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Review – Marvel Legends – Blade (Man-Thing Wave)

The recent Man-Thing BAF wave of Marvel Legends is also known as the Netflix Wave.  Primarily because it consists of Netflix versions of several characters, namely, Daredevil, The Punisher, Elektra and Jessica Jones.  The wave also includes some comic characters though, mostly ones that make sense.  Bullseye and Blade are both sort of in the same “street level” department as out Netflix heroes.  Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but I almost wonder if this is sort of a secret preview for some possible future shows from Netflix.  Bullseye is too much of a Daredevil staple that I would be incredibly surprised if he doesn’t show up for Season 3, for example.  Could a Blade Series be int he works?  Maybe a Man-Thing movie?

Marvel Legends Blade

This iteration of Blade is particularly nice because his design works pretty well as both a comic book and a potential MCU Blade figure.  He isn’t based directly on any particular live action Blade (Wesley Snipes or Sticky Fingaz), but he looks like he’s a normal human enough to fit in with an MCU display.  Contrast this with, for example, Bullseye from this same wave, who sort of works but has those slightly exaggerated comic features that make him stand out a bit from all of the realistic MCU designs.  I only really bring up the MCU at all because this is the “Netflix Wave” and this is full of MCU designs.

Marvel Legends Blade

The figure itself is… ok-ish.  I actually have a few issues with the body design.  For starters, his chest is huge.  By chick I mean, his upper chest.  It’s almost comically oversized even by comic standards, because it looks so disproportionate next to his lower body.  Blade definitely feels like he’s been skipping leg day quite a bit.  His bare arms also look a little funky and are full of really ugly joints.  A lot of figures get away with the ugly joints by hiding those parts with armor or some sort of suit, but because it’s just bare skin, they really stick out.  His shoulders are particularly weird in places, they remind me a lot of Cable, where the shoulders are almost set too low to look human.  His sword scabbard/bandolier is also fits oddly, it doesn’t really have any good place where it feels right and it’s generally pretty loose all around.  The sword works well in it and the basic idea is there, I just kind of wish it fit his body better.

Marvel Legends Blade

These design issues are kind of a shame because otherwise the paint and sculpt are pretty great.  The heads both look really good and his chest armor and legs all are nicely done.   I feel like some better choices on the arms would have really helped this figure come off less weird looking.  I almost wonder if there was some thought to giving him a coat at some point as well, since putting the new figure int he old Wesley Snipes Blade’s coat goes a long way to hide a lot of the flaws.

Marvel Legends Blade

Overall, while Blade is not a terrible figure, he’s not without his flaws.  Blade’s time kind of feels like it’s come and gone though and he’s kind of a niche hero, so chances are there isn’t going to be another Blade release in the Marvel Legends line anytime soon.  I will say, as much as I like the old Toybiz Snipes Blade, comparing the two, the new one feels more solid and poseable overall, so he is a good upgrade.  Giving him the old coat helps as well, if you have one floating around.

Marvel Legends Blade

Review – Transformers – Titans Return – Topspin and Twintwist

Where Combiner Wars did it’s duty by giving us remakes of all of the original Combiner Transformers, it also used that opportunity to repaint all of those molds into different versions of the original G1 Autobots.  Titans Return has been moving into a lot more interesting territory.  There’s a lot more updates of Targetmasters, Movie bots and in this case, Jumpstarters.  Topspin and Twintwist were a pair of very similar G1 bots that had one specific gimmick.  Pull them back, and a motor would speed the vehicle along and eventually it would pop up and land on it’s robot feet.  The entire transformation was literally “fold in half at the waist”.

Topspin got sort of an update with the movie line, he appeared in Dark of the Moon as one of the Wreckers, as a blue Lowes NASCAR.  His toy even got a gray colored repaint that kind of worked as his buddy Twintwist.  This iteration had pretty much nothing in common with his namesake aside from a vaguely Blue and White color theme.  The original jumpstarters are more of a turquoise than a blue.

