Monday, August 30, 2010

#85: DC Universe Classics Flash

Similar to Marvel Universe's sorry state of representation at my local Target, for the past few months the DCUC figures have been represented by a few Ted Kord Blue Beetle figures. On my recent visit, I was pleasantly surprised that there were finally some new DCUC figures on the shelf: the All Star wave. Consisting of re-packs, it's a nice opportunity to pick up some classic characters you may have missed. I had been thinking of picking up a Flash figure a few months ago when they were on the shelf, but they all had distractingly bad paint errors on the face. So I skipped them. I'm glad the people in charge of DCUC are such big suckers for the classic DC Super Powers line from the 80s, because that means we get a Barry Allen Flash (I'm sure Wally West will be released eventually), which is the Flash figure I had as a kid. Still have it, actually. This is one of the DCUC figures where the reuse of the some sculpt doesn't really matter since there is very little on Flash's costume that needs any sculpted detail. And those parts that do need new sculpting get it, so his head and boot tops are both new. My only complaint is that the little wing on the left side of his head was a little bent from the packaging. Oh, and since it's from the newer waves of DCUC, a pin is included. In this case, the image is from the cover of the first issue of the Justice League of America comic, featuring Flash playing chess with Despero.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

#84: Marvel Universe Juggernaut

After the past few months of only seeing Iron Man on the Marvel Universe pegs at Target, I was shocked to see some new figures hanging from the pegs, with Juggernaut right there on the end of one. He's one of the figures I've been trying to find, so I immediately grabbed him. He was the only one on the pegs, and unfortunately none of the other figures I want were there. I don't have any particular interest in the Juggernaut as a character, but I do have a fondness for the bulky oversized figures in the Marvel Universe line. Maybe it just feels like a better deal, getting all that plastic. Although not quite as bulky as the Hulk figures, Juggernaut fills up a lot of room in his plastic bubble, and has a nice heft to him. He's a well designed figure, so he looks really cool. He has plenty of useful articulation, and none of it mars his appearance. I think the only thing that could be done to improve the figure would be a removable helmet. His head can move back and forth, at least.

It's a good thing that Juggernaut's unstoppability only applies to voluntary motions (or he has some control over its use), or at least I think it does. Otherwise, what if he tripped and fell? Then hit the ground, but kept falling... falling... falling? Then what?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

#83: Bioshock 2 SDCC '10 exclusive Eleanor Lamb

NECA has a nice way of handling sales of their SDCC exclusives online. Instead of handling it themselves, they are for sale on Amazon. Since I am digging this line, and it's a variant of a figure I don't have, I decided to pick up the Eleanor Lamb figure. Based on the Big Sister figure, but with a new head and lacking some armor and air tanks, the Eleanor figure is based on the sequence near the end of the game in which she dons the Little Sister armor to fight alongside Subject Delta.

The first thing I noticed about Eleanor's figure is how tall she is. She's taller than the Big Daddy, and even taller than the splicer. Maybe Little Sisters just grow up tall due to the side effects from the Adam slugs implanted in their bellies. Like other NECA figures, the sculpt and paint jobs are great, and she is well articulated, but not super articulated. Befitting someone that's been living under the ocean, her face has quite a deathly pallor.

Also included is a "saved" Little Sister, who has been restored to being a regular little girl. She comes with the Subject Delta doll that was included in the Eleanor Lamb/Little Sister two pack I got a couple months ago.

Friday, August 27, 2010

#82: Star Wars Clone Wars Mandalorian Speeder with Mandalorian Warrior

So before I found out that there would be a battle pack full of Mandalorian Warriors, I ordered this from Hasbro's webshop. I must admit, I wish I had waited, because I'm kind of disappointed. This is the price point of about 15-16 dollars, so for a few dollars more I could have had 4 figures. I do think this set is overpriced. The figure is pretty cool (and his jetpack actually stays in well!), although his right wrist is stuck even after a little freezer time. The speeder is pretty lightweight and not all that exciting. It's hardly iconic, and seems small. The kickstand is retractable, and there is a gun that pops out from the bottom. There are also a couple of strings with manacles at the end that are stored in the back area, so you can drag your other figures along behind the speeder if you feel like being a jerk to them. If this had only cost 10 dollars, I wouldn't have minded as much, and I'd probably like it better. I'd say it's worth skipping unless you're a completist. If you want Mando warriors wait for the upcoming battle pack.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

