#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.

#1334: R5-D4

R5-D4

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II

Hey guys! I’m not feeling too hot tonight so Super Awesome Girlfriend is helping me write this review. Isn’t she super awesome?

We’re looking at Star Wars stuff again. Something something something, droid info here-wait Ethan is actually reading this over my shoulder, so I should write something real…

Everybody knows C-3PO and R2-D2, but not many people know about R5-D4. Why? Because he blows up early on in the movie. It’s okay though, because he shares a lot of the same parts as R2 so he gets plenty of toys! Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay! Today, we’ll be looking at one of those toys.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

R5-D4 comes from the second year of Kenner’s Star Wars: Power of the Force II line. The figure is about 3 inches tall and depending on how you count articulation, he has 1 or 3 points (this will make sense later…so he says). So umm, surprisingly enough he and R2 don’t star any parts.

The sculpt is pretty accurate, overall, but it has a few inaccuracies. To start with, there’s the weird bar thingy running between the two back feet (roller things). The R2 figure didn’t have this, so why this one does is beyond Ethan’s congested mind. It just looks weird. Beyond that, there’s the weird silver thingies attached to his legs. Why are they there? Nobody knooooooows. Maybe they’re guns? Ehhhh… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ The sculpt is also hindered by the action feature. Remember how I mentioned that he explodes in the movie? Well Kenner tried to replicate that…sort of. The top of the figure, the dome, splits in half when you press the special yellow button at the base of the body. There’s also this missile that gets launched because why not? It kind of holds the figure back, because you can’t move the head around due to the missile stored there, which is kind of annoying really. But they tried…I guess. Okay, paint. This figure has paint. Let’s talk paint. It’s sandy looking, which is good because you know Tatooine has lots of sand. You know who hates sand? Anakin hates it, because it gets eeveeeeeeeeeerywhere! Including on this guy! Good work team, go team go. Ethan will probably edit this one later, you know, when his head isn’t full of mucus.

You know what the droid’s head is full of? Missiles…nah, just one, which is his only accessory.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This lovely addition to the collection came from the Farpoint charity auction. Ethan has always had a soft spot for R5, which isn’t surprising because he has a soft spot for every robot, droid character. The figure is okay, he’s a bit held back by all the explodey stuff Kenner tried emulating with the figure. They could’ve done a lot worse, so he isn’t bad, just sandy. I honestly have no attachment to the droid, so there’s not much for me to say about it. I guess that’s it? Oh, Ethan just burrowed into the blankets…aaaaaaaaaaand he’s gone. I’m terribly sorry.

#1332: Skin

SKIN

GENERATION X (TOY BIZ)

“Angela Espinosa’s body has six extra feet of skin – this is his mutant ‘gift’???. Even he doesn’t quite understand how it works and although he would never admit it, that scares him. He’s come to Xavier’s School form the mean streets of South Central Los Angeles to learn to control his skin, at least enough for him to appear as he did before his powers developed – normal.”

