#1344: The Thing

THE THING

FANTASTIC FOUR: DELUXE EDITION (TOY BIZ)

“Ben Grimm became the Thing after he was bombarded by cosmic rays in a space flight gone awry with scientist Reed Richards.  Since then he has dedicated his life to fighting crime as a founding member of the Fantastic Four, fending off many foes with the mere words — it’s clobberin’ time!”

It’s been 3 years since I reviewed a figure of Benjamin J. Grimm, better known as the ever-lovin’, blue-eyed Thing.  That’s quite a long time.  It’s a bit surprising, really, since he’s the FF member I own the most figures of, so you’d think he’d show up a little more frequently, but no.  Well, I’m fixing that today, and I’m also looking at yet another of the old Toy Biz 10-inch figures.  That’s always fun!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Thing was part of the second assortment of Toy Biz’s Fantastic Four: Deluxe Edition line.  I think.  It got a little hard to follow after the first three-figure assortment.  The main thing to note is that they only ever released Ben and Johnny in this scale (flip side, they only did Reed and Sue in the Famous Covers style.  So, it works out, I guess?)  The figure stands a little over 10 inches tall and has 9 points of articulation.  As I’ve noted a few times before, the 10-inch figures made use of the two-up prototypes used for the 5-inch line.  This is partly true for the Thing, but he also has a pretty healthy helping of new or tweaked parts, presumably to help with costs.  The only part that looks to be a straight re-use is the head, which is a pretty great Ben Grimm head, so that’s certainly a good thing.  The rest of the parts follow the general look of the smaller figure, but he’s been given a much straighter stance, thereby giving the figure less overall bulk.  He’s still quite a bit more sizable than the other figures in the line, so it’s not a really big change.  In general, he also seems a little more boxy than his smaller counterpart, which doesn’t look quite as good, but once again, it’s not a huge difference.  Regardless, the head sculpt is the real star here.  The paint on Ben is pretty basic; he’s molded mostly in orange, with a bit of blue and while for his shorts and eyes.  What’s there is pretty decent, though obviously the paint on my figure has seen better days.  This figure was originally packed with a protective helmet, emulating the helmet Ben wore in the comics when he had the robotic suit to replace his lost powers.  It was rare that a 10-inch figure got an extra not included with the smaller figure, but this was the one that got it.  If only mine still had his.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t have this guy growing up.  He didn’t hang around stores long, and he also didn’t get any prominent re-releases like some of the other figures.  This guy’s actually the first item I’m reviewing from my pretty awesome haul I picked up from Bobakhan Toys, which is a super awesome toy store I found just outside of Seattle while I was there with Super Awesome Girlfriend’s family.  I was, admittedly, a little overwhelmed by the sheer volume of toys in the store, so I was trying to pick and chose a few things that most stood out to me.  Super Awesome Girlfriend picked this guy up and insisted I get him.  I can’t say that I really fought her.  I like this guy.  He’s not quite as cool as the 5-inch version, but he’s still pretty awesome.  And Ben’s my favorite FF member, so that probably helps with the cool factor as well.

#1343: Imperial Death Trooper

IMPERIAL DEATH TROOPER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“The elite soldiers of Imperial Intelligence, Death Troopers are encased in specialized stormtrooper armor with a dark, ominous gleam and serve as bodyguards and enforcers for Director Krennic.”

