#0580: Chewbacca

CHEWBACCA

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

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Once a line of figures gets a few series in, there will inevitably crop up one or two characters that are noticeably absent. Following the first three series of Star Wars: The Black Series, it was quite obvious that these two characters were Darth Vader and Chewbacca. Then, both found their way into the 5th series of the line. And there was much rejoicing! Yay! Except for one small issue: they weren’t exactly easy to find. See, there were two things that led to this. The first was that stores were sitting on lots of unsold stock of the first four series, so they under-ordered Series 5. In addition, while the series was all new figures, two of the four were variants of previously released characters. Obviously, this made the two new characters even more desirable, causing quite a bit of scarcity. I myself missed out on Chewbacca the first time around, but, fortunately for me, he got a rerelease!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Chewbacca2Chewbacca was originally part of Series 5 of Star Wars: The Black Series, however he eventually found his way into Series 7 cases as well. He’s figure number 04 in the second round of numbering for the line. The figure has 27 points of articulation and stands a whopping 8 inches tall. He’s actually so tall that he was pushed back to Series 5 from Series 4 so that Hasbro would have time to re-design the packaging so that poor Chewy wouldn’t have to be crammed in some contorted pose in order to be properly seen. Dude’s really big.  Chewbacca is one of the handful of characters who essentially look the same in all of the Star Wars films they appear in. That being said, you can sort of tell which movie he’s from by what his “bangs” are doing. For this figure, they’ve gone with the slicked back A New Hope look, which works fine with me. Given Chewbacca’s unique look, it’s no surprise that he makes use of an entirely new set of sculpted pieces. To be totally honest, it isn’t one of my favorites that the line has produced. It’s certainly not bad, and in fact, they’ve done an admirable job of translating a design that doesn’t work very well on an articulated figure to…umm…an articulated figure. The fur is all pretty well textured, but the breaks for articulation are rather obvious and obtrusive. Not sure it could have been any better, but it looks off. The head was actually the part of the figure I liked the least at first, but my opinion has changed over time and now I think it might be my favorite part of the figure. I’m still not 100% sold on the decision for the mouth to be open, but it looks perfectly fine in person. The sculpt being a little on the wonky side is not at all helped by an iffy paint job. Now, to be fair, this paint isn’t poorly applied or messy. It’s all exactly where it should be. It’s just not as…subtle as it could be. There are two different shades of brown: one dark and one light. The problem is that there’s no shade between, so the change from one to another is rather sudden. It really doesn’t help that many of these changes occur at the connections of joints, which are already a bit jarring to begin with. Chewbacca is armed only with his trusty bowcaster. It might have been nice to get another Stormtrooper rifle or maybe a set of handcuffs, but the lighter accessory load is excusable given the figure’s size.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When Series 5 was announced, I knew I wanted to get a Chewbacca figure. However, when I ended up finding the series, I could only find Luke and Vader, with no sign of Chewbacca. That bummed me out quite a bit. I mentioned it to my dad, who kept an eye out for Chewbacca for several months. He finally came across one while getting lunch from Wegman’s one day, much to my excitement. I know I was a little down on this guy in my actual review. I stand by that, but I will say that just having the figure in hand improves my personal opinion of the figure, even if the actual quality could be a bit better. I think part of it is just that Chewy is an important piece of the films and a collection wouldn’t be complete without him.