Titans Return has given us a proper update to this pair.  Topspin came first but Twintwist is a straight remold of the Topspin mold.   The new mold isn’t an exact replica of the original space ship/tank thingy, but it’s close enough, and the originals were kind of misshapen anyway to help accommodate the auto transform gimmick.  The transformation is also an actual transformation now, and naturally a lot more complicated.    It’s still reminiscent of the original.  The bulky back end becomes the legs with the sides becoming the arms and the end result looks pretty close to the original robot with better proportions as well.

Like a lot of Transformers lines, the later figures tend to be get better all around, and Topspin is no exception.  He’s definitely one of if not the best mold in the line.  The closest rival is Triggerhappy.  A lot is helped by the way his transformation does a good job of hiding a lot of the hollow bits that have been prevalent lately.  He also does a lot of interesting twists and flips that help him feel like he actually has a complex transformation.  Something else lacking in a lot of figures lately.  Particularly of note is his arms, which do this neat open up and collapse in on the shoulder and hand, often it’s a trick done on one end or the other, not both.

Both vehicles do a great job of lending itself to the Titan Master gimmick.  The space ship design is perfect for a cockpit for the small robot to sit in and pilot.  The little drill tank of Twintwist is a great vehicle for these little guys as well.  Neither was originally a Headmaster but the gimmick fits well.

Topspin and Twintwist are definitely a top notch toys for the Titans Return line.  Twintwist is slightly weaker than his mold originator Topspin.  The guns don’t work as well in the tank mold and the tank dreads kind of just hang off and look ugly in robot mode vs Topspin’s wings.  There’s been a lot of hits in this line but this mold one of the best.  It’s a solid update of a unique and interesting G1 design with a modern appeal layered on top.

Review – Marvel Legends – Gladiator Hulk Wave – Loki

Apparently, in order to get a proper figure, the Loki had to turn into the Hero.  Ok, I have not seen Ragnarok, but it sort of feels like Loki was working with his brother again in a few spots int he Trailer.  Maybe I’m completely misreading it.  Also, that low blow probably isn’t warranted since Hasbro has been pushing out a lot more figures of MCU villains lately.  We get Hela in this very wave, Vulture was a pretty cool Build A Figure, and even Ego got a figure.  Maybe the voice of the people is finally being heard, maybe they will go back and pick up Trevor or Ronin.

Anyway, there was a figure released years ago for Avengers of Loki but it was kind of mediocre and the likeness wasn’t super good.  Thor Ragnarok is getting pretty good treatment for a movie line, a few new Thors, Hela, Valyrie, the new Gladiator Thor, and of course Loki.  He definitely has a better likeness from the previous Loki, Hasbro is doing something new with it’s movie lines because all of the heads are looking really good lately, with a good resemblance to the actors.  He’s not wearing his older gold armor anymore, so he’s not necessarily a great straight replacement for Avengers Loki, depending on what you want from an MCU Loki.  The new armor is still pretty decent and matches his new look for the new movie.

It’s not perfect though.  His cape is really funky.  A lot of the capes in Marvel Legends are kind of meh, but they tend to at least stay attached.  Traditionally there’s a peg hole in the figure’s back and a post on the cape, and you just stick the cape on.  Often there are little shoulder bits that curl around and provide at least a little bit of friction based hold to keep the cape attached.  Loki does something new.  Instead his cape has a pair of pegs on the shoulder bits.  In theory this actually kind of makes things look cleaner.

Except the pegs are a pain in the ass to get into the peg holes and don’t stay in the holes very well at all.  This isn’t helped by his hair getting in the way at every opportunity.  So the cape at best kind of looks off because it isn’t pegged in properly.

The other problem with poor Loki is that he has no accessories apart from his crown.  A couple of knives, maybe his staff, even though he doesn’t have it anymore, some sort of weapon would have been nice.  Especially since every other figure in this wave got something.  Things have been getting better on the accessories front with Marvel Legends, which is why it’s so disappointing that Loki has nothing.

Loki, as a basic figure isn’t a bad figure, he looks good, the sculpt is there and the paint is there and he is a character desperately in need of an update, but he ends up catching a couple of the traps that Marvel Legends have been plagued with on the way.

 

Review – Transformers – RiD – Scorponok

Possibly the last of these fun little animal Decepticons we’re going to see is Scorponok.  There’s also a Toys R Us purple colored repaint of this figure called Paralon, who actually really resembles Beast Wars Scoponok, but this review primarily covers the normal brown colored mass released version.  Scorponok’s animal motif is, a scorpion.

