#0364: Charles Xavier & Bone Claws Wolverine

CHARLES XAVIER & BONE CLAWS WOLVERINE

MARVEL MINIMATES

Xavier&Wolverine1

That’s right, I’m squeezing in one more Minimates review before the big One Year stuff tomorrow. Have to boost those Minimate numbers! Once again we dive into the world of Marvel’s Merry Mutants with another set based on this year’s X-Men: Days of Future Past, a film that really brought the X-Men back to where they should be, in my opinion. Today, it’s another set of characters from the film’s 70s timeline: Charles Xavier & Wolverine!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Charlse Xavier and Bone Claws Wolverine are a two-pack from the 58th series of Marvel Minimates. The series is based on the film version of Days of Future Past, so these two hail from the movie.

CHARLES XAVIER

Xavier&Wolverine2In Days of Future Past’s 1970s timeline, Charles Xavier has yet to become the man we all know as Professor X. He was on his way at the end of First Class, but it seems he got lost along the way. Charles’s return to his cause is a key part of the movie, and Charles essentially serves as the movies main protagonist, so his inclusion here is essential. This figure is based on the young Charles, who is probably the more important of the two, story-wise. Charles is about 2 ½ inches tall (standing) and he features 14 points of articulation. The figure is based on Charles’s look from around the mid-point of the film, right as he starts to return to being the man we’re all used to seeing. What’s key is that it’s a look he has both while walking around and in the chair, which makes the figure a bit more versatile. The figure was built on the standard Minimate body, with add-ons for his hair and jacket. The hair is re-used from the Thor movie Civilian Thor, but the jacket appears to be a new piece. Both pieces look good. The hair isn’t spot-on for Xavier in the movie, but it’s not far off. The paint on Xavier is pretty good overall. Some of the colors seem a bit off, most notably the hair, which seems too red, and the coat which just seems too light. The likeness on the face also seems to be a bit off, which is a shame, because the First Class Xavier nailed it. On the plus side, everything is clean, and the details on the funky 70s shirt are really awesome. Xavier includes his wheelchair and a clear display stand. The wheelchair is the key accessory; it most clearly shows Xavier’s return to his proper path when he goes back to the chair. So, it’s pretty important to get it right. It’s an all new sculpt and it’s a spectacular recreation of the chair from the movie, so kudos to DST.

BONE CLAWS WOLVERINE

Xavier&Wolverine3In the film version of Days of Future Past, Wolverine takes Kitty Pryde’s place as the X-Man sent back in time to prevent the bad future. This places him in the lead role for the first half an hour or so of the film, but once Wolverine tracks down Xavier, he takes a back seat to the rest of the cast, and he’s even mostly absent from the climactic battle. Still, he’s an important character, and he’s freaking Wolverine, so it’s no surprise to see him here. Wolverine is about 2 ½ inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation. He’s based on Wolverine’s look from the 70s timeline. As the figure’s title denotes, one of the changes with past Wolverine is the presence of his “bone claws.” Wolverine makes use of the basic Minimate body, with sculpted parts for his hair, jacket and hands. The hair and hands are re-use from the Series 52 Wolverine, which is sensible, seeing as that was the last movie Wolverine. The jacket is new to this figure, and it looks like a pretty great match to his jacket from the movie. The paint work on Wolverine is great apart from one small issue. He had a bit of stuck paint on his left knee joint, which ended up leaving a patch of unpainted plastic on the knee. It’s only noticeable if you have the knee in deeper poses, so it isn’t too bad. Apart from that, the Jackman likeness is the best one we’ve seen so far, and the work on the shirt and belt is incredible. Wolverine includes a spare torso, arms, and hands, as well as a clear display stand. The spare pieces depict Wolverine shirtless (because why not) and they feature some great detail work, right down to the bullet wounds Logan receives right after arriving in the 70s.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

While I was able to get Magneto and Mystique from my local comicbook store, they had sold out of this set. Fortunately, I was able to get a set from the always awesome Luke’s Toy Store. Admittedly, this is a set I wasn’t really thrilled by at first. Charles seemed kind of boring, and I didn’t feel I needed yet another Wolverine. After seeing the movie, my opinion changed, and seeing packaged shots of the set completely pushed me over the edge. While it’s not as good a set as Magneto and Mystique, it’s still a pretty solid set of Minimates. Xavier’s worth it for the chair alone, and Wolverine is the best movie version of the character yet!

