Transformers Titans Return: Blunderbuss and Broadside by Hasbro

What’s this? For the third consecutive week I actually have a new convertorobot for Transformers Thursday? Yup, and I’ve been stockpiling, so it looks like I should be covered well into June. Today I’m checking out the Voyager Class Triplechanger, Broadside. I have not heard many kind things about this figure, so I’m a little apprehensive about this bot, especially since I’ve got no nostalgia for this character going in.

As a kid, I barely knew that Broadside existed. I don’t recall ever seeing him in the Sunbow cartoon, and with his original G1 toy released in 1986, that would have put him on the shelves a little bit after 14yo me was starting to drift away from Transformers. In this case, that was probably a good thing, because looking back, the G1 toy looks rather cringe-worthy, even by G1 Triplechanger standards. Let’s see if a new and updated Broadside can win me over. I’m going to break tradition today and start out with his robot mode.

Oh, boy, I really dig this robot mode a lot. Broadside is a bruiser, with powerful squared off slabs as shoulders, a stout chest with a cockpit canopy in the center. The sheer boxiness of this bot is a thing of beauty and the amount of detail in the sculpt is impressive. There’s just so much going on here, from the retracted landing gear in his chest to the folded conning tower on left shoulder and what I’d like to assume is a rocket six-pack on his right shoulder. No matter where I look, there’s something interesting to see on this guy. I also love that he has those wedges for shins. Those probably come in handy if he loses his weapon and has a tough scrape with a Decepticon.

Even from the back, there’s nothing to complain about. He wears the nose and canopy of his jet mode as a backpack and he has wings behind his arms, which can be angled out or folded in, depending on your display preferences. Although, it is worth noting that the wings have to be angled all the way out to take advantage of his shoulder rotation. Broadside is a bit back heavy, but the double hinged ankles let you float the foot forward or backward, to counterbalance whatever stance you want to go with. As for the coloring, the two-tone gray is all business, but the red with hints of yellow and translucent blue looks damn snappy on him.

Blunderbuss makes for a head that really fits the body. This noggin looks like it’s designed to take a pounding. There’s also a button below Broadside’s chest that can deploy a pair of pylons to further protect the head. I don’t know what Hasbro’s fascination with this gimmick is, but they’ve been including it with most of the Titans Return Voyagers. The difference is that this is the first time I actually like it.

And in robot mode, Blunderbuss’ mix of gray and red plastic makes him look good even though there aren’t any paint apps on the little guy. The usual Titan Master articulation applies: ball jointed shoulders and neck, and hinges in the hips and knees of the fused legs.

Broadside comes with a translucent blue gun, which he can hold in either hand and it does have a seat that fits a Titan Master. All of this is great stuff, and as a robot, I have nothing but love for Broadside. So let’s see how the first of his alt modes fares…

Broadside’s first alt mode is an aircraft carrier, which is admittedly not that easy to pull off, since it’s essentially just a slab with a flight deck. Nonetheless, I think he pulls it off pretty well. I do, however, have a few gripes. I’m not thrilled about the use of stickers for the runway, but I used a stylus to smooth it out and sharpen the edges and in the end I think it looks OK. Nonetheless, since it’s set over hinges, there’s bound to be wear and tear after multiple transformations. Finally, the prow section of the ship does not peg together, which can be annoying. If everything is tabbed together just right, it usually stays in place, but it has a habit of separating with handling.

There are three folding feet on the bottom for it to stand on and you can attach the gun to the side to give it some extra firepower. There are also tons of pegs on the flat top to stand Titan Masters, but they also serve a second purpose. Hasbro included a set of tiny Aerialbots to peg into the deck. They’re very simple pieces, all white, and they come on a sprue, and I absolutely love that these little jets. They really give this carrier a ridiculous sense of scale that takes the concept of mass shifting to the extreme.

I also dig that this mode works as a flying carrier too. Oh, it’s nothing special. I just fold out the wings on the sides and plug the gun into the bottom. It’s a subtle, but nifty little fan mode that makes the toy just all that much more fun. So, how about that third mode?

Yeah, it’s a bizarre hump-backed jet. Much has already been said about Broadside’s unfortunate attempt at a jet mode. To pile on it even more seems unnecessary. I’m used to seeing half-assed third modes in Triplechangers, but this one seems especially egregious. The funny thing is, I could almost accept this as a space fighter mode, but even with all that is wrong with it, what really pisses me off about this alt mode is that Hasbro was too lazy to make the tail fins point in the right direction. I’m not even kidding. If these pieces weren’t backwards, I could almost get behind this sad aircraft. There’s just something about the back half of this jet that just screams the design team just gave up.

Now, the red fins just pop out and can be reversed. The gray fins can probably be taken out by knocking out the pin and reversed as well. I don’t think it would make a huge difference for the other two modes, so it is a possible option for improvement, but I don’t think it’s worth the effort. At least not for me. I also find it really odd that the carrier mode has landing gear, but the jet mode doesn’t. You can, however, flip out the fists to help support the back of the jet.

Of course, the cockpit opens and Blunderbuss can fit inside, which is cool. You can also plug Broadside’s rifle into the top to fill it out a bit more and add a gunning station to the top. Does it help? Not really. But I have to wonder if a kid with an imagination wouldn’t love this ugly jet anyway. I’m thinking they probably would.

