Marvel Legends (Crimson Dynamo Wave): Winter Soldier by Hasbro

It’s Marvel Monday and I’m pressing on with my look at the Crimson Dynamo Wave! After checking out a couple of figures from the Black Widow movie, I thought I’d turn back to another one of the comic book figures in this assortment. Strangely, Bucky hasn’t had much comic book love in the modern Legends line, despite his heavy influences on the MCU. And while I’ll confess I would much rather have had a Bucky Barnes figure by now to hang out with one of my many MANY Caps, I won’t turn my nose up at this new Winter Soldier figure.

And here he is in the package along with a noggin for the Crimson Dynamo BAF! This is probably a pretty modern look for Winter Soldier, as the lines between comic and MCU designs are pretty blurred here. As many of you know I’ve given up on current Marvel comics, but I think I last encountered Bucky in the pages of The Thunderbolts. Indeed, when I found this figure on the pegs, it  actually took me a second to realize this wasn’t MCU Bucky with a bad Sebastian Stan likeness. Nope, he’s straight from the pages of the funny books!

Oh YEAH! Hasbro went off the charts with some of the sculpted detail on this guy, especially where his equipment is concerned. The costume itself is pretty standard stuff, particularly his familiar tunic with the horizontal strips running across his chest. The combat pants have nice texturing and some sculpted pockets, and are tucked into his high-laced military boots. Overall, the colors are pretty dark, but there’s a lighter blue wash to bring out some of the details in his tunic.

The cybernetic arm is sculpted with a ribbed texture and lots of musculature. It’s also got a nice silver-gray sheen to it and a star printed on the shoulder. The hands have sculpted, finger-less gloves, and I dig that they actually sculpted the cybernetic jointing into the fingers on his left hand. You gotta really look to see it, which makes it all the more welcome. Holy crap, he’s even even wearing a watch on his left wrist.

And then we come to tall the extra gear they strapped to him! For starters he’s got a harness with ammo pouches running across his chest. Below that he has a tactical belt with grenades, magazines, and a combat knife and pistol, alas neither of which are removable. Finally, he has two more magazines strapped to his left thigh. Hasbro even popped for some paint operations on the grenades, gun, and magazines. Nice!

The head sculpt is quite good, giving us something of a generic Sebastian Stan, which is pretty much how I remembered him the last time I saw him in a comic panel. He has a domino mask, which is part of the sculpt and neatly painted, and a coif of long hair with strands hanging down on either side of his face.

 

By now y’all should know what to expect from modern Legends articulation, but what the hell, let’s run through it. It pads out my word count. 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 in the thighs. The ankles have both hinges and lateral rockers. There’s a swivel in the waist, an ab-crunch hinge under the chest, and both a hinge and ball joint in the neck. The thick knee joints can look a little strange when flexed all the way, the elbow joints are a tad spongy, but otherwise, he’s a fun figure to play with.

Bucky comes with two weapons, and these are great examples of how to do Marvel Legends weapons the proper way. They’re wonderfully detailed and look like the equivalent of real world weapons and not weird sci-fi shooters, like the red abomination we got with the MCU version of Winter Soldier. The pistol looks like a M1911 with a textured grip and detailed slide. The rifle looks like an AR-15 carbine with (non) telescoping stock, scope, and a grenade launcher slung under the barrel. These are exactly the kinds of weapons I wish Hasbro would have included with their GI JOE Classified figures!

A lot of the comic-based Legends I’ve looked at lately have been of the quick-and-easy painted costume variety. And yeah, that honestly does work fine for a lot of characters, but it also makes me appreciate a figure like this Winter Soldier all the more. Hasbro just poured on the love in every possible way, from the detailed sculpt to the excellent weapons, and the result is a comic-based figure that stands out even among the MCU releases. He’s quite simply fantastic.

Transformers Siege: Mirage by Hasbro

As you may be aware, I’ve been bouncing my Transformers reviews between the new Earthrise releases and my backlog of Siege figures. Up until now, I’ve felt hopelessly dated going back to the previous line, but seeing as how the new Netflix series premiered, it now seems a lot more topical to be checking these out. I’ve only seen a few episodes of the series so far, but I like it well enough. I’m pretty impressed at how close the animation models stick to the toy designs. I think it tries a little too hard to be edgy and gritty, but overall it’s pretty good stuff. So, let’s check out my favorite Autobot Infiltrator, Mirage! I’m delighted to see Hasbro taking another crack at Mirage. The Classics one was a cool figure, but it was pretty different than the G1 robot design. Combiner Wars gave us another, but that one was just a repaint of the Stunticon, Dragstrip.

And this one looks like it’s going to be a pretty sweet update! The box contains the usual kick-ass character art and showcases the figure in his robot mode. I should note that this Mirage has been re-released in a Decepticon deco, as part of the Netflix sub-line of Siege repaints. That didn’t make any sense to me until seeing the series. It’s a cool way to introduce and justify a repaint, but I’ve opted to skip the Netflix repaints. Let’s start with his race car mode!

It’s a reach, but to appreciate Siege, you have to accept that there are a lot of native Autobot alt-modes that look conveniently similar to Earth cars. And yeah, I’m OK with that. This Cybertron racer reminds me a bit of Prowl’s alt-mode from the Energon series, and that toy hasn’t aged too well. Mirage has a distinctive Formula-1 configuration, but the canopy and surrounding area are cast in translucent blue to give it the feel of a futuristic alien machine. The front is fairly faithful to its Earth cousin, but the back looks all sorts of stubby and weird, especially since the back of the vehicle is the faked out chest for the robot mode, which is supposed to be the front of the car. The end result is something that has a bit of a super-deformed Tonka-toy feel about it.

The color palate consists of white, gray, and blue, in other words, G1 Mirage colors. You also get some silver paint on the top of the wheels and the top of the spoiler. There’s some Cybertonian script printed on the sides of the car and a bold Autobot emblem printed on the front. All in all, I’m not really digging this alt mode very much. The best thing I can say about it is the translucent plastic looks really cool.

Mirage comes with two weapons and they can both plug into the holes in his spoiler. Yeah, it doesn’t do a whole lot to add to the vehicles aesthetic. Let’s move on to the robot mode.

Now we’re talking! Clearly, Hasbro made all the sacrifices in the alt mode to give us a great looking Mirage in robot mode, and given how good it looks, I’m fine with that! The transformation is totally different, and yet everything falls into place more or less. The armor panels on his arms are now made up from the spoiler, rather than the sides of the car. Those wind up down in his lower legs. And I already mentioned that the chest is faked out to look like the front of the car, when it’s actually the back. The clear plastic looks cool down in his legs, and I like how the Cybertron script winds up down their too.

