Saturday, August 31, 2013

#62: Batman Classic TV Series - The Joker

Before Heath Ledger, before Mark Hamill, before Jack Nicholson, there was Cesar Romero. Now we're three quarters of the way through the Batman '66 villain lineup, in action figure form. The Joker is appropriately garish in his brightly colored suit. Cesar Romero famously would not shave his mustache for the role, so the makeup artists merely painted over it. On such a small scaled figure, it's hard to tell whether that's actually sculpted in, but it res represented in paint with a faint grey shading above the upper lip. Otherwise, the Joker's face is a flat white that really washes out his face unless the light catches it at an angle to bring out shadows. A light wash would have been helpful here, but perhaps would have looked out of place with the otherwise generally flat colors of this line. The Joker includes no accessories. Oddly, he has one in a fist and the other in a pointing position. Maybe he's asking Batman to pull his finger?

The Joker's collector card is fortunately oriented the proper way for display purposes when plugged into the base. The Batcave scene on the back of the card matches up with the one on the back of the Penguin's card, although by passing on the two single carded Batman figures, it probably won't be the most impressive effect when all put together. The Joker's base says "Zap!!!" on it, which I suppose is thematically appropriate, as it could be a reference to a joy buzzer.

"Joke's on you, Batman! Pull my finger or my boys go to town on your spine!"

Friday, August 30, 2013

#61: Star Wars The Black Series - Darth Maul

At long last, the new six inch Star Wars figure have arrived. It's good to see any new Star Wars product, in fact. This has been a pretty slow year for Star Wars action figures, so it is extra exciting to see a new scale, especially when it feels like the 3.75 inch line is winding down. Until the new movies start, the new six inch scale is making things fun again.

My first six inch Star Wars figure ended up being Darth Maul, who is so far the only prequel figure. As under utilized as he was in Phantom Menace, he is very visually striking, and makes for a great looking action figure. He comes packaged wearing his robe, which is a soft rubbery material rather than the soft goods of the smaller scale figures. It certainly has a better appearance than the smaller soft goods versions, although it is a bit more restrictive of movement. One of the accessories is his set of macrobinoculars, which he used on Tatooine while hunting down the missing Queen.

Darth Maul also includes an alternate head, for the non robed look. The cool thing is that the robe and its head are actually attached to each other, so that it will sit properly. It's easy to remove and swap heads, and the unrobed version is my preferred look as it's more action oriented. My only real complaint about the figure is with this head, and it's the paint on the horns. The red goes too high on the horns, but otherwise the paint looks good. If you have multiples to choose from, that is probably the problem area to look out for. Maul's other accessory is his double bladed lightsaber, which has a peg that plugs into his belt. The blades are removable, which is fortunate, as it would look pretty goofy hanging off his belt with the blades activated.

And the handle splits into two.

"At last we will have revenge."

"Not again!"
If Darth Maul is any indication, I'm looking forward to more of the six inch Black Series figures. At 20 dollars, they are a bit pricy, but they are well made that it doesn't feel like a total rip off. I will certainly be more choosy about character selection. Darth Maul is definitely worth picking up if you're into Star Wars figures. And maybe even if you're not.

#60: LEGO Minifigures series 11 - Constable

The constable is the last figure I got from LEGO Minifigures series 11. So far. It's possible I'll change my mind and pick up some others later. This isn't the most flashy minifigure, but my appreciation for Monty Python's Flying Circus makes him amusing. He's rocking a pretty great 'stache. Aside from his helmet, the constable's only accessory is his cudgel.

The constable is pretty easy to identify by his cudgel. As for the bump code, it is pictured above. There is a batch code of 218B3 stamped into the package as well, so different batch codes may have different bump codes.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

#59: LEGO Minifigures series 11 - Yeti

When I saw the lineup reveal for LEGO minigures series 11, the Yeti is the one that I most wanted. It hits that sweet spot of monster/cryptid/adorable for me, so finding it was priority number one for this series. This is another LEGO minifigure without the standard LEGO head. It's just the giant furry yeti head, which is all one piece. His only accessory is a popsicle. The entire thing is clear blue plastic, so perhaps it is completely made of ice, handle and all. This yeti also reminds me of the mascot for the daily tee-shirt site The Yetee. I guess white fur and a blue face isn't exactly the most out there interpretation for what a yeti would look like.

I found the  yeti by feeling for the popsicle, which is distinctive. The head would also be a good piece to feel for, it's pretty large, and not particularly similarly shaped to any other pieces in the series. As for the bump code, it is pictured above. There is a batch code of 218B3 stamped into the package as well, so different batch codes may have different bump codes.

