Friday, October 24, 2014

#90: Star Wars The Black Series - Darth Vader

I'm not surprised by it, but it sure is weird seeing "Disney" on my Star Wars toys packaging. Either way, a few waves into the line and we finally have one of the heavy hitters of the franchise, Darth Vader himself. Before he was released, I was curious to see if his capes could be soft goods or not. They have been for years on the smaller scale figure, but there has been the occasional plastic one on other figures. Hasbro went with soft goods, and it turned out really well. It's a bit thicker material than usual, and there's a little extra fabric on the corners, helping to give it some extra weight so the cape rests a little more realistically.

Vader's helmet is removable; there are two pieces, the outer helmet and the mask. The likeness underneath is pretty decent, and it's Sebastian Shaw, so you know it's Return of the Jedi, and not a prequel Vader. Vader's lightsaber is also, of course, included. It has a removable blade, but it doesn't look like there's a way to attach the hilt to his belt.

For the most part, the articulation is pretty great. Unfortunately, the shoulders restrict the arms from moving up laterally. Also, the elbows can't bend as deeply as I'd like. So Vader's not going to really be putting his hands on his hips. Overall though, it's a pretty cool Vader figure.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

#89: Assassin's Creed - Aveline de Grandpré (Assassin's Creed Liberation)

Along with Adéwale, I picked up Aveline de Grandpré, star of Assassin's Creed Liberation. This is the only game of the series I haven't played so far (not counting the various handheld/mobile/Facebook games). It was originally released for the Sony portable console, but was given an HD upgrade for consoles, which I plan to play in the future. For me, one of the most striking features of Aveline's design is that she is not wearing a traditional Assassin hood. Rather, she has a tricorn that fits low over her face, helping to conceal it somewhat. It's even removable. McFarlane is definitely good at detail work, as the sculpt is very well done, with a lot of paint. It's a good looking figure, to be sure. Aveline has the typical hidden blade (both extended and retracted), a flintlock pistol, a big knife, what I think is a blowgun, and a whip. Aside from being a good action figure, Aveline is interesting in that she's a woman of color, which is unusual enough as a video game protagonist, but is also fairly unusual as an action figure.

Monday, October 20, 2014

#88: Assassin's Creed - Adéwale (Assassin's Creed IV - Freedom Cry)

A couple weeks ago, I was surprised to find an endcap at Target with a bunch of Funko product, as well as a couple pegs of McFarlane figures as well. This was pretty soon after I had decided I wanted to collect all the playable assassins from the Assassin's Creed games, so this was good timing as I had been eying the latest wave online. In Assassin's Creed IV, Adéwale is Edward Kenway's first mate aboard the Jackdaw. He was one of a few characters that helped provide a conscience for Edward, but it wasn't until the Freedom Cry DLC that he became a playable character. This figure is based on the DLC, after Adé has joined the Assassins. He's armed with the typical hidden blades (with both extended and retracted versions of the blades), a blow gun, a blunderbuss, and a machete. Those last three weapons can be stowed on his back. The story of Freedom Cry involves Adé helping out in freeing slaves from plantations, so presumably that is why he includes shackles as well.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

#87: Transformers Generations - Jetfire

A few years ago, Hasbro released a Jetfire in the classics lineup, but it was not an easy toy to find. So I missed out. I had hoped that they would eventually re-release it, but that never happened, even after the movie version of the character showed up. Finally the powers that be decided to just go all out and do an all new version (an upcoming remold as Thundercracker has already been announced). In a somewhat controversial move, Jetfire's accessories are all chromed red plastic. Aesthetically, I do think it looks cool if a bit garish, but there is the potential for flaking in the future.

Of course, those chromed pieces are all removable. It's a pretty cool looking jet, as long as you ignore the legs on the underside, which make the lower body of the jet really wide towards the back. The wings fold in or out, F-14 style.

For a Leader class figure, it seems like the transformation scheme is a bit easy. While overall the robot mode is pretty cool looking, the cockpit and nosecone for the jet are merely hanging off the back. This is one of those toys where the chest looks like a cockpit, but isn't. If you choose to have all the chromed pieces off the robot, they can (with the exception of the boosters) combine into a big gun.

Jetfire has a removable mask, so you can decide whether you prefer his helmeted or bare faced look better. He's a bit on the pricy side, and feels kind of lightweight, but is generally pretty cool. If I had the classics version, I'd be content to skip this version. But since I don't, this is a cool addition to the collection, especially as a character I've never had a toy for.

Friday, October 17, 2014

#86: Assassin's Creed - Connor (Assassin's Creed III)

I have the Edward Kenway figure from Assassin's Creed IV already, but then I found out that McFarlane is going to make an Ezio and an Altair. I wasn't into Assassin's Creed when NECA was making figures, so hearing that those two will be getting the figure treatment again made me want to get a figure of all the main assassins. So first that meant getting Connor from AC III, which is the first AC game I actually played. Connor is pretty well armed, as befits an assassin. He's got two flintlock pistols, a bow (with an elastic string), his trusty hatchet, and the trademark hidden blade. The face isn't the greatest likeness of the in game render, so it's good that the hood helps cover it and keep it in shadow.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

#85: Justice League Mission Vision - Batman

Did you know that Batman can breathe in space? It's true! This figure proves it. Released over ten years ago, this Batman is from one of the Timm-verse Justice League tie in toy lines. Batman is sporting some bulky armor with a face shield. It's a shield that protects the front of his face, but doesn't cover his head. There's some mechanical wings hanging off the back, with a projectile that can be launched out of it. He's also carrying a bat-shaped shield.

The shield opens up to expose a lenticular image, which I'm guessing was the gimmick for all the Mission Vision figures. The image depicts Batman in this toy's armor, fighting Darkseid. In space. Since the shield doesn't cover his head, there's no way it's providing oxygen for him. Batman is breathing in space!

The alternate image is a more action packed shot from the same battle.

All the armor can be removed, leaving a standard JLU styled Batman figure. That can't stand up on its own. With the armor on, he can balance well enough, but without it, he just falls over. The hips don't have enough give in them to make him balance.

I can't take credit for discovering this hidden power of Batman. That honor goes to David Willis, the author of the webcomic Shortpacked!, who did a strip on the subject a few years ago. I've always kept that amusing fact in the back of my head, then at the toy show I went to last month I saw the Mission Vision Superman, which made me decide to get the space breathing Batman figure for myself. This is the kind of ridiculous I can appreciate.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

#84: Star Wars The Black Series - Speeder Bike with Biker Scout

It's not surprising that the first vehicle for the six inch Black Series is the speeder bike, as it's basically the smallest interesting vehicle. With the scale, both price and space become more of an issue. Sure, they could make Yoda's hover chair, and maybe they'll make a STAP some time down the line. But speeder bikes are just cool. Although the speeder bike doesn't have the exploding action feature of its smaller cousin, it does include a clear plastic base so that it can "hover," which is definitely welcome as a display option. The scout trooper is a  good figure, featuring all the necessary articulation to pilot the bike. He includes the small holdout blaster which holsters on the side of his boot.

Word is that Target has an exclusive set featuring a shadow scout trooper with speeder bike and shadow stormtrooper set (black repaints!) coming out later this year. Although I'm trying not to troop build with this scale, I might find it hard to resist. Either way, this is a cool set.

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