#0363: ATAX

ATAX

ALIENS (KENNER)

Atax

Since Kenner’s Aliens line was originally based on the cancelled Operation: Aliens cartoon, the line did some experimenting with the property. One of the most famous things was adding more diversity to the designs of the Xenomorphs, but one of the other areas that showed some changes was the characters who made up the group of Colonial Marines that faced off against the aliens. While mainstays like Ripley, Hicks, and Bishop remained, a couple of the marines were replaced by characters such as ATAX (which stood for “Alien Tactical Advantage Explorer”), the figure I’ll be looking at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

AtaxWilsonATAX was part of the second assortment of Aliens figures. The figure is 5 inches tall and features 5 points of articulation. ATAX is one of the marines without a movie counterpart, so presumably his design is based on something from the cartoon. ATAX’s sculpt was unique to him. It’s a pretty solid sculpt, though he does seem a little large-headed. The details in the sculpt are all very well handled, which is really great. ATAX has a more Xeno-inspired look, which certainly makes him stand out amongst the Marines. The paintwork on ATAX is pretty great. It’s better than what we saw on Apone, and this figure has less of a reliance on the decals and such. ATAX’s figure is largely dependent on his accessories, which sadly my figure is lacking. His deal is that he’s supposed to be some sort of an infiltration specialist, so he included several clip on armor pieces to allow him to disguise himself as a Xeno. It’s certainly a unique idea, but seeing as there is never any evidence in the movies that the Xenos recognize each other by sight, I have to wonder just how successful ATAX will be in his infiltration. Maybe that’s why we didn’t see him in the movie…

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When I first got into the Aliens line (which was somewhere around the early 2000s, roughly 10 years after it ended), I was mostly focused on just getting characters from the movie. So, ATAX was kind of below my radar. However, when I came across a few Aliens figures while browsing Yesterday’s Fun, ATAX was amongst them and I just couldn’t say no. He’s a goofy figure to be sure, but he’s actually quite well done. I imagine he’d be even better if he had all his pieces…

#0362: Sgt Apone

SGT APONE

ALIENS (KENNER)

Apone

In the 80s and 90s, it wasn’t uncommon for toy companies to get the rights to movies that were a bit outside of the target audience for… toys. Things like Rambo, Robocop, and Terminator 2, all very definitely aimed at adults, were treated to their very own lines of action figures very clearly aimed at kids. Kenner’s Aliens looks like this at first glance, but in actuality they were meant to tie in with Operation: Aliens, a proposed Saturday-morning cartoon based on the 1986 film. When plans for the cartoon were scrapped, Kenner was left with lots of already produced merchandise, leading to them rebranding the line as just Aliens. The Marines offered in the line were based on those that would have been the characters in the cartoon, which means some of them weren’t from the movie. However, a fair number of movie characters made it through, including Sgt. Apone, who I’ll be looking at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

AponeWilsonApone was released in the first series of Aliens figures. The figure is 5 inches tall and features 6 points of articulation. Unlike the previously reviewed Ripley, Apone’s design doesn’t have much in common with his movie counterpart. Admittedly, the face does look a bit like Al Matthews, which is nice to see. The rest of the figure is very clearly meant to be based on the Apone design from the failed cartoon. At the very least, it’s an interesting design. The sculpt manages to make it look pretty good. There’s a lot of detail work, especially in the armored pieces on his arm and shoulders, but then there are large areas on his lower half with virtually no detail at all. It’s a mixed look. The paint on Apone is decent, if a bit basic. There are a few fuzzy lines, but nothing too bad. With the exception of the “No Bugs” written on his t-shirt, the rest of the little touches are actually decals, not paint. Apone included some sort of rocket launcher accessory, but I bought mine loose, so he never had whatever it was.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Aliens figures were released in 1992.  That’s actually within my lifetime, but just barely. Needless to say, I wasn’t buying action figures at less than one, so I didn’t start getting the Aliens figures until much later. Apone is one of the last additions to that set; I didn’t get him until just this summer. I picked Apone up from Yesterday’s Fun, while on vacation with my family. Apone is one of the characters who changed the much for this line, but he’s not a bad figure.

#0361: Green Alien

GREEN ALIEN

STELLAR FORCE (CHAP MEI)

GreenAlienIn the collecting world, and in any promising business for that matter, there are always bound to be imitators. A common form is a straight rip off, something like the bootleg LEGOs I looked at a few months ago. However, the imitator isn’t always that blatant. Sometimes, they’ll just make a product that, while easily confused with the real thing, is a completely different item from a legal standpoint. No molds are stolen, no copyrights infringed. Such is the case with Stellar Force, a toyline from the early 90s, made by Chap Mei. The line had a few different components, but one of them was a bunch of monsters that could easily be mistaken for one of the Xenomorphs from Kenner’s popular Aliens line.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

