#1373: War Machine

WAR MACHINE

IRON MAN (TOY BIZ)

“A long-time friend and confidant of Tony Stark, chopper pilot Jim Rhodes was rewarded for his loyalty with his own suit of technological combat armor, turning him into a one man War Machine!  Now armed with an impressive array of cutting-edge weaponry almost the equal of Iron Man’s, War Machine battles shoulder-to-shoulder with the armored avenger in his secret war against the forces of the Mandarin!”

And, just like that, we’re back to Marvel.  That’s gonna be happening a lot.  So, today, I’ll be going back to a ‘90s Marvel line that I feel I haven’t looked at enough: Iron Man!  With just four series (plus a fifth one that was cancelled), it’s hardly one of Toy Biz’s longer-running entries, but four series of an Iron Man line more than a decade before the general public cared about Iron Man is far from the worst thing.  Attempting to capitalize on the success of the then-current cartoon, the line provided us with most of ol’ Shellhead’s supporting players from the show, including Tony’s wingman, Jim “Rhodey” Rhodes, aka War Machine!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

War Machine was released in Series 1 of Toy Biz’s Iron Man line.  This was the very first War Machine figure ever produced (though not the first James Rhodes; Rhodey was still Iron Man at the time of Secret Wars, meaning that figure is technically him).  The figure stands a little over 5 inches tall and has 9 points of articulation.  War Machine is based on the second version of the armor, which was the first one worn by Rhodey.  It’s the version seen in the cartoon, and is one of the best known versions of the character.  As I noted in my review of Space Armor Iron Man, the Iron Man line’s armored figures were handled in a slightly unique way; each of them was a basic figure, with extra clip-on armor parts to really complete their look.  War Machine was actually one of the more faithful basic figures, and can essentially function without the extra pieces if need be, which is a definite plus in his favor.  The sculpt is generally pretty sharp, and the details of the armor match up pretty well with both the show and the comics, though some parts are more condensed and streamlined.  There are the armor ports, of course, which still look a little goofy, but they’re far from the worst thing.  There were 10 clip-on armor pieces included with War Machine: Chest plate, back plate, belt (front and back), shoulder pads, gauntlets, and shin covers.  These pieces serve to enhance the look of the figure, and really make for quite a faithful War Machine figure.  War Machine had one of the better paint schemes of the armored figures; all of the basic paint is nice and clean, and the armor, by virtue of it’s silver coloring, is less prone to issues with chipping and such, which plagued the more colorful Iron Men.  In addition to the clip-on armor, War Machine also included two cannons to be mounted on his shoulders, one of which has missile launching feature.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As with a number of the ‘90s Marvel lines, I had to play a little bit of catch-up on the first series of Iron Man figures.  By the time I was really collecting the line for myself, they were onto Series 2.  While I was able to track down a few of the Series 1 figures, I had to settle for Series 4’s War Machine II as my main version of the character.  I’ve been looking for this guy for a little while, but the armored figures from this line aren’t always the easiest to find, especially when you primarily go for loose offerings, like I do.  I was pleasantly surprised to find a loose but complete War Machine at Pop Culture Exchange, for under $5, no less.  He’s definitely a strong offering for the line, and I’m very happy to have finally tracked him down!

#1371: Maverick

MAVERICK

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“A secret agent formerly allied with both Wolverine and Sabretooth, Maverick is as tough a customer as they come! A master strategist and martial artist, Maverick is one of the foremost mercenaries in the world, accepting any assignment… as long as the price is right! With both espionage skills and the mutant ability to absorb kinetic impact, Maverick is a hard man to keep down indeed!”

