Friday, December 31, 2010

#150: Transformers Robots In Disguise Side Burn

Here it is, the final toy of the year, another gift from AJ, a character I've never heard of: Side Burn. The Robots In Disguise line was the line that returned Transformers to vehicle modes after Beast Wars, and Side Burn is a Dodge Viper. Not something that looks like a Dodge Viper, a Dodge Viper, it says so right on the packaging. So, a licensed altmode, neat. Kind of like Alternators, but smaller. Also like Alternators, changing Side Burn to robot mode from his altmode was quite a feat. I got about halfway through and abandoned the instructions as useless and looked at the picture on the card to guide me the rest of the way.

I wasn't expecting to have exactly as many entries this year as I did the previous year. I was actually expecting to have fewer, but I just ended up getting more toys during the last couple months than I thought I would, and here we are. It's kind of mind blowing that I'm getting toys at a rate of about one every 2 and a half days or so. Well, I'll see you all next year. Happy new year!

#149: Transformers Reveal the Shield Special Ops Jazz

I grew up with the original Transformers cartoon and toys, so I am pretty much always going to be a fan of G1 inspired toys in the modern lines. When they repainted movie Jazz in his original color scheme, I almost bought one, but the movie aesthetic was still just too much for me, and I skipped over the Animated version as well. But now Hasbro's finally put out what I consider to be a proper update of the original Jazz. The Reveal the Shield sub-line brings back one of my favorite G1 gimmicks: the rubsign, which we haven't seen since the Classics line a few years ago. It's on the roof hood of the car, which ends up on the robot's back. This version of Jazz has an altmode that's more of a modern street racer than the original Porsche. He also has these speakers that can fold out in either robot or altmode, as well as being attached to his rifle. Neat.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

#148: DC Universe Classics Zatanna

The third Wal-Mart exclusive wave has shown up, and once again there is only one figure that I want to get from it. Perhaps the most distinctive thing about this figure is that it's Mattel's second attempt at actual fishnets. I think they worked a little better on the Black Canary figure, and that is probably because Zatanna's entire legs are otherwise uncovered whereas Black Canary has boots on. Mostly it's on the lower legs and ankles where the fishnets here get all bunched up. For accessories, she gets a magic wand and a hat. Until Harry Potter, this is what I used to think of when I thought of a magic wand. The hat can sit on the head, but it doesn't stay very well, and so far I've had better luck leaving it in the hand.

#147: Star Wars comic pack Baron Soontir Fel and Ysanne Isard

Hasbro recently discontinued the comic pack line for Star Wars, which is too bad because it was a cool way to get characters made that are probably too obscure to be sold by themselves. There were a few left unproduced which have made their way to collectors as convention exclusives, and one last wave that was an Entertainment Earth exclusive. This set is one of the Entertainment Earth exclusives, and probably the last Star Wars comic pack I'll ever get unless they restart the sub-line.

Baron Soontir Fel is apparently an Imperial that joined the Rebellion. He was in a couple of novels that I've read, but I don't really know much about him. According to the included comic, he was apparently one of Han Solo's flight instructors at the Academy. His figure represents him in a standard Imperial officer uniform, but he also includes an X-Wing pilot helmet with the rebel insignia on it. Another Imperial officer is nice to have, and he looks suitably evil with his scowl and goatee. Oh, I could definitely pretend this is a Star Wars sized figure of the Master. This is actually the second action figure to be made of Soontir Fel. The first was also in a comic pack, but in an Imperial pilot uniform.

Ysanne Isard is the main reason I wanted to get this set. Michael Stackpole's X-Wing novels are some of my favorites, and she was the main antagonist for the series. Plus, she's a female Imperial, and figures of them are few and far between. The director of Imperial intelligence had a base that was a Super Star Destroyer buried in the surface of Coruscant. That's a totally ridiculous idea, but at the same time I think it's very cool. With her red uniform and differently colored eyes, she looks pretty much how I pictured her from reading the novels. Although unfortunately this particular figure has the eyes kind of askew.

#146: Iron Man 2 Armored Assault

This set has been sitting on Target shelves for a while, but now that Christmas is over it has finally gone on clearance. Originally selling for 20 bucks, I got it for half price which I consider a good deal. Since I only wanted two of the figures, the original price wasn't worth it for me. I figured it would be safe to wait for clearance because these didn't seem to be moving at all.

I already have the Mark V Iron Man, so Whiplash and the sea drone are what I wanted from this set. Whiplash has been released as a single carded figure, but I have yet to see one in person. The paint on the face is kind of iffy, and of all the sets on the shelf, I picked the one that looked the best. Actually, I think the whole head looks kind of small. Head aside, it's a pretty cool figure, and the whips are removable. It's nice to finally have a figure of the main antagonist from the movie, 7 months after it came to theaters.

In the interest of having other antagonists from the movie, I've been looking forward to the drone figures as well. I haven't seen the two (that I know of) singly carded drone figures yet, so for now there is the sea drone. It's a big military robot, and that's cool. There's nothing about it that looks particularly naval to me, unless it could be said to be a battleship gray. The big missile launches on the shoulders fell off right as I removed the figure from the packaging, but with some fiddling I was able to get them attached in a way that is at least somewhat firm.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

#145: Doctor Who Cyberman with Cybergun

So far all the Cybermen figures I have are from the modern Cybus Industries style or from the 60s. Those are cool and all, but I've been wanting an 80s style Cyberman. This version, from the serial Earthshock, came out a while ago, and I've finally bought one. It's a very cool looking figure, but I need to complain about the stuck joints.

