Matty Sale Day, SDCC Exclusives, and Other Stuff…

Matty Sale Day was yestereday and it was a big one. There weren’t that many new figures, with only Clawful and JLU STRIPE making their debuts, but there was a ton of second and third chances at older figures from MOTUC, Ghostbusters, and a little bit of DC. I was pretty sure I wanted Clawful, and I didn’t get a chance to see what was being offered in the so-called All Stars Sale ahead of time, but I didn’t have high hopes for getting anything as my social calendar had me going out straight after work and not getting home until around 2am. Take a lesson, kids, like the mongoose to the snake, the social life is the natural enemy of the toy collector!

Anywho, it turned out fine, as Clawful was still available when I got home. I will admit to hesitating a bit before pulling the trigger. I wanted the figure, but man at $30 a pop it’s getting harder and harder to justify some of the background characters. I desparately looked around for something else I wanted, if only to defray the cost of shipping, but I wound up not getting anything else. I would have liked to get a clean Egon with the PKE Meter or the unslimed Venkman, but not at $20 each for variants of figures I already own. I might have picked up Winston, the last of the four 12″ Ghostbusters I need, but I had just dropped $100 on a new wave of DCUC figures. Speaking of which, I was disappointed that there weren’t any DCUC figures in the All Stars Sale, but I’m guessing its because those figures are sold at retail. Well, theoretically they are. I’ve not seen any at local stores in a very long time.
It was an interesting Sale Day, as it shows us that Matty has a lot of stock on these figures kicking around. Logging in a day later and Clawful is the only item on the large list that has sold out. Pretty crazy since they aren’t placing limits on any of the All Stars items.

Moving on to next week… SDCC kicks off next week, which means I’ll be spending some time between now and then researching the exclusives that I’m not up to date on and trying to figure out what I’m going to try to chase after and what I’m going to pass up. Here’s a quick rundown on where I stand with the items on my radar.

Hasbro: GI JOE/Transformers: Starscream Skystriker: This is one of the must-have items on my list. It’s also one that I’m worried about getting. At only $50 I think it’s very reasonably priced and that may cause scalpers to have a field day with it, knowing that they have a lot of room to mark it up. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to snag one on HTS but my luck with SDCC exclusives on the site has been hit and miss in past years. All I know is that I will get it, whatever it takes.

Hasbro: GI JOE: Zarana and Cold Slither Variant: I need to research this one a little more. I’m guessing it’s a two pack? I haven’t seen any in-package pictures, but either way I want it. It’s another exclusive that I’ll probably be spending whatever it takes to get, so it’s a good thing I didn’t spend much money on GI JOE this year.

Hasbro: Transformers Prime: Optimus Prime: Easily the most disappointing exclusive of the show. After getting such beautiful Soundwave and Blaster re-issues for the last two shows, this thing is just a dud. The figure looks mediocre at best and I’ll be able to buy it for about $10 at Walmart soon anyway. I don’t care about the Matrix packaging.

Ban Dai: Thundercats: Classic Lion-O: I would love to own this figure, but not at $40. It’s the same figure that I have pre-ordered at $17 only the exclusive has a weapons rack and some better paintwork. Easy pass at that price. This is listed as a TRU Exclusive too, so I’m willing to bet it’ll show up on clearance in the stores or on the website just like Giants of Justice Flash did.

Mattel: MOTUC: Queen Marlena and Cringer:This must-buy ranks up there with the Starscream and Zarana sets. I predict it’s going to be really hard to get, and I’m going to pay more for it than I want to. Than again, I was able to get last year’s Orko and Prince Adam for only a bit over retail, so hopefully I’ll get lucky again.

Mattel: Ghostbusters: Stay-Puft Marshmellow Man: This is a really nice piece and I sure wouldn’t mind owning it, but at $70 (and likely to be considerably more after the show) it’s an easy pass. I’m perfectly happy with my smaller yet nicely sculpted Diamond Select bank standing in for Mr. Stay Puft on my Ghostbusters shelf.