With a great robot mode and one solid alt mode, Broadside still gets my stamp of approval. He’s a fun toy and it’s a hell of a lot better than the Broadside that was out when I was a kid. Granted, I didn’t have very high expectations going in, and I already knew that the jet mode was going to be hot garbage. It feels like that mode is just a few tweaks away from being acceptable, and that’s what’s probably going to bug people the most about it. That having been said, I’m certainly not sorry I picked him up.

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Marvel Legends (Titus Wave): Darkhawk by Hasbro

Ah, the 90’s. It was in that decade that I reached adulthood and I often look back on it as that asshole of a decade that was unworthy to follow the blinding greatness that was the 80’s. Still, if you asked me to give you one good thing about the 90’s, I’d undoubtedly reply with two words: “comic books!” The comics of the 90’s were wondrous, ridiculous, and full of excesses. To borrow a phrase, it was the best of times and it was the worst of times. Obviously, I mention the 90’s because our figure today is based on a character was created at the early end of that decade, and he had a pretty good run for four years and about 50 issues. Let’s check out Darkhawk!

Darkhawk shares a slot with Vance Astro as one of the Masters of the Mind. It’s a stretch, but I think they were going for Christopher Powell’s ability to use his mind to control the Darkhawk body. A little less tenuous is his link to The Guardians of the Galaxy. They hob-nobbed in the pages of War of Kings, and he’s certainly part of Cosmic Marvel. Hell, the dude even got the stamp of dis-approval from the Shi’ar and branded the “Galaxy’s Most Wanted.” With all that having been said, I largely forgot Darkhawk even existed until I encountered him in my Marvel readings a little while back. I’d like to tell you that he was a favorite of mine, but that just wasn’t the case. Amazingly, this is not Darkhawk’s first outing for Hasbro, as he got a 3 3/4-inch figure in the Marvel Universe line a little while ago. I never did find that figure on the pegs, so the Legends 6-inch will be the first version of the character in my collection.

I’m so totally in love with Darkhawk’s design and I think this figure pulls it off beautifully. The body is a generic buck with a gorgeous glossy, dark blue finish that goes perfectly with the lovely shade of silver. This is a perfect example of less being more. The two colors just compliment each other perfectly and with the exception of a little red for the chest piece and the visor, that’s all that’s needed here. Original sculpted parts include his belt, his wrist bracers, shoulders, collar, and of course his wings.

The wings consist of four separate pieces, which connect to the backs of his biceps and forearms. You could argue by designing them as separate pieces they aren’t as faithful to the comic art as they could be, but what it lacks in authenticity it makes up for by not impeding the articulation. In the end, I’m perfectly fine with the decision they went and I can’t get over how great this figure looks. The simplicity of the suit and the grace of the wings makes Darkhawk look like an art deco sculpture.

The head sculpt is as simple as the rest of the costume. There’s a reinforced mask with a crescent shaped red visor that gives him the wonderful feel of a futuristic knight. My one complaint here is that I wish the reinforced area of the mask got the same beautiful silver paint as the collar. Instead, it’s bare plastic. It still looks OK, but it could have looked even better.

As already mentioned, the articulation is  not compromised by the wings, so what we get is standard Legends pose-ability. Darkhawk’s arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, double hinged elbows, and swivels in the biceps. His legs are ball jointed at the hips, have swivels in the thighs and lower legs, and double hinged knees. The ankles have hinges and lateral rockers, and finally, the torso features a swivel in the waist, an ab crunch hinge, and the neck has both a hinge and ball joint. I can’t even tell you the fun I had playing around with this guy and discovering new poses.

Other than the Titus BAF part, Darkhawk doesn’t come with any accessories. With how much I love this figure, I feel bad nit-picking, but I can’t help but think it would have been cool to do something more with his grapple hook. As it is, it’s just three bendy claw-like tendrils coming out of his arm bracer. That’s fine, but it would have been cool to enhance it a bit.

Initially, I’d say my anticipation for this figure was fairly tepid. I really enjoy getting the more obscure characters for my Legends shelf, and I always liked the look of the character, but I didn’t think he was going to be all that special or impressive when I got him in hand. Besides, it’s not like I really had any nostalgia for the character. Little did I know that once I picked him up, he’d be so hard to put down. I probably ended up shooting three times the pictures I needed for this review, just because I was having such a blast playing around with him, and I’ll be honest, when I get past all the technical stuff about sculpt and paint and all that jazz, a great figure for me is the one that I can’t stop playing with. And its there that Darkhawk succeeds triumphantly.

Transformers Titans Return: Legends Class Brawn by Hasbro

Well, be still my energon pumping heart, today makes two Transformers Thursdays in a row that I actually have some new bots to look at. In fact, I should be covered for a little while now so the drought is officially over! Today I’m checking out Legends Class Brawn, another figure that I had to grab off of Ebay because these never show up around here. And then when I feared the deal might not be sound, my buddy came through with one for me as well. Either way I was covered, and in the end I wound up with two. Now, the downside of having to go second-hand on these is that both were shipped to me loose, so I have no in-package shot for you, but we all know what it looks like by now, so let’s jump right in to Brawn’s alt mode…

True to his original G1 form, Brawn takes the form of a green off-road vehicle, and this is a pretty solid one at that. There isn’t a whole lot of sculpted detail here, but you do get a spare tire on the rear of the roof. More importantly, the coloring on this little 4×4 is especially nice for a Legends Class. The pretty metallic green is joined by some black painted windows, and yellow bits peeking out from the sides and the front, all of which keeps his deco very faithful to the original toy. You also get some lovely silver on the front bumper and a tiny Autobot insignia on the hood. And so in the end, this vehicle may be a little modernized, but there’s no denying who this is supposed to be.

