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June, 2017:

Review – Transformers – RiD – Steeljaw

Like a lot of folks it seems, I pretty much avoided the Transformers Robots in Disguise line early on in it’s release.  Most of the toys seemed, and were, pretty mediocre.  There also was an extremely one sided assortment of mostly Autobots.  In fact, Steeljaw was the only Decepticon until something like wave 4, which is really annoying on a lot of levels.  One thing that Transformers always felt like it had going for it above other lines was a pretty good balance of heroes and villains.  What good is a hero with no one to fight after all?

Transformers Robots in Disguise Steeljaw

Even more annoying, the Decepticon designs on the show itself are all super interesting and unique.  There’s a neat animal theme running in the robot modes, which gives them fun heads and little design queues related to their respective animals.  Steeljaw, for example, is very obviously wolf themed.  From his wold head to his wolf tail, he’s one of the more obvious animal designs.  The vehicle itself is also somewhat wolf-like in it’s styling.

Transformers Robots in Disguise Steeljaw

While his design is pretty neat, Steeljaw is also one of the weaker toys in the line.  The main issue is the “This should have been a Voyager” problem that pops up occasionally.  The larger size would have allowed a bit better balance and a few more joints while also stopping the robot from being so small and stocky.  As he is, because of his weird joints in his legs he pretty much needs the tail as balance to keep him upright, which is a shame because it’s nicely jointed and would be great used for more dynamic poses.

Transformers Robots in Disguise Steeljaw

He also has some weird sliding arm/elbow joints that feel a little fragile and leave his arm movement options a little stiff.  I guess the point is, the robot mode is cool looking, but it’s really only usable in one or two poses, due to the awkwardness of the toy.

Transformers Robots in Disguise Steeljaw

Steeljaw is basically the physical embodiment of the early problems with the Robots in Disguise line, all wrapped up in a nice package.  The design is ambitious but suffers for it.  He should have been a larger price point, but RiD had no Voyager price point.  He was the only Decepticon for a while, and while he looks nice in a group assortment with the eventual, later, Decepticons (which are mostly pretty stellar), he’s probably not worth putting a ton of effort into tracking one down.

Funko Legacy – Firefly (Malcolm, Kaylee, Jayne, Zoë, Wash)

Funko is a pretty controversial company among toy collectors, by which I mean collectors more like me and less of the “casual” variety.  Their primary line is the Funko Pop Vinyl line, which amount to small uniformed statues.  Funko has also had a few “actual” figures recently in their Funko Legacy line, which so far has mostly been Firefly or Game of Thrones related, though they did a set of Bethesda related figures for Fallout and Skyrim as well as The Book of Life and The Rocketeer.  These figures are done in a style very similar to what NECA does for a lot of their lines.  Six inch figures with mostly decent articulation and a pretty good attention to detail to the source material.  They also seems to have inherited a lot of the issues that NECA figures often have however in stiff or fragile joints and sometimes dodgy sculpt choices.

Funko Legacy Firefly, Kaylee, Jayne, Malcolm, Zoe, Wash

There are 6 total figures in this line and 5 characters.  Jayne Cobb has a version with and without his iconic yellow and orange knit hat from the show.  Having one version with a swap-able head or hat accessory would have been cool but I guess it was easier just to do two versions.  The Hat version is a store exclusive, but as near as I can tell, it’s exclusive to everywhere, that the regular figures are found anyway.

I’m going to touch a bit on each of the figures before wrapping up with some thoughts on the set as a whole.

Malcolm Reynolds

Funko Legacy Firefly, Malcolm

Malcolm, the captain of the crew, is probably the most well rounded figure of the set.  This is good since he’s probably the most desireable figure of the line up, being sort of the main characters.  The articulation is good, the sculps is good and looks like Nathan Fillion.  He has a bit of an issue in his design where his hips are a bit too wide, but it’s an issue that spans across the line and isn’t exclusive to this figure.

Funko Legacy Firefly, Malcolm

He includes two accessories, a shotgun and his pistol, both of these guns can be held appropriately and both can be stored int he holster on his leg (individually, not together).  The paint is a little spotty in a few places, but this is also an issue that runs across the line.

Funko Legacy Firefly, Malcolm

Zoë Washburne

Funko Legacy Firefly, Zoe

Zoë is almost as nice as Malcolm in terms of well roundedness.  The sculpt isn’t quite as nice in the face and head but it’s still recognizable as the character.  She has a pair of guns, one of which has holster attached to her belt.  Her hips also have some of the wideness issue that Malcolm has, but her proportions make her look less pear shaped than Malcolm, so it’s not quite as noticeable.