The right bicep swivel and the right wrist swivel are stuck. When I try to turn them, there's a little give which tells me that if I put too much force into it, the joint will shear off. It happened earlier today with a different figure from the same company. That was after leaving it in the freezer for a while, so I'm not even going to try it with the Cyberman. It was even the same joint that broke, the right bicep swivel! I wish Character Options would make figures without stuck joints, especially since they're already more expensive and harder to come by due to the toys being imports. For the most part, it's not like I spend time posing most of my figures beyond the initial unpackaging, so I'm trying to not let it bother me too much. I'm trying to get a replacement, but the store I ordered it from referred me to the company that imports the toys, so I am waiting to hear back from them.

Anyway, as it says up there in the title, the Cyberman comes with a Cybergun. I'm not entirely clear on how it's supposed to be held, but it has a strap, so I currently have it hanging off the Cyberman's shoulder. The picture on the back of the package shows it being held in a way that I can't pose the figure to do because of the stuck bicep swivel. Annoying! In the end, it seems that my affection for Doctor Who in general is enough to make me overlook these issues with the toys.

#144: Bioshock 2 Subject Omega and Little Sister with "Bunny" Splicer mask

Just in time for Christmas, NECA released this Toys R Us exclusive set based on some of the downloadable content for Bioshock 2. I haven't downloaded it yet, so I'm not entirely clear on who Subject Omega is. As far as I can tell, it's a repaint of the Subject Delta figure, which I don't have. I don't even know what that weapon is that he has. It might be the grenade launcher, my style of play favored using plasmids and the drill so I'm not sure. Either way, this is a very impressive looking figure. The art design on all the Big Daddy characters is very cool, I dig the ominous dudes in old timey diving suits theme. NECA did a good job of adapting it into action figure form. The sculpt is very detailed and the paint is really well done. It has articulation, but it's not really useful for any dynamic poses. The limbs are pretty thick and don't bend too much, but it's enough to at least move the arms around and fine tune the stance for keeping it upright.

There is yet another Little Sister figure in the set, but this time she has a different dress. I'm assuming that accurately reflects her appearance in the downloadable level because all the Little Sisters in the game otherwise look exactly the same. Her lower left arm managed to pop off as I was positioning it, but fortunately I was able to reattach it.

The big selling point of this set for me was the full sized wearable bunny mask. It's basically a life-sized version of the one included with the splicer figure. I was expecting it to be pretty light weight, but there is a nice heft to it. It may perhaps be a little too heavy for comfort. There is an elastic band to hold it on your head. Because the mask isn't symmetrical, the band is at an angle. Unfortunately, that means that the mask won't always stay straight, but it still looks cool. Perhaps an askew mask is appropriate when dressing as a splicer.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

#143: Star Wars Mon Calamari Officer

Next up in my gifts for this Christmas is the Mon Calamari Officer from A.J. This is from the simpler time when Star Wars figures weren't expected to be articulated up the wazoo. This is my third Mon Cal figure, so it's nice to have someone for Admiral Ackbar to boss around. And to warn about traps. Unlike some of the modern figures, the gun fits securely in the hand, which is a nice bonus. Also, that hat thing is removable.

Monday, December 27, 2010

#142: G.I. Joe Pursuit of Cobra Alley Viper

Another gift from James is the Alley Viper, which I've been looking for a while now. I originally saw it at a Target once a few months ago, but I was buying the AT-AT at the same time, so I didn't really feel up to spending even more money then. Unfortunately, I never saw it on the pegs again. I already have the Defense of Cobra Island Alley Viper from last year, which is the classic insane bright orange and blue color scheme, but I like them enough that I wanted to pick up this more sensibly colored version as well. This version is pretty heavily armed as well. There's a grappling gun (which plugs into the backpack), a sub-machine gun, and a tonfa which can be stored on the backside of the shield. In addition to the standard Alley Viper helmet (how do they see out of it when the visor is down?) there is another helmet with goggles and a gas mask.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

#141: G.I. Joe Cobra Flight Pod with Elite-Viper

A while back, they released the Cobra Flight Pod, I mean Trubble Bubble, in a two pack with the Ram Cycle, and I foolishly passed it up. Then the movie line came along, and they were to re-release it with a different color scheme as a Target exclusive. But for whatever reason, they never made it to Target, and that assortment of toys seemed to be lost. Then recently they started showing up at Ross stores, which has a history of picking up wayward exclusives. A couple days after I heard about these appearances, I happened to be in a Ross and saw one. Having learned my lesson passing over the previous release, I picked it up. At seven bucks, it's a bargain, since I doubt Target would have charged such a low price for it.

