Transformers (Studio Series 86): Dinobot Slug by Hasbro

Seems like it’s been a little while since I last visited with Hasbro’s eternal line of convertobotformers, and boy do I have a huge backlog! I’ve got a lot of goodies to choose from, so many so that I’m going to have to do a Backlog Week where I can dig way back into the stack of overlooked bots. But after a quick scan of my shelf, and my attention was immediately drawn to the second Dinobot in the Studio Series line… Let’s check out Slag!

Yeah, yeah. For reasons, he’s now called Dinobot Slug, but I’ll be referring him to Slag for the remainder of this piece. You’ll note that the box also credits the inclusion of Daniel Whitwicky, but I’ll save him for the end. The box has some decent character art and the Transformers movie logo, but man am I tired of this overall box layout. The black background with the red generic lettered Transformers running up the side is so boring and lacks any semblance of creativity. Never in a million years would I have guessed that Hasbro would stick with this crap for so long. But I throw out the box anyway, so who cares! Let’s start with the dino mode!

CHONKS!!! When it comes to Dinobots, big and beefy wins the day… and Slag meets both of those criteria. Slag’s alt form is a Triceratops, or at least that’s what it was called when I was a kid. The scientists have been working overtime deleting my childhood dinosaur names, who knows what’s what these days. Whatever the case, I think Hasbro did a nice job on the alt mode here, although it does have a bit of a patchwork quality about it. That’s mainly from the mix of gray, black, red, gold, and white plastics. He’s got some solid proportions and a tank-like quality about him, despite the hollow hind legs. He’s based on the movie’s animated appearance, but there’s still a lot of great sculpted detail in his metallic hide. You get panel lines, pipes, hatches, vents, and all sorts of technological gizmos on display. I especially dig how his gun is used to fill out his tail.

The head has a nice satiny gold finish, which is repeated for the back ridges and tail, and the blue eyes are quite striking. He’s got white plastic horns protruding from the top of his head and a smaller upturned horn jutting up from his nose. The crest that frames his head is also left bare white plastic, which I’ll confess looks a little cheap, but I suppose it does match the coloring in the cartoon appearance. There’s no articulation in the neck, but the jaw does open, so that’s cool!

So, the dino mode gets my seal of approval, however, I will say that the engineering on this toy is a lot more complex than what I was expecting. As a rule, I always thought the original Dinobot toy transformations didn’t need to be messed with too much to make modern updates. The Studio Series Grimlock more or less holds that to be true. But Hasbro did some crazy stuff here, especially with Slag’s torso. I found it to be a bit frustrating to get him into dino mode the first time, and even after a few more tries it feels a bit more fiddly than it needed to be. Some might argue that a Leader Class should have complex engineering to justify the price, but here it was just a pain to get everything to lock together correctly, especially when compared to Studio Series Grimlock.

And speaking of which, here are the two Studio Series Dinobots together in their alt modes. With that said… on to the robot mode! In terms of scale and styling, I think they look amazing together! And just in case you want to see how much bigger Slug got than when we last saw him…

My opinion on the Power of the Primes Dinobots remains mostly unchanged. These were great looking figures, but woefully undersized. The PotP Dinos were especially small for Deluxe Class toys, and there’s no doubt in my mind that Leader Class is the only way to go for Dinobots! Now let’s check out Slag’s robot mode!

Well, there sure is a lot to love here, but I also have a few nitpicks so let me get them out of the way first. The dino mode’s hind legs would be expected to land on the outside of the robot legs, but here, they fold in to fill in the leg cavities and give Slag a cleaner look. I sure can respect that, but… I think that by taking the legs off the outside and concealing them, it makes his legs look a little scrawny compared to his upper body bulk. Is it a deal-breaker for me? Nah. It is however, my only real gripe with this robot mode. Indeed, I’m impressed by how polished the back looks, with the “wings” and the tail tucked in. It’s just a great looking figure all around.

The portrait is nicely done as well, with a sharp sculpt. It’s worth mentioning here that I love the red plastic used for the head and chest. It’s so bright and vibrant. It also contrasts beautifully with those big blue eyes. The chest piece is obviously faked out, as it’s not really the lower jaw of the dino head, but I think that was the right way to go here and it looks great.

