Friday, July 31, 2009

#85: Star Wars SDCC exclusive Stormtrooper Commander

This is the first time I've bought a Comic-Con exclusive. I wasn't fortunate enough to be there, but luckily Hasbro is smart enough to offer its exclusives for sale online afterward. This is actually the second release of this figure. The first time around, it was available for those that pre-ordered The Force Unleashed from Gamestop. Theoretically, anyway. The details of the offer weren't released until very close to the time it was available, and many stores apparently didn't even know about it, so a lot of people didn't get this figure. I'm glad Hasbro brought it back for SDCC, so even though I had to overpay for it, I didn't have to overpay as much as I would have on Ebay.

The Stormtrooper commander is one of various types of Stormtroopers that are there for you to toss around with the Force in The Force Unleashed. They are a bit tougher than regular Stormies, and they have a cool deco. Like all other Stormtroopers that share this mold, it is a good figure. I like that the markings have a weathered appearance, unlike a lot of other clone troopers with colored markings on the armor. Even though there wasn't much in the way of variants on Stormtrooper armor in the movies, I'm a sucker for a toy of one, especially if it has at least some basis in the fiction.

#84: Star Wars Legacy Collection Corran Horn and Whistler

Last year, to usher in the build a droid concept, Wal-Mart had an exclusive wave of two packs. If you collected them all, you could assemble C-3PX. They were pretty easy to find and a lot of them ended up on clearance in my area. This year, the Wal-Mart exclusive two packs are back, but there are some differences. The most immediately obvious difference is the price. Last year these sets cost 10 dollars, which was a really good bargain. Now they cost 17 dollars, which is pretty terrible since that is more than double the cost of a single figure. I didn't get the whole set last year, and I am definitely not going to get the whole set this year. If you do get the whole set, you can assemble a phase III Darktrooper, which looks pretty cool. But if you want to do so, act fast because according to Hasbro they are putting out fewer of these sets than last year. They may not end up on clearance this time around.

So, on to the toys themselves. Corran Horn is one of the protagonists in the Michael A Stackpole's X-Wing novels, which are good reads. As a Corellian X-Wing pilot turned Jedi, he is somewhat of a Mary Sue character. Since I'm a fan of the X-Wing novels, I was looking forward to getting this set as soon as I heard about it. Corran is often depicted sporting a goatee, but often without, but I kind of figured they would make his figure with it. Oh well, no big deal. Interestingly the toy version of his lightsaber has the same hilt as Darth Vader, albeit with a blue blade. Whistler is Corran's trusty astromech droid. For some reason, the packaging refers to him as R2 Whistler. Perhaps some other toy company has the rights to the name Whistler, so this is similar to releases like Autobot Jazz or whatever. Whistler is based on the astromech body that raises a panel on its head when the dome is rotated. Despite being overpriced, I'm glad to have these characters as figures, and with Tycho Celchu, that brings the number of X-Wing novel characters in action figure form to three.

Oh, the set comes with the torso of the Darktrooper.

#83: G.I. Joe The Rise of Cobra Agent Helix

I picked up this figure mostly because I think it looks cool. As far as I can tell, Helix does not appear in the movie, but features prominently in the video game based on the movie, as well as comics that take place in the movie universe. She has an interesting outfit which sets her apart from all the other Joes that are wearing either camo or black armor. With her two toned hair and corset, she looks like she stepped out of the club and onto the battlefield. She is well armed with two handguns, some sort of blunt ended knife, a rifle, and a net launcher (that round thing is supposed to be anet, it attaches to the missile in the giant launcher). She doesn't have any holsters, so she can't carry all of her gear at once. A problem that seems to be plaguing the movie line is that the women don't have the most attractive faces. I think that the problem is that they are based on real faces, since Helix actually has a pretty nice looking facial sculpt. Barring any unforeseen awesomeness, I think this will be my favorite figure from the movie line. Something odd that I noticed was that all the Helix figures in the store had damage along the left edge of the cards they came on. It was all minor, just small rips. I wonder if someone was trying to mess with scalpers by making sure they wouldn't be able to get mint packaging for this figure.

