Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Watchmen - SILK SPECTRE II!

Watchmen: Club Black Freighter - Silk Spectre II - Mattycollector Exc - Mattel 2013

The 2009 Watchmen film is probably my favorite super hero movie of all time. I first read the books in the 1980s - which I was way too immature for at the time - but I loved it all the same and found myself re-reading it every few years. I would cringe whenever there would be rumors of a film. The story was too complex and dark for the silver screen superhero treatment. But then decades later I found myself in a dark theatre with my jaw on the floor watching a gorgeous title sequence followed by a near perfect (in my humble opinion) adaptation of one of my favorite books. Every time I watch it I'm still blown away and my confusion over the naysayers amps up a few notches. Speaking of naysayers, this movie was very polarizing. I've met way more people who hated it than loved it. Including close friends and siblings who I thought I was on the same wavelength with. It's weird. One universally positive thing we can all agree on though is the awesome (and long-awaited) flood of toys the movie sparked.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

DreamWorks Dragons - ASTRID HOFFERSON!

DreamWorks Dragons - Dragon Riders: Astrid & Stormfly - Spin Master, Ltd - 2015

How to Train Your Dragon was released in 2010 and I somehow ended up seeing it in the theatre (it's not typically the type of film I head to the movies for), and I found it to be a great little movie. It was funny, thoughtful, adventurous, and original. Plans for a trilogy were pretty much guaranteed. How to Train Your Dragon 2 came out in 2014 and won me over by skipping forward 5 years, aging the characters along with their audience. I always think that's a smart move. In between the first two films, there were multiple short films and an animated series called DreamWorks Dragons that ran from 2012-2014 on Cartoon Network (then later continued on Netflix through 2016). These toys are under the umbrella of the animated series, but as far as I can tell they actually represent characters and events from the second movie.  Astrid is the sidekick/friendly rival of the main character, Hiccup, throughout the series. I love these figures because of their resemblance to Imaginext. Let's check out Astrid below!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

WWE Superstar - CHARLOTTE!

WWE Basic Series #55 - Superstar #67 - Charlotte - Mattel 2015

Of all the toy lines I find myself collecting in recent years, I think the most hit-and-miss is the WWE Series from Mattel.  I usually only buy ones that I think look good. Mostly because I don't personally watch wrestling, so I'm only buying figures I find aesthetically pleasing. But every once in a while I'll find myself in a checkout line holding a figure thinking "this is hideous", "why am I buying this?" Then I start to feel really bad about the women themselves and how unfortunate it is that their debut in plastic missed the mark. This Charlotte figure isn't even that bad, but she has a hair sculpt that makes her head look lop-sided and throws off the look of her entire body. I posed her as best as I could in these photos, but I'm still disappointed overall.  I hope for Charlotte's sake that she gets an apology figure some day. The painted details of her tattoos and clothing seem perfect, but hair should take priority especially considering she's using a standard buck. Judge for yourself though. Let's check out Charlotte below!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

WWE Superstar - AJ LEE!

WWE Basic Series #53 - Superstar #53 - AJ Lee - Mattel 2015

I'm no WWE expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I feel pretty confident in saying that AJ Lee has been one of the popular female wrestlers of the past decade. She has won many awards and titles over her career (she retired about a year ago in April 2015) but the main way I gauge her popularity is by seeing the sheer number of action figures she's had in the Mattel WWE line. I didn't investigate thoroughly, but with minimal Googling effort I found six different AJs with three unique head sculpts. This is personally only my second version of her, but it was such a vast improvement over my first figure that I had to add her to my collection. The other versions were cute, but didn't capture her likeness well at all. I also am a big fan of skeletons and organs incorporated into design. I have three such pieces of art hanging in my living room right now (and no, they aren't morbid in the least, think Andy Warhol meets Gray's Anatomy). Anyway, I thought her green shirt rocked. Let's check out the latest AJ figure below!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Power Rangers Dino Drive PURPLE RANGER!

