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Review

NECA – Heroes of the Storm Thrall

If there is one central figure in all of World of Warcraft Lore to pretty much everything going on, it’s the Orc known as Thrall. Some people suggest his is a Mary Sue stand in for Chris Metzen who was basically in charge of WoW for a very long time. Even when Thrall tries to take a step out of the story, it always brings him back to fix everything. He also has the Nickname “Green Jesus”.

Thrall has had a few different roles and looks over the years. This particular design, like The Lich King, is not from World of Warcraft, but from Heroes of the Storm. Maybe with the success of their Overwatch line we can get the somewhat more iconic Hooded Shaman look for Thrall, but for now, armored Warrior will do.

There are a lot of design ideas from the Lich King that are shared by Thrall. He is loaded with detail and little scuffs and his paint work is really well done. He is also very bulky, which hinders his articulation quite a bit. Like Frostmourne, Thrall’s Doomhammer separates into two pieces to allow it to be inserted into his fist.

He definitely looks pretty impressive, though he isn’t particularly dynamic in his pose ability. The look also pushes more of an Orc Warrior vibe than the Shaman design he is more known for. He captures the look of the character well though. Certainly better than those Warcraft movie figures we got. Thrall didn’t get a figure in that line but his father Durotan did.

The real issue with this figure is that it was, and still kind of is, pretty hard to come by. The only store in the US I recall ever seeing these was Toys R Us, which went out of business. Amazon has them but they are pretty marked up. It’s a nice looking piece that would work well for general fans of the series and not just toy people, which makes it kind of a shame they were so hard to come by.

Figma – Genji

The second release in the Figma line for Overwatch was Genji. Tracer being the poster child for Overwatch made sense for release number one, Genji kind of makes sense for release two. He is a pretty bad ass ninja, his robotic design lends itself to being highly articulated, and he looks like a sentai warrior. I don’t really know how popular Overwatch is in Japan, but Figma IS a Japanese toy line, so that audience is sort of the primary audience.

Genji actually is quite a departure from Tracer. I mentioned how his cyborg design works for the articulation, and it definitely shows, he is quite a bit more articulated than Tracer. Almost too articulated if that’s possible (side note, it is, look at any AY Revo). He neck and shoulders in particular have a sort of double ball set up going that let them extend quite a bit. It actually makes his shoulders look odd at times and his neck definitely feels too long if you are looking at it from the wrong angle.

Genji also has a lot more interesting accessories than Tracer. Tracer got a couple of guns and her pulse bomb. Genji has his Dragon Blade, his smaller dagger weapon and a neat effect part of his stars being thrown. There are also scabbards for both blades on his back, though neither actually holds a blade. Instead they each have removable handle bits, for when the blade weapons are being held.

He looks great holding his swords. His articulation allows you to do all sorts of sword wielding poses as well, both single and dual wielding. The ninja star effect part is neat, but the weight and looseness of some of the joints make it tricky to pose at times. Plus it kind of vanishes into the flatness of itself when looked at straight on.

He is quite a bit larger than Tracer as well. The added weight and larger feet allow him to stand pretty well even without his stand, something that’s kind of a problem for Tracer.

Despite his wonky joints, Genji is probably one of the better releases for the Overwatch Figmas so far (as of this post). Aesthetically Widowmaker is a bit nicer but in terms of pose-ability and fun factor, Genji is better than Widowmaker.

Transformers – Studio Series – Scrapmetal

So, for the most part, the Michael Bay Transformers movies are pretty trash. Mostly for the shitty plots, but Revenge of the Fallen is particularly bad. One thing it did have that was pretty cool though was Devastator. In general, I do like the Bayverse/Movieveerse designs, and the take on Devastator was pretty interesting. Though the Revenge of the Fallen toy line was full of some of the most complex Transformers ever produced, the only full on Devastator is produced was Legends scaled. There were individual figures of most of the components that had robots and vehicles, and there was a large combined figure that only had parts that turned into vehicles, no robots.

Hasbro has decided to remedy that with Studio Series, by putting out a new Devastator, across eight figures, that all have robot modes and vehicle modes. There were 6 components to the previous version with vehicles only and Seven in the Legends sized one, which added a vehicle to create the pelvis and back. This new iteration is taking things a bit farther, following the pattern from the Legends sized version, but splitting one of the arms into two separate toys.

Scrapmetal is one of those two arm characters. He’s technically the only “new” character of the set, since Hightower (the crane) has almost made up the arm on the previous toys. This figure more or less forms the hand.

Scapmetal turns into a small excavator. The primary driver in Studio Series is robot mode scale so the excavator is pretty small, but there are some small er versions of this particular vehicle out there. The vehicle is a little small compared to old style Deluxes but looks alright next to other Studio Series. The transformation doesn’t allow the top to rotate independently of the treads unfortunately.

Transformation is pretty straight forward but has a few neat little tricks. There’s some fun asymmetry to the way the arms fold in together to form the top part of the vehicle mode. The legs pretty much just collapse and fold up underneath. He has a little removable shield thing that mostly exists to cover a few gaps in the vehicle mode, which is a little cheaty.

The robot is pretty normal as well, at least for Movie Constructicon standards. The other initial release is Rampage who stands on a single Pogo Leg, but other highlights of the Constructicons include Hightower, who turns into a sort of Velociraptor, and Demolishor who is a pair of arms on giant wheels.

One neat little bit if you want to fancy him up a bit, his legs have the option of working as “normal knees” or can knock back and become Digigrade legs. Probably the main disappointment is that there isn’t really anything fun his crane arm can do in robot mode. You can swing it up between his legs like a huge phallus but that’s not super useful really. He also has a lot of neat little extra detail. The biggest stand out is the treading detail inside his back, that doesn’t serve any purpose in either mode. I imagine in the combined form it will be more visible for some added detailing.