From the back, he isn’t exactly pretty, but there’s still some neat stuff going on here. I dig how the back wheels fold into his back and are totally obscured from view in the front. The front wheels and stabilizers fold behind his lower legs at an angle, which also puts them out of view from the front. I do wish these locked into place better, but it’s a creative way to stow them.

The head sculpt is comprised of pure G1 goodness. He features the familiar rounded “helmet” with the vents on each side of his face. The face itself is painted in a flashy silver and his eyes are neatly painted blue. I also like that they gave him a kind of good natured smile. That’s the old Mirage that I know and love. The cut-out on his chest, a vestige of where his face was hidden in the original toy, has some great texturing and the blue and red paint really pop. I also dig that huge Autobot insignia on his chest. It matches the one on the real front of the car pretty closely.

One of Mirage’s weapons can work as a shoulder-mounted missile launcher, similar to what the original toy had. It looks OK, but I think it projects out a little too much, and that extra peg on the missile is distracting. The launcher can also double as a hand-held weapon too.

And Mirage also comes with a more conventional rifle, which is not only a very cool design, but clearly based on the rifle that came with the original figure. Before wrapping up, since this guy is replacing the Combiner Wars Mirage in my collection, let’s take a quick look at how they stack up.

Some may say it’s unfair to compare their vehicle modes, since this new Mirage is supposed to be a Cybertron racer and the other is an Earth racer, but still.. Combiner Wars Mirage wins by a mile. It’s sleek and sexy, has some nice curves, and the simpler deco is beautiful.

Of course, going to robot mode is a whole different story. Combiner Wars Mirage never really came close to looking like the real deal, and that’s understandable since he’s a repaint of a Stunticon with a Mirage head on it. And with a robot mode this good, I’ll take the Siege Mirage with his boxy alt mode any day.

Unless you’re totally dead set on getting an Earth Formula-1 Racer, I can’t recommend this figure enough. I’ve taken a lot of jabs at the alt mode, but in all fairness it isn’t that bad. And it’s even easier to swallow it when it delivers such a great looking figure. Surprisingly, I wasn’t all that excited about getting this guy in hand, but now that I have him, I find that he’s really scratching an itch that’s been bothering me for a long time. That old Classics Mirage was a cool figure, but it was more of a re-imagining of the character, where is this is exactly what I was looking for!

GI JOE Classified: Snake Eyes by Hasbro

Well, it took a little longer than I thought, but the final figure from the first assortment of GI JOE Classified arrived a few days back. Snake Eyes was the first figure revealed and the hardest one for me to get. I think I still have the Deluxe version on pre-order on Hasbro Pulse, but since I haven’t had a lot of luck with those pre-orders, I was happy to pick up this vanilla release just in case.

How many times can I say it? I love this packaging! You get a very attractive and colorful window box that shows off the figure and is totally collector friendly. The side panel displays the character’s abilities with a fun system of iconography and there’s a beautiful mural of characters and vehicles on the back. I don’t have the same obsession with Snake Eyes that a lot of JOE fans seem to have. It’s probably blasphemy to say it, but I was never a big fan of them forcing him into the whole Ninja slot. When I was a kid playing with my JOEs he was just a kick ass Commando with an Uzi and not a Ninja at all.

It doesn’t take a second look for me to realize why they chose Snake Eyes as the initial reveal. Even setting aside how popular he is as a character, this is an amazing looking figure. Sure he’s mostly black, but the figure makes great use of both matte and high gloss finishes for different parts of his outfit, as well as some sparing hits of silver and red paint. Plus, there’s some fine texture work in the sculpt as well. And that sculpt! Holy crap there is a lot going on here! The base body has features sculpted pants with knee pads, a lot of chiseled musculature in the torso, and armor plates on the arms and shoulders, There’s also several pieces sculpted out of softer plastic and worn by the figure, like the bicep straps with pouches, doubled up belts on the waist, a shoulder strap with pouches and sculpted grenades, and a holster and sheath attached with straps around his thighs. This guy is clearly ready for anything.

And that mask! Part of me was a little worried we’d get some big goofy rubber lips like we did with Rise of Cobra, but nope. This mask is as classic as it gets. He has the iconic segmented visor and the breathing holes over the lower half of his face. I also really dig the sculpted stitching up the neck. Beautiful!

Snake Eyes has a hole in his back and through the shoulder strap that can be used for a few accessories, but primarily his backpack. It’s cast in matte black plastic and like the figure it’s loaded with detail. It also features some silver paint operations on the buckles and snaps. Unlike Duke’s backpack, this one stays on extremely well. It also has a peg hole on the side so you can attach the sword scabbard.

If you want Snake Eyes to travel more lightly, the peg hole in the back can be used to secure his sword alone, or even his larger gun. And since we’re now talking about accessories… Let’s check out those accessories!

This retail version of Snake Eyes comes with a collection of weapons that pales in comparison to the Deluxe version, but you still get some cool stuff. For starters, he has a combat knife that’s very similar in design to what we saw with Scarlett. It has a saw back and the blade swells near the tip. It’s a little small for the figure’s hand, but he can hold it fairly well. Unfortunately, this thing will not fit into the sheath. It goes in about three-quarters of the way and then just stops. I could take something and try to clean it out in there, but for now it’s just not going in.

Next up, he has a pistol with a detachable suppressor, both of which can fit into his holster separately and I really dig that! I’m a little less enamored with the gun itself, mainly because of the big hole in the center. This looks like it’s designed for storage on a peg, but other than being able to attach it to the bigger gun (and why would I want to do that?), I don’t see the reason for it and it just looks goofy. I’ll likely be raiding my Marvel Legends figures for some better weapons for this guy.

Next up is his bigger gun and again, I’m just not liking the design here. I think it’s supposed to be a sci-fi take on an assault carbine, but like the smaller one it has that big hole in the center which is so off-putting. He really does need a proper Uzi.

And finally, Snake Eyes comes with his sword and scabbard. The scabbard has a wonderful texture to it and features the Arashikage symbol printed in red near the throat. The sword is a lot more stylized than I’m used to seeing him carry, but I don’t mind. The elongated grip works with one or two hands, and there’s a tiny finger loop in the guard for his trigger finger. There’s a saw-back area of the blade near the hilt, which is a little weird, and the the blade terminates into a clipped point.

Snake Eyes turned out to be an excellent figure, but I really never doubted that. And remember my blasphemous Commando/Ninja comment? Well, one thing I really dig about this figure is how it strides the line between the two. I can load him up with his backpack and guns if I want him to be a Commando, or I can strap a sword on his back and make him a Ninja. Which brings me to my only real gripe here is that I wish he came with his old school explosives pack, because when I was a kid playing with him, he was constantly using that to blow up Cobra installations and vehicles. I used to stick it to HISS tanks with a little dab of silly putty!