Power Rangers Dino Supercharge - Dino Drive Purple Ranger - Bandai 2016

I've always collected Sentai figures based purely on aesthetic appeal and circumstance (ie.. I thought they looked cool in the store and bought them). But Dino Charge is very different because it's the first season I've ever watched. In fact, I'm watching it right now as I type this. I haven't gotten far enough to see any episodes with the Purple Ranger (the Graphite Ranger was just introduced a few minutes ago), but I'm excited and really enjoying it. It's impressive how many rangers are in this series. So far there are seven (up to my current Netflix-watching point), but from what I gather there will be at least eleven. When I tried to watch the show back in the early nineties, the smoky action scenes and awkward editing turned me off, but in the decades since, all my technical hangups have been resolved. The stories are coherent and the action scenes are fun. I'm a total fan now. This is the second version of Purple Ranger released, with at least one more on the way, plus a 12" figure. Let's check her out below!

Friday, March 18, 2016


WWE Basic Series #51 - Superstar #40 - Stephanie McMahon - Mattel 2015

I have a crazy backlog of WWE figures to review. A few years ago I feel like the females were so scarce that I would excitedly get the reviews up as soon as I could. But lately there's been such an abundance of Divas that I pick and choose which ones to buy, and I lose track of the ones I have. Suddenly I have five of these powerful ladies queued up - and I was pretty much posting one a month up through January. This Stephanie McMahon figure was the second version of her released in a very short time. The other version was in her wrestling attire, while this figure features her management look. Steph is the daughter of Vince McMahon, the Chairman and CEO of WWE and she herself is the current CBO. Her husband is the famed wrestler and WWE executive Triple H as well. She's been behind the scenes, in the ring, and in the boardroom for years. So, yeah, if anyone deserves multiple figures showcasing her changing roles in the industry, it's Steph. Let's check out this long-overdue review below!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Galactic Heroes - REY & CAPTAIN PHASMA!

Star Wars Galactic Heroes - Rey & Captain Phasma - Hasbro / Playskool 2016

Sometimes these preschool brands take a long time to jump on the gender equality bandwagon. This current style of preschool Star Wars figures has been around for 5 years (despite a name change), and this two pack represents the first females in the line in all that time. Of course, when it rains it pours and we just saw a Hera Syndulla figure shown at Toy Fair.  Plus I'm willing to bet we'll see a Maz, ME-8D9, Wren, and a Leia in the future. Playskool has been doing its best to confuse collectors with their Star Wars lines over the past 14 years. There have been two unique iterations each of "Galactic Heroes" and "Jedi Force." And just last year they upped the ante by rebranding a line (with a recycled name) four years into its run. I'm going to go into detail later on in this post because there is a lot of confusion. Rest assured though, this Rey and Phasma 2-pack are the first Star Wars females in this style (but hopefully not the last!) Let's check out Rey (Jakku) and Captain Phasma in detail below!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

DC Super Friends Imaginext BATGIRL!

Imaginext DC Super Friends - Batgirl & Cycle - Mattel / Fisher-Price 2016

Since the DC Super Friends Imaginext figures started coming out (back in 2012?), I think that Batgirl has been one of the most requested characters, She seemed like a given considering the demand for female characters and the clear Batman-family branding. But year after year she was missing from the lineup. Then right before Toy Fair this year, pictures of this figure showed up on Kmart.com and sent all Imaginext collectors into a tizzy. The hunt was on. In my area, the department store Kohls has been the first to start carrying her, but I'm sure she'll show up everywhere eventually. This Batgirl is featured in her most current "Batgirl of Burnside" costume with an awesome Batcycle accessory. Although I love this figure, I'm a little surprised they didn't go with a classic costume like the previous DC ladies have. I'm sure we'll see some reapints eventually (especially considering the new DC Super Friends blind bag series), but for now, let's check out Batgirl and her Cycle below!

Friday, March 11, 2016

Batman v Superman - WONDER WOMAN (Repaint)!