Man, for being so elite, these guys didn’t exactly amount to much, did they?  Well, it’a not really their fault, I guess.  At their core, they’re still just Imperial Stormtroopers, aren’t they?  And these guys do manage to hit at least a few of their targets.  Good for them.  Like any good faceless Star Wars troop, they also make for really great toy fodder, so hey, here’s another Imperial Death Trooper figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Imperial Death Trooper is part of the small, four figure assortment of Rogue One-themed small scale Star Wars: The Black Series figures, which were released exclusively at Walmart back at the end of last year.  This is one of the two troop builders in the assortment, which makes it slightly more difficult to find (though not as difficult as the Shoretrooper, let me tell you).  The figure stands just over 4 inches tall and has 26 points of articulation.  As with all of the figures in this assortment, the articulation is a marked improvement over the Force Awakens figures from the prior year, especially on the legs.  That being said, I did find the Death Trooper to be the most difficult to pose of the three I’ve got.  It’s possible that’s due to the character design, though.  The sculpt is all-new to this particular figure, and it’s a pretty great rendition of the unique Death Trooper armor from the movie.  The lankiness of the character is a little more down-played here, which I think is for the best.  There’s an add-on with a pauldron and web gear, denoting that this guy’s a slightly different variation of the Death Trooper than I’ve looked at before.  I believe this makes him a squad leader.  Anyway, the extra gear is pretty cool, and adds something new to this guy.  It’s also easily removable, should you just want a basic Death Trooper, which makes him really great for army building.  The paint on this guy is pretty straight forward; for the most part, he’s just molded in black, but there’s some slight detailing here and there to help break things up a bit.  The application is all pretty clean, and he looks like he does in the movie.  The Death Trooper includes his standard larger blaster, as well as the smaller blaster pistol we saw with the larger Black Series figure as well.  Both are pretty well sculpted pieces, though he does have a little trouble holding the rifle (though it’s nowhere near as bad as the First Order Stormtrooper from Series 2).

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I noted in my reviews of Jyn and Cassian, when I didn’t find any of these guys back in December/January, I had resigned myself to never getting them.  When I found the other two, I still resigned myself to never getting either of the troopers, since the army builders would have no doubt cleaned out all of the supplies long ago.  But, while in Seattle with Super Awesome Girlfriend and her family, I found this guy at one of the nearby Walmarts.  He’s pretty cool, and like the other two, I think he’s the best version of the character out there.  Now, if I could just find the Shoretrooper….

#1342: T-800 – Final Battle

T-800 — FINAL BATTLE

TERMINATOR 2: JUDGEMENT DAY (NECA)

“Specs: Model T-800 {Final Battle} – After escaping Cyberdyne, the T-800, Sarah and John Connor are pursued by the T-1000 into a steel mill. The Terminators engage in violent hand to hand combat causing the T-800 to sustain critical damage. Now missing his left arm and operating on limited power and capacity the T-800 staggers to Sarah and John’s rescue and fires his last grenade into the T-1000 causing it to explode and fall into a vat of molten steel.”

Wow, it’s been like a year since I looked at anything Terminator-related.  Guess I’ll be fixing that today!  So, remember back when I reviewed NECA’s Ultimate T-800 figure from Terminator 2?  And how I mentioned that I owned one of the prior, non-Ultimate-y ones, from their earlier line?  Yeah, well that’s (one of) the figure(s) I’m looking at today!  Let’s get right to that, then!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Final Battle T-800 was released in Series 2 of NECA’s Terminator 2: Judgement Day line of figures.  At this point, the line was still exclusively variants of the T-800, but hey, that’s what we all wanted at the time.  The figure stands about 7 inches tall and has 11 points of articulation.  This is before NECA had gotten quite as good with articulation, so he’s a little stilted.  The upper half of the figure’s pretty solid, though, and while the legs are essentially motionless, there’s just enough movement there to help him balance.  On the plus side of things, the lack of motion’s not quite as killer on this particular figure, since the T-800 wasn’t exactly doing kung-fu high-kicks after taking all that damage.  As the name of the figure informs us, this guy’s based on the T-800 as he looks at the very end of T2, after he’s lost an arm and taken a serious beating at the hands of the T-1000.  The figure’s sculpt is pretty darn fantastic, offering a ton of amazing texturing on the leather jacket and pants, and even on the underlying machinery that’s been exposed. There are two heads included with this guy, with varying degrees of damage.  He’s packaged wearing the slightly less damaged of the two, which has the more unencumbered likeness.  While NECA’s gone on to give us better Schwarzenegger likenesses in recent years, this was pretty darn great for the time.  There are maybe some minor quibbles, but that’s really all that can be held against it.  The damage is consistent with what’s seen in the movie, too, which is really great.  The second head is far more damaged, depicting him after he takes a girder to the face a couple of times.  It’s actually one of those cases where the figure looks a bit better than what’s seen in the movie, since the movie had to rely on rather bulky prosthetics, and the figure can just actually carve away chunks of his face.  It’s definitely a nice piece.  The paintwork on this guy is decent enough.  Like the Kyle Reese figure, I did find the soulless eyes to be rather jarring (it’s more obvious on the more damaged head), but it’s far from awful.  There’s a lot of good work on the body, especially the clothes, though.  I do wish the damaged arm had slightly more convincing blood splatters, since these look more like red paint, but that’s minor.  In addition  to the spare head, the figure also includes the slightly damaged grenade launder, which he can hold pretty well.

