Marvel Legends (Caliban Wave): Gambit by Hasbro

Last time I promised y’all crawdads and gumbo, and here we are zipping back to the Caliban Wave with a look at you know who. “Who? To my friends, de name’s Remy LeBeau. To my enemies, it’s Gambit!” Yes, the ever quotable Gambit. He’s a character I love to hate. Or is that hate to love? Maybe it’s both. Alls I know is he frequently made me want to punch my TV screen whenever he appeared in the X-Men cartoon. Whatever the case, he’s a staple of my X-Men stable and it’s about time we got him in the modern Legends line!

Gambit is the fourth figure I’ve opened in this most solid of waves, and he’s definitely one of my more anticipated figures. It’s been a long time since I owned the Toybiz Legends version, and I still have some fond memories of that figure, especially that they had the balls to do a soft-goods jacket in that scale. Hasbro has shied away from any soft-goods in Marvel Legends and they even use it frustratingly sparingly in the Star Wars Black Series. Anyway… Can Hasbro’s modern version outmatch my fondness for the old figure? Let’s find out right now.

Well, still no soft-goods here, and I’m pretty sure that’s a good thing, even if the coat here is instantly familiar. We saw it all the way back in 2012 on Fantomex and since then Hasbro has recycled this jacket so often that if it wasn’t made of plastic, it’d be threadbare by now. But it works, and it works very well for this figure. With its stylish high collar and the segmented lapels, this jacket looks great in brown, and the sculpted sleeves on the arms fill in the holes to make the illusion that it’s all one garment work almost perfectly. And there’s some amazingly subtle detail in it, from the creases and texture of the fabric to the sculpted rumples and stitch lines. Some of these details didn’t show up quite as well when cast in black or white, but it sure does now.

Under that coat there are some great colors and a surprising amount of new sculpting going on. The boots, the collar piece and the piping running along his belt line are all sculpted details, which could have probably been phoned in with simple paint detail. And speaking of paint, I really love the metallic purple and blue they used for his suit. When contrasted with the brown matte of the jacket, it pops beautifully. The body’s articulation is standard stuff except for two surprises. The elbows don’t have the usual double-hinges, but instead are rotating hinges. Aesthetically, I guess it works better for the sculpted sleeves, but it does inhibit the range of the elbows over what I’m used to seeing.

With the costume portrayed so well, it was up to the head sculpt to make or break this figure, and I’m happy to say that the portrait succeeds on all fronts. From the way his shock of hair protrudes from the top of his cowl to the very subtle traces of his beard and mustache, Hasbro did Gambit proud here.  The jutting chin, prominent nose, and black and red eyes are all quite unmistakable. And while it may sound like a joke, I think these are some of the best ear sculpts Hasbro has done yet. Seriously!

Gambit comes with a few accessories to round out the package. Obviously, he comes with his Bo staff. It’s nothing special, just a gray segmented staff, which can be gripped in his right hand and cradled in his left.

Next up, he comes with a little energized playing card effect part, which can be laced around his hand and works exceptionally well on his left hand with the two pointing fingers. I actually dropped this goddamn thing while I was shooting and it took me ten minutes of crawling on the floor to find the thing. Happily I eventually did, otherwise the cats would have claimed it as their own and I never would have seen it again.

The second effect part is connected to an alternate left hand, which has him throwing three charged cards. This one looks pretty great too and it should be a lot harder to lose since it’s attached to a hand.

I hope y’all aren’t tired of X-Men yet, because I’m going to keep this Mutant ball rolling along next week. The last couple years has been like an X-Men Renaissance within the modern Marvel Legends line. It’s like Hasbro has been working overtime to pack as many X-Men into the lineup as they possibly can, and I’ve got no problems with that! 2019 even upped the ante with some superb multi-pack box sets in addition to stacking the decks with excellent waves like this one. I won’t give away who I’ll be opening next week. You’ll just have to read my mind!

Marvel Legends (Caliban Wave): Jubilee by Hasbro

Well, folks, I’m not off to a good start for the new year, as I wasn’t able to check back in again last week after Marvel Monday. I’m still swamped with stuff that’s wrestling for my time, and it’s probably going to be a few more months before I’m locked back down to regular updates. Nonetheless, I’m back to spread more X-Men loving today and I have a good feeling that the rest of the week will work out. Today I’m headed back into the Caliban Wave with a look at Jubilee!

I guess you can consider Jubilee here an apology figure. Hasbro gave us to her a few years back as a Build-A-Figure, which was an odd choice in and of itself. Then to add fuel to the fire, the Wave was notoriously hard to find and complete. I don’t think I ever saw any of the figures once, although I heard tell it wound up as a Toys R Us Exclusive. Needless to say the figures went for big money online. Beside that, the Jubilee BAF wasn’t based on the classic look for the character anyway, so here’s Hasbro taking a brand new stab at getting her into the hands of collectors.

I don’t own the BAF Jubilee, but comparing this one with some pictures, it looks like there’s definitely some recycling here, at the very least her yellow trademark jacket looks the same. And they did a nice job with it. It’s cast in retina-melting yellow plastic, features a high, popped collar, and comes down to behind her knees. The sleeves are sculpted onto the arms, rolled up to the elbows, and she sports a pair of blue gloves, which match her boots. Under the jacket, she casts off the black outfit from the previous release in exchange for her blue shorts and pink top. There are some lovely little touches in the sculpt, including the buttons and the pin on her chest, all of which are neatly painted in gold. Her sculpted black belt features a gray belt-buckle, and the shorts have some sculpted tailoring and cuffs around her thighs. The colors on this figure are fantastic!

The portrait is pretty tight, although my figure has a bit of a wall-eye thing going on. I’m not so sure that it’s just the paint to blame, as the eyes really do look a little too far apart. Everything else is fine, though. The paint on her lips is sharp and clean, the earrings look great, and I love the sculpting they did on her hair. I particularly dig the way her transparent pink glasses came out. It’s never easy doing eyewear in this scale, but these fit the figure perfectly.

