Game of Thrones (Legacy Collection): Brienne of Tarth by Funko

The latest season of Game of Thrones is in full swing and I haven’t watched a second of it. I’ll get to it… eventually. In fact, I’ll probably binge it when it’s done. I can’t explain my apathy toward it right now, as I was pretty fond of the last season. Maybe it’s because I know the series is starting to venture more into the mystical shit that I don’t care about and away from the swords and politics I love the most about it. Anywho… Brienne and Jaime Lannister were the last two figures in the series that I bought, and likely will be the last two I will buy. I’m really only featuring her today because she’s one of those figures piled on the floor of my Toy Closet waiting to be opened and I’m making an effort to get that area cleaned up. Not really a proclamation of excitement, but I’ve enjoyed these figures and I like this character, so let’s see what she’s all about…

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The packaging on this line has always been great. You get an attractive window box that shows off the figure beautifully and identifies the character on the side panel. Everything is collector friendly and there’s a J-hook if you want to hang it on the wall.

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One of my favorite things about this line has been the detailed sculpts in the armor and costumes. It was popular to shit on a lot of these Legacy Collection figures, and sure we can quibble all day as to whether the likenesses are any good, but I’ve found their recreations of costumes to be totally on point and Brienne here is no exception. Granted, Brienne’s armor isn’t as fancy as the suit we saw last time on Jaime, but the sculptors still did a wonderful job here. From the ribbed lining on the armor plates to the individually sculpted straps that pretend to hold them on, I’d be hard pressed to think of too many companies to do a better job at this price range. The underlying chain mail is sculpted under her arms, the edge of her belt hangs loose, and even the quilting on her “skirt” looks great.

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The paintwork here is something special too. I’m particularly pleased with the rich, oiled bronze color used for most of the prominent armor plates, and the wash that makes it look worn in some areas. Individual fixtures on most of the straps are painted too. What’s more, the paint really brings out some of the finer details in the sculpt.

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The portrait’s sculpt is decent enough. I’m sure I could recognize who it’s supposed to be if the head was handed to me out of context. I think if anything it’s the lack of depth in the paint that throws it off. It really feels like Funko had totally different teams doing the paint apps for the bodies and heads on these figures. I get that it probably takes more skill to depict the nuanced coloring of a human portrait than it does a suit of armor, but from the neck up, it doesn’t look like they were even trying that hard.

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Brienne comes with one accessory, and that’s her sword. This isn’t Oathkeeper, but rather the sword she carried before she was gifted the finer blade. I actually prefer it this way. I’m a fan of trusty utilitarian sword designs over all that fancy stuff. The sword fits into the scabbard that is permanently attached to her belt. Once again, there’s some really nice paintwork and weathering on the scabbard.

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Articulation in this line has been good on paper, but sometimes problematic in execution due to stuck joints. My figure doesn’t have any issues with that and features some solid pose-ability for a character wearing armor. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists, with both the shoulder and wrist armor made of soft, pliable plastic so as not to inhibit those joints. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have swivels in the thighs, and double hinges in the knees. The ankles are hinged and have a bit of lateral movement. There’s a ball joint in her lower torso and another in her neck.

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I like this figure a lot, and to hell with the haters, because I think this was a great line. No, I probably wouldn’t have felt that way if I got hit with a lot of bad QC and joints breaking, but I find it odd that not a single figure I bought had any of those issues. And yet, considering Funko responded to the problems, I know they were widespread. Either way, this was a fun line for me, with some great sculpts and solid pose-ability and I’m truly sorry to see it go. If Funko had kept it going, I’m sure I would have kept buying them. It particularly sucks that we never got a Bronn, as he’s my favorite character. Sure, there’s always a chance that I’ll grab up some of the ones that I’m missing and we’ll see Game of Thrones Legacy Collection  back on FFZ at some point, but once I realized they weren’t making any more, I lost interest.

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Game of Thrones (Legacy Collection): Jaime Lanister by Funko

It’s getting near time for Game of Thrones to come back and while my interest in the series has waned a bit over the course of the last season, I’m looking forward to seeing if it can hook me again. Plus… toys! While I was never a completest when it came to Funko’s Game of Thrones figures, I still have a few of these lying around and waiting to be opened and this seems like the right occasion. Today, I thought I’d check out The Kingslayer.

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We’ve seen this packaging before in my past GoT Features. It looks great and it’s collector friendly. Each figure is numbered, with Jaime here being #7, and you get the Lannister Crest beside his name. That’s it. I’ve got nothing more to add. The GoT line lasted a little longer than the other Legacy Collection lines, but Funko still abandoned it after just a few waves, which is unfortunate, because it was easily their best.

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Jaime comes all decked out in his Kings Guard armor and I have to admit, they did a wonderful job on this sculpt. That’s saying something, because this ornate suit of armor is easily one of the most challenging sculpts they have tackled on any of their 6-inch figures. The intricately etched scrollwork on the breast plate and shoulder armor is fantastic, as are the scaled pieces on the arms and skirt. Sculpted undergarments can be seen in the gaps between the armor, giving the armor a convincing layered effect. The two-tone copper and gold paint used for the armor looks great.

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The cape is cast in very soft plastic, cascades off the shoulders and trails on the ground a bit. It pulls away from the figure quite easily so as not to inhibit articulation and it’s light enough that it doesn’t make the figure terribly back heavy. At the same time, it’s there to offer a support for standing the figure in some of the more trickier balanced stances.

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The portrait is a solid enough likeness to Coster-Waldau. I mean, I can at least recognize him in the context of the rest of the figure. The decision to give him a smarmy little smirk might have been a little too ambitious, as I think that’s the aspect of the sculpt that strays a bit. Still, I appreciate them trying to give the head some personality and I’d argue it’s overall loads better than anything we’ve been seeing out of Hasbro in this scale. And with some crisper and cleaner paint, the likeness could have been elevated a bit further. Of course, if you’re more a fan of the books than the HBO Series, maybe the likeness to the actor doesn’t matter.

