Magic The Gathering (Legacy Collection): Nissa Revane

Last week I dipped my toe into Funko’s Legacy Collection Magic The Gathering figures with a look at Hot Pyromancer Chandra and I was mighty impressed. Today I’m pressing onward with Nissa Revane. In case you missed the first feature, I’ll point out once again that I know next to nothing about Magic The Gathering, but these looked like some nice fantasy figures and I’m always up for that. So let’s see what’s in the cards for Nissa. See, I said “cards” because these figures are based off a card game. Cards. Funny? No? Little bit? Ok then, moving on…

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The package consists of a window box designed to stand on a shelf or hang on a peg. It’s all the rage with 6-inch figure lines these days and it certainly gets the job done. The box identifies the figure, lets you get a good look at what’s inside, and it’s totally collector friendly. I really dig how Funko puts the figure’s name and portrait on the side panel so you can line them up on a shelf and still know which is which without having to pull them off. If Hasbro had done that with the Star Wars Black boxes, I might have hung on to them. Anyway, the one thing the package is missing is a little bio about the character. And because I know nothing about these characters, I quickly buggered off to Wizards of the Coast to find some information about Nissa. Apparently she’s a rather proud Elf that wields nature magic. Her biggest turn-on is flowers and her turn-off’s include both vampires and snakes. Let’s get her out of the box…

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Nissa Refane is clearly one of those hot chick tree-huggers. You know, the kind you pretend to like soy milk for so they’ll go out with you and then they wind up leaving you for a botanist after you paid for her BA degree in Ecology. Yeah, you know the type. She’s the epitome of a classic fantasty wood elf and I mean that in every good way possible. The green and brown motif really invokes the feel of the forest and the paint on this figure is pretty near flawless.

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I totally dig the way Funko constructed Nissa’s outfit. It’s quite complex and layered for a figure in this scale and price range. The boots and leggings are part of the sculpt, but skirt and sash are sculpted of softer rubber and permanently attached around the waist. The top of the outfit is part of the figure buck with extra pieces of soft plastic attached to make the high collar, cape, and the loops that hang free around her arms. The arm loops are pegged in, so if you pull them too far, they just pull out and you can pop them back in. The lacing for the top piece is also sculpted into the buck and painted. The detailing in her wrist bracers is quite good too and her taut exposed midriff reveals some painted tattoos.

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Funko certainly seems to know how to sculpt a pretty female face because the portrait here is every bit as good as Chandra’s. Nissa has somewhat of a slightly concerned expression, or possibly its a hint of sadness. She sports green, pupil-less eyes and those extra long Elf ears that usually turn up in anime, mangas, or games by Blizzard. She features shoulder length brown hair, complete with a very thin gold chain painted in and some tattoos on her face that match the ones on her tummy.

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Ah, but Funko has made great looking figures before only to have them snap apart in my people’s hands. The proof is in the pudding, or in this case the articulation. I’m happy to say that my figure has absolutely zero issues with frozen or brittle joints. And while Chandra did have a restricted ball joint in the chest that I wasn’t willing to force, Nissa’s got complete movement in hers. The articulation here is pretty much the same as Chandra’s, but let’s 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 at the hips, double hinged at the knees, and have rotating hinges in the ankles. The neck has a ball joint, which is somewhat restricted by the sculpted hair, and that ball joint under the chest allows for swiveling and leaning forward or back. Nissa is one limber little Elf!

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Nissa comes with one accessory and that’s her magical staff. It’s a sculpted to look like a twisted piece of wood and she can comfortably hold it in her left hand.

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So far, Funko’s MTG line is two for two, and hot damn, I’m loving these figures. The quality and craftsmanship here is right on par with some of the better efforts of DC Collectibles or even NECA. Nissa features a superb sculpt, great paint, and wonderful articulation… what more can you want in a figure? I’ve got one more of these ladies to open before I decide whether or not to pick up the other half of the line, but the next figure would have to be a disaster to make me stop collecting these now. I’m certainly getting more and more confidence in Funko’s 6-inch action figure chops and anxious to see what they’ll have to show us at Toy Fair this week.

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Magic The Gathering (Legacy Collection): Chandra Nalaar by Funko

So, I bought some of these Magic The Gathering figures. I know next to nothing about the game, only that it’s played with cards and has something to do with wizards. I honestly didn’t even know it had characters to make figures out of. So why the hell did I buy these? Well, there are four reasons. 1) I have a problem. 2) I wanted to see how Funko’s Legacy line is improving for when they get around to doing Firefly figures. 3) They were really cheap. 4) I have a problem. I got nothing else to preference this little ditty with, so let’s just dig right in. We’re starting with Ms. Chandra Nalaar!

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There’s the box. It’s very similar to the packages we’ve been seeing for Funko’s Game of Thrones, Hasbro’s 6-inch Star Wars Black, and NECA’s Classic Planet of the Apes, just to name a few. I was a little apprehensive about buying these online, mainly because the paint and QC with Funko’s Legacy line has been pretty spotty, but they were cheap enough that I was willing to roll the dice, or in this case throw down my card. There’s nothing on the package to really tell me anything about this character so I went right to the source, Wizards of the Coast, to learn something about her. She’s a pyromancer and described as strong-willed and independent. Good enough, I can work with that.

