Marvel Legends (Tri-Sentinel Wave): Wolverine and Cyclops by Hasbro

Howdy, Toyhounds! This week I’ve got Marvel Monday right back where it belongs… on a Monday. I had a fairly relaxed weekend and plenty of time to open some toys, so let’s jump right in with two more figures from the House of X-inspired assortment of Marvel Legends X-Men figures! Last time I had a look at Professor X and Magneto and I came away a little lukewarm, if I’m being honest. Let’s see how we make out with Wolverine and Cyclops!

Once again I really dig the packaging this time around. The boxes are perfectly branded to the books, complete with the futuristic X-Men logo on the front and the characters’ names in the Krakoan language beneath it. The figures themselves also look quite stunning against the backdrop of the red and white illustrated panel behind the clear tray. And if you lift your eyes to the top, you can see that when all is said and done we’ll be building a Tri-Sentinel, although Wolverine does not come with a BAF part. Let’s go ahead and start with him!

Wow, do I love this figure! The design takes the classic coloring of Wolverine’s brown suit and mixes it up with the tactical accents of his X-Force suit, and the result is something rather spectacular. Now I’m not saying I prefer brown and mustard to blue and yellow, but I still dig it a whole lot. Gone are the flared boots and in their place rugged combat boots with matching heavy gauntlets. I’m pretty sure this figure just recycles all the body sculpt from the Wendigo Wave Wolverine, which in turn borrowed a lot from the Juggernaut Wave Wolverine. Damn, I’m really terrible about keeping all these Wolverines straight! There sure have been a lot of them!

At least the belt looks new! It’s a simple brown belt with a leather-like texture and a red and yellow X-branded buckle. The belt is sculpted separately but fits the waist quite snugly and stays in place. Also worth mentioning are the beefy battle claws! We’ve seen some rather frail and anemic claws on Wolverines in the past, but these are just great. They’re nice and straight, not too bendy. Sure, you only get the one pair of popped-claw fists, but that’s all I need!

Only one set of hands, but two heads! You get a younger Wolverine portrait with Logan grinning a broad and toothy grin. I dig this portrait a lot as it looks like Wolverine is smiling as he’s imagining what he’s going to do with his adversary’s entrails, but he’s not letting anyone else in on the joke. The paint around his skin and the cowl could have been a little tighter here, but the sculpt is top notch stuff. Just look at how deep the eyes are set! Awesome!

And you also get future Wolverine where he’s sporting a beard and looking a lot more grim, dour, and crotchety. Hey, Mother Mold… Come get your damn Sentinels off my lawn, bub! Everything I said about the paint and sculpt on the previous head rings true here. The paint around the cowl could have been a little sharper, but everything else is fab. They didn’t go nuts on the beard, but I think it looks good. And yeah, this is likely the head I will be using to display on the figure most of the time.

Here at FFZ we recognize that Legends Wolverine Fatigue or LWF is a real syndrome, but it’s just not one that I happen to suffer from. Wolverine always makes for a fun figure, especially since he’s always got those extra shoulder crunches. Whenever I get a new one, he usually hangs on my desk for a while before getting retired to a shelf or tote. I just love playing with them, and this figure is no different! Let’s move on to Cyclops!

Cyclops’ costume got a rework in this book as well and while I wasn’t especially impressed by it in the comic panels, I have to say I’m really liking the way it turned out on this figure. The dark body suit has very little in the way of sculpted detail, but those bright blue stripes look really spiffy. Cyclops is also sporting a pair of silver arm bracers and an X-branded belt with some pouches. I never really think of Scott as a pouch kinda guy, but the belt looks good and I guess he has to carry around his smug self-righteousness somewhere. The tiny snaps on the brown pouches are painted silver and the buckle is red and silver. Like Wolverine, Cyclops only comes with one set of hands: A right fist and a left visor activating hand. Which brings us to…

A pretty solid head sculpt! There’s nothing crazy going on here, but the lower half of his face looks great. Unlike Wolverine, there are sharp lines between his face and the cowl, and the visor looks like it might be sculpted separately from the head.

Cyclops comes with a second head with gritting teeth, some effect parts around the corners of the visor, and a slot for the really big effect beam. I dig the way this looks, and despite being pretty substantial, Scott can still stand just fine with it inserted into his head. Pretty damn cool!

I really wasn’t expecting too much out of this pair, but once I got them opened and in hand, I fell in love with them pretty fast. Neither is my favorite look for the characters, but they do make for some cool variations. And besides, it’s nice to have figures from one of the best Marvel books that I’ve read in quite a while. Yeah, that’s not exactly high praise, considering my stance on Marvel’s offerings these days, but it was meant as a compliment! As for next week’s Marvel Monday, I may be taking a slight detour of the 3 3/4-inch variety before getting back to the Legends and the rest of this wave…

Transformers (Studio Series 86) Kup by Hasbro

With so many great toys hitting the shelves these days, it’s really hard for me to decide on what to squeeze into my paltry three reviews (or less) a week. I really wish I had the time and energy to go back to the early days of FFZ and churn out five reviews a week, but honestly I don’t even know how I ever managed that. For now, I’m especially thrilled with Hasbro’s original Transformers movie nostalgia trip, so let’s dig into another one of the Studio Series figures with everyone’s favorite crotchety old Autobot, Kup!

I’ve ignored the Studio Series releases for so long, because they were all based on the Bayformers, but now they’re featuring the old G1 bots and I couldn’t be happier. What makes a Studio Series figure? Hell if I know. There is a little extra effort put into the packaging in the form of a cardboard stand and backdrop, but otherwise, I guess it’s just a sub-series that allows Hasbro to mine characters that don’t fit into the whole Siege-Earthrise-Kingdom narrative. Whatever that is. In the end, I don’t care what they call them, as long as they keep them coming! We’ve had three versions of Kup in modern Transformers lines, including one as part of Generations and the more recent release in Titans Return. Let’s see how the latest one fares, and we’ll start with the alt mode!

