Marvel Legends (Banner Hulk Wave): Beta Ray Bill by Hasbro

One of the great things about having such a deep backlog of Marvel Legends is when I dig my hand into my pile of shame, there’s no telling what will come out. Case in point, today we’re going back to the Banner Hulk Wave and opening up Beta Ray Bill. I knew Bill was in there somewhere, and I’ve been hoping to get him in a random pick for a while now!

This assortment remains one of only a few few Modern Legends waves that I didn’t hunt down too enthusiastically. I wasn’t all that excited about the Banner Hulk BAF and I wound up giving a lot of the parts to my nephew anyway, but I may borrow it someday to review here. Eh, probably not… I think I’ve got enough on my plate as it is! Anywho, I have to give Hasbro some major props for the branding on this package. The snappy logo used for Bill’s name could have easily convinced me that it’s a movie tie-in. Sadly, no such luck, but the future holds many possibilities. There’s not a lot that could get me to want to go see a Thor movie starring Natalie Portman, but slap Beta Ray Bill in it, and I’ll be there.

Behold! Beta Ray Bill out of the package and looking damn cool! I’ve always found his backstory to be a little wanting, but who needs a great backstory when you’re an epic space man-horse in Asgardian armor? Egads, I love comics! The armor in question is a lot simpler in design than what The God of Thunder is usually wearing, but it’s still easily recognizable as being cut from the same cloth. Or mythril. Or whatever Asgardians make armor out of. From below the chest down it’s just smooth and black and showing the details of Bill’s fine muscles. The chest armor is painted with a gun metal gray finish that has a bit of a hammered texture to it. You also get two sets of the silver discs, similar to the ones that appear on Thor’s armor. A set of burnished bronze shoulder armor and sculpted wrist wraps round out the ensemble nicely. Not to forget the cape, of course! From behind, Bill is basically just a wall of cape! But it’s a very nicely sculpted cape!

With a face any mother could love, the head sculpt was easily going to make or break this figure. Happily, Hasbro did not disappoint. His horse skull visage is so grim it’s adorable and they really nailed the way his pronounced brow frames those pupil-less eyes. His head is topped off with a silver Asgardian winged helmet and the best surprise is that he has a hinged jaw! The sculpted tongue was a nice touch as well. Superb!

Bill conforms to most of the usual points of articulation I’m used to seeing on my beefy horse-men. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, there are double-hinges in the knees, swivels in botht he thighs and the lower legs, and the ankles are hinged and have lateral rockers to keep his feet flat on those wide stances. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, double-hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps. The neck is both hinged and ball jointed, and I’ve already mentioned the hinge in the jaw. The biggest change up here is that he has a ball joint under the chest instead of the usual ab-crunch hinge.

Naturally, Bill comes with his trusty weapon, Stormbreaker, which makes me wonder what weapon he’ll have if he shows up in the MCU. Maybe he’ll just wind up with the Stormbreaker with the Groot handle. Either way, this mighty weapon is cast in gold plastic, has a ribbed grip, and a soft plastic lanyard coming out of the butt cap. Mine also has some ugly paint splotches on it. Boo!

Beta Ray Bill is one of those super fun characters who desperately needed an action figure. He’s also one of the stand-out figures for me from this assortment, and that’s saying something because there are some genuinely solid figures in this wave. So much so, that I may just work on wrapping up the remaining figures before moving on to more randomness.

Transformers Siege: Smokescreen and Bluestreak by Hasbro

While I’ve already started dipping into the Earthrise reviews, I’ve still got unfinished business with Siege. As a result, I’ll continue to pepper some of those older releases in with the Earthrise figures now and again until I get fully caught up. Last week I did this with a look at Siege Ratchet and today I’m finishing off the Siege Datsuns (Well, Cybertronian Datsuns) with Smokescreen and Bluestreak.

Unlike Prowl, who was a regular release in Siege, these guys are a bit more confusing. Smokescreen was one of the Selects figures, which meant he came in an plain ugly box and I think he was exclusive to the Hasbro Pulse Shop. Bluestreak was released as part of the 35th Anniversary Collection, which seemed to be mostly repaints. but in only slightly altered packaging. This would piss me off to no end if I kept these in their boxes, but I don’t so I care not! Let’s start out with Bluestreak!

I already did a review on this mold when it was first released as Prowl and later Barricade, so I’ll stick to pointing out the differences, and in auto mode we’re just talking about the new paint jobs. I’m a little mixed on how Bluestreak came out. His deco consists primarily of bare gray plastic with some glossy black. It’s an interesting combination, but I’m just not all that crazy about how the finish on the gray looks so much more dull. Maybe Hasbro realized that, because they did give him some spiffy silver painted wheels. The red Autobot emblem on the hood toss in a splash of color, as does the red trim that can be seen through the transparent canopy. I don’t dislike the coloring here, I just feel like it could have been better with an all around glossy finish.

