The Blaster In Question #0008: Star-Lord Quad Blaster

STAR-LORD QUAD BLASTER

MARVEL

It is a well known fact that the Guardians of the Galaxy movies are awesome.  No one disputes this, it’s just true.  As with just about every Marvel movie to come out in the last decade (yeah, Iron Man was in 2008, I had to look it up) there’s been a decent amount of merchandise out there.  Regulars to the site will likely have seen at least one of Ethan’s numerous GotG figure reviews, but what if you’re one of those people who would rather be Star-Lord rather than just have him on your shelf?  Thats where we get the subject of today’s review.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The Star-Lord Quad Blaster was released in 2014 as a Marvel tie-in product to coincide with the release of the first GotG movie.  Interestingly, there is no Nerf branding anywhere on the blaster, but just a quick mention on the box.  Aside from using a “smart air-restrictor” setup found in a plethora of other Nerf blasters, the Quad Blaster is completely original.  The blaster is operated by priming one or both of the slides on the rear and pulling the trigger.  Unlike the Roughcut and other similar blasters, the Quad Blaster does not have a staggered trigger, if both barrels are primed, both will fire simultaneously.  In addition, the smaller secondary trigger just below the firing trigger releases the latches holding the spring-loaded front ends, causing them to snap back, revealing two extra barrels.  In all honesty, this feature was 85% of the reason I got this blaster.  It’s just a ton of fun fiddling with even if you’re not actively firing the blaster, and if you flick your wrist just right, you can reset the barrel covers without touching them.  Opening the front covers is required to fire the second barrels on the top and bottom.  The blaster is very sleek and definitely has an appropriate sci-fi feel to it, almost like one of the plasma weapons from Halo.  The grip could maybe stand to be a little bigger as I could see someone with larger hands feeling cramped while holding it, but it’s forgivable when you remember the target audience.  The main body of the blaster feels on par with other Nerf blasters in terms of structural integrity, but it is worth noting that the plastic for the priming slides feels a little thin, and the front covers are a smoother, slightly more rubbery plastic than the rest of the blaster.  The priming stroke on the Quad Blaster is very short and not terribly heavy, as such, the performance is limited.  It’s still fine for running around the house, blasting your friends, but even on longer indoor distances, the darts tend to drop off a little sooner than I might like and the impacts can feel kinda flaccid.  Again, I can understand this decision given this is meant for children, and Nerf has to keep it’s own core products competitive, but it’s still a bit of a bummer.  The Star-Lord Quad Blaster comes with 4 Elite darts but with black bodies instead of the traditional blue.  Unfortunately I wasn’t able to find all 4 of mine but I got 2 and some regular Elites for comparison.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

It’s become sort of a recurring event in my life where every time Chris Pratt is in a movie or tv show (Gotg, Jurassic World, Parks and Rec) people tell me that his character reminds them of myself.  Normally I wouldn’t really take this to heart, but when my own mom is one of the most vocal people on this opinion, I figured I would just roll with it.  I mean, it’s no surprise that I would buy a Nerf blaster, but being attributed with Star-Lord (WHO?!) just moved it up my priority list.