Now, with all the gushing aside, I will say that while I was quite excited to get this figure, now that she’s in hand I’m a little cool on her. Part of the problem might be that the plastic is really gummy on mine, particularly in those double-hinged knees and in the neck hinge. It’s weird. Working some of her joints feels like a dubious prospect and most of those hinges would rather try to warp than actually work the way they’re supposed to. Add to that the lack of any effect parts, and she’s just not as much fun to play around with as she might have been. I’m surprised Hasbro couldn’t even cough up a few of those hex-type effect circles that clip to the wrists. Yeah, I’ve got tons of them, but that’s not really the point.

She does, however, come with a couple extras, namely this second portrait with removable glasses. And yup, this one has her blowing a bubble with her gum. I love that they included this one, it’s a wonderful effect, and the removable glasses were a nice touch. Unfortunately, this head does not fit right on my figure. It won’t snap in properly and when I try to apply pressure, the gummy neck joint just bends. I can sort of make it work, but it’s just another example of how the QC on my Jubilee isn’t up to snuff.

I guess Jubilee turned out a little disappointing. The figure looks great, and she’ll be fine representing on my X-Men shelf, but the mushy plastic on this figure drags her down a lot. When I open a figure for Marvel Mondays, that figure usually stays on my desk for the week so I can play around with them on my down time, but Jubilee just isn’t that much fun, so I think she’ll be going right up on the shelf. Next week, the X-Men train rolls on. Who will it be? I won’t know for sure until I start digging through the Legends pile, but I feel like I have a hankering for some crawdads and gumbo.

Marvel Legends (Caliban Wave): Beast by Hasbro

I’m going to keep an X-Men streak going on Marvel Mondays for at least a few more weeks, although I’m not sticking to any one wave. Today’s figure is one I was really excited to get and it is indeed Dr. Hank McCoy! I thought this was the first time I was dipping into the Caliban Wave, but it turns out I already opened and reviewed Blink a little while back.

Beast is so essential to the X-Men lineup, it surprises me it took this long to get him and this long for me to open him. It’s also impressive that even with his rather large stature, Hasbro was able to cram an extra set of hands and Caliban’s noggin in there. Hell, they probably could have made Hank a BAF himself and I would have been cool with that.

And I’m certainly pleased with the look Hasbro went for here, as this is definitely my favorite version of the character. He’s big, burly, no shirt, and just a big slab of muscle and blue fur. His entire outfit consists of some blue undies and his branded yellow X-Men belt. And I have to say, both the detail in the sculpt and the beautiful gradations of blue conspire to make Beast a great looking figure. Virtually his entire surface is covered in sculpted fur texture, with extra thick patches on his chest, shoulders, back, and around his neck. He’s got giant feet and hands, along with an additional set of swap-out hands, which include a hand-standing hand and a fist.

Hasbro went all out on the articulation here, so much so that I’m getting some flashbacks to the Toy Biz days, where articulation often took a front seat to aesthetics. Thankfully that’s not quite the case here, although I will say that with all these points of articulation, I think Beast looks better in action poses than simply standing prone. Nonetheless, lets run down all of those points! His arms have the butterfly shoulder crunches, rotating hinges in the proper shoulders, double hinges in the elbows, hinged pegs in the wrists, and swivels in the biceps. The legs are ball jointed in the hips, double jointed in the knees, and have swivels in the thighs. The ankles have hinges and lateral rockers, and there are hinges in the feet. There’s a swivel in the waist, a ball joint under the chest, and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed. Needless to say, this figure is tons of fun to play around with!

If there’s one thing that I’m torn on here it’s the portrait. Don’t get me wrong, it looks great, but it also lacks some detail in the sculpt, particularly around the mouth and the teeth. The teeth are really just painted lines, and the paint is a little rough. It looks more like an animated portrait, and that’s not a bad thing, but it’s at odds with some of the more detailed head sculpts we’ve seen out of Hasbro in the past. With that being said, the hair and whiskers looks great and the fierce expression is certainly packed with personality. Still, I’m going to have to say it. We should have gotten a second head sculpt with this figure. Beast shouldn’t only be characterized in a furor like this. I would have loved a calm portrait for Hank.

But hey, I don’t want to end this look on a downer, because I really do dig this figure a lot! I was still playing around with him long after I was done snapping pictures, and this big lovable guy has been sitting on my desk for a few days now so I can pick him up and play with him on my downtime. With Beast, the core X-Men characters continue to pour onto my Legends shelves, and I say keep ’em coming, Hasbro. I ran short of time to do a decent group shot this week, but I’ll make up for it next week when I keep the Legends X-Men love train rolling along!

Marvel Legends (X-Men): Wolverine, Jean Grey, and Cyclops by Hasbro

Hey, folks! It’s the last Marvel Monday of the year! I keep wanting to wrap up that Wendigo Wave, but distractions keep coming my way. In particular, I had several X-Men-themed boxed sets hit my stoop by way of Santa himself, and I thought I’d knock out one of these before the end of the year. Today I’m checking out what I like to call The Apology Pack, wherein Hasbro says they’re sorry and makes good on a new Jean Grey figure. But they can’t be too sorry, because they’re making us buy two other re-do’s with her! Well, sort of. Trust me, it’s all worth it in the end.

Because there’s nothing about this glorious set that would even make me hesitate buying it had I not received it as a Christmas gift. Sure, I don’t consider “Bomber Jacket” Summers essential, and sure Hasbro could have just thrown in the extra Logan heads with a single Jean Grey release, but just looking at this set makes me so happy, I don’t care. I don’t know if it’s the snappy blue color of the box that makes that X-Men logo stand out. Or maybe it’s just seeing this much 90’s-Jim Lee-glory in one package. Either way, it’s hard to quantify how much greatness is packed into this box. There’s a lot of stuff to look at, so let’s jump right in! And going from left to right, we’ll start with Logan!

