buggers replace the individual packaged Titan Masters assortments from the last line. I only picked up a few of those, and I don’t think I ever reviewed any of them, because they didn’t interest me a lot and I didn’t think they made for interesting reviews. Oh, I loved the Headmaster gimmick in Titans Return, but I was never big on buying different heads to swap out with the ones that came with the figures. But these? These are some tiny bots that I can really get behind. Each package features three components: The Prime Master figure, the Decoy Armor, and a weapon that attaches to the armor. The result is that there’s a lot of playability packed into these five dollar packets. Let’s start with Vector Prime…

Vector Prime’s Decoy Armor is based on G1 Metalhawk. I should at this point declare that I was already out of Transformers by the time The Pretenders hit the market, and while I’ve admired them and learned a lot about them since, I’m not all that familiar with Metalhawk. I want to say that’s because he didn’t get a US release, but I’m treading on unfamiliar territory there. Anywho, just check out the awesome paint and sculpting that went into this Pretender Shell! Keep in mind these aren’t all that much bigger than the Titan/Prime Masters. The blue plastic is quite brilliant and looks great with the silver, red, and yellow paint apps. I also dig how the helmet has an open face so you can make out the Prime Master’s face inside it. Have there ever been toy suits of armor for figures as small as these? I doubt it. The legs are static, but the arms can rotate.

From the back, we can see his weapon attached on a hinge for storage. It can be removed and Vector Prime can hold it while he’s in his Decoy Armor. Granted, it’s really big for him, but that’s because it also doubles as part of a the Decoy Armor’s Targetmaster gimmick. But before we get to that, let’s open up the armor and have a look at Vector Prime. Damn, these tiny guys are complicated!

The armor hinges open at the feet to reveal the little fella inside. The Prime Masters are basically the same as the Titan Masters in scale and articulation. You still get ball joints in the head and shoulders, and hinges at the hips and knees, but with the legs fused together. Vector Prime’s black and blue plastic matches that of his Decoy Armor, and you actually get a little silver paint on his teeny little face. These Prime Masters transform exactly like the Titan Masters, only instead of changing into heads, they change into little box-like chips that can be inserted into the Prime Armor that comes with the larger figures. Now you can transform the Decoy Armor into a gun and place Vector Prime in it. And since he didn’t come with any weapons, I’m going to use Grimlock to showcase the Targetmaster Gimmicks today.

“ME GRIMLOCK SAY HASBRO MARKETING GENIUS. NOT GIVE WEAPONS IN PACKAGE. MAKE YOU BUY TINY BOTS FOR WEAPONS!”

I think Grimlock may have a point. He might have been light on weapons as an incentive to pick up these packs. But even if that’s so, damn I love this! The Decoy Armors’ weapon modes are a tad large for Deluxes, but they’re very well suited for Voyagers or Leaders. Vector Prime’s armor makes a pretty good looking single-barrel gun, and you can stick him on top in his chip mode, or keep him in the armor. Brilliant! Moving on to Micronus…

Micronus’ Decoy Armor is based off of G1 Cloudburst, and here’s one that I actually remember. The shell is a little less rounded than the original release, but the resemblance is certainly there. Again, it’s a really nice sculpt for such a little toy and the coloring consists of some bright red plastic, black plastic, and some white and blue paint apps. Like Vector Prime, Micronus can be seen peeking out through the face hole in the armor and his gun hangs off the back for storage or can be equipped in either of the Pretender Shell’s hands.

Open up the Armor and out comes Micronus. His deco shares that of the Decoy Armor’s red and black plastic, and his little face is painted blue. How about the Targetmaster mode?

Micronus’ Armor changes into a double-barreled gun, which looks pretty damn good in Grimlock’s hand. And if you’d rather have Micronus plugged into Grimlock’s Prime Armor… go for it. Moving on to the final figure of the trio… Liege Maximo.

Liege Maximo is the lone Decepticon of the bunch and his Decoy Armor is also the most familiar to me as Skullgrin. Wait, he’s a Prime, but he’s a Decepticon? I gotta be honest, I don’t understand all the hows and whys of this whole Prime Master thing. I just know that Pretenders make me happy and this little Skullgrin doubly so. The blend of gray and neon mauve plastic is outrageously beautiful, with some white paint added to pick out his belt and skull. The sculpting on this guy is also fantastic.

A peek at the back reveals Maximo has a rather unconventional weapon stored there. Pop it off and put it in the Armor’s hand and it becomes… I dunno, a big slashing claw? Sure, why not!

Pop open the Decoy Armor and you can see that Liege Maximo shares the Pretender Shell’s amazing deco. I think he’s my favorite of the bunch because the sculpt on him just looks so crisp and the face paint is especially well done.

I’ll be honest, Maximo’s weapon mode doesn’t do a lot for me. It kind of just looks like a rake or something. Grimlock is not terribly impressed either, but the silver paint is sure nice. Besides, you didn’t come with jack-squat, Grimlock. Beggers can’t be choosers, so take the hot-pink claw thingie and like it!

Holy shit, these are some fun little toys! I know that the Titan Masters came with little vehicles, but in the end they were just Headmasters without proper bodies and were kind of lost on me. But here, Hasbro went in an entirely new direction and it pays off for me big time. When you consider that a big part of the Prime Master gimmick consists of big ugly armor pieces and pretend powers written down on the backs of cards, I really dig that Hasbro packed so much more playability into these little guys. The Pretender Shells are an impossible homage… Something I never thought Hasbro would ever revisit again in a million years, and yet here they are alive and well and swinging on the pegs down at my local Target. And if tiny action figures in armor isn’t enough, incorporating the Targetmaster gimmick into it as well just goes above and beyond. Keep making these little buggers, Hasbro, and I promise I will buy them all!

