#1450: Scarlet Witch & Vision

SCARLET WITCH & VISION – SUITED

MARVEL MINIMATES

Hey there FiQ-fans!  Rather than continuing the Voltron love with a Keith review, today I will instead be turning back to one of my old faithfuls, Marvel Minimates.  It’s been a fair while since I’ve looked at anything from this line, so let’s make up for that, and take a look see at Scarlet Witch and Vision!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Scarlet Witch and Vision were released in the summer of 2016 as a SDCC-exclusive two-pack.  Both figures are based (theoretically) on their appearances in Captain America: Civil War.

SCARLET WITCH

“A product of secret HYDRA experiments, Wanda Maximoff once believed the Avengers to be her enemies. However, after fighting beside them to protect her homeland in the battle of Sokovia, she realized that her one-time foes were in fact a force for good. As the Scarlet Witch, Wanda must learn to control her uncanny powers in order to aid humanity alongside her new allies.”

Wanda was the source of much contention when the Civil War ‘mates were first being unveiled.  Despite being a central figure in the film’s plot, she wasn’t available in any of the retail sets.  Fortunately, she turned up here.  Yaaaaaaaay.  The ‘mate sports her spiffy red jacketed look, which is certainly a nice design.  The figure stands about 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation. She’s built on the standard ‘mate base body, with add-ons for her hair and the bottom segment of her jacket.  The hair is the same piece used for the AoU Scarlet Witch (which was itself a re-use from Series 50’s Songbird), which does at the very least sit a little better on this figure than it did the last one.  That’s a plus, I suppose.  The jacket appears to be new to this figure, and it looks decent enough.  I do wish the segment between the torso and the pelvis wasn’t quite as obvious, but that’s fairly minor.  The paintwork on Wanda is fairly solid work.  It’s all pretty clean and the line work is nice and sharp.  Once again, I do wish the center of the jacket piece were painted to match the two bits of torso on either side.  Also, I’m not sold on the likeness on the face, but it’s at least still a nice looking face.  Wanda includes a pair of spell-casting hands (borrowed from her comic book counterpart) and a clear display stand.

VISION – SUITED

“The Vision is a sentient artificial intelligence housed in a highly advanced synthetic body. Since joining the Avengers, Vision has endeavored to further understand humans and his place among them. Though he has yet to come to a definitive conclusion, Vision knows it is his responsibility to use his incredible powers to protect the world in which he now lives.”

There was already one Vision ‘mate from Civil War, which depicted him in his standard garb.  One of the cool things Civil War did was put Vision is civilian clothing, which made for rather an interesting visual.  This ‘mate captures that, but not in the most movie accurate way, strictly speaking.  See, in the movie, he’s wearing sweaters and khakis and stuff; kind of a Cary Grant sort of thing.  This ‘mate instead presents him in a fairly standard suit and tie, which we never see him wearing.  He was supposed to wear it during Peggy’s funeral, but his scenes there were cut, making this ‘mate largely irrelevant.  And it means we don’t get Vision in that sweet sweater get-up.  For shame.  Not really DST’s fault, though.  This ‘mate gets add-ons for his jacket and tie, which are the same ones that have been the standards since the Senate Hearing Tony from Iron Man 2.  Not a bad standard suit and tie.  The paint is mostly limited to the head, which is the exact same piece we saw on the TRU-exclusive Vision from earlier last year.  I preferred that one to the AoU release, and I do still really like it here.  Vision’s only accessory is a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I meant to get these guys way sooner than I did.  I mean, I loved Civil War and everything, and I have a bunch of the ‘mates.  But then the shipments containing these guys and the Punisher/DD set were super delayed after SDCC, and they just fell under my radar.  My brother Christian ended up getting them for me over the summer, after he found them at GameStop for a sizable discount.  I like both of the ‘mates here, but I can’t really say either of them is incredibly exciting.  Vision’s not actually a design from the final film, and while Wanda’s new look is nice, she’s not so different from the last version.  Still, not a bad set.

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#1440: The Expendables

BARNEY ROSS, TRENCH, BOOKER, & MR. CHURCH

THE EXPENDABLES 2 MINIMATES

“Barney Ross is the leader of the Expendables, and elite team of mercenaries hired to handle difficult international situations. When a job for the enigmatic Mr. Church goes off the rails, Ross must partner with his rival Trench and fellow operative Booker to make things right.”

You know, I haven’t reviewed any Minimates in what feels like forever.  And I haven’t reviewed anything Expendables related in actually forever.  Mostly because I just have the one set, but that does not negate the point. My Stallone quota is way down.  Gotta fix that.  So, without further ado, here are some Expendables Minimates.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This set was released as part of the greater Expendables Minimates line, which was comprised of four boxed-sets, two released at specialty, and two at Toys R Us.  This is one of the TRU sets, and it’s also one of the two sets based on Expendables 2.  It covers the film’s “heavy hitters,” albeit it’s mostly covering the glorified cameos from the film’s big climactic battle.  Still, it was enough to reel me in, so that’s a plus.

BARNEY ROSS

Barney Ross, aka Sylvester Stallone, is the central character of the Expendables films.  As such, he was one of three characters to get two ‘mates, one from each of the first two films.  This one’s shirtless.  …Okay.  That’s different, I guess.  This was actually Stallone’s seventh Minimate, counting all the Rocky ‘mates.  The figure stands about 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  Barney uses the standard ‘mate body, with four different add-on pieces for his hair, belt, and thigh holsters.  All of the add-ons were re-used (the Expendables Minimates were entirely re-use, in fact).  The hair is from Marvel Series 21’s Tony Stark, the belt is from DC Series 4’s Jay Garrick, and the holsters are from Marvel Series 27’s Nick Fury.  The pieces make for a decent enough recreation of Barney’s look from the movies.  The paintwork on this ‘mate is pretty awesome, truth be told.  The Stallone likeness is pretty spot-on, and the tattoos on the torso and shoulders are really fantastically detailed.  Definitely adds some extra pop to what could have been a slightly bland ‘mate.  Barney is packed with a knife, two HK USPs, and an M4 with a grenade launcher and a suppressor.