And that’s the first assortment of GI JOE Classified. This line is not perfect. There were some design choices I’m not 100% on board with, but what i can’t deny is that each and every one of them are very fun figures. I think the one thing that’s been hard to get used to is the way the line seems to pick and choose between old and iconic and fresh and new. Part of me wishes all the figures had toed that Real American Hero line a little closer, but then even the new designs have been growing on me. All I can say is BRING ON THE NEXT ASSORTMENT AND YO JOE!!!

Marvel Legends (Crimson Dynamo Wave): Black Widow by Hasbro

Welcome back to another Marvel Monday! Last week I began my trek through the fairly recent Crimson Dynamo Wave with a look at a very comic-based Crossbones and today I’m going to tackle the first of the figures from the upcoming Black Widow movie. And hell, let’s just go with Natasha Romanov herself. Fun fact, whenever I see her final scene in Endgame I always manage to get something stuck in my eye. Weird.

Hasbro did some pretty cool and stylish art for the boxes on this wave and I whole heartedly approve. And I’ll confess that as I’m tearing open this lovely box, I’m thinking about how strange it will be watching a flashback MCU movie where we know the character is dead. Well, I guess at least we know she won’t get killed in this one, eh? I honestly liked Natasha’s heroic end, but it just drives the point home for me that this movie should have happened a long time ago.

And here she is and while you might think I’d be sick and tired of another MCU Black Widow figure, truth be told… I really dig this one! I didn’t pay much attention to the first solicitation shots, but now that she’s in hand I think that this outfit design is a fantastic blend of comic and film. Imagine my surprise to find that she’s actually almost a complete repaint of the Deluxe Black Widow that I reviewed back in April. Going from all white to this new deco makes for a big change. The costume also eschews the all black look that Natasha usually favors for a gray and black mix, which makes for a far more interesting look. The bulk of the black and gray has a matte finish with some high gloss reserved for the boots and the shoulder armor pieces. She still has that piping running down the front from the earlier outfits but the two-tone deco makes them pop a lot more. And speaking of pop, the gold paint on her belt and her Black Widow Bite bracers really transforms this figure into something special. Her belt is cast in soft plastic and includes holsters for her pistols with retaining straps around her thighs.

And from the back we can see Black WIdow is sporting a hardshell backpack with slots to store her batons. I do love a figure that can wear all her accessories! So what was changed from the previous figure? Mostly the upper torso, which was re-sculpted to give her the backpack and also that padding up by her neckline. They also reworked the buckle on her belt making it a little more prominent.

I’m sure I said this the last time we checked out an MCU Black Widow, but Hasbro has come a long way when it comes to sculpting Scar-Jo’s likeness. I seem to recall the original effort being a little rough, but this one is quite possibly their best. Yes, it seems to be the same as the Deluxe figure, at least the hair sculpt is identical. There are some differences in the face, but that might just be variances and not a whole new sculpt. It’s hard to tell. Either way, it really captures her lips and nose and the printing used for her eyes and the rest of the features is solid. Here’ she’s sporting a coif that is a little closer to her original Avengers look than we’ve seen in a while and I do like it a lot.

When it comes to articulation, we pretty much know what to expect from the ladies. And while the poseabilty here is great, I am not a fan of these elbow joints. Yeah, I usually bitch about Hasbro’s refusal to give the gals double-hinged elbows, but in this case I’m actually referring to these weird elbow hinges that stick out the back. I think I first noticed these on one of the Spider-Woman figures. Otherwise, her arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders and pegged hinges for the wrists, which can swap out between fists and accessory hands. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have double-hinges in the knees, swivels in the thighs, and the ankles have hinges and lateral rockers. There’s a ball joint under her chest and her neck is both hinged and ball jointed.

As mentioned, Black Widow comes with a set of batons, which can store in her backpack. These are really simple accessories and there’s really not much I can say about them. They’re sculpted in really soft plastic, which makes them very bendy and as such they don’t always look that convincing in her hands. But hey, in fairness I don’t think there’s much else Hasbro could do with these at this scale.

In addition to her beat-down sticks, Natasha comes with her dual Glock 26S automatics. These are tiny little guns and can fit snugly into the holsters. I have mixed results with getting her to hold them straight. Her right hand seems to work better with them than her left, which always seems to want to practice trigger discipline. But all in all, these are pretty nice sculpts for such small accessories. Remember that one Black Widow figure where her guns were sculpted into her holsters. Yeah… that sucked.

And so my hat goes off to Hasbro for producing yet another Black Widow figure and still keeping my interest high. I just love everything about the look of this femme fatale. The costume redesign lends itself well to an action figure and the gold just totally sells it. And while I thought her white costume was a nice change, I think this one just brings out all the detail so much better. Will this be the last MCU based Black Widow figure we ever get in the Legends line? Well, if so at least she’s going out on a high note.

Transformers Siege: Starscream, Skywarp, and Thundercracker by Hasbro

It’s a fine testament to how far behind I am in my reviews that I just managed to assemble my trio of Decepticon Seekers from Transformers: Earthrise and I still haven’t reviewed the ones from Siege yet. This was a fact that came to light as I sat down to start writing the review of the newer figures. So, fair is fair. Today I’ll finally get around to taking a look at the three Decepticon Seekers from Siege! Of course, Siege features the Transformers in their original Cybertronian modes, and in this case the Seekers are based off of the Tetra Jet design that was introduced in the Sunbow cartoon and has since been more or less accepted as the official original alt forms of the Seekers. It’s a cool design, but since it was designed for a cartoon and without the restraints of practical toy design, these have been rather difficult to reproduce in action figure form. Hasbro approached something like it (but not really) with their figures based off the Fall of Cybertron figures. Third party designer Impossible Toys had a crack at it and managed to produce some really nice jet modes, but with some pretty janky robot modes. And here we are now back to Hasbro with something of a compromise.

And just to complicate things, the packaging and distribution of these figures varied. Starscream and Thundercracker were regular Voyager Class releases and as such they come in typical Siege style packaging. As always, these boxes look great, feature some amazing artwork and allow you to get a good look at the figure in robot mode before opening. Much to the chagrin of some collectors, Skywarp was offered later as an exclusive and has since been a bit tough to get a hold of at a reasonable price. He was also packaged differently, this time in boxed set called The Phantomstrike Squadron, and came with three little Weapon Masters figures. All three of the Seekers feature the exact same mold, except for some variations in the head, so let’s just take a look at Starscream’s alt mode first and then check out the different decos found on his comrades.

