#1432: R2-D2

R2-D2

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“R2-D2 is a tripodal computer repair and information retrieval robot, or astromech droid. As an R2 unit, he is equipped with navigational starfighter interfaces, plus extensive sensor packages and numerous devices to facilitate in-flight repairs: laser arc welder, circular saw, grasper arm, and fire extinguisher. He communicates through information-dense chips, beeps and whistles and seems to take pleasure in causing anxiety for his neurotic companion, the protocol droid C-3PO.”

More Star Wars?  Really?  Listen hypothetical reader, I have a lot of Star Wars figures, and I can’t just stop reviewing them for three months every year just because there’s a big explosion of new product.  That would be insane.  Almost as insane as writing an action figure review every single day for the rest of my life.  Moving on.  One major player absent from all of the new stuff I reviewed was astromech droid R2-D2, who for the second time in a row has been left out of the initial product launch for a Star Wars film.  Fortunately, I have a whole back catalogue to fall back on.  So, here’s an R2 figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

R2 was released in the first assortment of Kenner’s Power of the Force II line in 1995.  While later R2s in the line would go for more scene-specific looks, this one is just a standard R2; no special bells or whistles.  The figure stands about 3 inches tall and he has 3-ish points of articulation.  I say “3-ish” because in addition to joints at his head and the tops of his legs, R2 also has an extending middle leg, which I guess is *sort of* articulation.  This was the first time an R2 figure got the extending leg.  It’s still sort of in a prototype stage, and isn’t as cleverly designed as later models, but it works well enough.  R2’s sculpt was new to him, and it’s not bad.  Most of the important details are there, and they’re nicely defined.  He does end up a little skinnier than he’s usually depicted, but with all the wonky proportions that were going on in this line, I think it’s safe to say that R2 got off pretty easy.  R2’s paint is passable, though not without a few flaws.  Let’s start with the head: the vac metalizing, though inaccurate to the film, is certainly a cool feature, and helps him stand out.  Of course, as is usually the case on vac metalized pieces, some of the overlying paint has had a fair bit of chipping.  The body was mostly molded in white plastic, and, as you can probably see from the photos, it was pretty prone to yellowing.  The overlying paint is fairly decent overall, though it’s important to note that the’ve left off one of the blue stripes that makes up R2’s “face.”  I only just noticed that while writing this review, actually.  Now I’ll never be able to un-see it; the sacrifices I make for these reviews.  R2 included no accessories, but he does have a pretty nifty light-piping feature in his head, which illuminates his eye when you get the light just right.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

R2 was a gift from my parents, I believe on a Valentine’s Day?  Since I was never much for lots of candy, they tended to get me a small figure of some sort instead, and that was R2.  This was my first R2 (and I believe one of my earlier Star Wars figures in general), and he’s really the only one I had until well into the 2000s.  Like the rest of the line, he shows his age, but he’s a fun figure, and certainly not bad for the time.

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#1431: Force Link Starter Set

FORCE LINK STARTER SET (w/ KYLO REN)

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI

Hey guys, remember how I wrapped up my Force Friday II reviews like not even a week ago? Well, I knew I’d be getting around to more of that stuff eventually, but I did sort of expect more than a 5 day break.  You can’t always get what you want…or expect…or something. 

Anyway, I’m plunging back into Hasbro’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi line, and taking a look at one of the central items from the line, the Force Link Starter Set, i.e. the thing that provides the gimmick to every TLJ I’ve looked at so far.  Yes, as much as I hate to admit it, up until now all of my Last Jedi figure  reviews are incomplete.  It’s okay, I’m fixing it today!

THE SET ITSELF

This set was released alongside the initial product launch for Force Friday.  Included in the set is the Force Link Reader and a Kylo Ren.  The Reader is also available in the big BB-8 playset, and will also be offered in a TRU-exclusive pack later down the line, but this will remain the cheapest way to get one.  As of right now, this Kylo figure is exclusive to this set.  Not included in the set are the three AAA batteries that you’ll need to get the Reader up and running.