GreenAlienWilsonI don’t know much about this figure, other than the fact that it was part of the Stellar Force line by Chap Mei. The only name I’ve been able to find for it is “Green Alien,” but that’s probably more of a descriptive term than an official figure name. The figure is about 4 ½ inches tall and it’s only articulation is a ball jointed neck. From what I’ve been able to find, the figure was part of a selection of similar aliens, all using the same sculpt. The sculpt is actually not bad. It seems to ape the Kenner aesthetic from the 90s, and it does it pretty well. It’s not anything revolutionary, but for a figure that was most likely a dollar store figure, it’s quite good. It doesn’t have the softer features usually seen with such figures, so that’s pretty good. The figure’s paintwork continues the theme of being better than expected. It’s actually pretty clean, and there are even some areas of dry brushing to accent the sculpt. The figure also has a vac metalized spine and ribs, which are actually pretty cool. As far as I know, this figure didn’t include any accessories.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, you know how these figures were designed to confuse people into buying them instead of something else? Yeah, that’s what happened to me with this figure. While I was on vacation this summer, I visited Yesterday’s Fun, a really cool used toy store in Delaware. They had a selection of Kenner Aliens figures for low prices, so I pretty much just grabbed the lot, assuming this figure was one of the authentic Aliens. It wasn’t until I got home that I realized what he actually was. Seems Chap Mei fooled me! Honestly, it’s actually a pretty good substitute for the real deal, so I’m not disappointed.

#0360: Iceman, Bobby Drake, & Sentinel(s)

ICEMAN, BOBBY DRAKE, & SENTINEL(S)

MARVEL MINIMATES

Icemen&Sentinels1

Of all the original X-Men, Bobby Drake, aka Iceman, is probably the most straight forward. It’s all there in the name. He’s a guy who does stuff with ice. That’s pretty simple. Interestingly enough, he was also one of the first X-Men to make it big, thanks to his role as one of the titular friends in Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends. He’s often looked at as rather goofy, but he’s actually got one of the more impressive power sets on the team. Anyway, Bobby has distinctive looks for his powered up and powered down forms, and it’s rare to see the powered down form in the toy world. Diamond is using their recent All-New X-Men themed wave to break convention and give us both versions of him, as well as one of those wacky, purple, mutant-hunting robots, the Sentinels.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These figures were released in Series 59 of Marvel Minimates. Each of the Icemen was packed with a Sentinel, with the iced-up version being the more plentiful version and Bobby Drake being the one-per-case variant for this series.

ICEMAN

Icemen&Sentinels2Iceman pretty much breaks even on the whole “All-New” thing. Bobby really hasn’t had much happen to him since the early days of the X-Men, so his character has remained relatively the same. Still, you can’t bring all but one of the original X-Men forward in time; they’re kind of a package deal. Iceman is about 2 ½ inches tall and he’s got 14 points of articulation. He’s in his iced-up form, but you can make out most of his Immomen-designed costume. Iceman is a “vanilla ‘mate,” which means he’s built out of the standard Minimate body with no other add-ons. It’s not really a surprise, since that’s in line with the design. This means the figure is entirely reliant on the paint. The good thing here is that Iceman easily has the cleanest paintwork in the series. He’s molded in solid white plastic, which is a departure from the usual semi-transparent plastic we’ve seen on previous figures. I think I like it better because the detail lines stand out much better. The detail work is really great, with all the proper line work for his uniform, as well as some additional texturing to really sell the ice look. Iceman includes an ice blast, an ice sled, and a clear display stand. Both of the ice structures are new to this figure, and they look really great, sculpt wise. The ice sled is a piece I’ve been waiting to see for quite some time now.  However, the pieces are a little bit yellowed, which doesn’t seem right.

BOBBY DRAKE

Icemen&Sentinels3Ah, yes, the illusive Bobby Drake. So, this is what Iceman looks like powered down. How about that? Like his icy incarnation, Bobby is about 2 ½ inches tall and features 14 points of articulation. He’s completely powered down, allowing you to see his All-New X-Men uniform in full detail. Bobby makes use of the standard Minimate body with one sculpted addition: his hair. Now, here’s where things get interesting. Bobby’s hair is a re-use of the T2 Kyle Reese’s hair, but that’s not what’s in the pictures. Somehow, my Bobby ended up with a different piece. This one is from T2’s young John Connor. I’m not sure how it happened, but there it is. Both pieces are respectable hair pieces, though neither one is a direct match for Bobby’s hair in the comics. If I’m honest, I probably prefer the hair I got, so I don’t mind the mix-up. Bobby’s paint is pretty well done. It’s not as clean as Iceman’s, but it’s a bit more complex, so there’s that. The initial prototype for this figure was missing the black details on the shoulders, due to Bobby’s comic design being changed before print, but DST managed to get it fixed before the figures saw release. The coolest thing about Bobby is that the detail’s line up perfectly between him and Iceman, very nicely conveying that they are one and the same. Bobby includes an ice blast, a chunk of ice that a figure can be placed in, and a clear display stand. The ice blast is shared with the main Iceman, and the chunk of ice was originally seen with the Frozen Captain America from the CA: TTA set.  They too seem a bit yellowed, which is a shame.