The Blaster In Question #0007: Roughcut 2×4

ROUGHCUT 2X4

N-STRIKE ELITE

Shotguns are kind of a weird area for Nerf.  There are plenty of blasters available that do a decent job replicating the look and feel of a shotgun, but it’s a rarer thing to find one that actually functions like one i.e. actually firing a spread of darts.  One of the more successful implementations of this feature came to us in the form of the Roughcut 2×4.  While the name evokes a plank of wood, the actual blaster is a lot more interesting, unless you’re one of those lumber fanatics, in which case, no judgement, more power to you.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The Roughcut 2×4 was released in 2013 as one of the first original blasters in the N-Strike Elite line.  It was also one of 2 blasters in the very short-lived Multi-Shot Madness collection alongside the Diatron from the disk-based Vortex series.  Mechanically, the blaster borrows heavily from the Barrel Break IX-2, featuring 2 separate plunger systems side by side.  If your trigger finger is very precise, this setup allows the user to fire either one barrel at a time or both at once.  Even the grips of both blasters are severely inclined, almost parallel with the barrels.  The main difference is that the Roughcut opted for a more straightforward front loading design with 8 barrels arranged in 2 columns of 4 (hence the name) as opposed to the Barrel Break’s weird breach-loading action and only 2 barrels.  Additionally, the Roughcut is pump-operated, so successive shots can be fired off much faster.  Aside from the aforementioned grip, the blaster is pretty run-of-the-mill in terms of how it feels.  Everything that’s supposed to move moves well, and everything that isn’t feels sturdy.  The Roughcut features some sights, although they do strike me as a little more of an after-the-fact addition than on a lot of other blasters.  There’s also a rail along the top of the blaster for attachments.  Being part of the core N-Strike Elite series, performance is strong.  Darts fly a good distance and land with a solid impact.  Decent range paired with a fairly compact form-factor and the ability to shotgun darts makes the Roughcut great for either ranged outdoor battles or just to keep handy for close encounters.  Just try not to hit anything fragile like your mom’s china or someone’s face.  The Roughcut 2×4 comes packaged with 8 Elite darts.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Man, do I love shotguns.  Practically every shotgun-type blaster that Nerf has released in the last 15 years has been a favorite of mine.  The Hornet AS-6 was great apart from its cumbersome cocking and pumping mechanism.  The Barrel Break IX-2 was great apart from its awkward slide and break breach mechanism.  The Sledgefire was great apart from its finicky— you see the pattern.  To be fair, when working with Nerf darts, making an actual shotgun that works well in all aspects is difficult and things can get complicated very quickly.  Just goes to show that, in the case of the Roughcut, simplicity pays off

#1305: Captain America – Addendum

CAPTAIN AMERICA

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

-ADDENDUM-

Since Hasbro relaunched Marvel Legends, I’ve been consistently displeased with the heads on their Steve Rogers figures.  When the line was relaunched, all of the unmasked males suffered from what I call “Hasbro-Face”: they would have a deep scowl and incredibly squared-off features, and just generally look more like the titular character from The Goon than the superhero characters they were supposed to be replicating.  As the line has progressed, the Hasbro-Face has slowly died out, with the exception of Steve Rogers.  I guess Hasbro wants to keep all of the versions of him consistent, but it means I haven’t truly been happy with a Legends Captain America since Toy Biz.

In today’s review of Captain America, I noted that a major contributing factor to my finally acquiring him was seeing an image online of a mod for the figure.  This mod replaced the stock figure’s atrocious head with that of the very first ML Cap figure, which, in my opinion, is still the best Cap head ever.  The biggest hoop in performing this mod is getting the first TB Cap.  I have my old one, but I really didn’t want to put that one under the knife (or drill, as the case may be).  Fortunately, I was able to find a loose one sans accessories for $5, which is really the main thing that sparked this whole project (ironically, I actually paid a dollar more for my “junk” Cap than I did my original).

Perhaps the most difficult part of this whole project was just getting the TB Cap’s head off the body.  Toy Biz heads weren’t really designed for easy removal like their Hasbro brethren, so you’re pretty much going to have to use the boil-and-pop method, and even then, it took me a few rounds to finally get it popped off the joint.

As you can clearly see from the photo, the socket on the TB Cap’s head is maybe an eighth the size of the åHasbro figure’s ball-joint.  In order to get it to fit, it needed some significant plastic removal.  The best tool for such a project is really a dremel; I didn’t have one handy, so I just made do with a basic power drill, starting with a drill bit just a little larger than the socket and slowly working my way to larger bits, until it was a good fit.  I actually went the slightest bit too large on the socket, but that’s an easy fix.  All you need is to put little bit of super glue in the socket, do a few turns while on the joint, and then take the head off and let it dry for a few minutes.  This gives the socket a little more texture, which helps the head stay put on the joint.