FORCE LINK READER

Obviously, this set’s main focus here is the reader.  The thing what makes the other toys do what they do.  Like the Comm Tech gimmick from the Phantom Menace toys, each toy in this line includes a small NFC chip (imbedded in the figures this time, instead of an exterior stand).  The Force Link reader contains the main chip with all of the actual sound information, and each smaller chip just serves to “unlock” that particular set of sounds.  Unlike the Comm Tech reader, this one’s wearable.  Wooooo!  Different!  The reader’s a fairly simple design; a bracelet with two bits and a strap.  The battery pack goes over your wrist and the actual reader part goes forward, sitting against the back of your palm.  There’s a hing between the two segments, which has a spring in it to keep the reader part forward, and thus always against your hand.  The whole thing’s not a terribly large contraption, which is certainly for the best; this is meant for kids after all, and they need to be able to actually use it.  The flip side is that it’s a bit of tight fit on anyone who isn’t child-sized.  The strap is adjustable, but it only goes so far.  I suppose you could change out the strap for a longer one if you really needed to, but it’s ultimately not a big deal.  Why isn’t it a big deal? Well, mostly because I’m not sure how many people are going to end up using this thing the way it’s intended.  The way the instructions and the back of the box show the reader in use, it’s strapped to the back of your wrist, and you hold the figure in your hand and move it about.  In order to get the reader part to best line-up with the chip in the figure’s torso, you pretty much have to entirely envelop the figure in your hand, and even then, it’s not always super reliable.  I found it much easier to just hold the reader in one hand, or even place it on a flat surface, and touch the figures to it directly.  I’ll give Hasbro some credit on this, though; I did find the wrist set-up was far more practical when using the vehicles, so the strap’s not a total loss.  I do have one minor complaint about the reader: there’s no on/off switch, so it just turns on when you tap a figure to it.  This can be unreliable, and a bit frustrating at times.  Once you get it going, the sound quality on all of the effects is fairly decent, at least for something of this size, and once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty easy to get the sounds going.  For the ships, there’s really just one sound for each, which includes the engine starting up, followed by some sustained flight sounds, which will pretty much go until you set the ship down.  The Imperial Probe works in a similar fashion, getting some sustained hovering sounds, but he does also get the distinctive robot chatter from the film, which will pop-up occasionally.  Each of the figure’s gets a whole list of dialogue, as well as one sustained battle sound, which will eventually culminate in an explosion of some sort.  A lot of the dialogue seems to be archive dialogue from the movies (including some new lines from Last Jedi), but a few figures, Luke and the unmasked Kylo most noticeably, get re-recorded lines with “soundalike” actors.  Luke’s is a little off, but not terrible.  Kylo’s, on the other hand, is downright laughable, and made worse by the fact that the masked Kylo is still using Adam Driver’s real voice.  I’ve gone through all of my figures now and made a list of the bits of dialogue each of them played.  It’s possible there are more for a few of them, since the clips are accessed at random.  There were a few times I thought I was done with a figure, only to find one last sound.  Unfortunately, while going through my figures, I did find that one of them, the Praetorian Guard, had the chip from A-Wing Pilot Tallie, instead of his own.  I foresee this being a recurring issue.  Here’s the list of dialogue by figure:

LUKE: “May the force be with you,” “Trust your instincts,” “Come, I’ll show you the true meaning of the Force,” “Leave this place!” “Stay Back!” and a loud whooshing sound.

REY: “I’m with the Resistance,” “You’re going to pay for what you did,” “The First Order are everywhere,” “I can do this,” and a lightsaber sound.

CHEWIE: Wookie sounds, as far as the eye can see

KYLO (SINGLE): “I feel the power of the Force,” “I know what I have to do,” “Traitor!” “You will bring Luke Skywalker to me,” and a sustained lightsaber effect.

POE (SKI SPEEDER): “Now we have a chance,” “We got a lot of company!” “I’m gonna get us in position!” “Red 4, Red 6: Cover us!” and a sustained blaster sound.

HUX: “We shall destroy the Resistance,” “Bow to the First Order!” “Capture the droid if we can, but destroy it if we must,” “We have their location,” and a blaster sound.

POE (SINGLE): “I’m Poe! Poe Dameron!” “I can fly anything,” “We’re gonna do this,” “Take my lead,” “Let’s light it up!” and a blaster sound.

ROSE: “I can fix anything!” “We have a mission to complete,” “You can’t give up on the Resistance,” “Bullseye!” “Blast ‘em!” and a blaster sound.

PAIGE: “Orders received,” “We have to tackle the First Order head on!” “My sensors are picking up TIEs; Brace yourself!” and a blaster sound.

TALLIE: “Reporting in, Squadron Leader,” “Protect the bombers!” “Here they come!” and a blaster sound.

FINN: “The name’s Finn and I’m in charge!” “Stay low! It confuses their tracking!” “Oh, you gotta be kidding me!” “Do exactly as I say, I can get you out of here,” “YAAAGGH!!” and a blaster sound.

BOBA FETT: “He’s no good to me dead,” “Don’t bother hiding,” “Orders are to finish you off,” “You’re on borrowed time,” and a jetpack sound.  (His flamethrower extra also makes a flame throwing sound.)

HAN: “Han Solo.  I’m captain of the Millennium Falcon,” “I got a bad feeling about this,” “They’d be crazy to follow us, wouldn’t they?” “Never tell me the odds!” “Great shot!  That was one in a million!” and a blaster sound.

VADER: “If you only knew the power of the Dark Side,” “Sweep the asteroid field until they are found,” “Prepare your troops for a surface attack,” and a lightsaber sound.