Icemen&Sentinels6

SENTINEL(S)

Icemen&Sentinels4The final figures in the set are the Sentinels. This marks the fourth version of the Sentinel in the line (not counting Nimrod, since he’s kind of a different thing). The Sentinel is a little over 2 ½ inches tall and sports 12 points of articulation. As is a common issue with the Sentinels in this line, he’s woefully out of scale, but that’s just a thing everyone has to live with. The Sentinel is a hybrid of multiple designs, with a leaning towards classic. The figure makes use of the basic Minimate body with sculpted add-ons for the helmet, upper torso, waist, gloves, and boots. The parts on this figure are 100% re-use. The helmet is from the Marvel vs Capcom 3 Sentinel, the hands are from the TRU exclusive Omega Red, the torso cover is from the TRU exclusive Extremis Iron Man, and the waist and boots are from the TRU Exclusive Box. These pieces are pretty well chosen, though the upper torso is just a bit too distinctive to Iron Man. The changed colors mean this isn’t too noticeable, but it’s there. The paint on the Sentinel is pretty good overall. The base colors are a bit more drab than what we saw on the DoFP Sentinel, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. There’s a bit of slop on one of my Sentinels’ torso pieces, but nothing too distracting. The torso and waist feature full detailing, allowing you to remove the covers and display the Sentinel in a classic set-up if you so choose. The Sentinel includes two tendrils (courtesy of Omega Red), a blast off base (previously used on the Marvel vs Capcom 3 MODOK), and a clear display stand.

Icemen&Sentinels5

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Iceman and his corresponding Sentinel were purchased from my local comicbook store, Cosmic Comix, just like the other two sets. However, my store had already sold Bobby, so I had to order him through the always reliable Luke’s Toy Store. Iceman is the real star here, but Bobby and the Sentinel are still respectable ‘mates in their own right. Bobby is just slightly off from the source material (which is true even with the right hairpiece), and the Sentinel’s only real fault is that I don’t personally like it as much as the recent DOFP Sentinel. Still, this is a good set of figures, and the series as a whole is really a lot of fun.

#0359: Angel & Beast

ANGEL & BEAST

MARVEL MINIMATES

Angel&Beast1

It there’s one thing the X-Men are good at, it’s costume changes. As a team, they have to have the highest turnover rate in uniforms of any team in comics. Another thing that X-Men are big on is alternate versions of established team members running around. Combine those two, and you have a dynamite pitch for selling lots of toys of the same characters. This seems to be the case with the line-up of All-New X-Men, which has brought early versions of the original X-Men to the present, and given them a new set of threads along the way. Yesterday, I looked at Cyclops and Marvel Girl; today, I’ll be looking at Angel and Beast, both in their “pre-blue” forms.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Angel and Beast are a two-pack from Series 59 of Marvel Minimates, which is based on the designs of the team as seen in recent issues of All-New X-Men.

ANGEL

Angel&Beast3Angel is a character that has kind of broken even on the whole “previous version” thing. The old Angel has certainly gone through his fair share of stuff, but his thing is mostly ping-ponging between being classic Angel and Archangel. I guess it’s not terrible to have a pre-ping-ponging version running around. The figure is about 2 ½ inches in height and he features 16 points of articulation, thanks to the wings. He’s based on All-New Angel’s second costume, which is a variant of the base costume everyone else got. His is accented with red, which serves as a nice callback to his Champions and X-Factor costumes. The figure features the basic Minimate body, with add-ons for his wings and hair. The wings are the same three-part piece we’ve seen on previous versions of Angel, and the hair was first used on Lost in Space’s Doctor Smith. The hair offers a nice “rich-boy” look, and the wings are a very definite case of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Angel’s paint is generally a lot cleaner than what we saw in the Cyclops/Marvel Girl set. There are still a few sloppy areas with the base paint, but overall everything is pretty clean. I think the face looks perhaps a little too old for a younger Angel, but that’s really a personal thing. Angel includes a flight stand and a clear display stand.