Maverick is about as ‘90s X-Men as a ‘90s X-Men character can get.  Shoulder pads? Check.  Former ally of Wolverine?  Check.  Sketchy past?  Check.  Single word name picked purely because it sounded cool?  Check.  Vague power set that ultimately translates to “has a big gun”?  That’s a bingo.  Of course, like a lot of uber ‘90s X-Men characters, I have something of a soft-spot for the guy, given his presence in both X-Men: The Animated Series and the corresponding X-Men toyline from Toy Biz.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

As you’ve probably pieced together from the intro, Maverick was released as part of Toy Biz’s ‘90s X-Men line.  There are two versions of Maverick available, and there’s a bit of a saga behind those two figures being released.  The gold and silver Maverick was originally slated for release in Series 5 of the main line, as a replacement for the cancelled Gauntlet/Barrage figure.  However, Maverick himself was cut from the line up rather early on in the process, and bumped to the next series, whose line-up he remained a part of long enough for his prototype to be in the line-up shot that was meant to go on the figure cardbacks.  He was dropped from this assortment as well, and his prototype was hastily cut out of the Series 6 photos (you can actually still see his gun overlapping Morph’s hand on the card backs).  This version would eventually see release alongside Series 6’s Trevor Fitzroy in a KB Toys-exclusive two-pack, but did not see a single-carded release.  The single-carded Maverick is the  blue version seen above, and he was released as part of the “Mutant Genesis” series, two years after he was originally supposed to hit retail.  That seems like a whole lot of trouble to go through for Maverick, but I guess it’s nice he finally made it out.  Both figures share the same mold, and thus both figures stand about 5 1/4 inches tall and have 8 points of articulation.  The sculpt is a pretty decent one, overall.  It’s very similar to the other ’93-’94 X-Men figures stylistically, meaning he’s not quite as large and exaggerated as some of the later figures would become.  He’s a little on the stiff side (which was common to a lot of the figures from this point), which isn’t really helped by his lack of neck articulation.  However, for a character like Maverick, who was usual fairly rigid in his movement, it’s not terrible. The sculpt captures Maverick’s (admittedly rater unattractive) design rather nicely, and offers some rather intricate work on the various small details of the armor.  The cables are a softer material, which I suppose would be cool if he had neck articulation, but since he doesn’t, it’s a nice thought that doesn’t amount to much of anything.  At least they tried?  The rest of the figure is done in a much stiffer plastic, which means that his shoulder pads can break if you’re not careful (you can see this breakage on gold/silver Maverick’s left shoulder).  Paint is, of course, the divergent bit of these two.  The original one was gold and silver, and more or less follows Maverick’s design from the comics.  There are a few spots where paint is obviously missing, but he’s generally a good match for his 2-D counterpart.  The second figure opted to replace the silver parts with blue, for…reasons?  I don’t believe this follows any established look for the character, and it looks a bit off.  It wouldn’t be so bad if the blue were a more subdued shade.  Some of the missing paint from the first figure is corrected here, but a few other bits are lost, making for a pretty equivalent trade.  While the blue color scheme is generally fine as its own thing, the one part I’m not much of a fan of is the hair, which goes from a rather believable dirty blond to some sort of off green/grey sort of thing.  Yuck.  Both figures originally included a gun; silver for the gold/silver figure, and black for the blue figure.  It fits in his right hand, and is worked into his “quick-draw” feature, which swings his arm downward when you press the lever on his back.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Maverick is another more recent purchase.  I always wanted one of these two, but I just never found one in-person.  I ended up finding the blue version at Bobakhan Toys on my way out of Seattle this summer.  At the time, I lamented that they didn’t have the silver one, and then two days later I ended up fishing him out of a $1 bin at Pop Culture Exchange, which was pretty cool.  Even without owning him as a kid, I’ve always had a bit of sentimental attachment to the character, due to his inclusion in the board game X-Men Alert, where he was very frequently on my team.  Neither Maverick figure is perfect, but they’re both still pretty fun, and I’m happy to have been able to add them both to my collection.

#1369: Spider-Woman

SPIDER-WOMAN

SPIDER-MAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES (TOY BIZ)

“Once an illegal operative, Jessica Drew left the group called Hydra to fight crime as the original Spider-Woman! With the ability to climb walls and emit bio-electric spider-blasts, Spider-Woman put many super-villains behind bars. Eventually giving up her identity as Spider-Woman, Jessica Drew now fights crime as a private investigator!”

