More and more of my Sixth-Scale budget has been going to TBLeague releases these days. They continue to offer some amazing stuff at a decent value, while moving away from the indie licensed stuff in favor of their original concept figures. And it doesn’t hurt that most of these are sword-wielding hot babes! Today I’m having a look at one of three versions of The Knight of Fire! There’s a lot I like about this figure, and a few things I don’t, so let’s dig right in and check her out!
I already have the box in storage, but here’s some promotional art! TBLeague has recently learned the lucrative art of offering variants of their original concept figures. These entail doing different decos for a figure’s costume, usually different head sculpts and hair colors, and a slight variation on their accessories. It’s a smart move to make the cost of each figure go a little further, and it can make choosing which one to get a little difficult. And sometimes, I can’t choose and just get them all, but I’ll save that for another time. The Knight of Fire came in Silver Armor, which we’re looking at today, as well as Black and Gold. Who are the Knights of Fire? Well, that’s up to you to decide!
Here she is all set up, and getting her ready for display was no small feat! The armor for her arms, legs, and shoulders, all had to be put on with varying degrees of difficulty. The gorget and cape also had to be attached, and what you can’t see is a shoulder harness, which holds some of these pieces in place, that had to be fitted to her as well. I guess my middle-aged fingers just aren’t all that good with teeny-tiny clasps these days. Still, a lot of patience and a few colorful metaphors got me through it. And overall, I think it was well worth it! TBLeague is usually content with letting these ladies go bare under the armor, as it shows off the lovely Phicen seamless body, but in this case, our fiery knight is wearing a body stocking, and here is something that I’m not entirely convinced was a great idea. Don’t get me wrong, I respect the craftsmanship that went into creating what is essentially a super fine fishnet suit, but it hangs a bit loose in some areas, and there are heavy seams on the insides of her legs. I find myself thinking that the figure would look better without it. Then again, it is rather distinctive, so I guess my final opinion is still undecided.
The armor is absolutely gorgeous. TBLeague sculpts each individual piece out of plastic, which isn’t so heavy that it weighs the figure down, but not so light that it’s delicate. Oh some of the straps can be pretty delicate, but not the plastic itself! Her silver cuirass is sculpted to look like it’s made from many interlocking plates, each with a silver sheen and golden borders. Hip armor hang down from each side via laces, and a faux chain sash protects the treasure betwixt her legs. The forearm pieces feature hooked spikes, while the leg armor has silver skull ornaments protecting her knees. The epic shoulders remind me of a horned beetle, and feature some satanic looking ram skulls. The cape reaches down to the backs of her knees, with a black back and an illustrated flame in the lining. There’s a wire running through it to help it stay put in some dynamic poses.
Most of the pictures I shot have Ms. Fire Knight wearing her helmet, but it is removable. Our Silver Knight features short blonde hair and a very pretty face. TBL is getting quite good at painting lifelike eyes, while also doing sharp operations for the eyebrows and lips. Even the skin tone has come a long way since their earlier figures. As for the helmet, it accessorizes nicely with her armor, carrying over the silver plates and gold borders. You also get some red jewels, and an impressive set of horns. The plastic used for the helmet feels a bit softer than the rest of the armor, but it holds its shape perfectly and has a very snug fit. The hardest thing when putting it on is getting it on without her hair getting pushed in front of her face. At the same time, taking the helmet off does a number on her coif, so be prepared to style it, if you take the helmet off a lot.
The Silver Knight of Fire comes with two weapons and some extra hands. You may note that I have not changed the hands for any pictures, and that’s because they were a real bitch to get off the first time, and I didn’t want to end up pulling the ball joints out of the wrist sockets. Every now and then this is a problem with TBL’s figures. I haven’t encountered it in quite a while, but here’s proof that it does turn up from time to time. Her sword comes with a plastic scabbard, which is a nice bonus, but there’s really no way to get her to wear it, unless you fashion a custom belt or hang it from a string. Still, the texturing on it is gorgeous and it fits the blade perfectly. The sword has an extended grip for single or double-handed use. The blade is made of plastic, which I only point out because sometimes TBL ponies up for some diecast metal blades, but not here.
Her other weapon is her trident, which comes on a very long shaft and has sculpted grips in two places. The three blades are heavily stylized, and there’s an ornamental ring below it with a red stone that matches the ones on her helmet.
I like this figure enough to consider grabbing the Gold Version, but the body suit still gives me pause. Yes, the mesh suit is totally removable, but I’d say that it would be easier to cut it off the figure, rather than deal with taking all the armor off, and I just can’t bring myself to do that. A sword belt would have also gone a long way to justify the inclusion of the scabbard. Still, I really love everything else about the figure, particularly the armor design, which is something TBL just keeps excelling at. She’s an eye-catching figure and one worth considering.
We’re in the Endgame now! Or, more accurately, I’ve come full circle. My very first Hot Toys figure was Captain America from The First Avenger, which I reviewed ten years ago, give or take a couple of weeks. Woof! Those were some terrible photos! And here I am, reviewing what I planned to be my last Marvel Hot Toys purchase… and it would have been if I hadn’t since pre-ordered a new Black Widow. Well, maybe the second to the last. Unless we get a bunch from the new Spider-Man movie, and then all bets are off. Anyway… It’s fitting to start and (almost) end with Cap. One of my favorite Marvel characters, and one that I feel was translated almost perfectly to the MCU.
The First Avenger Cap was actually a consolation purchase, as I missed out on the Cap figure that I really wanted. Some may scoff, but Cap’s costume from the original Avengers flick is my favorite of them all, and I was hugely disappointed to miss out. But now, it seems like it was for the best, because thanks to the Time Travel elements of Endgame, Hot Toys got us a new version of 2012 Cap, without having to do a blatant do-over, and it looks to be a vast improvement. Let’s take a look!
Hot Toys rebuilt this figure from the ground up, which means new body, new tailored costume, the works! As I understand it, the only reuse here is the collection of hands. The costume recreates everything I loved about this look. It’s clean, relatively simple, and most of all it’s bright and colorful. I like that it uses actual fabric, rather than the thin vinyl material that so many of these characters wore. It looks and feels more durable, and offers a nice, rugged texture. The suit consists of various reinforced panels of cloth, all secured with immaculate stitching. The bright blue really pops, especially next to the red and white striping around his middle, and the red and maroon plastic used for the boots and gauntlets.
The boots consist of two pieces: A ball jointed foot, and a sleeve that makes up the rest. This allows for plenty of articulation in the ankles and a flat-footed stance. There’s still a seam where they meet, but it’s worked into the sculpt pretty well, so as not to be terribly obvious. It is, however, necessary to sometimes make sure the two pieces are lined up correctly. The chest star and epaulets are cast in plastic and attached to the cloth, making them stand out, quite literally. The belt features a brace of bulky pouches, and it rests fairly snug above his hips.
Cap comes with two heads, one masked and one not. The masked is likely the one I will display the figure with most of the time, and it is a beautiful piece of work. The helmet and mask are intricately detailed with some great texturing, sculpted stitch lines, and some immaculate silver paint for the “A” and the wings on the sides. There’s a very nice depth to the sculpt as well, making it look like the helmet and mask were actually sculpted on top of an unmasked head, even if that wasn’t the case. The neck piece is extremely long and sockets deep into the figure’s chest, and when combined with the high collar of the suit, leaves no neck seam at all.
The unmasked head sculpt is also excellent. Considering Hot Toys has been sculpting Chris Evans’ noggin for ten years now, it goes without saying that they’ve gotten pretty damn good at it. Besides the likeness being spot on, the paint is as amazing as usual. The eyes are lifelike, the skin tone is so real it’s eerie, and even the sculpted plastic hair looks totally on point. I also love the appropriately self-righteous expression, with the stern look and slightly furled brow. Despite this being the third MCU Hot Toys Cap in my collection, this is the first time I’ve had an unmasked head sculpt. It’s about time!
