The Blaster In Question #0004: Speedload 6

SPEEDLOAD 6

DART TAG

For all the fun, random quirks that have appeared in Nerf blasters over the years, the one avenue that has always remained is the competitive aspect.  Nerf has gone through many iterations and just as many product lines trying to corner competitive play.  Recently they’ve made some moves that a lot of people consider game changing in the competitive arena, but this wasn’t always the case, as with the off-and-on-again Dart Tag line.  Today I’ll be looking at the mid-class Speedload 6, so let’s load up the review… quickly.  Speedily.  A speedy load- forget it, here’s the blaster.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The Speedload 6 was released in 2011 as part of the revival of the Dart Tag line.  As you may note, mine has an orange trigger, whereas the second wave Dart Tag blasters featured blue triggers, signifying slightly improved internals.  As with just about every repeating blaster at the time, the SL6 uses a reverse plunger mechanism which should irritate you if you’re a seasoned modder, or mean absolutely nothing to you if you aren’t.  The SL6 and its bigger brother, the Quick 16, both share a fairly unique loading mechanism.  They both feature integrated magazines that can be constantly topped off while a series of cams and levers pull darts sideways into the chamber to be fired.  (The only other blaster that has anything even resembling this mechanic is the Vortex/Zombiestrike crossover Fusefire, but Vortex is a whole different story so let’s leave it at that.)  Not only this, but both of these blasters fire Dart Tag velcro-whistle darts, which is impressive in and of itself for a magazine-fed blaster.  The SL6 is deceptively large.  When I first saw images of it, in my mind, it would replace the Maverick REV-6 as the goto 6-round pistol, and it might have if the it wasn’t quite so large.  Don’t get me wrong, the size isn’t a problem, it makes operation of the blaster very easy and comfortable even for a grown adult.  The blaster is solidly built and shooting it feels nice and snappy.  At the time, Streamline darts were notoriously unreliable so having a magazine-fed blaster that used more stable “broadheads” was quite an advantage, just so long as you had plenty of time to reload the fixed magazine.  It’s also important to make sure you fully cycle the priming slide while firing.  I’ve had a number of instances of the blaster trying to chamber multiple darts due to partial priming.  Admittedly, it is user error, and I’m sure someone could get used to it if they were dedicated, but it’s just different enough from other slide-primed blasters that it can throw you off if you aren’t using it regularly.  Being targeted to competitive players, the SL6 has decent performance, although I must add a caveat.  My SL6 has been modified to boost performance, and it was done long enough ago that I can’t say I really remember it before then.  Granted, it was also long enough ago that my skill as a modder probably didn’t add too much.  Nevertheless, in its current state, my SL6 shoots just marginally weaker than stock Nerf blasters available today.  The Speedload 6 came packaged with 6 Dart Tag darts.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I bought the Speedload 6 right around the time I was way into Humans Vs Zombies on my college campus.  At the time, it served very well as a sidearm and occasionally a compact primary, but sadly, since the introduction to the Elite series and now Accustrike, many of the advantages of using the SL6 have become irrelevant.  If there’s anything I can give it credit for today, it is the engineering behind the wacky loading mechanism and the blaster’s overall durability.  I loaned mine to a friend to use on a week long HVZ game, and for all he put it through, it still works perfectly fine.  Not bad.

#1285: Water Patrol Woody

WATER PATROL WOODY

TOY STORY 2 (MATTEL)

