#0621: Mr. Assemble

MR. ASSEMBLE

ASSEMBLE BORG (REVOLTECH)

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Boy do I sure enjoy me some Assemble Borg figures. Trouble is, they aren’t the easiest things in the world to come across here in the US. There are a few figures in decent supply, but most of the line is virtually non-existent. So, I kind of have to take the dribs and drabs that I can get. I did manage to recently come across a few of the more difficult to find figures, which was quite exciting. Today, let’s have a look at Mr. Assemble, who is sort of, kind of the lead character of the series.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

MrAssemble3Mr. Assemble was entry 001 in the Assemble Borg line. Yep, he’s the very first figure in the whole line. No pressure or anything. The first three figures were the three main heroes of the line, and Mr. Assemble seems to be their leader. Like many of the others from the early “heroes and villains” iteration of the line, Mr. Assemble was given his own descriptor, “Commando Leader.” It’s admittedly not the most exciting descriptor, but hey, it works. The figure is 6 inches tall and features 42 points of articulation, both of which are standard for the line. Mr. Assemble is built on the standard Assemble Borg body. We’ve seen most of this body before with Jarknoid Zain. Technically, Assemble was the originator, but it’s the same body either way. It’s nicely done; it’s simple and sleek, with a nice stylistic flair to it. It’s a great base from which to build a multitude of figures. Assemble feature unique head and chest plate. The head is the MrAssemble4most…anime-influenced(?) of the sculpts I’ve seen from the line. A lot of that comes from the hair (which is also a first) which is spiky and lively. It’s not really up my alley, but it’s certainly well handled. Like Zain, this head is really a helmet, over a smaller underlying head. The head below is slightly different from Zain’s, but once again, I can’t see this being anyone’s default display choice. The chest piece us fairly basic, with only a few details, but it’s nicely designed, and does a nice job conveying the more basic hero-style of Mr. Assemble. Each of the first three figures was given a set of extra pieces to enhance them in some way. The other two had weapons that could be swapped out for one of their arms, but Mr. Assemble gets a set of robotic boots. They’re actually pretty cool, and very well sculpted. They add a nice bit of pop to the figure, and stand out very nicely against the dark blue body of the MrAssemble6figure. Mr. Assemble also includes four sets of hands (fists, open palm, trigger finger, and pointing/splayed), a big gun, a medium sized gun, a small gun, an even smaller gun, a sword, a knife, and a selection of revolver joints and pegs. Unfortunately, my figure was missing most of the weapons, but the one I did get was pretty cool.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Yeah, I totally fell overboard with the whole Assemble Borg thing. I’d like to point out that this is once again Tim’s fault. See, I had all my other Assemble Borg stuff and I thought I’d be good for a while. Then Tim came over with his AB stuff, which was fine. But, he had to go and mention this auction he was watching on eBay, which had a whole bunch of stuff, and wasn’t really clearly labeled. So, I had to look at it. And I noticed this guy and one other I wanted. So, I had to buy it. Tim and I ended up splitting it, which meant we not only got actual figures, but a whole ton of extra pieces as well. So, yay for that. To be honest, Mr. Assemble was probably the one of the first three that I was the least interested in getting. That said, with Assemble Borg, you sorta need to take what you can get, and Mr. Assemble’s actually pretty fun.

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#0620: Captain America

CAPTAIN AMERICA

MARVEL LEGENDS (TOYBIZ)

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My relationship with ToyBiz’s run on Marvel Legends was and still remains a love-hate one. I enjoyed the figures (though that’s widely changed over time) but collecting the line was one of the most grueling, frustrating experiences of my collecting career. Even from the start, things were pretty rough, with two of the four first series figures being in higher demand than the others. One of those two was Captain America, who up until this point was running short on good figures. But I got one, and that’s what matters to me!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

