Sunday, September 30, 2012

#87: The Avengers - Marvel's Hawkeye

Hey, did you know that The Avengers came out on Blu-Ray and DVD this week? With synergistic zeal, Target has also increased its stock of Avengers toys, while reducing their prices. A Hawkeye figure had actually shown up on the peg a week or so before the expansion of Avengers toys on the shelf. I'd been thinking about picking it up, since I don't have a Hawkeye at all, comic version or no, in this scale. Since it was on sale and there were a few to compare paint jobs, I went for it. The figure has a pretty great likeness of Jeremy Renner, although it is disappointing that he is wearing the sunglasses that he has on in all the promotional materials but only wears for the one scene in the movie. For accessories, he gets two bows. In case you lose one? There are also three "arrows" which serve as projectiles for the launcher. The launcher itself can attach to a bow. Rather than pushing a button to launch the arrows, you have to pull back on them so the spring gets compressed, then let them go. Unfortunately, there aren't any proper arrows. Even if there were, Hawkeye can't quite get into an arrow shooting pose, but he can get into what I suppose is the next best thing which is a pulling an arrow from the quiver pose. Which would be a lot better with a regular looking arrow. Also, he is lacking wrist, ankle, and waist/torso articulation. Despite those quibbles, he's a pretty good figure overall. Now I'm only two figures away from a movie Avengers line up in this scale, but I think I will be satisfied with my complete movie lineup in Minimates form.

On the shooting range

Saturday, September 29, 2012

#86: The Avengers - Assault Squad Nick Fury

Sam Jackson has been appearing as Nick Fury in the Marvel cinematic universe since Iron Man, and they've released a couple figures based on him, but I finally got one. The Iron Man 2 version was in a boxed set that I never found for a price I liked, and they did a six inch version that I never saw anywhere. I still haven't seen this figure in stores anywhere, but fortunately James found one at a show for me. He turned out pretty well, so I suppose it was worth the wait. This is one of the better SLJ likenesses to appear on a 3 3/4" Hasbro figure. He has a couple of guns, and the handgun can be holstered. He also comes with a rocket launcher, which is something he actually used in the movie, although this version is a more toyish version, with a launching projectile. Which is purple, of course. He doesn't have articulated wrists, but he does have ankles and all the other important joints, including those annoying hips. Assault Squad? I'm not sure what's up with that. I know that they sometimes add to names to make them more easy to trademark, but usually it's "Marvel's..." or whatever. I guess it makes him sound more action packed. That's what the kids like, right?

"You are under arrest, Chancellor Palpatine."

Friday, September 28, 2012

#85: DC Universe Signature Collection - Black Mask

Hey, it's my first figure from the DC subscription. My roommate's brother gave him a subscription, but he didn't want this figure, so he let me take it. It's a Batman villain, so I'm game. I'm not terribly familiar with the character, but he does have the distinction of having killed a Robin. Yeah, it was the Stephanie Brown Robin, and her death was later retconned as having been faked. But only the Joker has also killed a Robin (and that one stuck for a long time), so that's got to be worth something, right? Anyway, it's another guy in a suit! It's like Movie Masters all over again, but the body is upsized to fit in better with the DCUC figures. At least the headsculpt is very cool looking. In a nice change of pace for a Mattel figure, there are accessories! He comes with a couple of bladed weapons, one is some sort of double bladed thing that I don't know the name for. There's also a knife which theoretically goes with the final accessory: one of Batman's cowls. The cover of Batman 636 features Black Mask, with Batman's cowl pinned to a wall by a knife. That's the knife the figure comes with, but there's no way for it to meaningfully interact with the cowl. There is a very shallow groove on the back side of the cowl, but it's too shallow to stick the knife point into. So the cowl is kind of useless. It's not hollow, so you can't use it as a hand puppet, which I think would be pretty amusing.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

#84: Pop! Television Invader Zim - Gir

I was recently watching through Invader Zim on Netflix Instant, and decided to check out Hot Topic's website for Gir-related merchandise (because where else, really?). Not that I follow the Funko Pop! vinyl line closely (I have a few of them, and they're cool), but I was surprised that there was a Hot Topic exclusive Gir in the line. Fortunately, this is one of the figures proper, and not one of the bobbleheads, so there aren't any issues with the head sitting at a weird angle. His head can turn back and forth, but that's it, which is normal for these figures. Gir's appearance is already a super deformed style, so his translation to the Pop! vinyl style leaves him looking pretty similar. I don't know how common this Gir is in stores, but I discovered him just in time, as he's completely sold out on Hot Topic's webshop. There isn't even a listing for it any more. He's probably still cheaper in the secondary market than the original Invader Zim figures, at least.

"A robot dog, hm? Well, you're no K9, but come along!"
"Tacos tacos tacos!"