When does a spin-off character have nothing to do with the original?  When they’re Spider-Woman, of course.  The first Spider-Woman, Jessica Drew, was introduced in 1977 as little more than a way of preventing Filmation from putting out a cartoon with their own Spider-Woman.  She had a similar power set to everyone’s favorite wall-crawler, but there the similarities ended.  The two characters wouldn’t even meet for quite a long time after her creation.  Which makes the fact that her very first figure came from a Spider-Man toyline all the more amusing.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Spider-Woman was released in Series 7 of Toy Biz’s Spider-Man: The Animated Series tie-in toyline.  She wasn’t based on a cartoon appearance (likely to avoid viewer confusion; her successor, Julia Carpenter, was a regular on the Iron Man cartoon at the same time).  In fact, Series 7 was right about the time that the series stopped focussing on following the cartoon, so Spider-Woman was not the only non-show figure in the series.  The figure stands about 5 inches tall and she has 8 points of articulation.  Jessica’s sculpt is a reworking of the Julia Carpenter Spider-Woman from Series 1 of the Iron Man line.  This would be the first time they’d share a sculpt, but far from the last.  Given the similarities in design, it’s a rather practical way of getting an extra use out of the molds, I suppose.  She’s been tweaked to add in elbow joints and also to remove Spider-Woman II’s action feature.  Sadly, they didn’t go as far as to add back in the neck movement lost due to the action feature, but that would have been a more hefty re-working, I suppose.  The sculpt is a pretty decent one overall.  The proportions are fairly balanced, and pretty decent for the time.  The hair has a pretty nice sculpt, and sits nicely, and the face isn’t too terrible.  The one main drag with this sculpt is just how stiff it is.  She doesn’t really look natural in any pose.  It’s largely to do with the arms, or more specifically, the hands.  She’s got this karate chop thing going on, and it just looks rather out of place.  The paint is really the key part of this figure, and it’s pretty decent.  The colors match well with her comics counterpart, and the work is generally on the clean side.  Some of the black lines are a little fuzzy, but it’s not terrible.  In terms of accessories, Jessica was about on par with most of the other figures of this time, which means she has a bunch of random stuff that doesn’t amount to much of anything.  There was like a shield and a weird gun-thing I think?  Mine has neither piece, and that’s just fine.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Spider-Woman wasn’t one of my childhood figures.  My dad had one, but I didn’t, largely due to not being overly familiar with Jessica Drew.  I’ve since picked up some knowledge and appreciation for the character, so I’ve been on the look out for this figure.  I found her at Yesterday’s Fun last week, but ultimately put her (and a few others) back in favor a few other things.  My Dad apparently took note of this, and presented me with the whole lot the next day.  He’s nice like that.  She’s a decent enough figure, I suppose.  Nothing amazing, but certainly entertaining.

#1365: Sunfire

SUNFIRE

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“The champion of Japan, the solar-powered mutant known as Sunfire considers himself a modern-day samurai — and will do nothing to betray his code of personal honor! Possessing the power to fly and to gernerate intensely hot flaming plasma, Sunfire seeks out the enemies of his nation — be they mutant or human — and turns on the heat!”

