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Star Wars Black Series – Anakin Skywalker

Star Wars has been on a bit of a low point lately for toys. Not really a low point of quality or anything, if feels more like a low point of interest. The last few movies did alright, but not really amazing, and a lot fo the character designs were kind of bland. Lately they have been tapping into some of the older movies, and part of that, thankfully, involves re-releasing some of the previously release Black Series figures in the Archives line.

This isn’t a new line or anything, it’s been going on for a while, but it’s been getting better. They aren’t straight re-releasing figures for starters, they tend to have better paint apps and modern face print technology. Basically, they tend to be better. Anakin Skywalker was originally figure number 16 in the Black Series, released way back in 2014 or so.

This particular iterations is based on his appearance in The Revenge of the Sith. The pinnacle moment for Anakin, when he turns to the Dark Side and becomes Darth Vader. Though he doesn’t have a red light saber, Anakin didn’t have a red saber anyway, he does have an alternate “Evil head”. The second head is similar to the main head, though the pain apps make him look a bit more pale and he is scowling a bit more. Both looks good though, using the more modern print tech.

The only other accessory is his light saber. Like a lot of Star Wars figures, the blade is removable and the hilt can be hung on his belt. One thing of note, the blade and hilt feel a lot more rubbery than previous light sabers. The older ones are a little bendy, likely mostly to keep them from breaking easily, but this saber in particular seems really rubbery more than soft plasticey. It holds it’s shape and works already, but I kind of worry about sagging over time, which happens a lot with swords that aren’t real stiff.

The base figure is very similar to other Jedi releases, probably the same mold even, but comparing him to Revenge of the Sith Obi-Wan, he somehow is slightly better articulated. I couldn’t really get Obi-Wan to hold his sword with two hands properly, but Anakin could pull off a few two handed poses. He still can’t do anything real dynamic with any two handed poses, which is a bit of a bummer. The upper arms get caught up on the chest tunic too much.

I had been a little worried that Black Series was going to completely abandon the older movies for a while but they have really been pushing back into them. I’m glad they have re-released Anakin here, he’s one I’ve been wishing I had in my collection.

S.H. Figuarts – Sakura Kasugano

When playing Street Fighter, I have always been a fan of the “Ryu Family” of heroes. Ryu, Ken, Sakura, Akuma, that sort. They tend to have a nice balance with speed and power. That said, I also kind of prefer Sakura, for being a bit faster.

All of the other Street Fighter figures I have are from SOTA Toys’ old line. For the most part they are pretty good figures, even their Sakura, but the Figuarts Sakura just generally looked a lot nicer, so I’ve been wanting to pick her up for a while. She is definitely an upgrade. I may have to look into a Figuarts Ryu to go with her, because my SOTA Ryu has a broken part and well, I like Ryu.

I’m not really here to talk about Ryu though. In the usual Figuarts style, Sakura is pretty crazy poseable. nothing really gets in the way, though the skirt does limit her leg movement a bit at the waist. She has two pairs of hands, one set of fists and one open pair. The open hands are nice as they work for a relaxed open hand look and for throwing Hadoken fireballs. Speaking of which, she includes a Hadoken fireball accessory and a stand for it. She also has a few extra face options, which ass fit nice and tightly. Lastly she has a pair of cardboard pieces that make make up the scene of her fighting stage.

What’s more glaring about the accessories is the lack of some things. I don’t usually mention stands in reviews, but it’s worth noting that Sakura does not include a Tamashii Stage stand aside from the one for her Hadoken. A few more hands would have been nice as well, though I’m not real sure what else she needs. Maybe a pointing hand of some kind? The SOTA figure had a backpack and book accessory, something that I believe shows up during the fight intro moments. She kind of just feels really light on accessories compared to other Figuarts. It’s not a huge problem, but it’s notable.

Overall, I really like her. I’m glad I finally picked her up, she one of my favorite Street Fighter characters and she’s a really nice figure.

Marvel Legends – Smart Hulk Wave – Union Jack

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I am not always too familiar with whom these Comics characters are. Especially when they go off into people like union Jack here. That said, I often don’t mind picking them up for the sake of a BAF that I do care about. Or sometimes just because they seem neat. Union Jack pretty much falls into the latter, though there is a bit fo the former there.

What I can gather from reading some summaries of his story online, he’s sort of like a cross between Captain America and James Bond. There have been a few different people who used the mantle of Union Jack, so some of them were more Bond than Captain America, and visa versa. One thing that seems to be regular, aside from the very United Kingdom Flag themed suit, is his knife and handgun.