Throw in the shoulder harness from the Target 3-pack Cap to replace the wonky straps from the original figure, and I’m pretty happy with this figure.  The head/body paint matches up surprisingly well (any differences are virtually invisible to the naked eye).  The smaller head is scaled much better with the body, and it even makes the body look a little less chunky (I think the chunkiness I was seeing was actually an optical illusion).  And, best of all, he cost me less than the retail of your average Legends release to put together.  Now I have a Legends Captain America I can be proud of! Added bonus: with the left over parts I can put together a pretty sweet Cap Wolf!

#1305: Captain America

CAPTAIN AMERICA

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Steve Rogers is a soldier with superhuman strength and an indestructible shield!”

Generally speaking, I’m a pretty big supporter of Hasbro these days.  They run two of my favorite lines and generally do things that I support.  They get a lot of hate, and I think a lot of it’s undeserved.  With all that said, about a decade ago, I was NOT much of a Hasbro fan, due to a lot of very silly decisions on their part, both with the end of their DC license and the early days of their Marvel license.  While they’ve improved leaps and bounds, they do still have the occasional slip-up.  Today, I’m looking at one such slip-up.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Captain America is the first figure in the Red Onslaught Series of Marvel Legends, which was the first of the three vaguely Captain America: Civil War-themed series released last year.  I looked at a handful of figures from the series back when they were still new, but never got around to this guy, mostly for the aforementioned “slip-up” reasons.  This figure is, or is at least intended to be, an updated classic Captain America, which was a nice thought, given that the last actual classic Cap before this one was the Face Off version from Toy Biz.  He stands a little over 6 1/2 inches tall and has 32 points of articulation.  Cap is built on the Reaper body, which most of us had figured would be the case as soon as the Reaper body showed up.  I’m not sure it’s the best base for the character; it seems a little chunky for him.  That being said, it’s certainly an improvement on the body that was previously being used for Cap, so that’s a plus.  Cap got unique pieces for his head, forearms, shoulder straps, belt, and boots (the forearms, belt, and boots would later be re-used for Red Guardian).  The majority of the pieces are decent work, and they fit well on the body.  He really, really could have used at least one fist, but that’s minor. The first major nit I have with the figure is the straps on the shoulders; previous pieces have always been done as a single harness piece, but for some reason this time Hasbro opted to go with two separate pieces.  The issue is that they don’t have anything to connect to, nor do they have the tension that would be brought by connecting to each other, so the end result is that they’re pretty much impossible to keep in place.  They just fall right off the arms.  Just getting the one photo with them was a nightmare.  The second major nit, and the primary reason I held off on getting this figure for so long is the head sculpt.  I’ve never been happy with the Hasbro Legends take on Steve Rogers, and this figure really exhibits the worst of that, even more so than prior figures.  His head looks thuggish and angry, and just all-around ugly, which is hardly how I think of Cap.  He takes the squared off, scowlly “Hasbro Face” that I so despise and dials it up to 11.  On top of that, the head is super, super wide, like it’s been stepped on or something, and is in general just way too large for this body.  It’s almost like they scaled it to the Hyperion.  I wish I had something nice to say about this head, but I really, really hate it.  The paint on this guy is okay, but hardly Hasbro’s best.  It’s a bit weird stepping back a year to just before they started really making the strides in paint quality.  He’s okay, but there’s some noticeable slop, especially on the white sections.  Ironically, the head gets probably the best work, but it’s not enough to save it.  Cap is packed with his mighty shield (which is the same mold used for Taskmaster, Red Guardian, and Vance), a pair of gripping hands, a left hand that’s pointing, a right hands that flat, an extra Cap Wolf head (which is probably the coolest included piece, and at least gives the figure *some* value), and the back-thingy of Red Onslaught.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I saw this figure a ton of times over the course of the last year, but, despite being rather excited when he was initially announced, I just couldn’t bring myself to pay full retail for this guy.  A few things happened that finally got me to buy him.  First of all, Hasbro’s eBay shop marked the figure down to $8.99, which for those of you playing at home is less than half of the original retail price.  On top of that, I came across an image of a mod for the figure (which I’ll be posting about later today), which finally convinced me he was worth owning.  The basic figure is certainly disappointing.  That head is just terrible, and the shoulder straps are beyond annoying.  However, the base body is pretty decent, and at lest he’s got the extra Cap Wolf to make him more worthwhile.