CapAmericaML2As noted in the intro, Captain America was released in the first series of Marvel Legends. The figure is 6 1/4 inches tall and features 36 points of articulation. The articulation is okay, but Cap is definitely hindered by being released before ToyBiz had perfected some of the joint styles. The neck and mid-torso movement are particularly limited, almost to the point of making you wonder why they even bothered. Cap’s sculpt was all new (in fact, I believe it remained completely unique to him) and it’s got some definite highs and lows. Let’s start with the highs. The head sculpt is quite good. In fact, it’s probably my favorite Captain America head sculpt to date. It has strong enough features, and has a determined expression while avoiding looking too angry. From the neck down, the sculpt takes a bit of a downturn. The proportions are a little wonky, and a lot of the muscles look strange and misshapen. Not terribly so, but definitely noticeably off. The hands are well sculpted, but they seem a little on the large side. The real issues with the sculpt are on the lower half, where the articulation is becomes far more obvious, and we get things like the wonky duck feet he’s sporting. Still, as a whole the sculpt doesn’t seem too bad, and it’s certainly better than some of the other sculpts in the line, even the ones that came later. It just goes to show that a quality head sculpt can go a long way. The paintwork on Cap isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty decent. Slop and bleed over are both minimal, and the colors seem pretty good, if maybe a tad washed out. The patterning on the upper portion of the blue is pretty cool, though it’s a little jarring that it just stops on the under sides of the arms. Cap came packed with a display stand, sculpted to resemble the wreckage of a tank and a portion of brick wall, as well as a small plastic American flag, and a reprint of Captain America #100.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

While I was able to find his series-mate Iron Man when the series was first released, I was not quite so lucky with the good Captain here. At least, not at first. However a year or so later, KB Toys marked all of their Marvel Legends down to $4. Most of their stock was made up of easy to find figures from later series of the line, but I was able to find one lone Captain America amongst them, which I happily bought. And he’s stuck with me since. The figure is far from perfect, and he shows his age, but I must admit, after digging him back out for the review, I enjoy him a lot more than I thought I would. I think this guy might just stay out of storage for the time being.

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Terminator Genisys: A Movie Review

I don’t write movie reviews. This is an Action Figure review site, after all. However, I’ve just seen a movie about which I want to write.

The movie in question (hey, that would be a catchy name for a movie review site, wouldn’t it?) is Terminator Genisys. I’m a pretty big fan of The Terminator and I’d probably rank Terminator 2 in my top five favorite movies.  It goes without saying that I was more than a little disappointed by the two films that followed. I’ve never actually been able to get all the way through T3, and most of Salvation left me cold. I had pretty much written the franchise off, and I kind of figured it was more or less dead.

When the first trailer for Genisys showed up, I was surprised. Somehow, I’d entirely missed the fact that another film was in production. It actually looked pretty decent, as if this might be the movie to turn the franchise around. I was optimistic, if cautiously so. I was still pretty excited, so when it started showing Tuesday night, I headed out to see it. Without saying too much, my optimism paid off and I thoroughly enjoyed the film.

THE ACTUAL REVIEW

Spoiler-Free:

First off, let’s address the film’s biggest draw: Arnold. His return to acting was one of the driving forces of getting the movie made, and a lot of the film’s marketing focused on his big return to the role. This time around, he takes up a part not unlike “Uncle Bob” in T2, operating as Sarah’s father figure “Pops.” The film seems to draw from the learning ability of the T-800’s CPU established in the extended cut of T2. Here it’s been in operation for a while, allowing Arnold to play a character with a little more warmth and human understanding. That’s not to say he’s completely abandoned his robotic nature, though; it makes its way to the forefront a few times, generally in the more action oriented scenes, but also in a few humorous moments.

The film has more than a few humorous moments, sprinkled throughout. It feels like they’ve gotten the mix of humor and drama right this time around. Part of what I enjoyed so much about T2 was its seamless blending of humor and serious moments. The movies that followed never got this balance down. T3 went too goofy and Salvation went too dreary and hopeless, resulting in both films suffering. Genisys gets it right.

Humor is one thing, but a movie is hardly a proper Terminator movie without some action. Genisys offers a nice selection of action sequences. There are lots of call backs to older movies (especially in the first battle with the T-1000) but there’s a lot of new stuff too, which keeps things interesting. Some sequences relied a little too heavily on CGI, but it never gets distracting to the point of pulling the viewer out of the film. The newest version of Terminator plays a big part in making the action feel new and exciting. One of my biggest problems with the last two films was the stagnation of the Terminators. The T-1000 offered a significant upgrade over the first film’s T-800, and this movie’s magnetically-charged nanite-powered Terminator felt like a worthy upgrade to the seemingly unstoppable T-1000.