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Marvel Legends: Spider-Man and Mary Jane by Hasbro

I was really hoping to have time to bust out another Marvel Hot Toys review for this week’s Marvel Monday, but I got really busy with work and it didn’t pan out. So, let’s have a look at a stand-alone Marvel Legends set, I’ll try to hit the Hot Toys figure next Monday, and then we can dive into a new Wave. Sound good?

Oh boy, did I have a tough time getting this one at a decent price. I’m sure you’ve heard me say it over and over again, but there haven’t been any Toys R Us stores in my area for years, and as much as I’m into collecting, I don’t have the time or patience to drive an hour just to visit the nearest one. That puts me at the mercy of the InterWebs for my TRU Exclusives. Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes not so much. I missed out on this one a bunch of times before finally scoring, and it’s been sitting around forever waiting to be reviewed. I won’t dwell on the packaging, because it’s a typical Legends boxed 2-pack. It’s collector friendly, it shows off the figures quite well, you get character art on the sides and a TRU Exclusive sticker on the window. Let’s just kick off with a look at Spider-Man!

If you pick up enough of these two-packs, you should be used to seeing some recycling. It’s just how Hasbro tends to cost out some of the figures that would might not otherwise make it to the pegs. In the case of this set, Spider-Man is a repaint of the Spidey from the Hobgoblin Wave. And that’s not a bad thing, because the Pizza Spidey body was an excellent figure and pretty well received by fans, so if you missed out, here’s a chance to at least get a variant of it. This version features one of Peter’s fairly modern tech suits, hence the blue-green glow that’s sprayed onto his chest symbol and the eyes, which really make this suit stand out as being unique.

Now, I’m not going to lie, having the glowy bits there doesn’t make this one of my favorite looks for ‘Ol Web Head, but it’s still a pretty cool variant to own. I really dig the coloring on this figure. The red and blue really pop and the black webbing is very well defined. The quality of the paint application is overall pretty good. There are some flubs here and there that are evident when you get in real close, but nothing stands out when I’m just looking at figure in hand. One of the common complaints with the previous release was that the pegs for the hinges aren’t painted to match the suit, and that’s still the case here. It’s not something that really bothers me.

In addition to the regular masked head, you also get the unmasked Peter Parker portrait. It’s a fantastic sculpt and definitely something that’s been on my Legends wish list for a while. Previously, we’ve had the half-unmasked head, and the Ultimate Parker head, but this noggin is a great little bonus and I’ll likely be either displaying it on this figure all the time, or perhaps picking up one of the Vintage Carded Spider-Man figures and using it on that one.

The articulation here is pretty fantastic, thanks in part to those lateral shoulder crunches. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, pegged hinges in the wrists, double hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps. The torso features a swivel in the waist, an ab crunch hinge, and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have swivels in the thighs, and double hinges in the knees. The ankles have both hinges and lateral rockers. Of course, you also get the usual selection of hands to go with the figure, including “thwippy” hands, splayed finger hands, and fists.  Let’s move on to Ms. Mary Jane…

As solid a figure as Spidey is, I have to imagine that Mary Jane is the real draw of this box for most collectors. That was definitely the case for me. With how many Spider-Man themed Legends waves we’ve had, it’s hard to believe it took this long to get MJ. She actually saw a 4-inch Marvel Universe release a few years back. While MJ has become anything but the classic Girl Next Door in the comics, Hasbro went back to her roots for a pretty conventional look here. Rather than going for the swanky nightclub owner, MJ is slumming it here in her simple jeans and black t-shirt, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. The paint for the outfit is fairly simple, although there’s some nice variation in the blue to create that worn blue jeans look. The waist of the jeans does feature some sculpted detail, like the belt loops and the button. The ensemble is rounded out by a pair of simple painted black shoes. This is an example of a very minimal amount of sculpting working quite well to create a band new look.

The portrait here really elevates the figure. The paint applications for the lips, eyes, and eyebrows is all precise and crisp, and I like the additional of the freckles. The hair is also excellent, not only in terms of sculpt, but the paint, which starts our a vibrant red at the top and darkens as it gets down to her shoulders. Hasbro has come a long way when it comes to creating pretty female portraits, and MJ here is a great example of that.

Despite being a normie in the Marvel Universe, MJ still features some solid articulation. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have swivels in the thighs, double hinges in the knees, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. The torso features a ball joint under the chest and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed. MJ features a fist on her left arm and one of those spell-slinging hands on her right arm. I really would have liked to get an extra set of hands for this one, but I suppose I can still be content with what we got.

MJ comes with one accessory, and that’s her purse. Oddly enough, this is a recolor of the satchel that came with The Hobgoblin from the Space Venom Wave. It’s a clever re-use, although the shoulder strap does look a tad big and bulky on MJ’s slighter buck.

The retail for this set was $39.99, which is standard for these two-packs and right on target when you consider the individual figures are about $19.99 each. I probably would have let this one go if I hadn’t eventually found it at regular retail price, but I’m glad that I ended up finding it. The Spider-Man certainly wasn’t a must-have for me, but it’s a solid variant and a great looking figure. Plus, the unmasked Parker head really sells it. A comic-based Mary Jane, on the other hand, is a figure I’ve wanted in this scale for a long time, so she made it worth the purchase all on her own.

Transformers “Power of the Primes:” Grimlock by Hasbro

With this being my first week of regular content since the New Year, what better way to kick off 2018’s Transformers Thursdays with a look at the very highly anticipated new Voyager Class Grimlock? I actually got this guy in right around the turn of the year and I’ve been chomping at the bit to open him up ever since. I’m also just a wee bit nervous, because not everything I’ve been hearing about Grimmy has been good. Will PotP Grimlock be Bozo or King? I guess I’m about to find out!