I was never a big fan of Brawn as a character, he always struck me as a jerk and even a bit of a bully in the original cartoon, but I loved his G1 figure for all its quirkiness and everything about this alt mode does that figure proud!

Despite being a Legends Class, Brawn can actually open up and take on a Titan Master driver! Here’s where things can get weird, because Hasbro already released a Titan Master pack with head robot named Brawn that transformed into Brawn’s head. So, yes, you can actually have Brawn driving himself around. That’s some weird and crazy Inception shit right there. What really cooks my noodle is that both of these figures had to be in production at the same time, as they’re both clearly designed for Titans Return, so why did Hasbro even bother making the Titan Master Brawn if they knew they were also making a proper Legends Class version of him. It really makes no sense.

Anywho… Transforming Brawn is as simple as it gets and it’s basically the same thing as a lot of the old school Minibots. I find that to be really refreshing and I wish Hasbro would embrace this kind of simplicity for the smaller figures more often. All you do is pull the arms out of the sides and fold the legs out of the back. OK, so Brawn cheats a little bit because you have to take off the the piece of the vehicle with the spare tire, but it’s hard to argue with the results, because Brawn looks absolutely fantastic.

I mean, just look at this little guy! I adore the fact that the structure of his blocky yellow torso is practically pulled directly from the original toy! He’s got some great proportions and all around a very clean and tidy robot mode. The only real kibble on him are his wheels and they look great on his shoulders and lower legs. Hasbro also saw fit to take away those unwieldy chromed metal meat hooks that the original toy called arms and instead give him proper sculpted fists with silver paint. Even from the back this little dude looks pretty good.

The head sculpt is also excellent. He features his trademark domed “helmet” with a face that sports a superb likeness to the animated Sunbow design. His face is painted with more of that lovely silver paint and his blue eyes are crisp. Brawn can also turn his head, which is something that can’t always be taken for granted with these Legends figures. Hasbro stamped another Autobot emblem on his chest and even broke out the blue paint expressly for that one little panel below it. Classy!

You have a few options as to what to do with the tire piece. You can have him hold it like a gun, as it does have those three sculpted emitters on it. He also has peg holes in the sides of his forearms so he can wear it like a shield. Personally, I don’t think it works all that convincingly as a gun or shield. Then again, that could be because I’m a middle aged guy that lacks the imagination and wonder of the child this toy was aimed at. Thankfully, you do have a third option…

Yup, just peg it right on his back. It really doesn’t add a lot more bulk to his backpack and in all honesty it looks like it was meant to go there anyway.

As far as I’m concerned, Brawn is a perfect modern update to the old toy and definitely ranks in among my favorite Transformers this year. Yes, I’d actually like to see more of the Minibot characters get the Deluxe Class makeover, but when the figure is this good, I’ll take what I can get. And it’s great figures like this one that makes me wonder why Hasbro can’t just take a crack at updating all the Minibots together in a timely manner. They’ve had some real hits with this one and Powerglide and even Generations Cosmos is a figure that still holds up very well. Sure, the last Bumblebee wasn’t so great, but I guess they can’t all be gems.

Star Wars Black (Rebels): Sabine Wren by Hasbro

For me, one of the high points of the Black Series 6-inch line has been the Rebels figures. Kanan Jarrus and Ahsoka Tano are among my favorite figures the line has produced so far. Needless to say I was excited when Sabine was announced. I’ve actually had this figure for quite a while now and the fact that it took this long for me to get around to reviewing her just shows that I wanted to make sure I had the time to give her the proper attention she deserves.

There’s not much new or noteworthy about the packaging, although this is one instance where I actually really like the monochrome character art. I think they did a lovely job with Sabine’s portrait. I should also take this time to admit that I’ve been a bad Rebels fan. I went into Season 3 with good intentions, but I quickly fell out of watching it. Rebels is a show I like to binge watch, so I’ll likely just hold off until it gets a release on Blu-Ray. I will say that it’s hard for me to come up with a show that has matured as well as Rebels has. It started out on shaky ground and gradually grew into its own. Sabine has been a great character and one that really demanded an action figure from the very beginning. I’ve already reviewed two versions of her in the 3 3/4-inch line, so let’s check her out in the 6-inch scale.

Putting a Mandalorian in the show could have gone horribly wrong, but Rebels makes the character work and that goes double for Sabine’s character design. Rather than just put her in Femme Fett armor, she has a distinctive look, made even more unique by her personal artistic touches to her armor. All of that is wonderfully recreated in this figure. The personalized paint on her chest and shoulder armor looks fantastic and served up with a pretty realistic looking weathering, which sets it apart from the more brightly colored markings on the 3 3/4-inch figure. I can’t say the same for the speckling on her boots and gauntlets, which looks really overdone here, but it’s not something that ruins the figure for me, so I can get over it. Suffice it to say, sometimes less is more.

Of course, this version of Sabine has also been given a realistic make over, shying away from the super stylized look of the series. So far, Hasbro has had great success with this conversion, both with Kanan and Ahsoka and they’ve pulled it off here once again. Added detail, like the stitching and slight rumpling in her clothes help add to the realism of the sculpt, and Sabine even sports two functional holsters, one on each hip.

