#0926: Vision & Winter Soldier

VISION & WINTER SOLDIER

CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR MINIVERSE

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You guys know what’s coming out tomorrow, right? Captain America: Civil War! I must admit, I’m quite looking forward to the movie, and I’ve already got my tickets to see it later this evening. Hopefully it doesn’t disappoint!

Hasbro’s been rather steadily rolling out their various tie-in products. My main interest, as always, is the action figures. There are a couple of different scales, but the only one so far to promise a more or less complete lineup of characters from the film is their smaller 2 ½-inch line, so that’s the one I’m investing in right now. I’ll kick things off by looking at two of my favorite characters from the movie (and the comics that spawned it): Vision and the Winter Soldier.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This pair is part of the first series of Hasbro’s Captain America: Civil War Miniverse line. It would seem that Hasbro has moved away from the weird Sub-Ultron idea from the Age of Ultron line, opting instead for more straightforward two-packs, which are much preferred. I will admit that this pairing seems a bit odd, since these two aren’t known for having much of a connection, but I won’t complain.

VISION

VisWS2So, it’s hard to say how big a role Vision will play in the movie. If I had to guess, I’d say it won’t be super huge. Still, he’s the Vision, so he’ll be super awesome even if he’s only on the screen for 30 seconds. Vision’s been released in this scale before as part of the Age of Ultron line, but he was based on earlier designs, making him slightly inaccurate. Since his look hasn’t changed in Civil War, this gives Hasbro another chance at perfecting him. The figure stands 2 ¾ inches tall and has 5 points of articulation. He’s a bit taller than the last Vision, which is nice, because my main complaint on that one was how undersized he was. The figure’s sculpt is totally new, and as a whole it’s a marked improvement over the AoU version: the proportions are more balanced, the detail is sharper, the cape sits better, and he’s much closer to his onscreen counterpart’s appearance. Really, my only complaint about the sculpt are the feet, which are a bit clown-shoe-y for my taste. But hey, at least he doesn’t fall over as much. Vision’s paint is different from that of his predecessor. It’s hard to say if it’s better or worse; just different. The colors feel like a better match for the movie, but he’s missing some of the red detailing on his body, and he still doesn’t have any green on his head. Vision has no accessories, but I can’t really think of anything to include.

WINTER SOLDIER

VisWS5Winter Soldier is no doubt one of the more important characters in the movie, given that the film’s continuing the story started in the last film. Interestingly enough, Winter Soldier is presented here with his mask/goggles look from the second Cap film, which I don’t believe he’ll be sporting in the upcoming film. An unmasked Bucky is planned for Series 2, though, so I guess Hasbro just wanted to get us both looks. The figure’s the same height as Vision, which seems a little large, but whatever. His sculpt is pretty decent overall. He’s a bit more pre-posed than Vision, with his legs in sort of a mid-stride sort of pose. It’s not too out there, so I don’t mind all that much. He has the same issue of slightly large feet that Vision had, but that’s also pretty minor. On the plus side, the level of detail is pretty great, and he looks quite accurate to the source material. The paint is a little drab and simple, if I’m honest. While the sculpt has lots of really great details, the paint overlooks most of them. For the most part, he’s just molded in a dark grey, with a tiny bit of paint for things like his harness and belt. Things like his boots, kneepads, and even both of his hands are left totally unpainted. It looks okay overall, but it’s a tiny bit disappointing. Each of the sets in the Miniverse line has one set of clip-on armor, and Winter Soldier is the lucky one in this set. He has…umm…well, they look like jack hammers or something, to attach to his arms. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say he probably won’t use this contraption in the film…

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, my parents were out running errands a few weeks ago and my dad called me to ask if I wanted any of the Civil War stuff that was out. I opted for this set, since, as I mentioned in the intro, I’m pretty fond of both characters. Is this set going to re-shape the toy world? No. But they’ll certainly hold me over until these guys get more proper figures, and they’re quite a bit of fun.

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#0925: Jawa

JAWA

STAR WARS (KENNER)

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You guys know what day it is, right? It’s May 4th, otherwise known as Star Wars Day! Clearly, I have to review something Star Wars-related.

