#1430: Thor

THOR

MARVEL SUPER HEROES (TOY BIZ)

“Thor, the legendary Norse God of Thunder, is the most powerful Marvel Super Hero. With his amazing hammer, Mjolnir, Thor can fly, smash through any obstacle and create and control the mightiest storms – even tornadoes and hurricanes. Though Thor’s home is Asgard, where all the Norse gods live, Thor spends most of his time on Earth with his friends Iron Man and Captain America helping them fight the forces of evil and injustice that threaten the world.”

Happy Thorsday everyone!  …She already did this bit earlier, didn’t she?  *sigh* This is what I get for letting other people write for the site.  Well, there goes my intro.  Anyway, I’m also looking at a Thor figure today, but I’m looking at the original, Odinson variety of Thor.  This one hails from the ‘90s, which was actually a pretty barren time for Thor figures, believe it or not.  There were only three figures of him in the space of the decade, and today I look at the first of those three.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Thor was released in the second series of Toy Biz’s Marvel Super Heroes line, alongside fellow Avenger and previous subject of review Iron Man.  The figure stands about 5 inches tall and has 7 points of articulation.  He’s ostensibly based on Thor’s classic design, though he’s a bit removed from how he usually looks.  See how he doesn’t have a cape?  There’s no missing piece there; he just never had a cape.  They left it out, for whatever reason.  Your guess is as good as mine.  Maybe they were actually basing him on Thor from Adventures in Babysitting?  I mean, he doesn’t look *unlike* Vincent D’Onofrio.  Maybe I’m onto something here.  Thor’s sculpt was unique to him, and follows the style seen with the likes of Cap, Iron Man, and Silver Surfer.  There’s a definite Super Powers sort of aesthetic, albeit a slightly dumbed down version.  It’s not quite as strong a sculpt as Series 1’s Captain America (which is probably my favorite in the line), but it’s certainly an improvement over the really goofy Iron Man sculpt.  Still, he’s kind of oddly proportioned, and the hair just sort of looks weird suddenly stopping the way it does.  Thor’s paintwork follows the sculpt in its strange lack of cohesion to his usual design.  Instead of the usual black for the tunic, this guy’s got the same blue used on his pants.  It makes for a slightly less bold look, and means he looks a little blander than usual.  It probably that doesn’t help that the little chest circles are light blue instead of silver, and the helmet is just a straight white.  The paint definitely seams a bit lax on this guy.  Thor was originally packed with his hammer Mjolnir, which mine is missing.  He also has a hammer swinging action feature built into his right arm.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Marvel Super Heroes Series 2 was pretty much entirely gone from retail when I started collecting, so I went quite a while without a Thor (all I had was the rather lackluster Marvel Masterpiece boxed set version).  I ended up getting this guy over the summer, via Yesterday’s Fun.  He’s okay, I guess.  Not anything amazing, but he fits well enough with the rest of the set of Marvel Super Heroes Avengers.

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#1394: Iron Man

IRON MAN

MARVEL SUPER HEROES (TOY BIZ)

“Iron Man is the world’s greatest high-tech hero. Iron Man’s armor is made of space-age alloys and is virtually indestructible. Not only that, but the armor is filled with an awesome arsenal including energy blasting repulsor rays, a navigational computer and rocket-powered boots that can fly him at a top speed of 960 miles an hour! Iron Man is really the millionaire inventor and industrialist, Tony Stark. When he’s not wearing his armor and helping his friends Thor and Captain America save mankind from super-powered enemies, Tony’s in his lab creating a new invention to save lives or clean the environment.”