Did you see in the intro where I hinted at more than one figure?  Well, I’ll touch on that now.  Alongside their 7-inch line, NECA also did some 12-inch Terminator 2 figures, and the Final Battle T-800 was one of the two they chose to do.  The figure is essentially just an upscaling of the 7-inch figure, but there are a few tweaks, most notably the inclusion of a light-up feature for the eye (activated by pressing the panel in the center of his chest).  It’s also worth noting that the larger figure only includes the more damaged head, presumably because a swapping head wouldn’t have worked too well with the light-up bit.  The larger size actually really helps the figure.  The likeness on the head, in particular, is a lot stronger at this scale (to the point where I honestly think it’s a better Arnold than Hot Toys ever gave us on a T-800), and the paint looks way better, since there’s a lot more room for subtlety.  Just like his smaller counterpart, this guy included the damaged grenade launcher.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Final Battle T-800 is the second NECA figure I ever owned, and it’s certainly the one that got me to notice them as a company.  I don’t recall exactly when I picked it up, but I do remember anxiously awaiting its release after seeing it on the back of the Series 1 packaging.  It’s a nice figure because unlike a number of other looks from the movie, the fully battle-damaged appearance really does warrant a whole figure to itself.

The larger figure was a Christmas present, given to me by my parents.  It was the year after I’d gotten the Hot Toys T-1000, and I was really wanting to have at least some version of the T-800 to go on the shelf with him and Sarah.  While I did eventually get the Hot Toys release when it came out (a whole three years later), this guy held me over in the mean time, and actually fit in surprisingly well with the two HT figures.  Looking back, he’s still a pretty awesome figure.  It’s too bad NECA never did any other characters to go with  him!

The Blaster In Question #0012: Rey Jakku Blaster

REY JAKKU BLASTER

STAR WARS

Why does everyone want to go back to Jakku?  It does’t make sense to me, especially in regards to today’s review.  Yes, Rey is from Jakku, and yes, she uses this blaster, but she never has the blaster ON Jakku.  Why is it named the Rey Jakku Blaster, then?  Beats me, but let’s get past that and take a look at the thing.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The Rey Jakku Blaster was released in 2016 as a tie-in to the release of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens.  The shell of the blaster is completely original but the internals are identical to the Han Solo Blaster which was released at the same time.  Both of these blaster, in turn, are largely the same as the Mega series Magnus, just chambered for standard Elite darts and holding 4 rounds instead of 3.  Due to it being a licensed product, it is entirely devoid of any Nerf branding aside from a mention on the box, opting for the Star Wars logo as well as the crest of the rebel alliance.  The blaster is based off of the NN-14 blaster that Rey receives from Han on Takodana, AFTER they have fled Jakku.  The toy is substantially larger than the blaster in the film and, sadly, is not chrome but simply white.  Additionally, there is a sizable grey boxy part that sticks out the back of the Nerf blaster that is not present on the original from the film.  I understand that it needs to be there in order to house the internal mechanism, but it does alter the form factor quite a bit from that of its inspiration.  It seems like the proportions as a whole had a rough time being translated to a functional Nerf blaster.  Even the grip feels oddly oversized.  It’s not terrible, but it definitely doesn’t help, especially with such pronounced edges along the profile.  I’m also not sure why, but there’s an attachment rail on the underside of the blaster if you really wanted to accessorize, I guess.  Functionally, the blaster works just fine.  In fact, I might say it feels better to operate than the Magnus because the loading port on the RJB is long enough to fit a dart without having to bend it or load it at an angle.  The prime is also a good bit smoother than that of the Magnus, but this may be because of the severely weaker spring.  As such, operation is fine, but performance is pretty flaccid.  This shouldn’t be surprising since Nerf needs to keep its core products competitive, but it’s still a little disappointing.  The range from the RJB is laughably short if you see it fired outside, but even indoors, it’ll hit the floor about 10 feet short of a target across the room.  It’s fun for plinking and playing pretend, but unfortunately not much beyond that.  The RJB comes packaged with 4 blue Star Wars branded Elite darts that have transparent tips which is kinda cool.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I don’t know if this has come across, but I have quite an interest in weapon design.  After seeing The Force Awakens, I do remember liking the little silver pistol that Rey has and thinking it would be easy to throw together my own prop version.  Then Nerf came along and handled it for me.  Sure, it’s not perfect, but I enjoy it, mainly for the novelty of having a Star Wars gun that actually shoots, and sometimes that’s all you need.