Smokescreen, on the other hand, well this is what I’m talking about. Sure, he has the advantage of a snappy red, white, and blue deco, but the finish looks great. In addition to the coloring, he also has some panels with Cybertronian writing, where the 38 appears on his traditional auto mode. I also really dig the black skeletal frame on the canopy and the way it emphasizes the sculpted detail inside. There’s no doubt about it, Smokescreen is the more attractive of the two, at least as far as I’m concerned.

Where Prowl just came with a gun to mount on the hood, these guys come with that gun plus two others, which can mount where the side mirrors would go. This combo makes for a particularly dangerous looking attack mode. Moving on to the robot modes!

I liked this mode well enough when it was Prowl and I like it just as much with these guys. With the bumper chest and the door wings, this is Autobot design at in its purist form. And I dig the deco here a lot more in robot mode. The duller gray plastic looks better on a robot than it does a car and the black with the addition of the red in the upper arms, upper legs, and abs makes for a quite striking combination. Yeah, this mold still looks a bit unfinished from the back, but all in all, I think the mold looks great in these colors.

The portrait looks to me to be the same as Prowl’s and that includes the “helmet” and those pronounced wings or horns or whatever you want to call them protruding from the central ridge. The silver paint looks great and the blue eyes are sharp and prominent despite the lack of light-piping. And unlike Prowl, Bluestreak has his twin shoulder guns, which we saw mounted on his auto mode. I think these look great and it bothered me a bit that they omitted them from Prowl. I guess in the end it serves to make the figures a little more distinctive from each other.

Smokescreen gets to keep all that beautiful blue and red paint from his auto mode, but the robot mode also adds a lot of black, which presents a pretty significant break from the colorful alt mode. I’m not saying I don’t like it, only that I find it interesting that Bluestreak got a bolder color statement going to robot and Smokescreen got muted. It still makes for a fantastic deco for the mold. Naturally, I would have liked it if Hasbro could have re-sculpted the hood and gave it that squared off apron, but this will still do just fine.

Smokescreen also gets an all new head sculpt, which suits him beautifully. The blue “helmet” is more rounded out and feels more integrated with his face. His brow wings are yellow and have an interesting cracked pattern sculpted into them. The silver used for his face is bright and lovely and he’s got some additional detail sculpted into the edges where his face meets the “helmet.” And as with Bluestreak, the twin guns we saw in his auto mode form his shoulder cannons.

When I reviewed Ratchet I’m pretty sure I commented about how I’m trying to get away from buying a lot of repaints with my Transformers. I easily passed on Soundblaster and I’ve yet to pick up the cell-shaded Optimus and Megatron (although those are still tempting), and I’m going to sit out all of the Netflix repaints that have popped up at Walmart. But when we’re talking about repaints that made up original characters? Well, those are always going to be fair game. The Datsuns were a cornerstone of my Transformers memories and Prowl was among my first Autobot figures when I was a kid. So yeah, I’m pretty much going to pick these guys up whenever Hasbro does them justice like this.

Transformers Siege: Ratchet by Hasbro

With lots of Siege figures left for me to open, I’m trying to juggle these older reviews alongside the new Earthrise figures. Today I’m going back to one of my favorite characters from the G1 cartoon, Ratchet. It’s always a treat to get updates to Ratchet and Ironhide, because as a kid I was robbed of proper figures because their G1 toys were so damned weird. I was actually pleased with the CHUG versions when they came out, which just goes to show you how thirsty I was. I mean, Woof! Those haven’t aged well. Obviously Ratchet here is just a repaint/slight remold of Ironhide, which I reviewed a little while back, so some of this may feel like I’m covering old ground, but let’s take a look!

In kind of a dick move, Hasbro decided to make Ratchet a Walgreen’s Exclusive. Now, in fairness, he was pretty easy for me to find, so I probably shouldn’t complain, but I’m sure there are people out there who had problems because of the exclusivity. Bottom line, Hasbro… don’t be making important characters like my boy Ratchet an exclusive. Save that shit for Barricade. He was a cool figure, but not essential, IMHO. Anyway, despite being an exclusive, there’s no sticker or other indicator of that fact on the box. Naturally he comes packaged in robot mode, but let’s start out with his alt mode.

In vehicle mode, I expected Ratchet to be a straight-up repaint, but Hasbro actually did some reworking on his front bumper, as well as the area above and behind the tinted blue windshield, which is a welcome surprise. It’s not quite an ambulance light-bar, but it’s painted to resemble one. Maybe the Cybertronian equivalent, eh? The back panels are still kind of ugly and hollow, because they’re the bottoms of Ratchet’s feet, although if I try hard enough I can imagine that they’re supposed to be exhaust vents. Still, I’d rather it looked like he could open up to carry wounded Autobots. As for the rest of the vehicle, the white plastic looks good with the painted red panels, and the wheels are slightly more gray than white, which mixes things up a bit. The silver paint on the bumper head headlights looks good, as does the crisp Autobot insignia just under the windshield. You also get some brushed weathering near the back. It’s not an entirely different vehicle than Ironhide, but the subtle changes and the new paint job certainly sets it apart.

