Marvel Gallery: GamerVerse Spider-Man by Diamond Select

Since I’m between waves of Marvel Legends, I thought I’d take this week’s Marvel Monday as an opportunity to check out another Marvel Gallery statue by Diamond Select. I’ve cut down on my buying of these statues quite a bit, not because I don’t like them, but rather they just take up a lot of space that I don’t have. And while I don’t mind storing action figures in boxes, it seems silly to buy statues and not have them on display. Still, every now and then one shows up at a price I can’t resist, and that was the case with this one!

As the name suggests, this statue is inspired by the Spider-Man PlayStation game, which I own but still have not gotten around to playing. Although, I do have a vacation coming up with nothing planned, so I may remedy that soon. As always, the packaging for this line is superb, with windows on the front, top, and both side panels, and the statue itself encased between two transparent trays. The box lets in plenty of light, and I do actually display most of these in the box, almost like it’s its own display case. On the back you get a picture of the statue and a little write-up about Spider-Man, just in case you’re considering purchasing the statue, but don’t know who he is. Let’s open up the box and see what we got!

Diamond’s Gallery statues tend to waffle between subdued museum-style poses, and those with a hint of action. Both have their merits, but I think the composition of this piece really shows the excitement that a good action pose can deliver. Spidey looks like he just landed on the roof of the cab and is instantly ready to fire off his web at an unseen foe. It could easily pass for cover art, and that’s a great compliment. Yes sir, I like this pose a lot!

One of the big features of the game is the ability to unlock a bunch of different suits, and pictured here is Spider-Man’s Advanced Suit, probably best distinguished by the large, white spider emblems on the front and back. This seems to be one of the most prominent suits featured in the game, as I see it merchandised a lot, and I like it enough to have plunked down the scratch for the Hot Toys release some time ago. I think it’s the colors that make it so appealing to me, as the white really compliments the bright blue and red of the rest of the suit. I especially like the return of this particular shade of blue dominating this costume. It’s far more appealing to me than the darker blue or black of some of Spidey’s MCU outings. Regardless, the colors are beautifully represented on this statue, and when mixed with the bright yellow of the cab roof, this statue is a feast for the eye!

Just about every detail of the suit is part of the sculpt, from the deep cuts in the web pattern to the puffed out reinforced seams. There’s a nice wash to bring out the webbing on the red portion of the suit, as well as add a little definition to the muscles, while the blue portions are left clean and slick. The figure does a splendid job of capturing Spider-Man’s physique, with the suit fitting him like a second skin. Overall, the paint lines are solid, but there is definitely some slop around the longer white spider legs on the front of the suit. The closer you get in, the more apparent it is, but it’s not something that is going to bother me while I’m admiring this piece on the shelf. It ain’t bad for a budget statue, and truth be told, I’ve seen worse on more expensive pieces.

The portrait is great, albeit not at all expressive. You don’t get any variance in the apertures of his eyes, nor do you get any hint of the contours of Peter’s face under the mask. Still, the portrait exudes a confidence, which I like. After all, isn’t that why Peter wears the mask? So his foes can’t see his fear! Either way, it came out really nice and I particular love the texture they gave to the eye pieces. Very nice!

Diamond often refers to these Gallery Statues as PVC Dioramas, but I think that has more to do with their licensing scope, as a lot of them have simple bases and are anything but dioramas. Here, it’s nice to see the phrase being applicable, as the top portion of the cab makes for a wonderful base, which not only tells a story, but frames Spider-Man in his home environment. The base incorporates just enough of the cab roof to sell it, and the Daily Bugle advertisement is just icing on the cake! It’s just absolutely perfect.

Diamond rarely disappoints me with their Gallery line, so when I say that I think this is one of the better ones, that’s meant as high praise. Sure, you have to keep in mind that these are budget statues, with MSRPs of about fifty bucks, but even taking that into consideration, I think these are a great value. Go back and read some of my old Kotobukiya reviews, and you’ll see that I rarely wrote one where I didn’t say they were some of the best values in statues out there. Well, now Koto’s statues retail for about twice what they used to, forcing me to pass that trophy along to Diamond Select and these Gallery Statues. This one just really captures the character perfectly, and the colors are just phenomenal. It also doesn’t hurt that I grabbed this one on sale for only thirty bucks!

Doom Eternal: Classic Doom Slayer by McFarlane Toys

It’s hard for me to think of a video game franchise that has stayed as consistently fantastic as Doom. It’s one of those games that I can vividly remember playing for the first time when it was released, and it’s crazy to look back at how unnerved playing it made me. Little did I know what was to come! The series spawned some amazing sequels and map packs, before going away for a while. It came back as Doom 3, and while this wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea, I thought it was a pretty great game, albeit a very new direction for the series. The modern updates, Doom and Doom Eternal, would eventually deliver that one-two punch of pure visceral action that most fans were looking for, and these two remain among my favorite video game updates of all time. I’d go so far to consider the 2016 release of Doom about as perfect a game as I have ever played. Crazy to think that until now I didn’t have any Doom toys, right?

Well, in fairness there haven’t been a whole bunch. Heck even Quake II did a lot better on that front. McFarlane eventually scooped up the license, and it took me until their release of the Classic Doom Slayer to get me to bite. Truth be told, I’m not a huge fan of McFarlane’s figures, but I thought The Witcher releases turned out pretty good, and so I’ve been picking up a few of their other figures here and there. Doom Slayer comes in a window box with a giant gold sticker, proclaiming this as part of their Gold Label Collection. I honestly have no idea what that means. I’ll also point out that this is released under the Doom Eternal license, because the Classic Doom look was available as an unlockable skin. Let’s check out Mr. Doom Guy!