Sunfire!  Oh it’s sunfire.  I’ve reviewed a surprising number of Sunfire figures on this site.  Of the of the six available Sunfires, I’ve already looked at three.  Not a bad spread, if I do say so myself.  I’m looking at the fourth  of the six figures today.  This one’s actually his first, and unlike the last three, it’s from a slightly different source.  Let’s just get to the review already!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Sunfire was released in the Mutant Genesis Series of Toy Biz’s X-Men line (it was numerically, for those that are curious).  As noted, this was his very first action figure.  He stands about 5 1/4 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation.  Unlike prior Sunfire figures, which were based on his classic appearance (which is my personal favorite look), this one is based on his, at the time current, ‘90s appearance, which does not possess the same timeless feel as his other look.  It’s super ‘90s, what with the armor, the shoulder pads, and the over designing.  Also, the crap ton of muscles.  Because ‘90s, I guess.  This particular suit was design to amplify his powers and stuff.  And also look less like the Japanese flag, which I guess was a good thing.  Unfortunately, I can’t really say it’s one of the character’s better looks.  Personally, I’ve always found he looked pretty darn goofy.  This figure lives up to that goofy-ness, presenting him with impossibly muscle-y proportions, as well as the really odd and goofy pony tail he was sporting at the time.  I guess it’s an accurate sculpt, and it avoids the scrawniness of TB’s other Sunfire figure, but something feels a little off about it.  To me, this just doesn’t feel like Sunfire, but maybe I’m just picky.  At the very least, I think we can all agree that his face looks a bit silly, right?  His jawbone looks like it could conquer a thousand kingdoms.  I don’t know if that’s good or bad, but there it is.  His paintwork is generally decent enough.  It’s cleanly applied, and follows the design from the comics. Can’t say it’s the most exciting color scheme, but it’s fairly standard for Sunfire, so that’s good, I guess.  Sunfire included a bit of clip-on armor, which goes over his shoulders and has been vac-metalized.  It fits well enough and looks pretty cool, so that’s nice.  He’s also got a shield, which matches the other armor and can be held in his right hand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve held off on this guy for a while.  This is a figure I’ve had my eye on since about the time I was 9 or 10, but never got him because, quite frankly, he just doesn’t look like Sunfire to me.  However, he was at Power Comics, and he was half-off his already low price, and I’m working on completing my Toy Biz X-Men figures, so I kind of needed him.  He’s really weird and goofy and strange, but he’s part of the set, and honestly he feels right at home.  And I can’t really ask for more.

#1364: Juggernaut

JUGGERNAUT

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Virtually unstoppable and possessing super-human strength, the Juggernaut is one of the X-Men’s oldest and most powerful foes! Gaining his power from the mystic Cyttorak gem, the Juggernaut is vulnerable to psychic attack-but only when his helmet is removed! With a jealousy and hatred for his brother Charles Xavier, the Juggernaut will not stop until he has destroyed the X-Men!”

Okay, so two weeks ago I said this month was gonna be really Marvel heavy.  The last two weeks haven’t been as Marvel heavy as I’d initially anticipated, but this week I’m throwing in the towel and just doing a whole week of Marvel.  Strap in, guys. Let’s start the week off with an entry from the behemoth that was Toy Biz’s ‘90s X-Men line.  It’s one of the team’s oldest foes, Cain Marko, better known as the unstoppable Juggernaut!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Juggernaut was released in the “Light-Up Weapons Series” of Toy Biz’s X-Men line; it was the thirteenth series in the line.  This marks Juggernaut’s second figure in the line, following his inclusion in Series 1.  This one marked an improvement in size, detail, and articulation.  The figure stands about 5 1/2 inches tall and he has 7 points of articulation.  The articulation is a bit down from the usual for the line at the time (he loses movement in the arms to allow for the light-up deal), but was actually an improvement over the prior figure.  This guy had an all-new sculpt (which would later be partially re-used for the X-Men vs. Street Fighter version).  It’s not perfect, but it was a solid offering at the time.  He’s suitably bulked up, though the arms are definitely a bit on the long side, and conversely, the legs seem a bit short.  The musculature is rather exaggerated, but it’s the sort of thing that you expect to see with Juggernaut.  The big selling point of this guy was the inclusion of a removable helmet, allowing you to replicate said helmet’s removal at the end of like every fight he’s ever had with the X-Men.  The head under the helmet gives us a rather angry looking Cain Marko, who looks to be patterned after his appearance on the ‘90s animated series. The actual helmet is fairly nicely handled.  It lines up well with the face and it sits tight on his head.  The paint work on this guy is generally pretty decent.  It could have been somewhat drab, but there’s actually a nice bit of variety to the various shades of brown and such to keep it interesting.  That’s definitely a nice touch.  In addition to the removable helmet, Juggernaut also includes a…hammer…thing?  Not 100% sure what it is, but it’s the light-up bit of the figure.  Some of the light-up features made more sense than others.  This one’s nearer the bottom of the list of sensibility.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I originally got this version of Juggernaut at the same time as my first Light-Up Gambit figure; he was a gift from my Grandparents on my mom’s side.  This was the one of the two that I wanted the most, largely due to that awesome removable helmet.  I’m not 100% sure what happened to that figure.  Suffice to say, I needed a replacement, which was one of the handful of figures I grabbed from Bobakhan Toys at the beginning of the summer.  He’s still one of my favorite Juggernaut figures, goofy light-up feature and all.

