Tuesday, December 31, 2013

#95: Star Wars The Vintage Collection - Slave I

Ever since Hasbro revisited the Millennium Falcon with the BMF, I've been waiting for an update to Boba Fett's ship, the Slave I. I've always like the ship, in part because it's just so weird looking. Unique is a word that I think can be fairly used to describe its design. Hasbro finally did do a completely new Slave I, but it was in a huge battle pack, and in a prequel era paint job. I passed on that, assuming that Hasbro would release it as a repaint in its original trilogy color scheme. They did just that, and as an Amazon exclusive. Its normal asking price of 70 dollars was a bit too much for my tastes, but around Christmas time the price started going up and down. Finally I decided to bite when it was half off.

The new Slave I is definitely an improvement over the Power of the Force version I had years ago, and its most immediate improvement is size. Increased size means it's better in scale and proportion than the older version. There are also more gimmicks and play features.

The loading ramp unfolds and extends to make a walkway. The side panel lifts up, revealing room for figures to stand inside the ship. There is a bounty holding cell that fits into a compartment in the ship's tail. The tail guns have launching missiles. There are a couple of bombs (sonic charges as seen in Attack of the Clones?) that fit in the bottom of the ship, and can be dropped with a button along the side.

The front end of Slave I flips up to reveal the cockpit, which oddly has seating for three figures. One of the cool features here is that when the ship is rotated, the cockpit seating automatically rotates to match the ship's orientation. The wings are supposed to do so as well, but the spring holding them in place is too strong, so they stay in the landing position. From what I've heard, it's a fairly easy fix to replace the spring with one from a ballpoint pen. Showing that Hasbro was planning ahead when they made the new Slave I, there is a slot near the cockpit which fits its most famous piece of cargo.

Included with Slave I is Han Solo encased in a slab of carbonite. It is too thin and short compared to a figure to be properly sized, but the same could be said of the PoTF version as well. In either case, it is a cool bonus, and nice accessory for the ship.

Also of note is that Slave I comes packaged in some nice vintage styled packaging. I'm not one of the people that keeps packaging, but it is something I an appreciate for looking cool.

Monday, December 30, 2013

#94: Star Wars - Princess Leia

The final Christmas gift of the year, again from friend of the blog AJ, this is Princess Leia in her Bespin outfit. This is from the wave featuring an old, unused, design for cards which ended up being basically an online exclusive wave. It's a cool look, but I don't usually keep packaging, so it's only of momentary interest. I'm not sure if they made a version of this Leia during the 90s run, but this is the first figure I've had in the outfit. It's got fairly standard Star Wars articulation, and the skirt isn't too restrictive of the legs. Probably the coolest part of the figure is the patterning printed on the robe. Leia's only accessory is a Stormtrooper blaster. As Carrie Fisher is a short woman, the figure is appropriately small compared to the other figures in the line.

Power couple

Sunday, December 29, 2013

#93: Batman Unlimited - Vampire Batman

Continuing with Christmas gifts, here's another from friend of the blog AJ, Vampire Batman. This is one of those figures that I like, but would never have bought for myself, so it was perfect for a gift. I believe it's mostly a reuse of the Deadman body, so he's skinny (for a superhero) and slightly dessicated looking, plus he's got double hinge elbows as well as wrists with swivel-hinges. The coolest part about the figure is the addition of bat wings. It's totally ridiculous, yes, but they do add an interesting touch. They are unattached in the package and plug into his back and function as swivel joints. The holes they plug into are a little hard to get into because the cape gets in the way, so I won't be removing and replacing them. He also comes with a bat-stake.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

#92: The Walking Dead - Riot Gear Zombie

This gift from friend of the blog James is a companion piece to my other Walking Dead figure. In fact, they are pretty much the same figure. The riot gear zombie features a flip-up visor and knife, as the packaging promotes. The visor does indeed flip up, and there is indeed a knife. Embedded in the zombie's head. The knife is removable and goes into the head deeper than I would have expected from looking at it. Pretty cool and gruesome accessory there. As far as I can tell, with one exception this figure is exactly the same from the neck down as the other Walking Dead zombie I have. The exception is the body armor which has a different pattern on the back, and some straps hanging off of the shoulders. This one also has less blood covering the chest. So, same great articulation. Perfect for zombie shambling poses.

