Marvel Legends (Lizard Wave): Gwenpool by Hasbro

Writing about new Marvel characters is often tough for me, as it more often than not turns into a mean-spirited rant about how much I hate the comics that Marvel is publishing these days. Fortunately, Gwenpool has been a sort of the exception to the rule. Yes, she’s technically part of the trend that has put me off Marvel’s comics these days, but she actually happens to be a pretty fun character. And while I’ve only read a few issues of The Unbelievable Gwenpool here and there, the ones I did read tended to be pretty good books. I’m pretty sure I remember hearing that her book got cancelled recently, which is a shame because if nothing else, it was better than half the other books Marvel is turning out these days. But even if that is the case, I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of Gwenpool.

And here we have Gwen in her box and looking pretty spiffy against her hot pink themed background and with her snazzy logo down below. She’s obviously a product of the wild, breakout success of Spider-Gwen coupled with the cult of rabid Deadpool fans. But what really sells Gwen as a fun character is her self-awareness at being in a comic book, and her perceived lack of consequences that comes with that knowledge. She’s more than a lazy copycat character and more than a “What if” fugitive from another Earth. Everything about this character is on the nose, and I think that’s what makes her work for me so well. I’d complain that they didn’t shove a little PVC Howard the Duck into the box, but there’s already plenty of stuff in there, so I’ll hold my tongue and get started with this review!

Rather than just slap a pink version of Wade’s costume, Gwenpool’s creators gave her more of a stand out look and Hasbro did a nice job bringing it to action figure form. The costume represents a decent mix of painted details with some new sculpting. Most of her long sleeved one-piece is achieved through some sharp and vibrant white and pink paint, and the white even has a cool pearlescent sheen to it in some areas. She does have newly sculpted arm bracers, as well as sneakers and shin guards over her socks. The legs are bare with an even flesh tone painted on.

Her brown belt is a separate piece and includes her trademark pink “G” belt buckle. The belt features plenty of sculpted pouches, and even a place for her to keep her cell phone. The cherry on top of this outrageous outfit is her big fat cuddly penguin backpack, which includes slots for her to keep her katanas. Everything about Gwen’s costume is beautifully done here. Hasbro obviously poured a lot of love into this gal, and it shows! The articulation is pretty standard for your average Marvel Legends lady. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and elbows, and the wrists are on hinged pegs. 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 rockers. There’s a ball joint just under the chest and the neck features both a hinge and a ball joint. My usual gripe about the lack of bicep swivels stands, but I can still get a lot of nice poses out of her.

Gwenpool features two different heads. One is a regular smiling head, the other has her sticking out her tongue as if she’s licking her lips. It’s a nice extra, but to be honest, I would have much rather they included an unmasked head. I wound up having to go to Diamond Select for that look, but that’s a review for another day. Besides, I get it, this head didn’t require an entirely new sculpt and it does add plenty of personality to the figure. Both heads feature more of that pretty pink and white paint and the exposed portion of her face is nicely sculpted with some sharp paint.

Along with the extra noggin, Gwenpool comes with three sets of hands, and two of these pairs are very specific. In addition to the katana holding hands, she has a pair so she can make a heart shape with her fingers. The third pair consists of her left hand holding up a two-finger peace symbol, and one to hold her cellphone. The cell phone is a simple black slab of plastic. I’m tempted to say they should have just sculpted it as part of the hand, but then you couldn’t keep it in the nifty spot they provided on her belt. The extra hands are fun and they certainly suit the character, but don’t even get me started on Marvel and their annoying habit of having all their goddamn characters snapping selfie’s all the time. It’s almost as trite as the recap pages using Tweets or social media posts in books like Squirrel-Girl, or using a Youtube show as the basis for an ongoing plot in She-Hulk.

In addition to the cellphone, Gwen comes with her twin katana swords and these are excellent sculpts. While her right hand seems like it’s sculpted more to hold a pistol than it is a sword, she can still hold the pair of them pretty well, and she’s tons of fun to pose with them.

I’m not looking to get a lot of new Marvel characters on my shelf, but I’ll confess that I was quite happy to see Gwenpool turn up on the Marvel Legends roster. And now that I have her in hand, I have to say that she doesn’t disappoint. Everything about this figure feels really fresh and fun. The newly sculpted parts look great and the paint is sharp, clean, and fits the bill perfectly, so long as you don’t mind your anti-heroes looking like an ice cream truck, I think Gwenpool is going to be a welcome addition to a lot of collections out there! And just a quick reminder, this week starts my randomization of Marvel Legends reviews, so don’t expect another figure from the Lizard Wave next week. It could happen, I’m just not saying it’s going to happen! It’s probably not going to happen.

DP: “That’s not even how you hold that. You’re never going to hit anything unless you…”

** POP! **

DP: “OOOooooOOowwww! Right in daddy’s Chalupas!

DP: <groan.”You better make a run for the border, because when I get feeling back in my Chimichangas…”

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

As promised, I’m back tonight to wrap up the somewhat Black Panther themed wave of Marvel Legends with the Okoye Build-A-Figure. Technically, I could have reviewed this figure last week, since the Iron Man I opened this morning did not include any BAF parts, but since this is the last Legends Wave that I’ll be reviewing consecutively, I decided not to mess with tradition.

And here she is all laid out and ready for assembly. The figure consists of the torso, the limbs, the head, and two weapons. This is one of those BAF’s that could have easily been a packaged figure, because she’s so small. I always see a number of fans come out of the woodwork and complain when Hasbro does this. I get it, I still think this wave should have been all from the movie, but if they released Okoye as a packaged figure, I’m not sure what they could have done for the BAF. Maybe the Wakandan throne? Anyway, let’s get Okoye together and check her out.