In the ‘90s, the X-Men were Marvel’s hottest property by far.  To cash-in on this success, they turned around and launched like a million spin-offs.  The more teen-oriented team of hip, fliggity-fly youngsters was Generation X, which was super, super ‘90s.  It had a pretty decent following back in the day, and since Toy Biz was giving a toyline to just about everything under the son, it also had one of those.  Today, I’ll be taking a look at one of the team’s central members, Skin!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Skin was released in Series 1 of Toy Biz’s Generation X line of figures.  He appears to be patterned after the character’s earlier appearances in the book, before he got all scruffy.  The figure stands about 5 1/2 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  For some reason, the Generation X figures were less articulated than most of Toy Biz’s Marvel output from the same time.  Perhaps it was to minimize potential risk on the financial side of things, should the line fail?  I don’t know.  Anyway, Skin was an all-new sculpt.  It seems to take the Kenner route, offering a more preposed figure with less movement.  It looks pretty solid; I like all the little minor details, like the folds in his skin.  In makes for quite a unique looking figure.  I also appreciate that his costume isn’t simply depicted as painted on, but actually has some dimension to it.  Now, if you want to get picky, the hands and feet shouldn’t be done the way they are here, since the skeletal structure is clearly elongated here, and his abilities only actually had to do with his skin.  That being said, most artists tended to ignore this rule, so the figure’s hardly inaccurate.  The paint work on the figure is okay, but there are a few issues.  The base work is overall okay, but the magenta on the arms and legs doesn’t quite match the torso.  It’s not as bad in person as it is in the photos, but it’s still noticeable.  The yellow paint is also a bit prone to chipping, which is a little annoying, but otherwise he’s pretty decent.  The figure has a “Growing Fingers” action feature on his left hand.  There’s a little latch on the forearm, and when you release it, the fingers shoot forward a half-inch or so.  It’s pretty much the same mechanic that was used on several of TB’s Wolverine figures, and it works pretty well, without disrupting the overall look of the figure too much.  Skin was packed with a back pack that can be clipped on his back.  It originally had a little headset attachment, but I’ve lost mine.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I missed out on most of the Generation X figures when they were new.  Around 2000 or so, I got some still-packaged mid-90s figures, and the whole first series of Gen X figures was pictured on the back, leading me to attempt to track down Skin and his team-mate Chamber.  It wasn’t easy (we had eBay, but the ‘90s action figures market wasn’t really there yet), but I eventually found both figures at a nearby comic book store for a pretty decent price.  Despite never being super huge into Generation X, I’ve always really liked this figure, and he holds up pretty well.

#1327: Princess Leia Organa – Jabba’s Prisoner

PRINCESS LEIA ORGANA — JABBA’S PRISONER

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“Disguised as the bounty hunter Boussh, Leia infiltrated Jabba’s palace as part of a small rescue team to free Han Solo, Leia was captured and forced to endure the status of Jabba’s slave until the opportunity to escape presented itself.”

My very first Princess Leia figure I reviewed for this site was the one from the second series of Black Series figures.  While I was generally nice to that figure in its proper review (I hadn’t yet become jaded and cynical), I’ve always had some issues with the decision to go with the Slave Leia design, seeing as it was the inaugural Leia in that scale.  I don’t have a huge issue with the costume overall, but I feel it’s not the character’s primary look.  Regardless, the design’s a popular one with the fanbase, which translates to toys.  Interestingly, the look wasn’t a part of the vintage line; it’s first release was in 1997, more than a decade after it appeared on screen.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Princess Leia Organa as Jabba’s Prisoner was released in the third year of Kenner’s Star Wars: Power of the Force II line.  She was the third single-release of Leia in the line (there were also four Leias in the Princess Leia Collection and another packed with the Endor Speeder Bike, all released the same year as this one; 1997 was a good year for Leia).  The figure stands about 3 3/4 inches tall (which was rather tall for a Leia figure; later figures would go shorter) and has 6 points of articulation.  This is one of those figures where lessened articulation is a plus, since her design is kind of hindered by being broken up for lots of articulation.  Here, she’s got the simplest assortment of articulation, which allows her to avoid having unsightly lines all over her skin.  In addition, since she’s from later in the line’s run, she’s spared a lot of the crazy proportions that plagued earlier POTF2 figures.  Generally speaking, her sculpt is pretty decent; the details are all pretty true the film’s design, and the proportions are among the best we’ve seen on a Slave Leia figure.  The face doesn’t look much like Carrie Fisher, but it’s far from the worst Leia sculpt from this line, and it’s not a terrible sculpt.  The skirt piece is plastic on this figure, which I think looks for a better overall look when compared the cloth used for just about every other Slave Leia figure; it actually allows for a bit of dynamic flow and is unlikely to fray over time, which are both definite plusses.  The paint work on this Leia is pretty decent.  She’s about on par with the rest of the line; the application is clean and the colors match up with the source material.  The gold actually adds a nice bit of vibrance to the figure, and is one of the better gold paints I’ve seen on an action figure.  Leia’s only accessory is a removable collar with a chain attached.  It’s a bit bulky and doesn’t ever seem to sit right, but it’s easily removed of you so desire.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like the Bespin Han Solo, while I didn’t own this figure for myself growing up, it was one of the ones my Grandmother had at her house for my cousin Patrick to play with.  Like that Han figure, she went missing somewhere along the way, so when those figures were absorbed into my collection, she wasn’t one of them.  I finally added this figure to my collection  early this year, picking her up from the Farpoint charity auction alongside several other POTF2 figures.  She’s not my favorite version of Leia or anything, but she’s a decent enough figure, I suppose.

