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Review – Transformers – Titans Return – Perceptor

Due to it’s hodge podge origins in various Japanese toy lines, primarily Diaclone and Microman, the Transformers picked up a few less practical alt modes in it’s early days.  The most well known is Soundwave’s cassette player.  Perceptor is one of those characters with a less conventional (ie not a car or a plane) modes with his Microscope mode.  The previous Generations remake of Perceptor changed things a bit giving him a Snow truck alternate mode instead of his traditional Microscope.  Titans Return has been all about keeping with the designs of the original toys as much as possible, with updated modern engineering, so Perceptor is once again, a Microscope.

Transformers Titans Return Perceptor

You could argue that he’s actually a sort of medical bay for the Titan Masters however, since the stage of the microscope is designed for a Titan Master to lay in to be examined by the scope.  The scope itself is functional as a microscope, though it’s extremely low power and kind of hard to look through due to it’s small size.  If you put say, a finger in front of it, you will get an enlarged image of your fingerprint however, which is a nice touch.

Transformers Titans Return Perceptor

Transformers Titans Return Perceptor

The overall design is very reminiscent to the original Perceptor toy from the 80s, though he’s quite a bit smaller, the original figure was somewhere between modern Deluxe and Voyager sizes.   His transformation is where a lot of the flaws come through.  It’s simple enough, but the sliding mechanism for the microscope feels extremely stiff and prone to breaking.  I have not broken one, it just very much feels like a part that could easily BE broken if care isn’t given.  There are alsoa  lot of unused extra bits on his body for the undocumented Tank Mode

Transformers Titans Return Perceptor

Transformers Titans Return Perceptor

The original Perceptor had an attack mode which amounted to folding him into a square and using the scope as a tank canon.   There are definitely vestigial bits for something similar to be done on the Titans Return toy, but the instructions do not show anything about how to properly transform him into a tank.  There are extra flip out treads, extra flipping parts on his chest, extra tabs on his legs and shoulders.  It’s even a great way to better incorporate the little Titan Master drivers into the mode.  It’s just not documented, which is kind of tragic.

Transformers Titans Return Perceptor

Aside from the missing Tank Mode, I really enjoy this figure.  I’ve always been partial to Perceptor because of his goofy Microscope mode, though I can see how this may be seen as boring by some people.  The microscope actually having some very basic functionality just makes this guy even more interesting and good in my book.

Review – Mafex – The Dark Knight Rises Batman (v2)

DC is over here trying to reboot it’s cinematic universe and here I am still stuck on the Nolan Batman films.  Maybe things will shape up and the new Batman will end up being amazing, but for now, I’m satisfied with Christian Bale’s take on the character.  I really just don’t feel Ben Affleck as Batman and I don’t like the design of the newer suit(s) as much.  As such, for now, I’m sticking with this Batman from Mafex as my “Batman in toy form”.  This is the second release of this figure, it fixes a lot of the quality issues that plagued the first release.  This seems to be quite a trend with Mafex, a lot of their figures get “second runs” with better joints.

Mafex The Dark Knight Rises Batman

Not every issue was fixed.  One common problem I’ve had with all of the Mafex figures I own is the head/neck joint pop off way too easily.  I have this issue with both The Joker and Superman.  I don’t know if the peg needs to be longer or the ball bit needs to be a bit larger, but the heads just tend to pop off too easily on these guys.

Mafex The Dark Knight Rises Batman

Otherwise the figure is pretty solid.  I particularly love the cloth cape, cloth goods at this scale tend to be great or garbage, and this one leans more to the great side.  The sculpt and scale are all nice, he fits in well with other 6″ figures as well as a lot of other Batman related toys.  The unmasked head looks very much like Christian Bale.

Mafex The Dark Knight Rises Batman

He includes a variety of appropriate accessories as well, a Bat-Grappeling hook, the EMP rifle that he uses during the bike chase, and a few different hands.  A few batarangs or flash grenades might have been nice to flesh out his accessory count a bit.  It’s not a bad assortment but considering how much The Joker included it’s a bit of a let down.  It’s not nearly as anemic as Superman or Catwoman however, both basically came with nothing.

Mafex The Dark Knight Rises Batman

Mafex The Dark Knight Rises Batman

The bottom line is, this is probably the best figure of this version of Batman available.  The only other real releases for the Nolan Batman were from Mattel, and they tend to be kind of mediocre.  This is the “old” Batman design though, which may be a turn off.  The price is a bit higher as well being an Import, though a lot of the older Mafex releases go for fairly cheap compared to most imports (ie Figuarts and Figma).  If you are interested in this figure, definitely go for the Version 2.0 release.  It fixes the joint problems and includes the unmasked Bruce Head.  The easiest way to tell the difference is if it includes the Bruce Wayne head or not.

Review – Marvel Legends – Sandman Wave – Spider Gwen

In an alternate universe on another Earth, instead of Peter Parker, Spider-man, being bitten by that radioactive spider granting him super human spider powers, Peter’s classmate and sometimes girlfriend Gwen Stacy instead took the hit.  In that world was born, Spider Gwen.  It’s kind of a plot born from a What-If? idea, expanded into it’s own full comic series.  It’s a pretty good comic series too, and an interesting take on the Spider-man concept.  As a popular character, it was inevitable that there would be a Spider Gwen figure released for Marvel Legends.