So this Elite-Viper is nothing exciting, but it does the job of being a pilot. It would have been cool if they had made a movie-styled version of the Tele-Viper that the Trubble Bubble traditionally comes with. The Trubble Bubble itself is pretty cool, and the new darker color scheme gives it a slightly more menacing look. There's a Cobra logo sticker that goes on the canopy, but it's red so it sort of blends in. Like I said, this set is being sold for a very good price, so it's totally worth picking up if you're at all interested in goofy Cobra battle technology.

#140: Doctor Who Davros

Christmas is over, so it's time to start blogging about the toys I received as gifts! The first here is from James, and it's Davros, creator of the Daleks. As is fitting the character, there is minimal articulation on the figure. The only thing that can move is his arm, and there are wheels in the base. This is a figure I've been wanting to pick up for a while, so it's cool to finally add him to my collection.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

#139: Doctor Who Ironsides Dalek

The episode "Victory of the Daleks" from the first series starring Matt Smith as the Doctor featured brand new re-designs of the Daleks. Naturally they have been made into toys, but I'm skipping those, as I don't like the newer versions as much. Also in that episode was this Dalek, the Ironsides Dalek. Apparently created to defend England during the Blitz, this Dalek has a military green paint job, its "ears" are wrapped in cloth, and is carrying some sort of utility belt. There's even a canteen on the back, presumably for other soldiers to use. There is even a tiny Union Jack right below the eye stalk, a bit of design that I really dig for some reason.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

#138: Star Wars The Clone Wars R4-P17

I have the Revenge of the Sith version of Obi-Wan's Jedi starfighter, which includes the upper half of R4-P17 to plug into the droid socket, and since then I've been meaning to pick up an actual droid to put in it. Unfortunately I've missed out on both of the realistic releases of the figure. The Clone Wars version has proven easier to find, but it turns out to not fit very well in the droid socket. Oh well! Since this is a repaint of the Clone Wars R2-D2, there are a few gimmicks. There are a couple of arms that are hidden behind panels on the front of the body, and on the back there is a tow cable that can be retracted by spinning the droid's dome. Also, the third leg is removable. Since it's based on the animated version, it looks kind of wonky next to other realistic astromechs, but not so much that it looks completely out of place.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

#137: DC Universe Classics Wonder Woman

I decided to get the seven main members of the JLA after Wonder Woman's original run in stores, so I was worried I wouldn't be able to find her without paying ridiculous secondary market prices. Fortunately, Mattel put her out again in one of the World's Greatest Super Heroes waves. Now all I need is that fishy guy.

Time to complain about QC issues! The right hip won't allow the left leg to positioned fully inward, so as you can see in the picture, Wonder Woman's stance is leaning a little to the right. And like every other female DCUC figure, the arms are woefully thin. Aside from that, it's a good figure. The axe and shield seem pretty non-essential, I think a detachable (or maybe a couple of different versions of the) lasso would have been a better accessory.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

#136: Star Wars Vintage Collection Sandtrooper

Target was having a sale for $6 Vintage figures, and I can't resist an Imperial trooper, so that is the third sandtrooper in my collection. My others have a black or orange shoulder pauldron, so as least none of them look too much alike. This guy has the standard big rifle with a strap, as well as some other crazy looking rifle I've never seen before. What really sets this version apart are his hips. They are the ball hips, so I suspect this may be a re-release of the sandtrooper that was packaged with the dewback they put out last year. I passed on buying one of those, but this figure is cool.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

#135: Masters of the Universe Classics Battle Cat

So, a funny thing happened. Mattycollector was having its Cyber Monday sale, and Battle Cat was one of the items up for sale. I thought it would be cool to get one, but assumed that it would sell out pretty quickly. I had to be at work, so I figured there was no way I would get one. Shockingly, I got home something like seven hours after the sale started, and Battle Cat was still in stock. Even more surprisingly, I had no problems placing my order. No White Screen Of Death! Ragging on Mattel is quite fun, but I will give credit when its due. Congratulations,, you have finally achieved adequacy! I don't know if they upped the production numbers, or if most people that wanted a Battle Cat already had one from the first time it was on sale or what, but whatever it was it worked.

Anyway, Battle Cat is pretty cool. Pretty damn cool. When Mattel isn't messing around, they are capable of doing great work, and Battle Cat is an example of that. The original was completely unarticulated, while this one has all the articulation you could ask for. Even the jaw is articulated, which is always a cool touch. The sculpt on Battle Cat is great, with detail all over. Even the bottom of his paws are sculpted. Another improvement over the original is the paint, with even the armor getting some subtle touches which really save it from looking flat and boring. The helmet fits on the head somewhat loosely (it arrived askew in the package), but that's no big deal.

Of course, the best part of this all is that my gimpy He-Man figure (he can't stand on his left ankle) will have a Battle Cat to sit on.

Monday, December 6, 2010

#134: Pop! Heroes Batman

So a while ago, I ordered this Batman on a whim when I placed a pre-order at Entertainment Earth. When it showed up, I had received the chase variant which featured a metallic paint on the parts of the costume that are normally grey. I wasn't digging that, so I sent it back for a replacement, and fortunately this time received the normal version. I'm not really into the whole super-deformed vinyl toy thing (I do have a couple Mighty Muggs) for the most part, but this is Batman, and it's totally cute so I decided to go for it. Since this is a vinyl figure and not an action figure, there's almost no articulation at all. The head swivels back and forth a little, but that is it. It's about four inches tall, so it won't take up a lot of room on your desk or your shelf or whatever.