If you collected the Apocalypse Wave then surely you recognize this figure, or at least the body, which appears to be completely recycled here. I haven’t gotten around to opening all of that wave yet, so that makes him relatively new to me. Although, to compare him to a figure I have opened, he does still share a lot of the body used for Wolverine from the Juggernaut Wave. You get those wonderful flared boots, a belt with an X-buckle, and shoulder armor. The coloring here is absolutely exquisite, with the bright yellow leggings and top, complete with tiger stripes. The boots are blue with black trim, and his gauntlets, undies, and shoulders are all matching blue. Toss in the bright red belt and you’ve got a feast for the eyes. This figure comes out of the package with Logan’s bone claws equipped, which is a little something more to set it apart from the Apocalypse Wave Logan.

The figure also comes with the battle damaged head sculpt, and man is this thing great! The flared out “ears’ are tattered, and rips in the top of his mask have his sculpted hair spilling out on top. Couple all that with an absolutely raging expression, and this makes for one badass portrait. Between this head and the bone claws, there’s definitely good incentive for double-dipping on this version of Wolverine, should you already own the previous release.

The articulation here is identical to what we’ve seen with the past two Wolverines I mentioned, so I won’t go through a whole run down. I will, however, point out that he features those shoulder crunches, which adds to the posing possibilities. To be honest, if the damaged mask head and bone claw fists were all he came with, I think it still would have been a very worthwhile variant for my collection, but there’s still more to talk about.

If you don’t have that Apocalypse release, you also get the regular masked head and the regular adamantium claws seen on that figure, which certainly adds to the value of the set. The claws are included in separate fists, so you don’t have to pull out and swap each one. The middle claw on my figure’s right hand angles a little funny, but they are pretty fragile and prone to warping.

The regular masked head sculpt appears to me to be identical to the one included with the Apocalyse Wave, and that ain’t a bad thing because it’s a fantastic sculpt. But wait, we’re still not done!

You also get a completely unmasked head with a mask that can be worn down the back of the neck. I think these are the same that were included with the brown suit retro release, another figure I haven’t gotten around to opening yet, but still a nice bonus. So with three sets of heads, two different sets of clawed hands, and the mask, I sure don’t feel bad about having to buy what is essentially a figure that I already own. Let’s move on to Jean Grey.

For many, Jean Grey will be the star of this set, because the last Jean that Hasbro released in modern Legends wasn’t so great. I didn’t have a big problem with it at the time, but looking at it now, I can certainly admit that it hasn’t aged well. Here we get the same Classic 90’s look for the character, but completely redone. Gone are the hideous ball-shaped hips, and in its place a body that looks a bit better proportioned and less awkward. The suit has a bit more of a mustard color to it than the brighter yellows of Logan and Scott’s costumes. And while I will admit to liking the metallic blue they used for the original figure, the more subdued darker matte blue they used for this suit is a lot more sensible. And the bracers still have a glossy finish to them to satiate my love of shiny things. The thigh panels are also more subtle here, and the shoulder pads are redesigned.

The figure comes out of the box with a brand new head sculpt depicting Jean’s voluminous flowing red coif, which mostly conceals her form fitting partial hood. And I have to say this portrait is a little hit and miss. The hair looks great, the eyes look great, and the lips… well, that’s where it starts to lose me. I’m sure they were going for full and sultry, but what we got is just a little off. I can’t quite put my finger on what exactly it is, but I think the mouth is the one part of this portrait that lets it down.

You also get a second portrait, this time with her hair pouring up out the top of her headpiece in a sort of pony-tail affair. This portrait is also overall pretty good, but once again, there’s just something about the lips. Here I think it’s just a case of them being too big. I don’t know. I’m not totally hating on either of these heads, but Hasbro has been doing a great job with the female portraits lately, and these two just feel like they missed the mark a bit.

Other than the improved hips, the articulation here is right in line with all the other Legends gals. That means no bicep swivels and rotating hinges in the elbows instead of double-hinges. It’s worth noting that Jean comes up the lightest of the three figures when it comes to extras. There are no extra hands or anything other than the second head. Moving on to the final figure…

I said earlier that Jean Grey was probably going to be the star of this set for a lot of collectors, but I have to imagine Cyclops is coming in a close second. Sure, we just got him a little while back in the Warlock Wave, but that figure has gone on to command some ridiculous prices on the second hand market. Hell, you can buy this whole set for less than what you’re likely to pay for that earlier release of Scott Summers. As a result, the fact that this guy is mostly a recycled release maybe ain’t so bad. Obviously the big change here is the bomber jacket with newly sculpted arm sleeves, otherwise the rest of the sculpt seems to be the same, albeit with a brighter shade of yellow paint and plastic. The jacket is a great new sculpt with nice detail in the stitching and even the zipper. There’s also an X-patch on the left shoulder. I will note that the thigh and boot straps stay on a bit better on this one, but the peg that holds his belt on in the back will not stay in at all. Fortunately the jacket covers it, so you can’t really tell that it’s popped. I may just go ahead and glue it together.

The figure comes out of the box with the same head sculpt as the Warlock Wave with only the paint being notably different on the visor. Last time it had something of a glossy gold finish, now it’s straight up bright yellow to match the rest of the costume. They’re both fine, but I think I prefer this one. And while Scott comes with two fists, he does have a swap-out left hand so he can activate his visor.

The box also includes two more heads for Cyclops, each with a different style of eyeware. These include a set of red conventional shades, and a set of visor-type shades. Both are good looks, but the painted hairline on my second head is a little off and the red glasses paint on my third head is too. Neither are huge issues for me, but worth mentioning nonetheless. Ultimately, I like this figure a lot, and I haven’t decided which Scott Summers I’ll use for my regular X-Men display, but either way I think this is a fine alternative for collectors who missed out on the previous Cyclops and don’t want to drop a lot of money grabbing him from a second-hand seller.