I spoke about Arnold’s performance, but what about the rest of the cast? Well, if there’s a weak link, it’s probably Jai Courtney’s Kyle Reese. The biggest issue is that he really doesn’t look like Kyle Reese. Michael Biehn has a particular look, especially in Terminator. He’s not a clean cut, stacked action hero. Jai Courtney kind of is. His performance isn’t terrible, and he had grown on me by the end of the film, but he still felt a little off. Perhaps if Anton Yelchin’s turn as Kyle in Salvation hadn’t been one of that film’s few redeeming qualities, I’d be more forgiving.

Emilia Clarke, on the other hand, feels like a pretty worthy successor to Linda Hamilton. She plays Sarah with a lot of strength and presence, calling back to the T2 version of the character, but she also manages to still play up a lot of the uncertainty we saw in Terminator, giving us the best of both worlds. She and Arnold Schwarzenegger have a lot of chemistry, which really helped to make the movie work.

Jason Clarke takes over from Christian Bale as John Connor, and is probably the strongest of the re-cast parts. He actually plays the role in such a way that you can understand how this guy could lead the resistance to victory.

Byung-hun Lee gives a good performance as the T-1000, though he feels a little under-utilized here. I’m not sure rehashing the plot of T2 would have been the best way to go, but I felt like he should have had a little more to do.

JK Simmons and Matt Smith both give good performances in their respective roles. Simmons once again feels a little under-used, but the few scenes he does take part in use him pretty well. I’ll talk about Smith’s performance more in the spoiler section.

The film has a running theme of “old, but not obsolete.” This line is said more than once by Arnold’s Pops T-800, and it really
feels like it applies to the franchise as a whole as well. The movie strives to show us that this franchise may be old, but it’s not quite outmoded.

Spoilers after the jump.

Continue reading

#0619: Superman – Red

SUPERMAN – RED

JLA: CLASSIFIED

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Hey, do you remember back about two weeks, when I took a look at Superman Blue? That weird changeup to Superman to help keep him “hip?” Yeah, well, umm, long story short, he got split into two separate beings, and the second one was today’s focus, Superman Red. See, cuz it’s clever, cuz Superman is usually just one guy, who wears red AND blue, but now he’s two guys who each only wear one color. Isn’t that smart? But, of course, they also had slightly different personalities. Can you guess what was Superman Red’s defining trait? If you guessed the incredibly obvious answer of hot-headedness, you win a special no-prize! Good for you! Now, onto the figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

SupermanRed2Superman Red was released in the third series of DC Direct’s JLA: Classified line. He directly followed Blue in Series 2. While 2 had a more defined “looks of the 90s” theme to it, Series 3 was a little bit more free-form. The figure is about 6 ½ inches tall and has 13 points of articulation. Like just about every other McGuinness-styled figure, the articulation is mostly pointless, and he’s really only good for a basic standing pose. Superman Red is, completely unsurprisingly, a head to toe repaint of Series 2’s Superman Blue. Seeing as they’re essentially just palate swaps of each other in the comics, you can’t exactly blame DC Direct for just using the same mold. I guess they could have given this one a more emotive face (like Mattel did when they released these two) but it’s hardly a requirement. The head still feels too big for the body, and the arms are still too stubby, but it’s not a terrible sculpt. The paint is the real difference here, though even then it’s pretty much the same, but with red swapped in for blue. The paint does feel a little sharper this time around, and the white details are more properly aligned. Like his blue counterpart, Superman Red’s single accessory is a black display stand with the JLA: Classified logo in blue. Would have been cool to get it in red, just for the heck of it, but I guess they wanted it to be the same as the rest of the line.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like Superman Blue, Superman Red was from the assortment of figures I picked up during an action figure sale at Cosmic Comix. He was $3. That was most of my reasoning for getting him. Well, that and I was getting Superman Blue. Having both seemed like a good idea. I think Blue is my favorite of the pair, but I like both, and I certainly don’t regret buying them.