#58: LEGO Minifigures series 11 - Gingerbread Man

 Next up from LEGO Minifigures series 11 is the Gingerbread Man. This guy feels pretty festive, along with the metallic green packaging. Too bad Christmas is four months away. He's a pretty basic minifigure, aside from the head, which is basically a disk. There is no regular LEGO minifigure head here. The head has a couple of layers to it, like an ice cream sandwich, or an Oreo cookie. The eyes and the layers are actually sculpted on, as well as being painted, so there's not a whole lot of reuse potential that I can think of here. Maybe a Gingerbread Woman is in the works for a future series. He looks like a plain tan, but upon closer inspection, there is a light pattern of spots painted on him, to give the appearance of irregularity rather than a flat surface. The Gingerbread Man's only accessory is a mug that has "Dunk me!" printed on its side. That seems kind of morbid for a man made of gingerbread.

The easiest piece to feel for is his head, as it's a thick disk shape. None of the other minifigures have a mug, so that works too. As for the bump code, it is pictured above. There is a batch code of 218B3 stamped into the package as well, so different batch codes may have different bump codes.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

#57: LEGO Minifigures series 11 - Island Warrior

Next up in my finds from LEGO Minifigures series 11 is the Island Warrior. This falls under the ethnic stereotype/warrior themes from the minifigures line. His main accessories are the spear and tiki mask. I dig the retro kitschy appeal of tiki masks, so without it I probably would have passed on this guy. Unfortunately, the mask is a soft plastic. I don't know if it is a common problem to every figure, but on mine, the loop that holds it on his neck is a little bent, so that the mask itself angles outwards. Because it's soft, that means it's probably not too difficult to train back into place, but annoying nonetheless.

Underneath the mask, the island warrior is sporting some tribal tattoos, and a bowl cut with a bone through it. 

Finding the island warrior by touch is pretty easy. The bone and the spear are both distinctive, as is the mask. Like I mentioned before, the mask is made from a softer plastic than I was expecting, so keep that in mind when you're feeling for pieces. As for the bump code, it is pictured above. There is a batch code of 218B3 stamped into the package as well, so different batch codes may have different bump codes.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

#56: LEGO Minifigures series 11 - Scarecrow

It seems like only yesterday that the previous series of LEGO minifigures was showing up in stores, and even more recently that the contents of series 11 was announced. Normally, they don't show up in my area until a few weeks after they start showing up elsewhere. So when I saw the display at Target the other day (again, not in the LEGO aisle), I was pretty surprised. This time around, the envelopes are a metallic green, which feels very festive in a Christmas-y way. I suppose that is appropriate as there are two Christmas-related minifigures in this series.

The scarecrow kind of fits in with the monsters/Halloween sub-theme that shows up in these minifigure releases, but he kind of doesn't. While scarecrows have potential for creepiness, this one has a big smile and looks very friendly. He's also clearly terrible at his job, as there is a crow perched atop his hat, completely not scared. The hat and the crow are separate pieces, so there is the option of displaying a slightly more effective scarecrow. I'm not sure if they've released a minifigure of the Batman villain the Scarecrow as part of that line, but if not, this could be a suitable, if perhaps too friendly, stand-in. 

The easiest way to identify the scarecrow by feel is by finding the pitchfork which is distinctive. As for the bump code, it is pictured above. There is a batch code of 218B3 stamped into the package as well, so different batch codes may have different bump codes.

#55: Transformers Masterpiece - Soundwave

Following up last year's new Masterpiece Optimus Prime, this year Hasbro is putting out two Toys R Us exclusive Masterpiece Transformers: Soundwave and Acid Storm. They initially were released at SDCC, and were briefly available on the Toys R Us website, and have recently been showing up in stores if you're lucky enough to catch them. I missed out on the initial website release (they were made available at 4am and sold through in about an hour), but by being obsessive enough to check the website every day, I was lucky enough to catch them in stock and order one.

I was thinking about buying the Japanese release, but I felt it was a little too pricy. I figured there would be an inevitable state-side release from Hasbro and figured I could wait it out. I'm glad I waited because the Hasbro version is cheaper and comes with more than one cassette.

Masterpiece Transformers are updates of (mostly) classic characters, given the deluxe treatment, and designed to make the robots look the way the original toys wished they could have. They're bigger, they're a lot more expensive, and they are basically meant to be the ultimate versions of the character. They did a good job of making a great looking robot mode for Soundwave. This is G1 Soundwave looking like he did in the cartoon. He even has a waist, whereas the original toy had a very rectangular body shape.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

#54: Batman Classic TV Series - The Riddler

Our next villain from the Batman Classic TV Series figures is the Riddler. Based on the Frank Gorshin (riddle me this: could there be a John Astin version in the works?) version of the character, it's kind of weird seeing Mattel's take on a more realistically proportioned figure. What I'm getting at is that he's really thin, and it takes some getting used to. The good news is that the ab crunch joint has returned! Riddler doesn't include any accessories, and his hands are both fists, so he can't borrow anyone else's.