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From what I’ve seen, this line strikes me as a fairly traditional fantasy line, but Chandra here is a bit of an exception, as she looks a little more steampunkish to me. That’s cool. As much as the concept gets played out, I still like a little steampunk in my fantasy. Chandra’s outfit is a sort of stylish mish-mash of chainmail reinforced with plates, some leather, and some strategically placed hoses. The detail on her outfit is exceptionally well done. From the texture of the chainmail to the rivets in the plate armor, even the wrappings of her sleeves and boots, and the fingerless gloves… it’s all top notch work.

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As wonderful as the figure is from the neck down, the portrait doesn’t disappoint either. Chandra sports a clean and pretty face sculpt with a magnifcent sprout of flame hair twisting off the top and a pair of goggles worn up right about on her hairline. The plastic used for her skin is a tad waxy, but I’m not going to complain about it because everything else about the portrait, including the eerie firey orange paint in her eyes is without fault. Stack this head and body sculpt up against most anything DC Collectibles has done recently and you’d have some pretty good competition.

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So the sculpt is fantastic, but does it have the paint to back it up? Oh yes it does! The armor has a nice tarnished gray finish and the leather is painted with a few different shades of supple brown. There are even subtle patterns painted on the edges of the sash wrapped around her waist. From the dark brown of her boots to the brilliant orange fire of her hair, the paintwork on this figure is something to be admired. Everything is crisp and spot-on beautiful.

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Articulation is one of the areas where Funko has been having the most problems with this line. It isn’t so much with the degree or design of articulation, but rather problems with frozen and snapping joints. I’m happy to say that nearly all of Chandra’s points of articulation were limber and serviceable right out of the package. The only point of contention is what appears to be a ball joint under her chest. There’s very little give to it and I’m not comfortable trying to force it for fear that I’ll snap the figure in half. Yes, I’d like that joint to work, maybe I’ll try a boil and pop, but it’s not a dealbreaker for me. As for the rest of the points… The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, swivels in the biceps, and hinges in the elbows. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, double hinged at the knees, have swivels in the upper thighs, and rotating hinges in the ankles. The neck is ball jointed. It’s worth noting that the armor plates on her shoulders and left arm are all made of flexible plastic and glued on so as to not interfere with the articulation. It’s a great way to go, unlike the hinged shoulder armor DC Collectibles used for that QC-disaster of a Starfire figure.

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If there’s anything I can nitpick Chandra for it’s that she’s light in the accessories. She comes with a ball of fire that she can sort of hold in her hand. Seeing as I know nothing about the character, I’ll assume she’s not big on anything but throwing fireballs. I certainly can’t point to anything missing, so I’ll just move on.

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While I started out this feature by kidding around about why I bought her, the real reason is that I just dig fantasy style figures and all of these character designs appealed to me. If you’ve read my Masters of the Universe Classics features then you should know I don’t need character or backstory to enjoy a good action figure. Nope, it’s all about design and coloring and craftsmanship and Chandra here hits all those points beautifully. I’m so pleasantly surprised at how well this figure came out and it’s instilled a lot more confidence in the belief that Funko is moving in the right direction with the Legacy line. You’ll note I pulled a lot of comparisons between Chandra and DC Collectibles’ products and that’s because I feel that’s the market that Funko is going for and if Chandra is any example of what they’re capable of, they have it in them to surpass the competition in sculpt and paint quality. So far, I’ve only picked up the three ladies of this line, so I’ll swing back next week and check out another. If all three ladies impress me as much as Chandra, I’ll definitely be picking up the dudes as well.

Game of Thrones Legacy Collection: Eddard “Ned” Stark by Funko

It’s time to venture back to Westeros and visit with Funko’s line of Game of Thrones action figures. This time we’re checking out Ned Stark, who might not be at the top of everyone’s list because he’s been absent from the show for two whole seasons now. What? That’s not a spoiler! I didn’t say he was dead! Oops. Anyway, a big part of why I’m collecting these goes beyond my enjoyment of the books and the show. The truth is the history buff and me just really likes the idea of having some nice medieval style figures and Ned Stark certainly fits the bill.

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There’s the packaging, we’ve seen it three times now, so I don’t have a lot new to add. It is quite attractive with a simple, but effective deco. Ned comes with his scabbard attached to his belt and his two swords beside him. The package is totally collector friendly, and when you open it up you will likely be treated to an assault on your olfactory senses of a like you have never dreamed possible. In other words, these figures stink!