#1341: Robocop w/ Spring-loaded Holster

ROBOCOP w/ SPRING-LOADED HOLSTER

ROBOCOP (NECA)

Robocop.  He’s a cop and also a robot.  Okay, that’s not entirely true.  I think he’s technically a cyborg.  Right?  I mean, he uses a real guy’s face, doesn’t he?  The movie sort of blurs the line, so it’s a little difficult to say if he’s a robot with the face and memories of a dead guy, or if he’s a dead guy with robotic enhancements.  All of this is my way of saying that I have no idea what to say in a Robocop intro.  So, there you go.  Anyway, I’m looking at a Robocop figure today, so let’s just get right into it, shall we?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

“Leg Holster” Robocop is part of the second assortment of NECA’s Robocop line.  After the basic Murphy did decent business, they decided to follow him up with a couple of variants.  While this guy is *technically* a variant, he actually improves on a few issues from the basic Murphy figure, and is kind of the “ultimate” Robocop, so to speak.  The figure hands a little over 7 inches tall and he has 16 points of articulation.  He’s not super mobile, but then, neither was the character in the film, now was he?  This figure mostly re-uses pieces from the standard Robocop figure.  The sculpt was a good one, and is incredibly faithful to the movie’s design.  One notable fix between this figure and the initial one is that this one’s mask has been pushed all the way down, so he doesn’t have the slight bit of extra nose protruding down like the first figure, which makes for an overall much better look.  What can be seen of the face is rather on the generic side (since Peter Weller has yet to grant his likeness rights to NECA), but it’s a tiny enough section of face that there’s not much of a likeness to worry about.  The main change to this figure is the right thigh, which has been designed to replicate Murphy’s built-in leg holster.  There’s a button on the back of the leg, which pops it open, revealing the “holster” (which is really just a set of clips which can hold the gun), and allowing for the gun to be placed inside.  Then you can pop the leg back together, albeit with a fair bit of effort.  When I got the figure, I was initially worried that the leg holster might interfere with the quality of the figure, and possibly be too gimmicky, but it’s really not.  It’s there if you want to use it, but once you clip the leg back together, it’s as if the spring-loaded feature isn’t there at all.  The paint on Robocop is pretty solid.  The base work is all nice and clean, and I particularly like the slightly iridescent finish to the silver sections.  He includes his signature gun, as well as an alternate right hand with his data spike extended.  Apart from an unmasked head (which obviously wasn’t going to happen), I really can’t think of anything else he’d need!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I bought this figure whilst in the midst of my NECA summer, aka the first summer that I discovered NECA, where I was playing catch-up and getting as many of the older figures as I could.  This particular figure was purchased in response to Hot Toys announcing their own version of Murphy.  He was super cool, but I realized that spending $300 on a figure from a movie I at best kind-of-sort-of enjoy made absolutely no sense.  So, I got this guy instead, and I’ve been quite happy with him ever since!