#81: Doctor Who Amy Pond

Traveling through all of space and time can get kind of lonely after a while, so the Doctor has a long line of companions, starting from the very beginning of the series. The Eleventh Doctor met his first companion almost immediately after his regeneration when he crash landed in Amy Pond's back yard. She was a young girl at the time, but after what was meant to be a trip minutes into the future, the Doctor ended up years further than he intended where he met up with a grown Amy.

Like all the other figures in the line, Amy looks great. Well, except for her knees. The ends of the pins sticking out to the side is unfortunate. Now that a majority of my Doctor Who figures are the Doctor himself, it is good to have someone else in the collection. I'm not sure if they are going to be making any of the pre-revival companions into figures, but if they don't at least I've got one of my favorites.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

#80: Doctor Who The Eleven Doctors Figure Set

When the Doctor Who toy line was starting out, I thought it would be cool to get all of the Doctors. After I got Ten and Four, they started releasing the older Doctors as expensive exclusive sets so I gave up on that goal. Fortunately Character Options decided to put all 11 Doctors into one set. I have bought sets of figures before, but never one with 11 figures in it. The packaging is pretty cool, they come in a big box that looks like the TARDIS, and there are two flaps on front that open up to provide a view of all the figures in the case. For the most part, all the figures have the same level of articulation, which is pretty standard across the line. Since each Doctor has pretty distinctive clothing, there isn't much, if any, reuse of parts, and the paint tends to be pretty good as well. The face sculpts are pretty spot on as well.

For those of you that aren't familiar with Doctor Who, all these figures are of the same character, who has been played by eleven different actors so far. The Doctor is from an alien race, and so has the ability to regenerate his body into a new one if he is gravely wounded. It's a nice in-universe explanation that allows the same character to be played by multiple actors, which is important when a show has been on for almost 5o years.

From left to right are the First, Second, and Third Doctors. I wasn't sure if there would be any accessories included, but almost all of the figures get one. One has his walking stick, Two has his recorder (with a handkerchief or something tied around its end), and Three has his trusty sonic screwdriver. The Third Doctor marks the beginning of the Doctor's more outlandish taste in clothing, and I dig his dark green coat, so I'm glad it was included here.

As I mentioned earlier, I already have a figure of the Fourth Doctor, but this is a different outfit, so I don't mind. He's the only figure in the set with a hat, although Five and Seven wore hats too sometimes. Four and Five get a sonic screwdriver each, and Seven gets his umbrella. Six is the only figure in the set with no accessories, perhaps the garishness of his outfit is its own accessory. The pink on it looks a little too dark. This picture makes it look like the Doctor spent the 80s getting shorter. I've never seen all the actors lined up like that, but I am guessing their relative heights are true to life.

The four most recent Doctors all get sonic screwdrivers. Eight only made one onscreen appearance, in a failed TV pilot movie here in the US, although he went on to make more appearances in audio plays and books. Because of his odd place in canon, he is probably the Doctor I least expected to be made into a figure, but here he is. Nine and Ten have slightly less articulation than the others, so I suspect they are partially re-uses of older figures, from before the line started including the current levels of articulation on the figures. I also have another figure of Ten, but again, this one is different enough for me to be okay with that. His hair on this version looks really cool, too. They captured the crazy way it sticks up perfectly on this version.

I'm glad they put out this set, because even if they release all the Doctors as single carded figures, getting them in one set is cheaper than buying them all separately. They did a good job of picking representative outfits for those Doctors that had varied wardrobes, so if you get this set, you may not need to buy another Doctor figure until the Doctor has regenerated again.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

#79: Doctor Who Flight Control TARDIS

When you're wandering through space and time, you're going to need some advanced technology, and you can't do much better than a TARDIS. But if the chameleon circuit becomes faulty, you might end up with a much less grandiose appearance for your time and space travelling machine. But, like the Millennium Falcon, it's what's on the inside that counts.