TRENCH

Joining his buddy Stallone is Arnold Schwarzenegger, or as he’s known in the film “Trench.”  Like Barney, Trench was one of the characters to get a second ‘mate in the Expendables Minimates line, which was a little weirder, given his more minor role in the first film.  But hey, Schwarzenegger’s Schwarzenegger; dude sells toys. This was Arnold’s eighth time as a ‘mate, though unlike Stallone, this wouldn’t be his last.  This ‘mate, like Barney, is built on the standard base body, with add-ons for his hair, jacket, and bandolier.  Both the hair and bandolier come from a prior Schwarzenegger ‘mate, namely the TRU exclusive Assault Gear T-800.  I actually like the hair piece better on the older Schwarzenegger than the one from T2, so that’s a plus.  The jacket comes from Marvel Series 46’s Peter Parker.  It works perfectly fine, but it does still have the peg hole meant for Peter’s backpack, which is a minor annoyance.  In terms of paint, this guy’s pretty solid.  The Schwarzenegger likeness is fairly decent, and better than some earlier ‘mates.  Under the jacket, there’s actually a fully detailed Hawaiian shirt, which is pretty cool.  It’s too bad he didn’t have any extra arms or anything to help show it off, but it’s a fun little detail nonetheless.  Trench is packed with a Remington 870 shotgun, an AA12 shotgun (in theory), and a Colt 1911.

BOOKER

This guy’s Chuck Norris.  That’s all you really need to know about him.  Booker was unique to this set, which is sensible, given he’s essentially just a cameo in the second film, and that’s it.  Still, good excuse for a Norris ‘mate, right?  To date, this is his only ‘mate, so make it count.  He has five add-on pieces for his hair, vest, sleeves, and belt/holster.  The hair is from Terminator 2‘s Kyle Reese, and it’s the biggest point of contention with this figure.  It’s perfectly reasonable for Norris, but Booker is never seen in the film without his baseball cap.  Since these were all based on re-use, they couldn’t create a new piece for him, but it’s still a bit of a let-down.  The vest comes from another T2 ‘mate, Miles Dyson, who was himself taking the piece from the cancelled BSG New Caprica Col. Tigh.  The sleeves come from The Spirit line, and the holster is courtesy of Blondie.  All in all, not a terrible assemblage of parts, moving past the issue of the hat.  The paint on this guy is on par with the others, presenting a solid likeness of Norris, and doing a nice job detailing his outfit from the film.  He lacks some of the more interesting little details of the other two, but that’s more to do with the character’s design in the film than anything else.  Booker is packed with an HK94A3, an M4, and a Colt 1911.

MR. CHURCH

And here’s Mr. Church, better known as Bruce Willis. Because he’s just Bruce Willis playing Bruce Willis.  Because that’s just what he does.  Church joins Barney and Trench, getting his second ‘mate in this set.  His first one was wearing a suit.  This one’s wearing…a safari suit? Or something.  I don’t know.  It’s a little goofy.  Church only gets one add-on piece, which his jacket.  It’s re-used from the Punisher: Warzone’s Frank Castle, and it’s a fairly nice piece.  Decent choice of re-use.  The rest of the details are paint, and it’s pretty top-notch.  The Willis likeness is certainly spot-on, and the details on the costume, specifically the scarf, are pretty sharply handled.  It’s a lot of tan, which isn’t the most exciting scheme ever, but it’s accurate.  Church is packed with an M4, and two silver Colt 1911s.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked this set up from TRU when it was first released.  It was actually before I’d seen any of the movies; I was mostly grabbing it for the Willis and Norris ‘mates.  It’s a solid set, no doubt.  The Expendables Minimates were some of DST’s more inspired work, offering highly detailed ‘mates, with a ton of awesome accessories.  Honestly, I sort of wish I’d grabbed more of them when they were new.  This was a set that was more fun than it deserved to be, and that’s coming from someone who sort of enjoyed Expendables 2.

#1402: Rorschach & Dr. Manhattan

RORSCHACH & DR. MANHATTAN

WATCHMEN MINIMATES

“ERNIE KOVACS has a troubled mind, and will go to great lengths to protect the innocent as RORSCHACH.  When someone kills an old colleague, his investigation into the death brings mysteries to light and puts him back in touch with the world’s only known super-powered human – DR. MANHATTAN.”

On the plus side, this bio does at least do a better job of working in both characters than yesterday’s set did.  Unfortunately, Rorschach’s name is WALTER Kovacs.  Ernie Kovacs would be this guy.  And, while it’s still up for debate as to whether or not Ernie had a troubled mind, he most definitely wasn’t going around as a costumed vigilante…I think…

Right, the actual review.  I should get to that!  Here’s some more Watchmen Minimates!  As noted by the bio, it’s Rorschach and Dr. Manhattan.  Alright!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Like yesterday’s set, Rorschach and Dr. Manhattan are one of the “shared” pairs of Watchmen Minimates, available in both the specialty four pack and as a two pack in the Toys R Us’s assortment. Mine are the two-pack version, but they’re functionally the same.