In the movie, Kup was a Cybertronian truck and this is a damn fine translation of that design to plastic form. I was never sure whether this was supposed to be a pickup-style truck with a bed for payload, or if it was supposed to hook up to a trailer of some sort, but either way I really dig what we got here. The sculpt features a decent amount of panel lines, and I especially like the canopy that doesn’t show off the interior of the cab, because it’s a Cybertronian vehicle. The design has the front wheels exposed, and the back wheels concealed underneath. Also, both of Kup’s accessories can attach to his vehicle mode giving him some extra firepower, and what looks like it could be a gas tank.

Kup’s truck mode gets by without a whole lot in the way of paint applications and instead making use of gray-blue and off-white plastic for a color scheme that closely matches what he had in the movie. You do, however, get Autobot insignia stamped on the hood and again on the sides. All in all, this is a cool and compact, rugged little space truck. It holds together fairly well, although sometimes I have problems keeping some of the seams closed up all the way. Let’s get him transformed and check out his robot mode!

Transforming Kup is slightly more complex than I had anticipated. The first time it felt a little fiddly, but after a few times, it really isn’t that bad, and it does a few pretty clever things. The result is a great looking robot that certainly captures a lot more of the animated design than the original toy ever did. The 86 animated designs introduced a lot of curves, particularly found int he rounded arms and legs, and that’s exactly what’s on display here. The coloring carries over from the alt mode, with just a little bit of rusty orange paint accents in the forearms and his “belt buckle.” Ironically, the front wheels which were on display in his alt mode are now hidden inside his torso, while the concealed back wheels are now seen in his lower legs. When viewed from the back, he does have some ugly empty compartments in his forearms and lower torso, but all in all, nothing too bad.

I might as well mention now that he’s built to be pulled apart, probably to recreate the underwater squid attack from the movie, where he got an arm and leg ripped off and Hot Rod had to put him back together. This is a cool gimmick, I guess, but his arms tend to pull out when I’m posing him. I fear that the connections may get even more loose over time.

The head sculpt is pretty good, but I’m not sure it’s the slam dunk that we’ve been getting on the other figures. I think the facial sculpt is just a little soft and they kind of flubbed the crest on his “helmet.” But man, I’m really nit-picking, because it sure ain’t bad. It’s just that so many of the other head sculpts have been pitch perfect, I think there’s a little room for criticism here.

As we’ve already seen, Kup comes with a pair of accessories, which include his gun and his energon goodie dispenser. The gun is pretty non-descript but the goodie dispenser was a cool surprise. I honestly wasn’t expecting that!

And before wrapping up, here’s a quick comparison of the recent Titans Return Sergeant Kup & Flintlock with this new Studio Series model. And I’m happy to say that I can comfortably find room for both of these figures in my collection. The Titans Return version is certainly more beholding to the original toy, especially in the deco, while the Studio Series goes for an animated accurate version. And it’s still cool to me to have a Kup with the Headmaster gimmick. Ultimately, I like SS86 Kup’s robot mode a lot better, but I’m still rather fond of Sergeant Kup’s vehicle mode with the driver compartment for Flintlock.

And that’s Transformers for ya! A few of years ago I was perfectly happy with my Kup figure and now he’s being overshadowed by a new one. This is an excellent figure all around and I’ve been having a blast playing with him at my desk during my down time. The next Studio Series figure I check out will probably be Blurr, and my Hot Rod just shipped out, so I’m excited for him to arrive!

Marvel Legends (Tri-Sentinel Wave): Magneto and Professor X by Hasbro

That’s right… Welcome to Marvel Monday on a Wednesday! As I’m fond of pointing out in some of my Marvel Legends reviews, I stopped being a regular reader of Marvel Comics a while back when they decided to stop focusing on things like decent art, good stories, and respect for established characters. As always, there are exceptions to the rule, and I did poke my head in a couple years back to read Jonathan Hickman’s House of X because… well it was Jonathan Hickman and the art looked pretty good. I enjoyed it enough to eventually pick up the collected hardcover edition, and naturally I was pretty thrilled to see the book getting a full wave of Legends. Enough so that I pre-ordered this one, instead of hunting them down individually. So here we go, embarking on this wave with the two heavy hitters first… Magneto and Xavier!

House of X is full of all the standard Hickman-isms that I’ve grown to love. You get high concept stuff about evolution, the rise and fall of empires, secret knowledge, time travel, and lots of great nuggets of world-building, sometimes leaked between the pages of the actual story. I get that some people don’t dig his style of story telling, but I do. It keeps me invested in the story and getting the most out of it means my reading has to be less passive and more aggressive. The package branding looks great and even includes the characters’ name scrawled in the Krakoan language! I really wanted to keep these boxes, but in the end, space is too much of a limited commodity around here so into the bin they went! Let’s start with Professor X…

Cards on the table, Xavier’s appearance creeped me the hell out in this story. He’s out of his wheelchair sporting a lanky body in a tight body suit with the latest version of Cerebro worn pretty much all the time and covering most of his head. The combination of lanky body and giant head piece makes him look like some kind of cyborg-meat-lollypop and I just find it unsettling. And yeah, considering what Xavier gets up to in this book, that’s probably exactly what the look was going for. And while this figure conveys that look pretty well, it also means there’s really not a lot to it at all. From the neck down you get a completely generic black buck with no paint apps or detail at all.

At least they used one of the more articulated bodies, complete with those lateral crunches in the shoulders. You also get an extra pair of gesturing hands: One regular pointing hand and one “I’m pointing at my head because I’m concentrating” hand. On the downside, the joints on my figure are extremely soft and gummy, especially in the knees. It took me a bit of time to straighten them out enough so he would stand.