Hasbro also set Ratchet up with some new accessories, which can be used on Ratchet’s auto mode. He’s got a wrench-claw on an articulated arm, and a smaller gun, which can be part of the claw or mounted separately as a weapon. I dig both of these a lot, as it allows Ratchet to effect repairs while in his alt mode and laying down covering fire at the same time. I suppose the claw could also be used to grab hold of Autobots and drag them off the battlefield to safety.

As mostly a repaint, Ratchet transforms exactly the same as Ironhide. There is one nice surprise, however! The side panels don’t fall off like they do with my Ironhide EVERY SINGLE TIME I TRANSFORM HIM!!! Either way, Ratchet has a fantastic looking robot mode that’s well proportioned and just chunky enough to scratch my G1 itch. It’s not a dead-ringer for the original Sunbow character design, but it hits just enough points to make it work for me. Structurally, the only differences between him and his Autobot brother is the slight reconfiguration in the shoulders and the front bumper that rests behind his head. From behind he’s got a lot of hollow compartments, but he still manages to look rugged and sturdy. The deco doesn’t change much from his vehicle mode. It’s still mostly white with some red here and there.

The new head sculpt looks great, particularly with his rounded “helmet” and those big wings over his eyes. I like the features in his face, but I wish the face was painted silver to make it stand out a little more. There’s no light-piping in the blue eyes, but they still stand out remarkably well.

Ratchet’s weapon can be split up to give him a pistol, and you have some options if you want to attach the claw arm to him. I like pegging it into his back. It fills up that empty space a bit and it can be swiveled around to project up over his head or shoulder. What practical purpose it could serve? I have no idea. Maybe as an extra hand when he’s doing his repair work? Of course, you also have the option of just setting it aside when he’s in robot mode.

Ironhide was a great figure, so it should come as no surprise that Ratchet toes the line and also turned out fantastic. With display and storage space being what it is these days, I’m not that keen on buying a lot of repaints anymore, but with some of these old G1 guys, I have to make an exception. And with that having been said, we’re not done with this mold yet. It also got repainted into Crosshairs, and I wound up buying him too, so we will revisit the Ironhide/Ratchet mold again in the not too distant future.

Marvel Legends (SP//dr Wave): Cloak and Dagger by Hasbro

It’s time to rev up that Wayback Machine, because for this week’s Marvel Monday, I dipped my grubby mitt into the stack of unopened Marvel Legends shame and came up with Dagger from the SP//dr Wave. Naturally, I had to dive back in to find Cloak because I can’t rightly review one without the other. This was like a lost wave to me. It came and went and I never saw most of it. Luckily I found Cloak and Dagger off of Amazon, and only now am I reminded that I reviewed Elektra from this wave back in 2018. Doc Ock is in my Pile of Shame somewhere, but he didn’t come with a BAF part. That leaves a couple of Spider-Man variants and Shadowland Daredevil, I think? Maybe one day I’ll build that SP//dr BAF but until then, I’m going to open up Cloak and Dagger.

I was about 13 when Ty and Tandy got their first four-issue miniseries but I was too into Spider-Man and Fantastic Four to notice. Actually, I think I fell in love with Dagger, but even my raging hormones and her fine booty didn’t get me too into the comic. It just wasn’t what I was looking for at the time. It wasn’t until a few years later that I found the entire run of their eleven issue series at a used book store downtown where I often trekked to on my bike to hunt comics. Slightly older me was a lot more game. It was dark and gritty shit that taught kids you could get super powers from heroin. Actually, I think that was the opposite of the message they were going for, but hey, it’s up to interpretation. Let’s start out with a look at Cloak!

Before I even had this figure in hand, I predicted it was going to be problematic because of that plastic cloak and I sure was right about it. The plastic cloak tightly encompasses the figure and renders him practically static. I can barely even get his hands to peek out without the clasp on the cloak snapping open. Now, with that having been said, I think the figure looks fantastic. The flowing cloak features a beautiful glossy dark blue finish with some matte black stripes emanating from the sculpted clasp. Beneath that there’s a fully articulated body, but none of that articulation is worth a damn unless you take the cloak off. And that’s no good because the body under it is just a featureless black and purple buck. Besides, what’s Cloak without his Cloak. How many damn times can I say cloak in one paragraph??? CLOAK!!! The only noteworthy thing going on under there is his hands, which are cast in a partially clear plastic and have a cool otherworldly look, if you can actually catch a glimpse of them.

The hood is sculpted separately from the rest of the cloak and attached to the head, so at least the neck articulation is useful. The hood is also partially transparent, similar to the hands, so it casts a cool purplish tint over Ty’s face. And what a great head sculpt this is! Tyrone projects a stoic expression with his perfectly painted goatee and stern, pupil-less eyes. I dig it!

But yeah, here’s a great example of where Hasbro should have introduced some softgoods to this line. I’m not saying it would have looked as good as the plastic cloak, but at least it would have allowed the figure some movement. Maybe some customizers out there have come up with something better, but as is, this figure looks great but is absolutely no fun at all. Let’s move on to Dagger.