Batman v Superman - Basic Series 02 - Wonder Woman - Mattel 2015

I really wasn't planning on buying this figure. I tend to avoid simple repaints of characters. Especially in this case where the Series 01 gold details are simply painted silver. But for some reason I found this particular figure irresistible. I really like this New 52 color scheme for Wonder Woman and I feel like its days are numbered. Between the new movie styling and the potential redesigns in the upcoming DC Rebirth event, I'm sure the powers that be will be changing her standard look shortly. While I will never attempt to be a Wonder Woman completest (I wouldn't even know where to begin!), I feel I could potentially be a New 52 Wonder Woman completest. So with that odd sense of loyalty to this costume, this lovely lady quickly found her way into my collection. On the bright side though, I don't really have to write much because I just reviewed her two months ago. I'm now curious to see if we'll get New 52 repaints of all the Dawn of Justice Wonder Women. I think it's a safe bet. Let's check out Diana below!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

DC Comics Superhero Girls - Action Figures!

DC Comics Superhero Girls - Series 01 Action Figures - Mattel 2016

Did you ever have one of those "woulda coulda shoulda" moments when an idea of yours comes to fruition but you had nothing to do with it? This DC Superhero Girls line is that for me. I remember about 10 or 15 years ago when the Disney Princess theme first started to form. I thought it was a genius idea and immediately started ranting about how all the DC superheroines could be just as successful. All these years later and it's finally happened. I was nervous of the quality and design of the figures, but I am extremely pleased. I think the intended audiences of young girls will eat these up and the adult collectors like myself will have no problems adding them to their "serious" collections. I can't wait to see what the future of the brand holds (there was a Lego line mentioned!) All I know is that I want a ton more of these beauties. These figures were released first in Targets across the nation on February 28th. I'll believe they'll be available in all stores by April or May. Let's check out the girls below!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Batman: Arkham Series - MYSTERY MINIS!

Arkham Series Mystery Minis - Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy & Catwoman - Funko 2016

Funko's Mystery Minis blind-box collectibles seem to have a bit of an identity crisis in the design department. Back in 2013, I was excited by the concept of the first few waves of DC and Marvel figures. But when I actually got my hands on them I was underwhelmed. Something about their design just seemed lacking. In the following few years the mystery minis have evolved into the (in my opinion) fantastic styling we see in this Arkham Series. There is more detail, the bodies are in a more consistent and less cartoony proportion, and most importantly the eyes are big and pupil-less. I think they eyes are what really make these figures pop now. Unfortunately though, the new Suicide Squad Mystery Minis shown at Toy Fair suddenly have large black pupils like the Disney and Game of Thrones figures. It's unfortunate that this Arkham style couldn't have stayed a while longer for the other DC-themed assortments. At least we got these gorgeous ladies. Let's check out the Gotham City Sirens below!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Warcraft Mini figures - GARONA!

Warcraft (Movie) - Mini Figure 2-Pack: Lothar & Garona - Jakks Pacific 2016

Warcraft is a property that I know next to nothing about. My gamer friends have been obsessed for decades, but the whole thing always just seemed too overwhelming for me. One aspect that has grabbed my attention however is the cool character design and toys. Many toy companies have made Warcraft figures over the years including SOTA, Blizzard, and Toycom. But DC Direct's sub-company DC Unlimited really knocked it out of the park with 9 waves of action figures between 2009-2012.. including nine very cool looking females characters. I never bought any other these due to the size, cost, and staction-like poses, but I was always impressed by the diversity of fantasy archetypes and cool designs. I'm also a sucker for differently-hued skintones and the Warcraft ladies come in all sorts: purple, blue, green, red... you name it. Jakks Pacific has the license for the upcoming Warcraft movie and I was super excited to see this unexpected 2.5" line featuring Garona, the Green-skinned orc/human.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Mighty Minis - WONDER WOMAN!