And while Hasbro banked a ton of time and effort on the body sculpt, the Cerebro head sculpt is quite excellent! The bulbous silver head piece includes a mess of wires and gizmos on the back, and a giant blue X-branded visor on the front.

You also get a head without Cerebro and with some psionic effects radiating from Xavier’s head. It’s a nice bonus to add some value, but it doesn’t do a lot for me. Ultimately, this figure accomplishes what it needs to do, but unless you’re a big fan of this story, I’m not sure it’s going to be worthy of a pick up. Sure, Cerebro looks awesome, but the rest of the figure is so drab and generic. I’m happy to have it, but I’m curious to see if it’ll be a peg-warmer around these parts. Moving on to Magneto…

Unlike Professor X, Magneto retains a lot of his classic costume design in this story, but he trades in his darker colors for a white-and-black outfit. And just as Xavier saved Hasbro the cost of a lot of new sculpting, much of Magneto here is just a repaint. I was, however, surprised to see some new stuff here. The boots and wrist bracers are different from the previous Magneto releases, and he also has a new belt with an X-branded buckle and some pouches. The cape, however, is a straight repaint from the his appearance in the three-pack with Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver.

I was expecting the head sculpt to be a straight repaint from that three-pack version as well, but it looks like it’s been reworked here. His Barbute-style helmet has been reshaped in a few areas, but unfortunately the paint on mine is pretty sloppy. It’s not too bad when viewed with the naked eye, but the closer you get, the worse it looks.

Magneto does not come with any effect parts or an un-helmeted head, but he does come with three pairs of hands, which I thought was oddly excessive. The token fists and power-casting hands are to be expected, but the third pair of accessory-holding hands seems pointless, since he comes with nothing to hold. Whatever the case, I found this figure to be a lot more photogenic and fun to play around with than Professor X. Sure, his look is a lot less imaginative than Xavier’s, but as an action figure, Magneto gets the nod as the better figure.

I was extremely excited for this wave, but I’ll confess that it feels to be off to a rocky start. I want to like the Professor X figure a whole lot more than I do. I can’t fault the design, as it looks just like his appearance in the book, but it just doesn’t make for a great figure. Magneto, on the other hand, at least isn’t a total quick-and-dirty repaint, and I’ve found that I like this look for him a lot. Next week, I’ll keep the reviews on this wave rolling along. I doubled up today because I knew I didn’t have a whole lot to say about these two, and I’m not sure if next week I’ll tackle another two figures or just focus on one!

G.I. JOE Classified: Flint by Hasbro

I really like Hasbro’s pacing on the Classified line. The releases have been spaced out nicely and not making me lose my mind like the rapid-fire releases of Marvel Legends. Some may say that’s because so many releases are exclusives that are impossible to find, but it’s really just a handful. Not that it makes having a character like Major Bludd be so elusive any better. Anywho… this has been an easy to manage line to collect and after a little bit of quiet time, I got a couple of new figures to look at last week.

Here’s Flint in yet another example of the awesome Classified packaging! In 1985, it seemed like you were either a Duke guy or a Flint guy. I had friends who tossed Duke aside for Flint once he showed up, but I actually stuck to Duke as my defacto leader. After all, I had the mail-away Duke and waiting an eternity for that figure to arrive created a strong bond between us. So even when Flint joined the ranks a few years later, he often stayed at HQ while Duke reveled in the adventures. Keep in mind, as a kid, I’m not sure I realized at the time that Flint technically outranked Duke, so that was just me playing favorites.

Classified Duke looks to be based mostly on that original figure, and I’m all for that! It’s a cool blending of classic military look with a little modern flavoring. He retains the camo trousers and the black shirt with rolled up sleeves. He also has the two green suspender-straps, gloves, and his black beret. The trousers are now augmented with black matte knee and shin armor, and his suspender straps are lined with individually painted shotgun shells, along with some extra sculpted pouches. The pouches and straps are sculpted as part of black chest and back armor with green trim around the edges. Everything about this Classified design pays respect to the original and just adds some embellishments.

I really dig the brown gun belts, which include a gold buckle, some more pouches and a brace of stocked ammo loops. He also has a functional holster strapped to his right thigh and a scabbard on his back for his primary weapon. Dammit, I love when a figure can carry all his weapons! The black watch on his right wrist is another great little touch. Like the other JOE’s, Flint has a silver device with a pale blue paint app, which I presume is supposed to be a light. In Flint’s case it’s sculpted onto his left shoulder strap, and I still have no idea what these are intended to be.

I think the portrait turned out great. Flint has a strong jawline, and a characteristic scar running down his left eye. He’s got one brow slightly arched and he’s offering a hint of a smile. He looks battle hardened, but at the same time like a friendly fellow who’d be fun to have a beer with and hear war stories from. “So, there I was in candy forest, wrestling with The Baroness in her bikini and Cobra Commander comes up and tries to clobber me with a giant candy cane. I shit you not!” I love that they made the beret removable. It fits him really well and looks so good, I could easily be convinced it was part of the head sculpt, if I didn’t know better.

Flint comes with two weapons, the first being his pistol. It definitely has a sci-fi element to it’s design, as seems to be the case with a majority of the weapons in this line. Still, it’s not too crazy and I suppose it could pass as a modern design. Part of me thinks Hasbro is going sci-fi with these weapons to avoid controversy, but then so many of the Marvel Legends weapons have been realistic designs, so maybe it really is just a style choice.

Next up is his shotgun, which is obviously a reference to the original figure coming with a shotgun, but that’s where the similarities end. I’d call this a Model C, where the C stands for Chonks! It’s a boxy and chunky pump action scatter gun with no stock, a rail on the top, and four extra shells stored near the back. I actually dig this weapon a lot, and like the pistol it isn’t so out there in design that I couldn’t imagine it being a modern real world weapon. His left hand is sculpted so he can cradle the fore grip, but it can also double as a second gun hand, if you want Flint to dual-wield.