Transformers Robots in Disguise Scorponok

In fact, he simply IS a scorpion in his alt mode.  While the other Decepticons all turn into vehicles with animal like themes in robot and beast mode, Scorponok just turns into robot and a scorpion.  Straight out Beast Wars style.  He has a really unique style going for him as well, and a very unique Transformation.  The scorpion mode gives him some really obvious choices for hands, but Scorponok eschews that with a clever trick.

Transformers Robots in Disguise Scorponok

His scorpion claws slide up his arms to become a pair of huge shoulder pauldrons.  No parts forming here, but they are essentially lose pieces at one point.  The effect is neat for sure, but the connections tend to be a little lose on the shoulder joint.  Given their large size they catch anything passing by and easily leverage out of their joint to become crooked or loose.  The end result also means his claws have no real joints in Scorpion mode, which is kind of a lame trade off since Scorpion claws are one of the more versatile and fun joints in scorpion toys.  Who doesn’t live a big set of vicious working pincers?

Transformers Robots in Disguise Scorponok

He also has a ton of fun character in his face and overall design.  His little face with it’s little robot mustache makes him look pretty interesting.  He also has a set of spindly legs that work well despite their small size and his upper body girth.  He also completed his sandy sort of Persian motif with a scimitar weapon.  The sword can be held in robot and scorpion mode as a giant stinger.

Transformers Robots in Disguise Scorponok

Transformers Robots in Disguise Scorponok

Overall, Scorponok isn’t the coolest Decepticon in the line, but he’s still a fun little toy.  He does feel a little small overall, which is probably his biggest downside.  The Paralon repaint kind of fits the name Scorponok a bit better, if you are looking at getting only one, but I find the brown color scheme works better for the figure overall.

Transformers Robots in Disguise Scorponok

 

Review – Nendoroid – Tracer

Good Smile Company makes two lines, primarily, Figma, and Nendoroid.  Both likes primarily deal with anime and video game characters.  Figma is more of a traditional style scale figure, they are generally around 1/12th scale.  Nendoroids are all “Super Deformed” Chibi designs.  Bigs heads and small bodies, sort of similar in style to something like Pop Vinyls in the US, except a zillion times better with articulation and interchangeable parts.

Nendoroid Tracer

I’m not super big on the style, and there are a lot more anime characters I don’t care about int he Nendo line than the Figma line.  That said, the first official figure from Overwatch was Nendoroid Tracer.  I like Overwatch, I play Tracer more than any character, seemed like a good figure to test out the waters on the Nendoroid line.  There’s a Figma Tracer being released later this year and Nendoroid versions of Mei and Mercy are coming up as well.

I had my doubts going into this line.  A lot of those worries were pushed away upon actually getting the figure.  She’s pretty awesome.  I can fully admit, that this style of figure isn’t going to be for everyone, but this little Tracer is pretty adorable and a lot more versatile for poses and action that I expected her to be.  Not every Nendoroid has as many joints as Tracer, only some characters get elbows, many just get swapable arms.  She also pretty much requires the stand due to the size of her head, but it’s low profile and with some work she can be posed without it.

Nendoroid Tracer

I was also worried that she was going to be smaller than she actually is.  She isn’t huge, but she fits in pretty well with some smaller Figma and Figuarts figures.  Really, given her style and related silly factor, she kind of works alright with some larger figures as well.  She would definitely fit with other Nendos since they are all roughly the same size.  She isn’t meant to be a perfect scale representation of Tracer, but she does a pretty good job of being a silly super deformed version.  She has all of the most noteworthy details like her chest piece, glasses and arm fins.  The center bit of her hair is articulated as well, so it can be adjusted a bit or to recreate her “blowing her hair” bit she does in the game.

For acessories she includes her stand, 3 faces, and several sets of hands.  She also includes a pulse bomb, and her two pistols.  The hands are made for gripping her pistols, open palms for throwing the pulse bomb or pegging the pistols on for her spin pose, and a set of closed fists.  There isn’t anyway for her to hold the pulse bomb sadly, though in game she pretty much just tosses it out and runs anyway.