KYLO REN

Alongside the reader, this set also includes yet another variant of our boy Kylo.  This Kylo is distinct from the two other Kylo figures released at launch in that this one has his mask.  I can certainly get behind that.  Like his predecessor, he stands about 4 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  Though you wouldn’t guess it at first glance, this Kylo figure is actually a completely unique sculpt from the single release.  The details here are all consistent with the single release, but he’s posed ever so slightly differently.  It’s a more intimidating, advancing sort of pose, with his legs a bit more spread apart, and his hunch more pronounced.  The hand poses have changed as well, with the right one in a grip, and the left in a slight Force-using pose.  The cape’s also been tweaked ever so slightly, so that it leans more to one side, thus exposing his right arm a bit more, and allowing him to better hold his lightsaber.  Of course, the biggest difference between the two figures is the head, what with it having the helmet now and everything.  It’s a very nice sculpt, and presents all of the details quite sharply.  Like the single release, the paint on Kylo is fairly simple; lots of black, with just a little bit of silver thrown in.  It’s certainly accurate to the source material, and they do what they can to keep it from being too bland.  Kylo is packed with his lightsaber, which appears to be the same piece from the single release.  This Kylo gets his own unique Force Link dialogue, which includes: “Show me again, the power of the darkness” “I will let nothing stand in our way” “I’ve been waiting for this day a long time” “Find them” “You know what I’ve come for; where is it?” “Put every hangar on lockdown!” and a lightsaber sound.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, why didn’t I just review this with the rest of the Force Friday II stuff, right?  Because I just bought it Monday, that’s why.  Here’s the deal: I was going to hold off of getting one of these readers until the TRU-exclusive set with the Executor Trooper and Praetorian Guard was released. Then I found out that General Mills was offering a coupon for $10 off the starter set in some of their cereal boxes, and found one of said boxes. The reader is rather gimmicky, and I don’t really know how much use anyone’s going to get out of it.  That being said, I much prefer this sort of thing to the random bulid-a-whatsits from The Force Awakens.  Of course, by the very nature of it’s design, it’s pretty much limited to whatever figures and ships Hasbro had slated when it went into production, so I doubt it’ll survive past the new year.  The Kylo figure included is actually surprisingly cool, and quite different from the one I already had. At $25, this set seemed a little high; at $15, it feels like a really nice deal. 

#1430: Thor

THOR

MARVEL SUPER HEROES (TOY BIZ)

“Thor, the legendary Norse God of Thunder, is the most powerful Marvel Super Hero. With his amazing hammer, Mjolnir, Thor can fly, smash through any obstacle and create and control the mightiest storms – even tornadoes and hurricanes. Though Thor’s home is Asgard, where all the Norse gods live, Thor spends most of his time on Earth with his friends Iron Man and Captain America helping them fight the forces of evil and injustice that threaten the world.”

Happy Thorsday everyone!  …She already did this bit earlier, didn’t she?  *sigh* This is what I get for letting other people write for the site.  Well, there goes my intro.  Anyway, I’m also looking at a Thor figure today, but I’m looking at the original, Odinson variety of Thor.  This one hails from the ‘90s, which was actually a pretty barren time for Thor figures, believe it or not.  There were only three figures of him in the space of the decade, and today I look at the first of those three.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Thor was released in the second series of Toy Biz’s Marvel Super Heroes line, alongside fellow Avenger and previous subject of review Iron Man.  The figure stands about 5 inches tall and has 7 points of articulation.  He’s ostensibly based on Thor’s classic design, though he’s a bit removed from how he usually looks.  See how he doesn’t have a cape?  There’s no missing piece there; he just never had a cape.  They left it out, for whatever reason.  Your guess is as good as mine.  Maybe they were actually basing him on Thor from Adventures in Babysitting?  I mean, he doesn’t look *unlike* Vincent D’Onofrio.  Maybe I’m onto something here.  Thor’s sculpt was unique to him, and follows the style seen with the likes of Cap, Iron Man, and Silver Surfer.  There’s a definite Super Powers sort of aesthetic, albeit a slightly dumbed down version.  It’s not quite as strong a sculpt as Series 1’s Captain America (which is probably my favorite in the line), but it’s certainly an improvement over the really goofy Iron Man sculpt.  Still, he’s kind of oddly proportioned, and the hair just sort of looks weird suddenly stopping the way it does.  Thor’s paintwork follows the sculpt in its strange lack of cohesion to his usual design.  Instead of the usual black for the tunic, this guy’s got the same blue used on his pants.  It makes for a slightly less bold look, and means he looks a little blander than usual.  It probably that doesn’t help that the little chest circles are light blue instead of silver, and the helmet is just a straight white.  The paint definitely seams a bit lax on this guy.  Thor was originally packed with his hammer Mjolnir, which mine is missing.  He also has a hammer swinging action feature built into his right arm.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Marvel Super Heroes Series 2 was pretty much entirely gone from retail when I started collecting, so I went quite a while without a Thor (all I had was the rather lackluster Marvel Masterpiece boxed set version).  I ended up getting this guy over the summer, via Yesterday’s Fun.  He’s okay, I guess.  Not anything amazing, but he fits well enough with the rest of the set of Marvel Super Heroes Avengers.

Guest Review #0047: Thor

THOR

MARVEL LEGENDS

Heyo and happy Thorsday, everyone! Heh, get it (You can’t see me, but I’m wiggling my eyebrows)? Of course you do, and if not that’s fine too. Quick fact: Thursday was originally called Thorsday after the Norse god Thor. Another fun fact: Wednesday was originally called Wodenesday, after Woden/Odin, and Friday is in honor of Frigg or Freyja. Alternatively, Wednesday was also the day of Mercury, and the Roman’s tried masking Odin and Mercury together. Anyways, wow sorry for the detour and on with the show!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

So this beautiful female warrior is the new Thor from the currently running comic series The Mighty Thor. She’s not Miss Thor or Lady Thor just Thor, the name given to her by the previous Thor who now calls himself Odinson. This Thor is one of a few in the new Thor Marvel Legends series, which also includes Thor: Ragnarok versions of Thor (male) and Loki with the build-a-figure being gladiator Hulk.

Thor stands at about 6 inches tall, and no I’m not going to crack out a measuring tape to give an exact measurement because I don’t really care for that. All I care about is that she looks cool, which she does, so sue me. She has 29 points of articulation and is built on the Moon Stone body, but she has unique head, cape, chest, left forearm, skirt, shins, and ankle thingies.