Out of the package, I think this guy looks pretty sweet, even with one glaringly non-authentic element. McFarlane built him like a tank, which he would have to be to face the unending onslaught of hell demons. I am not at all a fan of the Predator-style shoulder cannon, as it’s just a little too much on the nose and looks really out of place with the Classic gear, but the rest is just fine. This cleaner and simpler look really scratches my itch when compared to the hyper-detailed look of the modern Doom Slayer armor. Hell, I love how OG Doom Guy is barely even wearing much armor. Hell, he’s got short sleeves, and a little exposed window in his gut that basically says, “Dear Hellspawn, Please Slash Here! Go On… Try It!” His upper body is kitted out with shoulders and protective hear not unlike that of a Football player. And even this setup is bulkier than what we saw him wearing in the original art, but it still looks great to me, complete with the wear and tear sculpted into the armor. The military-style trousers have some very nice detail in the stitching and the various rumples and wrinkles. He’s got some heavy duty knee pads, and some big chonky boots. The belt is nice too, with sculpted pouches and some ammo across the front of his waist.

If the sculpt takes a few liberties, I think the colors really nail the original look quite brilliantly. The bright green on the upper body really pops and contrasts with the darker greens used for the rest of the fatigues. The flesh tone for the exposed skin looks nice, and you get some additional silver paint hits for the fixtures and snaps on his gear. I really dig this deco!

And the helmet! Oh, boy do I love this helmet! You get the grill on top, the chonky cheeks, and the snout-like breathing unit on the front. It’s a nice mix of functional design and possibly intentional intimidation factor. The silver-gray paint looks sharp without looking shiny and new, and the sculpt has plenty of battle wear, including scrapes and some pock marks. The visor is exceptionally well done, in that it has a bit of a clouded look to it, and while it’s completely opaque matte paint, it almost looks like if you get in close enough you could catch a glimpse through it.

If there’s one place this figure stumbles it’s in the accessories. Doom Guy should have an arsenal at his disposal, and the figure only includes a gun and an arm blade attachment. And yes, the arm blade is the same one that came with McFarlane’s regular Doom Slayer, and it doesn’t really belong on this Doom Guy. Oh what I wouldn’t give for a chainsaw! Still, it looks really cool, and it’s a beautifully sculpted piece, so it’s hard to get mad at it. Plus, it’s entirely removable if you’d rather not display the figure with it. When all is said and done, I believe I will leave it on him.

And that brings us to the Doom Eternal Super Shotgun with the meat hook attachment. Once again, it’s a beautiful accessory and a very nice representation of the weapon from the game. And yet this one pisses me off, because the least McFarlane could have done was sculpt us a Classic Super Shotgun for this figure. I’ll also toss it out there that with the limited range in the elbow articulation, he can’t really pose with it all that well, nor could I get his off-hand to cradle the foregrip.

And finally, you do get a standard McFarlane figure stand, and these things are just the bare minimum worst. It’s a black disc with a peg and the Doom logo stamped on it. These always seem too small for the figures, and I’m not even bothering to take it off the packaging.

Yeah, I’m kind of missing the point of this figure, since it is emphatically not supposed to be the Doom Guy from the original game. But I knew that going in, and tried keeping that in mind while taking a look at him. I would have liked a legit release of the original Doom Guy, and this is simply my consolation prize, and it’s a damn nice figure at that. I’d definitely be down to pick up some of the Demons from the game if McFarlane committed to making a bunch of them, but for now I think this figure will be a one-off for me to place in my Gaming Room.

Sonic The Hedgehog 2: The Tornado by Jakks Pacific

If you hadn’t noticed, I skipped Wednesday this week. It was partly because I went really long on my Monday review, and partly because I was being lazy and opted for floating in the pool all afternoon and playing video games all night. But, I’m back to wrap up the week today with a look at some Sonic the Hedgehog toys! I have a lot of Sonic toys, but the zippy hedgehog has only graced FFZ once before when I looked at Jakks’ Greenhill Zone playset. Eventually I hope to get to all the Sonic toys, but this time I’m having a look at some toys from the second Sonic movie!

When the first Sonic movie went streaming, I originally put it on to hate watch it, but I fell in love about twenty minutes in. It was unbearably charming and I felt that it did my blue boi proud. The second film doubled down and while there were some decidedly odd choices for sub-plots, I still loved it. When I first saw this set with the Tornado biplane scaled for the 2.5-inch figures, I was really excited to get it. And then I couldn’t find it outside of scalpers on Ebay and Mecari. And wouldn’t you know it, just when I stopped looking it turned up on a Walmart clearance endcap! Plus, that Walmart was right across the street from a Sonic restaurant, allowing me to celebrate my good fortune with a chili and cheese dog! The Tornado requires a bit of assembly, but nothing too crazy, but let’s check out the figures first!

As already mentioned, these figures are part of the 2.5-inch line, which means they’re pretty small, but they do scale with the above mentioned Green Zone Playset (which I used as a backdrop!) and the other accessories. The articulation is pretty decent for figures this size, with rotating hinges in the hips and shoulders, ball jointed heads, and Tails has his tails on a ball joint as well.