As a action figure collector that grew up in the ‘90s, it was nigh impossible that I would run this site and not ever touch on Toy Story.  What’s a bit surprising is just how long it took for me to get here.  Moreover, I’m kind of starting at an odd point.  The toys for the first film in the franchise sort of came and went.  It was the ‘90s, so every movie was getting toys.  This one was no exception, obviously.  But, aside from some serious scarcity of a few choice items, it was a fairly standard line.  When it came time for the sequel, things got a little weirder.  Which is admittedly a bit of a surprise, since the first film hit in the mid ‘90s, when action figures were at probably their weirdest, while the second film hit in ’99, when things were cooling down.  The first film’s toys were done by the relatively unknown Thinkway Toys (who actually have the license again), but for the second movie, Disney partnered up with Mattel to secure Barbie for the film.  Part of the deal was that Mattel got to make the action figures.  They released some fairly straightforward versions of most of the main characters, but after the main movie stuff was mostly through, they launched a few sub-lines, showcasing non-film variants of the main characters.  I’ll be looking at one of the variants of Woody today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Water Patrol Woody was released in the “Aqua Action” sub-line of Mattel’s Toy Story 2 tie-in.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and has…movement.  I don’t know that I’d classify the movement as “articulation.”  Thanks to the non-removable head dome, there’s no movement at the neck, and his arms and legs are just a rubber mold over a wire.  So, he’s posable in theory, I guess. The figure sports a totally made-up design, just like all the other figures in this particular series.  It’s supposed to be a dive suit, I guess.  I personally always thought it looked more like a space suit, but I guess there’s an old dive suit quality about it.  It’s not a bad design.  It keeps the important elements of Woody’s main design (the hat, belt/holster, and boots), but also crafts a pretty solid protective suit for him.  The head’s a little odd; Mattel’s Woody likeness was never quite as good as others, and the hat had to she shrunk to fit inside the helmet.  I personally would think it would make sense for him to lose the hat all together, but I’ve been told in the past that I’m not good with “brand identity” so what do I know?  At the end of the day, the head’s close enough that you should be able to pick up on who this is supposed to be.  It’s worth noting that despite being clearly engineered for water play, Woody’s helmet was far from air-tight; more than once, this figure ended up with a full helmet of water, followed by a day or two with a fogged up helmet while the condensation cleared.  It was rather frustrating to 8-year old me.  In terms of paint, this guy’s pretty decent from a technical standpoint, but I can’t help but feel that Mattel chose the dullest possible color scheme for him.  Ooooh, varying shades of brown.  Such fun!  Couldn’t we have at least gotten some of Woody’s regular colors worked in here and there?  A little blue and yellow would have gone a long way.  Woody’s one accessory was a “Quick Draw Squirter” which sounds a little bit…off.  I’m also not sure what constitutes it being “Quick Draw.”  He just stands on it.  Wait, it’s always out.  The quickest draw of them all!  That’s it!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Water Patrol was a gift I got for my eighth birthday.  I’m not 100% sure who gave him to me, but if I had to guess, I’d say it was either my Nana or my cousin Rusty.  It feels like a “mom’s side of the family” gift.  While that was the year of me being largely obsessed with the then recent X-Men Movie figures, I know that Woody was a figure I had specifically requested.  I was on a Buzz Lightyear of Star Command kick at the time, and I wanted this Woody figure because he looked like he was in a space suit, and therefore made sense with all of my Star Command figures.  Even as a kid, I didn’t really buy him as a Water figure.  He’s not the most exciting figure of all time, but he amused me as a kid, and that’s the most important thing, really. 

Flashback Friday Figure Addendum #0013: Quicksilver

Hey ho, it’s Friday at The Figure in Question, so welcome to another Flashback Friday Figure Addendum!  Today I once more dive back into my extensive archive of Marvel-centered reviews, taking a look at Quicksilver.  Quicksilver was originally reviewed in May of 2015, a month that is notable because it’s a month that was completely made-up of Marvel reviews.  Not even on purpose either!

Countdown to Avengers: Age of Ultron: 7 days remaining.

Alright, we just took a look at Scarlet Witch and Hawkeye, two of the most important Avengers in my books. They both joined the team back in Avengers #16, along with the subject of today’s review, Quicksilver. They were led by Captain America and dubbed “Cap’s Kooky Quartet.” Yeah, it was the 60s. Anyway, Quicksilver is an Avenger of moderate importance, though he’s not quite on the same level as the other two. Still, he’s an important guy, and seeing as he’s Scarlet Witch’s twin brother, it’s a little difficult to have one without the other. Plus he had that fantastic scene in X-Men: Days of Future Past, so he’s going places. Let’s look at one of his action figures!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Quicksilver was released in ToyBiz’s 90s X-Men line as part of their infamous “Muntant Armor” series. The figure was available in two possible decos: his classic blue and white and his current (at the time) white and grey. This one, in case you hadn’t already noted, is the white and grey, which, for those interested, was designed by legendary artist George Perez when he helped re-launch The Avengers in the 90s. The figure is 5 inches tall and has 11 points of articulation. Quicksilver was built on one of ToyBiz’s recurring male bodies of their 5 inch lines, which first popped up in the sixth series of ToyBiz’s Spider-Man line. It’s a pretty decent sculpt, with a nice, lean look, and a decent amount of movement. The only real downside is the left hand, which was hastily retooled from a web-shooting pose, resulting in a rather strange looking fist. In addition to the base body, Quicksilver features a head that is sort of new. The facial structure is the same as that of the “Battle Brigade” series Archangel, but the hair is completely new, giving us Pietro’s signature ‘do. The face is actually a lot better for Quicksilver than it was for Archangel, and the hair is very nicely handled, so it works very well. The figure’s paintwork is generally pretty well-done, though mine has taken its fair share of wear and tear. The lines are a bit fuzzy in some places, but overall the figure is pretty decent. The semi-metallic sheen on the dark grey parts is actually pretty cool, so there’s that. Quicksilver was packed with a stands shaped like a dust cloud and some sort of strange machine gun thing. Most intriguing about this is that he doesn’t actually have any armor, not even of the “Muntant” variety.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got Quicksilver at a local toyshow, which my dad took me to, probably about 15 years ago. I remember that I was never able to find either of the Quicksilver figures when they were at retail. My dad had the blue and white version, but my collection was sadly Quicksilver-less. So, when I found this guy, I was pretty excited. I didn’t have a choice in deco, but I actually like this one, so it worked out. This figure’s still a pretty strong figure, even after almost 20 years. I’m certainly glad I found one!