Mattel: DC Universe Classics: Swamp Thing: I’m not terribly excited over this figure, probably because despite being a DC property, I just don’t think it belongs in my DCUC collection and I’m not a big enough fan of the character to want the figure on its own. It’s highly unlikely I pick this one up unless the price is really right. Besides, I have zero confidence in that skin covering holding up in the long term.

Mattel: Voltron: I need to see more of this figure before deciding whether or not I need it. I may wait to see what Matty has planned for the Voltron subscription toys. As much as I like the looks of this one, it might be too redundant to warrant a purchase.

Character Options: Doctor Who: River Song with Pandorica Chair. Not the slam dunk exclusive I was hoping for, but I’ll definitely pick this up for the River figure. It should be easy enough to get too. I’m still waiting to find out what CO’s Classic Who exclusive will be.

As far as the blog goes… I have a lot of figures and toys due to be rolling in over the next couple of weeks, including that aforementioned wave of DC Universe Classics, and I’m still hoping that some of my Thundercats preorders may start shipping earlier than expected. So I’m devoting next week to cleaning up my In Box and featuring some figures that have been lingering in the hopper for a long time. My In Box is basically a folder on my harddrive where I have in-package shots of figures that I haven’t featured yet. It’ll be a mish-mash of somewhat older stuff, but just by perusing what i’ve got in here, I’m seeing that most, if not all, of it will be comic book related figures. I’ve also got one more Dark of the Moon figure to toss in too and I’ll try to save that for later in the week.

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DC Universe Giants of Justice: Flash by Mattel

Are you a Barry Allen whore? Do you need something to go with those Flash bedsheets and comforter and Central City themed wallpaper in your room? Is your army of Justice League Unlimited Flash figures just not cutting it? Well, here’s the item for you. While I was pretty much oblivious to Mattel’s Giants of Justice line of figures, I do remember shots of The Flash here circulating from the SDCC of twenty-ought-nine. I didn’t really pay it much mind though until it turned up on clearance at TRU for an irresistable $5.98. Seriously, a 1:6 scale Flash figure that was technically an SDCC exclusive? Why wouldn’t I buy that? Um, because you have no space for it. SHUT UP!!!

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The packaging is a window box with the familiar DCUC deco. It’s very similar to the style Mattel uses for the DC Universe Classics 2-packs, only a lot bigger. It’s also sort of collector friendly. You can get the figure out just fine and return him to the package for display, but getting the display stand out is trickier since it’s sealed behind a bubble on the back of the cardboard insert. A little razor blade action can’t even help you, because the bubble is glued to the backdrop of the tray. I’m leaving mine alone because this figure will probably spend most of its time displayed in the box. The back panel has a nice little bio blurb. I mentioned earlier that this figure was technically an SDCC exclusive, but it’s worth noting that it doesn’t say it anywhere on the package.

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In terms of sculpt, this isn’t bad, but it is pretty basic. The muscle tone is well done, particularly on the figure’s upper body. From the neck down, The Flash’s costume does’t require a lot of unique sculpting, apart from the sculpted wings on the boots and heavy treads on the soles. The hands are balled into fists, which works fine for running poses. The red suit features a decent paint wash that helps to pick out the detail in the muscles. The emblem on his chest is a tampo, which means it’s nice and crisp. The yellow used for the boots is particularly vibrant, although there’s a little slop around the tops.

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The head sculpt is very basic, although probably roughly on par with the DC Universe Classics release. It just looks a lot simpler when it’s blown up to this scale. Again, not bad, but nothing spectacular. The mask is actually part of the sculpt and his ear wings look pretty good.

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So how about that articulation? Well you’re getting considerably less than you are with a 6-inch DCUC figure. I suppose that’ll seem odd to some since a larger figure should warrant better articulation. Then again, considering that a lot of these larger pieces tend to be statues, you aren’t making out all that bad either. Flash’s head turns from side to side, his arms rotate at the shoulders and are hinged at the elbows. His legs rotate at the hips and are hinged at the knees. He also swivels at the waist and… that’s it.Yeah, the shoulders do look like ball joints, but they aren’t. You can still get him in a nice running pose with the help of the stand, but considering the size and original cost of this figure, I think most collectors were going to be expecting more.

