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

Here we go! It’s the very last Marvel Monday review of 2018 and I am still ridiculously far behind on my Marvel Legends, but I’m so very glad to be ending the year with a figure from Infinity War. As far as movies go, that one was one of the highest points of the year for me. So much so, that I’m going to be ending the year watching it on Blu-Ray tonight for the the umpteenth time. So let’s get right down to business so I can watch my movie and you all can go about your New Years Eve business!

For all intent and purposes, Cull Obsidian is the Black Dwarf of the MCU’s Black Order and only the second of Thanos’ minions (so far!) to get a figure in the Legends line. He’s comprised of seven parts, if you include his weapon, spread out over all six figures in this wave, with the weapon being doubled up with one of the arms. Before slapping him together, it’s worth mentioning that this figure deviates a bit from his look in the film. The body and head sculpt both look pretty much on point, but he wore a lot more armor in the film. Is this one of those cases of Hasbro being given early concept art to work with? Probably. Does it hurt the figure? Not necessarily.

Sure, if you’re looking for a perfect representation of Cull Obsidian on the big screen, you’re going to be disappointed, but with that having been said, I think this guy turned out fantastic. This fellow is a good head and shoulders taller than his boss Thanos, and that makes him pretty imposing when compared to the regular-sized figures. He’s a big reptilian brute covered in scaly skin, with ridges on his shoulders, powerful hands, and three-toed feet. He kind of looks like something you’d find Duke Nukem fighting, and that ain’t a bad thing. As mentioned, the armor is quite different than what he wore in the film. Here he has grieves on his lower legs, a metallic armored belt with sculpted plastic cloth hanging down in tatters, a segmented piece of armor on his right forearm, and a massive piece of armor on his right shoulder, which is actually a separate piece and can be removed if you want to.

From the back, you can see armored plates running up his spine and a single armor plate stuck to his lower left leg. The coloring is mostly brown with some black wash to bring out the details, and some yellow-brown added to his chest. I would have loved to see a little wash on the armor, as it looks rather flat when compared to the rest of the body. The body features solid articulation for such a big guy, indeed it’s basically the same as what we get in the regular releases. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, the elbows are double-hinged, and there are swivels in the biceps. The legs have ball joints in the hips, swivels in the thighs, double-hinged knees, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. There’s a ball joint under the chest and the neck is ball jointed. As expected, this guy is as solid as they come, and he’s loads of fun to play with.

The head sculpt is a thing of beauty, and by that I mean it’s ugly as sin. Like the body, the portrait looks pretty close to the character seen in the film. I love the tiny piercing gold eyes, and the things on his chin and lower jaw that look like tusks. There’s some wonderful detail in the lines of his face, the ridges on his head, and all the other little scales and bumps.

If this figure disappoints at all, it’s definitely because of his weapon. In the movie he carried a cool axe that could shoot the head out on a chain. It looked like it was made out of space junk, but really cool looking space junk. Here we get this hammer thing that looks like a lame Minecraft weapon. It kind of has an MCU Kree technology flavor to it, but I just don’t dig it. He can only hold it in his left hand and while I’m sure he could do some major damage with it, I’d much rather we got something closer to the weapon in the movie.

Lame weapon notwithstanding, I absolutely love this figure. It really doesn’t bother me that he strays from the actual on-screen look, especially since the difference is mainly in his costume. He’s big and nasty-looking and he’s definitely going to spend some time fighting The Hulk on my shelf. Pretty soon I’ll be opening up Proxima Midnight and I’m really looking forward to the release of Ebony Maw and Corvus Glaive. I think they’re going to make for one hell of a display!

And that’s a wrap for 2018. I’m not doing any kind of End of Year list this year, mainly because I’ve got a busy couple of weeks with work and also because I don’t want to fall any farther behind in my backlog. At some point in the next month or so, I’ll probably be doing a Marvel Legends week, just to try to get me a little boost, although at this point I would need to do a whole Marvel Legends month just to try to get sort of caught up. Anyway… thanks to everyone who stuck with me for another year and I hope you all have a safe and happy New Year! 

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Marvel Legends (Cull Obsidian Wave): Malekith by Hasbro

It’s the last Marvel Monday of 2018 and I vowed to get through one more wave of Marvel Legends before we flip the calendar to 2019, so I’m going to be doubling up today. This morning I’m opening my final boxed figure in the Cull Obsidian Wave, Malekith, and I’ll be back later to build Cull Obsidian, himself… Let’s go!

Malekith is the third figure from the 2017 SDCC (Now Not-So) Exclusive Ragnarok (the others being Jane Foster Thor and Thor Odinson) to get a subsequent retail wide release. Sure these were all repainted, making those versions still technically exclusive, but that leaves just Ulik and Bor as the only figures in that set not to get a brick-and-mortar treatment. You could argue that those two are the best in the set, but I still haven’t opened mine yet, so off-hand I couldn’t tell ya. It also means I won’t be doing any side-by-side pictures of this Malekith and the SDCC version, but I will be doing some verbal comparisons.

The retail release is so very nearly a straight repaint of the SDCC version, but there is one change and that’s the left hand. The exclusive version had an open hand, this one has a closed accessory holding-hand. Why the change? Maybe it was just so they could point to something other than the paint to distinguish the two figures. I dig it, because now he’s ambidextrous! Although the grip on mine is actually closed, so you’ll need to make do a quick slice with a razor if you want him to hold the sword in the other hand. Malekith makes use of a lot of paintwork to characterize his costume, but there’s some new sculpting attached here as well. The shoulders and collar are cast in one piece of soft plastic, although it looks like three separate pieces from the front. Happily, the flexibility in the shoulder armor means that it won’t inhibit the arm articulation. He also has two belts, One with the skirt attached to it, which feels like it might be glued into place. The other hangs loose on his hips and features some sculpted pouches on his left side. Finally, the forearms are sculpted with his wrist bracers.

As for the deco, well that’s going to be an issue of personal preference. This retail release is definitely brighter and cheerier, but I’m going to go with the Exclusive version as having the more appealing deco. The darker red and the black in place of maroon just makes for a more sinister and striking figure to me. That’s not to say this one is bad, they’re both fine. I dig the gold paint on the bracers and necklace, although I would have liked some additional paint hits to the belts.

The head sculpt is quite spectacular. I love his broad, evil grin, and the black and blue paint on the face looks great, even though they splashed some blue onto his teeth. The hair is sculpted as a separate piece to give the portrait some depth. Early pictures made me think that the hair was going to be more of an orange-yellow tone, but in person it’s very pale and I’m happy with that. Although, I think I still prefer the whiter hair on the exclusive over what we got here.