Thor’s head is pretty cool and I like what they’ve done with it. Her face and helmet aren’t super detailed, which is fine because there’s not much detail to them in the comic since she’s trying to hide her identity. The helmet could’ve had a little more detail then some paint and suggestions of markings, but honestly it doesn’t take away from the figure’s overall look. Her hair is molded such that she can wear her cape and still have some movement, unlike other female figures I’ve seen that are limited by their long hair. The cape is neat but also kind of annoying because it has a hard time staying on sometimes, since the peg bent slightly and has to go into her back. Overall, the cape is neat in simplicity, with tons of wrinkles and some texturing to make it look like cloth. In the comic I think the cape is a bit longer, if not ridiculously long but I completely understand that that is hard to accomplish with a posable figure that’s supposed to stand on its own. Her arms are a little skinny for me, I think they should be a little bit bigger but I understand that Hasbro probably wanted to save money by reusing an older body. Her left forearm is unique because it has a special bracer that’s a part of the costume. The bracer is pretty cool and I really enjoy it. It’s all smooth and shiny with suggested layers and little markings that show where the arm bands connect to the metal, and then arm bands of tiny little buckles and actual suggestions of straps, loops, and holes for adjusting. I know, crazy to spend so much time looking at a forearm but it’s so detailed that I get carried away. Next is her chest piece which looks like a typical chest plate with some Nordic symbol that’s too small to discern. Like the arm brace, it’s shiny and has some texture that gives the appearance of thick metal, but it’s a slightly different color than the brace. My favorite part about her costume was the skirt and this figure does not disappoint me there. The skirt is not fixed to the figure, though I doubt it can be easily removed, and it is designed to help give her legs a more powerful look and also appear to be in motion, due to wind or something. It’s a simple piece but I really like it because it’s practical. The outside of the plastic is a bit rough like think cloth, the belt has little raised circles which are very common in leather belts, and the front flap’s border is a little raised to give it an embroidered look. Most of her legs are painted blank, assuming that she’s wearing leggings, and her shins are covered in cloth wrap that matches the skirt. The detailing in the wrapping is kinda cool because it does look like random shin wrappings; they’re not even symmetrical which makes it look a bit more authentic. Lastly, her boots…shoes are okay. There’s really nothing special there other than the tops are moveable, but there’s not much detailing to them.

Overall, the paint seems to be pretty well done.  I do believe that the design on her torso, under the chest plate, is printed onto the figure because the lines and details are too precise to be paint, but it’s not super obvious because the skirt covers it most of the time. There are a few places where the paint doesn’t quite fill in properly, but it’s not super noticeable. Then there are other places where the paint goes over the lines, but again it’s either well-hidden or so minor that as long as you’re not looking at it with a microscope you won’t notice. I will say that it’s weird that there are two different shades of metal grey used on the figure, her chest, helmet, and shoes are a darker grey than her arm brace and metal bits on her belt. Her only accessory is her hammer, Myeuh-muh (Mjölnir), which is pretty cool. There’re little etchings in the molding that simulate the knot designs on the hammer, and there’s groves in the handle too. You can also have her hold it by the strap or the handle.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So I wanted to read more Marvel comics other than the ones Ethan was suggesting, even though they were good, I wanted to find something for myself. I was pushed toward the current Thor series after one of the publicity blunders Marvel faced earlier in the year. After doing more research into what happened and who said what, I realized that the whole thing was blown out of proportion and that the company wasn’t trying to be this bad guy people were crying over. So I decided that I would definitely start reading more Marvel comics, starting with one of their more popular series The Mighty Thor with the new female Thor and I fell in love instantly. When Ethan found out what figures were in this line, he immediately told me that female Thor would be included and I proceeded to make inhuman noises for about five minutes then begged him to keep a look out for her. After a few weeks of searching he found her in the bottom of a random cart in Walmart full of older Marvel Legends in an aisle completely away from the toy section. I’ve been happy with her ever since! She’s an awesome figure based on a cool character design from a comic that I’m enjoying way too much. Also she looks fantastic on my bookshelf!

#1429: Supergirl

SUPERGIRL

SUPERGIRL (DC COLLECTIBLES)

