Monthly Archives: December 2016

Marvel Legends Civil War 3-Pack, Spider-Man, Captain America, Iron Man

This Marvel Legends 3-Pack is one of the problems we are facing with the toy industry. The large number of repaints for a single figure. The companies, in this case Hasbro, is trying to cut the cost on their tooling by reusing bodies. That is all and fine, to an extent. What they have started doing is reissue figures with new paint apps in three packs. Generally one figure we need, and two we don’t. Then they change the same amount as if we were going to buy the three characters individually. I would really like to know the thinking behind this. What we are ending up with is a bunch of this three-pack sitting on the shelves of Target. In the meantime, someplace like Amazon gets a hold of the set, sees the writing on the wall, and drops the price down to $20. That is where I found it, and for that price, it is like getting Spider-Man for regular price, and getting two bonus figures for free. That is a deal I can get behind. But now the question is, does that hurt Hasbro overall?

Another example is the Rogue One three-pack that came out recently. That set had the opposite problem. Two figures we do want (Death Trooper Specialist, and Cassian), and one figure that was in mass market already (Jyn in her Jedha outfit). What that one caused was a huge number of Jyns to be sitting on the pegs at the stores. It seems that overall the problems mount with the reuse of bodies as opposed to actually going about doing something new.

I was not going to pay $60 for a 3-pack that included dirty versions of Cap and Iron Man, just to get Civil War Spider-Man, when you know we are going to be getting one upcoming for the Homecoming movie. But with the price reduced to $20, that was just right. So let’s take a look at this trio and see what we get.

Spider-Man is in his new movie outfit with black accents. I think it works well, and I think he was a great addition to the movie. The outfit is a modern take on the classic outfit.

Gone are the days of the puff-paint spider webs. Even on his back, we get the classic giant red spider. Nice touch.

In the packaging, Spider-Man comes packed with Cap’s shield in his hand. That of course references his stealing of Cap’s shield during the film. He does not come with any accessories of his own, so they let him borrow Cap’s for a while.

Captain America is a battle damaged repaint of the Civil War Cap. Nothing special going on here, except for a bunch of burns all over his outfit.

Steve comes with an alternate unmasked head. It is a good sculpt, but it does not look a lot like Chris Evans. I would really like to have seen some paint added to the face. I bit of dirt and grime to match the clothes.

Iron Man took a lot of damage in the movie. He looks pretty badly burned in his repaint. This is also a repaint of his Civil War armor, the Mark 46. This is one of my favorite armors that Hasbro has put out. There is a lot of detailing and colors going on here.

His back is strangely untouched. It seems that he should be battle damaged all over, not just on his front.

Tony comes with the most accessories. He comes with hand blasts as well as feet blasts, and they are in two different colors.

He also comes with a maskless face. It is really unfortunate that he does not have any paint apps to the face. He pretty much spends the entire movie with a beat-up face, and it should have been reflected in this face. By the time his armor got this messed up, he was already physically beat up too.

Overall, this is a fine set. I am glad I waited for the price to drop. Spider-Man is great. he looks good, and he fits in so well with the other movie figures. The other two are just minor repaints of their original figures, so paying full price for a little bit of black paint would have been hard to swallow. But at $20 for three figures, this was a deal too good to pass up. That seemed to have been the bottom price. It stopped there, and now it is slowly climbing back up.

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Bisk – Transformers: Robots in Disguise – Warrior Class

What a funny guy, this Bisk. He looks like a lobster, and he is named after a soup you make with said lobster. That is all you need to know.

In robot mode, he looks like most of the Decepticons the Autobots are hunting in the Robots in Disguise show. They tend to have animal features. Bisk has the buggy eyes of a lobster, and the claws to match.

The claws are really his best asset in this fight. They are big and powerful. I am sure he is no good to anyone doing small fine motor skills, but he can crush things.

Since he doesn’t have standard hands, he cannot hold a weapon very well. Thankfully for him, he comes with ports on the top of his claws that allows him to hold his blasters. He has a great advantage of being able to hold something and shoot. Nice!

