Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Fortnite - JULES!

Fortnite - Bombs Away! Glider (w/ Jules) - 3.75" Series -  Jazwares Toys 2021

When I first started this blog I loved doing themed months of reviews. Mostly it would be silly, like bumblebee-themed characters or Halloween, but sometimes it took on some social significance like reviews for Black History Month. I've always been drawn to diverse representation in action figures. Since my collecting focus is female characters, we're already swimming in underdog territory. So finding additional dimensions of diversity is exponentially harder. Then came the fateful attempt to do Native American characters. I quickly discovered there were almost no figures of Native American females outside of vintage wild-west toys. Characters were present: Dawnstar, Talisman, Rainmaker, Dani Moonstar, etc, but toys were simply absent (at the time). So now whenever I see a figure that even eludes to a Native American origin, I get really excited. This Fortnite Jules character has no officially defined heritage, but I interpret her design as Native American and gladly add her to my collection.

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Power Rangers - ASTRONEMA!

Power Ranger Lightning Collection - Red Ranger & Astronema - Hasbro 2020

I felt very defeated when the Power Rangers license shifted from Bandai to Hasbro. I had invested a lot of energy and excitement in the Legacy line and starting over with the Lightning Collection just seemed depressing. However, I must say that Hasbro's efforts to give us the weird and quirky villains from the Power Rangers franchise has been very encouraging. In all the years of the Legacy Collection we saw very few villains, but with Hasbro we've seen a steady inclusion of bad guys. Astronema is known as the Princess of Evil and is the prime antagonist in Power Rangers In Space. She also appeared in several other series and has been portrayed by a number of actors (mainly Melody Perkins), and is notable for numerous outlandish hairstyles. I never watched In Space or Lost Galaxy, but in recent reading I learned that Astronema becomes the Pink Galaxy Ranger and is the sister of In Space Red Ranger. Now I find her immensely more interesting. Let's check out Astronema below!

Friday, January 22, 2021

Marvel Legends - WASP!

Marvel Legends Series 15 (MODOK BAF) - Wasp (Red Variant) - Toy Biz 2006

One of my biggest wishes for the Marvel Legends line is to get a full-size classic Janet Van Dyne Wasp in her original red outfit and bullet helmet. The Wasp is actually a problematic character for me, because a big aesthetic of mine is for costume consistency. The majority of my favorite characters have had unchanged costumes for decades. Sure, all characters change it up occasionally, but most return to their original looks. But Janet van Dyne is a different story altogether. Her character evolved into a fashion fanatic and designer in the 70s and wore a different costume in practically every appearance. It became an endearing and unique character trait, but I crave consistency so this drove me nuts. I always wanted a classic full-size wasp in her 60's costume, and this 2006 Toy Biz version is the closest I could find (the 1999 miniature version is amazing too). In true Wasp fashion, this 2006 figure was intended to have three distinct variants, although only two were released. Let's check her out below!

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Transformers Kingdom - BLACKARACHNIA!

Transformers: War For Cybertron - Kingdom - Blackarachnia - Hasbro 2021

I must admit I was really surprised to see a Blackarachnia figure in the War For Cybertron series. So far, the Siege and Earthrise releases seemed focused on really classic (essentially 1980's) characters. And honestly I was excited to see who we would get in the final part of the trilogy. But in a surprise twist, the theme jumped forward to 1996's Beast Wars franchise for final Kingdom series. I unfortunately am very unfamiliar with all the Beast Wars shows and my only connection comes from my knowledge of the toys as an adult collector. That said, Blackarachnia has a special place in my heart for being the first notable female Decepticon. I have an affinity for vampy female villains and the easiest way to do that is to is to borrow themes from bats or spiders. The original Beast Wars Blackarchnia toy was a boxy retool of a male character (Tarantulas). The first decent figure was 2015's Legends release, but it was a little odd as a retooled Transformers: Animated mold. This Kingdom figure finally scratches the itch.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Transformers Masterpiece - ARCEE!