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#0579: Bossk

BOSSK

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

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After going a fair bit of time with no new Black Series figures, I’ve actually managed to pick up a few of them in a relatively short span of time. And, as an added bonus, I didn’t actually have to resort to breaking my “no prequel figures” rule again. Yay? Empire Strikes Back is a lot of people’s favorite film of the original trilogy, due in no small part to the introduction of a rather memorable selection of bounty hunters. Now, they certainly can’t all be Boba Fett when it comes to popularity, but today’s focus, Bossk, is certainly up there.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Bossk2Bossk was released as part of Series 7 of Star Wars: The Black Series. He’s figure number 10 in the line, though it is important to note that he’s number 10 of the second batch of numbers. Because Hasbro enjoys confusing people. The figure stands just over 6 inches in height and sports 30 points of articulation. His jaw moves, guys. His jaw moves. That’s pretty cool. Bossk features a sculpt that is all-new to this figure. Simply put, the sculpt is nothing short of amazing. The design from the movies has been translated quite nicely. The figure is also just covered in texturing, which makes him quite interesting to look at and shows that Hasbro definitely didn’t phone things in on this guy. Bossk’s paintwork is decent, though not quite up to par with the sculpt. This is Hasbro we’re dealing with here. On the plus side, the base color work is all very well-matched to the film look, and the colors are nice and clean. He also has a nice wash over his head, hands, and feet, which really brings out the smaller details of the sculpt. So, what’s the bad with the paint? Well, you’d be hard-pressed to find an edge on this figure that doesn’t have any bleed over, and you’d be just as hard-pressed to find a surface devoid of any stray marks of incorrect colors. From a few feet away, it’s hardly noticeable, but up close, the figure looks pretty rough. Not terrible, but rough. Bossk’s lone accessory is his blaster rifle. It’s a little difficult to get into his hands, but it’s well sculpted, and once it’s in place it looks great.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Bossk was purchased for me by my Dad. He was grabbing lunch at Wegman’s of all places and they had a case of this series. Here I was sitting in Political Science and in comes a text asking if I want Bossk and Chewbacca. Bossk was something of a slow-burn figure for me. I knew I wanted to see him made when the line began, and I was certainly happy to see the prototype, but I just never got really excited about him. That did change a little, but not as much as I would have hoped. The figure probably has the best sculpt in the line so far, but he’s really pulled back by the less than stellar paint. I really wish that Hasbro would put some more work into the paint on their figures, because so many fantastic sculpts are being hidden by lackluster paint.

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#0578: Banshee & Pyro

BANSHEE & PYRO

MARVEL MINIMATES

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In the 90s, the X-Men were just the very biggest thing at Marvel. They were in everything, they had everything. They even had two rather extensive lines of toys running, offering pretty much everyone who showed up even for just a little while. After the 90s ended, that cooled down a bit, and they haven’t nearly as extensive a hold on the market since. However, Diamond Select Toys, with their extensive Marvel Minimates line, is doing their very best to live up to the 90s X-Men toylines. The most recent round of ‘mates is once again centered around the team, and does its fair share to fill a few X-shaped holes. Let’s kick things off with my favorite set, Banshee vs. Pyro!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This two pack is part of Marvel Minimates Series 60. The series is an even split between the X-Men and their foes the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Each set includes one X-Man and one Brotherhood member, and, as an added bonus, three of the four sets feature parts to turn the X-Man into another member of the team.

BANSHEE

Banshee&Pyro3Banshee is a figure we’ve been waiting quite some time for. He started popping up on wishlists just a few series into the line, mostly due to his absence from the Giant-Size X-Men #1 boxed set. Then he showed up as one of the choices in the Series 50 poll, but was ultimately not one of the finalists. Now we’ve finally gotten him. Of course, he’s in his 90s Strike Force uniform instead of his traditional green and yellow, but let’s not split hairs here. We got Banshee! Focus on the positive! The figure stands 2 ½ inches tall and features the usual 14 points of articulation. As I noted above, this is Banshee’s Jim Lee design from the 90s. It’s not his longest lasting look, but he did wear it in a few noteworthy appearances. He uses the standard Minimate body, with the addition of a hairpiece, cape, gloves, leg straps, and boot straps. I believe that the gloves are new to this series, though they are used on all of the X-Men in this series. The rest of the pieces are some rather clever re-use. The hair is from the Infinity Gauntlet set’s Adam Warlock, the cape is from the Secret Wars set’s Photon, and the straps are all from Series 34’s 90s Cyclops. All of the pieces are well-sculpted and well-chosen for Banshee’s look. Banshee’s paintwork is generally pretty good. The colors are nice and bold, and the detail lines are all very well Banshee&Pyro2applied. There is a little bit of bleed over here and there on the changes from blue to yellow, and the belt buckle isn’t fully red like it should be. All minor things, but things that it would be nice to see handled just a bit better. Banshee is packed with a piece replicating his sonic scream ability, a flight stand, and a clear display stand. In addition to the Banshee parts, he also includes parts to transform the figure into Gambit. He has a head, hairpiece, set of card throwing hands, and a satchel. All of these pieces are very nice, and they translate the figure to Gambit quite expertly.