Marvel Legends Spider Gwen

The basic execution here is decent.  The look and design of the character is captured well here, the swapable head and hood bits are nice.  She’s a decent alright Basic Spider Gwen.  The sculpt and paint are good, including on the Gwen Stacy head.

Marvel Legends Spider Gwen

Most of problems I have with this figure stem from my more common complains with the Marvel Legends line as a whole.  I’ve seen this body used on several other spider girls and figures, the legs always feel off on it no matter how they are positioned and the lack of double jointed elbows hurts.  I also hate the lack of hand options.  She has a fist and a thwip hand, that’s it, some relaxed hands, two fists, you know, all of the things the regular Spider-man mold gets these days, would be great.  In the comic Gwen Stacy is part of a rock band, but it’s not like she is constantly throwing out the horns.  Also, a cellphone accessory would be great.  Spider Gwen is always using her cell phone, and having it as an accessory would be a lot of fun.

Marvel Legends Spider Gwen

She does match the style of other Marvel Legends at least, she is just limited in a lot of funky ways by this mediocre base figure that she’s using, which is a shame.  If you just want a cheap Spider Gwen to go in a Spidery display, she serves that purpose, but personally, I’m considering replacing her with the recently released Revoltech, which is considerably more dynamic of a figure (at a higher price tag).

Review – Transformers – RiD – Quillfire

Broken Record time again, I just love the unique style and designs of the Robots in Disguise Decepticon line up.  Quillfire is no exception, with his porcupine themed robot mode.  He also has a very unique squat shape to his design, which just helps give him more character.

Quillfire, unlike Steeljaw, has the benefit of being a late line figure.  That is, he came out in wave 3 or 4, and the designers of the figures have had a chance to work out the new kinks that pop up every new Transformers line.  The neatest part of his design is probably in his head, which Which despite having a hunched look, has an extra joint added that allows for side to side movement.  Given that a lot of recent Transformers have kind of felt like they were cheapening out in places, the neck joint here really feels like a bonus.  It’s something that could easily have been removed.

He also has a functioning jaw on his large head, which helps add to the ascetics in a good way.  Additionally, despite his stocky design, the pose ability is pretty good.  He does unfortunately have a pretty large ugly backpack just sort of hanging off of him, which is kind of meh and though the neck is cool, it is limited compared to your more traditional robot designs.

He is also incredibly brown, which admittedly makes him kind of bland to look at.  He has a repaint named Scatterspike which has a very similar color scheme, which doesn’t help matters on his color scheme.  Like most of RiD, the Transformation is pretty straight forward without too many steps or flippy panels.  He includes two weapons, a hand held gun and a quill knife, both are able to be stored in Vehicle mode.

Despite his boring brown appearance, Quillfire, is a neat and fun little toy.  His repaint Scatterspike probably has a slightly more interesting color scheme since it’s a dark shade of Red, if you are only interested in getting the mold once.  Then again, the browns are a bit more military looking if that’s your thing.  He’s a decent toy, just not much to look at.

Review – Classic Ghostbusters (Mattel) (Ray Stantz, Egon Spengler, Peter Venkman, Winston Zeddemore)

Mattel has released these same Ghostbusters molds a few times over the years. this particular release was from the sequel/reboot/remake Ghostbusters movie that came out recently, though for the most part these 4 figures are all the same.  The most interesting contrast is how much better these 4 figures are compared to the 4 “new” ghostbusters they were released along side.  This isn’t a knock against the whole “all female cast”, this is a knock against the sloppy looking paint and sculpts that the new Ghostbusters figures received.

There are 4 figures here but they are essentially all exactly the same aside from their heads.  Some height variance might have been a nice touch but they all use the exact same body, with one minor variance, Peter Venkman has his pant legs untucked from his boots.  It’s not a bad body or sculpt though, which is nice.  There is enough articulation to recreate most poses you might want from 4 scientists in overalls.  The hands are pretty basic but have some surprising bonus features due to the sculp.  The right hand is sculpted to hold the Proton Pack gun, which it does well, it also looks fine for a neutral, free hand, at the sides poses, due to the trigger placement on the guns, the figures can also make a nice thumbs up (or down if you prefer) pose as well.

The articulation is also functional enough that the proton packs can easily be removed from each figure.  The packs themselves are all identical to each other.  There are no other accessories, which is kind of a bummer because they could have easily made a bit of variation by adding obvious accessories like a Ghost Trap, PKE Meter, and maybe one of those little slime grabber dealies they used a few times.

The main variation comes from the head sculpts, which are all nicely done and certainly resemble each of the 4 Ghostbusters.  It is the source of my main gripe with these figures, the head sculpts are all nice individually, but there is an odd inconsistency in style.  Ray looks considerably more “realistic” than Peter, who looks more like a Bill Murray cartoon.

Head sculpt style inconsistency aside, these are good figures.  The body reuse and lack of accessories can certainly be a turn off at the full $20+ price however.  Especially considering I believe the previous releases were considerably cheaper.  It’s not related to these figures directly, but the apparently lack of quality int he new lady Ghostbusters line up is also disappointing.

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

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.