Obviously, Cap comes with his iconic shield, and it sure is different than the one that came with my First Avenger Cap! That figure’s shield had a high gloss, metallic finish that looked beautiful… for about a year and then the paint started flaking off of it. I eventually had to buy a third-party replacement. This time around, we get a more sensible, somewhat satin finish to the red, blue, and silver frisbee, and I think it looks great! The flipside is sculpted with reinforced plates and rivets, and has an arm strap and a grabber strap, which work very well with the figure, making it easy to put on and take off. Unfortunately, the straps still have working plastic clasps, which are so fragile I can all but guarantee will eventually break. Cap comes with the appropriate hands that will allow him to hold the shield on the left or right side. Unfortunately, there’s no way to attach it to his back, which seems like a huge oversight.
As I’ve said many times, I don’t expect a lot of range of motion in my MCU Hot Toys, usually because of restrictive costumes, but I was hoping for a little bit more on this one. In this case, I’m not worried about pulling stitching or over-stretching material, it’s just that the muscle padding gets in the way. As a result, he gets about average movement for these figures, but nothing crazy. On the plus side, it doesn’t seem like keeping him in an action pose is likely to damage the costume.
In addition to the shield and extra hands, Cap comes with Loki’s Staff, which is recycled from the Bruce Banner figure, which I believe was recycled from Avengers Loki. If you don’t have it, it’s a great addition and a beautiful piece. On the other hand, if you’ve been collecting for a while, you probably do have it, and in that case, it’s not all that exciting.
What is pretty damn cool is the big aluminum case to put it in! This spiffy piece of luggage has a foam interior with a cutout for the staff and handles on two sides. It’s an impressive accessory, and it kind of needs to be, considering that Cap doesn’t come with a whole lot of anything else. Still, the only other thing that I could have asked for would be a mask for him to hold when using the unmasked head. That would have been cool.
As always, the final thing in the box is the stand. I don’t have a lot to say about this one, other than it looks good and gets the job done. The artwork is quite nice, and the hexagonal base is functional without taking up too much real estate on the shelf.
It’s hard to really express how thrilled I was to see this figure get made. Not getting Hot Toys’ Avengers Cap was probably one of my biggest collecting regrets over the last ten years. I just think this is his most iconic appearance in the franchise. It really straddles that line between realism and cheese. The colors scream comic book to me, and while I will admit this look wouldn’t have worked for the tone of the later movies, I liked Cap’s uniforms less and less with each redesign. The original shot up in price on the second hand market pretty quickly, so my chances of ever getting it were slim to none. And now I have an improved version on my shelf and I just can’t stop smiling!
It’s been a rough few years for me as a Doctor Who fan. The Chibnall/Whitaker Era is the first time in my 40 years of watching the show that I can’t find anything to like about the current series and opted out. Yeah, it sucks. But with so many different takes on the renegade Time Lord, I guess it was bound to happen eventually. And yet, it’s hard to be too bitter, when there’s such a wealth of Classic and NuWho to go back to, not to mention some new merch trickling in to enjoy. Indeed, I’ve got a ton of 5.5-inch scale Character Options figures to check out, but Big Chief’s latest offering arrived this week and I’m bumping it to the front of the line!
The Good Doctor comes in a standard shoebox-style package with a lift off top. The deco is nice looking, but why did they have to go with the current era logo? I’m not sure if this is stipulated by the BBC in the licensing agreement, but it really sucks to be reminded of an Era I don’t like when buying Classic Who collectibles. It’s worse because this is a box I plan on keeping. Oh well. Ask me who my favorite Doctor is, and there’s a good chance I’d say it’s the one I happen to be watching at the moment. But if you really pressed me, Jon Pertwee’s Third Doctor will always remain at the top of the list. He was actually the second Doctor that I ever saw (my first was Tom Baker as Number Four!), but I have such great memories of being a teenager and watching The Third Doctor’s stories for the first time on an old B&W TV set in my bedroom every weekend. I loved Pertwee’s performance, I loved that he was given a new adversary in Roger Delgato’s The Master, and I loved his sometimes uneasy pairing with UNIT. Needless to say, I’m excited! So let’s get The Doctor out and have a look!
The figure comes out of the box ready for action and looking fab! Well, I say ready, but you do have to make one small correction to his outfit. Reach into the jacket’s cuffs and pull out some of that white frilly shirt inside so that it’s extending out past the cuff. Otherwise he’s good to go. Big Chief had a lot of great Third Doctor outfits to choose from, but in the end they went for his debut look from Spearhead From Space, and I’m very pleased they did. It’s a complex look that suits his dashing nature. You get black dress shoes, black trousers, and a midnight blue coat, which is fastened with one clasp just a bit above his waistline. The frilly white shirt is recreated with its flashy ruffles and capped off with a black tie. And finally, you get the brilliant black Inverness coat with a red lining and working floral-style clasps. Big Chief has had some challenges in recreating wardrobes that don’t look too puffy. You get a little bit of that here in the collar, but otherwise this outfit shows some excellent sixth-scale tailoring and craftsmanship. I think they did an amazing job here.
Big Chief’s portraits have been hit or miss, and it’s been the one determining factor that has kept me from being All-In on these Sixth-Scale Whos. To me, their Matt Smith likeness still ranks among their best, and it killed me to pass on The Fourth Doctor, but there just wasn’t enough Tom Baker in there for me. Thankfully, they are back to form with this Jon Pertwee portrait. It’s an excellent likeness with an insane amount of detail paced into the facial sculpt. All the little lines are lovingly recreated here, and they did a beautiful job on his distinctive nose (which his son Sean wears ever so proudly!) Even his eyebrows look so good they could be useful on the planet Delphon where they communicate with their eyebrows! As for the expression, Big Chief went for a serious and stoic countenance, which suits The Third Doctor so well. Sculpted hair was without a doubt the only way to go with this head sculpt, and once again I think they did a fine job. Yes, plastic hair means that the realism takes a bit of a hit, but it’s hard to argue with the loving attention that went into this coif. If I were to nitpick anything here, it would be the plastic used for the skin has a tad of a waxy finish to it, but that only really became noticeable to me when I got him under the studio lights.
There’s plenty of useful articulation under that outfit, including double hinges in the knees, and solid joints that can hold most any pose. That is, except for the neck, which is rather loose. He can hold his head up, but it doesn’t take much jostling to get it to slump. It’s a weird flaw to have, considering Big Chief has turned out a fair number of Sixth-Scale figures at this point, but it also isn’t a fatal mishap either just annoying. You get a nice assortment of hands, including some expressive ones for different posing options. One pair of hands are black gloved, the others are bare, and the left hands include his sculpted pinky ring. I was pleased to see that one of the relaxed hands serves as a karate-chop hand, perfect for showing off his skills at Venusian Aikido. Several of the hands are designed specifically for holding his accessories, so let’s dive right into those!
Big Chief rarely skimps on the accessories, and you get a decent assortment of goodies here. A lot of them are pretty small, but then The Doctor usually only carries what he can fit into his bottomless pockets. The one accessory I won’t picture here is the TARDIS key, because it’s so tiny that I’ve already misplaced it. I’m sure it will turn up!
Two of the items here are weapons, which may seem odd inclusions for The Doctor, The Third Doctor was quite the action hero and occasionally had the need to take up arms. The first is the Ultrasonic Disintegrator Gun carried by the guerilla forces in Day of the Daleks. I love the design for this thing, and was very happy to see it in the box. The Doctor made good use of this weapon to take out some Ogrons.
The second weapon is the Sea Devil Heat Ray Gun, which is a very simple and unique design. None of the hands seemed especially well suited to holding it, which is kind of wielded like a clothes iron, but I was able to make it work OK.
The Metebelis Crystal was a recurring namedrop throughout The Third Doctor’s run, and it played a significant part in his ultimate demise and regeneration, making it a rather essential accessory. This is another one of those little items that I would have considered an unforgivable omission had Big Chief not included it.
