#1385: Raza

RAZA

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“His body rebuilt as a cyborg after a near-fatal accident, the freebooting swashbuckler Raza travels the galaxy in the company of the star-spanning Starjammers, lending his sword and his courage to any battle for freedom and justice!”

The sheer character depth of Toy Biz’s ’90s X-Men line is perhaps its greatest strength.  They took full advantage of the popularity of the X-Men in the ’90s and used that to produce a very large chunk of the major and minor players in the franchise.  Even slightly older characters and groups eventually found their way into plastic form.  One of my favorite teams represented was the Starjammers, the group of space pirates introduced during the Phoenix Saga.  Today, I’ll be looking at one of the more minor Starjammers, Raza!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Raza was released in Series 7 of the X-Men line.  Believe it or not, along with Ch’od, Raza was the first appearance of the Starjammers in this line.  The figure stands a little over 5 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation.  The sculpt was unique to this figure, and patterned on Dave Cockrum’s illustrations of Raza from the comics.  It’s an okay sculpt; it’s overall decent, but definitely not without issues.  A lot of the issues are to do with posing.  Raza’s pose is a little odd.  He’s a bit pigeon-toed, and his shoulders are oddly thrown back.  And, for whatever reason, his right hand has his palm facing forward.  In addition, the articulation, especially at the shoulders, isn’t well worked into the sculpt at all.  On the plus side, he does fit in pretty well with the rest of the line overall, and there’s plenty of solid work, especially on his head, which really capture’s Raza’s distinctive look.  In terms of paint, he’s pretty decent.  The colors match his colors from the comics, and the application is all pretty clean.  The colors are also nice and vibrant, which is always a nice thing.  Raza was packed with a sword and a pistol, both of which fit quite nicely in his hands (though it’s a shame his right hand doesn’t have an extended trigger finger) and stay pretty well put.  There’s also an action feature, where his arms rock back and forth at the shoulders.  It’s kind of hard to explain, and I’m not 100% sure what it’s supposed to do…

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When I was growing up, my Dad had a Raza figure.  I always thought he was pretty cool.  I almost bought one of my own numerous times over the years, but never got around to it.  In actuality, I kept thinking I already had him for whatever reason.  After verifying I definitely didn’t have him, I eventually ended up getting him at the Dave Hart Toy Show in Timmonium, just about a month ago.  He’s not one of the star figures from this line, but he’s still pretty nifty.  At least he’s better than Ahab, right?

#1348: Dash Rendar

DASH RENDAR

STAR WARS: SHADOWS OF THE EMPIRE (KENNER)

“In all the galaxy there are few who can fly and shoot like Dash Rendar. Many years ago, as a cadet at the Imperial Acadmey, he continually impressed his superiors with the ability to push vessels beyond their usual limits, executing maneuvers his ships were never meant to perform. He held great promise as a future Imperial officer until a freight vessel piloted by his brother malfunctioned and crashed on Coruscant, destroying a private museum that housed many of the Emperor’s treasures. Though the mishap was not the pilot’s fault, the Emperor banished Rendar’s family and had Dash expelled from the academy. Given his bold disregard for regulation and arrogant confidence, it is doubtful that Dash would have fit in well within the ranks of the Empire anyway. He never hesitates to boast of his skills as an expert pilot and gunner. After his dismissal from the academy, he began a career as a thief and gambler, but soon discovered that his exceptional flying skills were a great asset in the smuggling business. He quickly became very successful, making his services expensive but guaranteed for the right price.”