This is not a dead ringer for the Sunbow Tetrajet design and I’m not faulting Hasbro for that, because of the clear challenge that stems from working with the design. As we will soon see Hasbro clearly made some sacrifices to the jet mode to preserve the robot mode. Still, I’d say that this captures the spirit of that original Tetra Jet , and it’s likely as close as we’re going to get without interjecting insane Masterpiece levels of panel-shifting transformations. This design de-emphasizes equality of the jet’s four points by diminishing the wings and extending the snout, for lack of a better term. The result is something that evokes the basic design of the Colonial Viper from Battlestar Galactica more than the original Tetra Jet, especially with the three thrusters in the back, but I still dig it. It totally works for me as a Cybertron design in that it’s different enough to look like an alien vehicle, and yet it’s still similar to the Earth design that the Seekers later adopted.

On the downside, this alt mode is almost as much kibble as it is jet, with the bulk of the robot body hanging out in the undercarriage and the chest piece rather awkwardly on display from the back. The undercarriage junk doesn’t bother me so much. To be fair, the down-swept wings do conceal some of it and it does provide a nice platform for the jet to rest on. And because this is an alien design, who’s to say that’s not what it’s supposed to look like. Besides, Primus knows we’ve had plenty of regular jet modes over the years with as much robot undercarriage as these toys. But as much as I’ll defend that stuff, the chest piece on the back bugs me a lot, just because it’s so painfully obvious what it is, I’ve tried to tell myself that the two intake fans don’t look out of place there, and that the faked out cockpit could be some kind of generator, but it’s just impossible for me not see it for what it really is. Starscream also has a pair of guns that peg in under his wings.

Starscream’s coloring is similar to what we’re used to seeing on him in his Earth mode. The jet is mostly bare gray plastic with some red and blue painted trim. There’s also some darker gray around the cockpit and vents and the yellow cockpit looks great. He also has Decepticon emblems on each side near the back. The jet also includes Siege’s signature weathered look with some dirty markings scattered around the hull. It’s used sparingly here and I think it’s pretty effective. Finally, I have to compliment Hasbro on the detail in the panel lines on this toy. Siege has been all about they hyper-detail and that’s definitely still the case here. I just love how busy the sculpt is, especially on a design that’s relatively simple like this one. Let’s take a quick look at the decos for the other two Seekers!

No surprises here! Thundercracker remains true to form with his mostly blue colored plastic, and he shares the same red paint accents as Starscream has along the edges of his wings and near the sides of his cockpit. The cockpit frame itself is black, as is the blunt nose of the craft. He has the same yellow cockpit and Decepticon insignia, although his are a little muted against his the blue hull. Finally, Thundercrackers weathering is achieved through silver paint, which I think looks more like chipping and abrasions in his finish than Starscream’s dirt. It’s a bit over the top, but I don’t hate it. Like Starscream, I think the deco looks fantastic. Onward to Skywarp!

Skywarp adds the most color to the mix, making his deco a little atypical. His wing. Rather than being mostly black, it’s reserved for his wing area, with the snout of the jet being painted silver and the tip purple. You get more purple trim on the wings and around the sides near the yellow canopy, and more silver in the grills. It’s a striking deco that looks amazing, even if I’m used to seeing more black in my Skywarps. Like Thundercracker, SKywarp has a bunch of silver painted abrasions and wear, showing that he’s seen some action in his day.

OK, so now that we’ve checked out the alt modes, let’s turn back to Starscream and have a look at his robot mode!

Transforming these guys isn’t too bad, and there’s actually some pretty clever stuff going on, like the way the nose of the jet splits to become the familiar shoulder intakes. Indeed, the only gripe I have about the transformation is that the friction hinges that hold the chest piece on isn’t up to the task and I’ve yet to be able to transform Starscream without it falling off. The others are a little better, but it still probably pops off at least half of the time. Once transformed we get a very familiar G1 Seeker robot mode, which makes me appreciate the alt mode a lot more. I’m just all kinds of impressed they were able to get this robot mode out of that Tetra Jet. The proportions are great and even the articulation is solid and fun. Sure, we already know the cockpit chest is a feake-out, but I don’t have a problem with that. Indeed, my only real complaint here is that the unfinished side of the wings face forward, but Hasbro even tried to pretty them up by stamping Decepticon insignia on them and giving them a little painted trim. From behind he’s mostly a wall of wings, but a nicely finished one. Even his lower legs fill in!

The portrait is superb. I love the detail work that went into the “helmet,” the flashy silver paint used for the face, and the glaring red light-piping in the eyes. And once again, I have to call out how amazing all the panel lines are in the mold itself. Even the transparent cockpit in the chest features etched circuit-like patterns, and is flanked by those awesome looking fans. I also really dig how he’s got thrusters emerging from the middle of his feet, even though these aren’t really part of his Tetra Jet mode.

The deco continues to carry Starscream’s iconic colors, with more red and blue showing up in the robot mode. Some might argue that the weathering looks a little overdone here, and I’d be inclined to agree. It doesn’t ruin the figure for me at all, but I would have liked if they had toned it back on the legs a bit. I actually don’t mind the silver wear on his torso at all.

Starscream’s wing guns can be attached to the pegs in his shoulders or forearms. He can even hold them like regular guns if you want. There should be a configuration that pleases everyone, but I prefer them on the shoulders so he can aim them straight down his arm like he did in the Sunbow cartoon. In short, this is a great looking figure with some cool engineering and he’s loads of fun to play with. Let’s take a quick look at the other decos…

In robot mode, Thundercracker’s color scheme holds no surprises. He’s still mostly blue with some black trim and bare gray plastic making up the frame of his torso. The weathering here is all silver and he’s got a lot of it on his lower legs. I like to think that’s just Autobot blood that’s splashed all over him while he was kicking the shit out of one of them. Yeah, that got dark! G1 Thundercracker was the first Decepticon jet I owned as a kid, and the only one I had for a long while, so while his deco is probably the more boring of the three, he’ll always have a special place in my heart. So, other than the fact that this figure looks great, is there anything else to say?

Well, yeah. Thundercracker actually got his own unique portrait! The “helmet” is the same as on the other two figures, but Hasbro gave Thundercracker a big energon-eating grin. Or maybe it’s more of a smirk. Either way, I think it would have better suited Starscream, as he tended to have the most personality of the three. Curious that Hasbro decided to give it to Thundercracker.