RORSCHACH

Rorschach is the closest the story gets to a main character, and is probably the most popular character contained there-in.  He was originally intended to be The Question, and is honestly the least changed character in that respect.  Rorschach’s design in the movie was completely unchanged from the comics, resulting in a ‘mate that can easily work for either version of the character.  The figure stands about 2 1/2 inches tall and has the usual 14 points of articulation.  He’s built on the basic body, with add-ons for his hat and coat.  Both pieces are new to this figure, and they work pretty well.  The coat’s a little on the bulky side, but it’s decent enough, and the hat’s one of the better takes on a fedora in this style.  Rorschach’s paint is about on par with the pair I looked at yesterday.  It’s pretty decent overall, but there’s some slight sloppiness on some of the base paint.  The detail lines are also minimal on this guy, so it’s a bit less of what DST’s good at, but what’s there is pretty solid.  Rorschach is packed with his grappling hook (a standard Rorschach accessory), as well as an unmasked head and hair, and a clear display stand.  The extra head is definitely cool, and my favorite extra.  The grapple is okay, but I can’t say I get why every Rorschach has it; I find it to be a rather minor piece.  I would have much rather had the aerosol can he uses to escape the cops, or his journal.  Also, the lack of extra heads with differing expressions is a little annoying.  Still, not a bad selection.

DR. MANHATTAN

Dr. Manhattan is the story’s one true super human, originally planned to be Captain Atom.  Visually, Manhattan is one of the story’s most memorable characters, and as such, his design remained essentially the same when they adapted the comic to film.  Structurally, Manhattan is just a plain Minimate, with additional parts or anything.  It’s certainly well suited to the character.  It does mean that all of the heavy lifting is handled by his paint work.  He’s done in a semi-transparent blue plastic, which, fun fact, is also glow-in-the-dark.  It’s surprisingly powerful, provided you give it a little time to charge up.  The detail paint on this guy is phenomenal.  All of his parts have detailed musculature, and his face is a spot-on recreation of how he looks in the film.  It should also be noted that this is the first Dr. Manhattan figure to forego the usual black shorts seen on all the merchandise.  I mean, they still Ken-Doll-ed him; he’s still got to be decent and all, since he’s being sold at retail.  Should you want him to be more modest, though, he does include an extra pelvis piece, molded in dark blue, thus replicating the shorts.  In addition, he’s also got the standard display stand, as well as a flight stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like yesterday’s set, I picked this pair up from Toys R Us on my birthday.  This pack is more comic-compatible than the last one, which is pretty cool.  Manhattan’s just plain awesome, especially for being a ‘mate that could have been super simple and boring.  Rorschach’s overall pretty decent, though I’m not sure he translated quite as well to the style.  Still, not a bad set, especially if you’re a fan of the source material.

#1401: The Comedian & Nite Owl

THE COMEDIAN & NITE OWL

WATCHMEN MINIMATES

“Secretly the vigilante known as THE COMEDIAN, EDWARD BLAKE continued to work for the government after his crimefighting career, performing various classified and unpleasant tasks.  When the highly dangerous killer is himself killed, his old colleagues NITE OWL and RORSCHACH are driven to investigate.”

Sometimes, I like to remember back when I didn’t totally hate everything Zack Snyder touched.  His adaptation of Watchmen was just as divisive as anything else he’s done, but I was actually on his side of that one.  Anyway, a whole eight years after its release, the film’s gotten a set of Minimates.  I’m taking a look at the first pair, The Comedian and Nite Owl, today!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The Comedian and Nite Owl are one of the “shared” pairs of figures for Watchmen Minimates.  They were available both in the specialty four pack and as a two pack in the Toys R Us-exclusive assortment.  Obviously, mine are the TRU versions, but there aren’t any real differences between the actual figures.

THE COMEDIAN

Though he may be dead at the story’s start, the Comedian is perhaps Watchmen‘s most central figure.  He was originally supposed be the Charlton Comics character “Peace Maker,” before DC forced the change.  Shame, since it would have been perhaps the only noteworthy thing ever attached to the character.  Oh well.  Comedian’s look was largely unchanged when going from book to movie, so this guy will work pretty well as either version of the character.  The figure stands roughly 2 1/4 inches tall and has the standard 14 points of articulation. In addition to the standard base body, Comedian has add-ons for his hair, shoulder pads/suspenders/belt, and the holsters.  The holsters are the same basic pieces that have been in service since the Avengers Black Widow ‘mate, but the other two pieces are new to this figure.  The new pieces are generally pretty solid additions.  They could possibly have been a little sharper in terms of detail, but the work here is still pretty great.  In terms of paint, Comedian is pretty decent overall.  The best work is on the detail lines.  The face capture’s not only Jeffery Dean Morgan’s likeness, but also his cocky Comedian personality, which is pretty cool.  This is obviously a slightly older Comedian, though he does seem to be using any hint of his facial scar.  I guess it was pretty downplayed in the movie.  The base paintwork is a little sloppier than the line work, but still fairly decent.  The biggest issue with the paint is actually something that was beyond DST’s control.  He lacks Comedian’s signature smiley face button, due to rights issues associated with that particular image.  DST has opted to drop the button entirely, rather than giving us just the blank yellow circle that other companies have gone with.  I think I might like it better when it’s just not there; less distracting.  Comedian is packed with a pair of silver handguns and a clear display stand.  It’s a shame he didn’t get a few more weapons, and possibly an extra head and hair piece for a younger look, but what’s included is fair.

