In an effort to up the dynamics of my photoshoots, and give a little extra something to play with. Yesterday I glued cotton balls to my newly acquired battery-powered tea lights.

Today I added paint with an airbrush. Light coats of black around the whole ball, building up the dark layers on the outside. Then I added red, followed by orange, and finished with yellow. I dusted the colors across most of the explosion, save for the top that I left nearly white.

I made four to start, and see how it went. #1 is a short pile of cotton balls. #2 is the same as #1, just pulled up a bit more. #3 has added cotton balls on top for added height. And #4 has two tea lights inside for a wider explosion.

One of the goals I wanted to have was to be able to move them around, stack them up, or whatever the scene needed. I stacked them up, and the explosion is HUGE! It worked better than I hoped.

And now we get to blow up the Marvel/TMNT crossover team. One of the other goals I had hoped to be able to do was have the buildings explode. I used the tall #3 explosion, and it looks like it is rolling out the door, and then the other three look like the explosion is carrying across the street.

Oh, I am definitely doing more of these. This is great for MiniMates scale. It will be a bit small for Marvel Legends scale without stacking them up. So, I am going to need a few more of these explosions.

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Power Rangers In Space – Black and Blue Rangers (Power Rangers Legacy 6.5 inch figures)

There was a long dry spell of no new Legacy Power Rangers in the stores. And then all of the sudden, The second half of Wave 3 (In Space), the entire Wave 4 (Zeo and Dino Thunder), and even the first part of Wave 5(Zeo and Dino Thunder continued), started to hit the stores. Mostly at Walgreens, but I have more recently seen them starting pop up at Target, though once again they are a little too late.

Today we are looking at the last two figures of In Space, Blue Ranger, T.J. and Black Ranger, Carlos. As with the majority of the figures in the Legacy line, the figures share the same body, with a new head. We get the same articulation over all of the figures. The articulation is pretty good overall. A few places that could be improved, like the neck and the hips, but they are pretty solid overall.
These guys come with their Blade Blaster and a holster.

The real exciting part is to be able to complete the Astro Megazord. It was a funny choice of figures, as the team did not use their vehicles to combine Astro Megazord. Their vehicles combined to form Mega Voyager.

It is fine with me, because the Astro Megazord is an outstanding figure. The details are the best of the released Zords so far, and it would be hard pressed to find one better in future waves.

Now we have three complete Zords. Astro Megazord joins Dino Megazord from Mighty Morphin’, and the first released Storm Megazord. These Zords are a lot of fun to play with.

I am happy to have another complete set of Rangers. It is very exciting to get complete teams of some of the older classic teams that we didn’t get the great articulation for earlier on.

These poor Rangers don’t have much work to do. They are Rangers without enemies… for now. Bandai has announced that the Psycho Rangers will be in Wave 7. I can’t wait. For one, it will give the Rangers someone to fight with. And two, the Psycho Rangers are going to look awesome! We haven’t seen actual pictures yet, but they were really cool in the show, so they have to be cool in toy form too.


Nitro Zeus (Decepticon Nitro) – Transformers: The Last Knight (Voyager Class)

I was playing Russian Roulette today to take an unopened figure outside for a sunny day review. Nitro Zeus was my guy. I have been REALLY slow to review figure from The Last Knight mostly because I really didn’t like the film all that much. There were some parts that were good, and there are some figures that are great. So I have a smattering of figures that I have picked up early on when they were first released around movie time.

Straight out of the box, I like Nitro. He is a good feeling figure. He feels like a solid toy with good strong body parts. He has a wobbly head going on, but more on that in a bit. This is a pretty close representation of the figure. He is missing a lot of paint detail that he had in the movie, and he does not have the ammo belt tube similar to the one Shockwave had. Ironically, Nitro had a similar head to Shockwave in the movie too.Nitro is made for fighting.

He has a crossbow on one arm that sticks out further than his hand. Picking up stuff must be hard. He also has six missiles mounted to his back. There are two mini gatling guns, one on each shoulder.

Finally, on his left arm, he has a bigger gun. It looks like a mix between a big cannon and a gatling gun. We see it was toward the end of the movie, with Nitro using his crossbow for most of the fights.  The cannon telescopes in on itself to become a little more than half the length, but at least he can pick up stuff with this hand.