I’m glad I was able to wrap up my 2019 run of Marvel Mondays with something special, not to mention a triple-figure review. This three-pack is an example of a box set done right. It gave us a brand new Jean Grey, a variant of a figure that is very tough to get at an affordable price, and a fan favorite with plenty of extras bundled in. And while I toss 90% of my Legends boxes because of space considerations, I was really tempted to keep this one, just because the presentation is so damn pretty. Indeed, I had such a great time playing around with these figures, I think I’m going to keep the X-Men love going a little longer. Next week, I’ll check out Beast! In the meantime, that’ll be it for me for this year. I’m going to try to make it back on New Year’s Day, but if that doesn’t happen, I’ll catch you all on Friday!

Star Wars: Kylo Ren’s TIE Silencer by Hasbro

Merry Christmas, everyone! For the last bunch of Christmas morning content, I stuck to reviewing bigger items that invoked nostalgic feelings of childhood Christmases when giant playsets or vehicles would be discovered under the tree. This year, I’m coming at it a lot simpler, but with the same amount of feels. Some of my earliest and most memorable Christmas mornings involved Star Wars toys. Indeed, I’d be hard pressed to remember many Christmas mornings that didn’t involve opening some kind of Star Wars figure, toy, book, video game, etc. I remember my parents used to wrap several Star Wars figures together so I couldn’t figure out what they were until I opened them. And that one year I got the AT-AT and Snowspeeder and took them out into the snow to play was pure magic. And it was probably only magic that saved me losing my fingers to frostbite. I also have very fond memories of one Christmas and a certain rubber Yoda puppet that probably stayed on my hand until I went to bed that night. This year, with the final installment of The Skywalker Saga out in theaters, I thought it would be only fitting to turn to a Star Wars toy for my Christmas review. And pardon me if I ramble a bit, but I’ve got quite a few Jamesons in me to get me through this holiday.

I enjoyed Rise of Skywalker quite a bit. Granted, it’s not what I would have envisioned for the end of the saga. It also steps on the events of Return of the Jedi a little too much for my liking. But it was still a fun and enjoyable film. And unlike it’s predecessor I look forward to seeing it again. Today’s toy isn’t actually from Rise of Skywalker, but Kylo Ren and his TIE Silencer have been in all three of the Sequel Trilogy films, and if I remember right I think he actually had two of them in this one, because one of them got crashed and burned up. Either way, I’ve had this one for a couple of years now and it’s long past time I opened this baby up. The ship comes in an enclosed box with just a small window to show off the included figure. It doesn’t actually state the film it’s tied to, but based on the art, it seems to be branded for The Last Jedi. There’s some assembly required, and once it’s done this thing isn’t going back in the box. So let’s rip it open and see what we got!

Straightaway, I have to say how much I love this design. It consists of a strong nod to the old school TIE Interceptor, but with plenty of new stuff to make it fresh and original. The squat profile places it at odds with the usual verticality of the regular TIE Fighter design, giving it a sleek profile, which is probably a tactical advantage as well. It also makes it perfect for spinning, which made for a particularly great looking attack run in The Last Jedi when he made his approach toward General Leia’s Command Ship. The wing panels have the same textured design as regular TIEs and features extended guns at the tip of each of the wings to give it a rather aggressive look. And while on the subject of the wings, I have to say that the build on this ship is much better than some of Hasbro’s recent efforts. The plastic used for the wings is flexible, but the panels were not all warped right out of the box, and it doesn’t look like that will be a problem. What’s more, the guns on the tips are attached as part of the build, and that probably spared them from getting all warped and messed up in the box.

The body on this thing is larger than your average TIE Fighter, reminding me a bit of Darth Vader’s Advanced TIE. There’s a ton of great detail in the sculpt, including panel lines and vents, and a bunch of other bits and bobs that I would probably need the Visual Dictionary to identify. The bulk of the toy is cast in black plastic, but there is a fair amount of dark and light gray to bring out the detail. You can probably also make out the little blue paint app on the bottom, that’s the Force Link gimmick, which is used to activate the toy’s electronics. It claims to have lights and sound, but because I never bothered picking up the Force Link, those functions of the toy aren’t accessible to me. Yeah, that rally sucks, but to be fair the toy stands just fine on its own without the bells and whistles.

One of the biggest departures from traditional TIE design is the lack of the circular segmented cockpit window that’s been such an iconic part of TIE design since the beginning. Yeah, it’s kind of there, but not really. Instead, the front of the pilot cabin looks more like a traditional cockpit. It definitely makes this ship look distinctive and sets it apart from the older ships a lot more than the new X-Wing designs. At least in my opinion. Either way, this thing looks pretty vicious when viewed from the front.

While this ship happily escaped the grafting of Nerf darts onto it, the TIE Silencer does feature a weapon gimmick (Force Link not required), and that’s the pop out torpedo launchers on the sides. These are activated with a button on the back of the ship, which causes the spring-loaded weapon pods to deploy in an instant, and I really dig it a lot. The torpedoes are neon green colored missiles that are extremely bright and do a pretty good job of mimicking some kind of energy weapon. These can be retracted simply by pressing them in.

And as advertised, the ship comes with a Kylo Ren (TIE Pilot) action figure, which as near as I can tell is the same as the regular 5-POA Kylo Ren from The Last Jedi. He doesn’t come with a helmet, but the head sculpt is pretty good and even includes the scar. I’m on record as actually liking these 5-POA figures quite a bit. They scratch a certain nostalgic itch and the sculpts are actually quite good on most of them. Here you get a lot of nice texturing from Kylo’s suit and details in his wide belt. He also comes with his now iconic lightsaber.

As expected, the figure does fit inside the vehicle. The hatch on top opens to reveal a very detailed cockpit, complete with texturing on the seat and the deck plates, and even all the control panels are fully fleshed out in the sculpt. And unlike some of Hasbro’s recent vehicles, the figure fits in there quite comfortably and with plenty of room to spare.