Next to the TARDIS key, the smallest accessory is The Doctor’s wristwatch. It’s a very well detailed item considering how small it is, but it’s pretty hard to see it when he’s wearing it on his wrist.
You get Bessie’s remote control unit, which I believe turned up in The Daemons. It’s another very well detailed little accessory, missing only the lettering that was on the original prop that called out the functions of the buttons as Hood, Horn, and Lights, as well as the label Steer near the miniature wheel, and Modulation on the bottom gauge.
The magnifying glass is a pretty simple item, and I can’t help but wonder if it’s something they repurposed from one of their Sherlock figures. It didn’t seem to work perfectly with any specific hand, but again I was able to make it work pretty well.
And of course The Third Doctor saw the first use of the Sonic Screwdriver, so we can’t forget that! This original design remains the most iconic for me, although it didn’t change too much over the following years. I actually didn’t know it had the yellow and black striping for a while, because, as I mentioned earlier, I watched The Third Doctor’s entire run for the first time on a B&W TV set! I go back and fourth on whether or not I prefer the striping or the more utilitarian all silver shaft.
Naturally, you get a stand and this one is more or less the same one we saw with The Twelfth Doctor. I appreciate the effort that went into the design here. The mirror base is flashy and it has a light up feature. But, ultimately, I think the base is way too small, and the electronic feature doesn’t do much for me either. I would have preferred something simpler with a Classic logo on it. It’s worth noting here that this figure was limited to a run of 1,000, although there’s no stated limitation on the stand, only on the box where it is hand numbered. What number do I have? Hell if I can read it. It looks like it might be 312, but I honestly have no idea.
One last bonus is the illustrated insert is printed with a backdrop of the TARDIS console room and the fact that it’s a tri-fold piece of cardboard means it can stand behind the figure. I honestly love when companies include something like this. It’s such a simple little thing, but it goes a long way to make for a more compelling display.
While Big Chief still wavers a bit on their consistency, this latest release just goes to show how great they can be when they’re on their game. I had high hopes for The Third Doctor’s final release and now that I have him in hand, I can happily say I’m not disappointed. I think they did a fantastic job on the costume, and I’d argue that the portrait is the best one they’ve turned out since Matt Smith as The Eleventh Doctor. At $260, Big Chief is definitely asking Hot Toys prices, and while the quality is high, it’s not yet reached Hot Toy’s unbridled level of excellence. I’m guessing the higher price is also driven by the rather low limitation, and The Third Doctor sold out at Sideshow shortly after it began shipping. Roger Delgado’s Master is due to ship soon as well, and I can’t wait to be able to display these two together!
I could go on and on, recounting all the things that I love about Rogue One! But today, let’s go with Reason #1,256: New Troopers! The film gave us some brand spanking new Imperial Troops, all of which were conspicuously absent from The Original Trilogy, but I’m sure they’ll get digitally inserted in an upcoming Extra Special Edition. And while the Deathtroopers were probably my favorite additions, the Shoretroopers that were introduced on Scarif are a close second! And here comes Hot Toys to prey on my weaknesses by releasing both a Shoretrooper and the Squad Leader as well. The regular trooper isn’t due to ship until early next year, but the Squad Leader arrived on my front stoop a couple of days ago! Time to hit the beach and kick over some Rebel sandcastles!
Here’s the part of the review where I lament the bland and boring packaging we always get with the Star Wars Hot Toys, so let’s just say I did and be done with it. You’ll note that nowhere on the package is it branded as a Rogue One figure, and maybe that’s because these fellows made an appearance in The Mandalorian. That’s also probably why they’re now being called Shoretroopers, instead of Scarif Stormtroopers. Eh, it’s all marketing in the end. But, it’s worth noting that the official copy on Sideshow’s website makes the link to Rogue One, so that’s good enough for me. Not that it matters, because I’m more or less all in on both Rogue One and Mandalorian Hot Toys.
The Squad Leader shares a similar suit to his rank-and-file underlings. The big difference is the lack of the ammo pouch and hip armor, and the addition of the black cloth kama that hangs down to about his knees, and covers his butt. The Leader also features some coloring to his upper armor, with light blue on the tops of his shoulders and a light blue bar running across the top of his chest. He’s also got a white band on his left shoulder, and a red bicep guard on his right arm with three yellow bars. Otherwise, his armor is a sandy tan color with some pretty heavy and convincing weathering effects. The paint on this guy is just great, and it’s backed up by some excellent detail, particularly in the shallow backpack unit.
As for the armor itself, the suit falls somewhere in between the full armor of a regular Stormtrooper and the abbreviated armor of the Scout Troopers. The Shoretrooper enjoys the extra protection of lower leg and forearm armor, but the rest offers more or less the same protection as the Scout has. As usual, the figure is comprised of an undersuit with the plastic armor pieces worn on top and held on either by elastic straps or friction. Above the waist, the body suit is black, but the exposed trousers are brown. About the only thing I don’t much like on this fella is are the boots, which strike me as looking more like brown loafers than combat boots. But, they are still accurate to the design, so it’s hard to fault the figure.
The helmet is also an excellent sculpt and the paint is once again on point. Hell, no matter where you look, the paint just sells this figure so well. You get scoring and abrasions, and just general soiling. It looks like this guy has seen more than his share of action. All it’s really missing is some dried seagull poop! The helmet design is obviously influenced by the Scout Trooper helmet, but the angular plates over the cheeks make it look quite distinctive, as does the reinforced blast shield, which rests above the visor on the forehead. It’s a shame that the blast shield isn’t articulated here, as it would have been cool to be able to drop it down over the visor. But to quote a certain farmboy, then they couldn’t even see… so how are they supposed to fight? I do feel like the neck is a little too long and thin, but that’s mostly only noticeable to me when the figure is viewed from the back.
Rank may have its privileges, but unfortunately it doesn’t mean the Squad Leader gets a lot of extra stuff. Indeed, a lack of extras seems to be a continued sticking point for me and these Imperial Troopers. In this case you get three pairs of hands: Relaxed, Fists, and Gun-toting… plus you get the gun for those hands to tote. Oh, but what a magnificent gun it is! Sure, the E-11 Blaster is iconic as all hell, but this E-22 reciprocating double-barrel blaster rifle is one sexy piece of ordinance. It’s a much beefier and far more intimidating weapon than the ones carried by their vanilla Stormtrooper cousins, and this is an absolutely beautiful sculpt. There are no articulated or removable parts on the weapon, but it does come with a shoulder strap, and features some very nice weathering.
What’s our last stop on every Hot Toys review? You got it! The Stand! In this case it’s the usual rectangle with a silver name plate on the front. You get an illustrated sticker that can be placed onto the base, or you can omit it in favor of what looks more like the deck plate of an Imperial Star Destroyer. There’s also an optional piece to give the base an angled front that is flush with the name plate. As with the packaging, the name plate does not have any Rogue One branding, but rather just says Star Wars and Shoretrooper Squad Leader. The stand consists of your standard adjustable crotch-cradle, which works well with the figure.
I love this figure! He’s a great addition to my Sixth-Scale Imperial Troops, and you bet your beskar that I already have the regular Shoretrooper on pre-order. In addition to the great sculpt, tailoring, and paint, there’s very little in the outfit to hinder his articulation, making him a lot more fun to play with than the more restrictive suited Hot Toys. But I will admit that the price is really catching up with these guys. $230 just seems high for a figure that comes with so little in the way of extras, and doesn’t have an actual portrait. I consider the likeness and portrait to be a huge part of a Hot Toys figure’s budget, and when they’re just doing a helmet, it seems like that should save on the cost a bit. Plus, I think this armor is mostly the same as the Assault Tank Commander, so they’re already getting multiple uses out of it. I seem to recall the last two Hot Toys Stormtroopers I bought were around $200-220, and I think this figure should have shipped around $10 to $15 less than it did. But what the hell, they still got me to buy it, so I guess they know what they’re doing.