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#0618: Agent Venom

AGENT VENOM

MARVEL LEGENDS INFINTE SERIES

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Retail has become an odd place for action figures. Lots of stores are condensing their action figure section, and Toys R Us is really the only toy store game in town. But, in a time where lots of places are cutting back, Walgreens of all places has stepped up to the plate, not only carrying an increasingly wide variety of action figure lines, but also carrying their own exclusive items. Some are just simple repaints, but some ae all-new, fan-demanded figures, such as Agent Venom, the subject of today’s review.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

AgentVenom2Agent Venom is a Walgreens exclusive figure, released to coincide with Series 1 of Amazing Spider-Man 2 Marvel Legends Infinite Series. The figure had previously been shown in various con displays, with no real mention of where he’d be showing up. The figure stands about 6 ¼ inches tall and sports 32 points of articulation. He is, of course, based on the initial Agent Venom design, from right after Flash Thompson took over as host to the alien symbiote. It’s admittedly one of the more unique variants of the Venom design, and it makes for a rather striking figure, so it’s a good choice for a toy. The figure uses the Face-Off Punisher body as a starting point, with a unique head, hands, knees, shins, and feet and add-ons for the body armor and belt. The body is a little outdated, in terms of both proportions and articulation. However, the Bucky Cap body would be too small and the Hyperion body would be too large, making this the best fit of the existing bodies. On the plus side, the armor covers the torso, thereby hiding some of the wonky proportions. The movement still kinda sucks, but it’s not terrible. The pieces that are new are all very well sculpted. The head is nice and simple, and the armored pieces are loaded with tons of texture. When fully assembled, the figure is the spitting image of his comicbook incarnation. The paintwork on the figure isn’t quite as impressive as the sculpt. Some of that’s to be expected; the character’s design doesn’t really equate to a lot of painted detail. He’s really just got the white accent lines running throughout. They aren’t atrocious, but they could certainly stand to be a little cleaner. Agent Venom includes two Glocks, an MP5, and a USP, as well as a cool four armed symbiote attachment piece to help him hold them all.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I actually found this figure quite a while before I got one. He was amongst the large selection of figures I found at the Walgreens near Super Awesome Girlfriend’s school while I was visiting some months back. But, there were a lot of things I wanted, and I only had so much money (and space in my bag for the plane ride home) so he got put back. Then I didn’t see one again, so I figured I’d missed my shot. A couple of weeks ago, I stopped by a somewhat out of the way Walgreens while killing time during my brother’s karate lesson. I found this guy back behind several other ML Infinite figures. Venom’s not exactly one of my favorite comicbook characters, but the Agent Venom design is actually pretty cool, and it translates incredibly well to action figure form.

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#0617: Mondo

MONDO

GENERATION X (TOYBIZ)

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The 90s were a very strange time. I can’t say it enough. Amongst other things, Marvel’s merry mutatnts, the X-Men were really, really popular. That meant spin-offs out the wazoo. One such spin-off was Generation X. They weren’t “X-Treme” like X-Force, but they still had a very definite 90s flare to them. They were popular for a while, but the team eventually fell into some pretty serious obscurity. However, they managed to get more than one series of an action figure line, leading to a lot of figures that nowadays make people go “Who?” One such figure is team member Mondo. Yeah, I don’t really know him all that well either.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Mondo2Mondo was released in the second series of ToyBiz’s Generation X line. Mondo was the only actual team member in the series, making him the last released in the line (though a ToyFare exclusive version of Synch would be released not too long after. Who’s Synch? Exactly.) The figure stands about 5 inches tall and features a whole 6 points of articulation. Usually, ToyBiz’s Marvel stuff was pretty well articulated, but for whatever reason, the Generation X figures were less so. Mondo’s sculpt was also pretty pre-posed. His arms are somewhat spread at his sides and his legs are in a deep walking stance. Unlike a lot of pre-posed figures, Mondo is actually quite stable and well-balanced, so the lack of movement isn’t really too detrimental. The sculpt is actually pretty well handled; there’s plenty of texturing and detailing, and his proportions are in line with what he looked like in the comics. He’s definitely an angry spud, which seems a little out of character, at least going by the bio on the back of the package. The paintwork on Mondo isn’t super complex, but there are a few more minor details that are handled rather nicely. Plus, there’s not really any slop or bleed over, which is always cool. Mondo included a set of clip on armor pieces for his arms, which help to simulate his “omnimorph” abilities. The right side is meant to be wooden and the left is made of stone. Both clip on well enough, and are decently detailed (though the right is definitely a step above the stone). He also has the standard “X” stand, which was included with every figure in the line. He doesn’t need it, but hey, consistency isn’t bad!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Mondo is another piece of the lot of figures I picked up from my local comicbook store during a recent sale. I only had a passing familiarity with Generation X growing up, so I never really got many of the figures. I saw Mondo sitting there and, for whatever reason, he called to me. He’s actually a pretty neat figure, truth be told. Sure, he’s not the most standout character of all time, but it’s clear a lot of effort went into this guy, and that always makes a figure better.