This is the first boxed figure that I’m reviewing from PotP and as you can see it’s not much different from Combiner Wars or Titans Return. The character art is great, but I’m really ready for Hasbro to change up the packaging deco for the next Transformers line. I was never a big fan of this layout. It just feels bland and boring and generic, and it’s getting more than a little stale for me. But who cares about the box? I’m just going to trash it anyway. The figure comes packaged in his robot mode and as we’re about to see, that was a good choice on Hasbro’s part. Let’s jump right in to Grimlock’s alt mode.

Oh, boy. So, I knew I was going to be in for a rough ride here, but I’ll say straightaway that the T-Rex mode is at least instantly familiar. Unfortunately, It’s also a veritable symphony of good and bad execution, and the emphasis is leaning toward the bad. I’m tempted to say that I’d be fine with the main body if the legs didn’t seem to jut out so far to the point where they’re really awkward looking. Then again, I think a lot of that has to do with how wide the body is. He looks like he’s wearing a pair of big gold diapers, and they’re starting to sag. Let’s just say that the proportions on this T-Rex are a mess. I think he looks passable when viewed at a three-quarter turn, but looking at him dead on, or from above, or from either side makes me want to ball up my fists and scream, WHYYYY? And the answer I keep coming back to is simple: Because they made him a Combiner. That tail is chunky because that’s where the Combiner’s leg ports are. Those legs are so horribly misshapen because that’s where the Combiner’s shoulder ports are. I didn’t ask for Dinobot Combiners, but I’m not earnestly against the idea. But in this case, a lot was sacrificed in favor of a Dinobot Combiner gimmick, and I can’t say I’m very happy about it.

Proportions aside, assuming I’m able to overlook them, there’s some great stuff going on with this sculpt. There’s plenty of panel lines, vents, circuitry, and other doodads that really makes the detail come alive. I’d also argue that the head is spot on perfect, as are the tiny little arms, which are ball jointed into his body. It’s true that he’s really damn f’ugly from the top top down, but I’m surprised at how little that bothers me. The deco is also brilliant. Like the other PotP Dinobots, I really dig the mix of gray, red, and black plastic, along with those gold sections under clear plastic. Add in some foil stickers, and you get a deco that perfectly invokes the G1 Dinobot aesthetic, and matches Slug and Swoop pretty well. He scales fairly well with them too.

I do have some problems getting the seam running down his dino chest to close up all the way. Some silver paint for the arms and teeth would have been cool, but all in all, there’s some stuff to love on this T-Rex and just about all of it is from the chest and arms up. But I don’t think it balances out with the awkward, clunky proportions. Let’s move on to his robot mode.

And here is where the figure starts to shine a bit. The big barrel-shaped gold chest covered in clear plastic works for me, although I would have liked a little something between it and his pelvis. I think it’s called abs and Grimmy here just doesn’t have any. Regardless, I think the arms are great. They look powerful, I love the high shoulders, and while the diminished claws didn’t help him much in T-Rex mode, they look OK here on his wrists. It’s below the waist where things get a little dodgy. The legs could have used a bit more bulk to them. They look fine on their own, and I like the way the colorful foil stickers invoke that G1 spirit, but his lower half is a touch too scrawny for that powerful upper body. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s a deal-breaker for me, but there’s room for improvement. Maybe he would have benefited from some actual feet.

The back of the figure advertises how the transformation doesn’t stray too far from the old G1 engineering. The T-Rex neck and head still flops down the center of the back, the chest opens up into “wings” and the tail, instead of folding up the sides of the legs, go to the back to serve as heel spurs. About the only thing out of place here is that giant hip plate, which is obvious Combiner kibble.

The head sculpt is simple, but wonderfully slavish to the G1 design. Here’s one thing that I wouldn’t have changed at all.

And just as things were getting better, Hasbro punches me right in the balls with the decision to not include any weapons. Nope, no weapons. No sword, no gun, nothing. It’s an omission so ridiculous, that I can scarcely believe it. You do get a couple of Combiner parts in there, and a power chip called the Dinobot Enigma. But if you want your Grimlock armed, you’re just going to have to steal the sword and gun from his fellow Dinobots.

The Combiner Parts double as Prime Armor and can attach to him at various points. The most useful place seems to be on his arms, as it gives him some claw-like thingies. They look OK and they’re probably fun for the kiddies. The Dinobot Enigma is basically like a Prime Master that doesn’t transform. Or maybe like a Dinobot Matrix? Either way it fits into any of the Prime Armor pieces you have. You can probably tell that I’m not at all vested in the Prime Armor power gimmick, although I do applaud that it’s a feature that actually requires kids to use their imaginations. And don’t you worry… I’ll be looking at some of them Prime Masters coming up real soon. Hey, before wrapping up, let’s take a quick look at him with the last Voyager Grimlock, from the Generations Fall of Cybertron line…

When it comes to the robot mode, I’ll take FOC Grimlock over this one in a heartbeat, but in fairness they are two pretty different looks. I like the deco on PotP Grimmy a little better, as it really does a splendid job matching the G1 aesthetic. But with that having been said, the proportions and overall sexiness of FOC Grimlock still impresses me. Not to mention he comes with a sword and a shield, which he’s probably going to have to learn how to share.

The T-Rex modes tell a very different story. I had really good memories of FOC Grimlock’s T-Rex mode, but dear god, it has not aged well. While PotP Grimlock looks bloated and ill-proportioned, the FOC version looks like a hollowed out husk of a T-Rex. As many problems as I have with this new Grimlock’s alt mode, I have to say it looks like a goddamn work of art beside the older FOC figure.

In the end, Grimlock here is disappointing, although the pretty decent robot mode helps keep him from being a total disaster. There’s a hint of greatness in his alt mode, at least in the top half, but when you get down to the legs, the whole thing just falls apart for me. It’s a real shame, because the original G1 Grimlock toy looked pretty damn great in both robot and T-Rex mode, so modernizing it should really just be a matter of adding articulation and cleaning up some of the proportions. And yet here we are with a modern update that looks worse because of the Combiner gimmick. Now, obviously, I won’t pass judgement on the Dinobots as a Combiner Team until I have all the figures to combine, but as things stand now, I’m not very happy with this trade off. Am I being too hard on this new Grimlock? I dunno. You tell me.