Star Wars is populated by a plethora of fascinating creatures; some are big, and some are quite small. Today’s focus is an example of the small: the Jawas. Yes, those tiny, little hooded guys, whose actual appearance will forever be shrouded in mystery. The Jawas have been with the franchise from the very beginning, even in action figure form, being one of three alien races to find their way into the original line-up of twelve figures. I’ll be looking at that very first Jawa figure today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

JawaVint2The Jawa was part of the first retail assortment of Star Wars figures from Kenner, released back in 1978. Unlike later Jawas, which were released in pairs or with smaller droids, this guy was released all by himself. The figure stands about 2 inches tall and he has 4 points of articulation. There were two distinct versions of the Jawa available: one with a cloth robe (the one seen here), and one with a plastic cape (similar to those seen on Princess Leia, Ben Kenobi, and Darth Vader). The end result is two very different looking figures that are fundamentally the same figure at the end of the day. The cloth robe is a bit thick and cumbersome, truth be told, and it really doesn’t fit the figure all that well. When placed on the figure, the actual figure might as well not be there, since you can’t see it at all for all the fabric. It’s a good idea in theory, but doesn’t work so well in practice. What’s under the robe is a whole different story; the underlying figure is fully sculpted, and actually does a pretty decent job of capturing the look of the Jawas seen in the movie. It even has the two bandoliers, which are unseen with the robe in place. Sure, the sculpt isn’t on par with the level of detail seen on more recent Jawas. It has a much more cartoony appearance, proportions that would be more appropriate on a figure twice the size, and those strange pantsuit legs that plagued all of the robed characters in the vintage line, but the general look is definitely there. There’s no denying that this is a Jawa. The Jawa’s paintwork is rather basic: he’s mostly just molded in the appropriate brown, with paint for his face and eyes, hands, and the bandoliers. What’s there is relatively clean, apart from the obvious wear that the figure has taken over time. The Jawa originally included a small blaster.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When I was a kid, my dad gave me his collection of Star Wars figures. It consisted of eleven of the original twelve figures. Care to guess which of the twelve he didn’t have? It was the Jawa (in recent years, I’ve asked him why he never got the Jawa, to which he had no real answer beyond a vague sort of a shrug). Over the holidays, I found this figure at an antique store, and Super Awesome Girlfriend insisted on buying it for me. So, 37 years later, my dad’s first assortment of Star Wars figures is complete. That’s pretty nifty.

#0924: Guardian T-800

GUARDIAN T-800

TERMINATOR GENISYS

PopsT8001

“Protect her, Kyle Reese. Protect my Sarah.”

Terminator Genisys, the fifth installment in the Terminator franchise, was released last summer to mixed reviews. I kinda liked it (actually, I liked it a whole lot), but it seems I was in the minority. Oh well. On the plus side, NECA picked up the license to make action figures from the film, and spared no effort in making them as awesome as possible. Back in the fall, they released a pair of figures inspired by the film’s 1984 sequence, and back in January they added one more figure, another variation of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “Pops” T-800, to the line. I’ll be looking at that figure today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