When he turns into his alternate mode, he does not turn into a giant lobster as you may suspect. The animal features are only in the robot modes. The car looks like it took styling cues from the Vehicons in the Prime TV show. Long front ends with wide bodies and spilt spoilers on the back.

He is long and low, just the way a good sports car should be made.

He can once again hold his blasters in the ports on the top of his claws, which are now the front wheel wells.

 

I like Bisk. I could tell he was going to be something different when I saw the original design of him.


New 1/12 scale diorama – Police Interrogation Room

I don’t know what Iceman did, but he landed himself in the interrogation room.

This is my new diorama that was built with removable walls all around. That allows for 360 degrees of shooting. I knew I was going to try to make more realistic photos with this dio, so I wanted to get the ceiling in there too. It is simulating standard overhead fluorescent lighting you would find in the police station.

The wall with the glass window is removable to allow the rooms to simulate a hallway as well.

All of the furniture was scratch built. In the observation room, I made a desk from wood. I don’t have a chair yet for that room. The computer on the desk is scratch built as well, using tag board.

In the interrogation room, the table is made of wood, with metal loops for locking down a criminal. The chairs are plastic frames with wood seat and back.

On the walls, there are simulated cork boards with information I thought one would find in a police station. Maps, CPR instructions, fire exits, and wanted bulletins.

This was a lot of fun to make. It was different from my last build, of the giant pier scene. In some ways it was harder with more walls to make. The doors and window were a bit tougher too, since I had to make sure it was all as straight as I could make it.


Transformers: Robots in Disgise – Autobot Ratchet

Robots in Disguise really ties in well with Prime. Last we saw of Ratchet, he was on Cybertron as it was rebuilding, without a leader, and without a job to do.

Some time later, we find him coming back to Earth. He went from being a moderately boring ambulance, to becoming the world’s most boring panel truck.

In robot mode, we get what looks similar to Prime Ratchet. That is not a big surprise. I forgot to fold in the truck sides in these shots, so it looks like he has wings. He does not in fact have wings, he was just packed this way to fit inside the box.

I remembered to close his back this time!

I remembered to close his back this time!

He comes with a pair of pistols. I love me some dual handguns with the Transformers. These look really good. They are a nice design with a boxy shape that differs from so many round barreled guns.

The pistols can be stored in his back for safe keeping while he is in robot mode. These do not work in vehicle mode. He has a few other post holes around the legs to store the guns too.

When we transform him into the truck, I am getting a Strongarm vibe here. I haven’t gotten the new Strongarm, but I think these are based on the same body. They are going to have to do a lot of retooling for the body parts, but they are both trucks, so that would make sense. We will see.

The truck is SO boring!! No design at all on the entire truck other than a few red parts around the bottom and the roof. It looks like he is a vehicle sitting on a lot at the Ford dealership waiting for a company to buy him and add their company logo. Strange choice. At least the Prime Ratchet had some striped down the sides.

When we turn him over, he is fairly hollow. There are a lot of parts that fold into each other, especially in the legs. That leaves a lot or extra room. It is a good thing since it allows the legs to be left open and the blasters can be stored away.

Overall, the robot mode is really well done. I like having storage for the guns, and it looks like Ratchet. The vehicle mode is well done, other than it being so golly gosh darn boring. It is good to see Ratchet again.


Teslor and Brainstorm – Transformers: Generations – Titans Return Deluxe Class Walgreens Exclusive

Brainstorm gets special marks for being the first-ever Transformers Exclusive figure for Walgreens. Walgreens and Hasbro have been making exclusives for a while now with Marvel Legends and Star Wars. Now they delve into the world of the endless battle between the Autobots and Decepticons.

Thankfully what we get is a figure we want, and not just a repaint of something we will be able to get somewhere else. He is a retool of Blurr, and shares a lot of the same parts, but he is his own guy. Basically if you combine Blurr (Titans Return) with Brainstorm (Thrilling 30), you will get the new Brainstorm Titans Return Figure.

Brainstrom’s colors have flexed a bit over the years, but mostly in G1 he was a baby blue color like the Thrilling 30 version that came out in 2014. This time around they went with a more teal color that matches his IDW comic color scheme.