The shotgun is also hinged, so it can break open for loading, which is a magnificent little touch! I love seeing articulation and functionality on weapons in this scale.

Classified Flint gets a big YO JOE! from me. He’s what I consider a perfect example of taking an original design and injecting just enough newness to make it distinctive for a modern line. And to me, that’s when this line is at it’s best. My only minor gripe here is that I wish he came with a backpack, but at the same time, I don’t feel like they cheaped out on him either. Opening Flint has made me excited for checking out his other half, Lady Jaye, and I hope to get around to her next week!

Marvel Legends (Mr. Hyde Wave): A.I. Tony Stark by Hasbro

Last week turned into a shit-show with work, so I wasn’t able to make it back with Friday content. The first half of this week is going to be no better, but I’ve managed to eek out a little bit of time for Marvel Monday. I needed to find something quick and easy, and the figure calling out to me from my pile of backlog was this very recent release of A.I. Tony Stark, a figure that I absolutely love for what it isn’t even meant to be!

Behold, the first, and probably last, figure that I’ll be reviewing in the Mr. Hyde Wave! I actually really do want that Hyde Build-A-Figure, but I have zero interest in the Shang-Chi movie, and I’m sure as heck not buying all those figures for the BAF parts. Based on how they’re clogging the pegs at Target here, I may get the opportunity to scoop them up on clearance for the BAF, but for now I’m sadly writing Mr. Hyde off. And while we’re on the subject… Why is A.I. Tony Stark even in this wave? It’s kind of weird because we’re actually getting Riri Williams in another wave, so why not put them in the same assortment?

And speaking of Riri… I’ll go ahead and clarify that I bought this figure as beautiful classic Iron Man and not as A.I. Stark from Invincible Ironman, a book which is a prime example of why I don’t read Marvel these days. I tried the first couple issues to see if I was missing anything, but it was pretty damned insufferable. But don’t get me started on that… look! Look at this beautiful figure! The smooth contours, the sexy curves, the immaculate look. There’s no complex panel lines or impossible sequences of shifting plates! Oh, I still dig Tales of Suspense Iron Man, but to me, this was the look I was first introduced to, and for me it will always remain his most iconic design.

We got a Classic Iron Man back as part of the 80th Anniversary releases, and this one looks to be a lot of the same figure. I’m ashamed to say that I have that one, but still haven’t gotten around to opening it. That previous release has extra effect parts, two variant helmets, and an unmasked Stark head, but what it doesn’t have is this lovely ketchup-and-mustard paint deco. Yeah, they went for gold instead of yellow on that one, and it’s certainly a great looking figure, but I’m always going to favor the yellow here. Besides the one-two punch of condiment colored deco, you also get the baby-blue arc reactor and a little more of the same on those upturned restraining-bolt-looking nipples! This figure is quite simply a feast for my eyes and takes me back to my childhood.

The helmet sculpt is excellent, with the face plate being sculpted separately from the rest of the helmet. That not only makes it look like it could come off, but it adds some wonderful depth to the eyes and mouth, which are painted as part of the head beneath it.

The A.I. Stark head is pretty nifty for what it is, basically a previous Stark head sculpt cast in translucent blue plastic. I don’t know that I’ll get any use out of it, but given MCU Stark’s pension for using armor as puppets, I kind of dig that I can use this head to retcon that into this suit design.

You do get a couple of repulsor blast effect parts, also cast in translucent blue plastic. These are actually four pieces, with the projection being separate from the blast. Naturally, you also get two extra hands to work with the effect parts. My only gripe here is the repulsor hands aren’t hinged at the wrists, which feels kind of cheap on Hasbro’s part. But, whatever!

The 80th Anniversary Iron Man can be a bit pricey these days, so if you missed it, this release should be a welcome one. It’s not as complete as that one when it comes to extras, but I can’t fault the figure for that, because it’s based on a very specific version of Tony from a modern book. And hey, if you happen to be a fan of Invincible Iron Man, then you’ll definitely want to pick this one up to go with your upcoming Riri Williams. Not judging! As for skipping this wave, I fear that may be happening a bit more frequently in the years ahead. I know that Hasbro has an Eternals wave coming down the pipe, and I’ll likely be skipping those too. Unless, they decide to mix them up with comic versions, and then I’ll be all over those!

Marvel Legends (Dude Thor Wave): Iron Patiot by Hasbro

Today’s Marvel Monday figure may seem like I dug deep into the backlog, but I actually just got him last week. The only figures from the “Dude Thor” Wave that turned up in my area were the Cap and Iron Man, and I decided that I didn’t really need another MCU Cap or Iron Man in my collection. I also wasn’t really all that interested in this Build-A-Figure either. As for the rest of the Wave, they were going for well over retail when I could find them online, and so I decided I was just going to sit out this Wave entirely. It was possibly the first time I skipped any Marvel Legends releases.

Well, fast forward to a month ago and pre-orders for Iron Patriot started showing up on some online retailers. Not the whole Wave, mind you, just Iron Patriot. Now, I don’t know if this was found stock or an actual re-issue, but I didn’t ask questions. Instead, I plunked down my pre-order and I’m so very glad that I did. So, I’m just going to go ahead and say it. I think this may be the most gorgeous Marvel Legends figure yet. If not, it’s certainly in my Top 5!