Funko Legacy Firefly, Wash and Zoe

Wash (Hoban Washburne)

Funko Legacy Firefly, Wash

What use is Zoë without her husband?  Wash is probably my favorite figure of the line.  The sculpt all around is pretty good, though I’m not sure why is face is so heavily washed.  His hair is a little odd, but overall, his outfit does a good job of hiding the major sculpt issues present int he other figures (goofy elbows, weird hips).  He portrays the nerdy goofyness of the character.

Funko Legacy Firefly, Wash

To just drive this home, while Wash doesn’t include any weapons, he does come with two small dinosaur toys.  Wash was shown playing with these toys a few times up on the bridge of the ship, where he spent a lot of his time.  His hands are both sculpted to allow him to hold both dinosaurs well, which also gives him some kind of fun “claw hands” for regular poses as well.  The dinosaurs themselves are very nicely done.

Funko Legacy Firefly, Wash

Kaylee

Funko Legacy Firefly, Kaylee

So, moving on to the bottom of the barrel zone, I’ll start off with Kaylee.  I want to like Kaylee, and she is so close but there’s just a few off putting things and one bad experience that has pulled her way down in my book.  First, the sculpt is a little iffy.  The face is a too puffy and mine has a bit of a derpy eye going on.  Her accessories are irritatingly light as well, especially given she is the smallest figure.  She only has her wrench, which works, but a few more tools, or maybe a chunk of machinery as a prop would have been a nice way to offset the value proposition here.

Funko Legacy Firefly, Kaylee

My main issue comes from her hands.  While across the line, I’ve had to deal with a few stiff joints, one of the hands on my Kaylee broke right off, with almost zero “effort”.  I glued it back on, so at least she has a hand, even if it’s now stuck in one position, It’s still an irritating issue.  She feels like she is more prone to this issue since her arms are considerably skinnier than the other figures in the line.  A couple fo more accessories and less fragile joints, and I probably would completely overlook the slightly off face sculpt.

Funko Legacy Firefly, Kaylee

Jayne Cobb

Funko Legacy Firefly, Jayne

Then there’s Jayne Cobb.  I debated a bit on which version I wanted but ultimately opted to pick up the one with his hat.  I don’t need two Jaynes and the hat is a fun and memorable piece from the show.  Jayne really solves a lot of the issues that the other figures had, and I suspect part of this is due to his two figure release.  In terms of “background” in the design and budget area, the dual release should have effectively double the budget for this figure’s design.  The joints look better, partially due to his larger size, but he also includes three accessories, his knife, his pistol, and his gun, Vera.

Funko Legacy Firefly, Jayne

My issue with the figure is that I can’t get him to hold Vera.  It’s a nice looking gun, and I’ve seen where other’s have gotten the gun into his hands, but the hands on my Jayne are too stiff and tight to fit the larger gun into either hand.  I also worry about breaking the gun as well.

Funko Legacy Firefly, Jayne

Which leads me into the overall line, and it’s many issues.  These are relatively cheap figures, at $20 each (less these days since they are on clearance anywhere that still has them).  Still, there are wonky quality issues across the board.  The paint on all of these figures have some issues, it’s not clear how much is just shoddy work and how much is intentional to make things look “dirty”.  There are ugly plastic seams plaguing almost every figure as well, especially on hands and arms where there is flesh tone paint.  The joint designs are functional, but very ugly, just take a look at the elbows on Jayne and Zoë, or the wrists on all of them.  These figures really feel like they could have benefited from a higher price point, put towards polishing them up.  The basic idea and execution is there, everything just falls short in some pretty major ways.  The details on Kaylee’s overalls and Wash’s shirt both are great, and the two mini Dinosaurs are really good, it’s a shame this level couldn’t have been executed consistently across the line, especially since this is essentially Funko’s “Collector” level line.

The other shame is that the line is effectively dead as near as I can tell.  We’ll probably never get River, or Simon, or Inara, or Sheppard Book.  Which is a bit of a shame because Firefly is a fun cult series that really could use a nice set of figures.

Are the figures worth picking up?  At this point they can be had pretty cheap, they aren’t the best, but if you’re a fan of the show it’s likely the only chance you’re ever going to have to get figures from the show, and at sub $15, most of the figures are worthwhile.  Wash and Malcolm are pretty fun figures to add in with say, Star Wars Black figures.  Jayne and Zoë are both allright, though flawed a bit.  Kaylee, not so much, at least the one I have isn’t great.