I can’t deny that a lot of Hasbro’s 3 3/4-inch scale vehicles and ships have been really hit-or-miss lately. The first release of Poe’s X-Wing was a travesty (thankfully remedied by a new Vintage Collection release) and even the First Order TIE Fighter was plagued with wing panels that were warped right out of the box. I actually returned one of those, and I almost never do that! So, taking all that into account, I’m quite pleased with how this ship turned out. The build quality is excellent, the detail in the sculpt is remarkable, and the weapon gimmick adds to the toy without defacing it. I suppose the only real complaint I have is that the electronics require the Force Link to work, but then I’ve never really cared much for electronics in toys anyway. I guess, there’s one more sticking point with this toy, and that’s the original price tag. I seem to recall this thing retailing at around $59.99, and there is no way in hell it’s worth anywhere near that. I picked up mine on clearance a while ago for $25, and I thought that was a pretty fair price. And with my Star Wars vehicle purchases few and far between these days, I have to say opening this wonderful ship on Christmas Eve brought back a little bit of that magic for me.

And with that, I’ll wish you all a Merry Christmas and I’ll catch you again at the end of the week.

Star Wars Black (The Mandalorian): Heavy Infantry Mandalorian by Hasbro

Six episodes in and I am still enjoying the hell out of The Mandalorian. And I’m overjoyed that Hasbro has released at least a few action figures from these episodes. Sure, there’s opportunity for plenty more. Sure, I’m hoping Hasbro goes full guns on this series. But whatever happens, I’m still plenty happy with what we’ve got. Today I’m having a look at the Heavy Infantry Mandalorian who turned up in Chapter 3: The Sin.

I’ve got nothing new to say about the packaging, other than this box is a little wider than most Black Series packages, and that’s to accommodate the extra gear. And in keeping with tradition, we don’t know a hell of a lot about this character. Well, other than he seems like a real prick at first. He even picks a fight with the titular Mando, to the point where the vibro-blades come out, all in what seems to be mostly a case of misplaced jealousy. But in the end Mr Heavy proves that Mandalorians stick together when he jumps in to support Mando as he breaks bad with his employers.

What we do know is that this guy is an absolute bruiser and that his armor and gear (at least to me) step just a little bit closer to Boba Fett’s familiar armor. I think a lot of that comes from the helmet and the forearm armor. Unlike most of the other Mandos, this guy is armored up from head to toe with the sculpted under-suit really only showing in his upper thighs and his elbows. This guy has obviously proven himself, because his armor is so complete and in relatively good condition. Not to mention that with his heft, it must have taken a lot of that precious besker steel to outfit him. The armor itself is pretty smooth and simple with a mostly blue deco. The exception is in the brown kneepads, lower right leg, and left leg cuff. It gives him that slightly ragtag look, like maybe those are the last pieces he needs to upgrade when he gets his next big score. The forearms feature some nice detailing in the way of panel lines and gizmos, and he’s got a hefty belt with a number of brown pouches, each with painted snaps. The armor is rounded out with some sparing and effective silver brushed weathering, some of which is emphasized in the sculpt with pockmarks and dents. This is a great looking figure!

Of course, one of the big draws in this design is the weaponized jetpack, which looks passingly familiar to the one worn by Boba. This one lacks the central missile and seems to have beefier thrusters, but makes up for it by powering two pretty impressive weapons via two cables. The heavier segmented cable coming out of the right side attaches to his big gatling laser, somewhat reminiscent to the one worn by Baze Malbus in Rogue One. And I’ll come back to the gatling laser in a bit.

The smaller gray cable attaches to the weapon mounted on the left gauntlet. I haven’t re-watched the episode recently, but I don’t remember him actually using the gauntlet weapon, so I’m not sure what it’s supposed to be. Maybe just a big-ass flame thrower? That would be cool.

The helmet also strikes me as more reminiscent of Boba’s than the one worn by The Mando, but I think that has to do with the pock marks and the range finder. The helmet is mostly blue to match the rest of the armor, and features lighter blue paint apps for the “cheeks” and more of that silver brushed weathering. The range finder is on the left side of the helmet, is sculpted in place, and a lot beefier than the one on Boba’s helmet. I dig it!

And how about that big-ass blaster! That’s how you make a statement! This beast of a weapon looks like the kind of thing that would be mounted on a tripod, but they don’t call this guy Heavy Infantry Mando for nothing. He’s up to the task to wield this thing like a champ. The weapon can be pegged into the side of the jetpack for storage, and I’m impressed that even with all this gear on his back, the figure has no problems standing up. The giant death stick is just packed with sculpted detail, has some beautiful silver and blue paintwork near the muzzle and barrels, and even features a swiveling hand grip on the top allowing him to hold the weapon perfectly in a number of firing positions.

 

Oh boy, do I love this figure! Naturally, it would be great to get figures of all the Mandalorians in the series, but if we only get one, I’m glad they went with this one. He’s an absolutely gorgeous figure from sculpt to paint, and his giant weapon and near perfect balance makes him loads of fun to pose and play with. And I’m kind of glad that he didn’t turn out to be a total asshole by the end of the episode. Will we be seeing more of him? Well, we don’t have many episodes left, so who knows? I can’t imagine how the writers will spend the last two episodes they have wrapping things up, but I’m excited to find out.

Marvel Legends: The Punisher War Machine by Hasbro

I was going to keep pressing on with the Wendigo Wave this week, and I probably still will next Marvel Monday, but for today I decided to take this detour and have a look at another one-off Exclusive. It’s Frank Castle wearing the Punisher-branded War Machine armor! I want to say this one was exclusive to Gamestop, but I grabbed it off of Amazon, so I wasn’t really paying attention. It’s a figure that I was not going to go crazy hunting down, but when it popped up in my recommendations at just a few bucks over retail, I took a bite.

