#1384: Hydra Slaying Hercules

HYDRA SLAYING HERCULES

DISNEY’S HERCULES (MATTEL)

“In his most courageous battle of all, HERCULES must save Thebes by destroying the terrifying Hydra.  Each time he slays a head, the mighty HERCULES throws it back at the ferocious beast.”

To quote the muses: “Honey, you mean Hunk-ules!”  Actually, no, to paraphrase the muses, “Honey, you mean Heracles.”  Cuz, you know, if you’re gonna do Greek Mythology, maybe you should use the lead’s Greek name?   

While I do look at a lot of Disney owned properties on this site, courtesy of Marvel and Star Wars, I haven’t looked at a whole ton of their in-house stuff.  My two favorite Disney movies are Hercules and Aladdin.  Aladdin’s never been much of an action figure property, but Disney actually gave quite a go at making Hercules one.  Which makes sense, since what’s more action-y than Greek Mythology?  So, there was a whole line of Hercules figures, and I’m taking a look at one of them today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Hydra Slaying Hercules was released in the basic assortment of the Disney’s Hercules line from Mattel, which hit to coincide with the movie’s release in 1997.  This is one of the line’s many variants of the main character.  As the name suggests, this one’s (loosely) based on his battle with the Hydra at around the film’s mid-point.  Of course, in the movie, he was wearing the same hero garb he’s got on for the rest of the action, but the figure’s opted to change things up a bit and give hims a slightly more unique design.  The figure stands about 5 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  There’s not a ton of motion in the joints, especially the legs, and he’s rather hindered by the lack of any neck movement, but he’s not the worst thing ever, especially for the time.  The sculpt was initially unique to this figure, but did see a fair bit of re-use in multi-packs and such.  It’s not an incredibly faithful take on him.  I mean, you can see elements that identify him as being the Disney Hercules, but he’s definitely been given an element of He-Man styling, which isn’t incredibly surprising, given the company that produced him.  He’s also got the slightly tweaked outfit, which is far more ornate than Herc’s standard look.  The torso is wearing a more defined breastplate, and there’s even sleeves with fringing and stuff.  The wrappings on the arms and legs are also a bit more detailed, and he’s got an extra strap going across his chest.  I’m not entirely sure what the genesis of the design was, but I can’t say I don’t like it.  It’s actually pretty snazzy.  His cape is a separate cloth piece.  It’s got this nice embroidered pattern on the edges, which is cool.  In terms of paint, this guy also tweaks the usual colors a bit, going for a more cool palette of blues and purples, I guess to match up better with the Hydra?  Once again, I can’t say it’s a bad choice at all.  Different from the standard, but definitely quite eye-catching.  Herc is packed with both a club and an axe, one of which can be held in his right hand, as well as the disembodied head of the Hydra.  Which is slightly morbid, but pretty cool.  The head can be balanced on his left hand, and when you push the button on his back, the arm swipes downward, throwing the head.  It doesn’t work perfectly, but it’s moderately amusing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t have any of the proper Hercules figures growing up, but I found this guy at Lost In Time Toys when I stopped by for the opening day of their new location.  This was the only version  of Herc they had, but he’s cool enough that I don’t mind just having the variant.  That’s right, I just wrote an overwhelmingly positive review of a Mattel product.  This is weird.

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#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.

#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.

#1312: Gambit

GAMBIT

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Training in the Danger Room, Gambit has his hands full with a holographic Sentinel when he is rushed by a fully-armed Robot Fighter! Caught between a Sentinel and a hard place, Gambit pauses when the Robot Fighter suddenly launches its missiles!  Ducking just in time, Gambit turns to see the missiles destroy the Sentinel behind him, giving him a chance to fire his explosively-charged playing cards at the Robot Fighter and bringing him a hard-earned victory.”