PopsT8002The Guardian T-800 was released as a stand-alone figure, though he’s technically the second “assortment” of the Terminator Genisys line. He ended up hitting around the same time as the Ultimate Sarah Conner figure. The figure is about 7 ½ inches tall and he has 24 points of articulation. The first Guardian T-800 was based on his brief 1984 appearance, but this one is based on his later 2017 look. While the 1984 look had some cool moments, the bulk of the film is spent in 2017, and Pops’ look there ends up being more definitive, so it’s nice to finally have this one.  As I guessed, this figure has more than a few parts in common with the earlier version; he gets a new jacket, arms, and head, as well as a slightly tweaked shirt piece for the torso. The head is a pretty important change: in the film, Pops is damaged and can’t accompany Sarah and Kyle in the time machine that takes them from 1984 to 2017. He has to get to 2017 the long way ‘round, resulting in him aging 30 some years (and giving the filmmakers a plausible reason for the T-800 aging in sync with Arnold). The new head gives us the aged T-800, and, more specifically, an older Schwarzenegger. In my review of the 1984 T-800, I noted that the likeness was just a bit off; I’m happy to say that’s not the case with this version. That’s definitely Arnold, displeased scowl and all. There’s a second head, which features battle-damage (a thing no Terminator seems to be able to avoid); it’s the same basic sculpt as the normal head, but with a bit of the Endoskeleton skull poking through on the right side of the face. The underlying skull is very nicely captured, and has some fantastically sharp detail work, resulting in the damaged head being my favorite of the two. The new shirt cover also features a little bit of damage, though it’s not quite as revealing as the head. His jacket seems to have avoided being damaged, but it’s certainly not lacking in detail. In the 30 years he spent waiting for the other two, Pops seems to have gotten over his fixation on leather, and moved onto something a bit more laid back. The texturing on the jacket makes it look quite realistic, and also makes it clear that it’s a totally different jacket from the prior figure. The paint on this figure is a step up from the already pretty great work on the 1984 T-800. The basic work is nice and clean, and there’s some fantastic accent work on the jacket and hair. Also, he’s got the best looking eyes I’ve seen on a NECA figure, or any small-scale figure for that matter. In addition to the extra head, Pops also includes a stump to replace his left arm, which can be a little difficult to swap out, but is a pretty cool piece otherwise. He also has a shotgun; it’s different from the 1984 version, which is nice for variety’s sake, but bad because he has the same hands as the 1984 version, which makes holding the gun slightly difficult.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, I was right on the ball with the first two Genisys figures, why the delay with this guy? I honestly can’t say. I mean, I was definitely looking forward to this figure; he was the one I wanted the most out of the three figures in the set. However, my usual stores for NECA figures didn’t get this guy for whatever reason, and I just never got around to ordering him online. I ended up finding him at Toys R Us, while looking for the Alien Day Ripley figure (which I didn’t end up finding). Now I feel a bit bad for not tracking him down earlier because he’s just a fantastic figure, start to finish. It’s a shame we aren’t getting a John Conner for him to do battle with, but I’m just glad to have gotten him.

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#0923: TRU Aliens Minimates Series 2

ELLEN RIPLEY, SCREAMING XENOMORPH, SGT. APONE, GLOWING ALIEN, PVT. DRAKE, & EXTRA-DAMAGED ALIEN

ALIENS MINIMATES

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Well, it’s been almost a week since Alien Day, and I’ve started to miss those scary acid-bleedy monsters. So, how about another Aliens review? And, for extra fun, why not some more Minimates? Yeah, that’ll be cool, because I just got this brand-new set of them from Toys R Us. Let’s have a look at them!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These six were released as the second Toys R Us-exclusive series of Aliens Minimates. The pack breakdowns are Ripley and the Screaming Xeno, Apone and the Glowing Alien, and Drake and the Extra-Damaged Alien. Typically, I review Minimates one two-pack at a time, however, all but one of these figures are slightly tweaked versions of previously reviewed ‘mates. Rather than drag them out for the better part of a week, I thought I might as well get them all out of the way, since there’s not much new to review.

ELLEN RIPLEY & SCREAMING XENOMORPH

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Ripley’s the real star of the franchise, so it’s not a huge shock that she’s also the human with the most variations. This Ripley is a slight tweak of the Alien 35th Anniversary boxed-set version, reviewed here. The only difference between the two figures is the facial expression, which is a slightly cleaned up version of the Hive Assault Ripley from Series 1. The new face definitely helps her resemble Sigourney Weaver a bit more, resulting in a AliensTRU2eslightly superior figure. That said, the issue with the incorrect hair is still present, and is made more glaring by the fact that this is the second time we’ve seen it happen. Aside from that issue, she’s a pretty solid figure, just like her predecessor. Ripley includes a flamethrower (no flame trail, though), Jonesy the cat, a facehugger, and a clear display stand.

Not to be outdone by Ripley, the Big Chap goes for his fourth variation. This one’s a combination of two of the prior figures: he’s got the paint scheme from the “Crew of the Nostromo” set, with the head from the first set (albeit with the inner mouth removed). Not really much to say about this one, other than to say it’s just as good as all the other Xenos in the line. The figure includes a closed egg and a clear display stand.

SGT. APONE & GLOWING ALIEN

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Well, I was wrong. In my review of the Series 1 Apone Minimate, I said he’d likely only get one Minimate appearance, and here he is with his second Minimate. Lucky him. Like Ripley, the only difference between this Apone and his prior ‘mate is his facial expression: he’s turned in his more collected (if still pissed off) expression for a more intense, teeth gritting one. This Apone’s clearly from his final moments in the hive, as he’s caught in a firefight. The resemblance to Al Matthews is lessened a AliensTRU2fbit by the new expression, but it’s not hard to figure out who it’s supposed to be, and the expression is worth the tradeoff. The rest of Apone’s details are identical to the last release, right down to the transposed letters on his USCM patch (it says “USMC”). Apone is packed with his baseball cap, an M41A Pulse Rifle, a newborn alien, and a clear display stand.