The Blaster In Question #0006: Allegiant Blaster

ALLEGIANT BLASTER

REBELLE

If you’ve read the title of this review, you can probably tell that I’m a big fan of Divergent. I especially liked the part where Katniss has to play Nerve because she’s made of grenades— what’s that?… I’m being told that’s not in Divergent. Are you sure? Well, I mean, that’s just, like, your opinion, man. Ok ok ok, I don’t actually know or care much about the Divergent series but they did get a couple Nerf blaster tie-ins and I do care about those. So let’s take a look at the biggest blaster from the bunch, the Allegiant Blaster.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The Allegiant Blaster was released in 2016 as a promotional item for the new Allegiant movie from the Divergent series. The blaster itself is a recolor of the Rapid Glow, also in the Rebelle line, which in turn is essentially a reskin of the Recon or Retaliator which are built on the Bucky Cap body. Wait, scratch that last part. Differing from the Rapid Glow is the magazine which is the same type used in the Rapid Red, though also recolored. As with many blasters in the Rebelle line, the proportions on this blaster almost seem like they’ve been shrunken down, which I don’t entirely understand. I know Rebelle is targeted to girls, and statistically speaking, girls tend to be slightly smaller than boys, but the size difference on things like the grip and stock versus core N-Strike equivalents is kind of absurd. As such, the grip feels very cramped for me and my adult hands, and the stock is almost entirely cosmetic with no practical use. However, despite its size, the overall shape of the blaster is very smooth with rounded edges and flowing lines, which do add a little bit to the ergonomics. I just wish the dang thing were bigger. The magazine holds 12 darts and is completely interchangeable with other Nerf magazines. The blaster doesn’t feature and sights but has a single attachment rail on the slide. In addition to being typically smaller, most Rebelle blasters perform just slightly worse than core N-Strike Elite and this is also the case here. It’s not the kind of difference that will make or break the blaster for most people, but side by side, it is noticeable, making it more suited for indoor play. This is doubly true if you are like me and have to keep all the original darts with the gun since it comes with its own custom assortment of colors. The blaster comes packed with the magazine and 12 “collectible” darts.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Several of my friends and myself volunteer as tribute (like in Divergent) to help run a local convention every year. I purchased this blaster from Amazon so I could arm them to help enforce some of the rules. Unfortunately, the blaster didn’t arrive in time, so I was forced to bring a selection of other blasters in my arsenal. All in all it didn’t seem to affect our ability to lay down the law, Judge Dredd style, and either way, I got a new blaster out of it. While it’s not a standout blaster in any measurable sense, one of my favorite things about it is the aesthetics with the nice color scheme and the pictures of the mockingjays. And with that, I’m gonna end the review before actual Divergent fans start throwing things.

 

P.S. What day is it today? Thursday? Good gods, it seems like I missed my regularly scheduled time slot. I hope you don’t mind too much since the last weekend almost killed me with school work. Regular posts will resume Saturday, so don’t worry.

#1303: Captain Cassian Andor

CAPTAIN CASSIAN ANDOR

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“An accomplished Alliance Intelligence officer, Captain Cassian Andor commands respect from his Rebel troops with this ability to keep a cool head under fire and complete his missions with minimal resources.”