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#0616: T1000 – Patrolman

T1000 – PATROLMAN

TERMINATOR 2: JUDGEMENT DAY REACTION

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Hey! It’s Funko’s ReAction brand! I actually haven’t looked at one of these in like six months. That doesn’t mean they haven’t been releasing a steady stream of the little guys, though. They’re making figures from just about every license under the sun, which is cool, but it also means that not every figure is going to appeal to every collector. So, the last few licenses haven’t really been my thing. However, Terminator 2 is totally my thing, and that’s one of their most recent licenses. Score for me! Let’s have a look at one of the film’s two Terminators, the T-1000, in his Patrolman gear!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

T1000MotorCop2The T1000 is part of the first set of Terminator 2: Judgement ReAction figures. The figure stands 3 ¾ inches tall and has the basic 5 points of articulation sported by all the figures in the line. He’s based on the T1000’s second major look in the film, after he steals a motorbike cop’s cycle and assimilates his look. It ends up being the look he has for the huge chase scene leading up to the final battle, which makes it somewhat distinctive, though it’s probably not quite as distinctive as his more basic cop look. That said, it’s still a pretty cool, important look, and it checks a few more of the standard “terminator” boxes than the other look. The figure features a new sculpt, done in the Kenner-style which ReAction replicates. Generally, the sculpt does a pretty good job of replicating the look of one of those figures. It’s not perfect; the torso still suffers from a little flatness, and the arms feel a tad too straight. However, it fits in pretty well with Kenner stuff, and it goes well with the Terminator ReAction figures from last year. The details of the sculpt are simple, but what’s there is pretty sharp, and things look pretty clean. Most of the face is covered, so the likeness is fine. What you can see looks close enough to Robert Patrick’s face to work, so that’s good. It’s not really a bad thing, but there’s a part of me that really wishes that one of the arms had a blade at the end in place of the hand, just to make the figure a little more clearly the T1000. Alas, it wasn’t to be. Paint-wise, the figure is decent, but there’s some room for improvement. The body is generally pretty good, with no real issues with bleed over or slop. The head’s a different story, with the silver of the glasses bleeding onto the nose and the left side of his helmet. Also, the silver band on the visor is really sloppy. Both of these issues are rather distracting, and were present on both samples of the figure that I looked at in the store. The T1000 is packed with an MP5K submachine gun. It’s the gun he’s carrying while flying the helicopter in the chase scene, so it’s a good choice. I do wish he could hold it a bit better, but oh well.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

These figures really ended up sneaking up on me. I think I might have heard about them somewhere along the line, but they weren’t really present on my mind until I came across this guy at a slightly out of the way Toys R Us. They didn’t have anything else I wanted and I certainly wasn’t walking out empty handed, so I got this guy. That makes it sound like I didn’t really want him, but I did. I love the T1000, so my Terminator ReAction stuff just wasn’t complete without this guy. He’s not a perfect figure, and I’d like to see more in the way of actual T1000 stuff, but this guy’s fairly entertaining, and he’s a lot better than Funko’s early output from this line.