And that brings us to Skywarp! While his deco stood out a bit in his Tetra Jet mode, as a robot everything falls more or less into place where I expected it. You basically take Thundercracker’s color palate and swap blue for black and black for purple. The only other real difference is that the fans in his chest are black as well. I’ve always been partial to Skywarp’s coloring, there’s nothing quite so striking as that sinister Decepticon blend of black and purple and it looks as great as ever here. Once again, there’s plenty of silver paint splattered around his lower legs, and I wouldn’t have minded if Hasbro held back on that a bit. And before we wrap things up, let’s take a look at Skywarp’s Weapon Masters!

Because why should Soundwave and Blaster be the only ones to have little robot pets? I’m not sure why Hasbro decided to give Skywarp these guys, but maybe it was just so they could get it to fit into a certain price point assortment. Either way these little guys from right to left are Fracas, Terror-Daxtyl, and Shrute. Each of these transform into a different weapon and each comes with some effect parts. And yes, I just realized that I didn’t take enough time to contemplate what a f’cking metal name Terror-Daxtyl really is. Sorry. I’ve been a little mixed on the Weapon Master figures. I like the idea of having little robots to interact with the bigger ones, but the weapons they turn into are often mixed bags. Let’s take a look…

Terror-Daxtyl transforms into an axe, which always brings me back to the eternal question: How much must it suck to be a robot that transforms into something you hit things with!?! It’s kind of a crazy idea, but he does make for a decent looking axe and the effect part is pretty impressive.

Both Fracas and Shrute transform into double-barrel blasters and while the molds are each different the engineering here is exactly the same. They’re a bit chunky but they work just fine. Shrute has a pair of bulbous yellow blast effects and Fracas has thinner blue electricity effect pieces.

Oh boy, I really dig these guys! I was perfectly content to keep the Fall of Cybertron versions as my Cybertronian Seekers, and while I still like those figures quite a bit, the Siege Seekers have quickly supplanted them and become my new favorites. Oh, there’s more than a few points worth picking at with these figures, particularly when it comes to the alt modes, but overall I think Hasbro made the necessary compromises in all the right places. We get some solid re-imaginings of the Tetra Jet designs while producing three superb robot modes, all of which manage to capture everything I love about the iconic G1 Seekers that I loved as a kid. It’ll be fun to do some side by side comparisons when I get around to looking at the Earthrise Seekers, and hopefully that won’t be too far off!

Marvel Legends (Crimson Dynamo Wave): Crossbones by Hasbro

It’s been a while since I reviewed a wave of Marvel Legends that was anything even remotely current, so to switch things up a bit, I thought I’d tackle the Crimson Dynamo Wave, which is also sort of the unofficial sponsor of the as yet unreleased Black Widow movie. Sure, only about half the figures are from the movie, but that’s close enough. And thanks to movies being delayed because of The Coof, I’m actually getting to review these figures before the movie is out! Seriously, Disney, you should have just dumped this thing on your streaming service. You’re probably going to wind up having to do that anyway. But I digress… let’s start with one of the comic-based figures.

It’s Crossbones! And this is my second comic-based Crossbones figure from Modern Legends. The previous one was released as part of the Thunderbolts SDCC boxed set. I was quite pleased to see that this one isn’t just a repackage, but rather a brand new figure. It’s also pretty cool to finally be getting the comic version of the character in a wide-released retail wave and not just part of a limited exclusive set.

Crossbones uses one of the bigger than average Legends bucks, and he’s looking ready for action and as iconic as ever with a costume that is mostly just painted onto the figure. He has plain black trousers and a tank-top with his crossed bones emblem painted onto the chest. His boots are sculpted with studs on the soles and are painted in a high gloss black, which make them stand out from the rest of his outfit. And lastly, his hands have finger-less gloves painted onto them. It’s a clean comic look that distinguishes him from the more realistic detailed sculpt of the previous release.

The costume also includes a brown belt, sculpted in soft plastic, with two holsters secured to his thighs with straps. There are sculpted pouches running around the length of the belt and tiny sculpted buckles in the thigh straps. Finally, he has a pair of brown wrist cuffs, which are also lined with tiny sculpted pouches.

Crossbone’s head consists of a rather stylized skull motif painted onto his hood. It’s sharp, with hardly any bleed through from the underlying black, and looks fantastic. The loose ends from where the mask is tied behind his head trails off behind his right shoulder.

There are no surprises to be found in the articulation. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have double-hinges in the knees, and swivels at the thighs and the tops of the boots. The ankles have both hinges and lateral rockers to accommodate those wider stances. The torso swivels at the waist and has an ab-crunch hinge under the chest. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, swivels in the biceps, and double-hinges in the elbows. Finally, the neck is both hinged and ball jointed. The joints all feel solid, but I do have to report that those holsters do inhibit the hp movement just a little bit.

You get two pairs of weapons with this figure. The first is an awesome matched set of what I presume to be double-barrel shotgun pistols. These are cast entirely in black, and both of his hands are sculpted with trigger fingers so he can hold them perfectly. It is, however, really tough to get them into his hands because the plastic is really stiff. Either way, I love these things and they look like the perfect weapons for Crossbones to wield. It’s too bad they couldn’t have rigged him up with some holsters for these on his back, or maybe made the hip holsters work for both sets of weapons.

The second set of weapons is a pair of silver sci-fi-style pistols, which fit into the holsters on his belt. And man, I’m just not digging these things at all. I think the designs are just fine, but they feel out of place with Crossbones. They’re also molded in that kind of shitty plastic that we just saw used on Union Jack’s weapons. I think these will be spending most of the time in the holsters for sure.

Crossbones was a great choice for a new figure, especially since a lot of collectors probably missed out on the exclusive one. At the same time, since he’s a different enough take on the character, I don’t mind having another version in my collection. This one is cleaner and simpler than the exclusive version, and as a result strikes me as something a little more classic in design. He’s pretty fun to play around with, and I love those shotguns, I just wish they had given him something better than those silver guns. Next Monday, I’ll check out one of the movie figures!

GI JOE Classified: Duke by Hasbro

At some point my Classified Snake Eyes may actually ship out and arrive, but until then I’m now down to opening my last GI JOE Classified figure from the initial assortment. I started with Scarlett because she was one of my more anticipated, but Duke was easily the second, so I saved him for last.

Once again, the packaging for this series has been first rate. It’s colorful, it’s collector friendly, you get plenty of great artwork, and even some details about the character expressed through creative use of iconography. I wish I had the room to keep all these boxes, but sadly I do not, so let’s tear this open and see what Sgt. Hauser is all about.