Star Wars Black (The Last Jedi): Maz Kanata by Hasbro

How about The Last Jedi, huh? It’s really bringing the fan community together! That was sarcasm. I’m honestly surprised at how polarizing it’s been, because personally, after two viewings I’m still pretty mixed on it. There were parts I loved, parts I hated. I didn’t like it nearly as much as The Force Awakens or Rogue One. Overall I found it to be an enjoyable but really weird movie, and not worth losing my shit over by attacking other fans who didn’t love it and/or hate it enough. Apparently I’m in the minority on that one. What’s all this got to do with Maz Kanata? Well, she had a cameo in the new movie, and oddly enough Hasbro chose now to give her a figure, rather then back when she had a slightly bigger role in The Force Awakens. Let’s take a look…

There isn’t a lot to say about the packaging, as it hasn’t changed much this past year or so. Black box, monochrome art, red backing behind the tray. Maz is figure #49 and the copy on the back clearly places this figure from the period after her castle was destroyed in The Force Awakens. Strange, since she comes with the accessories seen in that movie instead of maybe the jetpack she wore in The Last Jedi. As much as I liked Maz in TFA, her cameo in The Last Jedi just didn’t work for me. I’d argue that it might have been worthwhile to keep her in the audiences’ minds for an appearance in the next movie, but I highly doubt the continuity in this trilogy is being planned that carefully.

But all context aside, this is a fantastic little sculpt! Her little vest and belt are sculpted from separate pieces and there’s some wonderful texturing on her shirt, as well as detail on her bracelets and boots. The excellent sculpt is backed up by some very nice coloring, including brown trousers, and a teal shirt. The gold and silver bracelets and some rather colorful paint applications on her boots make the figure’s deco quite striking. I just love everything they did here.

The head sculpt here is equally impressive, and continues to reinforce the fact that SWB’s sculpts and paint tends to excel with the aliens as much as it often fails with the human characters. They’ve managed to capture personality, as well as all little wrinkles, in her face and her skin has an almost metallic coppery sheen to it. It even looks like they added some gloss to her bottom lip. The paint on my figure’s eyes could have been a little more even, but I’ve definitely seen worse.

The hat and googles are also pretty damn neat. The goggles are pegged into the sides of her head, so you can actually slide them down over her eyes and they look great in either position. It’s a simple little gimmick, but I’m really happy Hasbro made the effort to do it.

While Maz may be small, she doesn’t lack in articulation. She has rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, wrists, knees, and ankles, as well as ball joints in the hips and neck, and swivels at the thighs and the waist. There’s not much missing here then you’d find in a regular sized figure, except maybe a torso ball joint.

Maz comes with a few pretty cool accessories, the most notable being the old trunk that she kept Luke’s lightsaber in, and yes, she also comes with the lightsaber to put in it. I really dig the sculpting on this chest. The wood looks ancient and warped, the fixtures holding it together have a hammered metal finish and feature sculpted rivets. The only downside here is that the hinges are not really hinges, but just soft, bendy pieces of plastic, so I imagine that opening and closing it a lot will eventually cause them to stress and break. It’s just an all around great looking piece, but I’ll confess that it’s probably going to end up getting re-purposed to either my Mythic Legions or LJN Advanced Dungeons & Dragons collections. You can never have enough treasure chests in your fantasy action figure lines! The lightsaber hilt is the same old thing we’ve seen countless times in the 6-inch Black Series.

Maz also comes with an old DH-17 Blaster pistol, which feels more like a rifle when wielded by someone with her tiny stature. We’ve obviously seen this accessory before, but I have a soft spot for this design, so I’m always happy to get another.

I think Hasbro did a beautiful job on this little lady, but is she worth $20? Well, in fairness I got her on sale for $11, so I’m pretty happy. But I do think the value here feels a little better than that of the other small 6-inch Black Series figures like Yoda or the Jawa. Part of that comes from the sizable trunk accessory, but a lot of it also comes from the excellent articulation, as well as the top notch sculpt and paintwork. It would have been cool to get this figure back when The Force Awakens was out, but better late than never, I suppose! It’s just a shame that Hasbro never gave us more figures of some of the characters hanging out in Maz’s castle. Maybe later on down the road, they’ll fill in some of those spots.

FigureFan’s Disappointments 2017, Part 2

This is it, Toyhounds, the final day of my week of canned bullshit. It’s also the final five Biggest Disappointments of 2017. These are the things that I added to my collection and reviewed throughout the year that didn’t really live up to my hopes and dreams. These are in no particular order, so let’s get started…

Femme Fatales (Justice League Unlimited) Hawkgirl by Diamond Select: There was a lot of competition in this line for a spot on my Favorites list, but really only one that deserved to land among my Disappointments. I was really looking forward to getting the JLU version of Hawkgirl on my DC Gallery shelf, but when the statue showed up it was marred by some pretty poor paintwork, ugly seams in the arms, and just an overall lack of quality control. When I look at how amazing some of the Gallery statues have been this past year, it’s easy to forgive one bad one slipping by. But that doesn’t make me feel any better about laying out the cash for it.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Sixth-Scale Drax The Destroyer by Hot Toys: I have been called a Hot Toys sycophant. And yes, if sticking my tongue down their collective trousers would net me some extra Reward Points at Sideshow, I’d get right on that lickity split. So, it’s probably no surprise that never before has a Hot Toys figure appeared on my annual list of Disappointments, but I guess there really is a first time for everything. After a long series of delays, and the possibility that Hot Toys Drax might be a no-show, he finally showed up this year and he was a little wanting. The sculpt was solid enough, as was the likeness, but there’s just something about him that failed to impress. Toss in a faulty right arm on my figure that often pops out at the elbow joint and a price point that was too high for what came in the box (a common failing for Hot Toys in 2017), and I couldn’t help but dub him Drax The Disappointment. Oh, I’m still happy to have a complete Hot Toys Guardians team on my shelf, but Drax deserved more polish and a price tag around $20 lower.

