#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.

#1240: Invisible Woman

FORCE FIELD INVISIBLE WOMAN

MARVEL MINIMATES

At one point, the Fantastic Four were the premier characters at Marvel.  They’re the whole reason for the modern Marvel universe’s existence, and were a central piece of said universe for almost 50 years.  Unfortunately, the fact that the film license for the characters lies with 20th Century Fox has made the characters very difficult to use in Marvel’s current structure, which is very reliant on movie momentum to keep things going.  This, plus a less than stellar relationship with Fox and the fact that the Four don’t have the same selling power as Spider-Man and the X-Men, has led to Marvel’s first family and all associated characters being absent from pretty much all Marvel merchandise for quite a few years, which is a real shame.  Before it all fell apart, the FF were the main source of one of my all-time favorite assortments of Marvel Minimates, which is where today’s version of the Invisible Woman hails from.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Force Field Invisible Woman was released alongside the Moloid (previously reviewed here) in Series 48 of Marvel Minimates.  Sue was the heavier-packed regular release to Alicia’s short-packed variant release.  She, like the rest of the team in this series, is based on her appearance during John Byrne’s lengthy run on the title in the ‘80s, which just so happens to be my favorite set of costumes for the team (in no small part due to the presence of the designs in the ‘90s cartoon, which served as my main introduction to the characters.)  The figure stands about 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  She’s built on the standard body, with an add-on piece for her hair.  It’s a new piece, and it does a reasonable enough job of capturing Sue’s standard look, from early in Byrne’s run and any time an artist other than Byrne depicted this design.  Seems odd that they sculpted an all-new piece, since there were several that probably would have worked fine, but I’m not complaining.  She also has an alternate hairpiece, based on the mullet she was sporting for while during Byrne’s run.  Not my preferred look for her, but it was a look she had for a good long while in the costume, so it’s good DST didn’t leave it out.  The paint on Sue is about what you’d expect from a modern ‘mate.  The details are nice and clean, and the colors are a pretty decent match for the comics.  If we’re getting picky, the shadows should be black, not dark blue, since Byrne has stated many times that the costumes weren’t actually blue.  However, it’s dark enough that it’s still passable.  Sue is packed with two sets of arms and legs: solid colors and partially transparent, simulating her powers.  She also includes a stand made up to look like the beginnings of an invisible shield, which is a really fun piece. 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This whole series was one of my most anticipated releases of Minimates at the time, so I made it a point of going to Cosmic Comix the day they were released to pick them up.  I’ve got other Invisible Woman ‘mates, but this one’s my favorite.  The costume choice is great, and the extras are, well, they’re just fantastic.  Which is very appropriate, is it not?

#1230: Hulkbuster Iron Man

HULKBUSTER IRON MAN

MARVEL MINIMATES

hulkbusterimmate1

One of the cool things about Iron Man (and one of the most toyline-friendly things about Iron Man, as well) is the ability for creators to come up with story or mission-specific armors to suit whatever needs they had.  In the ‘90s, this came to a head with the Modular Armor (probably my personal favorite Iron Man armor), which was by design meant to allow for customization via armor add-ons.  While many of the derivations of the Modular Armor were rather short-lived, the Hulkbuster armor (first debuting in Iron Man #304) was a favorite of just about everyone.  Since it’s introduction in the ‘90s, there have been  no less than three updates to the design, and it’s made its way into just about every Iron Man toyline, and most forms of media.  So far, it’s made four appearances as a Minimate, and today I’ll be taking a look at the first of those.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

hulkbusterimmate2Hulkbuster Iron Man was released in the seventh TRU-exclusive series of Marvel Minimates, as part of a two-pack with Gamma Hulk.  The set was timed to coincide with the release of Series 36 of the specialty line, which was a comic-based assortment, itself designed to tie-in with the release of Iron Man 2 that summer.  The figure is built on the standard ‘mate body, but with the add-ons, he comes close to 3 inches tall and he has 12 points of articulation.  The armor is based on the second iteration of the Hulkbuster, from around the time of the “Extremis” arc, which is a popular choice for Hulbuster figures (and it was the one DST chose for their Marvel Select Hulkbuster as well).  It’s not my favorite Hulkbuster design, but it’s far from a bad one, and it was still more or less current at the time of the ‘mate’s release.  The figure uses add-ons for the helmet/torso, pelvis, hands, thighs, and boots.  All of these pieces were new to this particular figure, but they’ve been privy to reuse in subsequent years.  The best work is definitely in the hands and feet, which are pitch-perfect recreations of the comic design, and exhibit some really great mechanical detailing.  The rest of the pieces are pretty decent too, and I quite like the flip-up helmet piece on the torso.  Of course, it’s at the cost of some of the detail on the faceplate, but it’s not an awful amount of loss.  The paintwork on the figure is passable; it’s from just after the move to make most Iron Man ‘mates all metallic, which means there were still some lessons to be learned.  Namely, the gold is the sort of paint that doesn’t hold up very well to the test of time, which is why my figure looks really worn down.  Still, the red’s pretty nice, and the finish is really clean (also, while the boots look like a different color in the photos, they don’t look that way in person).  Under the torso armor, ther’s a fully detailed torso and head, made up to look like the Extremis armor, which is a pretty cool touch. 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Hulkbuster (and his pack ‘mate) was the last set of Minimates I ever bought from what was my local Toys R Us growing up.  I happened to stop in on my way home from work, and found the set.  It was only upon the cashier ringing the set up and applying a discount and sharpie-ing an “x” across the UPC that I realized the store was in the midst of closing down. It was kind of a sobering concept.  Of course, a month after they closed, another TRU opened right across the street, so it was something of an exercise in futility, so whatever.  I ended up giving the Gamma Hulk to my brother (since he’s a big Hulk fan), and keeping this guy for myself.  He hasn’t perhaps aged the best, but he was a pretty cool ‘mate for the time, and is still a solid ‘mate overall.