The articulation here is pretty standard stuff. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, double hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps. The legs have ball joints in the hips, double hinges in the knees, swivels in the thighs and lower legs, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. The torso features a waist swivel, an ab crunch hinge, and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed.

Malekith comes with his sword, which is an absolutely bitchin’ design. The hilt is fairly simple with a ribbed grip, no cross-guard, and a gold finish, but the blade is so distinctive! It narrows at the hilt, then swells out, and ends in an upswept clipped point. It also features a nasty looking serrated back. It’s one vicious looking piece of cutlery!

I’m thrilled to finally have the comic version of Malekith represented on my Legends shelf. Hell, he’ll even be represented twice if I ever get around to opening the SDCC set! He may have been a bewilderingly odd choice to include in this wave, but generally speaking, I don’t care how the assortments play out, as long as we get the figures. It’s just a shame that the character was handled so poorly in the MCU, but then the villains have rarely been the MCU’s strong point. Anyway… give me a little time to recoup and I’ll be back later on tonight to check out Cull Obsidian!

Transformers Siege: Skytread by Hasbro

Hasbro’s new line of Transformers continues to hit retail and I’ve just about completed picking up the first wave of Deluxe Class figures. Today I’m opening my second of the bunch and while he’s called Skytread on the package, I’ll happily re-name him Flywheels, because he’s a modern update to my favorite Duocon.

The new Siege packaging abandons the traditional card and bubble for a collector friendly box with some bitchin’ artwork. Of course, the Duocons were a new breed of Transformers gimmick that Hasbro introduced in 1987. These Decepticons could split in half, with each half transforming into its own independent vehicle. It was hardly a sub-group, as we only ever got two of these guys. The other was Battletrap, and Hasbro gave him an update as part of Power of the Primes, but he’s not really a proper Duocon. It’s too much to get into here, but maybe now I’ll get around to opening and reviewing those figures. But I digress… Skytread’s alt modes consist of a jet and a tank, so not entirely unlike Big Daddy Overlord, but these vehicles are pretty small and very simple. They’re also very similar to the original G1 toys, and some collectors will love that, others maybe not so much. Let’s first look at his jet mode…

Awww, who’s a cute little Decepticon attack jet? You ARE! Flywheels’ jet mode was an adorable super-deformed attack craft and this modern update really stuck to its guns on that account. It’s actually a pretty nice mold, with plenty of panel lines, sculpted rivets, flaps, and vents, but it still looks a bit like a chibi Harrier Jump Jet to me, even though the proportions probably aren’t that off. The coloring is mostly confined to the maroon plastic with painted blue cockpit and some gold painted trim, while there’s some brown showing on the obvious robot arms that make up his undercarriage. I would have liked to see a little in the way of paint detail, but as it stands, it sure beats the one color of plastic that passed for Flywheels’ jet deco. All in all, this is a frightfully simple little toy jet, but it begrudgingly gets my seal of approval because it serves up some major nostalgia for a toy that I really loved. Moving on to the tank mode…

This is the half that even nostalgia cannot save. It’s not too dissimilar from Flywheel’s tank mode, but even so, there’s just nothing at all appealing to me about this little piece of rolling armor. The brown body features some sculpted panel lines, decently sculpted treads, some gold paint hits and some silver weathering along the sides. The two guns are maroon plastic with some gold paint. The design isn’t very exciting at all, the back is hollow and ugly, the main gun barely stays put, and the top pieces are very difficult to keep tabbed in, despite this being a frightfully simple transformation. You can mount the smaller gun on either side of the main cannon or even on the sides, and while options are nice, it just isn’t enough to save this tank for me. The last time I was this disappointed with a Transformers tank mode had to be the Titans Return Cassette Tanks, and those were pretty damn bad. I will, however, allow this one to squeak by because he’s part of a bigger picture.

And because that’s one heck of a cool looking robot mode. As with Flywheels, Skytread’s tank mode forms the lower half of the robot with the jet forming the upper half. OK, it’s not exactly like the Duocon that inspired him, but it’s pretty close. And what deviation there is just serves to modernize the figure beautifully. There’s nothing terribly exciting or inventive about the engineering here, but it’s hard to argue with the end result. All those panel lines on the vehicle modes add some wonderful detail to the robot mode, and the two-tone brown and maroon deco works well for a Decepticon soldier. Besides, the blue cockpit and hits of gold paint do their parts to make him pop a little. The proportions are great and it holy hell, he actually has functional legs, which is a boast that the old toy couldn’t make.

From the back Skytread looks fairly clean and tidy. He wears the back half of the jet plane on his back, complete with an adorable little tail and you can even use the peg on his back to store one of his guns, or both if you want to combine them. My only real complaint here is that his torso is hollow, but unless you’re scrutinizing him from the sides, it isn’t really a big deal. And no, I’m not going to gripe about his big feet, because that’s just another loving nod to G1 Flywheels.

I can rarely find much fault in Hasbro’s bot-noggins, and that’s not going to change here. Skytread’s head sculpt is fantastic and a perfect homage to his predecessor.

Obviously, Skytread’s two tank guns also serve as weapons for his robot mode, and while the designs are pretty generic, he looks good holding them. The smaller gun is my favorite of the two, just because it’s compact.

 

The longer gun is fine, but it’s design is even more generic than the smaller one. Fortunately, you can peg them together…

To make one big rifle. I really dig this feature as well as the fact that there are two pegs for him to grab.

Skytread is so much fun in robot mode, that I’m not willing to let the crappy tank and mediocre jet modes tear him down. But then I’m a real sucker for modern updates and as far as I know, this is the first time Hasbro’s revisited this character. There’s just something so cool about taking that old design and doing it over with proper proportions and useful articulation. And yeah, there’s also a good deal of nostalgia at work here. As it happens, Flywheels was one of the last Transformers figures I ever bought before I got away from toys, and that was pushing it because I was 14 when he originally came out. He lacks a bit of the polish and premium feel that oozed out of Hound, but in the end I’m still smitten with how this modern Duocon turned out.

Marvel Legends (Cull Obsidian Wave): Black Knight by Hasbro

After a few diversions, I’m back to spending Marvel Monday digging into my pile of unopened Marvel Legends. Although, today’s figure isn’t random, I actually picked it because I want to complete one more wave before the end of the year, and with two figures left to open in the Cull Obsidian Wave, that’s the one I’m going with. I also thought it would be fun to go with Black Knight, because I’ve been devoting one slot a day to opening Mythic Legions. So what do we call today’s figure? Marvel Legions? Mythic Legends? Whatever, the point is it’s Marvel’s Black Knight!