Oh man, this review was part of my rather lengthy countdown to Age of Ultron’s release.  I was very excited for that movie.  It’s funny to see my line about him “going places” seeing as the MCU Quicksilver won’t be going much of anywhere.  You didn’t see that coming?

My actual review for this guy is pretty solid, I think.  It’s worth nothing that, despite this being the fourth figure I reviewed on this body, I do believe it’s the first time I actually reviewed it.  I kept referencing the Fallen figure’s review, but I never actually discussed the body there at all.  Pro tip, guys: re-read the reviews you reference.

During The Find, I dug up this guy’s little dust cloud base thingy.  It was re-used from the X-Men 2099 line’s Mean Streak figure.  Quicksilver’s feet slide into the two slots, and he looks like he’s running.  I guess.  There are also wheels on the bottom, so you can push him around like he’s a parade float or something.  Nifty.

I still like this guy a lot.  One of these days, I’ll need to track down the other costume.

#1284: Sandman

SANDMAN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

And here we are again, with another Build-A-Figure Build-A-Figure-d.  Nice.

Meet Flint Marko, aka Sandman.  He’s one of Spider-Man’s oldest foes, debuting in Amazing Spider-Man #4.  He’s also a recurring member of the Frightful Four (though there seems to be some sort of a time share thing going on between him and Hydro-Man), and he was even a reserve member of the Avengers at one point.  He also shares his name with two DC Comics characters, with which he shares absolutely no relation.  Fun.  Let’s have a look at his figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Sandman is the Build-A-Figure for the Sandman Series of Marvel Legends.  I know, what a shock.  He’s the sixth Spider-themed Build-A-Figure since the line’s rebranding back in 2014.  This is actually Flint’s second time as a Legends Build-A-Figure under Hasbro’s run.  Of course, the last one was movie-based and also was a horrible abomination.  Prior to that, Sandman was one of the best entries in Toy Biz’s Spider-Man Classics, but like so many of TB’s later releases, most actual fans never saw that one at retail.  The new figure was definitely warranted.  There was a pre-paint version of this figure in last summer’s SDCC-exclusive The Raft set, which had him in a sandier color scheme, but this one returns him to his classic colors.  The figure stands just shy of 8 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  Sandman is built on the same body as Absorbing Man, which is itself based on the Terrax body.  The body was a bit large for Absorbing Man, and it still feels slightly large for Sandman, but you can write that off as him making himself larger, I suppose.  It’s not like he’s never done that before.  Aside from the size thing, the other main issue I have with this body is the hip articulation, which is not only weird looking, but also a bit of a pain to pose.  Those issues aside, the base body certainly isn’t terrible.  Sandman gets a new set of arms, as well as two new head sculpts.  The arms are partially sandy, showcasing Flints powers.  I really like the sculpts on these, and I appreciate all the extra detail, like the way his hands look like they’re being effected by gravity and have some sand pouring off of them.  It’s not just the sandy parts that are cool, though; they’ve also added some slight wrinkles to the upper arms, so that he actually looks like he’s wearing a shirt.  I wish it extended to the torso, but it’s nice nonetheless.  The heads provide us with normal and “battle-damaged” versions of Flint.  The normal is okay; it gets his goofy hair down and has lots of nice detail work.  I don’t know that it’s quite my ideal version of the character; something about the face feels off.  It’s too wide, I think.  I like the second head a lot more.  It’s got a much more intense expression, and has been sculpted to look like he’s just taken a good punch to the face from a certain wall-crawler.  The details match up well with the arms, and unlike Absorbing Man, there aren’t any issues with the change from head to torso being super jarring.  The paint on Sandman is decent enough.  He get’s his classic color schemes, and they even manage to make the transitions from sand to normal colors pretty believable.  The battle-damaged head pulls ahead again in this category, largely due to the goofy pupils and spotty application on the teeth of the normal head.  In addition to the second head, Sandman also gets a spare set of hands, in block and spikes ball formations.  They swap out pretty easily.  I know there was demand for a set of normal arms to be included, but I actually prefer the alternate hands, if I’m honest.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Building Sandman sure took a while, didn’t it?  I think this may be the longest I’ve taken to finish one of these guys since…gosh, I don’t even know when.  Before the Mandroid Series, for sure.  To be honest, I wasn’t 100% sure I was gonna complete this guy.  I mean, I like Sandman, and all.  I’ve just always been really bummed that I never got the Toy Biz figure, and no version since has ever been anything but a pale imitation.  But, then I got the whole series but Green Goblin, and I couldn’t stand to have him just sitting there headless, so I was compelled to buy him.  I’m still not sure he’s a replacement for the TB figure, but he’s pretty fun in his own right.  I’m happy I decided to finish him.  Now I want a Hydro Man, but NOT on this same body.

