#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!

#1264: Fire Fighters

FIRE FIGHTERS

M.A.X. MINIMATES — ELITE HEROES

“Mobile Action Xtreme, the world’s premier action response team!”

A large piece of Minimates success is how closely tied they are to all sorts of pop-culture.  There’s a definite novelty to having all of your favorite characters from numerous media sources in one cohesive style.  With that being said, one of the biggest holes in just about any toy collectors collection isn’t the main, licensed heroes; no, it’s actually the everyday joes who populate the background of all our favorite stories.  The cops, firefighters, soldiers, etc.  In 2010, DST offered Minimates fans the chance to add a few of those average joes to their collections, under the banner of M.A.X. Elite Heroes.  The line was sadly limited to just two series of two-packs, a box-set, and a handful of vehicles, but what was released was pretty darn awesome.  Today, I’ll be taking a look at one of the line’s sets of Fire Fighters!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

There were actually five varieties of Fire Fighters available in the M.A.X. Minimates — Elite Heroes line.  This represent the most basic of the group (the others were Smoke Jumpers and Chiefs).  This set was offered in both Series 1 and 2 of the line, with one slight tweak;  mine is the Series 2 version.  Included in this set are effectively two versions of the same figure, albeit with brown hair for one and black hair for the other.  Both figures stand about 2 1/4 inches tall and have the usual 14 points of articulation.  They use the basic ‘mate body as a starting point.  Both figures include standard Fire Fighter garb, which includes a helmet, a jacket, sleeves for the wrists, and a unique set of feet with bulky pant cuffs attached.    The pieces all sit well on the body, and look like the gear gear that the real guys use.  The details are nice and clean, and fit well with the slightly simplistic stylings of ‘mates.  The second guy includes an extra set of arms, hands, and feet, as well as a belt piece and hair, allowing for a dressed-down appearance.  There’s also a clear torso piece to allow for storage of his jacket and arms when he’s not using them. The paint on the two figures is virtually identical, apart from the previously mentioned hair colors.  This means both guys have the same face.  Most of the M.A.X guys were really generic facially, but these two were less so.  They’re still generic enough to work, but they look a bit like twins.  Fortunately, the nature of Minimates makes it pretty easy to swap the heads out if you want to.  The rest of the paint is all pretty solid; there’s some slight bleed over here and there, but nothing beyond reason.  The set was quite heavy on the accessories.  In addition to the already mentioned extra body pieces, there was a hair piece for each figure, a helmet with a mask attached, an oxygen tank, a polearm, a flashlight, the jaws of life, and a fire extinguisher, and two axes.  That’s a fun selection of extras, and allows you to build your Fire Fighters pretty much how ever you want to.  There’s a reason these sets all ended up being rather hard to find.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I completely missed the first series of M.A.X.  Literally never saw a single one in stores.  They were pretty popular, and hit at a time when I wasn’t able to just swing by Toys R Us every few days to check.  I almost missed these guys too.  One of my local TRUs was going out of business and had a good chunk of products marked down pretty far.  I ended up grabbing pretty much all of the Minimates they had in stock, which included most of the second series of M.A.X. (I never did get those Police Officers, though).  This is probably my least favorite from the set, but that’s kind of a hollow qualifier, since they were all really awesome.  It’s a shame we didn’t get more of these guys, but I’m happy I got the ones I did.

#1246: Strong Zealot & Astral Form Doctor Strange

STRONG ZEALOT & ASTRAL FORM DOCTOR STANGE

MARVEL MINIMATES

Okay, one more day of the Doctor Strange Minimates.  Well, unless I track down the two specialty exclusive sets.  Which I probably will, because that’s the sort of person I am.  Anyway, today we get another version of the film’s title character, who this time around is facing off against one of Kaecilius’s Zealot followers.  Specifically the strong one.  It says so on the box!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The Strong Zealot and Astral Form Doctor Strange were the Toys R Us-exclusive set for the Doctor Strange assortment of Marvel Minimates.  It’s actually a pretty solid pairing, since the Strange fights this particular Zealot while in Astral Form.

STRONG ZEALOT

Okay, so the box just calls him “Strong Zealot,” but this guy was actually named Lucian (not that it’s ever said in the movie), and he was played by stunt man Scott Adkins.  This is actually the second time Adkins has gotten a Minimate; he portrayed Weapon XI in X-Men Origins: Wolverine.  Hey, it’s not his fault!  Anyway, this particular Zealot was actually fairly important, so it’s cool that he got his own specific ‘mate.  The figure is built on the standard ‘mate body, so he’s about 2 1/4 inches tall and he has the usual 14 points of articulation.  He has two add-on pieces for his hair and skirt piece. The hair s re-used from BSG’s Anders.  It’s not a perfect match for Lucian’s hair, but it’s close enough that it doesn’t look too off.  The skirt looks to be a new piece, and it’s about on par with the rest of the pieces from this particular assortment.  Actually, the details might even be a little sharper on this particular piece, which is always a good thing.  The paint on the Zealot is generally pretty top-notch.  He’s got all of the various shades of purple down pretty well, and there’s plenty of detail work therein.  He’s got the funky eyes to match Kaecilius’ alternate head, and it looks just as cool here as it did there, with the added bonus of being on a slightly better ‘mate.  Lucian’s only extra is a clear display stand.  While something else might have been nice, I can’t really think of anything else you could give him.  Maybe a head without the eye stuff?