NITE OWL

Nite Owl is my favorite character out of the main Crimebusters in Watchmen (though, it’s actually his predecessor Hollis Mason that is my overall favorite character in the story), and it’s actually Patrick Wilson’s portrayal of him in the movie that helped me form that opinion.  I find his book counterpart to be a little bland, but Wilson added a nice sort of lost everyman aspect to him that was endearing.  Nite Owl was originally intended to be the Ted Kord version of Blue Beetle, another favorite character of mine.  The movie design for Nite Owl was one of the more drastic changes, largely due to the simplicity of the original design; that sort of thing doesn’t tend to work so well on a large screen.  Like Comedian, Nite Owl is built on the standard ‘mate body, with add-ons for his mask and cape.  Both pieces are new to this figure, and are likely to stay unique to him, since I can’t really see them being of much use for any other characters.  They’re both pretty decent pieces, though, like with Comedian, I think the details could stand to be a little sharper.  The paint work on Nite Owl is pretty great.  The work is all pretty sharp, and unlike Comedian, he’s not missing any essential details.  The mask is removable, and reveals a fully detailed Dan Drieber head, glasses and all.  I can’t say it’s a fantastic likeness of Patrick Wilson, but it doesn’t look unlike him.  I guess he’s just got one of those faces that doesn’t translate well to the style.  In addition to the usual display stand, Dan includes a spare hair piece for unmasked display.  I think the piece is a little too suave for Dan, to be honest, especially if this is meant to be a “present” day Dan; it should be a little longer and more comb-over-y.  It’s not awful, though.  I do wish he included an extra mask with the goggles up, since he has that look several times during the movie.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The Watchmen Minimates snuck up on me.  At the time of the movie’s release, I was all over the idea of Watchmen ‘mates (in fact, I even made a custom set for myself, albeit a comic based one), but by the time they actually happened, I had largely moved past Watchmen.  When the boxed set hit, I wasn’t sure about getting the ‘mates at all.  But, I was out on my birthday, and I stopped at Toys R Us, and they had a full set, so I went for it.  Getting the ‘mates even got me to sit down and watch the movie again for the first time in several years, and I enjoyed that quite a bit.  This is my favorite pair of the ‘mates, and while there are certainly improvement that could be made, I’m very happy with them both.

#1368: Ms. Marvel & Kang

MS. MARVEL & KANG

MARVEL MINIMATES

Hey-ho there readers!  So, today’s gonna be another Marvel review, because, like 95% of what I’ve bought recently is Marvel.  On the plus side, I’m actually looking at a relatively new item for a change.  That’s cool, right?  I’ll be heading back over to the Minimates corner of my collection, and taking a look at one of my favorite new additions to the Marvel Universe, Kamala Khan, alongside long-time Avengers for Kang the Conqueror!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Ms. Marvel and Kang were released in the fifth Walgreens-exclusive series of Marvel Minimates.  Both are based on their appearances in the Avengers Assemble cartoon, but in both cases, this translates to a look that’s essentially identical to their comics counterparts.

MS. MARVEL

“Exposed to the Terrigin Mists, Inhuman high-schooler Kamala Khan gains the ability to shape-shift, and decides to become one of the super-heroes she idolizes.”

It’s been a good year for Kamala!  First she got a Marvel Legend, and now she’s got a Minimate too!  Not too shabby for a character that’s only been around since 2014.  Ms. Marvel makes her Minimate debut here, and is based upon her appearance in the episode “The Inhuman Condition.”  The figure stands about 2 1/4 inches tall and she has 14 points of articulation.  She’s built on the standard ‘mate body, with add-ons for her hair, scarf, and skirt.  The skirt appears to be a fairly standard piece, but the scarf and hair are both new.  They’re decent enough pieces, I suppose.  Obviously, they’re a bit more on the simplistic side, as is the case with most of the animation-based mates.  It’s really only noticeable on the hair, which you can easily replace if you really want a more realistic look.  That being said, the pieces mimic her design from the show pretty well, and fit the character nicely.  The paint work on her is generally pretty solid; the colors are still a little more washed out than I’d like, but she generally looks like she does in the comics, and the colors have more “pop” than some of the others.  I’m not the biggest fan of the rather bland expression on the face, though; Kamala’s usually depicted as rather jovial, so a smile or grin would have been more true to the character in my opinion.  Ms. Marvel is packed with a spare right hand and left arm (borrowed from Mr. Fantastic), simulating her stretchy powers, as well as the usual clear display stand.

KANG

“Kang is a time-traveling warlord from the 30th century who finds himself repeatedly embroiled in conflict with the 21st century Avengers.”

Wow, another Kang?  Man, it was such a big deal to get him the first time, but I think I might have burned out all of the excitement.  Of course, that ‘mate was only in an exclusive 4-pack, which not everyone got, so I suppose a new one makes sense.  Like Ms. Marvel, he’s built on the standard body, and has the usual articulation.  He has add-ons for his head-piece, shoulder bit, and skirt.  The shoulder thing is re-used from the last Kang ‘mate (rather sensible), and the other two parts appear to be new.  They’re decently sculpted, though I’m not 100% sold on the head piece.  It’s an odd looking thing in the comics, and neither attempt at translating it into ‘mate form is particularly right.  This one’s not terrible.  This figure uses the standard upper-arms, which is one change I’m in favor of, since I was never much of a fan of the puffy sleeves from the last one.  As far as paint goes, I can’t say I’m a huge fan of the paint on this guy; the colors just aren’t vibrant enough for my taste.  The green in particular just feels really dull and boring.  I’m also not a big fan of the reduced detail work, since the things like the wrinkles of the shirt and the lines on his mask were some of my favorite parts of the last Kang.  In terms of accessories, he only includes a display stand.  I feel like there has to be something else he could have gotten.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I found these two while looking for Marvel Legends at Walgreens.  I’ve largely fallen out of collecting Minimates hardcore, in part because of the difficulty of finding the Walgreens releases, so these two sort of snuck up on me, and I was really surprised to find them as quickly as I did.  Ms. Marvel’s the real draw of the set for me, and aside from the slight disappointment with the expression, I’m really happy with her.  Kang is kind of meh.  Rather drab and un-interesting to me.  Perhaps it’d be different if I didn’t have the first one.  Still, it’s a pretty decent set all in all.