Dagger is an extremely simple figure, with absolutely zero original sculpting from the neck down. The almost entirely white buck portrays her costume along with the flesh-painted crucifix that passes as the cut-out on the front. Her hands are also painted with skin-tone and has some white paint on the backs of her hands. This is about as basic as it gets for Marvel Legends, but does it work? Yeah, pretty much. I really don’t have any complaints when it comes to the costume. I do, however, have a couple of other nitpicks. First, I think the figure would have been better served using one of the younger and shorter bucks. Second, it’s my age old gripe over the use of rotating hinges in the elbows as opposed to hinged elbows and swivels in the biceps. Why do the dudes get it, but the gals don’t? There’s also no waist swivel, but Dagger does have a ball joint under her chest. Otherwise, the articulation is business as usual.

Overall, I like the head sculpt well enough, but the eyes do look a little too far apart. The white crescent around her right eye is sharp, as are all the paintwork on her facial features. Her hair is sculpted so as to bunch up around her shoulders, and it isn’t as restrictive of the neck articulation as I thought it might be.

Dagger comes with one accessory and that’s an effect part that clips onto her wrists. It’s supposed to simulate her throwing her light projectiles, but the alignment doesn’t really work for me. There have been a handful of other Legends figures that had similar style effect parts that work a lot better than this one.

Does it sound like I’m really down on this pair? I dunno, maybe. I think they look fantastic together on the shelf, and it’s pretty fun to pose Dagger and put her in front of Cloak, but in the end I guess this pair did fall a bit short of my expectations. I love the characters and I’m happy to have them represented on my Legends shelf, but I don’t think I’ll be taking them down and playing around with them a lot. Cloak feels more like an action-figure-sized accessory for Dagger, and I’m sure that’s not what Hasbro was going for here. And while Dagger gets the job done, there’s nothing about her that’s all that special.

Star Wars Black: Deluxe Imperial Probe Droid by Hasbro

If anyone was expecting me to do a Star Wars review on May the 4th, well then you shouldn’t underestimate the power of Marvel Monday. Bump Marvel Legends? In its moment of triumph? I think you overestimate my backlog! That was just never going to happen. I was actually trying to push for getting today’s review out on Wednesday, but this has been one those hell weeks at work, so it turned out to be a two-review kind of week. Plus, and to be quite honest, it’s been so hard for me to summon up a lot of enthusiasm for Star Wars these days. I’m not throwing in the towel, I’m still buying some of the toys, but after The Last Jedi and Rise of Skywalker I think I need to give it some time to replenish my batteries. I think that’s best illustrated in the lack of Star Wars content lately, and the giant stack of unopened Black Series figures in the Toy Closet. Maybe I need to get to work on some Star Wars Hot Toys reviews to get my excitement up again. Either way, the Black Series Deluxe Probe Droid wound up on my doorstep this week and I decided I would push it to the head of the line.

This is indeed one of the line’s Deluxe offerings, which means it comes in a bigger box and retails for around thirty bucks. Hasbro is tying this release into their 40th Anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back, and I have to say I love the addition of the old school logo on the box. Otherwise, the packaging gives you a good look at the figure and it is collector friendly. And that’s good, because I may actually keep this box. In addition to the figure, you get a stand which consists of a Hoth-style base and a clear plastic rod.

Free of his packaging and on the prowl, the Probe Droid looks quite spectacular! It’s crazy to think how iconic this droid has become considering what a tiny part he played in the film. He flew around on Hoth a bit, he fired off some shots at our heroes, and then he got toasted. He wasn’t very consequential and yet he’s become something of a droid star. It’s hard for me to come up with something equivalent in the new films, but I guess we’d have to wait a few decades to see whether any of the new designs take root and enjoy this kind of a legacy. And when I say we, I mean y’all because I don’t know that I have a few decades left in me. Nonetheless, over the decades I’ve had at least a couple of figures of this droid, most notably the original Kenner release that came in the Turret and Probot playset and the Power of the Force 2 version. Both were great figures. I can remember playing with the Kenner version long after the family dog had chewed it’s arms down to misshapen nubs. I used to just pretend he got mauled by the Wampa and barely escaped with his central processor intact.

I think it’s safe to say that Hasbro outdid themselves with this sculpt. There are plenty of panel lines, compartments, tanks, and little bits and bobs incorporated into the droid’s body. Look closely and you can see tiny sculpted rivets and pock marks, which suggest that these guys are collected by their Imperial masters, or they return to base on their own after their hunt so they could be re-used over and over again. I especially love all the spider-like eyes that litter it’s head. These shiny black soul-less orbs come in all shapes and sizes and are obviously designed to gather all sorts of information in a 360-degree spread as the droid makes its way across its hunting grounds. Between the head and body there’s a boxy blaster, which can swivel left and right to target interlopers. The dual antenna on the head can also raise and lower, although they don’t retract as far as they did in the film.

I wasn’t expecting a lot in terms of paint on this fellow. The droid is mostly just a gun-metal gray achieved through the color of the plastic. Still, Hasbro surprised me with some nice flourishes of paint. Most notably there’s a copious amount of silver dry brushing to give the droid a weathered look. Scuffs are scattered about the body and head and I feel it’s not overdone. There’s also some red paint here and there to pick out some of the panels and tubes on the body. Finally, there’s a fair amount of brown, which looks like it could be a combination of rust and dirty oil smeared in patches here and there. I think Hasbro could have gotten away with a much flatter deco on this toy, but they stepped up and did some fine work. It has a real used look to it.