ASTRAL FORM DOCTOR STRANGE

Astral Form Strange figures are pretty standard, since they mean you can get an easy re-use out of the already existing Strange molds.  That being said, this is actually the first time the look has shown up in ‘mate form, so it’s noteworthy in that respect.  Anyway, this figure uses all the same pieces as the regular Doctor Strange from this same series.  They were good there, and they remain good here.  He keeps the cloak of levitation, despite its absence during his main Astral Projection scene, but I’m hardly going to complain about getting an extra piece here.  The main difference here is the coloring; this figure is molded in a translucent pale yellow, which works well enough.  He still retained his overall coloring in the movie, with just a slight tint, but that’s a bit harder to do in plastic, so this is the look that most figure versions have been going with.  The actual details are lifted directly from the normal Strange figure as well.  While a different expression or something might have been nice, this is perfectly acceptable.  Like his pack-mate, Strange’s only extra is the display stand, which is a little frustrating on a figure that’s all parts re-use.  A flight stand or something would have been nice.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like the last two sets, this pair was a Valentine’s Day gift from Super Awesome Girlfriend.  This set is definitely less essential than the last two, but I find myself really liking it.  Lucian’s a cool minor character, and we finally get Strange in one of his more important looks (and you can probably pass this off as comic version if you really want to).  All in all, this is a pretty fun set.

#1245: Mordo & Kaecilius

MORDO & KAECILIUS

MARVEL MINIMATES

When Doctor Strange was still in production and most of what we had was cast list, there was a lot of confusion about who exactly would be the film’s antagonist.  Mordo, one of Strange’s usual foes, had been cast, but Marvel was reporting he would be on the side of good this time.  Mads Mickelson had been cast, but as who?  Everything seemed to point to either Dormamu or Nightmare, since those are really the only two other foes anyone’s ever heard of.  So, it was a bit of a surprise when Mickelson was revealed to be playing Kaecilius, a rather minor character from the comics.  Ultimately, while he’s certainly a driving force in the film, Kaecilius takes the back seat to….pretty much every one else in the film.  He didn’t get picked up for either the Marvel Legends or Marvel Select tie-ins for the film, but fortunately Minimates can offer a more rounded cast, so he did show up there, alongside Mordo.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Mordo and Kaecilius are the second of the two sets shared between Series 70 of Marvel Minimates and the TRU-exclusive tie-in series for the movie.  They’re easily the oddest pairing in the assortment.  They are in some scenes together, but I don’t believe these two ever directly interact in the film.  I guess they’re a case of pairing the spares in the assortment.

MORDO

Mordo was definitely my favorite part of the movie, and clearly had a decent following, so it’s my guess that he’s meant to be this particular set’s hook.  The figure is built on the usual ‘mate body, and so he has all the standard articulation and is about 2 1/4 inches in height. He uses add-ons for his hair and skirt.  The hair is a re-use of TWD’s Battle-Damaged Tyrese, and it’s a pretty good fit for Mordo’s on-screen appearance.  The skirt is a new piece, ad it matches up pretty well with the design from he movie, as well as fitting in stylistically with the sculpted pieces from Strange.  I do wish it sat a little more flush with the upper torso, but that’s a minor complaint.  The paint work on Mordo is quite expertly handled.  The base color work is all pretty good; he doesn’t seem to have been brightened up like the others, but that’s okay for him.  The details are really top notch.  He’s got the appropriate scars on his face, and the slightest bit of stubble.  I don’t know that he’s the spitting image of Ejiofor, but he’s close enough that you can more or less make out who he’s supposed to be.  The most impressive paint work is definitely not he torso, which has a ton of really ornate work, on both the front and the back no less.  Mordo’s only accessory is a clear display stand.  It’s too bad he didn’t also get his staff.  The inaccuracy of the one included with the Hasbro figure and the total omission here leads me to believe it wasn’t included in the material sent to licensors.