That is a lot of bio right there.  And it’s especially long for a character who could best be summed up as “Han Solo for that one story where they needed Han Solo, but he was all frozen and stuff.”  That’s my official bio for him, anyway.  Dash is one of the earliest examples of a wholly Expanded Universe character appearing in a Star Wars toyline (he and Prince Xizor, from the same story, appeared at the same time), which is actually pretty nifty.  Sadly, that’s the only time he’s ever gotten a figure, but at least he got the one, meaning that I can review it here today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Dash Rendar was released in the first and only series of Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire, a spin-off of Kenner’s Power of the Force II line.  The figure stands a little over 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  Dash has a unique sculpt, which was based on a number of Dash’s various designs.  Yes, as a totally non-film character, Dash didn’t have one particular design, just more of a general set of generally consistent elements.  He’s got the armor and the padded jumpsuit, which showed up just about everywhere.  He’s also got long sleeves, which kind of look to be unique to this figure; most depictions of him were bare-armed.  To be fair, the sleeves make him fit in a little better with the rest of the Star Wars characters.  In general, Dash’s design really is Han Solo if Han Solo had been designed by a comic book artist in the ‘90s, which is to say he’s a little ridiculous and over-designed.  On the plus side, the slightly exaggerated proportions and pose that most of the PotF2 figures had is right at home with Dash’s uber ‘90s design, which does make him a little more consistent as a whole.  In general, there’s some pretty solid work on Dash’s sculpt.  There’s a lot of fine detail work that you didn’t usually see on figures of this vintage.  Dash’s paint work is pretty decent as well.  The colors are slightly garish, but that fits the character, and at the very least the application’s all really sharp.  The figure was packed with two blasters, one large and one small.  There’s also a back pack, with a little arm that can attach to the larger blaster.  You know, for….reasons.  I don’t know *what* reasons, but I’m sure there are some.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t have this Dash figure growing up (though I *did* have his Micro Machine), but I always kind of wanted one.  Of course, since he was the only truly unique figure in the set, he was a little more scarce than the other figures.  I’ve been on the look out for him for a little while, and I ended up finding him at Pop Culture Exchange in Omaha, while on my way back home from Seattle.  Sure, he’s super, super ‘90s, but that’s kind of the best thing about him.  Guess I’m gonna have to get the Outrider for him to pilot now.  Oh darn.

#1346: Ziv Zulander

ZIV ZULANDER

THE BOTS MASTER (TOY BIZ)

“Ziv Zulander – ZZ for short – created the CORP’s best selling bot, the 3A. But when he discovered the CORP was going to use his invention to enslave the world, he knew the only hope was to lead the BOYZZ – his own intelligent bots – in a war against the CORP! The struggle will be hard-fought, but armed with his quick-assembly laser cannon and laser-firing helmet, ZZ’s sure to show the CORP there’s only one BOTS MASTER!”

Bots Master?  What the heck is Bots Master? Well, The Bots Master is a 1993 cartoon series, produced by Jean Chalopin—Okay, sorry, sorry, that’s just the opening of the Wikipedia entry on the series.  I actually don’t really know what it is, beyond that Wikipedia page.  But, Toy Biz made the toys and I have one of them, so I guess I’m gonna be talking about The Bots Master today.  This should be amusing.  So, without further ado, let’s look at Ziv Zulander (no relation to Derek)!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ziv Zulander (or, as my brother likes to call him, Zed-iv Zed-ulander) was released in the basic assortment of Toy Biz’s The Bots Master line.  He is presumably based on Ziv’s look from the show, but I don’t really know for certain.  The figure stands about 5 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation.  This guy’s sculpt is definitely dated, but shows the typical signs of a Toy Biz sculpt from this time period.  He is very much at home with the first few series of X-Men and X-Force figures.  In fact, he’s so at home that I spent a fair bit of time trying to determine if he shared any parts with those lines.  It appears that he’s a unique sculpt, though.  It’s not terrible; the basic proportions are all pretty well balanced, and he’s got some interesting details here and there.  He also uses some of the strange connectors like we saw on the Iron Man figures, which is a little odd looking when he doesn’t have all of his armor and such, but it’s not really that odd when next to the other figures.  The sculpt does definitely have some other oddities to it; he’s really rigid and uptight looking.  Also, the face looks…I’m not quite sure…like, what’s going on with his facial expression?  Is he happy?  Annoyed?  Gas-y?  I don’t really know.  It’s not the greatest.  I mean, it’s not the worst, either, so there’s that.  He’s definitely a bit awkward looking, though.  The paint on this guy is pretty solid for the time; it’s clean and bright and generally pretty solidly applied.  It hasn’t held up the best over the years, but it’s better than some other figures I’ve seen.  Ziv originally included a bunch of armor pieces, as well as an actual pair of 3D glasses meant to be worn during the cartoon’s “3D” sequences.  Mine didn’t have any of that stuff, though. 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Okay, so if I don’t know anything about The Bots Master, then why do I have a figure of the show’s main character? Well, it’s very simple: I have a condition.  Okay, no, seriously, what happened was I found him at Bobakhan Toys, and he was packed with a Toy Biz Havok (a figure that I will buy literally every time I see it).  The pair of them were $2, and I was admittedly curious about what the heck this was, so I bought it.  He’s definitely an old Toy Biz figure, and minus the nostalgic twinge or being a character I actually care about, he’s not anything spectacular.  Still, for $1, he’s entertaining enough.