She also includes a little blue plastic piece that can attach tot he stand to represent when she Blinks.  The end effect works pretty well at showing off her overall gimmick of speed and time shifting.  I kind of wish there was a second piece of the Recall Glow but I’m happy with what she came with.

Overall, I really like Nendoroid Tracer.  I’m looking forward to the upcoming Mei to go with her.  The style definitely won’t be to everyone’s taste and she is probably a little pricey for her size, but she is fun to pose and mess with and is a neat representation of the popular character.

Weekly Wednesday Haul – A Fist Full of Comics Edition

Nothing physical new this week, but Amazon was having a pretty amazing sale on Marvel Digital comics, like 90% off on a LOT of books, so I binged a bit and picked up a stack of books I’ve been looking forward to reading.  I once did comics reviews, I may have to start doing it again.  Anyway…

A lot of newer stuff in there, I’ll be honest, I’m not a huge fan of the art style in a lot of older comics.  The two main drivers here were Ms. Marvel and Spider-Gwen, both series I’ve been wanting to read for a while.  I’ve started on both.  I also picked up the Kate Bishop Book because I really enjoy the Hawkeye^2 run.  The same thing can be said of Jessica Jones.  Alies was enjoyable and the Netflix series is my favorite of those shows, so it felt like a no brainer.

Spinning off a bit from Marvel, I’ve heard the Darth Vader series is pretty decent as well.  I’m always kind of wary of Star Wars Expanded Universe stuff, it tends to feel a little Fan-Fic-ish which I don’t care for.  I decided to give this one a go however, and the Doctor Aphra book I believe is related.  Whatever the case, Doctor Aphra I believe is getting a Black Series figure in an upcoming wave, and I’d like to know why.

I was a little hesitant to go for Gwenpool.  I’m not real big on Deadpool, and Gwenpool kind of feels like an even more MEME ridden version of Deadpool.  For what it’s worth I passed on Squirrel Girl for this reason, also I can’t stand the art in Squirrel Girl.

IronHeart Ironman was kind of a random gamble, I know there was some uproar over this book and it’s protagonists so I figured I’d check it out.  Mockingbird was also a random pick up.  I like what I’ve seen of the character elsewhere, so I figure I’d try out her series.

Lastly, Marvel 1602, I have almost zero idea of what this is but it sounded like a neat concept.  I generally like these sort of “re-imagined what if” style stories, probably because they tend ot be self contained while still keeping the idea and spirit of super heroes.

Weekly Wednesday Haul – BAF Edition

This week saw the completion of a couple of Build a Figures.  First off, I added the Homemade Suit Spiderman from Spiderman Homecoming.  This also gave me the last piece for the Vulture Build A Figure.  He is pretty awesome with his huge wings, but it still feels like he could have just been say, a $30 deluxe figure or something.  


A while back I started collecting Giant Manparts when Ross had the wave for cheap.  I recall back when this wave was new, I had a delimma on if I wanted Cap from this wave or from the Thanos wave.  Apparently I had chosen Thanos, because it turned out that I didn’t have Giant Man’s head.  I never did finish that Thanos because I opted for the Marvel Select but I went ahead and ordered the head for Giant Man off of eBay.

I have to say, I am kind of disappointed, his arms are stupidly short for proper human proportions.
Lastly, since I have Jessica Jones now, I went ahead and picked up Elektra from the Netflix wave.  I probably was going to get her anyway.  I am still a little iffy on the others for reasons mentioned but that Daredevil is growing on me and I kind of really want to finish Man-Thing.

Review – Transformers – Combiner Wars – Computron (Technobot Giftset)

Combiner Wars was definitely an interesting take on the line.  The need for every figure to be a robot and a vehicle and an arm or a leg really made for some pretty similar designs across the board.  All of the most well known combiners, Superion, Menasor, Bruticus, Defensor, ended up with a release in the main line.  Devastator got a massive Titan Class boxed set release as well.  One vehicle combiner missing from the mainline was Computron.  Instead of individual releases, Computron came available at the tail end of the line as a boxed set only, though he consists of repaints of previously released figures.

