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August, 2017:

Weekly Wednesday Haul – All New All Different Edition

I’ve been eying the Avengers Marvel Legends boxed set at Toys R Us for a while but have been pretty reluctant to pull the trigger.  Mostly, I just care about the Kate Bishop Hawkeye.  The Falcon Cap would be a decent little bonus item, but the third figure int he set is a really ugly Vision, which I have zero care or interest in.  I already have 2 Vision figures due to other boxed sets and releases, which is at least one more than I care bout as it is.  Fortunately, the set got pretty cheap on Amazon, so now I’ve got my Kate Bishop.

These three figures are essentially part of the “All New All Different Avengers.  I’ve already picked up Kamela Khan and Miles Morales who are part of the headlines of this group, and I’ve also recently picked up Lady Thor, who is part of the Thor Ragnarok wave.

The Ragnarok wave is one of those rare waves of Marvel Legends where I actually want the Build a Figure and most of the wave.  I could do without Odinson, but I definitely want to pick up the other 5 figures in set and that Battle Armor Hulk BAF is really sweet looking.  So far I’ve only found this one Lady Thor though, and she fits in as part of the All New All Different avengers group.  I just need to get Kid Nova to complete the group, and I already was planning to get Kid Nova eventually anyway.

Game of Thrones – S07E06 – Death is the Enemy

So, despite the pretty cool little battle, despite the extra long length, despite the little fellowship of heroes, I have to say, I found this entire episode really unsatisfying.  I think the main part is just, is a shinning example, of all of the nitpicky problems with the series this season.  Problems that are easy to overlook and ignore, except when they are all crammed into one episode.

There were two focuses here plot wise, the mission to capture one of the undead soldiers and the drama between Sansa and Arya.  I’m going to touch on the Arya/Sansa thing first.  I like Arya, but she has taken a sudden and weird turn.  Maybe she isn’t even Arya, with the whole Faceless God thing going on, but she seems needlessly sinister.  No, she and Sansa have never really gotten along, and no, I don’t like Sansa, but Sansa seems to be reverting to her spoiled winey princess Sansa from the early episodes a lot and Ayra is just suddenly evil.  She all but threatened Sansa for starters, like literally “I can just take your face and become you”.  She also seems to be making rash and unjustified actions over that dumb letter she wrote way back in like Season 2, asking Rob to side with Cersei.  The letter was years ago, and she was clearly under a ton of duress and basically a prisoner.  The whole situation feels a little ridiculous.

There’s some speculation that Arya will go to King’s Landing for the little meeting as Sansa, and she will kill Cersei, which would make some sense.  The whole prophesy thing is that Cersei will be killed by the Volenquar, which is “little Brother”, but they keep pushing how Arya, despite being a girl, acts more like a boy, not to mention she could end up taking the face of Jaime or Tyrion for the actual act.

Anyway, onto the who Fellowship of the Zombie, or whatever.  There was a lot of little chit chatty conversations pushing the story of the these characters along a bit.  My problems all tend to come from the battle.  For starters, the group ends up trapped on an island surrounded by the dead.  They somehow survive this for the time it takes for Gendry to run all the way back to Eastwatch, for a Raven to fly to Dragonstone, and for Dany to fly from Dragonstone to the north.  It’s all very contrived, and not awful in itself, except it’s not the kind of way this show has been run from the start.  It’s very “TV Show convenient” instead of “Epic Game of Thrones Fantasy”.

The battle itself was very confusing, confusing because people kept dying, except no one “important” dies, there seemed to always be a convenient nobody that showed up out of nowhere to be killed.  Like literally from nowhere, the scenes surrounding the events would just show our heroes, when someone needed to die, it would be some noname FreeFolk soldier.  Well, aside from Beric’s buddy.  It seemed really clear he was the patsy even last episode because he’s the one I didn’t immediately recognize as anyone.

I kind of feel like this group was just too protected by Plot Armor.  For example, there was a close call with Tormund.  There really isn’t any reason Torbund couldn’t have been killed off in classic GoT style, aside from fans like pairing him up with Brienne.  Beric would be another one to be disposable, aside from they never really explained very well his purpose to keep being revived.  Then there was Jon’s “death” which served absolutely zero purpose than to suddenly make Dany decide she loves him I guess.  A better rework, Jon is close to being killed, Beric jumps in and saves him, now Beric had a purpose, save Jon, the obvious contender for future king.  They even have connections through The Lord of Light.  Instead Jon gets saved, literally from nowhere by Benjen, who rescues him, then sacrifices himself for Jon’s escape.  Like I said, “TV Show convenient”.