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#0615: Wizard

WIZARD

FANTASTIC FOUR (TOYBIZ)

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The 90s was a great time to be an action figure fan, especially if you liked Marvel comics. Thanks to animated versions of several of their properties airing on TV, there was a lot of tie-in product to be found. Entire lines of figures would be devoted to one particular hero and his rogues and allies, providing a rather large depth of characters, many of whom had not and would not get another figure. One such character is today’s focus, the Wizard, a slightly lesser-known Fantastic Four foe.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Wizard2The Wizard was part of the fourth series of ToyBiz’s first Fantastic Four line. The character made an appearance in an early episode of the show’s second season, which had just kicked off when this series of figures was hitting stores. The figure stands about 5 inches tall and features 9 points of articulation. The figure features an entirely unique sculpt, which is…odd to say the least. Let’s start with the posture: he seems to be somewhat hunching, with widely splayed legs, and strangely outstretched arms. His head is atop a crooked, flexing neck, and his torso is oddly shifted to the left. Then there’s the proportions: his head and hands are huge, and his torso is far too short. The Wizard has always had a helmet that made his head look a little bigger than it was, but here it’s his whole head that’s huge, which ends up making the helmet look too small by comparison. Then there’s the arms, which start off somewhat normally sized, and then quickly shift into some sort of jacked-up, oversized monstrosity. I actually kind of like the positioning of the hands, but they look like they belong to another figure. And, of course, you can’t look at this figure and not mention the muscle definition. Seriously, most of those are just made up. The figure’s paint is passable, but not really anything outstanding. It accurately represents his garishly clashing color scheme of the comics, so that’s good, I guess. However, the figure has more than a few instances of bleed over, and his belt in particular is only a slight approximation of where it should be. If you read my Medusa review, you’ll remember that Series 4’s gimmick was that each figure had a base with some sort of action feature. Medusa got her hair, which wasn’t bad, but Wizard’s been given some strange disk…thing. I really don’t know what it is. It’s big, yellow, circular, and so goofy. There’s this lever on the right, which he can loosely hold. It doesn’t do anything, though. If you want to activate the action feature, you have to use a second lever, located behind the first, which shoots some blue disk things. That’s fun I guess.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Wizard was one of the many figures I picked up from my local comicbook store a month or so back when they were running a big sale on action figures. They had several, and I’d passed him up several times over the years, so I figured I might as well break down and buy one. I don’t say this often, but he’s really not a very good figure. So much about him is just so off, and there’s no real rationale as to why. And, to make things worse, this is literally the only figure the character’s ever had, which makes it a serious bummer.

#0614: Domino

DOMINO

X-FORCE (TOYBIZ)

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Grrrrr! 90s! Everything had to be soooooo X-Treme! And no one was more X-Treme than the X-Men! Well, okay, actually, that’s not true. There was one team than was more X-Treme, by design. They were the X-Force and they were super hardcore 90s. So hard. One of their more prominent members was Domino, who had luck based powers. You know, like a domino!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Domino2Domino was released in Series 6 of ToyBiz’s X-Force line. It’s surprising to see one of the team’s higher tier members not being released until one of the last few series of the line, but, hey, it was the 90s, and we were in the worst dregs of boys thinking girl toys were icky, so…..yeah. The figure stands 5 inches tall and has 9 points of articulation. While she was fortunate enough not to be saddled with the dreaded v-style hip joints that plagued many female figures of the time, she’s completely lacking in neck articulation, and for some strange reason her elbow joints are just simple cut joints. This ends up severely limiting what can be done with the figure, which is quite a bummer. Domino featured an all-new sculpt (though it would see a couple of re-paints later on down the line). It’s…passable. They’ve done a fairly decent job of capturing the design from the comics, which, it should be noted, is her second, non-Liefeld-designed costume. It’s got all the requisite buckles, pouches, shoulder pads, and even a weird head thing! The proportions aren’t the worst thing ever and she has one of the better female faces of the time. That said, she’s rather boxy, especially in her lower half, and I’m really not sure what’s going on with the straps on her torso. They certainly can’t be comfortable configured that way. Also, she seems to have lost a row of abdominal muscles, which ends up making the legs look way too long. The paintwork on the figure is alright.  Nothing amazing, but the colors are pretty good matches for the look in the comics, and there isn’t any substantial slop or bleed over. Domino originally included a set of gun attachments, which hooked into her legs. Yeah. Not really sure why they did that, since she just held the guns in her hands in the comics, but hey, whatever. Mine didn’t have them anyway.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Domino was another figure that I fished out of a box of loose figures at one of the dealer’s tables at this past Balticon. I was never really into X-Force growing up, and Domino never played a prominent role in the X-Men cartoon, so I didn’t really have a reason to get this figure while it was still new. But, it was a dollar. It’s not ToyBiz’s best work, but it isn’t atrocious.