The head sculpt is decent, but it isn’t quite the slam dunk we got with Kanan or Ahsoka. It’s very soft, which admittedly works for Sabine, but it’s also let down by the paint. Imagine that? A Black Series figure let down by paint! In this case, my Sabine has a bad case of the wonky lizard eyes. I’ve actually been hunting for a better one, and while I’ve come across a surprising number of Sabines on the pegs, I’ve yet to find one that’s much of an improvement and I’ve even seen at least one which was a lot worse. I think they could have also done a better job with the gradient colors in her hair, but then I remember that I’m really overestimating the efforts of Hasbro’s painters in this line.

Sabine also comes with a helmet, which fits over her head. It’s a snug fit, but I’m actually very pleased that they were able to pull this off without making the helmet look too big or the head look too small. I’d be a little concerned about rubbing paint off the face if I take it off and on too many times, but that’s part of the reason why I’d like to bag another Sabine one of these days. The range finder is articulated and it’s stout enough so as not to warp too badly.

The articulation here holds no surprises. You get rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, wrists, and hips. The legs have double hinges in the knees, swivels in the thighs, and the ankles feature both hinges and lateral rockers. The torso has a ball joint under the chest and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed. I would have liked a swivel in the waist, but I’m guessing that might have been nixed because of the gun belt.

Sabine comes with her paint sprayer, which is a simple, but very welcome accessory. Ironically, there aren’t any paint apps on it, but it does have some sculpted detail, including the buttons and the nozzle.

And you also get her twin blasters, which fit into the holsters as well as both of her hands.  Like the paint sprayer, these are really simple accessories with no additional paint apps, but they get the job done.

While there is certainly room for improvement regarding the wonky eye paint, Sabine turned out to be another fantastic figure from the Rebels series. And that’s a good thing, because let’s face it, the only other options we have are the 5-POA 3 3/4-inch figures. They’re decent in their own way, but they’re nowhere near as fun as having a fully articulated figure like this one. Next up for this little sub-line should be Hera Syndulla, and I am most definitely looking forward to that release! My only fear is that they’ll abandon these releases before completing the crew, and that would be a shame because once assembled these are going to make for one hell of a great display.

Marvel Legends (Titus Wave): Drax The Destroyer by Hasbro

If you follow me on Twitter, than you probably know that I loved Guardians Vol.2. You also probably know this if you’ve been anywhere in my general vicinity. God help you if you’re stuck in an elevator with me, because I’ll keep saying, “And remember that time when [insert character here] did/said that thing?” until you inevitably swallow your own tongue for sweet release. All the characters did their part to make this movie a sheer delight, but Drax continues to shine as one of the most pleasant surprises of this entire franchise. And as such, David Bautista deserves to have praise heaped onto him for the amazing job he has done breathing life into the character. Even doubly so when you consider his limited experience as an actor. And seeing as how my Hot Toys Drax figure has now been delayed a half dozen times, I now look to Hasbro’s Marvel Legends for more plastic Drax loving.

We’ve seen the packaging already. The three figures from the film are branded with the movie title and Drax here comes with a fair amount of goodies laid out in the tray, including a BAF part for Titus. I’d like to tell you that this review is going to be a balls-to-the-wall love fest, but unlike the character, this figure lets me down on a few levels. Let’s take a look…

So, from the neck down, what we have here is a total reuse of the 2014 Drax figure from the first film. The pants are now blue, the boot buckles are a little brighter, and his skin is an entirely different shade of green. Other than that it’s the exact same figure. Now, I don’t really have an issue with them reusing the body. It was a great sculpt than and nearly three years later, it’s still a great sculpt. There’s plenty of detail in the boots and trousers, and the way Hasbro sculpted his tattoos onto the buck really has to be commended because it looks fantastic. As for the skin recoloring, well it’s hard for me to make a call on which is screen accurate because Drax’s skin tends to vary depending on the lighting. I suspect this newer one is more accurate and the fact that the plastic has more of a matte finish is cool, but I actually tend to like the skin tone on the original figure more. That’s just personal preference.

The new sculpting here comes in the form of a brand new head and this is an angry and yelling Drax. It’s certainly a departure from the more neutral expression on the previous Drax figure and it’s a fairly decent likeness with some excellent detailing and solid paint work. Of course, I think if we were going for an accurate Guardians Vol.2 Drax they should have made him laughing, because he really does spend a lot of that movie laughing his ass off. Anyway, the biggest issue I have here is that given the change in skin tone, you can’t really swap heads between the two figures and make it work, and to me that’s a bummer. Hasbro could have rectified this by tossing in the old head with updated coloring, but that didn’t happen. I guess my issue here really isn’t with what we got, but with what could have been.

Obviously, the articulation here is identical to the previous release and that means it’s plenty damn good. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and the wrists. The elbows and knees have double hinges. There are swivels in the biceps and thighs. The ankles have hinges and lateral rockers. Lastly, you get a swivel in the waist, an ab crunch hinge in the torso, and both a hinge and ball joint in the neck. The joints all feel great and there are no gummy hinges.

As you may have guessed, Drax comes with his pair of knives and they are indeed the same accessories that were included with the 2014 release. They’re nice sculpts, they could have used a little paint, but I’m not going to make a big deal about it. And yes, they still fit into the sheathes that are sculpted into the sides of his boots.