Here he is in the box, and with only Malekith left to open, Black Knight is the penultimate figure in this wave for me. He’s also one of those characters that I only recall encountering a few times in my 35 years or so of Marvel comic reading. I know he’s been around in one form or another since forever and it’s been about that long since I remember seeing him in my funnybooks. If anyone knows a good run for us to get introduced, please feel free to lay it on me.

And for a character I simply don’t know all that well, I have to say that I dig the look of this figure a lot. Hasbro took the torso, arms and legs right off of Green Goblin and Hobgoblin, which makes perfect sense because of the excellent chain-mail sculpt on the limbs. I was surprised to see that they didn’t recycle the gauntlets or buccaneer boots. I mean, I wasn’t expecting them to use the curled toe boots, but it seems like they could have cheaped out and recycled a lot more if they wanted to. Whatever the case, it all works well for the medieval knight motif. It kind of gives him that vintage Prince Valiant flavor that hints at just how far back the character goes. The tabard is achieved with a painted torso and a separate sculpted belt piece that hangs down below the waist and is pretty convincing as all being part one garment. The belt is 100% comic, though, with a monstrously large belt buckle and enough sculpted pouches to make Deadpool jelly.

The coloring here is fairly dark, but nicely done. I really dig the silver and gun-metal blue they used for the chain-mail. The gauntlets and boots are both matte black and there’s some red striping around the edges of the gauntlets, as well as the arm holes in the tabard. He also features a red flying eagle emblem on his chest. The belt is brown with some dull bronze paint for the buckle, but unfortunately there’s no paint on the pouch snaps.

The cape attaches via a peg in the back and hangs off the shoulders, so it doesn’t impede articulation much, but you can easily take it off for the more action-packed poses.

You get three different heads to choose from, each designed to offer a different one of his looks. The stock head features a helmet that covers the nose and leaves the lower half of the face exposed. It’s got some nice gold paint and the way it’s sculpted makes it almost look like it could be removed, even though it can’t. I dig the wings on the sides as well. This is easily the character’s look that is most familiar to me.

The next head features a classic Great Helm with a similar black and gold coloring. This one isn’t as convincing as a real helmet, since the eye holes are shallow and just painted over in black. I do like the eagle crest on the top, though. It’s cast in a soft plastic and looks great.

Finally, you get a noggin that looks like it’s probably meant to be for villain version of Black Knight. I’m not as big a fan of this one. The head sculpt is actually quite good, but the helmet itself reminds me of a Nova Corps helmet (as well as Captain Britain’s!) a bit too much. Still, not bad at all.

Black Knight comes with his trusty sword, The Ebony Blade. It would have been damn cool to get his photonic blade sword as well. I suppose I could always steal the one off of Taskmaster. Anyway, the sword is a nice sculpt with an elongated two-hand grip, and there’s a slot on the belt for him to wear it. The hand sculpts they went with for him aren’t perfectly suited to holding the sword. The left hand works best, and while he can hold it in the right hand, the grip is somewhat loose. He can also wield the sword with both hands.

The articulation here has all the right points, and rather than go through them all, I’ll just refer you back to either the Green Goblin or Hobgoblin reviews. The problem here is that he’s got some seriously gummy hinges in those elbows, which can be a bit of a drag when playing around with him.

Ultimately, I dig this figure a lot. He looks great standing on the shelf and there’s just something about his design that takes me back to films like the 1953 classic Knights of the Round Table. The extra heads go above and beyond for fans of the character who want to go with one particular look, and if this guy ever starts showing up for as cheap as some Legends figures have, I could easily see myself picking up a couple more. And that’s almost a wrap for this wave. Next Monday I’ll be back to check out Malekith as well as the Cull Obsidian Build-A-Figure.

And I can’t depart without wishing everyone a happy and safe Christmas Eve today and a Merry Christmas tomorrow. I also need to face up to the fact that I’m probably not going to be able to do a big review on Christmas, like I’ve been doing the last few years. Usually I can get a jump on that well before Christmas Eve, but this year my work schedule, family obligations, and other stuff going on in my life just hasn’t afforded me the time. I’ll still check in tomorrow, and maybe throw something together for Christmas Day, but I can’t promise anything. Perhaps, I’ll try for something special on New Year’s Day instead. 

Marvel Legends: Luke Cage and Claire Temple by Hasbro

It’s another Marvel Monday, and I was all ready to get back into randomly pulling figures from my unopened Legends Pile of Shame, but then this set arrived at my door and I decided to move it along to the head of the line. It seemed only fitting, what with the rash of Marvel-Netflix cancellations. Luke Cage and Iron Fist were the earliest on the chopping block, but with their flagship series, Daredevil getting the axe, it seems like a no-brainer that The Punisher and Jessica Jones will meet the same fate after their latest seasons are released. And with that depressing intro, let’s have a look at Luke Cage and Claire Temple!

The figures come in your typical Marvel Legends 2-pack window box with the Luke Cage logo on the front and the figures names on each side. This set is a Walmart Exclusive and there’s a sticker on the front window proclaiming the fact. And because the Walmart in my neighborhood rarely ever stocks their own exclusives, I had to go online for this one. Luckily, they were having a pretty good Rollback on it as well as free shipping. Anywho, the packaging is totally collector friendly, but if I kept all my Legends boxes, I’d have to rent out a storage unit just to have a place to put them, so this package is getting shredded and tossed in the trash. Let’s start with Luke Cage !

Can I get a Sweet Christmas? We’ve had two comic versions of Luke Cage in the modern Legends line. One was released as part of the SDCC Exclusive Thunderbolts set back in 2013 and the other was part of an Amazon Exclusive Defenders set, which I think came out last year. Netflix Luke Cage also got a release as part of the Defenders SDCC Exclusive Rail Authority box set. I opted out of dropping the $125 on that one just to get Colleen Wing and Iron Fist and a bunch of variants of the rest. This retail version features a beefy body, that’s toned down from the enormous comic versions, but still makes him look like a powerhouse. Luke is donning his familiar yellow T-shirt, grayish-blue jeans, and boots. And… um… there’s not much else to say about this figure from the neck down. The shirt is nice and bright, his hands are appropriately clenched into fists, and they even sculpted a watch on his right hand, but sadly there’s no detail work on the face so it looks a bit awkward. I’m tempted to say they should have sculpted him in his hoodie, but then I think the plain yellow top is the best way to convey his iconic comic look.