#1356: Kingpin

KINGPIN

SPIDER-MAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES (TOY BIZ)

“The colossal overlord of the underworld, the Kingpin has his dirty hands in almost every criminal enterprise on the East coast. His enemies often mistake his massive girth for flab – it is, in fact, over three hundred pounds of solid muscle!”

What’s this?  Kingpin in a Spider-Man line?  What?  It’s almost as if he was originally a Spider-Man villain or something.  Yes, before becoming the big (in every sense of the word) bad for Marvel’s resident horn-head, Wilson Fisk began life as a foe to everyone’s favorite friendly neighborhood arachnid.  So they put him in the ‘90s cartoon, and that meant he got his first action figure!  Let’s have a look at him!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Kingpin was released in the second series of Toy Biz’s Spider-Man: The Animated Series line from the ‘90s. The figure stands a little over 5 inches tall (he’s a bit taller than the average figure from the line), and he has a whole 3 points of articulation.  Woooooo.  This guy had an all-new sculpt, based on his show appearance, which was also his standard look in the comics for a very long while.  It’s certainly a unique sculpt; it’s almost as wide as it is tall.  No doubt the cut articulation was to help ensure he’d cost the same as the others in the line.  The quality of the sculpt is fairly decent, but not without a few issues.  The head is way on the small side, or perhaps the shoulders and arms are in the large side.  Either way, the proportions are off.  In addition to that, he’s wearing the wrong style of jacket for animated Kingpin; it should be double breasted, but it isn’t.  Beyond that, it’s actually pretty decent.  The head definitely captures Fisk well, and his overall size is definitely impressive.  The paintwork on Kingpin is fairly good work.  The colors are all appropriate to the character and the application is all nice and clean.  Kingpin is packed with a diamond topped cane, which can be placed in either hand.  He also has a “crushing” action feature.  His arms can be pulled upwards and clipped into place; when the lever on his back is pulled, they swing down.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Kingpin is another more recent addition to my collection. Like a few others I’ve looked at recently, he came into my collection courtesy of the supremely cool Bobakhan Toys & Collectibles.  More specifically, he’s a Super Awesome Girlfriend purchase.  Honestly, he’s not a character I was ever dying to track down, and the figure’s just so-so, but I’m still happy to have added him to the collection!

#1351: Captain America

CAPTAIN AMERICA

MARVEL UNIVERSE 10-INCH (TOY BIZ)

“Transporting himself back to the present day, the Spider-Man of the year 2099 materializes right in Avengers Mansion. Facing Captain America and She-Hulk, Spider-Man uses his amazing powers to escape. Scouring his now unfamiliar surroundings, this futuristic Spider-Man searches for the one who possesses the information he needs before he can return home – Wolverine!”

Okay, I know I’m not supposed to critique the bios, but this one’s really odd for Cap.  Like, all of the 10-inch figures from this era did this whole odd scenario used to tie together a bunch of random characters thing, but the fact that the bio goes out of its way to single out Wolverine and Spider-Man 2099, but just gives a passing mention to Cap seems a little bit odd.  *sigh*  I’m getting distracted….