As much as I loved Sonic’s look in the movie, I don’t think it translated all that well to this figure. It’s not bad, but there’s just something off about it. There’s a bit of a furry texture to him, which is at odds with the familiar smooth and cartoony look of the game figures. I do like the head sculpt, so in the end I’ll chalk it up to the proportions. The paint may look a bit sloppy in some areas, but keep in mind just how small these little guys are.

While, I may be a bit iffy on Sonic, the Tails figure is a home run! He still has the furry texturing, but I think this little guy still works just fine as a game-based figure. Plus, he has the flight helmet and goggles, which ties him directly to The Tornado. The only downside to this little fella is that he cannot stand on his own unless you turn his tails down and use them as a tripod to support him being upright.

And then there’s The Tornado, which was obviously inspired by The Sky Chase Zone in the Sonic 2 game, and the big reason why I was after this toy in the first place. Sure, the colors and markings aren’t a perfect match for the game version, but it’s close enough for me! It’s a pretty simple toy, but like the movie, it’s just oozing charm and it’s a lot of fun. The plastic used for the wing supports is pretty soft, but once its assembled it’s a solid enough toy. There’s even a play gimmick where you can pump the back wheel like a trigger to make the propeller spin.

The cockpit is designed with a shelf behind the seat, so Tails can sit in it and still have room to rest his large, bushy tails, and he looks absolutely fantastic in it! When I first saw the solicitation pictures of the toy, I kind of assumed that Tails would be permanently attached to the plane, so it was a pleasant surprise to later find out he was an actual figure that could sit in it.

The Tornado also has a bunch of pegs and grab bars so that Sonic can interact with it, making for a lot of fun display options.

If Walmart’s original listing can be believed, this thing sold for $60 originally. Now, I’m not saying I wouldn’t have paid that if I found it, but I’m crazy, and that price tag seems ridiculously high for what you’re getting. Thirty bucks would have seemed like a reasonable price, and I was happy to find it for $20 on clearance. Considering I’ve wanted a toy of The Sky Chase biplane since the 90’s, this release scratches a very old itch, and I’m thrilled to have it to display in my Game Room on the shelf above my Genesis and Master System games, but I imagine it’s a pretty cool toy for any kids who were just a big fan of the film, providing such a demographic actually exists!

Golden Axe: Tyris Flare and Blue Dragon Mount by Storm Collectibles

If you’ve been hanging around here the last year or so, then you know how much I’ve been digging Storm Collectibles’ line of figures based on the SEGA Golden Axe arcade brawler. I’ll refer you back my look at the first release, Axe Battler, but there have also been an assortment of Skeletons, as well as Death Adder and his clones. Yessir, I love me some Golden Axe, even if it is singularly responsible for me still misspelling the word Ax just about every damn time. When Axe Battler was first revealed, I remember crying about how I would happily shell out the money to buy a repaint of the Red Dragon Mount if it meant getting us Tyris Flare, and happily Storm Collectibles has obliged!

Of course, Tyris Flare being one of the three playable characters in Golden Axe. She has stronger magical abilities, seems to move and attack a bit faster, but lacks the tank-like constitution of the burly Axe Battler. The packaging here is quite similar to that previous release, although the art and quality of the box feel slightly more polished. This box didn’t immediately tear when I opened it! You still get the cool artwork from the character select screen on an insert in the back of the box. Tyris comes on a tray with all her extras spread out around her, while the her Dragon Mount is secured in a tray under that one, and requiring his tail to be popped on before display. Let’s start with a look at Tyris!

Definitely one of the hottest pixelated babes to grace my SEGA Genesis, Tyris shows up to the fight wearing a skimpy bikini, white with red borders, as well as a pair of matching arm bracers, and high buccaneer-style boots. The bikini is sculpted as part of the figure, and Storm did some clever stuff, like using the straps on the back to help conceal the seams in the rather copious amount of jointing found here. I say “help conceal”, because it really doesn’t succeed completely. For a figure that shows this much skin, the jointing here can be pretty noticeable. It’s nothing worse than we saw with Axe Battler, and this is definitely a case where the added articulation is worth the sacrifice. Still, I wouldn’t mind seeing TBLeague take a crack at this line with their Phicen Seamless bodies. With all that having been said, I think she looks great, and they did an especially nice job sculpting the musculature in her abs.

As with Axe Battler, you get two different heads: One with a fairly neutral expression, and one showing her battle face. I think both are excellent and reflect the beauty of the character. I can’t decide on a favorite so I’ll likely switch off depending on what kind of poses I use for displaying her. The hair is sculpted separately from the head, and that adds a lot of nice depth to it, especially the way her bangs fall over her forehead. This piece can actually be removed, similar to a Figma or Figuart, but I’m not sure why, since we aren’t swapping faces here, but rather the entire head.

I do like how her fierce expression head has more going on with her hair. It’s splayed out down near her shoulders, as if her coif is whipping around from the action of the battle.

In addition to the two heads, Tyris comes with a whole passel of different hands. You get Fists, sword-holding hands, relaxed hands, grapple hands, and finger-pointing hands. Some of these really add some nice options while posing her.

And posing her sure is fun. Her articulation consists of a lot of rotating joints, double-hinges, and double-sided ball joints. It’s also worth mentioning that, like Axe Battler, the balance on this figure is quite impressive. She’s even capable of standing on her tip-toes without the assist of a stand! Axe Battler spent a long time on my desk so that I could grab him and fiddle about with him on my downtime, and I imagine that will be the case with Ms. Flare as well. She’s just lots of fun to play around with and damn hard to put down!