The ‘90s X-Men line initially started as a pretty straight cartoon/comics-influenced, but as it progressed, Toy Biz started running out go authentic variants of the main characters, and had to start creating their own.  There were a number of gimmicky-themed series.  Today’s focus hails from one of those series.  So, let’s have a look at the X-Men’s resident lovable rogue (who also loves Rogue…wait, I’ve done that joke before…), Gambit!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Gambit was one of the five figures that made up the “Robot Fighters” series of Toy Biz’s X-Men line.  It was Gambit’s third 5-inch figure, following the Light-Up Series release.  The figure stands about 4 inches tall (thanks to the hunch) and has 8 points of articulation.  At this point in the line, they were cutting back on the articulation on most of the figures (likely in an attempt to capture some of the McFarlane Toys style), so Gambit wasn’t unique in this.  The Robot Fighters designs were (largely) unique to the figures; Gambit takes a lot of influence from his main design, sans the coat, albeit with a few more armored bits and such.  I’m not really sure how the Danger Room set-up given in the bio text translates to this new design, but I find the design to be pretty cool, so I’m hardly complaining.  As far as the sculpt goes, the best part is definitely the head, which I think may be my favorite Gambit sculpt out there (Toy Biz seemed to like it too; it was re-used later down the line on a Strike Team Gambit).  It’s just really sharply detailed, and they expression looks really dynamic, and almost Kirby-esque.  I’m not sure what the headset is for, but it looks kinda neat.  This whole series was really hit pretty hard by pre-posing, and Gambit sticks with that.  He’s in this really deep crouching pose, and the articulation doesn’t let him get out of it.  It’s not the worst pose ever (there were some far worse ones in this very series), and you can actually change it up a bit and get some really cool mid-action poses, which works well for the proposed setting.  The detail work on the body is a little varied, which some areas being a little more detailed than others, but it’s pretty solid overall.  I particularly like the molded playing cards; the removable ones always seem to get lost!  The figure’s paint is pretty straightforward; the palette is definitely Gambit-like, and the application is all nice and clean.  Nothing’s been left unpainted, and there’s even some nice accent work on the hair and a few of the torso’s elements.  Gambit was originally packed with the Robot Fighter mentioned in his bio, officially dubbed the “Attack Robot Drone.”  It shots missiles, because it was the late ‘90s and everything had to shoot missiles.  I don’t have that piece, having acquired my Gambit figure second hand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I remember the Robot Fighters Series hitting retail, and I remember seeing them all over the place, but somehow I never ended up with a single one of them.  Gambit amends that.  I fished him out of the loose figures bin at All Time Toys.  This is the first figure I’ve bought from them since they re-opened after Ellicott City’s Main Street flood, so he’s kind of special to me.  The actual figure is honestly not half bad.  I mean, he’s uber-‘90s, but it’s at an enjoyable level.  I’m happy that I finally tracked this guy down.  I guess I should get the rest of them at some point.

#1295: Egyptian Catwoman & Batman

EGYPTIAN CATWOMAN & BATMAN

LEGENDS OF BATMAN (KENNER)

In an effort to prevent this site from becoming all Marvel Legends all the time, and risking becoming too monotonous, today I’m going to be looking at a DC-related item.  Just to add a bit of variety.  Now, yesterday, I looked at a caped vigilante of the night with a bit of an Egyptian flair.  Today, I’ll be looking at…a caped vigilante of the night with a bit of an Egyptian flair.  The more things, the more they stay the same, right?  Today’s review takes us once more to Kenner’s Legends of Batman line from the ‘90s.  While prior reviews have focused primarily on the line’s pirate-sub-line, this time we’re looking at another of the goofy reimaginings, with Egyptian Batman and his foe Egyptian Catwoman!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Egyptian Catwoman and Batman were released in 1996 as one of a pair of two-packs in the Legends of Batman line (the other two-pack was the previously reviewed Pirate Two-Face & Pirate Batman).  Like most of the goofy variants from this line, these two were original creations of Kenner, and had no ties to the comics beyond being Batman and Catwoman.