I dig the head sculpt a lot. It’s possibly not the best of the Marvel Netflix likenesses, but it’s no slouch either. The printing for the eyes is clean and the paintwork on his beard is very sharp.

And the articulation here should hold no surprises. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, with swivels in the biceps, and double hinges in the elbows. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have swivels at the thighs, double hinges in the knees, and both hinges and lateral rockers at the ankles. The torso has a waist swivel and an ab crunch hinge, and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed. Luke doesn’t come with any accessories, so let’s move on over and check out Claire!

Like Luke, Claire is a very simple figure from the neck down, making use of minimal sculpting and not a lot of color either. She’s got some light wrinkles sculpted in to signify her shirt, as well as a sculpted collar, but that’s pretty much it. Her top and shoes are black, her pants are gray, and they painted a little skin showing around her ankles. Claire never really had what I would consider an established look in the various series, and while this particular one isn’t all that exciting, I guess it lends itself pretty well to recreating her action scenes. Articulation is similar to Luke, but with rotating hinges in the elbows instead of the double hinges, no bicep swivels, and no waist swivel. Instead of the ab crunch hinge, Claire is rocking a ball joint under her chest.

The head sculpt here is fair. I think this is one of those portraits that breaks down quite a bit as you get closer. Part of that has to do with the new printing technique looking blurry up close, but I think the sculpt itself looks lumpy under closer scrutiny. It’s certainly not terrible, but it’s a far cry from what we got for Jessica Jones, Frank Castle, or even Luke Cage.

While Luke got shorted out of any accessories, Claire got a few. First up is her purse, which is another outing for the Green Goblin/Hobgoblin/Mary-Jane satchel. It’s not an essential inclusion, but I’m not going to complain about it. Personally, I’d rather regard it as a medical bag than a purse.

Next up, we’ve got a pair of blue hands, which are supposed to be her latex gloves… because… you know… she’s a nurse! Honestly, I find these to pretty baffling. Why would Hasbro put the effort and money into including these? Was anyone going to miss them? Is anyone going to display her with them? It would have never even occurred to me if I didn’t see them in the package.

Finally, and easily her best accessories are her Shuko, or ninja claws! These are another pair of swap out hands with the claws sculpted onto them and they’re pretty damn cool.

Both Luke and Claire are solid figures, but I don’t feel like this set is entirely essential. Don’t get me wrong, Luke was damn essential to me, but I think he should have been part of the Man-Thing Wave with the rest of the Netflix Defenders. The Claire figure is fine, but I didn’t really need her on my shelf, especially since Hasbro has passed up far more important characters like Karen and Foggy from Daredevil. But hey, if this is the way I have to get Netflix Luke Cage in my collection, I’m perfectly fine with that. Toss in the fact that I got this set for under $30 on Walmart’s site and it’s hard to complain.

Star Wars Black: Bespin Han Solo, Princess Leia, and Lando Calrissian by Hasbro

I don’t usually like to combine reviews, it messes with my OCD, but I’ve got to start making some exceptions because I’m so far behind with opening figures. And since I happen to have three Bespin-themed figures from The Empire Strikes Back lying on my 6-inch Black Series Pile of Shame, I decided I’d just go ahead and check out all three today! So let’s take a trip to Cloud City and open up some Star Wars figures!

And here are some quick packaged shots, although I’m not sure why I bother anymore, because at this point these are pretty standard stuff. Black boxes with mediocre monochrome character art, red inserts, and some pretty bland multi-lingual bios on the back. These are collector friendly, but I’ve never felt bad about pitching these boxes into the trash once they’ve been opened. Han is in what is considered his traditional Bespin Outfit, whereas Leia is labeled as Bespin Escape so as not to confuse her with the regal red gown she wore for part of her stay in the City in the Clouds. If you’re keeping track of the numbers, Han is #70, Lando is #39, and Leia doesn’t get a number because she’s a Target Exclusive. Let’s start with Han!

Han’s outfit in A New Hope is what I consider his most iconic look, but this outfit from The Empire Strikes Back is my favorite. I don’t know if it’s because I played with the Kenner’s version of this Han so much as a kid (owing mostly to my dog chewing up my original Han Solo figure), or just because Han is so damn cool and better fleshed out as a character in Empire. Either way this is my preferred look for the lovable Space-faring Scoundrel. The outfit is simple enough: tall black boots, brown trousers with yellow piping up the sides, a white shirt with a flap-down collar, and a jacket. My figure has some odd glossy patches on the jacket, which I’m writing off to some kind of QC issue. It’s not the first time I’ve had that happen, and while it doesn’t bother me too much, if I can find him again for cheap, I’d probably try for a better one.

The sculpt features all the wrinkles and rumples I come to expect in my 6-inch plastic outfits, along with some sharp tailoring detail and stitch lines. The jacket features the usual soft plastic vest with the sleeves sculpted as part of the arms. All this is great, but the real showpiece for this figure’s outfit is the low-slung smuggler’s gun belt. Thanks to some nice paintwork, it has a great weathered leather look to it and the holster features a retaining strap that pegs into the holster to keep Han’s trusty blaster in place.

The Black Series portraits have been all over the place, but when it comes to the humans. They started strong with that original X-Wing Pilot Luke, but since then they’ve been mostly mediocre at best. Here’s a figure that starts to buck that trend. The likeness is pretty damn good, and I’d say it’s easily the best (Harrison Ford) Han this series has put out yet. Not only are his facial features spot-on, they even got the scar under his lower lip right. The figure also uses the new(ish) printing method for the eyes, eyebrows, and lips. The hair sculpt is great and I love how his bangs hang down over his forehead. The only downside here is the weird choice to use a gloss finish for his hair, which makes it look wet under bright lights.

And of course, Han comes with his trusty DL-44 Blaster. We’ve seen this accessory before, so there’s nothing new to say, other than his right hand is perfectly sculpted to hold it and you can thread his trigger finger into the guard. Let’s knock out articulation here too, because all three figures have the same basic poseability. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have double hinges in the knees, swivels in the thighs, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. There are ball joints in the torsos, and the necks have both ball joints and hinges. Moving on to Lando…

Here he is in his classic Empire outfit and looking as dapper as ever! Lando’s outfit is even simpler than Han’s, as he’s just sporting a pair of blue trousers, a lighter blue tunic-like shirt with puffed out sleeves and a black collar, a wide belt, and shiny black shoes. Hasbro didn’t have to do anything amazing to make this outfit work, and they sure as hell didn’t. Don’t get me wrong, Lando looks fine, but I put off picking this one up because he didn’t look terribly exciting in the pictures and in hand, he really isn’t terribly exciting either.