Apart from a whole bunch of hands, Tyris comes with her trusty sword, and it’s an absolutely gorgeous little weapon. The blade has a bright silver finish, with raised gold decorations running nearly half the length of the blade. The hilt has a dark iron finish, with a down-turned crossguard, and an extended grip so the sword can be wielded single or double-handed. It’s easy to get the grip into either or both of her hands, and she holds it just firmly enough to keep it from slipping. Let’s move on to the Dragon Mount!

I won’t spend a whole lot of time on this glorious blue beast, because he really is a straight repaint of Axe Battler’s Red Mount. It was a strikingly beautiful toy then, and it’s every bit as beautiful with its new coat of paint. The blue looks really nice, although the pea-soup green used for the claws, belly, reins, and saddle makes the figure not as flashy as it could have been. The pixel art in the game utilized a bit brighter shade for these parts, but I can’t say I dislike what we got.

The head is an amazing sculp, featuring some exceptional detail in the fins, horns, and the texturing of the skin. You get a little gradient to the shade of blue at the tips of the horns and fins, as well as the beak. The individual teeth are painted white, and the tongue a very bright red.

As with Axe Battler and his Mount, Tyris fits perfectly on the Blue Dragon, and looks damn good riding him. Her feet pass through the stirrups, and her sword-hands can be used to grip the reins and lead the dragon into battle! As I mentioned in the Red Dragon review, I would have liked to have a little more lateral movement in the legs to give him a wider stance, but they really just rotate where they meet the body. Nonetheless, the figure stands well, even with a rider on his back.

One nice surprise here is the change of dragon breath effect parts. In the game, the Red Dragon shot fireballs and the Blue Dragon had more of a flamethrower attack. That is conveyed here with this gigantic flame effect part. It simply rests on the ground with the other end fitting into the dragon’s mouth.

Wow… it’s so cool to finally have Tyris on my shelf! When Axe Battler first released, I could only hope that he wasn’t going to be a one-off release, but now it’s clear that Storm is continuing to play with extra credits! Yes, they have been milking some of the molds by giving us lots of two dragon mounts, skeleton variants and Death Adder clones, but if that’s what they have to do to make this line work, I’m still All-In! I’m still hoping we get some more rank-and-file enemies, like Heninger, Longmoan, and the Amazons. So far, the only brand new figure teased are The Bad Brothers, and I’m patiently waiting for that pre-order to drop!

Golden Axe: Death Adder by Storm Collectibles

YES! I love SEGA! And YES! I love Golden Axe! I won’t start verbally fapping about the franchise again here, but feel free to check out my reviews of Ax Battler and The Skeleton Soldiers, if you need a reminder! In fairness, most of my experience with the games isn’t in the coin-op form, but rather at home on my SEGA Genesis. I even recently picked up a custom cart of Golden Axe 3, which never released for the US Genesis, but now I can play it anyway! Suffice it to say, I’m very nearly all in on Storm Collectibles’ Golden Axe figures. There are a few Skeleton variants that I haven’t dropped money on yet… YET!!! But I’m just so happy to see these figures getting made.

And so, BEHOLD! DEATH ADDER!!! After Golden Axe is done wiping the floor with you with common enemies, you are rewarded with fighting Death Adder as the final boss! Or is he??? I have a feeling that he might have been taking orders… ah, but that’s just me being paranoid. The figure comes in a window box in the same style as the previous releases, with a lot of extra plastic wrap to make it had to really see the figure inside all that clearly. The illustrated backing for the tray also recreates the character select screen, just like the previous packages did.

And out of the box, Death Adder is quite the bruiser, standing more than head and shoulders above Ax Battler and the Skeletons. He’s also a relatively simple figure, albeit one that does a fabulous job bringing the sprite-based 16-bit villain into a more realistic action figure form! One of the things you may first notice about him is that he’s built with seamless elbow and knee joints, using flexible rubber plastic to cover the internal skeleton. It makes for a great effect, especially since the shoulder and hip joints are somewhat obscured by his armor. On the downside, he doesn’t have anywhere near the range of motion that we got in the Ax Battler body, so it’s a compromise. I dig it, and for a lumbering brute, I’m not sure I need Death Adder to be as nimble as our hero. But while we’re on the subject of articulation, my figure has a loose right ankle hinge. It isn’t broken, but the two halves of the hinged ball separate from time to time. It’s more annoying than a critical fault, but worth mentioning nonetheless!

Death Adder’s buff bod features some wonderfully sculpted muscles, something that Storm has gotten quite adept at delivering. His bulging arms are positively ripped with veins and tendons, making him look like he can tear The Player apart without any need of weapons. His armor is cast in soft plastic with a shiny red finish. The segmented plates look great and there’s a bit of a hammered finish to the shoulder armor. You also get a healthy assortment of different hands, including fists, relaxed, palm-smash, clutching, and weapon holding hands!

As far as the portrait goes, Death Adder comes with two heads, which can be swapped out under his rather epic helmet. Both are human-appearing head sculpts, painted black with yellow piercing eyes. I tend to like the regular one, because my imagination always suggested that Death Adder didn’t have a regular face under that helmet. I don’t know what I thought he had, but I guess I just expected it was something mysterious, similar to an Orko or Warduke. That having been said, I think the gritted teeth expression looks quite good!