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I really dig The Flash, but it still feels like an oddity to have this one big lone Flash figure in my collection as a stand alone piece. I can’t emphasize enough that the main reason I bought this figure was just because it was dirt cheap and basically an impulse buy that I threw into my cart while buying a number of other figures. I know, that’s not a ringing endorsement for the figure, but it is still a solid piece, particularly if Barry Allen is your thing, or if you happen to have any of the other Giants of Justice figures. On the other hand the original retail on this guy was $39.99, which even factoring in that he started life as an SDCC Exclusive, is still pretty outrageous for what you’re getting, even if you are specifically in the market for a big Flash figure.

MOTU Classics: Orko and Prince Adam by Mattel

It was with heavy heart that I ultimately decided not to subscribe to Matty’s Club Eternia for next year. Well, not really a heavy heart. For a while now, I’ve suspected the line would not have enough core characters left to make me want all the figures next year, and from early indicators (ie. 2011’s first figure being Bow from She-Ra… wow, really Matty? Really??) it looks like I was right. Granted, I am not the diehard Masters of the Universe fan that a lot of these figures are aimed at and I don’t have a pressing need to own every figure that comes out. As such, Orko and Prince Adam were among two of the last “must have” figures for me. There are still a few that I missed that I would like to own, and I’m still waiting for The Sorceress, but from here on in, I’ll be cherry picking the line carefully. Even if I wind up paying a little more for individual figures on Ebay, it’ll be less bother than having to sell off all the ones I don’t want.

Before getting into these figures, I should say that I have no idea if this set is still considered to be an SDCC exclusive or not. I know the shitty looking color change Orko was the one that was *only* available for sale at the show. This regular flavor Orko went up for sale on the Matty Collector site afterwards and quickly sold out. Is it still considered a Con exclusive? I have no idea. Probably not. There’s nothing on the package that says so.

Speaking of the package, I really hate the direction Matty went with on this set. Oh, the card and bubble and all that jazz are fine as they’re the same classic inspired deco used on the rest of the line and it still looks awesome. It also still comes in the traditional white mailer box. What I hate is the way Matty tried to be cute and put Adam on the bottom as an accessory and have tiny Orko hovering like a dot amidst all the waisted space. If I were a mint-on-card collector, this would have infuriated me to no end. Fortunately, I just tear it open to get at the goods inside. Either way, I think the presentation would have been better served with Orko mounted hovering next to Adam. Not as clever, but it would have looked a lot less ridiculous.

Let’s start with Orko, since its his name on the card. There were a lot of directions Matty could have gone in making this figure, but in the end I think they really nailed it. He’s perfectly in scale with the other figures, and the addition of the clear stand to give him a hovering effect is just what I was hoping they would do. The sculpt is spot on, with a striking resemblance to the Filmation character design. The blue skin tone on his hands and ears is perfect, the eyes and scarf look great. The only nitpick I can come up with is that there are quite a few shades of variation between the red used on his hat and his cloak. No big deal, though.

Orko has a decent amount of articulation for what he is. He has ball joints in his shoulders and elbows, his hands have swivel cuts, and I suppose you can count the ball and socket to his stand as a joint as it allows you to tweak the position he’s hovering in. Oh yeah, even his, erm… head is balljointed giving him more movement there than I would have expected.

Orko comes with two accessories: A wand and a spell book. His right hand is sculpted to hold the wand. As for the book, I can just about get him to hold it in both hands, but not easily. The wand is a wink back to the 200x Orko figure. I suppose you can count his stand as an accessory too.

Prince Adam is also a very nice figure. Once again, I think Matty hit all the right points on his design. They kept the controversial purple tights and purple furry diaper. His white shirt is painted on, which does look a little cheap around his neckline, but not too bad. His bracers are smaller than the ones on the He-Man figure, and they are painted silver. Matty went with a soft plastic tunic, similar to the type used on Teela and it works very well. I’m very glad they didn’t opt for using soft goods here. I would, however have liked a loop on the back of the tunic to hold his sword.

Adam comes with two interchangeable heads. One is pretty much the same as the one used for previous He-Man releases, the other is a resculpt that has him grinning. I like the sculpt on the grinning head as being more appropriate to the figure, but the skin tone is waxy and it looks like Adam is sweating profusely. The other head is fine, but I don’t think Adam should look that pissed off. I’ll have to decide between the lesser of two evils when displaying him. He also comes with one and a half power swords.