Poor Cassian seems to keep drawing the short straw on the action figures. Jyn’s main looks were covered as widely-released single-packed figures.  We got a single-packed version of Cassian in both main scales, but they were both sporting his Eadu attire, which he only wears for short periods of the film. For whatever reason, Cassian’s main brown-jacketed look has been primarily limited to larger multi-packs.  The only version of that design to be released on his own is today’s focus figure, who was still a rather difficult to find exclusive.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Cassian is the second of the four figures in the Walmart-exclusive Rogue One assortment of the small-scale Star Wars: The Black Series line.  The figure stands about 4 inches tall and he has 28 points of articulation.  Like Jyn, Cassian’s articulation is a significant step up from what we saw with the Force Awakens figures, making for a much more playable figure.  He sports an all-new sculpt, which is definitely one of Hasbro’s finest, especially at this scale.  Prior Cassian’s have really struggled to capture Diego Luna’s likeness, but I think this one just about nailed it.  It’s really not wildly different from the previous sculpts, but there are subtleties that just make all the difference.  The body does feel a little on the bulky side for Cassian (I think the two-pack/U-Wing figure may have gotten the build down better), but the detail work is definitely top notch, with the jacket in particular really impressing me. I also appreciate that the joints don’t stick out like sore thumbs on this guy.  Bad integration of the joints was a really issue on the Force Awakens figures, and I’m really happy to see them moving past it.  Cassian’s paint is largely pretty good, barring a few small issues.  It’s definitely cleaner than the two-pack version, and the eyes/eyebrows in particular are very clean and well-placed.  That can be really tricky, and was something that marred both my Poe and Han figures from the prior assortments.  My one really complaint with this guy is the beard.  It still isn’t quite right for Cassian; they keep giving him a full goatee, when it should really be a lot less pronounced on the sides.  Still, that’s quite minor, and it looks better here than on prior figures.  In a similar fashion to Jyn, Cassian includes his modular blaster, which can be broken down into three parts.  Of course, this is more key for Cassian, since we actually see his full blaster in action in the movie.  The stock is a little loose and prone to falling off, but I’m otherwise quite impressed with how well they executed this blaster’s design. 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I had wanted this version of Cassian as soon as it was shown, but I was unfortunately unable to find him anywhere at retail at the time of his release.  That’s really the main reason I ended up grabbing the TRU-exclusive one, since I didn’t want to be without this particular look for Cassian.  I was thrilled to actually find this guy at retail last week, and at half-price too!  Jyn was a fantastic figure, and Cassian manages to top her.  This is a truly impressive figure, and hands down the very best version of Cassian out there.  He rivals the larger K-2 figure for the spot of my favorite figure to come out of the Rogue One merch.

#1302: Sergeant Jyn Erso

SERGEANT JYN ERSO

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“A highly skilled soldier in the Rebel Alliance, Jyn Erso is an impetuous, defiant warrior eager to bring the battle to the Empire.  Jyn has little patience for debate within Alliance High Command, enough that she takes matters into her own hands.”