#1228: Squirrel Girl & Jet-Pack Spider-Man

SQUIRREL GIRL & JET-PACK SPIDER-MAN

MARVEL MINIMATES

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Squirrel Girl?  They made a Squirrel Girl?  Like, for real?  That’s awesome!  Now, for those of you wondering “who’s Squirrel Girl?,” let me ‘splain: Squirrel Girl is a minor character from the ‘90s, created by Will Murray and Spider-Man co-creator Steve Ditko.  In her very first appearance, she teamed up with Iron Man to defeat Dr. Doom.  Defeating Doom gave her something of a jokingly legendary status in the comics, and over the years, there was a running gag where she would reference beating some other infamous foe off-screen.  She was eventually added to the Great Lakes Avengers during Dan Slott’s mini-series in the mid-00s, which kind of cemented her status as a fan-favorite.  Since then, she’s bobbed around in the background of the Marvel universe, before eventually picking up her own series in 2014.  More recently, she’s cropped up in the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon, which has netted her a Minimate, half the subject of today’s review!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Squirrel Girl and Jet-Pack Spider-Man are part of Series 3 of Walgreens’ exclusive line of Marvel Minimates.  Due to the slightly odd numbering scheme of the Walgreens assortments, this actually makes it the fifth series released, but whatever.  Squirrel Girl was granted her spot in this set thanks to an online fan poll, of which she and Man-Thing were the winners.  Spider-Man was granted his spot because he’s Spider-Man.  He does what he wants.  Both figures in this set are based on their appearances in the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon.

SQUIRREL GIRL

spideysquirrelgirl2This marks not only Squirrel Girl’s debut as a Minimate,  but also as an action figure in general.  As noted above, the figure is based on her animated design, which is itself a pretty straight adaptation of her comic design from GLA until around the time of her solo series.  It’s a pretty classic look, following all of the various comic book super hero conventions.  The figure is built on the standard Minimate body, with add-ons for her hair and her belt/tail.  Both add-on pieces look to be new to this particular figure, and they suit the character pretty well.  Some characters look a little lacking on the animated-style ‘mates, but I think Squirrel Girl is one of those that actually fits with the style a bit more.  It helps that her paintwork is really sharp.  The colors are remarkably vibrant for just being grey and brown, and all of the detail lines are really crisp.  She’s sporting a somewhat goofy grin, which is really the only expression a Squirrel Girl figure should ever have.  I also appreciate the shading, especially on the torso, which helps keep her from looking too blocky (I mean, yeah, she’s a block figure, but still…).  She’s missing a few of the seams on her arms and legs, but those are minor enough details that I don’t feel it really holds the figure back.  I’d chalk it up to simplifying the design for translation to the ‘mate aesthetic.  Squirrel Girl is packed with her three squirrels (Monkey Joe, Tippy Toe, and Mr. Lieberman.  Monkey Joe and Tippy Toe are from the comics, but it looks like Mr. Lieberman was added to bring the total up to three, for whatever reason), as well as a pair of burritos (apparently from an episode of the show), and a clear display stand.  The stand is more essential here than usual, thanks to the tail making it virtually impossible to keep her standing on her own. 