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The articulation here is decent and the armor doesn’t create too many problems. The skirt is slit up the back to help give the legs a decent range of motion, but he’s still limited in what he can do from the waist down. The hips are ball jointed, there are swivels in the thighs, the knees are double hinged, and the ankles have rotating hinges and lateral rockers. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and the shoulder armor is soft plastic allowing it to compress. There are rotating hinges in the elbows and wrists. Finally, there are ball joints in the torso and neck. While there was quite a bit of excess paint on my figure’s elbow joints, I didn’t have any issues with stuck joints.

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Jamie comes with his sword and scabbard, although the scabbard is permanently attached to the belt, so it’s technically not an accessory. The sculpt and paint on the scabbard is particularly nice. There’s a slight hammered metal look to some of the fixtures and the paint is very clean.
The sword is also a great looking piece, albeit the detail on the hilt is a bit soft, you can still make out the lion head pommel. It fits into the scabbard perfectly. I did have to take a razor and cut the thumb away from the rest of the fingers so that I could open the hand to have him hold it, but that was no big deal.

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After the blistering (but well-deserved) Features I did on Funko’s Legacy Fallout figures, it’s kind of sad to go back again and see how much potential the Legacy Collection had in its earlier days, before they ran it into the ground. Jaime Lannister is an excellent figure in the overall solid Game of Thrones line and playing around with him makes me wish they had focused more on it, particularly since we never saw figures of Sir Jorah and Bronn, my two favorite characters. With figures like this one, I would have kept collecting this line as long as Funko kept churning them out. Ah, well. When I swing back to this line again in a week or so, I’ll open up Brienne of Tarth.

Fallout (Legacy Collection): Power Armor by Funko

Yesterday I began a rage-fueled assault on Funko’s unfortunate foray into the Fallout series with their Legacy Collection Lone Wanderer. Today I’m checking out the rest of this initial assortment (yes, mercifully, it’s only two figures) with their Power Armor. I’m still kind of spent from yesterday, but I just took a hit of Jet and I think I’m cool to muddle through another day of this torture. Hopefully today will be a little better. I mean, it has to be… doesn’t it?

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Here’s the same in-package shot that I showed yesterday when I thought I would be able to fit both figures into the same Feature. In a nutshell, it loses all the class and collector-friendly perks of the old Legacy Collection window boxes, but at least you get a better look at the figure. Inexplicably, Funko is not ashamed to show you what’s inside, so unless you buy them online like me, you’ve got nobody to blame but yourself. Happily, this is one of those good news, bad news scenarios. The good news is, this figure isn’t nearly as bad as the Lone Wanderer. The bad news is, it’s still not very good.

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As with the Lone Wanderer, The Power Armor has many different appearances in the Fallout universe, so this one is kind of a generic design, and I’m fine with that. I’ll also note that while there is no way in hell I would have bought the Lone Wanderer had I seen him in person, I probably would have gone for this guy, because he doesn’t look nearly as bad, at least not in the package. A lot of that is probably due to the bulkier and more forgiving design. Straightaway, let me say that the biggest problem I have with this figure is that the upper legs look out of proportion with the torso. I don’t think it’s so much a problem with the legs as the torso should have been bulkier. Or maybe it’s because the exposed ball joints in the hips make the upper legs look weird. I can’t put my finger on it, but something just looks off. It’s not eggregiously so, but I can’t unsee it. Then again, it could just be me.

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With that being said, I think this is a competent, albeit not spectacular sculpt. The Power Armor has a somewhat primitive design that jibes with what we got here. The silver painted finish looks rough in some areas, but again that works for what it is, at least in place of any real attempts at weathering. The armor is all smooth, so there’s no sophisticated pitting or anything like that. Ironically the most detail on it is probably found on the copyright information stamped on the backs of his legs. You do get some sculpted rivets in the arm, but not a lot else. The backpack is passable, but again feels soft and devoid of any meaninful detail. There are also more of the bare plastic unpainted hoses that make this look rather like a prototype.

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The helmet has a fair amount of detail, but everything looks very soft and the bare plastic used for the hoses again looks rather unfinished. They didn’t even bother to paint the spotlight, which is rather inexcusable since apart from all the silver and the black visor, there are absolutely no paint operations on this figure at all. Unless you count the dribble of black on the front of his left leg. I suppose the bare plastic that’s exposed at the joints gives it a little depth.

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The articulation here is virtually identical to what we saw with the Lone Wanderer. It’s not as a big an issue for me here, since this is a dude in bulky armor. You get rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. The pauldrons look like they should be hinged, but I don’t think they are. Either way, the ones on mine don’t move. If this were a Marvel Legends figure, they would be hinged to allow for better shoulder movement. No such luck here. The legs feature the same restrictive ball joints in the hips, double hinged knees and rotating hinges in the ankles. There is what appears to be a ball joint in the waist, but my figure will only twist ever so slightly to the left or right. The neck is also ball jointed, but it’s so tight that I’m afraid to really move it in fear of twisting it off. In fact, there’s very little range of motions on any of the joints on this figure, so he’s not a lot of fun to play with.

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Once again, we get only one accessory. In this case it’s a laser rifle, which is at least more interesting than 101’s hunting rifle. It’s a decent sculpt of the rather iconic looking weapon from the game and it features some decent paint apps as well. It is, unfortunately very difficult to get the figure to hold it, but still better than what we saw last time.

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If you were looking forward to another hate fest, I’m sorry, but I don’t think it was warranted here. No, this Power Armor is not a very good figure, but it doesn’t elicit the absolute contempt that I felt for the Lone Wanderer. It just feels very phoned in. It looks passable standing on the shelf, and I can’t say I’m entirely sorry I bought it, but I am still very sorry that Funko got the license to do these figures. NECA would have been my first choice, but having bought several of Mezco’s Mortal Kombat X figures, I think they would have done a much better job with the Fallout license too. If this is the future of The Legacy Collection in Gentle Giant’s absence, I think Funko should just stick to their Pop! Vinyl empire. What a disappointment this has been. Thankfully, I was able to cancel my pre-orders for their Skyrim figures in time.

