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Review – Transformers – Generations – Brainstorm

If you’ve been keeping track, you might have noticed that I’ve gone through all of the original 7 Headmaster’s remakes from Titan’s Returns.  You might have been expecting the last review here to cover Titan’s Return Brainstorm.  Well, you’d be almost correct.  The thing is, I have Generations Brainstorm already, and I don’t really need Titan’s Return Brainstorm, so instead, you’re getting Generations Brainstorm.

If you follow some of the recent lines just before Combiner Wars, it kind of felt like Hasbro was exploring and experimenting with ideas for future lines.  We got Scoop with his Trigger masters, and the Minicon combiner team, and Brainstorm here, the first Headmaster in years, I believe since Transformers Energon with it’s Omega Supreme and Minicon head.  Before that was Armada Sideways with his swappable headmasters.

As our first modern Headmaster, Brainstorm is pretty good.  There were some early reports about issues with the neck joint on the Headmaster and body, but rumor has it that problem was fixed.  He even fakes the classic power level gimmick with a flip down panel inside his chest that activates when the Headmaster is attached.

The Headmaster itself is a little iffy though, the arms are large chunks with the arm bits painted on in the appropriate areas.    He looks nice for the most part for such a small figure though.  He works well with his little cockpit in space ship mode.

The new headmasters though aren’t compatible at all.  There is a size difference for starters, which breaks the port set up.  In the broader sense though, I like the size difference here just because it makes for some nice variety from “All Deluxe scale”.  I also am not huge on swapping the heads between bodies, so I don’t really mind that there is a lack of compatibility.

So I’m not saying the Titans Return Brainstorm is bad, he’s based on one of the better molds in the line, but I just really like this version of Brainstorm from a few years earlier in Generations.

Weekly Wednesday Haul – Clearance Heroes

Not a ton going on here this round, though I came across the Doctor Strange wave of Marvel Legends on clearance for $5 each.  I picked up Strange’s buddy Karl Mordo.  He’ll probably show up again later and these movie characters can be so hit or miss on if they gt a newer release, I figure he’s a good investment.  I also got a second Nico Minoru, because I feel like it would be a good base for some sort of fun custom.

I also picked up some Megabloks Ninja Turtles Mini figs for a buck each.

Later, at a Ross, I found this Daenerys Targaryen on super mark down.  I’m not huge on getting a bunch of Game of Thrones toys but this Dani seemed alright.  Also I am still kind of kicking myself for passing on a bunch a few years ago at $3 each.

The last toy this week is World of Nintendo Falco.  He was not on clearance, in fact he was overpriced at the TRU mark up.  Except he’s several waves old, I never figured I’d see Falco and had already decided that once I picked up Peppy, I’d go ahead and eat the mark up on a $20+ Falco off of Amazon to complete the set.  Looks like I dodged that bullet.  They also had Peppy, but Peppy is new, I’m confident I can wait it out and get one at Target for $8 instead of Toys R Us’ ridiculous $15 after tax.  These figures are not worth $15.

Review – Marvel Legends – Juggernaut Wave – Phoenix (Jean Grey)

This may be a bit of a short one on the text.  I honestly have very little to really say about Marvel Legends Phoenix.  In fact, the main thing I have to say is something I really don’t say too often about anything.  I think I legitimately hate almost everything about this figure.

I’m not even sure it’s an upgrade from my old Toybiz Phoenix figure.  Sure that old Phoenix has some issues, and is far from perfect but this update just has so much that I don’t particularly like that makes for the perfect storm of dislike.

For starters, her sculpt is kind of nasty.  The head is weirdly skinny and angular and the hair looks unnatural.  This isn’t helped by how completely bland her design is.  At least the old Phoenix has a few extra flourishes here and there to keep her from being so blandly green.

She also can’t stand for crap, which only really helps to push my dislike of this figure down farther.  In fact the only reason I bothered at all was that she was the only figure left that I needed to complete the Juggernaut Build a Figure.   There isn’t much else to say, he’s just extremely bland and kind of ugly on the paint and sculpt, which is a shame because several other figures in this wave are excellently done.

Review – Transformers – Titans Return – Highbrow

Like most of the original Headmasters, Highbrow hasn’t gotten a proper update in a while.  There was a pretty neat Highbrow back in the Hunt for the Decepticons sub-line of Revenge of the Fallen, though his alt mode for that line was a Lockheed P38-Bomber style plane, and he was mostly green instead of his original blue and white.  It’s a neat toy mostly for using a cool alt mode, but it’s not very Highbrow and it wasn’t a headmaster.