I kind of wish I'd ordered the Batgirl too. And the Joker...

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

#133: Hot Wheels Batmobile (Brave and the Bold)

I would say that every time Hot Wheels puts out a Batmobile, I will feel compelled to buy it, but that's not true. In the many months I spent looking for this version, they also put out one based on The Batman cartoon. I have seen it in stores multiple times, and I haven't bought it. It's not particularly batty, and almost looks like a regular car. This version, on the other hand, is based on the Batmobile from The Brave and the Bold and is suitably cool looking for my tastes. You look at it, and it's hard to mistake for anything other than Batman's car. This Batmobile seems to be either plentiful or non-existant depending on where you're shopping. I haven't seen one in a store yet, so once again it's thanks to James for finding one for me. Definitely worth picking up if you can find one.

#132: DC Universe Classics Power Girl

During Power Girl's initial release as a Wal-Mart exclusive I was amused that a figure with such prominently displayed cleavage was being sold in the toy aisles for any kid walking by to see. Because of that novelty, I kind of wanted to get one, but not enough to actually buy it. Then she was re-released in the All Stars wave, so my local Target had one. And then I got a free $10 gift card during Black Friday. And at the same time, Target has been running a 50% off sale on DCUC figures. So I was able to buy a Power Girl without actually spending any of my own money. And here she is. Mostly she's a good figure, but she is way too thin. Especially her arms. I don't know if it's Mattel's fault for not paying for a new female body sculpt or what. She got a new chest, forearms and lower legs, why not go all the way on the arms? Of course, I do think the Four Horsemen made the female arms too skinny for any of the female characters in the first place. Maybe it's because the first female DCUC figure released was Harley Quinn, who's more acrobatic than brawny, that every female DCUC figure is cursed with skinny arms.

Monday, November 29, 2010

#131: Star Wars The Clone Wars ARC Troopers

Among clone troopers, those that stand out are the ARC troopers. They're basically the most badass troopers, and they recently showed up in the cartoon. Getting this set was basically a given for me, since I'm so into collecting the clones. I was surprised to see this on the shelf, as I assumed it would be a quick seller. Still, it was the only one on the shelf, and I haven't seen another since, so it's good that I was there at the right time. The first figure in the set is Captain Rex. I already have two versions of him, one of which is very similar to this figure. Nothing exciting for me here, but he does have a different rifle.

The next figure in the set is an ARC trooper commander, but he seems to be based on Captain Fordo from the Clone Wars microseries. You may remember him as the leader of that really cool scene of the assault on Muunilinst. So this is basically a new animation style version of him, down to the double oversized blaster pistols. Apparently, they will be doing a "realistic" version of the character next year in the Vintage line (although for some reason he won't be specifically named on the card), but until then, this is a pretty cool version of the character.

The other two figures in the set are unnamed ARC troopers. They have different paint jobs and shoulder pauldrons, and they both look pretty cool. But what is really interesting about them is that they are wearing Phase II clone armor, which is what the clones were wearing in Revenge of the Sith. As far as I know, these are the first figures in the animated style to wear Phase II armor. Cool.

It's unfortunate that battle packs now come with four figures instead of five, but that is the reality of the situation. Four figures together are still a better value than buying them individually. In this case, even though I already have Rex, the other three figures are cool enough to make the set worth it for me.

#130: LEGO Bullseye

Target apparently likes making gimmicky gift cards; this year they had one that's a voice changer and this one which includes a small LEGO set of their corporate mascot Bullseye. My friend James had picked up a few of these and had some spares so he gave me this set. So basically what you see is what you get with this set. The other side of the dog's head has a regular eye. If you're giving someone a gift card, this is definitely cooler than the regular fare.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

#129: LEGO Toy Story 3 Army Man and Jeep

Like the mini X-Wing LEGO set I posted about a couple days ago, Target also has Toy Story 3 sets in their stocking stuffers section. I have been thinking about getting the four army men and jeep pack, but this is only about a third of the cost, so I picked it up on a whim. By comparison, the larger set has a better jeep and more men so it might be a better overall value. But on the other hand, this was only three bucks. I'm kind of dubious about the jeep itself because it's so simplified, but it works. The army man minifigure here is the real star. It's really cool that they included the little plastic base for the army man, that's nice attention to detail.