BEAST

Angel&Beast2Beast seems like the one time-shifted X-Man who might work pretty well in conjunction with his modern day counterpart, but not as a replacement. They haven’t really screwed Beast up too bad, and most people like the few changes they’ve made to the character. Still, this reset version does serve as a pretty good counter point. Beast is a little over 2 ½ inches tall and features 12 points of articulation. Like the others in this series, Beast is in his second, Immomen-designed costume. Honestly, Beast’s is probably my least favorite of the five. The brown accents seem odd, almost like he got them because all the other colors were taken by the rest of the team. The brown/yellow, coupled with the goggles, kind of makes him look more like X-Men foe Mimic than Beast. Beast is built from the basic Minimate body, with add-ons to bulk up his torso, waist, shoulders, hands, thighs, and feet, as well as a goggle/hair combo. The hair and goggles piece is new, and it looks pretty spot in to what’s seen in the comic. The bulk up pieces have been seen on the Avengers movie Hulk (hands and feet), GotG’s Drax (torso), and countless other figures (everything else). I’m not sure I’m a fan of Beast being this bulky, but that’s gonna vary from person to person. Overall, Beast’s paintwork is pretty good. Mostly, the lines are clean. However, there is a random bit of brown paint on his goggles that very definitely shouldn’t be there. Beast includes a spare head/hair (with hair from Universal Monsters’ Henry Frankenstein) and a clear display stand. The extra head features a pair of glasses and a more reserved facial expression for Hank.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like Cyclops and Marvel Girl, Angel and Beast were picked up from my local comic book store Cosmic Comix. I hadn’t initially intended to get these two, but I wanted Cyclops and I liked the Icemen, so I figured I might as well complete the team. I still think this is the weakest set in the series, but they aren’t bad. Perhaps if Beast had costume detailing under the bulked up pieces, I’d enjoy him more, but I can’t fault Diamond for going that route. All in all, this set is good, but not great.

Guest Review #0012: Ash Ketchum & Pikachu

ASH KETCHUM AND PIKACHU

POKEMON (TOMY)

Ash1

Hey guys!  The following is a Guest Review from my awesome brother Christian Wilson!  Take it away Christian…

Look….. Don’t hate me but….. I’ve never played Pokemon. I’ve wanted to, but never really found the interest. And it isn’t that I don’t have a way to play it, on the contrary, I have two systems that are capable of playing Pokemon, but I never cared enough about it. But nonetheless, this is REALLY COOL figure. So, like Ethan here’s my review of an action figure from a video game that I’ve never played.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

ASH KETCHUM

Ash2Ash, or Sacha in French (but Ash in EVERY OTHER LANGUAGE), stands at 5 inches tall with 15 points of articulation. The one thing that really stands out to me is the amazing paint job on Ash. While writing this review I continued to look for ANY paint errors and I can’t find any. For only $20, that’s really cool to have a toy like this look so aesthetically pleasing. Another thing I find with a lot of Action figures is their inability to stand without long periods of me just screaming “No that’s not— No, No, No, TO THE LEFT” (I’m looking at you P-Body!). However, this is the case or Ash. While he has no foot articulation whatsoever, he stands very nicely and very easily. The only part of him that’s a bit difficult to deal with is his hands, as they are very loose in their joints and wiggle easily, but do not turn easily. Overall, Ash himself is very pleasing.

Ash comes with one accessory, a backpack, which on a scale of 1 to 10 of how easy it is to get on him, the backpack gets a resounding “Ehhh.” It’s a nice looking backpack. There’s not much else to say. Moving On, I CHOOSE YOU, PIKACHU!

PIKACHU

Pikachu (Still Pikachu in French, for some reason)is the lesser quality portion of this two-pack. Standing at 1 ¾” tall with 0 points of articulation, Pikachu looks great, but less so when you compare him to Ash(Pikachu’s a boy, right?). The red circles on his face aren’t all painted in and the ID number on his tail is very noticeable, but otherwise it’s a cool figure. Ash and Pikachu do go very well together, unless you try to stand them together, which leads me into a rant.

You may notice, on the top Ash’s backpack, a small hole. That hole is for putting Pikachu’s foot in and standing him on Ash’s shoulder. BUT THIS HARDLY EVER WORKS FOR ME!!! Ethan got it [I’m an action figure god!--Ethan], but most people who aren’t that great at standing up action figures will be tearing their hair out because if the frailness of Pikachu when he is ATOP Ash. As I said, they are otherwise great figures.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I bought this two-pack after eyeing it at my local comic book store for the past few weeks. I had the money and it was a cool action figure, so I grabbed it. Not much else to the story. These action figures do their franchise justice as I 1) Want to play a Pokemon game now and 2) Want to collect all the other Pokemon in this line of toys. Whelp, I’m done. Good Night Seattle, We love you!