Transformers Masterpiece - MP-51 Arcee (Cybertron Warrior) - TakaraTomy 2021

One of my favorite decisions of the past decade was to start collecting all the Arcee figures I could get my hands on. I do this a lot with other characters I love (Batgirl, Catwoman, Spider-Woman, etc), but the effort to get all the Arcees was a daunting and pricey goal. These challenges are of course accelerated by the dynamic 3rd Party Transformers market where high-end fan-made unlicensed figures break new ground each year. I credit all the previous attempts to create unofficial Masterpiece-Scale Arcee figures in the success of this long-awaited official TakaraTomy version. Almost every detail seems inspired and improved upon from the past 3rd Party releases. The single flaw I find with this figure is the low-placed, mis-measured, and undersized chest plate. And ironically, this flaw will likely be remedied with a 3rd Party add-on kit, making it a joint effort toward a perfect Arcee figure. I'm really looking forward to that day. In the meantime, let's check out the TakaraTomy Masterpiece Arcee below!

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Marvel Legends - MARVEL GIRL!

Marvel Legends - Walmart Exc Twin Packs - Cable & Marvel Girl - Hasbro 2007

Hot on the heels of yesterday's 1997 Toy Biz Marvel Girl figure comes this early 2007 Marvel Legends Jean. This was an odd transition time for Marvel Legends females. Hasbro took over from ToyBiz in 2006, and the production quality hadn't quite hit its groove. A year after this figure in 2008, the female characters looked great (see my recent 2008 Elektra post), but in 2007 they still looked scrawny with awkward limbs and flat faces. I remember being very excited to get this figure of Marvel Girl in my favorite costume. However, I also remember finally gazing at her in Walmart and being terribly disappointed at how off she seemed. The proportions were (slightly) unnatural, the gold paint in place of yellow looked wrong, and her face sculpt just looked cheesy. Still, I always half-wished I had picked her up. The announcement of the 2021 House of X Marvel Legends Jean in this costume was the push I needed to finally get her. My original criticisms still hold merit, but I'm still glad to have her. Let's check out Marvel girl below!

Monday, January 18, 2021

Toy Biz - MARVEL GIRL!

Marvel Comics - Marvel's Gold - Collector's LE 10,000 - Marvel Girl - Toy Biz 1997

It's difficult to collect vintage figures sometimes because every once in a while you come across a toy that has little to no redeeming qualities. One of my favorite collecting  goals is to get all versions of a specific character and display them in a cluster. Especially when there is a unique costume that I'm especially drawn to. This classic green and yellow mini-skirt look for Jean Grey has always been one of my favorites. She wore it from X-Men #39 in 1967 until X-Men #100 in 1976. The reprints of these stories in Classic X-Men was my first exposure to the X-Men, so it is a very nostalgic look for me. Nothing made me more excited than seeing the return of this costume for 2019's House of X storyline. But at the same time, I just knew there would finally be a great Legends figure made and I would feel compelled to track down all the early awful offerings of this costume. That brings us to this 1997 Toy Biz figure. The first time this costume ever saw life in plastic, and it was pretty tragic. Let's check her out below!

Sunday, January 17, 2021

MOTU Origins - SHE-RA!

Masters of the Universe Origins - Evil-Lyn (Princess of Power) - Mattel 2021

I think any collector who invested in the Power-Con exclusive She-Ra was cursing Mattel the day they showed the cross-sell art in a Power-Con video and confirmed a standard store release of the character, seemingly identical, was on the way. There is nothing more frustrating to me as a collector than investing in (often over-priced) exclusives only to discover that the only exclusive feature was the packaging, or even worse a measly sticker. I was ticked off personally, especially since I open all my toys. But thankfully the eventual store release featured a new head composed of. hard plastic and fully sculpted hair. If I knew this figure was coming last Spring, I probably would have skipped the Power-Con preorder, but in retrospect I'm glad to have them both. The Power-Con version looks more polished and of a higher quality overall, but they both have good attributes. Hopefully a whole Princess of Power line will follow (with an eventual Filmation She-Ra as well). Let's check out the Origins She-Ra below!