The Mandalorian sure has been getting a lot of my Hot Toys money these days, and as long as they keep the figures coming, I don’t see myself stopping. In addition to some of the main characters, we’ve been seeing plenty of Imperial troops, which should appeal to the wider Star Wars collecting audience as well. Most notably, we’ve seen some Rogue One troops resurface, and now the Scout Trooper! These guys distinguished themselves in a stand out scene of self-depricating and banter, which definitely helped to push this release to the top of my list.
The Scout Trooper comes in the usual boring and minimalist shoebox with a printed wraparound band. Yeah, I pick on the Hot Toys Star Wars presentation a lot, but it’s fine. Inside, the figure is laid out on a vac-formed plastic tray. The Scout was available in this single release or as a wallet-busting Deluxe set with the Speeder Bike and some extras. I went with the single release to see how he turned out, and that’s the one I’m checking out today!
If you’ve had any experience with Hot Toys Stormtroopers, then a lot about the Scout should feel familiar to you. Of course, these guys feature much less armor, allowing them increased mobility, not to mention being lighter and more suited to piloting the Speeder Bikes. This figure makes use of a black body suit with all the armor and gear worn on top of it. The suit is more loose than the traditional Stormtrooper suits, but it’s immaculately tailored and fits well. It even includes some stitched pockets in the legs.
The armor consists of a cuirass, backplate, shoulders, arm plates, knee and elbow guards, and hip pieces, all of which are cast in a pretty sturdy plastic with some decent weathering effects. Additional gear includes a quilted cloth cumberbund and codpiece, with a pair of large utility pouches. The utility belt is plastic, with clasps holding the hip pieces on, and the gauntlets are cast in plastic to simulate leather. The boots feature hard plastic feet with a soft plastic material for the tops, which close up along the backs with velcro. They look good, and serve to obscure the split-cut in the boots that improves ankle articulation for those wider stances. As you can no doubt tell from the pictures, the armor and boots feature significant weathering. The grunge is pretty convincing, and while I don’t think they over did it, if you’re looking for a clean and prestine Scout Trooper, this one is certainly not going to fit that bill.
The thermal detonator pack is the only part of the Trooper’s gear that needs to be attached when you get him out of the box. It clips ontot he belt rather simply, but it took me a while to get it on, because the belt curves and the clip doesn’t. Still, once it’s on it stays put. There’s some nice detail on this piece, and I do like that it’s removable even if I doubt I ever will, since I don’t want to bother with getting it clipped back on again.
The helmet sculpt looks pretty similar to what we saw in the good old days on Endor. I’m sure there have got to be some differences, but there’s nothing that really stands out to me. It has been pointed out that this helmet is sculpted with a noticeable gap where the faceplate meets the head piece. Apparently that was done intentionally to mimic the fact that the Scout Troopers’ helmets in the series didn’t close up all the way either. Yeah, I had to re-watch that scene to catch it, so I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have picked up on that if it wasn’t brought to my attention. The helmet has more of that weathered dusting, and while it looks good, I think this helmet is dirtier than the on screen counterpart. The visor has a nice sheen to it.
If you’re looking for a dirth of accessories, prepare to be disappointed, because this guy comes with the bare minimum. You get several sets of hands, most of which felt so inconsequential that I barely changed any out for the pictures in this review. But trust me, you do get extra hands! You also get the standard EC-17 pistol, which fits into the holster on his lower right leg. The pistol features an excellent sculpt, but it doesn’t feature any articulation or removable parts like we sometimes get with Hot Toys weapons. It stays put in the holster very well, and the right gun-hand is a perfect fit without causing any stress when placing it in or removing it from his grip. Sadly, it does not rattle like a spray paint can when you shake it!
One of the coolest things about this figure is how well articulated he is. Sure, technically all Hot Toys are well articulated, but their costumes usually inhibit a lot of that range of motion. That’s not the case here, and that makes this fellow a lot of fun to play around with. That’s not something I can often say about my Hot Toys. There isn’t much need to worry about stressing the costume, so you can even keep him in action poses indefinitely without fear of damage to the suit. And because of the lighter armor, he has a much better range of movement than the traditional Stormtroopers.
And what’s our last stop on any Hot Toys review? Yup, the stand! You get the typical crotch-cradle stand with a rectangular base. The top of the base has a textured terrain covering with footprints to position his feet. The nameplate is in silver and simply states Star Wars: Scout Trooper without mentioning The Mandalorian.
It’s awesome that The Mandalorian is giving Hot Toys a reason to revisit some traditional Imperial troop designs, especially since I think this release improves on the Sideshow Scout Trooper from a little while ago. Indeed, the only thing I can really find to complain about here is the price. The regular Imperial Stormtrooper from a couple years ago released at under $200. The Remnant Stormtrooper was $205. The Scout Trooper here was $220. I wouldn’t be so picky about the price if they had thrown in a sniper rifle, but they didn’t have them in the series, so I guess it wasn’t considered essential. Still, if you want this fellow with a Speeder Bike, it’ll set you back another $220, and you’d have to be crazy to do that, right? Yeah… I did that too. So, we’ll be able to have a look at the bike when that set ships in a month or so.
I’ve had an uncanny amount of ambition lately to start rolling through my tremendous backlog of Sixth-Scale figures. A lot of that backlog includes TBLeague’s work, so I thought I’d dig deep and have a look at one of their lovely ladies from a few years back. It’s Fighter Woman!
If the name doesn’t give it away, Fighter Woman is one of TBLeague’s original concept releases. They’ve been doing more and more of these and fewer and fewer of the licensed ones. I don’t know if they ran out of indie comic properties to mine, or maybe they just realized that there was more profit in doing their own thing and not having to pay license fees for other people’s characters. Whatever the case, their original figures tend to be pretty amazing, so I’m fine with that. Fighter Woman comes in a heavy duty box with a tri-fold cover that connects to the sides with magnets. There’s a fair bit of prep work to get her gear and armor on, so let me get to it and we’ll have a look. And in the interest of brevity, let’s just call her Fi from now on!
And all that set-up is worthwhile, because Fi is quite breathtaking! She’s got a whole Battle Princess with an Eastern flavor thing going on, and I’m not sure where to begin. Her highly decorated armor consists of a sumptuous gold and deep maroon motif. The boots have sculpted laces with golden accents, the grieves have some intricate scrollwork patterned plates on the front with textured, simulated leather wrapping around her calves. The grieves terminate just above her knees, where they are fitted with some metallic purple stones. Her forearm bracers and bicep bands are matched to her grieves, with some extended points, which would make for some particularly nasty elbow smashes.
An intricate armored belt hangs on her hips, with a bejeweled fixture in the center, making up what looks like a dagger pointing down away from her exposed belly button. Hey, there’s no vital organs in that midriff area, right? At least part of her upper body is encased in a tight fitting breastplate, which inverts the color balance of the rest of her armor in favor of more of that deep maroon and reserving the gold to just the trim. Another purple jewel is placed in the center, and I dig how the top of the piece flares up on the outer edge of each of her breasts. Two pieces of shoulder armor, held on by elastic straps, complete Fi’s armor ensemble, and these were the most time-consuming pieces to get on.
The final element to Fi’s costume is the long crimson skirt, or half-cape, with two rows of some rather ostentatious gold fringe. The fact that this costume is so gorgeous, makes up for the fact that it’s not in the least bit tactically sound. But that’s to be expected in the realm of female fantasy warriors, and doubly so when they’re based off of one these lovely Phicen seamless bodies. What’s the point with going seamless if you aren’t going to show it off, right? And besides looking dead sexy, there’s nothing here to restrict the incredible articulation that you get when you take a stainless steel skeleton and wrap it in fleshy silicone.