Since the Doctor Who line started, there have been a few different TARDIS toys, but I finally got around to picking one up while placing an order and getting free shipping. This version is the current one, that the 11th Doctor is riding around in. The main thing that sets it apart is the "St John Ambulance" emblem on the door. It was present on the original TARDIS props, but disappeared at some point until the TARDIS repaired itself after the 10th Doctor's regeneration.

It may look like a plain box, but the TARDIS has some fun play features, mainly in the way of lights and sound. It takes AAA batteries, which I had laying around, so fortunately I was able to play around with it. The doors open, and there is a cardboard representation of the TARDIS's control room (it's much larger on the inside, of course) and while the doors are open, it makes ambient engine sounds. There is a button on the bottom that when pressed plays the TARDIS's distinctive materialization sounds. When the button is released, it plays the VWOORP VWOORP VWOORP of the TARDIS taking off. When you shake it, it plays the sounds of the engines in distress. At the bottom there is a small panel to place your finger in, which allows you to spin the TARDIS like a top, and then it plays more engine sounds. The lantern on top flashes whenever sounds are being played. It's also ridiculously loud, I could see some parents being less than pleased with this.

Because it's an import, and has electronics it is somewhat pricier than one might like. But if you only get one Doctor Who toy, the TARDIS would probably be your best bet.

Monday, August 23, 2010

#78: Star Wars Vintage Collection C-3PO

I have one C-3PO figure, but it's a very scene specific one based on Return of the Jedi, so there is green goop all over him. I've been meaning to pick up a more neutrally decorated Threepio with decent articulation, and the Vintage version was pretty much what I was looking for. The first thing you might notice is that unlike the standard Threepio figures, this one is more of a metallic gold paint than the vac-metalized versions we're used to seeing. This give him more of a dirty appearance which I like since Goldenrod doesn't usually get as many oil baths as he would probably prefer. Also, he seems to have been downsized from previous versions, as the upcoming R2-D2 will be. Hasbro's been saying that the downsized droids are more accurate to the scale of the costumes in the movies, so that's fine by me.

You can't tell by looking at him in the package, but Threepio does have some accessories in the form of removable pieces of his plating. His face, chest, right thigh, and back panel are all removable. I'm not sure if they've made a Threepio with that feature before, but it seems likely. Either way, it's a cool feature that adds a little more play value. I think the only thing else I would ask for in a Threepio would be light piping for the eyes, but that's no big deal. Overall, I'd say this is a pretty solid version of Threepio.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

#77: Star Wars Clone Wars Aurra Sing

If you're not into the Expanded Universe of Star Wars, you probably don't remember Aurra Sing's split-second appearance onscreen during the pod race in The Phantom Menace. Because she's a Force-sensitive bounty hunter, naturally she is a big thing in the EU, and has shown up in the Clone Wars a few times, leading to this figure.

She's pretty cool. She has two blasters (with holsters for them) and a sniper rifle. The sniper rifle can be slung over her shoulder, but wearing it on her back like that makes her back heavy and less likely to stay upright without a stand. That is an unfortunate drawback of animated style female figures, they're so lanky that it's easy to overbalance them if they have big weapons.

Yes, that's an antenna on her head. Apparently she has some cybernetic parts. Sure, why not?

Friday, August 20, 2010

#76: G.I. Joe Pursuit of Cobra Cobra Commander

It's been a while since we saw anything new in the world of G.I. Joe toys, but the new line (The Pursuit of Cobra) has been showing up in stores the past few weeks. It seems to be a continuation of the movie line, although the packaging is thankfully a little more in line with the classic aesthetic. Actually, Cobra Commander here gets his own unique cardback. It's predominantly red, and instead of saying G.I. Joe at the top, it says Cobra. That Cobra Commander, such an ego maniac! I think it is a neat touch. Depending on who you listen to, Cobra Commander is either shortpacked or plentiful, so I suppose it may depend on your location.