Hey everybody, and to my American readers, Happy Fourth of July!  To my non-American readers, happy Tuesday, I guess.  I’m honoring this Fourth of July the same way I honor it every year: by reviewing a Captain America figure.  Let’s get onto the figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Captain America was released as part of Toy Biz’s Marvel Universe 10-Inch line in 1997, alongside the also mentioned She-Hulk, Spider-Man 2099, and a Wolverine of some sort.  Cap is seen here in his classic costume, more or less.  The figure stands about 10 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation.  He’s built using the same body used for the un-flamed-on Johnny Storm figure from the Fantastic Four line, which is quite amusing nowadays, but was completely un-connected to anything back when this figure was new.  The body’s okay for him, I suppose, though it’s a little small for Cap.  It also lacks the buccaneer boots, though those weren’t going to happen without all-new tooling anyway.  There are some artifacts of the old sculpt’s costume, which look slightly out of place, but are generally not too obvious or distracting.  The head is an upscaling of the Electro Spark Captain America from the 5-inch Spider-Man line.  As I noted in my review of the smaller figure, it’s a bit angry for my taste, but it’s not terrible.  Honestly, I think it looks a bit better at a larger size, so that’s actually pretty cool.  The paint is generally pretty decent.  The colors are all pretty bright, and the application is rather clean.  I’m not sure why he’s missing his pupils, but worse things have happened.  Cap was packed with his mighty shield.  It was a cool piece, but sadly mine was lost somewhere along the way.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This guy came from one of my family’s summer trips to the beach back in the ‘90s.  My parents always took me to get something from the KB Toys in the nearby outlets, and this was the figure I decided to get that year, no doubt purchased alongside a VHS with some episodes  of the Ruby-Spears Captain America cartoon.  He was one of the earlier Cap figures I owned, probably my second after the Electro Spark figure.  He was definitely one of my  favorites of the 10-inch figures, and I still like him quite a bit, even if he’s a bit goofy.

#1350: Cyclops

CYCLOPS

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“One of the most powerful forces on Earth, Apocalypse has become the greatest villain in the world of the X-Men. Activating the Apocalypse holo-droid, Cyclops helps the X-Men learn how to fight a foe who is as powerful as his is evil. Avoiding blasts from his gattling gun hand, Cyclops, along with Storm and Jubilee, take down the Robot Fighter with a perfectly timed series of attacks!”

Okay, so I’m gonna warn my readers up front: this month is going to be pretty Marvel-heavy.  That’s just what I’ve been picking up a lot of in the last few weeks.  I’ll mix in some other stuff where I can, but there’s a lot of figures to cover.  With that out of the way, I’ll be setting my sights on today’s focus, Cyclops, who hails from Toy Biz’s lengthy X-Men line from the ‘90s.  I know, from the bio, you might have guessed this was an Apocalypse review, but not so.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Cyclops was part of the “Robot Fighters” series of X-Men.  This was the 19th Series Toy Biz put out in the X-Men line and it was after they’d run out of steam with the more “normal” figures and switched to more gimmicky sub-lines that allowed for more variants of the main team.  The figure stands about 4 1/2 inches tall (he’s less hunched than Gambit, but still loses some height to it) and he has 5 points of articulation.  He loses even more articulation than his series-mates, bringing him down to Total Justice levels.  In fact, in more way than one, this guy feels more at home with Kenner’s TJ line than he does with most of the stuff Toy Biz was producing.  Even the design of his costume (which was unique to the figure and had no basis in the comics, apart from being vaguely inspired by his Jim Lee toggs) feels a lot like one of Kenner’s Fractal Armor designs.  As with Gambit, I’m still not certain how the Danger Room-related bios attached to these figures translates to these new, over-designed costumes, but there it is.  While the costume’s not the greatest, the thing that really holds this guy back is the pre-posing.  While Gambit’s deep crouch was workable with the articulation and allowed for a few decent poses, I have no idea what you’re supposed to do with this guy.  What’s he doing?  Is he shouting “come at me, bro?”  That’s all I can figure with the outstretched arms and slightly cocked head.  But it also appears that he’s in mid-squat or something.  Whatever it is, he’s really pissed off by it.  So pissed off that he’s gritted his teeth to the point of his visor engulfing his nose.  Wait, I think I’ve got it!  The Apocalypse hologram must have played a game of “got your nose” while Scott was right in the middle of his daily squat routine, and now Scott’s all pissed because that’s his very favorite nose, and so he’s ready to start something.  It makes perfect sense now.  The paint work on this figure is actually pretty solid, truth be told.  I like the shade of blue they’ve used, and the application’s all pretty clean for the most part.  They’ve even managed to make all of the yellows match pretty well too!  Cyclops was packed with a robotic recreation of Apocalypse, which is super goofy and super gimmicky.  It fires missiles and when you press the “A” the right arm falls off.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I noted when I reviewed Gambit, I remember this series hitting retail, but for whatever reason I never got any of them.  I’m a dyed in the wool Cyclops fan, so I was gonna get this guy eventually.  He’s another item from Bobakhan Toys; I fished him out of one of their loose figure bins.  He’s really goofy.  There’s no getting around that.  And, unfortunately, I don’t find him to be as much fun to play with as the Gambit.  That being said, he’s a goofy, very ‘90s Cyclops, and that’s kind of right up my alley.  I’ll just stick him with my Total Justice figures, where he’s less likely to be judged.