Like Grimlock, Slag comes with a gun but no sword. Yeah, that sucks. The gun is a decent sculpt, but I wish it was cast in black plastic instead of the white. And while on the subject, I really would have loved to get an homage to the missile launcher that came with the original figure. Where did all the plastic they saved from not including a sword or missile launcher go?

It went to this piece of crap… Daniel Witwicky in his Exo-Suit. This is extremely similar to the Wheelie figure that came with Studio Series Grimlock. And while I wasn’t terribly impressed with that Wheelie, I find this inclusion to be a total misfire. There’s articulation at the shoulders and hips, but he’s stuck in a squatting position, as the figure is mainly intended to just sit on top Slag’s dino mode. I think what I hate most about this figure is that they couldn’t even give him a head sculpt or a sticker showing a face inside the open helmet, but nope… we just got a blank, featureless dome.

It continues to baffle me that Takara didn’t continue on with the Masterpiece Dinobots, especially with how many different releases they got out of Grimlock. But with a team of MP Dinos being only a pipe dream, Hasbro’s Leader Class offerings are the next best thing to me. Slag puts us at two Dinobots down and I really hope Hasbro keeps this train rolling. Indeed, I’m a little disappointed we haven’t seen a teaser of the next one yet. I’m rooting for Sludge, because if they do cut this run short, I want to make sure we at least get the original three. And since I can’t imagine what lame mini figure they would include with Sludge, how about you just make good on the missing swords instead, eh Hasbro?

Marvel Legends (What If?): The Hydra Stomper by Hasbro

In case you missed the memo, I’ve replaced Marvel Mondays with Mythic Legions reviews, so that’s why you’re seeing a Marvel Legends review on a Wednesday! Now, since it’s out of the regular Monday rotation, that means there’s no guarantee that I’ll be doing Marvel content every week, but I wasn’t about to go cold turkey straight out of the gate, was I? Today I’m checking out The Hydra Stomper, which is a single oversized Deluxe release, that is tethered in spirit to the proper What If? Wave, which I’ll be tackling soon enough. My guess is that this guy was a little too big to do as the Build A Figure, which is why Hasbro gave that honor to The Watcher. Hey, it all works out in the end.

While What If? can refer to the funnybooks, this Wave seems to be more specifically tied to the recent What If? animated series on Disney+. Nope, I didn’t watch it, I just can’t get into these Marvel Disney+ Series, but I’m not going to let that stop me from enjoying the figures. The Hydra Stomper is a suit of armor made by Howard Stark for Steve Rogers in a reality where Agent Carter became the Super Soldier. Yeah… I think I got that right. Anyway, let’s suit up and dive in!

Oh man, this is a big and meaty figure! I absolutely love the design here, which has a primitive look similar to Tony Stark’s Mark I armor. It also has a wonderful WWII military-style finish, which includes a uniform coat of matte olive green paint, along with some brown panels down on the feet, and some white stenciled military markings. There’s also a pale blue panel on the front in place of what would be the Arc Reactor in our reality, but in this case offers a window to the Tesseract power that drives this particular suit. The sculpt isn’t what I would call hyper-detailed, as it tends to favor smooth vacant spaces instead of a lot of complex panel lines, but there are some nice flourishes here, like the rivets and vents. I also really dig the grab bars that run up the left leg and along the left side of the torso to help Steve climb into this behemoth.

There’s a lot more detail present on the massive jet pack, which pegs into the back and includes hinges on each thruster tank to reposition them away from the body. The cables and supports all look pretty convincing and I dig the scorch marks painted along the the thrusters themselves. I would have liked a little more weathering like this on the figure as a whole to make it look more worn and realistic, but I suppose the simpler paint job is more in tune with the animation style of the series. One gripe about the jetpack is that it’s rather heavy and the peg isn’t substantial enough to keep it plugged in all that securely. It will stay put if I’m just repositioning the figure, but if I get into any major re-posing, it is apt to fall out.