You can’t go anywhere these days without tripping over like 50 Iron Man figures, but that wasn’t always the case.  When Toy Biz took over the Marvel license back in the early ‘90s, there were only two prior Iron Man figures.  They eventually released a whole line of Iron Men, but their first figure of the character was released as part of their early Marvel Super Heroes line.  He’s kinda goofy and I’m looking at him today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Iron Man was released in the second series of Marvel Super Heroes.  Along with that series’ Thor figure, he completes the “Avengers” set started in Series 1 with Cap and Hulk.  He’s based on the Neo-Classic armor, which is more rare amongst action figures.  This was actually its first time in plastic form, and would remain its only appearance until the Marvel Legends Showdown line more than a decade later.  The figure stands about 5 inches tall and he has 7 points of articulation.  These earlier figures kind of mimicked the Super Powers aesthetic, albeit in a slightly lower quality way.  This figure’s sculpt is…interesting.  It’s not the worst thing ever, but it’s not as nice as, say, the Captain America figure.  A lot of the figure’s issues come from the rather primitive snap-on armor.  While later Iron Men would place the focus on getting a decent starting figure and then enhancing them with extra armored bits, this figure goes for a combo Iron Man/Tony Stark.  The problem is that the end result is an Iron Man and a Tony Stark that are both off.  The armor is really bulky and has obvious clips (which are rather difficult to work with), and the underlying Tony Stark is just…odd.  Really, really odd.  I mean, just look at him.  That ain’t right.  The paint work on this guy is okay overall, but his armor is lacking a few of the yellow details.  Maybe they were working from a classic Iron Man image?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This figure slightly pre-dates me getting into collecting…and me existing…so I didn’t get it new.  I did eye it up a few times over the years, but it’s not the most common figure, and it was never high enough priority for me to actually go and track him down.  I ended up finding this guy at the most recent Dave Hart Toy Show back in July, for a pretty decent price.  He’s…strange?  I guess that’s the word.  I find him intriguing as sort of a pre-formed version of the later Toy Biz Iron Men, but as his own figure, he’s not Toy Biz’s strongest offering.

#1393: Buzzing Beetle

BUZZING BEETLE

SPIDER-MAN: CLASSICS (TOY BIZ)

When is a figure you want not a figure you want?  That’s a confusing question.  What I’m getting at is that sometimes, there’s a character you really want, and when they arrive, they just aren’t what you wanted at all.  That’s the perpetual story of Beetle.  He’s a B-list Spider-Man foe, so his appearance in numerous Spider-Man lines over the years is no surprise.  What’s continued to be a surprise is the versions of the character we’ve gotten.  Back when Toy Biz was still pioneering the Marvel Legends style, they gave us our first 6-inch Beetle as part of their complimentary Spider-Man: Classics line.  It was…not exactly what was expected.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Buzzing Beetle was released in Series 14 of Spider-Man: Classics as one of the two Spider-foes in the set.  The figure stands a whopping 7 3/4 inches tall and has 39 points of articulation.  This Beetle figure is based on one of the much later Beetle designs.  It’s not exactly one of the more memorable designs that the character’s had.  In fact, Abner Jenkins, the original Beetle, never even wore this armor.  He instead controlled it by remote.  It was eventually worn by Leila Davis, after Abner had given up the Beetle identity, but even that was rather short-lived.  It’s at the very least a visually interesting design.  The complexity of the design means it also requires a completely unique sculpt.  It’s pretty decent work all-in-all.  The various pieces of armor have differing textures, which adds a lot of additional cool factor to this figure.  The design also really lends itself to toy form, so the articulation can be worked in pretty well.  The hip joints are kind of obvious, as were all of these types of joints at the time.  Beyond that, it’s really pretty solid.  The “buzzing” feature was linked to the wings (which my figure is lacking) and the mechanics are placed within the torso.  Due to the sheer size of the figure, though, the mechanics really don’t impede the sculpt or articulation all that much.  There’s also a light-up feature on the visor, which turns it…red?  Yeah, okay.  The paintwork on Beetle is actually pretty great.  The metallic shades are really cool to look at, and the purple and green go really well together.  There’s also some really fun weathering on the purple bits, which helps further accentuate their already more worn-in sculpt.  In addition to the (missing) wings, Beetle also included a pair of missiles (also missing) to go in the missile launchers affixed to the figure’s forearms.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I saw this figure a few times when it was new, and I never bought it.  I was a little bit resentful that they went with this design over the classic look.  Of course, once it was officially gone from all the regular places, I kind of regretted never picking it up.  I ended up fishing this figure out of the $1 bin at 2nd Chance Toyz, which was pretty exciting.  Sure, it’s missing a few parts, but the base figure is still cool.  Really, at the end of the day, I’m actually kind of happy this figure was made when it was.  It’s actually a pretty fun design, and it’s the sort of thing that wouldn’t really be financially feasible in this day and age.  A good toy’s a good toy.