#128: Star Wars The Vintage Collection Rebel Commando

I tend to think of rebel forces as not being very exciting figures (although I do like the pilots a bit more), so I don't really have much in the way of nameless rebel troopers. Actually, I think this is my only one.The Imperials have style, and cool armor, so of course I have more of them. But they're mostly blaster fodder anyway. So I definitely wasn't planning on buying this figure, but then I was looking at a photo gallery over at, and it looked like it was a pretty cool figure. I happened to see the figure on a peg at Target the very next day, and after wavering on whether to get it or not for a few minutes, I decided to get it. I'm glad I did, because it really is worth having. He's got two blasters (a rifle and a pistol), his helmet and backpack are removable, and his trenchcoat is also removable. I think the trenchcoat is a large part of what I like so much about this figure. A lot of figures in the line have robes or capes which work with varying degrees of success. I'd say this coat is one of the better attempts at this sort of thing, and it even has functional pockets. Cool!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

#127: Star Wars Vintage Collection Gamorrean Guard

I think it's been a while since the last Gamorrean Guard figure. I certainly haven't bought a new one since the 90s. The green pig dudes are a pretty cool design and memorable lackeys from Jabba's palace, so it's definitely a figure I wanted to pick up as soon as I heard about it. And it's a pretty cool toy too. He comes with more weapons than he can hold, two axes and a force pike. The headgear is removable if you've ever wondered what a Gamorreans ears look like (they're small). The furry skirt piece is interesting and kind of sticks out too much. But whatever, because this is a really cool figure. It's definitely worth adding to your collection.

Friday, November 26, 2010

#126: Star Wars Vintage Collection Luke Skywalker (Jedi Knight outfit)

Another Return of the Jedi wave, another Jedi Luke figure. I think I've mentioned before that this is my favorite version of Luke due to childhood nostalgia. So of course I feel compelled to get each upgraded version of this figure. Now, I've got three. When I first heard about this version coming out, I didn't realize it was all new, so I figured I'd be able to pass on it. As a likeness, and with proportions in general, this is a definite improvement over the previous versions. It's also the best articulated. Except for the waist (swivel) and neck (ball), every joint is a ball-hinge. The binders from the previous version and an unlit lightsaber are also included. So until they release the next version with a cloak (which is apparently due out next year), this is probably the best Jedi Luke you can buy.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

#125: Star Wars Vintage Collection R2-D2

It seems like the Return of the Jedi wave has been my favorite from the Vintage Collection so far, since I've bought every figure except one (spoiler alert: I am not going to get Wooof). For the first time, Artoo has been made into a figure that specifically reflects his time as Jabba's cocktail waiter. So he's got a serving tray (all the cups are removable) and serving arm. His sensorscope is also included and removable, so you can pretend it's a lost-in-the-swamp-on-Dagobah Artoo as well. The spot where the sensorscope plugs in can also be used to store Luke's lightsaber. The third leg can be lowered and raised, and Artoo's computer interface jack can also pop out from his chest. It's cool that this Artoo can serve as either a scene specific figure, or a regular version. Maybe not so good for a young kid, with all the small parts, but it's definitely one of the better Artoos out there.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

#124: Star Wars Vintage Collection Wicket

So far, Wicket is the only Ewok figure I've ever owned. Of course, I'm including the original Wicket from a long time ago, so this is my second Wicket. This is probably the cutest Star Wars figure I own. It's hard to beat a man-eating teddy bear with a spear. The headdress is removable, as the figure includes an alternate headdress and satchel that I gather are based on the Ewoks cartoon. It's kind of weird, but I don't remember watching the Ewoks or Droids cartoons. I was definitely of the right age to have watched them, but I remember watching other cartoons like He-Man, GI Joe, and Transformers. Oh well. If I had memories of watching the cartoon, I would perhaps be more excited about the alternate accessories. Wicket was originally planned to be paired with another Ewok in the same card, and I would have preferred that. Either way, this is a really nice looking figure, and definitely worth picking up if you don't have any Ewoks or Wicket in your collection.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

#123: Star Wars The Clone Wars Jungle Camo ARF Trooper

If you've been reading this blog long enough, you may remember when I posted a bunch of pictures of this guy's cousin, the standard ARF trooper, for February. Given my tendency to buy pretty much any new clone trooper I can get my hands on, something different is always nice. The ARF trooper is mainly different by its helmet, which makes it reminiscent of the Imperial scout trooper, so I dig it. In this case there is additional camouflage on the armor, a surprising rarity among clone troopers. It's also basically the best articulated clone trooper, with the extra articulated wrists and hips, so it can ride a bike or whatever. A couple years ago, these guys made an appearance in the Clone Wars movie that was shown in theaters. I'm kind of surprised it took so long to get them out, even if they did release a white version previously. But they're finally out, and I'd say worth picking one up for your army.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

#122: Star Wars Vintage Collection Admiral Ackbar

During one of my frequent trips to Target I strolled by the toy aisle as always, and right on the end of a peg was Admiral Ackbar. I wasn't expecting the Return of the Jedi wave to show up yet, so it was a very pleasant surprise. I've been looking forward to the new version of Ackbar for a while, so I immediately grabbed it. This is a well made Admiral Ackbar figure, so it's pretty high on my mental list of the greatest thing ever. If you can find one, you should get one. Right now.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

#121: LEGO Star Wars X-Wing

So I was checking out the Christmas section at Target and in the stocking stuffer section I noticed these tiny LEGO sets. They had some generic city sets (a car, I think) and Star Wars. I passed on this when it was released before, but this time I decided to get one. For three bucks, it's hard to go wrong. Since it's so tiny, it's hardly the most accurate representation of an X-Wing, but it gets the point across. There's even a silver stud to represent the astromech droid behind the cockpit. Cool! If you've ever wanted your own X-Wing squadron but don't have the space and/or money for the larger toys, this could be the way to go.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