Saturday, September 22, 2012

#83: The Dark Knight Rises - Movie Masters Projecting Bat-signal

At last, the Batsignal is complete! It's rare that I'm willing to put in the money to collect all the figures to build the bonus figure, and the Dark Knight Rises Movie Masters line was one of those instances where I was willing to stick it out, as well as fortunate enough to collect all the needed figures. Naturally, batteries are not included, so I had to go to the store and pick up some AAA batteries (it takes 3) before testing this out. It works pretty well! There's a tiny LED bulb that is pretty bright, and the lens does a good job of projecting the bat symbol clearly. The lens itself is curved with the bat symbol printed on, rather than flat with the symbol being a separate piece. Although it is not as movie accurate this way, I think it was made this way for the practical consideration of projecting a proper shadow. There's an on/off switch on the back, but it doesn't actively turn the light on. Instead, there's a little button on the bottom of the signal that activates the light, which stays on for a certain amount of time then turns itself off. I would rather be able to just switch it on and off manually, but oh well. It seems like collecting all the figures for this is a hassle, due to the standard distribution and case pack issues. Maybe they could have sold it separately, or done it as a exclusive, but I'm glad that I have a functioning toy Batsignal for the collection.

Here's the Batsignal in action, in my kitchen. It's hard to properly focus in the dark, so it's a bit sharper than the picture suggests.

Late night meetings

Friday, September 21, 2012

#82: The Dark Knight Rises - Movie Masters GCPD Blake

Like my previous two Dark Knight Rises Movie Masters figures, I was able to find Blake by leaving him on my Amazon wishlist and keeping an eye on it until the price dropped to an acceptable level. Thanks to the magic of the internet, I was able to avoid getting Matteled and being stuck with an incomplete Batsignal. Surprisingly, Mattel opted to forego making a figure of yet another guy in a suit figure for Blake. They could have easily done so and packaged him as a detective (I guess that's a spoiler, but I figure it's not too important a plot point). The legs are the same from the suit body, but the upper body is all new, and it looks pretty good. The jacket is some nice work, and has some detailed paint work that turned out well. It's all tiny detail, but it looks nice and sharp. No accessories here, just a piece of the Batsignal. A gun would have been a good accessory here.

"Budget cuts have forced us to only issue firearms to detectives. Sorry, kid."

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

#81: K'Nex Mario Kart Wii - Donkey Kong

Except for Yoshi and Diddy Kong, which I have no intentions of acquiring, I've got all the K'Nex Mario Kart Wii minifigures. I'm hoping they expand the lineup with Peach and Wario. And Birdo! But for now, Donkey Kong will round out the collection. I'm glad to finally have the Donkey Kong minifigure, because he's such an important part of the Super Mario universe, predating all the Mushroom Kingdom stuff. He's been there from the beginning, throwing barrels at Mario on construction sites. I'm aware that supposedly the original Donkey Kong is Cranky Kong, and this version of Donkey Kong is a different character, but I choose to ignore that. In my head, only one Donkey Kong is necessary. It's great that the K'Nex minifigures all get mostly unique bodies, because all the different body types wouldn't work well for a LEGO style minifigure. So DK gets the short legs and wide body that he needs, complete with slightly hunched posture. Unfortunately, that means his head doesn't turn, but it's not too big a deal for me. Donkey Kong is part of the blindpacked series, but since the pieces are all wrapped in tissue paper within the packaging, using the touch method to identify the figures is a little more difficult than with the LEGO counterparts. Fortunately, there is an easy way of identifying which figure is in each package. Per the OAFE blog post on the subject, there is a series of numbers on the back, and Donkey Kong is in the package with the fifth number underlined. Neat. Happy hunting!

An embarrassing moment at the costume party

Sunday, September 16, 2012

#80: Star Wars - Darth Maul Returns battle pack

I don't remember the last time I actually bought a Star Wars figure anywhere other than online, so this is a nice change. This Target exclusive battle pack has a great character selection. Usually there is at least one figure included that I wouldn't want, but if these figures had been singly carded I would have bought all three.

Remember that comic where Darth Maul shows up on Tatooine, with a robotic lower half of his body to attack Obi-Wan? They made a comic pack for it, so there's already been a robo-legged version of Darth Maul. The Clone Wars cartoon has decided to bring him back with robot legs sooner in the timeline, so that's what we get here. He's pretty cool looking, and his chicken legs are well articulated. He has an interesting play feature that is fortunately built into the accessory, so it's not obtrusive. His lightsaber splits into two pieces which plug into a ring of energy so that the whole thing can spin around (see video below). If you don't like it, Maul can just hold the lightsaber. It's a win-win.

The second figure in the set is a Nightsister, one of the Sith witches of Dathomir. In the show, they are responsible for unleashing Savage Opress upon the galaxy as well as restoring Darth Maul's lower body. The cool thing is that their designs are based on early concept sketches for Darth Maul. This figure doesn't exactly represent anything shown on the cartoon, so it's basically a concept art figure. Cool!

The final figure in the battle pack is the only one that's been released before. There are two versions of Savage Opress in the Clone Wars line. The shirtless version has been re-released at least once and has always been more plentiful. The armored version has always been harder to find, and I was never able to find one, so I'm quite glad to see it re-released for this battle pack. He includes a lightsaber and a huge axe.