CATWOMAN

Ancient Egypt revered the cat—with the exception of Egyptian Catwoman.  The mightiest woman pharaoh ever to rule, Egyptian Catwoman tainted the royal throne through her misuse of her immense power.  Forcing whole nations into slavery to build her lavish palace, pyramids, and towering monoliths, Egyptian Catwoman was despised and feared throughout the land.  Only her sworn enemy, Egyptian Batman, could stand up to her evil-doings and massive cat-claw battle staff to release her unfortunate subjects from her iron rule.”

Unlike Two-Face, it would seem Egyptian Catwoman is a markedly different character from her main universe character.  With that said, despite what her bio may insist, she doesn’t seem to be all that different from the average Pharaoh, apart from her willingness to fight her own battles.  Guess the cat-claw battle staff helps.  Also, can we address how silly it is that the bio has to call her “Egyptian Catwoman” every time she’s mentioned?  It just sounds kind of silly, especially since those living in ancient Egypt would be very unlikely to throw “Egyptian” in front of their name.  It’d be like me referring to myself as “American Ethan H Wilson” all the time.  Wouldn’t “Pharaoh Catwoman” have been a better choice?  Oh well.  The figure stands about 4 1/2 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation (counting the tail, which turns at its base).  Most of the articulation isn’t of much use, since she’s rather preposed; it’s really only there to let you fine tune things so that she doesn’t fall over so much (whether it actually helps with that issue is debatable).  The sculpt is okay, I guess.  It’s not as good as Pirate Two-Face, but also not as bad as Pirate Batman.  It’s somewhere in between.  The pre-posing is at least a pretty decent pose, which is clearly designed to interact with the Egyptian Batman figure.  In terms of design, she seems to take a good deal of influence from her then current Jim Balent-designed outfit, mostly in terms of color and general layout of the various elements.  There are, of course, the Egyptian-styled elements, which are all pretty decently rendered, if perhaps a bit on the soft side.  The Wolverine claws seem a bit overkill, but there are worse things.  The paint work on Catwoman is acceptable, but far from perfect.  There’s a lot of fuzz around the edges, and the gold paint doesn’t seem to have held up particularly well.  Catwoman includes a headdress (meant to evoke her exposed hair in the comics), as well as the previously mentioned cat-claw battle staff.

BATMAN

“Many years ago, the son of a high-ranking Egyptian official disguised himself as Egyptian Batman and made it his life’s mission to out an end to evil-doers.  He didn’t have to look far for his main target: his own father’s sponsor, Egyptian Catwoman.  Battling the evil, feline pharaoh with only his powerful bat-shield staff and keen intellect as weapons, Egyptian Batman strived to make his homeland a prosperous, peaceful place once again.”

Okay, so here’s my question here: why a bat?  Like, it makes sense for Bruce Wayne, but random Egyptian dude?  Cats work into the whole Egyptian mythology thing, but bats?  I don’t know.  Anyway, the figure stands about 5 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  The articulation works a little better here, since the figure’s a little less preposed, which is a definite plus.  I think Egyptian Batman may well sport my favorite sculpt of the five Legends of Batman figures I’ve looked at so far.  Sure, he’s still got slightly exaggerated proportions and kind of insane muscles, but there’s a sort of balance to it.  I definitely get a Neal Adams sort of vibe from this figure.  The general design is also one of the stronger ones.  It maintains the basics of the classic Batman design, but also perseveres the whole Egyptian aesthetic, in a way that I feel works better than his pack-mate.  I particularly dig the morphing of his traditional bat-ears into more of a jackal sort of design.  It preserves the basic silhouette, but offers something new and different for the figure.  The paint work is pretty straightforward.  It’s mostly pretty clean, and the colors suit the character.  There’s still an issue with the gold paint one this figure, but it seems less present on this guy.  Like Catwoman, Batman includes a headdress, as well as his previously mentioned shield staff, which he has a little trouble holding properly.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like the prior two-pack, I don’t actually remember seeing this set in stores when it was released.  This one I do recall seeing a few times elsewhere over the years, but I just never got around to getting one.  Super Awesome Girlfriend picked this set up for me at the same time as the Pirate set.  I was actually more interested in the pirate set at first (since they go with my other figures), but after opening them both up, this set was actually my favorite of the two, largely due to the pretty awesome Egyptian Batman figure.  If you’re looking for a good jumping on point for this line, you could do a lot worse than this set.