I will take a moment to bitch about how ridiculous it is that they gave him a sculpted plastic cape, and I think that one issue is a big reason why I dragged my feet on buying him for so long. FOR F*CK’S SAKE ONE OF THE 3 3/4-INCH BLACK SERIES LANDO FIGURES HAS A F*CKING CLOTH CAPE!!! Hasbro, do you even realize how insane that is? It’s not just an aesthetics issue for me, but I’d like to be able to pose him without a plastic wrap-around cape hindering his articulation. There’s just no excuses for this. Hell, at the price point, they probably should have included both a cloth and a plastic cape. What an enormous fail!

The portrait here is fairly solid, although this is an older figure from before Hasbro started stepping it up with the portrait sculpts and using the new printing techniques. Reviewing Lando with two new figures is an interesting experiment as to just how jarring the new figures will look when displayed with the older ones. Honestly, while the difference is night and day, I don’t really have a big issue with the way the figures look together. The likeness to Billy Dee is definitely there, and while the paint is a lot more flat and cartoony, I don’t think that it looks particularly bad.

Lando comes with two accessories. The first is his little communication device, so he can tell his citizens to evacuate the City and take the ice cream makers to safety. This is a pretty cool little bonus item and his left hand is sculpted so that he can hold it well. It would have been nice if there was a way to attach it to him somehow, because I’ll probably not display him holding it and I’m afraid it’s going to end up getting lost.

While not really an accessory, I do like that they sculpted the control panel on his right wrist. I think this is what he used to secretly signal Lobot. It’s a nice little bit of attention to detail.

And finally, Lando comes with a DH-17 Blaster. We’ve seen this sculpt before, but who’s going to complain about getting another one of these cool weapons? Not me! I love this design and I dig the silver paint applications. Let’s round out this trio with Leia…

I saved Princess Leia for last, not because she’s the best and not because she’s a bad figure, but just because I have so little that I can possibly say about her. This is the outfit she gave up her gown to wear so she would have something a little more sporty to run around in. It’s essentially just a white jumpsuit with some sculpted padded areas and it has got to be one of the most boring outfits worn by any of the main characters in the film. That’s not to say it’s bad. Hasbro did what they could with it and it looks fine. I just think this costume was a really odd choice to go with before giving us a proper Bespin Leia in her red gown. It’s also kind of strange to have this one on the pegs so close to the release of the Hoth Leia, because at a casual glance the two figures could look somewhat similar. On the other hand, is it possible that this is the first time Leia has been released in this outfit? I know that I never owned this version of her in figure form before, so that would be something.

Bland and simple outfit aside, the real selling point of this figure is the portrait, which is absolutely fantastic. Not only is it a great likeness, but the printing used for the eyes and lips looks great. They even did a beautiful job with her rather unique hairstyle. As much as I love this head-sculpt, it makes me sad that they did the A New Hope Leia before they got their shit together like this. Because as much as I said Lando looked fine with the two newer figures, putting this Leia next to the previous ones really shits on the old portraits.

Leia comes with one accessory and that’s her E-11 Blaster. Again, we’ve seen it before, but I’m always up for adding another to my collection. Now I find myself wanting to pick up another one of those 3PO’s clogging up my Walgreens and chopping it up to put on Chewie’s back.

While I clearly had a few nits to pick with some of these releases, truth be told these are all solid figures. Indeed, I’d go so far as to say that Han and Leia are both excellent. They show some great progress in the head sculpts, and while there isn’t anything here that couldn’t have been done as well in the 3 3/4-inch scale, over the years I’ve come to accept that most 6-inch Black Series aren’t being designed to take advantage of the larger scale. And while Lando’s plastic cape will forever be a blight on him in my eyes, he’s still a decent enough figure and I’m ultimately glad I got around to picking him up. Now I just need that proper Bespin Gown Leia… and Lobot and a Bespin Guard, and some Ugnauts, and a Cloud Car Pilot, and…

Transformers Siege: Hound by Hasbro

Power of the Primes is dead… Long live Siege! Yes, it’s that time again, folks, for Hasbro to shake things up with a new line of their irresistible RoboConvertobots, and this time the new series is named Siege: The War for Cybertron Trilogy. That’s a mouthful, so I’ll just be referring to it as Siege. It’s a line that looks like it will be extra heavily influenced by the G1 goodness that I love so much. It’s also a line that will be giving us some badly needed re-dos of some old friends. And today’s review is a great example of just that, because it’s Hound!

Hound has always been among my favorites of the G1 Autobots. I really loved his original toy, and I adored him in the original Sunbow Mini-Series. The last time he got a Deluxe Class update was way back in 2009 as part of the Classics line. I loved that figure when it came out, but it’s definitely aged a bit, so I’m anxious to see if this new Hound can replace him. And check out that packaging! The cards and bubbles have been replaced with these collector friendly window boxes. The deco still features the Transformers logo running up the front, right side in bold red lettering, but now we get some totally bitchin’ character art on the slanted left side panel. Everything about these boxes feels premium, and I may actually try to keep these. Anyway, Hound comes packaged in his robot mode, but we’ll start with his alt mode.

OK, so there’s definitely some stuff to love here, but I’ll confess I would have liked something more akin to Hound’s traditional Jeep alt-mode. The front actually looks fine, but the rest of it is ugly as sin. It looks like a Jeep bumped uglies with a Hummer and this is what resulted in that union. I don’t hate it, but overall I’m not digging it all that much either. That’s not to say that there isn’t some good stuff going on here. The sculpt does feature some nice attention to detail, they even managed to get something that looks like seats in the driver area, and there are peg holes all over this thing, so you can load it up with weapons. Hmm… I wonder if that’s some kind of running theme for Siege?

Yup! Apparently, interchangeable weapons are going to be a big deal in this line and that should make for some good times. Hound comes with a rifle and his familiar G1 rocket launcher and there are loads of places you can put them on his alt mode and still leave room for about a half-dozen additional weapons.

But it’s the coloring and the paint that impresses me the most here and makes this feel like a premium toy. The olive green they used for most of the base plastic is a pretty close fit for the original G1 toy and the gold trim, as well as the star and Autobot emblem on the hood really drives the homage home. Additional paint hits include some yellow and white for the array of lights on the front of the vehicle, red for the taillights, and some dry-brushing on the front bumper to add some wonderful looking weathering. I can’t remember the last time we’ve seen something like that on a Deluxe Transformer. All in all, I think this new vehicle mode works great as a toy, but as far as the design goes, it loses points for having a case of the uglies. Then again, it’s a military vehicle, so I guess it doesn’t have to look that pretty. Let’s get Hound transformed and see how his robot mode makes out.