Fallout (Legacy Collection): Lone Wanderer by Funko

It’s Saturday afternoon and I’m posting this Feature because, a) I wanted to write it while I was still fired up, and b) I’ve got a lot of decent stuff to look at and I didn’t want to waste one of my normal weekday slots with this shit. I also wanted to preface this Feature by noting that I’ve looked at a fair amount of Funko’s Legacy Collection line here and on the whole I’ve been pretty positive about it (indeed, some have said more than it deserves), so do try to keep that in mind as you wade into the (entirely justified) vitriol that is about to follow…

Fallout. It’s a big deal to me. When I moved away from my family back in the late 90’s to a new city and didn’t know anyone, diving head first into the original Fallout kept me company and helped me muddle through some lonely times. Taking on the adventures of the Lone Wanderer in an unfriendly land was such an apt metaphor for where I was in my life. Now, here we are almost 20 years later, the franchise is stronger than ever and Funko announced they were going to produce figures from the Fallout universe in their Legacy Collection line. I was pretty excited. Yeah, Funko’s foray into the 6-inch figure market has had some rough patches, but I’ve purchased quite a few of them from Game of Thrones to Magic the Gathering to Firefly and overall I’ve been satisfied. At this point, I didn’t think we had much to worry about. These guys seemed to know what they were doing. Then I got these figures and holy hell!

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The first assortment (and God, I hope it’s the last) consists of a Vault 101 Lone Wanderer and a Brotherhood of Steel soldier in Power Armor. Gone are the handsome and collector-friendly window boxes we’ve seen with the past Legacy Collection figures. Now we get these narrow bubble on card things that feel like throwbacks. These remind me of the packages McFarlane uses for their Halo and Walking Dead figures. And believe me, if you make action figures and I compare you in any way to McFarlane these days, that shit isn’t a compliment. [I know, McFarlane’s like, what the hell did we do? Well, everyone’s getting a taste of the bitch pudding today!] Now, granted, I throw away like 90% of my action figure packaging because I got no room for it. So maybe I have no right to complain about it. But I’m making a point of it because the watered down presentation here reflects the overall lack of effort put into these figures. Compared to what we’ve seen before, these just scream, “Who gives a shit, just get them out.” You know what else is missing from the packages? Any mention of Gentle Giant. I will say this, the packaging does let you see exactly what you are getting. Unfortunately, I bought these online and sight unseen. Had I encountered them in a brick-and-mortar store, I would have passed. I was originally going to review both figures in one shot, but it would have run way too long, so let’s just start with the Lone Wanderer…

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In Fallout you play the Lone Wanderer (or Vault Dweller, if you prefer) and he or she is really going to be vastly different for each player, so identifying with this figure may be difficult if your character isn’t a clean-cut white dude. Even as far back as the original game, you had plenty of customization options. My character in Fallout 4, for example, is a hot redhead who has cast off her jumpsuit and now wears a rather unique ensemble of combat armor. But Funko needed a sort of template look for this figure and I’m not going to hold that against them. So yeah, it’s just generic guy in a Vault jumpsuit and that’s fine. From a design standpoint, I think they went with something that manages to be quite iconic for the series. It’s also worth pointing out that this guy is from Vault 101, which places him in the Washington D.C. area of Fallout 3 and not the most recent game. I just thought that was kind of weird.

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So, the basic design here is fine. You get the familiar blue jumpsuit with yellow piping and the designation “101” prominantly displayed on the collar and back of the figure. You also get some extra bits of scavenged kit worn over it, which is very appropriate for the series. Mr. 101 has one piece of large leather shoulder armor to the left and a smaller one to the right, an ammo bandoleer, a gun belt, and one piece of leather knee armor. In theory, this is a solid look for the character in the early game. Unfortunately, they put it on a figure that is a total piece of garbage. I don’t even know where to begin, so let’s go with the technical aspects of the sculpt. The suit looks passable and even the brown, dirty wash is fair. The big problem here is that there’s no credibility in a lot of the gear. The ammo bandolier is just a bunch of cylinders cast in the same brown plastic as the strap. There’s no detail, no paint. They might as well be his reserve supply of Tootsie Rolls. Take a look at NECA’s recent John Matrix figure and look at the individually painted shotgun shells on that figure and then look at this. These two figures are roughly the same price point. Funko’s Wanderer is amateur work at best. Maybe they blew the paint operations budget on those silver buckles. And then look at the holster! It’s just a flat piece of plastic. They couldn’t even be bothered to add any depth to it, or even sculpt a gun in there, let alone… oh, I don’t know… sculpt a working holster and give us a pistol to put in it like just about everyone else who is making 6-inch scale figures would have done in this day and age.

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The Pip Boy is passable, but it’s big ugly green screen shows little effort. And because there’s no swivel in the arm, he can’t even hold it up to look at it all that convincingly. You can’t angle it toward his face, just hold it so the screen is straight up and have him look awkwardly down at it. Oh, just wait. I’ll get to articulation in a bit. DON’T PASS OUT ON ME YET! The head sculpt is probably the best thing about the figure, and boy is that not saying much. He looks more like one of the mannequins in the game that I knock over when scavenging. There’s brown paint from the hair all over the side of his face and the paint on the hair is chipped. His eyes are all wonky too, but frankly that’s a common problem with action figures these days, so let’s not hold it against this guy.

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The articulation hurts this figure on two fronts. Primarily, the jointing just looks terrible and that’s my biggest issue. I can accept a trade off of limited articulation for a good looking sculpt, but just look at this mess! The arms look like weird insect legs all pinched in the middle and the ball joint on the left wrist looks so unnatural. The hips are easily the worst things of all with those awkward ball joints. What really pisses in my Nuka Cola is that the articulation isn’t even that good. You get rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. You get those hideous ball joints in the hips, double hinges in the knees, and rotating hinges in the ankles. Swivels? Nope, none in the arms or the legs. The neck is ball jointed, and there’s a ball joint in the torso, but that one is fused solid on my figure. So basically we get all the drawbacks of ugly jointing with none of the benefits of super articulation. Brilliant!