DC Super-Villains: Johnny Quick and Atomica by DC Collectibles: For the most part, DC Collectible’s Super-Villains line has been pretty solid. Hell, I even liked their New 52 Captain Cold figure, and I kind of hate that character design. So when Johnny Quick showed up at my door with some terrible paint fading and an arm that pulled right out of the socket, it shouldn’t be any surprise to see him turn up here. And what a disappointment it was, because I really dig this design and I loved to hate him in the Forever Evil. But when you toss him in with a rather lackluster DeathStorm, it’s no wonder that I didn’t pursue the rest of the Crime Syndicate from this line.

Marvel Legends Warlock Build-A-Figure by Hasbro: What’s that, you say? You cry foul because I had a Marvel Legends figure on the list already? Well, you’re going to have to fight me, because here’s another one. I’m justifying this because 1) He’s a Build-A-Figure and 2) I really did review a shit ton of Marvel Legends in 2017, so you’re just going to have to let me have this one transgression. Warlock featured a decent sculpt and a pretty cool paint job, but he was not a character that I was interested in, and especially not as the BAF waiting as a reward for collecting an entire wave. Add that to the fact that the left arm of my Warlock simply will not stay in the socket, and you have a figure that I would have happily done without. Now that I think of it, this is the third figure on this list that had arm issues. Weird.

ThunderCats Classics Panthro by Mattel: Here’s the thing. I ran out of shit that disappointed me after nine, so I had to get cute with this last one. And that’s why after long deliberation, I decided to put a figure that I rated with excellent marks here on this list. Because no matter how great Panthro turned out (and he is a great figure),  he arrived to me heralded by a bitter chorus of disappointment. At the time I opened him, it seemed unlikely that ThunderCats Classics would continue. And shortly after we got word from Super7 that they were not able to secure the license and continue the series. And that was easily my number one biggest disappointment of 2017. It’s not Panthro’s fault, but he seemed like a good conduit to get this one on the list.

And that wraps up this week of so-called content. I’ll be back on Monday with the first Marvel Monday of the year and I hope to have Transformers Thursday and DC Friday on the books as well, along with whatever I wind up tucking into Tuesday. Have a great weekend!

FigureFan’s Disappointments 2017, Part 1

Well, I hope everyone has been enjoying my Ten Favorites of 2017. There were a lot of items that came close to making the cut, but I tried to be good and stick as close to the self-imposed confines of my list as possible. And now it’s time to embark on the flip-side and look at my Ten Biggiest Disappointments of the year. I’m happy to say this list was a also difficult to assemble, but not because it was hard to whittle down, but rather it was tough to come up with ten acquisitions that really didn’t live up to my expectations. And that’s a good thing! So let’s kick off today with the first five…

Marvel Legends Astral Projection Doctor Strange: Hey, remember this turd? Generally speaking, 2017 was another fantastic year for Hasbro’s Marvel Legends line, but when you put out a lot of figures, at least a few of them are inevitably going to be crap. And this Doctor Strange variant was the cream of the crap. But this isn’t so much a case of a poorly made figure, indeed it’s a great sculpt, but rather a bad idea. Not only is it just a rehash of the regular Doctor Strange figure (FROM THE SAME GODDAMN WAVE!) cast in milky translucent plastic, but it was an obligatory purchase if you wanted the head for your Dormammu Build-A-Figure. And that’s what really earns this figure a spot on my List of Shame. If you’re going to toss this in as an extra in a three-pack or something, do what you gotta do, but don’t make him mandatory to complete a BAF. That’s just mean.

Star Wars Black Series Jawa by Hasbro: Just a reminder, that a figure doesn’t have to be bad to be on this list, just disappointing. And to be fair, I could say that Star Wars Black as a whole has been disappointing this year. It’s not that the figures are terrible, and yes there have been some great ones, but in general this line seems content to be average. It doesn’t feel like the “Collector’s Line” we were promised, but rather just a new scale set up to make idiots like me buy the characters all over again. The Jawa for me was a prime example of that. There’s just nothing here that hasn’t been done as well, if not better at a smaller scale. No tailored softgoods, a plastic robe that renders half the articulation useless, and he can’t even hold his guns properly. Need more? Well, this figure is also too small to justify this price point, it was really hard for me to get one, and in the end, it just wasn’t worth all the effort. If it weren’t for me trying to fill the Early Bird stand with the Original Twelve, I wouldn’t have bothered.

DC Multiverse: “The Dark Knight Returns” Batman and Robin: I’ll admit, I kind of feel like cheating by listing Multiverse figures in with my Disappointments. Truth be told, I didn’t have high expectations from this line at the time. But I was looking forward to getting these DKR figures on my shelf, only to be flabbergasted at how sub-par they turned out. Yes, flabbergasted! My monocle popped right out of my eye, as I exclaimed, “My word, what rubbish!” It’s hard to believe this is the same company that delivered so many great DC action figures in the past. This pair should have been a slam dunk, instead, they feel more like knock-offs. So much so, that I still haven’t bothered to complete this wave to build my goddamn Doomsday. Maybe next year.

Transformers Titans Return Murk & Octone by Hasbro: Just to prove that Titans Return wasn’t entirely made up of rainbows and kittens, here’s one that made my Disappointments List. 2017 was a stellar year for Deluxe Class Transformers, but maybe no so great for the Voyager Class figures. Figures like Broadside and Blitzwing made for solid robot modes, but their alt modes ran from somewhat lacking to downright terrible. And yet it was still pretty easy to single out Octone as the worst of the bunch. I was really looking forward to getting this guy in my collection, and I’ll still admit the robot mode is fine, but neither of his alt modes worked for me at all. Also, I hate what they had to do to his name. It’s OK, Hasbro, you’re still way ahead of the game for 2017.