The other half of this set is the one truly new figure in this series: the Glowing Alien. No, you didn’t miss a scene in the movie; no aliens ever appear like this. He’s just a fun variant cooked up by DST. Sculpturally, he’s the same as any other Alien from the line (his head is the “Screaming” version). What sets him apart is the clear green plastic he’s been molded in. The figure isn’t just clear green, though; if you let him charge in sunlight for a while (and I mean a good, long while), he lives up to the adjective he’s given by the front of the box and does a bit of glowing. The Glowing Alien includes another egg, also closed.

PVT. DRAKE & EXTRA-DAMAGED ALIEN

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Okay, I had kind of figured that Drake might get a second ‘mate, and this one gives me pretty much exactly what I expected. This figure’s more or less the same as the Series 1 Drake; like Ripley and Apone, he just gets a new expression. Instead of the sly grin of the last figure, this one’s mid-yell, that honestly feels a bit more appropriate for Drake. Sadly, Drake is still lacking the flack vest under his armor, instead just sporting the normal fatigues. It wouldn’t be a big issue, if not for the extra pieces included. Drake comes with an extra head, sporting the acid burns he gets at the end of the hive attack. AliensTRU2gAt that point in the film, Drake had ditched his smartgun and its harness, which is when we see the flack vest. Of course, everything about this series points to them being put together as quickly as possible, so there probably just wasn’t time to do a new torso detailing. In addition to the extra head, Drake includes his smartgun, a hat without the headgear, a flamethrower (w/ flame trail), a newborn alien, and a clear display stand. It might have been nice to get a hairpiece without the hat, since Drake loses the hat at the same time as the harness, but he has enough extras that I don’t feel gipped.

We’ve gotten a number of Battle-Damaged Aliens over the course of this line. What makes this one different? He’s Extra-Damaged! No, but really, there are different blood splatters. Seriously, you guys probably don’t get how big a deal that is, but I’ve got like four of these already, all with the same damage. Some variety is much appreciated. Other than the slight change in blood splatters, this figure’s the same as the one included with Vasquez. The Extra-Damaged Alien includes another egg, open this time, and a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

On Alien Day, NECA released a re-deco of their Aliens Ripley figure through Toys R Us. I was busy during the day, but my Dad was nice enough to stop by a TRU during his lunch. He didn’t find the Ripley figure, but he did find these three sets. They’re not a bad consolation prize. Sure, there’s not a whole lot of newness to them, but each set has at least something exciting, especially for an Aliens geek like me!

#0922: Techno-Punch Terminator

TECHNO-PUNCH TERMINATOR

TERMINATOR 2 (KENNER)

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Back in the 90s, tie-in toylines were all the rage.  They were so the rage, in fact, that a fair number of movies that weren’t exactly “kid-friendly” ended up getting some very kid-aimed action figures.  One such film was Terminator 2, which got a fairly nifty line of toys courtesy of Kenner Toys.  A good chunk of the line consisted of figures with looks quite divergent from the movie, but a few, such as today’s focus figure the T-800 Endoskeleton, stuck pretty close to the movie designs.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