In spite of a largely dreary, depressing, and rather boring slate of movies, DC’s actually got a pretty solid little universe of live action TV-properties running.  The Flash is my definite favorite of the bunch, but I definitely appreciate Supergirl for essentially running counter to all of the things the hated about what Man of Steel did to the Super Family.  Supergirl’s initial start on CBS meant that it was in an odd spot as far as merchandising went.  It would seem that the show’s move to the CW smoothed out some of the issues, as we’ve since seen a handful of figures and the like.  Mattel was the first company to put out a figure of Kara, but that one was…well, it was a modern Mattel figure, i.e. not super great.  Fortunately, DC Collectibles followed it up with their own version of her, which looks to be the superior offering.  Let’s find out if that’s truly the case!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Supergirl is part of DC Collectibles’ over-arching TV-based line, specifically under the Supergirl heading.  She was released alongside Martian Manhunter, towards the beginning of the summer.  The figure is about 7 inches tall and she has 23 points of articulation.  Ready for the same complaint I almost always have about DCC figures?  Yep, Supergirl has no lateral movement on her legs.  Hinged hips and double-jointed knees, but still no way to get her to stand anyway other than pigeon-toed.  It’s still a little annoying that this problem keeps cropping up.  I’m also a little bummed by the lack of waist articulation, but that’s more minor.  She’s not going to be getting into any super limber poses, but there are more than a few manageable poses with what’s there.  She isn’t unnatural looking, and that’s a good thing.  Issues with the articulation aside, Supergirl’s sculpt is most impressive.  The likeness of actress Melissa Benoist is spot-on; she’s even got the nice, friendly smile she’s frequently sporting on the show.  Even the hair does a quite respectable job of capturing Benoist’s style, and it’s a soft enough plastic that posabilty isn’t too hindered.  The body isn’t quite the same level of quality as the head, but it’s certainly solid work.  The proportions are all pretty balanced, and all-around quite realistic looking.  The clothing even has all the proper texturing and everything, which makes it look quite nice.  In terms of paint, Supergirl is generally pretty good.  Once again, the head gets the best, cleanest, and most lifelike work.  The rest is okay, but there are a few slight bits of slop, and I’m also not sure how I feel about the bright white paint used on her fingernails.  Still, very nice work in general.  Supergirl is packed with three sets of hands in fists, gripping, and open poses.  They all swap in and out pretty easily, and make for a nice variety of posing options.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I mentioned a while ago in my review of the Dark Knight Returns Armored Batman that I had found the Mattel Supergirl at retail, and was deeply disappointed by her.  I knew DCC was releasing this one, so I was definitely keeping my eye out.  When this figure actually hit, I wasn’t in a good place financially to be picking up figures on a whim, so I held off on her.  Fortunately, my LCS Cosmic Comix held her in stock long enough that I was able to go back and grab her several weeks back.  She’s still a slightly compromised figure, there’s no denying that.  I wish the articulation were better, but the figure’s look is so nice that I’m willing to let it slide.

#1428: Bullseye

BULLSEYE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Motivated by a personal vendetta against Daredevil, Bullseye becomes an expert assassin, demonstrating an exceptional ability to use nearly any object as a lethal weapon.”

And here we are, back to the Marvel stuff.  What can I say, this is where I’m comfortable.

Perhaps the most glaringly obviously missing character from Netflix’s Daredevil show has been longtime foe Bullseye.  He was hinted at during a first season episode, and initially planned for the second season, but has yet to make an appearance (they even gave away one of his more prominent moments in the whole Elektra storyline to Nobu, which was a little disappointing).  Hope springs eternal.  At the very least, he’s recently gotten an action figure.  That’s pretty good, I suppose.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Bullseye is part of the “Man-Thing” series of Marvel Legends, which is loosely based around the Netflix Marvel shows.  Obviously, he’s not one of the show-based figures; he joins Blade and Man-Thing as the three comics based figures in the line-up.  I would argue, though, that Bullseye’s the figure out of the three that best fits with the rest of the series, so he’s got that going for him.  This isn’t Bullseye’s first time as a Marvel Legend.  He actually got two figures, a regular release and a variant, in Series 9 of Toy Biz’s run.  That was 12 years ago, so I think an update is very much warranted.  This figure stands about 6 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  Bullseye is depicted in his classic costume, and it’s a cleaner version than the one seen on the last Legends Bullseye.  This guy’s built on the new 2099 base body, which seems like a reasonable enough choice for him.  It’s almost exactly the same size as the Bullseye base of years past, so I guess it’s a good replacement on that front.  He’s got a new head and belt to finish off the look.  The head is a pretty decent piece in its own right.  It captures his character pretty nicely, and I really dig the sneering grin and missing tooth.  The only slight issue I have with the head is its scale relative to the body; it’s just a bit too large, and ends up looking sort of goofy.  It’s actually the same issue I had with the last Bullseye and after waiting 12 years for a new version, it’s a slight bummer to see the same thing crop up again.  It’s not quite as bad this time, and I think it fits together a bit better.  Maybe Bullseye just has a little bit of big head thing?  The paintwork on this guy is pretty decent overall.  Some of the lines are a little fuzzy, and the shoulders are a little sloppy, but by and large it looks pretty good.  Bullseye is packed with an extra unmasked head, four hands, a knife, and a pistol.  The unmasked head is a solid piece; I dig the carved in bullseye on his forehead, and the intense expression is fun.  Not going to be my go-to head for this figure, or anything, but I like the options.  The standard hands are both trigger finger gripping hands, and there are two extra left hands, one doing a finger gun, and the other with attached throwing knives in mid throw.  I like the posing options they add into the mix!  Bullseye is also packed with the arm of Man-Thing, for them that are interested in such things.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Bullseye was grabbed at Toys R Us on the way home from moving my brother into his dorm.  Incidentally, this was the same trip where I found the Force Friday stuff and was unable to buy it.  So, this was sort of my consolation prize, I suppose.  Not a bad one at all.  Sure, this figure has some flaws; I don’t think he’s quite as spot-on as some of Hasbro’s more recent offerings.  That being said, he’s still a very fun figure, and I’m quite happy to have added him to my collection.