During the run of the movie line proper, I passed on Cobra Commander because I really didn't like the look of him. Here we are a year later, and I'm buying a repaint of that figure. Apparently, chroming his mask is enough of a change to make me like it. Go figure (pun intended). I suppose that it makes it seem more reminiscent of the classic Cobra Commander with the reflective faceplate. He comes with two guns (the pistol attaches to his thigh), a stand (the 25th anniversary collection style), and a nifty Cobra banner. I'm not sure what it's supposed to be for, but I imagine him waving it around while giving speeches to the Cobra troops. The back of his jacket has a big Cobra logo on it, which is otherwise missing from his outfit.

For some reason, his chest says CC1 on it. Is there more than one Cobra Commander? Maybe he's got a bunch of clones running around...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

#75: DC Universe Classics SDCC '10 Exclusive Plastic Man

Unfortunately, I did not attend SDCC this year, although I hope to some day. Fortunately, I happened to have the day off when Mattel was selling their exclusives online. With three browsers open and constantly refreshing, I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to order Plastic Man, the only Mattel exclusive I was interested in picking up.

I have to hand it to Mattel, after last year's SDCC exclusive FUBAR, they really cleaned up their act. The convention version of Plastic Man came with an extra accessory, a suitcase version of him, that while cool is still not an essential part of the toy. So no big deal on missing out on that.

As you can see, Plastic Man is loaded with accessories. He's got an extended neck, a spring to replace his legs, alternate stretch arms, a flyswatter hand, and a paddle ball hand. With all the alternate body parts, there is quite a variety of display options.

The packaging is pretty cool, too. The outer box has the DC Universe 75 years artwork thing going on, with a picture of Plas himself as the centerpiece. Inside that is the more typical DCUC packaging, with a Plas-style twist: it looks like Plas himself, in the shape of toy packaging. Neat! Also, the glasses from the package are removable and are just the right size to wear yourself. Similar to the Marvel Universe line, there is a small file folder that includes some background information and pictures.

I think I can safely say that this is the most fun DCUC figure, you just can't beat all those interchangeable parts. It's a very cool intersection of a gimmicky play feature and adult collectible quality. Unfortunately, the only way to get one of these now is through the secondary market.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

#74: Star Wars Imperial AT-AT

Meet Max! At long last, Hasbro's newest AT-AT is here. It's huge! You kind of have to see it in person to get a true grasp of its scale. It's over two feet tall, standing higher than my knees. Not only does it look really cool, it's filled with neat little play features including an extra vehicle (and it makes more sense than the Millennium Falcon toy's). Starting at the head, there are two missile firing launchers, and the chin cannons move back and forth with a switch. Inside the head there are seats for both pilots, and room for four more figures to stand around, as well as a display. The main body has several opening hatches. Inside there are a couple platforms, a couple rappelling cables, some view screens, and the bottom opens up and there's a retractable cable so Luke can climb up and throw a thermal detonator inside. The rear of the body opens up and a platform slides out which can hold the included vehicle a speeder bike. There are also a couple more view screens in there. On top of all that, it lights up, plays sounds, and plays clips of dialogue. Batteries not included, unfortunately. Also included is an AT-AT drive figure, different from the one recently released during the Legacy Collection. I think that about covers everything. Also, on the sticker sheet, there are some stickers for extra battle damage.

I think this AT-AT may be Hasbro's masterpiece as far as large Star Wars vehicles go. It is seriously epic. If you can find a spot for it in your home, it is definitely worth picking up.

For an exhaustive photo gallery of all the features, I recommend's AT-AT page.

Oh, and why Max? Why, after General Veers, of course.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

#73: Transformers Ravage

So the current Transformers line this is from isn't specifically named. There's no "subtitle" like Revenge of the Fallen, or Generations, or whatever on the packaging. It's just Transformers. This version of Ravage is definitely the movie version. And hey, don't I have one of those already? Yes, yes I do. But this one is smaller, and therefore cuter. That's really the only reason I got it. And it's hard for me to pass up another Ravage. Again, Ravage has the alt-mode of some sort of spaceship looking thing. The process of changing him is pretty easy, instructions are printed on the card rather than included on a piece of paper. I can't imagine that many people would keep him in that mode. This Ravage isn't as well articulated as the larger version, but it's only about an inch high and four inches long, so I can't fault it too much. Despite the decreased articulation, I think I like it better than the larger version.