#1366: Venom Space Knight

VENOM SPACE KNIGHT

MARVEL MINIMATES

Oh blind bags.  How I loathe thee.  There are certainly things that I hate more than blind bags, but they honestly aren’t coming to mind right now.  So, blind bags are number one right now.  I can sort of see the novelty of the concept to a certain degree, but beyond the first couple of figures, it just sort of wears out its welcome.  Which is really an issue when it comes to introducing blind bags to a pre-existing line.  DST started working the idea into their various Minimates properties to varying success.  It’s finally made its way into the main Marvel comic line, and I’m not super sure how I feel about that.  I’m giving it a try, though, and looking at one of them today.  Yes, it’s another Flash Thompson Venom, but this time, he’s a Space Knight.  And why not?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Venom Space Knight is part of the inaugural Blind Bag series of comic-based Marvel Minimates.  He’s one of the less common figures in the case; he’s not a one-per-case-r like Silk, but he’s not one of the heavier packed ones.  Which is sensible enough, since Venom’s moderately popular, but not quite as hugely popular as Iron Man and Spider-Man.  The figure’s a little over 2 1/2 inches tall and has 12 points of articulation, taking the boots into account.  He’s got 12 add-on pieces for his helmet, chest piece, upper arms, hands, pelvis cover, upper legs, boots, and torso extender.  Most of the parts are re-used from other bulked up characters (including a few other Venom ‘mates).  The helmet’s all-new, and does a really nice job of translating the comics design into the ‘mate form.  In general, this design translated quite nicely into the ‘mate aesthetic.  Definitely a well-chosen design for the line.  The paintwork on this guy is all pretty solid; the line work is nice and crisp, and the colors are well chosen for the character.  The dark blue chosen for the bulk of the character is pretty nifty, and the white stands out nicely against it.  Under the armor, there’s a fully detailed face and torso, showing Flash in his non-armored look.  There’s also a spare set of arms and legs, as well as a hairpiece, allowing for you to complete the dressed down look, which is essentially a whole second figure.  The paintwork is still solid on these extra pieces (especially the arms), and I really dig the artificial legs.  In addition to the alt pieces, he also includes the standard clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I held off on this set for a good long while.  I didn’t really want to buy a whole case, and nobody was really selling them individually.  Fortunately, Cosmic Comix got in a case of them, thus allowing me to just grab one of them.  As luck would have it, it was Venom, who was the ‘mate I wanted the most from the set.  He’s actually a really solid ‘mate, and I love all the extras he includes.  All-in-all, I think this is my first experience with blind bagged Minimates that didn’t leave me feeling dirty and used.  I guess that’s a good thing?

#1349: Kat & Carter

KAT & CARTER

HALO MINIMATES

I own an amusingly small quantity of Halo Minimates.  How amusingly small?  Well, this will be my third and final Halo Minimates review.  More amusing?  I don’t actually like either of the characters in this set.  Why do I have them?  Read on to find out.  Onto the review!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This pair was released in the second Toys R Us exclusive series of Halo Minimates, as the resident Halo: Reach pairing in the assortment.

KAT

“As second in command of Noble Team, Lieutenant Commander Kat was considered an exemplary soldier and brilliant cryptanalyst. Even during times of limited intel, her ability to read a situation and react accordingly was considered supernatural, making her invaluable to the team.”

Of the two figures in this set, Kat’s the one I loathe the most.  God does Kat suck.  Especially when she’s driving. She’s like the worst driving AI ever implemented in a video game.  But none of that has anything to do with the figure, I guess.  The figure stands about 2 1/4 inches tall and has 11 points of articulation (she loses one wrist joint and both ankle joints).  She uses the standard ‘mate body, with add-ons for her helmet, chest plate, left shoulder armor and glove, belt, and boots, as well as a unique right arm, which replicates her robotic replacement from the game.  The pieces are on par with the other Halo ‘mates I’ve looked at; not bad overall, but slightly soft around the edges, when it comes to the finer details.  Still, it’s pretty solid.  In terms of paint, Kat’s okay.  The colors seem to match up pretty well with her in-game counterpart, albeit much cleaner than her armor in the game.  Under the armor, there’s a fully detailed face, with hair and everything detailed.  For some reason, the hair has no actual color, but other than that, the detail work is pretty solid.  Kat comes packed with a Magnum handgun.

CARTER

“During the Fall of Reach, Carter was the Commander of an elite team of Spartans referred to as the Noble Team. Charismatic, reassuring, and also known to be cool under pressure, Carter was considered a born leader. He inspired confidence in all of those under his command.”