The first thing that impresses me here is how little of this figure is recycled from Nakia. Without close inspection, I was assuming there would be a lot of shared parts, and while it definitely looks like some of the parts here are likely re-sculpted, there’s enough new sculpting to make it look like a new figure. The upper legs appear to be directly shared, which goes back to how odd I thought they were on the Nakia figure. At least here they’re painted black and not in her skin tone, so the decorative patterns look like part of her leggings and not like they’re carved into her skin. I also like the streamlined look of Okoye’s boots, making her legs look a lot more sleek and graceful. Those clunkly accordian-style tops on Nakia’s boots didn’t do her any favors.

Like Nakia, Okoye uses a soft plastic sculpted belt with the lower half of her coat and it’s pretty convincing in making it all look like one piece. I like that the back of this piece is detailed to look like several layers overlapping, and it’s designed so as not to hinder the leg articulation too badly. The plastic garment features all sorts of ornamental detail etched into it along with a little gold wash to help it stand out. Okoye’s segmented bracers looked to be borrowed from Nakia at first, but these have pieces that extend up to her elbows, so there was definitely some tweaking done here. These are left in a bare gold plastic, which looks OK, but not nearly as good as the gold plastic used for her shoulder armor. It’s a shame they couldn’t spare some of that paint for these.

Hasbro has been killing it with all the MCU Black Panther head sculpts and Okoye here is no exception. This portrait is a tiny work of art. The smooth contours of her face are so beautifully done, the paint is wonderful, and the tattoos on her head look amazing. It’s so hard to believe this is the same company producing those noggins used in the 6-inch Star Wars Black Series.

The articulation is identical to what we saw with Nakia. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists, and yes, I’d still rather see Hasbro go to double hinged elbows and bicep swivels for the ladies. The legs feature ball joints in the hips, double hinges in the knees, swivels in the thighs, and both swivels and rockers in the ankles. She has a ball joint under her chest, and both a hinge and ball joint in the neck.

Okoye comes with two weapons: A long spear and a spear head with a very short shaft. The long spear has a textured staff with a spearhead that’s split in the middle giving it a rather distinctive look. Both her hands are designed for gripping, so she can comfortably wield this weapon in either or both of her hands.

I don’t recall the smaller spear-type weapon from the movie. I’m not sure if this is supposed to be a unique weapon or a broken piece of s spear. The shaft here is a little too slight to allow her to get a firm grasp on it, so it tends to wobble loose in her hand a bit, but I was still able to get her to hold it fairly well.

I have to hand it to Hasbro, the MCU Black Panther figures have been some of their best work to date. Scoff if you will at the fact that Okoye didn’t need to be a BAF, but I don’t care. I’m not privy to the business decisions that made Hasbro go this route, but so long as we got her, I’m cool. I will, however, keep harping on the fact that the comic-based figures in this wave should have gone elsewhere in favor of Shuri, Klaue, and Everett Ross. Yeah, we’re getting Ross in a two-pack, but what about the other two? I don’t see a big opportunity down the road to release any of these figures, unless they roll them into future releases of the 10-Year MCU Anniversary figures. Unfortunately, we don’t know whether that will be an ongoing thing or not.

On the next Marvel Monday, I’ll start randomizing my Marvel Legends reviews as I continue to hack my way through the pile of backlogged figures in the corner, and there is a lot of them, so what figure will be turning up next week? Your guess is as good as mine!

Marvel Legends (Okoye Wave): Invincible Iron Man by Hasbro

Here we go, folks, it’s the last packaged figure from the Marvel Legends Okoye Wave and it is… Iron Man!?! Oh, Hasbro! Well, I guess you’ve been so good about cutting back on your Iron Man releases, I’ll give this one a pass. And in fairness, Hasbro made it so you don’t have to buy this one in order to complete the Okoye BAF, but even so, I couldn’t resist picking this one up when I saw it on the peg. There’s just so much cool extra stuff in the package!

I believe this is Tony’s armor from a recent run of the “All New, All Different” Avengers, or something like that. As most of you know I’ve been on a sabbatical from Marvel’s current books until they get their collective comic book house in order. But hey, I don’t need context to appreciate another variant of the Iron Man armor, especially when it’s a comic-based one. So, let’s get him open and see what he’s all about!

In the comics, it seems like the more advanced Tony’s armor gets, the simpler it looks. That’s definitely the case here and I really dig that. From memory, this suit reminded me a whole lot of the Extremis Armor figure we got way back in the Terrax Wave. When I put them side by side, it’s maybe not quite that striking, but there are similarities. The limbs here are a little bulkier, the torso less stylized, and he doesn’t have the shoulder armor. I like the economy of panel lining, as most of it resides in his abs, and the crystal-style Arc Reactor is pretty cool. He also has a cool looking spine sculpted into his back.

The coloring here is predominantly red plastic. There’s a little of that swirly effect in it, but not too much. Indeed all the red here has a nice, bright new car luster that makes for a snappy looking figure. Gold paint is used sparingly on the toes, inside of the thighs, the biceps, and the fingers. You even get a bit of matte gray under-suit showing around the neck and under the arms. Also, you may note that the pegs in the elbows aren’t painted to match the gold areas. This bugs the hell out of some people, and I get that, but it doesn’t really bother me at all. There are no repulsors sculpted into the bottom of the feet, but for all I know that’s part of the armor design and not an oversight.

I’m a little iffy on the design of the helmet. The eyes have evolved into almost non-existent slits and the face plate has a sharp angle running down the center. It’s certainly different, and I’m thinking it might grow on me the more I mess around with him. I do like the blue used for the eye slits, as they almost give off a glowing effect under the right lighting.

You also get a really cool comic-based Tony Stark head, which really sold me on this whole package. It’s a beautiful sculpt that borders a bit between comic and animated. It’s got some pretty sharp paint and the sculpting for his hair is especially well done. Gotta dig that pompadour! All in all, I think this noggin looks fantastic on the figure.