TechnoPunch2The Endoskeleton was released in the first assortment of Terminator 2 figures from Kenner.  His official name was “Techno-Punch Terminator,” in reference to the figure’s special action feature, which I’ll touch on in a bit.  The figure stands a little over 5 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation.  He also features movement at the waist, but it’s tied into his punching feature: when he is twisted to either side, he snaps back into place, and if the hands are placed right, this simulates a punch…sort of.  Not sure it was worth sacrificing actual articulation, but there it is.  Also, the lack of knee joints is somewhat baffling, seeing as there are joints sculpted there, they just aren’t mobile.  The sculpt on the figure is fairly decent.  Obviously, it’s not on par with NECA or Hot Toys’ takes on the design, but it’s hardly expected to be.  For a figure from the early 90s, it does a respectable job.  The basic details of the Endo are all pretty much there, just a bit more simplistic.  The proportions have also been tweaked a bit, presumably to make the Endo a bit more imposing (provided you overlook the monkey arms).  The overall result is a figure that is clearly meant to be a Terminator, and that’s what counts.    As far as paint goes, this guy’s pretty simple.  He’s straight silver, up and down, with the exception of the eyes, which are molded in clear red plastic and use light-piping to light up a bit.  The figure was originally packed with a blaster and some sort of bent metal thing, but my figure doesn’t have those pieces.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This guy is a relatively recent acquisition (though he does predate the site by a small margin).  A few years ago, Cosmic Comix picked up a pretty sizeable collection of loose figures, and this guy was amongst them.  The figure shows his age, to be sure, but he’s actually not a bad figure at all, and he’s certainly better than some of his compatriots.

#0921: Lobo & Ambush Bug

LOBO & AMBUSH BUG

DC MINIMATES

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So, let’s talk DC Minimates.  Two weeks ago, I discussed Play Along’s use of legal loopholes to get out the first DC-based Minimates in the C3 Construction line.  That line unfortunately ended fairly abruptly, leaving a very incomplete collection of characters.  A few years down the road, DC Direct teamed up with Diamond Select Toys, creating an official line of DC Minimates, which offered a more diverse selection of characters.  Sadly, it too was short-lived, lasting only eight series before ending, once again leaving certain groups incomplete.  The diverse selection of characters ended up as both a blessing and a curse; off the wall characters were fun while the line was running, but after the fact the likes of Lobo and Ambush Bug, who I’m reviewing today, seem like wasted slots in a line that didn’t get us important members of the Justice League.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Lobo and Ambush Bug were released in the seventh series of DC Minimates.  They seem like something of an odd pairing, since I don’t believe the two of them have ever interacted.  Of course, they’re both weird, occasionally fourth wall breaking characters with a tendency to parody popular comics conventions of the time.  So, maybe they aren’t such a bad pairing.

LOBO

Lobo&Ambushbug3Lobo is, by and large, a parody of grungy 90s anti-heroes.  So, of course, he had a large fan base who missed the parody bit and took him as a straight character.  I’ve never been much for Lobo, but I did have a soft spot for his teen-spin-off Slobo, who appeared in Young Justice.  But, that’s neither here nor there; let’s talk about Lobo.  The figure is a little under 2 ½ inches tall and he has 12 points of articulation (due to his boots removing the ankle joints).  Lobo has 5 add-on pieces for his hair, vest, hook-chain-thing, and boots.  All of these parts were new to Lobo, but several of them have seen re-use since.  The parts are pretty well sculpted, and do a suitable job of bulking Lobo up a little bit.  Also, the chain on the hook is a real chain, which is a nice touch.  In general, Lobo is a good example of how great the sculpted work was on this line.  Lobo’s paintwork is fairly impressive; he’s fairly monochromatic, but there’s a lot of detailing, especially on the face and torso.  Lobo included no accessories.

AMBUSH BUG

Lobo&Ambushbug2Ambush Bug is one of the weirder characters in the DCU.  He doesn’t really belong to any particular realm of the universe, and he’s almost entirely absent from normal DCU stories, tending to reside in stories set firmly in his own corner of things.  But hey, he was played by Henry Winkler once, which is pretty cool.  Ambush Bug is mostly a vanilla ‘mate, with one small exception: the antennae on his forehead, which are glued in place.  They’re a pretty good translation of his weird antennae from the comics, so that’s good.  Other than that, everything’s done with paint.  He’s actually surprisingly detailed; DCD could have easily just done a blank green body with only detailing on the face, but Ambush Bug has small wrinkles (just like the ones he has in the comics) on just about every surface.  That’s really nice to see and keeps him from being too boring for the average fan.  I suppose they could have done him in his casual wear he’s known to wear in the comics, but this is his classic look, so it’s understandable.  Like Lobo, Ambush Bug includes no accessories.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As with every figure in the DC Minimates line, I picked these two up from Cosmic Comix on the first day they were available.  I’ll admit that I was split on this set; I love Ambush Bug way more than I should, but Lobo’s not my thing.  At the end of the day, both ‘mates are pretty awesome, for totally divergent reasons.  It might be easy to say that these two are part of the reason the line ended so early, but given that the Marvel line just released Dazzler and Howard the Duck together, it’s hard to say.