#1236: Aztek

AZTEK

JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED (MATTEL)

As much as I talk down on Mattel, it should be noted that I still hold some of the stuff they’ve done in pretty high esteem.  In particular, their run on the Justice League Unlimited line, while far from perfect, did get us a whole lot of minor DC characters who would have never seen toys any other way.  Such is the case with Aztek, a character from the ‘90s who never really took off, but has always had a pretty steady fanbase.  He made a few brief appearances in JLU, and it was enough to net him a figure, which I’ll be looking at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Aztek was initially released in the second series of three-packs from Mattel’s Justice League Unlimited line, where he was packed with Superman and Sinestro.  Why those two?  Your guess is as good as mine.  It’s worth noting that the packaging for this set incorrectly listed his name as “Aztec,” which is the name of the civilization, not the character.  Good research there Matty.  Aztek was later released single-carded, and his name was correct there, so I guess they learned.  The figure stands about 4 3/4 inches tall and has the usual 5 points of articulation.  He was built on the medium-sized male body (a retooled Green Lantern mold), with a unique head and arms, as well as the legs of Red Tornado and an add-on for his chest piece.  The new pieces were all pretty solid work.  The head’s sort of stuck looking a bit up all the time, but I suppose there are worse things.  The add-on for the torso lines up surprisingly well with the sculpted shoulder pads of the arms, so that’s actually pretty cool, as are the details on the gauntlets.  The paintwork on Aztek is decent.  It was a bit better when he was still brand new, as he’s plagued by the same issue that so many gold-painted figures from this era tend to be plagued by.  At one point, his shoulders matched with the torso, but no longer.  I’m still iffy on the whole concept of metallic colors on the animated figures at all, but I guess it is what it is.  Aztek included no accessories (unless you count the other two figures in the set), as was the norm with figures in the three-packs.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up Aztek (and his pack-mates) back when he was new.  I believe I found him at a Walmart outside of Dewey Beach, while on a brief weekend trip with my family.  I was a pretty big collector of the line at the time, so I was pretty pumped to have found the set in stores, especially after the rarity of most of the first series three-packs.  Ultimately, I don’t know much about Aztek or have a ton of attachment to him, but this figure’s decent enough, and is on par with JLU when it was at its best.

#1215: Silver Surfer

SILVER SURFER

MARVEL LEGENDS (TOY BIZ)

surferml1

Didn’t I just review a Toy Biz Marvel Legends figure?  Man, usually I’m better about spacing this sorts of things out.  Ah well.  Well, the last review looked at a figure from towards the end of Toy Biz’s run; today’s review jumps back a bit, looking at the line’s second year.  So, without further ado, here’s Silver Surfer!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