So far, Classified has been a mix of old and new, with Duke’s design falling a little more in line with the familiar. He’s sporting a beige shirt, similar to his rather iconic look from the original Real American Hero figure and the Sunbow cartoon. It’s got an open collar, some black trim on the shoulders, and his medal pinned to the right side of his chest. Duke has one piece of elbow armor on his left arm, which is admittedly kind of weird. His sleeves are sculpted to be rolled up to his elbows, making it look like Duke is ready to get down to business. And that business is punching in Cobra fangs. The trousers have sculpted pockets, some reinforced patches, and he’s got gold and silver armor on his knees and shins, which have some light blue accents. Yeah, the gold armor thing is kind of an odd ongoing style choice with these figures. I don’t hate it, but I could probably have done without it too. It felt a little more natural on Scarlett, but here it feels like something they just tacked on to give him more of a sci-fi flavor.

Duke’s uniform also features some pieces that are sculpted separately from the actual figure. These include his belt, pistol holster, and bandoleer strap. These are each cast in green plastic with sculpted pouches and some nice detailing. The belt has a silver buckle, and the chest strap has some fixtures sculpted up near his left shoulder, similar to what we saw on Roadblock. Overall I do like the look of his uniform, even with the armor pieces. When I look at him my mind still goes back to the Duke design that I knew and loved as a kid, plus there’s enough new elements to keep him fresh for a new generation of collectors. Personally, I just would have added an American flag patch to his shoulder.

Likewise, the portrait here is quite reminiscent of the Duke of old. I’m not going to lie, I would have loved if we got something with a little more resemblance to 80’s Sunbow Duke, but I still think that this is a great head sculpt for the character. The blonde hair is sculpted into a short regulation-style coif, his eyes are blue, and his chiseled features include a jawline that goes on for miles, a cleft chin, and a mouth that is pressed together and sealed with determination. I also really dig the scar over his right eyebrow. This portrait has a ton of personality and it works fine for me as the Duke Hauser of the current era.

Duke is sporting some excellent articulation, which results in just a couple of drawbacks. The shoulders have rotating hinges set into some rather limited lateral crunches. The elbows are double-hinged, and he has swivels in his biceps. The wrists are odd in that they’re pegged and can be removed, but he only comes with one set of hands. His torso sports a swivel at the waist, and an ab-crunch similar to what we see in the Marvel Legends line. His legs are set on two ball joints up in the hips, with double-hinged knees, and swivels in the thighs. The ankles have both hinges and lateral rockers and the head is on both a hinge and a swivel. Besides the weird wrists, my only other gripe here is that the shoulders look odd at certain poses, like balls separated from their sockets. Sometimes it feels like Hasbro is experimenting with different articulation systems with this line and have yet to settle on a standard.

In terms of gear, Duke comes with a backpack, which is very reminiscent of the one that came with the original figure, and pegs right into his back. Unfortunately it has a habit of popping off on my figure. It might have helped if they had put a hole through the shoulder strap and have it line up with the hole in his back. The backpack is a very detailed sculpt with pouches and even two canteens, all cast in green plastic. There is also an entrenching tool (shovel!) in the middle of the pack, which is painted in a dark gray.

Duke comes with a set of binoculars, which can peg into the back left hole in his belt. This accessory is sculpted all in dark gray plastic and there isn’t a whole hell of a lot else I can say about it. It’s likely an homage to the more traditional binoculars that came with the original figure and could hang around his neck.

Next up is his pistol, which fits into his holster and can be held in either hand. It’s sculpted to look like a futuristic automatic with a gold slide. Hasbro seems to be content with giving all of these JOEs futuristic style weapons and quite frankly I’m fine with that. I grew up watching them fire laser guns in the cartoon, and the series cast off realism pretty early on in the game.

And finally, Duke comes with his rifle, which is clearly supposed to be some kind of laser gun because of the blue emitter at the muzzle. Happily, this weapon is also designed to look like it has ties to a realistic weapon with some AR-15 characteristics, so I’m OK with that. The level of detail is really nice. It has a skeletal style stock, a scope, a detailed magazine, and a foregrip. Like the pistol, the upper areas of this weapon are painted gold. I really appreciate that the figure’s articulation lets him draw the scope up to his eye for aiming poses. Very nice.

With Duke, Classified continues to toe that line between new and old. So far Destro is clearly the one figure that got the least amount of makeover, but Duke here isn’t all that much different to what I’m used to. And with four of these figures on my shelf I can safely say that I really like what we’ve got so far. Given my druthers, I would have preferred direct updates to the Real American Hero figures, or even realistic takes on the Sunbow designs, but I’ll still happily take these instead. They look great on display and are fun to play around with. Indeed, all the Classified JOEs have been residents of my desk since I got them. And I’ve had a blast fiddling about with them on my downtime. Hopefully I’ll be able to put Snake Eyes in the spotlight, if he ever does turn up.

Marvel Legends (Banner Hulk Wave): Union Jack by Hasbro

Hooray, it’s time to open the final figure in this very old and weirdly random wave of characters from both the funnybooks and the MCU. And after last week’s downer of a review, I’m glad to have one more to open so I don’t have to end things on a negative note. Sorry, Rock Python, but you kind of sucked! This time, it’s Union Jack giving us team building fans one more for The Invaders and another for MI-13! Don’t screw this one up, Hasbro!

Eh, it would be really hard for Hasbro to screw this one up, as they even did a fine job on Union Jack back in 2008. The blurb on the back of this package doesn’t say specifically, but I’m going to assume that this is Joseph Chapman, rather than one of the Falsworths, as the costume looks fairly modern. Sure, why not? Let’s go with that. And just a reminder, I’m not going to be reviewing the Endgame Hulk Build-A-Figure because I gave all those parts away. That’s all I got about the packaging, so let’s dive in and take a look!

The corporate directive with the comic-based figures in this wave seemed to be “Use as little new sculpting as possible!!!” as that’s what we get with Union Jack. Not a problem, though, since this is a costume that works well when it’s just painted onto a buck. Yes, most of the costume is just a giant um… union jack, painted onto his torso. The only tripping point would be how painting on a dark plastic body often turns out to be a train-wreck of bleed through. Thankfully, that isn’t the case here. It’s not perfect, the white isn’t as vibrant as it could be, but it’s not too bad and the red looks really good.

Jack includes some extra pieces to round out his costume, which include red cuffs on his wrists and ankles, and a bitchin utility belt. The brown military-style belt features some sculpted pouches, a working holster on the right hip and a working sheath on the left hip. The ankle cuffs are a pain in the arse, as they’re only held up by friction and often slide down to the ankle hinge, as can be seen in a lot of these photos.

The head sculpt is simple, but it’s exactly what it needs to be. The hood has some subtle sculpted stitching seams and you can just about make out the details of his face underneath it. The paintwork on his exposed eyes is particularly sharp. The sculpted concentric rings around the eye holes are a nice touch too!