It’s just sloppy.

They made a big deal about how this season would be 7 episodes but be more epic, it just feels rushed and too compacted.

 

Review – Transformers – Titans Return – Kup

Ah Kup, a character that seems to be hard to just do right in Toy form while not being kind of boring.  His original G1 toy is best described as “Weird Space Pick Up”.  He got an alright update a few years ago in the Generations line where he turned into an old timey Earth Pick Up.  Kup, despite being fairly popular has a few issues that come up when trying to make updates.  First, his alt mode is lame and kind of boring, which isn’t particularly marketable.  Second, his character is old and grouchy and thus isn’t the best character to appeal to kids.  In the comics he’s been molded more into the classic veteran commando type but he also has trademark items like his Cygar, that help push this motif, which doesn’t really work in a toy line marketed to kids either.

Transformers Titans Return Kup

The whole Titans Return line is really pushing in on the later G1 toys, and being really slavish to their original designs as much as possible.  It’s not surprising Kup got an updated figure for this line.  Aside from the chest area and actually having shoulders, he is a pretty good update to the original G1 design as well.  The vehicle manages to fold up on itself in some pretty interesting ways to form a very nice looking and clean robot.

Transformers Titans Return Kup

In fact the neat Transformation is one of the best parts of this toy.  The front cockpit does some fun little things to form a cavity for the Headmaster to drive, but on top of that the side panels do some pretty impressive origami to form the lower legs.  The end result is that the Robot doesn’t have a ton of gaps and holes in it that has become the trend in today’s cost saving design choices.

Transformers Titans Return Kup

Kup maintains his dopey Space Pick Up design this round, though he takes some queues from Transformers Prime’s Kup with the truck bed.  His guns can fill in the gap to create a nice little block of technology engine looking junk that he can carry around.  They still look like guns, but it does help to keep his alt mode from looking funky.

Transformers Titans Return Kup

Like all of the Titans Return line, Kup’s titan master can sit in the cockpit to drive the vehicle mode.  Unfortunately the pegs that hold the titan master in place are kin of weak and getting the little figure attached while navigating the window piece and not splitting the truck panels apart is tricky.  What I’m saying is, it’s a lot harder to get him into the driver’s seat than say, any of the space jets that have simple canopy cockpits.

Transformers Titans Return Kup

The Transformation that I enjoy is probably the main downside of this figure.  Getting everything to line up isn’t that hard, but it can be tricky and it could be tricky to manage for some folks (kids, apparently Kup just doesn’t work well for kids all around, see above).  Getting the front of the truck to all line up and attach to the side panels is definitely tricky and given the small pegs holding things in place can be hard to keep in place.  He’s a neat fun toy, but the Transformation from robot to vehicle is overly complex compared to other figures in the Titans Return line.

Weekly Wednesday Haul – Predatory Behavior Edition

So, when I order things from overseas, meaning, from AmiAmi, I like to order several items, to help cut down on the bite of the pricey shipping.  So when I had a preorder come up, I threw on a second figure for good measure.  I’ve been wanting to get my own Revoltech Woody for a while, for “dumb meme reasons”, specifically, the Woody with the “creepy face”.  He’s a pretty fun and funny figure, and he was recently re-released.

For my add on figure, we have Figuarts Ash Ketchum, from Pokemon.  I wanted to get Team Rocket, but I couldn’t swing that one this round, so I went with Ash for now.  He’s also pretty nice, and will be fun to use with the few other Pokemon figures I have, which is a collection of little PVC Pokemon I’ve picked up here and there as well as the domestic release of Dawn.

Game of Thrones – S07E05 – Eastwatch

I just want to say, this show is really starting to show itself as a TV show, now that ti’s well surpassed the books.  Yes, there were pulls from the books, however out of order they may have occurred, but now there is definitely a lot of “showey” things going on.  For example, a happenstance gathering of hero characters.  There is also a LOT of time compression, which wasn’t quite as using in the earlier episodes.

I only really bring up the time thing because it was sort of brought up.  Sam mentioned that it had been years since he had seen Bran.  Which means a lot more time has passed than really shown.

On the whole, this was a very talky set up the future episode.  Jaime is clearly more and more disturbed by Cersei’s actions.  Though she kind of regains his trust by claiming to be pregnant with his child, though I feel like that’s probably a lie.  Tyrion still seems to have some doubts about Dany, after she has her dragon toast Randall Tarley and his son.  Tyrion seems to get over it a bit, and through Davos and Bronn, Jaime and Tyrion have a little meet up at the request of Daenerys.  Dany wants to discuss a truce to allow them to fight off the army of the dead currently marching down from the North.  As part of this meeting, Jon is going to lead a group to capture one of the dead army soldiers in order to show proof that the army is real.