surferml2Silver Surfer was released in Series 5 of Marvel Legends, which hit stores starting in November of 2003.  Series 5 is easily one of my favorite series from TB’s run with the line, and in a lot of ways showcased the line’s true potential.  It was also the last series where just about every figure was easily obtained, and thus the last series I have un-compromised memories about.  Anyway, this figure stands just over 6 inches tall and he has 40 points of articulation.  Surfer exhibits one of the earliest attempts at using a buck system for Legends.  He was built on the body initially designed for the second Spider-Man Classics Daredevil figure.  I always thought the body was too beefy for DD, but it’s not a bad choice for the Surfer.  It’s a sculpt that, like so many of the TB Legends, hasn’t aged super well.  The shoulders are a bit large, and the legs are somewhat gangly, but the general appearance isn’t awful.  My figure suffers from a minor assembly error: his left forearm is actually a right forearm, just flipped around, meaning the musculature doesn’t quite line up the right way.  Nothing major, but a slight annoyance.  The head sculpt on Surfer is fairly decent.  It’s stylistically consistent with the body, and presents a pretty reasonable version of the Surfer’s noggin.  It’s a little more alien than he tends to be depicted, and certainly on the cartoony side, but a fun sculpt nonetheless.  The Surfer exhibits some of the finer paintwork from TB’s Legends.  It may not seem like much at first glance, but there’s a really nice quality to the silver paint chosen; it’s much more vibrant and lively than the silvers you tend to see on production pieces.  There’s also the slightest hint of blue, airbrushed over the figure, which really helps connect him with the comics version of the Surfer, who was often highlighted with blue.  Over the years, various Silver Surfer figures have handled his titular surfboard all sorts of different ways.  This is probably one of the more interesting ones.  There’s a magnet in each foot, and the core section of the board is metal.  In theory, this allows you to affix him to the board while also leaving it without any visible footpegs when he’s not standing on it.  Of course, since molding the whole board in metal would be cost prohibitive, they had to sort of split the difference, and give the board a plastic frame, which doesn’t quite mesh with the metal section, and sort of messes up the whole seamlessness of the board.  Still, fun gimmick, though.  There was also an included chunk of space rock with an articulated arm attached, allowing for the board to be posed as if it were flying.  Perhaps the oddest accessory included with Surfer (and maybe even one of the oddest accessories of all time) is the Howard the Duck figure.  As far as I know, Howard and the Surfer have never met, so why they chose to pair these two up is anyone’s guess.  Nevertheless, it’s a proper action figure of its own, with four whole points of articulation, and an incredibly well-detailed sculpt that looks like it jumped straight out of a classic ‘70s Howard comic appearance. 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

It’s Disney’s fault.  No, not because they own Marvel.  They didn’t yet when this figure was released.  Anyway, I got this figure while visiting Disney World back in 2003.  Series 5 had just started hitting stores, and my family went to the nearby Walmart to pick up a few things.  My dad and I walked back to the toy aisle (as we do), and they had a Nick Fury and two Silver Surfers.  I wanted one of the Surfers, but my dad convinced me to wait.  Later that week, we needed to stop by again for batteries I think.  My dad went in on his own, and when he got back to the car, he was carrying this guy.  Turns out, he walked back to the toy aisle to check if they still had these, and when he got there they were all gone.  When he turned to walk back to the registers, he happened to look down and spotted this one lone Silver Surfer on the ground.  This figure’s not perfect, but he’s one of the better Surfer figures out there, even 13 years after his release.

#1173: Sidon Ithano & First Mate Quiggold

SIDON ITHANO & FIRST MATE QUIGGOLD

STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS

sidonianthoquagley1

Would you look at that?  I’ve made it through a whole week of post-Christmas reviews!  Go me!  For day 7, I’m going back to that galaxy far, far away.  You know what the backbone of Star Wars merchandise is?  You might think it’s Darth Vader, or Stormtroopers, or even R2-D2 or C-3PO, but you’d be wrong.  No, the actual backbone, the thing that’s kept the franchise afloat with a near endless supply of tiny action figures is all of the split-second appearance, no-name characters peppered in to fill out the backgrounds of scenes.  Need to fill a slot in a wave of figures?  Here’s Willrow Hood!  Worried the boxed set doesn’t offer anything new?  How about Snaggletooth?  Need something unique?  Elephant Mon, anyone? Heck, people will spend good money to get a complete set of the bounty hunters from Empire, despite the fact that most of them only appear in that one single scene and only one of them gets even a single line of dialogue.  That’s commitment from the fanbase right there.  Of course, as the prices of oil have risen, these obscure figures are getting fewer and further between.  Fortunately, The Force Awakens provided a great new selection of background characters, which Hasbro in turn took advantage of in order to get some fun new action figures.  Two such characters were Sidon Ithano and his first mate Quiggold, who I’ll be looking at today.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Ithano and Quiggold were released in the second series of two-packs from the Star Wars: The Force Awakens line.