#1283: Green Goblin

GREEN GOBLIN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“A cackling menace aided by advanced technology, Green Goblin seeks to destroy Spider-Man in the pursuit of ultimate power.”

Wow, I sure do seem to be writing about Green Goblin a lot lately.  Of course, to be totally fair, this is the first proper review I’ve written since September of 2015, so I guess he was somewhat overdue.  Despite being perhaps the most recognizable Spider-Man foe, when it comes to toys, GG almost always ends up playing second fiddle to his successor Hobgoblin.  Of course, now it’s a pretty easy tell to figure out when we’ll see a Green Goblin figure, since he almost always follows the release of a classic Hobgoblin.  When Hobby showed up in the Space Venom Series of Marvel Legends last year, it was really only a matter of time before the original Goblin got a shot.  As a matter of fact, it was only a single series later that he was added, which is a pretty quick turnaround.  It’s almost like Hasbro had this planned from the beginning…

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Green Goblin is figure 1 in the Sandman Series of Marvel Legends.  Finally, Goblin comes first…ignoring that this is the sixth series of this particular iteration of Marvel Legends, of course.  Goblin is no stranger to Legends, with two figures during the Toy Biz era, and a build-a-figure from Hasbro back in 2014.  That being said, the last Goblin was the Ultimate Universe version of the character (bleh), so this is the first “classic” Goblin since the Bring On the Bad Guys version from 2006.  Admittedly, that figure still holds up as one of Toy Biz’s best offerings, so the need for a replacement was a bit lower than some of the other redos as of late.  But, eleven years is still a pretty long time in collecting years, and it’s safe to say there are a lot of people collecting now that weren’t in 2006, so the new one is far from extraneous.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  From the neck down, he’s mostly the same figure as the Space Venom Hobgoblin, which is sensible, since the suits are very similar.  The only difference is the belt, which has been swapped out for Daredevil’s.  The body’s got an interesting lineage.  It’s technically a variant of the Bucky Cap body, by way of using the Doctor Strange body as a starting point.  However, since that figure had a unique torso, and this figure swaps out the arms and legs for new pieces, the only actually shared piece between this figure and Bucky Cap is the pelvis.  Funny how that works out.  The arms and legs are solid additions to the body, and add a lot of texture and flair.  The opt for the modern, more pronounced take on Goblin’s scale-mail, which is perfectly fine, since it helps differentiate him from the Toy Biz version a bit more.  I’m curious to see how these parts looked on Hobgoblin (I’ve still yet to see him or the majority of the rest of the Space Venom Series anywhere), as they work really well for Norman’s Green Goblin, who I generally think of as being a bit scrawnier than any of the the Hobgoblins (well, barring Phil Urich).  The satchel is a separate piece, which can be removed.  It’s not affixed in anyway, which is rather annoying, as it moves around a bit too much for my liking.  Still, it’s not a terrible piece.  The one new piece on this guy is his head sculpt.  Like the scales on the arms and legs, the head goes with a more modern take on GG’s design.  The face is more angular and caricature-ized, and he has the tassels on his cap that were added in the early ’00s.  By and large, the figure looks the be at least somewhat modeled on Norman’s Goblin King appearance from the end of Superior Spider-Man.  As much as I love the old Toy Biz figure, one issue I had with it was the subdued nature of the paint.  This figure does a little better, I guess.  He could still stand to be a little brighter in my opinion, but seeing as he’s a more modern incarnation, it’s not too off.  I do wish the eyes were a little less out to the sides, but they look pretty good from just about every angle but dead-on.  GG is packed with one of his pumpkin bombs, as well as his trusty Goblin Glider.  The glider is rather on the small side, and also pretty flat, but as I noted in my last Friday Addendum, Goblin Gliders are almost always a little bit off.  Green Goblin is also packed with not one, but two heads for the Build-A-Figure Sandman.  While they were throwing those extra heads in there, I sort of was hoping he might get an unmasked head of his own, but I guess they felt four heads in one pack would be obscene.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

While I was able to grab most of this series at Walgreens during their Marvel Legends sale, Goblin was not amongst the selection of figures they had.  It would appear he’s this series’ in-demand figure.  Goblin came to me courtesy of my parents.  Amusingly enough, they picked him up from the K-Mart 15 minutes from where I live, but they were on their way home, so he made the 10-hour journey back, just to be mailed all the way back to me.  I will admit, this figure had a pretty high bar to clear, since the TB version is still one of my favorites.  Unlike some of the other recent replacement Legends, I don’t know that he’s truly displaced the prior figure as my go-to, but a lot of that is due to his slightly different execution.  I’m still more of a classic Goblin fan, but for a modern take, this one’s pretty solid. 