The articulation holds no surprises. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, double hinges in the elbows, swivels in the biceps, and hinged pegs for the wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, double hinged at the knees, and have swivels in the thighs. The ankles have hinges and rockers. There’s a swivel in the waist, an ab crunch hinge under the chest, and the neck is both ball jointed and hinged. The joints all feel great and I can sort of get him into an acceptable ground pound pose… well, with an emphasis on the “sort of.”

Iron Man comes with two sets of hands, and these include fists and the open hands for firing off his repulsor beams. He also includes a set of blue blast effect parts, which can peg into the open hands. The effect parts work OK, but they do droop a little because they’re made of soft plastic and that ruins the effect a bit.

Lastly, you get this big cannon that clips onto either of Tony’s arms. At first, I thought this thing looked like one of the goofy oversized missile launchers that Hasbro loves to pack in with their 4-inch figures, but I’m guessing it’s supposed to be something that deploys and retracts from the suit. I actually like this thing a lot and you can plug the effect part into the end of it as well. It’s pretty fun.

I wasn’t really looking forward to it, but this figure turned out to be quite a nice surprise. I don’t think the armor design is going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but I’m happy to be getting some more comic-based armors, and while I wouldn’t want this to be an everyday look for Tony, I can get behind it for special outings. Granted, I’m a pretty easy sell when it comes to Marvel Legends. I’m probably as close to a completionist as you can get without actually being one, so it’s not like this one was a hard sell, but I’m definitely glad I picked it up. Come on back tonight and I’ll have a look at the Okoye Build-A-Figure!

Transformers Titans Return: Caliburst and Slugslinger by Hasbro

Woah, what’s this? A Transformers review? And the very week after I do away with Thursday content? Yeah, it just kind of worked out that way. While hunting the aisles for the new Power of the Primes figures and coming up empty, I actually stumbled upon Slugslinger, the [second to the] last Titans Return figure that I needed and I was pretty damn happy about it. Lets’ take a look!

And here’s the Titans Return Deluxe packaging once more for old time’s sake. Yeah, it hasn’t changed much for Power of the Primes, but not having to show the Titan Master head attaching to the body does give them a little more to work with when it comes to the character art. As usual, you get the Generations logo in the upper right corner and the Titan Master’s name takes priority over the main robot. I always thought that was a little weird. I really don’t have anything else to say about the packaging, so let me get him out and transformed and we’ll start with his vehicle mode.

Of course, Slugslinger is based on his G1 namesake, along with his Targetmaster, Caliburst, who has now been re-made into a Titan Master. Hasbro was really experimenting with some cool and original ideas at this point in the G1 timeline and Slugslinger’s distinctive twin-nose and cockpit configuration is a fine example of that. Everything about this jet is a wonderful recreation of the original G1 toy, just a little sleeker and more detailed. And if this jet mode looks more than a little familiar, that’s because the legs that form the engines are recycled from Misfire and Triggerhappy and hence the transformation is very similar as well. Keep in mind, I’m not complaining. If you’re going to borrow from other Deluxes, you might as well borrow from two of the best. I also dig the uniformity it gives these three and they look great flying in formation together.

The deco stays pretty close to the blue and gray plastics used for the original toy. The blue here is a little bit darker, but it looks great I’m not going to split hairs. You get tinted blue canopies over the cockpits and some tampos for detail on the tops of the engines and on the wings, including some crisp Decepticon insignia. If you’re not a fan of symmetry, the weapons can be attached under each wing, although I really wish they had made it so you could attach their combined mode to the top of the jet, like you could with Caliburst and the original toy. The sculpt is pretty solid, with lots of panel lines and other little details, and you get some tiny foot pegs in case you want to have some Titan Masters riding on his back.

As I mentioned earlier, Caliburst was G1 Slugslinger’s Targetmaster, but here he’s a Titan Master and he turns into Slugslinger’s noggin. He stands a league above most other Titan Masters as Hasbro actually spared some paint for his tiny face. He’s cast in the same blue and light gray plastic as Sluggo and he ranks pretty high among my favorite little head robots. So which of the two cockpits does he ride in? Neither, because those two are fake outs and there’s a third cockpit centered behind them. That’s the one that opens up to give Caliburst a place to sit. If you can’t tell, I really dig this alt mode, but let’s see how he fares in robot mode.

Hell, yeah! The robot mode not only looks fantastic, but also has just as many wonderful nods back to the G1 toy as the jet mode does. Most notable are the very distinctive four circular devices on each side of his chest. These give off a cool battlemech vibe to me and between those and the dual nosecones rising up behind his head, there’s no mistaking who this is supposed to be. The blue and gray plastic that makes up his deco looks just as good here as it did in his jet mode, and the tampos on his lower legs and shoulders do a fine job of recreating the look of the stickers on the original toy. This is the way to do it, Hasbro… tampos! Never stickers! I hope you learned your lesson with the Voyagers Class figures from this line.

The head sculpt is where this guy varies most from the old toy, as it’s more stylized here, particularly the eyes. The original toy had a visor, but here you get two very narrow and angled peepers that go well with his mischievous grin. The “helmet” is smoother and less detailed than the original Sluggo’s head, and it’s possible that older fans will take issue there, but I think it works fine.

From the back, Slugslinger still looks pretty good, so long as you’re like me and enjoy your robots having jets hanging off their backs. That’s not sarcasm… I really do enjoy jets on my robots’ backs! The dual cockpit assembly folds down a bit in the transformation so that they still creep up over his shoulders, but not too high. I think the wings would have looked better flipped forward, but what’s here is faithful to the G1 toy and who am I to argue with that? Slugsy does suffer from some hollow leg syndrome, but I’m not going to hold that against him.

Slugslinger wields two very distinct looking weapons. One is a blue double-barreled gun with squared off barrels, while the other is a gray, single barrel blaster. I think both are excellent looking weapons, and offer up a bit of variety to the usual guns from this line, which are often just two halves of a combined gun.