I mean, just look at this amazing amalgamation of piece of plastic! After Iron Man 2, I certainly didn’t expect Iron Patriot to show up again in the MCU, so it was a pretty cool surprise when Rhodey rearmed for the final battle. The Endgame Iron Patriot Armor shares some parts and design elements from the War Machine armor, which is reflected in this figure. There are a lot of common threads in the design, but they aren’t all recycled parts. As a result, this one feels pretty fresh! And while I was a big fan of the War Machine figure from the Banner Hulk Wave, I think I’m even more smitten with this one!

For starters, I love the bulked up look of this suit. Iron Man is all about better and better tech with a lot of the suits getting slimmer and more advanced, to the point where they are almost like a second skin for Tony. That’s not War Machine! This guy is literally a walking tank and he looks it! I particularly dig the larger upper body and those big forearms. I’d also swear I see some nods to MechWarrior design in the torso. About the only thing I’m not so keen on here is the redesign of the feet, which are smaller. Maybe they’ve been redesigned with flight in mind, but I think they should be big and clunky like we saw on War Machine. But enough with the negativity… back to gushing! I can’t deny a big part of what makes me tear up with joy here is the coloring. There’s something to be said for the cold and utilitarian military black and gray of the original War Machine, but when you recolor in this drop dead gorgeous metallic red, silver, and blue, I just lose my shit, because the result is so damn beautiful! To me, the quality of the coloring here is just above and beyond for a $20 mass produced figure.

Of course, Iron Patriot is sporting some major weaponry, even when he isn’t powered all the way up. His forearms feature static machine gun barrels, which are a lot more elegant than what we saw on War Machine. He also has rocket launchers mounted on each of his outer thighs. These are actually removable in case you want to display him with them retracted, but they don’t really get in the way so I prefer to leave them armed. On a side note, the articulation here is pretty decent, in that he can make some nice wide stances and point them guns in any direction. With that having been said, the bulky nature of his armor means that his range of motion in some of those articulation points aren’t as good as what we’re used to seeing in Legends. But I have no complaints!

If you really want to gear up Iron Patriot for battle, he comes with two sets of additional weapons to attach. These include additional guns and rocket packs, which position over his shoulders. In the movie, through the magic of CG, these deploy from inside his suit, but here they simply peg into holes in his back. They’re each separate pieces so you can deploy one set or the other, or one of each, or whatever you like. These added weapon pods are ridiculously awesome and stay put pretty well too! I’m just not sure how he fires those without falling over.

While I’d eventually still like to pick up Heimdall and Valkyrie from this Wave, Iron Patriot here was the one figure in this assortment that I wanted the most. And I’m damn glad to have had a second chance without having to pay double or triple. He is an absolutely gorgeous figure and a worthy addition to my collection, even if this particular Stark Armor didn’t have a big presence in the film.

Transformers Kingdom: Inferno by Hasbro

It’s Friday and that means something to me this week, because I actually have this weekend off! And what better way to celebrate than tearing into another Transformers figure! It’s hard to believe it was way back in September of last year that I reviewed Earthrise Grapple, and we all knew that Hasbro would be giving us an Inferno based on the same mold, because that’s just unwritten Transformers law. Well, it took a lot longer than I expected, but here we are!


It’s kind of strange to see these two Bots released over two different lines, with Grapple hitting Earthrise and Inferno as part of Kingdom. Although, I suppose these are all under one branded War For Cybertron umbrella. To be fair, I don’t really get where Hasbro is going with Kingdom, as it’s a slurry of G1 Earth modes and Beast Wars Beast modes. But who cares if the figures are good, and they have most certainly been very good! The character art on Inferno’s packaging is absolutely killer, showing the Autobot extinguishing what look to be the very fires of Hell. I grabbed Hasbro’s official package shot for the image above, and I can’t help but note the change from clear windshield to the black one we got, and which I happen to prefer. Let’s kick off with his alt mode!

Yup, other than having a ladder instead of a crane, Inferno’s vehicle mode is identical to Grapple’s, and that was to be expected. Inferno does have a few added parts, like the coiled hoses on the sides and the wings under the ladder base. But, that’s not to downplay how great this firetruck looks, as the mold serves both types of vehicles very well. The snappy red plastic mixed with black trim looks fantastic, along with some silver paint and the gray add ons. Inferno proves something that I’ve known since I was a little kid: That there’s nothing quite like a firetruck toy.

The ladder features the same movement as Grapple’s crane, allowing it to raise and lower, as well as extend outward. There’s also a nozzle on one side, which can pivot up and down. Finally, there are peg ports, allowing you to weaponize Inferno’s firetruck mode with his rifle, because sometimes you just need to shoot the hell out of a fire to show it who’s boss.

Inferno’s engineering is pretty close to his G1 roots, making this toy both easy and intuitive to transform. And that simplicity is mighty impressive when you consider how great both the vehicle and robot modes look. When I think of some of the tortured plate-shifting and double or triple hinge manipulations it took to turn those Bayformer toys into what looked like vaguely humanoid piles of scissors, a toy like Inferno here is simply poetry in plastic. The robot mode is so beautifully proportioned and what kibble is present looks like it’s there by design. Even his bulky ladder hangs close to his back, making a decent counter-balance without being an eyesore.

In addition to those perfect proportions, Inferno is just loads of fun to play with, thanks all those points of articulation. Hell, he’s wonderfully poseable even if he was a non-transforming figure, and that’s something worthy appreciating. Something else I really appreciate is the way he can store his gun by pegging it into his back.

Inferno’s portrait is absolute perfection. He has a kind and heroic visage about him with some beautiful silver paint on his face and bright blue eyes. Hasbro even broke out the yellow paint for the sole purpose of hitting those vents on his “helmet.” The nozzle that was on the side of the firetruck rests on the side of his head compartment, making for a conveniently placed weapon. Although, I’ll confess, It’s hard to talk to someone who can blast you in the face with water any time he wants.