SIDON ITHANO

sidonianthoquagley3Sidon Ithano is the captain of the Meson Martinet, the ship Finn almost transfers to prior to Rey’s capture by the First Order.  That’s pretty much his whole character (okay, not entirely true; like almost every background Star Wars character, he’s got a whole elaborate backstory, which most people will never know).  He was playable in a side mission in Lego The Force Awakens, which is how I became familiar with him.  His figure stands about 4 inches tall and has the standard 5 points of articulation.  The sculpt is unique to this figure, and is quite impressively rendered.  The helmet is nice and clean, with lots of really sharp lines, and his clothing sports some incredible texture work, which really makes him stand out. Easily one of the best sculpts from the smaller Force Awakens line.  Ithano’s paintwork is fairly straight forward.  The application is pretty clean, and the basic colors seem to match up pretty well with what’s seen in the movie.  The color scheme is also rather on the unique side of things, which adds a nice bright splash of color to the shelf.  Ithano is packed with a blaster rifle…for all you blaster rifle needs?  It’s a cool design, I guess.

FIRST MATE QUIGGOLD

sidonianthoquagley2What good is a captain without his trusty first mate?  I don’t know.  I guess it depends on the quality of the captain, and, by extension, the quality of the first mate.  So, there’s like, a lot of potential variance there I suppose.  Anyway, here’s Quiggold, who’s a guy who gets just as much screen time as the last guy.  He’s also playable in the same Lego game level, where he gets a cool mini gun thing.  So that’s fun.  The figure stands about 3 3/4 inches tall and has 4 points of articulation.  Where Ithano is tall and lean, Quiggold is short and squat.  The figure’s sculpt does a pretty solid job of conveying his design from the movie.  He looks suitably like a big puppet (which is pretty much what he was) and the details on his skin and clothing are quite nicely rendered.  I wouldn’t mind if he had some more texturing here and there, but he’s certainly reasonable for the scale.  The paintwork on Quiggold is okay, if maybe ever so slightly imbalanced.  There’s some really great work on the face, which makes his skin look quite lifelike.  I just sort of wish the details continued onto the other exposed parts of his skin, but he’s not awful.  Quiggold includes a large missile launcher version of his big gun, which is…well, it’s not as far off as most Hasbro missile launchers, so I guess it’s got that going for it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I received these two as a Christmas present from my Super Awesome Girlfriend.  We’ve been playing through Lego The Force Awakens together, and I quite enjoyed the Crimson Corsair level.  She happened to spy these figures at retail and grabbed them for me.  I very much enjoy this pair of figures.  They’re solid renditions of solid character designs, and you can’t really ask for much more.

#0930: Waverider

WAVERIDER

JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED

Waverider1Justice League Unlimited really pulled out all the stops when it came to obscure characters.  By most accounts, anytime they had a big crowd shot of heroes, they’d populate it by letting various crew members pick their favorite characters.  The end result was a rather eclectic selection of heroes, giving a brief spotlight to some of DC’s lowest tier characters.  And, thanks to Mattel’s corresponding line of tie-in figures, a lot of them lucked into their very first action figures.  One of those lucky guys was Waverider, whose big claim to fame is being the catalyst for DC’s “Armageddon 2001,” an event that was supposed to turn Captain Atom into one of the DCU’s big bads, but ended up going with Hawk instead.  To date, Waverider’s JLU figure is the only figure he’s received, but that’s not bad for a character that hasn’t been relevant since 1991.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Waverider2Waverider was released in the second series of Justice League Unlimited three-packs from Mattel.  He was packed with Flash and Hawkgirl, who were both re-releases of their single-release Justice League figures.  He also got a single release of his own later on in the line.  The figure stands just shy of 5 inches tall and has 4 points of articulation.  Technically, there’s a joint at the neck, but the way the hair is attached renders the joint motionless.  Waverider uses the mid-sized male body (used on figures such as Starman), with a unique head.  The head and hair are two separate pieces (allowing the flames of the hair to be molded in translucent plastic).  The head is fairly generic; he’s just a fairly average-looking bald guy, but he looks about like he should.  The hair is suitably energetic, and adds a nice bit of flair to him, though it always feels like it’s about to break off.  Paint always did the heavy lifting on the JLU line, and Waverider’s not an exception.  He’s honestly a bit drab.  In the comics, Waverider was always black and a yellow-ish gold, but here the gold has been swapped out for a washed-out yellow, that just doesn’t really pop.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The first series of JLU figures was rather difficult to find, so when I found the entire second series of them (Waverider included) while on vacation, my parents very kindly bought them for me (because they’re awesome like that).  At the time, I didn’t know the character at all, so it was fun getting to figure out who he was after the fact.  He’s not the most exciting figure of all time, but I have fond memories of getting him and his series mates.