You do get a brand new accessory, which is his bazooka. It’s fairly detailed sculpt, but it’s all cast in black plastic and there are no additional paint apps. I’ve said it before, but if Hasbro is going to do big weapons for this scale, they really need to bust out the paint, otherwise it just looks damn cheap. I understand paint apps are often the first things cut when costing out a figure, but this is an almost entirely reused sculpt, so it’s hard to see where the money went. Anyway, the bazooka is a rather unique and fun design, and he can hold it pretty well in one hand with the back resting on his shoulder.

Am I too harsh on this figure? Possibly. I do like it a lot, but then I liked it a lot three years ago too. My guess is that the average collector’s mileage will vary depending on whether or not it’s they’re first MCU Drax. If you missed out on the last one, this is a fine substitute. I like the screaming head, but I would like it more if it was an optional portrait and not the only one. And like I said, you can’t swap it with the 2014 Drax head because of the color change. I didn’t feel at all bad about buying a new Star-Lord figure. It’s a new look and the heads are swappable between the new figure and the old one. Drax, on the other hand, feels a lot more like double-dipping.

Transformers Titans Return: Flintlock and Sergeant Kup by Hasbro

Behold! For the long, dark night has ended and I have a new Converto-change-a-bot® to look at on Transformers Thursday! Yup, I’m pretty excited about it, especially since it’s part of the new wave of Deluxes, because I have been totally digging the Titans Return Deluxes! And it’s Kup! Oh, excuse me, Hasbro lawyers… Sergeant Kup! With how terrible Hasbro’s distribution is around here, I don’t even want to tell you what kind of backroom deals I had to do to get this guy in a reasonable and timely manner. …Best not to dwell on it. …Ebay. It was Ebay. But he was actually only a couple of bucks over retail, so I did good.

The card art features Kup’s properly perturbed and cranky looking head descending onto his geriatric-robo-body. Or is that Flintlock’s head? These Head/Titan Masters always confuse the hell out of me. Anyway, the last time we saw Kup was as part of the Generations line back in 2013. I thought it was a nice looking figure with some clever engineering, but it wasn’t really my G1 Kup so I recently sold him off in anticipation of this release. Shrewd move or hasty mistake? Let’s press on and find out. Kup comes packaged in his robot mode, but I’m starting with his alt mode.

Now this is an alt mode for Kup that I can get behind! My biggest issue with Generations Kup was that he was an Earth truck. Here we’ve got a pretty cool looking Cybertronian truck that’s certainly inspired by the original toy. The two-tone blue deco is very evocative of the original and I think it looks great in spite of the fact that there aren’t a ton of paint apps here. You do, however, get some nice sculpted details in the mold, which includes panel lining and a bunch of hatches on the sides.

The clear canopy that opens to reveal the driver’s compartment, and of course his Titan Master buddy Flintlock can fit in the driver’s seat.

Kup’s guns are designed to mount in the back of the bed, where they mainly just fill up that space. You can turn them around to have them fire behind him, or even combine them to form a gunning station for a Titan Master. There are also ports on the sides where they can be pegged in as well. All of these are pretty cool options. With the guns out of the bed, you can also make use of some of the tiny foot pegs and load up the back of the truck with Titan Masters.

And here’s a quick look at Flintlock. Still no paint apps on these little guys, but I like him. Articulation still consists of ball joints in the shoulders and neck. The legs are fused together, but have hinges in the hips and knees.

Kup’s transformation features some cool engineering. I really dig the way the side panels of the truck fold to become his lower legs, and the way the canopy forms his chest with the front of the truck behind it. The robot mode borrows more from the original toy than it does the Sunbow character art, especially in terms of the squared off shoulders and arms. There’s not a lot of that rounded and more organic aesthetic that was introduced with the movie designs. Well, maybe a little in the legs, but even that is a stretch. I thought that was going to be a big sticking point for me and this figure, but it really hasn’t been. I credit that to how clean and well proportioned this robot mode looks.

Another cool feature about the figure is how Kup can store both of his guns on his back. It doesn’t add too much bulk to him and it actually kind of looks like a jetpack, albeit a hollow one. Also, thanks to that clever leg transformation that I mentioned earlier, Kup doesn’t suffer from hollow leg syndrome when viewed from behind. That’s always a plus!

The deco here is more of the same that we saw in his alt mode, but you do get the addition of some of that dark gray, which breaks up all that blue and blue. He also has some yellow paint accents and an Autobot insignia at the top of his chest. I’ll confess the arms below the shoulders strike me as a bit unfinished. A few paint hits there would have helped, but all in all I think the coloring here is pretty good.

The head sculpt is pretty sweet too. The rounded style of his “helmet” and the cranky, scowling mouth is perfect for him. He looks like he’s about to scream, “Hey you damn petro-rabbits… get off of my lawn!” In the shot above, you can probably see a little mold flashing on the edge just in front of his face. I could have done without that. but I guess you have to get in pretty close to really notice it.

Kup comes with a pair of twin guns and I love these things. They’re pretty short and compact and he looks great dual wielding them. You can also stick them together to form a double-barreled weapon with a place for a Titan Master to sit. Personally, I prefer them as separate guns, but it’s always nice to have options.

If you can’t tell by now, I’m extremely pleased with the way Kup turned out. Stylistically, there were certainly some compromises here, but I’m cool with that. He’s a great looking figure and I think he fits in quite nicely with Titans Return Blurr, Hot Rod, and even Generations Arcee. I’m getting into the mindset that Hasbro can do no wrong with the Titans Return Deluxe figures, and that appears to still be the case with this latest assortment. I’m actively hunting down Perceptor and Top Spin, and I’m even pretty stoked for Quake. To be honest, I’m even looking forward to getting Krok.