#1324: Hunter Ja-Kal

HUNTER JA-KAL

MUMMIES ALIVE! (KENNER)

“Hunter Ja-Kal, ancient Egypt’s greatest hunter has been called form the dead to defend the young descendent of an ancient pharaoh and to command his band of Mummy champions. Hunter Ja-Kal wears the armored wings of the falcon-god Horus, giving him the power of flight.”

Like the ‘80s before them, the ‘90s had more than a few cartoons designed purely to sell toys.  One of my personal favorites was 1997’s Mummies Alive!, which followed a band of undead Egyptian warriors, whose job it was to protect the young boy that was the reincarnation of their Pharaoh Rhapses.  The show was decent enough, but the real star was, obviously, the toys.  Kenner* handled the toyline, which was really cool,  but sadly short-lived.  Nevertheless, we did at least get the main Mummies, including their leader Ja-Kal, who I’ll be looking at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Hunter Ja-Kal was released in the basic figure assortment of Kenner’s Mummies Alive! line.  He was one of three Ja-Kals in the line, and is the one of the three that depicts him in his most standard appearance from the show.  The figure stands about 5 1/2 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation. Ja-Kal’s sculpt was shared with the Nile-Ator Cycle’s pack-in Ja-Kal figure.  It’s otherwise unique to these two figures.  It’s a pretty solid offering for the time.  While it’s not a perfect recreation of the cartoon appearance, it’s pretty close, and most of the discrepancies come from the figure adding in some extra details.  Stylistically, he’s sort of similar to Total Justice, but without the insane expression or over-posing that plagued that line.  It’s sort of a best of both worlds scenario.  The proportions are still very ’90s hero, but there’s some internal consistency, and it matches up pretty well with the aesthetic of the show, so it works out alright.  I suppose an argument could be made that his limbs are rather on the lanky side, but the guy *is* a mummy, so I think it’s excusable.  The detailing on the wrappings is exquisitely handled; this would look good on a modern figure, it’s fantastic on a figure of this vintage.  Accenting the pretty sweet sculpt is an equally sweet paint job.  The base colors make for a nice match to the cartoon, plus there’s some really fun accent work on all of the wrapped areas, which successfully makes them look like they’ve been wrapped around a decaying corps for a few thousand years.  Bet those things smell *amazing*.  Ja-Kal originally included a bunch of snap-on armor pieces, recreating his more battle-ready look from the show.  My figure is sadly without those pieces, but I bet they were pretty cool.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got into Mummies Alive! not too long after it originally aired, but it was long enough that I missed out on most of the toys at retail.  The best I could do were the goofy “Fright Sight” figures, which languished in stores for half a decade after the show was off the air.  Fortunately, I was able to fish this guy out of a loose figure bin at Baltimore ComicCon about a decade ago.  He didn’t have any of his extras, but at least I had a Ja-Kal figure, right?  This line doesn’t get talked about a whole lot, but it was actually really awesome.  I feel like I kinda need to track down the rest of the figures now…

*Interestingly, while Kenner’s name appears on all the packaging, the actual figure’s copyright stamp says Hasbro.  Hasbro of course owned Kenner at this time, but the Hasbro/Kenner products typically only bore the Kenner name.

#1313: Northstar & Aurora

NORTHSTAR & AURORA

ALPHA FLIGHT (TOY BIZ)

“Jean-Paul and Jeanne-Marie Beaubier were not your average set of twins. During their adolescence, they each separately found that they possessed the mutant abilities to fly and travel at superhuman speeds.  They have since discovered that whenever they join hands, they produce a radiant strobe effect, often blinding their adversaries into submission!  Putting their respective lives as a professional skier and history teacher behind, “Northstar” and “Aurora” joined Alpha Flight, Canada’s very own super heroes.”