#0921: Lobo & Ambush Bug

LOBO & AMBUSH BUG

DC MINIMATES

Lobo&Ambushbug1

So, let’s talk DC Minimates.  Two weeks ago, I discussed Play Along’s use of legal loopholes to get out the first DC-based Minimates in the C3 Construction line.  That line unfortunately ended fairly abruptly, leaving a very incomplete collection of characters.  A few years down the road, DC Direct teamed up with Diamond Select Toys, creating an official line of DC Minimates, which offered a more diverse selection of characters.  Sadly, it too was short-lived, lasting only eight series before ending, once again leaving certain groups incomplete.  The diverse selection of characters ended up as both a blessing and a curse; off the wall characters were fun while the line was running, but after the fact the likes of Lobo and Ambush Bug, who I’m reviewing today, seem like wasted slots in a line that didn’t get us important members of the Justice League.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Lobo and Ambush Bug were released in the seventh series of DC Minimates.  They seem like something of an odd pairing, since I don’t believe the two of them have ever interacted.  Of course, they’re both weird, occasionally fourth wall breaking characters with a tendency to parody popular comics conventions of the time.  So, maybe they aren’t such a bad pairing.

LOBO

Lobo&Ambushbug3Lobo is, by and large, a parody of grungy 90s anti-heroes.  So, of course, he had a large fan base who missed the parody bit and took him as a straight character.  I’ve never been much for Lobo, but I did have a soft spot for his teen-spin-off Slobo, who appeared in Young Justice.  But, that’s neither here nor there; let’s talk about Lobo.  The figure is a little under 2 ½ inches tall and he has 12 points of articulation (due to his boots removing the ankle joints).  Lobo has 5 add-on pieces for his hair, vest, hook-chain-thing, and boots.  All of these parts were new to Lobo, but several of them have seen re-use since.  The parts are pretty well sculpted, and do a suitable job of bulking Lobo up a little bit.  Also, the chain on the hook is a real chain, which is a nice touch.  In general, Lobo is a good example of how great the sculpted work was on this line.  Lobo’s paintwork is fairly impressive; he’s fairly monochromatic, but there’s a lot of detailing, especially on the face and torso.  Lobo included no accessories.

AMBUSH BUG

Lobo&Ambushbug2Ambush Bug is one of the weirder characters in the DCU.  He doesn’t really belong to any particular realm of the universe, and he’s almost entirely absent from normal DCU stories, tending to reside in stories set firmly in his own corner of things.  But hey, he was played by Henry Winkler once, which is pretty cool.  Ambush Bug is mostly a vanilla ‘mate, with one small exception: the antennae on his forehead, which are glued in place.  They’re a pretty good translation of his weird antennae from the comics, so that’s good.  Other than that, everything’s done with paint.  He’s actually surprisingly detailed; DCD could have easily just done a blank green body with only detailing on the face, but Ambush Bug has small wrinkles (just like the ones he has in the comics) on just about every surface.  That’s really nice to see and keeps him from being too boring for the average fan.  I suppose they could have done him in his casual wear he’s known to wear in the comics, but this is his classic look, so it’s understandable.  Like Lobo, Ambush Bug includes no accessories.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As with every figure in the DC Minimates line, I picked these two up from Cosmic Comix on the first day they were available.  I’ll admit that I was split on this set; I love Ambush Bug way more than I should, but Lobo’s not my thing.  At the end of the day, both ‘mates are pretty awesome, for totally divergent reasons.  It might be easy to say that these two are part of the reason the line ended so early, but given that the Marvel line just released Dazzler and Howard the Duck together, it’s hard to say.