Marvel Legends (Titus Wave): Yondu by Hasbro

Guardians Vol 2 is in the theaters, and what a fun ride it is! It’s got action, laughs, and some wonderful characters, and a soundtrack that’s so cool it has no business being in a modern Hollywood flick. I’ve only been to see it once so far, but I’ll likely be back when I can find some time next weekend. And as careful planning and professionalism luck would have it, I’m also in the process of checking out the new Guardians themed wave of Marvel Legends. Last week I looked at the new Star-Lord figure and today I’ll be checking out Yondu!

No spoilers here, but I will say that I was happy to see Yondu play an expanded role in the new movie and Michael Rooker was fantastic in it. Of course, I was disappointed last time that Yondu didn’t get a Legends figure, but all is forgiven now, as thanks to the inclusion of two head sculpts, this figure can really work for either movie. I’ve got nothing new to say about the packaging, so let’s dive right in!

Captain Udonta’s outfit features his long duster and other Ravager garb, and boy did Hasbro go nuts on the detail here. The jacket itself is replete with rumples, stitching, reinforced patches, textured areas, and even a bit of wear and tear. For all the times that Legends gets by with a simple (and perfectly suitable) painted buck, it’s figures like Yondu that show Hasbro can really shine when dedicating themselves to an entirely new sculpt. Under the coat, you get more of the same, including texturing on the vest, individually sculpted buttons, as well as all sorts of buckles and straps. As soon as I had Yondu out of the package, I spent a good deal of time just turning him over in my hands and getting lost in all the amazing minutia of his outfit. All around, this is nice work!

Ravager outfits aren’t the most colorful costumes, so Yondu gets by without a whole lot of paint. Still, what’s here is pretty good. You get some gold fixtures on his coat, including the Ravager emblem, which turns out to be pretty critical in one hilarious little movie sequence. The shoulder strap is painted a lighter brown to distinguish it from the coat. Under the coat, you get some additional paint for the buttons of his vest and the harness he’s wearing over it. Of course for some great added color, we can look to the portraits!

The stock portrait features Yondu with the crest we saw in the first film, and part of the second. Overall, I think this is a really solid sculpt and a pretty good likeness to Rooker. The paint for the eyes is applied clean and straight, and while the paint for the teeth is passable, it could have been a tad sharper at the corners of his mouth. I’m also considering taking a silver sharpie and coloring a little silver on his teeth. Still, I’m nit-picking on a figure that has very little to complain about.  I like the grimacing expression and the fact that the whiskers are part of the sculpt is pretty cool.

The second head features Yondu with his fin. This is something of a plot point in the film, but I mainly like it because it nods back to the look of the character in the comics. The sculpt and paintwork on the fin are both particularly good. You can also see here that he has the scarring sculpted into the side of his head, which is actually present on both head sculpts. This sculpt also features Yondu’s lips pursed up into a whistle, which makes this portrait work particularly well if you plan on displaying him with his arrow in action.

And speaking of action, the articulation here is identical to what we saw last time with Star-Lord. In case you missed that review, here’s a rundown… You get rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, double hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps. The legs are ball jointed at the hips. have double hinges in the knees, and swivels in both the thighs and the boots. The ankles are hinged and have lateral rockers. Yondu wasn’t exactly super agile in the films, as he lets his arrow do most of the work for him, so I think the pose-ability here is far more than adequate.

In addition to the extra head and the Titus BAF part, Yondu comes with his deadly arrow. The arrow here actually features an effect part so that you can display him with the arrow flying out of its sheath on his belt. The effect works surprisingly well, but I do think it was a little cheap of Hasbro not to drop a second arrow in the package, so you could put it in the sheath for when he isn’t using it. Ah, but considering all the work they put into the figure, I’m inclined to give them a pass on that.

I may only be two figures into this wave, but so far Hasbro is really nailing it with these Guardians Legends. Like Star-Lord, Yondu is a great figure and hits all the right points from sculpt to paint to articulation. I’ll confess that I will very likely be picking up a second Yondu, just so I can display one from each movie and an extra arrow to snip the effects part off of. And while I know it’s just a pipe dream, I really wish there was some way that Hasbro could get us a figure of Kraglin in the Legends scale. Hell, even if they boxed him with a repacked Yondu, I’d still buy that in a heartbeat. Anyway, on the next Marvel Monday, I’m going to finish off the MCU Guardians in this wave with a look at Drax.

Star Wars Black (Rogue One): Director Krennic by Hasbro

I’m really pressed for time today (and that may be the case for the rest of the week), so I decided to dig into my stack of unopened 6-inch Black Series figures and find one that I could do justice to in fairly a brief amount of time. I ended up with Director Krennic! Did I mention I’m pressed for time? So, let’s go!

Now, to be clear, picking Krennic for a quick-and-dirty review isn’t meant as any slight against the character. Truth be told I was captivated by this guy from his very first scenery-chewing appearance. Part of my love for Krennic has to do with the way his character was written, but a lot of credit has to go to Ben Mendelsohn, who was absolutely fantastic in the role. As great as it is, Star Wars has not been a saga I look to for deep and complex villains, but Krennic actually felt more like a fleshed out character as opposed to just a foreboding guy in a suit. GO AHEAD, FIGHT ME!! In fact, of all the characters in Rogue One, I’d say that I enjoyed Krennic and Bodhi Rook the most, because they felt the most like real people to me.