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So far I’ve looked at a couple of figures in full armor, Jon Snow in his Black Watch garb, and now we’re seeing a figure in a plain medieval style ensemble. Ned wears a quilted tunic, which is extremely well crafted in soft plastic so as not to interfere with the leg articulation. Beyond that we’re just looking at a long sleeve shirt, trousers, and high boots. Ned has his Hand of the King pin affixed to the breast of his tunic. There’s nothing flashy or even terribly exciting about this figure. I can’t point to any particularly wonderful paintwork or outstanding attention to detail, but there’s nothing wrong with him either. I dig it because of its simplicity. He just looks like a Feudal Baron, which seems appropriate for the rather spartan stylings of The North.

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While the outfit is beautifully done, the portrait on this figure is easily the weakest of these figures that I own. I suppose I can sort of see Sean Bean in there… somewhere, but it is by no means a slam dunk portrait. The hair is rather bland and looks like clay and the paintwork on the face is pretty poor, particularly the beard. It just looks like a mess. I will say that the sculpt looks better from certain angles and it most definitely looks better in person than under the close scrutiny of a zoom lens.

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Once again, I scored a figure without any articulation issues. Ned had no stuck joints or anything like that. The points here are all good and serviceable. The arms have ball jointed shoulders and elbows with both hinges and swivels in the wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, double-hinged at the knees, have swivels in the thighs, and both swivels and hinges in the ankles. There’s a bit of a swivel in the waist and the head is on a ball joint… so you can easily pop it off. See what I did there? I do wish there was a little more play in the elbow joints, as he can’t really hold his larger sword with both hands.

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And speaking of swords, Ned comes with two. He has a regular sword that fits into the scabbard on his belt. The sword slides in easily and so far the scabbard hasn’t torn off like the one did with my Hound figure. This sword has a pretty simple cruciform style hilt with a brown wrapped grip and copper colored pommel and crossguard. The larger sword is Ice and it’s fairly similar to the smaller one, but big enough for two handed use. I have to say I really love the swords that come with these figures. They look great and the blades are stout enough so they don’t warp like crazy. Plus, I dig functional scabbards on my action figures as much as I love functional holsters… and we all know how much that is! Lots!

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All in all, I’m happy with Eddard here. The portrait could have been better, but overall the figure is quite nice and I’m very pleased that I haven’t been encountering any of QC horrors on the last two figures I bought. There are still two more figures in this first wave, and I haven’t decided whether or not I’m going to be a completist or just wait for some more of the characters I really want like Bronn, Baelish, The Onion Knight, Stannis, Jamie, and Breanne. Either way, you can bet I’ll be coming back with more features from this line eventually. I’m also getting really excited to see Funko’s Legacy Collection expand to some of those other licenses they promised. *cough* Firefly! *cough*

Game of Thrones Legacy Collection: Tyrion Lannister by Funko

The last time I looked at Funko’s Game of Thrones figures, I was left with what could best be called satisfied apprehension. The Hound and Jon Snow are both great looking figures that required a lot more care and tinkering than mass market releases should warrant. Nonetheless, I promised I would press on and try a couple more and to that end a box from Amazon arrived last week with the next two figures for my collection. Today we’re checking out Tyrion Lannister, a fantastic character in the books and one that I think has been elevated to even further greatness by the wonderful performance of Peter Dinklage.

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The figure comes in a splendid window box, which is also designed to hang on a peg. The deco is simple, clean and attractive. There’s a faint linen-like deco to the box and the front has the name of the figure as well as his House’s sigil. The back of the package has a shot of Tyrion from the show and a list of other figures available in this wave. Obviously, Tyrion is a little person and that certainly comes across from all the vacant space in the package. Everything here is collector friendly and as with the previous two figures, when I opened Tyrion I was confronted with a smell that has doubtfully ever been equaled in the annals of action figure marketing. Holy hell, I don’t know what kind of noxious plastic Funko is using, but it really reeks something fierce.

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This figure is based on Tyrion in his battle armor from when he was attached to the Vanguard of the Lannister army. While it’s a very specific, not to mention atypical, version of the character, these are action figures, and so I think it makes sense to go with the more action orientated Tyrion as opposed to drunk, whoring, court Tyrion. Gentle Giant is behind the sculpting on this line and it certainly shows. Tyrion sports not only a great likeness and great proportions, but he’s brimming with little details.

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The portrait is every bit a great likeness of Peter Dinklage. I especially like the sculpting of the hair and the pensive expression on his face. The paintwork here is quite good, from the work on his eyes to the unshaven stubble, and even the painted skin tone.  I should point out that the paint used on his lips stands out far less in person than it does in pictures.

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The armor is an equally impressive combination of sculpted detail and excellent paintwork. The cuirass has a very realistic coppery finish to it with sculpted straps and rivets and an embossed lion just under the collar. The gold chain is neatly painted as are the fixtures on the retaining straps. You get carefully painted laces on the insides of his arm bracers and shoulder armor has more embossed and painted lion heads. The skirt and shoulder armor are all made from very soft and pliable plastic so as not to impede the hip or shoulder articulation.