Of course, they can still be combined into one beefy gun, and I think I like this option the best. Instead of two halves going together, the gray one mounts on top of the blue one. I think G1 Caliburst would be proud.

I don’t know if it’s because he released pretty late in the line, but Slugslinger was a tough little bot for me to track down. He’s been available at some online stores for a while, but going for way above retail at my usual haunts. I was getting ready to pay premium for him, so imagine my delight when I happened to run into him on the pegs at Target, especially since this line has been gone from stores for a little bit now. He’s yet another variation on an absolutely fantastic base figure and when grouped up with Misfire and Triggerhappy. I’ve said it many times, but I’ll say it once more, the Deluxe Class figures in this line were absolutely fantastic. Some of the best Transformers Hasbro has put out in years, and I’m still sad to have seen it end.

I’d say that’ll finally do me for Titans Return, but I still have a certain Leader Class figure to track down.

Marvel Legends (Okoye Wave): Black Bolt by Hasbro

I’ve got just a few more figures in the Okoye Wave before I switch over from looking at consecutive figures in each wave to randomizing my Marvel Legends reviews. It seemed only right to wrap this wave one before I make the change and I should be able to do that by next week. So today let’s check out the second to the last packaged figure in the somewhat Black Panther themed Okoye Build-A-Figure Wave: Black Bolt! I’ve had this one sitting around forever, so I’m pretty excited to get him open and see how he turned out.

Last time I gave poor Sub-Mariner a lot of shit for not being Shuri. I don’t feel right doing the same thing here, because I was thrilled to see Black Bolt getting the Legends treatment. Sure, they could have tucked him into another wave and given us more MCU Black Panther figures, but whatever the case, I just can’t be upset over getting this figure. I imagine if that ill-fated Inhumans series had turned out better, we might have gotten an entire wave of Inhumans Legends, but considering how bad the show was received, I’m surprised we got the ones we got. Anyway, he comes with his shouting head on the figure, but let’s start with the regular head.

Here’s Black Bolt out of the box and my first reaction is to be a little underwhelmed. Overall, I think the suit is pretty good. The buck is cast in a dark blue plastic with silver paint to make up the various striping. The paint lines are clean enough, but there some slop on the silver up near his right shoulder where it looks like some hair or other foreign matter got in under the paint. It’s nothing terrible, but a little vexing nonetheless. The gauntlets are formed by plastic cones slipped over the forearms, and I’m n+-ot really happy with the way these look. They’re too chunky and make his fists look extra small to me. They also don’t help the wrist articulation much.

The wings were always going to be a compromise here, and I guess I’m OK with the direction Hasbro went with them. They are firmly attached to the figure, so at least I don’t have them popping off every time I touch the figure like the MCU Spider-Man figure. They actually don’t look half bad when his arms are at rest at his sides, even though it’s not what they’re supposed to look like, I kind of dig the blade-like effect. But obviously, they’re intended to look their best when Black Bolt is standing with his arms straight out at the shoulders, and they do indeed look nice when the figure is posed this way.

I haven’t pulled out the figures to check, but I feel like Black Bolt’s head is a re-working of one of the older Captain America figures. It has a similar soft facial sculpt to it. Whether or not that’s the case, it strikes me as kind of generic and boring, particularly when viewed from the front. The cowl does look good and the eyes are painted well. I also like the tuning-fork on his forehead. Despite being cast in soft plastic, it seems like it won’t have too much problems with warping.

The alternate screaming head is much better, but I still don’t think this is among Hasbro’s better work in the line. That’s not to say it’s bad. I actually like how they did the open mouth with the blue paint to suggest the power emanating from within. The whited out eyes look cool too and the translucent blue energy effect coming off the fork looks fantastic.

The articulation here holds no surprises. The arms have rotating hinges at the shoulders and wrists, double hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, double hinged at the knees, and have swivels at the thighs and lower legs. The ankles have hinges and rockers. There’s a swivel in the waist, an ab crunch hinge in the torso and the neck is both ball jointed and hinged. I’ll note here how much I wish they had gone with hands that weren’t fists. I think clutching hands or relaxed hands would have worked so much better.

Wow, it feels like I came down really hard on this one, but Black Bolt is not a bad figure. Maybe this was a case of my high level of anticipation working against him. A sharper head sculpt and a different set of hands would have gone a long way toward making me love him more. As it is, he definitely gets the job done, and chances are I’ll be displaying him with his shouting head most of the time anyway. I’m still happy to have this one in my collection and now Medusa doesn’t have to be lonely anymore.

Star Wars Black: Imperial AT-ST and Driver (Walmart Exclusive) by Hasbro

It’s hard to believe that it was five years ago that I reviewed the Vintage Collection AT-ST from Hasbro. FIVE YEARS AGO!?! While that toy had a number of good points, like the expanded driver cabin, I came away without being terribly impressed with it, mainly because it didn’t stand on its own very well at all, and the deco leaved something to be desired. When Hasbro re-released it as a Walmart Exclusive as part of the Star Wars Black Series, it was an easy pass because of the crazy price. I seem to recall they were asking sixty dollars for this thing! But when it later hit a certain online toy e-tailer for $25, well I couldn’t resist giving it another go. Oh, and keep in mind, while I’m referring back to the Vintage Collection release a lot, this toy first saw release way back in 2009 as part of the Legacy Collection.

It’s hard to beat the Vintage Collection packaging of the K-Mart Exclusive AT-ST, and this one doesn’t even try. It comes in a window box, so you do get a good look at the toy itself, but the minimalist black and red Black Series deco does nothing for me. There’s some monochrome art on the front and the cardboard behind the tray has some faint background scenes, but it just feels like lazy package design. Thanks to the high price point, these must have been a retail disaster for Walmart. They even had an entire endcap of them at my local Wally World, and that place almost never has any Hasbro Exclusives. They were on clearance too, but nowhere near as low as the price I got mine for. Unlike the VC version, there’s no assembly required here and the toy comes right out of the box and ready to go. I rarely ever start out reviews with comparisons, but lets just go for it.