Holy hell! Suddenly I’m willing to forgive all the sins of the alt mode for this amazing robot mode. While the design certainly takes some liberties, it’s faithful in all the right places. It’s pretty cool how all four of the wheels wind up on his lower legs, leaving a clean upper half. The chest is beautifully boxy and appropriately Jeepy and I love that all the extra paint hits from the vehicle mode are prominently displayed here. Not to mention you get some more of that lovely dry-brushing on his lower legs. The proportions here are excellent as well, and I particularly dig the lateral rockers in his ankles.

From the back, Hound looks pretty clean and tidy. The roll-cage from his alt mode folds up into a pretty neat backpack and from back here we can see the four wheels, all attached to the vehicle’s side panels, wrap neatly around his lower legs. Hound has a little hollow-leg syndrome going on back here, but I’m usually willing to forgive that. All in all, Hound features a great robot mode and it’s achieved with a fairly simple transformation.

The head sculpt is spot-on beautiful! He’s got that great boxy “helmet” that I’ve always loved, flawless silver paint on his face, and a pair of pale blue eyes that are so bright, I’d almost swear there was light-piping involved. His distinctive G1-inspired missile launcher can mount on either his left or right shoulder, and while it doesn’t actually have a missile, the design is unmistakable from the original’s. The stars on the shoulders are a great touch too!

In addition to his shoulder cannon, Hound comes with two other accessories, a round canister and a rifle. The canister pegs onto the back of the vehicle mode, and I’m thinking it’s meant to be an homage to the spare tire on the original toy. But it can also plug into the back of the gun to form a drum. I like the gun design a lot, even if it isn’t very reminiscent of Hound’s G1 rifle, and it has some nice silver paint apps.

With new boxes and snazzy new paint jobs, comes a price and in this case Hasbro has raised the rent considerably. The Deluxe Class figures of the Siege line are running $20 at the local Target and that seems to be the going price around the neighborhood. It’s a big jump from the $16.99 of the Power of the Primes Deluxes and it’ll be interesting to see if the higher price tag means Siege is intended more for collectors over the kiddies. As for me? Well, it’s easy for me to see where the money went. Everything about the quality here feels like Hasbro is upping their game, and I have to say Hound is one of my favorite Deluxe Class figures to come out in a while. That’s saying a lot, because we got some incredibly solid figures out of Titans Return and Power of the Primes. For now, I’m anxious to check out the rest of the Deluxes in this wave, as well as some of the smaller bots.

Marvel Studios “First Ten Years:” Iron Man Mk L, Thanos, and Doctor Strange by Hasbro

For the second Marvel Monday in a row, I’m going to forgo random chance and bump something to the head of the line. Last week it was the Walgreens Exclusive Magick and this week it’s the First Ten Years Infinity War 3-pack. I’ve passed this up in the local toy aisles more than a few times, but a sale on Amazon finally got me to take the plunge…

In case you’re just joining us, Hasbro has been celebrating the First Ten Years of the Marvel Cinematic Universe by releasing some MCU-based Legends figures that they didn’t get to the first time around. These have run the gamut from single figures to two-packs and three-packs. Today’s set is arguably the least essential of them all, since the Thanos Wave not only let us build an MCU Thanos, but it also gave us the Mark L Iron Man armor. Plus, Doctor Strange’s look hasn’t changed much since the MCU version was released in the Dormammu Wave. Nonetheless, there are some tweaks and bobs here to offer something new. So, let’s dive in and see if this set can really justify its existence, and we’ll start with Iron Man!

The Mark L armor was really cool in the film because of the things it could do, but the overall design didn’t really impress me. It’s not a bad looking suit, but there’s nothing all that distinctive about it to me either. This model is a bit more rounded and organic looking, which reminds me of the Mark II/III, but it does feature an interesting shape to the Arc Reactor, some cool panel lines, and some interesting placement of the gold trim. The red finish is also nice and glossy and replicates that new car finish that I like to see in my Iron Man armors.

You also get some light blue paint apps to simulate energy glow and the effects of these are hit-and-miss. I think they look OK on most of the figure until you get in close and then they can look rather sloppy. That’s especially the case around the eyes. The back of the figure features a rather unsightly screw to the battery compartment and an on/off switch to take the electronics out of test mode. Yes, if the Try Me window on the box didn’t give it away, this baby has a light up feature!

The light up feature only includes the Arc Reactor, but it is damn bright. I didn’t even have to dim my studio lights that much to make it show up in the pictures. It’s activated by a button just below the chest and I dig how it slowly activates, rather than just flicking on and off. I didn’t light it up for all the pictures, but it should be obvious in the pictures where it is ignited. When I bought this set online, I actually did not realize the light up feature was even there, so it was a cool surprise.

Of course, where there’s cool lights, there’s also a trade-off with articulation. This Mark L has absolutely no articulation in the torso, which is certainly limiting. All the usual points are present in the limbs. That includes rotating hinges in the shoulders, double hinges in the elbows and knees, hinges in the ankles, and swivels in the biceps and thighs. The neck is also ball jointed. The wrist articulation depends on which set of hands you have in place. One set is open hands and they are have no hinges, but will swivel on the pegs. I’m actually OK with that, because previous MCU Armors haven’t been able to get the open hands in full-on Stop! position because of sculpting in the sleeves. I’m happy this one can. And the swap-out fists do have hinges.

You also get a pair of repulsor blast effect parts. These peg into the holes in the open hand palms or the bottoms of the feet and they are indeed the same pieces that came with Invincible Iron Man from the Okoye Wave! Overall, I like this figure a lot and the novelty of the light up Reactor outweighs the hit in torso articulation. Plus, it’s nice to know that if I want that articulation, I could always pick up the Mark L that was part of the Thanos Wave, which has been turning up pretty cheap here and there. Let’s check out Doctor Strange next!

I’m not going to spend a huge amount of time with Doctor Strange, because he’s about 90% of the same sculpt as the one from the Dormammu Wave. In fact, from the neck down the only new sculpting involves his lower left arm, which now has permanently attached magic effect parts, and the Cloak of Levitation, which is an all new piece. This was a solid figure back then and it still is, but unfortunately the new paint on the costume isn’t all that great. The tunic is a lot brighter, and I don’t think it looks as good as the previous release. Also, Hasbro cheaped out on painting the belts. Previously they were painted brown with some gold paint apps on the fixtures, now they’re just left black with just some silver paint on the ring. The gold paint used for the Eye of Agamatto is also brighter and better looking on the older figure.