#1427: Lambert – Compression Suit

LAMBERT – COMPRESSION SUIT

ALIENS (NECA)

After two weeks, I’ve finally finished up with the Star Wars reviews.  Well, for now, anyway.  I feel certain there’ll be more to come.  Of course, I’ve been writing about nothing about Star Wars for two weeks, so I sort of need to ween myself off of things.  So, how about a review from *another* sci-fi franchise that was launched in the late ‘70s?  Yes, today I’m setting my sites on Alien, and taking a look at another of the Nostromo’s ill-fated crew, Navigator Joan Lambert.  Yes, Joan is really her first name.  Take it up with James Cameron. Onto the figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Lambert was released in the eleventh series of NECA’s Aliens line.  She’s the only movie based figure in the assortment, and the fourth member of the Nostromo crew to see release in the line.  The figure stands about 7 1/2 inches tall and she has 24 points of articulation.  Lambert is seen here wearing her compression suit, which she wears during the mission to explore the derelict ship on LV-426.  While Lambert is perhaps the least prominent of the three crew members during that sequence, but it’s still a more visually interesting design than what she wears around the ship, and it also completes the away team trio.  And, most importantly, it also gives NECA an excuse to get another use out of their awesome compression suit mold.  This marks the body’s fifth use, following Kane, Dallas, Ripley, and Amanda, and it’s still very much one of my favorites.  There’s also an all-new head sculpt, which is one of NECA’s best yet.  Unlike Kane (who’s lack of likeness was hidden by a facehugger) and Dallas (who was close but not quite there), Lambert’s likeness really is dead on. Like Hudson before her, Lambert’s panicky personality has been captured in this figure’s expression.  It’s a really great recreation of Veronica Cartwright’s scrunched up, screaming face from the film.  The head’s wearing the cap from the film, which is fantastically detailed and matches the rest of the suit’s detail quite nicely.  There’s a second head included, which has her without the cap and with a much calmer expression.  While it’s not quite as dead-on a Cartwright likeness as the other head, it’s still a solid likeness.  I just wish I had a non-compression-suited body to put it on.  As far as paint goes, Lambert is pretty decent.  There’s a little bit of slop here and there, but nothing major.  The weathering on the suit, particularly the metal parts is really nice, and her face is particularly lifelike.  Like Dallas and Kane before her, Lambert is packed with a removable helmet, a flare gun, and a flashlight.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve fallen a little bit behind with my NECA Aliens purchases, I must admit.  I knew Lambert was being released, and I totally meant to order one, but just kept getting sidelined.  I ended up getting a gift certificate to All Time Toys earlier last month, and decided to use it to grab this figure, since they had her in stock.  There’s not a whole lot new to this figure, but that doesn’t at all stop her from being an awesome figure.

#1426: Clone Commander Gree

CLONE COMMANDER GREE

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

“Clone Commander Gree, designation 1004, led the Elite Corps of clone troopers during the Clone Wars.  He saw deployments on such heated battlefronts as Kashyyyk.  Though a faithful commander who carried out the Jedi’s orders, Gree was ultimately loyal to the Republic.”

I’ve spent two whole weeks looking at the smaller scale offerings for The Last Jedi, but I’ve not yet looked at any of Hasbro’s other big line, The Black Series.  There’s a simple reason for this:  I’ve yet to see most of the new Black Series stuff anywhere.  I did manage grab at least one figure, albeit not one of the characters from the new movie.  Instead, we jump back to the Prequels (I know, not my first choice either), and take a look at one of my favorite clones, Clone Commander Gree!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Commander Gree is a Toys R Us exclusive offering for Star Wars: The Black Series.  A smaller supply of this figure initially showed up at SDCC this year, but the vast majority of figures showed up at TRU retail stores for Force Friday, allowing Gree to take the slot taken by the Snowtrooper Commander and Hovertank Driver in years past.  The figure stands about 6 inches tall and has 31 points of articulation.  Gree is seen here in his Phase II Clone Trooper from Revenge of the Sith.  It’s definitely the more distinct of his two designs, and thus not a surprise for this figure at all.  Gree is largely built from the same pieces as the Clone Sergeant I reviewed way back when. It was a good sculpt then, and it’s still a good sculpt now.  Gree obviously gets the Phase II helmet in place of the Phase I version, and it fits well on the body and looks far more accurate than a good number of other Phase II trooper figures.  Gree gets a unique torso and left thigh piece as well, patterned after the standard pieces, but adding some of Gree’s extra straps and such.  The torso even gets a port for a removable antennae, which is a nice touch, though the antennae has a tendency to fall out of place a lot.  Paint is the most important part of a good Commander Gree figure, and this figure definitely delivers on that front.  All of the colors match up very nicely with his on-screen color scheme, and the level of detailing, especially on the camouflaged areas of the armor, is just top notch.  They’ve even included a good deal of silver detailing, showcasing the wear and tear that Gree’s armor’s undergone.  That’s a detail that’s largely been left off of the smaller figures, so I’m very glad to see it show up here.  Gree is actually quite well accessorized for a Black Series release, getting both small and large blaster rifles, and a pair of quadnoculars to hold.  I wouldn’t have minded an unmasked head as well, but that’s still more than what’s been included with prior 6″ troopers.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When I first started collecting The Black Series, my one rule was no Prequel figures.  I broke that rule for the Clone Sergeant, but I’ve stuck to it since.  However, even when I decided on that rule, I knew this guy would be an exception.  Gree’s always been my favorite of the Clone Commanders, and I have just about every other figure of him, so I certainly wasn’t passing on this one.  My TRU didn’t get any Black Series figures on Force Friday, but this guy showed up about a week later.  This is easily the best Gree figure ever released, and definitely one of my favorite Black Series figures.