This is where the “happenstance” gathering of heroes come into play.  Now cured of his Grayscale, Ser Jorah returns to Dragonstone and joins Jon’s band.  Davos, while dropping Tyrion off for his meeting heads into Flea Bottom and recruits Gendry, who is no longer rowing, who joins the crew.  After they arrive at Eastwatch, they pick up Tormund Giantsbane who is leading the Wildlings at Eastwatch along with a couple of prisoners they had in a cell, Sandor Clegane and Berric Dondarrion.

All of these random folks around the world, all brought together conveniently to form a nice little hero party of warriors.  Also Gendry looks a hell of a lot like Christian Bale now.

There is also something up with Littlefinger.  But then, Littlefinger is always up to no good.

There’s only two episodes left.  I imagine the next episode will deal primarily with capturing the zombie soldier.  And probably a bit of whatever Arya caught Littlefinger doing.  The last episode of the season will be the meeting between Cersei and Dany, and Cersei trying to pull some betrayal because she is a stupid bitch.  This will all set up the final season with the battle against the army of the dead and whomever ends up on the throne.

Oh and Gilly and Sam came across and blew off a little bit about Rehgar Targarion having his marriage annulled and being remarried in a secret ceremony.  Because someone realized that it doesn’t matter if Jon is the son of Rehgar and Lyanna Stark, he would still be a bastard with no claim to anything.

 

 

Review – Transformers – RiD – Thunderhoof

Thunderhoof has the distinct pleasure of possibly having the first Tractor alt mode in Transformers.  There may have been one previously, probably some sort of Minicon if there was one, but I am pretty sure there hasn’t been a Farm Tractor in Transformers history.  Plenty of construction vehicles, not so much farm machines.

Transformers Robots in Disguise Thunderhoof

Thunderhoof’s spirit animal as it may be, is a deer.  As such he ends up with some pretty huge majestic antlers on his head in Robot mode.  He also, appropriately, has hooved feet.  His robot mode is pretty imposing and has a nice design but it’s not without it’s problems.  The backside is very bare bones and his legs are very hollow.  This makes him pretty ungly when views from rear angles.

Transformers Robots in Disguise Thunderhoof

The biggest offender is in his legs.  As part of the Transformation, his shins have a joint in the middle to allow the lower half to fold up.  This joint basically ends up flexing constantly because there isn’t really any way to lock it in place.  It almost functions as a second knee joint, in an annoying way.

Transformers Robots in Disguise Thunderhoof

Part of the reason for all of this hollowness and funky extra joints is the amount of compression that goes on during transformation.  Thunderhoof kind of reminds me of the old Lockdown toys in how much larger his robot seems than his vehicle.  Thunderhoof is easily one of, if not the tallest Deluxe figure in the Robots in Disguise line, yet his vehicle may be the smallest of the line.  Everything neatly and compactly folds up on itself.  The vehicle is neat and pretty menacing with it’s giant spiked bit on the front.  The spike bit is simply his head hanging off the front, but it’s not super noticeable as his head except from the bottom.

Transformers Robots in Disguise Thunderhoof

Transformers Robots in Disguise Thunderhoof

Thunderhoof is a bit of a mixed bag.  He’s got a neat design, but he has a lot of little issues that make him pretty finicky as a toy.  He’s definitely a good example of why it kind of stinks that there are no Voyager level toys in the Robots in Disguise line.  He could have definitely benefited from a larger size and price point allowing for a bit more stability and a larger alternate mode.

 

Weekly Wednesday Haul – One Batch, Two Batch Edition

Aside from a handful of non toys, specifically, a copy of Adobe Premier/Photoshop Elements, and some camera filters for use during the upcoming Eclipse, I managed to find one lone figure from the more recently released Marvel Legends.

Specifically, The Punisher, from Netflix’s Daredevil series.  This is one of those rare waves where I want the BAF and all of the figures, but I particularly wanted Punisher, and Jessica Jones, though there was no sign of her.  I like the idea of Daredevil, and will pick him up but he seems really wide in that goofy suit.  The other figures are all cool but fall in the realm of “bonus”.  I want them, but I don’t NEED them really.  I have the old Man Thing from Toy-Biz, I have the old Wesley Snipes Blade from Toybiz, I have the old pretty kick ass Bullseye from Toybiz.  Having the updated versions is a bonus, because I like all of these characters, but it’s not required.

