Saturday, September 30, 2023

Transformers - STRONGARM!

Transformers Legacy Evolution - Strongarm (Robots in Disguise) - Hasbro 2023

It seems like every iteration of modern Transformers animation has one token female that they elevate to A-Lister status. Transformers: Prime had blue Arcee. Transformers: Cyberverse had Windblade. War for Cybertron featured a redesigned Elita-One. And Earthspark has Twitch. But I think special commendation goes to Strongarm from Robots in Disguise. This character was very different in several ways. For starters, she was big and strong. True to her name, Strongarm was a powerhouse character in this show, a far cry from the more dainty females before and after her. She is also a rescue vehicle. Kids are always drawn to the fire, medic, and police vehicles (similar to kids always being inexplicably drawn to the Red Ranger), but female characters rarely transform into them. Finally, her headsculpt is very traditional. There is something about the framing of her face and the yellow crest on her forehead that makes her look like she was designed in the 80s along with the rest of the classic Transformers characters.

Friday, September 29, 2023

Sonic Prime - THORN ROSE!

Sonic Prime – 5” Action Figure Series - Thorn Rose - Jakks Pacific 2023

Sonic Prime is an original animated series that premiered on Netflix in December of 2022. In the storyline, Sonic accidentally destroys the Paradox Prism while fighting Dr. Eggman which warps reality and creates the Shatterverse - a multiverse containing thematic variations of his friends. One of the realities is called the Boscage Maze, a jungle world with tribal inhabitants. Thorn Rose is this world's version of Amy Rose. She is fierce protector of nature (and gives off a Poison Ivy vibe). There are three unique versions of Amy in the show: Cyborg, Pirate, and Feral. The feral Thorn Rose is the first female in the 5" line, but the cyborg Rusty Rose is already listed in Wave 2. The 2.5" also has a Rusty Rose and a pirate Batten Rouge, but there are unspecified character slots for many more releases through 2024 in both scales, so I have a feeling we might see most of the versions of Amy and Rouge eventually. The third and final season has not been released yet, so there's still time. Let's check out Thorn Rose below!

Thursday, September 28, 2023

DC Rebirth - BATWOMAN

DC Multiverse - Amazon Exclusive Rebirth 3-Pack - McFarlane Toys 2023

Ever since McFarlane Toys got the DC license in 2020, I have been hoping for a good Kate Kane Batwoman figure. I love all Bat-family characters, but for some reason Batwoman is often neglected. This is surprising considering her extremely marketable design and her media exposure. Since her (modern) debut in 2006, she has been a regular fixture in comics.  She also had as a live action television show that ran two reasons, several animated movies and TV shows, and five different video games. Well, it took three years, but we got a near perfect figure. Of course, she comes in a $70 Amazon-exclusive three-pack, but I didn't hesitate for a minute. This figure has one flaw. Her knees and lower legs are splayed in a slightly awkward position and it makes her knee joints extremely loose. I watched some YouTube videos and this seems to be a common problem. Luckily I had a bottle of Kiki "Fix Loose Joints" and a few drops fixed her up. My first time using it and I was impressed. Let's check out Batwoman below!

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

LooseCollector - RED SONJA!

Red Sonja: She-Devil With a Sword - Executive Replicas LooseCollector 2023

Red Sonja is a classic character that has remained essentially unchanged since her debut in 1973. Since then she has been a regular staple in comics (with her license being bought and sold between different publishers). But she's also appeared in television, film, novels, and games. (She desperately needs an animated appearance to round out her media presence). Despite her popularity, she has been very infrequently merchandised. This figure from LooseCollector is the first true action figure that I'm aware of, and she's pretty spectacular. The design leans toward her modern appearances in Dynamite Comics. But thankfully, her costume has been consistent since the early 70s (after a brief period where she wore a chainmail shirt and red pants). LooseCollector is an impressive manufacturer of toys and statues in the Philippines (seemingly specializing in bikini-clad warriors). So far all my purchases have been amazing. Fingers crossed for an Aeon Flux! Let's check out Red Sonja below!