And I do believe I’ll break for the day and tally up how much money I spend on these less than stellar purchases, some of which I regret and some I’d probably still buy just to have them in my collection. Join me again tomorrow as I round out this List of Disappointments and wrap up this week of lists.

 

FigureFan’s Favorites 2017, Part 1

Welcome, Toyhounds, to the first part of my Favorites from 2017 and I’m not really here. In fact, I’m probably out on my patio smoking a cigar and getting caught up on my stack of comics. If you’re confused about why you’re reading some kind of canned bullshit and not an actual review, I’ll refer you back to yesterday’s post where I explain everything. If you’re up to speed, then we’re going to dive right in to my first five favorite additions to my collection from 2017. These are in no particular order, so let’s go…

DC “Designer Series” Frank Cho Wonder Woman Sixth-Scale Statue by DC Collectibles: There was never any doubt that I’d have a statue from DC Collectibles on my Favorites list this year, because I picked up some great ones. But which one to choose? I waited a long time to get a version of Adam Hughes Wonder Woman in my collection and she turned out great. Likewise both the Babs Tarr Batgirl and the Deluxe Harley Quinn Bombshell were superb releases. In the end, I went with Frank Cho’s Wonder Woman because it’s just such a wonderful representation of the character, and it is executed flawlessly. I love the costume design, the paintwork is nearly perfect, and I really dig the materials DCC is using for flesh tones on these pieces. Cho’s Wonder Woman is not only my favorite DC Statue pick up in 2017, she may very well be my favorite statue of all my collection.

Transformers “Titans Return” Jumpstarters by Hasbro: This is only the second item on my list, and I’m already cheating by giving one slot to two figures. But that’s OK, because I couldn’t break up the Titans Return Jumpstarters by showing preferential treatment to one and ignore the other. If I wanted to really cheat, I could have taken up a lot more spots on my Favorites List just from Titans Return alone, so getting me down to just two was quite the achievement of willpower. It’s no secret that I loved this line, and there were a lot of figures that could have landed on this list, but in the end I had to go with Topspin and Twin Twist as my favorites. Not only are these great figures, not only are they superb updates to their G1 toys, but the fact that we got official Jumpstarters from Hasbro still boggles my mind. These are so good, that I ended up selling off my far more expensive third party Jumpstarters.

Ghostbusters Firehouse by Playmobil: If you had told me a few years ago that we’d be getting a Ghostbusters Firehouse playset in 2017, I’d have called you a raving lunatic and poked out one of your eyes as a lesson not to f*ck with me. And yet here it is! What’s even more baffling is the fact that it came from Playmobil. Now, I may be a little biased, because PlaymoSpace and Playmobil Pirates were my jam growing up, but even if I wasn’t already sold on the brand, I probably would have jumped at this. With their track record for going nuts on parts and accessories, and their easy to customize figure buck, Playmobil turned out to be the perfect fit in this otherwise unthinkable union. Yes, I could have just as easily listed the Ecto-1 here, but c’mon… this is the freaking Firehouse! And Playmobil did a beautiful job with it. It’s almost a pity this set didn’t come out closer to Christmas, because it would have been a perfect review for Christmas Morning!

Epic Marvel Quarter Scale Deadpool by NECA: I’ve been trying to stay away from NECA’s Quarter Scale figures. They’re amazing figures and very reasonably priced, but I really don’t have the space for them. Nonetheless, there are some releases that are no-brainers, and when they first revealed Deadpool, I knew I had to make an exception. And I’m glad I did! This figure truly lives up to the name Epic. The sculpt is phenomenal, the accessory count is over-the-top, and despite being such a big figure, he is loads of fun to play with. NECA absolutely surpassed themselves with this figure and it is some of the best work I’ve seen out of anyone all year long.

Star Wars Rogue One TIE Striker by Hasbro: I’m probably as surprised as you are to see this on the list, but this toy just impressed the hell out of me. I wasn’t expecting much, and I didn’t even buy it until it hit deep clearance. Star Wars vehicles aren’t what they used to be, but this one feels like it belongs among the best of them. Sure, I could have done without the Nerf gimmick, but apart from that this is a quality toy and a cool design from what has become one of my favorite Star Wars movies of all time.

And that’s it for my First Five Favorites of 2017. Come on back tomorrow and I’ll wrap up my list of the good stuff!

Transformers “Power of the Primes:” Legends Class Windcharger by Hasbro

I’m back after a short Christmas break and trying to wrap up a couple of loose ends before the year turns over and I take a week off and run my insufferable end of the year Favorites/Disappointments lists. I hope everyone had a great Holiday. Mine was spent with family, great food, some lovely adult beverages, and some pretty cool gifts, including the little fella I’m looking at today: Power of the Primes Legends Class Windcharger. I should note that I’m a big Windcharger fan. I can still remember getting my G1 Windcharger at Sears one day while my Dad was having the car serviced. I sat in the waiting room having all kinds of adventures with this little guy and we’ve been best buds ever since.

It seemed like Hasbro forgot this guy even existed for the longest while and then decided to make up for lost time. They put out a pretty cool version of him back in 2011 as part of the Reveal The Shield series. Then we got a pretty shitty version of him back in 2015 as part of the Combiner Wars line. I’d complain about getting another one so soon, but since I missed out on the 2011 version and only have the crappy 2015 release, I’m really jonesing for a Windcharger that I can put on my shelf with pride. Let’s find out if this one is it. And we’ll start with his auto mode!