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Even the ball joints in the hips don’t work like proper ball joints. For all the awkward range of motion you get in those hips, they might as well have just put a T-crotch in there and made it look good. LOOK AT THIS SHIT!!!

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Accessories? You get one. It’s a rifle. It’s a decent enough little sculpt, but at this point, who gives a f’ck? With all the great unique weapon designs in this franchise, Funko, you give us a generic rifle. Thanks. Oh yeah, he can’t even hold it like he’s going to use it convincingly. His right hand is a freaking fist so I’m left having this dude aiming and firing a hunting rifle with one hand. Yeah, I could point out the obvious and say how cheap it is to just throw one accessory in with this figure. Can you imagine what NECA would have done with this figure in their Ultimate line? But no, we get nothing. No 10mm pistol. A Fatboy? Pfft… like that was ever going to happen! Not even a little box of Sugar Bombs. Ah, screw it. At this point it just feels like beating a dead mole rat. Besides, there’s so much else to talk about. Like this…

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Yes, the Lone Wanderer does have one cool little action feature. It’s inspired by the game’s VATS system and simulates a Super Mutant targeting your leg and blowing it off. Oh, wait, no, it’s just poor craftsmanship that makes my figures’ right leg fall out every time I try to pose him. AND I MEAN EVERY FREAKING TIME!!!

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“Gonna need a Stimpak over here!” 

This figure set me back $20 and it is an absolute disgrace. Seriously, Funko should be ashamed of themselves for putting this out and Bethesda for approving it. I am not in any way joking when I say that the Funko’s own Pop! Vinyl Lone Wanderer I have on my desk is a better piece of merch from the game than this piece of garbage. Funko has released at least a couple dozen 6-inch scale Legacy figures and yet this one feels like a first attempt by a company that has no freaking clue what they’re doing. And that’s being kind, because the alternative is they just don’t give a shit what they sell to their customers. It’s December. There are only a couple weeks left in the year. I’ve probably reviewed close to 300 figures and toys in 2015. This is the worst piece of shit I looked at all year. There is no competition. And you know what the worst part is? I still have another one to look at. I’ll do that tomorrow in Part 2.

Firefly (Legacy Collection): Kaylee Frye and Jayne Cobb by Funko

Back in June I checked out Captain Mal and Zoe from Funko’s Firefly Legacy Collection and while I wasn’t blown away by them, I found them to be solid enough to keep going. I was planning on waiting to get the last three figures and knock them out in one fell swoop, but I haven’t found Wash yet, so we’ll worry about him another day. Today we’re looking at Kaylee, Firefly’s spunky young mechanic, and Jayne, the resident gun-toting psychopath.

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The packaging is uniform to what we saw last time. The figures come in window boxes with a deco that matches the show and side panels that identify the figures inside. I like these a lot and so far I’ve been keeping the boxes to all my Legacy Collection figures. The figures in the wave are numbered, with these two being 2 and 3, although I haven’t been going in any order so it doesn’t really matter. Let’s talk about Kaylee first…

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Kaylee is sculpted in her green, sleeveless mechanic’s overalls with her purple floral patterned shirt sleeves showing through. I really like the detail they put into the outfit, both from a sculpt and paint standpoint. There’s scattered bits of Chinese writing and the teddy bear patch on the left leg is actually part of the sculpt, which is great. The paint wash on her overalls is a little heavy handed, as was the case with Mal’s jacket, but in this case it can be passed off as grease, so I’m alright with it.

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The portrait is kind of an enigma. There are angles where it looks good, there are angles where it looks not so good. I know, that’s not a ringing endorsement, but I get the feeling Jewel Staite is one of those people with rather distinctive features which defy all but the most talented sculptors. Still, Gentle Giant is still credited on this line and they aren’t exactly amateurs. The look they went with has Kaylee offering a sly smirk and I’d have to say that I could probably identify her even if someone just handed me the head and asked me to guess. Bottom line, I expected this likeness to be a train wreck and what we got is passable under certain circumstances.

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Kaylee features a good amount of articulation with rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, wrists, and ankles. She has ball joints in the hips and double hinged knees. There are swivels in the thighs and lateral rockers in the ankles. There’s no waist swivel, but you do get a ball joint just under her chest and again in the neck. Alas, Funko is still using the super shitty clear plastic for the joints and I did have one stuck knee joint. I have no patience for boiling these things, so I rolled the dice and was ultimately able to coax it into working without snapping anything.

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Kaylee comes with one accessory, and that’s a wrench that she can hold in her right hand. Seems like they could have thrown some more in there, but then Jayne makes up for it with some extra bits. And speaking of Jayne…

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Now here’s a sculpt that is just spot-on perfect, or at least as close as we’re likely to see in a 6-inch scale mass release figure. Granted, the outfit is simple, with just a green t-shirt and khaki pants, fingerless gloves, combat boots and a gun belt, but everything about it is solid. You even get a functional holster and knife sheath.

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The portrait is a dead on likeness for Adam Baldwin. I mean, there’s really nothing else to say, except the paint is nice and clean. This one is a slam dunk.

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The articulation, on the other hand, is a little wonky and wanting. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, and these really, really weird variations of the same in the elbows. These were on the Mal figure too, but they look a lot stranger on Jayne’s bare arms. The legs feature ball jointed hips, double-hinged knees, and swivels in the thighs. The ankles have hinges and lateral rockers. The torso features a ball joint in the torso and another in the neck. This one has a few more stuck joints than Kaylee did. The left thigh swivel won’t budge, nor will the rocker in the left ankle. Guess I’ll be boiling some water after all.

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Jayne comes with three accessories and, surprise! They’re all weapons! First, you get a pistol and a combat knife that he can wear on his belt. Both are very nice pieces and while his left hand is clearly sculpted to hold a gun, I appreciate the fact that it will still hold the knife without it falling out.