#1340: Superman

SUPERMAN

SUPER POWERS (KENNER)

“The Man of Steel – Powers: Super-strength, super-vision (x-ray vision, telescopic vision, heat vision, microscopic vision), invulnerability, flight, super-speed, super-breath, super-senses, super-voice, super-intellect – Weaknesses: Green Kryptonite can kill Superman, Red “K” affects him in bizarre ways, Gold “K” takes away hi powers. Superman’s invulnerability does not protect him against magic. Superman loses his powers in a solar system with a red sun.”

I gotta be honest, I’m a little bit shocked by how few Super Powers figures I’ve looked at on the site.  I mean, I only have so many of them, so they can’t get reviewed all the time.  Anyway, as I’ve mentioned a few times before (I think, anyway), it’s one of my very favorite lines of action figures, and it gets my vote for THE definitive DC-based toyline.  In particular, it provides perhaps the best figures available of a number of DC top-tier characters, including the Man of Steel himself, Superman!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Superman was released in Series 1 of Kenner’s Super Powers line.  Like the rest of the line, he’s based on Superman’s entry in the 1982 DC Style Guide (drawn by the consistently fantastic Jose Garcia-Lopez), which is really just the same look Supes had been sporting for almost 50 years at that point, and would go on to sport for another 30.  Stylistically, of course, he’s very much a Bronze Age Superman, but that’s something only the most dedicated of fans is really going to care about.  The figure stands about 4 3/4 inches tall and he has 7 points of articulation.  Superman’s sculpt is definitely top notch; while he’s a little wider than the Garcia-Lopez Superman seen on the packaging, he’s no less well rendered.  Like the rest of the line, he is, of course, a completely unique sculpt (and also like so many in this line, this sculpt would be slightly tweaked and re-used for Toy Biz’s DC Super Heroes line).  The head has a nice, friendly but strong look about it, which is really just perfect for Superman, and his musculature is actually pretty well balanced.  The arms are a little weird, with the preposing and the somewhat unnaturally upright fists, but they don’t look awful.  The cape is a separate, cloth piece.  It’s done the same way as all of the other capes in this line were done: flat fabric with a little plastic clip impeded in the collar.  It’s a kind of a dated look, since it’s not how such things are rendered anymore, but it’s not bad, and I particularly dig the S-emblem on the back of it.  In terms of paint, Superman is bright and colorful, and pretty clean.  My personal figure has a little wear on a few spots, but he’s generally held up pretty well.  As with all Super Powers figures, Superman has an action feature, dubbed the “Power Action Punch.”  When you squeeze his legs together, his arms rotate in opposing directions.  It’s not as clever as some others, but it’s still pretty fun.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

My first Super Powers Superman was actually not a Super Powers Superman at all, but rather the Toy Biz copy, which I fished out of a loose toy bin at Universal Comics when I was about 5 or 6.  At the time, I didn’t quite know the difference between the two yet.  A few years later, this guy was part of a large lot of Super Powers figures that I got for Christmas, and I at that point recognized the difference between the two, so this guy was added to my collection.  He didn’t have his cape, so he actually has the Toy Biz one (which was pretty much the same).  I quite like this guy, and as I noted in the intro, he’s one of my favorite Supermen.

#1339: Stealth Fred

STEALTH FRED

BIG HERO 6 (BANDAI)