Transformers Combiner Wars Computron

The boxed set for Computron consists of 7 figures, 5 forming the core combiner and one Legends class partner, like all of the other releases, who happens to also include another even smaller partner toy of it’s own.  Unlike the other 4 known combiners, Computron is a straight update of his normal 5 members, no stand ins like Rook of Alpha Bravo.  It’s also worth noting that there was also a Japanese boxed set released around the same time that costs around the same price.  There are a lot of different design choices in which molds are used and both sets contain unique new remold versions of Strafe.  I do not own the Japanese version but there are pluses and minuses to each design choice and a lot of what it comes down to is a preference of G1 cartoon vs G1 toy aesthetics.

Transformers Combiner Wars Computron

Lightspeed

Transformers Combiner Wars Computron

I want to start with Lightspeed since he’s probably the most boring of all of the figures in this set.  Not really so much because of his design, but because he’s a repaint of the Streetwise/Prowl mold which is itself a remold of the Breakdown/Wildrider mold.  Basically, this mold has been used a ton throughout this entire line and so it’s starting to feel a little tired.  On the plus side, it’s one of the better molds in the line.  He has a nice range of pose ability, his transformation is a little more interesting all around and it works well as both an arm and a leg.

Transformers Combiner Wars Computron

The overall shape fits pretty well as an update to G1 Lightspeed as well.  The original toy was a bit more orange in color however.  This color works pretty well though and homages closer to the cartoon color pallet.

Nosecone

Transformers Combiner Wars Computron

Next up we have Nosecone.  Probably the weakest figure in the entire set, primarily due to the choice in base mold.  The original Nosecone was a drill tank thing.  Rather than take the Takara route of extensively remolding Rook, Hasbro’s Nosecone is simply a repaint of Brawl from the Combaticon set with a new drill bit turret.

A lot of Nosecones flaws are simply due to using the Brawl mold, which is the weakest in the line.  He is so close to being pretty good though, at least in robot mode.  The waist joint however is very poorly designed, things accordion together to connect the legs to the torso, but the accordion action isn’t quite a solid as it wants to be or should be.  He does have a pretty nice paint job in robot mode as well which helps.  The paint apps are more designed to homage the original toy than the original cartoon.

Transformers Combiner Wars Computron

Where things fall apart is the vehicle.  The intended design is to position the turret out what is the back of the original tank.  The problem is this means the bottom of the feel are really obviously exposed in all of their hollow glory.  You’re better off just positioning the drill facing forward the way Brawn’s turret sits and calling it a day.  It’s mildly less accurate but looks a heck of a lot better.

Strafe

Transformers Combiner Wars Computron

Strafe is kind of the polar opposite of Nosecone and Lightspeed.  Where both of those were straight repaints, Strafe is an extensive remold of the Air Raid mold.  Where Air Raid turns into an F-14 fighter jet, Strafe has an entirely new front half and a completely different wing assembly on the legs.  The only real noticeable bits that are the same are the robot parts and the rear tail fins.  As such he shares the same basic transformation that all of the Aerialbots used with the clam-shell leg mechanism and the arms folded to the sides and the nosecone backpack.  All of the Aerialbots are solid figures however, which translates into a nice plus for Strafe.

Transformers Combiner Wars Computron

Unlike his Aerialbot counterparts, Strafe’s “funky space ship” alt mode allows him to wear his bulky undercarriage much more well.  He isn’t trying to be a sleek jet, so the body bulk and complete lack of aerodynamics become much more excusable.

Afterburner

Transformers Combiner Wars Computron

Afterburner is the pseudo new mold of this set.  The motorcycle mold in Combiner Wars showed up originally in Takara’s Defensor set for Groove.  There has been rumor and speculation that the US release received Rook in place of Groove because of safety issues involving the clear plastic canopy, due to scale issues of the motorcycle, and possibly just because the mold is a little large for a standard deluxe and this didn’t fit price wise.  Eventually Groove did get a limited release in the states through several online retailers.  Afterburner however is the most reliable way to get the mold in the US, though Afterburner is also a remold and not just a straight repaint of Groove.