#82: G.I. Joe The Rise of Cobra Scarlett (Desert Ambush)

I am not wildly enthused about buying movie versions of figures I already have, and the first version of Scarlett was easily skippable for me. When I saw pictures of this one, I decided to get it, and it is a pretty cool figure. Ditching her iconic outfit for something that would look less ridiculous for live action, Scarlett is now sporting some reactive impact armor, and it looks pretty cool. She is well armed with her typical crossbow, two pistols, and some crazy zip line launcher. She has a holster, so aside from the huge launcher, she can carry all her weapons at once. Aside from being ridiculously oversized, the zip line is pretty cool. There's a harness she can slip into, so you can hang her off of things or have her zipping across chasms. She also comes with a stand that is shaped like a dog tag. It even has a hole through it, so one could wear it on a necklace if one were so inclined. I don't know if there will be any further variations of Scarlett, but of the two currently available, I would definitely recommend this one over the other.

#81: Star Wars Clone Wars Clone Trooper Echo

Echo here is somewhat of a rarity in that he is the only named clone trooper figure I can think of that isn't a captain or a commander or something along those lines. He's actually pretty inexperienced, and in fact makes his appearance in the episode "Rookies" of the Clone Wars cartoon. As an aside, if you didn't watch the first season, you're missing out. It's a well done show, and a nice dose of weekly Star Wars action (some people have said it's more Star Wars than the prequels). I'm definitely looking forward to the next season. The events of the episode explain the hand print on his armor. Echo also comes with the same huge gun, and I'm beginning to wonder if every animated clone trooper will be coming with it. Aside from the hand print, what really distinguishes Echo is that his removable helmet has a flip up visor. That's a feature I dig, so it is nice to see it. Echo here stands out a bit more than the average clone trooper figure, and I like him that much more for it.

#80: Star Wars Clone Wars Clone Trooper (41st Elite Corps)

This is another basic clone trooper figure, this time with green markings. He's part of the 41st, so he serves under Commander Gree and Yoda (although their general was Luminara Unduli by the time of Revenge of the Sith). Like the ARF trooper figure, he has the same giant gun and standard blaster. Other than that, the only thing setting this figure apart from the basic clone trooper are the green markings on his armor. It's another nice addition to the ranks of my army.

#79: Star Wars Clone Wars ARF Trooper

It's been a while since I bought any Clone Wars figures. I thought this wave was going to be available in April, but I haven't seen this figure until now. ARF troopers are basically recon troops. It's the basic clone body, with extra hip articulation, so I suppose he could go on a speeder bike or some other vehicle that requires the extra leg movement to set in. The main thing that sets him apart is the helmet, which kind of looks like a scout trooper, and has a weird pointy shape in the back. He comes with a huge gun that launches its missile surprisingly far, and the standard blaster all clone troopers come with. If you like building a clone army, this is a nice addition to your ranks. If you're only going to get one clone, you might want to get one with a standard helmet. Either way, it's a cool figure, like all the others with this basic body.

#78: Terminator Salvation T-600

This figure is huge. He's taller than even the recent General Grievous figure that is appropriately tall. He may seem out of scale, but that's not because of Playmates, it's because of the filmmakers. For whatever reason, the T-600 onscreen is too tall to pass for a normal human (which is what they were supposed to do, although the rubbery skin was mentioned in the first Terminator as betraying their identity, not their height) and the toy reflects that. I didn't really intend to pick up one of these because I think the sculpt looks a little soft. But Target had it on clearance for less than two dollars, so I took it. What it does have going for it is that it's a huge killer robot with a giant gun. It was definitely worth what I paid for it, and if you're at all interested, you may be able to find one on clearance as well.

#77: Indiana Jones Crystal Skeleton

Finally! Almost eight months after I sent for it, my crystal skeleton has arrived. The oddly large box it came in (which is printed to look like a crate, a nice touch) was a little squashed, but fortunately the skeleton and throne were just fine. This thing is pretty cool. The throne it comes with has some really nice detail on it, and has a good heft to it. The skeleton itself is surprisingly well articulated for such a thin limbed figure. It's also quite tall. Sitting down, it's as tall as some of my other 3.75 inch figures. Now that all the waiting is over, I'm glad to have this on my shelves. If they had sold it in stores, they probably would have packaged it as a deluxe figure and charged 10 dollars for it, so the 7 or however many dollars I paid for it was well worth it. Now that Crystal Skeleton Watch is over, we can all breathe a little easier once more.

Going out with a bang

I have a lot of posting to do today. See, I have this self imposed rule that I have to post about my new toys within the same month that I got them. Mostly this is so that I can keep track of when I got what. I had a rather fruitful toy run today, as well as receiving some mail, and suddenly I have more toys to post about today than I have had all month so far. Normally I like to spread these out over a few days. I apologize in advance for the oncoming onslaught of posts.

While I was out, I saw the $99 movie Devastator. It was smaller in person than I expected. It doesn't really seem worth the price tag. Speaking of expensive toys, the clone Turbo Tank is out in stores already. I was under the impression that it was going to be out closer to the holiday season, but it's available already.