Like most of Titans Return, Highbrow is a much more faithful remake of his G1 iteration.  He has the same colors and turns into a dual prop Cybertronian helicopter.  It’s not a toy without some pretty bad flaws though, mostly due to the helicopter blades.  This is one of those areas where the lessened budget of newer toys actually become a bit of a hindrance.  The helicopter blades don’t have any way to lock into place in robot mode and don’t fold out of the way in any meaningful way.  They just sort of flip around, which wouldn’t be a problem except they tend to get locked up in his massive helicopter cockpit backpack.

He also suffers from a severe case of “wobbly head” syndrome, which seems to plague a few of these Titans Returns figures.  Part of the problem seems to be that the hook for his head sticks out from his neck a few millimeters.  On the plus side, it means he can sort of look up and down a bit, but it doesn’t make things lose and floppy.  Something that was most common in the Wave 1 figure Scourge, which brings up another interesting bit…

Back in my review of Chromedome, I made a comment about how Chromedome looks like he is a remold of the Combiner Wars Breakdown mold, but isn’t, he just shares a transformation.  Highbrow here has a similar sort of situation going, because technically, Highbrow IS a remold of Titans Return Scourge.  That said, they share almost zero actual parts and their transformations are “reversed.”  Where Scourge’s front form by joining his legs together, Highbrow forms the rear of the helicopter.  The tell tale bit that these are remolds lies in the pull out section on the hips/legs used during transformation.  That, and that they are part of the same lines, it’s actually pretty uncommon to have a remold cross over between lines the way Chromedome and Dead End would have done.

The toys are definitely different enough to warrant owning both of them if you are interested in both.  The transformation results in a pretty near little helicopter.  The cockpit is functional to allow for the Titan Master to fit inside.  The two guns can attach to the underside of the wings to give the chopper some artillery, though they attach via the non round pegs, which is slightly against what you commonly see but it allows for the use of the molded landing wheels.  There’s a third flip out landing gear that isn’t super obvious on the under side of the cockpit.

The helicopter mode looks good and holds together very solidly.   It’s definitely a good addition to the vehicles for Titan Masters.  If your interest in this line lies more with the Titan Masters and their vehicles and bases, Highbrow is definitely a good addition, even if his Robot mode is a little clunky.

Review – Marvel Legends – Juggernaut Wave – Havok

Someone working on this wave seems to have a hard on for Cyclops’ family, we’ve got his wife, Jean Grey (Phoenix), his son from the future, Cable, and his brother, Havok.  There isn’t a Cyclops, but we got one in the first wave of X-men with Jubilee and there is one in the next wave coming in 2017.  He’s Cyclops’ younger brother in the comics but older brother in the movies, though this is a decidedly comic book design.

He definitely doesn’t have the most amazing design for a super hero.  There’s nothing complicated going on here, he’s a dude in spandex with a funky helmet.  It’s a pretty well done figure, he’s just a little on the boring side.

He does have a pretty cool power, though not really any good way to portray it in toy form.  He absorbs energy and re-releases it.  As he absorbs energy he gives on energy waves, for the figure this is depicted using these attachable bubble effects.  These are similar to the circular effects we’ve seen a lot lately with Doctor Strange and Scarlet Witch, though it’s not the same effect piece.  Also, given how his power work, I find they work best attached higher up on his arms than on his wrists, since it looks more like he’s “emanating energy”.

Considering Hasbro seems to be against including things like fireball effects with these figures, there’s not much else he could have come with to make him more exciting.  Articulation is decent, though if you put the effects higher up on the arms things can get a little limited.

I do like his design though.  He’s pretty basic but the effect parts work pretty well and there’s something elegant about his design despite it’s blandness.

Review – Marvel Legends – Juggernaut Wave – Rogue

I’ve always really liked Rogue as a character.  She’s generally fun, she has an interesting power with interesting positives and negatives, her overall design is nice as well.  It probably helps that in the old cartoon series she was always paired with Gambit, whom I also really like as far as X-men go.  The point is, I am kind of biased towards Rogue, especially this particular design, which in general is one of her more popular designs.

Unfortunately, there has only been one other figure of this design in this size, back in the Toybiz line, and it is god awful.  Ok, the basic figure isn’t that bad, the face sculpt is god awful.  She looks like a 90 year old woman pretending to be Rogue or something.  She has been much overdue for an update.

This update certainly does a good job.  I kind of miss the cloth goods jacked of the old figure but the face sculpt this time around is a lot better to be sure.