The Riddler does include a base with a collector card that can be plugged into it. This one features a more generic "Kapow!" sound effect. Unfortunately, the collector card has its image horizontally oriented, so if it plugs into the base, the picture is sideways. Again, the back has a portion of an image of the Batcave printed on it. It doesn't match up with the Penguin's card, though.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

#53: Batman Classic TV Series - The Penguin

A hero is only as good as his villains, so naturally I was going to get some of the classic TV villains for Batman to square off against. The Penguin is the figure I was the most on the fence about, because he's the least exciting looking character. He's just a guy in a tux. Ultimately, I decided to get all of the villains because they were all in the movie, so I felt that the collection would seem incomplete without him. Surprisingly, Penguin includes an actual accessory: his umbrella. A Penguin figure without an umbrella would certainly be a bit of a letdown. Unfortunately, the handle is a bit warped from packaging, and is a bit thin to stay in his hands securely. Interestingly, he also includes a cigarette holder, which is non-removable. You normally don't see toys with tobacco related accessories, but this is touted as an adult collectible, and I don't think the line is actually being sold in stores, so I suppose they're not too worried about getting into trouble. It's a decent enough Burgess Meredith likeness, and has the standard Mattel Movie Masters articulation. The new, post ab-crunch articulation.

Also adding value to the figures is the inclusion of a display base and a collector card. The stand is a nice callback to the TV series, with a large sound effect emblazoned on it. In this case, a typical Penguin exclamation of "AWK!" The card is a painted picture of the Penguin during his mayoral campaign, and can be slotted into the stand. It's printed on a fairly thick card stock. On the back of the card is what looks like a portion of the Batcave. Perhaps putting all the cards together will form a larger picture.

If you're a completist, you'll definitely want the Penguin figure. But if you pass on it, there's nothing mind blowing about it that you ought to feel overly sorry for missing.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

#52: Transformers Generations - Metroplex

BIGGEST EVER. That's what it says on the box. Previously the record was held by Fortress Maximus, but now the biggest Transformer toy ever made is Metroplex. Standing tall at over two feet tall, this is a truly massive Autobot. Here's robot mode, a wasp waisted giant with massive pecs. He comes with a huge sticker sheet with about a hundred stickers on it. It took a long time to get them on, reminiscent of the Skystriker. Fortunately, most of them weren't super small. Most of them. He has lights and sounds, but batteries are not included, and I haven't installed any to check out those features. His only armament in robot form is a shoulder mounted cannon that fires a standard missile. It's got a decent range, as far as rocket launchers go these days.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

#51: Masters of the Universe Classics - Orko

My nostalgia for Masters of the Universe isn't strong enough that I was willing to pay full price for many of the MOTUC figures from Mattycollector. Only Fearless Photog, Battle Cat, and Panthor. Faker was from a Black Friday sale, and He-Man and Skeleltor were from the MOTUC vs DCUC two packs which provided much better value. Thanks to Big Lots, my MOTUC collection has recently grown with figure that I would otherwise never have bought. Looking forward, the only upcoming figure I'm interested in is Modulok, and depending on how its priced, I may or may not order one.

So anyway, Orko here is my latest Big Lots acquisition. He's appropriately pretty small, but he comes with a staff, a book, and a flight stand. The arms and head are articulated, but he can't really hold the book very well. Sometimes an accessory outshines the figure it comes with, and this is one of those cases, because included with Orko is a Prince Adam figure.

Mattel has made many controversial decisions with the MOTUC line, but the idea of packaging Prince Adam as an accessory for Orko is so goofy that I can't help but love it. The accessory gets more accessories than the main figure in this case. Adam includes a regular sword, the half sword, and an extra head. Why an extra head? No idea.

Word from Mattel is that from now on, MOTUC toys won't be showing up at Big Lots. That may even be true. But for now, I'm glad that I've been able to buy some of these figures at such great prices.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

#50: K'Nex Super Mario Series 2 - Dry Bones

In my original attempt to buy the Dry Bones, I inadvertently ended up with another Mario (I'm not planning to keep it, as it's a duplicate, and thus gets no entry on the blog). If I remember correctly, the Dry Bones was first introduced in Super Mario World, the first 16 bit Mario game. As members of the undead, you couldn't kill them. You could jump on them and make their bodies fall apart, but they'd pull together and come back for more after a bit of downtime. Does the Mushroom Kingdom have some sort of zombie problem? I can't really think of any other undead characters Mario has had to face. There were also those Koopa wizards in the game, did they create the zombified Koopa Troopas? What is really going on in the Mushroom Kingdom?