#0358: Cyclops & Marvel Girl

CYCLOPS & MARVEL GIRL

MARVEL MINIMATES

Cyclops&MarvelGirl1

The X-Men may not be the merchandise powerhouse they once were, but they still maintain a decent hold on the market. One of the things that makes old fans of the series love the team while simultaneously scaring away new fans is the sheer level of backstory involved. In an effort to help make the team a bit more approachable, Marvel has done an interesting move: they brought back the original X-Men. Yeah, the founding five have been brought forward in time, allowing for the series to present them in a more innocent, less complicated form. Diamond has decided to base their most recent series of Marvel Minimates on this incarnation of the team. Today, I’ll be looking at Cyclops and Marvel Girl.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Cyclops and Marvel Girl were released as a two-pack in Series 59 of Marvel Minimates, which is based on the team as they’ve appeared in recent issues of All-New X-Men.

CYCLOPS

Cyclops&MarvelGirl2Perhaps the character to benefit the most from a “continuity reset” is the team’s leader Cyclops. Cyclops is a character who writers don’t really seem to know what to do with, resulting in a lot of questionable things being done with him in the last 20-30 years. Recently, a lot of those things have piled one, leading to the character coming off as a tremendous jerk and becoming essentially a villain. A Cyclops without all of these things is a breath of fresh air. Cyclops is about 2 ½ inches tall and features 14 points of articulation. He’s based on All-New Cyclops’s second costume, designed by Staurt Immomen. It matches the rest of the team without being too similar, and it’s all-around not a bad design. Cyclops is built on the traditional Minimate body, with an add-on for his hair/visor. This is an all new piece, and it does a pretty great job of capturing the design from the comic. The rest of the figure is reliant on paint. It’s not bad overall, but it could be better. The base paint is rather sloppy, especially on Scott’s visor. Fortunately, the detail lines are all nice and sharp, which helps to offset the questionable base paint. Cyclops includes two alternate hair pieces, one sans-visor(a re-use piece, seen on numerous figures) and one with his optic blast in full force. He also includes a standard clear display stand. The sans-visor hair is nice, as it allows for you to display the sunglasses painted under Scott’s visor, and the optic blast head makes for a lot of fun setups. I am hopeful that the optic blast piece is the new standard for Cyclops Minimates going forward.

MARVEL GIRL

Cyclops&MarvelGirl3Marvel Girl, aka Jean Grey, aka the Pheonix, aka the Song that doesn’t end, also benefited from the reset. Her present day counterpart is dead and all, plus now she just has the one code name, as opposed the 37 or so she had before. Marvel Girl is about 2 ½ inches in height and she sports 14 points of articulation. Like Scott, she is based on her second, Immomen-designed costume. I really like the green accents on hers; they really make her pop. The figure makes use of the base Minimate body, with the addition of a hairpiece. The piece is a re-use, first seeing use on The Spirit’s Sand Serif. It was also used on the first appearance Jean from a few years ago, so it’s a nice call back to see it here. I think it’s one of the nicer female hairpieces. The paint on Marvel Girl is similar to that of Cyclops: the base work is sloppy, but the detail lines are nice and sharp, which helps save the figure. I do wish the patterns on her legs were actually mirrors of each other, but they aren’t terrible. Marvel Girl includes a spare head/hair for a full “powered-up” effect (I’m gonna assume it has something to do with the Phoenix, but I haven’t read All-New X-Men, so I can’t confirm), a “jumping stand” and a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Cyclops and Marvel Girl were picked up from my local comicbook store Cosmic Comix. Initially, this was the only set I had planned on getting from this series. I don’t read All-New X-Men, but I have been following Cyclops, which stars this version of the character. Ultimately, I ended up getting the rest of the series, but these two still remain my favorites. There are a few paint issues that could stand to be worked on, but other than that, this was a really strong set.

Cyclops&MarvelGirl4

#0357: Young Magneto & Mystique

YOUNG MAGNETO & MYSTIQUE

MARVEL MINIMATES

Magneto&Mystique1 I realize as I write this review that I have made nary a mention of X-Men: Days of Future Past on this site. I guess that’s what happens when there is minimal merchandising for a movie. Well, there’s no time like the present. Simply put, Days of Future Past was the X-Men movie I’ve been waiting for since the very first X-Men movie was announced. It handled the characters brilliantly and had one of the best emotional through lines I’ve ever seen in a super hero movie. It was a very, very good movie. When it was first announced that the roles of Charles Xavier and Magneto were going to be recast for X-Men: First Class, I was hesitant. Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen set the bar pretty high. However, James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender did an exceptional job filling those shoes. Fassbender in particular has become one of my favorite parts of the franchise, thanks to his wonderful performance as the younger Magneto. Today, I’ll be looking at the Minimates of Fassbender’s Magneto and Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Young Magneto and Mystique were released as a two-pack in Series 58 of Marvel Minimates. Originally, Young Magneto was supposed to be packed with old Xavier and Mystique was supposed to be packed with old Magneto, but Diamond changed the pairings at the last minute. I find that this pairing makes more sense, as Magneto and Mystique’s conflict in the 70s is a major point in the film.