Transformers Combiner Wars Computron

I can see why he might have failed standard safety tests, that window backpack just sort of hangs off of the top of the figure and clear plastic tends to be more brittle than the standard plastic used in most figures.  On the other hand, here we are, with a regular mass release version of the mold.  The speculation that he’s too large is feasible as well, he is definitely taller and bulkier than most of the Combiner Wars deluxes.  The scale issue, at least in Afterburner’s case, kind of falls away however.  Groove is a police motorcycle, thus would be much smaller than his fellow Protectobots.  Afterburner is a space motorcycle.  Who says he isn’t a giant space motorcycle.  Especially when all of his friends are giant robots.

Scattorshot

Transformers Combiner Wars Computron

Scattorshot is a repaint of the much more muted color pallet, mass released, Scattorshot who is a remold of the Aerialbot torso, Silverbolt.  The mass release version of the figure was very bland and mostly red, and formed the torso for “Beta-tron”.  I’m not sure why he ended up with two releases, my only real assumption is they weren’t sure Computron would actually get a release.  The boxed set version has a lot more white spots of color and different shades of red, which really helps make the mold look a lot less… beta, in design.

This mold is one of the better torsos in the line, but the individual robot is a little funky looking with it’s huge boots.  It does work for Scattorshot though, the original toy also had some kind of funky proportions going on with his body.  The funky space wings really help to make him seem different than Silverbolt as well, which is nice.

Transformers Combiner Wars Computron

The vehicle gets a new node piece in the form of a giant cannon, in addition to the previously mentioned space wings.  There are enough little greebly bits added to the vehicle to help him stand out even more from Silverbolt.  The torso, doesn’t fare quite as well however, as it very much resembles Superion’s torso.

Scrounge and Cybaxx (Boltax)

Transformers Combiner Wars Computron

Because there were little “helper” transformers in the Legends scale for each of the other combiners, Computron also includes a repaint of Generations Cosmos and Payload in the form of Scrounge and Boltax.  Both are relatively obscure G1 comic characters, both of which were originally yellow gold colored.   The original Scrounge seems to turn into some sort of wheel thing, so Cosmos’ flying saucer works pretty well there.  Boltax doesn’t really have an original alt mode, his association here is more on the “smart guy” side of the Technobots theme.  He was sort of an omniscient librarian in his original form.

Transformers Combiner Wars Computron

The new head on the Cosmos mold is a nice little touch, it would have been really simple and easy to just make him a repaint.  Given that this is an older mold from an older line, the interactivity with the larger Computron is pretty weak.  Where Menasor and Defensor got new chest pieces and Superion and Bruticus got guns, Scrounge sort of becomes a shield that loose bolts onto existing pegs and Boltax turns into an undersized targetmaster style gun (just like Payload).  Well, undersized for Computron, less so for any of the individual robots.

Transformers Combiner Wars Computron

Computron

Transformers Combiner Wars Computron

So, being apart of Combiner Wars, and the combiner Computron, these figures all merge together to form one giant robot.  He’s actually got quite a bit going for him in his combined form, compared to the other combiners in the line.  Despite some of the individual flaws, all of these figures are good limbs.  Couple this with the Silverbolt/Scattorshot torso and you end up with a pretty solid combined robot.

Transformers Combiner Wars Computron

What also helps make this set is that he also includes a new set of hand/foot pieces.  The individual releases all came with various hand/foot bits that could be either a hand or a foot.  They were also a bit undersized for the combined robots, especially for the feet.  Computron here has two dedicated feet that are much larger than the previous hand/foot gun pieces, and two nicely sculpted left and right fists.  The Hand/Foot Guns all were also designed to work as a left or right hand.  These pieces really help him look more beefy and properly proportioned in his combined form.

His color scheme is a little hodge podgey, though the tones are all sort of in the same general pallet and there is a lot of colors across the limbs that helps everything feel a bit more blended.  He also benefits from the boxed set benefit of budget, because he has a bit more paint apps across the board, which helps make him look really nice.

Overall, Computron is a really great complete package of a combiner.  He’s probably my favorite of the 5 combiner sets that I own (Superion, Bruticus, Defensor, Menasor, and Computron).  The techno spacey Cybertronian theme of all of the vehicles helps these guys stand out in a sea of Earth modes and help hide some of the bulky-ness flaws of the Combiner Wars line.  You also get an entire set instead of having to hunt down individual robots, which makes things a lot easier.