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Uh-oh, what about that articulation? The biggest issue with The Hound and Jon Snow were the stuck joints. Well, I’m happy to report that all the joints on my Tyrion are absolutely perfect. Nothing had to be boiled, baked, frozen, or worked and he was fully poseable right out of the box. Tyrion features a ball joint in the neck that allows for a generous amount of movement. The arms have ball joints in the shoulders and elbows and swivels and hinges in the wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips and knees and have swivels and hinges in the ankles. He can also swivel at the waist. All the joints feel nice and solid.

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Tyrion comes with one accessory… his trusty axe. It too is a carefully crafted piece with beautiful detailed paintwork on the handle and a little battle damage sculpted into one of the axeheads. Tyrion’s hands are designed so he can hold the axe in either hand or both.

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I really am pleased to say that everything about this figure is excellent. In fact, the only room for nitpicking here might be the price. Tyrion sure uses a lot less plastic than The Hound and yet both figures cost the same. Clegane even came with two swords, while little Tyrion only comes with the axe. Funko could have probably found something else to throw in there to sweeten the deal a bit. Maybe a Tyrion and Joffrey two-pack? Ah, but that doesn’t mean I regret buying this figure at all. He’s a superb piece of action figure craftsmanship and well worth the money to me. The paint, the sculpting, everything just comes together splendidly, making me quite excited to see what else this line has in store for us. And hopefully we will still be getting that drinking, whoring, version of King’s Landing Tyrion, because I’d certainly buy that one too! And Bronn… Bronn is a must!

Game of Thrones Legacy Collection: Jon Snow by Funko

Last week’s first dip into Funko’s new Legacy Collection was a rather mixed bag. We got a figure that featured a great sculpt, solid paintwork and accessories, but had some serious problems with stuck joints and a breaking part. In the end I was still glad to have picked up The Hound and today we’re going to see if Jon Snow fares any better. As mentioned last time, Clegane and Snow are the only two figures I picked up so far and whether I go any further with this line will depend on these two.

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The figure comes in a window box that is, deco aside, lifted almost directly from Hasbro’s Star Wars Black 6-inch line. There’s certainly nothing wrong with that as the box shows the figure off nicely and is totally collector friendly. Jon Snow comes packaged beside his sword and the box art features the House of Stark’s sigil, The Dire Wolf! The sigil is printed again on the side panel of the box. Beware upon opening this figure, it is going to stink worse than a White Walker, which I presume smell pretty bad. This is some industrial grade plastic stink.

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The back of the box has a photo of the character from the TV series and a list of other figures available in this wave. I’ll confess that Jon Snow’s story has not been my favorite aspect of A Song of Fire and Ice. I like the character well enough and it’s interesting to see his story arc, but I much preferred the characters and intrigue going on south of The Wall. Most of the time when the books or TV series switches to Snow’s story in the North I found myself growing restless and longing for a return to the political intrigue, backstabbing, and far more colorful sets and characters. Nonetheless, Jon Snow was on sale for a couple of bucks off and the figure looked nice, so I tossed him in my basket when I bought The Hound.

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First off, I’ve got to give major props for the sculpting here. Jon comes smartly clad in his Night Watch outfit, which is reproduced here brilliantly. Granted, this outfit doesn’t offer as many areas to shine as Clegane’s armor, but Gentle Giant did a wonderful job with what they had to work with. The straps that criss-cross Jon’s chest are sculpted separately from his buck, as is the detailed belt. The soft plastic cloak features nice texture work in not only the fur collar but the cloak itself too. It also hangs comfortably off the figure without curtailing the articulation too badly. While there isn’t a lot of opportunity for paintwork here, Funko did what they could. The tiny silver buckles are all painted neatly and there’s some nice white dry brushing to indicate snow.

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The portrait here is quite good. I think they got the hair perfectly and the likeness is pretty close to the actor in the series. He wears that stern and joyless expression that he has on his mug most of the time. The paintwork on the head holds up pretty well at casual inspection. When I get in really close and scrutinize it then I could pick some fault in the beard, but when he’s posed on the shelf I think the paint here is overall rock solid.

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Ok, so let’s sing a song of articulation and quality control. On second thought, let’s just talk about it. The arms feature ball joints in the shoulders, swivels and hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the wrists. The legs have ball joints in the hips, swivels in the thighs, double-hinges in the knees, and hinges and rockers in the ankles. There is a ball joint in the torso and again in the neck. This figure has far less QC issues than The Hound did. I still had to be really gentle when getting him off the tray and several of his joints were stuck and need some friendly persuasion. No boiling water was required and eventually almost everything became unstock. The only thing left are the swivels in the thighs, and I just don’t want to mess with them for fear of twisting them off.

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In terms of extras, Jon seems rather light on the accessories, especially when compared to the two swords and helmet that came with The Hound. Nonetheless, you do get his sword, Longclaw, which is pretty nicely done for this scale. The blade is etched and the sword fits comfortably into the detailed scabbard on Jon’s belt. I haven’t had any issues with the scabbard pulling off, like I did with The Hound, but it doesn’t look like it would take much for it to happen. Jon can hold the sword in either hand, but I did have to razor the connection between thumb and fingers on his right hand to get it in there.