#1285: Water Patrol Woody

WATER PATROL WOODY

TOY STORY 2 (MATTEL)

As a action figure collector that grew up in the ‘90s, it was nigh impossible that I would run this site and not ever touch on Toy Story.  What’s a bit surprising is just how long it took for me to get here.  Moreover, I’m kind of starting at an odd point.  The toys for the first film in the franchise sort of came and went.  It was the ‘90s, so every movie was getting toys.  This one was no exception, obviously.  But, aside from some serious scarcity of a few choice items, it was a fairly standard line.  When it came time for the sequel, things got a little weirder.  Which is admittedly a bit of a surprise, since the first film hit in the mid ‘90s, when action figures were at probably their weirdest, while the second film hit in ’99, when things were cooling down.  The first film’s toys were done by the relatively unknown Thinkway Toys (who actually have the license again), but for the second movie, Disney partnered up with Mattel to secure Barbie for the film.  Part of the deal was that Mattel got to make the action figures.  They released some fairly straightforward versions of most of the main characters, but after the main movie stuff was mostly through, they launched a few sub-lines, showcasing non-film variants of the main characters.  I’ll be looking at one of the variants of Woody today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Water Patrol Woody was released in the “Aqua Action” sub-line of Mattel’s Toy Story 2 tie-in.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and has…movement.  I don’t know that I’d classify the movement as “articulation.”  Thanks to the non-removable head dome, there’s no movement at the neck, and his arms and legs are just a rubber mold over a wire.  So, he’s posable in theory, I guess. The figure sports a totally made-up design, just like all the other figures in this particular series.  It’s supposed to be a dive suit, I guess.  I personally always thought it looked more like a space suit, but I guess there’s an old dive suit quality about it.  It’s not a bad design.  It keeps the important elements of Woody’s main design (the hat, belt/holster, and boots), but also crafts a pretty solid protective suit for him.  The head’s a little odd; Mattel’s Woody likeness was never quite as good as others, and the hat had to she shrunk to fit inside the helmet.  I personally would think it would make sense for him to lose the hat all together, but I’ve been told in the past that I’m not good with “brand identity” so what do I know?  At the end of the day, the head’s close enough that you should be able to pick up on who this is supposed to be.  It’s worth noting that despite being clearly engineered for water play, Woody’s helmet was far from air-tight; more than once, this figure ended up with a full helmet of water, followed by a day or two with a fogged up helmet while the condensation cleared.  It was rather frustrating to 8-year old me.  In terms of paint, this guy’s pretty decent from a technical standpoint, but I can’t help but feel that Mattel chose the dullest possible color scheme for him.  Ooooh, varying shades of brown.  Such fun!  Couldn’t we have at least gotten some of Woody’s regular colors worked in here and there?  A little blue and yellow would have gone a long way.  Woody’s one accessory was a “Quick Draw Squirter” which sounds a little bit…off.  I’m also not sure what constitutes it being “Quick Draw.”  He just stands on it.  Wait, it’s always out.  The quickest draw of them all!  That’s it!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Water Patrol was a gift I got for my eighth birthday.  I’m not 100% sure who gave him to me, but if I had to guess, I’d say it was either my Nana or my cousin Rusty.  It feels like a “mom’s side of the family” gift.  While that was the year of me being largely obsessed with the then recent X-Men Movie figures, I know that Woody was a figure I had specifically requested.  I was on a Buzz Lightyear of Star Command kick at the time, and I wanted this Woody figure because he looked like he was in a space suit, and therefore made sense with all of my Star Command figures.  Even as a kid, I didn’t really buy him as a Water figure.  He’s not the most exciting figure of all time, but he amused me as a kid, and that’s the most important thing, really. 