Despite being a somewhat older figure, TBLeague was still making huge strides in their head game when Fi was released. There’s a nice spark of life in the eyes, thanks to some incredible paintwork. The lips and eyebrows are nice and sharp too. The skin tone is soft and realistic and it’s a good match for the silicone used for the body. Fi is sporting rooted red hair, which isn’t too difficult to keep under control. She has a necklace made out of several gold rings with a purple stone pendant to match the ornamental stones in her armor, as well as some more purple stones in her earrings. The final touch is a rather ornate tiara that fits snug around her head.
Fi comes with two fantasty-style weapons, the first of which is a double-bladed implement of death. Yeah, I don’t know what to call this thing, but it’s basically two curved blades connected with a central grip. The blades are silver with a bit of a wavy flame motif going on, while the grip connecting them is gold. The blades are plastic, but still pretty sturdy and this is a pretty fun weapon to pose her with. I can picture her pulling off some rather picturesque dance-like moves while swinging this around at her foes!
The other weapon is a rather beefy falchion, and boy do I dig this piece of cutlery! The blade has a nice satin finish with an exaggerated clipped point and a poetic curve to the edge. The hilt features something like a pistol grip, which is delightfully unusual, there’s a reinforced section where the blade meets the hilt, and a backstrap, all of which is finished off in more of that sumptuous gold. The grip allows for both single or double-handed use, and to be honest, either way looks pretty good. Like the previous weapon, the blade is plastic, and while I do miss the days when Phicen employed metal in their blades, this thing would be way too heavy for her to hold if it wasn’t cast in plastic.
It’s sometimes the case that people buy these boxed figures with hopes of re-purposing the body, so I should caution buyers that the cape does have a habit of staining her lovely skin, up near the hips. Fabric dye transferring color is just one of those things you have to accept when dealing with these silicone bodies. In this case, it’s only an issue if you plan on re-dressing the body in something, well let’s say less modest. On the other hand, the staining is completely obscured by the skirt, so if you plan on keeping her in her armor, there’s no need to worry!
About the only gripe I have here is that TBLeague is still inconsistent with whether or not they include a stand with their figures, and Fighter Woman here didn’t come with one. Sure, she stands just fine on her own, but who wants to risk a shelf-dive on a $160 figure? Not me! Luckily, I have a decent supply of generic sixth-scale stands. Beyond that, it was love at first sight for me and Fighter Woman, and this is just one of those figures that proves TBLeague doesn’t need to lay out money for licensing fees. They’re obviously quite adept at cooking up their own designs. The sculpted armor pieces look phenomenal and the gold and maroon deco makes this figure really pop on the shelf.
I dominated most of last week with a two-part Star Wars Hot Toys review, so let’s go again… but only one part this time! Everyone’s favorite Nanny Kill-Bot, IG-11, arrived early this week, and I decided to bump him to the head of the line. How cool was it to not only see an IG droid in The Mandalorian, but also see him in full-on ass-kicking action, eh? And hell, he even had a better character arc in the series than half the stars of The Sequel Trilogy. I kid, I kid! But not really… Let’s check him out!
Do you want super premium packaging and fine presentation to go with your expensive action figures? Then look elsewhere, because you won’t get it here. Hot Toys serves up their Star Wars figures in minimalist shoeboxes with an illustrated insert and a vac-formed tray to protect the figure and all its bits and bobs. It’s efficient, it’s serviceable, but just not very flashy.
IG-11 is a tall boi! And he comes out of the box just about ready for display. The only thing required is to put on his bandoleer straps, which easily slips over his head and through his right arm and than velcros closed in the back. There are also some included batteries that need to be installed if you want to take advantage of his two light up features. The design of the IG assassin droid has long been a favorite of mine, and I think it perfectly captures that used future vision so distinctive about the Star Wars universe. Made from junk and a recycled prop, all IG-88 needed to do was stand in the background to ignite my childhood imagination and beg my parents for his action figure. Hot Toys captured every bit of that utilitarian, hunk of junk design here in this figure. And I mean that in the best possible way.
I should start by noting that there is indeed some die-cast metal in here, which is most welcome because he’s kind of a beanpole, and the metal in his thigh pieces gives this bot some well-needed weight right below his center of gravity. And then there’s the overall sculpt. There’s so much going on here! Hot Toys did a great job recreating all the exposed wires, pistons, canisters, and servos that make up the IG Droid’s body. And despite being mostly plastic, the beautiful paint job gives the figure a very convincing metal finish, complete with blemishes and rust patterns. I also really dig the flourishes of copper paint around the shoulders and upper arms. The bandoleer straps are made of a leather-like material and feature some kind of power packs or ammo canisters, each with more of that great faux-metal finish.
The head sculpt features lots of personality, as well as lots of posing potential, as each of those rings can rotate independently of each other. His main two eyes can therefore be rotated to just about any configuration along with the mess of eyes in the upper ring. Popping off the tip of IG-11’s crown allows you to turn on the eye lights, which have a pretty intense burn. I was surprised how visible they are even under the bright studio lights.
I’m also very impressed by his claws. These feature a total of four pincers, each with three hinges. Yes, these are plastic and rather delicate, but they are capable of grabbing and holding things quite well. I’ll come back to these in a bit when I talk about his guns.
As a rule, I don’t talk about articulation much in my Hot Toys reviews, because it isn’t terribly important to me. I tend to assume they will have very little, not because they don’t have the points, but because the suits are either too restrictive or too prone too damage from extreme poses. So, I was surprised and delighted to find how much fun this figure is to play around with. Since IG-11 is bare-ass-metal naked, you can not only see all of his points of articulation, but make good use of them too. And he has just about everything you can want. He’s also very well balanced. My only fear here would be that working those joints too much may make them loose, so as always a modicum of care is recommended.
IG-11 comes with two weapons, the first is your standard Stormtrooper-issue E-11 Blaster. Hot Toys probably has a warehouse full of these things to toss in with all the Stormtroopers they release, so it was a cheap and easy accessory to include. Not that it’s any less welcome. As always, this is a wonderfully detailed little blaster and includes an articulated folding stock. One of the things I love the most about this figure is the way his claws work with the weapons. Other than a little nub on his wrist to support the back, there isn’t any cheat here. The claws just grab the gun by the grip and one claw passes through to the trigger. It works surprisingly well and looks great.
IG-11’s other weapon is a DLT-20A Blaster Rifle. I’m pretty sure this is the same combo that IG-88 was meant to have, so he looks as iconic as ever holding these. The rifle features an excellent sculpt, but it doesn’t have any articulation like the E-11 Blaster. It’s just cast in one solid piece of plastic. Because the claws grasp the weapons as they should, you can have him wield either one in either claw. I do wish there was a way to store them on his back or something, though.
In addition to his guns, IG-11 includes his last line of defense… the one that he seems all too eager to use: His Self Destruct Core. Instead of a simple opening compartment, this is a swap-out block that secures into his chest cavity with magnets. The open core piece has a light up effect, which flashes red when activated and it looks great.
Our last stop in every Hot Toys review is the figure stand, and here we get an exact repack of the one that came with the Deluxe Beskar Armor Mando, complete with sand covered base and even Mando’s footprints. Wait, what? Yeah, that’s really disappointing. It’s not a huge deal, as IG-11’s feet cover up the human footprints, but it feels like a real kick in the teeth when you’re blowing $250 on an action figure and they can’t re-sculpt the base to give you robot footprints in the sand. I mean, holy shit, Hot Toys! At least you switched the name plate, I guess. On the plus side, using the same base means that you can join the Baby Yoda pram base with it and display IG-11 watching over Grogu. I gotta admit, I like that a lot!
Getting to see an old school Star Wars robot, that was designed to stand in the background of a scene, go on an action-packed killing spree was one of the high points of the first season of The Mandalorian. So, naturally I was pleased when Hot Toys revealed they were going to be doing him. And what a nice job they did! I have yet to decide if I’m going all in on the Hot Toys Mandalorian releases, but getting IG-11 was never in question. He may not come with a lot of stuff, and recycling that figure stand base was really cheap, but I’m still thrilled to have him.