#1387: Sauron

SAURON

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Sauron is the most terrifying Evil Mutant. Sauron loves to silently swoop down and use his mutant power to hypnotize and drain the energy out of his victim! Then in the blink of an eye, he flies away ready to strike again! The more energy he drains, the more powerful he becomes. Because he can drain the energy from anyone, even another Evil Mutant, even Magneto, the leader of the Evil Mutants, fears him!”

Not to be confused with the evil ruler of Mordor, Sauron is one of the X-Men’s older foes, predating quite a few of the team’s more popular members (including a certain Canadian who goes “snikt”).  Interestingly enough, despite what the bio above may tell you, he’s not a Mutant.  At least not in the same way as the X-Men.  He actually got his powers after being bitten by an Antarctic pteranodon and then being exposed to the mutant energies of Alex Summers, aka Havok.  Yes, really.  Just go with it.  Despite the inherent coolness of a Pterodactyl-man, Sauron himself has only ever gotten a single figure, which I’ll be taking a look at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Sauron was released in Series 2 of Toy Biz’s ‘90s X-Men line.  He was one of four villains in the line-up, and he was the most obscure of the set (though that would change in quick fashion).  The figure stands about 5 inches tall and he has 10 points of articulation.  He lacks the elbow and knee movement that were standard at the time, but makes up for it with the addition of not only outward movement on his shoulders and a cut joint at the base of his tail, but also a hinge on his jaw, allowing for his mouth to open and close.  That’s a pretty wizard!  Sauron had a unique sculpt.  It’s a fairly decent sculpt, on par with the rest of the line at the time.  It does a nice enough job of capturing his classic comics design.  The shoulders are a little weak, and prone to tearing under stress.  Also, I’m no 100% sure what he’s supposed to be wearing, though.  Usually, he would wear the tattered remains of Karl Lykos’s pants, or perhaps a loincloth of some sort.  This is neither of those.  It’s some weird conglomeration, I guess.  Still, a solid sculpt overall.  The paint work on Sauron is pretty simple; he’s mostly just molded in a dark green plastic.  There’s a bit of paint for the eyes, the interior of the mouth, and the…whatever it is he’s wearing.  It’s all pretty cleanly applied, and what’s there works.  Less is definitely more on this one.  Sauron was packed with a big ol’ club.  You know, for clubbing stuff.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve been looking for a Sauron for a little while. I haven’t been looking particularly hard, but I’ve been keeping an eye out.  The trouble with this guy is the shoulders; loose figures will almost always have one of them broken or about to break, which doesn’t work for me.  Recently, I decided to start working on completing my Toy Biz X-Men collection, and I went to the Dave Hart Toy Show last month with this in mind.  I looked though several bins of loose figures, and put back a handful of broken Saurons, before finally finding a fairly cheap packaged sample and calling that a win.  Not a bad figure overall.  A shame he’s not a touch more durable.

#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?