The permanent effect parts are probably going to irk collectors who are looking to pick this one up as their only MCU Strange, but since it’s my second Legends Strange I’m OK with them. The magic discs are cast in translucent green plastic and they look pretty cool, but I think the way to go here would have been to give him a swap-out arm so they aren’t always there. The new Cloak, on the other hand, is a big improvement over the one from the previous figure. This one pegs into the back of the figure, features a sharper sculpt, brighter colors, and it’s all around less cumberbatchsome. See what I did there?

If you haven’t noticed, the biggest plus of the new figure is the head sculpt, which features what I think is a much better likeness. At the time, I remember being quite impressed with the previous release’s head sculpt, but seeing the two together is like night and day. The new portrait uses Hasbro’s new half-tone style printing method, which looks great. I think they really nailed his eyes and eyebrows perfectly and he’s got a conceited little smirk, which fits the character so well. And in case you’re wondering…

You can indeed swap out heads and put this new one on the older figure, making what I think is very nearly the ultimate Legends MCU Strange. The only downside here is that the new Cloak can’t easily be put onto the older figure, as it doesn’t have a peg hole on the back. That’s a shame, because besides the head sculpt, the Cloak is the only thing I like more on the new figure. The sculpt is sharper, I like the brighter color, the clasps reflect the Infinity War change, and because it pegs into the back, it kind of looks like it’s levitating over his shoulders, which is cool. But with that having been said, I still think the new head on the previous release is the way to go.

Strange’s accessories include a swap out left hand that’s designed to hold the big yellow magic wheel that came with the last Strange figure. These are fine, but we’ve seen them before and I’ve got nothing else to say about them. As it is, this figure adds some nice new display possibilities, but it’s a real mixed bag, with some steps forward and some steps back. I do think that if they were going to make the magic effect parts permanent, they should have rigged them to light up, but now we’re probably adding more cost onto what i already a pretty pricey set. Let’s move on to the final figure in the box, Thanos!

Thanos is probably the most puzzling figure in this box, since it hits at a time when the Thanos Wave is still populating the pegs, and a lot of collectors are cobbling together the Thanos Build-A-Figure. This Thanos, however, was a big draw for me since I still haven’t found the Infinity War Captain America at a good price, and so I’d still be missing the head for my Thanos BAF. That means that I’ll have two bodies and two heads to display on them. Pretty cool. It also means, that I’ll probably just pick up Cap loose on Ebay without the BAF part and save a few bucks. And since I don’t have the Thanos BAF built yet, I can’t really compare the two figures. Still, from what I’ve seen the sculpt looks identical, at least from the neck down, and the only difference should be in paint variances. It’s a great looking figure, even though I wasn’t a huge fan of Thanos’ costume in the film. It’s not bad, it’s just a lot more pedestrian looking than his full-on armor. I get, why they needed to go for something more practical, though, and my lack of enthusiasm for the Infinity War costume wound up saving me money on a Hot Toys figure. Still, I’m happy to have him in Legends scale.

The two heads are pretty good. You get one sort of neutral expression and one with him grimacing (no pun intended) in rage. The former features a rather serene expression and I think he possibly even looks a bit stoned. The second one is my favorite of the pair, and it’s probably the one I’ll be displaying on the figure, at least until I build the other Thanos body.

They did a beautiful job sculpting the Infinity Gauntlet and the quality of gold paint is excellent, as it is on the rest of the figure. The obvious missed opportunity here would have been to include a swap-out fist for the Gauntlet, but I think that would have probably cost more than the extra head-sculpt.

There’s definitely an argument to be had for this being the least essential of all Marvel Studios First Ten Years releases. If you’ve been collecting all the  waves of Marvel Legends, you’re already set with all of these characters. And with an original retail of $70, it can be a hard pill to swallow for just wanting to be a completist. That’s especially the case when you factor in how prolific Legends has been and how collecting the non-stop releases can take a toll on your wallet. That’s not to say there isn’t some cool stuff in here. I’m surprised at how much I dig the light up feature on the Mark L Armor, and the new Cumberbatch likeness on Doctor Strange was also a welcome addition. It also helps that I picked up this set off a Cyber Monday deal, which dropped it down to about $38, making it only about $13 a figure. Not bad, but it would have been an easy pass for me at full price.

Marvel Legends: Magik by Hasbro

No random review for this week’s Marvel Monday, as I picked up the Walgreen’s Exclusive Magik last week and was so excited that I bumped her to the head of the line. And to truly appreciate how excited I am, you have to realize that I’ve been jonesing after this figure since 2015 when she was released as part of the SDCC Exclusive Book of Vishanti boxed set. I missed the window to buy that set and wasn’t willing to pay what secondary sellers were asking for it. I had basically written her off, but thanks to this unlikely partnership between toy-maker and corner drugstore, I’ve finally got my mitts on this magical minx.

Magik is actually the third figure in that set to get a regular retail release, as we eventually got Brother Voodoo, and Dormammu turned up as a Build-A-Figure. That just left me missing the comic version of Hela and the Astral version of Doctor Strange, and I guess I can live with that. The package features the X-Men logo on the front and a Walgreens Exclusive sticker on the front. And one look at the tray shows that this box is crammed with goodies, so let’s get started!

And here’s Illyana freed from her cardboard and plastic Limbo, and what a great looking figure she is! The costume is comprised of a mix of paintwork and sculpted detail, with the paint making up the sleeves and glove on her right hand, the upper part of her thigh-high stockings, and her shorts. The top is sculpted with some raised lines and a Power Girl-style boob window, the goth boots each feature a brace of straps and buckles, and her left arm and shoulder features her Eldritch armor that appears via the Soulsword. The ensemble is tied together by a wide black belt with silver painted buckle and eyelets. I’ve got to say, both the sculpted detail and paint on this figure is especially sharp. It’s worth noting that there are a few differences between this release and the one packed in the SDCC set. Most notably, the boots were simply painted on the SDCC version, whereas this Magik is borrowing Nico Minoru’s footwear.

The portrait is every bit as impressive as the rest of the figure. Again, the detail is sharp and the paint on the eyes and lips is immaculate. I especially dig the black added to her lipstick. He hair sculpt features a rather pronounced set of bangs with strands of hair falling forward over her shoulders, a third falling back over her left shoulder, and the rest cascading down her back.