Death Adder comes with one accessory, and that’s his giant golden axe! It’s big an imposing, but fairly light and easy for him to wield in either one hand, or both. I really like the gold finish on this weapon. It’s just so lush and satiny, with some silver for the edges.

I pre-ordered this big guy way back when and he’s been waiting for his time in the spotlight for a while now! I seem to recall dropping $115 on him, which isn’t so bad considering how big and chonky he is. And it looks like Storm is re-releasing all of their Golden Axe figures for people who missed out, as pre-orders have gone up again around all the usual places. I think he’s an excellent figure, although the seamless jointing may end up being a polarizing point among some collectors.

Sonic The Hedgehog: Green Hill Zone Playset and Diorama Set by Jakks Pacific

If you’ve kicked around FFZ a while, you may already know that I was a SEGA kid. I had the Master System and the Genesis, and I still have both and play them regularly. Sonic’s legacy hasn’t fared all that well over the years, I cannot deny that, but whenever I sit down to play some Sonic on the Genesis, I am in 16-bit heaven. I have a number of Sonic toys that I wanted to look at for the 30th Anniversary and I got sidetracked, but picking up a couple more this past week gave me the push I needed to get cracking on reviewing some of this stuff. Time to get serious!!!

Today I’m checking out the Green Hill Zone Playset and a Diorama Set, both in the 2.5-inch scale by Jakks Pacific. I was originally just going to get the Playset because it was on sale, but the Diorama set looked like it would work well with the Playset, so I grabbed it too. Let’s start with the Playset!

Green Hill Zone requires just a quick bit of assembly, and once that’s done you get a pretty cool little slice of Sonic’s very first romping ground. It includes a modern styled Sonic figure, a spring platform, and three rings. There are some pegs scattered across the set, which can be used to peg on figures or the three rings that come with it. The base and grassy bits are nicely textured, and I really dig the checkered rock printed on the sides of the cliffs.

Up until now, I’ve just been collecting the 4-inch Sonic figures, but I have to say this little guy is pretty cool. He has the appropriate level of attitude and with rotating hinges at the shoulders and hips, you get some decent articulation for such a small and stylized figure. The paint could be a little sharper in some areas, but you have to zoom in pretty close to see any of that.

As far as play gimmicks go, the biggest attraction in Green Hill Zone is the loop. There’s a platform on a track with a foot peg so you can plug a figure onto it and there’s a lever on the back so you can whip him around the loop! There are even pegs to place the rings around the loop. I was surprised to see that the platform will even hold the figure steady at pretty much any angle. FUN!

But as fun as that is for a while, the only other play gimmick is the spring platform, which doesn’t do much. Now, don’t get me wrong, I think this is a cool setup, but it’s probably best regarded as a place to display figures than an actual playset. Of course, the other set I’m looking at today makes for some great additions, so let’s bust that open.

The core of this set is the pair of figures! You get Sonic and Tails in a very classic style, which I love! These are great little figures with the same level of articulation as the modern Sonic. The paint on these is a lot cleaner too. Plus, Sonic’s got a bitch-slapping hand!

The rest of the set consists of some “furniture” for the Playset. And yeah, the yellow spring platform is in there, so I’ve got stuck with two of those! Still, worth it! You get two check points, one tall and one short; An item box TV with the forcefield bubble on the screen; and a Spike Trap! All of these are cool items, and they can each attach to the Playset, or you can just put them anywhere. It really spruces things up and offers more display options. I do, however, wish this set included more rings. Heck, I would have rather had just three more rings instead of another spring platform.

The Green Hill Zone Playset was on sale for $12 (down from $20) so that was a great pick up. I rolled the money I saved into the Diorama set, which paid for almost half of it. Both are really fun packages, and I’m going to enjoy displaying them in my Game Room as I get it set up over the coming weeks. I’ll definitely pick up more of these sets if they come my way, and it’s actually got me wanting to grab some of the Mario sets as well.

Golden Axe: Skeleton Soldiers by Storm Collectibles

Last year, Storm Collectibles showed debuted figures based on one of my all-time favorite games on the SEGA Genesis, and I just about lost my damn mind. I was quick to pre-order Axe Battler and when I got the set it was everything I dreamed it could be. But was that going to be it? Just a one-off curiosity? Happily, the answer to that question is a big NOPE! Soon the Skeleton Soldier 2-pack reared its boney heads, and then variants of it, and then Death Adder, and then the rest of the playable characters. Holy smokes, Storm was going all in on this franchise, and I was beside myself with glee. But, as things tend to happen around here, new arrivals get buried and reviews get delayed. This past weekend Death Adder arrived and while I was itching to review him, I decided it was only right to swing back to that Skeleton two-pack and have a look at it first!

The packaging is pretty simple. The gruesome twosome come in a window box that shows off the figures and their accessories. I do love that there’s an illustration behind the tray showing the character select screen. I only had the thrill of playing the original Golden Axe a couple of times in the arcades, but I’ve spent countless hours with the home versions of Golden Axe 1 and 2. I still have my original copies, and now thanks to compilations and emulation, I can even play the arcade versions whenever I damn well please. But no matter what version you may have cut your teeth on, one thing remains the same… Skeletons are bastards!