The United States doesn’t hold a total monopoly on North American super hero teams.  Case in point, today’s pair of figures comes from Canada’s premiere super-team, Alpha Flight, who are sort of a cross between the Avengers and the X-Men, but, you know, in Canada.  They’ve never really taken off as a smash success or anything, but the team has something of a cult following.  This was enough to get them a short series of figures during Toy Biz’s long-running 5-inch line.  The whole series was made up of two-packs, and today’s figures are the ones that make the most sense paired up.  Yes, it’s siblings Northstar and Aurora!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These two were one of the three two-packs released in the first (and only) series of Alpha Flight, released by Toy Biz in 1998. 

NORTHSTAR

Northstar’s probably one of the best known members of Alpha Flight, thanks largely to his affiliation with the X-Men, and thanks also to being one of Marvel’s most prominent gay characters.  He’s had a number of different looks over the years, but he’s seen here in his original costume, which I find to be his best.  The figure stands a little over 5 inches tall and has 10 points of articulation.  The movement on this guy is really odd; he lacks the elbow and knee joints that were fairly standard on 5-inch Marvel figures, but gains extra shoulder and ankle movement, as well as a cut joint on one wrist.  Why just one wrist?  I have no idea.  It’s always bugged me.  The sculpt for Northstar was all-new to him.  It’s okay, but not really one of Toy Biz’s stronger sculpts from this era.  His proportions are kind of odd, and he’s got this strange sort of weird twist to his pose, like he’s trying to pop his back or something.  I mean, there are some interesting elements to the sculpt, and it’s far from bad, but it’s just sort of meh.  The paintwork on Northstar is passable; pretty straightforward color work for the most part.  There’s some slight accenting work on the white sections, which actually looks pretty decent.  As you can see, some of the paint hasn’t held up the best over time, but that’s not really on them.  There’s a bit of slop around the edges, but nothing super awful.

AURORA

Though she’s a little lesser known than her brother, Aurora is still pretty well known, even if it’s largely in connection to her brother.  She’s had less costumes than Northstar, but they’ve wisely gone with the one that matches her brother’s design, and once again I think it’s her best look, so I’m happy it showed up here.  The figure’s about the same height as Northstar and has the same basic articulation, although she has those freaking v-hips that plagued my collecting habits in the ‘90s.  The articulation’s still rather weird, but at least it’s consistent with Northstar.  The wrist articulation is on the other side this time, allowing for them to touch hands.  In general, I find Aurora’s sculpt to be of a higher quality than her brother’s.  The proportions are still kind of off, but less so, and the pre-posing is downplayed.  The head is definitely my favorite part, and it sports a ton of really awesome detail work, especially on the hair.  Her paintwork is fairly similar to Northstar’s, but once again, it’s a slight step up.  Things are a bit cleaner, and the accenting on the white parts are a little more noticeable, which I thing looks a bit better.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked this set up new, I’m fairly certain from a Target.  I didn’t actually know the characters at the time, and mostly wanted them because they sort of resembled the Wonder Twins.  My dad, who bought them for me, also got me the first Essential collection of X-Men around the same time, and had me read Alpha Flight’s first appearance, which was contained there-in, so I knew who they were.  I remember getting them pretty fondly.  They aren’t Toy Biz’s best or anything, but they were probably the best from this particular series of figures, and I’m still pretty happy with them.

Side bar:  I reviewed these figures while at my friend Scott Farquar’s house.  He also owns this set of figures, which were actually given to him by me, almost 20 years ago.  He wanted me to mention that here.  He’s sort of goofy like that.

#1312: Gambit

GAMBIT

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Training in the Danger Room, Gambit has his hands full with a holographic Sentinel when he is rushed by a fully-armed Robot Fighter! Caught between a Sentinel and a hard place, Gambit pauses when the Robot Fighter suddenly launches its missiles!  Ducking just in time, Gambit turns to see the missiles destroy the Sentinel behind him, giving him a chance to fire his explosively-charged playing cards at the Robot Fighter and bringing him a hard-earned victory.”