In addition to the rotating head, the five mismatched legs feature quite a bit of articulation. Each leg can rotate where it connects to the body and some have as many as five hinges to them. These hinges are pretty sturdy and keep the legs in place no matter what configuration I put them in. The sculpts are good with sculpted hydraulics and an array of different types of claws and utensils, probably designed to take samplings of minerals, pick through ship wreckage, or whatever the droid happens to be investigating. The full articulation in the legs allow for a seemingly endless variety of display options for posing. I particularly like how they can be swept back as if he’s traveling quickly.

The figure stand is both simple and elegant. It’s just a clear rod and a base, but it works perfectly. I certainly don’t need anything more complicated than that. Although if I am going to gripe a bit. I think for the $30 price tag, Hasbro should have put a sound chip in this guy. The probe transmissions are so iconic and sound so cool, it’s a shame they couldn’t have made that work. I mean, I’ve had novelty key chains with sound effects that cost me next to nothing.

It’s funny. I began this review lamenting my bad case of Star Wars fatigue, but clearly it can’t be all that bad if I can drone on with affection over a Probe Droid that had about five minutes of screen time. But then this fellow is just another great example of how some of those robot and ship designs captured my imagination as a child. Not to mention why I’m still spending money on this shit when I’m pushing fifty. Either way, I think Hasbro did a fine job with this one and I’ll happily put him on the Hoth corner of my Black Series shelves. He looks great, he’s got a lot of articulation, and he’s just loads of fun to play with. I was actually going to wait on this one for a sale, and I did manage to grab it at a bit of a discount, but ultimately I’m pleased I didn’t wait.

Marvel Legends (Demogoblin Wave): Shang-Chi by Hasbro

I like to think I possess a pretty solid familiarity with the Marvel Universe. I’m sure no expert, but with close to 40 years of funnybook reading under my belt, I’ve picked up a few things, got to know a few characters, and generally know my away around the Marvel neighborhood. And yet Marvel Legends runs so deep that even Hasbro has summoned a few characters here and there that I know little about. Shang-Chi is one of those characters. Apart from running into him in Shadowland and Spider-Island, I wouldn’t know him hardly at all. And he’s getting his own MCU film. Wow.

Now if Shang-Chi is your boi, I’m not bashing him. I was surprised to see that he’s got a substantial number of books and appearances under his belt. I was also pleased to see that there’s a tie-in with Sax Rohmer’s old novels. Alls I’m saying is, I don’t really know the guy, but based on the package, I take it he’s The Master of Kung Fu. Cool. This is the third figure from the Demogoblin Wave that I’m opening, and I’m still thinking maybe I should have sat this wave out. The two GamerVerse Spider-Man figures turned out pretty nice, but I don’t know that I really needed them. And now here comes Shang-Chi. Well, let’s open him up.

There’s certainly not a whole lot to say about his costume. Shang-Chi’s got a pair of red trousers with orange and yellow ankle cuffs, a black belt around his waist, and other than that he’s just showing a whole lot of skin and muscle. The coloring on the pants is nice, the sculpted muscles look great, His nipples awkwardly get by on paint alone, rather than sculpt, and I think those are newly sculpted feet, but I wonder why they lack peg holes. He’s undoubtedly a nice looking figure, but I tend to think more generic martial artist or maybe GI JOE, more than I think Marvel Comics. But that’s just my own ignorance talking. Either way, I think Hasbro’s got about 90% of their GI JOE Classified Quick Kick figure right here.

The head sculpt is also quite nice. The definition in the facial features is sharp, and I dig his determined expression. A shouty head would have been nice for action poses, but what’s here is still plenty good. Of course, the most notable thing about the head sculpt is the wild headband that snakes off his head and blows in the wind. Now, I think this thing looks great, but I really think Hasbro should have made an option available where the headband isn’t quite so animated. Either a second one to peg into the back of the head or a whole different head. Maybe that’s asking a lot.

The articulation here is fantastic, and that’s pretty much required for a martial artist figure. Shang-Chi sports those wonderful shoulder crunches, which we usually see on Spider-Man figures. He also has regular rotating hinges in the shoulders, the elbows are double-hinged, the biceps have swivels, and the wrists are pegged hinges. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have swivels in the thighs, double-hinges in the knees, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. There’s a waist swivel, an ab-crunch hinge under the chest, and the neck is both hinged and ball-jointed. All the joints feel nice and solid.

And as you’ve already seen in the pictures, Shang-Chi comes with a whole passel of hands. The last time I saw anything close to this many hands in a Legends release was back in the All-Father Wave and the white costumed Iron Fist. You get a pair of fists, a pair of chopping hands, a pair of accessory holding hands, a pair of “I’m gonna hit you with the palm of my” hands, and a pair of graspy hands. The assortment of hands here is no joke.