Adam’s articulation is typical for the line. He has a ball jointed neck, ball jointed shoulders and hips. His elbows, knees and ankles are all hinged. He has swivel cuts in his biceps, wrists and waist. He has the torso hinge, but the tunic prevents it form being much use. Unfortunately, the joints on my Adam are mighty loose right out of the package. Especially his ankles. I can tell right away he is going to be a shelf diver.

As mentioned at the beginning, this set sold out crazy fast when it went on sale at Matty Collector on the 2nd. That was, of course, to be expected, since even the regular figures sell out like mad. I was lucky enough to get in on a pre-order at another site (which also sold out shortly after) offering the set for $45. Honestly, I expected to get beaten up a lot worse on the price. Considering there are technically two figures here and how important the characters are, I don’t think I did too badly. Although in hindsight I would have done better on Ebay where he has been frequently selling for around $25-35. Live and learn. I’m just happy to have it, as these are both fantastic figures.

 

Transformers: Autobot Blaster (SDCC Exclusive) by Hasbro

Last year Hasbro gave us the very cool Soundwave gift set as their Transformers SDCC Exclusive. This year, it seemed only natural they compliment that release with Soundwave’s Autobot counterpart, Blaster. They also seemed to up the production numbers on this one, possibly as a response to how quickly Soundwave sold out last year. So is this set as impressive and desireable as last year’s offering? Yes and no.

Hasbro pulled out the stops on the presentation of this set, making it look even more impressive than the formidable Soundwave release. The set comes packaged in a reflective cardboard sleeve with a huge Autobot symbol and Blaster’s name written in a cool, funky retro 80’s style that certainly suits the figure’s character.


Slide off the sleeve and you have a pleasingly large box decorated in a G1 fashion very similar to Soundwave’s release. The key difference, besides it being bigger, is that Blaster’s box has a front flap that covers the window display. Open the flap and you can see photos of the toys on the reverse side and the window revealing Blaster and three of his cassette minions, Steeljaw, Ramhorn and Eject, all in their robot forms. On presentation alone, this set gets full marks.

Slide out the inner tray and you can get to the goods. Blaster is a satisfyingly large figure, much bigger than Soundwave. He’s colorful, boxy and the epitome of glorious G1 Transformer design. His stickers come already applied, and mine were applied pretty well. The only real disappointing thing about Blaster is the complete lack of detail on his back. Granted, it is authentic to the original toy, but it looks lacking, especially compared to Soundwave’s belt clip and opening “battery” compartment-slash-weapon storage. Oh yeah, his head always looked way too small to me.

Blaster has pretty limited articulation, which is to be expected for a G1 Transformer and most of his existing articulation is a by-product of his transformation process. He can turn his head, his arms rotate at the shoulders, his hands can swivel, and his legs can move laterally to change his stance. That’s pretty much it. His tape door is spring loaded and ejects with the press of his eject button. Its a first for me, since the eject button on the original G1 Blaster I owned as a kid was broken right out of the box.

Transforming him into his boom box mode is only slightlly more involved than Soundwave. Its a very simple conversion, although there are a few neat tricks, like the way the arms fold in or the way the grab bar comes out of each of the legs and joins together. The final result is more toyish looking and less convincing than Soundwave’s walkman form, but it gets the job done.


Blaster’s cassettes are a bit of a mixed bag. Steeljaw and Ramhorn are pretty cool, although they suffer from the same two-dimensional design as Ravage and rely on their added parts to give them depth. Both figures are pretty well designed, though, considering what they transform into, and Steeljaw in particular has a ridiculous number of shifting plates to help along his transformation. Eject has never been one of my favorites, probably because of his weird looking arms. He’s certainly not awful, but compare him to the Rumble and Frenzy design and he comes up severely lacking. As with the Soundwave reissue, all of Blaster’s cassettes come with clear plastic cases.



Blaster retails at the same price as last year’s Soundwave set, $49.99, and I’d say that’s quite a deal. While original G1 Blasters can still be commonly found for sale at the usual places, his tape door is often an early casualty of play wear and tear, and his cassettes can be a lot tougher to find in good shape. Either way, you’re getting quite a lot here for your money.