It’s been two weeks, so I guess it’s about time I review another Big Hero 6 figure, isn’t it?  Yeah, I guess so.  Most of the titular team’s members are all scientists, with the exception one guy.  That guy would be Fred, the subject of today’s review.  And awaaaaay we go!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Fred is part of the third series of Bandai’s Big Hero 6 line of figures.  He, like all the figures in the set, has been labeled “Stealth” and done up in slightly darker colors.  Beyond that, he’s the same mold as his Series 1 counterpart.  The figure stands about 3 1/2 inches tall and he has 13 points of articulation.  Fortunately, thanks to the more “monstrous” nature of Fred’s design, he largely avoids the scaling issues that have plagued the rest of the line; he can comfortably fit in with just about every other figure in this line.  In terms of his sculpt, it’s pretty decent; it follows the film design pretty well, and the articulation is quite as glaring on him as it has been on a lot of the prior figures.  My one major complaint I have about this figure is that they didn’t find a way to make the top part of the costume removable, or give him an extra unmasked head.  Fred’s the only character who’s completely obscured by his costume, and not ever being able to see his face feels a little odd.  I know Bandai doesn’t tend to do extras like that, but this would have been a good time to start.  In terms of paint, Fred is generally pretty decent.  Application is pretty clean and the colors all go well together.  Of the stealth figures, Fred probably has some of the more minor tweaks; the only real difference between this and his normal look is that they swapped out the darkest blue for black, which really doesn’t end up looking all that different at the end of the day.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Fred came from Ollie’s, just like the last several Big Hero 6 figures I’ve looked at.  Unlike Hiro, I wasn’t able to get a normal Fred for the set, so I had to settle for the Stealth one.  It’s no biggie, honestly.  Fred’s an okay figure.  Nothing to write home about, but he goes well with the rest of the team, I guess.  They wouldn’t be much without their mascot.

#1338: Vampire Buffy

VAMPIRE BUFFY

BUFFY: THE VAMPIRE SLAYER PALZ (PALISADES)

Wow, two Palisades reviews in a row.  Isn’t that upbeat?  Wanna hear about another failed line?  It’s okay, this one was marginally less of a failure.  Back when they were in the swing of things, Palisades was grabbing the license to all the cool cult-followed properties that they could.  While the master license for Buffy action figures was elsewhere, they managed to snag the rights to produce a line of block figures.  Initially, they had attempted to strike up a deal with Diamond Select in order to produce some Buffy Minimates.  For whatever reason, the plans fell through, so Palisades decided to tweak the design sheets ever so slightly and create their own line of block figures, dubbed “Palz.”  They were actually pretty darn awesome, and ended up introducing some nice ideas that would later be adopted by Minimates proper.  Today, I’ll be looking at one of the variants of the line’s title character, Buffy Summers.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Vampire Buffy was released as an exclusive through ToyFare magazine, and she hit around the same time as Series 1 of the main line.  She’s based on Buffy’s appearance during the first season episode “Nightmares.”  It was actually pretty nice, because Willow’s alt look was from that episode, and there was even a club-exclusive Xander, so the main trio were all represented.  The figure stands about 3 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  Like the previously reviewed Willow, she’s built on the female body (because Palz actually had gender specific bodies), with an add-on for her hair.  The hair is somewhat reflective of her look from the show, though it’s not quite spot on for Season 1.  It’s still a nice piece, though.  The paintwork on her is decent enough; it’s certainly vibrant, and I always appreciated how Palisades added depth to the faces, with shading and the like.  It works particularly well for the vampire design.  As was common with these figures, she’s got a second face on the back of the head; this one gives us a standard Buffy face, for those that just wanted a basic Buffy out of this figure.  Buffy is lighter than a lot of Palz when it comes to accessories, but she still has her fair share.  There’s a tombstone (the same as the standard Series 1 Buffy, but this time with writing on it), two books, a purse, and a jacket with a pair of sleeved arms.  The jacket’s cool in theory, but due to the fragile nature of the plastic used for the figure, I wasn’t willing to risk putting it on her, lest I break one of the shoulder joints (this was actually my second of this figure; the first broke in several places).

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I mentioned in my review of Willow, a sizable chunk of my Palz collection was courtesy of a very, very nice member of the Minimate Multiverse forum.  Both Vampire Buffys I own are from that chunk.  I wasn’t really dying to track her down on her own, since there are plenty of other Buffy Palz to be had, but it’s nice to have her to round out the set.  She’s okay, but does suffer from being one of the more lackluster entries in the line.  She’s decent enough, but the other Buffys all had a little extra to offer, which makes this one a little more “meh.”

#1337: Battle Acroyear

BATTLE ACROYEAR

MICRONAUTS (PALISADES)

“Described as an ‘Enemy of the Micronauts’, this stalwart warrior is surely still a hero among his people and a formidable knight to his allies. Clad in his distinctive crimson and white armor, and possessing the strength to wield his massive Power Sword against the powerful intergalactic foes of his people, what childhood imagination couldn’t give Acroyear the chance to be a ‘good guy’?”

