Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Halo 12 Inch SPARTAN VALE!

Halo 12" Action Figures - Series 02 - Spartan Vale - Mattel 2017

I've wanted to finish this post forever, but it's difficult because I know next to nothing about Halo. That said, this figure was my most sought-after modern 12" figure in recent memory. She was shown off at Toy Fair NY in 2017. And honestly "shown off" is a strong word. She popped up in the background of a tiny Halo display. Mattel never seemed to promote this line at all. It's very odd to rely on the K-Mart website for product information, but by the end, that was literally the best source for reveals. This 12" Spartan Vale was released sometime in late 2017, but not anywhere in the US that I ever heard of. I eventually caved after two years and begged Instagram to help me get her. And a huge thank you to Levi @toyfriendsofficial for grabbing her for me while travelling in Mexico. She really is a beautiful figure and would have continued to be a grail of mine for many years without Levi's help. It's a shame that Mattel only released two 12" females. I'll be curious to see how the upcoming Wicked Cool Toys 12" Tanaka compares.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Mythic Legions - SKELETON SOLDIER!

Mythic Legions: Advent of Decay - Skeleton Soldier Builder - Four Horsemen 2018

It's taken me seventeen months to open my Mythic Legions: Advent of Decay figures from Four Horsemen. I backed the original Kickstarter and got every female figure. But the problem with bulk toy purchases, is that I get absolutely overwhelmed at the prospect of opening and displaying them (let alone photographing/posting about them). That's why I currently have three large cardboard boxes in my basement: one full of dozens of unopened Boss Fight Studios figures, one with I Am Elemental, and one with Mythic Legions. The one good thing about Shelter in Place orders is that I'm forced to spend my excessive toy hunting time appreciating what I already own. This Skeleton Soldier Builder was one of my most anticipated figures from the entire lineup. As a kid I was kind of obsessed with skeletons: The skeleton girls on flying horses from the 1980 Return of the King cartoon gave me some of my first nightmares; I loved the Glo-Bones Pocket Power; and Jason & the Argonauts was always a favorite movie.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Dreamworks Dragons - ASTRID & RUFFNUT!

How to Train Your Dragon: Hidden World - Astrid & Ruffnut - Spin Master 2019-20

I've been wanting to post these two figures for a while, but I was making myself wait until I actually saw the movie (How to Train Your Dragon 3: The Hidden World). Well I just finished it (thanks Hulu!) and I loved it. There's something about these movies that is a perfect blend of fun, adventure, and fantasy. There were a few particular scenes tonight that would have been amazing to see in 3D on the big screen, but I snoozed and lost. In this movie, all the main characters don armor made from the shed scales and spikes of their dragon companions. These give the wearer some of the qualities of the dragon (like Hiccup's armor making him fireproof), but the best thing is that they just look damn cool. In the movie the colors are really muted, but the toys are bright and vivid. When I first saw them in the store I had to have them. And now after the movie I wish we could also get a Valka and Griselda the Grievous. But the movie came out over a year ago and Spin Master is in love with Batman now. Shame.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

MOTU ReAction - TEELA(S)!

Masters of the Universe ReAction Figures - A Multitude of Teela - Super7 2017-19

I'm pretty sad that the Masters of the Universe ReAction line from Super7 has come to an end. But at the same time, I'm kind of glad that I'm not on the hook for an endless barrage of color variants now. Over the course of 5 years, they have released a lot of repaints. I mean, I count ten different He-Man variations, nine Mer-Man, and 8 Beast Man. Luckily Teela only has five variants and Sorceress has three - all the other ladies only have single releases. That said, it was really fun collecting all these and I do truly hope that Mattel releases portions of the licence back to Super7 eventually. For some reason I really want a Queen Marlena in this scale - not to mention a million more Princess of Power characters (Glimmer, Catra, Scorpia, Angella, and on and on...) But in the meantime I can look forward to the Cheetara and Jem figures coming out soon. Plus Super7 is always good for surprise properties. I'm sure they have something new and interesting brewing already. Let's check out the Teela variants below!