Scrapmetal really has me excited for the test of this team. He looks like he’ll probably be comparably sized to the old Revenge of the Fallen Devastator, but with a lot more detail and more functional articulation. I also kind of like that these are being released over time, since it gives me a chance to spread out what is essentially a $200 purchase over a couple of years.

Nendoroid – Junkrat

I have, so far, picked up every one of the Overwatch Nendoroid figures released so far. They all have some ups and downs, but on the whole they are pretty good. Today, I want to talk a bit about Nendoroid Junkrat.

Of all of the figures released in this series so far, Junkrat is definitely one of the most unique. Honestly he seems fairly unique compared to all Nendos, not just the Overwatch releases. Maybe there is some vague hope that there might be some Tank characters released in this line after all, with how much Junkrat has going on that’s special. First off, he is a fair amount larger than the previous releases. I honestly never really realized it in game since Junkrat is always hunched over, but if you look at a pure size chart, he’s one of the taller characters in the game. His Nendo, even with its goofy short proportions, is taller than the previous releases.

Part of this comes from his huge head and hair. These are also a bit unique in design, though Sombra who came out at the same time shares the uniqueness. On the previous figures, generally the bangs of the hair are removable, and the face plates swap out underneath the hair. The face plates are pretty interchangeable, that is, you can easily put Tracer’s face on Mercy, if you want. Junkrat’s entire front half of his head makes up his face plates, instead of just the bottom half like other Nendoroids. The hair bits also have to be removed and reattached in chunks, to make the swap. It’s a little clunky to do quickly, but the end result looks better. with his partially bald head, a plate styled like other Nendos would have left a visible seam across his forehead.

Speaking of the face plates, he also has a swapable mouth piece to give him a “tongue hanging out” look. As a side note, the eyes and mouth on the second head LOOK like they could be removable/swapable, but I didn’t really want to test the limits of the plastic and couldn’t get mine to come out. There isn’t really any noticeable difference in the base face anyway, so swapping the eyes around wouldn’t really do anything useful.

Additionally, he has his peg leg. This is also fairly unique to Junkrat. Between the peg leg and his huge head unfortunately, it also means he’s not going to be standing without a stand anytime ever. Though most Nendos have small enough feet that you’re going to have a hard time getting them to stand up independently anyway.

All these unique bits though help give him a lot of neat character to his design. He definitely comes off as “Junkrat,” goofy and crazy looking.

He doesn’t stop at his basic design though. He has a slew of really neat accessories. All of the weapons he wields in the game are represented here, he has his sticky bomb, his grenade launcher, his trap, and his Rip-Tire. The launcher and sticky bomb are fairly boring, the sticky bomb isn’t even painted, but the trap and tire are both great.

The trap can be laid out open or closed, and had a hand designed to hold it up to emulate his in game emote where he uses it like a puppet. The Tire is nicely detailed and can be mounted to his back, or to a extra articulated arm piece as if it’s being launched and rolling away.

You can add in on top of this that MSRP for Junkrat isn’t more than the previous releases, it makes him feel like a pretty good bang for your buck figure. All in all, I think he’s definitely one of the cooler Overwatch Nendoroids so far.


Review – Transformers – Masterpiece Sunstreaker (MP-39)

I don’t really collect Masterpiece Transformers, not on any sort of large scale.  I have a few, the original MP-01 and MP-05 Optimus and Megatron.  Though both of those are in the old larger scale of Transformers.  I use MP-08 Grimlock as my “Classics Grimlock”, because it’s a nice looking toy and his bulk makes him nice and imposing next to mainline sized toys.  Sunstreaker is more of a personal indulgence.  When he was announced, he looked really nice, and when a reissue of his brother Sideswipe was announced to go with him, I definitely wanted the pair.

So, I just want to cut to the chase a bit on this guy, this is a really damn nice Transformer.  He looked fantastic in the promotional photos and he lives up to that in every way.  The robot mode is very slick, very poseable, and very solid.  The whole transformation does an excellent job of collapsing everything together and removing any dangling vehicle kibble.  The result is a very nice representation of Sunstreaker as he appears on the show.

The Transformation may actually be the downside of this figure, if you aren’t really into complex transformations, it’s definitely a plus if you are,  There are a ridiculous number of little flippy and sliding parts that all come apart and come together to make this robot.  Everything about his backpack has to collapse together just right to make it all conform into the proper shape.  The front windshield of the car is supposed to fold up into the backpack but it pops off easily and honestly, I prefer to just pull it off and put it aside because I worry that its going to break while putting the backpack together.

There is so much more about this figure that makes it exceptional though, even by Masterpiece Transformer levels.  There are extra joints in his shoulders, that allow him to hold his gun with two hands.  The vehicle itself has some nice surprises as well.  Despite already being a complex puzzle of joints and panels to build the robot, the vehicle goes even farther and is able to convert between a standard stock Lamborghini Countach, and the tricked out super car that Sideswipe was on the show.  This is more than just a panel flip on the back, it’s a panel flip, and some roll over parts and even a second set of taillights that flip up over the stock tail lights.

He’s also loaded with fun accessories.  Aside from a pair of guns, he also includes a small Chip Chase figure in his wheelchair, several alternative face plates, and an alien mask from Hoist Goes to Hollywood.  I don’t know if it’s a widespread issue, but I did have a problem with his smaller gun.  The clip holding it together pretty much broke immediately.  It still holds itself together as a gun, but it doesn’t transform anymore.

Overall, Masterpiece Sunstreaker is just a really fantastic transformer.  He’s not even a particularly big name character in G1, so it’s not real clear why he deserved such a great treatment.