#1282: Spider-Man 2099 — Multiverse Spider-Men

SPIDER-MAN 2099 — MULIVERSE SPIDER-MEN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

EDIT: I know, it’s Alien Day, and I didn’t review anything Aliens-related.  That’s because I’ve reviewed almost every Alien and Aliens figure in my collection, and have nothing new.  Next year, maybe I’ll remember to save something.

“Across time and space, these web-slinging wall crawlers take on the bad guys and fight for universal justice.”

Spider-Man 2099 is undoubtedly the break-out star of the whole 2099 venture from the ‘90s, which is probably why he’s the only 2099 character who’s still even remotely relevant.  Since 2013, Miguel’s been stranded in the current-day Marvel universe, which has given him even more of an excuse to remain relevant, which is probably a good thing for him.  Miguel’s no stranger to action figures; it’s not exactly hard to sell buyers on a Spider-Man variant with a kick-ass design.  He got a Marvel Legend back in 2014, but since then, he’s gotten a costume change, which means he just *has* to have a new figure, right?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Spider-Man 2099 is figure 2 in the Sandman Series of Marvel Legends.  His official name is “Multiverse Spider-Men,” a name he shares with the previously reviewed Spider-UK.  This guy is based on 2099’s latest costume design, which he got with the launch of his “All-New, All-Different” title.  It’s not a bad look, but I’ve still got a soft spot for the old one.  I feel like this one’s too short on blue.  Regardless, it’s his new main design, so it’s only fair it see action figure form.  The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  The last 2099 was built on the Pizza Spidey body, which was fine for a classic version of the character, but these day’s Miguel’s looking a bit more robust, so this figure debuted an all-new base body.  Thanks to the weird distribution of this series, I’ve already reviewed, via Sunfire.  I liked it there and I like it here.  I’m really happy to have a middle ground between Bucky Cap and Pizza Spidey, and this new base is a great balance of sculpting and movement.  Those shoulder joints are absolutely fantastic, and feel more sturdy than the Pizza Spidey joints, which always give me pause.  In a lot of ways, this body feels like the true successor to the old Bullseye body, and that’s a definite compliment.  2099 gets a unique head, forearms, and feet, all of which are great fits for the body.  The head in particular is really nice; it’s a very clean, sharp sculpt, and I really appreciate how well you can make out Miguel’s face under the mask.  That’s some really great detailing.  The forearms are decent enough, though the spikes are a little on the soft side.  The feet being unique is a bit strange if I’m hones.  They’re not really that different than the ones on Sunfire, just with some extra etched-in details.  I’m certainly not complaining.  The paint on 2099 is pretty good, though not without some minor issues.  There’s a little bit of bleed over here and there, and the white paint on his legs seems a bit prone to chipping.  On the plus side, the metallic red they’ve used looks really, really slick, rivaling the last figure’s metallic blue in terms of coolness factor.  2099 includes no accessories of his own.  Some extra hands showing off his talons would have been cool, or even an unmasked head, but he was technically an all-new sculpt, so I guess it’s excusable.  Oh well.  He does, however, include the right arm of the Sandman BAF.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up Spider-Man 2099 from an out of the way Walgreens, at the same time as the last three figures.  That $12.99 sale really made buying these guys easy.  I will admit, I wasn’t initially sold on this guy.  I’m at best a moderate 2099 fan, and I was really happy with the Hobgoblin Series figure.  Upon seeing this guy in person, I had a hard time saying no.  This may not be my go-to 2099 design, but this figure is super, super fun.  Despite not being super familiar with this iteration of the character, I find myself picking this guy up and reposing him a whole lot, which is really the gold-standard for an action figure.  This guy was another pleasant surprise in a series pretty much constructed out of pleasant surprises.

#1281: Marvel’s Jackal

MARVEL’S  JACKAL

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Sharp claws, pointed ears, and super speed turn Miles Warren into the Super Villain known as Jackal.”