The ‘90s X-Men line initially started as a pretty straight cartoon/comics-influenced, but as it progressed, Toy Biz started running out go authentic variants of the main characters, and had to start creating their own.  There were a number of gimmicky-themed series.  Today’s focus hails from one of those series.  So, let’s have a look at the X-Men’s resident lovable rogue (who also loves Rogue…wait, I’ve done that joke before…), Gambit!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Gambit was one of the five figures that made up the “Robot Fighters” series of Toy Biz’s X-Men line.  It was Gambit’s third 5-inch figure, following the Light-Up Series release.  The figure stands about 4 inches tall (thanks to the hunch) and has 8 points of articulation.  At this point in the line, they were cutting back on the articulation on most of the figures (likely in an attempt to capture some of the McFarlane Toys style), so Gambit wasn’t unique in this.  The Robot Fighters designs were (largely) unique to the figures; Gambit takes a lot of influence from his main design, sans the coat, albeit with a few more armored bits and such.  I’m not really sure how the Danger Room set-up given in the bio text translates to this new design, but I find the design to be pretty cool, so I’m hardly complaining.  As far as the sculpt goes, the best part is definitely the head, which I think may be my favorite Gambit sculpt out there (Toy Biz seemed to like it too; it was re-used later down the line on a Strike Team Gambit).  It’s just really sharply detailed, and they expression looks really dynamic, and almost Kirby-esque.  I’m not sure what the headset is for, but it looks kinda neat.  This whole series was really hit pretty hard by pre-posing, and Gambit sticks with that.  He’s in this really deep crouching pose, and the articulation doesn’t let him get out of it.  It’s not the worst pose ever (there were some far worse ones in this very series), and you can actually change it up a bit and get some really cool mid-action poses, which works well for the proposed setting.  The detail work on the body is a little varied, which some areas being a little more detailed than others, but it’s pretty solid overall.  I particularly like the molded playing cards; the removable ones always seem to get lost!  The figure’s paint is pretty straightforward; the palette is definitely Gambit-like, and the application is all nice and clean.  Nothing’s been left unpainted, and there’s even some nice accent work on the hair and a few of the torso’s elements.  Gambit was originally packed with the Robot Fighter mentioned in his bio, officially dubbed the “Attack Robot Drone.”  It shots missiles, because it was the late ‘90s and everything had to shoot missiles.  I don’t have that piece, having acquired my Gambit figure second hand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I remember the Robot Fighters Series hitting retail, and I remember seeing them all over the place, but somehow I never ended up with a single one of them.  Gambit amends that.  I fished him out of the loose figures bin at All Time Toys.  This is the first figure I’ve bought from them since they re-opened after Ellicott City’s Main Street flood, so he’s kind of special to me.  The actual figure is honestly not half bad.  I mean, he’s uber-‘90s, but it’s at an enjoyable level.  I’m happy that I finally tracked this guy down.  I guess I should get the rest of them at some point.

#1308: Wolverine

WOLVERINE

X-MEN: DELUXE EDITION (TOY BIZ)

“The most feared member of the X-Men, and some would say, the most loyal as well.  His razor-sharp claws and his ferocious attitude make his enemies think twice about crossing him!”

Did you know that wolverines are part of the weasel family?  That’s your fun FiQ fact of the day!