Friday, December 27, 2013

#91: Avengers Assemble - Inferno Cannon Black Widow

Another Christmas gift from friend of the blog AJ, here's the recent comic style Black Widow figure from the Avengers Assemble line. Marvel Universe is still going, so I'm not entirely sure what the point of this line is. But hey, it's a vastly improved comic version of Black Widow. The Marvel Universe version was pretty disappointing. This version is mostly based on the movie figure, but basically with a new head and belt. So it's a well articulated figure. There's minimal paint to worry about. Perhaps the point of this line is to be more kid friendly, as Black Widow's accessory is a big projectile launching cannon, which includes two missiles. I would have preferred a couple of pistols or something. She's getting MU Black Widow's assault rifle.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

#90: Pacific Rim - Gipsy Danger and Knifehead

I never got around to buying any Pacific Rim figures, but having recently bought a copy of the movie, and the announcement that a Cherno Alpha figure is forthcoming, I've been wishing that I had. Since the original figures are out of print, so to speak, NECA has re-released Gipsy Danger with Knifehead as a two pack, which I received for Christmas. This isn't the newer Gipsy Danger which features the cool swords, but it looks like she's got a more dirtied up paint job than the original release. Gipsy is looking good, but the articulation is not up to some of NECA's other lines. The arms and the hips especially would benefit from a wider range of motion in their joints.

Knifehead is way too short. The articulation is even less impressive here. The small set of arms is completely unarticulated, and the other arms and legs could have benefitted from some ball joints. The jaw can open and close, which is cool. But it's very cool looking, in spite of all that.

More awkward than my junior high dances

Monday, December 23, 2013

#89: Transformers Generations - Hoist

Fun fact: Amazon has recently raised the minimum order amount required to receive free shipping to $35. I was ordering something for $34.99. Fortunately, the month before Christmas tends to be a great time for ordering toys from Amazon, and Hoist was only five dollars, which was less than paying for shipping would have cost. I've seen Hoist on the pegs before, and I have always been somewhat tempted to get him, largely due to the fact that his altmode is a tow truck. I don't have any particular interest in tow trucks, but I like it as an altmode for an Autobot, as it's not something flashy and it seems like it would be a good disguise. So getting him for five dollars was a very cool bonus.

Hoist isn't a character I'm familiar with, so the included comic book provides some useful insight into the character. He's an Autobot equivalent of a blue collar worker. An everyday guy who isn't flashy, taking life one day at a time. Robot mode is pretty cool looking. Mostly green with some grey and orange highlights.

The transformation is pretty easy, and has a fun feature that I haven't seen used before, with the way that the arms flip out, neatly putting the tires into the torso. As a tow truck, Hoist looks more like some sort of flatbed SUV. The towing arm folds up into a gun for robot mode. There are a few different 5mm ports throughout, so the towing arm can be moved around, or other weapons can be affixed to him.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

#88: Star Wars The Black Series - Mara Jade

Mara Jade has been one of the last few characters I've been looking to add to my Star Wars collection. Until the new movies start coming out, I might not purchase another Star Wars figure in this scale. Fortunately, she turned out pretty well, for the most part. That hair. It's just too big. It's like something out of an 80s heavy metal music video. I've seen pictures of head swapping with Black Widow figures which turn out well, so if I can get a cheap one loose, I may give that a shot. Otherwise, it's a pretty standard Star Wars figure in terms of articulation and looks. Mara includes an ignited lightsaber and a hilt which can hang from her belt, as well as a blaster and a holster which can fit on different spots on her belt. I had trouble with the holster falling off of the hip position on the belt, but it stays in place on the back.

Not the best first date

Saturday, December 21, 2013

#87: G.I. Joe Retaliation - Budo Samurai Warrior

If G.I. Joe is going to employ a bunch of ninja, as well as a bunch of other assorted goofballs, they might as well have a guy with samurai armor, right? So here's Budo, whose character I'm not at all familiar with. But it's a guy in samurai armor, and that's pretty cool. Also, he's originally from Sacramento, which is probably the closest I'm getting to having the same home town as a Joe. While all the armor does look cool, it is pretty restrictive of his articulation below the waist. It appears that the armor is removable, but it looks like it would be a big hassle to get off and back on, so I'm just going to be leaving it as is. For accessories, Budo has a couple of differently sized swords, a badass looking removable helmet, and a blank dog tag stand. The helmet doesn't fit on super tight, but it stays on. He's a pretty cool looking figure, but his skin tone is a fairly cringe-worthy shade, so the helmet is definitely staying on.