Monday, August 16, 2010

#72: Star Wars Clone Wars Pre Viszla

During the second season of The Clone Wars, there was a story line centering on Mandalore's position in the ongoing conflict. Finally, we got to see some non-Fett Mandalorians in action onscreen! Of course, its depiction of Mandalorians as pacifists contradicted the depiction of Mandalorian culture in some books I've never read. Since I've never read them, I don't really care about that. Of course, not all the Mandalorians were pacifists, there is a renegade group called Death Watch that wishes to return Mandalore culture to its warrior ways. Pre Viszla here is their leader.

It's not often we get a new Mando character, and this was the first for the animated line, so I was ready to get one of these the moment it was announced. Mostly, he doesn't disappoint. For one, his hands are a little too loose to hold his weapons well, but the little clear rubber bands help fix that. The rocket pack likes to fall out if you barely brush it. The hips aren't the regular swivel joints, they rotate out at an angle, so it is a little harder to get him to stand. Otherwise, it's a cool figure. The helmet is removable, as is his side cape thing. He comes with two blasters (they can both fit into the holsters on his legs) as well as a "darksaber" which he uses in the cartoon. It's sort of like a lightsaber, but it's got a black blade that glows white. The toy is made of slightly translucent black plastic, in an attempt to match its onscreen appearance. Pre Viszla was voiced by Jon Favreau, so if you want an action figure based on a character he's played, it's either this or one of the Iron Man Minimates.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

#71: Star Wars Clone Wars Captain Rex

Like the Saga Legends line, the Clone Wars line also now has the battle game, so the figures include a stand, die, and character card.

This version of Captain Rex showed up in one of the first season episodes, which primarily took place on a frozen, icy planet. As soon as I saw Rex and the other troopers in their snow gear, I knew Hasbro would be making figures of them. As I've mentioned before, I love the imperial Snowtroopers, so I'm glad this version of Captain Rex has finally been made. The Clone Wars wave it was first in never showed up, or I completely missed it, but fortunately they re-released this figure. Unfortunately Rex has no ankle articulation, so getting him to stand may be a bit dicey. Other than that, I really dig the figure. The design is really cool, it has strong ties to the design of imperial Snowtroopers, and perhaps bears an even closer resemblance to the concept Snowtrooper figure that was released a few months ago. He has his trusty twin blaster pistols, as well as a blaster rifle, so he is well armed. The top part of his helmet is removable, but it looks funny without it. Fortunately it fits on tightly, so it won't likely just fall off. His backpack (the package calls it a heater pack) is also removable. I hope they get around to doing generic troopers in snow gear as well, but for now this is a cool figure. Now if only they'll re-release that Talz that was in the same wave...

Saturday, August 7, 2010

#70: Star Wars Saga Legends IG-88

Hm, out of the six bounty hunters that Vader gathered up to hunt down the Millennium Falcon, two of them were droids. I wonder if that is representative of the bounty hunter population in general, because if so that means a third of bounty hunters were droids. Kind of interesting, given the havoc caused by droid armies about 20 years previously. Either way, IG-88 is the cooler of the two droid bounty hunters, and with him, I've now got the full set. I think what I like more about him is that while he is still a basically humanoid shape, he's more obviously a machine. All function, little worry about form. Of course, he was built as a combat droid, so that makes sense. Like Bossk, I believe this version of IG-88 is a re-release of the VOTC mold for a while back, so this is probably as good as it's going to get for him.

Friday, August 6, 2010

#69: Star Wars Saga Legends Bossk

For a while now, the Saga Legends sub-line has been a way to keep older figures of popular characters in rotation. For the past couple of years, they have been including a bunch of random guns. For the 2010 re-launch, the Saga Legends figures have a new gimmick: a battle game. Each figure comes with a die and a card that lists their scores in various attributes such as Force ability and luck. Each side of the die corresponds to one of the attributes. Each player rolls the die, checks the appropriate attribute, and whichever player comes up with the highest value wins. Each player uses three figures, and it goes on until one remains. It's a pretty simple game, and I haven't played it yet. It doesn't sound too exciting, but it is cool that Hasbro is including extra value with the figures. There is apparently going to be a mail away offer for a game mat and bonus figure later this year. The Saga Legends figures continue to include a bunch of random guns, but now they are different random guns than were previously included.