Here they are side by side, with the new Black Series version on the left and good old Shitty-feet from the Vintage Collection on the right. Does that nickname refer to the fact that it can’t stand on his own or the fact that it actually looks like it’s been standing in feces? You decide, there is no wrong answer. I had planned to take more pictures for comparison, but I literally could not get the VC version to stand for more than a couple shots before getting really frustrated and tossing it aside. They are identical molds as far as I can tell and the only real differences are in the decos. The new one is cast in a much paler gray plastic and has what looks like a sandy spray on its feet, legs, and head. There’s also no battle damage on the SWB version, and it has a completely black butt.

Which deco do I like better? Well, it can’t be that easy can it? To be honest, I prefer the darker gray plastic of the earlier release, and I do like the scorch mark on the head. The old deco would have been a slam dunk as the favorite if it weren’t for the heavy mud on the feet, which I think looks really bad. The paler gray plastic on the new one looks a little cheaper and the weathering spray isn’t all that convincing to me. In the end, neither is perfect and ideally, I would have liked a compromise between the two. Each AT-ST definitely looks like its been hanging out in a different environment, so the VC release could clearly be from Endor and the newer release looks like it has seen action on a barren planet. Maybe even Jedha? That’s kind of cool. On the other hand, if you plan on picking this one up to beef up your Imperial ranks, I don’t think they display well together because of the obvious differences in weathering. OK, so let’s get to the Star Wars Black version all by itself…

Straightaway, I have to say the stability on this toy is a hundred times better than what I got on my VC version. I don’t know if they just tightened up the joints or redesigned the ratchets, but this baby will stand and even pose with very little difficulty and that fix alone makes it a very welcome re-release. The detail on the sculpt is great in some areas, but feels a little wanting in others. I said it back when I reviewed the previous release, and I’ll reiterate here that I’m still amazed at how well the original Kenner toy holds up in that regard. As a result the detail here doesn’t feel like a huge leap forward over the original vintage toy. I don’t think that’s a slight against this toy, but rather just shows that the original was so well done. With that having been said, you get some nice detailing on the sides of the legs and the back of the head.

That’s not to say there isn’t improvement. Gone is the hokey Kenner walking gimmick and in its place is a pretty cool and complex network of articulation for the legs. The tops of the legs don’t connect directly to the body, but rather to articulated struts that can move away from the body. This adds a cool element of stabilization that would probably have to be present for this fictional vehicle to work well. In addition to that, you get ratcheting joints in the tops of the legs, at the first bend, again down near the ankles, and again at the ankles. I’ll admit, the toy could have really used some swivels or rockers at the ankles to make it able to stand in more extreme poses, but it gets by pretty well as it is.

The head design features two different cheek weapons. On the right hand side, there’s a grenade launcher and a cluster of blasters on the left. Both of these can rotate. The windows also have hinged armor plates that can be left open or buttoned up for combat. The stock chin gun can rotate left and right and raise and lower to target enemies ahead or below. You also have the ability to swap out this gun with a dual missile launcher. Yup, this is the same option that the Vintage Collection version featured. I think the original idea was to make it more kid friendly by giving it missiles and a firing gimmick. but I actually think this works well as just a different weapons load out. The missiles are kind of fun, but I prefer the one that comes attached to the vehicle in the package.

The top of the head is hinged so the entire plate can be opened to allow easy access to the drivers’ cabin. Apart from the added articulation, the biggest draw of this modern AT-ST over the old Kenner one is the expanded cockpit that can seat two drivers very comfortably. The cockpit itself features some great detail, including seats, controls, and foot pedals. The sides of the cockpit feature some pre-applied stickers with more instruments and screens.

The smaller hatch on the roof will also open to allow one driver to pop his head out and there’s a railing around the roof to prevent careless accidents at the Imperial workplace. Wait, the Imperial engineers put railings on this thing but not on those two-foot wide elevated walkways on the Death Star?

Unlike the Vintage Collection release, this AT-ST does include a driver figure and that’s certainly a nice bonus, but for the original price of this thing, they should have thrown in two. I’m pretty sure this guy is a repack of the Vintage Collection AT-ST Crew two-pack, released sometime around 2012. It’s a decent figure, albeit a tad generic looking.  He’s wearing pale gray jumpsuit with some nice sculpted rumples and pockets, black boots and gloves, a standard issue Imperial belt, and he has a chest harness with shoulder straps. The helmet is removable and he has a pretty good head sculpt hiding under it. He also comes with a standard E-11 Blaster, but no holster to store it. The articulation is kind of a mixed bag, in that he has full on rotating hinges in the limbs and a ball joint in the chest, but the t-crotch feels like a bit of a throwback. Still, he gets the job done, and I may have to hunt down one more of these guys.

Overall, I like this toy a lot. It’s a great sculpt and it’s loads of fun now that the crappy legs from the Vintage Collection release have been fixed. Unfortunately, the bland colored plastic and unconvincing weathering do tend to put a damper on things. Either way, I don’t know what they were smoking when they slapped the original $60 MSRP on this thing, but I can’t come close to justifying that kind of money, even if it is a pretty good toy. At $35 or $40, these might have actually found their way off Walmart’s shelves and into collectors’ shopping carts. But at $25, I’m overall satisfied with the purchase. The deco might be a step back, but at least I don’t have to prop a doll stand up under it if I want to keep it on display.

Marvel Legends (Okoye Wave): The Sub-Mariner by Hasbro

After the high I was on from checking out the three MCU Black Panther figures in this wave, moving on to the next installment is like getting slapped in the face with a rotting trout. I’m not here to rag on Namor. I had nothing but praise for the Walgreens Exlcusive that we got last year, which depicted him in full costume. And maybe that’s the point. Did we really need to double dip on The Sub-Mariner so soon? And if so, did it really need to be dropped into this wave? Obviously, my answers to both questions are no, but I’m pressing on with the review anyway.