#1425: Darth Vader & Imperial Probe Droid

DARTH VADER & IMPERIAL PROBE DROID

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI

“Tenacious hunters and searchers, Probe Droids (or Probots) have a variety of sensors and the ones employed by the Empire are armed with powerful blasters and, in some models, shields.”

Remember when I was mentioning the Empire Strikes Back stuff that hit with The Last Jedi product?  Just yesterday?  Well, hey, here’s some more of that.  This set pairs another variation of one of the franchise’s juggernaut characters with a fan-favorite design that actually hasn’t seen a new figure in almost 15 years, which seems a little crazy.  Onto the review!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Vader and the Probot are one of the two “creature” sets released alongside the Last Jedi product.  Interestingly, the two characters included here never actually share any screen time or even reside in the same general area over the course of Empire, but I guess that Vader’s the Probot’s boss, so that sort of makes a little sense.

DARTH VADER

So, I was discussing yesterday about how the whole Star Wars line would fall into disarray were there not a steady stream of Boba Fett figures offered.  That goes double for this guy.  Despite dying at the end of Return of the Jedi, he’s managed to find his way into every movie line launch since Episode 1 in some way or another.  This figure stands a little over 4 inches tall and has a whole 6 points of articulation (thanks to a cut joint at the waist).  This Vader is based on his appearance from Empire, which was slightly changed from A New Hope (and, by extension, Rogue One, which used the ANH design), but not terribly different from the one seen in Return of the Jedi.  Essentially, this figure’s sculpt is the later film equivalent to the fantastic Rogue One Vader we got last year.  At first glance, I actually thought this figure was mostly re-used from that one, but it’s its own wholly original work.  This means there’s no real compromises made, which is nice to see after lots of years of Vaders based indeterminately on several different movie’s designs.  It’s a very strong sculpt, and were it not for the RO Vader from last year, it would easily be my favorite Vader sculpt to date.  As it stands, it’s a definite top two.  I enjoy this just as much, but for differing reasons.  Interestingly, the helmet is a separate piece from the mask and head, but it’s not removable or anything.  I was sort of expecting this to be a “reveal” figure, showing the back of his head like we see in his chamber, but it wasn’t the case. It’s not really a big deal, though, and I honestly prefer a Vader with all of his pieces connected.  This Vader gets another plastic cape piece, which is a different piece than the one on the RO Vader, but still very nice.  This one drapes over the shoulders a bit more, which is certainly appropriate.  Vader’s paintwork is pretty solid all around.  There’s a lot more going on than might be evident at first, especially with all the differing shades of black.  I like that they’re putting in that sort of effort.  Vader includes his lightsaber, which this time around can be held in either of his hands.  He is also ForceLink compatible, though I still don’t have the wrist thing to try him out, so I don’t know what sounds he makes.

IMPERIAL PROBE DROID

In a movie full of distinctive things, the Probe Droid actually manages to stick out, being one of the very first things the audience sees on the screen.  The Probot’s only had two figures before in this scale; both were actually made from the same mold.  It’s long been a favorite item amongst the fan base, so an update was certainly much appreciated.  The Probot is about 5 inches tall (when placed on his stand, of course) and has an astounding 16 points of articulation.  Those arms really help him out on that front.  The sculpt on this guy is all new, and definitely top-notch.  Like Vader, it’s very accurate to the film prop, and offers a lot of really great little details.  Obviously, it’s a little less detailed than the real scale-model of the thing, but it’s far from “basic.”  The head in particular just perfectly captures the shape and sizing of the in-film design so well, and I love how well his large camera eyes have turned out.  In terms of paint, there’s not a *ton* going on with the Probot.  He’s largely just molded in a very dark grey plastic.  hat being said, it’s a good shade of grey, and there’s still nice paint work on the lenses of the cameras.  He’s also got a number of silver scuffs all over him, befitting the used-future look of the OT films.  It’s subtle, but it definitely adds a lot to the figure.  Since the Probot we see in the film is always hovering and doesn’t really have an easy way of standing, this figure includes a clear stand to help him “hover.”  It’s a fairly basic piece, which just plugs into the base of the figure’s body.  I do quite like the little Imperial insignia that’s molded into it.  It’s a fun touch.  There’s also a missile launching component worked into the figure, but in a less obtrusive way than the prior Probot mold.  It’s just one small panel on the body, and it’s not really noticeable when it’s in place.  Lastly, there’s the ForceLink feature, and this time around, I do actually have an idea of what sounds it makes.  It just makes the transmitting sounds from the movie, which is a feature I really look forward to trying out when I get the chance.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like yesterday’s set, I didn’t pick this pair up on Force Friday.  I didn’t even pick them up the next week when I went back.  In part, this was due to my thinking that the Vader was actually a lot more similar to the RO version than he ultimately was.  But I saw some photos online and I was really digging the Probot, so I decided to try and grab one.  Of course, I forgot that this set’s packed one for every three Rapthar packs, so it wasn’t super easy to track down.  I did eventually manage to find one at Walmart, so yay for that.  This is definitely a strong set.  Sure, a figure other than Vader might have been nice, but at least it’s a good Vader figure.  And at the end of the day, the Probot’s definitely worth buying another Vader figure to get.  And that wraps up the small-scale Force Friday offerings that I’ll be reviewing.  Not a bad assortment at all.