KAECILIUS

Here he is!  The bland guy himself!  Okay, that’s not really fair.  Kaecilius was perfectly entertaining, and Mads Mickelson turned in a pretty great performance in the role.  But he really was rather secondary, wasn’t he?  Anyway, like Mordo, he’s build on the standard body.  He uses  add-ons for his hair and skirt.  Both pieces are new to this figure, and do a reasonable job of capturing Kaecilius’s look from the movie.  The skirt is a little on the soft side, but not horribly so.  The paint work on Kaecilius is okay, but probably the weakest in the series.  There’s a fair bit of slop on the base color work, which is rather frustrating.  The worst of it seems to be on the skirt, which doesn’t help the already present issues with the softness of the sculpt.  The detail lines are all pretty clean, and they sum up his look pretty well, but they feel a bit simplistic when compared to the really fine level of details seen on Mordo and Strange.  The basic head presents a decent enough likeness of Mickelson, but is rather bland.  There’s an alternate “powered” head, which helps to make him a little more exciting.  The details around the eyes are nice and sharp, and do a nice job of capturing the cracked skin as it looks on screen.  In addition to the extra head, he’s also got the standard display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like yesterday’s set, these two were a Valentine’s Day present from Super Awesome Girlfriend.  While Mordo’s probably my favorite ‘mate in the series, Kaecilius is definitely the weakest figure included.  He’s just rather bland, and lacks the really solid execution like we saw on the Ancient One.  Still, it’s not a bad set, and accents yesterday’s pair quite well!

#1244: Doctor Strange & Ancient One

DOCTOR STRANGE & THE ANCIENT ONE

MARVEL MINIMATES

Not gonna lie, I’ve kind of fallen behind with Minimates.  I used to pick them up as soon as they were released, but now I sort of grab them as I remember and have the available funds.  One set I totally missed when it hit was the tie-in stuff for Doctor Strange, which I’m finally getting around to picking up now.  Today, I’ll be taking a look at the title character and his mentor, the Ancient One!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Strange and the Ancient One were one of the cross-over sets for the Doctor Strange ‘mates, and as such were shared between the TRU-Doctor Strange assortment and Series 70 of the main line of Marvel Minimates.  Both figures are based on their looks from the Doctor Strange movie.

DOCTOR STRANGE

First up is the movie’s main character, Doctor Stephen Strange!  Stephen had a number of looks over the course of the movie, most of which found their way into ‘mate form, but this one is based on his primary look.  The figure is built on the standard ‘mate body, so he’s about 2 1/2 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  The legs are rather restricted by the skirt piece, but his movement is otherwise pretty good.  Strange uses add-on pieces for his hair, cape, and skirt piece, all of which are new to this figure.  The pieces are quite nicely rendered; they preserve all the important details, while still keeping it simple enough that the ‘mate aesthetic is preserved.  The rest of the work is handled via paint, which is also quite nicely handled.  It does seem they’ve brightened his color palette ever so slightly, but I can’t say that really bugs me.  Apart from that, there’s a lot of really sharp detail work.  Most of it’s on the face and torso, but there’s also fully detailed boots on the legs, and they’ve even included his scars on the backs of his hands.  The hand thing in particular really impressed me, since that’s the sort of thing that is easy to miss, but very key to the character.  Strange is packed with a pair of extra hands with magic effects attached, which make for some very fun posing opportunities, as well as the standard clear display stand.

THE ANCIENT ONE

The Ancient One is another in the long line of expendable mentors in superhero origin stories (okay, it’s not just superhero origins, as one Obi Wan Kenobi will attest).  It’s a role that can sort of be on the shallow side, but I felt Doctor Strange’s portrayal of the Ancient One made for a pretty intriguing character, and one I’m quite happy to have a figure of.  Like Strange, she’s built on the standard ‘mate body.  She has the poofy upper arm pieces (first introduced on Series 29’s 90s Storm) to denote her robes, as well as a long skirt add-on and a hood (borrowed from Spider-Gwen).  The pieces aren’t exactly a perfect recreation of the Ancient One’s garb from the movie, but it’s pretty clear that one figure in this series really needed to just be parts re-use and the Ancient One was close enough to work.  And, in that respect, she’s perfectly fine.  Obviously for her, the pain carries a lot more of the weight.  Fortunately, it’s quite nicely done.  The robes are very cleanly defended and I really dig the bright colors.  The patterns on the front are also very nicely rendered, and keep her from being too drab.  The face looks enough like Tilda Swinton on the role that you can figure out who it’s supposed to be, which is good.  My one major complaint is that they left off the scar she had on the back of her head.  It’s pretty prominently seen at several points in the movie, and the fact that they remembered to include Strange’s hand scars makes its absence rather notable.  The Ancient One includes an extra pulled-down hood piece and the usual display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Not being in the same state as my comic book store means that I don’t spot new Minimates when they hit, and that was the case with this whole series.  I kept meaning to order it online, but just never remembered.  On Valentine’s Day, Super Awesome Girlfriend and I were out and about, and we saw the the whole set at Toys R Us.  Since she hadn’t yet gotten me anything (in her defense, we said no gifts and then I went back on it), she picked them all up for me.  This set’s probably the strongest in the series, due to the prominence of the characters included and the general construction of both figures.  If you liked the movie, this is definitely a good set to grab.