With the first Skeleton out of the box, there are a few things that strike me. First, they’re pretty light, but they don’t feel at all fragile. Now, I’m not saying you should be reckless with your new skinless friends, but considering their just thin bones, they don’t make me feel afraid to handle them. Secondly, there’s no rubbery, gummy, or frail joints to deal with. Everything feels solid and strong. And with those handling impressions out of the way, they just look fantastic! The aesthetics haven’t been sacrificed in favor of articulation, and while I am no certified boneologist, I think they look pretty close to being anatomically correct. They are fairly clean Skeletons, without much in the way of rot, which is in line with their appearances in the game. Still, there’s some wash and overall, these fellas have a somewhat chalky finish that makes them look and feel more like bone than plastic.

The skull sculpt is excellent. I really dig the furled brows that give these guys some evil personality. The fact that the jaws are articulated is a happy surprise. You get more of that chalky finish on the skull, which does look a bit like there’s some left over flesh peeling off, and the eye sockets are painted in black to make them look like dark pools of evil.

As near as I can tell, there’s no differences in sculpt between the two Skeletons, but my sets have some slight variations in paint that keep them from looking too uniform when displayed together. Still, if I named them, I doubt I’d be able to tell them apart. As far as articulation goes, you get lots and lots of rotating hinges in all the expected places. Some sweet bonuses include hinges in the feet, and a rotating hinge in the spine, just below the ribcage. These boney bros are also extremely well balanced, and I’ve had a lot less difficulty getting them to stand than a lot of other fully fleshed out figures.

Each Skeleton comes with a total of five pairs of hands, which is pretty crazy! Hell, I just reviewed a Hot Toys figure that didn’t have this many hands, and they’re like the Kings of giving out too many hands! Anyway, these guys come with fists attached, but you also get your choice of accessory holding hands, relaxed hands, clawing hands, and pointing hands, which are my favorite as I call them the “I’ve got a bone to pick with you” hands.

Each Skeleton also comes with a sword and shield, and these are identical for each figure, with one exceptions. The skulls on the shields are oriented so that one shield is left handed and the other is right handed. The shields have gold faces and on the reverse they each have an arm strap and a grab bar. The swords have golden guards and pommels and silver blades. Despite having no meat on their hands, these guys can hold their gear very well.

One thing I was curious about was how well these would work with my beloved Mythic Legions figures, and I’m happy to report that they look great together. Many of the Mythic Legions Skeletons have a little more color going on, but I would have no problem integrating these two lines. In truth, I’m surprised The Four Horsemen didn’t think of putting out something like this a while back.

These Skeleton packs seem to have been pretty popular, as they were regularly selling out at all of my usual e-tailers. I had one set pre-ordered and picked up a second when they came back into stock. I would imagine that even people who aren’t as passionate about Golden Axe as myself will be buying these for their fantasy figure collections. Indeed, I highly recommend them. They’re great figures that look like they could have just as easily stepped out of the screen of Jason and the Argonauts as a Golden Axe cabinet.

The Witcher: Eredin Breacc Glas by McFarlane

Well, looky here! I actually made it back on a Friday for some hot and tasty end of week content! It wasn’t easy to carve out the time, but I’m glad I was able to. And hopefully, I can start to make this a habit again. Today I’m digging into another McFarlane release from The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and it’s the leader of The Wild Hunt himself, Eredin Breacc Glas!

Needless to say, I was pretty impressed by Geralt when I reviewed him a few weeks ago. So much so, that I quickly set about picking up some of the other figures in this line. The packaging is pretty much the same as we saw last time, sans the Gold Label. You get a collector friendly window box with a stylish red backdrop behind the figure, and a photo of the figure on the back. Nothing mind-blowing in terms of art design here, but I have to respect McFarlane for letting the figure do all the talking. Let’s get out The King of the Wild Hunt and have a look!

This character design feels like it was tailor-made to get the action figure treatment, and McFarlane did a fine job with it. Eredin’s nightmarish armor is fully realized in what is a pretty complex and layered sculpt. The crimson armor is designed to summon up the horrific image of a flayed man, with bronze accents giving off the hint of exposed bone amidst the quilted and armored plate red meat and muscle. And it is quite glorious! Easily my favorite thing here is the breast plate, which is not only adorned with a rib-cage like motif, but also has rib-like spikes protruding over it. These are cast in soft plastic, so as not to be brittle and breakable, and it just looks simply amazing. His forearms are protected by crudely hammered bronze bracers full of pitting and rough texture, while a series of brown “leather” strips cascade down from the center of his belt, both front and back. Intricate details include the sculpted rivets on his armor plates and stitching on the belts and straps.

The skeletal visage is carried over to his back, where more brass fixtures mimic his spine and the back of his ribcage, meanwhile his right shoulder is protected by a collection of boney barbs and a tattered textured cloak. The cloak is cast in soft plastic and is designed so as not to impede the arm’s movement.

Eredin’s head is fully enclosed in a helmet with a skull-faced visor that reminds of General Kael from Willow… and that ain’t a bad thing! The bronze colored helmet has its share of cuts and crags, no doubt the remnants of many battles. Nothing of Eredin’s face can be seen through the black void of the eyeholes, but his black coif of hair can be seen cascading out the back of the helm. The headpiece is punctuated on top by a series of tall spikes forming a crown.

The packaging claims Eredin sports 22-moving parts, and that certainly comes across in just how fun a figure he is to play with. Articulation points include rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, wrists, and hips. The knees have single hinges and the ankles have hinges and lateral rockers. There are swivels up in the thighs and the toes of his boots are hinged. Finally, you get a ball joint under the chest and another in the neck. The jointing on these McFarlane figures feel satisfyingly solid and chunky.

