Wednesday, February 29, 2012

#22: The Avengers - Cosmic Spear Loki

So I heard that Avengers toys, as well as new Marvel Legends, and Transformers Prime toys were showing up in a toy aisle reset at Target. Given the way my local Target works, I figured that would be a couple weeks from now. So I was pretty surprised to see all the new stuff on the shelves today when I visited. The Avengers Loki is one that I wanted because the Thor movie version didn't have the helmet on, and I really like the ridiculous oversized helmet. And so far the comic version has only been available with the big frost giant, which isn't exactly sitting around on the shelves around here. So movie version it is!

Let's get the bad out of the way first. These figures aren't cheap. With tax, it came to over 10 bucks. Star Wars Vintage figures are even pricier, and everything else is going up, so it's not a fault of this line in particular. It's still totally a downer. My other complaint is the articulation. No wrists, no ankles, no waist or torso. I understand that cutting articulation is a way to save money, but when the prices just keep going up, it feels like we are being shortchanged.

Because this is a movie line, Hasbro is apparently obligated to include a big goofy weapon. Loki gets a second spear, with snap-out blades. He only has one hand sculpted to hold weapons, so I'm sticking with the much classier looking Cosmic Spear. Is that the Cosmic Cube in the blade? Possibly! Shortcomings aside, this is a good looking figure. I like the way his cape is dramatically billowing to one side.

I am definitely going to be very choosy with this line, because of how pricy these are getting. I wasn't really planning on getting much from it anyway, as I already have plenty of Iron Man figures, a Thor, a Captain America, and a Hulk. I do have the Marvel Universe Black Widow, but I will definitely be getting the movie version, assuming I can find it. If I get a Hawkeye, I'd prefer a comic version, as the movie version isn't that exciting of a costume.

#21: Marvel Legends - Hope Summers

When I started collecting toys again, Marvel Legends was really hitting its stride, but I never really got into it. I have a few 6 inch Marvel figures, but they're mostly from the kinda-sorta Marvel Legends waves that were store exclusive/themed/movie figures. So most of my Marvel figures are from the smaller Marvel Universe line. But after a hiatus of a couple years, Hasbro is bringing them back. There's a nice mix of big name and lesser known characters. When I got Marvel Universe Cable, I was never able to find the variant that came with baby Hope that I found so amusing, so I decided to get the Marvel Legends version to make up for it.

Hey look, her legs are kind of warped from the packaging. At least her giant gun wasn't packaged in her hands. Hasbro's again using those hip joints that I'm not terribly fond of. They look good, but it's hard to use them because you have to grip the tiny part that's exposed between the thigh and the torso if you want to adjust the angle you can bend the leg at. The hips Mattel uses on DCUC figures may not look as good when its out of the default position, but they are way easier to use. Her base body is pretty generic and for all I know has likely been used before. Fortunately she does get some added sculpted pieces for her arms and legs, as well as a cape/shawl sort of thing. And true to someone raised by Cable, she gets a huge gun. It's a little hard to get her to hold it due to her hands being a bit small, but it'll work.

One of the hallmarks of Marvel Legends is the build a figure concept, and that continues in this wave with Terrax, whose head and axe is included. I'm not at all familiar with the character, so it's helpful that the included instruction sheet features some background information on him, with the suggestion to read Fantastic Four #210 for more story.

#20: DC Universe Classics - Sinestro

I'm not really into Green Lantern, or the recent rainbow Lantern Corps stuff that's been going on. But Sinestro is a good villain. He's got that fallen from grace thing going on, and he actually presents a threat. He was also the best part of the otherwise not very good Green Lantern movie, so if they do make a sequel, seeing him as the villain ought to be fun. Sinestro was originally released way back in the 3rd wave of DCUC, but was oddly short. For this release that has been fixed, but now his boots are merely painted on rather than sculpted. It's actually kind of surprising that they were sculpted on the first time around, given Mattel's propensity for parts reuse. But as a tradeoff, I'll take it for having a Sinestro that's not tiny. It's good to have someone in the collection to put Hal Jordan in his place.