Batman v Superman - Mighty Minis Series 02 - Wonder Woman - Mattel 2016

Mighty Minis are relative newcomers to the blind-bag scene. I first noticed the WWE and Batman Unlimited assortments show up in stores late last year. I didn't expect to ever see any females in this line because of the squat and bulky nature of the bucks, but then the second assortment of Batman v Superman figures started showing up at Walmart a few weeks ago and suddenly a Wonder Woman was in the mix (as well as a gold variant). She is getting a ton of long-overdue attention from the Dawn of Justice movie. These figures are a far cry from the realistic proportions of the similarly-sized figures from Hasbro (Mighty Minis are way to stocky and broad), but they are still pretty fun collectibles. They measure in at 2" tall with four points of articulation and come disassembled so you get to squeeze for all the pieces. Luckily the capes are easy to feel for (and most of the men have capes). I'm super curious to see if we will get a similar assortment for Suicide Squad. Let's check out Wonder Woman below!

Friday, March 4, 2016

Avengers Civil War (Miniature) BLACK WIDOW!

Captain America: Civil War - Hero Vs Hero MiniVerse - Target Exc - Hasbro 2015

I'm having an informal mini-figure review week. Not minifigures of the Lego and Minimate variety, but rather the recently-revived 2.5" scale that hearkens back to the days of Dino-Riders, M.A.S.K., Starcom, and Air Raiders.  Of all the scales out there, I think this one is the most nostalgic for me. These were the little guys I would smuggle into school and church in my breast pocket. These are the ones that I would discover abandoned in sandboxes and under the swings. They kind of faded away since the 80s, but have been making a decent comeback in the past 5 years. Of course the females characters are just as scarce as ever. Black Widow finally made it into the lineup in the recent Civil Wars lines. I'm hoping the momentum carries and we get similar lines for the future Marvel movies. I would love to see Sif, Captain Marvel, and all the X-ladies. The fact that Hasbro finally branded this line the "Miniverse" gives me hope that that we'll see more. Let's check out Black Widow below!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Robots in Disguise Legion Class WINDBLADE!

Transformers Robots in Disguise - Legion Class Windblade - Hasbro 2016

Just when I thought my tiny Transformers collection was complete, they had to go and introduce Windblade into the current season of the Robots in Disguise cartoon. This Legion Class figure is the second of three figures representing this character's role in the show. The first was the Tiny Titans figure reviewed last week, and the third will be a Animated Deluxe Class figure due out later this year. That is a lot of traction for a character who first appeared less than two years ago. I guess Hasbro figures since she was designed and voted-on by fans than she's unlikely to be a shelfwarmer. And from what I've seen so far that is very true. She is very hard to come by in stores. I heard rumors that Season 2 would be the final season of Robots in Disguise, but I can't seem to confirm that anywhere. What ever the next iteration of Transformers may be, I hope Hasbro continues with this scale.  I think it's a lot of fun and they hardly take up any space on my shelf. Here's hoping for many more tiny fembots!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

3.75" Marvel Legends - LADY THOR!

Marvel Legends 3.75" Series - Defenders of Asgard Comic 2-Pack - Hasbro 2016

Sorry for the lack of posts. I came down with a late-in-the-season cold and couldn't bring myself to turn on my computer. Feeling much better now and I have so many fun things to post. Last year I swore I was going to give up of the Marvel Universe scale figures from Hasbro. My previous purchases were lackluster and then the final few figures I was interested in (Shanna the She-Devil and Emma Frost) were hard to find and overpriced when you did find them. Then they had to go and relaunch the line under the "Marvel Legends" brand and introduce figures of two of my favorite modern heroes (Thor and Captain Marvel). They both look great so I'm back on the bandwagon for now.  The new female Thor is the first character in a while that was so steeped in mystery. Her identity was unknown to the readers until issue 8. I found that a thrilling story element. This action figure is pretty amazing and is honestly my favorite 3.75" Marvel figure in my collection. Let's check out Lady Thor in detail below!