#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.

#1344: The Thing

THE THING

FANTASTIC FOUR: DELUXE EDITION (TOY BIZ)

“Ben Grimm became the Thing after he was bombarded by cosmic rays in a space flight gone awry with scientist Reed Richards.  Since then he has dedicated his life to fighting crime as a founding member of the Fantastic Four, fending off many foes with the mere words — it’s clobberin’ time!”

It’s been 3 years since I reviewed a figure of Benjamin J. Grimm, better known as the ever-lovin’, blue-eyed Thing.  That’s quite a long time.  It’s a bit surprising, really, since he’s the FF member I own the most figures of, so you’d think he’d show up a little more frequently, but no.  Well, I’m fixing that today, and I’m also looking at yet another of the old Toy Biz 10-inch figures.  That’s always fun!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Thing was part of the second assortment of Toy Biz’s Fantastic Four: Deluxe Edition line.  I think.  It got a little hard to follow after the first three-figure assortment.  The main thing to note is that they only ever released Ben and Johnny in this scale (flip side, they only did Reed and Sue in the Famous Covers style.  So, it works out, I guess?)  The figure stands a little over 10 inches tall and has 9 points of articulation.  As I’ve noted a few times before, the 10-inch figures made use of the two-up prototypes used for the 5-inch line.  This is partly true for the Thing, but he also has a pretty healthy helping of new or tweaked parts, presumably to help with costs.  The only part that looks to be a straight re-use is the head, which is a pretty great Ben Grimm head, so that’s certainly a good thing.  The rest of the parts follow the general look of the smaller figure, but he’s been given a much straighter stance, thereby giving the figure less overall bulk.  He’s still quite a bit more sizable than the other figures in the line, so it’s not a really big change.  In general, he also seems a little more boxy than his smaller counterpart, which doesn’t look quite as good, but once again, it’s not a huge difference.  Regardless, the head sculpt is the real star here.  The paint on Ben is pretty basic; he’s molded mostly in orange, with a bit of blue and while for his shorts and eyes.  What’s there is pretty decent, though obviously the paint on my figure has seen better days.  This figure was originally packed with a protective helmet, emulating the helmet Ben wore in the comics when he had the robotic suit to replace his lost powers.  It was rare that a 10-inch figure got an extra not included with the smaller figure, but this was the one that got it.  If only mine still had his.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t have this guy growing up.  He didn’t hang around stores long, and he also didn’t get any prominent re-releases like some of the other figures.  This guy’s actually the first item I’m reviewing from my pretty awesome haul I picked up from Bobakhan Toys, which is a super awesome toy store I found just outside of Seattle while I was there with Super Awesome Girlfriend’s family.  I was, admittedly, a little overwhelmed by the sheer volume of toys in the store, so I was trying to pick and chose a few things that most stood out to me.  Super Awesome Girlfriend picked this guy up and insisted I get him.  I can’t say that I really fought her.  I like this guy.  He’s not quite as cool as the 5-inch version, but he’s still pretty awesome.  And Ben’s my favorite FF member, so that probably helps with the cool factor as well.