Either of Inferno’s hands can be retracted in favor of a nozzle attachment, which he was often depicted using in the original Sunbow cartoon. I don’t know what it is I love so much about this concept, but I was a big fan of it whenever Inferno, Ironhide, or Ratchet would retract their hand and replace it with some kind of tool or weapon. It just seemed like a really handy skill. No pun intended.

And finally, Inferno has his big rifle, which is the exact same gun that came with Grapple. I honestly can’t remember whether the original G1 toys shared the same weapon, but I’ll allow it here since it really is a cool rifle design.

In case you can’t tell, I absolutely adore this figure! Inferno is everything I want in a modern G1-style update. He looks great in both modes, he’s easy to transform and borrows most of the original toy’s engineering, and above all he’s so much fun to play with. Like Grapple before him, Inferno is an example of how right now Hasbro is firing on all cylinders and turning out some of the best Transformers toys of all time. Great Primus, it’s such an amazing time to be a Transformers collector!

Marvel Legends (Retro Style): Silver Samurai by Hasbro

I’ve spent the last bunch of Marvel Mondays wandering through some of Hasbro’s 80 Year Anniversary releases, and it’s almost time to dig into another regular wave. But before that, let’s squeeze in at least one more! This one is actually a double dip, as it’s not only an 80 Year release, but also one of them Retro Carded figures!

I am by no means a completist when it comes to these Retro Carded figures. The inner turmoil over whether to open them or keep them carded takes too much of a toll on my frail booze-addled nerves. But, when it’s a first time release like Silver Samurai here, there’s no question I’m going to pick it up and tear into it. The package art harkens back to the old Toy Biz X-Men line, and even though I was already in college when that line was out, I still get the nostalgia feels from seeing these. The character art is nothing mind blowing, but the figure sure looks awesome on the card. I’ve had some luck in the past carefully razoring the bubble halfway around to slide the figure out without too much damage, but I still wound up tossing the card eventually.

As a character, Silver Samurai is almost as old as I am. I’ve actually got a couple years on him. Even still, I find that I haven’t encountered him all that often in my decades of Marvel meanderings, but I’m always pleased to see him turn up, mostly because I love his armor so damn much. He’s had run ins with all sorts of characters from Daredevil to Elektra and Spider-Man to Wolverine. And it turns out that he makes for a remarkably unique and beautiful action figure! I mean, just look at this guy, shining in all his silver glory!

I’m used to Hasbro using the Retro Carded waves for a lot of repacks and repaints, so it’s odd to me to see a figure like this, one that uses nearly all new tooling, to not get a regular boxed release. And yet here we are! Most of Kenuichio Harada’s armor is sculpted as part of the figure’s body, although the armored skirt and shoulder are attached separately, giving an already complex sculpt a bit more added depth. And boy do I love the detail on this armor. It takes a pretty traditional looking Samurai design and casts it in brilliant silver, complete with sculpted rivets, as well as the tiny ties and straps that are meant to keep it on. I particularly appreciate how Hasbro colored many of those straps white to distinguish them from the silver armor. It’s a little touch that they could have left out and I probably wouldn’t have noticed. It just shows that extra bit of care.

And speaking of colors, some of you may know by now that I’m quite the afficiando of premium silver paint on my action figures. Hasbro has been using some nice stuff lately, and it’s certainly on display here. Some of the pieces, like the shoulders and skirt have been left as plain gray-silver plastic, which contrasts nicely with the snappy silver painted parts. He also has the brilliant crimson Rising Sun emblazoned on his chest and a red orb on the crest of his helmet.

The head sculpt is every bit as good as the armored body, with the majestic helmet covering the top half of his face. The exposed lower half shows a down-turned mouth and a grim expression. The overlapping plates that make up the sides and back of the armor have more sculpted rivets, and his deep-set eyes are painted without pupils.

Silver Samurai comes with his two swords, which the package identifies as a Katana and Wakizashi. At first I was going to cry foul, as I thought they were the same length, but the Wakizashi blade is a tad shorter than the Katana, but not by much. The blades and Tsuba are left the same bare plastic color as the skirt and shoulders, and it’s a solid color, not that weird semi-translucent gray plastic Hasbro sometimes uses for accessories. The blades are soft, but don’t seem too prone to warping. The sculpted grips are painted black, and the belt includes a loop for each sword on the left hip.

Despite a big build and a full set of armor, Silver Samurai still has great articulation. All the usual points that I expect from my Legends dudes are represented here. He even has extra swivels in his lower legs. The shoulders aren’t as restrictive as I would have guessed, and the way the skirt is designed, he still enjoys a lot of range of motion in his hips. The joints all feel solid, and he is ridiculously fun to play around with. He is, however, not the best balanced figure out there, and I do sometimes have difficulties getting him to stand in the more extreme poses.

Silver Samurai is a prime example of me not needing to have a deep relationship with a character in order to love a figure. Indeed, I would imagine that even if I weren’t collecting Marvel Legends, I would have still picked up this figure if I encountered him on the pegs. He’s a great design, which Hasbro has nearly flawlessly recreated in action figure form. And since I was never able to find the Marvel Universe Wolverine/Silver Samurai Comic Pack, getting him in the 6-inch line feels like an extra treat!

Star Wars Black Series (The Mandalorian): Beskar Armor Mandalorian and The Child by Hasbro

A few days ago I reviewed a trifecta of action figures from The Mandalorian, and as promised I’m back to end the week with a couple more. And while last time was all about supporting characters, this time we’re going straight for the Dynamic Duo themselves: The Mandalorian and The Child! Yeah, Yeah, these are long overdue. I have a huge backlog. Get over it!