As previously noted, the production on this set seemed to be a lot higher than Soundwave, as Blaster was still available for almost a week after going up for sale at Hasbro Toyshop. The only sticking point is that I don’t think Blaster has ever reached the insane levels of popularity as his Decepticon counterpart Soundwave. I know that I never much cared for his character in the series, but I always liked the figure. That lesser demand plus the increased production likely led to him sticking around a lot more. Still, any diehard G1 fan would do well to pick this set up. The presentation is wonderful, the figures are solid, and its certainly priced right.

Doctor Who: Planet of Fire 5th Doctor and The Master (SDCC Exclusive) by Character Options

For a while now, Character Options has been dancing around giving us certain characters from the classic show. We’ve gotten all The Doctors, and our share of aliens, but the “human” characters have been off limits. With the release of this set, we’re one step closer to breaking that unfortunate lock out. The “Deadly Assassin” Master previously released was all well and good, but I, like many fans, were waiting to get a figure based on one of the proper incarnations of this evil Time Lord, and now we have it. The Planet of Fire set gives us another version of the 5th Doctor plus The Master as portrayed by the late, great actor Anthony Ainley.

The packaging here is the same type we’ve been seeing on all the classic style two-packs. The logo and artwork is based on the 2005-2010 series and the figure is sealed in a clamshell. An insert on the bottom shows off images of The Doctor and The Master and the back panel has a blurb about the episode and The Master. The 2010 SDCC logo is printed in the upper right hand of the card. Planet of Fire has never been one of my favorite episodes, but it does introduce the appealing companion, Peri, and it is a pretty good final showdown between The 5th Doctor and The Master. Ainley would also reprise his role to face off against both the 6th and the 7th Doctors in future episodes. Oh yeah, Planet of Fire also sees the departure of Turlough… good riddance!

Before getting started, here’s a quick and possibly unnecessary disclaimer on The Master as he is portrayed in this set. Technically, this is not The Master, but rather the shape-shifting android, Kamelion, assuming the form of The Master, who was in actuality stranded in his TARDIS in a… um… diminished state. Its only really relevant because The Master never actually wore a suit like this and this was an opportunity for CO to create an Ainley Master while reusing some parts from the John Simm Master. Do I care? Nope. If CO sees fit to release a proper Master figure later on down the road, I will pick it up, if not, I’m perfectly happy with this one. Its amazing how easy I am to please when dealing with a figure I thought I’d never get.

At first glance, many thought that this Master’s body was a complete reuse of the body used for the John Simm Master, but that’s not entirely the case. The arms and legs are the same, but the torso has significant differences. The details on this new figure’s jacket are much better sculpted, he’s wearing a vest under the jacket, and the wrinkles sculpted into the back are more pronounced. The sculpting on the Simm Master’s coat looks really soft when compared to the crisp detail on this one. The head sculpt is obviously new and quite excellent. CO did a fine job capturing Ainley’s slightly evil smirk and his mesmerizing, piercing eyes. There’s a tad of paint slop on the goatee, but nothing that is unacceptable. All in all, this is an excellent figure.

The Master’s articulation includes a rotating head. His arms rotate at the shoulders, are hinged at the elbows and have swivel cuts in the biceps and wrists. His legs have universal joints at the hips and hinged knees. He is, however, missing the swivel cuts in the thighs that many fo CO’s Doctor Who figures have.

The Doctor is also a fantastic figure, although he features far less original sculpting than The Master. The body sculpt is virtually identical to the one used for the previous single carded release, with the only difference being the celery on his lapel. I suspect it is identical to the Doctor released in the SDCC exclusive Time Crash set, released a few years back, and it may be the same body used on the one in the recent Eleven Doctors Set, both of which also feature the ornamental vegetable.

The head on this figure is a resculpt, changed just enough to accomodate the hat, which is not removable. The paint on this figure is very crisp, with the only flaw I can see being a small red dot of paint on the left shoulder of his coat. I’m not someone really interested in collecting a lot of variants of each Doctor, but I was glad to get this one because of the celery and I think the hat looks quite good on him. Right now, this one is replacing my other 5th Doctor as my main display piece. That’s how much I like him.