Shang also comes with a pair of nun-chuks. One is straight and the other has one chuck bent at a 90-degree angle. They have ornate gold ends and a sculpted gold chain. I’m not a huge fan of the plastic they used for the gold parts. It just looks kind of cheap. Also, I’m not sure how many times I’ll be able to flex the chain without it snapping. So far there haven’t been any stress marks, so that’s a good sign.

Going in to this review, I sure didn’t think I needed a Shang-Chi figure, but coming out of this review I’m happy to have one. Even with knowing next to nothing about this character, I can’t deny that this is an unbelievably fun figure to play around with. The articulation and extra hands go a long way, and I found him to be almost impossible to put down. He’s still standing on my desk so I can fiddle about with him on my downtime. After sucking down two contrived unlock-able suit video game Spider-Man figures, Shang-Chi turned out to be just the palate cleanser that I needed!

Marvel Legends (Demogoblin Wave): Gamerverse Velocity Suit Spider-Man by Hasbro

It’s a new week and that means a new Marvel Monday, so I’m continuing to dip into the relatively new Demogoblin Wave of Marvel Legends. Last week I had a look at the Mark III Spider-Armor from the PS4 Spider-Man game, and since we got one more figure from the game in this assortment, I decided to open this one up next. Today we’re checking out the Velocity Suit!

Other than the snazzy white GamerVerse boxes, I’ll confess to not being all that excited about these figures. The prospect of giving Peter Parker 1,000 different suits like Tony Stark’s armor just doesn’t appeal to me, but I guess it makes sense as an incentive gimmick in a video game. Plus, having a bunch of different suits to make action figures out of probably had Hasbro licking their collective chops. Speaking of which, the Spider-Man game remains sealed on my shelf, because I just haven’t had the time to play it. And yes, I do see the irony in that since the majority of the country is under lock-down vacay, while I am just working more hours. Nonetheless, I wound up liking the Spider-Armor well enough, so here’s hoping I can find something to love here as well.

As the name suggests, the Velocity Suit gives Peter a speed boost. The figure doesn’t make use of any texturing, instead giving the suit a smooth and slick surface all around. That combined with the high gloss finish makes this one look as much, if not more, like armor than the previous figure. Maybe they were going with the idea that smooth means less friction and that leads to speed. Or more likely they didn’t put that much thought into it. The deco consists of a red and dark blue base, which is fairly familiar, but adds some light blue lines and integrate the spider emblem into their design. Virtually all these light blue painted lines on the suit are part of the sculpt, which is cool. Based on how they’re executed on the figure, I’m going to assume these channels glow on the suit in the game. Whatever the case, I have to confess that the high gloss paint looks great and goes a long way to sell me on a figure I don’t really care about.

The head sculpt strikes me as being very Stark-like in design, perhaps even more so than the last figure. There are even some faint panel lines that seem to form a mouth, although they are very subtle. The eyes feature more of the light blue piping around them. What else can I say, other than to admit it looks good.

As with the Mk III Spider-Armor, the articulation here lacks the shoulder crunches we see on most Legends Spider-Man figures, and that makes the figure feel a little more stiff than I’m used to my Spider-Man figures to be. But the rest of the articulation is there, making him fun to fiddle about with. Here too, we only get the hands that are attached to the figure, one right fist and one left thwippy hand. The only other noteworthy thing about the articulation is that the ab crunch doesn’t seem to have as wide a range as usual. I don’t know why, all the points are there, but this one looks a little stiff when posing.

I don’t imagine that it’s a coincidence that Hasbro chose these somewhat uninspired Spidey figures to be the first to get web effects included. The Mk III armor came with webbing to cover an adversary’s face. This one comes with a loop of webbing to tie up a foe and it’s pretty great. I usually keep effect parts bagged with the figures they came with, but I think I’ll be keeping these on hand to use with future Spidey figure shoots.

Conceptually, I just don’t give a crap about this figure. The idea of a go-faster suit for Spider-Man is just kind of stupid to me. Nonetheless, I can’t deny that it’s an attractive figure. The sculpted lines and the brilliant new-car finish really makes the red and blue pop splendidly. In the end, I bought these for the effect parts and BAF parts, and because I got them super cheap, but both this one and the MK III Armor managed to win me over in the end. I’ll certainly find a place for them on my Spider-Verse shelf, but they’ll probably be towards the back.

Transformers “Earthrise:” Wheeljack by Hasbro

Work is still very crazy for me, but last week I actually hit my goal of three reviews, let’s see if I can make lightning strike twice this week, eh? Despite still having a whole bunch of unopened Siege figures, today I’m revisiting the Earthrise series with another Deluxe Class figure from that initial wave. It’s my personal favorite absent-minded Autobot scientist, and the Dinobot-Daddy himself… Wheeljack!

The box art is looking as smashing as ever! As the name suggests, the second chapter in the War For Cybertron series gets us a bunch of G1-inspired characters in their more familiar Earth modes. It feels like it’s been almost ten years since Wheeljack got a release in Hasbro’s main Transformers line, and I think he’s long overdue. As usual, the figure comes packaged in his robot mode, we’re going to start with a look at his auto mode.