My local Wal-Mart doesn't have any of the Rise of Cobra toys yet. Way to be on the ball, guys! Wave 4 of DCUC seems to be showing up in my immediate area now. I already got the one figure from that wave I wanted, so now I'm waiting on Hawkgirl and the Parademon. Maybe in a few months I'll see them.

I'd better get started on that posting.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

#76: Ghostbusters Minimates slimed Peter Venkman and clear Slimer

I'm not exactly sure how it happened, but Slimer became more popular than the Ghostbusters themselves through his appearances in the cartoon. I actually thought he was kind of annoying. I prefer the movie version, which has limited screen time, but makes good use of it.

Anyway, this set represents one of the iconic moments from the movie, so Venkman is splattered with slime. This interaction between him and Slimer became a running gag in the cartoon. He also has a look of shock/horror/disgust on his face. Unless I get a reguler Venknam figure, he'll perpetually be the screaming guy on the team. I think I may do that, because one can never have too many little plastic Bill Murrays. Like Egon, he has the proton pack and a detachable proton stream. Instead of a PKE meter, he comes with some little black thing. I think it might be a walkie-talkie.

I like the Slimer. The packaging specifies that it is clear Slimer, and since this is an exclusive set, I'm guessing that means there will be a more opaque Slimer being released later on. I prefer the clear version, as I think it makes it look more ghostly. If I remember correctly, he was somewhat transparent in the movie as well. The packaging and the promotional pictures show him with food inside his stomach, but the actual toy doesn't have that. I'm actually glad that didn't make it to the final product, I think it looks better this way.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

#75: Ghostbusters Minimates Dr Egon Spengler and Library Ghost

One of the first movies that I can remember seeing in a theater is Ghostbusters. In fact, I clearly recall seeing it more than once. I loved it, and my family even had the VHS copy. My brother and I had a bunch of figures from the cartoon line. Coinciding with the 25th anniversary of the first movie there is a new video game, and a couple different lines of movie based toys. Since I refuse to pay Mattycollector's exorbitant prices, I am getting the Minimates line.

The first set I picked up is Egon and the librarian ghost from the first movie. The librarian is a nice translucent plastic, lending her a more spectral appearance, and she comes with a book that can be kind of hard to keep balanced in her hand. Egon is the star of this set, and he deserves to be. He has cool accessories like the proton pack, a PKE meter, and even a detachable proton stream. Neat!

Monday, July 27, 2009

#74: Marvel Universe The Thing

I've never had any figures of Fantastic Four members before. I do have a Doctor Doom in another scale, but that's it. Now that I've got Ben Grimm here, I think I may have to pick up the rest of them as they are released. Of course, the Human Torch variant I actually want I can't find. All I ever see are the non-flamed on versions. What a revolting development this is!

There is a lot made of the relative merits of articulation versus sculpt, and I generally tend to lean in favor of articulation. In this case, however, I think the articulation could have been toned down for the sake of the sculpt on the knees. The knees are very mobile, and because the Thing has very thick legs part of the thigh has been cut out to afford that flexibility. I would have been happier with less mobility for the knees if they looked better. The left knee is the worse one on this figure.

Aside from the knees, I like this figure. It's got a nice rocky texture and has a pleasing amount of heft. They sculpted him with a heavily protruding brow, which is my favorite look for him. I'm not sure exactly what his left hand is supposed to be doing, but his right hand is a fist, perfectly suited for clobbering.

Okay, one other problem. There's no Fantastic Four logo on his pants. Actually, I would have preferred him in shorts. I'm sure they'll release a version like that eventually.

Another cool thing is that due to the angle at which his neck attaches to his torso, his head can be rotated completely upside down. Not very exciting, but I find it amusing. I have a sudden craving for Cap'n Crunch, if you'll excuse me...

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Vader Invasion!

Leon over at Open The Toy is hosting an event, Vader Invasion. He wants to see how many Vaders other collectors have in their collections, so here is a peak into mine. I should note that he specified only the classic, black suited Vader. I have a couple other figures that are technically Darth Vader, but before he donned his iconic suit. Also, I have even more Vaders back at my parents' house which aren't included, since they're not here.

Let the Vader Invasion begin!


I'm starting out with this toy lightsaber because I have had it the longest of all the items I'll be showing here, and I'm going in roughly chronological order. I think I got this some time in the late '90s. It's your basic toy lightsaber that extends, can light up, and makes sounds. It runs on C batteries, and I don't have any sitting around, so I wasn't able to check if it even still works. This toy is made for lightsaber duels, and the blade has a bunch of marks on it from duels past. As long as they make Star Wars toys, I'm sure they'll be making lightsabers.