I have reviewed a surprisingly small number of Wolverine figures on this site, which is a little odd, given how many I owned growing up.  It was the ‘90s, after all, and he was at critical mass in terms of popularity.  I’ve reviewed even less of Toy Biz’s 10-inch figures, the larger scale brethren of their main 5-inch line.  Today, I’m killing two birds with one stone, and looking at one of the many 10-inch Wolverine figures in my collection!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Wolverine is one of the earliest entries in this scale, released as part of the first series of the X-Men: Deluxe Edition line.  That’s right, he’s from before the whole scale was thrown together under one line, and while they were still passing them off as a more “premium” line.  Both those went out the window pretty quickly.  This figure stands 10 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation.  This figure was an up-scaling of the Wolverine II figure from the smaller-scale X-Men line; it’s about as basic Wolverine as you can get.  He’s actually one of the better classic Wolverine sculpts out there, presenting a solid late ‘70s-style Wolverine that we’ve pretty much not seen since.  It’s also one of the sculpts that really benefited from the larger scale treatment; the smaller figure was a bit rudimentary in certain areas, but this figure looks a bit more organic, and thus more aesthetically pleasing.  There are some very clear differences in place. The sculpt’s still pretty stylized, but it’s less so than, say, the Cyclops figure.  He’s at the very least internally consistent.  Like a lot of the up-scaled figures, Wolverine removes the action features of his smaller figure, namely the torso spinner-thin and the spring-loaded claws.  Of course, my figure actually just removes the claws entirely, but that’s purely limited to mine.  They were there at one point, and they looked cool, I assume.  I was rather amused to see that the two sets attached to the hands in two completely different ways.  That seems kind of odd to me, but whatever.  The paint on Wolverine is pretty straight forward; it’s just basic color work, but it’s all pretty clean.  The colors are bright and vibrant, and everything really pops.  In particular, I think the blue just really hits the right hue, which is something that has been lost on a lot of more recent Wolverines.  Wolverine was originally packed with a weird gun thing.  Because why not, right?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was just a bit young for the earliest 10-inch figures, so I didn’t have this guy new (though I had a handful of the repaints based on him).  This figure actually came into my possession more than a decade after his release, at a time when I was largely beyond collecting these guys.  My brother’s second grade teacher had this box of various toys that her students were allowed to take something from when they did a particularly good job in class.  Apparently, this guy was in the box, and my brother got him and rather excitedly brought him home for me.  Because he’s thoughtful like that.  It’s actually a pretty solid figure, especially for the time!

#1306: Han Solo in Carbonite

HAN SOLO IN CARBONITE

STAR WARS: THE POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“After escaping from Imperial forces in the Hoth system, Han Solo and Princess Leia, Chewbacca and C-3PO, landed the damaged Millenium Falcon on Bespin’s Cloud City for repairs. The four put their trust in the city’s administrator, Lando Calrissian, unaware of the dangers awaiting them. A dashing ex-gambler and long time acquaintance of Solo’s, Calrissian had grudgingly made an agreement with Darth Vader to betray Solo and his friends. In return, the band would be set free once their capture had lured Luke Skywalker into Vader’s grasp. The Dark Lord had no intention of keeping any promises: on his order a carbonite freezing chamber was modified for use on humans, especially Luke Skywalker, to render him helpless for safe delivery to the Emperor. To test the chamber, Solo was frozen and then turned over to the Bounty Hunter Boba Fett. for delivery to the crimelord Jabba the Hutt. He became the favorite decoration in Jabba’s Palace on Tatooine, until a daring rescue attempt led by Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia freed Han and returned him to the enduring cause of the Rebel Alliance.”

Man, they went all out on that bio, didn’t they.  Not much need for me to add anything, so here’s a Han Solo figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Han Solo in Carbonite was originally released in 1996, as part of that year’s first assortment of Star Wars: The Power of the Force II figures.  The figure saw a number of re-releases over the course of the line’s run, and is one of the more common figures out there from the line.  He stands about 4 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation.  Han is depicted here just after being freed from his frozen carbonite prison at the beginning of Return of the Jedi.  We can tell he’s an “after carbonite” figure from his lack ofthe shackles he had in Empire.  Technically, I guess the hair could also be a tell, but all of the early PotF2 Hans had the exact same hair anyway.  The head is the same one used for all the other Han figures from this line (well, barring the final one from just before the end), which doesn’t have much in the way of a Harrison Ford likeness.  At least they were keeping it consistent.  The rest of the figure’s sculpt was new to him.  He’s still got the really exaggerated proportions and super tight clothing, but is otherwise one of the tamest sculpts to come out of this line.  He’s pretty much just in a basic standing pose, with no goofy mid-step thing or oddly bent arms.  The one main inaccuracy that stuck out at me was the shirt, which follows the pattern of his A New Hope shirt, rather than the more detailed ones from Empire and Jedi.  It’s far from the worst mistake, and 9 out of 10 people wouldn’t notice it, but I am that tenth person.  The paintwork on Han is about on par with the rest of the line.  It’s fairly basic and the colors aren’t terribly thrilling, but it gets the job done.  Han’s main accessory is, of course, the carbonite block.  It’s a pretty cool piece; the front is a pretty faithful recreation of the movie prop, and the flip side is hollow, with a clip at waist height, allowing for the figure to be placed on the underside.  Han also includes a small blaster, patterned on the one he uses to save Lando from the Sarlac.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This version of Han was the second Hon Solo I owned, following the mail-away Stormtrooper disguise figure.  He was procured on a trip with my grandmother, I think, though I’m not 100% sure on that.  It’s irrelevant at this point, because I don’t own the figure anymore.  I rather foolishly sold it about 15 years ago, on the basis that I already owned other Hans, which doesn’t even makes sense to me anymore.  The figure you see in this review is a replacement, which, like the last several PotF2 figures I’ve reviewed, was picked up during the Farpoint charity auction.  This figure’s actually a bit better than I remember him being, and is probably the best of the Hans from early in this line (though the later ones kind of surpassed all the others).  Not bad at all.

