Friday, October 31, 2014

#96: Star Wars The Black Series - Imperial Shadow Squadron

Here is where the Black Series really lives up to its name. The Imperial Shadow Squadron is a Target exclusive black repaint. When the set was announced, there were some rumblings that it would be available for forty dollars as a Black Friday special. Ultimately, it ended up available on Target's website a couple weeks ago, for ten dollars more than the rumored price. Even still, it's a good deal. Perhaps it will still show up as a forty dollar Black Friday exclusive, but that wasn't a risk I wanted to take. The set features a speeder bike with shadow scout and a shadow Stormtrooper commander. I have several of the various shadow troopers in the smaller scale, so this set is right up my alley. Aside from the new color schemes, these are the same toys. The only real difference is that the commander has the sandtrooper shoulder pauldron and belt, which means he can't holster his blaster. The blaster rifles that come with the regular Stormtrooper and sandtrooper are also included.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

#95: LEGO Minifigures Series 12 - Spooky Girl

Compared to previous series, I restrained myself with this one, and the spooky girl is the last minifigure I picked up. She was easy to identify in the packaging by feeling for the teddy bear. Also, the hair piece is made of a softer plastic than I was expecting, but it is something that can be helped to identify her as well.

Here's the bump code for the spooky girl, as seen on the back of the packaging, with the code 421B4 stamped into it.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

#94: LEGO Minifigures Series 12 - Piggy Guy

Were I to only get one minifigure from this series, it would have been the Piggy Guy. It's the person in an animal suit member of this series, and that's one of my favorite themes with these. I found him by feeling for the apple, which is identifiable by touch as the little round piece with a flat protrusion next to the narrow protrusion. I felt for the pig head piece as secondary confirmation. The apple is oddly smooth on the bottom, lacking a socket for a LEGO stud to plug into.

Here's the bump code for the Piggy guy, as seen from the back of the package, with the code 421B4 stamped on it.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

#93: LEGO Minifigures Series 12- Wizard

LEGO minifigures are back! Thankfully, the pace at which these series of blindpacked minifigures has slowed down enough that I was ready for more this time around. I opted to get the wizard because it's a cool archetype, and it's very much a cliche wizard design. His staff is in three pieces. I really dig his cape and collar combo, which is made from two pieces of soft goods. There is a shiny silver star pattern printed on it as well. Finding him is pretty easy by feeling for the skirt piece. To make sure I wasn't getting the princess, I made sure to also feel for the pieces that form his staff.

For the bump code, here it is as it appears on the back of the package, with the code 421B4 stamped into it.

Monday, October 27, 2014

#92: Star Wars The Black Series - Chewbacca

Rounding out the latest group of Black Series figures is everyone's favorite Wookiee, Chewbacca. Not surprisingly, he's super tall. Groot is only about an inch taller. Not bad for a non-BAF. For accessories, Chewie includes his bowcaster, plus his bandolier/satchel is a separate piece. Chewie's face is sculpted in mid-roar, which seems pretty typical for his figures. The paint does a good job of picking out the differently shaded areas of his coat. I don't really have a lot to say, but this is a very cool Chewbacca figure.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

#91: Star Wars The Black Series - Luke Skywalker

As I've mentioned on every other post involving Luke Skywalker, Return of the Jedi was the first Star Wars movie I watched, so that version of Luke has always been my favorite. Trying to keep character repeats to a minimum for the new scale, I held off on getting a Luke until this version was released. This has the usual Black Series articulation, which is well done. Although it would be nice if the elbows bent a little more.

Like previous Lukes in the smaller scale, there is an alternate chest piece that can be swapped out if you'd prefer to display Luke with the flap of his tunic fastened or not. The lightsaber has a removable hilt, but instead of having a peg that plugs into the belt like usual, this one has a loop that hangs from a hook on the belt. I think this is the first time I've seen a lightsaber toy that attaches that way.

Friday, October 24, 2014

#90: Star Wars The Black Series - Darth Vader

I'm not surprised by it, but it sure is weird seeing "Disney" on my Star Wars toys packaging. Either way, a few waves into the line and we finally have one of the heavy hitters of the franchise, Darth Vader himself. Before he was released, I was curious to see if his capes could be soft goods or not. They have been for years on the smaller scale figure, but there has been the occasional plastic one on other figures. Hasbro went with soft goods, and it turned out really well. It's a bit thicker material than usual, and there's a little extra fabric on the corners, helping to give it some extra weight so the cape rests a little more realistically.