Here’s a quick look at the packaging, and straightaway I have a few issues to get off my chest. One, the package says Sub-Mariner on the front whereas it should have read Shuri. Second, the figure inside the box is actually The Sub-Mariner, whereas it should have contained a figure of Shuri. Finally, this figure is clearly a fishy-man-gigolo named Namor and not a spunky, tech-savy Wakandian cutie named Shuri. I’m going to do my best to get beyond each of these critiques and appreciate this figure for what it is… not Shuri.

Now, all kidding aside, Hasbro really went all out on this figure and they did a great job. But I don’t know how much I can possibly say about it. The figure itself depicts The Sub-Mariner wearing only a pair of scaly speedos, arm bracers, and he has the obligatory wings on his ankles. This is about as close to a naked dude as we’re likely to ever get swinging on the pegs in the toy aisle, or at least until we get a Hercules. Yup, this one is a special treat for the ladies. The body is muscular, but not bulky, has some great sculpted muscle definition, and I think it suits the character well.

There isn’t a whole lot of paint here, but what we get is quite good. His trunks are painted with a beautiful metallic emerald finish and has a gold belt with a tiny seashell sculpted in the middle. The wrist bracers are painted gold, and the ankle wings are painted white. Otherwise, you get a fleshy plastic, which granted is a bit glossy, but let’s assume Namor just got out of the water and is all wet.

Where Hasbro really went nuts here was with the extras. Not only did they include the swimming hands from the Walgreens Namor, but we also got two heads with this figure, and neither of those are repacked from the earlier release. The stock head looks like a simpler, more comic booky look than the Walgreens head. When I compare the two the previous release looks like it could pass for a realistic MCU version played by a generic actor. I like this new head a lot, the sculpt is excellent and the paint is perfect. Both heads have the hair trailing back a bit, which makes him look all the more streamlined for zipping through the ocean.

The alternate head features Namor all beareded out and looking like Tony Stark co-splaying as an Vulcan. Again, it’s a great sculpt with sharp and beautiful paint, but I think I prefer my Namor sans beard.

Articulation includes all the usual points. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, swivels in the biceps, double hinges in the elbows. The wrists are on hinged pegs so they can be swapped out. The legs have ball jointed hips, swivels in the thighs and the lower legs, double hinged knees, and the ankles have both hinges and rockers. The torso has a waist swivel and an ab crunch hinge under the chest. The neck has both a hinge and a ball joint.

If all that wasn’t enough, Hasbro also gave Sub-Mariner a brand new trident. This one is more elaborate than the one that came with the Walgreens Namor. It looks more like a proper trident and less like a spear. This one is cast all in gold plastic and lacks any paint apps, but I really dig it. The sculpting includes a coiled sea-serpent and a pointed fin motif.

If you ever wanted an example of just how delightfully serious and passionate Hasbro is about Marvel Legends, Sub-Mariner here is the figure to look at. I certainly wouldn’t consider Namor an A-Lister, and yet this is the second release of the character in the line in about a year. Does Hasbro know something we don’t? Is Disney going to secretly launch a Sub-Mariner movie to go up against the DCEU Aquaman flick? Probably not, and that’s what makes this release all the more intriguing. Not to mention, they also kitted the figure out with two new heads and a brand new accessory. Now, as much as I admire this figure, I really wasn’t kidding about my feelings that an MCU Shuri should have been in this spot. Hasbro obviously has the likeness rights because they did her in the basic 6-inch Black Panther line. And besides, The Sub-Mariner could have been shoved into any wave and not feel as out of place as he does here. Instead, we have to settle for a comic-based Shuri in one of the upcoming two-packs. That’s not to say I’m not happy to have The Sub-Mariner here, but c’mon Hasbro… Give us a Legends Shuri!!!

Marvel Legends (Okoye Wave): Nakia by Hasbro

Ah, it’s a great time to be a Marvel fan! What? No, they haven’t fixed the dumpster fire on the comic side of things, but we’ve got some amazing trailers for Deadpool 2 and Infinity War, I just picked up the Blu-Ray of Thor: Ragnarok, and I’ve got enough Marvel Legends figures to keep me happy for the foreseeable future. Today I’m pressing on through the Okoye Wave and opening up Nakia from the spectacular Black Panther movie!

Nakia, not to be confused with that brand of famously indestructible Finnish cell phones, Nokia, comes in the typical Legends window box. It’s got some great character art on the side panels, the back panel shows you the rest of the figures in the wave, and the window on the front lets you get a look at all the goodies inside the box. I really enjoyed Nakia in the film, and I’d love to see them explore her character further in the next one, particularly her background with the Dora Milaje, and boy would it be cool for them to work the Malice storyline into it. I can practically see that whole thing unfolding on the screen and it would be awesome.

And here she is out of the package and looking fabulous. Black Panther was a visual feast, and a lot of that came from the pageantry of the Wakandan costumes. Hasbro had a lot to work with when it came to Nakia’s outfit and I think they did a bang up job with it. The top of the red tunic is part of the buck, while the lower half is part of the belt, sculpted in soft plastic, and extends down to hang down the front and back. The effect works really well, and it’s pretty convincing as being one plastic garment. There are a ton of cut lines running throughout the tunic, forming various geometric patterns, some of which are picked out by gold paint. On top of that you get long segmented bracers on her forearms, a large piece of armor on her right shoulder, a smaller piece on the left, and some sharp detailing around her neck, all painted in silver. She also has a sculpted silver belt buckle that looks like a panther emblem. This is some fantastic stuff!