Last time, I embarked on a review of Hot Toys’ excellent Deluxe Beskar Mandalorian figure, and as promised I’m back now to look at the other half of the set. Say it with me in your best Herzog voice… “I would like to see The Baby!” And fear not, this second part of the review will not run nearly as long as the first part did.
We saw the packaging last time, but here’s a quick refresher. It’s a Deluxe set, which means bigger and beefier package to hold in all that Star Wars goodness. The standard release came with most everything we saw last time (except the Whistling Bird effect part, I think), but about half of what I’m checking out today was exclusive to the Deluxe release. Now, make no mistake, despite containing two versions, Grogu is still just a small portion of this set’s contents, but that doesn’t make him any less welcome. Let’s start with the standing figure first!
And here he is looking as adorable as ever. Even at One-Sixth Scale, Grogu is pretty damn tiny, and yet Hot Toys packed a lot of detail into him. From the neck down, this is a static figure with his right arm down at his side, and the left arm reaching up. His little feets are sculpted under the robe, and he stands very well thanks to his plastic frock. The garment has sculpted stitching and a textured pattern and the collar and sleeve cuffs are sculpted to look like some kind of fluffy wool. The bottom of the frock also has some uneven threads, giving it a somewhat worn or crude appearance. Was it too much to hope for articulation in the shoulders? Honestly, I don’t think it would be worth it to mess up this perfect little sculpt.
The head is ball jointed, and while I can’t get much of an up or down movement out of it, he can turn his head easily. The portrait is admirable considering the size, with the ears and mouth slightly downturned. You can make out his tiny teeth peeking out of the part in his mouth, and those huge eyes look remarkably lifelike. I suppose you could argue that he’s missing his little tufts of hair, but I can’t find a lot else to nitpick here.
Grogu comes with one accessory and that’s the Mythosaur necklace, which consists of the tiny pendant on a string. To put it on him, you have to pop off his little head, which isn’t as scary as I thought it might be. What no shifter knob? Honestly, I don’t know what I would do with it since it would be so small. Maybe a tasty frog would have been cool. Of course, Hot Toys had to save something for Grogu’s solo release, which is up for pre-order at the time I’m writing this.
The set also comes with Grogu in his Hover Pram, and this is probably the one I will display with the figure. This Grogu is an entirely different figure, or more accurately half of one, since the bottom half is shaped specifically to magnetize to the inside front of the Pram. Everything I had to say about the other Grogu’s sculpt rings true here. It’s just a marvelous little piece with some fantastic paint. The inside of the Pram is fully detailed, and you even get a little blanket to put in there to keep Grogu warm and snuggly.
The Pram hovers on a clear plastic rod that plugs into the rocky base. The figure is able to be displayed alone like this if you want, but it’s also made to mate with Mando’s base for a joined presentation. And if you’re some kind of monster and want to display the base without the Pram, there’s even a rock designed to plug in the hole for the Pram’s pole. Why the hell Hot Toys thought it was necessary to include that, I have no idea. But hey, they got you covered.
And if you’re sick of looking at Baby Yoda, but you still want to display him with Mando, there’s a cover to display the Pram in it’s closed up configuration. Why? Well, to add value to the set, of course!
And there you go! As promised Part 2 didn’t take nearly as long as Part 1. This Deluxe set retailed for $315, which for Hot Toys these days is not bad at all. I was expecting it to be more like $350, but I think they are saving some money by recycling parts for the different Mando releases. Not to mention Grogu, who will be available again with the third Mando release, again with the Scout Trooper and Speeder Bike, again with Ahsoka Tano, and yet again as a solo release. I will have a review of the Scout Trooper coming up soon, and I am fighting a powerful urge to pick up the Scout Trooper with Speeder Bike as well, so this may not be the last time we see a Hot Toys Grogu reviewed around these parts!
I am quite seriously backlogged in my Sixth-Scale figure reviews, but what better motivation to get my ass in gear than the recent reveal of Hot Toys’ third figure based on the titular Mandalorian, this time appearing in his Second Season armor. The first release was how he appeared at the beginning of the series, and the one I’m looking at today is his later appearance, after securing some of that scrummy Beskar armor. I skipped the first figure, opting for what I hoped would be his final form, and I’m still pretty content with that decision. The second season saw him replacing the final pieces of his crappier armor, so as I see it this version is a nice compromise between his ramshackle beginnings and the spiffy complete suit. That’s also my way of convincing myself that I’m good with owning just the one release. Also note, this is a Deluxe figure and I’ve got to make it a two-parter, because there’s so much to look at here!
As I’ve said many times before, the packaging on these figures is nothing special. You get minimalist art design, and a pretty simple shoebox with an illustrated band around it. There’s also an illustrated inside cover over the trays, all showing pictures of the toy inside. Since this is a Deluxe set, the box is wider than your average Hot Toys release, and the three levels of nested trays are absolutely packed with stuff. So much stuff! I was genuinely overwhelmed when I first opened it. This may be the most accessories I’ve seen included with any of my Hot Toys purchases. Some of these goodies I’ll look at as part of the outfit, while other’s we’ll take a closer look at. I’ve kitted Mando out with most of his gear from the start, so let’s have a look!
Straightaway, I’ll say that Mando’s outfit presented Hot Toys with plenty of opportunities to go wild, and they certainly stepped up to the challenge. He comes out of the box mostly ready to go, with a few bits and bobs that need to be added to his person, and in this case I already slung his rifle across his back. The costume is built around a simple gray jumpsuit with the armor pieces attached. Wait, what? Gray? Yeah, I’m not sure what happened there. The solicitation photos showed the correct brown suit, but that’s not what we got. For a company that is so meticulous about correct detail, I’m not sure why they changed it to wrong. Personally, I think the gray looks better with the shiny Beskar, but that doesn’t make it right. Anywho, the armor includes his chest piece, pelvic piece, shoulders, arm bracers, two thigh guards, a right knee guard, and a couple of hip plates. All of these pieces are fashioned to look like shiny new Beskar, with the exception of his holdover right thigh plate and knee guard. The weathering on the older pieces is very well done, retaining the ugly brown of his old armor. There’s scuffing and even some splattering of silver on the thigh plate. The finish on all the Beskar pieces is beautiful and pretty convincing as metal even though they are all simple plastic. I just love seeing the light reflect off of it!
His cape is made of a fine material, which falls about the figure quite naturally. I dig the way it wraps around his front, and the color of the fabric matches his jumpsuit pretty closely. There’s a hole in the back of the cape where you can pass the retaining strap through, to help hold his rifle in place, whereas another strap goes over Mando’s left shoulder and pegs into his bandoleer to secure it. This makes it pretty easy to take off and put back on, which is always a good thing! I love that the cape doesn’t interfere with having the rifle on his back, but things will get a little trickier later when we equip his jetpack.
The right shoulder armor is actually removable so the figure can be displayed with or without his newly earned signet. It’s attached by velcro, so swapping them out requires no fuss at all. The embossed Mudhorn is the only difference between the two pieces, and I’ve chosen to go with the signet piece for photos throughout the review.
The brown bandoleer strap runs from his left shoulder down to his gun belt. There are loops on the strap and the belt to hold some of his ammo cartridges. Here you can also see a few pouches on the belt and a place where he tucks his bounty tracking fob for safe keeping. Or at least where I chose to tuck it! Below that he has a holster with retaining strap to keep his pistol and some additional cartridges on the belt behind it. He also has a place for three detonators on his left hip, the first of which is removable. As expected the belts and holster are meticulously stitched and look great on the figure. The holster is very easy to work with too, which was a welcome treat. Having passed on the first release, I can’t say for sure, but my guess is that a lot of this stuff is recycled from that figure. Boy was I happy to see all this rigging already on the figure straight out of the box!