Wow, talk about tip of the iceberg.  I mean, sure, those are all words that describe Jackal, but oh boy is he way more complicated than this one sentence bio makes him out to be.  The average person probably isn’t super familiar with Jackal, but he’s actually a pretty integral character in the Spider-mythos.  He’s the creator of both Ben Reilly and Kaine Parker (both Scarlet Spiders) and a major driving force in the infamous “Clone Saga,” but he’s also responsible for the introduction of the Punisher, and has been a major part of several big Spider-themed cross-overs, including “Spider-Island” (my personal favorite Spider-Man story in recent years) and the just finished “Clone Conspiracy.”  Despite all of this, up until recently he’s only had one single action figure, and it was just a crappy repaint at that.  Fortunately, he was among the figures chosen for the most recent Spider-Man-themed series of Marvel Legends.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Jackal is figure 6 in the Sandman Series of Marvel Legends.  There are a few different versions of Jackal out there to choose from in terms of design.  This figure more or less goes with the classic guy in a furry suit look, though he looks to take more specific influence from Stefano Caselli’s rendition of him during “Spider-Island.”  It’s a versatile look, fitting in with a large number if different eras, so it’s a good choice.  Plus, you just can’t beat the classics.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  Jackal is 100% a new sculpt.  He also appears to be remaining a unique sculpt, at least for the time being, which is a little surprising for a character like Jackal.  I personally was expecting him to get re-purposed as a Perez-styled Beast, but Hasbro themselves have ruled that one out on the basis of him being too small.  Perhaps we’ll be seeing Werewolf By Night and Vermin in upcoming assortments.  So, how is this all-new sculpt?  Actually pretty awesome.  The texturing on the fur parts is really nicely rendered, and the different spots even have the fur hanging different ways. Even lesser-detailed the shorts have some  decent work on the folds and such.  The proportions on the figure The figure’s build feels rather similar to the Spider-UK body, though he’s a bit broader in the shoulders.  The neck is a tad skinny, and the head sits a little oddly on it, but a good crouching pose is enough to hide those issues.  Atop that neck is a pretty fantastic head sculpt, sporting a sharp maniacal grin, and those goofy, pointy ears.  Jackal’s paintwork is pretty solid work; for the most part, it’s just molded green, but he’s also got a little bit of brown accent work, which makes the fur look a bit more believable.  The rest of the work is all pretty clean, continuing the trend of the last few series of Marvel Legends.  Jackal includes no character specific accessories.  To be fair, I’m not really sure what you could give him, and he is an all new sculpt.  Maybe an alternate unmasked Miles head might have been cool? He does come with the right leg of Sandman, which is decent enough for what it is.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

My first introduction to Jackal was via that first action figure of his, included in the big-box store-exclusive Maximum Clonage set.  I knew nothing about him, and that figure didn’t do much to enamor him to me.  I’ve long since parted with that figure (rather foolishly, it would seem, given the aftermarket value of the set).  In the mean time, a subscription of Dan Slott’s run on Spider-Man has given me a much greater appreciation for ol’ Miles Warren, so when this figure was announced, I was actually pretty excited.  The final figure is definitely a strong entry in the line.  Solid sculpt, fun design, and great execution.  The Jackal has finally been given his due!  Now, how about a “Clone Conspiracy” Jackal?

#1280: Marvel’s Shocker

MARVEL’S SHOCKER

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Herman Schultz suits up in battle armor that produces intense shockwaves, earning him the notorious name Shocker.”