Samurai style

Friday, December 20, 2013

#86: Thor The Dark World - Loki

Thor hasn't been quite the breakout star that Iron Man has been, and Thor: The Dark World correspondingly has a much scaled down toy line to accompany it. In fact, these toys barely have a presence in stores at all, my local Target isn't carrying the figures at all. Naturally, I am down for a new Loki figure, so I ordered it on Black Friday from Hasbrotoyshop.com for a good price. Loki maintains the trend of movie figures not being as fully articulated as figures from the sister Marvel Universe line, so Loki has no ankles or wrists. Befitting his more humble circumstances in this movie, rather than a grand staff, Loki's weapon is a dagger.

Loki also includes a couple of other daggers that are too thick to fit very well in his open hand, and he doesn't really have anywhere to store them.

"This is for Alderaan!"

Monday, December 9, 2013

#85: Star Wars The Black Series - R2-D2

While R2-D2 is an important character, I wasn't sure I wanted to spend 20 bucks on him. Fortunately, I was doing some gift shopping online, and he was available for half price. I'm glad I got him, because he turned out pretty well. There was some grumbling about the paint job when production sample photos started showing up but I don't have any complaints. Articulation is exactly what you would expect from an Artoo figure.

There are three panels on top of Artoo's dome that pop off, and three corresponding attachments that can be used. There is his life form sensing scanner, his eye scope, and Luke's lightsaber.

On Artoo's lower body, there are a couple panels that can open, and his computer interface arm or his grabbing arm can be extended. The panels on the side of his legs can also be replaced with his booster rockets. The third leg is lowered and raised by rotating his dome, a feature familiar to long time Star Wars figure collectors.

While I was originally hesitant about getting this figure, I'm glad I did, as he turned out to be more fun than I anticipated. He has a lot more presence sitting on my desk than smaller sized Artoo figures do.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

#84: Minecraft - Creeper

Thankfully Target restocked their Minecraft figures section, so I was able to pick up the Creeper figure. Of the various Minecraft mobs, it is the most iconic, and the figure I most wanted. It's a fairly simple design, so the figure accurately follows suit and it fairly simple itself. The head rotates and the legs are on swivels.

For accessories, the Creeper comes with a piece of gunpowder, which Creepers are known to leave behind after being killed, and a TNT block. Very appropriate.

Friday, November 29, 2013

#83: Star Wars The Black Series - Han Solo

The coolest smuggler in the galaxy has made the jump to the six inch Black Series, and I'm going to suggest that it is the best Han Solo figure Hasbro has made to date. This is Han in what is probably his most iconic look, his outfit from the original Star Wars. The Harrison Ford likeness has been all over the place through the years, and this one turned out decently enough. It's definitely better from some angles, but it's there. For accessories, Han includes his trusty blaster, and a removable gun belt.

Swappable hands are fairly uncommon in domestic mass market releases, but Han gets an extra pair sporting his piloting gloves.

His other accessories are a Stormtrooper blaster and a removable Stormtrooper belt with holster. The use of accessories for Han is pretty great, as it allows for display in various scene specific looks, without having to buy a new figure whose only difference is a pair of gloves. Also, I would like to point out that the Correllian bloodstripes on Han's pants are sculpted on. It's still amazing to get six inch figures with so much unique tooling.

"I don't remember the cockpit being so small."

While my favorite look for Han is his outfit from Empire Strikes Back with the blue jacket, I'm glad I didn't wait for it and got this figure. This is making me really look forward to the upcoming Chewbacca figure.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

#82: Star Wars The Black Series - Boba Fett

Boba Fett was the first Star Wars Black figure, but only available as a San Diego Comic Con Exclusive. Fortunately, Hasbro didn't keep the rest of us waiting too long, and he was included in the second series of figures. Hasbro has been impressing with their foray into six inch Star Wars figures, and Boba Fett keeps that going. While I'm sure there is an eye towards tooling reuse, it is refreshing to see figures in this scale with so much unique tooling. It's a great sculpt, with generous paint apps. For accessories, Boba Fett includes a blaster pistol, a blaster rifle, and the jetpack is removable. The pouches on the front of the belt do somewhat block forward movement on the legs, but it's not too terrible, and the belt can be somewhat repositioned. I really can't wait to see how the Black Series Darth Vader turns out.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

#81: DC Universe Signature Collection - Ra's al Ghul

After having made a couple Liam Neeson figures, Mattel finally decided to get around to making the comic book version of Ra's al Ghul. Unfortunately, it was part of the online only line, so it's double the price of a retail figure after shipping. Mattel loves reusing the old suit body, so here it is again. Ra's gets a new headsculpt, of course, as well as a new cape, and a scimitar. Paint is pretty minimal, restricted mostly to the head and chest. For the most part it looks good, although it is a little off on his facial hair. Articulation is exactly the same as it has been on every other use of the suit body.