The Doctor features the exact same articulation as his previous releases. He has a rotating head. His arms rotate at the shoulders, are hinged at the elbows and have swivel cuts in the biceps and wrists. His legs have universal joints at the hips, hinged knees and swivel cuts in the thighs.

The set only comes with one accessory and that’s a sonic screwdriver for The Doctor. The obvious miss here is the lack of a Tissue Compression Eliminator for The Master. Oh well!

The Planet of Fire set retailed at $39.99, which is exactly what we’ve come to expect to pay for these limited issue two-packs. Sure, some might complain about the reuse of parts on The Master, or that he’s actually Kamelion and not The Master at all. Others might complain that they have to buy another Doctor just to get him. Me? I’m thrilled with this set. Its actually the one SDCC exclusive that I decided I couldn’t live without. As it turned out, it was a pretty easy set to get and many e-tailers still have it available at the original MSRP.

GI JOE Rise of Cobra: 1:6 Scale Baroness (SDCC Exclusive) by Hasbro

It’s time for another 2009 SDCC flashback. This time, I’m going back to last year to take a look at one of Hasbro’s GI JOE offerings, the 12″ figure of everyone’s favorite Cobra femme fatale, The Baroness. Or at least the character that passed for her in the Rise of Cobra movie. Hasbro had quite a few SDCC exclusives that backfired last year (meaning nobody seemed to want them), and Baroness was one of that unfortunate group. You could pick up this figure on their website months and months after the show, and there are still tons of them up on Ebay at any given time. I’m guessing her lack of popularity was because of her ties with the largely unpopular movie, but whatever the case… in the end what we have here is a pretty mediocre figure with some exceptionally nice packaging.

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Baroness comes in a black and white box with cutouts to show off the red Cobra emblem on the box inside that box. Her name is printed on the front and sides, flanked by the two pistols she used in the movie. There’s a small blurb about her on the back, which fortunately doesn’t chronicle any of that horrible crap about her being Cobra Commander’s brother or Duke’s fiance, so I can still pretend it never happened and still try to enjoy this figure. The top flaps open and you can slide out the inside box, which is glossy black and textured to look like leather or snakeskin and has a vague coffin motif because the corners are diagonal. Its a great looking box, with the gold Cobra emblem contrasting against the dark textured surface. The front flap is secured with velco.

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Inside, the figure is nested in a molded red foam tray. Opposite the figure is an awesome 1940’s style Cobra propaganda poster with The Baroness showing off her, erm… hardware seductively. For me, this insert makes the whole thing worthwhile. It literally elevates the entire set, and it’s kind of a shame that it was wasted on any piece of merchandise that’s tied to this movie.

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Normally, I talk price and value at the end, but I think it’s probably important to mention now that this figure retailed for under $30. These days when people think about 1:6 scale figures expectations are through the roof as well as the prices. So, now when I say this figure isn’t all that bad, keep that price point in mind. Luckily, The Baroness was one character who’s appearance didn’t change all that much for the movie, so despite the fact that the face is (allegedly) a likeness of actress Sienna Miller, this can still kind of pass for a classic style Baroness. Sort of. The outfit is pretty simple. She’s wearing a black bodysuit, which is designed to look like both fabric leggings and a leather corset. On top of that she has a trenchcoat, short in the front and long in the back and belted around her waist, with velcro on the front and the sleeves. The coat has some nice texturing around the collar and sleeves and is slit at various points along the bottom so that it doesn’t interfere with her leg poses. The outfit is rounded out by a pair of glossy black heels.

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The portrait is more like a caricature of the actress. It’s certainly not great. It kind of looks like she got out of hand with the botox. But again, given the price range here and that Hasbro’s 1:6 Scale figures have never been terribly accurate representations of real people, it’s acceptable. Hasbro went with sculpted hair, which looks OK, and thankfully doesn’t inhibit the head movement, but it does float unnaturally above the shoulders. The paint apps on the face are good, and the glasses are removable. And yes, they look rather more like safety goggles than fashionable eyewear.