The package is pretty much the same old stuff, but I particularly love the deco on this one. The art on the side panels looks great and the War Machine logo on the bottom front panel with The Punisher spray painted over it is just plain awesome. There’s not much of a blurb on the back, but the figure references The Punisher #218-220 where he adopted the War machine armor after Rhodey was killed in Civil War II. As a concept in the comics, the idea really tickled me, and as a device to sell a repaint of a figure, well it works for that too. But in all honesty, I don’t think you even need to be familiar with the circumstances to get a kick out of this one.

And yes, this is a repaint, but a repaint of one of the few Marvel Legends figures I don’t own. Yeah, I was shocked too, but apparently War Machine Mk III came in a two-pack with that garishly colored “Disco” Iron Man and I couldn’t see clear to dropping $40 on it. Hey, looks like sometimes I do exercise self control. Go me! Anyway, at least that means this figure is new to me, and it turns out that it’s pretty damn good! The Mark III armor looks a lot beefier than the previous Legends War Machine from the Hulkbuster Wave and I dig that. The bulk of the figure is cast in a dark gray with a little speckling to give it a pretty convincing metal look. Indeed, both the sculpt and coloring of the plastic conspire to make this figure look heavier and more substantial than it actually is… a lot like armor! Some basic paint apps on the body include silver brushed weathering, which looks quite effective, some silver accents, and bright blue paint hits to signify the blasters on his gauntlets. And then you’ve got the new stuff for The Punisher deco!

Yeah, this stuff looks great! It not only includes his iconic skull emblem on the chest, but also some kill counts in the form of tiny Punisher logos. He also retains the “000” on the right bicep. The head hasn’t changed as much, retaining the silver face plate and blue eyes. On the downside, repainting an MCU suit means that this guy doesn’t quite match the suit we saw in the comics, which had more of an organic design to it, particularly in the legs. But when the end result looks this good, I can live with that.

The figure comes with a fair number of accessories to mix and match. First off, he has twin machine guns, which can tab in under his forearms with hinged drop-down magazines. These can also be stored by tabbing them into his hips. Instead of popping out of the armor, I presume he just touches his forearms to his hips and they attach and equip. It’s a cool concept, but I’m not really in love with the designs of these things. They barely look like guns at all.

There are notches behind his shoulders for his other accessories, the shoulder cannon and the baton. There’s a cannon barrel that plugs in on the left shoulder to make it look like the cannon is retracted and just pointing up, while the right shoulder takes a piece that looks like the hilt of his baton where it is supposed to be stored.

By replacing the left shoulder piece with the fully articulated cannon, it can look like it’s been deployed for action. The cannon features a bright blue paint app on the edge of the barrel and it can rotate left and right.

As for the baton, you just pull out the partial baton piece and use the full one in either of his hands. Yes, there are two accessory-holding hands to replace the fists. The baton may seem silly when considering the awesome arsenal of the War Machine armor, but I like it. It’s one of Punisher’s trademarks and it’s addition helps drive home that this is indeed Frank Castle in the suit.

And just to try it out, the Castle head from my Retro Wave Punisher does fit, sort of. It doesn’t actually lock down and secure, but it looks fine balanced on that ball joint if you’re going for an unmasked look. I think it works great.

For a figure that I was content to skip, I found this one to be a really pleasant surprise. Maybe a lot of that has to do with the fact that I don’t own the original War Machine version of this sculpt, but I also think that it’s just a great idea and a fun figure, regardless. Sure, a few of the attachments could have used some refinement, but now I’m just nitpicking. Indeed, I like this figure so much, I may just circle back and pick up that original one in the two-pack.

Marvel Legends (Wendigo Wave): Cannonball and X-Force Wolverine by Hasbro

Welcome to another Marvel Monday! I’m doubling up today in a never-ending effort to get caught up on the unopened Pile of Shame© in my closet. Yeah, it still feels like digging a hole in the sand, but for the first time in a while, I feel like I don’t have quite as many Marvel Legends coming in, so maybe I am getting a little closer to being current.

And let’s just go ahead and hit the Wendigo Wave again, because most of that assortment is on top of the Pile and I don’t feel like digging through it only to have it collapse and bury one of my cats in the avalanche. Plus, Cannonball and X-Force Wolverine are a couple of figures that I think I can do proper justice to in a somewhat abbreviated format. I’m going to start with Wolverine!

I was expecting X-Force Wolverine to be mostly a repaint of the Logan we got back in the Juggernaut Wave some three years ago, and while I was partially right, there is just enough new sculpting here to make it feel a little fresh. The main changes are in the forearms and lower legs. The previous figure featured the flared comic-style boots, whereas this one sports a pair of heavier combat-style kicks with chunky treads. On the arms, he’s got heavy gauntlets and the more robust blades protruding from his fists. Unfortunately and inexplicably, Hasbro omitted the extra pair of claw-less fists and that sucks. What’s the deal, Hasbro? There was certainly plenty of room in the package for them. Finally, we get a new belt, this time with the X-logo on the buckle. With the recycled body comes identical articulation, right down to those wonderful extra crunches in the shoulders.

I was surprised to see a few sculpting tweaks to the head. It’s nothing major, but welcome all the same. My only complaint here is that the features on the lower half of his face are a little soft, like they were on the previous release. The gray and black deco looks great on the mask and the eyes are painted red giving him a distinctly sinister look.

The rest of the suit is repainted in the X-Force colors, giving us that sharp black and gray combo with the space behind the X on the buckle red. Nitpickers will have prime opportunity to complain that the pegs inside the knee hinges are left unpainted, thus showing gray in a field of black. The elbow hinges aren’t effected because his elbows are left bare. The paint lines on my figure are pretty crisp and clean, although there is a bit of gray on the black area of his chest. All in all, X-Force Wolverine is a solid variant that fills a very obvious hole in the Legends X-Men roster. It’s a well put together figure, and seeing as how long it’s been since the Juggsy Wave, I’m not complaining about seeing this one again so soon. Let’s move on to Cannonball!

Oh boy! There’s two ways for me to approach Cannonball. One is based on what we got, and one is based on what we didn’t get, and y’all no doubt know where I’m going here. What we got is pretty great. From the waist up the sculpt is excellent. He features his purple bombers jacket, brown gauntlets, and a painted white shirt.