#0920: Whirlwind

WHIRLWIND – FORCES OF EVIL

MARVEL LEGENDS SERIES

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The Marvel universe has a lot of pretty amazing super villains, but for me, the best sub-set of villains they have are the laughably terrible ones. The ones that keep showing up, getting their butts kicked, and generally being ineffective. The likes of Shocker, Stiltman, Batroc the Leaper, and even today’s focus character Whirlwind. He initially started his career as the Human Top, which isn’t as cool a name as Whirlwind, but is probably more fitting for the character. There’s actually one thing that sets Whirlwind apart from the other lame villains: he’s actually the got an arch-nemesis. Yep, ol’ spinhead here is the arch enemy of the Wasp (also her chauffeur, but that’s a whole other story). I mean, he still kinda sucks, but that’s part of the charm. Amazingly enough, Whirlwind has a whole three action figures in his tenure as a villain, the latest of which I’ll be looking at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Whirlwind2Whirlwind is another figure from the third series of Captain America Marvel Legends(why he’s in a Captain America-themed series instead of getting a slot in last year’s Ant-Man Marvel Legends is anyone’s guess. Maybe Wasp finally got that restraining order). He’s been dubbed “Forces of Evil,” which is a name he shares with the Serpent Society’s Cottonmouth. The figure stands about 6 ½ inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation. Whirlwind is presented in his classic costume, after he’d added the chainmail (before that he’d just been shirtless, which was weird). He uses the slightly larger male body, introduced with Grim Reaper. To aid in making him more “Whirlwind-y” he has a new head, torso, and forearms. The head is actually two pieces: face and helmet. This results in a figure with the proper level of depth to his eye and mouth slits, which looks pretty neat. The actual helmet does a very nice job of capturing Whirlwind’s comic look. The torso also does a decent job of handling Whirlwind’s weird chest armor, and the forearms feature actual spinning blades, which is a nice touch. It’s a bit of a shame that he doesn’t have any chainmail detailing, but that would have meant giving him a 100% new sculpt, which seems like a bit much to ask for whirlwind3Whirlwind. Whirlwind’s paintwork isn’t particularly complex, but what’s there is fairly clean. I especially like how well the eyes turned out. Also, the choice of a metallic finish takes what could have been a slightly bland figure and gives him some pop. Whirlwind’s only accessory is his Build-A-Figure piece, which is the left arm of Red Onslaught.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

On my search for the other three figures I wanted from this series, I saw quite a few Whirlwinds, and passed several times. It’s not that I don’t like the character, nor is it that I wasn’t excited for the figure, I guess I was just prioritizing the others. After finding the other three, I broke down and got Whirlwind. I’m glad I did. He’s a very well-put-together figure. He sticks to the established formula of a few new parts on a base body, but he’s the sort of character that really lends himself to such a concept.

#0919: Sharon Carter

SHARON CARTER – AGENTS OF SHIELD

MARVEL LEGENDS SERIES

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Hey look! It’s Agent Carter! No, not that Agent Carter! This is Sharon Carter, the other secret agent with the last name Carter who dated Captain America. I can understand the confusion. See, after Cap spent 20 70 years on ice, he still needed a love interest, since Peggy had gotten up there in years. So, they introduced Peggy’s sister niece, Sharon, who worked for SHIELD under the code name “Agent 13.” She’s been a fairly important part of Cap’s supporting cast since her introduction in 1966 (apart from being dead for a few years). Technically, she’s had two action figures, but one of them wasn’t actually named, so I’ll be looking at the first officially named Sharon Carter figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