#1277: Pirate Two-Face & Pirate Batman

PIRATE TWO-FACE & PIRATE BATMAN

LEGENDS OF BATMAN (KENNER)

Remember when I reviewed Buccaneer Batman, the inexplicable pirate-themed Batman variant from super wacky ‘90s Legends of Batman line?  Well, he wasn’t the only inexplicable pirate-themed variant in the line.  Not by a long shot!  Today, I’m looking at the *other* pirate-themed Batman from the line, dubbed “Pirate Batman” (real original on that one, guys), alongside one of his pirate-themed foes, Pirate Two-Face (again, great job on the name, guys…).  Let’s have a look!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Pirate Two-Face and Pirate Batman were released in 1996 as one of the two two-packs from Kenner’s Legends of Batman.  These two wrapped up the Pirate subset that was started in Series 3 of the main line.

TWO-FACE

“After a tragic accident left half his body hideously scarred and half his mind horribly insane, the once promising ship’s captain Pirate Two-Face sailed the seven seas as the most ruthless pirate leader in the annals of history.  Upon boarding captured ships laden with treasures, Pirate Two-Face would decide the fate of the crew and passengers with the flip of a coin.  His unpredictability, unchecked greed, and sword fighting skills could be challenged by just one man, Pirate Batman, who he eluded at every port of call.”

So, in this pirate scenario, Two-Face is more or less unchanged, it seems.  Mostly, they just threw the word “pirate” in there a lot.  Fair enough.  It’s worth noting that this was Two-Face’s only figure in this line; Joker, Catwoman, and Riddler all had standard comic figures, but Harvey was stuck as a pirate all the time.  I mean, at least he got a figure at all, right?  The figure stands about 5 inches tall and he has 7 points of articulation.  Pirate Two-Face was a unique sculpt, and it’s actually a pretty solid one.  His design plays up the “good vs evil” dichotomy, but in true pirate style.  Rather than his usual suit, Pirate Two-Face is half naval officer, half dastardly pirate captain.  His naval officer side is clean and pressed while the pirate side is disheveled and wrinkled like crazy.  His collar on the pirate side is even slightly popped, before settling back down on the “good” side.  The pirate side gets the usual facial scarring (which is surprisingly gruesome for a kid’s toyline), and he also seems to have lost an arm and a leg along the way, replacing them with a peg-leg and some sort of swiss army knife-sword-hook combo replacing them.  As a whole, he really sells the pirate angle pretty well, while still sticking close to the Two-Face side of things as well.  For paint, Pirate Two-Face is generally pretty good for the time; his colors are obviously split down the middle, with blue on the right and red on the left.  The changeover works pretty well, though there’s a bit of slop right on the line, where some of the primer coat under the red shows through.  Most annoyingly, the paint for his belt doesn’t continue all the way around, so it’s just flat blue and red back there.  It looks kind of sloppy.  Pirate Two-Face included no accessories, which is slightly odd, since his hand seems to be begging for something to hold.  He does have a “sword-fighting action”; when you turn the wheel in his back, his sword hand spins.  Woooooooooo!

BATMAN

“Taking it upon himself to make the world’s waterways safe from marauding bands and looters, Pirate Batman relentlessly scoured the seas in pursuit of the most villainous of them all—Pirate Two-Face.  Armed with a razor sharp sword and dagger, Pirate Batman was renowned for his extraordinary dueling ability and courage in the face of danger.  He ceaselessly hunted his evil foe with the split-personality, hoping to rid the seas of his maniacal menace once and for all!”