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So, after checking out The Hound, I was still totally on the fence over whether to keep pursuing this line. I was hoping that Snow would push me over one way or the other, so that I could either abandon this line or just get the rest of them. Ultimately, my experience with Snow gave me a slight nudge and convinced me to try just a couple more. Snow is not as exciting a figure as Clegane, but he is a totally solid effort with a really good likeness. The quality still feels a little precarious in a few areas and it would be nice if I had access to those thigh swivels, but overall I’m still quite happy with the purchase. I think I’ll buy Tyrion and Ned Stark next.

Game of Thrones Legacy Collection: The Hound by Funko

When I was a wee lad, fantasy fiction and I were inseparable. I re-read Tolkein until my paperbacks fell apart, I poured over issues of Dragon magazine, and I spent a ridiculous amount of time crafting binders with maps and modules for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, many of which would never be played. Somewhere along the way, I left a lot of this sort of thing behind me; or rather it evolved into my study of ancient and medieval history. When George R.R. Martin’s “Song of Fire and Ice” came along, I found myself rekindling that old love and when HBO’s treatment followed, I was equally entranced. Was there ever any doubt that I would be interested in action figures based on this franchise? Hardly! Funko’s figure line seemed to come out of nowhere. They were up for sale shortly after their existence was revealed, and horror stories of their poor QC quickly followed. I had originally planned on buying the entire assortment in one shot, but better judgment prevailed and I decided to just pick up a couple to see if they were a worthwhile investment. We’re starting with one of my favorite characters in the books and TV series: Sandor Clegane, better known as The Hound!

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Hound comes in a window box quite similar to Hasbro’s Star Wars Black 6-inch line. Funko is, of course, the company responsible for drowning the world in an endless sea of those pop culture vinyl figures. They’re infamous for being able to secure seemingly any and every license known to man and now that might just pay off because Game of Thrones is only the first in their “Legacy” series of 6-inch action figures, which is eventually planned to span wide range of franchises. The window box is attractive and it shows the figure off very well. The back has a photo of the character from the show and the side panel shows the banner of the family that the character belongs to. The package is totally collector friendly, and… gosh, I think there’s something else I’m missing. Oh yeah. The figure stinks! I mean it smells really bad. It’s not that glorious plastic smell that you get when breaking the seal on a NECA or MOTUC figure. No, this smells pretty vile.

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Out of the package, and The Hound looks fantastic. The package tells us that Funko collaborated with Gentle Giant for the sculpts in this line and it certainly shows, particularly in the detailed armor. From the hauberk to the riveted plates to the chain mail underneath, the sculptors didn’t miss a trick on this guy. There are even dents on the shoulder armor from where he took some blows. The shoulder and elbow guards are made out of a really thin, soft plastic, which allows it to work with the articulation. There isn’t a huge variety of paint on this figure’s body, but what’s here is certainly good. The metal finish on the armor is certainly convincing and the buckles and fixtures on the belts and straps are all carefully painted.

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The portrait here is pretty solid too, although there isn’t nearly as much burn damage visible on the face as there should be. I suppose you could argue that the way the hair is sculpted, it’s covering most of it. The truth is someone without any knowledge of the show or character could probably look at this head sculpt and not realize that he’s half burned at all. Even with that being the case, I’m still pretty happy with the way the head turned out. The likeness is certainly there and the paintwork isn’t bad at all, although I’m not entirely sure whether that stuff on his neck is supposed to be crooked beard, burn marks, or chocolate pudding.

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To discuss this figure’s articulation requires a trip to the stove for a pot of boiling water, but first let’s list the points that are here. The arms are ball jointed at the shoulders, have swivels in the lower biceps, ball joints in the elbows, and swivels in the wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have swivels in the thighs, double hinges in the knees, and both hinges and rockers in the ankles. There is no waist or chest articulation and the head is set on a ball joint. Out of the package, my figure had frozen joints in the ankles and the right elbow, and both thigh swivels were stuck. Now keep in mind, that’s after spending a lot of time very gingerly working all the joints to avoid breakage. If I didn’t have a heads up about the QC, I likely would have snapped all the limbs off this guy in a couple of minutes. I was also very careful about getting him out of the tray.

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So after boiling up some water and chuckling to myself about the irony of having to burn my Sandor Clegane figure, I set about to doing what I could. The ankle joints came unstuck fairly easily. It was the elbow that took some doing. Even after I was able to get the balljoint to bend, I couldn’t get it to rotate. Why the designers saw the need to put bicep swivels so close to a rotating ball joint in the elbow is beyond me, but it greatly complicated getting the swivel in the elbow unstuck. If the elbow hadn’t frozen in an unnatural position I would have left it alone. But after a few dunks into the boiling water, and some gentle coaxing, the elbow got unstuck too. Right now I’m not going to bother with the thigh swivels, because there’s really no way to tell whether the joint is beginning to turn or the post is twisting off. I’ve had that happen a couple of times on DC Universe Classics figures, so it isn’t worth it. There’s a little bit of swivel play in the hip joints to help him stand. Also worth mentioning, the hip ball joints are crazy loose. The Hound will sometimes collapse into the splits or the leg will come off entirely. But that’s easily fixed.