JET-PACK SPIDER-MAN

spideysquirrelgirl3So far, every Ultimate Spider-Man pack has has its requisite Spider-variant, and this set’s no exception.  You can sort of see them starting to reach with this one.  He’s pretty much just a basic Spider-Man, but with an extra accessory.  I suppose there have been worse variants.  The figure is built on the standard body, with the addition of the aforementioned jet-pack, which is an add-on piece.  The actual pack is the same one used for both Hope Summers and the Age of Ultron Nick Fury, but the straps are new to this particular figure.  I liked the jet-pack the first time I reviewed it, and it’s still pretty cool here, and the new straps actually make it nicely versatile.  The rest of the details are handled via paint, which is pretty decent overall.  He’s still exhibiting the slight bleed through issue on his eyes, which has been present on most of the recent Spider-Men.  That’s a bit annoying, but it’s less present here than on some of the other examples.  The rest of the paint is pretty clean, and replicates the look from the show, so I guess that’s pretty good.  Spider-Man was packed with a blast-off base that plugs into the jet-pack, a thumbs up hand (re-used from Buddy Christ), an extra surprised head, and a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve not had much luck finding these sets at any of the local Walgreens, so I had to call on the help of my family to track them down for me.  My dad ended up finding this set for me a few weeks ago, which was very nice of him.  The Spider-Man I can kind of take or leave, but I’m really enthused to have a Squirrel Girl finally.  She’s definitely worth the cost of the set!

#1222: Havok & Storm

HAVOK & STORM

MARVEL MINIMATES

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Hey, it’s been a month since I reviewed any Minimates.  That’s statistically too long a period given the make-up of my collection.  Guess I better review some more.  Today, I once again turn the Marvel license, looking at some comic-themed ‘mates (a bit of a rarity these days), based on more classic designs no-less!  So, let’s dive head-in and take a look at Havok and Storm!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Havok and Storm were released in the 14th series of TRU-exclusive Marvel Minimates.  This pair in particular was designed to complete the Outback X-Men line-up released in Series 47 of the main line, which hit right around the same time.  Why they chose to pack these two together is anyone’s guess, since it’s not like Havok and Storm have a lot of history, but I’m not really going to complain.

HAVOK

havokstormmm2This marked Havok’s third entry as a Minimate, and his second comic-based ‘mate.  He’s more or less wearing the same costume as his first comic ‘mate, though if you want to get *really* technical, that ‘mate was in his ‘60s costume and this one is in his ‘80s one.  Not a lot of differences, but they’re there.  Also, it had been almost a decade at this point since his first ‘mate’s release, which would have made completing the team a bit difficult for newer collectors.  The figure is built on the usual ‘mate body, so he’s about 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  He’s got one add-on piece for his mask, which is a separate piece this time, as opposed to being just painted on.  I like the sculpted design a bit better, and I also appreciate that they’ve gone for the slightly more splayed design of the antenna he was sporting in the ‘80s, thereby making him more specific to this team line-up.  In terms of paint, he’s a step-up from his predecessor in some ways, but a step down in some others.  The mask is rather on the sloppy side, which is frustrating.  Also, he’s saddled with a screaming expression again, although at least this time you can swap out the head under the mask for a calmer one for another ‘mate if you want (I find that the Series 38 Iron Fist works pretty well).  The added muscle detailing on the torso and legs is definitely nice, as is the clean detailing his energy tracker on his torso.  I do somewhat miss the printed energy detailing of the last figure, but the accessories make up for that.  He included a brand-new effect piece to simulate his powers, which is the same piece that would be modded to be Banshee’s scream effect.  He also includes a spare hair piece for an unmasked look.  He does NOT include the pictured display stand; I just forgot that wasn’t always a standard piece when I was taking this picture.

STORM

havokstormmm3As much as I love Havok, there’s no denying that this set’s heavy hitter is Storm.  This marked Storm’s seventh time as a ‘mate.  Unlike Havok, this isn’t a repeat of an earlier design, although it shares a few design elements with a few prior ‘mates.  This is her post mohawk look, but her pre-90s-shoulder pads look.  It doesn’t quite have the staying power of a lot her designs, but it’s decent enough, and shown up in a few toy lines over the years.  The figure uses add-ons for her hair, glove cuffs, and cape.  The cuffs are re-used from Battle-Damaged Spirit, but the rest of the pieces were new.  Both pieces are decent enough.  The hair doesn’t have the ears sculpted like most ‘mate hair pieces, which is a little odd, but it’s otherwise pretty solid.  The cape is okay, but seems a little on the stiff side.  In terms of paint, she’s not bad.  The glossy sheen on the black is a nice touch, and I like the bright grey detail lines.  The gold could probably stand out a bit more, and the skin tone could do with a more organic hue, but the application’s all pretty great.  Storm includes a pair of electricity effect pieces (the same ones included with six of her other ‘mates), as well as a flight stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Okay, so Havok’s one of my favorite X-Men, so as soon as these figures hit, I made it a point to get this set.  I ordered them from TRU’s online store, which, as with most of the times I’ve done so, was quite an ordeal.  Of note, neither they, nor the other set I ordered (Heather Hudson & Box, for those who are curious) was actually listed under their name, instead being given the generic title of “Marvel Minimates 14: Figure.”  Fortunately, a kind soul over at the Minimate Multiverse provided the group with the SKUs, so I was able to determine which set I was ordering that way.  Havok is awesome.  A definite improvement over the prior release.  Storm is alright; hardly my go-to version of the character, but a solid ‘mate nonetheless.