This is a fine update to the original toy’s car mode. Windcharger is a spiffy little red sports car that bears a pretty strong resemblance to a Trans Am. This version is a lot less super-deformed than the original toy, and the wheels have been scaled back a bit, although these still look pretty beefy. The windshield and sunroof panels are tinted plastic and the side windows are painted black, and the rear window is sculpted to look like a louver, just like the original toy. The rest of the coloring is achieved through the red plastic and a little silver paint on the front and rear bumpers. He also has a crisp Autobot emblem printed on his hood. Windcharger can be a little finicky when it comes to lining up all his panels just right, but he holds together pretty well and looks great.

 

Surprisingly, Windcharger follows in the tradition of Titans Return by having a driver seat for either a Titan or Prime Master figure, although it is a little more difficult to get to. You have to unpeg the back portion of the car and hinge the whole thing up to reveal the driver’s compartment and pop in the figure.

Transformation is a wee bit more complex than the original G1 Minibot, but in it’s similar in spirit. The legs still unfold from the back, the arms come out from the sides, and the head and chest are hidden in the undercarriage. The result is a robot that looks like a proper homage to his G1 namesake and captures all the little simple fun of that toy. All respects have been paid in the design, with obvious call backs being the sculpt of the chest and the split louver on the front legs. The deco retains the black and red of the car mode, but adds silver to his upper legs and the gray plastic for his chest.

He’s pretty solid from the back too. His upper back is just a big slab of car hood, and the windshield pieces fold up to help cover up his hollow leg syndrome. OK, so it doesn’t help all that much, but it does make his lower legs a little more solid. Apart from the car door armor that he sports on his forearms, there isn’t a whole lot of kibble here, and that’s impressive. Indeed, the only nitpick I have here is his legs look a little squat compared to his upper body. It would have been really cool if they could have found a way for his legs to unfold just a little bit more, or maybe just give him feet. He just needs a tiny bit more leg to make him look properly proportional.

I’ve heard some grumblings from collectors over Windcharger’s face, but I really can’t find a lot of fault in it. OK, so his pursed lips kind of make him look like the Disappointed Dachshund, but otherwise I think it looks fine. I like that they retained his diamond shaped eyes and boxy head frame that he had in the Sunbow Cartoon, and let’s face it, at least he has a face. That’s more than the original toy could say. The silver paint is spiffy too.

Windcharger’s articulation makes him pretty fun and poseable. He’s got ball joints in his shoulders, elbows, and hips, hinges in the knees, and his head can swivel. I will throw out there that I really wish Hasbro would start giving the Legend Class figures some guns. At ten bucks a pop, I don’t think tossing a generic pistol in there would really break the bank.

I’m pleased to say that Power of the Primes Windcharger is just a couple of longer legs away from being perfect in my book. And even with what he lacks in perfect proportionality, he makes up for everywhere else. He’s a great homage to the original toy with some great call backs to the classic animated design. I also think he’s the best updated Windcharger we’ve every had. Yeah, the Reveal The Shield version is a great figure, but the robot mode strays too far from the G1 design to make the homage really work for me. This is the little bot I fell in love with all those years ago at a Sears Auto Department and it’s good to have him again and be able to retire the Combiner Wars version. I’ll be back tomorrow with not only the last DC Friday of the year, but the last review of the year, period!

Transformers “Power of the Primes:” Legends Class Slash by Hasbro

I had originally planned on doubling up Slash with Swoop on the last Transformers Thursday, but I’m so crazy busy this month, I decided to save him for some quick content today. Indeed, juggling content and work is going to be pretty nuts for the rest of the month. So, let me cut right to the chase and check out Power of the Primes’ tiniest Dinobot of them all… Slash!

Yes, as if intentionally sticking a thumb in my eye over my gripes about the size of the Deluxe Dinobots, Hasbro shows me just how small small can get. A Legends Class Dinobot… what will they think of next? Slash comes packaged in her robot mode (Yup, she’s a she!), but I’m going to start with her tiny little alt mode.

And she’s an adorable little robotic raptor. Is this a great looking alt mode? Nah, not really. There’s all sorts of robot mode shenanigans on display here from the robot legs forming a less-than-convincing chest to the robot hands literally holding the raptor feet. Is it a terrible alt mode? Nah, not really. It’s a newly designed Dinobot in a Legends Class and I’ve got to respect what they tried to do here, even if I would maintain that this size class is no place for a Dinobot to be in, unless you’re making the alt mode a Compsognathus. And I suppose you can just call this a Compy if you want. Or at least I can, because I’m not one of them dinosaur scientists.

On the plus side, I love that Hasbro kept the familiar Dinobot deco here from the translucent yellow plastic on the back plate and upper head to the gray, red, and black that matches Slug’s color palate so well. She’s even got those translucent yellow discs at the tops of her dino legs, like Slag does. Slash also features some decent articulation here, which includes a hinged jaw.

Transformation is pretty simple, especially since you can see just about everything that’s going on in the alt mode, but with that having been said, Slash’s robot mode is pretty fantastic. I will, however, admit that there’s nothing to the design that really stresses she’s a femme-bot to me. I suppose the face sculpt is a little softer, and maybe those tabs on her chest can double as… nevermind! I don’t want to go down that road. Point is, I dig this mode a lot. It also manages to hold onto the whole Dinobot aesthetic, while bringing a new character to the table. And other than the raptor arms pointing up behind her robot arms, there’s not a lot in the way of dino-kibble to complain about.

The size works perfectly too, so long as we’re talking about the pocket universe, solely inhabited by the PotP Dinobots, that I had to invent to make the scale work for these bots. As a result Slash looks great besides Slug and Swoop, although I’d still argue that I would have rather she been a Deluxe to level out the robot mode. But then we’d be talking about a whole new figure, so let me just backpedal and say, she’s fine.