There was already a Buccaneer Batman in Series 3 of Legends of Batman, but I guess Kenner felt a second one was needed to be made.  The bios for the two indicate they actually might be two different people, which is a somewhat interesting idea.  The figure stands about 4 1/2 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation.  Of course, one of those points is on his right shoulder, which does jack-all in terms of posing, thanks to the outstretched arm.  The figure is actually a complete re-hash of Series 1’s Power Guardian Batman.  Admittedly, the Zorro stylings of that figure lend themselves to a pirate-theme as well, so it’s not a terrible re-use in theory.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t one of the stronger sculpts when it was new, and two years later, it felt even more out of place with the rest of the line, especially the pirate subset it belonged to.  He’s more pre-posed than even the worst of the Total Justice figures, in this really deep lunge.  Remember when I said Buccaneer Batman had the widest stance I’d seen?  Well, this guy’s topped him on that, which has the added bonus of making him virtually impossible to keep standing.  Also, I’m not really sure what’s going on with the left arm; it’s just at an odd angle, and the hand’s doing…something.  Not really sure what.  And it’s at least half an inch too long and isn’t attached to the shoulder in a natural way at all.  In general, the proportions are just super wacky on this guy.  The cape is a removable piece, and while it looks okay, it never really seems to sit right and it falls off a lot.  Pirate Batman’s paint is decent enough.  His scheme is actually somewhat reminiscent of the “Gotham By Gaslight” design, albeit slightly bluer.  I personally find this design to be a bit more exciting than the Power Guardian look, so I guess that’s a plus.  The figure is packed with the sword and dagger mentioned in the bio (they’re the same pieces included with the PG version).  He’s also got his own sword-fighting action, which works fairly similarly to Pirate Two-Face’s.  Honestly, it’s probably the best thing about the figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I don’t actually recall seeing this set when it was new.  It wasn’t until years later that I even knew that it existed.  When I dug out my Buccaneer Batman to write his review, my interest in completing the set was piqued.  A few months back, while picking up Super Awesome Girlfriend’s comics, I noted that the store had this set in stock.  Super Awesome Girlfriend, being who she is, insisted on getting them for me.  Pirate Two-Face is pretty cool.  Goofy, but cool.  Pirate Batman is…well, he’s the other figure in the set.  And that’s about it for him.  He just feels really tacked on, and almost as if he’s from another line entirely.  Still, the set’s more than worth it for Two-Face!

Flashback Friday Figure Addendum #0003: Sonar Sensor Batman

0003aDid you guys notice I missed a Flashback Friday Figure Addendum?  Because I did, but not until last Saturday afternoon.  Lotta good that did me.  Well, I’m just gonna pretend like I didn’t miss a week.  Today, I’m continuing my chronological look at my earliest reviews with Sonar Sensor Batman!

Continuing the trend of my last two posts, I’m looking at another figure from 1995’s Batman Forever Line.  This guy isn’t quite as significant as the last two, so he’ll be a bit more brief.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

So, like I said above, Sonar Sensor Batman is another Batman Variant from the Batman Forever line.  This one’s a slightly more conventional Batman, though, like Robin, not THE conventional Batman of the line.  This one’s still got the cape because it’s permanently affixed, which was a good move on Kenner’s part.  And he’s got what appears to be a….nipple gun?  I mean, that’s what it looks like(And this is Scumacher we’re talking about here).  It’s right on his right pectoral, and it’s even got those red dots on it.  When you push the yellow button on his belt, the gun flips down, only emphasizing the nipple gun-ness of it.  And I have no idea what any of this has to do with sonar, or sensing for that matter.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Not a whole lot on this one.  I remember having it.  I remember thinking he had a nipple gun as a child.  I actually don’t know where I got this one, so I’m going to assume it was a gift.  Regardless, it didn’t really get much play-time as my go to Batman.

Nipple gun.  Heh!

So, this is yet another very brief review.  I really can’t even conceive of talking about a figure in so little words nowadays.