As I mentioned earlier, Hasbro is making all the bounty hunters available at the same time, so I was able to pick up Bossk, putting me one lizard spaceman closer to completing the collection. Bossk has a very simple appeal. He's a lizard spaceman. All he gets to do onscreen is look menacing (he doesn't take kindly to slights on his profession), but it's enough for him to have become my favorite of the bounty hunters that aren't Boba Fett. As a figure, this is probably the best Bossk you'll ever be able to get, so I'd say he is easily worth picking up.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

#68: Star Wars Vintage Collection 4-LOM

A couple years ago, during the 30th Anniversary Collection, Hasbro released 4-LOM. I didn't pick him up, in large part because none of the other bounty hunters were readily available at the time. Now, 4-LOM is back in the Vintage Collection as a straight re-release. So now I have him for my bounty hunter gang. The Zuckuss I got a few months ago finally has his droid partner. The ankles are not articulated, but it still stands well enough. I don't really have much to say about 4-LOM, even as a character. He's a bounty hunting protocol droid with an insectile head. I can dig it.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

#67: Star Wars Vintage Collection AT-AT Commander

It's nice when Hasbro releases figures at the same time as their respective vehicles, as it makes it easier to have those vehicles piloted when you buy them. Or, they could just start including figures with vehicles, but they only do that for the more expensive toys, or the very small vehicles. Want a pilot for your TIE Fighter? You may be out of luck. Anyway. The big thing in the Star Wars toy world right now is the first all new AT-AT in a long time. It does include a driver, but he's going to need someone to boss him around, which is where the AT-AT Commander comes in.

So now I'll have someone to command my AT-AT. Since they went with the vintage name, I'm not sure if this is supposed to be General Veers, but it doesn't really look like him, so I'm going to just assume he was commanding another AT-AT. The helmet and goggles are both removable, and separate pieces. Unfortunately, the goggles don't fit over the top of the helmet, so there isn't that display option. Hm, pictures on the internet show the figure with that configuration, so perhaps there is some more stretching in order. I'd be worried about snapping the goggles, though. The commander has a holster which works perfectly for his standard Imperial blaster. The Stormtroopers could sure learn a thing or two from him!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

#66: Star Wars Vintage Collection Dengar

It's been a while since Hasbro has released any new Star Wars toys, but they are back in force now! The Legacy Collection with it's build-a-droid gimmick is gone, replaced by the Vintage Collection with its retro packaging gimmick. Although I open all my toys, I dig the new Vintage packaging, it's a nice throwback to the original toyline. The original Kenner logo is even used on the front of the card. This isn't Hasbro's first attempt at vintage packaging, they used to have the Vintage Original Trilogy Collection with the same gimmick. That was a "premium" line as the figures typically had more articulation than other figures of the time, and was packed with a protective clamshell case and corresponding higher price. Oddly, the current Vintage Collection figures are a dollar more than the Clone Wars and Saga Legends figures. I'm not sure why, they use less packaging material and generally have fewer accessories.

Presumably in celebration of Empire's 30th anniversary, the first wave of Vintage figures is focused on that movie. For me, it's a good chance to finally get around to getting all the bounty hunters Vader gathered to track down the Falcon. So, Dengar! He's the first figure in the line, but he's also the least interesting of the bounty hunters. He's just some guy with a towel wrapped around his head. Fortunately, this version doesn't look like Johnny Cash. This is probably the best version of Dengar they'll ever make, so if you want a figure of him, this is the one to get. There is one particularly odd thing about him. His codpiece is removable. I was posing his arms, and accidentally knocked it off. I don't know why they made it removable, maybe so his legs will bend up enough to allow him to sit in a vehicle. On mine, it stays on securely enough, but that may vary. Overall though, it's a good figure, and I'm glad the Vintage Collection is finally here.
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