The portrait is also pretty great. He’s got a rather fierce expression with the kind of gritted teeth one would have if one was shooting explosive force out one’s lower half. The goggles and aviator style cap look fantastic, especially with his short blonde hair spilling out the top of it. I got no complaints here!

From the waist down we get this effect part of Cannonball flexing his Mutant abilities and blasting off. It’s a decent looking piece, although I would have liked a little more paint around the transition between his body and the blast effect. As it is, it’s just a sharp and jarring line where the effect part plugs into the waist. Ahh, but maybe that’s a minor gripe, especially where I’m going next. That’s right, Cannoball has no legs, and this is outright inexcusable, and yeah, I know I already used that word in this review about Logan’s missing fists. I get it, throwing in a normal lower half for Cannonball is a lot more costly than repacking a couple of fists for Wolverine, and yet I can’t help but feel it’s the more outrageous omission of the two. Hasbro gets so many things right with Legends. They go above and beyond so many times. To not include a normal lower half for Cannonball is just so wrong. And as good as the effect part looks, the figure still looks kind of dopey just standing there on it. It feels like it should have been sculpted with a wider base that would have allowed Sam to be on an angle like he’s in flight.

So, today’s Marvel Monday was a real mixed bag. X-Force Wolverine is fine, so long as you weren’t expecting anything terribly new and exciting. It’s just a costume change, and not a terribly dramatic one at that, and that’s OK. Cannonball is superb from the waist up, the effect part is fine, and what’s here is so much better than the one we got from the old Legends line in that two-pack with Domino. But not being able to display him with his powers turned off really sucks. Maybe Hasbro will do right by us and toss in those legs in a later wave, but at this point I kind of doubt it. At best, I’m thinking we might just get an apology figure with legs in a future multi-pack. And you know what? I’ll be the idiot that lines up to buy it!

Star Wars Black (The Mandalorian): Cara Dune by Hasbro

We’re four episodes (five if you count today!) into The Mandalorian, the new Star Wars series on Disney+, and I’m happy to say that I’m enjoying it a whole hell of a lot. It’s refreshingly simple, well crafted, and the backdrop is rich with the Star Wars Universe. I already reviewed the Black Series figure of the titular character, and now I’m back to check out Cara Dune, a character that made her appearance the very same week that her figure was hitting my doorstep. Now that’s some pin-point timing on your distribution, Hasbro! Too bad you ain’t got none of them Baby Yoda’s to sell. What? Mattel is making that? WHAT?? It won’t be out until later next year? What the hell is going on over there, Disney? Don’t you and Hasbro like money anymore???

Setting aside the lack of Yoda Babies, we are introduced to Cara Dune in Chapter Four: Sanctuary, which plays out like an old episode of The A-Team. Or that episode of Enterprise where they have to defend a colony against Klingon raiders by teaching the locals how to fight. Here, The Mandalorian and his new associate, Cara, must defend a village from raiders who also happen to have a pet droidified AT-ST and they need to improvise. Despite an eye-rolling cliche clip of the villagers getting drilled with the use of quarter-staffs, it was most enjoyable and the script does a nice job fleshing out Cara’s character and actress, Gina Carano does an equally fine job bringing her to life. I’m presume we’ll be seeing more of her, but instead of speculating, let’s have a look at her figure.

As a former Rebel fighter and all around roughian, Cara comes sporting a set of armored fatigues that look right at home in the Star Wars Universe. The ensemble consists of a chest-plate, shoulder armor, grieves on her forearms, and a single right knee-guard, because to hell with the left knee, right? The outfit is all part of the body sculpt, which makes some nice use of texture for the chest and back pieces, as well as the outer portions of the legs. She’s got a couple of sculpted gear belts, one of which supports a working holster on her right hip. Her boots have sculpted wraps leading up to her knees as well as some code cylinders strapped to her lower right leg. The blue, gray, and black deco is certainly distinctive, and there are plenty of silver paint hits to the buckles and gear. There’s also some very nice weathering on her armor, which looks good and is used sparingly. Finally, a tattooed segmented band encircles her right bicep. The sculpt and paint here are both excellent, and I also dig how the figure’s build matches Carno’s powerful stature.

And speaking of matching, the portrait here is a pretty solid likeness for the actress, but I don’t think it’s among their best. I think it’s very good from certain angles, but from others it loses me a little. But hey, if we’re grading the Black Series on a curve because of some truly lackluster portraits, I think this one still ranks in around a B+. Not as good as what we’re seeing from Hasbro’s Marvel Cinematic Universe figures from down the hall, but I’m not going to quibble about it. The hair is particularly well done, sculpted separately from the head and covering part of her right face, while strands fall down the other side between her cheek and ear.

I’ve already mentioned the functional holster, which holds her blaster pistol, and includes a retaining strap that fastens with a peg and hole. We got to see this weapon up close and personal in her battle with The Mando and it features a lot of great detail in the sculpt as well as painted grips. The pistol strikes me as a little demure for her, but nevertheless it appears faithful to its on screen counterpart. She can hold it in either hand, but it works best in the right hand with the hooked trigger finger fitting through the trigger guard.

Next up, she comes with a little combat knife, which can be held in either hand. I struggled for a bit to figure out where this goes on her outfit before spotting a little slot on the side of her left boot. It’s a simple accessory, but still quite welcome.

And finally, Cara comes with a weapon that seems more suited to her stature and that’s this heavy blaster rifle. This big boom-stick features a cool over-under double-barrel design, not to mention two big drums of whatever passes for ammo in the Star Wars Universe these days. Like the pistol, there’s some excellent detail work on this weapon, brown paint on the grip and stock, and it includes a grab bar on the top so that Cara can wield it with both hands.

It also includes a shoulder strap, so she can carry it on her back. Nice!