No articulation or height noted either; he’s another 5 and 5 for those that are curious.  Missing from my original review was his super sick neon orange shield.  Still have no clue where the “sonar” part of his name comes in, but he’s certainly well defended.  The center of the shield is a removable disc, which served as ammo for the disc launcher he also included (mine is, sadly, still missing).  It definitely ups the goof factor.  He can’t really stand very well while holding it, either; I had to do some very strategic posing for the photo.

I mentioned in the original review how this guy didn’t get much playtime as my go-to Batman, which is true, but a re-watch of the Batman: The Animated Series episode “His Silicon Soul” reminded me what he did get a lot of use as: Batman’s robotic duplicate.  …Who has a nipple gun.

Flashback Friday Figure Addendum #0001: Night Hunter Batman

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Hey everyone!  Back in October, I made mention of finding a bunch of missing figure accessories and doing a bunch of photo reshoots and how that would mean the occasional addendum here and there in order to make older reviews as complete as possible.  Well, I’m finally getting off my butt and actually doing something with it.  Every Friday from now until I run out of updates, I’ll be linking to an old post, updating the images contained therein, and adding a few new comments about the figure or my review.  Without further ado, I present my first Flashback Friday Figure Addendum!

For today’s FFFA, I’m going back to my very first review of my very first action figure, Night Hunter Batman!

The first post in my humble little blog is a review of the very first (well, technically second, but I’ll get to that in a minute) action figure in my not-so-small collection.  Yep, this is the one that started it all, and 2400 figures later, he does seem to be a bit of an odd choice.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Night Hunter Batman is a Batman variant from the tie-in line to 1995’s Batman Forever.  He’s black with some bright yellow accents, the obvious choice for creatures of the night.  He once had a cape with a pretty nifty windswept look to it, but I’ve long since lost it.  He also used to have an actual bat symbol on his chest, but if I recall correctly, he lost that fairly shortly after I acquired him.  I feel the true highlight (aside from the actual yellow HIGHLIGHTS) of the figure is the pop-up goggle feature.  There’s a button on his back that, when pushed, extends and rotates the goggles in front of old Bruce’s eyes.  You know, for detective-stuff.  Or going by the name of the figure, hunting stuff.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Why, of all the action figures out there, was this my very first action figure?  I honestly can’t say.  I know I liked Batman, though I watched the TV series and in fact didn’t see Batman Forever until I was almost 20.  Maybe I liked the colors.  Most likely, it was the goggles.  I like goggles, and the whole focus of this little guy was those really neat goggles he had.

Remember when I pointed out above that this was technically my second action figure?  Yeah, funny story:  this particular Night Hunter Batman is a replacement for the first Night Hunter Batman, that by all accounts I gave to a girl at a restaurant.  Yes, even at 3, I was quite the charmer.  So, my parents drove me over to Toys R Us (Side-Note: Remember when Toys R Us didn’t suck?  I miss those days…) and purchased me this lovely replacement (EDIT: I stand corrected.  It wasn’t Toys R Us, it was Service Merchandise.  Man, there’s a blast from the past!) .  While there, my dad happened to wander down the aisle and find the Iron Man animated series toys, leading him to a) start his own collection up again b)introduce me to the wonders of Marvel Comics and c) even more directly lead me to my current state of being.  And it’s all because I was trying to impress a girl!  Silly girls!”

Wow, that was surprisingly brief, and left out a lot of the details I would now consider “standard.” It’s so quaint! 

It’s worth noting that Night Hunter Batman is about 5 inches tall and has 5 points of articulation.  Also worth noting are his accessories, missing from the original review.  He had a removable cape, which has a nice windswept look to it, as well as this big…shield thing.  I don’t know.  It’s shaped like a bat. Sorta.  It’s a little hard to get him to hold it properly, and I’m not sure what purpose it would serve whist one hunts…at night…but it’s an entertaining enough piece.  There were also these claw attachments, which hooked onto those two bottom rungs of the shield, but those I truly have lost.