#0613: Ripley – Compression Suit

RIPLEY –COMPRESSION SUIT

ALIENS (NECA)

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No movie toyline is every truly complete without a bunch of variations of one of the film’s main characters. Sometimes they’re manufactured by the toy makers, resulting in strange neon colored variations, aimed at capturing the attention of small children (which has been known to work…occasionally). However, there’s been an increasing trend towards variations that are accurate to the source material. NECA is pretty big on these, especially when they get ahold of a major actor’s likeness rights. When they managed to get Arnold Schwarzenegger’s likeness from Predator, they released five variants of the character right off the bat. Now that they’ve gotten Sigourney Weaver’s likeness from the Alien films, and it looks like they’re going to be approaching her figures a similar fashion. I looked at the first version of her the other day, and now I’ll be looking at the second version, from the very same series.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

RipleySS2Ripley was released in Series 4 of NECA’s Aliens line. The series is devoted completely to the 35th Anniversary of Alien, so all of the figures are from that particular movie. The figure stands about 7 ½ inches tall and features 24 points of articulation. The first Ripley figure depicted her in her jumpsuited look, which was her primary look from the movie. This one is based on her look from her final confrontation with the creature, while in the Narcisus. It’s not the look most would associate with her for the movie, but it’s a strong second, being from a rather pivotal scene of the film. As an added bonus, it gives NECA another opportunity to use the compression suit body into which they’ve put so much work. Shocking pretty much no one, Ripley uses the same body as Dallas and Kane (she also has the same hands as Dallas). Ripley’s suit was just a slight bit more streamlined in the film, so she doesn’t sport the front piece of armor (not sure what it actually is) and she also doesn’t have the holster strap for the flare gun. The helmet is RipleySS3similarly streamlined, being pretty much the same as Dallas’s, but without the head lamp. Under the helmet is a Ripley sculpt that is completely different from the one on Jumpsuit Ripley. It’s different, but I honestly can’t say if it’s better or worse than the other sculpt. It’s still got a pretty good likeness of Weaver, and the hair has been sculpted to more properly fit within the helmet. This ends up making the figure look a bit more goofy without the helmet on, but she looks great with the helmet on, which is the preferable outcome. Ripley’s paintwork is a little more simplistic than the other two compression-suited figures, but this is once again accurate to the movie, where Ripley’s suit is only used within the confines of the ship. Though it may be more simple, it’s hardly a bad paint job. In fact, it’s probably one of NECA’s best. While the suit is all white, NECA has made sure to include some slight variation and color and finish, providing quite a bit of dimension to the figure. The head also features some incredibly clean work, with no slop or bleed over, and some nice smallerRipleySS6 details. Ripley includes the harpoon gun, which figures prominently into the last moments of the film and has both opened and closed-hook harpoons, as well as another version of the film’s other survivor, Jonesy the cat, this time in a frightened pose.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Ripley is the last piece of the Series 4 set I ordered from Big Bad Toy Store. While I think the other Ripley is still the standout of this set, this version is incredibly solid. Like Dallas, she makes use of the strong compression-suit sculpt we saw on Kane, but doesn’t suffer from Kane’s drawbacks. Also, and this applies to this whole series, the paint here just seems like a huge leap forward compared to the previous three series of figures. All in all, this a fun figure, and definitely a must for anyone who’s an Alien fan.

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