#1426: Clone Commander Gree

CLONE COMMANDER GREE

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

“Clone Commander Gree, designation 1004, led the Elite Corps of clone troopers during the Clone Wars.  He saw deployments on such heated battlefronts as Kashyyyk.  Though a faithful commander who carried out the Jedi’s orders, Gree was ultimately loyal to the Republic.”

I’ve spent two whole weeks looking at the smaller scale offerings for The Last Jedi, but I’ve not yet looked at any of Hasbro’s other big line, The Black Series.  There’s a simple reason for this:  I’ve yet to see most of the new Black Series stuff anywhere.  I did manage grab at least one figure, albeit not one of the characters from the new movie.  Instead, we jump back to the Prequels (I know, not my first choice either), and take a look at one of my favorite clones, Clone Commander Gree!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Commander Gree is a Toys R Us exclusive offering for Star Wars: The Black Series.  A smaller supply of this figure initially showed up at SDCC this year, but the vast majority of figures showed up at TRU retail stores for Force Friday, allowing Gree to take the slot taken by the Snowtrooper Commander and Hovertank Driver in years past.  The figure stands about 6 inches tall and has 31 points of articulation.  Gree is seen here in his Phase II Clone Trooper from Revenge of the Sith.  It’s definitely the more distinct of his two designs, and thus not a surprise for this figure at all.  Gree is largely built from the same pieces as the Clone Sergeant I reviewed way back when. It was a good sculpt then, and it’s still a good sculpt now.  Gree obviously gets the Phase II helmet in place of the Phase I version, and it fits well on the body and looks far more accurate than a good number of other Phase II trooper figures.  Gree gets a unique torso and left thigh piece as well, patterned after the standard pieces, but adding some of Gree’s extra straps and such.  The torso even gets a port for a removable antennae, which is a nice touch, though the antennae has a tendency to fall out of place a lot.  Paint is the most important part of a good Commander Gree figure, and this figure definitely delivers on that front.  All of the colors match up very nicely with his on-screen color scheme, and the level of detailing, especially on the camouflaged areas of the armor, is just top notch.  They’ve even included a good deal of silver detailing, showcasing the wear and tear that Gree’s armor’s undergone.  That’s a detail that’s largely been left off of the smaller figures, so I’m very glad to see it show up here.  Gree is actually quite well accessorized for a Black Series release, getting both small and large blaster rifles, and a pair of quadnoculars to hold.  I wouldn’t have minded an unmasked head as well, but that’s still more than what’s been included with prior 6″ troopers.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When I first started collecting The Black Series, my one rule was no Prequel figures.  I broke that rule for the Clone Sergeant, but I’ve stuck to it since.  However, even when I decided on that rule, I knew this guy would be an exception.  Gree’s always been my favorite of the Clone Commanders, and I have just about every other figure of him, so I certainly wasn’t passing on this one.  My TRU didn’t get any Black Series figures on Force Friday, but this guy showed up about a week later.  This is easily the best Gree figure ever released, and definitely one of my favorite Black Series figures.

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#1403: Silk Spectre & Ozymandias

SILK SPECTRE & OZYMANDIAS

WATCHMEN MINIMATES

“A second-generation crimefighter, LAURIE JUSPECZYK followed in her mother’s footsteps as SILK SPECTRE.  Although she was never close to with the super-intelligent hero OZYMANDIAS, their paths would cross again when someone begins a campaign to kill or discredit former vigilantes.”

You know it’s a bad pairing when even the bio on the back of the box describes the characters as “never close.”  The last two days of Watchmen Minimates perhaps haven’t been the strongest partnerships, but at least they all had one or two key scenes together.  Today?  We got the left overs.  Without further ado, Silk Spectre and Ozmandias!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The prior two sets were made up of characters shared between the specialty four-pack and Toys R Us-exclusive assortment of Watchmen Minimates.  Silk Spectre and Ozymandias, on the other hand, are both exclusively available in two-pack form through TRU.  Why these two ended up as the exclusives is kind of hard to figure out; I personally would have swapped out Comedian and Laurie, but at the end of the day, it’s not a huge deal, I guess.