It looks like they're still doing that galactic battle game, so there are three stands, a die, and a playing card for each figure included. One of the other nice things about this battle pack is that it's cheaper than the others. The normal price for a battle pack tends to be around 25 bucks, but this one is only 20, like they used to be before all the sudden jumps in pricing. Good deal!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

#79: LEGO Monster Fighters - 30201 Ghost Polybag

Halloween is coming! As with any self respecting holiday, Target has impulse toys in its holiday season. There's a truly bizarre Halloween themed Batman figure, but so far all I've picked up is this Monster Fighters ghost. There's a grandfather clock, but I'm all about getting the ghost minifig without coughing up for one of the larger sets. I had at least one ghost as a kid, and I think it was included with one of the castles. Since getting back into LEGO minifigures, I've been hoping they would release a ghost in one of the blind bagged assortments, but that hasn't happened, and for a dollar more, I get a clock too. The ghost minifig used to have a full LEGO body underneath the sheet, but this version has a block instead of legs, allowing for the ball and chain accessory to be attached. I think that's a cool touch. (Edit: It appears that LEGO ghosts didn't have legs under the sheet until 1997, after which I had stopped collecting. I originally had the ghost from the King's Mountain Fortress set, which did have a block instead of legs.)

Also, it glows in the dark! Alas, this is the only glow in the dark toy in my collection.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

#78: The Avengers - Movie Series Hulk

Yay, Hulk! Since this is a Wal-Mart exclusive, I didn't have very high hopes of ever finding the six inch scale version of the Hulk. When I went to the toy show a few weeks ago, there were people selling Hulks, but mostly for over twice retail price, which I wasn't willing to pay. I figured my best bet would be Ebay, but it's been pretty expensive there as well. Recently I've heard reports that the six inch Avengers figures are starting to show up more plentifully in Walmarts, so I gave Ebay a shot again. Apparently, the rumors are true, because I was able to get a Hulk for a decent price.

One of the first things I noticed about the Hulk, while he was still in the package, is how tall he is. In order to fit in the bubble, he's hunched over, with his legs bent. So he's appropriately giant in comparison with the other figures in the line. He's also not as heavy as I expected. It feels like his chest is hollow, which would help explain that. Overall, there really isn't much to complain about. It's a very good looking figure, and it moves well. The tatters on the pants are well designed to not get in the way of the articulation.


Some variation on this theme is pretty much required for any post about the Hulk when you also have a Loki figure.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

#77: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Leonardo

Since the new toon Ninja Turtles figures have been plentiful since they showed up, I figured I would wait for them to go on sale to round out the team. Since the cartoon premieres later this month, Target has at last put them on sale for the next month or so. Sure, it's only 50 cents off, but it's still cheaper, and they're not terribly overpriced anyway. And yeah, Walmart had them on sale for a lower price a few weeks ago, but I didn't make it to any Walmarts during that window. So hey, Leonardo! He's about the same height as Raph, with lighter skin. Naturally, he comes with his twin katanas. Well, one is longer than the other. I think in the past they have usually been the same size, so this is new. Like all the other Turtles, he comes with a rack of extra weapons, including another, longer sword.

For comparison, here's Leonardo from the early 2000s cartoon toy line.

Friday, September 7, 2012

#76: The Dark Knight Rises - Movie Masters Catwoman

Along with Ra's al Ghul, I was able to get Catwoman from Amazon for a good price. Since I was ordering online, I was worried that I would get the other version of Catwoman. You know how Catwoman's goggles flip up to the top of her head to give her cat ears? Rather than making that something that the figure could do, or giving alternate heads, Mattel went with the option of making variant Catwoman figures to represent the two looks. This is definitely the cooler version, so I'm glad that I lucked out. So, hey, a completely new sculpt! With her crazy heels, I was worried that she would be difficult to stand, but she surprisingly isn't difficult to keep standing. I still haven't seen any figures from the second wave in stores, so I'm glad that Amazon had at least a couple of them for a decent price. Unfortunately, Blake still remains overpriced, so I am keeping an eye out.

One piece left! Blake, where are you?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

#75: The Dark Knight Rises - Movie Masters Ra's Al Ghul

It is kind of amazing how lately Amazon seems to be doing a good job of stocking toys that are impossible to find in stores. By keeping an eye on prices, I was able to get Ra's Al Ghul for slightly less than what he would have cost at a store. Nice! This was the sixth mystery figure for the Dark Knight Rises line, but this is his appearance from Batman Begins, so it wouldn't really have been a spoiler. Naturally, Mattel chose the scene where he's in a suit, so they could reuse the old standby suit body again. I think a League of Shadows ninja training version would have been cooler, but what are you going to do? The likeness of Liam Neeson is for the most part decent enough, although I wonder what they were thinking giving him an open mouth. Is he in the middle of speaking? It's just not very good looking. Aside from the Batsignal piece, Ra's shockingly gets an accessory: his gas mask.

"Master Qui-Gon, you're alive! And so tall! What's with the mask?"
Batsignal progress: 4 of 6 pieces

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