Okay, so, admittedly, I don’t dislike Carter quite as much as Kat.  Mostly, I just find him sort of “meh,” which isn’t so great when you’re leading a team of fun, colorful characters. I guess not everyone can be Jorge and Emile.  Like Kat, he’s built on the standard body, though he’s got movement on both wrists.  He has add-ons for his helmet, chest armor, gloves, and boots, as well as unique pieces for his upper arms and legs.  He’s a little on the chunky side, but the pieces are generally pretty  nicely sculpted. The paint on Carter is okay; a little on the drab side, and the blue and grey run together, but it’s decent enough.  As with Kat, there’s a fully detailed head under the helmet.  He actually gets hair color, so that’s a nice step up.  Carter includes a DRM battle rifle, which he can only hold with one hand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Okay, Ethan, you don’t like these two, so why do you own them?  Two reasons: 1) I hadn’t yet played the game when I got them, so I didn’t really know the characters, and 2) my local Toys R Us was closing down, and everything was 75% off.  I’m not crazy about the characters, but the figures are actually pretty cool.

#1345: Star Trek Minimates

CAPTAIN KIRK, SPOCK, DR. McCOY, KHAN, & GORN

STAR TREK MINIMATES (ART ASYLUM)

I’ve spoken twice before about the original, larger-sized Minimates, the important stepping stone on the way to getting us the licensing behemoth that we now have.  Today, I’ll be touching on them yet again, this time looking at the one property to have graced both styles of Minimate: Star Trek.   After doing ‘mates from Crouching Tiger and some music ‘mates, and even some Bruce Lee ‘mates, Art Asylum turned their sights onto Trek mostly because they already had the license (they produced a Dark Angel Minimate for the same reason, but with less success).  Anyway, I’ve got a bunch of them, and I’ll be looking at them today.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These five were released in the first (and only) series* of the larger-scale Star Trek Minimates from Art Asylum.  There was also a Mugato in the series, as well as an accompanying ToyFare-exclusive “Trouble With Tribbles” Kirk, but I don’t yet have those two.  Maybe some day.

All of the figures featured here are built on the 3-inch Minimate body, which is a little different from the smaller body in terms of construction, mostly around the elbows and knees.  The assembly can afford to be just a touch more complex at the larger scale, and that’s really the source of most of the changes.  Nevertheless, it works the same as the smaller body from a basic functioning stand-point, and it has the same 14 points of articulation.

CAPTAIN KIRK

This was the first of the 14 MInimates of James T. Kirk.  He’s most prevalent of the Trek characters by far, though he’s got nothing on the likes of Spider-Man and Iron Man.  Anyway, this is the one that started it all.  This figure has three add-on pieces: hair, and both pants cuffs.  The hair was new to this guy (though it was also shared with the ToyFare variant, and would have presumably been used for the Mirror Universe version in Series 2).  I gotta say, I like this piece a lot more than the initial smaller Kirk ‘mates.  It’s still a bit more simplistic than more recent ‘mates, but that’s certainly not a point against it, and it’s definitely in keeping with the other ‘mates of this time period.  The paint work on Kirk is about on par with the rest of the earlier ‘mates.  It’s all pretty clean, but also rather on the simple side.  All of the important things, like the face and various uniform elements are there.  The face has a pretty decent likeness of Shatner (honestly, I think it was a bit better than later attempts), and the uniform details seem to be pretty accurate.  The colors are generally pretty decent, but once again, far more basic than later ‘mates would be.  Kirk was packed with a phaser (painted in all silver, rather than the proper silver and black), as well as one of the goofy puzzle pieces that they threw in with all of the early guys.

MR. SPOCK

Spock’s not too far behind Kirk on the variant front, with a whole 8 Minimates under his belt.  There does seem to be a little less variation to his, though.  Like Kirk, this figure has add-ons for his hair and pant cuffs.  Spock’s hair piece is fine, but I find his style of hair doesn’t translate quite as well to this sort of figure.  Later pieces worked a fair bit better, I feel.  I think his hair just needs more detail to it, otherwise it just ends up looking like a skullcap or something.  The paint on Spock is rather similar to Kirk’s, but once again, I don’t think it works quite as well.  The face definitely tries for a Nimoy likeness and, while it isn’t horribly off, I think the lack of any sort of line work for the cheekbones is really holding it back.  Most characters can get by alright without the cheekbones, but not those played by Leonard Nimoy.  In addition, the shade of blue chosen for the shirt is several shades too dark and far too greyed out for the blue shirts from Classic Trek.  This shade almost looks like something from the JJ Abrams films, which wouldn’t be released for 7 years after this.  Spock includes an extra right hand, doing the Vulcan salute, as well as a tricorder and the puzzle piece.

DR. McCOY

McCoy’s important because he finished out the show’s core trio.  Sadly, he always seems to be the one who gets overlooked.  It’s a shame, really.  But hey, he got this ‘mate and a few others, so that’s pretty good for him, right?  This guy is very similar to the other two, with the exact same cuffs on the legs and then a unique hair piece.  The hair falls somewhere between the other two, being not quite as strong as Kirk’s, but a fair bit more recognizable as hair than Spock’s.  It’s definitely not bad.  In terms of paint, he’s almost identical to Spock, overly dark blue and all.  On the plus side, the likeness on the face is the spitting image of DeForrest Kelly, surly country wisdom and all.  He includes the same tricorder and puzzle piece as Spock, but obviously loses the saluting hand.  It would have been nice to get one of his medical gadgets or something, but the tricorder’s enough, I suppose.

KHAN

Khan’s pretty popular for a guy who was only in a single episode of the show.  Oh, right, and there was that movie thing, I guess.  That might have helped.  Khan’s had a few Minimates, and not a single one of them has been in the same outfit.  This is one of his red outfits, likely chosen for it’s contrast with the rest of Series’ color schemes.  He’s got a hair piece and a skirt for the bottom of his tunic.  Both pieces are pretty solid, so that’s good.  Khan has one of the more complex paint schemes in the set (though not *the* most.  That comes later), and it’s generally pretty nicely handled.  My only real complaint is that his face is slightly off-center, which is a problem that occasionally cropped up with these early ‘mates, due to the hair peg being near the back of the head.  On the plus side, the likeness on the face is pretty decent.  Khan’s only accessory is the puzzle piece.

