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June, 2017:

Weekly Wednesday Haul – Square Boxes Edition

So last week I didn’t have a haul, and this week, has a few things but it’s not really anything major.  Partially there’s been a bit of a drought for anything I care about, partially, it’s the moving thing.  I did get an alert on CamelCamelCamel that the World of Nintendo Metroid was available for an affordable price, so I snapped it right up.

Still in the bubble wrap.  Mostly because well, moving, that rubber bubble is probably a dirt magnet and the safest way to transport it seems like it will be to just keep it in the box for now.  It will be freed eventually, I’m not some crazy MISB collector.

I also happened upon something else that’s square and box shapped with this pretty sweet Battle Star Galactica complete series set of DVDs.  I kind of wanted to watch this show and it came with this nice Cylon action figure.  It was $6 at a Resale shop, seemed like a steal for the cool box and the Cylon alone.

Lastly was an unexpected surprise, today I recieved a Valvotron figure in the mail from Valvoline.  I wasn’t sure if I’d actually get this guy at all.  Originally Valvoline posted they were running a contest, buy 5 quarts of oil at a Valvoline store, or send in a card, and get entered to win one of 5000 Valvotron figures.  I don’t have a Valvoline store nearby so I mailed in a card.  A few days after I mailed the card, Valvoline changed it to just be “Buy 5 quarts and mail to get one”.  No more contest.  I guess I won anyway, there was even a letter stating as such, so sweet, Valvotron.  He doesn’t transform, though he has bits implying he turns into an oil can.  The figure has 4 points of articulation, hips and shoulders.

Review – Transformers – RiD – Megatronus

Megatronus was the first in a surge of Decepticons added to the Robots in Disguise line.  Poor Steeljaw would no longer have to face the Autobot army alone.  This toy has been released in a few versions, with and without a facemask and a few paint tweaks, this particular version covers the Megatronus release that was exclusive to Toys R Us.

Transformers Robots In Disguise Megatronus (TRU Version)

I have to admit, I don’t follow the show, so I’m not sure where Megatronus falls into the hierarchy of things.  I believe Steeljaw is actually the leader of the Decepticons and Megatronus is not the same character as Megatron, though the former is the namesake of the latter.  Megatronus originally, in the Transformer Mythos was one of the original 13 Primes, and is more commonly known as The Fallen, though I don’t know if that title applies here.

Transformers Robots In Disguise Megatronus (TRU Version)

Despite that he isn’t Megatron, he certainly kind of looks like Megatron, and whether or not he is The Fallen, he also feels “special” compared to the other Decepticons in the line.  Primarily because he doesn’t seem to really have an animal theme, like the other Decepticons.  He’s very much just a tank robot.

Transformers Robots In Disguise Megatronus (TRU Version)

Another sign that this guy isn’t Megatron is his complete lack of a Fusion/arm canon.  Instead, Megatronus comes with a little sword weapon, which can be weilded in a variety of ways.  It can be mounted on one arm as a blade weapon, or held like a standard sword.  The tank most also works both with and without the sword attached.

Transformers Robots In Disguise Megatronus (TRU Version)

Probably the coolest part of this toy is the transformation.  Hasbro has been doing a lot of interesting things lately with Transformations, and Megatronus has some cool tricky that keep the Transformation elegantly simple.  The legs in particular, formed from the treads, do a neat little fold over trick.  Also notable, since the entire torso is the turret of the tank and the treads are the base, he ends up with a fully rotating turret and a usable waist joint.

Transformers Robots In Disguise Megatronus (TRU Version)

The only real issue with this toy is that, given the character and design, he really just feels too small.  Megatronus really is a character who needs to be imposing, not this tiny little tank.  It’s still a nice figure, he just may pair better with the legends scale than the other Deluxes.

Transformers Robots In Disguise Megatronus (TRU Version)

Review – NECA Heroes of the Storm Arthas (Lich King)

I have a real love/hate relationship with NECA.  They get a lot of interesting licenses, and for the most part, do nice sculpt jobs on most of their figures.  However they use some weird plastic that’s kind of flakey and prone to breaking and often results in stiff or stuck joints.  There are ways to loosen them up but it just feels like a shame that the figures often don’t work too well out of the packaging.  In many ways, they remind me of MacFarlane Toys of yesteryear, when MacFarlane was a huge presence in the toy industry.

NECA HotS Arthas Lich King

Fortunately, I didn’t have any major issues with my Heroes of the Storm Arthas.  Well, not issues that could be overlooked.  Probably the only “real” issue is that the articulation is severely limited by his sculpt.  Fortunately, Arthas isn’t really a nimble character, so he doesn’t really need a lot of dynamic articulation.  The detailing on the sculpt is where this figure really shines too, which makes the limitations it causes more excusable.

NECA HotS Arthas Lich KingNECA HotS Arthas Lich King

The detailing across all of the armor is fantastic, there are tons of little greebles and spikes and such everywhere, all of them nice and clean and cleanly painted.  The cloth cape is also a really nice touch and hangs very nicely off of his back.  Some may take issue with how brightly colored his overall design is, this figures is based on Arthas as he appears in Heroes of the Storm, not how he appears int he Warcraft Universe, which tends to be more grayscale.