#120: Star Wars Vintage Collection Anakin Skywalker

So technically this is a Darth Vader figure, and Hasbro has made a running change to the cards reflecting this. But mine is from an earlier batch, so it's labelled Anakin Skywalker. You can tell it's the Sith version of Anakin because he has the evil eyes. I basically got this because it's an Anakin with all the proper articulation, meaning upgraded elbows. And he has the robe, I haven't bought a robed Anakin before. This one also has a new head as far as I can tell. The hair is a separate piece of plastic glued on to the head, so that gives it an interesting look.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

#119: DC Universe Classics Martian Manhunter

So around the time Martian Manhunter's long awaited figure was announced, I decided I should build a DCUC JLA. Unfortunately, this means I have to wait for a re-release of Wonder Woman or pay way too much for her in the secondary market. I'll be getting an Aquaman from the upcoming DCUC/MOTUC two-pack. So now that I have Martian Manhunter, I'm at 5 of 7 for the team. I dig the green they used for his skin, it's a bright shade that really pops out in comparison with my other DCUC figures. One of the interesting things about this figure is that it uses elongated shins to give it extra height. None of the other body parts are taller, so it does throw off the proportions a bit, although I think the buccaneer boots help hide that. It's pretty much exactly the type of solution I would expect from Mattel. Also, he comes with a button. The picture shows the Martian Manhunter and the Green Lantern... dancing? I'm not sure what's going on, it's probably some sort of action shot, but it's hard to tell with everything else cropped out.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

#118: Marvel Universe Galactus

I wasn't into Marvel Legends during its heyday, when they made what I consider to be their two best build-a-figures: the Sentinel and Galactus. I most regretted missing the Sentinel, and I always thought having the Galactus would be cool too. Now Hasbro has made a brand new Galactus, and will soon release the new Sentinel, and I'll be happy. This isn't a re-release of the BAF Galactus, it's an entirely new figure, larger than the first one. It also has electronics, it talks and lights up. It's just... huge. Unicron is no longer the tallest figure in my collection. Overall, it's pretty cool.

Oh, and it comes with a Silver Surfer too.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

#117: Star Wars The Clone Wars Clone Pilot Goji

Another slightly different clone trooper here. This was also one of the new figures that was out at Target. Goji is a pilot, so he has the life support box attached to the helmet. Otherwise, he'd just be a regular clone figure. The only other significant thing about him is the monster face design painted on his helmet. Could Goji be short for Gojira? I would not be surprised if that is the inspiration here.

Friday, October 29, 2010

#116: Star Wars The Clone Wars Flamethrower Clone Trooper

So when Target put out all their exclusives on the endcap, they also put out a few new figures as well. One of them was this flamethrower trooper here. You may notice that it is very similar to the Rex in cold weather gear figure, which is appropriate since the animation model is similarly repurposed. The flame is removable, and there is another flame piece that is meant to fit over the torso of another figure. Presumably, it's meant for torching droids, but if you have any witches that need burning, this guy is ready for the job. Most clones are white with colored markings, so this one really stands out from the ranks.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

#115: Star Wars The Clone Wars Senate Commando Captain and Senate Commando

So, the 2010 Fall exclusives at Target have been showing up in stores the past few weeks, and I was able to pick up the only one I intend to get. For me, this was a no-brainer. Senate guards are cool, and a chance to pick up more is always welcome. They're basically just clone figures with a new shoulder and a new head (like the Captain Argyus figure). The captain has an elaborate design painted on the armor, and a cooler helmet featuring a large crest. Neither of them have removable helmets. I think it's a pretty cool set, and if you're into the senate guards like I am, you'll probably want to pick it up too. It's a Target exclusive, so it could disappear quickly. It's also entirely possible that it will linger and get put on clearance. So, it's up to you if you want to wait. I didn't.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

#114: LEGO Minifigure Spartan

When I found the LEGO minifigures at my Target, the Spartan was the only one I wanted that I was unable to find. Fortunately, yo go re of had bought a case and was selling off his extras at cost. This is the minifigure I wanted the most, so I'm glad I was able to pick it up for a reasonable price. Now if I could only get my hands on 299 more of them...

Monday, October 25, 2010

#113: Ghostbusters Minimates Dr. Peter Venkman and Energized Terror Dog

Over a year ago when I got my first Ghostbuster Minimates, I said that I would prefer an unslimed Venkman. Finally I got one. At last, my Ghostbusters team is complete. It's nice that every Minimates Ghostbuster includes a proton stream, unlike Ghostbuster figures currently made by another company. The other half of the set is the energized terror dog. I guess terror dog is the official name for them, but that's never how I thought of them. Because this is the energized version, it's mostly semi-translucent plastic. What's neat about the terror dog is that it's a regular Minimate body in there, with a bunch of additional parts to give it that canine appearance. I'd have preferred a regular version,, but weird variant terror dog is better than none.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

#112: Marvel Universe Colossus

During the Wolverine movie line, they released a Colossus figure, but I never saw it in stores so I never even had the chance to pick it up. I'm glad I missed out on it, because it looks pretty bad in comparison with this new version. The old one had odd proportions, and just doesn't look right to me. This version, on the other hand, looks pretty good. As the Marvel Universe line progresses, it seems that they are making adjustments to the articulation, and they seem to be for the better, mostly. The hips on Colossus don't really like being any position other than just standing straight. Also, the shoulder pads on the costume restrict the arms from going too high. Otherwise, I'm really digging it. The paint suits the figure well, it really brings out the detail, especially on the metal skin.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