#1424: Boba Fett & Han Solo

BOBA FETT & HAN SOLO

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI

We’re starting to wind down on the Star Wars: The Last Jedi stuff.  Yesterday’s Finn review marked the last of the actual Last Jedi offerings I’ll be reviewing (at least in this round of stuff), but as with every new Star Wars release, there’s a healthy helping of items based on prior films.  As TLJ is the second film in this new trilogy, they’re putting out more than a few items based on the Original Trilogy’s second part, Empire Strikes Back.  I’ll be taking a look at Hasbro’s latest versions of Han Solo and Boba Fett from that film today!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Han and Boba were released in the two-pack assortment of The Last Jedi figures, alongside the previously reviewed Rey and Elite Praetorian Guard pairing.  This is one of the two ESB-themed items in the initial product launch.

BOBA FETT

They just can’t keep the Fett-man down, can they?  If the Star Wars toyline went too long without at least one Fett, it would surely collapse into some sort of null field of pointlessness, right?  Fett’s the glue that holds the fandom together! Gotta keep those Fett-fans happy.  Or something like that.  Anyway, this new figure stands just shy of 4 inches tall and has the standard 5 points of articulation.  Now, after years and years of lots of nearly identical Boba Fetts, you might be wondering what sets this guy apart from the pack.  He’s an all-new sculpt, and it may well be the best sculpt we’ve ever seen on a Boba Fett figure.  It’s at least the best small-scale Boba we’ve gotten.  The last 5POA Boba I looked at had a number of issues that prevented him from being the best he could be, but this figure really tackles a lot of the issues I had with that and a lot of the other 5POA figures head on.  One big issue I’ve had with a lot of the basic figures is the rigidity of their poses.  This figure fixes that, giving Boba a slightly offset balancing of his weight.  It’s effectively still a straight standing pose, but it adds just a little more character, and makes him look a touch more human.  It also resembles the pose Boba had in the initial promo shots from Empire, which is a fun bit of nerdy trivia.  The sculpt also gives us a very nice take on Boba’s armor, with all of the details being sharply defined, and nicely recreated.  The head’s definitely my favorite part, as it’s easily one of the best Fett helmet sculpts ever produced.  It’s a spot-on recreation, and I just really love it.  Boba’s sculpt is aided by a pretty awesome paint job, which follows the trend of improvement on Hasbro’s part. The paint is clean and sharp for the most part, and there are a lot of really nice details.  There are a few details missing, but mostly minor stuff, and he looks far better than some of the earlier figures.  Fett is packed with his large blaster, his small blaster, and a big bulky thing that replicates his flamethrower.  Both the figure and the big bulky thing are ForceLink compatible, but as of yet I don’t have anyway to figure out how to test the sounds they make.

HAN SOLO

Han was actually completely absent from the product launch for The Force Awakens, so it’s a little bit amusing that he’s included this time around, despite not being in the movie (well, at least as far as we know).  This guy’s sporting Han’s spiffy jacketed look from Empire, which is my favorite look for the character, and which seems to be less common than you’d hope when it comes to toys (seriously, how do we not have this look in The Black Series yet?).  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and has 5 points of articulation.  No real surprises there.  At first glance, this figure’s sculpt looks to have some parts in common with the Force Awakens figure.  An actual comparison of the two figures reveals that there are no parts actually shared between the two, but they appear to at the very least have started from the same basic source files.  Not gonna lie, this figure’s far from perfect.  One of the things that makes the jacketed look my favorite for Han is how sharp he looks, but this figure ends up looking a little bit schluby.  The real culprit behind this is the waist.  The waist is too low, which in turn makes the jacket too long, which has the illusion of making his arms look too short and gives him the appearance of his gut having out over his belt.  If the waist were a quarter of an inch higher, the figure would look a bit better.  The likeness on the head also isn’t one of Hasbro’s better Harrison Fords.  From some angles it’s manageable, but from others he barely even looks human.  It definitely feels like they took their old Han sculpt from TFA and tried to de-age it, which hasn’t quite worked.  On the plus side of things Han’s jacket’s pretty nicely detailed, and I appreciate the texturing on the stripes on his pants.  The paint on Han is kind of “meh”.  It’s okay in some spots, but there’s more noticeable slop here than on other recent figures, and worst of all, his got weird placement on his eyes, which just throws the whole figure off.  I hate when that happens.  Han’s packed with his blaster, which can be placed in the holster if you so choose.  I was happy to see it was actually the correct version that he carries in Empire, not just re-used from a prior Han.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like Finn, I didn’t grab this set on Force Friday.  I had seen it beforehand, and I mostly checked out the Han figure, who left me kind of cold, and mostly ignored the Boba Fett, since the Saga Legends Fett did nothing for me.  So, on Friday I focused on the TLJ stuff and left this behind.  Then I saw some photos online, and realized what an improvement Fett was, and slightly regretted not grabbing them.  When my Target re-stoked the basic figures, they also marked the two-packs down a bit, so I got these two alongside Finn.  Boba’s fantastic.  He’s rivaled only by the 6-inch Black Series figure in terms of coolness.  Han’s okay.  Far from the worst Han Solo figure, but nothing particularly amazing, which is a shame, since I’m always eager to get a new Bespin Han.  Alas, I’ll just have to hang in there for the next version.  This one will do until then.