#1299: Bloodstorm

BLOODSTORM

MUTANT X (TOY BIZ)

“Ororo Munroe was once the X-Man code-named Storm for her ability to control the weather.  After a horrific encounter with Dracula, she died and returned as a vampire.  Soon thereafter, she left the X-Men, seeking answers about her self and her new state-of-being.  She later returned to join Havok’s mutant superteazm, The Six, calling herself Bloodstorm.  Ororo retained her mutant power of weather control but now has the preternatural gifts of the living dead at her disposal making her an even more formidable opponent.  Bloodstorm can transform her body into mist, summon and control the myriad of creatures of the night and on occasion use a “hypnotic stare” to hold humans in her thrall.  Her vampiric nature amplifies her control of the forces of nature but makes her unpredictable in battle.”

Well, I don’t think I can get any more in-depth than that there bio, now can I?  So, this particular variant of Storm hails from Mutant X, an alternate reality-based X-Men series from the ‘90s.  I only have a handful of issues from the series, but I always enjoyed it (having Havok as the main character probably helped a lot).  There were a handful of action figures released, and I had to whole set.  Today, I’ll be looking at the alternate version of Storm, dubbed “Bloodstorm” because it was the ‘90s.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Bloodstorm is one of the four figures in the Previews-exclusive Mutant X series, put out by Toy Biz in 1998.  You’d think that with the main team being called “The Six” and all, they might try to, you know, release *six* figures and finish out the whole team, but this was the same company that on more than one occasion neglected to release all four of the Fantastic Four in a given style, so I guess it wasn’t a huge shock.  Storm stands about 5 inches tall and has 10 points of articulation.  While much of Storm’s mold was technically new to her, she was largely built on top of the Alpha Flight Guardian body, with the extra details sculpted on where needed.  In the end, only the arms are truly identical between the two figures.  The body is decent enough for how Bloodstorm tended to be drawn in the comics, and I like the extra details, but I did always feel she was a little on the short side for Storm (this was a common issue with the Toy Biz Storm figures).  She got an all-new head sculpt, which is really good, almost too good for the body it’s been placed on.  There’s a ton of detail work, and it’s really sharply handled.  I really love the intensity of the facial expression.  About the only issue I have with it is the pony tail, which is made from a soft rubber material and can be rather easily torn off if you aren’t careful.  Her coat is a soft goods piece, which looks alright, I guess.  It was supposed to be actually sculpted on, going by the prototype, but I guess it didn’t cost out.  At least this way you get the extra look.  The paintwork on this figure is generally pretty good, apart from a few oddities here and there.  I’m really not sure what’s going on with her abdomen; it looks like they tried to airbrush it or something, but it just didn’t work out right.  On the flip side, the work on the head is fantastic, and does a wonderful job of showing off the already great head sculpt.  Her one accessory is a metallic green “X” stand, which is the same stand included with all of the Generation X figure, just in a different color.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like the previously reviewed The Fallen figure (sorry about that review in advance; it’s not one of my better ones), Bloodstorm was Christmas gift from my parents.  I recall not having much of an opinion one way or the other about her when I got her (Bloodstorm wasn’t really one of my favorite characters from the series), but I have to say, after taking her back out to review her, I was pleasantly surprised by this figure.