My only nitpick is the legs, which are painted to look like they’re supposed to be bare, but have a lot of the same ornamental cut lines running throughout. Just looking at them makes me wince, because it’s like she went through some kind of ritual and had these carved into her flesh. I’ve only seen the movie twice now, but I don’t remember this being the case, and I haven’t been able to find any reference shots of her costume showing it either. In fact, it looks like she’s just wearing some fairly plain leggings. Okoye’s costume does have these designs, but they’re part of her leather leggings. Anyway, her ensemble is rounded out by a pair of black boots, with some accordion style rings on the top, which look a little clunky, and throw off what is an otherwise pretty graceful figure. If it sounds like I’m coming down on this figure, keep in mind, these are just nitpicks, and I think the sculpting and coloring on this costume look outstanding.

Also outstanding is the head sculpt. More often than not, Hasbro has been on point with their MCU head sculpts, but they’ve really upped their game recently and this is another great example of that. The likeness to the lovely Lupita Nyong’o is certainly there. Granted, I prefer it when she’s smiling, but the stern and solemn look here is more appropriate for the character and action figure. They did an amazing job sculpting her hair and she even has her tiny earrings.

The articulation here is what I’ve come to expect from my Legends MCU ladies, which means good, albeit not perfect. I would still love to see Hasbro go with double hinged elbows and bicep swivels in the arms. Instead, we get the typical rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. The legs fare a lot better, with ball joints in the hips, double hinges in the knees, swivels in the thighs, and both swivels and rockers in the ankles. There’s no waist swivel, but she does have a ball joint under the chest, and she has both a hinge and ball joint in the neck.

In addition to the BAF parts, Nakia comes with a pair of Chakram, which as far as I knew were generally from India, but I’m not going to quibble about it because they’re exotic and cool and movies often play it fast and loose with historical authenticity. Anyway, these are beautiful accessories, with brown textured grips to simulate wood or leather, and silver blades with decorative inscriptions scultped into them.

Black Panther and Killmonger were both great figures, but lets face it the black with gold and black with silver suits didn’t really showcase the movie’s colorful costumes. With Nakia, we finally get to see some of that translate to plastic, and it looks superb. I nitpicked some of the liberties Hasbro seemed to take with the costume, but really I have nothing but love and admiration for the work they did here. From the exquisite costume, to the beautiful likeness, to some really fun accessories, this figure has it all.

And that’s it for the packaged MCU figures. Next week, I’ll start in on the comic-based figures!

Star Wars “30th Anniversary Collection:” V-Wing Starfighter by Hasbro

It feels like a long while since I’ve looked at a 3 3/4-inch Scale Star Wars vehicle, especially if you exclude the whole 5-POAPALOOSA I did for the opening of The Last Jedi. Let’s face it, Hasbro doesn’t do a lot of these anymore and when they do, they’re a far cry from what they were in the glory days. Unless you want to count a certain Sail Barge Experiment that’s going on right now. Anyway… A couple of weekends back, I spent Saturday morning going through one of my Star Wars totes. I was expecting it to be mostly figures, but there were a few surprises buried in there, and one of them was this cool Starfighter that was released as part of the 30th Anniversary Collection, one of the last of Hasbro’s Star Wars lines that I collected with excitement and fervor. I was surprised to find that I never gave it a proper review here, so I set it aside for a day just like today!

The Alpha-3 Nimbus Class “V-Wing” Starfighter made its appearance at the end of Revenge of the Sith, escorting Palpatine’s shuttle to Mustafar. I’ll confess, this last point came up in my research and I didn’t remember actually noticing them when I watched the movie. For a long time, I just assumed this ship was based off an Expanded Universe design from The Clone Wars, or a concept that never actually got used. One bit of credit I’ll always give to the Prequels and Clone Wars era, is they featured some pretty cool ships, many of which were given the royal treatment by Hasbro to become excellent toys. Anyway, I think this ship was released a few times, but I got the 30th Anniversary Collection version. I was never a big fan of the package design, but I think I bought just about everything this line put out. The package indicates the ship being flown by a standard Clone Pilot, and that’s the figure I’ve used for my pictures, but I’ll point out that Hasbro did release an official V-Wing Pilot as part of an exclusive multi-pack and that one wore a black flightsuit. The V-Wing requires a bit of assembly as all of it’s wings have to be attached, as does the front section of the hull. It’s probably more than I’m used to seeing in this size toy, but nothing too complicated.

To say that this is a distinctive design is quite the understatement! I suppose you could argue that there’s a little bit of A-Wing in here, at least in the ship’s main body, but this one is more elongated and has a much sharper taper, like the head of a spear. Also, I’m a big fan of ships that have different configurations for landing and flight, and as we’ll see in a bit, the V-Wing very nearly takes this idea to the extreme. The basic layout follows the usual Rebel/Republic ship formula with a single-pilot cockpit positioned in front of a socket for an Astromech Droid. In this case, the Droid’s head is permanently attached to the ship, so you cannot provide your own. His head will, however, swivel, and if accessorizing is your thing, he’s painted to match the hull of the ship. And speaking of paint, the deco on this ship is absolutely gorgeous. In addition to the red and off-white coloring, you get some yellow markings, scorch marks, and a lot of silver scrapes and weathering. I think you could argue that Hasbro overdid it a bit with the silver scrapes, but in this case, I think too much is better than nothing. Comparing this ship to Hasbro’s super-clean modern offerings is like comparing apples and oranges.

When landed, the V-Wing rests on three landing struts, the rear two are integrated into the collapsed wings, while the front retracts into the primary hull. There are three sets of articulated wings, one set on each side and another set mounted behind the top of the cockpit. All of these have textured heat radiating panels on the interiors. I really dig the armored-up look the V-Wing sports when it’s all closed up and landed.

From the back, you can see the V-Wing’s dual vertically-stacked thrusters, as well as a pair of articulated rudders that flank the engines. The V-Wing is not capable of Hyperspace on its own, but apparently could be adapted to take a Hyperspace Ring like the Jedi Starfighters. When the ship is ready to take off, you just fold in the front landing strut and press in the upper engine to deploy the wings.