Poor Palisades and their poor cursed Micronauts line.  Though its parent line, Microman, has been a pretty strong seller in Japan, the American-ized adaptation never quite took off the same way.  Mego saw decent success into the ‘80s, but it quickly dwindled under the juggernaut that was Star Wars.  20 years later, fan favorite company Palisades did their very best to bring new life to the line, but they ran into roadblocks at every turn.  The worst of it really hit right at the beginning. The factory producing Series 1 of the relaunched line pulled a fast one on Palisades, by sending them sub-contracted “production samples” which in no way represented the actual quality of the product being produced.  When the Series 1 figures arrived, Palisades was left with a stock that was subpar, with pretty much no funds to replace them.  Worse, stores were already getting the stock, so there was little they could do.  They quickly shifted production to another factory, and put into production a Series 1.5, which offered slightly fixed figures built on the Series 1 molds, with the hopes of tiding collectors over until proper corrected Series 1 figures could be produced later down the line (this, sadly, never happened).  Each Series 1 figure was given a new deco, with some sort of neat backstory to it.  My personal favorite was Battle Acroyear, the redressing of (you guessed it) Acroyear!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

As noted, Battle Acroyear was part of the Series 1.5 assortment of Palisades’ Micronauts line.  The Series 1 Acroyears were perhaps the most negatively effected by the poor quality; the heavy metal torsos would cause the plastic around the joints of the limbs to disintegrate into dust almost immediately after opening, leaving collectors with little more than a pile of wobbly plastic bits.  That’s hardly going to do justice to one of the greatest warriors of all time, so the replacement was necessary.  The figure stands about 4 inches tall and he has 13 points of articulation.  Unlike most of the rest of the line, which used an internal band construction similar to vintage G.I. Joes, Acroyear uses a solid construction.  Like I said above, the figure has a die-cast metal toros, with plastic limbs and head.  Fortunately, unlike his predecessors, this guy’s legs can actually hold his wait, pretty well I might add.  Really, the construction on this guy is really solid; he feels like he could survive most things (and mine’s made it through a few shelf dives, so I know from experience).  The details of the sculpt are nice and clean, and appropriately reto-sci-fi.  While all of the Palisades Micronauts had minor deviations from their Mego counterparts, Acroyear’s were even more minor than most; there’s some slight tweaking to the shape of the head, but it’s the sort of thing that you can really only tell if you’re looking right at both figures.  Paint schemes were a defining factor for the Series 1.5 figures.  While the Series 1 Acroyears had deviated pretty wildly from the classic Acroyear colors, this one brings it back a bit, albeit with a twist.  The original Acroyears were all the same basic colors, with three different accent colors: blue, green, and pink.  This figure gives us a fourth accent color: red.  This is actually a pretty cool reference, as red was the color used for the heroic Prince Acroyear, the main Acroyear from the Marvel Comics adaptation from the ‘80s.*  It’s a color scheme that really works well with the design, and he certainly stands out on the shelf.  Acroyear includes a battle sword (a much larger replacement for the original figure’s smaller dagger), a spy drone, his extra large wing pack, and clear display stand.  The sword is suitably awesome, and the wings are cool, even if they aren’t quite as nifty as Space Glider’s.  The spy drone is interesting enough, and serves a secondary function: Acroyear can be “transformed” into a tank-like thing, using the drone as a turret of sorts.  Not as advanced as later Transformers, but cool nonetheless.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I actually had one of the Series 1 Acroyears back in the day.  Fell to pieces in like a day.  One of the more depressing action figure interludes of my childhood.  This figure ended up in my collection a fair bit later, after the secondary market prices on most of the line had shot pretty far up.  Cosmic Comix bought someone’s toy collection, and there were a handful of Micronauts in it, which I ended up getting for a steal.  Battle Acroyear was among them, and he’s easily my favorite of the bunch.  In fact, I think he’s my favorite Palisades Micronaut period.  He’s just a really fun toy.