SILK SPECTRE

Laurie Jupiter (It was Juspeczyk in the comics, but the movie never explains Sally’s changed  surname or has Laurie correct Rorschach’s use of “Jupiter” when he meets her, so it sticks) is patterned loosely on Charlton Comics character Nightshade.  Really, though, the only similarities the two share are a partnership with Captain Atom/Dr. Manhattan.  Beyond that, they’re rather different.  For the purposes of the movie, Silk Spectre’s look was rather changed.  The basic spirit of the original look is still there, I guess, but it’s more generic catsuit now than it was originally.  Meh.  The figure is about 2 1/4 inches tall and she has the standard 14 points of articulation.  Her only add-on is her hair, which is borrowed from Marvel MinimatesNew Mutant Magik.  Given it’s a near perfect match for her hair in the movie, the re-use is certainly warranted.  The rest of the work is done by the paint.  It’s all pretty solid.  She’s probably got the best paint in the series, to be honest.  The colors are sharp and bold, and there’s very little slop.  She includes a clear display stand and…that’s it.  Seems a little light, but I don’t really know what you could give her.  Maybe a more interesting character?  Oh wait, they did!

OZYMANDIAS

Jokes at Laurie’s expense aside, I can’t say Ozymandias is really a favorite of mine either.  He does at least get to be the villain (spoilers?).  He was originally meant to be Peter Cannon…Thunderbolt (yes, the ellipsis is part of his name) who never amounted to much on his own.  Ozy’s design in the film looks rather different at first glance, but the only truly major change was making the main bodysuit dark grey instead of gold.  It’s still the most easily distinguished of the designs, though.  Like Laurie, he’s built on the standard ‘mate body.  He gets add-ons for his hair, cape, and belt.  The hair and cape are new pieces.  They’re a little soft on the details, but look decent enough overall.  In terms of paint, Ozy’s okay.  Nothing truly amazing.  The pale, non-metallic gold isn’t the best look, but the application’s fairly solid.  The standard head sports his mask (seen only in flashbacks), but there’s also an extra head without the mask.  That’s more than the DC Direct figure gave us!  He also includes the usual clear display stand.  Fun times.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Well, those reviews kind of went out with a whimper, didn’t they?  Sorry guys, I’m not trying to be a downer on this set at all.  Neither ‘mate is bad or anything, but neither one is as strong as the other four.  I really feel like splitting up this pair would do a lot to help both of them.  With that said, once you’ve got the whole set together, it makes for a pretty sweet display.  I’ve been waiting a long time for Watchmen Minimates, and while maybe I would have preferred comics-based ones, these are definitely a great set of ‘mates to have.  Now, to hold out hope for a second series with some Minute Men!

#1331: Chief Tyrol & Mortar Pack Cylon

CHIEF TYROL & MORTAR PACK CYLON

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA MINIMATES

One of the appealing things about collecting Minimates is the ability to have a very wide range of properties all in one consistent style.  Their main Marvel line is pretty much always running in tandem with at least one line based on a popular Sci-Fi property.  Currently, that’s Aliens, but a few years ago, their sci-fi line of choice was Battlestar Galactica.  While it was never a huge seller, the line ran for 4 series before getting cancelled, and even then it was picked up for another two series by Toys R Us.  I’ll be looking at one of those sets today, so let’s dive right into the review!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Tyrol and the Mortar Pack Cylon were released in the second Toys R Us-exclusive series of Battlestar Galactica Minimates.  This pair is notable for being one for the few sets in the two TRU series not to be re-purposed from the cancelled Series 5 and 6 or New Caprica boxed-set line-ups.

CHIEF TYROL

“One of the more troubled members of the Final Five, Chief Galen Tyrol resigned his commission after the loss of his wife and tried to find happiness with his son Nicky before learning the truth about his family’s past.”

Poor Chief.  Dude was a serious punching bag, especially later in the series.  He was pretty lucky when it came to Minimates, though; this was his third.  The figure is about 2 1/4 inches tall and has the usual 14 points of articulation.  He’s built on the standard base body, with add-ons for his hair and the bottom of his shirt.  The shirt is a standard piece and the hair came from Ghostbusters’ Ray Stanz.  The hair seems a touch bulky for Chief, especially a later in the series Chief, but it’s not terrible.  The rest of the details are rendered via paint.  Early BSG Minimates were a bit more on the simplistic side, but when TRU brought the line back, the level of detail was brought up to par with the more current stuff.  Chief’s got some pretty solid detail work, especially on his uniform.  The likeness on the face is a bit iffy.  Personally, I’ve always felt it looked more like Tamoah Pinikett (who played Helo on the show) than Chief’s actor Aaron Douglas.  I think Douglas just has one of those faces that doesn’t really lend itself to the ‘mate aesthetic, as his earlier ‘mates weren’t much better.  Chief included no accessories, but I’m not exactly sure what you’d give him.

MORTAR PACK CYLON

“Capable of downing enemy aircraft from stealthily concealed positions, Cylon ground forces often include at least one Mortar Pack Cylon Centurion. When damaged in battle, these destructive units can even repair themselves on the fly.”