I don’t have much to say about Mando’s packaging, as it’s pretty standard Black Series fare. So let’s check out The Child! This box is so tiny! And it’s actually kind of bloated compared to the size of the figure itself! And here’s where I’m going to go off on a rant over WHAT WERE THEY THINKING??? Why, Hasbro, would you not include the Hover Pram and a stand in this set and beef it up to $15 or $20? Ten dollars isn’t a lot of money to me. I’ve blown more than that on questionable plastic purchases in the past. But even I was put off by plunking down ten bucks for the contents of this box. Was it all part of your evil scheme to make people buy another Beskar Armor Mando and another Child figure to get the Pram? Was it also your plan to make that version so hard to get that it’s selling for over $100 on the scalper market? Honestly, I don’t understand any of this! Let’s look at Mando.

So, this is the second version of Mando to be released in this format (I reviewed the first back in 2019), and as indicated it represents the character after getting his hands on some of that tasty Beskar and decks himself out with some new armor. I have to admit, I was disappointed that they changed his look so early in the series. I liked raggedy Mando. It really played into the whole Mando With No Name Spaghetti Space Western vibe that the series was going for. If it were up to me, I would have held off on the armor upgrade until the second season. But what do I know? Now with all that having been said, I still dig his Beskar look, and I absolutely love the way this figure turned out! Yes, it does reuse some parts from the first figure, but only where appropriate.

And to be fair, he does still have a bit of a rag-tag look to him. He upgraded his cuirass, shoulders, gauntlets, and added a few nice pieces of thigh armor. The rest of his costume is still pretty low-rent and I like that. With how costly Beskar is presented as being, it makes sense that he couldn’t afford an entire suit of it. Actually, I’m not even sure both of the thigh pieces are supposed to be Beskar. It looks like the left one is, but he ran out and so he just painted the right one to match, and the paint is already half worn off. If that’s meant to be the case it’s a wonderful little touch. I also like his newly earned signet, which is sculpted onto his shoulder. The lower legs are recycled, as is the shoulder strap and gun belt. The cape is also the same one we got with the previous figure, but the gauntlets are new sculpts, with the Whistling Birds launcher clearly present on the left gauntlet.

In addition to getting the Beskar upgrade, he obviously sprung for the wash and wax on his helmet. The head is recycled from the previous figure, which makes sense, as it’s the same helmet. But all the brown grime has been cleaned off and it looks nice and shiny to match the Beskar armor. A few smudges have been added here and there to the armor and helmet, but I really do love the metallic paint they used for these pieces. The finish is so rich and luxurious!

In terms of accessories, most of what we get here is a trip down memory lane from the first release. His trusty pistol is once again included and fits nicely into the holster on his right hip. The pistol is the same accessory, but it’s been given a brighter silver coat of paint. Hey, you’re throwing down some credits to get your gear improved, might as well detail your gun too! Now with that having been said, I actually prefer the pistol from the first figure. The duller finish brought out the details in the sculpt a lot better.

Mando also comes with his Disintegration Rifle. It can still be tabbed into his back when not in use, and the figure’s articulation works really well with it, allowing him to hold it pretty close to his cheek and sight his target through the scope.

The new accessory here is the jetpack. It’s certainly a necessary item, but it’s kind of bland and dull. The sculpt is kind of soft and there’s no paint applications at all. There’s some weathering sculpted into it, but it kind of looks more like a one of my cats got at it and chewed it for a while. The jetpack plugs right into the back of the figure, and while you can kind of put it on with the cape, it’s best to take the cape off entirely. Maybe this would have been a good opportunity for softgoods, but I’m not sure it’s a good idea to be wearing a cape with a jetpack. It seems like a good way to set yourself on fire.

Any nitpicks I have with this figure are pretty minor, and I come away actually liking it as much, if not more, as the first release. Yes, I still like that more weary High Plains Drifter kind of vibe earlier Mando had, but this one has actually become more iconic to me. The figure itself is a great mix of old and new, it looks fantastic, and it’s loads of fun to play with. Let’s move on to The Child!

So, I really have very little to say about The Child. Yes, this figure is tiny, but overall I think Hasbro did a great job with what they had to work with. Indeed, the sculpt and paint executed for the portrait are rather outstanding for a figure this size. The body is just a solid piece of sculpted plastic robes, although his feet are visible from the bottom. I’m surprised they got ball joints into the shoulders, neck, and hands, although the arms do pull out rather easily and have to be snapped back in.

He does come with a clear plastic case with three accessories: A bowl, a delicious froggy, and the control knob from the Razor Crest. These accessories are so tiny that I haven’t even bothered to remove them from the case, and I’m not going to do it now either. I sure as hell don’t want to drop one and wind up making a 2am run to the Pet ER because one of my cats has a Baby Yoda soup bowl in his or her throat.

And there you have it! Besker Armor Mandalorian is a superb figure and one that I’ll likely have on my desk for a while. The Child is impressive for how small it is, but it still galls me that Hasbro put this tiny figure out as a solo release. I think the proper way to go would have been to bundle him with Beskar Mando as a regular retail release in the first place. Or, at the very least they should have given him his Hover Pram as a solo release. There’s no way I’m paying $100 just to get that Pram, but if that set does get a re-release, I’d probably go so far as to pick it up for $30. And oddly enough, just as I was writing today’s review, I got shipping notice for the Hot Toys Deluxe Mando and Child. It should be arriving early next week, and I’ll likely bump that set to the head of the line, as it’s been a while since I’ve done a Hot Toys review!

Star Wars Black Series (The Mandalorian): Greef Karga, Kuiil, and The Armorer by Hasbro

Last week I doubled down on Transformers reviews, and I’ve decided that this week I’m going to do the same with the Star Wars Black Series. Hell, I’m going to do better than that. I’m going to knock out three figures today, and at least one more on Friday. I’ve just got so many of these SWB packages piled up and waiting to be opened, it’s starting to get frustrating! So let’s go crazy and check out some figures from The Mandalorian! And yeah, these will be somewhat brief because I’m tackling three figures.