Eredin comes with one accessory and that’s his rather distinctive sword. This piece of plastic cutlery is a lot more impressive than either of the blades that came with Geralt, thanks mostly to a great paintjob on the blade and hilt. The turned grip is painted crimson to match his armor, and is extended to allow for double-handed wielding. And thankfully, the figure’s articulation is up to the task! The vicious looking blade includes multiple angles to the edge and a jutting spike, and I really dig the rather utilitarian hand guard that plunges parallel with the grip. It’s a great looking piece that clearly favors function over aesthetics in its design.

And finally, you get a figure stand, which is easily the least impressive thing in the box. Yup, it’s the same one that came with Geralt, complete with The Witcher III branding. It’s simple, small, and totally inconsequential. But it does a decent job of holding him up, and I’m never going to complain about getting a stand.

I absolutely have to keep resisting the urge to plunge into McFarlane’s DC figures. I just can’t open that floodgate again. I’ve been wronged too many times! BUT, THAT REBIRTH SUPERMAN SURE IS TEMPTING!!! So, it’s nice to have a small and manageable line like The Witcher to sample what has been some truly excellent work by McFarlane. And just for an added treat, when I went to hunt this figure down along with Ciri, I found him on clearance for about $11. Not too shabby, as I would have been perfectly happy with him even at the full $20. I don’t think I’m going to go nuts with all the repaints of Geralt that McFarlane is pushing out, but I’ll likely keep grabbing any new sculpts that come my way.

Halo: 12-inch Master Chief by Jazwares

I’ve had a bit of an unintentional video game theme going these last couple weeks. First it was Pac-Man, then The Witcher, and now Halo. Well, I wouldn’t read too much into it. I stumbled upon this figure for a crazy low price and decided to make it an impulse buy. Ages ago, I had that Joyride Master Chief figure, which was excellent, but did not survive a shelf-dive. Sadly, his leg exploded against the shock of the carpet, and he was beyond fixing. Sobbing, I turned to The Ebays to replace him, saw how much it was going for now, and gave that shit a big HECK, NO! But hey, now I’ve got The Chief back in the collection. Let’s see if this cheap sum’bitch is any good.

Straightaway, this release reminds me of those cheap 12-inch figures that Hasbro has done for Star Wars and Marvel. They’re sometimes referred to as Shampoo Bottle Figures, I guess because they’re hollow and cheap, and feel like the novelty themed recepticals that you might find containing kids shampoo. Most of those are terrible, some are OK, but this one looked a little better. But make no mistake, cheap this figure is! I got him off Amazon for $11, although I think the MSRP is around $20. And yes, that is about twice as much as Hasbro’s Shampoo Bottle Figures, so maybe it’s not fair comparison. The packaging is consists of a very long and narrow window box, that’s barely big enough to contain his Spartan might, but is otherwise serviceable. There’s a J-hook so he can hang from a peg, but I’ve never seen this guy in the Toy Aisles around here.

Out of the box, this figure actually impresses me. Now, let’s qualify that a bit, because my expectations were pretty low. The sculpt is excellent. Sure he’s got some unsightly seams, but they’re not any worse than any number of other figures on the market these days. And all the detail in the armor is certainly there. The plates have panel lines, and all the little bits and bobs that I remember seeing from the last time I played a Halo game, albeit that was probably five years ago. The green looks a bit bright under the studio lights, but in hand under normal lighting it looks fine. The undersuit is black with some texturing, and you actually get some silver dry brushing on the armor to signify wear and tear. It actually looks about on par with the stuff Hasbro was doing on their Transformers Siege figures. Take that how you want, but I think it looks fine. If I’m going to nitpick anything here, I don’t remember Master Chief having such small feet, but I’m really reaching for something to complain about.

The helmet also looks pretty good, with more of those silver abraisions on the green finish. The gold paint used for his visor looks excellent. I should also note that while the figure is hollow and not all that hefty, it doesn’t feel like junk either. And there ya go, Jazwares! Feel free to use that as a pull quote for the box!

What surprised me the most about this guy was his articulation. I was expecting retro five points of articulation, like Hasbro’s big bois, but this guy actually has rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, hips, and knees, and swivels in the wrists, and in the neck. He’s fun to play with, although give me a little articulation and I just want more. He would have been amazing if they sprang for a waist swivel and some ankle tilts. Still, what’s here is great, and he has a pretty decent balance.

Master Chief comes with one accessory and that’s his trusty assault rifle. Sadly, the weapon is not as impressive as the figure. The big fail for me was having it silver. Jazwares may have been trying to add a little more color to the package, but I would have much rather they left it black, and it would have saved them some money too. It’s fairly well detailed, even if the sculpt is very soft. It fits perfectly into his right hand, and it even has a peg that allows Master Chief to carry it on his back.

There have been plenty of good Master Chief figures on the market over the years, so if you’re looking for a nice collectible you can sure do a lot better than this guy. But, if you’re looking for a big, rugged Master Chief toy to knock around and have some fun with, I think you could do a lot worse than this guy. Hell, if Hasbro’s 12-inchers were more like this in terms of quality and articulation, I’d probably actually own some of those. Jazwares has a few other Halo figures in this line, but Master Chief is enough for me. He was definitely worth the $11 I paid for him, and hell, I’d even go so far as to recommend him at $20.