Originally, Wheeljack transformed into a Lancia Stratos, and Hasbro stuck to that design pretty damn closely for this figure. It’s just as sexy as ever, with the sloping hood, futuristic horseshoe canopy, shuttered back window, and wide spoiler that sits up nice and high. This is an auto design that holds up beautifully and wouldn’t have needed a lot of tweaks to make it look like a Cybertron vehicle, had Hasbro included him in Siege. I also really dig the way they put two sockets in the back, so you can plug in some blast effect parts to look like rocket thrust. There is absolutely nothing I dislike about this mold. It locks together well, rolls smoothly, and it’s just an absolute home run.

The coloring is really great too. The base plastic is a little off-white, maybe eggshell? Either way, it’s adorned with a similar style of red and green deco that the original toy featured and the wheels are also painted red. In addition to the Autobot insignia on the roof, Wheeljack is positively littered with markings from the bold 638 stamped on his doors to the Aerobolt on his spoiler, and all sorts of other stamps and sponsor advertisements. Some of it is even in Cybertronian. The deco perfectly captures the feel of the vintage toy without being a straight copy.

There’s a peg hole on the roof so you can weaponize Wheeljack’s auto mode with his gun/missile launcher. Unlike some of the weaponized vehicle looks, I think this one works well. The weapon is small enough that it looks like it could have appeared from an opening hatch, rather than look like something that was just stuck onto it.

Transforming Wheeljack isn’t too difficult, it’s not too simple, indeed it feels just right for a Deluxe Class toy. But the engineering also holds my one gripe about this figure. The lower portion of the windshield splits into two little plates. When transforming him into robot mode, these fold into his legs just behind and under the knees. The problem is these pop off every time I transform him, and by that I mean EVERY TIME I TRANSFORM HIM! Half the time, they go flying onto the floor and it’s a mad rush to recover them before the cats do. I feel like this could have been handled better, especially since the rest of the engineering is perfectly fine. And it’s hard to argue with how great the results are.  From the canopy chest to the big split-hood feet, the robot mode preserves everything I remember and love about the original G1 design. It even manages to do some clever stuff like use the spoiler to make those angled panels behind his shoulders, where they were separate pieces on the old toy. Hell, this guy even looks great from the back, and that’s not something I can say about a lot of Transformers these days.

The head sculpt is as quirky and distinctive as ever. He’s got those big ear panels, which I can practically see lighting up as he talks. He’s got the three-pronged crown coming off the top of his domed “helmet.” And his nose disappears into the segmented mouth plate. The blue eyes are painted on, so no light-piping, but they look fine.

Wheeljack’s weapon can serve as either a handgun or a shoulder cannon. It kind of looks like the one that came with the original toy, although that toy came with two of them, one for each shoulder. I don’t recall the original figure coming with a handgun either, but that always made sense to me because he was a scientist. Sure, I would have loved to get a second weapon so I could mount one on each shoulder, but he looks fine with just one.

I was, and still am, a big fan of the Generations Wheeljack figure from around 2011. Of course, it was more stylized than this release and took a lot more liberties with the auto mode. And while that figure will always have a special place in my heart, I think this Earthrise Wheeljack trounces all over it. This version is certainly more faithful to the original toy, a lot less fiddly to transform, and has superb robot and auto modes. He definitely carries on all the love that I lavished on Hoist and I’m hoping that Earthrise continues to impress as I keep opening these toys.

Marvel Legends (Demogoblin Wave): Gamerverse Mark III Spider-Armor by Hasbro

I’m likely going to start knocking off another wave of Legends from my backlog next week. In the meantime, I got the two GamerVerse figures from the Demogoblin Wave in the mail a few days back and they were within arm’s reach so I decided to have a look at one of those today. Let’s go ahead and do the Mark III Spider-Armor!

I’m assuming these are based on the PS4 Spider-Man game? Alas, my copy is still sealed on my shelf. I was pretty excited to play it at one point but then I watched my nephew playing an agonizing stretch as MJ in a stealth level and it was like getting doused in freezing water. Truth be told, if I was on lock-down like everyone else, I would probably have played it already, but all I got is loaded up with more work hours out of this whole pandemic mess. Ah well, I’m sure I’ll get to it eventually. I do know the game had a ton of unlockable suits because Spider-Man sure is known for his diverse catalog of costumes. Wait, what? Hey, whatever it takes to sell action figures, right?

Because Spider-Man suits are just like Stark Armor now? I guess that ties in with the MCU. Sorta. Anywho, this is indeed an armored suit and all things considered, it’s a pretty damn cool looking figure. The Mark III Spider-Armor preserves a bit of traditional underlying Spidey suit and just adds some armored bits to it. I dig the texture in the red parts, particularly on the chest and arm bracers. The bracers look like they have two web-shooters on each one and the tiny red diamonds on the knuckles look great. Spider-Man comes with his right hand sculpted into a fist and a thwippy left hand.