The wobbly head. That is due to Nitro’s head being removable. Hasbro utilized the Titan Master head port to allow for a change. Apparently Cogman (who has a Headmaster), ripped off Nitro’s head in an early version of the movie. We did not get to see that, but the head function stuck. So, Nitro makes a nice crossover between the movie line and the Generations line, to be able to accept a Titan Master.

The transformation is HAAAARD!!!! But boy is it fun to try and figure out. There is some AMAZING engineering in this one. Don’t lose the directions. This one is not straightforward.

It is a very interesting change in jets for this figure. In the movie, he turned into a Saab JAS 39 Gripen. They ended up with a generic jet. That is not to say this is not a good jet. It is actually a really well done jet. The body parts of Nitro hide well underneath, with so much engineering going into the transformation, that you will have trouble recognizing the body parts when you look at the bottom of the jet.  One strange thing about this guy is that he has engines on his back in robot mode, but they do not go with him into jet mode. The engines unfold to becomes his wings, and the top of the jets that stick up over his back, become greeble under the wings. The whole time I was transforming him, I was trying to figure out how the engines were going to fit into all of this. Tricky, they weren’t.

The missiles make an appearance again, this time helping to cover the body parts. It is well thought out.

Nitro gets another bonus, a usable cockpit. The canopy opens and allows a Titan Master to fit inside. Fun!

Overall, I really like Nitro. He is a good figure, and a departure from the mediocre movie figures. A lot of the time, in the movies, they make the transformations so extreme that there is no possible way to get “that robot” transformed into a vehicle. You either get a bad robot, a bad vehicle, or both. Thankfully Nitro does not fit into that category. He is a good, solid robot, and a really well done jet.


Spider-Armor Spider-Man and Superior Foe Beetle – Marvel MiniMates Toys R Us Wave 25 (Toys R Us Exclusive)

We are continuing our look at Toys R Us Wave 25 of Marvel Minimates. This time around, we get Spider-Armor Spider-Man alongside the Superior Foe Beetle. We are heavy on the Spider-Man figures this time around, with one variation of Spider-Man in each of the 2-packs.

Looking at the tray, this 2-pack isn’t quite as heavy on accessories as the Spider-Sense Peter Parker and Chameleon pack. It looks like we will get some good variations though.

First up, Spider-Armor Spider-Man. This is actually the Mark IV version of Spider-Armor. The first was in 1993, and only lasted one issue. Then we had MK II in 2011, MK III in 2012. This MK IV armor lasted two years from 2015-2017, before being utterly destroyed. Thankfully Peter was wearing his “underoos” under that costume. It has a bit of a different look, with stylized webs, and green around the chest logo and eyes. Not much of a difference from a standard figure, so easy to see why they decided to go with the version.

His accessory is Peter Parker’s head. This is more of a smiling version of Peter than the head that came with Spider-Sense Peter Parker, but they are interchangeable, so you can vary his look pretty easily.

Janice Lincoln, known as Beetle, is the daughter of Tombstone. Her outfit is a great iridescent green and purple. Hasbro did a great version of her in the Marvel Legends line, and she looks great again. She comes with a flight stand, though she is REALLY back heavy, so I had to put her on the stand backwards.

Her wings are fantastic. They are really large and are fully posable. The attachment points are on a backpack that fits over the waist post, and her neck. Those wings are safely in place.

Along with the wings and flight stand, Beetle also comes with hair and a cell phone. Her face and hair are pretty simple. I would not expect a lot more than that. Her cell phone fits nicely in her hand. She is probably taking a call from one of the other members of the Sinister-Six.

This is a fun wave for sure. Toys R Us got lucky to get their hands on this one. One more 2-pack to go. Stay tuned.


Caliburst and Slugslinger – Transformers: Generations – Titans Return (final Deluxe Class figure)

The end is near. Slugslinger is the last figure in the Deluxe Class of TItans Return. One last Decepticon to join the ranks.

He is being released by his Titans Returns mates, Misfire and Triggerhappy. These three share legs, and that is about as close as the three will come to being “brothers” this time around.

Hanging with Overlord, he looks really good in the light blue and light grey. No extra colors needed on this one.

He comes with his Titan Master Caliburst. Back in the day, Caliburst was Slugslinger’s Targetmaster, but times change and bots get… redistributed. Though Slugslinger does not have a lot in common with the other two fliers that helped to make him. Caliburst shares a lot with their Titan Masters, Blowpipe and Aimless.