The Witcher: Geralt of Rivia (Gold Label) by McFarlane

I remember buying the original Witcher game, hoping to slum it with the graphics turned all the way down, but even then my computer at the time just laughed and spat out the disc. A short while later, The Witcher II came to the Xbox 360, and I rejoiced, as I would finally get to sample the series I heard so much about. But after jumping in, I quickly felt like I was dropped into the middle of the dense lore and missing out on a lot of backstory, so I decided that I would shelf the game until I could eventually experience the first. Time passed and eventually even my new mediocre computer was capable of running the original Witcher, which was at that point a rather old game. With all the settings turned up, I quickly lost myself in the deep and rewarding game world, and it was everything I hoped it would be. And the rest is history. I still haven’t made the time to play Witcher 3, but I have since enjoyed the hell out of the comics and the TV series was… well, it was OK. And that brings us to McFarlane’s Geralt figure!

his is the Gold Label release, which is proudly called out with gold foil on the top left corner of the box. What’s that mean? I dunno. It seems like just a repaint of the regular version. I think these were supposed to be some kind of premium chase figures, but I got mine on clearance at Gamestop, so I’m not sure how difficult that chase was. They had both versions, but I went with this one just because I thought the more colorful deco showcased the sculpt a little better. The window box is collector friendly, unless you want the stand, which is secured to the back of the insert under a sealed bubble. For that, you’ll have to rip and tear!

And here he is, Geralt of Rivia, looking intimidating as all hell. Straightaway I’ll say that I absolutely love the sculpting they did here, but then McFarlane has always been known for delivering great sculpts! As I already intimated, I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of time in the first two games, but have still yet to crack open my copy of Witcher 3. That having been said, his armor appears to be patterened after the suit he starts the game with, and the one featured in most of the game shots I’ve seen, so I’m at least passingly familiar with it. The sculpt features some intricate detail in the chain mail, as well as some textured quilting in the upper legs. There’s stitching recreated on the leather bits, and boots, and the armor is layered onto the figure to make for a very complex and convincing look. When it comes to detail, it seems like nothing was overlooked. The torso armor is sculpted in soft plastic and wrapped around the figure, concealing the articulation in the chest. It’s executed very well, without making the figure look too bulky or throw off his proportions. Other cool little additions are his tiny amulet and the trophy hook hanging from his belt.

On his back, Geralt has two functional scabbards for his swords. These are partially open on the side facing his back, which is unfortunately a little unsightly, but they acommodate the swords very well. The scabbards are also the only place on the figure where the paint disappoints a bit. It just isn’t as sharp as it could be. The original version of this figure was quite drab and dark, but this Gold Label release features a more colorful tan and brown deco, which as I said earlier, really brings out the detail in the sculpt. The boots are black, he’s got a reddish-brown belt, and the silver paint used for the chainmail and the fixtures, is quite striking. I may still look at picking up the regular release, but right now I’m pleased that I went with this one.

They did a beautiful job on this portrait, recreating a solid likeness to the in-game model. The rather intricate hair sculpt is cast separate from the rest of the head, making for a clean hairline. His scar is carved right into the plastic, there are some subtle lines in his face, and the facial hair is quite remarkable. But beyond an excellent sculpt, the paint really turned out to be amazing. From the gray used for his hair to the gloss on his bottom lip, the life-like eyes and the razor sharp deep crimson gash, everything here is just superb. Even the skin tone is nuanced.

I was most curious to see what the articulation was going to be like, since the last time I was collecting McFarlane figures, they were little more than semi-poseable statues. Well, that certainly isn’t the case any more. The articulation here is well thought out and feels great. The double hinges in the elbows and knees are chunky and allow for tight bends. I was especially surprised to find there were even hinges in the toe of the boots! He’s capable of wide stances in the legs and his arms have the ability to reach back to draw his swords. My only gripe here is that the neck doesn’t allow for the head to look up enough. And that’s probably mostly because of the long hair.

Naturally, Geralt comes with his two swords. The “silver” sword features a sharply downturned crossguard, whereas the “steel” sword has the straight guard. These each have painted grips, but unfortunately the blades and hilts were left as bare gray plastic. I really think these needed actual silver paint to make them look more snappy, especially for a premium Gold Label release. Heck, even if they just painted the silver one to distinguish it, that would have been cool. The sculpts on the weapons are fine, and the blades aren’t too bendy, but they just look rather unfinished without the extra paint.

Geralt’s hands are sculpted so that he can wield the swords in either hand, or dual wield at the same time, for those particularly desparate battles against both humans and monsters! The articulation also allows for him to wield either weapon two-handed, which is excellent!

Other than the swords, Geralt comes with bubkis, so he’s a little light on the accessories. I would have liked to see a magic effect part or maybe some daggers. He does come with a branded figure stand, but it’s pretty small and unimpressive. Maybe I’ll dig into my Marvel Legeds effects parts to give him an Igni spell.

I was really close to passing on this line, since I’m trying to limit myself to what I’m already collecting, and not expand into new areas. But, when I’m face to face with a great looking figure on clearance, you just know it’s going to come home with me. And I’m glad I made that decision, because this is an all around wonderful figure. Yes, the unpainted swords irk me, but it’s nothing I can’t fix with a silver Sharpie. In the end, the best compliment I can pay Geralt here is that after playing around with him for about an hour, I went ahead and bought the rest of the line!