YOUNG MAGNETO

Magneto&Mystique2Magneto, as far as the movie goes, is actually the more minor character in this set. He still has a pretty substantial role, but he kind of takes a back seat to Charles and Raven during the movie’s climax. This is the second time we’ve seen Fassbender’s Magneto in Minimate form; the first was in the TRU exclusive series based on First Class. The figure is about 2 ½ inches tall and he features 14 points of articulation. Obviously, he’s based on Magneto from the 70s timeline, but more specifically he’s based on Magneto’s fully costumed look from the second half of the movie. It’s a slightly toned down version of the costume we saw him wearing at the end of First Class, and I think it’s one of the better costume designs we’ve seen in an X-Men movie. The figure makes use of the traditional Minimate body, with add-ons for his half-cape thing and his helmet. Both of these are new pieces, and they both look pretty good. I wish the helmet was just a tad smaller, but it looks pretty good, and it’s a pretty great replica of the helmet seen in the movie. I’m not sure what movie-verse Magneto’s obsession with half-capes is (he sports one in both timelines) but they’ve done a good job translating this one to the Minimate form. The figure’s paint work is all pretty great. Nothing is too sloppy and there’s no bleed over to speak of. The detail lines on the head, torso, and legs all look nice and sharp, and the head bears a pretty decent Fassbender likeness. Magneto includes an alternate hairpiece, a flight stand, and a clear display stand. Like the helmet, I feel the hair is just a bit too large, but it isn’t monumentally off.

MYSTIQUE

Magneto&Mystique3Mystique is arguably the lead character of Days of Future Past. She’s very definitely the most important character. It was nice to see her get some serious screen time, especially after she was essentially a bit player in the first three movies. Like Fassbender’s Magneto, this is the second time we’ve gotten Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique in the Minimate form. And, as an added bonus, she works pretty well as a Rebecca Romijn Mystique too! The figure is about 2 ½ inches in height and she sports 14 points of articulation. Mystique’s pretty much just got the blue-scaly-naked look, so that’s the one they went with. Mystique is built on the usual Minimate body with the addition of a hairpiece. The piece is brand new to the figure, and it looks to be a pretty spot on recreation of Mystique’s hair in the movie. It has some very nice detail work, so that’s good. The rest of Mystique’s look is done with paint, so a good paint job is key. Fortunately, Diamond has delivered on that front. While it’s hard to mess up straight blue, they’ve also done a tremendous amount of detail work, all of which has turned out really well. What impresses me most are the eyes, which have way more detail than you’d expect at this scale. Mystique’s sole accessory is a clear display stand. It’s a bit of a letdown after the comic DOFP set did such a great job conveying Mystique’s powers with the accessories. A Trask head on par with the Senator Kelly head from that set really would have put this two pack over the bar.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This set was purchased from my local comicbook store Cosmic Comix. I must admit I was a little underwhelmed by the Days of Future Past Minimates when I first saw them. Still, I enjoyed the movie, and they were still Minimates. Plus, I certainly wasn’t going to pass up a figure of the 70s Magneto design. I’m glad I decided to pick this set up, because these two are truly impressive. Mystique is a long needed figure, and Magneto may very well be one of my favorite Minimates.

#0356: Plants vs Zombies Minimates

CHOMPER, SUNFLOWER, PEASHOOTER, FOOT SOLDIER ZOMBIE & SCIENTIST ZOMBIE

PLANTS VS ZOMBIES: GARDEN WARFARE MINIMATES

PvZ1

Plants vs Zombies is not a topic I ever really saw myself writing about here. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not much of a video gamer, and iOS games aren’t really my thing either. I knew of PvZ (as the cool kids call it…I think. Back me up cool kids!) but I myself have never played the game. So, why, oh, why would I have PvZ toys? Minimates. Yes, it seems DST has picked up the license for the latest PvZ game Garden Warfare. And I have a serious week spot for Minimates. This will be a slightly different review, as I know next to nothing about the figures in the set.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

There are two boxed sets in the first series of Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare Minimates, and this set is the Toys R Us exclusive set, which just started hitting TRU shelves.