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The Hound comes with two swords and they are both beautiful pieces. The blades are about the same length but one has a two handed grip and fits into the scabbard on his back. The other comes in another scabbard, which gets passed through the loops on his belt… and then tears the loops off the figure. Yep, I did that as carefully as I could and it still tore off. That was an easy fix with some gorilla glue and it should be a lot stronger now. He also comes with his signature helmet. The helmet is superbly sculpted to resemble its on screen counterpart. It’s very soft plastic and fits snugly over the head. The visor is also hinged!

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So, obviously this figure has problems. And even after all this bother, I have to consider that I’m one of the lucky ones, because in the end I still have a viable figure and not a jumble of broken limbs. As crazy as that sounds, what’s even crazier is that I’m still glad I picked up this figure because he looks absolutely fantastic on the shelf. Still, I wouldn’t go around recommending him to people. Twenty bucks is a lot to spend on a figure that is this flawed and while future collectors may take comfort in the fact that Funko is aware of the problem and addressing it on future product, unless they mark the packaging on the improved figures, buyers are still as likely to get stuck with a bad figure. I’ll end on a bright note, at least Funko is getting the kinks out and future Legacy lines should be free of these problems… and hopefully will be by the time they get around to Firefly figures. Next week, we’ll check out Jon Snow.

Star Wars Legacy Collection: Princess Leia (Jabba’s Slave) by Hasbro

Alrighty, I’ve got five days ahead of me where I am committed to a regimen of features on figures from Jabba’s Palace. Let’s start with Slave Leia, because everyone loves Slave Leia… well, right up until she throttles you with her chains. There have been a few golden bikini clad Leias over the years, but today we’re looking at the one that was designed to work with the “Jabba’s Throne” set released by Hasbro right around the same time.

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There’s a long and tortured story behind me finally getting this figure into my collection. I paid no attention to it when it was first released, because I wasn’t collecting a lot of Star Wars and I doubted I had much chance of finding the “Jabba’s Throne” set because it was a Walmart Exclusive, and my Walmart seems to boycott their own exclusives. Nonetheless, eventually I got it and everything changed. I remembered Hasbro released a Slave Leia with the ability to sit on Jabba’s throne, only I didn’t know what series she was released in and I couldn’t find her anywhere. I thought I hit paydirt when I found the Vintage Collection figure, only to discover that she didn’t include the swappable lower half. It wasn’t until a few weeks later, when I was trawling Ebay for nothing in particular, that I stumbled upon a listing for her and grabbed her up.

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I’m pretty sure I’ve only picked up a couple of figures from this “Legacy Collection.” The packaging is so weird and so not Star Wars to me. The artsy cut edges of the card, the white background, the generic portrait of Leia, it’s no wonder I never paid much attention to this line when I saw it on the pegs. It’s not terrible, but it’s just bland and uninspired. I’d hate to see what the rejected Legacy package designs looked like. The large bubble shows off the figure and accessories pretty well, apart from the obnoxious Darth Maul head special offer sticker. It also displays the disembodied legs right next to the figure, which I thought was kind of odd. I guess since Hasbro was already hiding a Build-A-Droid part under the insert, there was no place to tastefully conceal Leia’s extra set of gams.

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Let’s start with Leia as she comes on the card. It’s hard to put my finger on it, but there’s something just a tad off about her. The face isn’t a slam dunk, but it’s not bad either. It’s not really Carrie Fisher, but the figure isn’t dog faced. Considering Hasbro’s track record with the portraits on Leia figures, this one is certainly passable, but not the best. Her bikini top and torso are nicely sculpted, and they even got some of the subtle muscle definition into her stomach. One of the little nagging issues is the way the chain around her neck and the pony tail over her shoulder make her cock her head to one side. You can take the chain off and bend the pony tail to the back to fix this, but it sucks that you have to. The ball joints also make her arms look rather funky looking, but I guess that’s the price we pay for articulation.

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The lower half of the figure has a sculpted belt, which secures a softgoods skirt and the figure looks fine so long as the skirt is covering her legs. If you get a good look at her legs, however, they seem short and stubby. Maybe this figure’s proportions are more accurate to Carrie Fisher, but all I know is she looked pretty damn good in that bikini, and that’s not necessarily reflected by the bottom half of this figure.

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Articulation includes ball joints in the neck, shoulders, elbows, knees, and ankles. She has standard T-style joints in the hips, another ball joint under her breasts, and she can swivel at the waist. I don’t usually mind the T-crotch, but in this case, not having the ability to do a wider stance really hurts the figure.