#111: The Dark Knight Scarecrow

When this figure went on sale during one of the monthly snafus, I thought about trying to order one. In the end, I didn't like the figure enough to pay 20 bucks or whatever it would have come out to. But for five bucks at Toys R Us, this was an easy decision. The first movie Scarecrow had him sporting a straitjacket. I liked the mask and suit look better, so that's the version I wanted to get. Until Mattel gets around to doing an updated comic style Scarecrow, this one is pretty cool. Like the other figures in the six inch Movie Masters line, he comes with a piece of "evidence" which in this case is his mask. It's too big for him, but perhaps it would fit on a 12 inch figure decently. I'd rather he came with a more useful accessory for the toy, perhaps a fear gas emitting suitcase. He's got the usual guy in a suit articulation that the line uses, and it works well. Oddly enough, he isn't wearing a tie. Instead, he has a sort of brooch or something. I'm not sure what's up with that. Maybe it is accurate to his onscreen costume, but I'd have to check.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

#110: Iron Man 2 Comic Series Iron Monger

So the other week, Target was having a sale, with Iron Man and Star Wars figures for 5 bucks each. I can't resist a good deal, and I can't resist a cool mechanical suit so I picked up the comic version of Iron Monger. It's pretty cool! It's about the same height as the movie Iron Monger, but with much chunkier proportions. I also dig the big stompy feet on it. Despite its bulk, the articulation is pretty well designed. The shoulder armor/pads can move up and down, so they don't get in the way too much. The left elbow is stuck, so it's currently serving some freezer time. There is a black wash over the figure, which really helps bring out the details of the sculpt. That's a good thing, because it's pretty well detailed. This version of Iron Monger is definitely worth picking up.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

#109: Doctor Who The Master

Perhaps the Doctor's greatest nemesis is the Master. Like the Doctor, he's a renegade Time Lord, but he'd rather rule the Universe than help people. As one of the few people that can match the Doctor intellectually, it's always trouble when he shows up. The Master has been played by a few different actors through the years, and this is the most recent version, played by John Simm. Apparently John Simm has a face that's hard to capture as an action figure head, because although there have been a couple figures so far based on him, they haven't yet made a good likeness. The hair doesn't look right at all, unfortunately. I think the expression they went with is also part of the problem. John Simm's Master is pretty manic, so the calm expression doesn't look right. The picture they used on the package shows him with a crazy grin, and I think that would have been appropriate to use for the figure as well. Other than that, my only complaint is that the right bicep swivel seems to be stuck, even after some time in the freezer. Hopefully the next time they make a John Simm Master (assuming that they do), it will have a better likeness.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

#108: Doctor Who Vashta Nerada Suit Monster

I've been meaning to buy one of these guys for a while now, and I'm glad I finally got around to it, because it's damn cool. There are a couple characters this toy could represent, but basically it's a victim of the Vashta Nerada (an invisible swarm of tiny carnivorous creatures). They have skeletonized the suit's inhabitant and are using it to walk around in. So basically, skeleton spaceman! My only complaint about this figure is that the lines are perhaps too prominent due to the paint. I think this is a figure that would be worth picking up even if you're not a fan of Doctor Who. It's hard to top a skeleton in a spacesuit.

Friday, October 15, 2010

#107: Doctor Who Captain Jack Harkness

Aside from Amy Pond, Jack Harkness is my favorite companion since the re-launch of the series. I'm not his only fan, as he was given a starring role in the spinoff Torchwood. There have been a couple Jack figures. I like this the best, as it's the outfit he wore throughout Torchwood, and for his return appearance on Doctor Who. This version of the figure has also been released with the Doctor's hand as an accessory, but this one just comes with Jack's trusty revolver. The hand would be cool to have too, but it's no big deal to miss out on it. Otherwise, it's an all around good figure, as are most of the figures in the line.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

#106: Star Wars K-Mart exclusive Jodo Kast

So in case you're wondering who Jodo Kast is, he's a bounty hunter that pretended to be Boba Fett, which resulted in Boba Fett kicking his ass and leaving him to die. Mainly, he appeared in the Star Wars RPG and a couple of comics. This was all in the early days of the Expanded Universe, so he's not exactly a well known character. Oddly enough, this is his second action figure. The first was released early in the Legacy Collection but suffered from arms permanently stuck at a 90 degree angle, having been based on a mediocre Boba Fett mold. Now, Hasbro has gone back to the drawing board, and re-used a superior Boba Fett mold, as well as sculpting a new head to go under the removable helmet. So basically this is the best figure that you can likely hope for of Jodo Kast. I never would have guessed he would get a second release, but there it is. Being mostly a cheap repaint was probably in his favor.