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You also get Vera, Jayne’s favorite gun and Funko definitely invested a lot of work into this piece. The sculpt is wonderfully detailed and you get some pretty solid paintwork for an accessory. The stock even has the individually sculpted and painted bullets on it. I can see why Jayne is so fond of Vera, it’s a great little piece.

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While it’s sad to see that Funko is holding on to the use of the clear plastic jointing and Jayne’s elbows are really odd, I’m still going to chalk this pair up as a win for this series. If Mal and Zoe left me a little on the fence, Jayne and Kaylee have elevated the line a little in my eyes. Funko is still making some strange and curious choices in the production of the Legacy Collection, but I’m still overall satisfied with what we’re getting. Indeed, I like Jayne well enough that I may go ahead and pick up the exclusive version with his infamous hat. I’m also still on the lookout for Wash. Are we getting any more of these? Who knows. So far, Funko has dropped the Magic the Gathering Line after just one wave and rumor is Game of Thrones is done too. I’d still very much like to see Reverend Book and the Tams see releases, but I’m not holding my breath.

Firefly (Legacy Collection): Malcolm Reynolds and Zoe Washburne by Funko

Ah, Firefly, what is there to say about it other than it was killed before it’s time. I actually didn’t get to see it until after Fox had already shit-canned it and indeed I’d never even heard about it until a year or so after it was cancelled and I picked up the DVDs because I was bored and the premise sounded interesting. It was love at first sight and if nothing else, I think it was cool that we got a pretty damn fine feature length film out of the deal too. That’s one thing more then most failed TV series get… what’s another thing? Action figures! This actually wasn’t the first stab somebody took at making figures out of this franchise. Even before these and Funko’s ReAction line, Diamond Select did a single wave of some super shitty figures based off of the Serenity movie. There were two versions of Mal, two versions of Jayne, and a Reaver and they were pretty awful. Let’s hope Funko fared better here.

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One thing Funko has down pat by now is their 6-inch figure packages. You get a couple of simple window boxes similar to what we’ve seen from Hasbro’s Black Series and even NECA’s Planet of the Apes line. These have a great deco, which is heavily inspired by the series artwork and you get character names and portraits on the spine. [Jayne: “‘pine? Is ‘pine OK?”] Quiet, you! Your figure will get its turn eventually! Anyway, I like everything about the presentation here, maybe even enough to actually keep the packages, as they are collector friendly and they do look shiny all lined up on the shelf. The backdrop behind the tray is even illustrated with a nice big sky. And before you ask, No! I’m keeping it! You can’t have it. You can’t take the sky from me!!! Today I’m starting with just two figures in the series. These are actually #1 and #5, but I thought it appropriate to feature The Heroes of Serenity Valley together. Let’s start with the Captain…

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Captain Mal comes in his trademark space-western garb, complete with khaki trousers, high boots, button down shirt, suspenders and his infamous brown coat (please, don’t call it a jacket!). The paint wash on the coat and the shirt is rather heavy handed and the decision to go with a gloss paint for the shirt is a strange one, but overall, I like the work on the outfit. That is not to say, I don’t have a few other gripes.

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The coat uses the usual plastic vest with sculpted sleeves and i normally don’t have any issues, but in this case, the coat tends to ride up a bit making it pretty obvious that the sleeves are not part of the coat. It also tends to give Mal a bit of a hunched look. Still, a dealbreaker this is not and overall I think the figure looks fine. The gunbelt features a working holster and I really dig the way the right flap of the coat is sculpted to fall back behind the holster. Nice!

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The likeness is not at all a bad one. I think it holds up really well under scrutiny, but looks best when viewed from a bit of a distance. It’s definitely Nathon Fillion and a far sight better than the likenesses we’ve been getting in Hasbro’s 6-inch Black line. It’s pretty clear that Gentle Giant is still at the helm.

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The articulation here hits all the right points for a 6-inch retail figure. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and elbows. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, double hinged at the knees, and have swivels in the thighs. The ankles feature both hinges and rockers and there are ball joints in the torso and neck. You’ll note I didn’t mention the wrists, because these are just bizarre. The hands are hinged and placed on these tiny posts, which connect to ball joints inside the sleeve. They look very frail and neither wrist wanted to move at first. I threw caution to the wind and was able to get them started so now they do indeed have swivels and hinges, but man, that was a tense moment. I should also note that while I have no other issues with frozen joints, Funko is still using the clear plastic for the joints that have caused them and DC Collectibles so much trouble.

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Mal comes with two guns. you get his trusty pistol and a Winchester-style shotgun. He can hold the pistol in either hand quite well. I wasn’t really able to get him into a convincing firing position with the rifle, aside from doing a little trick with the perspective, but he can still hold it in some decent poses. Moving on to Zoe…

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Zoe sports similar khaki pants (minus side striping) and high boots as her Captain. She’s also got the brown vest and green shirt that I remember her wearing for most if not all of the episodes. Little details include the wide bracelet on her right wrist and the thin strip necklace and choker sculpted on. The gunbelt is a separate piece and includes sculpted and painted cartridges and a rather unique fast-draw holster for her shotgun.

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As with Mal, I think the likeness to Gina Torres is there. It’s a good portrait with clean paint. The hair is a bit at odds with the neck articulation, but it’s pliable enough and has parts at the shoulders to make it work a little better. The paint is clean, although her right eye is ever so slightly higher than where it was supposed to land. Still, in terms of googly eyed figures, I’ve seen a lot worse than this.

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The articulation is quite close to Mal. I’m not sure if Zoe features ankle rockers, but if she does, I can’t get them to work and I’m not going to force the issue. Her wrists aren’t on the same super thin posts, os that’s a plus. Most of the other joints are fine right out of the package, but I have some trouble getting her right elbow to swivel and again, not going to force it.

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Also like Mal, Zoe comes with two guns. You get her trademark shotgun and a pistol. The shotgun fits nicely into the loop on the belt holster. Her pistol doesn’t really have anywhere to go when she isn’t holding it, but maybe I’ll lend it to her husband when I get his figure.