And man, does this thing look awesome with the wings deployed! They spring open like scissor blades and really show off the sleek and aggressive design of the hull. They also reveal the banks of missiles that are positioned on each side of the cockpit area.

The missiles are cool in that they actually look like missiles and not the usual simple rods that we see in a lot of Hasbro’s ships. They have pronounced fins and the tips are painted red. Paint applications on missiles! These truly were wondrous times! There are buttons positioned at the top of the wing mounts which will fire these and they shoot pretty damn far!

The cockpit looks nice and snug, but there’s actually plenty of room in the compartment for the Clone Pilot figure, and I imagine most other normal humanoid figures would fit fine as well. The cockpit is hinged at the back and there’s a little slot at the front to help open it. Fun fact: The V-Wings sacrificed life support for maneuverability, hence the importance of the sealed flightsuit. The eye on my Q7-Series Astromech is a tad wonky, but otherwise the paint on him is pretty good, and I really appreciate the fact that his head will swivel.

About the only downside of this beautiful ship is that it doesn’t come with a way to display it with the wings open. There is, however, a useful cluster of pipes sculpted on its undercarriage near the back. I was able to make it work fairly well with a flight stand that Mattel used to sell for their DC figures.

If you’ve been with me for a while, then you may have heard me talk about my Great Star Wars Purge that happened around 2009 or so, where I liquidated a huge portion of my Star Wars collection. I can still remember getting ready to add this one to the selling pile, but relenting at the last moment. It might have been because it was still a relatively new purchase at the time, but now that I’m holding it in my hands again, I think it was probably more about just how unique and special this ship’s design is, and how well Hasbro carried it off. It’s hard to think of too many ships in this class since that have turned out this well. It’s both a fun and great-looking toy, and it’s been rescued from the storage tote and now displayed on my shelf once again!

Marvel Legends (Okoye Wave): Killmonger by Hasbro

The new Infinity War trailer may have dropped last week, but I’m still working my way through the Black Panther inspired wave of Marvel Legends. Hell, I’ll be lucky if I get to the Infinity War figures by the time that movie hits theaters next month. Part of me is screaming, “Slow your roll, MCU. Stop stealing the spotlight of your own movies.” But then I tell myself to shut up, because I want more Marvel movies as quickly as possible. I’m an old man and I don’t have time them to worry about pacing themselves! But for now, let’s focus on Black Panther and have a look at Erik Killmonger!

Much has been said about how Killmonger is one of the best MCU villains since Loki, and I can’t argue with any of it. He was charismatic, sympathetic, and he was one of the many characters that seemed to get as much development and screen-time as our hero, T’Challa. All of this is pretty impressive, since when you boil it down, his costumed-persona was just an evil version of Black Panther and his name is… well, Killmonger! Even in the 70’s that name was a little cringe-worthy. Anyway, I didn’t have high hopes for this character in the film, but it shows what I know, because everything turned out so much better than could be expected. It also redeemed actor Michael B Jordan’s legacy in the Marvel films. Not that he was really at fault for that Fantastic Four movie.

When I looked at Black Panther last week, I complimented Hasbro for not cheaping out and reusing parts from the Civil War version. Indeed, I had no idea there were so many differences in the costume! Well, the same can be said for Killmonger. This is an entirely new sculpt, and considering it’s basically a one-and-done buck, I’m surprised they didn’t share some parts between Erik and T’Challa in this wave. It’s also easy to dismiss this as just another black-suited figure with some gold paint accents. I’ll confess that was my reaction when I first saw pictures. But with the figure in hand, I find the subtleties in the sculpt and coloring rather impressive. Of course, all of this can be said for the Black Panther figure as well.

Killmonger’s suit is simpler than T’Challa’s. You don’t get as much in the way of panel lines and texturing, but it does feature some beaded lines running throughout. It also has a very subtle panther spotting effect that can be tough to see under normal lighting. Where T’Challa’s suit had silver accents, Killmonger’s has gold, and there isn’t nearly as much of it, at least not from the neck down. There’s a little on the hands and feet, and at the hips. The necklace appears to be sculpted separately in gold plastic and attached to the figure.

The head, on the other hand is absolutely brimming with detail. I really like the sculpted iconography near the ears. The beaded lines feature some gold paint, as well as some general gold dry brushing around the forehead area. The eyes are painted gold, and you get a little silver paint on the gold necklace. No doubt, this is a pretty intimidating mask!

The articulation is identical to what we saw on Black Panther. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, double hinges in the elbows, swivels in the biceps, and hinged pegs in the wrists. They also feature the lateral hinges in the shoulders that we often see on the Spider-Man figures. The pegs in the wrists allow you to swap hands, between attack hands and accessory holding hands. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, double hinged at the knees, and have swivels in the thighs. The ankles feature both hinges and rockers. There’s a swivel in the waist, an ab crunch under the chest, and both a hinge and ball joint in the neck.

While T’Challa came up empty in the accessories department, Killmonger comes with two weapons and an extra set of hands for holding them. The first is a what I believe is meant to be a Konda-type sword, with the rather distinctive flaring tip that’s designed for slashing. The segmented grip is black, the blade is painted silver, and there are four holes cut out in across the top edge.

The other weapon is a short spear in silver and gold with some brown painted ties in the middle. Both of these weapons are pretty cool and quite distinctive.

Marvel Studios did a great job with Killmonger in the film, and now Hasbro follows suit with a great figure. In fact, the only real complaint I have is that there is no unmasked head. Yes, the two weapons make up for it in terms of value, but I can’t help but think the real reason was so they could bundle the character in a two-pack with an unmasked head and make me buy it again. Although in fairness, that figure looks like it’s going to be radically different, rather than a straight repack. Do I need two Killmongers? Probably not, but between the unmasked head and the Everett Ross figure, I’m only kidding myself if I pretend like I won’t buy it when I see it, but I don’t think I’ll pay a premium for it.