PYRO

Banshee&Pyro5Now, the wait for Pyro alone hasn’t quite been as extensive as it was for Banshee, but he and his fellow Brotherhood members have been waiting in the wings for a little while. Like Banshee, Pyro is about 2 ½ inches tall and has 14 points of articulation. The collar piece is a little bit restricting of the head movement, but it’s still there, so that’s good. Pyro make’s use of add-on pieces for his mask, collar, and gloves. All of these pieces are new to Pyro, and they’re all pretty good adaptations of his comic design. The mask is a little soft on the details, but it’s not too bad. The paintwork on Pyro isn’t quite as good as Banshee, but it’s still not horrid. The biggest issues seem to occur on the mask, where the paint is only in the same general area of where it should be, which is rather distressing. Aside from that, the colors are nicely chosen and the linework is all pretty clean. In particular, I really like the fully detailed face under the mask. It has a lot of personality. Pyro includes two flame constructs and a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked this set up all by itself from my local comicbook store. They had three of the four other sets, but this was the only one I felt like I had to get right away. These are two of my favorite X-Men characters, and they turned out quite nicely. I can’t wait to get the rest of the series now!

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#0577: Granite Gohlems

GRANITE GOHLEMS: RHOKK & RHOLL

WEAPONEERS OF MONKAA

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If you’re a fan of action figures that are fun (and if you aren’t, what’s wrong with you?) then Weaponeers of Monkaa is a line that is definitely worth checking out. I can’t stress enough how refreshing it is to collect a line that isn’t retail and license driven. It’s a toyline created for the love of the game, and that’s something to admire in this day and age. The line’s creators, Spy Monkey Creations, just released a new assortment of figures, and like the good completist that I am, I purchased the whole set. So, let’s look at the Granite Gohlems Rhokk and Rholl! Aren’t those names clever?

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Rock&Rholl2Rhokk and Rholl were both released as part of the sixth assortment of Weaponeers of Monkaa figures. They’re separate figures, and usually I’d give them a separate review. However, they’re both Granite Gohlems, and they’re pretty much the same figure, with some very minor paint differences. The figures are both about 4 inches tall and feature 19 points of articulation in their default states. As I noted in my Palidar review, the nature of the line means that you can effectively build them anyway you like, so your mileage may vary on height and movement. You’re super awesome girlfriend loves you very much. Both figures use the same assortment of parts we’ve seen on every other WoM figure so far. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. As Gohlems, they both use the “fist” head for their standard set up. I really like this head, because it gives off a really cool retro robot vibe. The rest of the pieces are just as good here as they have been every other release Rock&Rholl3of the parts, so that’s pretty great. Paint work on these two is relatively minor, but it’s also the only thing that distinguishes them from each other. Both figures are molded in the same grey plastic as Palidar. On Rhokk, the eyes and logos are done in black, while on Rholl they are done in white. Personally, I think that Rholl’s scheme makes him look a little more lively, but both are well executed, with no real slop or anything. The two figures are both armed with a short blade and a sickle, cast in the same grey plastic as the figures.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got these two on the first day of release on the Spy Monkey online store, at the same time as Palidar. There’s no denying that Palidar was the star of this assortment, but these two are certainly solid additions to the line. Plus, they offer another variety of Gohlem, which is certainly nice.