Articulation is pretty important for a character like Union Jack, and Hasbro delivered with this nimble buck. The arms feature 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, swivels at both the thighs and lower legs, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. The torso sports an ab-crunch hinge, a swivel at the waist, and the neck is ball jointed and hinged. I think the lateral crunches we sometimes see in the shoulders would have been good for this character, but I don’t think it would have worked well with the flag pattern on the torso.

Union Jack comes with two weapons: A revolver and a fighting knife, both of which are cast in a really cheap looking silver plastic. At least they painted the grips black. It’s too bad because the sculpts aren’t bad, but the pistol is a huge step down from the excellent one that came with the 2008 version of Union Jack. Too bad I don’t still have mine. Of the two accessories included here, I think the knife fares a bit better.

Next to Loki, Union Jack was probably my most anticipated figure in this wave. I love the character, I love the teams he hangs out with, love the costume, and despite some sub-par weapons, I think he turned out great. This is the epitome of a simple but fun figure. For a lot of folks, this release may be overshadowed by the MCU figures in this assortment, and those were pretty damn good, but Union Jack is a stand-out figure for me.

And that puts this long overdue wave to bed! For next week’s Marvel Monday, I’m going to kick things back to something more current and topical and start tackling the Black Widow movie wave!

Transformers Earthrise: Optimus Prime and Trailer by Hasbro

One of the gripes I have with collecting Transformers is the frequency in which Hasbro releases new figures of the same old characters. Sure, it’s nice to get updates, but it frequently renders my existing figures obsolete and I wind up selling them off to make room for the new and improved versions. It’s not a big deal when these figures are five or six or even ten years apart, but when it happens within the space of a year, it can be a little annoying. Case in point, we just got a kick ass Optimus Prime figure in Siege last year and here we are getting a new one in Earthrise. Ah well, at least that one was a Voyager and this one is a Leader Class right? RIGHT???

Well, technically. If you’ve been picking up the Leader Class figures lately, you are no doubt aware that the trend is to use that price point to release Voyager-sized figures with extra parts that incorporate into their alt mode. And that’s the case with Earhtrise Prime here. He’s a Voyager sized figure, but he comes with his trailer and that bumps him up to the higher price assortment. So did we really need another Voyager Class Prime this soon? Especially when the last figure was so damn good? Let’s have a look. I’ll note here that I was tempted to make this primarily a comparison review, but then I decided Earthrise Prime deserves his own time in the spotlight, so I’ll first take a look at him on his own and then come back to the comparisons at the end. Let’s start with the alt mode.

I gotta say, this cab looks GREAT and it’s classic G1-inspired Prime through and through. You get the usual panel seams on the sides, but the cab is so detailed with panel lines that it serves to downplay those seams. From the front we get a big slab of glorious Freightliner, complete with silver paint on the grill and bumper and some translucent blue plastic used over the windshields and the headlamps, and again for the windows on the sides. The smokestacks are short (obviously for safety reasons) but they look fine, the gasoline drums on the sides are painted silver, and you get some weapon ports on each side to mount guns. I dig the sculpted vents on top of the hitch-up and overall the red and blue plastic they used looks superb.

The trailer is a huge draw here and it’s none too shabby. Sure, it’s basically a gray plastic box on wheels, but to me Prime always feels incomplete when all we get is a cab. This trailer pegs into the cab, allowing for a pivot at the junction. At first it felt a tad undersized for the cab, but after messing around with it for just a short while, I found that not to be a big problem. It does, after all, look great hooked up and all decked out with that familiar striping and the Autobot emblem emblazoned into the sides. The tailgate sports some nice sculpted detail and drops open to form a ramp and allow access to the interior. The trailer also has a set of swing down legs so it can rest when Prime transforms, because unfortunately this toy trailer does not magically disappear and reappear like it often did in the Sunbow cartoon.

And yes, there is enough room to roll your average Deluxe Class car into that trailer, even if it is a bit snug. Some of the older Basic and Scout Class cars would make for a better fit. The trailer also transforms, but I’ll come back to that in a bit. Let’s move on to robot mode…

Transforming this figure is satisfying without being too fiddly, and I was genuinely impressed with the way the engineering packs and unpacks many of the panels that make up the cab. When all is said and done, you get an absolutely amazing robot mode. Prime has a poetically trim profile, which keeps all his truck kibble in check. When viewed from the front, I have absolutely no complaints. His stout barrel chest is comprised of the actual windshield piece from the truck, while his abdomen with the grill is a fake-out in order to give it that tapered look. All those great looking panel lines and tiny rivets in the sculpt come across in the robot mode as well. The backside isn’t quite as polished, but it ain’t too shabby either. I love the way the cab wheels are stored on his lower back, even if it isn’t something I’m used to seeing on my G1-style Primes, and the gas tanks look great on the backs of his upper legs. I dig the way the lower legs fill in, but I do wish those panels were blue instead of gray.

Most of the coloring from the cab mode carries forward and that red and blue plastic still looks great here in robot mode, as does the gray plastic. The silver paint is sharp and appears not only on the grill and smokestacks, but also on the lower leg vents, forearms, and some neat trim around his windows and wipers. The deco is rounded out by an Autobot emblem printed on his left shoulder.

The head sculpt is very similar to what we got with Siege Prime. My only gripe here is that the eyes can be tough to see with the naked eye, possibly because the brow ridge is a little too prominent. Fortunately, the heads can be swapped, and in the end I may wind up doing just that.

Prime comes with a new version of his Buster Rifle, which is a little beefier than the Siege version. It’s mostly black but does have some gray pegs, one as a grip and another coming out of the side. Prime’s hands are hinged at the figures, forming a peg-hole when closed so he can hold the rifle in either hand. The rifle can fold up in the middle and the side peg allows it to be stored on Prime’s back when not in use.

The figure’s chest can also open to reveal a removable Matrix. I love the amount of detail they sculpted into the Matrix Chamber and it’s all painted over with that lovely silver paint. The Matrix itself is a solid piece with a gold housing and a translucent blue center.

Transforming the trailer is very similar in design to the old G1-version. It splits in the middle and opens to reveal a few possibilities for play and display, although there isn’t a lot going on in here. There’s a repair drone, but no Roller or consoles or anything else. To be fair, in this mode, the trailer is pretty underwhelming. There is some nice sculpted detail throughout the interior and some peg holes to place weapons or store blast effects, but I would have liked something more. Even the repair drone lacks any paint and there isn’t a lot of detail on him. As a result, the open trailer serves best as a repair bay. It can be opened horizontal to lay a damaged Autobot down and have the drone work on him in robot mode, or they can drive up there and get serviced in their alt mode. The only issue here is that since the struts on the trailer just fold down, they don’t support the sides like the swing-out struts on the original toy did.