Back to Slugslinger, he comes with a pair of guns. I am sure he likes it. Two guns and three barrels. The two guns can fit together to make a bigger gun. It is almost put together correctly out of the box, but this is one of the better weapons we have seen in the Titans Return line for the Deluxe figures. Many of them were too gimmicky, losing form to the function of being able to hold a Titan Master.

Transform Slugslinger, and he starts to look very familiar to the G1 fans. A twin-nose starfigher, with a heavy back end. The wide wings look great, and hold the two guns well. As you can see by the size of Caliburst, the cockpits do not fit Titan Masters. Instead, Caliburst rides in the clear blue section between the cockpits.

If you look at Slugslinger alongside Misfire (in pink), and Triggerhappy (dark blue), you can see the similarities in the back ends of the vehicles. I am a huge fan of good engineering. And to have three jets that can have matching back ends, but such different front ends, is quite amazing. They don’t even have similar transformations at the front end.

I think this is a great way to end Titans Return. Slugslinger is similar to Overlord,how we get a figure that is a “retool” of another figure, but is REALLY different. Chapter 2 of the Prime Wars Trilogy has come to an end (with exception of Ramhorn). We are fully moving into Power of the Primes, with their Combiner Features, and small Titan Master type figures. As a trilogy should be, we are bringing it all together and adding a little something extra. Up next, I will be looking at the first two Voyager Class figures, Grimlock and Starscream. One is good and one is not. Stay Tuned.


Spider-Sense Peter Parker and Chameleon – Marvel MiniMates Toys R Us Wave 25 (Toys R Us Exclusive)

Even though it appears Toys R Us is going down like a meteor, they are still getting some exclusives. This time around it the 25th wave and all are Toys R Us Exclusive.


First off the plastic insert. Ooh, there are a lot of extras in this set. Usually when we see exclusives, they are pretty sparse on extra parts. Not this time around. Bare arms and long hair for Chameleon. And on Peter’s side, there is hair, a full mask, a suit coat and arms to go with it. And… a third hand. Hmm, we will get to that in a bit. They both also have a clear stand, and there is a web line curled up behind Peter.

Standing side by side, this is an interesting pairing. Chameleon came about in the very first issue of The Amazing Spider-Man #1. But that is not what Spider-Man looked like back then. He didn’t have external web shooters that I know of. The closest I could find was the 1977 TV show that featured external web shooters and a belt. And then he has Spider-Boots on. This is a strange Spider-Man, but I like him. Let’s take a closer look at Spider-Man.

Spider-Man comes out of the box with half a mask on and his Spider-Sense going crazy. This is a great mask because you can have Peter dressed as Peter and still have his Spider-Sense tingling.

Thankfully we also get a full mask for Spider-Man. Nothing is worse than a single use MiniMate. One added accessory, and we are good to go for hours of play.

Now for the fun. Take off the arms, mask and Spider-Boots. Add a suit coat piece, new arms, black shoes, and his hair, and we get a super snazzy looking Peter Parker. He sure knew how to dress back in the day. The blue of his suit matches his other suit. *wink wink* Dress for the job you want. He certainly does dress nicer than a newspaper photographer.

And then there is that extra hand. Ah yes, on the top of the hand, there is a little spider painted on it. It is THE spider that gives Peter his powers. So no you can reenact Amazing Fantasy 15 when Peter first get bitten by the spider.

Chameleon looks great in his green bathrobe and purple ascot. This is a nice change from the recent Marvel Legends release that as a much newer update of the figure, wearing a dark suit. The head looks great in white with only the face painted on.

In the comics, the white face IS Chameleon’s face, and then he puts on someone else’s face over the top of his. That isn’t very logical for the purposes of MiniMates, so in this case you get to take off his face and there is a face underneath. Beautiful eyes, big lips, and dimples? Hmm, there is more to this figure than meets the eye.

Take off the arms, and bathrobe, and replace the arms with bare arms. Add some hair, and you have Peter Parker’s love interest, girl friend, wife, ex-wife, and anything in between, Mary Jane Watson. What a great surprise hiding under there.

Well, I love the Chameleon figure, and of course it is always fun to have a Mary Jane. Along with two great versions of Spider-Man/Peter Parker, so I grabbed a second 2-pack, so I can have all four figures. This is a very impressive start to this Toys R Us Exclusive set. I didn’t think there would be a lot of hope for the rest of the wave comparing to this one, but the other two sets came out really nice. Stay Tuned.