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Baroness features a control box that’s attached to her belt. It can’t be removed, and it’s strategically placed to conceal the peg that holds the belt closed. I’m guessing this is the device she used to detonate the nano-whatever in Paris.

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She also features her chromed pair of laser pistols, or whatever they were. These can be stored in holsters on her back and each holster has a retaining strap to keep them in place. These are pretty cool sculpts and the chrome finish looks good. Her hands aren’t as suited to holding them as tightly as I would like, but I was able to make it work.

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Baroness also comes with a rather nice assault rifle with a shoulder strap and a scope.

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I’m not going to tell you this is a great figure, but it’s not the worst thing I’ve ever spent thirty bucks on. As a fan of Dragon’s Danger Girl figures, The Baroness here sort of fits into that genre only with a lot fewer accessories. As a one-off figure for a questionable movie and a Con Exclusive, it is at the very least a curiosity. That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement, but it’s all I’ve got. I don’t regret buying it, but I’m sure not going to recommend it.

Transformers: 25th Anniversary Soundwave (SDCC 2009) by Hasbro

What with the SDCC going full guns as we speak, I thought it would be cool to take at my favorite SDCC Exclusive from last year’s Con: Hasbro’s 25th Anniversary Soundwave. I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that Soundwave was one of my all time favorite G1 characters. He was cold, calculating, had a cool voice, and he was the only Transformer that carried his own menagerie of pets around wherever he went. Sadly, Soundwave hasn’t gotten all that much love in the post G1 years. He got turned into a missile truck for G2, a jet in Energon, and the closest he’s come to appearing in his G1 likeness was as a goofy little guitar playing robot in Transformers: Animated. Yep, poor Soundwave.


The packaging on this set is absolutely stellar. The deco is definitely G1 inspired, and the silver Anniversary tab makes the package really stand out. The back shows great photos of the toys as well as a complete biography. The figures are all packaged in their robot forms, which makes for a striking presentation, with Soundwave centered and his cassette minions: Buzzsaw, Laserbeak, Rat Bat and Ravage flanking him on all sides. What’s more, the packaging is completely collector friendly, which is awesome because in the past year, I’ve had this set in and out of the box more times than I can count.

Soundwave is exactly as I remember him, albeit just a tad looser than I would have expected a new toy to be. His stickers come already applied, which is fine because they were applied pretty well. He’s simple enough to transform and while his alt mode may be hopelessly outdated, his robot mode always did a fine job resembling his animated counterpart, which was more than a lot of the original Transformers could say. Soundwave comes with a gun that has three chromed rockets and a shoulder cannon, both of which convert into “batteries” for his cassette player mode. And of course, any of the cassettes can be stored in his spring loaded chest compartment.

Buzzsaw and Laser Beak are of course repaints of the same figure. Buzzsaw was the tape that came with the original issue Soundwave, although Laser Beak was the one that got most of the screen time in the cartoon. I’ve always been impressed with their robot bird modes, as they look great and even offer a fair amount of articulation. Each figure comes with the two chromed thruster-gun assemblies that mount on their backs.

Ravage is still a cool little figure, but unlike the birds, he’s just as two-dimensional in his jaguar mode as he is in his cassette mode. His two chromed side pieces do help to add a little depth, but as a figure, he’s always come up a little short, especially when compared to the newer version that came with Classics Hound.

Rat Bat is a really nice treat in the set, since this is the first time he’s been available in the US market. Needless to say, this is the only tape in the set that I never owned as a kid. He has a really solid robot mode, with gold plated attachments that make him stand out from his fellow cassettes.


Each of the cassettes also come with a little plastic storage case too!

This Soundwave set was a real bitch to get for those of us not attending the Con. Hasbro put it up on their site at $49.99 and it sold out almost immediately. Since they have a habit of letting their exclusives out a little at a time, I just happened to check the next day and hit the very small window when more were put up for sale and I was able to get one. Considering all the set includes, I thougth fifty bucks was a steal. In fact, the only thing I would have done differently was include Rumble instead of Buzzsaw. Apart from that, this set was a great pick up for my collection, especially since Soundwave is pretty much in scale with Classics Megatron and the Decepticons.