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Of course, the main reason I got this figure is to display on Jabba’s throne. You can get some passable poses with her regular legs, but by the swappable lower half gets the job done better. The replacement legs are molded in one piece, along with her skirt and she is sitting on a pillow. The paintwork on the static legs isn’t as tight as it could be, there’s some bleeding between the flesh tones and the pillow, but the result still works really well and she certainly does look great sitting on Jabba’s throne.

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In addition to her extra set of extremities, Leia comes with a goblet and some kind of staff weapon. Similar looking weapons have been around since the Kenner vintage figure days, and I’ve never known what those things are. Is it a vibro axe? A force pike? A gun? How is that even used as a weapon? Is the top part sharp? Do you just use it to push people over the railings of the barges and skiffs? Somebody help me out here.

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The engineering behind this figure was a clever idea on Hasbro’s part and it certainly works well. That having been said, if we’re taking about the ass-kicking Sail Barge Slave Leia, I think I still prefer either the POTF2 or the POTJ versions of the character. I know, that sounds crazy. They are less articulated and the portrait isn’t quite as good, but they seem better proportioned to me. On the other hand, Legacy Leia works great as an accessory piece to Jabba’s Throne, and that’s what I bought her for, so it’s all good. Now I just have to decide whether Jabba’s got room for two bitches on his throne, or if Oola becomes Rancor food.

Star Wars Legacy Collection: Zuckuss by Hasbro

All in all I’ve been pretty good about keeping my vow to kick collecting Star Wars. In the past couple of years the only Star Wars toys I’ve picked up were the Legacy Millenium Falcon and a set of figures I found clearanced at Ross. This year, I knew I’d be slacking back on that a little bit because of some of the great stuff shown off at Toy Fair. I know I will be picking up most of the vintage carded figures, that marvelous AT-AT (already pre-ordered), and a few other things. So, its probably that sense of impending doom that has made me spend a little more attention to what’s in the Star Wars section of the toy aisles these days. As a result, on my last trip to Toys R Us I spotted Zuckuss on the pegs and decided I needed him. They were doing a “buy one get one half off sale,” so I also picked up another figure too, but we’ll save that one for another time. Among the odds and ends that I kept when I sold off my Star Wars collection were the bounty hunters, so adding an updated Zuckuss to that cadre seemed like a good idea. I should note they also had two really sweet looking Force Unleashed multi-packs. I was really tempted, but maybe next time.

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Since its been a really long time since I last bought a carded Star Wars figure, this is my first experience with the new packaging. Overall, I like it. Its clean, compact and it shows the figure off very well. The position of the character art and name on the package makes it fairly easy to look through the pegs to see who’s hiding. The back panel has a little blurb on the character and a window to see what Build A Droid part you’re getting. My Zuckuss came with a leg for a figure which I am certain I will never, ever complete. Oh yeah, Darth Maul’s mug is stickered on the package. Jesus, does he have to get his picture on everything?

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The last time I owned a figure of this character it was the vintage Kenner release back when he was called 4-LOM (and 4-LOM was called Zuckuss). I remember he was a mail away figure and when I got him I had no idea what role he was going to play in the movie so I played with him as if he was a good guy. Little did I know that not only would he be a villain, but he’d only have about two nano-seconds of screen time. Of course, since then, there’s been a shit load of backstory retconned to this guy in comics and novels and everything else.

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Hasbro has continued to get better and better with many of their Star Wars figure sculpts. Zuckuss here is definitely on par with the quality of figures that were being released in the premium VOTC line several years back. The insectoid head sculpt is excellent and has two hoses that run from his breathing appartus on his backpack. I was delighted to find that I could unplug the backpack as well as the hoses from his face. Actually, I think he might die without that, so I put it back on pretty quickly. His robes are mostly sculpted in plastic, although he does have a softgoods skirt. Yes, that creates a disconnect between the plastic and cloth, but I still dig it as it frees up the leg articulation. I particularly like the fact that this figure represents the character’s short stature.

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The articulation on this little guy is excellent. He has ball joints in the shoulders, elbows and knees. His legs are jointed at the hips and his ankles are hinged. He also has a swivel cut in his waist and his head is ball jointed. For an extra that just stood in the background of a short scene, you can finally let your imagine run wild and make Zuckuss the action star that he was born to be!

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Zuckuss comes with his blaster carbine and… what?? Where’s the stand? I seriously cannot believe that Hasbro stopped putting figure stands in the packages. Obviously, I’ve been away for a while, but this to me is a no brainer. They have the molds made, how much could it cost to stamp those things out? I don’t even care if its personalized. Luckily I have plenty of generic clear disc stands lying around, so Zuckuss need not go standless, but seriously, Hasbro, bring back the stands.

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I’m coming to grips with the fact that collecting Star Wars figures is something that was seeded into me at such a young age and had such a profound effect on my childhood that I will never be free of it. Zuckuss here is a great example of that. He’s little more than window dressing in the movie and yet I love this figure so much. He’s just a badass little bug dude that is ready to pursue his quarry across the universe. What does he do with his all the bounty money he earns? Does he drink fine booze and smoke expensive cigars? Does he buy expensive cars and bug-hookers? I don’t know, but between this little figure and my warped imagination… by god, I’m going to find out!