CHOMPER

PvZ3The Chomper seems to continue the long standing tradition of large, man-eating plants. It’s a tried and true formula, so I can’t fault the creators there. The figure is about 2 inches tall, making it the largest of the plants, and it features 1, count it, 1 point of articulation, at the base of the head. The figure has a completely new sculpt. It’s not a shock, as the base Minimate body doesn’t exactly lend itself to the plant designs. The sculpt is pretty good, though some of the details are a little bit gummy. It’s pretty much on par with most Minimate accessories in terms of quality. The paint on the Chomper is okay. It’s a bit sloppy, especially on the changes from green to purple, but it’s not horrible. The Chomper includes no accessories, though I guess you could argue the plants themselves are accessories.

SUNFLOWER

PvZ4The Sunflower is probably the figure in the set I know the least about. I seem to recall that their sort of a mid-level plant, but I don’t know for sure. The Sunflower is about 1 ¾ inches in height and, like the Chomper, it features 1 point of articulation at the base of its head. Once again, it’s an all-new sculpt, tailor made for this particular plant. The sculpted work is actually a little sharper on the Sunflower than it is on the Chomper, which is actually quite nice. The head in particular features some really sharp work on the petals, which definitely makes this plant stand out. The paint on the Sunflower is cleaner, but admittedly simpler, than the Chomper. The Sunflower does feature some detail lines for its face, which are nice and sharp, and it seems to capture the Sunflower’s look pretty well. The Sunflower includes no accessories.

PEASHOOTER(S)

PvZ2Okay, the Peashooters I’m actually pretty familiar with. They’re the base infantry for the plants, and they have one of the more clever names the game makers have thought up. There are two Peashooters included in the set, but both are exactly the same, so I’ll just look at them once. The figure is the smallest in the set, at about 1 ½ inches tall, and it features the a point of articulation at the base of the head just like the other plants. The Peashooter is the only of the plants to sport the Minimate aesthetic, as the heads have been built using the basic head as a starting point. It’s still a totally new sculpt, but it’s not far off from what we’ve seen before. It’s a pretty good sculpt, though the head has some obvious mold lines. The overall quality of the sculpt falls somewhere between the Chomper and the Sunflower, which isn’t bad. The paintwork is pretty straight forward. It’s one base coat of green, with some black paint for the eyes and the interior of the … shooter? I guess that’s what you’d call it. Anyway, it’s all pretty clean, so that’s good. The Peashooters include no accessories.

FOOT SOLDIER ZOMBIE

PvZ6The Foot Soldier Zombie appears to be a fairly straight forward zombie from the game. I don’t know a whole lot about him, but I’d wager he’s a zombie who’s a soldier. Far out concept, right? The Soldier Zombie is 2 ½ inches tall and features 14 points of articulation. Unlike the plants, the Soldier Zombie is built on the standard Minimate body, with add-ons for his helmet and his collar/backpack/belt/skirt. The sculpted work is pretty great, especially the classically-styled infantry helmet. The paintwork has it’s plusses and its minuses. Overall, it’s not bad. The basic work on the body is good, and the detail lines are nice and clean. Unfortunately, the paint on the belt is…well, bad seems like an understatement. The colors aren’t even close to where they’re supposed to be, and the lines are incredibly sloppy to boot. I’ve honestly never seen paint this bad on a DST product before, and it’s limited exclusively to this one part of this one figure. How does that happen? It’s a shame, because it distracts from what is otherwise a well put together figure. The Foot Soldier Zombie includes a gun with a foot on it (something from the game, I’m assuming), a large rocket-launcher-thing that plugs into his back, and a clear display stand.

SCIENTIST ZOMBIE

PvZ5Last, but far from least, is the Scientist Zombie, who I must admit was the figure that drew me to the set. Something about the mad scientist look is just really cool. Anyway, the Scientist Zombie is about 2 ½ inches tall and features 14 points of articulation. The figure is built on the standard Minimate body, with add-ons for his hair/goggles, lab coat/backpack, and gloves. The gloves are the basic glove pices that have been in use since the “Captain America: Through the Ages” set was released, but the hair and lab coat are all-new to this figure. Both pieces are superbly sculpted. The level of detail is a bit surprising, given the source material, but that’s not a bad thing! The paint on the Scientist Zombie is pretty great over all. There are a few small instances of bleed over, but no major issues like the Foot Soldier. I love that he even has little stains on his lab coat! The Scientist Zombie includes some sort of gun thing and a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like I mentioned in the intro, I’m not much of a PvZ guy. Even when the Minimates were first announced, I just assumed I’d pass on them. But, the other day I was walking through TRU with my Dad, and I saw this set hanging there. It just kind of called to me. It’s a shame to see such shoddy paint on the Soldier Zombie, but assuming that’s mostly a confined issue (which it very likely is), this set is a lot of fun. All of the other figures have great work in both paint and sculpting, and it’s a fun bunch of designs. If you’re a fan of the game, I’m sure you’d really enjoy this set!