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#0576: Granite Gladiator Palidar

GRANITE GLADIATOR PALIDAR

WEAPONEERS OF MONKAA

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Sometimes in the action figure world, in light of all the fantastic high-end, high-price, low-durability, licensed product, it’s easy to forget that these are toys, and they are meant to be played with. Fortunately, in the last few years, a few lines have shown up with a mission statement of making fun toys first. One such line is Spy Monkey Creations’ Weaponeers of Monkaa. SMC just put out another set of figures not long ago, and I, as a completist of the line, picked them up. Let’s kick things off with Granite Gladiator Palidar!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

GraniteGladiator2GG Palidar is part of the sixth main assortment of the Weaponeers of Monkaa line. He’s the second version of Palidar to grace the line. For those of you not familiar with WoM-lore (which I assume is most of you), Palidar is the right-hand-man of Empyreus, the leader of the heroic Gearo faction. Palidar hasn’t seen a release since the first series of the line, and he’s the last of the named characters to get a second figure. Going by what I’ve read online, it seems that this is supposed to be Palidar’s original appearance, before he joined the Gearo faction. As the name suggests, he was working as a gladiator, which is a pretty cool backstory. In its default set-up, the figure is roughly 4 inches in height and he has 19 points of articulation. Now, the gimmick of the line is that the figures are totally modular, so given how you decide to configure him, his height and articulation could be totally different. In fact, you can reconfigure him so he’s not even Palidar at all. Keeping this in mind, it should also be noted that Palidar uses the same assortment of parts that we’ve seen with every figure in the line. I’ve talked about them a few times before, but I’m still impressed by how sleek they are and how well the fit together in numerous configurations. His default head is, obviously, the Palidar head, but the figure also includes the other four basic heads, so that you can construct a few different Granite Gladiators, should you so choose. The main difference between WoM figures is color scheme. With a name like “Granite Gladiator,” it’s no surprise that the figure is molded in a brownish-grey plastic. It has a nice earthy tone to it, and granite is an appropriate descriptor. Each assortment of figures has one “DX” figure who gets some slightly bumped up paint apps. Palidar is the DX figure for the sixth assortment. He’s got a fair bit of black accent work, which goes really nicely with the grey. He also got a tiny bit of blue for the eyes on the Palidar head, and red on the other heads. Guess those other Granite Gladiators aren’t quite as heroic as Palidar. Everything is applied evenly and cleanly, resulting in quite a sharp looking figure. Palidar is armed with the basic straight blade and sickle, though, in my mind, he prefers to just use his fists.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like just about every other WoM release, I was on Spy Monkey’s store the day this set was placed up for order. Of course, I happened to be down visiting Super Awesome Girlfriend the day these went up, so I ended up having to place the order on her phone. She’s far too accepting of all this. I wasn’t sure what I was going to think of the Granite series. They’re a little more drab than previous releases, so I thought they might be a little boring. On the contrary, the little touches like Palidar’s eyes give this figure a nice bit of personality, and he’s just as much fun as the line’s other figures!

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#0575: Man-Bat

MAN-BAT

BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES (DC COLLECTIBLES)

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While I love pretty much every episode of Batman: The Animated Series, there are two episodes I love above all the others.  The first is “Heart of Ice,” the episode that re-invented the character of Mr. Freeze and made him into one of Batman’s most memorable Rogues.  The other is “On Leather Wings,” which is the very first episode of the series, and is responsible for kicking things off with a serious bang.  The episode steered away from the more established Bat-Rogues in order to focus on the lesser-known Man-Bat.  Man-Bat serves as the logical counterpoint to Batman, and allows for a unique way of introducing the audience to the main character.  The episode perfectly established the tone for the rest of the series, and has some of the best writing and animation of the entire show.  It was an important moment for the series, and Man-Bat is a key part of it, so it’s no surprise that Man-Bat showed up in the latest round of BTAS figures from DC Collectibles.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