The base figure is pretty standard fare, nothing super detailed on his sculpt or anything. I do rather like the paint job of the Union Jack flag on his outfit. What helps him stand out is his belt, which has both a sheath for his knife and a holster for his gun. Both function well. He only has one set of hands, but they function well for his weapons. Which is kind of the point.

All in all, he’s a pretty decent figure. Nothing super noteworthy, but there could be worse figures in the line and at least he’s more notable than Rock Python.

Transformers – Studio Series – Rampage

The second in the multipart, multiyear release of figure from Hasbro to produce an accurate Revenge of the Fallen Devastator is Studio Series Rampage. The first release was Studio Series Scrapmetal, who was a pretty good all around transformer, and sort of an original character for Studio Series, who didn’t get a release in the original Revenge of the Fallen line. Rampage here is a little different though, he was a leg for the old Devastator that didn’t have individual robot modes and he got a single packed Deluxe release that didn’t come with a limb mode.

Rampage is also notable as one of the few Constructicons with actual screen time in the movie beyond becoming part of the whole. He kidnaps Sam’s parents in Paris (or wherever) because a bulldozer driving through a European city isn’t conspicuous AT ALL. Later he shows up again to pogo around the desert in a death match against Bumbebee, who rips the spine out of Ravage and beats Rampage to death with it.

The Pogo mode is the most interesting aspect of this guy really. He doesn’t have any sort of traditional legs at all, not even optional ones, just a monopod leg and a stand for the toy to keep itself upright. His bod does have a few joints to let it compress and look sort of springy, but his neck and head are kind of limited and he can’t really crouch too much without looking weird.

He also has two huge claw arms, but the articulation is really limited. All of the joints are pretty much fingers or near the shoulder, so the longest part just sticks out all weird and straight looking.

Other problems? Oh yeah. On mine, he head pops off super easy, partially due to the way it ball sockets on to the join sort of in the back. He also had some trad bits that hang off his arms to emulate the character’s whips in the movie, but there isn’t enough joints or length to make them look particularly cool in any poses. Especially with the limited arm articulation.

Rampage does have a lot of nice little details all over his body, he looks cool, he just, doesn’t DO much. He looks like he will make a pretty amazing Devastator leg one day. Fortunately, from what we have seen so far of the other Devastator limbs, he looks like he is going to be the most compromised and weakest design, so it can only really go up from here. As a stand alone toy, Rampage is pretty weak unfortunately.

Marvel Legends – Smart Hulk Wave – Rescue

A neat little surprise of sorts in Avengers: Endgame, though not totally unexpected, was the appearance of Rescue. Rescue is the name of Pepper Potts, when she dons her own Iron Man style armor. She sort of does this briefly in Iron Man 3, though not voluntarily, since Tony was protecting her from the collapsing Stark mansion. At the end of that film, thanks to the Extremis formula, she also gets a bit of a taste for being the hero. Plus, Rescue is a “thing from the comics”.

Basically, it’s not a huge surprise or stretch that Pepper Potts would eventually wear her own suit, especially after the extreme events of Infinity War. We got a comic version of Rescue a few years ago as an exclusive for Marvel’s comic subscription service, but this MCU iteration doesn’t share any of the same components. The design follow the design shown in Endgame pretty well, the whole suit is very sleak, which also fits in with the evolution in design philosophies we saw Tony go through over the course of the films. Unlike Tony’s armor colors of red and gold, Rescue is blue and gold.

For accessories, she is a little light on parts. She has no alternative repulsor hands, which is a bummer. Even more of a bummer is that she lacks and unmasked head. They even have a Gwyneth Paltrow head available from the recently release Iron Man 3 boxed set. Maybe they are saving it for a future line or boxed set, maybe it just didn’t seem important enough, but it kind of sucks that it’s not there. I don’t have the boxed set myself to test if the head fits on this body. What she does have is a swap out backpack part, to give her her little jet pack wings. This was also a look that Tony gained during the recent movies. I suppose from an armor evolution standpoint, it’s useful to be able to control your flight without relying on the hands and feet.

Also notable, the label on the back lists Rescue as 0049, so does that make it Iron Man armor 49? Or Rescue version 49?

So, on a basic level, there isn’t a lot wrong with this figure aside from the anemic extra parts. It’s somewhat to be expected since they probably won’t get a ton of reuse out of the mold, though if they ever bring iron Heart into the MCU, there could definitely be potential. I have to say despite that I really like Iron Man and his various armor, I actually find this figure really really kind of dull. She is plenty pose able, she even has double elbows and knees. I think it’s mostly just all the weird blue color or something. Plus the fists only kind of limits some of her posing since fists aren’t always appropriate for some action posts.