Space noogies!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

#19: Masters of the Universe Classics - Fearless Photog

A few years ago, pop culture website extraordinaire X-Entertainment did a post on the unproduced MOTU figure Fearless Photog. Mattel had a figure designing contest, and the winning entry was supposed to get made into a real figure, and the winner also got to be president of Mattel for a day as well as a scholarship. Nathan Bitner won the contest with his creation, Fearless Photog, but for whatever reason (probably logistics), Mattel never made the figure. The post spawned a massive amount of commentary from readers trying to figure out why the figure not got made, as well as what had happened to its creator. I'd never heard anything about the story before that, but it stuck with me. Fast forward a few years, and Mattel announces they are finally making Fearless Photog. Now, for various reasons, I'm not a huge fan of this line, but the novelty of this figure and its origin story was enough to make me get one. Although I was obliged to use my phone's web browser to place my order, I didn't have any problems with the ordering process. Although Newgistic's tracking system is woefully out of sync with reality, Fearless Photog soon was delivered.

Photog was totally worth the wait. Yellow and blue is a color scheme I'm fond of, so I dig his look. This is a guy with a camera for a head, a gun that looks like a camera, a shield that looks like a flash, and a belt made of film reels. What's not to love? With this kind of dedication to his theme, he would have made a great Batman villain. The best part? The lenticular sticker on his chest. Lenticular sticker technology is under-appreciated these days.

China: Eternia's weapons forge
Is it a camera? Is it a gun? Is it BOTH?

It is unfortunately common to hear about QC issues with each new release in the MOTUC line. With Photog, it has been reported that the lens is cracked or is stuck and won't extend. Fortunately, my figure was clear on both issues and is overall in good shape. Here's how the lens looks while extended, which is activated by a tab on top of the head. A cool, unobtrusive play feature is always good in my books.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

#18: Aliens - Alien Warrior

After getting the Predator a while back, I knew I would have to eventually get an Alien to pair it up with. Those shitty movies aside, the Aliens vs Predator idea has had a pretty good track record as a franchise. If nothing else, the Super Nintendo game was pretty cool. So when this xenomorph showed up as a striking deal on a little while back, I jumped on the chance to get it. This figure was actually released a few years ago, but I missed out on it then. It's a NECA, and the sculpting is as top notch as you would expect. It's amazing all the detail that they can pack into a sculpt and get out with mass reproduction. There isn't a whole lot of paint, but the whole figure has a nice shininess to it that works well. The articulation is all pretty good, with a couple exceptions. The hips are merely swivels and there are those weird strips that connect the elbows and wrists that kind of prevent the arms from bending too much. The tail is bendy: neat! The jaw opens up, and the inner jaw can be extended. It sits kind of far back in the mouth, and I had to use tweezers to get a grip on it.

Family reunion

This isn't my first Aliens figure. Back in the 90s, Kenner had an Aliens line that my brother and I collected. How great is it that a movie that was totally not for kids was still able to have a toy line that was designed for kids? There was an Aliens vs Predator two pack, which is what the xenomorph on the left of the above picture is from, unfortunately I don't still have the corresponding Predator. The little one on the right was given to me as a gift 15 years or so ago, and I believe it was from Japan.

#17: G.I. Joe Renegades - Scarlett

I haven't seen any episodes of G.I. Joe Renegades yet. The character designs are kind of angular and odd looking, so I'm glad that they took a more realistic approach for the figures based on the show. Like the Zombie Viper, I haven't seen this in person anywhere, but was able to find her ridiculously cheap on Ebay. Scarlett's Renegades outfit isn't her classic 80s look (which is good, since I already have that figure) but the colors are close enough that it works for me. No Scarlett would be complete without a crossbow, so naturally one is included, as well as some sort of crazy looking pistol, and a stand. I'm not sure if Hasbro is cutting back from the crazy amount of accessories in general, or just for this release, but I don't mind, since really it's all she needs. The more time I spend with this figure, the more the re-design grows on me. I might have to get around to watching Renegades now.

Snake Eyes is confused.
Renegades Scarlett is my third Scarlett figure. Here's a group shot!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

#16: G.I. Joe - Zombie Viper

G.I. Joe has a long history of weirdness, so while a zombie seems to be veering a bit more into horror movie territory, I don't think it seems too out of place. After all, the zombies from the Return of the Living Dead series were the result of military experiments. So it's almost logical that Cobra would end up trying to make its own zombie army. Ever since I saw pictures of the Zombie Viper months ago, I knew it was a must buy. It has recently started showing up in stores, but not yet in my area. So I got impatient and found one on Ebay for a decent price. 