Hot damn, do I love the Imperial uniforms! Krennic dons his very smart looking, and rather uncommonly seen, white Imperial officer’s tunic and jodhpur-style trousers. It’s a fairly simple sculpt, but it looks absolutely fantastic. The insignia on his chest is sharp and there are some subtle rumples on the tunic to replicate the look of cloth. But if we’re talking great looking plastic cloth, kudos has to go to this cape.

At first, I’ll confess to being a little disappointed that Krennic didn’t come with a cloth cape, but the sculptors did a really fine job on this plastic one. Between the wrinkles and the tailored seams, I’d be hard pressed to tell that it wasn’t actually made of cloth if all I had to go on was some pictures. It’s also very easy to take off the figure, as it just rests on his shoulders.

As for the portrait, it’s pretty damn great. Wow, did I just say that about a 6-inch Black figure? I did! Of course, it’s still a fairly soft sculpt with some very basic paint, but the likeness is undoubtedly there.

Removing the cape allows for a better look at the functional holster on his belt, which holds his rather unique looking gun. Both of his hands are sculpted to hold it fairly well.

The articulation here is pretty standard stuff for the Black Series. You get rotating hinges in his shoulders, elbows, wrists, and hips. He’s got double hinges in his knees, and his ankles have hinges and lateral rockers. There’s a ball joint in his waist and both a hinge and ball joint in his neck. I really wish we could get some bicep swivels on these figures, although in the case of Krennic here, I guess he doesn’t need to be super-pose-able.

And there we have Krennic, a great character and a great figure! I love this guy so much that I picked up three extra Death Troopers (before I even had Krennic), just so that I could set him up on the shelf behind him. The only sad thing is that Krennic is probably the last of the 6-inch Black Series figures from Rogue One I have to look at. It still kills me that we didn’t get Bodhi or Saw, but then I’m still trying to hunt those down in the 3 3/4-inch versions. In the wake of Krennic’s release, we’ve already seen images of the up and coming 6-inch Black Admiral Thrawn. I’m hoping that these releases have broken the seal and we’re going to start getting some more Imperial Officers, because I’ll army build the hell out of some of them once Hasbro starts releasing them.

Marvel Legends (Titus Wave): Star-Lord by Hasbro

It may be Marvel Monday, but I already have my sights set on Thursday, because I have my tickets to see Guardians Vol 2 at the local CineBistro, where I’ll be sitting in a recliner made of rich Corinthian leather and sipping on a spiced bourbon while a space-raccoon cracks wise and kills things on the big screen in front of me. It seemed only fitting today to kick off the Guardians-themed wave of Marvel Legends, so let’s do just that with the second Marvel Legends version of the MCU’s Peter Quill.

While this is a Guardians Wave, Hasbro has populated it with a mix of figures from both the comics and the MCU. Indeed, only three of the seven figures (eight if you count Titus) here are from the film, and that’s something that I absolutely love about what Hasbro is doing with Legends these days. The comics are actually getting a bigger focus than the soon to be billion dollar blockbuster. How cool is that? And don’t worry, the rest of the Guardians Vol. 2 team is still coming, split into another assortment. Let’s bust Quill out of here and check him out.

Hasbro last took a crack at MCU Star-Lord back in 2014 with the release of the original film… and what a difference a few years makes! I’m not going to shit talk that original figure, because I do still like it a lot, but I’ll be happy to point out the improvements when we get to the portrait. In the meantime, here we have Star-Lord in his updated look for the sequel.

His costume isn’t all that different from the first film, but I really like that he has the shorter coat now. He wore both the duster and the jacket in the first film, and since we only got the duster version last time, it’s nice to get the other option this time. There’s a good deal of sculpted detailing in the jacket, and that includes texturing, some reinforced areas, and piping. As is often the case, the jacket is basically a separate vest with sculpted sleeves to create the illusion that it’s all one piece. This allows you to pull back the flaps and get a better look at the shirt underneath.

His t-shirt has the printing across it that we’ve all seen in the trailer. Pratt himself has explained that this is some kind of licensed merch from the Guardians Universe and even suggested that it’s the brand name for some kind of candy. I really love that idea. From the waist down, things are pretty simple and straightforward. There’s a lot of sculpted detail on the trousers and boots, but nothing extraordinary or worthy of mention. I did notice that his thrusters are conspicuously absent from his ankles and I’m wondering if there’s a reason for that. If there is, I guess I’ll know soon enough. Star-Lord also includes pegs on his hips so he can wear his guns. These work quite well if he’s standing with his legs straight, but the guns tend to pop out when you give him wider stances.

The portrait is such a huge improvement over the original Legends Star-Lord. I think the first one works as maybe an animated version, but this one actually bears a decent likeness to Pratt. The facial hair is part of the sculpt and not just painted on like last time. I really couldn’t be happier with how this head turned out.

He also comes with an alternate masked head. This sculpt reflects some changes in the actual movie mask as well as some overall sharper sculpting. There are some new gold detailing on the back and overall, I’d say the paint here is much sharper, particularly on the eyes.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, the new head does fit perfectly on the 2014 figure. There is a slight difference in the skin tone, but it’s close enough to work for me. And that means I’ll definitely be picking up a second Guardians 2 Star-Lord and retiring that old head.