At a time when I’ve been considering slowing down on the 6-inch Black Series, Cara comes along and rekindles my interest in this line. Or perhaps it’s more accurate to say that’s the case for The Mandalorian in general. I don’t see myself buying a lot of figures from Rise of Skywalker, because I just don’t think I’m going to end up liking the film all that much. Hopefully time will prove me wrong. But The Mandalorian is another story entirely and I sincerely hope that Hasbro starts pumping out figures from this line at a quick pace. There’s already quite a few that I’d like to see from the first handful of episodes.

Transformers Siege: Prowl and Barricade by Hasbro

It’s been a real struggle for me to get back to three reviews a week. I mean, you can see how well it’s been working out for me. So, until I get there again, In an effort to get caught up, I’m going to be trying to bundle reviews a bit more often, especially when it’s appropriate. And when I’ve got two Transformers police cars from the same mold waiting to be opened, this seems like one of those appropriate times. Let’s check out Prowl and Barricade!

If you comb back through FFZ, you will find evidence of my undying love for Prowl. The original G1 toy was one of my first Transformers, it was my favorite Autobot mold, and whenever I played with my convertorobots, he stood prominently as Optimus Prime’s first lieutenant and all around right-hand-bot. Hell, even when I watched the Sunbow cartoon I would lament and stew over the fact that Prowl wasn’t in it more often. I’ve been patiently waiting for my boy here to get a proper toy update. After all, the Classics version has aged horribly and the Combiner Wars version was really never more than a place-holder for me. As for Barricade, well I’m not someone who’s anxious to see a lot of Bayverse Transformers shoe-horned into my regular Transformers line, but I will admit that seeing Barricade turn up in Siege has intrigued me a bit. He was one of the cool things I liked about the original film and doing him as a repaint of Prowl seemed like a no-brainer. So let’s start with the alt modes!

Obviously, Siege is focused on Cybertronian alt modes, so my hopes for a proper Datsun are quickly dashed. What we get instead is a Cybertronian interpretation of the Datsun and it looks remarkably like its Earth counterpart. The only big difference is the atrophied cabin, after all these aren’t supposed to be vehicles for meat-bags, and the translucent wheels for cruising down alien roads. There are also some exaggerated contours to give the body more of a futuristic flavor. And hey, I can get behind all of this just fine. Prowl’s white body and black trim certainly looks familiar and while the Cybertronian script on the sides is unintelligible to me, it mimics the police markings just fine. There’s even a light-bar and an off-set Autobot emblem on the front of the hood. I dig it.

 

As for Barricade, he retains a good deal of his coloring from the first film and I’ll be the first to say this deco looks great. A black-and-gray body with white doors and the same alien “police” script on them gives us a perfect Cybertronian nod to the Bayverse Decepticon. The translucent purple used for the faux canopy is gorgeous and the same plastic is used for the wheels as well. The snappy new deco is tied together with a Decepticon emblem stamped on the front of the hood. It’s a great looking car!

Each figure comes with a weapon, which can be plugged into the light-bar for those rolling highway battles. Prowl’s actually resembles his G1 gun quite a bit, while Barricade’s is a double-barreled weapon which can split into two pistols. Transforming these guys is a pretty straight-forward variation of the original toy. Sure, it’s a bit more complicated, but not too much. I was able to get these guys to robot mode and back without any instructions, so you know it can’t be that hard. So how’s about them robot modes?

Yeah, what we have is very similar to the Prowl I know and love. His proportions aren’t quite perfect, as he strikes me as having extra broad shoulders. It’s a similar style to Siege Sideswipe and it is not by any means a deal-breaker for me. Quite the contrary, I think these guys look fantastic. The jutting hood chest remains my all-time favorite Autobot design, complimented by the door wings. Conspicuously absent is any sign of shoulder-mounted guns, giving all the third-party companies out there a chance to make some money. The lower legs still form out of the hatchback, but in this case heel-spurs are added to fold out and grant stability. These guys aren’t quite as well polished when viewed from the back, but I’ve certainly seen worse.

As for the decos, they remain pretty faithful to their respective car coloring. Prowl adds some yellow paint accents on his lower chest as well as the sergeant stripes on his biceps, which is just a lovely touch. Barricade adds a new color to the mix, which is like a pale gray-lavender for his arms, upper legs, and torso. As with all Siege figures, there’s a lot of detail to the sculpts by way of panel lining, and Barricade shows these off much better because of the lighter color plastic.

If you’re looking for a G1-faithful portrait, Prowl’s head sculpt is just about perfect. I don’t think I would change a thing about it. The “helmet” is well defined and includes the red horns jutting out from the center ridge. His noble Autobot face features some snappy silver paint. I’d go so far as to rate this portrait right up there with the Masterpiece version, it really is that good!

For Barricade, I’m happy to say that Hasbro designed a brand new face because the f’ugly Bayverse bug-faces just don’t belong in this line, and I really like what they did with it. His facial features aren’t quite as sharp as Prowl’s, but he does look appropriately grim. The brown face is an interesting choice and I suppose it goes well with his darker deco. The “helmet” is similar to Prowl’s as it shares the central crest with protruding horns, in this case purple, but there’s enough differences to set it apart and make it distinctive.

Obviously the guns we saw in their alt modes can be wielded in their hands. Once again, Prowl’s pays homage to the original G1 figure’s gun and is cast in white plastic. Barricade’s can be used as a single weapon or split into two pistols.

So far Siege has failed to truly disappoint me and that track record isn’t going to be upset today. Prowl and Barricade are excellent figures, and coming from me, that’s saying something because I hold my Prowl figures to high standards. Actually, I’m usually just happy enough to get them at all, but in this case Hasbro did the design proud in both robot and vehicle modes. These guys look great, are quick and easy to transform, and they are tons of fun to play around with. Of course, we haven’t seen the last of this mold, and Siege Smokescreen will be hitting my doorstep sometime next week. I probably could have waited and reviewed all three together, but I’ll just have to come back and give him his own look when I get the time.