Moving down to his high boots, he has a belt with more ammo cartridges around his lower right leg and a dagger thrust into the top of his boot. The boots are fairly convincing as being all one piece, but there is a ball joint hidden up in the ankle for those wide stances or flight poses.
The helmet hasn’t changed much between the outfits, although this one looks cleaner than the previous release. This set does not include an unmasked portrait, and that’s fine with me. Obviously the unmasked portrait would add a lot ot the value, but I honestly can’t imagine displaying the figure without his helmet, especially since we’ve only seen Mando’s face like three times during the run of two seasons. Sorry, Pedro, if it were up to me you would have kept your helmet on the whole time.
The helmet does include a swap-out flashlight for the right side. It’s easy enough to pull off the retracted plate and pop on the one with the device deployed. I may actually leave the light out when I display him, as it adds a little something to the helmet.
The vibro blade dagger and the tracking fob, which I already mentioned, are cool little accessories, but probably best displayed as part of his outfit. Both feature great sculpts with a lot of attention to detail. The figure comes with a hand specifically made for holding the dagger, but it’s a real tight fit. The fob can be coaxed into it as well, but I think this hand needed to be reworked in order to be up to the task. I might as well point out here that Mando comes with all the usual extra hands, including pairs of relaxed, pistol-holding, rifle-holding, and the so-called dagger-holding right hand. All of these are extremely stiff with next to no flexibility in the fingers, so be careful with those fragile accessories!
Each of Mando’s arm bracers contains a weapon, and there are accessories to show them off. On the left gauntlet, you get two different pieces for the Whistling Bird, one with the tiny missiles retracted and one with them deployed and ready to fire. I gotta say, the inclusion of two different pieces here just feels like Hot Toys flexing their ridiculous attention to detail. Even with the two different pieces side by side the difference isn’t all that noticeable to me. This is one of those tiny accessories that I would never have missed if it wasn’t included, but I can appreciate that they did it anyway.
The Whistling Bird also has a firing effect part, which I believe is exclusive to the Deluxe release. It doesn’t quite convey the sheer number of independently directional micro-missiles as seen in the show, but it’s certainly not a bad effort. I also appreciate that the effect part is super easy to put on and take off. My only real gripe here is that the range in Mando’s shoulders isn’t quite enough to have him hold his arm fully perpendicular to his body, which is really how they should be positioned when firing this weapon. Official pictures do show the figure in that pose, but I can only get about 70-degrees before it feels like I’m forcing it, and I’m not about to do that. It’s a little frustrating, since there’s nothing about the costume that should be restricting his movement like that. It feels like all the resistance is coming from the padding between the body and the costume.
The right bracer features his flame thrower, and this is a plastic effect part that clips onto the edge of the bracer and lines up with the tiny nozzle. Again, range of motion in the shoulder doesn’t make for optimal posing, but I absolutely love the way this effect looks. They did a beautiful job recreating the flame jet with translucent plastic. It’s substantial, but not too heavy, and to continue one of the running themes of this figure, it’s easy to attach and remove.
The final attachment for the right arm bracer is the grapple hook. The hook is attached to a piece of stiff wire which plugs right into the gauntlet. This was a cool surprise, as I hadn’t even realized it was going to be included. And now that we’re through all these hidden gizmos, let’s take a look at his regular weapons.
Being a firearms enthusiast, one of my favorite things about the guns of the Star Wars Universe is that they’re nearly all based on real world counterparts. Modifying these functional weapon designs gives these fantasy guns a great degree of credibility and realism. Mando’s pistol design comes from the Swiss made Bergmann M1894 7.5mm pistol. It was a distinctive design even before the sci-fi mods were added, and Hot Toys did a wonderful job recreating it in plastic. The sculpt is intricately detailed, features a nice weathered finish, and some additional silver and copper paint hits. It’s a good fit in the intended trigger-finger hand, and this piece is easy to remove and replace from the holster.
The Amban Phase-Pulse Blaster rifle looks every bit as cool as its name sounds. This design was famously inspired by Boba Fett’s rifle in the animated short of the Star Wars Holiday Special, and with the exception of the tuning forks at the muzzle, it reminds me of an old Moroccan firing piece. Once again, the sculpting on this accessory is absolutely off the charts. From the intricate mechanisms in the breech to the copper bands holding on the scope, it seems like not a detail has been missed and every one of those little details looks like it serves a purpose. Not only does this weapon look great, but it can even open and be loaded with one of the many cartridges on Mando’s person. Sadly, I’m not able to get him into a decent firing position with it, but he does look great holding it, or displaying it slung across his back. Hey… You still with me? We’re not done yet… Who wants some ice cream?
Fans of Willrow Hood, will be happy to see this rather detailed recreation of the camtono personal vault included in this set. It’s the vessel used to safehouse the Beskar paid to Mando for retrieving The Baby. This protector of valuables and crafter of cold dairy treats has some nice weathering on it, as well as a hidden battery compartment to power it’s LED feature.
When opened, it lights up to showcase the precious Beskar inside. Each of the container’s three hatches can be opened and the switch for the lights is hidden under a removable cap on the top. A cap that I did not do a good job of closing up in the previous photo. The Beskar can be removed and separated into a larger and smaller pile. The set also contains a single separate Beskar bar as well. These have a nice finish, but I think they could have done a better job on the Imperial insignia stamp. Hey, nitpickers gonna pick.
Mando also comes with this little armor hologram, cast in translucent blue plastic with a silver disk base for the emitter. He can hold this pretty well in one of his left hands. Phew… are we done yet? Almost!
Last, but certainly not least, is Mando’s jet pack. This beauty appears to be sculpted in mostly one piece and features a beautiful silver finish that matches the armor. The details are sharp, and the paintwork features a few areas of pitting, as well as some scorch marks from the heat.
The jetpack is covered on the reverse side with felt and there are magnets inside to attach it to the figure’s back quick and easy. And if you’ve spent any time attaching jetpacks to either Hot Toys or Sideshow’s Boba Fett figures, you know what a relief this is! No tiny clasps to deal with! You do have to push the cape all the way to one side to attach it, which gets me to thinking about how it’s probably not a good idea to wear a cape with a jetpack. Speaking of flaming exhaust… The jetpack also includes some effect parts that plug into the thruster cones, which look great, but are a little understated and difficult to see from the front. All in all I dig the jetpack a lot and it was an essential inclusion, but I’ll be displaying my figure with the rifle on his back instead.
Whoops, not quite done yet, because you also get the figure stand. The rectangular base with angled silver nameplate is pretty standard stuff for Hot Toys Star Wars these days. The sculpted sand base is a nice flourish, though. It actually has foot imprints to position Mando’s feet, although I would have preferred had they left those out. Instead of the typical crotch cradle, the stand features one of those thick semi-posable cables with a spring-loaded waist clasp. I can appreciate the thought behind this giving the ability to display Mando in a flight pose, but I would have much preferred a standard support. The bulky clasp tends to be at odds with the cape and rifle, and that’s how I plan on displaying him.
There’s no doubt that this set is worthy of the Deluxe moniker, and we still have more stuff to look at, so I’m going to call it quits here for today and reconvene on Friday, because I’m sure people “Would like to see The Baby!” As curious as I am as to why they went with the gray colored jumpsuit, the reality is it doesn’t bother me at all. I may not have even noticed if it weren’t for the brown suit depicted on the box. Yes, the limitations in the shoulder are more than a bit disappointing. It’s not that I usually expect crazy articulation out of my Hot Toys, but the costume didn’t seem like it would be restrictive, and in this case I was expecting more. I guess I hadn’t counted on the interior padding. Still, all in all, none of these downsides have really hurt my appreciation of this figure. It looks absolutely gorgeous, and there is a crazy amount of stuff here to mess around with. And I’ll bring even more to the table on Friday when I wrap up this review with part two!