The head gives me more of that Mark I armor vibe, with the squared off eyes and the bars over the mouth slit. You get more grab bars on the shoulders for lowering into the torso compartment, and there’s a rather stout antenna rising up over the left shoulder. A white star and the C-15 registry on the chest adds nicely to the military motif.

As a stocky, well-armored figure, the articulation here doesn’t always offer the best range of motion, but all the points are there, and I’d say that the figure has about the same level of movement that one might expect from the real suit. The shoulder plates are hinged so they don’t get in the way of the rotating hinges in the shoulders too badly. The hips are capable of some nice wide stances, with lateral rockers in the ankles to accommodate them. The elbows can’t quite do 90-degrees, but they come close. Balancing this big guy can be a bit of a challenge, especially with the jetpack on, but he’s still lots of fun to play with.

In terms of weapons, the Stomper has them built in to the right forearm. I imagine these were showcased in the series, but since I didn’t watch it, I’ll presume that one is a machine gun and the other is maybe a flame thrower? Sure, why not? Let’s go with that!

The Stomper comes with two sets of hands, one pair is for clutching and grabbing and the other is a pair of fists for punching… and more punching.

Finally, you get a pair of effect parts to peg into the jetpack to make it look like he’s flying. These pieces are a little understated, but they work well enough. I was hoping they were sized so as to double as weapon fire, but they are only designed to fit into the thrusters and will not plug into the weapon muzzle. Given a choice, I actually would have rather had an effect part for the gun.

The Hydra Stomper is a cool and fun figure by every possible measure. I think a little paint weathering would have gone a long way to make him look a bit more premium, but it’s absence is by no means a deal-breaker for me enjoying this figure a hell of a lot. When I first took this guy out of the shipping box, I was a bit taken back by just how big he was! After playing around with him for just a bit, I couldn’t wait to dig out my Hydra soldier pack and have him give them a good stomping! Hell, he can even make quick work of the Hydra Heavy Soldier, and that is by no means a small figure! I can’t even imagine how big the Hot Toys version is going to be, but imagine I will have to, because I’m not going to pony up the cash for that beast. We’ll no doubt see this figure make an appearance here again when I get around to reviewing the Agent Carter from the What If? Wave!

The Real Ghostbusters: Ecto-1 and Figures by Hasbro

Like a lot of kids in the 80’s, I was a big fan of The Real Ghostbusters cartoon. In fact, we would often patrol the school yard at recess looking to take the fight to the kids who liked that Filmation Ghostbusters and kick the shit out of them. Nah. I’m just kidding. There weren’t any kids that liked Filmation Ghostbusters. LOL! That joke would be less hypocritical if I didn’t secretly covet those Filmation Ghostbusters toys. Indeed, if they weren’t so stupid expensive now, I’d probably own some. But I digress. as a kid, I only owned one Real Ghostbusters figure, and that was Egon. My Dad bought him for me when we were at the store and I was profoundly disappointed when I opened him in the back of the car and realized that the beam didn’t come out of the wand, and he had to walk around with it sticking straight up into the air. I really wanted Real Ghostbusters figures, but I never asked for any more of these. I think I regretted that decision, because in my mind I never really let these go.

Fast forward to now, and Hasbro has released some pretty damn good copies of those Kenner figures, along with the Ecto-1, and I decided that I needed to revisit these. The Ecto-1 comes in a fully enclosed and colorful box, which I presume is pretty close to the original packaging. But… before I open up this baby, I should probably take a look at the figures first. And I opened these up a while ago, so I don’t have any packaged shots.

And boy don’t these just ooze charm like slime off of a free-floating, full-torso, vaporous apparition! I love the way these were individually stylized with completely different bodies. From Egon’s long and lanky form to Ray’s stocky frame, each character is so distinctive from each other. Nowadays, they would just stamp them out on the same body. And of course, the jumpsuits were individually colored to distinguish them from each other even more. Nice details include the cinched elastic on their wrist and ankle cuffs, the elbow pads, and the Ghostbusters logos stamped on their right shoulders. Likewise, the head sculpts are pretty good likenesses for their cartoon counterparts. Each of these figures have the standard five-points of articulation, and I absolutely love them!