Remember back last year when I reviewed those special smaller-scale Black Series figures based on the characters from The Force Awakens?  Well, Hasbro also did a set of those for Rogue One, albeit a more concise one.  They were a bit more difficult to find, since stores seem to still be swimming in the last few series just prior.  I did manage to finally track down some of them, including that set’s version of the film’s primary protagonist, Jyn Erso!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Jyn is one of the four figures from the Rogue One-themed assortment of the smaller-scale Star Wars: The Black Series line.  She hit in late November (well, in theory) and, like all of the small-scale Black Series figures since The Force Awakens, she’s a Walmart exclusive.  The figure stands about 3 1/2 inches tall and she has 24 points of articulation.  I’m happy to report that they seem to have realized how difficult to pose some of the Force Awakens figures were, and have reworked the articulation scheme for the Rogue One offerings.  While I’m still not totally sold on the hip joints, the overall poseablity really great.  This figure sports an all-new sculpt, and she’s notable for being a Jyn look that we hadn’t yet gotten in plastic form.  Granted, it’s just a slight variation of the main look that we’ve gotten in both the small and larger scales; it’s her main Scarif look, which is her vested look, but without the underlying green jacket that she’s had on the prior vested figures.  All of the Black Series Jyn figures have had rather nice sculpts, and this figure is no exception.  I honestly think it’s the best Felicity Jones likeness of the bunch (this was also true of the Rey figure from this line), and the body sports halfway decent proportions, which is good for this line.  The vest is a removable piece; she looks a bit off with it removed, but it’s nice to have the extra option.  The paint work on Jyn is quite good for the scale; there’s not a ton of super intricate work, but the application is all pretty clean, especially on the face.  There’s some slight slop here and there, but I find it to be lot better than earlier figures in this style.  Jyn is packed with her small blaster pistol, along with two attachments for it to be converted into a sniper rifle configuration.  It’s not something we saw in the film, but it did show up in Battlefront, and it’s a cool concept.  Certainly a better extra than yet another giant missile launcher.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This particular series of figures *mostly* eluded me at retail.  Jyn was the one figure that I actually saw.  In fact, I saw about ten of her right after Christmas, but since she was all alone and there were so many of her, I figured I’d wait.  Of course, then I didn’t see her or any of the other figures anywhere for the next five months, so I figured I’d missed my window.  Last week, I was killing some time while Super Awesome Girlfriend, and I happened upon a whole rack of the smaller Black Series figures, Jyn included.  For half-price no less!  I had resigned myself never to find her, but I’m super happy to have found her.  Genuinely the best version of Jyn on the market, and a marked improvement over the so-so Walmart-exclusive Force Awakens figures.

1301: Spider-Man – Homemade Suit

SPIDER-MAN — HOMEMADE SUIT

SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING (HASBRO)

“Peter Parker swings around New York City in a suit he made himself as the web-slinging hero, Spider-Man!”

One of the biggest things to come out of last summer’s Captain America: Civil War was the introduction of Spider-Man to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  Tom Holland’s portrayal of Peter was the best to grace the silver screen, and even in a smaller role, he was one of my favorite things about Civil War.  Needless to say, I’m pretty excited for his upcoming solo flick, Spider-Man: Homecoming, which is hitting in July.  The tie-in toys are just starting to hit, and while the Legends assortment hasn’t yet seen a wide release, I did snag one of the figures from the basic line, which I’ll be taking a look at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Homemade Suit Spider-Man is one of the four figures in the first series of Spider-Man: Homecoming figures from Hasbro.  As the name notes, he’s sporting his initial homemade costume, seen very briefly in Civil War before he gets a new one from Tony.  It’s looking like this suit will be getting a bigger focus in Homecoming, given its prominence in the various merchandise.  The costume’s pretty nifty; it kind of calls back to Scarlet Spider’s design, but with the colors switched up a bit to make him more resemble the classic Spidey.  The figure stands about 5 1/4 inches tall and has 15 points of articulation.  Size-wise, he’s a little hard to place.  He’s a bit smaller than the Legends stuff, but also a little larger than the old TB 5-inch stuff.  He’s sort of compatible with the more recent Doctor Who figures from Character Options.  Ultimately, he’s kind of close enough to a few lines that you could probably fudge him to fit if you were so inclined.  The articulation is a bit on the basic side, but given the price, it’s actually not bad.  Maybe some hinges on the hips would be nice, but that’s my only real complaint.  The sculpt is a bit more primitive than a Legends figure, but certainly not bad.  All of the important details are present, and the proportions are about right for a skinny teenager.  I like that you can make out his nose beneath the mask.  The paint is probably the one area where there’s some room for improvement.  The molded and painted reds don’t really match up, and the blue seems really pale and drab.  Also, I’m pretty sure the deco on the gloves isn’t quite right, but I’m not 100% on that.  My biggest complaint is the silver paint that’s been used for the web shooters, which doesn’t seem to have adhered very well to the plastic.  It’s been slowly chipping and scraping off since I opened it.  Simply running a fingernail across it is enough to give it a scratch, which is really annoying.  It’s a basic silver, so it’s easy to repaint, but that’s still not something I should have to do with a figure I just bought.  Fortunately, it’s just limited to that one color, so I’m hopeful it’s just a fluke.  The figure’s one accessory is a web attachment, which is kinda cool, though I think it’d be even cooler if the large end of it were a suction cup.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Walmart near me was in the process of resetting their toy aisle for about two weeks, and they had one of those diagrams hanging to show what was going out, which included the Legends assortment.  I checked back just about every day for about a week and a half, but that one aisle remained un-set the whole time.  I passed up these basic figures a few times while waiting, and on one of my later trips, I finally gave in and grabbed this guy.  If you’re looking for Legends quality, wait for the Legends version of this costume, but if you just want a fun, cheap figure, there are worse things you could do than buy this guy.  Issue with the silver paint aside, he’s a lot of fun, and he makes me nostalgic for my old Toy Biz figures.