You can also stand it up and use it as a repair gantry, and I think this mode works best for the bigger figures, like Prime. It’s not the most exciting execution of the transforming trailer gimmick, but it’s not bad either. OK, let’s wrap up with some comparisons between Earthrise Prime and Siege Prime.

Now in fairness, comparing the two cab modes mostly comes down to preferences in style. Technically Siege is supposed to be Prime’s Cybertronian mode, but come on, it’s really just an Earth truck that looks like it’s been modified a bit for battle. The translucent blue plastic covering Siege Prime’s grill, the four cannon-looking ports on his bumper, and the slab that covers his roof lend him a wee bit of a sci-fi flavor, but it’s still just a tweaked Freightliner FL86 that somehow inexplicably evolved on another planet. I don’t dislike it, but I do like the look of Earthrise Prime’s cab infinitely more. It’s just so so clean looking and pretty. Both cabs are scaled exactly the same, but sadly Siege Prime doesn’t have a socket to allow him to pull Earthrise Prime’s trailer. You can kind of fake it, but it’s not meant to be compatible.

Choosing a favorite in robot mode isn’t quite as clean cut for me. Both are fantastic looking figures, and scrutinizing them together, I find there are things I would pick and choose from each figure to make an Ultimate Prime! When it comes to Siege Prime, I dig the sculpted circuit patterns behind his windshield, and his pelvic piece is more streamlined. I also like the fact that his legs are more blue on the insides, and he has the lights on the roof painted yellow. I guess the slab on his back also makes it look cleaner than his successor. As for Earthrise Prime, well he doesn’t have all that f’ugly and annoying kibble hanging off his arms, and that’s a HUGE improvement for me. I also think his chest looks overall cleaner. From behind, the gas tanks on the backs of his legs look cool and his lower legs fill out better than his predecessors. It’s a really hard choice, but I gotta go with Earthrise Prime for the win here.

If it weren’t for the trailer, I would have easily passed on this Prime, but only because the previous one came out so recently and I really dig its robot mode. With that having been said, I’m glad I didn’t skip him because I think this figure turned out fantastic. It’s almost like a Mini-Masterpiece Prime. The engineering is great, and both his robot and alt modes are absolutely brilliant. I think the only real crime here is that Hasbro sold me a Voyager Class Prime a year ago, which is basically already obsolete. Sure, the alt modes are different, but not different enough for me to care about hanging on to the Siege version. And yet, as much as I do love the trailer, it doesn’t feel like there’s enough there to properly elevate this Voyager Class to a Leader Class price point. Maybe some more paint applications inside the trailer would have helped. I’ll also mention the fact that this figure was extremely difficult for me to find. I had just about given up on getting him, when I just so happened to spot him at Target and snatched him up!

Best Prime Hasbro has put out in ages? Yup! Without a doubt!

GI JOE Classified: Roadblock by Hasbro

If you needed proof of how excited I am about Hasbro’s new 6-inch GI JOE Classified series, you need only look to the fact that I’m turning in my third Classified review in as many weeks. Hey, that’s pretty good for me! So far, I’ve checked out Scarlett and Destro, I’m still waiting on my Snake Eyes to show up, and today I’m opening up Roadblock! Out of my way you Cobra punk… I’m gonna kick Destro in the junk!

Have I told you how much I love the packaging? Yeah? Well here we go again! Literally, the only thing I would change here is to put the red, white, and blue back into the lines in the GI JOE logo. Otherwise, you get some bitchin’ character art on the front and right side panel, some specialty icons on the left side panel, and a great piece of artwork on the back teasing some classic JOE vehicles and some more characters. The packaging is collector friendly, and like the Star Wars Black Series, the figures are numbered based on release.

While Classified Roadblock is clearly a new design, it looks like Hasbro drew inspiration from the Real American Hero 1986 (v2) figure. Gone is his original camo tank top and instead we get a green tactical vest. It’s not the spitting image of the RAH design, but clearly the three red flaps, the left shoulder pad, the right pocket, and the knife and scabbard are all nods to that outfit. It’s true that the first version figure will always be my Roadblock, but with that having been said, I still dig this look a lot!

The vest is molded in soft plastic and worn over the buck, which gives him some appropriate levels of bulk. There are some excellent details in the vest’s sculpt, including what looks like a socket wrench on his right shoulder. I like that the colors are muted, with the exception of the gold, and the star on his pocket was a nice touch. Additionally, he has sculpted brown trousers with plenty of pouches and nice texturing. And finally some gold armor on his boots and left knee. That big gold knee-pad is really the only thing here I don’t care for. It’s not so much that it seems out of place, but that it’s so adhoc the way he just has the one. I know that by 1986, most JOEs just wore whatever crazy shit they wanted, but the one lone knee-pad seems contrary to military uniform design. But that’s just me nitpicking.

Roadblock has a sweet lion tattoo on his upper left arm and he’s got a pair of red and green gloves sculpted onto his hands. Overall, the paint detail on my figure is pretty sharp.

Hasbro has been doing a solid job with the portraits in this line, and I’m happy to say that Roadblock is no exception. He’s easily recognizable by me and I especially like the sculpting on his beard and mustache. Yeah, he does have a seam line running across his bald head, but it’s really faint and hard to notice with the naked eye.

The articulation here is quite similar to Hasbro’s Marvel Legends line. Indeed, the big departure comes in the torso where there are two ball joints: One in the waist and one again under the torso.

In addition to a little knife for the scabbard in his vest, Roadblock’s main accessory is his giant um… gun. Yeah, this giant laser(?) gun would not have been my first choice as a weapon. Hasbro’s got a ton of really good machine guns in this scale. Hell, they should have just pulled the one last seen with Crossbones in the Marvel Legends Thunderbolts SDCC set. I’m not saying this is a bad looking gun. It’s got plenty of detail, a nice silver finish, and some blue and red paint applications. If you’re a fan of that wacky sci-fi shit that eventually permeated the Real American Hero line, then this might be right up your alley.

The translucent blue plastic near the beam emitter is cool and the magazine (or in this case battery(?) is removable. He can hold it from the regular grip and trigger, but there are handles on the top so that he can also wield it like a chaingun, and I think that looks more credible, considering it’s taller than he is!

I’ll confess that my first thoughts upon seeing this figure teased was that he looked kind of generic. But once I got him in hand and started messing around with him, I found myself quickly impressed. Is he exactly what I would have asked for? Nah. I would have preferred the original RAH look and a conventional machine gun. But, this line is proving to be full of surprises and I’m willing to let my preconceptions go when presented with a fun and great looking figure like this one. Next week… Duke!