#0591: Cpl. Dietrich & Colonist Mary

DIETRICH & COLONIST

ALIENS MINIMATES

Deitrich&Mary1

There’s just one more review left from the first wave of Aliens Minimates! You might not quite realize at first glance, but this particular set is one of those rare instances of two female characters packed together. Of course, one of them is wearing heavy body armor and the other has that whole chest burster thing going on, so it might be easy to miss. Still, it’s at least a little nifty. So, let’s have a look at the Colonial Marines’ resident field medic, Cpl. Cynthia Dietrich and her pack mate, the ill-fated Mary.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These two are another set from the specialty store assortment of the first series of Aliens Minimates. This set is the short-pack of the series, which is pretty understandable, given the more obscure nature of the two figures included.

CPL. DIETRICH

Deitrich&Mary2Dietrich is one of the Marines in the film who’s easy to overlook if you aren’t paying super close attention. She’s got a few scenes of note, but she fades into the background when compared to the more cartoonish personalities of characters like Ferro or Drake. Still, the team would hardly be complete without her, so here she is. The figure stands about 2 ½ inches tall and has 12 points of articulation. Dietrich is pretty much the same as the other Marines when it comes to construction. She features the same helmet, body armor, and boots/shin guards as Weirzbowski, Hicks, and Apone. The sculpts of these pieces are just as well handled here as they were on the other figures, so no complaints there. As an added bonus, the slightly long hair visible at the back of the helmet doesn’t look quite as out of place here, which is good. The paint on Dietrich is pretty much on par with the rest of the Marines we’ve seen so far. Overall, it’s not bad, but there are a few issues here and there. The torso armor is probably the worst, with some sloppy paint on the buckles near the top and an off-center name “tag.” The camo application under the armor is essentially the same as what we saw on Hicks. The lack of camo on the backs of the legs is still a little glaring, but it is what it is. It’s nice to see that they’ve given Dietrich a different set of detail lines on her torso to indicate her gender a bit better. It seems like a given, but it would have been easy for DST to overlook it. Dietrich’s face is rather generic, though, to DST’s credit, actress Cynthia Dale Scott doesn’t have the most distinctive face either, so it’s a reasonable approximation. Cpl. Dietrich includes an alternate hair piece, a pulse rifle, and a clear display stand. The hair piece was originally used for Tomb Raider’s Roth, and it’s not one of my favorites. It seems too short on the top and too bunchy at the sides for Dietrich. I almost feel like she’d look better with something closer to what we saw with Hicks.

COLONIST MARY

Deitrich&Mary3We don’t see much of the colonists in Aliens. Heck, in the theatrical cut of the film, we really don’t see them at all, except for poor Mary here. She only speaks three words and has less than a minute of screen time, but she does an amazing job of reestablishing for the audience just how frightening the life cycle of the Xenomorphs truly is. As a result, she’s pretty darn memorable. Add in that her small part is one of the few times that Dietrich gets any sort of focus in the movie, and you’ve got a pretty great second half to this set. Mary’s construction consists of the basic Minimate body with two sculpted add-ons: a hairpiece, and a chest burster. The hair is one we’ve seen a few times before. To be truly movie accurate, it should probably look a little more wet, but it works well enough as a re-use. We first saw the chest burster piece in the Alien boxed set. It’s pretty well sculpted piece. The collar portion of it is maybe a touch on the bulky side, but it works pretty well, and does an effective job of translating the rather gory design of the film to a more mass market-friendly look. The paint is definitely a big piece of what makes Mary…Mary. She actually exhibits some of the best work from the series. Everything is applied pretty well, with no real issues with bleed over or fuzzy line work. She’s got the appropriate level of grime, and they’ve even gone the extra mile to give her a properly sickly-looking skin tone. Throw in an expression with just the right level of “I so wish I weren’t here” and you’ve got a pretty great summation of Mary from the movie. Mary’s only extra is a clear display stand. It kind of would have been nice to get some sort of bit of hive wall to have her stuck to, but that would undoubtedly have to be an all-new piece, and I imagine the budget was already pretty high on this series.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This pair is the last piece of the full set of Aliens Minimates Series 1 that I picked up from Luke’s Toy Store. Dietrich is an alright figure, but she’s not a terribly interesting one. The Marine armor is still cool, but she’s the Marine in this series with the least character, which doesn’t do her a whole lot of favors. Mary’s actually a surprisingly well put together figure. Still not super exciting, but to an Aliens geek like me, she’s actually pretty cool. To be honest, this is probably the one set in the series that most people can afford to skip. It’s not bad, but nothing here’s going to blow anyone away.