ManBat2Man-Bat is figure 07 in the Batman: The Animated Series/The New Batman Adventures line from DC Collectibles.  He is the third and final figure in Series 2 (Poison Ivy was supposed to be the fourth, but she got pushed back due to production issues).  The figure is just shy of 7 ½ inches tall, has a wing span of 15 inches, and has 15 points of articulation.  The design of the character means that he’s a little less articulated than some of the others in this series.  That said, he’s actually the first figure in the line to get any torso articulation, and most of the articulation has a pretty great range of movement.  The only point that’s really limited is his head, which really would benefit from the ability to look upward.  As with the Kenner figure, this version of Man-Bat is based on the Kirk Langstrom Man-Bat from “On Leather Wings” as opposed to the Francine Langstrom (wo)Man-Bat from “Terror in the Sky.”  The figure’s sculpt is, generally, a pretty great translation of the show’s design for the character.  The only real mis-step, as far as I can tell, is the figure’s head.  It’s not terribly far off from the show design, but it seems like it’s a little flatter, depth-wise, than it should be.  In particular, the jaw line seems too shallow.  That being said, it’s closer than Kenner’s attempt, and the differences can be chalked up to the show design not translating quite as well to three dimensions.  Man-Bat is a much larger figure than the others in the line, but that doesn’t mean he gets left out of the accessories game.  The most ManBat3important extra pieces are definitely the extra arms, which are sculpted in a more relaxed position. The default arms are sculpted in an outstretched fashion, which can take up a lot of shelf space and limits the possible poses, so it’s good to have the extra pieces.  Now, it’s too bad that DCC couldn’t find a way to work in elbow and wrist movement, but I can certainly appreciate their desire to not hinder the quality of the sculpt.  These make for a decent enough compromise.  In addition to the arms, the figure includes three medicine bottles, a tape recorder, and a display stand.  The bottles and the recorder are episode specific, and pretty nifty to have, even if Man-Bat can’t really use them.  The stand is pretty much an essential piece of the figure, however, due to his inability to stand very well on his own.  But, at least it’s there, right?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

If you’ve read the last two days’ reviews, it should be no surprise that I got Man-Bat from Amazon.  It doesn’t make for a terribly exciting story, but it’s relatively stress-free on my end.  Man-Bat was a figure I was really looking forward to, mostly due to how much I love the character’s first appearance on the show.  It’s too bad that DCC couldn’t come up with a way to articulate the arms, but the swappable parts do make up for it a bit, resulting in a pretty fun figure, and probably one of the best Man-Bat figures to date.

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#0574: Robin

ROBIN

BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES (DC COLLECTIBLES)

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When discussing the definitive actors for certain characters, Batman: The Animated Series comes up a lot. Usually, it’s in regards to Kevin Conroy’s portrayal of the title character, or possibly Mark Hamill’s Joker. There’s no denying that those two defined the characters for a vast majority of the fanbase, and their performances are rightfully praised. However, for me, there’s one more actor who’s just as definitive in his role, and that is Loren Lester as Robin. When I think of Robin, his voice is the one I hear, and as such his version of Robin is the one I’m most interested in owning a figure of. Fortunately for me, DC Collectibles has just released a figure of that very version of the character!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