I have to say, this is one of my favorite G.I. Joe figures in recent memory, at least partly because it's so out there. It's a great sculpt, with ragged clothes and bits of flesh missing. The right foot isn't sculpted flat, so it can be posed in more of a shuffling stance appropriate of a zombie. It's got all the typical G.I. Joe articulation, including the swivel/hinge wrists. So yes, the Zombie Viper can do the Thriller dance. The Zombie Viper's skin is a dull grey, with some bright blue bits (from the Compound Z) that I wish were a little more subtly edged. 

Naturally, the Zombie Viper includes accessories. The most striking are the alternate hands/forearms which depict the hands mutating into freaky tentacles. A couple of the fingers even have those pads that squid have at the end of their longest tentacles. This is entering some freaky, Resident Evil style zombie mutation here. Other than the swivel where they attach to the arm, these aren't articulated, not that they need to be. 

The other accessories are a bottle of Compound Z that's attached by a hose to the removable helmet. The bottle plugs into the back of the zombie's suit, and there are four spots for it to plug in. There are only three spots for the hose to plug in on the helmet, so if there had been an intended fourth bottle to be included I'm not sure where it would have attached. As it is, we only get one bottle. If one was able to get three of these figures, it would probably be pretty cool to attach all the bottles on one figure. Certainly a small army of these guys would be cool to have, and with the accessories, there could be some nice variation.

A quick shot of the Zombie Viper in its natural habitat, the cemetery. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

#15: LEGO Minifigures - Genie

Finally, we come to the last of the LEGO minifigures that I bought from series 6. As much as I like these, there's really not all that much to say. Like the minotaur, it's cool having a mythological creature since there aren't any classic Universal-style monsters in this wave. Aside from the Disney animated version of Aladdin, I don't think genies are traditionally depicted as having blue skin, so I'm assuming that was an influence here. The "appearing out of a lamp" lower body was apparently used for a ghost in a Spongebob Squarepants set, but this is the first time I've seen it in person. It's pretty cool looking, and is quite distinctive, ensuring easy identification in the packaging. I like the way it's shaped so that the tail end matches up fairly well with the lamp. I dig that oversized turban too!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

#14: LEGO Minifigures - Butcher

I'm not sure exactly what drew me to the butcher minifig in the first place, but I think he's pretty cool. I love the big cartoony steak, and the meat cleaver could come in handy for any psycho killer minifigs. Hopefully he doesn't try to take over the hot dog stand. But that head is pretty much perfect for a LEGO minifig of me. It's the sideburns. Throw on some sunglasses and an appropriate outfit, and we'd be set. I found him in the packaging by feeling for the steak.

Monday, February 20, 2012

#13: LEGO Minifigures - Surgeon

Getting the surgeon minifig was a no-brainer for me. The scrubs are cool, and the X-ray brick is a great accessory. I identified it by feeling the syringe. Getting shots for a LEGO person must be awful, the end of that needle is the size of an eyeball! It wasn't until I had opened the surgeon that I realized the minifig is a woman, as evidenced by the waist painted on the torso and the eyeliner. I really dig the X-ray brick, it's clear blue plastic with the X-ray image printed on, and it looks great. LEGO minifigures have unsurprisingly weird looking skeletons as evidenced here.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

#12: LEGO Minifigures - Roman Soldier

I got Skyrim for Christmas, and have been playing it a lot. A lot. This Roman soldier reminds me of the imperial milk drinkers featured in the game, which any true son or daughter of Skyrim will tell you must be vanquished. Also, I figured he'd be a nice counterpart to my Spartan minifig. While I was searching the bags for figures, I thought that his shield would be the easiest piece to identify. Turns out it was the spear. It would be cool to have a tiny Roman army of these guys, if only finding more wasn't such a hassle. Also, the minifigures display got cleaned out a few days after I bought mine.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

#11: LEGO Minifigures - Leprechaun

Ah, the leprechaun, another addition to the subset of national stereotypes from my ancestry. I've got a Mexican one, now I need a Spanish one (maybe I should have bought the flamenco lady? Hopefully they'll do a toreador) and a German one (LEGO minifig in lederhosen? Yes, please). I thought I would find this guy by feeling the treasure pot, but ended up looking for the tiny legs that don't bend. I think it would be cool to swap this head for a more angry looking one, and pretend it's Warwick Davis as the eponymous character from the Leprechaun movies.