When you put him side-by-side with Blurr, you can see just how much of their bodies are the same. Pretty much the only differences between the two are the shoulders, the heads, and the shield. That is pretty impressive, since they look fairly different. Shoulders say a lot about a Transformer apparently.

In 2014, Arcana, on the right became the first modern Headmaster. He had a ball joint head, so Brainstorm could actually move his head. He very much looked like the testbed for the Titan Masters to come in the Titans Return series. You can see Arcana is a lot taller than Teslor. That is of course due to the face that he is a Headmaster for a Voyager Class figure, as opposed to the Titan Masters that are made for Deluxe Class figures. Since Arcana is bigger, he cannot be used on the Titan Master figures, nor can the Titan Masters be used on the 2014 Brainstorm. I don’t think anyone would really want to anyway, since he would have a tiny pinhead. We are once again bitten by the copyright bug, since Arcana had to be renamed Teslor this time around.

When you are ready, go ahead and transform him into vehicle mode. It is not that hard to do, especially if you have Blurr. It will feel strangely similar. Well, not that strange, since we know the bodies are virtually the same.

Side by side, we can start to see the similarities and differences. Where Blurr has the long, flat nose , Brainstorm has a more tapered nose with guns added.

Brainstorm is supposed to be a space ship, but while he does have the overall design of his earlier G1 version in the wings and the nose, he still feels like a cruiser in many ways. He has wheels for rolling, and they don’t feel like landing gear. He also has an open top. While these guys are robots, thus not needing air, it does not go with general thinking of a space ship with an open canopy. Even Wheelie, built as a car, has a better canopy ( https://flic.kr/p/Kb7YTz ).

Overall, I think the robot was well executed. The body has great articulation, and has a great design nodding to the original G1 Brainstorm. He is built on nearly the same body as Blurr, but they are different enough not not just be a repaint.

The vehicle is also a nice homage to the G1 ship, with good design and matching touches like the wings. Since it was built on the Blurr body, it still has that ground vehicle feel, so some points off for that, but overall well done.

He is a nice addition to the second wave of the Deluxe series, with a nicely growing Autobot crew.


First Order Special Forces TIE Fighter – 3.75 inch scale – The Force Awakens

I was able to do a hard pass on most of the 3.75 inch Star Wars toys. For the most part, I love them. Before, we would get really good vehicles and lots and lots of characters to play with. I have a whole bunch of figures from Episodes 1-3, as well as some other figures that came out along with those. Somewhere along the way, Hasbro went back to the old 5 points of articulation. That saves a lot of money, but the figures were still the same price. On top of that, they came out with The Black Series 3.75 inch figures that did have all of the good articulation, but the prices are insane. With the lack of good figures, and really high prices on the vehicles, it was pretty easy to pass on the vehicles.

Today I found the First Order Special Forces TIE Fighter at ROSS, marked down from $30 to $16.99. That is a great markdown, and at 40% off, that was the right number to get me to pull the trigger.

I could tell just pulling the TIE out of the box that I was going to really like this vehicle. It comes in a lot of parts. The old TIEs just had the wings removed. This one has two wings, the body, the cockpit hatch, the bottom gun mechanism, two firing blaster bolts, and the antenna array.

First off, I busted the TIE Pilot out of the box. He looks rather TIE Pilot like. He has his all-black suit with matching black helmet and chest-mounted breathing apparatus. The helmet is an update from the Imperial TIE pilots, this time around looking more similar to the First Order Stormtrooper helmet. He comes with a blaster. Always nice to have if you actually survive being shot down on one of these things.

Looking inside the TIE before it is put together, you can see two seats. Since they made the pilots without knees, they had to have them sitting with their legs out straight. That will not work to have them sitting back to back, so they are side to side, with their legs facing opposite directions. All of this could have been more realistic to the movie, had they given the pilots knees. Then they would have had to do the same for Finn and Poe, since kids would also want them to play in there too.

In the canopy, there are tabs that allow the pilot to store their holdout blasters. What a great touch. Many of the older ships have guns rattling around in there, since there wasn’t a place to keep them. Now there is. And a place for two, so each pilot can have a gun. Nicely done Hasbro!

The details on the solar collectors is amazing. The colors are backwards from the old TIEs with the body parts being black, and the solar collectors changed to a grey color.