RobinTAS2Robin is figure 06 in DC Collectibles’ Batman: The Animated Series/The New Batman Adventures line, and he’s the second of the three figures in Series 2. Robin is 5 ½ inches tall and features 28 points of articulation. The articulation here is better than what we saw on Joker, but the height seems a little off. To be fair, Robin was usually depicted as being a little shorter than most of the other adult male characters. However, this version of the character is meant to be college aged, and at more than a half an inch shorter than Batman, he seems too small. Anyway, this figure is based on the Dick Grayson version of Robin from BTAS. Aside from the issues with scale, the sculpt does a pretty fantastic job of capturing the show design. The proportions are all well-balanced, and everything is rather sharp and clean. They’ve even managed to actually capture Robin’s wacky hair, which always threw off the Kenner figures. Here, it’s got the right shape from most angles (although they had to cheat it in a few areas) and it brings some neat dimension to the sculpt. Paint is the area where these figures continue to fall just shy of expectation. Robin’s paint isn’t all bad; they RobinTAS4managed to match the colors pretty well to show, which is definitely a plus. However, the red and yellow areas of the tunic have quite a bit of bleed over between them, and there are a couple of instances of slop. He’s also got a chip of paint missing on his right glove, which is annoying, and oddest of all, he’s got a strange circle of glossy finish on his left cheek. It’s only noticeable from certain angles, but it’s just weird looking. Robin also suffers from the same painted wrist joint issue that the Joker had, so there’s a bit of green wrist confetti to go with the purple. Yay? Robin is pretty well accessorized. Similar to Batman, he includes two capes; one is completely swept back, while the RobinTAS3other is draped over his right shoulder. Both capes sit well and they can be swapped out by popping off the figure’s head, which is pretty easy. Robin also includes a grappling gun, bola whip, a display stand featuring his character design sheet, and 7 hands: a pair of fists, a pair of loose grip, a pair of tight grip, and a left hand holding the grappling gun. I’m still a little a little unsure of why we need both a loose grappling gun and a hand with the gun sculpted in place, but whatever. Also, the bola whip is too thick, which means it kind of ends up looking more like a sort of wobbly staff than a whip. But, all the other accessories are cool, so no issues there.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Robin’s another Amazon purchase. Nothing super exciting, but it was an easy, pain-free way of getting a figure I wanted. Robin’s probably the figure I was looking forward to the most from this series, and, while he isn’t without issues, I’m pretty happy with the final figure. Now, would it be too much to ask for the TNBA version of this costume from “Old Wounds?”

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#0573: The Joker

THE JOKER

BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES (DC COLLECTIBLES)

JokerTAS1

It’s pretty much universally agreed that Batman: The Animated Series is not only possibly the greatest thing to come out of the 90s, it’s also one of the best versions of the Batman mythos in just about any medium. One of the series’ biggest strengths was its phenomenal voice cast. In particular, the series is responsible for introducing us to the definitive Joker actor, Mark Hamill. DC Collectibles just released a new figure of this particular Joker. Why don’t we take a look at it?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

JokerTAS2Joker is figure 05 in DC Collectibles’ Batman: The Animated Series/New Batman Adventures line. He’s part of the line’s second series of figures. He stands 6 ¼ inches tall and has 22 points of articulation. Right off the bat (heh!) the articulation has a few issues. He has a fair amount, and what’s there has a nice bit of movement. The issue is what isn’t there. His only ankle articulation is a set of cut joints, and he would really benefit from some movement in his thighs. So, the line is alternating between BTAS and TNBA for designs; the first series was heavier on the TNBA designs, but Series 2 is entirely made up of BTAS designs. This works out in Joker’s favor, as his BTAS design is by far the superior of the two. Joker definitely has one of those sculpts that needs to actually be viewed in three dimensions in order to be fully appreciated. The head in particular looked rather off when I examined the figure in the packaging. Once I took the figure out, however, the sculpt looks much better. It’s not quite spot on (I think the eyes and brow that are throwing it off a bit) but it’s still a pretty strong sculpt. It’s certainly closer than the old Kenner figure. The rest of the body sculpt is pretty much an exact match for the show’s design. One cool touch that’s minor and easy to miss is the bottom of the shirt. Instead of the usual scalloped end, it’s just as straight line. This might seem like a mistake at first glance, seeing as all the promo illustrations have the more involved design. However, if you actually look at his design within the show, he’s always depicted with just the straight line. So kudos to DCC there! The paintwork on Joker is okay, but it does have a few issues. The colors are all very nicely chosen and most of the paint stays where it’s supposed to. There are two main issues. The first is that the left arm has a JokerTAS5scratch of paint missing. It’s not horribly noticeable, and it’s definitely an isolated issue, but it’s definitely annoying. The other issue is that, for some reason, they’ve painted the inside of the wrist joints. Obviously, the joints come in contact with the paint, which means Joker had a stream of fairly steady purple confetti falling from his sleeves for the first few days he was out of the package. Joker is armed with, well, let’s just call it an “interesting” assortment of accessories. The figure is technically based on the episode “The Last Laugh” for reasons that pretty much no one can figure out. So, the figure includes an ice pick, pearl necklace, comb, spyglass, and helmet that are all specific to the episode, and ultimately a bit pointless in the long run. They’re all decent enough, apart from the helmet, which has a very poorly placed assembly seam. The figure also includes a display stand and an assortment of hands. The hands are all pretty nice, but two of them are clearly sculpted to hold a playing card that was ultimately cut from the figure, and none of them are sculpted to hold the included spyglass, which makes them a bit odd.