I’m giving the unending parade of Marvel Legends a week off on this Marvel Monday so I can turn my attention to a new Hot Toys arrival! And on that subject, I believe I may be approaching the end of a long journey, as I started collecting Marvel Hot Toys nearly ten years ago, and now some 30 figures later, all of that feels like it’s coming to an end. I have a few on my shelf left to review, and a few more pre-orders waiting to ship, but I have a grim sense of foreboding that I am not going to enjoy the post-Endgame run of the MCU, and as such probably won’t be investing top dollar in the figures any more. I mean, it may end up being a decent movie, but am I going to want a shelf full of Hot Toys Eternals? Probably not. I bring it up now, because I’m acutely aware of it and that makes Nebula’s arrival feel less routine than some of the others have been.
Hot Toys have been all about delays these days, distancing their releases from the respective movies by quite a bit. I imagine part of that is Covid-related, but I actually had one of my Sideshow statues delayed because of some kind of nautical catastrophe. And while I’ve been cancelling some, I let Nebula ride it out. And while Nebula is billed as an Endgame figure, I see her as a way to finally complete my Guardians of the Galaxy collection. Sure, she was given a lot of screen time in Endgame, and ultimately a satisfying character arc, but I associate the character most with Guardians Vol. 2. Anyway, the package doesn’t really convey the price of the figure inside. It’s a fragile window box housing a vac-formed plastic tray with an illustrated sleeve around it. Although, I have to admit that the artwork on that sleeve is absolutely breathtaking, particularly the colors. I don’t save these boxes anymore, but I could be persuaded to flatten out this sleeve and tuck it away somewhere, because it’s just too pretty to pitch. But enough about the package, let’s get her open and see what we’ve got!
Plucked from Endgame, this is Nebula in her Ravager garb, and if she’s only getting one Hot Toys figure, I’d say this version was a pretty good choice. Although, I still would have liked one from either of the Guardians flicks, since we didn’t get Ronin and it would have been nice to get bad Nebula as a villain stand in. Still, the Ravager style outfit displays well with my original Guardians Star Lord and my Guardians Vol. 2 Yondu, so I’m a happy collector. The space-pirate outfit consists of a very tight-fitting maroon one-piece, which is stitched together in a bit of a patchwork fashion, and while this isn’t one of the flashiest costumes out there, Hot Toys did it proud by recreating all of its little idiosyncrasies. Every stitch of it has some form of texturing, plus there are multiple layers with different types of fabrics, reinforcements, piping, belts, and buckles. When I first got the figure out of the box, I had a great time just studying all of these little details and marveling at how with something like 50 Hot Toys figures on my shelf, the attention to details never ceases to impress me. I especially love how the sculpted bits that make up the boots and bracers and gloves pair so seamlessly with the actual fabric aspects of the suit.
Some particularly noteworthy highlights are the reinforced shoulder pads, the Ravager badge on her right bicep, and the gun belt, which has a holster for her sidearm and straps to hold her baton in the back. Although, I’m a little unclear as to why she only carries one back there when she fights with two. The holster actually needs to be attached to the belt via two small hooks, and I don’t mind telling you that it was a daunting task to finally get it on. I had to rely on tweezers and I think I got through almost the entire Podcast I was listening to before I actually got those hooked. On the downside, because the figure is literally stitched into the suit, the articulation is severely limited up in her groin. I really can’t get much of a wide stance at all without fear of popping those stitches. At the same time, the boots are all sculpted in one piece, so forget getting her feet flat all the time. As a result, from the waist down, this is not a very dynamic figure to play with or pose.
Of course, this version of Nebula has a completely exposed cybernetic left arm, which mostly consists of sculpted panel lines, but does have a few areas where the innards are exposed. These areas feature some finely detailed wires and servos, some of which are individually painted. The joints are sculpted into her fingers and the mesh on the hands look great. While we’re on the subject of hands, Nebula comes with three sets (fists, relaxed, baton holding) and a right gun hand. My only gripe about the cybernetic arm is the limited articulation. It’s got a rotating hinge in the shoulder and another at the elbow, but sadly no swivel in the bicep. Maybe they thought that would look bad, but what’s here still feels rather limiting.
That brings us to the portrait, and for this I only have praise. Nebula’s on screen make up is nothing short of amazing. After following Karen Gillan in Doctor Who for so many years, I can only catch glimmers of familiarity of the actress as Nebula, and that’s high praise to her acting abilities as well as the make up effects. And this portrait continues Hot Toys’ mostly unswerving ability to capture likenesses for their figures. The two shades of blue used for her skin are rich and the metallic sheen on the darker middle is particularly beautiful. I also love how they managed to still create that realistic speckled skin tone even through such unconventional colors. The eyes also feature that lifelike spark that Hot Toys always manages to capture in these portraits. The expression is fairly neutral, which was what Nebula often showed in the films. A second head sculpt with gritting teeth and rage would have been welcome, but Hot Toys seldom seems to do multiple portraits these days. Finally, the exposed cybernetic plate on her left side and around her eye looks fantastic.
Nebula does not come with a whole bunch of accessories and extras, but what we did get is pretty good. For starters, her pistol is a real thing of beauty. I love the gun designs in the Guardians flicks, and this one looks like it shares a little heritage with Star Lord’s Elemental Guns. At the very least they look like they come from a shared Universe. The grip has an intricate honeycomb pattern and the rest of the tiny details include a knob on the back, little screws, and there’s even some burn marks painted around the three vents near the muzzle. The top piece is ivory, the bulk of the body is painted with a brushed steel finish, and there’s a little metallic blue and gold on some of the fixtures. It’s quite a striking piece!
Her other weapons are her batons. We already saw that she has one collapsed one to store in the back of her belt, while the other two are sculpted in the extended position. There’s some great detail in the handle sculpts, but as great as they look, it’s hard for me to get too worked up over a couple of batons. They do work well with the hands that are designed to hold them.
You also get some blue electrified effect parts, which can be snaked around them. Sure, these are basically the same types of things Hasbro includes with some of their Star Wars figures to convey Force energy, but they still look mighty nice when fitted around them, and I may actually keep these on when I’m displaying her.
As always, our last stop on the Hot Toys review train is the figure stand, and here we get one branded for Endgame. It features a hexagonal base with a standard, adjustable crotch cradle post. Her name is printed kind of unceremoniously on the front, instead of using one of those metallic name plates. Also, the printing is ever so slightly askew. Ah well. You do get some really nice and colorful artwork on the base with the Avengers Endgame logo and the Ravager emblem. And yeah, I really wish they had given her the same style of stand the rest of the Guardians had, because this one looks really out of place in that display.
Nebula represents all the usual quality and craftsmanship that I’m used to seeing out of Hot Toys. They’ve been doing this a long time, and they are freaking great at it. This is simply a gorgeous figure that captures the character as best as anyone is ever likely to do in action figure form. With that having been said, the limitations of the suit on her articulation can be quite frustrating. Granted, I usually go with some pretty reserved poses for my figures, so it’s not going to hurt my overall, long-term enjoyment of the figure. But on the same note, I do like to play with them in front of the camera every now and then and have fun with them. Sadly, Nebula is one of those figures that will have to be content with standing on her stand and looking pretty. As for value, at $235, this one really needed an extra head or something to justify that extra $25-30. Even still, I can’t say as I’m feeling even a shred of buyer’s remorse. The Guardians of the Galaxy characters have been some of my favorite Marvel Hot Toys releases and I’m thrilled to finally put Nebula among them. At this point the one hole remaining in my Guardians display is Mantis, who was shown off back in 2019 and is still teased on Sideshow’s website, but I haven’t seen any new activity lately. If she is finally offered, I’ll be down for a pre-order. But until then, Nebula marks my final addition to this bunch of sixth-scale A-Holes. Although, I will admit that I’m a little tempted to double-dip on Gamora now.