#1383: Cyclops

CYCLOPS

X-MEN PROJECTORS (TOY BIZ)

When it comes to action figures, you know what a lot of adult collectors really despise?  Stupid dumb gimmicks.  You know what I kind of love?  Stupid dumb gimmicks.  Well, to a point, anyway.  As a rule, I like my figures to be fun.  And a well-executed gimmick can be very fun.  Or it can be weird.  Which can also be sort of fun in its own strange way, I guess.  Toy Biz did a lot of the weird gimmicks, including the time that they decided to take all of Marvel’s most popular characters and stick projectors in their torsos.  I’ll be looking at one of those projector-in-torso figures today, specifically Cyclops!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Cyclops was released in the first assortment of Toy Biz’s X-Men Projectors line, hitting in 1994.  The Projector figures were in a totally different scale than the usual line, so this guy stands about 8 inches tall.  He’s also got 5 points of articulation, as well as a hinge on his torso, allowing for placement of the projector discs within the chest.  This figure was patterned on the Cyclops II figure from the main line in terms of style, though it’s important that he’s not an up-scale of that figure; all of the Projector figures were unique sculpts. The quality of the sculpt is actually pretty decent.  There are some slight oddities to it, such as the slightly enlarged torso, but I find the sculpt on this guy to be a far more detailed, and a lot nicer all-around than the smaller-scale figure.  Well, apart from the freaking projector that’s sticking out of the middle of his torso.  That does slightly mar the overall authenticity of him as a straight Cyclops figure a touch.  It’s sort of obvious, but far from the most obtrusive action feature.  Maybe he’s a robo-suit or something.  The paint work on this guy is pretty decent.  Nothing super fancy, but all of the basic color work is nice and clean.  His skin is even a bit more lively and colorful than a lot of the other X-Men figures of the same time, which is quite nice.  In terms of accessories, Cyclops just included the three projector discs, which could be placed in his chest.  There’s a switch on the back which turns on a light in his chest, as well as a knob to allow for the disc to be turned.  My figure has none of the discs, and I haven’t yet tested to see if his electronics still work.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Growing up, I had two of these figures: Magneto and Civilian Wolverine.  I got Magneto because there was no small-scale Magneto readily available when I started collecting, and I think Wolverine was a gift.  I never tracked down any of the others.  I was at 2nd Chance Toyz just last week celebrating my birthday, and I fished this guy out of their dollar bin, and couldn’t bring myself to leave him behind.  He’s goofy, there’s no denying that, but he’s my kind of goofy, and he’s helped to remind me that these were actually pretty nifty figures in their own right.

#1377: Wrestler Spider-Man

WRESTLER SPIDER-MAN

SPIDER-MAN: THE MOVIE (TOY BIZ)

In light of the recent re-re-launch of Spider-Man in Spider-Man: Homecoming, why not have a look back at Spidey’s first turn as a movie star.  Though they have been eclipsed a bit by some of Marvel’s more recent offerings, the Raimi Spider-Man films are still some of my favorites (yes, even the much maligned Spider-Man 3).  Another favorite thing of mine?  Prototype super hero suits.  Today’s figure combines both of these things.  Without further ado, here’s Wrestler Spider-Man!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Wrestler Spider-Man was released in the third, and final, series of Toy Biz’s Spider-Man: The Movie tie-in line. The figure stands a little over 6 inches tall and he has 22 points of articulation.  He’s based on Peter’s initial costume, which, as the name suggests, he makes for his wrestling match against Bone Saw McGraw.  Well, part of the figure is based on that, anyway.  This guy’s actually a two-in-one, representing both a standard Spider-Man *and* Wrestler Spider-Man.  The base figure is the standard Spidey, which is generally pretty nicely sculpted.  He’s not quite as mobile as the actual standard Spider-Man from this line, but you can get some pretty solid poses.  There’s a touch of preposing to him, with a slight hunch to his torso, which makes for some Spidey-worthy poses.  The head is unmasked, and is a pretty spot-on likeness of Tobey McGuire as Peter.  The standard Spidey look is finished off with a removable mask.  Said was prone to tearing, which is why my figure is missing his.  The paint work on the standard Spidey is really quite nice; the suit has the basic colors down, and there’s a ton of great accent work exhibited throughout.  The head also gets a pretty solid paint job, though the skin does seem a little bit pale and pasty.  Still, it’s far from bad.  To transform him into the Wrestler Spider-Man, the figure includes a spare set of arms and feet, as well as a rubber shirt piece, mask, and pants.  The sculpted parts are quite nicely detailed, and swap out with relative ease.  The extra add-on pieces are a little difficult to get on, but the end result is that they’re pretty form-fitting, and that makes for a much better final figure.  Like the standard mask, the Wrestler mask was also rather prone to tearing, meaning my figure’s missing that one, too.  Good thing he’s got that nice Tobey McGuire likeness, right?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I noted in the intro, I really like prototype super suits, and this particular design is one of my favorites (the year Spider-Man was released, I actually made this costume to wear for Halloween).  I remember this guy being announced in ToyFare, and anxiously awaiting his release.  I ended up getting him during a trip to KB Toys with my Grandmother.  He’s definitely my favorite figure from this particular line; I just wish the masks had held up a little bit better.