Monday, September 25, 2023

Gormiti - JESSICA THE AIR LORD!

Gormiti: Lords of Nature Return - Jessica (The Air Lord) - Giochi Preziosi 2008

This toyline has been an obsession of mine for 15 years now and I'm finally getting around to posting in the last few figures. Gormiti was a 2005 toyline featuring small nature-themed beasts divided into elemental factions (similar in spirit to Battle Beasts). But by 2008, there was an animated series created and there was a conceptual shift introducing four human characters who could transform into the Lords of Nature. Jessica, the token female of the group, turns into the Lord of Air with control over all beasts in the Air faction. She had several different forms across several seasons and this toy represents her original look (with faery wings as opposed to later feathered wings). As far as I know, the only Gormiti toys released in the US were the small 2-3" unarticulated beast figures. But in Europe there have been several larger-scale articulated toylines over the years by Giochi Preziosi (including some as recent as 2020). These toys are always colorful and extremely fun. Let's check out Jessica below!

Friday, September 22, 2023

Transformers - LASER CYCLE!

Transformers Legacy Evolution - Laser Cycle (Deluxe) - Hasbro 2023

This new figure of Laser Cycle was a complete mystery to me when she was announced, but after doing some research I find her pretty interesting. Back in the mid-nineties, there were several thematic groups of characters introduced. The first was the Laser Rods in 1994 which were four hot rods: two Decepticon and two Autobot. The following year they introduced the Laser Cycles, a similar group, but motorcycles instead of hotrods. Four were planned, but only two were released: Road Rocket and Road Pig. When the 2022 Road Rocket figure was designed as a female, we assumed another of the group would be released as a repaint. But Road Pig would have been another black and red deco. So they instead chose one of the two unreleased cycle's colors. This unreleased figure was actually a new concept of Jazz in green, yellow, and white and a motorcycle vehicle mode. Since is was so un-Jazz-like, and the figure was going to be female, she simple got the name Laser Cycle. Let's check her out below!

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Transformers - SHADOW STRIKER!

Transformers Legacy Evolution - Shadow Striker (Deluxe) - Hasbro 2023

Sometimes it seems nothing is cooler than a villainous female Transformer. Modern Transformers fans are faced with an abundance of female characters. So many that it makes the history of gender arguments within the fanbase seem even more ludicrous than it did back then. But still the majority of toys we see are pastel heroes - often ultra-feminized to counterbalance the blocky robotic aesthetic. But where the heroes tend to be pink and feminine, the villains are conversely sinister and purple. Shadow Striker was a character I was unaware of until 2019's Transformers: Cyberverse show which gave us two toys of her (as well as multiple toys of Slipstream and Windblade). I assumed Shadow Striker was a new character for the show (and she kind of was), but I just learned that she was based on a 2003 exclusive retool figure sharing her same name (but looking vastly different). This new figure blends details of the two figures and finally bridges the design gap. Let's check out Shadow Striker below!

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Marvel Gallery - DAZZLER!

Marvel Gallery PVC Statues - Dazzler (Disco) - Diamond Select Toys 2020

Dazzler is a character with an interesting history. She was pitched as a joint venture between Casablanca Records and Marvel Comics in the late seventies to sell comics, cartoons, and music a'la The Monkees and The Archies. If her first concepts would have been accepted, she would be a black hero (modeled after Grace Jones) named Evelyn Free using the codename Disco Queen to fight villainy with her powers to force the truth out of people. Thank goodness her name was tweaked and her abilities changed to light-based powers, but it would be awesome to see a multiverse Grace Jones version some day. This Marvel Gallery PVC statue is my favorite piece of Dazzler merchandise in my collection. It captures great great classic disco look in a statuesque pose at a very reasonable price. The Marvel Gallery, DC Gallery, and Femme Fatales statue lines from DST are very impressive. I currently own eight and I only expect that number to grow. Let's check out Dazzler below!