Anyway, the packaging has an easy way to identify which figure is which. There is a number printed on the back, with one digit underline. Dry Bones has the fourth digit underlined. For example: 0513119.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

#49: Batman Classic TV Series - Batman & Robin

The classic 60s Batman TV series seems to be undergoing a bit of a revival lately. With a new comic series based on the show, as well as a new toy line, can a long awaited home media release of the series be far behind? I certainly hope so, but for now, we're here to talk toys. At long last, we finally have Adam West and Burt Ward as Batman and Robin. This set is the only way to get Robin, so it was a no brainer to get it rather than missing out on half of the dynamic duo. They are basically DCUC figures, but with more realistic proportions. So no big surprises here. Unfortunately, Mattel cannot resist "exciting" posing in packages, leading poor Robin to deal with a case of seriously bent legs. And for some reason, there are ridiculously large paper tags affixed to the capes. What gives? Hasbro releases figures with soft goods all the time, and they never have big stupid tags attached. Oh well, a snip of the scissors will take care of that. For accessories, Batman has a batarang. And of course, there is the display base...

This is probably one of the best, if not the best, display bases that has been created for an action figure. One of the trademarks of the Batman series was the scenes of Batman and Robin climbing up the side of a building, which was accomplished by the actors walking along a floor designed to look like a building and turning the camera on its side. That's exactly what this base represents. What's really cool is that not only can you lay it out flat on the shelf as if it were the actors shooting a scene, but you can also mount it on the wall as if Batman and Robin were actually climbing the side of a building. There is fortunately a rope included, which can be tied to the base. Frequently guest stars would appear on the show by popping out of the window to express shock or have some sort of conversation with Batman and Robin as they were climbing. That can be replicated with the base, which has windows that can be opened. They are perhaps a bit narrow, but it is a cool feature. Both of the figures have bendable wires in their capes so that they can be posed as if they were falling down due to gravity.

I'm hoping the rest of the figures from the line have more neutral positions in the packaging to avoid being bent out of shape before they are even opened. Since they are getting all the major villains out of the way with this first series, I wonder if there will be any more figures in the future. I'll be bummed if they don't make a Batgirl figure, that's for sure.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

#48: Man of Steel - Movie Masters Faora

Since posting about the Man of Steel Superman figure, I've had a chance to watch the movie itself. It had its good points, but there were some questionable choices in the way it was handled. Fortunately for the presence of the DC universe on the big screen, it did well enough that there will be a sequel expanding on the universe. Marvel is way ahead of them with a cohesive cinematic universe, but I am looking forward to seeing what happens. In any case, one of the parts of the movie I liked was Faora. Remember in Superman II, when Zod had Ursa and Non henching for him? Again, he has a badass lady and large mute Kryptonian henching for him, but this time around they are different characters. Nam-Ek's only figure comes in a multipack in a smaller scale, but Faora gets the Movie Masters treatment. Being hip to Mattel's tricks, I assumed that I would never find a Faora in stores, so I kept an eye on her price online. Eventually, I was able to order her for retail price.

Faora is a pretty standard Movie Masters figure, including what I suppose is the new standard of lacking an ab crunch. Her head looks a little too big, but otherwise, it's a cool figure. The giant armor shoulder pads are a softer plastic, so they don't get in the way of her arm movement too much.

Faora's only accessory is the stand depicting the symbol for her family. It kind of looks like an F. If you squint really hard. Okay, it looks more like a 35 to me. Kryptonian fashion is kind of weird. Imagine if we all went around with our family names on the chest of our undershirts. There is a knife attached to her leg, but it's not removable. It's also made of really soft plastic, so even if she had an open hand to hold it with, it probably wouldn't be very good.

"We can't fight here, there's not enough potential property damage!"

Sunday, August 11, 2013

#47: Masters of the Universe Classics - Man-E-Faces

Big Lots strikes again! At a different Big Lots from the one where I found Megator, I found Man-E-Faces. For 10 bucks, I was more than happy to pick up the figure, which is one that I had as a child. I always liked the gimmick of spinning the knob on top of the helmet to reveal three different faces. While Mattel has generally shied away from reproducing the gimmicks for the Classics line, they fortunately stuck with it for Man-E-Faces. Without it, he'd just be a guy in a weird helmet! Not only did they update the gimmick, they went one better and gave him even more faces to switch between. If I remember correctly, the second head of faces was a secret accessory that wasn't revealed until the figure showed up in the mail. To facilitate three extra faces, the helmet and rotating knob are removable, and then you swap heads. The three new faces are Orko, Skeletor, and He-Man.

The many faces of... Man-E-Faces.

"It's like looking into a mirror!"

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