I bought Lego keychain Vader with a Lego keychain pilot Luke (which I gave to my brother) from Ebay on a whim of some sort. I never used it as a keychain, for fear of it falling apart or breaking. I don't have very many Star Wars Lego sets, and this is the first one I got. Because it's just a keychain, it didn't come with a lightsaber.


This is the basic black suited Darth Vader figure from the Revenge of the Sith line. I really got back into collecting toys because of this line, so of course I wanted a modern, updated Darth Vader action figure. Unfortunately it is somewhat flawed. Due to an action feature (squeeze his legs and he swings his lightsaber) he is fairly limited in how he can be posed. Also, he can't stand up without assistance. It's not my favorite Vader figure, but it does have some sentimental value, so I'll be keeping it around.


This is one of the various deluxe versions of Darth Vader from the Revenge of the Sith line. Meant to represent Vader's resurrection as the black clad warrior we all know and love, this Vader comes with an operation table. Also, his helmet, right glove, left arm, and lower legs are all removable, so you can reassemble the Sith lord yourself. Although it is not a very well articulated figure, this is one case where I think the play value of the removable limbs make up for it. By the time this figure was released, Vaders had routinely been made with soft goods capes, but this one has a plastic removable cape that can't be worn when he's on the operating table.


The next Vader in my collection is from the 30th anniversary collection, and is meant to be Vader right after he strikes down Obi-Wan Kenobi. You can tell it is from that specific moment because of the included display base, which is Obi-Wan's robes and lightsaber in a pile. That is probably my favorite display base to be included in any of my Star Wars figures. I like this figure best as a general Vader figure since he is well articulated, and has a removable helmet. It's not as cool as the more recent one with a three part helmet, but it is good enough for me.


Taking a turn for the cute, here is the Mighty Muggs version of Darth Vader. This is a fun sub-line of figures that eventually spread to various other properties that Hasbro has the license for. They are all based on the same body and mainly differentiated through paint, and occasionally through accessories. Vader here gets a whopping three accessories: lightsaber, helmet, and cape. I didn't buy too many figures from this line, but I do really like this version of Vader.


Ralph McQuarrie played a large part in creating the look of classic Trilogy through his concept art. Hasbro released a few figures during the thirtieth anniversary collection based directly on his artworks. Vader is one of the few that I was lucky enough to find, and one of the two I actually bought. It's very recognizably Vader, but with enough differences to stand out. One of the differences that I really like is the Batman cape with serrated edges. As far as I know, this is the only Vader figure that has come with a blaster. He also has swappable heads. It's a really cool figure, and definitely worth picking up if you find one.


A tiny Vader! This one is even smaller than the Lego keychain version. There's not really too much to say about this little guy. He came with the next Vader:


Transformers Darth Vader! This version of Vader turns into the Death Star. It's definitely the largest Vader in my collection, and very cool. It lights up, makes sounds, and has a firing rocket. It also comes with some tiny Stormtroopers and TIE fighters. As far as Transformers go, it doesn't have the best robot mode, but it looks spot on as the Death Star.


Even when he died, Vader looked in better shape than this. Here is Vader from The Force Unleashed, a video game that came out a year or so ago. When you fight him at the end of the game, this is how he comes out of it. I think this is a very cool looking toy, since we've never really seen Vader in such bad shape. He has pieces of armor that can be attached to cover up the battle damage, but it looks better without them. Despite some oddities of the sculpt such as the eye of his mask not matching up with his actual eye, and the robotic foot being larger than the boot on the other foot, this is a really cool Vader figure. It definitely sticks out from all your other Vaders.


And now, the group shot! Unfortunately I forgot to bring out the battle damaged Vader, so he is missing here. So that wraps up my entry in the Vader Invasion. I had a few more Vaders than I realized when first thinking about them, so it was fun to take a look back at all of them.

Friday, July 24, 2009


Hey, Comic-Con. Wish I could be there! As usual, there are a lot of Star Wars toys I am looking forward to. A new Marvel Legends Deadpool, yay! I'm glad I passed on that Marvel Universe Hulk because the one coming in the Secret Wars pack has a head sculpt I approve of. And comes with Cyclops.