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I’ve wanted a set of Firefly figures in my collection ever since I saw the show and now it’s finally happening! All in all, these turned out to be very nice figures with just a few bumps along the way. I’d say my biggest criticism is that the little quibbles I have are things that Funko should have probably worked out by now. With a couple waves of Game of Thrones, a wave of Magic the Gathering, and at least one other 6-inch Legacy line out there, it feels like they should be beyond some of these rookie mistakes. That having been said, I’m happy to report no QC issues this time around, so I guess there is some improvement. I didn’t buy these as a complete Wave, but I’m still going to try to get back to the line at some point next week and check out some more figures. This is definitely a line I want to support because I really want to see a second Wave.

Magic The Gathering (Legacy Collection): Garruk Wildspeaker by Funko

Well, it took me a while, but I’m finally checking out the last figure in Funko’s Magic The Gathering Legacy Collection. And it’s about time, because I started down this road back in early February! If you haven’t been keeping score at home, I’ve found this to be a pretty solid line. The ladies were all great and so far only one figure was downright awful. The final figure is Garruk Wildspeaker and my, he’s a big one!

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The packaging for this line is great. You get a window box that is designed to hang on a peg or stand on a shelf. The window shows you exactly what you’re getting inside and the side panel of the box has the figure’s name so you can line them up on a bookshelf and still know who is who. Garruk really fills up the box quite nicely. Between the figure and his accessory, there isn’t much room left in there! The only thing the package is really missing is a little blurb about the character himself. As I know nothing about these characters, I’m off to the Magic Wiki to learn a little something about Garruk. Wow, he’s a human, never would have guessed that. He’s also a naturalist, gruff, impatient, and he has a rather long and interesting backstory, which I won’t go into here. I was a little surprised at reading Garruk’s bio, because the figure looks more like a boss you might encounter in a Resident Evil game. I wouldn’t have pegged him for having that much personality or individualism.

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I mean, just look at this dude… he’s a hulking beast of a man! What little of his skin that is exposed is left as bare white plastic, except for some faint gray tatts on his left arm. It sort of has the same unfinished look to the skin as Ajani did, but in this case there isn’t as much of it showing and it lends itself to an almost zombie-like appearance, which I think looks pretty cool. His outfit consists of a gnarly patchwork of cloth scraps, chain mail armor and some reinforcing plates. I like the makeshift stitching sculpted into his front sash and the myriad of belts are sculpted so that they’re actually coming away from the figure to give it more of a convincing layered look. His hunched back is capped off with a shaggy pelt with spikes protruding from it. I dig the tortured, grasping manner of his left hand and his right hand is shielded with an extended armor plate furnished with spikes. Another really nice touch is the shattered sword hanging off the back of his belt.

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Garruk’s portrait consists of a soft plastic helmet permanently attached to the head, which is far more convincing then if it had all been sculpted as one piece. His black eyes can just about be made out inside the eye holes. The lower half of his face features the same unpainted white-gray plastic as skin, but with a brown painted beard as well. The face sculpt is very soft, and while probably not intentional it helps to carry that creepy ghostly visage that makes this guy look all the more formidable.

 

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Of course, with Garruk being the final figure I look at in this line, he’s the final say on whether or not Funko has fixed the bulk of their jointing issues. I’ve only had one or two frozen joints in this whole series so far, and even those were nothing too bad. In the case of Garruk all of his joints work just fine out of the box, with the exception of his waist swivel. I’m pretty sure it’s there, but I can’t get it to move and I’m not about to force the issue. Otherwise, let’s run through the rest of the points: The arms have rotating hinges at the shoulders and wrists and hinged elbows. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, double hinged at the knees, have rotating hinges in the ankles, and swivels up high in the thighs and again down by the boots. The head is ball jointed as well. Most of the armor plates are made up of very soft plastic so as not to inhibit Garruk’s movements. He’s not what I would call super-articulated by any means, but there’s still some serviceable poseability here.

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Garruk comes with one accessory and it’s a big, honkin’ ax! The head has some nice weathering to it and painted patterns to match some of those found on Garruk’s armor. The shaft is sculpted and painted to look like wood with sculpted leather straps wrapped around it and a ring for a pommel.

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I would definitely rank Garruk as one of my favorite figures in the line. His character design is great and it translates pretty well into figure form. Besides being so satisfyingly big and hefty, the complexity of the sculpt used for his outfit is very impressive. It’s so easy to get lost in the details of every little piece of chain mail, buckle or strap. Overall, the muted gray and brown colors work well for him, but with a more dynamic paint job, this figure could be absolutely jaw-dropping instead of just very good. I could actually see this guy standing in with a number of other figure lines. As a whole, I think Funko did a solid job on this run, despite being criticized for paint applications not costing out in the final releases. To me, most of the figures still turned out just fine with only that one glaring exception, which is nearly too awful for words. I’m not entirely sure whether an actual fan of Magic The Gathering would be more or less charitable than I have been, but as straight fantasy figures, I’m glad to have these in my collection.

Magic The Gathering (Legacy Collection) Jace Beleren by Funko

I’m still working my way through Funko’s MTG Legacy Collection figures and today I’m opening up the second to the last in this series, Jace Beleren. As usual, I know absolutely nothing about this character, so I’m off to consult the Wisdom of the Internets to find out a little about him. Jace is a human Planeswalker with an affinity for blue magic, more specifically telepathy and has what is referred to as a “reserved and decadent” nature. This dude’s actually got a pretty interesting back story, which I enjoyed reading. Y’all can check it out at The Magic The Gathering Salvation Wiki.

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I don’t have anything new to say about the packaging, as we’ve seen it five times now. It’s a simple and clean design with a window that shows off the figure pretty well. You get the character’s name and portrait on the side panel, but no blurb describing who he is. Funko might want to consider doing that for future figures. Then again, maybe I’m the only one who buys figures of characters they don’t know. Anyway, the packaging is totally collector friendly and it is designed to hang on a peg or sit on a shelf. You’ll note from the box that Jace is actually the first figure in the wave, but I’m sure glad I didn’t buy these things in order, because I sure as hell would have stopped at Number One!