#1298: Imperial AT-ACT Driver

IMPERIAL AT-ACT DRIVER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“The Empire’s combat drivers are trained to handle everything on the Imperial ground arsenal, from heavily armed AT-ATs to the more utilitarian AT-ACT walkers.”

You can’t have Star Wars figures without a metric ton of generic Trooper figures.  They’ve long been the backbone of the line, so it’s not a huge surprise that the movie makers put effort into introducing a few extra variants every time there’s a new movie.  Rogue One gave us the whole Scarif sub-set of troopers, which are some of my new favorites.  Today’s figure isn’t *technically* a Scarif trooper, but he share’s a lot of design elements, and he only actually shows up during the Scarif sequences of the movie, so I’m grouping him with them.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Imperial AT-ACT Driver is a Target-exclusive entry in the Star Wars: The Black Series line.  He follows the store-exclusive trooper trend, coming out after the TRU-exclusive Hovertank Pilot and the Walmart-exclusive Scarif Trooper.  In the movie, there are actually two drivers seen in the AT-ACT; a basic driver and a commander.  This figure represents the commander.  Of course, thanks to the fairly easily swapped heads on all these troopers, if you swap the head on this guy onto the Hovertank Pilot’s body, you can get both the basic AT-ACT driver and the Tank Commander, if one were so inclined. The figure stands about 6 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  Structurally, he’s a total parts re-use; he’s got the body of the Hovertank Pilot and the head of the Scarif trooper.  It’s totally warranted re-use, since the movie design was the same.  Plus, the pieces are solid, so I have no issues with having them used again.  This figure’s main differences are, of course, the paint.  The basic colors match up with those of the Hovertank pilot (no doubt intentional, since it makes the previously mentioned head swap much easier), but he also gets the additional grey markings on the shoulders to denote him as a commander.  The markings are nice and sharp, which is good.  There’s also a little bit of weathering on the armored sections, offering a bit of accenting to the sculpt.  I’m glad to see the weathering on troopers is remaining a rather consistent thing.  The AT-ACT Driver includes a standard E-11 Blaster.  In uses the same extra detailing used for the blaster included with the K-Mart-exclusive Jyn, which is another thing that’s nice to see be a recurring feature.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This guy caught me by surprise, since he wasn’t really promoted that much by either Hasbro or Target.  On the same trip where Tim bought me Moon Knight, I also found this guy, but I was still planning to pass, since I was trying to hold off on buying as much.  Of course, this just wouldn’t sit with Super Awesome Girlfriend, who insisted on getting him for me.  This figure doesn’t exactly offer anything new, but I do really like him.  He’s probably my personal favorite of the various Rogue One troopers that have gotten Black Series releases.