To make up for how well this figure turned out otherwise, it has been released as a K-Mart exclusive. Given how few K-Marts are still around, that might make for some difficulty tracking it down. I was able to order mine from their website, so you may be able to order one too if you want one. If you sign up for a free trial their premium shipping service, you can get free shipping, then cancel the trial afterwards. Which is what I did. It's a dollar or so more than a normal figure at retail, so nearly doubling that with shipping would have made the price too steep for my tastes. Also be warned, K-Mart does a terrible job of packing their products. The figure arrived in a huge box which could have easily accommodated probably 20 carded figures, and there was no packing material holding it in place, it was just rattling around loose inside. The card was slightly bent, but the toy itself was fine. If you're one of those people that don't open their toys, it is something to watch out for.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

#105: Star Wars Vintage Collection General Grievous

Many times, Hasbro will make a figure of a character, then later release a better version, and then again later another better version, with each new version somehow not quite the definitive version of a character. Grievous is a perfect example of this. There was a version of him with a cape, but two arms, then one with four arms but no cape, and a different version with a cape but two arms. And a few others between now and then. Finally, Hasbro has released what is almost the definitive Grievous figure. Before I opened it, I thought it would be, but it's not quite there. So here's what this Grievous has: four arms which can also be connected so it appears he has two arms, the proper height, plentiful articulation, and a cape. Except for the cape, this is exactly the same Grievous as the previously released version. The cape is where this figure really shines. For the first time, the cape is soft goods and accurately represents the one he wears onscreen. It even has tiny pockets stitched to the inside, allowing extra storage for lightsabers stolen from vanquished Jedi.

So what's the problem with this figure? The plastic they used on the limbs for this version is much softer than the previous one, and the articulation is also looser. Naturally, this means trouble standing up (which tends to be a problem for Grievous figures). I am not sure if this is a problem specific to my figure, or if every one is like that, but it's enough to keep it from perfection. As it is, it seems that the cape is removable, so I am going to transfer it over to my other Grievous that uses the same mold. As long as that works, I'll have the definitive Grievous, and I won't need another.

#104: Star Wars Jabba's Throne

Back during the 90s revival of the Star Wars line, the only Jabba figure available was based on his appearance in the special edition of the first movie. So of course I had that, but it just wasn't the same. Since I got back into collecting a few years ago, I've been waiting for a new version of Jabba as he appears in Return of the Jedi. Hasbro teased us recently with a new Jabba in the animated style, but I'm glad I skipped on that one because they pretty much nailed it with this new Jabba. Unfortunately, they also made it a Wal-Mart exclusive. Fortunately, I was able to order it from Wal-Mart's website the second time it was in stock. Part of their world domination strategy includes surprisingly cheap shipping charges, so it wasn't a big deal that I never found one of these in person.

So this is basically the ultimate Jabba the Hutt. It's got Jabba, his dais, a bunch of cushions, Salacious Crumb, and Oola. Oola, the dancer, is a cool figure. The string is permanently attached to a collar around her neck, so if you don't like that, you'll have to cut it off. The pipe and its stand are removable, as are all of the cushions. You can come up with whatever arrangements strike your fancy. The dais has wheels on the bottom, so it can be moved back and forth whenever Jabba wants a better view of what's going on in the rancor's den. Jabba himself is a great representation of his onscreen appearance, right down to the tattoo on his arm and the scar on his tail (I always wondered about that, was Salacious Crumb chewing on Jabba's tail?). The tail itself has a bendy wire inside it, otherwise the lower body is hollow soft plastic. The upper body can rotate, and the arms are articulated at the wrists, shoulders, and elbows.

If you managed to pick up that slave outfit Leia a while ago, this is the perfect companion piece for her. If not, this is still a totally cool set to have.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

#103: Star Wars Spirit of Obi-Wan

One of the first mail-away figures during Kenner's revival of the Star Wars line was this spirit version of Obi-Wan. Unlike the fancy carded mail-away figures of today, Obi-Wan arrived in a little plain white box. These days when Hasbro does a figure in clear blue plastic, it's billed as a holographic figure, while Jedi spirits have a bit more color to them. This version is mainly a clear blue brick, with the arms and head stuck in position. People ordered tons of these things at the time, hoping they would appreciate in value, but these days they are super cheap (you can get one for about a buck on Ebay), as are many of the figures from that time. I received this one as a party favor, which is actually a pretty cool idea. Go load up on cheap mid-90s Star Wars figures and give them out as party favors at your next gathering. The spirit of Obi-Wan in particular makes a nice desk decoration.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

#102: Star Wars Electronic Boba Fett Helmet

I guess I'm ready for Halloween now. I'm kind of surprised it took this long after the Vader and clone trooper electronic helmets Hasbro has put out. But with this being the 30th anniversary of Empire Strikes Back, I suppose the timing was right for a Boba Fett electronic helmet. Personally, I could have down without the electronics (and a presumably lower price) since they are kind of lame. When you push one of the buttons, it says a line of dialogue. These aren't lines from the movies, or from anywhere else that I know of. And it's the Jango voice, not the original movie version. Of course. But whatever, I can ignore all that, because it's a Boba Fett helmet! What I can't ignore is that it is ridiculously oversized. It looks huge on me, so I can only imagine how comically huge it looks an a kid. Also the slot for the eyes is way too tall in comparison to the actual real thing, but that is beneficial for being able to see, so it is excusable.
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