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THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Joker was acquired via Amazon. Not really much of a story there. I paid for it and it arrived. Fun times. I was looking forward to this figure initially, but early packaged shots made me uncertain. I’m happy to say the figure is much better in hand than I expected. Still not perfect, but still good.

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#0572: Clone Sergeant

CLONE SERGEANT

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

CloneSWB1

It’s been a whole seven months since I’ve looked at a Star Wars: The Black Series figure. That kind of surprised be. I double-checked a few times, but, yep, Darth Vader was the last one I looked at, back on October 6th of last year. It’s odd, because I was pretty sold on this line when it launched. However, the remnants of the first few series have hung around in my area, so finding the newer figures has been few and far between. Evidently, I was so desperate to get something from the line that I was willing to break my one rule going in: No prequel figures. Yeah, bad Ethan. Just go with it, okay?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

CloneSWB2The Clone Sergeant was released as part of the sixth series of Star Wars: The Black Series. He’s figure #07, though it’s worth noting that the numbering restarted for 2014, so he’s a little higher in the actual numbering. The figure is roughly 6 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation. He’s a Phase I-style Clone Trooper, which technically means he’s from Attack of the Clones, although, as I noted in my last Clone Sergeant review, I’m fairly certain the no Sergeants actually appear in that film, making this figure technically a Clone Wars figure. But I could be wrong. This being a Phase I Clone, it’s not really a surprise that the sculpt is identical to that of the Series 4 Clone Trooper, and will be the same as the soon-to-be-released Clone Lieutenant. In Hasbro’s defense, this is completely film accurate and totally to be expected. The additional Clone ranks are here to get more use out of the completely unique tooling of the first Clone. It’s worth noting that this sculpt is a really great piece of work. Everything is nice and clean, and there’s lots of symmetry. The armor is appropriately smooth and the underlying body suit has some wonderful texture work. There is one issue, and I’m not sure entirely how to classify it. Simply put, the figure has a rather obvious set of serial numbers etched into his left thigh. Well, I say etched, but they almost look as if someone chewed them in. It’s strange looking. Clearly, this isn’t meant to be part of the sculpt, but it’s there and it’s rather distracting. The paint is somewhat important on this figure, since it is the one thing that differentiates it from the normal Clone Trooper. It’s okay, but not great. The colors are well chosen, and everything is pretty much correctly placed, but the green areas in particular are rather rough around the edges, looking almost as if the green hasn’t been fully mixed together. It’s only really noticeably up close, but it certainly could be better. The Clone Sergeant is packed with two rifles: one large and one small. These are the same ones included with the normal Trooper, and they are nice translations of the film designs.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

It’s kind of Super Awesome Girlfriend’s fault. See, I was visiting her at school and we went to Toys R Us, because that’s what we do, and they had this figure there. I’ve been resisting the urge to buy a Black Series Clone Trooper for a while now, and so far I’ve managed to do pretty well. But she was standing there with me and she said three words that meant I couldn’t turn the figure down: “It has green!” Damn. So, I bought the Clone Sergeant. And now I totally have a prequel figure, even though I swore I wouldn’t buy any. To be fair, he’s a decent figure. Sure, the paint could be better, but that’s hardly a surprise when dealing with Hasbro. So, has this figure shattered the glass wall preventing me from buying prequel stuff? Will I be tracking down a Darth Maul on eBay? Nah, probably not. He’s cool and all, but I don’t see this being anything but a one off.