There are some subtle panel lines in the black areas, which give it an MCU vibe. The large shoulder pauldrons are an interesting choice, and I’m not sure I like the blue there and on the biceps. I feel like they should have gone either all red and black or all blue and black. Plus, the blue paint on mine has some scratches, which don’t look all that great. I do, however, think the spider emblem on the chest looks fabulous.

From the back, the Spider-Armor features a partial segmented spine, like we sometimes see in the Stark armors. He also has a little backpack, which looks like a jetpack? That’s weird. Maybe it’s also used for launching Spider-Drones.

The head is the most Stark-like feature of the whole suit. It’s smooth, with gears for neck bolts and the neck is segmented. It lacks the usual Stark armor mouth, but you do get a pair of stylized eyes, which look pretty bad-ass.

The articulation is standard stuff, meaning he’s very poseable. We don’t get the shoulder crunches we usually see in the regular Spider-Man figures, but I guess that armor has to limit agility, right? Instead, the arms get by with rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, swivels in the biceps, and double-hinges in the elbows. The shoulder armor will overlap the shoulders to allow for some mobility there. The legs have ball joints in the hips, double-hinges in the knees, and swivels in the thighs. The ankles have both hinges and lateral rockers. There’s a waist swivel, an ab-crunch hinge under the chest, and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed.

There are no extra hands included, but hey… Web effect! Oh, long I’ve been asking Hasbro to start doing web effects! It seems like such a no-brainer! This one is meant to cover an opponent’s face and it fits quite well.

I was originally going to pass on this figure, as I wasn’t too keen on the concept, and I could probably live without building the Demogoblin. Luckily, it turned up for dirt cheap online and now that he’s in hand, I’m actually surprised how much I dig this figure. I’m still not a fan of taking the whole Stark Spidey suit thing to the extreme. We don’t need a Spider-Man House Party Protocol. But  as a concept figure I think this works great. Hell, I guess it even works as an extrapolation of the MCU Spider-Man. Either way, I’ll admit that it won me over in the end. Next week I’ll see if the same is true for the Velocity Suit Spider-Man.

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

Marvel Monday is spilling over to Wednesday this week, folks, as I’m back to cobble together another Build-A-Figure after finally opening all the figures in the Wendigo Wave. And what a wave it was! Guardian, Nightcrawler, X-Force Wolverine, Boom-Boom, Mr SInister, and No Legs… er, I mean… Cannonball! And borrowing a piece that came with each of these figures allows me to build the Wendigo! It’s kind of like a big white furry Voltron! And he’s not only a giant snowbeast, but also a cautionary tale about what not to do when you get peckish out in the Canadian wilderness. This guy is pretty simple to build and comprised of the usual six pieces: Head, body, arms, and legs. And I’ll form the tail!!! Nope, tail is already attached.

And once he’s popped together he is one beautiful beast! Wendigo does borrow some parts that Hasbro used on the Sasquatch Build-A-Figure, which certainly makes sense as they are both giant, lumbering, shaggy behemoths. And to be fair, Hasbro utilized a lot of new sculpting that they probably could have gotten away without doing. The furry groinular area, for example, is sculpted to hang down at more of a point than we saw with Sasquatch, and there are other subtle re-touches beyond what’s used to cover their junk. The entire body is sculpted with some light hair texture, but it gets particularly heavy around his lower legs, forearms, and his shoulders and back. Also, unlike Sasquatch, Wendigo’s got a long curving tail, which for some reason I find extremely unnerving. It’s part monkey, part cat, all horror! As expected, a lot of the coloring on this beast is white, but there are some hits of blue here and there, which break up what would be an otherwise monotone figure. He also has some gray on his hands and feet.

The head sculpt is pure nightmare fuel. I mean, holy shit! If I saw this thing in real life I’m pretty sure I’d piss my pants. I’m not even ashamed to admit it. The somewhat ape-like face features what looks like a normal head of human hair with his two pointed ears piercing through it on the sides. There’s some additional shag sculpted onto his cheeks and chin and it looks absolutely fantastic. The deep-set beady red eyes are darkened around the sockets and under his broad nose is a gaping maw filled with horrific looking yellow teeth, some of which are stained with blood.

Articulation here is identical to what we saw with Sasquatch, so I’ll just refer you back to that review. I will say that while the articulation is excellent, my figure has some trouble staying together and that’s not something that I usually find with these BAF’s. The biggest offender is the head, which will pop out pretty regularly. The arms, come second. They don’t come out all the time when I’m posing him, but it doesn’t feel like there’s a lot holding them in place and it doesn’t take much for them to pop out.

Besides being an excellent enemy for my Hulk or Wolverine to go up against, this figure is plenty versatile as just a big abominable snow creature. I can easily see using him with my Mythic Legions, or hell if I want to really make him seem big I can have some of my arctic GI JOE‘s fight him. Either way, he’s a beautiful BAF and a very nice bonus for collecting a damn fine assortment of figures. And that’s another wave of Legends in the bag. Next week, I’ll probably take a look at an exclusive or a one-off or something before diving into another wave. And who knows? I might even have time to come back and sneak in a third review this week on Friday.