Marvel Legends – Smart Hulk Wave – Rock Python

So, this one will be pretty short and to the point for sure. Rock Python is definitely a beyond nobody level character in the grand scheme of things. Hell, I keep wanting to call him Rock Viper.

There’s not anything particularly new or special aside from his goofy snake helmet head. It’s not even particularly snakey either, unlike say King Cobra or Cottonmouth. Aside from the Smart Hulk BAF piece, he is mostly notable for being part of the Serpent Society.

I really think it’s neat how they keep slipping these guys in, since they also are kind of a big group of nobodies. But a band of snake themed villains hits the right notes for me on the goofyness level, so I’m trying to pick them up as they come out to build a little squad of Snake themed dudes.

So, there isn’t really much else to say about Rock Python. He’s not particularly snake-like and doesn’t have any accessories. His most notable traits are the BAF part and being an accessory to King Cobra.

Figma – Widowmaker

I never thought I would actually manage to get caught up on something around here but here I am, caught up on Overwatch Figmas. The last of the four released so far that I have yet to talk about is Widowmaker. I almost didn’t order Widowmaker. I hate Snipers in the game and don’t really play Widowmaker at all. I wanna say it was a slow month anyway for pre orders, so I decided to go ahead and let it ride out.

I’m kind of glad I did, because she’s a really great release for the line. She has all of the Aesthetic balance of say Reaper, with proper pose-ability like Genji, minus the weird quirks of Genji. Plus a ton of really nice and appropriate accessories. Hell the accessories are really kind fo what makes this figure for me.

The rifle is the big one. In the game, Widowmaker’s Sniper Rifle coppalses into a machine gun. It probably would have been easier to just include two guns I suppose, but instead, you get one gun with interchangeable parts. The barrel swaps on and off and there is an attachable scope piece. It all fits together great and works well for the effect.

Another one of her abilities is her arm mounted grappling hook. The figure includes a separate forearm piece with a hook attached. The nice part is this makes it really stable to allow her to hang from it for posing if desired.

She also includes her poison spider mine and an additional swap out part for her X-Ray thermal goggles ultimate ability. There aren’t a ton of parts, but they handle the gamut of her abilities superbly. She also has enough pose-ability to properly handle all of the various accessories properly.

So, regardless of my problems with Snipers in game, the figure is really nice. She also fills a nice roll along side Reaper and Sombra to filling out the Talon team.

Marvel Legends – Smart Hulk Wave – War Machine MK006

I’m assuming it’s War Machine Mark 6 here since he has a bit 006 emblazoned on his chest and the previous releases have different numbers. Anyway, moving on from some of the stuff that’s less interesting in this wave, the first of several MCU characters from this wave is War Machine.

I have to admit, for some reason I kept thinking Rhodes didn’t survive the Infinity War snap. I guess it felt redundant to have Iron Man and War Machine survive. But he did, and he ended up with some new armor for Endgame. Over the course of the films, War Machine has basically just been getting more and more bulky. It kind of fits with his more military motivations, versus Iron Man just trying to be a hero. It’s also not clear exactly how much input Tony Stark has on his newer designs either, I know for a while HAMMER was working on his suit as well. I imagine the USAF has some in put also.

It’s definitely a nice design though. It’s also nice that his suits aren’t just repaints of Iron Man figures, since they could have easily just gone that route. This iteration is quite a bit taller and definitely bulkier than previous Iron Man armors. It kind of makes me think of a small style Hulkbuster armor actually, though it’s still quite a bit smaller than the Hulkbuster Armor.

War Machine includes 3 accessories, one shoulder canon and two under arm gun… things. The shoulder gun is fine, but I am honestly not sure what the under arm weapons are supposed to be. They don’t really look like gun, they have these funky handle looking things, but not triggers and they can’t really be held like a shotgun or anything. I am sure they are accurate to something from the movies, but it’s also just kind of a crappy design. They don’t attach particularly well either and they don’t flow with the design of the armor at all and just look out of place.

There isn’t an alternate head, which kind of sucks but the open helmet from the previous release sort of fits on the armor, though it’s noticeably undersized.

The articulation on this guy is pretty good given his bulk. I mentioned this briefly when I talked about Beta Ray Bill. The shoulder pads have plenty of give on them flipping up that allows for the arms to bend upwards some. The legs don’t get in the way of themselves at all really either. A neck joint with more range of motion would have been nice so he could look up would have been nice, given that the suit is capable of flying. He also could really use a peg hole for a display stand as well, once again, because he is often seen flying.

Of this whole wave, I have to say War Machine is probably the stand out winner. He has very few real problems and the design is great. He’s bulky and looks bad ass, he is articulated a lot better than expected. He’s just a great all around figure.