And fine she is! The raptor mode may lean toward the f’ugly side, but this is still a fun figure to jam in my pocket and take along for adventures on my desk at work. I’ll confess that when I had her in hand at the store, I actually waffled a bit over whether I needed a Legends Class Dinobot in my life, but I’m glad my lack of discipline and willpower sided in favor of picking her up. She is most definitely a fun little toy and she will display wonderfully with the team. And just maybe she’s softened my heart a little... JUST A LITTLE… to the idea of smaller scale Dinobots.

Star Wars “The Last Jedi:” Resistance Ski Speeder by Hasbro

The Last Jedi hit theaters at the end of last week and I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ll need to see it again before I can solidify my opinions on it. Oh, I enjoyed watching it, to be sure, and I’m just still on the fence over the fine distinction over whether or not I loved it or just liked it a lot. There were a couple of cringe moments for me, I thought some of the structure was weird, but overall I love the direction in which they took it. Plus, it had some fantastic moments, wonderful characters, and it always kept me guessing. And, of course, seeing it has really whetted my appetite to look at some more Star Wars toys! I already did a weekend marathon of Star Wars reviews, which included a look at some of the 3 3/4-inch figures from TLJ, and today I’m opening the 3 3/4-inch scale Resistance Ski Speeder!

It may have been more accurate to call it a Rebel Ski Speeder, but maybe that’s just me nitpicking. The vehicle comes in a pretty good sized box with some exciting artwork on the front and a big advertisement for the Force Link unit. The box is mostly enclosed, except for the little window that shows off the included Poe figure. There is a little assembly required, but nothing too difficult. You just plug the mono-ski into the bottom and the stabilizer boom into the side. There are also two missiles to load into the front. There are no stickers to apply, and since the vehicle is designed to work with the Force Link, there are no batteries required either. I’ll also note that it is possible to disassemble the Speeder and get it back into the box, which is always a plus for me. Let’s talk about the figure first!

Captain Poe Dameron features the costume that he wore for most of the movie. So as great as the X-Wing Pilot version is, this one is kind of a must have too. And it also happens to be an excellent figure as well! Poe features a simple jacket, trousers and boots, with a white undershirt and a broad belt. There’s also a functional holster on his right hip with a thigh strap and a bold Resistance emblem patch on his left shoulder. When it comes to costume design, this isn’t a complex figure, but it’s a fantastic sculpt with plenty of detail and a pretty solid likeness for this scale as well. After the terrible 3 3/4-inch  X-Wing Poe from The Force Awakens, Hasbro is really doing the character justice this time around.

Poe comes with two accessories, a pistol and a communications headset. Both are cast in the same gray plastic. The headset fits him pretty well and he can hold the gun in either hand. It also fits snugly in the holster. When I get to how much I paid for this vehicle, you’ll see why it was practically worth it for this figure alone. Alright, let’s move on to the main attraction.

And here’s the Ski Speeder all set up and waiting for action. The Speeder has two folding sets of landing gear, which along with the retracted mono-ski, will allow it to rest on a flat surface and helps a lot for when you want to display it. Comparisons have been made between this design and the B-Wing, and there’s certainly some similarities in there. Of course, this vehicle is meant to operate only along the surface of a planet, so there’s no gyroscope in the cockpit, nor is there a fully enclosed canopy. It’s a decent sized vehicle, measuring just over 17-inches across and it has a satisfying heft to it as well.

They’re is some really nice detail on display here, both sculpted directly into the hull as well as from some extra bits added on. The mid section has a dark gray plate with a grill and the back features a short, stubby tail with a circular turbine and a rudder fin. This is also where the two missiles are loaded. The mono-ski features a pistol-like grip with a trigger, so you can whoosh it around the room and pull the trigger to fire the missiles. And they do fire with a decent bit of power to them. The gray disk on top of this mid section also activates one of the other play gimmicks. By pressing it down the stabilizer boom will eject from the rest of the Speeder to simulate battle damage.

The stabilizer boom features some attached wires, pipes, and brackets all cast in dark gray. You also get two long and thin blasters protruding from the front of the end piece. The vehicle does not feature a lot of paint, but there is some dry-brushed weathering as well as some fading to the red stripes. It’s not the most realistic deco, but when combined with the two-tone gray plastic pieces, there’s at least a nice variety to the coloring here.

The cockpit section definitely features the most detail and looks really good. It looks like there’s another big blaster slung low on the outer side of this module and there’s also a very small blaster cannon, like a chin gun, that can pivot left and right. The canopy features clear plastic windows and a silver painted frame.

The cockpit is big enough to fit the figure, but getting his head to clear the back canopy frame is a little difficult. Or I should say that it’s getting it to clear when taking him out is the real challenge.

The mono-ski is hinged with a spring so that as soon as you lift the Speeder off it will snap down into place and drag as you skim it across the carpet, table, sofa, or any other salt laden surface. Fold up the landing gear and you’re all ready for flight! The gun-style handle is perfectly designed for play without really looking too out of place.

The Ski Speeder debuted with an MSRP of around $30, but it’s dropped pretty quickly and I was able to grab this one for $15. It’s a great recreation of a pretty cool and unique design, and as far as Star Wars vehicles go, that’s all everything I’m looking for. The size of the craft made it a perfect fit for Hasbro’s current price-point model, so much so that I’m 99% sure it’s the reason they were thrown into the movie, although the whole sequence was still pretty cool in its own right.  If there’s a downside to The Last Jedi and its toy potential, it’s that I don’t think we’re going to be seeing many vehicles from it. I was hoping we might get a new TIE Fighter and X-Wing, made a little better than the versions we got for The Force Awakens, but I don’t think that’s going to be the case. The Resistance bombers were damn cool designs, but probably too big for 3 3/4-inch scale. I may still pick up the A-Wing, but the Canto Bight police vessel will have to drop quite a bit before I consider it. Then again, it is the only way to get that figure. Hmmmm.