The Cylon Centurions were the bread and butter of this line, since they were kind of the easiest way of keeping the packs at least somewhat interesting.  Chief may just be a normal dude in drab clothes, but that’s okay, because he’s packed with this sweet ass robot, right?  The figure uses the same starting base,  as every other Minimate, but with add-ons for the faceplate, chest piece, hands, pelvis, and feet.  They’re the same pieces that had been used countless times before for other Cylons, though the chest piece has been tweaked ever so slightly to allow for the mortar pack to be plugged into it.  The pieces all make for a decent enough approximation of the Cylons from the show.  I wish the upper torso were a little more mobile, and I’d really like to be able to actually use the neck articulation, but it’s decent enough.  The details are nice and sharp, especially on the torso and face, and he looks suitably different from the standard Minimate, without deviating so much as to lose the aesthetic altogether.  The paint is a bit more lax on this guy, but it’s still pretty solid. The gunmetal grey is applied cleanly, and all of the detail work is pretty sharp.  The only accessory is the titular mortar pack.  I don’t know if this was ever actually used on the show, but it’s a pretty cool piece nonetheless.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

There’s not much of an exciting story behind this set.  It hit Toys R Us, and I went and got it from my local store.  That’s really it.  I had a lot of the BSG Minimtates, but I can’t say I was ever super into any of them.  This set’s about average for the line.  Both ‘mates are well made, but there’s not a whole lot of excitement here.  If you like the show and Minimates, I guess you’d like these.

#0020: Reborn & Suspended Animation Captain America Minimates

REBORN & SUSPENDED ANIMATION CAPTAIN AMERICA

MARVEL MINIMATES

For today’s review, I’ll actually be looking at something I just got, for a change.  This is another Minimates entry.  Today’s review focuses on half of a set that was both a Toys R Us exclusive and a Fan’s Choice set: Captain America Through the Ages.  The set was released to coincide with Cap’s return to the land of the living, and featured four of his looks from throughout the years.  I’ll be looking at two of those today.

REBORN CAPTAIN AMERICA

THE FIGURE ITSELF

CapTTA(Reborn)CapTTA(Reborn)ALT

First up is the figure that functions as the set’s definitive Captain America.  This figure depicts Cap as he appeared right after his return from the dead.  It’s the classic Captain America look with a few minor changes that aren’t really noticeable.  The figure stands about 2.5 inches tall, and has the standard Minimates articulation of 14 points (well, technically 12, since the boots remove the foot articulation).  Minimates mostly rely on paint to convey the character, and it all looks crisp and well applied.  Like most of the more modern Minimates, he does have his share of sculpted pieces: Glove cuffs,  Mask, Belt and Boots, as well as an alternate hair piece for an unmasked look.  He also includes his mighty shield, for throwing, which can either be plugged into his left glove or his shoulder harness, depending on how you want to display him.  One thing he doesn’t come with, however, is an alternate left glove cuff sans the strap for the shield.  This is a bummer, because it effectively makes his really cool harness piece useless, because his glove looks weird.  I gave mine the right glove from SA Cap, because I think that one looks better sans gloves, but it would have been nice for Diamond to include the extra piece.

SUSPENDED ANIMATION CAPTAIN AMERICA

THE FIGURE ITSELF

CapTTA(Frozen)CapTTA(Frozen)ALT

Interestingly enough, this figure also depicts Cap after he returned from the dead…the FIRST time!  Yep, this figure’s based on Cap’s appearance at the beginning of Avengers #4, right after the Avengers find him floating in the ocean, frozen in a block of ice. This is back when Cap’s long nap in the ice was about 15 years, not the 70 years it is now.  Anyway, the figure gives us Cap in his army fatigues, which have been shredded, revealing his Captain America costume below.  He’s got the basic Minimates articulation.  The painted details are once again really well done here.  The tears in the fatigues are quite well done.  He also has a few sculpted pieces:  his hair, gloves, belt, as well as both a mask to put on his head and one to drape over his shoulders.  He also comes with a spare set of ungloved hands, his shield, and coolest (heh!) of all, a chunk of ice to place him in.  I could complain that it’d be cooler if the chunk actually covered more of the figure, but it does the job pretty well.  This is a really neat variant of Cap, and is definitely one that will stand out on the shelf.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was never able to track this set down at retail, and for whatever reason never got around to picking it up online.  When I saw it going for between 60 and 70 dollars, I just figured I’d missed my shot.  Fortunately, I was able to score these two loose on ebay for a decent price, and I’m really glad, because they’re great additions to my already large Minimate collection.  One of these days, I’ll get the other half of the set.  I mean, everybody’s gotta have a crazy 90s armored Captain America in their collection, right?  How could you not?