Vader's helmet is removable; there are two pieces, the outer helmet and the mask. The likeness underneath is pretty decent, and it's Sebastian Shaw, so you know it's Return of the Jedi, and not a prequel Vader. Vader's lightsaber is also, of course, included. It has a removable blade, but it doesn't look like there's a way to attach the hilt to his belt.

For the most part, the articulation is pretty great. Unfortunately, the shoulders restrict the arms from moving up laterally. Also, the elbows can't bend as deeply as I'd like. So Vader's not going to really be putting his hands on his hips. Overall though, it's a pretty cool Vader figure.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

#89: Assassin's Creed - Aveline de Grandpré (Assassin's Creed Liberation)

Along with Adéwale, I picked up Aveline de Grandpré, star of Assassin's Creed Liberation. This is the only game of the series I haven't played so far (not counting the various handheld/mobile/Facebook games). It was originally released for the Sony portable console, but was given an HD upgrade for consoles, which I plan to play in the future. For me, one of the most striking features of Aveline's design is that she is not wearing a traditional Assassin hood. Rather, she has a tricorn that fits low over her face, helping to conceal it somewhat. It's even removable. McFarlane is definitely good at detail work, as the sculpt is very well done, with a lot of paint. It's a good looking figure, to be sure. Aveline has the typical hidden blade (both extended and retracted), a flintlock pistol, a big knife, what I think is a blowgun, and a whip. Aside from being a good action figure, Aveline is interesting in that she's a woman of color, which is unusual enough as a video game protagonist, but is also fairly unusual as an action figure.

Monday, October 20, 2014

#88: Assassin's Creed - Adéwale (Assassin's Creed IV - Freedom Cry)

A couple weeks ago, I was surprised to find an endcap at Target with a bunch of Funko product, as well as a couple pegs of McFarlane figures as well. This was pretty soon after I had decided I wanted to collect all the playable assassins from the Assassin's Creed games, so this was good timing as I had been eying the latest wave online. In Assassin's Creed IV, Adéwale is Edward Kenway's first mate aboard the Jackdaw. He was one of a few characters that helped provide a conscience for Edward, but it wasn't until the Freedom Cry DLC that he became a playable character. This figure is based on the DLC, after Adé has joined the Assassins. He's armed with the typical hidden blades (with both extended and retracted versions of the blades), a blow gun, a blunderbuss, and a machete. Those last three weapons can be stowed on his back. The story of Freedom Cry involves Adé helping out in freeing slaves from plantations, so presumably that is why he includes shackles as well.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

#87: Transformers Generations - Jetfire

A few years ago, Hasbro released a Jetfire in the classics lineup, but it was not an easy toy to find. So I missed out. I had hoped that they would eventually re-release it, but that never happened, even after the movie version of the character showed up. Finally the powers that be decided to just go all out and do an all new version (an upcoming remold as Thundercracker has already been announced). In a somewhat controversial move, Jetfire's accessories are all chromed red plastic. Aesthetically, I do think it looks cool if a bit garish, but there is the potential for flaking in the future.

Of course, those chromed pieces are all removable. It's a pretty cool looking jet, as long as you ignore the legs on the underside, which make the lower body of the jet really wide towards the back. The wings fold in or out, F-14 style.

For a Leader class figure, it seems like the transformation scheme is a bit easy. While overall the robot mode is pretty cool looking, the cockpit and nosecone for the jet are merely hanging off the back. This is one of those toys where the chest looks like a cockpit, but isn't. If you choose to have all the chromed pieces off the robot, they can (with the exception of the boosters) combine into a big gun.

Jetfire has a removable mask, so you can decide whether you prefer his helmeted or bare faced look better. He's a bit on the pricy side, and feels kind of lightweight, but is generally pretty cool. If I had the classics version, I'd be content to skip this version. But since I don't, this is a cool addition to the collection, especially as a character I've never had a toy for.

Friday, October 17, 2014

#86: Assassin's Creed - Connor (Assassin's Creed III)

I have the Edward Kenway figure from Assassin's Creed IV already, but then I found out that McFarlane is going to make an Ezio and an Altair. I wasn't into Assassin's Creed when NECA was making figures, so hearing that those two will be getting the figure treatment again made me want to get a figure of all the main assassins. So first that meant getting Connor from AC III, which is the first AC game I actually played. Connor is pretty well armed, as befits an assassin. He's got two flintlock pistols, a bow (with an elastic string), his trusty hatchet, and the trademark hidden blade. The face isn't the greatest likeness of the in game render, so it's good that the hood helps cover it and keep it in shadow.
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