 

 

Star Wars: Legacy Collection Joker Squadron Figures by Habsro

Ok, so sometime around three years ago I gave up collecting Star Wars figures and toys and sold off most of my collection. It was a decision that was partly motivated by me needing space (I wanted to convert my spare room into a library) and partly because I needed the money. But it was still a conscious effort to cut off Star Wars rather than the other toy lines I collected. I guess my main reasoning was that it had just gotten so out of hand. I had bookcases upon bookcases lined with loose figures, and more and more of those figures were based on characters I barely knew. Some of the EU figures I didn’t know at all and a growing number were coming from the Prequel movies that I really didn’t have a lot of enthusiasm for.

I did keep some items, like most of the figures for my Imperial army and some of the ships that I really liked, mostly from the Original Trilogy. I still have fun taking a look through some of the new Star Wars stuff that comes out, and I’m open to pick up a piece now and again, but the truth is that in the last three years or so, the only Star Wars toy that I’ve purchased was the Legacy Millenium Falcon. That is until now.

I was poking around Ross’ Toy Graveyard today, you know the horribly kept area in the back where dead toy lines go to rot. From time to time I’ve found some good stuff back there for good deals and today I was following up on a lead that they were starting to get in some of those GI JOE Assault on Cobra Island sets. I didn’t find any of those, but I did find this Joker Squad set for $14.99 and I decided, “what the hell… why not.” It does go with the Imperials that make up the remains of my collection and I did actually read the Legacy comic that these figures are taken from (it was only Issue #4 and thus early enough in the series that I hadn’t quit on it yet). And considering this thing sold for more than twice that over at Entertainment Earth, I just couldn’t resist picking it up.

The packaging is nothing special, but it does a nice job of displaying the figures, and best of all it is 100 percent collector friendly. You just open the side flap and slide out the tray. The only thing holding the figures down are those clear rubber bands, so a quick snip snip and you can get your figures out and return them to the tray with no worries. It also has a sticker denoting that it is a Limited Edition Entertainment Earth online exclusive. Now, if only Ross hadn’t cemented that friggin price label right to the window of the box. Grrrr.

If you haven’t read Legacy #4, I can’t really recommend it, unless you’re a crazy serious Star Wars junkie, and if that’s the case, you probably already did. Its ok. Its interesting in that it covers another Civil War within the Empire, this time dealing with renegade Stormtroopers defecting to support another Emperor pretender. The characters are all cliche war movie schlock. You’ve got Anson Trask, the “noob” that joins the squad right before the suicide mission; Harkas the hard-ass sargeant; Hondo, the silent type; Vax the scrounger; and Jes Gistang, the Squad’s token female, who for some non-sensical reason is in charge of the heavy gun, despite being the smallest of the bunch. There’s also Lord Maleval, a Sith Lord sent to go with the Squad and make sure they take out the 908th Division’s base.

The set consists of the five members of the 407th Division’s Joker Squad along with Maleval. Now keep in mind, as five of these figures are Stormtroopers, the set reuses the same body four times. The fifth is the now infamous first female Stormtrooper figure, Jes, for which Hasbro was generous enough to provide a unique, body sculpt and a new belt. She also comes with the “big gun” she used in the comic. The other troopers all come with their standard blasters and Hondo comes with his vibro knife. The only other difference among the Stormtroopers bodies is Sgt. Harkass has yellow stripes on the arms of his armor, which I didn’t remember him having in the comic, but when I dug out my copy to check… yep, there they are. These figures use the same rubbery removable helmets as the Legacy Collection Stormtrooper with Jango Fett’s face.

The head sculpts are all new and unique. Naturally, each member has a really unique look about them to distinguish them as separate characters, at least with their helmets off. Which begs the question, how the hell do they keep from shooting each other when fighting other Stormtroopers? In the comic, both factions of Stormtroopers look exactly alike. Either way, the head sculpts are all good, although Hondo looks exactly like Luke Skywalker.

Lord Maleval is a really cool figure, even if he looks like the product of Darth Maul raping a Quarran. The coolest thing about this figure are his robes. Besides having a skirt around his legs, he has a massive flowing cape and hood, and the bottom of the cape is lined with a bendy plastic wire that not only weights it down but lets you pose it a bit. Its one of the cooler things I’ve seen in a Star Wars figure in a while. Maleval also comes with his lightsaber and his electrified whip.


All in all, this is a nice set and it brings something rather unique to my collection of Imperials. The question of it being a “Limited Edition” is pretty dubious, as it was released quite a while ago and Entertainment Earth still seems to have plenty left. All in all, I think the biggest problem with this set was the initial price. Sure $39.99 doesn’t sound like a lot for six exclusive Star Wars figures, as its actually less than these would have sold for on individual cards. But when you consider this sets heavy reuse of parts, it just seems way overpriced. They could have at least thrown in a copy of the comic for people who didn’t read it.