#0571: Gipsy Danger – Hong Kong Brawl

GIPSY DANGER – HONG KONG BRAWL

PACIFIC RIM (NECA)

GypsyHK1

Certain movies just exude pure awesomeness. Pacific Rim is one of those movies. Seriously, giant robots fighting giant monsters. What more could you want from a movie? Well, if you’re me, action figures of said giant robots and giant monsters. But, that’s just me. Well, not just me, clearly, what with there being a whole line of such figures. So, why not look at another figure of the main giant fighting robot Gipsy Danger.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

GypsyHK3Hong Kong Brawl Gipsy Danger was released as part of Series 5 of NECA’s Pacific Rim line. This is the 3rd Gipsy Danger to show up in the line (though the 4th I’ve reviewed here). The figure is just about 7 ½ inches tall and features 27 points of articulation. That’s a whole ten points more than the first two Gipsies, which is certainly impressive. The figure represents Gipsy’s basic look from the film, but if you want to get really technical, this figure is based on Gipsy during her Hong Kong battle with Otachi. Just in case the name hadn’t clued you in. Gipsy’s big selling point here was that she featured an all-new sculpt. Of course, that sculpt went on to be used as the base for the Anchorage Attack Gipsy, so I’ve actually reviewed a fair portion of this sculpt before. The head, upper torso, and left arm are different, of course, but they’re consistent with the pieces we saw on the AA figure. I made it no secret how much I loved the AA Gipsy’s sculpt, and my opinion of it continues on this figure’s sculpt too. The level of detail present in this sculpt is nothing short of amazing. It well and truly looks like someone miniaturized a real Jaeger. Fantastic work all-around. Getting to see the sculpted work on a more clean example of the design is really nice. Things like battle-damage can hide a sculpt’s flaws, so the fact that the sculpt of the cleaned up counterpart is just are great really means a lot. In addition to massive strides in the quality of sculpts, NECA has also made some tremendous strides in the quality of the paintwork applied to said sculpts. Gipsy’s paintwork is, well, maybe not as fantastic as the sculpt, but it’s still pretty darn great. The various insignias and smaller details are nice and clean (though with a touch of weathering, for realism) and the pearlescent blue is just as cool here as it was on the AA Gipsy. There are a few spots where bleed over crops up, most noticeably around the edges of the visor and chest reactor, but they’re relatively minor and only really noticeable under close examination.  This version of Gipsy is incredibly well-accessorized. She includes two sets of hands (gripping and fists), a fully-extended version of the chain sword, and …what was that last thing? Oh, right, a BOAT SWORD!!!!!!!!! Yeah, that’s kind of the winning piece here, not just because it happens to be one of the film’s cooler moments (which is really saying something), but also because the boat features the same level of sculpted and painted detail that the figure itself possesses. And that’s just downright impressive.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Yeah, I totally skipped this figure when it was first released. Why would I need another normal Gipsy Danger? Well, then I bought the Anchorage Attack version and realized I was wrong to skip this one. Of course, by that point the HKB Gipsy had disappeared from most stores, so I assumed I had missed my chance on getting one. But then I was out with Super Awesome Girlfriend and we stopped by Toys R Us, because that’s just what we do. Obviously, said TRU had this figure, since I brought it up here. Anyway, I’m glad to have finally found this figure, and it’s just a fantastic update on the first Gipsy.

GypsyHK4