GORN

Okay, so I freaking love the Gorn, and this is like my whole reason for buying this set.  Because I desire to own every Gorn figure in existence.  I’m actually pretty close on that, so, yaaaaaay.  Gorn FTW!  This guy uses add-ons for his hands and his skirt.  There’s no piece for the head, which leaves the peg hole exposed, but it’s not huge issue, given the placement.  The add-ons are nicely sculpted and pretty cool looking overall.  The skirt piece is a little thick, so he splits at the middle a lot, but it’s a minor issue.  Gorn gets the most complicated of the paint jobs.  It’s still pretty simplified, but I actually really like it.  The face is pretty neat, and I like how they’ve translated his design onto the basic head block.  They’ve also done a nice job with the pattern on his tunic, so that’s cool.  He was packed with a spike, a translator, and that freaking puzzle piece.  Mine is lacking these, sadly.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I always wanted to pick up a set of these back when they were still new, back when they would have been my first Minimates, but for whatever reason, I never got any of them.  I’m the reason the line failed, you guys.  I’m sorry about that.  I’ve been on the lookout for a set for a little while now, and I ended up finding these guys at Amazing Heroes, which was a cool toys, comics, and games store that my brother found just outside of Seattle.  I was actually pretty happy to find an almost complete set in one go.  I kinda dig these guys.  Kirk and the Gorn are the definite stars, and translate really well to the more simplistic style.  The others are pretty solid as well, if not quite as stand out.  Now, I gotta get that second Kirk and a Mugato….

*There was a proposed second series, which would have rounded out the main crew and given us a Klingon, but, like all of the 3-inch lines, Trek never made it past Series 1.

#1331: Chief Tyrol & Mortar Pack Cylon

CHIEF TYROL & MORTAR PACK CYLON

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA MINIMATES

One of the appealing things about collecting Minimates is the ability to have a very wide range of properties all in one consistent style.  Their main Marvel line is pretty much always running in tandem with at least one line based on a popular Sci-Fi property.  Currently, that’s Aliens, but a few years ago, their sci-fi line of choice was Battlestar Galactica.  While it was never a huge seller, the line ran for 4 series before getting cancelled, and even then it was picked up for another two series by Toys R Us.  I’ll be looking at one of those sets today, so let’s dive right into the review!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Tyrol and the Mortar Pack Cylon were released in the second Toys R Us-exclusive series of Battlestar Galactica Minimates.  This pair is notable for being one for the few sets in the two TRU series not to be re-purposed from the cancelled Series 5 and 6 or New Caprica boxed-set line-ups.

CHIEF TYROL

“One of the more troubled members of the Final Five, Chief Galen Tyrol resigned his commission after the loss of his wife and tried to find happiness with his son Nicky before learning the truth about his family’s past.”

Poor Chief.  Dude was a serious punching bag, especially later in the series.  He was pretty lucky when it came to Minimates, though; this was his third.  The figure is about 2 1/4 inches tall and has the usual 14 points of articulation.  He’s built on the standard base body, with add-ons for his hair and the bottom of his shirt.  The shirt is a standard piece and the hair came from Ghostbusters’ Ray Stanz.  The hair seems a touch bulky for Chief, especially a later in the series Chief, but it’s not terrible.  The rest of the details are rendered via paint.  Early BSG Minimates were a bit more on the simplistic side, but when TRU brought the line back, the level of detail was brought up to par with the more current stuff.  Chief’s got some pretty solid detail work, especially on his uniform.  The likeness on the face is a bit iffy.  Personally, I’ve always felt it looked more like Tamoah Pinikett (who played Helo on the show) than Chief’s actor Aaron Douglas.  I think Douglas just has one of those faces that doesn’t really lend itself to the ‘mate aesthetic, as his earlier ‘mates weren’t much better.  Chief included no accessories, but I’m not exactly sure what you’d give him.

MORTAR PACK CYLON

“Capable of downing enemy aircraft from stealthily concealed positions, Cylon ground forces often include at least one Mortar Pack Cylon Centurion. When damaged in battle, these destructive units can even repair themselves on the fly.”

The Cylon Centurions were the bread and butter of this line, since they were kind of the easiest way of keeping the packs at least somewhat interesting.  Chief may just be a normal dude in drab clothes, but that’s okay, because he’s packed with this sweet ass robot, right?  The figure uses the same starting base,  as every other Minimate, but with add-ons for the faceplate, chest piece, hands, pelvis, and feet.  They’re the same pieces that had been used countless times before for other Cylons, though the chest piece has been tweaked ever so slightly to allow for the mortar pack to be plugged into it.  The pieces all make for a decent enough approximation of the Cylons from the show.  I wish the upper torso were a little more mobile, and I’d really like to be able to actually use the neck articulation, but it’s decent enough.  The details are nice and sharp, especially on the torso and face, and he looks suitably different from the standard Minimate, without deviating so much as to lose the aesthetic altogether.  The paint is a bit more lax on this guy, but it’s still pretty solid. The gunmetal grey is applied cleanly, and all of the detail work is pretty sharp.  The only accessory is the titular mortar pack.  I don’t know if this was ever actually used on the show, but it’s a pretty cool piece nonetheless.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

There’s not much of an exciting story behind this set.  It hit Toys R Us, and I went and got it from my local store.  That’s really it.  I had a lot of the BSG Minimtates, but I can’t say I was ever super into any of them.  This set’s about average for the line.  Both ‘mates are well made, but there’s not a whole lot of excitement here.  If you like the show and Minimates, I guess you’d like these.