If there’s one thing I’ve noticed about Hasbro’s latest iteration of Marvel Legends, it’s that the current development team definitely has some favorite team line-ups, and they sort of have running themes in each assortment to finish up some sets.  One of the favored teams over on the Spider-Man side of things is the Superior Foes of Spider-Man, the stars of the eponymous book by Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber.  It all started with Boomerang (who was himself granted a slot courtesy of being part of Jeff Parker’s Thunderbolts, another favorite team) back in the Ultimate Green Goblin Series.  Then we got both Beetle and Speed Demon (*and* the head of Silverman) in last year’s Absorbing Man Series.  Now we’ve gotten probably the most recognizable member of the team, Shocker!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Shocker (who get’s the “Marvel’s” description, which is sort of amusing to me, since it kind of sounds like Marvel’s flipping me off) was released in the Sandman Series of Marvel Legends.  This is Shocker’s first time as an official Marvel Legend, though he was released in Toy Biz’s Legends-compatible Spider-Man: Classics back in 2006.  Of course, that was 11 years ago, and Shocker was one of the many villains from that line to be hampered by a gimmicky action feature, so a new figure is very much appreciated.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Included in that articulation? Elbow joints!  Shocker seems to lose those a lot, so it’s nice that this figure is different.  He’s seen here in his most recent costume, which is the one he was sporting during his time with the Superior Foes, as well as his tenure with the Thunderbolts a few years back.  It’s different from the classic costume stylistically, but very similar in spirit.  I dig it.  The figure is built on the Bucky Cap body.  While I personally tend to think of Herman as being a little bulkier (especially with all that padding), he’s certainly been drawn a size similar to this on more than one occasion.  In a perfect world, he’d get unique tooling to capture the quilted texture of the costume, but that’s not where Legends is right now, so he makes due with the standard pieces.  He also gets a new head, forearms, hands, and knees.  The forearms and hands add Shocker’s signature vibro-shock gauntlets, which feature a really awesome sculpt; there’s tons of little dings and such that really add character to the figure.  The kneepads seem a little out of place on the otherwise streamlined design of the figure, but they’re true to the comics.  The head is surprisingly well-done.  Masked characters don’t tend to gent noticeable expressions, but Herman’s got something of a bewildered look that just seems perfectly in character for the Spider-Verse’s resident punching bag.  This is how you sculpt a fully face-masked character!  Shocker’s paintwork is passable; it has to handle all of the quilted parts of the costume, which look pretty decent here.  The changes from the yellow to brown could probably be a little cleaner, but they aren’t too terrible.  I do really like the pearlescent white they used for the eyes; it really makes them pop.  There’s a running change on this guy, which adds a belt buckle with the Thunderbolts logo on it, allowing him to officially be the Thunderbolts version as well.  My figure is the earlier, non-Thunderbolts version.  No clue which of the two will be the rarer one, but I’m happy with the one I got.  Shocker includes the energy pieces used by Havok, Wonder Man, and Polaris.  I lamented their overuse in my Polaris review, and it seems even more egregious here, since the pieces don’t actually make any sense for Shocker’s powers.  The gauntlets cause vibrations; there’s no “energy” component to them at all.  I honestly would have preferred an unmasked head, but I guess the that would have cost too much.  Shocker also includes the left leg of the BAF Sandman.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve been hoping for Shocker since Speed Demon and Beetle were first announced.  Superior Foes was one of my favorite books when it was coming out, so I’m happy to have most of the team.  With that being said, I didn’t really know what to expect from this figure.  Shocker’s not a particular favorite of mine or anything, but the figure looked kinda cool.  I ended up finding him at the same time as Spidey, for the same low price, which was enough to push me into grabbing him.  He’s sort of the anti-Black Spidey: a figure I wanted but didn’t need, but who ended up being one of my favorites from the series.  I’m glad I picked up this guy, because he may actually be my favorite of the Superior Foes sub-set.  Now, what are the chances of getting an Overdrive?

#1279: Spider-Man

SPIDER-MAN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Stealthily dressed in black, Spider-Man possesses incredible web-slinging, wall-crawling powers.”

Hey guys!  Guess what I’m reviewing for the next week!  Something new and exciting and…yeah, okay, it’s more Marvel Legends.  Look, I picked up three series of these suckers last month.  There’s a lot of them sitting here waiting to be reviewed.  So, let’s jump on into Sandman Week, shall we?

The first figure I’m looking at is none other than Marvel’s biggest cash-cow pretty much ever, the Amazing, the Sensational, the Spectacular, the Peter Parker, yes it’s Spider-Man!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Spider-Man is figure 5 in the Sandman Series of Marvel Legends.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and has 32 points of articulation.  As you’ve no doubt deduced from the images and the bio, this figure is based on Spider-Man’s symbiotic black costume.  Believe it or not, this costume hasn’t been released in Legends form since 2008’s Red Hulk Series.  That figure was built on the Bullseye mold (and not even the slightly updated version that Iron Fist got!), so an update was more than warranted.  More importantly, he’s really the last major Spidey design to be moved to the Pizza Spidey body.  This figure not only makes use of the now standard Spider-Man bod, he also re-uses the head of the Rhino Series’ Scarlet Spider figure, making him 100% recycled parts.  Of course, this is a figure that kind of warrants being recycled parts, doesn’t he?  Pizza Spidey’s not a perfect body, but it’s a solid build for Spider-Man, and it even looks like Hasbro’s tweaked it ever so slightly to offer a little more motion in the hips.  The Scarlet Spider head is a good choice; the change of color is enough to make it look sufficiently different.  The paint on this guy is pretty standard fare for this design.  They’ve gone for the simple black and white, no accenting, which is, in my opinion, always the way to go with this design.  Blue highlights and the like always end up messing the whole thing up.  The logo on my figure is pretty clean, but it’s worth noting that I’ve seen a number of figures where that wasn’t the case, so be careful when grabbing this guy.  Oh, and a cool, minor, almost nonexistent thing I noticed?  The black plastic used for this figure is a cooler black, rather than the usual warmer black used on most figures.  This means if the light catches the figure juuuuust right, he’s got the slightest bit of a blue sheen.  It’s so minor, I’m not even certain it was intentional, but I think it’s cool regardless.  Okay, I love this figure, but there’s one area where it’s a letdown, and that’s the accessories.  He comes with two sets of hands: fists and open gesture.  Yes, just those two.  Not the web pose ones.  Now, it’s true that when Spidey had the symbiote, he didn’t need to do the usual pose to fire his webs.  The thing is, after ditching the symbiote, Peter actual sported a cloth version of this design for a little while, and used his usual web shooters, so the hands would still be accurate.  Plus, he’s already a total re-use, the very least you can do is throw in one more set of hands, especially when they’re already tooled.  Not to mention, the last two Spider-Men on this body both came with all of the extra hands *and* a spare head. There was some hope that this figure might at the very least have that unmasked Peter had we’ve all been waiting for, but no such luck.  It just feels a bit weak.  He does at least include a pair of swap out hands for the Sandman BAF, but he really should have had more.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After the previously reviewed Ms. Marvel figure, this guy was probably my next most wanted from the Sandman Series.  I actually saw him at the same time as Kamala, but I just couldn’t bring myself to pay a premium price for a figure that didn’t actually offer anything new.  It seems that was the right call, as I found this guy at a slightly out of the way Walgreens while they were running their $12.99 sale on all Marvel Legends.  Score!  The accessories are super annoying, and all, but honestly, I was just happy to finally find this guy, and for a price I haven’t paid for a Legends figure in like a decade.  The actual figure is exactly what I’ve been hoping for ever since the Pizza Spidey body was introduced.  I’m glad we finally got him!