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#0533: Hellcat – Fierce Fighters

HELLCAT – FIERCE FIGHTERS

MARVEL LEGENDS INFINITE SERIES

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Alright, now we get to the real winners. Here’s where we get into the figures that really test how well you know your stuff (wait, Batroc didn’t already test that?). Here’s where we get the figures we all assumed wouldn’t ever happen (again: Batroc?). I’m referring, of course, to Hellcat. “Who’s Hellcat?” you say, “Is she the demon fighting pet cat of fan-favorite Hellboy?” No, she’s actually Patsy Walker, a character who first showed up in the 40s as the star of a teen humor/romance comic. In the 70s, she was reformatted into a costumed hero and added to the roster of the Avengers. Then she joined the Defenders, whom she stuck with for a while. After that, she died for a while and stuff, but that was, unsurprisingly, temporary. Nowadays, she’s working as a private investigator for She-Hulk. And she also has an action figure! Yay! Let’s look at it!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Hellcat2Hellcat is yet another figure from the second series of The Avengers Marvel Legends Infinite Series. She has the title “Fierce Fighters,” which she shares with Spider-Woman, though she’s still listed as Hellcat on the back of the box. The figure is roughly 6 inches tall, with 27 points of articulation. Hellcat appears to be a real exercise in how far Hasbro can get with nothing but re-used parts. She uses the female body introduced with last year’s Storm, with the feet from the Spider-Girl body, hands from Black Cat, and a sash from Iron Fist, all topped off with a brand-new head sculpt. Of the three existing female base bodies, I think the Storm body may be my least favorite. It’s certainly not a bad sculpt, and it’s nice that there’s a middle ground between Spider-Girl and Moonstone. However, something about the lower torso/pelvis piece doesn’t look quite right to me (it also feels hollow, which is just… odd). On the plus side, Hellcat has the sash that hides the waist piece a bit, which looks a bit better. Aside from that one part, the Storm body is actually quite well sculpted, with lots of clean, even pieces, and a very balanced set of proportions. The hands from Black Cat mean that she has the proper claws, but the Spider-Girl feet unfortunately mean that she doesn’t get the appropriate clawed feet, which is a tad disappointing. At the very least, they did make sure to give her flat feet instead of heels. That makes the lack of claws a little less annoying. Hellcat’s all-new head sculpt is definitely the highlight of the figure, translating the character’s cowl-ed look pretty much perfectly. All the lines of the mask are nice and sharp, and the underlying face is also quite nicely sculpted. The hair attaches as a separate piece, glued in place, and, while it’s not a perfect transition from hair to head, it still looks pretty decent. Okay, let’s talk about the paint here. From the knees up, the paint work is pretty much perfect. The line work is generally pretty clean, and there’s some nice, subtle accent work on the yellow body suit. The face, which has the most detail work, is cleanly handled, and the eyes are even properly placed, something that Hasbro’s had a little trouble with. So, what’s the issue? Well, below the knee, the figure’s calves are molded in dark blue, to match the color of the feet. This means that the top portion of the calves had to be painted yellow to match the rest of the leg. Unfortunately, light over dark doesn’t really work out with paint, so the blue of the plastic bleeds through the paint pretty badly. I’m not sure why Hasbro didn’t just mold the calves in yellow and paint the blue over that, like they did on the figure’s arms. It would have produced a far better end result. Hellcat includes a billyclub (shared with the Spider-Man Marvel Legends Infinite Series’ Daredevil) and the head and left arm of Thanos, which were also included with Spider-Woman. Since Hellcat’s never actually used a weapon, the billyclub is an odd-choice, but I guess Hasbro was trying to add some value to the figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like just about every other figure in this particular series, Hellcat came from Big Bad Toy Store. However, there was no apathy towards Hellcat like there was with the others. Hellcat is a figure I was very much looking forward to. This is the first Hellcat ever, and I’ve definitely been waiting for that! The final figure isn’t perfect, but she’s far from bad, or even mediocre. She’s a really good figure with one or two minor drawbacks. And if getting a Hellcat means there are a few drawbacks, I think I can live with that!

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