#1375: Ahab

AHAB

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“A houndmaster from a future timeline in which mutants are hunted down and destroyed, Ahab has time-traveled to the present to continue his mission of eliminating dangerous mutants. Employing advanced Sentinel technology in his powerful cyborg body, Ahab ruthlessly enslaves those mutants he does not kill, transforming them into telepathic hounds which he uses to track down others of their kind. Only the combined powers of the X-Men, X-Factor, the New Mutants and the Fantastic Four were able to put a stop to Ahab’s murderous rampage through our time in the past. Should he reappear, who knows what havoc he might wreak!”

You know how sometimes there’s bad figures of good characters?  Or, on the flip side, good figures of bad characters?  Today represents neither of those things.  Today, I look at what might be one of the very worst figures ever released in Toy Biz’s 5-inch X-Men line.  He’s a little figure by the name of Ahab.  Let’s just get straight to it, shall we?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ahab was released in Series 5 of X-Men.  In a series populated by fan-favorites, he’s…well, he’s not.  He’s an odd choice for the set, and the line in general really.  I mean, I guess he was involved in some semi-important stories in the comics.  But, given that one of the characters completely absent from Toy Biz’s entire run was Rachel Summers, who’s sort of the only reason Ahab matters at all, he feels out of place.  Maybe there’s a big Ahab fanbase out there or something.  I don’t know.  Anyway, the figure stands a little over 5 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  For reasons I’m not entirely sure of, he lacks neck and elbow movement, which makes for a very stiff figure.  Already not the greatest start.  Ahab has what has to be one of the clunkiest sculpts of any figure in this line.  I genuinely don’t know how they managed to mess him up this bad.  I mean, he’s hardly got the greatest design in the comics, but it’s better than this, to be sure.  Everything about this figure is blocky, stiff, and inorganic.  That’s fine for the blocky, stiff, and inorganic parts, but not so much for the parts that aren’t those things. His head is particularly bad, given it’s incredibly thin, tall look, and complete lack of neck.  He’s got this sort of cyborg-zombie-Abraham-Lincoln thing going on, and the sculpt doesn’t seem to be able to decide what’s his hair and what’s his headgear.  They just sort of meld together. He’s also got this look on his face like he just crapped his pants.  Which, in a gross way, leads me to my next complaint: his legs.  Or, more specifically, his hips, which are oddly shaped, not particularly accurate to his comics design, and start a considerable distance after his torso ends.  Ahab’s paintwork is decent enough for what it is. It’s pretty basic, and far from the most appealing color scheme.  Burnt sienna and lavender isn’t exactly an imposing combo.  Also, we get the same issues the sculpt had with the hair/headgear changeover, which just sort of…happens.  The figure was originally packed with a missile launcher and three “harpoons,” which I don’t have.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, if I hate this guy so much, why do I own him?  Is he another gift from a confused family member?  Nope, he’s actually a pretty recent acquisition.  In the last few months, I’ve decided to try and complete my ‘90s X-Men collection.  That meant I was gonna have to get this guy eventually.  I found this one at Yesterday’s Fun for $1, which is really about the cap of how much I’m willing to pay for him.  He’s an awful figure.  Just awful.  But, I like to look at the positives: the collection only improves from here!

#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.