Dreadnaut and Overlord – Transformers: Generations – Titans Return – Leader Class

Getting the last few Transformers in a series are nearly always tricky. In this case, there were three released at the end of the Titans Returns series if figures: Overlord, Slugslinger, and Ramhorn. One Leader Class, one Deluxe Class, and one Titan Master. I had good luck with the first two, but I am still having trouble getting my hands on Ramhorn. And that little guy will continue to evade me for a while I am sure.

Overlord is free with a little help from Sky Shadow. Generally as we move through waves of Transformers, we start to see redecos (paint) and retools (body work). These two share some similar components, so let’s take a look at them side by side.

Well, the lower body is the same. The legs up to the torso are just repainted. The torsos are not the same. They both have the wheel, but even that is not in the same place. It is clear moving up the body that there are some very big changes that took place to make Overlord.
The entire top part of the body is all new. I think they share hands, and the internal workings of the elbow section of the arms.

From the back, the differences are even more apparent. They do share a few similarities back there, like the folding out of the jets at the bottom of the back, but the entire nose section of the jet has been redone. Where Sky Shadow’s jet folded back, Overlord can wear nearly all of the cockpit on his shoulder. That is very much how he worked as his G1 Transformer as well.

Overlord still has the great articulation that we have seen in the Titans Returns line. Even more so with these two, since their feet roll at the ankles, to keep their feet planted firmly on the ground.

The directions did not mention that there are two doors in Overlord’s chest. These open to reveal two slots for Titan Masters or Prime Masters (can you imagine this guy running around with the power of two Prime Masters? Yikes!!). The fit of the heads is SUPER tight, and the doors don’t close.

Overlord is teamed up with Dreadnaut. He is a retool of Sky Shadow’s Titan Master, Ominus. He has a new head, arms and legs, based on the G1 box art.

Transforming these Leaders into vehicle mode is a lot of fun. We get a 2-for-1 deal with a jet and a tank. Unlike Sky Shadow that is red and black with a touch of other colors, Overlord does not match both vehicles very well. There is a lot of black on the jet, but almost none on the tank, instead going for the blue, teal, white and purple of the jet’s engines.

Comparing Sky Shadow and Overlord, you can really see where the similarities (tanks) and differences (jets) lie.

Back in the G1 cartoon, Overlord had a super long jet mode. This was apparently designed when the production staff was playing around with the toy and figured out the tank can transform and stay on the jet. Well, it has happened again. There are no directions for the long jet mode, but it is possible. There are some big gaps in the leg areas toward the back.

You might think that if Overlord can have a long jet mode, than Sky Shadow can too. Well, I wondered about that and found that it cannot work. Sky Shadow actually has longer arms that do not allow the hips to fold the thighs into a horizontal position.

Then there is the connection between the jet and the tank. Sky Shadow had a door that opened in the bottom of the jet (his chest) that revealed a clip to allow the jet to pick up the tank and fly around as a pair. There is no such port on Overlord. Instead the two chest doors of Overlord open and the two door latches act as hooks on either side of the tank’s turret to lift the tank off the ground.

The problem is that they do not lock into place. So, it does not really work as well as it does with Sky Shadow, where you can zoom the pait around without the tank falling off.

But since the two tanks are the same, the two jets can switch places and pick up either tank. They both have the clip for Sky Shadow, as well as the two indents for Overlord’s doors.

On to the base mode. All Leader Class figures can turn into a base. And as we have seen with the rest of Overlord, the transformations look a little similar, but there are some big differences. Overlord folds at the hips, so his torso is sticking up in the air. With Sky Shadow, the fold for the tower is the nose section of the jet, so he is pretty much laying down with a tower over his head. Overlord’s arms are a part of the tower, while Sky Shadow’s arms are an extension of the ground portion of the base.

I knew Overlord was a retool of Sky Shadow, but I am hugely impressed by how much of a retool he really was. These are two very different robots with a couple of similarities. It seems that Hasbro really did release these figures in the order of how good they are. We got one that was great, like Sky Shadow. Then they release one in a later wave that is just a little bit better. These are a couple of really great figures. A few more to go in the Titans Returns line. I have Slugslinger, and then it is the hunt for Ramhorn. And of course we are knee deep in the first Wave of Power of the Primes. I have some Voyager Class figures to look at while I am hunting down the first of the Leader Class figures. Lots more to come.


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