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August, 2017:

Weekly Wednesday Haul – Ragnarok & Roll Edition

I’ve had a real problem lately with Marvel Waves where one figure becomes impossible to find, which leads to being a bit conservative when picking up figures that I’m kind of on the fence over.  Like I’ve seen a lot of the Netflix Wave of Marvel Legends but still no Jessica Jones.  I’ll probably pass on several figures from the wave without JJ, since I wouldn’t be able to finish up Man-Thing without her.  The same happened with the Warlock wave, I am skipping Polaris and Sunfire unless I manage to find Cyclops.

The hard to find folks of the Thor Ragnarok wave seem to be Ares and to a lesser extend Hela.  I managed to find both locally as well as ordering Loki for less than retail off of Amazon.  This leaves me needing the new Thor and Odinson, both of which seem to be fairly common.  Loki has been sorely missing from my MCU line up, I never did get the original Avengers version, and he’s kind of mediocre anyway.  This Loki is a much better likeness, though his cape is a little iffy on staying in place.  Hela is interesting as well.

Ares is probably the winner of this wave though.  He’s huge and imposing and pretty bad ass.  Plus, you know, huge weapons, and a nice bonus, his helmet comes off, which I didn’t know going in.  I’m also really looking forward to completing the Gladiator Hulk BAF.

Game of Thrones – S07E07 – The Dragon and the Wolf

So, the season finale.  Though there were only 7 episodes this season, the last two have been longer so it’s sort of like getting 8.

The first half of this episode deals with the fallout from last episode, specifically, the meeting of our two groups for their negotiated truce.  Cersei caves essentially immediately after seeing the dead solider, but she demands Jon not take sides between her and Dany, which he’s already done.  So they have a little disagreement and Tyrion goes and convinces Cersei to side with them.

Euron Greyjoy, for all of his grandiose behavior, immediately runs away back to the Iron Isles, after learning the dead army can’t swim.  I have to wonder if this will come back to haunt him, The Iron Isles are pretty far north, it’s possible that during the long winter, they could become less of an island and more of a hill in the middle of a sheet of ice.  Probably not so much though since it was all a ruse for Cersei to send him off on a little fetch quest for more men in the form of The Golden Company.

Jon and Theon finally have a little heart to heart chat, Jon basically tells Theon that he’s a dick and he should go back to being a Greyjoy, even though he was brought up and treated right by the Starks.  Not in so many words, but you know, Theon basically betrayed Ned Stark and his family.  No redemption for Theon.  Except he’s still trying real hard for it as he heads back to his men to try to convince them to help rescue Yara.  I’m kind of inclined to agree with his men, Even if Euron hasn’t killed her, they aren’t any match for the Iron Fleet or Euron Greyjoy.

Meanwhile Littlefinger’s little games come to a climax finally.  Sansa finally wakes up to his constant lying and deceptions, though it’s not entirely clear if Bran simply told her the reality of the situation (he can basically see all time now or something) or if Arya convinced her of the reality of the situation.  Whatever the case, it’s used as a vehicle to wrap up a few loose ends somewhat unceremoniously.  Basically Littlefinger was behind driving Catelyn Stark and Lysa Arynn apart, he conspired to kill Jon Arynn, and he tried to kill Bran Stark.  So Arya cuts his throat.

The growing tension between Jaime and his sister also finally reaches an climax.  Jaime finally voices a lot of his concerns with her crazy obsessive behavior and Cersei basically tells him she’s pissed for his disloyalty.  She sort of threatens to have The Mountain kill him, but he leaves without a fight.

Then of course the final official reveal of Rhaegar and Lyanna.  Sam comes to Winterfell and has a little chat with Bran, and they put the pieces together about how Jon Snow is really the legitimate son of Rhaegar Targaryan and Lyanna Stark, and that is real name is Aegon Targaryen, and that he is the true heir to the Iron Throne.

Finally, the army of the dead makes it to Eastwatch and they use the captured undead Dragon to bring down the wall.  Except now the dragon has Ice breath instead of fire, wouldn’t that just reinforce the wall?  I don’t know.  Chances are the 7 kingdoms will be pretty safe though, it took the undead army a very long time to walk the little bit from Hardhome to Eastwatch, at this rate it will take at least 3 more seasons to even reach Winterfell.

So on the season as a whole.  It’s been, pretty good, though it feels less and less like Game of Thrones as it started out.  There were barely any meaningful deaths, for example.  There were plenty of chances.  I like Jaime, but having Cersei kill him would have been a very classic GoT move.  Ser Jorah, Tormund, most of the band that went north to capture the undead soldier, they could have all been killed off at any point with no real impact.  The whole thing is starting to feel a little watered down.  Everyone left feels like they are covered in layers of plot armor with no real threat feeling like much of a threat anymore.

Everything is becoming really predictable too.  I mean we have one season left, so, the army of the dead will march on Winterfell, which will probably fall, they all will retreat to King’s Landing where Cersei will have Euron and the Golden Company waiting, they will have to beg for help or whatever.  Still, plot armor.  Everyone seems too protected.  I can’t imagine too many others aside from The Mountain, Cersei, Euron and maybe Theon end up dying.  Maybe Tyrion and Davos, just to give the “Good Guys” someone to kill off.  I doubt Jon or Dany get killed, they are obviously being built up to sit together on the Iron Throne in the end.

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.