NECA HotS Arthas Lich King

NECA HotS Arthas Lich King

His sword, Frostmourne is very nicely done as well.  The sculpt looks good and works from both sides with the wrap around horns on the hilt.  Someone was also smart too in realizing that the stiff plastic of Arthas’ fists would never flex out enough to let the hilt in, the handle is removable, so you can slide it up in and reattach the blade.

NECA HotS Arthas Lich King

This really helps him have a nice solid grip on the weapon, and the peg in the hilt fits snugly into the blade piece without feeling like it’s going to break.  There is very little not to like about this figure, aside from the HotS vs Warcraft pain scheme.  Personally, I kind of prefer it, since it helps accentuate a lot of the detail that would have otherwise gotten lost in an all silver colored design.  His size is very nice as well to pair with other 6″ figures for an imposing undead king.  Heroes of the Storm Arthas is an excellent figure, if you can find him anywhere.

NECA HotS Arthas Lich King

NECA HotS Arthas Lich King

Weekly Wednesday Haul – A Plethora of Accessories Edition

So, I had a pre order in at AmiAmi for this little park bench model kit that finally came up.  Shipping a $12 model kit from japan alone isn’t particularly worthwhile, my intention was to toss on MP-32 Optimus Primal on with it, but it was irritatingly suddenly not in stock.  So I poked around a bit and settled on some alternative items since one, I needed something to justify the shipping cost and two, I had the money set aside.  One of those items was a set of Petit Sample Seishun Days Blind Box accessories set.  These are blind boxed, but they were only available as a case, which meant getting one of each set.

The pieces themselves are all pretty amazing.  There’s all sorts of crazy details like removable liquid bits for the glasses, little cassette tapes and floppy disks.  The coffee machine has these little sugar cubes or something that I’ve already lost two of because they are ridiculously tiny.  They are a biiit oversized for 6″ figures but not awful enough to make them unusable as fun little props.

In addition, I found that the Figma Twilight Princess Link was available.  I already had it on pre order elsewhere so i cancelled that pre order and just ordered one now.  I already have the Link Between Worlds Link which is more my “definitive ideal” Link, but I really wanted an “adult Link” to fit in better with other figures, and the Twilight Princess design seemed pretty nice.

Speaking of A link Between Worlds, Amazon had the game in stock for a reasonable (normal retail) price so I picked that up as well, it’s been quite a Zelda time lately.

Review – Marvel Select – Age of Ultron Hulk

As part of my quest to assemble a really solid set of MCU figures, I found that I was really wanting for a Good Hulk figure.  The Marvel Legends version is pretty small and kind of all smooth and wimpy looking.  The Figuarts Hulk kind of suffers from the same issues to a worse degree.  Enter Marvel Select.  Marvel Select is a separate Marvel line from Marvel Legends, that tends to be more available in specialty shops and is put out by Diamond Distributing.  The main difference between Marvel Legends and Marvel Select, is the scale, which runs in the 7″ range as opposed to ML’s 6″ range.  The Marvel Select figures also tent to have slightly more limited articulation, but better sculpts.  The larger scale means a lot of the “normal” character don’t fit in with Marvel Legends at all.  I have the Hawkeye MS, which is a great figure, but he’s be 8 foot tall in the ML world.  Figures like The Hulk however, who are ambiguously large, work really well along side Marvel Legends figures.

Which is why I picked up the marvel Select Age of Ultron Hulk, as my Hulk.  There are several different Hulks int he MS line, this one is specifically “from” Age of Ultron, though it’s a repaint of the earlier MS Avengers Hulk.  I find that the paint apps on this release to be superior to the original version,  the pants are a different color and there is a lot more shady sort of detail going on.

The sculpt is also really nice which is a lot of the reason I wanted this Hulk over the Marvel Legends Hulk.  He’s got a lot of nice veiny angry detail going on all over his body and the face as a particularly great grimace going on.  The joints used on the Marvel Select can both work in favor and against the sculpt, when in their resting postitions, everything looks nice and smooth, but when out of position they do look a little ugly.  Mostly this is an issue in the legs.

The other primary driver was the sheer size of this Hulk.  He towers over the Marvel Legends characters.  His massive size makes him perfect to face off against the Marvel Legends Hulkbuster BAF from Age of Ultron as well.  He’s also very solid, you can definitely feel the weight when posing and moving the figure, which really helps with stability when posting.

The posing is pretty good, though as I said, ML does have some limitations on it’s joints.  I’m generally not a fan of the sort of hips used in this line, DC uses it on almost all of it’s figures, and it usually looks ugly as hell.  On a larger character like Hulk, it works pretty well however, and it a bit less noticeable.  The range on the elbows and knees isn’t amazing, he isn’t going to be kneeling very well anytime soon.

If you’re looking for a good solid Movie Hulk, the Marvel Select is definitely the way to go.  The best part is that the Marvel Select line isn’t really that much more expensive than their mass released Marvel Legends counterparts, especially given how much larger and better painted they are.  The Age of Ultron version is harder to find at the moment but I can’t imagine it won’t get a figure re-release for Infinity War.  Also, just to beat a dead horse, this kind of touches on my wish that Marvel Legends would ditch the BAF gimmick and just make nicer figures.

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.

Review – 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.