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With Jace out of the box, I’m going to go on record by saying this is not one of my favorite character designs from this series. I mean, yeah, he’s kind of got the whole exotic wizard-drifter look going for him… I guess. Beleren wears a soft, rubbery plastic cloak over an outfit that appears to be made of sculpted belts, straps, and sashes. Aside from the cloak, I can’t really figure out what look they were going for here. And apart from the painted white deco and a little black and red trim, the figure is mostly cast in this blue-green color, which isn’t terribly appealing to me. What’s more, the white paint used for the deco could have been cleaner and more evenly applied. I will say that I rather like the way the cloak is executed, particularly the way it hangs low over the figure’s head giving him a mysterious air. It’s also good because…

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Holy shit, this figure’s head is terrible!!! Besides the ridiculous mop of brown hair slathered across the left half of his face, the paint for the eyes is just atrocious. I can’t figure out if they were supposed to be painted entirely blue or if they’re just pupils, but either way it’s a real slop job. Hey, it’s not uncommon to get a little lazy-eye or something like that going on with an action figure, but this is something totally different and far worse. I think these may be some of the worst painted eyes I’ve ever seen on an action figure. Taking off the cloak also reveals some more sloppy paint on the piping of his shirt, so the lesson learned here… just leave the damn cloak on him!

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Jace features a lot of useful points of articulation, but I did have some stuck joints on my figure. Luckily I didn’t have to start boiling water or plug in the hair dryer, because the problem joints eventually gave in with a little coaxing. Let’s run through those points… The arms are ball jointed at the shoulders, have swivels in the biceps and wrists, and hinges at the elbows. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have double hinges in the knees, and swivels in the thighs. I can’t tell if there’s anything in the ankles, as the pants are sculpted to hang down over his shoes, but it doesn’t feel like there’s any movement there. Lastly, he has a ball joint in his torso and another in the neck. The figure has a good range of movement, and luckily he is capable of shielding his horribly painted face with his hands. But ultimately, who cares about articulation when the figure looks like trash?

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In the accessories department, Jace comes up with a big goose egg. Zilch! Nada! That’s disappointing, because he isn’t a terribly big figure and he could have definitely used something else in there to justify the original MSRP of about twenty bucks. Hell, at least if he came with something I could give to another figure, that might have justified the purchase. I couldn’t even come up with anything interesting to do with him in my studio. I just wanted to shoot him real fast and be done with it.

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Well, I’ve had a lot of good things to say about this line up until now, but Jace is the first figure in this series that I’d rather I hadn’t picked up. Actually, that’s not true. I got him for under ten bucks, and my OCD would have kept me up at night if I had all but one figure in this line. This figure is a nasty piece of work on just about every level, but hey at least none of his joints broke. It’s rather shocking when you consider that the portraits on the three ladies of this line were all clean and sharp. Maybe I just got a bad one, but either way, Jace is the first figure in the line that I honestly couldn’t recommend, unless maybe to a customizer. I’m guessing someone with some serious painting chops could probably turn this figure into something special. Or maybe not.

 

Magic The Gathering (Legacy Collection): Ajani Goldmane by Funko

I’ve already checked out the three ladies from Funko’s MTG Legacy Collection and now I’m moving on to the dudes, starting with Ajani Goldmane. He’s not just a dude, he’s a LION dude, or more precisely an albino Nacatl Planeswalker, who specializes in spells that buff the health and strength of his allies. I don’t claim to have known any of that, nor is there any information about the character printed on the box, instead I consulted that all-knowing oracle of wisdom known as The InterWebs.

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We’ve seen this packaging enough now that I don’t want to waste a lot of time dwelling on it. It’s a nice, collector friendly window box that lets you see the figure your getting and also has the figure’s identity printed on the side panel, which is a huge plus in my book. Unlike the ladies of the line, Goldmane and his huge accessory really fills out his box completely. There’s very little room in there for anything else.

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Out of the box this is one impressively large figure. Granted, he’s not much taller than the ladies, but he’s probably got about twice the bulk of Lil, Chandra, or Nissa. And because he’s got those funky hind animal legs, he can actually stand a lot taller when they are extended all the way out. The sculpt here is quite impressive with all sorts of musculature in the buck, a lot of which isn’t even readily visible under the outfit, but it’s there nonetheless and I really respect that. On the other hand, the fur texture on the body isn’t all that well defined, giving him that kind of smooth Thundercat appearance where it’s hard to tell whether he’s supposed to be furry or just have skin. I do, however, dig the adorable and giant kitty paws he has for feet and he has a very soft and pliable tail.

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The top part of Goldmane’s outfit consists of large golden pieces of shoulder armor with a sculpted bluish-green cloak covering the one on his right. Yeah, once again Funko went the extra mile by actually sculpted the armor under the cloak. It’s something you wouldn’t actually see unless you removed the cloak and left shoulder piece, but they did it anyway. They also sculpted and painted a necklace, which is barely visible under the outfit. The rest of his wardrobe consists of a brown “leather” belt around his waist and “leather” thigh armor and matching arm bracers. All the pieces intended to be leather are sculpted in soft plastic and they’re embossed with various designs. Goldmane also features some wraps around his ankles and hands, which are sculpted as part of the buck and painted. The complexity of the outfit is all quite impressive as it’s comprised of quite a few pieces, all layered quite convincingly onto the figure.

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The portrait is good, albeit a little soft. Goldmane has one eye closed, presumeably from a wound, and his mouth open showing a pair of nasty fangs. I dig the braided hair that’s sculpted from his mane and the wrinkles around his nose are a nice touch. Still, as good a sculpt as it is, it falls a bit flat and I think that’s more down to the lack of paint apps than anything else.