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Disney Sleeping Beauty - MALEFICENT!

Kingdom Hearts Select - Series 01 - Maleficent & Sora - Diamond Select 2019

For some reason when I first saw this Maleficent figure in GameStop last Spring, I was very unimpressed. I thought she looked too stiff and stylized. There are a handful of classic cinematic characters that have always been high on my wishlist for the action figure treatment, and Maleficent was very near the top.  So I'm very aware that my covetousness made me a very picky customer. But recently I realized that all the modern interpretations of the character made me forget how the classic 1959 version actually looked. I saw a clip from the movie and I flashed back to this figure and instantly regretted my snobbery. Luckily I found her in a store pretty quickly. And although she isn't perfect, she is really pretty terrific in-hand. My only problem with her is her limited articulation. But I can honestly say I wouldn't have bought this if she had an amorphous soft goods cloak. That's the big trade-off for preferring completely sculpted figures, you sacrifice a lot of poseability. Let's check out Maleficent below!

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Titan Hero Series - GWENOM!

Titan Hero Series: Maximum Venom - Ghost-Spider (Venomized) - Hasbro 2020

I don't know anything about Gwenom, or Venomized Ghost-Spider/Spider-Gwen, but I've definitely been drawn into her design when I see her on a random comic cover. I've even picked up couple pieces of her merchandise in the past year. As a tie-in to the Venom movie sequel (due in theatres in October 2020), Hasbro seems to be ramping up their Venom-themed products in the toy aisles. There is a Marvel Legends wave due later this year (coincidentally with a Gwenom figure), many weird gimmicky slime/gummy toys, and the first to start hitting the market, these Marvel Titan Hero Series figures branded with the Spider-Man: Maximum Venom logo. There is also a Venom and a venomized Mile Morales will new tooling. Although I wish her hood has been resculpted at the edge to capture that jagged look from the comics, I still think this is a great representation of this design. Plus I'm hoping the Spider-man push this year might finally get us a Titan-scale Spider-Woman. Let's check out Gwenom below!

Friday, March 20, 2020

Centauria - GO NAGAI ROBOT COLLECTION!

Go Nagai Robot Collection - Centauria 2017-2018

Go Nagai is a provocative and prolific creator. He is most known in the US for Mazinger Z, Devilman, and Cutie Honey. All of which were groundbreaking in many ways, but they also all have oddly objectifying themes for the female characters. On one hand, Cutie Honey (1973) has the first female protagonist in a shonen manga series. But every time the character transforms into the heroine, she is nude for a second. Devilman (1972) is full of female characters, but a large number of them are humanoid demons who wear no clothes. And of course, Mazinger Z (1972) introduced female mecha to manga and anime, but that innovative inclusion is tempered by the fact that almost all these robots have breasts that are weaponized and can be launched as warheads. All that said, I don't find any of these traits actually offensive. Sometimes they are worthy of an eye-roll, but nothing is overtly sexual and there is a consistent playfulness that let's you just enjoy the simple retro designs and historical context.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Centauria Figurines - MAZINGER ANGELS!

Go Nagai Robot Collection - Venus Diana Minerva Aphrodite - Centauria 2017-18

Calling this group the "Mazinger Angels" is a bit of a misnomer. All four of these characters were introduced individually throughout different iterations of the Mazinger series throughout the early 1970s. Then in 2004, they were brought together in a new manga series called Mazinger Angels (a spoof on Charlie's Angels), but with very different color schemes, while these figures here show their original colors. I became obsessed with Go Nagai's female mecha about 15 years now when a friend was reminiscing about his favorite childhood cartoon in the Philippines and how these big female robots would launch their breasts like missiles. I had to Google it out of morbid curiosity and quickly got swept into the world of Mazinger.  The series is notable for introducing female mecha to the world of anime and manga. But it's also notorious for the Oppai Missile System, where these characters literally have weaponized breasts. It's ridiculous and weird, but I overlook it for the historical context of these awesome bots.