Friday, February 17, 2012

#10: LEGO Minifigures - Minotaur

The minotaur is pretty easy to find due to the huge head piece. Also, the horns are separate pieces in the package, which means you can choose the angle at which they point. It may be of interest to note that there is no standard LEGO head underneath, that entire thing is his head. So if you want to pretend it's just a person in a minotaur costume, you'll need to supply your own alternate head. There weren't any classic Universal style monsters in this series, so a mythological creature is the next best thing. Coincidentally, I had just recently finished reading the novel House of Leaves which spends a short section discussing the mythological minotaur. Anyway, it's a totally cool minifig, and one of my favorites from this series.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

#9: LEGO Minifigures - Bandit

This was actually the last minifigure I found while searching through the display. I identified him by the pistols, but there is the possibility of mixing those up with the blasters of the space themed minifigs from this wave. Although I think the hat looks a little more Indiana Jones than wild west desperado, overall I think it's a cool looking minifig. If I ever wanted to make a LEGO version of The Dark Tower, this guy could definitely stand in for Roland.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

#8: LEGO Minifigures - Lady Liberty

Once again, it's time for another series of LEGO minifigures! As usual, they show up in my area a while behind everyone else. For the last series, they weren't even in the LEGO section, instead being placed on the end of the aisle with the likes of Littlest Pet Shop. This time around, I found them one aisle over from the LEGO aisle with the lower tier action figures such as Thundercats, Power Rangers, and those Super Mario figures. I spent about half an hour going through the packages, looking for the minifigures I wanted. I fortunately was able to find them all in the first two rows, which was a first. For your convenience, here are the bump codes, in case anybody hasn't found these yet. I think Dan originally did this on his blog, so I am copying his idea. I hope this helps!

I don't remember what order I found these, so I'm posting in the order that they're listed on the included checklist. Lady Liberty was a must have, especially since I never got around to buying the Ghostbusters Minimate version. Fortunately she's easy to find due to being one of two minifigures this series with the big wedge shaped dress piece.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

#7: Star Wars The Clone Wars - Cad Bane's Escape

Way back when I saw they were making a figure of Cad Bane disguised as a clone trooper, I thought it was cool and wanted to get it. Then I didn't hear anything about it for a long time, and when it finally was released, it was in a battle pack with two figures I had no interest in. Not willing to pay in the neighborhood of twenty bucks for just the one figure, I passed. Then Target did a reset of the Star Wars section to coincide with the upcoming re-release of The Phantom Menace in 3D, so a lot of product in the older style of packaging got shuffled into the clearance section. So for half off, I figured it would be my best chance to get the Cad Bane figure and I decided to spring for it.

I already have an Ahsoka figure, which is her standard outfit, but this is her in space gear. Although I do dig the retro style bubble space helmet, the figure is one I could definitely do without. I don't already have an animated style Anakin, mainly because I feel it's too redundant for my collection. It's pretty amusing that Anakin's space gear is his normal outfit, with the addition of a helmet and rocket pack.

Although Cad Bane's head looks a bit undersized (I guess I'm used to seeing it with that big hat on) it's a cool figure. He comes with a holocron and a backpack to carry it in, as well as a blaster. There have been a few figures of characters disguised as Stormtroopers, but as far as I know, this is the only one of a character disguised as a clone trooper. Neat. Given that I'm just completely uninterested in two of the figures in the pack, it was still a bit pricy for just the one figure, but I'm glad I was finally able to get a figure I've been looking forward to for a long time.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

#743: Masters of the Universe Classics - Jewelstar

Hello everyone!  It's me Novelty from Toy a Day.  I'm the guy who designed the title for this blog though, so it's almost like home here.  The last time I did a review here on A Year of Toys, it was one-third of a review for a three pack.  Well, this time, around, there is no difference - I'm opening another 3-pack and the review for one of the three figures is here.  It's Female February over at Toy a Day, and I've just opened MotUC's Star Sisters today.  That's Starla, Tallstar and Jewelstar.  And since I know Mario likes bling bling (or was it jar jar blinks?  I always get confused about that), it was a no brainer to pick Jewelstar for A Year of Toys.

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