And if a great figure wasn’t enough, this tray also comes packed with extras, including two swords and a passel of magic effect parts. The obvious accessory here is The Soulsword and it is indeed a cool piece of magical cutlery. The extended grip allows for two-handed use, and the extremely broad blade is made of translucent yellow plastic with black lines running through it from the hilt.

She also comes with this blue energy sword, which I can’t place from the comics, but that doesn’t make it any less welcome. It’s got an extended silver grip with not much of a guard, giving it a distinct lightsaber-y vibe. The translucent blue blade is thin and straight, and you also get a blue energy effect part to snake around it.

And if you dig that effect part, you’re in luck, because Magik comes with no less than three more! These are all similar blue lightning magic-energy pieces, and if you collect Star Wars figures, you’ll likely find these similar to the Force Lightning pieces that Hasbro sometimes likes to include with the Dark Jedi characters. You get two small ones, which are perfect for her hands, and a longer sleeve, which can go over either arm. I’m not usually a big fan of these pieces, but I’ll confess I’m having some fun with these.

I’m at a total loss for explanation over the red repack of Kitty Pryde’s Lockheed. I thought it might be some reference to the link between Shadowcat and Magik in Limbo or just something I never came across in the comics. Or maybe it just looked magical and Hasbro wanted to get some more use out of that rather particular sculpt. Either way, this little dragon is cast in a translucent red gummy-like plastic and actually features some paint applications, including some gold to bring out his scales and some black for his horns. He’s neat! I dig him!

Finally, Magik also comes with a flaming skull, and it doesn’t take an astute student of Marvel Legends to recognize this as one of Ghost Rider’s noggins. Why the skull? Eh. It’s creepy and magic-y and who’s going to complain about getting a burning red skull as an accessory? And yes, the jaw is also articulated and there’s still a ball socket up in there if you want to use it as a head on one of your other figures.

If you’re like me and you missed out on the SDCC version, than this release of Magik is a real treat. Not to mention that as far as I’m concerned, I think this one is actually the better figure. It was really weighing on me that I missed out on this figure back then, but this is one of those cases where everything worked out for the better. She’s an amazing little figure, with a great inventory of accessories, and a welcome addition to my X-Men Legends!

Star Wars Black (Solo): Rio Durant by Hasbro

I only caught Solo once in the theaters, but I picked up the Blu-Ray when it was released and I’ve re-watched it three times since then. It’s a movie that continues to settle in my heart as an example of what these Star Wars Story films should all be aiming for (if and when they do any more) and it introduced some fun new characters into the Star Wars Universe. One of those was the Ardennian pilot, Rio Durant, may he Rest In Piece. Oh, um. Spoilers?

Dialing in at figure #77 in the current series, Rio was one of those characters that I wanted to get as a figure the moment I saw him. He was likable, and his weirdly endearing alien design made him a great choice for the plastic treatment. But as news of Solo‘s disappointing earnings filtered in, I would have bet real money that a Rio figure was just a pipe dream. The tooling and articulation needed for the extra set of arms would be extensive, and I was convinced the Black Series Solo figures were going to be a one and done wave. But happily, Hasbro proved me wrong and here he is, so let’s open him up and check him out!

With Rio out of the package, I find myself instantly impressed with all the work Hasbro put into this guy. I mean, seriously, we’ve had figures of main characters in the Original Trilogy that don’t feel nearly as well executed as little Rio here, and while he was far from a background character, he didn’t have a huge amount of screen time either. So, where do I even begin? Well, let’s start with his flight suit. It’s a unique looking suit, but it still has that unmistakable Star Wars flavor to it. It’s mostly blue and gray with some silver and red highlights. I dig the tightly compressed bands of rings on the sleeves and lower legs, as the sculpted lacing reminds me a bit of the Compression Suits from Alien.

The control box on his chest is a separate piece held on by the wide, orange harness. There’s a hose that runs out of the box, connects with the left shoulder strap, and then connects to the microphone and earpiece on his head. The harness and box features some great sculpted detail and extra paint hits. The white belt is also sculpted separately and has plenty of detail, including a tiny belt buckle, pouches, and a functional holster for his blaster pistol. There’s a little bit of weathering on the belt, but I think it should have been applied more heavily and evenly throughout. I think the fact that the belt and holster are too bright and new looking is the only nitpick I can come up with.

The head sculpt is excellent, but then the Black Series has always been great at recreating the aliens. All his little wrinkles are present and the gradation in skin tone from the brown in his face to the blue-gray in the back of his head is well done. There’s also a notable scar running across his forehead, and I’m not sure if that’s screen accurate or just a mishap in the mold, but either way it adds some character. I think the only thing missing are his whiskers, and that would be tough to do in this scale.

I was surprised to see that the goggles are sculpted separately and can be pulled down over his eyes, or removed altogether. What a great touch! The strap is sculpted in soft plastic and there’s a translucent red piece for the lens.

So let’s talk arms!!! I was particularly interested to see how they were going to do his arms, and they look pretty damn natural, with one set connecting to the body just a bit above and behind the other. His four hands feature finger-less gloves and he’s got a red band around one of his left wrists. And so long as we’re talking arms, let’s go into articulation. Rio has got it in spades, which is especially cool for such a short figure. Each of his arms have ball joints at the shoulders, elbows, and wrists, and swivels in the biceps. His legs are ball jointed at the hips and have rotating hinges at the knees and ankles. There’s a ball joint in both the chest and the neck. The range of motion on most of these joints is very satisfying and I’ve been having a blast playing around with this guy ever since I got him.

Rio comes with two weapons and he can hold either in any of his four hands. The first is a scoped blaster pistol that fits into his holster.

The second is what looks like the blaster equivalent of a sub-machine gun. In addition to the regular grip, this has a grab bar coming out of the side and a second grip under the barrel. Both of these are cool and unique designs and very welcome additions to my collection of 6-inch scale Star Wars weaponry.

For a line that sometimes feels pretty damn mediocre, Star Wars Black has a distinct way of surprising me just enough to keep me collecting it. Rio is one of those figures. He’s an absolute homerun, featuring some fantastic sculpting and paintwork and a perfect execution of a cool alien design. This is exactly the kind of figure I expect out of what is supposed to be a premium collectors’ series. I dig him so much, if I had any skills as a DIY person, I’d already be building an Imperial AT-Hauler cockpit for him to sit in. For all the shit I give Hasbro for the Black Series figures they clearly phone in, I’ll happily give them the highest of praise for this one. Fantastic work! Now I just have to hunt down Beckett and Val!