The Blaster In Question #0003: Ravager

RAVAGER

ALIEN MENACE

If you follow nerf even a little bit, you’ve probably noticed the trend of blasters moving toward the “tacti-cool” militaristic types of designs with scopes and magazines and attachments out the wazoo, and thats great for when you wanna play that way, but sometimes you don’t wanna get to serious about it.  That’s when you need a big goofy, gimmicky blaster.  That’s where the Ravager comes in.  Ok, ok, the name sounds intimidating and all, but don’t let that fool you.  This blaster has goofiness for days, so let’s take a look.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The ravager was released in Fall 2016 as the secondary blaster in the first wave of the Alien Menace series (again with the super serious names).  As far as I can tell, the Ravager is mostly original in terms of mechanics.  The forward fang/claw-type handle primes the blaster like just about any pump-action blaster with the added distinction of being absolutely buttery smooth.  This may be an odd point to harp on about, but I’m serious.  This blaster has one of the smoothest most satisfying pump-actions I’ve ever felt.  I wish every Nerf blaster felt this good to prime, but thats enough about that.  Firing, the blaster works like a big revolver, however, it’s unique in that the big goofy claw cylinder (which is far from cylindrical) holds 2 shots on each claw arm, releasing only one dart at a time via smart air-restrictor.  Effectively, what this means is that the cylinder has to complete 2 full rotations to fire all 8 darts.  On a side note, I’ve seen other people firing the Ravager and I believe mine might have a slight defect with one of the catches which are supposed to stop the claw cylinder in the right place to fire another round.  The blaster is still useable, it just has a tendency to rotate the cylinder back to the previous position if I try to fire it too quickly.  That might just be mine, but let’s move onto where the Ravager really shines.  My god, the design of this blaster is just something else.  At first glance, yes, its a funky shape, but looking closer, there’s a ton of really nice texture work.  The grey areas have a bumpy, pseudo-rayskin feel, whereas the purple and white have a grain to them, kind of like bone or chitin.  Where there isn’t texture, theres cool transparent purple on the back section of the blaster.  All together, the design makes the Ravager feel like a proper alien weapon.  Someone on the Nerf design team was having a good day when they were working on this.  The blaster feels pretty good in hand, though the aforementioned forward grip takes a little getting used to.  There aren’t any sights to speak of, but then again, maybe aliens don’t have conventional eyes, or like, use the Force or something.  The Ravager hits a little on the softer side, but nothing deal-breaking.  It’s probably slightly better suited for indoor play for that reason and because the 8 Elite darts that come packaged are a dark grey and purple, making them much easier to lose in grass and such.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Ravager was actually a birthday present from the infamous Enabler (some call her the “Super Awesome Girlfriend”) while on a ToysRUs run with my boy Ethan.  Funnily enough, it was a TRU run for his birthday whereupon I bought him the Marvel Legends Black Panther.  The Enabler, upon realizing that my own birthday was several months past, forcibly grabbed the Ravager from my stack of Nerf purchases-to-be and bought it herself.  I mean, she did, then, give it back as a belated gift, but still, the nerve of some people.  I am glad to have it, and though mine might be a bit of a lemon, it’s still plenty of fun to run around the house with, making pew pew noises.

*All kidding aside, Jess is pretty cool, but “Super Awesome Platonic Friend” didn’t quite roll off the tongue.