She even has appropriate accessories to replicate her power, she comes with an ungloved hand.  In case you’re not familiar, Rogue absorbs other character’s powers through physical contact, so having an ungloved hand allow her be able to touch other figures, so to speak.  Her design even allows for the wrist bit of the glove to be removed, which is a nice touch.

My only real complaint is the usual hit or miss derpy eye look that is a problem across the board on Hasbro’s female figures.  I don’t even understand why this tends to lean towards females vs males.  Otherwise it’s a welcome update to a popular design for a popular character.

 

 

 

Review – Marvel Legends – Juggernaut Wave – Cable

It’s not every day we get a mother/son combo in a wave of Marvel Legends but here we are with Cable and Jean Grey.  Ok, technically Cable’s mother is a clone of Jean Grey but that’s just the way the kooky storylines of the X-men work.  I mean Cable really looks like he’s probably older than jean anyway, which he probably is since he comes from the future.  The reality is, Cable likely exists in this wave to accompany Deadpool, since Cable and Deadpool are partners from time to time.

It’s kind of a shame he’s not a better Cable, especially with how few X-men waves we get, he’s unlikely to get a better release anytime soon.  I mean he’s not awful, but he could be better.  For starters, his weird robot vest thing.  It’s not really his most iconic look for starters.  This wouldn’t be as much of an issue except that it also looks ridiculous, especially in the shoulders.  I imagine the idea is to make him look bulked out, but it makes his shoulders just look weird and disproportionate.

His weapons also leave a bit to be desired.  Cable was originally created by comic artist Rob Liefeld, who is mostly known for belts and pouches, and making everything very XTREEM huge.  Being from the future, Cable uses some funky huge guns, but both of his weapons are a bit finicky and don’t really look very natural when being held.  Part of this may be due to the funky armor shoulder effect mentioned above.

Otherwise the sculpt is solid though.  The head and armored arm both work well and look nice.  Cable is also sufficiently large compared to a lot of Marvel Legends figures, as he should be.    His upper torso weight and bulk make him a bit tricky to pose however, which also is part of the issue with his guns.

Like I said, Cable isn’t a bad figure, he just could be better.  Particularly in his weird torso area.

Review – Marvel Legends – Juggernaut Wave – Kitty Pryde

Spider-man somehow gets a wave every other wave, completed with six out of eight figures being new Spider People.  Captain America gets a new figure every wave and Iron Man every other wave.  Somehow, the X-men, arguably Marvel’s most popular property, only warrants one wave a year, if they are lucky.  The last wave was the Jubilee BAF wave too, which is one of the worst disasters is crummy distribution in the history of the line making it extremely pricey on the secondary market.  Fortunately the Juggernaut wave seems to be a little easier to get a hold of.  It’s a pretty solid wave all around as far as character choices too, though there are so many well known X-men characters that it would be hard to make a truly awful wave of X-men.

Today I wanted to take a look at Kitty Pryde, who ended up being a nice, unexpectedly nice figure from the wave.  Kitty has a lot of potential to be a boring throw away figure for sure.  Her costume design isn’t particularly flashy and there isn’t really any way to recreate her power with any interesting accessories.  The female figures in the Marvel Legends line are also inexplicably plagued with QC issues, especially when compared to their male counterparts.

Kitty manages to skirt right around almost all of these potential issues.  The biggest is just how nice she looks in sculpt and paint apps, particularly in the head.  I’m not saying they aren’t out there, but I have seen few reports of the common “derpy eyes” that shows up a LOT on the lady Marvel figures.  The flesh tone looks nice and natural, the hair sculpt and paint is nicely crisp.

The yellow and black on her uniform is very nicely done as well, yellow can often be a very problematic color for toys.  It definitely matches the look of one of her more well known uniforms overall as well.

Kitty Pryde also comes with an accessory in the form of her little dragon buddy Lockheed.  Lockheed is really great in his execution.  His overall shape from his wings to his tail added with the rubbery plastic he is made of allow him to easy perch on Kitty’s arms or shoulders easily without the need for any ugly pegs or clips.  It makes him look very natural on her and though it’s not a rock solid connection, it’s stable enough for some movement while he is attached to her.

Unfortunately, short of disassembling the figure, there isn’t any way to recreate her power, which involves passing through walls.  That’s not really a knock or anything, plenty of X-men have non visual powers like psychic abilities or invulnerability.   Kitty Pryde was a figure that I expected to be pretty lame but is probably one of the best figures in the wave.