Once together, this is one fantastic mode. It is easy to see where the upgrades to the new TIE/sf are located. The original TIE/LN models did not have an antenna array, and they were strictly a one-seater. When the First order updated the TIE/LN to the TIE/fo, the armaments and shields were upgraded. For the Special Forces, they needed something a little extra, so that is where the TIE/sf came in. The first designation is the bright red patch on the left side of the cockpit. This is reminiscent of the 181st Imperial Fighter Wing that flew TIE Interceptors with a red stripe on the wings.  You can see very robust attachment points from the cockpit arms to the wings. That is a lot stronger than the standard TIE configuration.

The TIE/sf is equipped with the same chin-mounted laser system as the TIE/fo. It then has the addition of a turret that can fire forward or backward.

The greatest gimmick that the TIEs ever came with were spring loaded wings. This one is no different. What they did though was hide the buttons better to blend in with the body. On some of the TIEs that have the spring wings, they tend to kind of fall off. These really pop off well, and add to the playability.

The antenna array folds down as well as swivels. I am sure there is a kid out there that will love the little extra play they can do with this.

Looking at the back end of the TIE, it is clear that there is a lot of new stuff going on from the standard TIE. First off, there is a window. The gunner can actually see out the back, rather than relying on weapon systems alone. There are engines back there, but they are more robust than the old engines that looked like tiny openings. That is because these are capable Hyperdrive engines. A new touch that the standard TIE did not have. If you were left behind, when the capital ship left, it was a long ride back to wherever you were going.

 

This is a great ship. If I can find any others from this line at the discount stores, I will be all over them. I would love to get the standard TIE/fo, to be able to see them side by side. There are also a couple of X-Wings I would not mind having too.


Xort and Highbrow – Transformers: Generations – Titans Return Deluxe Class

Oh man, some of the names they use for the Titan Masters are ridiculous. We have Xort. I get it, he is an alien, but still. That is a tough one to get behind. In the G1 continuity, he was known as Gort. No better.

Our friend Highbrow has not been seen in toy form since his Headmaster release in 1987. Since there were no alternate versions from other shows or timelines, there are no blurred lines here. This is Highbrow, from his color scheme to the fine details. This is one of the closest remakes we have seen.

29 years has treated Highbrow well. He looks really good. He looks tough and ready to take on some Decepticons. Though the Titan Masters do not have the stat gimmick that the Headmasters came with, they still gave Highbrow some movement in his chest. It does not flip down to reveal any stats, but it does fold out a bit. One thing I would like to have seen Highbrow come with is folding wings like the G1 version. Highbrow is very wide with the wings sticking out there.

Just like his G1 version, Highbrow comes with twin guns. This time around, they fit together to form the seat for Xort to command the guns. I still don’t think this was a worthwhile gimmick, and hurt so many of the guns the figures came with.

Xort looks like a reverse of Highbrow in color. He matches with the scheme, but his chest and arms are reverse colored.

Why anyone would want to have Xort sit in the gun is beyond me. Having his sit in such a precarious position is even worse. He is pretty much sitting on top of the gun. That cannot be safe.

Transforming Highbrow just backs up the great job Hasbro did with the design looking back at the G1 figure. There is no doubt who you are looking at. There are a few updates here and there with thinner propeller blades, to a more realistic looking canopy and more details in the engines.

Of course Xort gets to ride inside Highbrow’s cockpit. The canopy folds forward to give him easy access to the controls.

The guns can be mounted on the wings, using the 5mm ports. There is a little trick I will talk about later.

From the back, the helicopter is really fat in the back end. The original Highbrow was too, so this is not a deviation, but I think it would have looked better a little thinner. But with a thinner back end would mean thinner legs. And no Transformer looks good with a big top held up on skinny legs.

The directions don’t show that you can rotate the guns and stick the rectangular part that sticks out, into the 5mm port. This rotates the gun in a position to allow the landing gear to be at the bottom of the gun, and work with the fold-out gear at the front of Highbrow.

Once again, I am really happy with how these G1 figures have been reimagined. Highbrow is another success, and a welcome addition to the Autobot team.


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