#1294: Marvel’s Moon Knight

MARVEL’S MOON KNIGHT

MARVEL LEGENDS — 3.75 (HASBRO)

“A vision in an Egyptian temple leads Marc Spector to don a silver shroud and become the crime-fighting hero, Moon Knight.”

Moon Knight is one of the many Marvel heroes who began his career as an antagonist.  First created as a foe for Werewolf By Night, Moon Knight proved popular enough with readers to earn his own title, and in the process has become arguably better known than the character he was created to fight.  He was a fairly basic costumed vigilante to start with (he frequently found himself used as off-Batman); his only notable twist was that he had two secret identities, a wealthy playboy and a cab driver, neither of which was actually his original identity.  Which, for those keeping track, is a whopping four identities.  Eventually, it was decided that all these identities were actually due to Marc possessing a multiple personality disorder (which may or may not have been caused by the Egyptian God Khonshu’s influence on him).  You see, Marc isn’t pretending to be Moon Knight, or Steven Grant, or Jake Lockley; he *is* those people.  They’re all still very similar to Marc at their core, but each uniquely different in abilities, temperament, etc.  He’s definitely a fun character when handled right.  Above all, though?  He looks cool, and that makes for a good toy.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Moon Knight was released in the first 2017 series of the smaller-scale Marvel Legends line.  It’s sort of an oddball assortment of characters, but that’s honestly the best chance of getting made that Moon Knight ever gets.  The figure stands a little over 4 inches tall and he has 19 points of articulation.  Moon Knight is sporting his most recent costume; it’s got a lot in common with earlier Moon Knight designs, but with the usual streamlining we see on so much these days.  There are also crescents.  A lot of crescents.  Because the moon.  I’m generally a fan of this look, and I certainly like it more than some heroes’ modern designs.  He’s built on the most recent male base body, with a unique head, forearms, and shins, as well as an add-on piece for his cape and chest armor.  The base body is a good fit for Moon Knight.  It’s actually a first, I think; his base bodies have tended to be a little off on prior figures.  The new pieces are all pretty solid.  I wasn’t crazy about the head sculpt at first, but as I’ve had the chance to mess around with the figure and see it from different angles, it’s really grown on me.  It should be noted that it really looks best when viewed somewhat from above, rather than the upward facing angle most of the promo shots show it in.  The hood and cape both have a really awesome knitted texture going on, which helps to keep the figure from getting too monotonous, while still managing to not look overdone like some texturing at this scale can.  Moon Knight’s paint work is pretty straight forward black and white for the most part.  The application is all pretty clean; there’s some slop here and there, but nothing unacceptable for the scale.  I do like the presence of both flat and pearlescent white; it helps to differentiate between the armored bits and the cloth bits.  Moon Knight includes no accessories, which is a real letdown given the amount of money these things retail for.  At least give him his staff!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

March was a pretty hard month for me in terms of purchases, so I swore I wasn’t buying any figures for the entirety of April.  Remember how I said I swore I wasn’t buying any figures in April?  Well, it turns out my friends and family are all big fans of loophole abuse.  Tim and Jill came down for a visit in mid-April, and I spotted this guy while we were out and about.  I looked at him, but ultimately put him back.  Of course, Tim saw me empty handed and demanded I show him where the figure was and then proceeded to buy it for me.  Because they’re all a bunch of no good enablers, that’s why.  One of these day’s I’ll pay them all back.  Literally.  Like, with money.  Or other goods.

I wasn’t initially sure about this figure, given that he was being released in such close proximity to his larger scale figure in there main ML line, but the timing of the releases worked out so that he hit right as I was really wanting a Moon Knight figure.  It’s for the best really, because if they’d been released at the same time, I’d have skipped this guy, and that’d be a real shame, because he’s actually really cool.  Here’s hoping the large figure’s even better!