The proton packs are cool, but I still say they would be so much better if you could just remove the proton streams. I know they’re toys for kids, but apparently it was even annoying enough to me as a kid to not want them because of it. I think I was probably a little too uptight about that, because as an adult I can move past it and still appreciate what they did here. There’s a decent amount of detail in the sculpts, and they simply peg onto the figures’ backs. Yes, the straps are sculpted on the figure, so they’re present even when the pack isn’t worn. The wands clip to the sides of the packs and can be slid onto each figures’ arm and gripped by their hand. Spin the beam’s handle behind the thrower and it wiggles all over the place. It’s fun!

Each figure comes with its own ghost. These are cast in translucent colored plastic and they’re pretty fun. These aren’t going to replace Mattel’s retro-style Real Ghostbusters as my favorites, but I think I actually like these better than Diamond Select’s Real Ghostbusters, which disappointed me so much that I never bothered reviewing them all. But wait… we’ve got a call coming in and the boys are going to need their ride! So let’s get the Ecto-1 out and set up!

There’s really not too much to set up. The Ghostbusters‘ ride comes out of the box assembled and almost ready to go. There are some stickers that need to be applied, but nothing too difficult. The most pressure comes from getting those three Ghostbusters emblems on the doors straight. The toy itself is satisfyingly large, but it also feels a lot like a plastic shell on wheels. Keep in mind, I never owned the original, so I may have been expecting too much because of the price point. But more on that later. From the research I’ve done, this seems to be an excellent copy of the original toy, with some improvements to the plastic and some areas of the design. And it sure is nice to see one of these looking all fresh and minty with no yellowing or cracks, and bright stickers!

Like the figures, I love the way the toy recreates the stylized look of the cartoon, especially with the way it exaggerates the swell near the back, giving it a cool and cartoony profile. In keeping with the original, there’s not a lot of detail to the roof, just some vague sculpted shapes depicting the equipment and instrument rack. The two light bars have tinted blue plastic for the actual lights. It almost looks like electronics have been gutted for the remake, but the Kenner toy didn’t have any either. That’s a shame, because for fifty bucks, this thing should have flashing lights and a siren!

There are some subtle changes to the front grill, but the ECTO-1 license plate sticker remains the same. The sculpting on the wheels is very well done, and this thing rolls along the floor great.

Busting out the figures, I find that the front seat accommodates a driver and passenger quite well. The doors close securely with the windows perpetually down. I’m guessing the Ecto-1 doesn’t have working air conditioning. There’s a nice bit of detail in the steering wheel and dash, and there’s some texturing on the seats. The back area can fit the other two Ghostbusters, so everyone can ride!

That back area also features a Ghost-Capture-Claw, not doubt developed by Egon, to hook ghosts. By shifting the exhaust pipe left or right, the rope can either be locked, or it will retract as you push the Ecto-1 along. There’s also a hook inside to hang the claw from when it’s not in use. The orange ghost is included!

There’s also a Gunner Seat that can be secured all the way inside the back or positioned so it’s facing out the back to fire at those pesky pursuing poltergeists.

The Gunner Seat can also be plugged into the top and swivel 360-degrees.

I was absolutely beside myself when the Ecto-1 arrived at my door. It was a Walmart Exclusive and I knew I had no hopes of finding it in the stores, so I dropped a pre-order with them online, crossed my fingers, and hoped that it wouldn’t get cancelled. Now, I’ll concede that when I first got it out of the box, I might have been hit with a wee bit of sticker shock. This was $50? Yes, it’s a nice, sizeable toy and it looks great, but Great Gozer is this thing over priced! Just compare this thing to the Ecto-1 from the Playmobil Ghostbusters line, which is admittedly smaller, but features a ton more detail and electronic lights and sounds. Don’t get me wrong, I have no regrets. Getting these toys has filled in that Ghostbusters-shaped hole in my childhood, and I’m happy to have these displayed on the shelf. Hasbro has also released some of those gimmicky ghost figures in this revival, but I think I’m going to rest easy with what I’ve got.

Transformers (Robot Enhanced Design Series): Bumblebee by Hasbro


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Marvel Legends Iron Man Helmet by Hasbro

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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