The articulation here is pretty much the same as we saw on the last Quill figure, and that’s not a bad thing. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, double hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps. The legs are ball jointed at the hips. have double hinges in the knees, and swivels in both the thighs and the boots. The ankles are hinged and have lateral rockers. There’s a ball joint just under the chest, and both a hinge and ball joint in the neck. I’ve had this guy on my desk for days and I’m still not tired of playing around with him.

If this figure comes up a little short anywhere, it’s in the accessories. Star-Lord doesn’t include a BAF part, and doesn’t come with his Walkman like the original Quill did. Sure, I could always borrow that one, since I have two of those figures, but I’d say it’s odd that they didn’t at least repack that one in this box. As we’ve already seen, he does come with his twin blasters, which are beautiful sculpts. I love the designs of these guns.

While a few more accessories would have been welcome, it’s hard for me to find any other faults with this figure. Hasbro did a fantastic job on all fronts, but it’s the improvement in the likeness that really hits home. I won’t be double dipping on the Hot Toys Star-Lord, I’m still happy with mine from the first movie, so it’s nice to be able to have Quill from the sequel represented on my Hasbro 6-inch shelf. Next week, I’m going to be pressing on with the MCU figures, while the hype for the movie is still high and after I’ll be digging into the comic based figures.

Star Wars Black: R5-D4 (Gamestop Exclusive) by Hasbro

Once again, I must disappoint all you Convertorobot fans, as it is Thursday and I have no new Transformers to look at. Maybe next week. We’ll see. In the meantime, let’s check out a robot that does not turn into anything!

I was mighty peeved to find out that the infamous droid with the bad motivator was coming to the 6-inch Black Series as a Gamestop Exclusive. There’s only one of these stores in my area and going in that place subjects me to a vortex of screaming kids, punks trying to sell games for drug money, and pushy salespeople trying to get me to opt in to some membership card or magazine. I hate the place. Besides, they’re closing stores left and right, so maybe giving them an Exclusive isn’t the best idea, Hasbro. Next you’ll be giving exclusives to other sinking retail ships like K-mart… oh, riiiight. Well, it turns out my anger was all for naught, because I was able to pre-order this guy on their website pretty easily and he showed up on my doorstep yesterday.

Hasbro is doing over-sized vintage cardbacks for the 40th Anniversary. A lot of these have been re-issues of “The Original Twelve” and I think these look terrific and I really dig how they will stand for easy display. So far, I’ve managed to keep myself from buying a set to keep carded, but that resolve may buckle if retailers start doing sales on these.. R5, however, is currently only available in this packaging, so I had no choice this time. Oh yeah… and thanks Gamestop for putting your obnoxious sticker on the card. It probably comes off, but it’s a shitty thing to do to an item that is being sold in collectible packaging. Good thing I bought this droid to open.

The back of the card is pretty damn cool too. It shows the twelve figures that are getting this carded treatment. All are re-issues, with the exception of the Sand Person, Jawa, Death Squad Commander, and I suppose Darth Vader, since he’s supposed to at least have a new head sculpt. There’s also a shot of the Early Bird-inspired display set that Vader comes with. Yup, I pre-ordered that thing. I have no willpower. And speaking of no willpower, as you can probably guess, these carded figures are not collector friendly and as good as it looks, I’m about to tear this one open.

Here he is, and as expected from the neck down he’s a straight repaint of R2-D2, and that’s not a bad thing, because this is a pretty damn good Astromech body. All of the familiar panel lines are sculpted in, and I really dig the hoses on his feet. Besides the red accents, R5’s deco also includes some light weathering, whereas I had to do my own on R2 with a mechanical pencil. I think they distressed him just the right amount. It doesn’t look heavy handed at all.

The head is also a very good sculpt and escapes the big fault of the R2 figure by not having those eyesore seams running up the sides. R5’s head still has seams, but they’re very well hidden. The antenna is made of bendy plastic, but it doesn’t seem like it will be prone to warping. You get a little bit of weathering on the head, but maybe here it could have used a smidgen more. The paint on the eyes is sharp and clean and the hologram sticker strip that runs around his neck looks nice, although I already had to stick the end of it back on, so I’m not sure how long that sticker is going to last.

As with R2, the third leg still retracts by turning the head. I wasn’t a big fan of this feature when I first saw it, but I’ve cooled on it a bit. It just seemed rather gimmicky for a collector line, but then the Black Series’ collector line credentials have been pretty shaky. I should also note that R5 doesn’t share any of the opening panels in his head that R2 had. It seems like they could have given us a swap-out panel with a bad motivator, but nope!

The two vertical side panels, on his front, however, do still open and he does have his little arms that swing out. It probably would have been easy for Hasbro to just glue these shut and not worry about them, so I’m pretty happy to see they survived.

In every way, R5-D4 is a great little figure. in fact, the only issues here for me are price and availability. At $22, you’re paying an awful lot for very little. R2 came with a bunch of extras and R5 comes with squat. It makes me wonder if he was made an exclusive release just to justify the price tag. Why not R5 and a couple of Jawas in a window box for $50? That would have been a nice deal. Plus, making him exclusive to Gamestop is just bewildering to me. I’ve never even seen Star Wars figures in a Gamestop outside of maybe Funko Pop! Vinyls. Luckily, I didn’t have to actually go in a Gamestop to get him. I pre-ordered mine when it first went up on the website and it became “Unavailable” not long after that. Disappointing collectors by making a deal with a dying game retailer? Not cool, Hasbro. The better way to go would have been to put him in a window box for wide distribution and let the vintage carded packaging be your exclusive. Ah, but what do I know?