SharonC2Sharon Carter is part of the third series of the Captain America Marvel Legends Series. She uses the “Agents of SHIELD” title, which she shares with the previously reviewed Mockingbird figure. It’s certainly appropriate for the character, so that’s good. The figure is a little under 6 inches tall and she has 26 points of articulation. From the neck down, Sharon is identical to last year’s Maria Hill figure, which in turn means she shares some parts with the Winter Soldier version of Black Widow. I’ll admit, the body isn’t one of my favorites. While the Widow figure was fine, the pieces used don’t gel exceptionally well with the Maria Hill parts. Also, I still don’t like the gimpy, misshapen fist for the left hand. However, I will admit that the body seems to work a little bit better for Carter than it did for Hill. Maybe it’s the coloring or maybe it’s that there’s not a real person to compare it to. It could possibly SharonC3be the new head, which seems to sit a little better on the body. It’s not super stand-out work, but the piece does a decent enough job of capturing Sharon’s look from the comics. I’m actually tempted to pick up a second figure to use as the beginnings of a classic Mockingbird. Sharon’s paintwork is decent overall, but has a few drawbacks. Some of the smaller details are a little misaligned, which is a little annoying, but the most present issue is that the whites on the arms and legs don’t match up with the torso and hips, creating an odd contrast that shouldn’t be there. Sharon comes packed with a silver version of the weird sci-fi gun that came with Red Skull (I would have preferred something a bit more normal looking, but oh well), as well as the right leg of Red Onslaught.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After Mockingbird, Sharon was my second most-wanted character from this line-up. Currently, she’s one of the more difficult figures to find, so I had to do a bit of searching. My dad ended up finding her for me while at a small convention a few weekends ago. She’s not as strong a figure as Mockingbird or Taskmaster, but she’s reasonably well-done, and a good enough figure that I don’t feel like I wasted my money on her.

#0918: Taskmaster

TASKMASTER – MERCENARIES OF MAYHEM

MARVEL LEGENDS SERIES

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Superhero comics like foes who mimic the abilities of the heroes. Marvel in particular seems to like this concept, as they have several different characters with this gimmick (including one who’s actually named “Mimic”). Generally, such mimicry comes from some sort of mutant or otherwise built-in power. Not the case with Tony Masters, better known as Taskmaster. His mimicry was all based on him being a really good tactician with a photographic memory, allowing him to duplicate the physical movements of anyone he sees. Sure, he can’t mimic actual super powers, but he comes pretty darn close. He started out as a pretty straight villain, but has become more of an anti-villain, gun-for-hire sort of character over the years. Since his introduction in 1980, he’s gotten seven action figures, the latest of which I’ll be reviewing today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Taskmaster2Taskmaster is part of the third series of the Captain America Marvel Legends Series (the Infinite part’s been dropped on all Hasbro’s Marvel lines; should we be concerned that they’re all finite now?). His official title is “Mercenaries of Mayhem,” which is a name he shares with Demolition Man. The figure stands about 6 ½ inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation. The origin of the costume worn by this figure is somewhat complicated: in the early 2000s, UDON Studios redesigned Taskmaster, taking him out of the more classic superhero-styled costume he’d been wearing and replacing it (and the creepy skull face that went with it) with a much more tactical get-up. That look lasted for a while, but he eventually switched back to the classic costume. On the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon, he was given a sort of an amalgam of his two looks, which is what this figure’s primary look is based on. As far as I know, it’s not a look that has appeared in the comics, so this figure is technically cartoon-based. The figure uses the torso, pelvis, and hips of the Bucky Cap body, along with an all-new head, arms, and legs, as well as add-on pieces for his shoulder holster and belt. The new arms and legs feature some cool, almost knight-like armor, and add a nice bit of heft to the figure. It’s nice that Hasbro didn’t just paint the basic Bucky Cap arms and legs silver, and it kind of makes me wonder what other figures they could get out of these parts. I certainly wouldn’t mind these being used as the starting point for a Doctor Doom. Taskmaster actually gets two all-new heads. The one he comes wearing is more classically inspired, with a skull-face and white hood. It’s true to his Ultimate Spider-Man design, but could also make for a nice classic Taskmaster, should someone want to build a full version of his original costume. The second head is based on the UDON design’s masked look, which allows you to sort of have Taskmaster as he appears in Captain America & Iron Man: Heroes United. He doesn’t have the hood there, but this way you can essentially have the UDON costume. I find myself preferring the UDON head, but I’m not 100% sold on the hood; both heads definitely have merit. Taskmaster’s paint is all pretty solid, and he’s probably got the cleanest paint I’ve gotten on a Hasbro figure in a little while. There’s a little slop on the hands, but other than that, everything’s pretty sharp, especially on the two heads. In addition to the second head, Taskmaster includes a shield (with exceptionally clean paint), a laser sword, and the head of Red Onslaught, the Build-A-Figure for this series.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When I picked up Mockingbird from Cosmic Comix, they also had this guy. However, I decided to hold out to see if I could find him elsewhere. After two weeks of looking, I didn’t find him, and Cosmic Comix still had him, so I went ahead and got him. I’m glad I did, because this is a pretty darn fun figure, and possibly my favorite from this particular series.