Since writing this review, discussing with my dad about why this was my first Batman, it came up that this was apparently the closest we could come to a standard Batman figure when I went to pick one out.  It would appear this guy got to be number one by sheer luck.  Good for him!

#1123: Bola Trap Robin

BOLA TRAP ROBIN

BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES (KENNER)

bolatraprobin1

Growing up, there were a handful of characters that I was pretty much guaranteed to by in action figure form every time I saw them (it’s not a practice I’ve completely abandoned.  Note my Havok, Wonder Man, and Poe Dameron collections).  One of these characters was Robin (specifically Dick Grayson.  When he switched to Nightwing, those were the figures I wanted), resulting in my collection tending to have more Robins than Batmen at any given point.  A good portion of the Robins in my collection are goofy variants, including today’s entry, “Bola Trap Robin.”

THE FIGURE ITSELF

bolatraprobin2Bola Trap Robin was released in the fifth series of Kenner’s Batman: The Animated Series line.  He would also see a rerelease later on when the line was re-formatted under the Adventures of Batman & Robin banner, but mine’s the original.  The figure is about 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation that were standard for the line.  At this point in the line, Kenner had moved away from focussing on show accurate stuff and had instead delved headfirst into the wacky variants that would define the Dynamic Duo’s toy presence for the next two decades.  That being the case, Robin is seen here in a costume he never sported in the cartoon, its tie-in comic, or any of the comics it was based on.  The design isn’t really in keeping with the designs on the show, mostly due to being a bit busier than they tended to be.  That being said, it’s not a bad design, per se, especially in regards to being on a toy, where business isn’t the worst thing.  It has some of the typical Robin costume elements, but also mixes in a little bit of the 1989 Batman design, and even a little bit of the ‘90s Nightwing look around the tops of the boots and gloves.  The quilted elements are interesting.  They’re well sculpted, but I do sort of wonder why he’s got them.  Are they to protect him from the titular “Bola Trap”?  Robin has a sort of a preposed nature to him, and is probably one of the earliest examples of this trend occurring in Kenner/Hasbro’s DC figures.  Fortunately, he’s nowhere near the level of something like Total Justice.  Rather, I’d guess that the pose on this guy is so that the figure can still stand while holding the big gimmicky weapon.  Robin’s head is the same basic piece that Kenner used on pretty much all of their animated Robins.  It’s hardly on the level of the DCC version in terms of accuracy, but it’s still a decent enough piece, and it fits with the slightly off styling of the whole Kenner line.  The cape, like all of the capes at this point in the line, is cloth.  This means it doesn’t get the proper yellow lining, but other than that, it’s not terrible.  Robin’s paintwork is decent enough.  There’s a clear effort to making him different from the basic Robin, giving him a yellow and black color scheme.  I’d say he was more of a stealth Robin, were it not for all the bright yellow.  Maybe he’s trying to blend into the same place where Night Hunter Batman’s hiding?  The application’s pretty clean overall.  There are a few fuzzy edges, and some slop here and there, but he’s more or less pretty good.  The main gimmick of this guy is, of course, the bola trap, which seems to translate to big…spinny…thingy.  I’m not sure what it is.  I don’t know that bola is an apt descriptor.  At least it’s not a missile launcher, right?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Remember in the intro, where I talked about collecting every figure of certain characters?  Well, I didn’t get this guy growing up.  Instead, in an event similar to the acquisition of the Talking Cyclops figure from earlier this summer, my family found this guy in an antique store about a month ago, and got me this on the pretense of there only being so many chances for them to pick me up a Robin that I didn’t have.  They gave me Robin, alongside a whole bag of things they’d gotten me, when I went up to visit over Halloween.  Also in the bag?  The complete soundtrack to Batman: The Animated Series, which served as my motivational music during this review!  Alright!