#1322: Pepper Potts, Happy Hogan, & Hammer Drones

PEPPER POTTS, HAPPY HOGAN, & HAMMER DRONES

MARVEL MINIMATES

I haven’t reviewed Minimates in over a month.  That seems slightly odd.  To be fair, I haven’t actually picked up any new sets since the Doctor Strange assortment, so that probably contributed somewhat.  Since I’m leaning pretty heavily on the back catalog at the moment, it’s only fair that I look back at a small sampling of my rather large Minimate collection.  Today, I’ll be going way back to 2010’s Iron Man 2, with Pepper, Happy, and a pair of Hammer Drones!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Pepper, Happy, and the Hammer Drones were released in Series 35 of the main Marvel Minimates line, which tied-in with the previously mentioned Iron Man 2.  They were the two specialty exclusive sets; Pepper and Happy were each packed with a Hammer Drone, with Pepper being the more heavily packed and Happy as the one-per-case “chase” figure.

PEPPER POTTS

“Tasked with running all of Stark Industries as their new CEO, Pepper Potts must balance her personal friendship with Tony Stark against mounting evidence that the armor-clad hero may be unable to control his own demons.”

Definitely the heaviest-hitteriest-character featured here.  This was Pepper’s second time as a Minimate (her first ‘mate came from the first film).  The figure is a little under 2 1/2 inches tall and has the usual 14 points of articulation.  She’s built on the basic ‘mate body, with add-ons for her hair, skirt, and bracelets.  The skirt was a re-use from the Series 18 Gwen Stacy, and the rest of the add-ons were new to this figure.  I’m not sure exactly which part of the movie she’s from, but her general look is captured.  The end result is decent enough.  Not the most thrilling ‘mate of all time, but she gets the job done, I suppose.  As far as paint goes, she’s fairly bland again, but the colors seem appropriate to the movie, the application is pretty clean, and the Gwenyth Paltrow likeness is decent (certainly better then the first Pepper).  Since this series predates the standard inclusion of display stands, Pepper includes no accessories.  I suppose they could have given here, like, a phone or something, but it’s not a huge deal.

HAPPY HOGAN

“Not only Tony Stark’s bodyguard and chauffeur, Happy Hogan is also one of his closest advisors. As events unfold, however, Happy finds himself torn between his friendship with Tony and his feelings for another…”

Holy abandoned plot-lines Batman!  So, in the initial cut of Iron Man 2, Tony’s driver Harold “Happy” Hogan was supposed to at one point confess his romantic feelings towards Pepper, hinting at their pairing up in the comics.  It was ultimately cut for time, which is, honestly, for the best.  Happy got a greatly increased role in the second film (he doesn’t even get named in the first movie), and so he naturally got a Minimate.  This is, to date, the only action figure of Happy Hogan out there, which is pretty nifty.  Like Pepper, he’s built on the standard base body, plus he’s got add-ons for his hair and jacket.  The hair was new (and a decent enough match for Jon Favreau’s), and the jacket was re-used from Back to the Future’s George McFly.  The end result makes for a decent match-up to Happy’s on-sceen appearance.  The paint is pretty solid, but once again, not anything amazing.  He’s mostly molded in black, with some minor detailing for his shirt/tie, and his face.  The face doesn’t look a ton like Favreau to me, but he *does* look like Happy from the comics, so I don’t mind so much.  On his own, Happy’s another figure that’s not super thrilling.  Fortunately for him, he includes some pretty sweet extras.  He has a pair of boxing gloves (calling back to the boxing scene he has with Tony in the movie), as well as the Mark V in its un-deployed briefcase form, and a pair of handcuffs to hook the briefcase to his wrist.  You’ll need to do some very slight modding if you want one of the cuffs to actually go on the handle of the case, but that’s really the only issue.  Otherwise, it’s a really fun little set-up.

HAMMER DRONES

“Created using a fusion of technologies from Stark Industries, Hammer’s own company and Whiplash’s improvisations – the Hammer Drones are immensely powerful and potentially lethal in the wrong hands.”

That’s a great description…of the other Hammer Drones.  You know, the ones that were actually drones and that played a part in the film’s climax.  These guys?  Not those Hammer Drones.  No, these would be the prototype suits that Vanko scraps early into the film, that get no actual fight time, and aren’t even really drones.  I would guess these guys being in the main assortment instead of the ones that actually featured prominently is yet another example of plans changing in a movie after the reference materials have gone out to the licensees.  Worse things have happened.  At least it’s a decent design, right?  The figure uses the base ‘mate body as a starting point, but gets a non-standard head and thighs, as well as add-ons for the chest piece, gloves, belt, and boots.  The pieces actually make for a pretty cool little toy, though it’s rather far removed from the usual ‘mate aesthetic.  In terms of paint, it’s a lot of grey, but there’s nice work, especially on the little caution sections.  There’s a bit of slop and bleed over here, but nothing too terrible.  Like Pepper, the Hammer Drones include no accessories.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Cosmic Comix got gipped on his Series 35 orders, which meant that I missed out on my usual way of getting the specialty exclusives.  I was able to get Pepper from Midtown Comics during a trip to New York that year, but they had already sold Happy by that point.  It took a year or so, but my parents eventually got me one as a Christmas present.  Pepper’s kind of bland and generic, and the Hammer Droids are ultimately rather inconsequential, but Happy is actually a pretty sweet figure!