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#0917: Corporal Hicks

CORPORAL HICKS

MOVIE MANIACS (MCFARLANE)

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Do you guys know what day it is? It’s Alien Day! Yes, in celebration of the 30th Anniversary of Aliens, today, April 26th (it’s 4-26, as in LV-426. Clever girl…) is officially Alien Day. There’s some cool contests and such, plus a whole ton of awesome Alien-themed merchandise, and even some showings of the first two films on the big screen. Obviously, I’d be remiss if I didn’t do something to celebrate. I’ve actually reviewed the vast majority of my Aliens collection, but have no fear; I’ve still got a few aces up my sleeve. Today, I’ll be looking back at one of the earliest examples of a figure based on Aliens’ human characters, with McFarlane Toys’ figure of Corporal Hicks. Buckle up guys; this might be a slightly bumpy ride.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

HicksMM2Hicks was released in Series 7 of McFarlane’s Movie Maniacs line. By this point, they had more or less given up on keeping true to the “Maniacs” half of the title, but that was a trend that started in Series 4, so no one was super shocked. Corporal Hicks was available two different ways: there was a basic release with a pulse rifle and un-helmeted head, and there was also a McFarlane Collector’s Club version that included a helmeted head, a motion tracker, a face hugger and egg, and a shotgun. My figure is the regular release, so I don’t get all the fun extras. He stands about 7 inches tall and has 9 points of articulation. Those 9 points don’t really amount to much of anything, though, since the figure is sculpted in this odd sort of leaning back/lunging forward pose (also, thanks to the fragility of McFarlane figures, my Hicks’ right shoulder broke sometime between me putting him in storage and taking him out to write this review). The best you can really do is turn his head and slightly change the pose of the arms. But, hey, the lack of movement’s okay, because the sculpt is really great, right? Well, not exactly. The sculpt definitely has its highlights, to be sure; the general level of detail on his uniform is quite good. There are a few inaccuracies, such as the ridges at the center of his chest armor, where it should be smooth, the fitting of the back of his armor to his shoulder blades, and the lack of one of his two belt pouches, but those are small. The main issue? The body that the uniform is resting on. Looking past the weird pose, the arms and legs are huge, way too huge for the torso. The arms in particular are super massive, and almost look misshapen. On top of that the head is a bit too small. Also, while I guess the face sort of looks like Hicks, it’s far from spot on (in fact, I don’t believe they ever officially got Biehn’s likeness rights; they weren’t very good about doing that sort of thing). He’s wearing his headset from later in the film, which makes him different from the NECA figure, but it also creates a slight continuity error, since he’s still got his shoulder lamp, which he’s ditched by the time he gets the headset. If there’s one area that’s pretty solid on this figure, it’s the paint (well, provided you aren’t comparing him to the NECA version). There’s the glaring issue of him being way too pale. He also lacks Hicks’ name at the top of his chest armor. The armored pieces are nice overall, but the camo is slightly off, and lacks the white elements. The camo on his uniform is pretty well-executed, though, and all of the small detail work is nice and tight, if a bit more basic than the NECA figure. Hicks includes his M41A Pulse Rifle (not quite as good as the NECA version, but not bad for the time), a locator, a knife, and a display stand that looks like the flooring of one of the Hadley’s Hope facilities. Later shipments of the figure also included the motion tracker included with the Collector’s Club version, but mine isn’t one of them.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’d actually seen Aliens when this figure was released, and I saw it at retail a few times, but for whatever reason, I didn’t pick it up (I think I was holding out for a Ripley to go with him). A few years later, I ended up getting him as a Christmas gift from my parents. This isn’t a figure that’s aged particularly well, especially in light of the far superior NECA version. Even when he was new, he felt sort of unfinished, due to neither the regular or exclusive versions offering a complete set of accessories. That said, taking him back out to review has reminded me of a lot of the more endearing qualities of the figure. There was a time when he was the best Hicks figure I owned, and I do still have some very fond memories of that.

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