Mattel is sure saving me a lot of money by making Movie Masters and Ghostbusters figures exclusives. It's too bad, I wanted a movie Two-Face, but not enough to pay what they'll likely be charging for one. Same with Ghostbusters; I'd love to have them, but not at Matty's prices. And who knows if I'll find the DCUC figures I'd like. The DCIH figures don't seem to have improved, so until they put out Bizarro with his "Bizarro #1" bling, I've got all that I want out of that line (pending clearance prices).

It doesn't seem like there's much going on with Transformers, so that will save me some more money. Same with G.I. Joe. At least, there isn't much I'm interested in.

Speaking of G.I. Joe, I went to Toys R Us to spend my gift card, thinking I would pick up some Joes since they were on sale 2 for 10 dollars. I ended up passing on them entirely. I think I will only be getting the Snake Eyes with the long coat and the second version of Scarlett, neither of which are out yet to my knowledge. Maybe the mole pod. I did get some other things, and I'll be posting about them soon.

Since I can't be at Comic-Con, I was hoping to pick up the Stormtrooper Commander and the Destro family two pack from Hasbro's webshop. The Stormie has been up for days and has sold out, but the rest of the exclusives haven't been added yet. I was going to order them together so I'd only have to pay shipping on one, but I guess I'm out of luck with the Stormtrooper. Vexing!

Friday, July 17, 2009

July is halfway over

It's been a very slow month for me in terms of new toys. In the next week or so, I am going to visit Toys R Us to spend a gift card I got for my birthday along with the Ghostbusters video game. Maybe I'll pick up some G.I. Joe movie figures. Maybe I'll get some Ghostbusters Minimates.

I am actually fairly interested in the Ghostbusters Minimates, because it seems like the best bet for Ghostbusters action figures in the near future. Sure, Mattel has a Ghostbusters line coming out, but since they'll be a exclusive, I'm betting they'll be as overpriced as the Masters of the Universe Classics line, so there's no way I'll be buying them.

You know what the worst part about Summer is? Thanks to the heat, figures start falling over. As I was typing this entry, my rancor took a topple and knocked down a few other figures on the way down.

#73: Superman/Batman: Vengeance Bizarro

As I've mentioned before, Bizarro is one of my favorite DC characters. For whatever reason, I decided that I should pick up this version of him, which is based on the artwork of Ed McGuinness. Thanks to the magic of Ebay, I was able to find it for less (even after shipping!) than I would have paid at a comic shop. This is also my first DC Direct figure. They basically make figures that are more collectibles than toys, so there is some sacrifice in articulation, but they look nice. And this Bizarro does look nice. It captures McGuinness's artwork pretty well, including the weird short cape. I love the insane grin on his face. As all Bizarro figures should, this one includes the "Bizarro #1" bling. Unfortunately, the string seems a little short for Bizarro's massive neck, so it doesn't sit against his chest as well as I would like. That's really my only complaint about this figure, because otherwise it is pretty great, and a very cool addition to the ranks of my Bizarro corps.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Crystal Skeleton: the plot thickens!

I ended up e-mailing Hasbro to see what is up with my crystal skeleton still being MIA. Apparently, they haven't even received the figures themselves. I am glad to know that my figure wasn't lost in the mail or waylaid by a Soviet special forces unit. Unfortunately, they did not mention when they expect to receive the figures, so the wait continues.

Of the two mail away orders I've participated in during recent times, both have been Hasbro, and both have involved longer wait times than anticipated. In spite of this, I'm ready to take part in another! The latest offer is for Qui-Gon Jinn riding an eopie. I saved the UPCs from my last batch of figures, so I just have to print out an order form, write a check, send it out, then wait for a few months. It looks like the same Qui-Gon figure I have from the Jedi Evolutions set, but I don't have an eopie, and for less than the normal retail price of a figure, I'm interested enough to spring for it. If they included a poncho for Qui-Gon, that would be a cool bonus.

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The weekend after next is Comic-Con! I am not going, but I am looking forward to hearing all the cool news that is coming up. There aren't many exclusives I'm interested in. Fortunately both of the exclusives I want are from Hasbro, and they will be offering them on their website.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Crystal Skeleton: whereabouts unknown

Crystal Skeleton Watch continues! I'm beginning to wonder if I should contact Hasbro about this. I wonder if that would even do any good.

I think it's going to be a little slow for toys in the near future. I've got all but one of the movie Transformers that I want, and I don't think new Star Wars figures will be out for a month or so. I probably won't be getting much, if anything, from the GI Joe movie line. There are a couple DCUC figures I'd like to pick up, but who knows if I'll ever see them. Mostly at this point I'm just waiting for the big second half of the year push from Hasbro with Star Wars product.
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