Game of Thrones – S07E04 – The Spoils of War

So yeah, definitely one of the best episode of the series, though if I had them all laid out there might be better in there somewhere.  I kind of feel like the clear simplifying that’s been going on is really helping things a bit, there’s isn’t anything going on over seas anymore really, there’s not random places we don’t really care about like Dorne or Riverrun.  This particular episode essentially just had three main events, and all of them pretty good.

Firstly was Arya Stark’s return to Winterfell and her reunion with Bran and Sansa.  Arya has long been one of my favorite characters.  Her entire story is very adventury and has had so many twists and turns.  She’s also turned into this crazy bad ass assassin killing machine along the way.  Everything here was so well done.  Her getting stopped at the gates was a nice reflection on how she’s been treated in the past.  Her and Sansa meeting again, despite not really getting along in the past.  Even while it’s clear Sansa is less of a snobby bitch, Arya is still making jabs at her over the whole Lady Stark thing.  The reunion with Bran and her receiving the dagger from Bran seemed like a bit of foreshadowing as well.  This knife very likely belonged to Jaime or Cersei, who are the most likely people who ordered the assassin against Bran.  How appropriate would it be if that dagger were to be used against that very same person in the long run end game of things?

Then there was her little sparing match with Brienne.  Both so similar in their desire to buck the normal trend of Ladies but both so very different in their methods.  And such a contrast in fighting styles.  They both clearly enjoyed it and it was nice to see Brienne not stop halfway to apologize for kicking over Arya.

The middle act was a short scene with Jon, once again trying to convince Dany to help him fight the Night King.  She still says not until he bends the knee to her, so, in the end, not much has changed on that front.  Theon also returned from his crushing defeat at the hands of Euron Greyjoy, and ran into Jon, who was not particularly happy to see him.  Seriously though, FUCK THEON.

Then we wrap up with quite possibly the best battle of the series.  Everyone last season was raving about Bastard Bowl, but this battle was definitely better.  The battles in general keep getting better, I remember being supremely disappointed by how tiny the Battle of the Blackwater felt.  This battle, despite just being an attack on Jaime’s little convoy of gold, felt pretty grand.  It’s an interesting pairing to be sure.  Jaime has the Lannister Army, but it’s not super clear if he has all of it, the best of it, I imagine there ares some left in Highgarden and some still in King’s Landing.  Meanwhile, they are facing the Dothraki, who are not as well armed and armored, but they are much more berserker in their fighting style and certainly not any sort of force that the Lannister soldiers have ever faced.  This kind of cuts both ways though, since the Dothraki likely haven’t faced a ton of heavily armored soliders.

Then there is the dragon, and Dany.  Definitely something Jaime and his men have never seen or faced.  The dragon alone could probably have wiped out the entire force.  Maybe.  as Bronn demonstrates late int he battle, the dragons are not as invincible as everyone thinks.  I imagine that King’s Landing will be outfitted with a great many of those giant catapults on it’s battlements in preparation for the inevitable attack by Dany’s forces.

What I particularly liked was how the battle kind of had me rooting for Jaime and Bronn.  The Lannisters are arguably the “bad guys” in the series, but I rather like both Jaime and Bronn.  Cersei is evil, these two are more just along for the ride.   I’ve also never been particularly fond of Daenerys either, though it’s clear the series is pushing her to be a top level hero character I’m supposed to love.

There was also a bit of possible set up and foreshadowing going on with Bronn.  Before the battle, Bronn was complaining that Jaime still hadn’t given him a castle yet, as promised.  While he seems to enjoy hanging around with Jaime, he also seems to be getting a little disgruntled at how things are going.  He’s essentially in it for the money, he’s not necessarily loyal to the Lannisters.  Keep in mind, that he started out in the service of Tyrion way back in Season 1, Tyrion being on the other side of the battle here.  Then there is Jaime, who, while loyal to his sister, seems to be getting increasingly frustrated by her crazy.  They no longer have any kids connecting them to each other either.  He’s also just learned that Tyrion was not responsible for killing Joffrey, which was the catalyst for Tyrion ending up in prison and killing their father and basically siding with Dany in the first place.  Perhapse something may come of all of this in the next episode,  considering both Jaime and Bronn survived the battle.  Then again, Jaime did try to run Dany through with a spear and Bronn did shoot Drogon with a giant crossbow bolt, so Daenerys likely isn’t going to be in a very forgiving mood if these two end up being prisoners.  There could be another angle here though, Tyrion kind of owes Jaime for freeing him before, Tyrion also seemed to have a bit of regret while watching the Lannister army get slaughtered by the Dothraki.  Perhapse Tyrion may end up betraying Dany and returning to King’s Landing.