Really, they should be shirtless.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

#80: Minecraft - Overworld Zombie

I guess Minecraft has finally achieved enough mainstream success that it has a toy line that is available at more than just online outlets. Thanks to the simplistic style of graphics in the game, the zombie is a spot on representation of the game model. Articulation is fairly limited, but that is an accurate representation of how the zombies are able to move in the game. The head, shoulders, and legs are all swviel joints. In fact, I think the toy might have more articulation than in the game: a waist swivel.

Although the zombies in the game aren't armed, preferring hand to hand combat, the figure includes a sword. I think the Steve figure comes with a pickaxe, so this would be useful for arming him against the various mobs of the Minecraft world. In either case, the zombie is fully capable of holding the sword. The hand is shaped perfectly to accommodate the pixelated shape of the sword's hilt, and it fits snugly.

The zombie's other accessory is a block of iron ore.

The Minecraft figures are a bit pricy at ten dollars each, so at least they get a couple accessories each. For fans of the game, these are definitely cool to have.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

#79: Batman Unlimited - Batman (Arkham Origins)

Despite being a fan of Batman in general, and the Arkham series video games specifically, I never bought any of the Batman figures based on the previous games. I knew that DC Collectibles had a line for Arkham Origins, but the Mattel figures based on the game were a surprise, showing up around the same time as the game's release. It's a pretty solid representation of Batman as he appears in the game. The cape is billowing dramatically, perhaps from the wind, or perhaps he's coming out of a glide to swoop in on some unsuspecting goon. The cape is a fairly soft plastic, but it's massive enough to throw off Batman's balance and make him a bit back heavy. Articulation isn't the DCUC standard. Instead of bicep swivels and hinge elbows, Batman gets swivel/hinge elbows. He also gets double hinged knees, and the head can actually look up or down. Although the array of gadgets is one of the aspects of the game that really helps it feel like you are Batman, the figure has no accessories at all.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

#78: Hot Wheels - Bump Around

Usually I restrict my Hot Wheels purchases to representations of pop culture vehicles, other oddities, or cars I happen to particularly like. The Bump Around definitely falls into the category of oddities. It's a bumper car! With wheels. I'm not sure if it's meant to be a car that looks like a bumper car, or a bumper car that has wheels so that it lives up to the toy line's name. Either way, it's pretty cool. It even includes the pole on the back that touches the ceiling of the ride, helping give the car its power. The packaging identifies Bump Around as part of the HW Racing grouping, and is numbered 145/250.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

#77: The Walking Dead - Gas Mask Riot Gear Zombie

Rounding out the month of October, for Halloween, here's a thematically appropriate action figure: a Walking Dead zombie. There are figures based on the TV show, and some based on the comic. This is one of the TV figures. I'm way behind on the show, but I've been reading the comic, so although I was aware of the figures, I wasn't too interested until I saw them in person. The look of the zombie in riot gear was just too cool to pass up. It's been a long time since I last bought a McFarlane Toys figure, and I am glad to see that this is a well done toy. It's well articulated, but not super articulated. Most of the paint is on the head and chest (looks like someone vomited all over himself). Zombies aren't really known for using weapons, so he doesn't come with any accessories. Well, there is an action feature, of sorts...

A tear away face! The whole portion of his face covered by the gas mask is detachable, revealing a pretty gruesome fleshless face. Now that is an action feature I can dig.

All my zombies

#76: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - M.O.U.S.E.R.S.

Finally, I get some antagonist figures for the turtles to fight. The M.O.U.S.E.R.S. come in a pack of seven, and they are pretty cool. There are three grey Mousers, two in a darker grey, and two in black, which helps give some variety to the otherwise almost identical figures. They all have a red spot for their optical sensors, and the black Mousers have a bit of red on the ridges inside of their mouths, which is the only other way they are different from the others. Their legs are on swivels, their necks are ball joints, and their jaws are swivels as well. You can get a surprisingly good amount of posing out of them. The Mousers are pretty simple toys, but they're fun, and it's good to have them in numbers to swarm the turtles. I'm definitely thinking about picking up a second pack if I run across them again soon.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

#75: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Ninjas In Training Raphael & Michelangelo

After being surprised to find the young Leonardo and Donatello set I've been keeping an eye out for the companion Raphael and Michelangelo set. They are basically the same style, with four points of articulation and wooden weapons. I still wish the figures had at least swivel wrists, as that would give posing their arms a lot more options. They do have good personality. Raphael looks aggressive, and Michelangelo looks high. Interestingly, the notch on Raphael's chest is present, indicating that he received it a young age.

Group shot

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