Hasbro hasn’t gone all that deep with the figures from this series, but they at least gave us a good sampling of the main and side characters from the first season. It feels like an eternity ago that I last watched this series, but that’s probably because I deep-sixed my Disney+ after the end of WandaVision. As much as I loved the first two seasons of The Mandalorian, I think it had closure enough to move on, using Boba Fett as a spring board to move on to something else. Especially since I’m bummed we won’t be getting the Rangers series with Cara Dune. Either way, I’ll likely pick up my subscription again after The Book of Boba Fett premiers, but for now, I’m just not that interested in what Disney is selling. I am, however, still excited about most of these figures. Let’s start with Kuill!

If I were to go back in time about 20 years and tell Past Me that we were going to have a Star Wars TV Series with Nick Nolte playing an Ugnaught, Past Me would have punched me in the balls for being a lying sack of shit. And who could blame me? The idea is crazy! Who could have foreseen any of this stuff? Anyway, I loved Kuill and I was very sad to see him die. OH, COME ON. THAT’S NOT A SPOILER. IT HAPPENED FOREVER AGO!!! Well, at least Hasbro immortalized him in plastic, and did a damn fine job at that! I really dig the complexity of the outfit here, as it feels rather layered. The orange tunic is sleeveless, showing the rumpled sleeves of the brown shirt under it and has a belt piece with an extension of the tunic below it. He’s got some puffy brown trousers, which are tucked into his Blurrg riding boots. The belt has hip pouches, he’s got a worn, rugged backpack, and the outfit is tied together with a scarf around his neck and shoulders, which is sculpted separately from the figure.

And man, what a great head sculpt! Hasbro usually does a bang up job on the aliens in the SWB Series, but I still think this one is especially nice. His deep set eyes are surprisingly expressive, and they did a particularly great job sculpting his whiskers. His goggles are sculpted in place, so you cannot move them down over his eyes, but you know what?

I had no idea that the helmet was removable! It really does fit the figure so well, that I thought it was either part of the head sculpt, or it was secured on with glue. This was just a wonderful little surprise. Did I know that Ugnaughts have tiny pointed ears? Feels like I’m discovering that for the first time right now!

In addition to the removable helmet, Kuiil comes with his little blaster rifle. This highly detailed piece of kit has some brown paint for the wood on the stock, and a sling that looks like it’s probably removable. He can sling it over his shoulder, or ready it for action. Honestly, the only downside I can come up with for this figure is that they didn’t make him a Deluxe and bundle him with a Blurrg to ride. Either way, Kuiil gets an A+ in my book! Moving on to Greef!

Greef Karga, played by the always charming Carl Weathers, is a cool character and I was happy to see him get carried over into the second season and right his wrongs toward Mando. I was pretty damn sure that he was going to be a major baddie in the series, and certainly never expected to see them team up! The figure is a very solid effort, but nothing about Karga’s character design is terribly interesting to me. Sure, you could argue the same about a lot of characters from the Original Trilogy, but their outfits have long since become iconic. Greef’s hasn’t, so it’s really just a brown suit. But don’t get me wrong, the texturing on this figure is excellent, and there’s some nice detail to be found, like the quilted pattern on his gauntlets, the wraps on his boots, and the double-holstered gun belt. I also like the cape, which only hangs over his right shoulder and is secured with a belt that runs across his chest and under his left arm.

Alas, I don’t think the head sculpt is one of Hasbro’s better likenesses. It’s not terrible, but it’s just kind of soft. Also, there’s a weird glossy finish to his face, which makes him look like he’s wet. It’s probably sounding like I don’t dig this figure, but that’s not the case. I actually dig him a lot and he’s going to look great on the shelf with Mando and Dune.

Karga comes with twin pistols, which look like someone took the grips and backs of .45’s and gave them sci-fi fronts. I don’t know if it was intentional, but this reminds me a lot of how most of the guns in Star Wars were just modified versions of real firearms, so I’m a big fan of these. Ok, that’s two down and one more to go!

The last figure I’m looking at today is The Armorer, and if I’m being honest, I probably would have been fine skipping this figure entirely. She’s OK. There’s nothing specifically wrong with her, but with storage and display space at an all time premium around my place, I’m not sure I really needed her. She kind of strikes me as being like an upscaled 3 3/4-inch figure, although I can’t really put my finger on why. There’s certainly enough detail in her outfit, like the quilted pattern on her gauntlets and shoulders, or the stitching on her apron. I also find that I like the look of the sculpted half cape a lot more than the softgoods one that came with the Pulse Exclusive version. Although it does drop off of her with the slightest bit of encouragement, to the point where I may just glue it on.

The helmet sculpt is nothing special, as the visor isn’t terribly convincing. It just looks like that part of the helmet is painted over. Maybe gloss finish would have helped. The gold finish does have a decent worn patina to it, and I do like the metallic paint they used for her cuirass. Even still, this figure is doing much for me.

The Pulse Exclusive came with a few extra accessories, whereas this retail release just comes with her hammer and tongs. These are decent enough pieces, and she can hold them pretty well. Obviously, I would have liked to get the extra stuff, but even with them, I wouldn’t have been any happier paying an extra ten bucks for the Exclusive.

I didn’t mean to end this trio of reviews on a downer, and honestly, The Armorer is not a bad figure at all. Maybe she just doesn’t stack up as well to Kuill and Greef, both of which are quite excellent. And with three more figures opened and up on the shelf, I feel like I’ve made a tiny bit of progress with my backlog of Black Series figures, but there’s still a lot more to come. I haven’t yet decided what figure (or figures?) I’ll be checking out on Friday, but it will definitely be more from the 6-inch Black Series, and I’ll probably stick to The Mandalorian. So come on back at the end of the week!