*Since the team already had plenty of blue and green, Acroyear’s third color was chosen for his primary look.  However, due to the limitations of printing in comics, pink would have been nearly impossible to render consistently, so he was shifted to a straight red.

#1336: Astonishing Wolverine

ASTONISHING WOLVERINE

MARVEL LEGENDS (TOY BIZ)

“Little is known about the man known as Logan whose past remains shrouded in mystery. The feral warrior, code-named Wolverine, possesses genetically endowed animal-keen senses of smell, sight, and hearing, as well as a mutant healing factor that can mend almost any wound. His deadliest weapons are his razor-sharp claws and skeleton both made of unbreakable metal alloy called Adamantium. However, with these abilities comes a curse, a bezerker rage that he must forever struggle to control. Now Logan must contain the beast raging within while he battles to protect a world that fears and hates him.”

Though my opinion of it has waned in recent years, at the time of its release, Joss Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men was a serious breath of fresh air.  I was never much impressed by Morrison’s “let’s put everyone in black leather and completely disregard prior character interpretation” New X-Men run that immediately preceded it, so taking the X-Men a bit more back to basics was pretty cool.  I also really liked John Cassidy’s art for the series, as well as his returning of several of the cast to more classically inspired costumes.  While most of the team eventually made it into toy form, it took quite a while.  Unsurprisingly, the first team member to make it into plastic was Wolverine, who I’ll be looking at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Astonishing Wolverine was released in the 12th Series of Toy Biz’s Marvel Legends, also known as the “Apocalypse Series.”  It was the fourth Wolverine in the line, and was at the time his current look. There were both masked and unmasked versions of this guy; the one I’m looking at today is the masked version, obviously.  This figure also served as the inspiration for the larger Marvel Legends Icons version of the character, although he was slightly tweaked to offer an alternate version of this costume.  The figure stands 5 1/2 inches tall (it’s one of the first times they actually got his scale right) and he has 40 points of articulation.  In terms of sculpt, this figure was all-new, and he’s based on Cassidy’s work from the comics, albeit somewhat loosely, since Cassidy’s style doesn’t quite lend itself to super-articulated action figures.  The head’s definitely the best work; there’s a lot of smaller detail work that looks really nice, without being too over-done like a lot of Legends Wolverines.  The rest of the body was good for the time, but doesn’t as much hold up to scrutiny these days.  Once again, there’s a lot detail work that’s really nice on the stitching and the piping.  However, he’s really, really scrawny, which removes some of his intimidation factor.  It’s the worst in the legs, where the precedence clearly went to the joints, resulting in an almost skeletal set of limbs.  And of course, they split the belt in two for the waist articulation.  Why did they do that?  Beats me.  Seems it would have made a lot more sense to go either above or below.  Worst case scenario, you could do the joint where it is currently and have the belt be an add-on.  But splitting it right down the middle just seems lazy to me, like the base body was already sculpted and they added the details later without taking placement into account.  On the plus side of things, he’s probably got the best claws we got on a TB ML Wolverine; they’re well-shaped, unlikely to break off, and resistant to heavy warping.  In terms of paint work, the figure’s decent enough.  The base colors match up pretty well with what was being used on the comics, and most of the application is fairly clean.  The only part that’s a little odd is the arm hair, which really just looks like a bunch of brown tally marks that someone’s drawn on him.  Wolverine included no accessories of his own, but he did come packed with one of the legs of Apocalypse.  So, that’s cool, I guess.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This guy was a Christmas present from my friend Charlie.  He and I shared a love of Marvel Legends, and in particular, we were both on the lookout for the perfect Wolverine.  So, when this series hit, he made sure that I got this guy, which was very nice of him (I repaid the favor a year later when I made sure he got a completed Mojo Build-A-Figure).  He’s definitely got some flaws, but I really do think he was Toy Biz’s best take on Wolverine, and the best Legends version  of the character until Hasbro’s recent Brown Costume figure.  It’s honestly a little surprising that TB never retooled him into a more conventional Wolverine.