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So let’s talk paint. There have been frequent complaints that the retail versions of the MTG figures are missing a lot of the paint apps that were seen on the prototypes. That’s not unusual as sometimes things just don’t cost out when items move from ideal vision to the mass production line. It didn’t bother me on any of the ladies, but I think it’s a lot more obvious on Goldmane, particularly where his fur is concerned. I get that he’s an albino, but even still the pure marshmallowy, white plastic buck comes off as rather bland and unfinished. A paint wash certainly would have helped things along, particularly on the head. This is a big figure with a complex sculpt, but when you get down to it the deco is just white, brown, blue-green, and gold and it falls a little short. There are also a few minor dings to the gold paint on my figure.

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Goldmane sports plenty of useful points of articulation and my figure had no issues with frozen joints or breakage. The arms have rotating hinges at the shoulders, hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps and wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips with hinges in both sets of knees (I don’t know what else to call them!) and swivels in the ankles and thighs. He’s got a ball joint cleverly concealed in his torso and one in the neck, although the sculpt of his mane severely restricts his neck articulation.

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While the ladies of the line were rather lacking in accessories, Goldmane’s extras steal the show. He comes with a scimitar, which can fit into the brown sheath on his belt and he also comes with a massive double-headed ax. The sword is fairly simple, but it does feature some ornamentation etched in the blade as well as a raised leaping cat. The problem here is that Goldmane’s right hand is obviously sculpted to hold the narrow hilt, but the grip is so tight, it’s impossible for me to get the sword hilt into it. I’ve tried pulling his thum back just a bit and all I got for my efforts was stabbed by his super sharp claws. I’m sure a little blowdryer action would get to open, but I haven’t bothered with it yet.

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The ax, on the other hand, is an absolute work of art. As if a giant lion man in armor isn’t intimidating enough, Goldmane carries around this thing. It’s very tribal looking with sculpted strips of leather wrapped around the handle and teeth and fur trim. The blades are gray and gold and both have raised cat motifs.

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Goldmane earns another thumbs up from me for this line, although those thumbs aren’t held up quite as high as with the previous three figures. Yes, he could have used a few more strokes from the painter’s brush, but a lot of that has to do with his size and the impressive quality of the sculpt demanding a better quality deco. That’s not to say the paint that’s here is bad, I just wish there were more of it. Everything else about this guy is solid and I’d dare say he makes a great piece for any fantasty figure collection. Indeed, he even looks right at home amidst my Masters Classics figures. And even at the full retail of around twenty bucks, this is a lot of plastic for the money. At the $13 I spent on mine, the deal is all the sweeter.

Magic The Gathering (Legacy Series): Liliana Vess

Alrighty, today I’m checking out the final gal in Funko’s Magic The Gathering Legacy line. The first two figures, Chandra and Nissa, not only impressed me, but they’ve put almost all my fears to rest about quality issues in the Legacy Collection Firefly and Rocketeer figures that were shown off at Toy Fair this week. Hell, at this rate I may even take my chances with some more of their Game of Thrones figures. But today we’re here to talk about Liliana Vess, so let’s do it!

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We’ve already seen the packaging for this line twice, so I won’t dwell on it much more. I like it a lot as it identifies the figure on the side of the box, shows off the goods inside pretty well, and is totally collector friendly. Once again, I will humbly suggest that putting character bios on the boxes would have been a nice idea. I can’t be the only one buying these figures who knows nothing about MTG. Or maybe I am. Either way, a consultation with Wizards of the Coast told me a little bit about our gal Lil. Apparently she’s a century old Necromancer, charismatic, charming, and witty and likes making deals with demons. Wooo hooo.. witch-ay woman… let’s see how high she flies.

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And there she is in all her dark beauty. As great as the other two figures were, I’d say straightaway that Liliana is the most impressive at first sight, mainly because of the tattoo scroll work that is etched all over her visible skin. It’s not only a very cool design for the character, but it’s implemented very well on the figure. Ms. Vess’ mostly purple outfit has a bit of a gypsy flavor to me. She’s got a flowing skirt that’s slit up the side so we can see a little leg, and a top that exposes her midriff, (wow, Wizards of the Coast love their bare midriffs!) and a sash over her left shoulder that hooks at the back of her skirt and connects to each of her sleeves at the wrist. She’s also wearing greaves, which are painted with a metallic purple and a gold ram’s horn style tiara.

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The portrait here is more complex than what we’ve seen with Chandra and Nissa. Besides the scroll work tatts on her face, Lil is the first of these ladies to have pupils in her eyes and they’re painted nice and straight. The paint used for her lips and eye brows is also crisp and expertly applied. I actually get a little Marina Sirtis vibe off of her,which ain’t a bad thing. After three figures, it’s safe to say that the guys at Funko (or in this case Gentle Giant) know how to craft a pretty female portrait in this scale.

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Lilian’s articulation is identical to what we saw with Nissa, but I’ll run through it anyway. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, swivels in the biceps and hinges in the elbows. The legs are ball jointed with swivels at the hips, double hinged at the knees, and have rotating swivels and lateral rockers in the ankles. She has a ball joint just under her chest and another in her neck. Once again, I had absolutely no troubles with frozen joints or breakage, although it’s worth noting that Lil’s magnificent mane of hair hinders her neck articulation.

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If Liliana has a downside, it’s her total lack of accessories. So far none of the ladies in this line have been over-encumbered with extra goodies, but Nissa’s staff was nice and at least they threw in a fireball with Chandra. Some magic effect parts would have gone a long way to make this feel like a more complete package. I suppose you could argue that Lil’s costume is a bit more complex and uses more plastic than the other two. Either way, it’s not a deal breaker for me.

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Well, that’s it for the three figures that I picked up from this line, but if you’ve liked what you’ve seen then fear not, I’ve already ordered the rest of the wave so there will be more Magic The Gathering to come. I mentioned at the start of these Features that I got these three figures for a deal, around $11 each, but I would have been pretty happy even if I had shelled out full retail. Indeed, two of the remaining figures ran me a lot closer to retail and I have no worries. If Funko can keep showing the improvements they’ve been making in the Legacy line, I look forward to having a lot more of these figures on my shelves. In fact, with how proficient they are at grabbing up licenses, I’m rather excited to see what the future holds for this line.