Monday, May 30, 2016

Transformers Combiner Wars - AIRAZOR!

Transformers Combiner Wars - Airazor - Botcon Exclusive - Hasbro 2016

I feel like one of the keys to being a Transformers toy collector is to really embrace repaints and redecos. New characters are often just repaints, and if you're really lucky you get a new head and a few retooled pieces. I've been aware of this trend from the sidelines but I never thought I would be assembling a shelf my own variations. Of course, I also never expected the fembot revolution of the past few years. This Airazor is a repaint of last year's Slipstream figure (which, in turn, was a redeco of Windblade). I normally shy away from figures that don't have original sculpts (purely for real estate reasons in my toy room), but I was kind of smitten over this Botcon Exclusive. The orange, yellow, and green color scheme appeals to me on every level. The fact that Airazor is typically supposed to transform into a falcon is not something I'm super concerned about. Getting a great new version of an established character is worth a few sacrifices. Let's check out Airazor below!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Marvel Legends PEPPER POTTS as RESCUE!

Marvel Legends - Rescue - Marvel Unlimited Subscription Exc - Hasbro 2016

One nice thing about Hasbro's handling of the Marvel Legends line is that a lot of cancelled figures eventually get released in one way or another. The recent TRU Build-a-Figure Jubilee was resurrected from a cancelled wave and I have hopes that we'll see that Lyra figure eventually. This Rescue was originally shown at SDCC in 2013 as a part of the third wave of Iron Man Legends released in conjunction with Iron Man 3. The wave was scheduled for November 2013 but got the axe. Then years later she shows up as a 2016 subscription exclusive for Marvel Unlimited (a digital comic subscription service). She comes with the $99 package that gets you a year's access to the Marvel catalog as well as a few print comics with exclusive covers, and some pins. I personally still read my comics in paper form, so I found this release to be a little frustrating, but I got her eventually on eBay for an "okay" price (the second highest price I've ever paid for a Legends figure). Let's check out Rescue below!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Multiverse Arkham City CATWOMAN!

DC Comics Multiverse - Arkham City Catwoman - Walgreens Exc - Mattel 2015

I usually have excellent luck with finding exclusives in the stores. (Excluding the TRU Storm and Jubilee from last year). This Catwoman, however, eluded me for the last 10 months until I finally caved and ordered her on eBay. She was originally announced as a "Date Night" 4-Pack with Harley, Joker, Batman, and Catwoman (Catwoman being the only original figure from the set). But then the 3.75" Multiverse line kind of petered out and the set seemed to be cancelled. Then at SDCC last year they mentioned that Catwoman would be a single-carded Walgreens Exclusive. I was excited because I have about 8 good Walgreens stores in my area and I've had success getting all their exclusives in the past. But this lady has been a complete no-show. At least the secondary market prices aren't at the extortion-levels you often see. I got her for about $15 shipped. She's a suprizingly cool figure. I would even say she is the best female in this line. It's a shame she didn't see wider distribution. Let's check her out in detail below!

Monday, May 23, 2016

K'NEX World of Nintendo - FIRE FLOWER PEACH!

K'NEX World of Nintendo - Series 05 Blind Bags - Fire Peach - K'NEX 2015

I've always been a fan of Princess Peach. Every since my obsessive pre-teen self wasted away too many perfect summer days trying to catch a glimpse of the elusive Princess Toadstool in Super Mario Brothers, I wished for a female protagonist to play. It wasn't too terribly long until we got Super Mario Bros 2 here in the US and I was floating around tossing turnips and eggs to my heart's content. But Peach never got all the cool transformations like Mario and Luigi. It wasn't until 2013's Super Mario 3D World that she graduated into a dynamic transforming character like the rest. While the pink Cat Peach power-up may have stolen the show for most players, I was personally more thrilled by the Fire Flower version. It's the basic power-up I had always wanted from those early days on my NES. These K'NEX blind bags are a really fun collectible and the Fire Peach was an unexpected addition. My fingers are crossed for a Rosalina to round out my princesses. Let's check out Peach below!

Friday, May 20, 2016

The Women of GHOSTBUSTERS 2016!

Ghostbusters - 6" Action Figures - Jillian, Erin, Abby, and Patty - Mattel 2016

When I first heard rumors of an all-female Ghostbusters reboot, I was pretty skeptical. I thought it couldn't possibly be real. And my doubts were only amplified when I thought about the potential for merchandise profit from such a reboot, but knowing that the toy industry would have no clue how to handle a line of female characters that aren't 1-per-case supporting roles. But then I heard the cast, and I suddenly started getting excited. (I still never expected toys). I saw the first images of this Mattel line right before Toy Fair in February and my mind was blown. Not only do we get highly-articulated 6" scale figures of the four main ladies, but the diversity of body type is almost unheard of. The only thing I don't love about these figures is a standard gripe about the execution of eyeglasses on action figures. It's pretty awful as you can imagine. But my issue is that we've seen it done right in recent years, so there's no excuse anymore. Oh well, I can deal with it. Let's check out the new Ghostbusters below!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

BTAS Diamond Select POISON IVY Bust!

Batman: The Animated Series - Poison Ivy Bust - Diamond Select Toys 2016

Hot on the tail of yesterday's Catwoman review comes this Batman: The Animated Series Poison Ivy bust from DST. This mini-bust has a gorgeous sculpt by Steve Varner Studios, but like many pieces in this line, she suffered from some unfortunate paint apps. I say that in the past tense because it was really easy to remedy, despite my initial hesitations. I would normally buy these busts in person and select the best paint jobs, but I have so many high-end items in my budget this year that I have to order them from the cheapest place I can. So no cherry-picking the perfect specimens this time around. Poison Ivy has been around since the late sixties, but I honestly don't think she became a fully-dimensional character until BTAS. Her relationship with Harley Quinn was the missing facet to develop her into the elemental vixen we know and love today. For decades she wasn't much more that a deranged eco-terrorist with Bettie Page motif. So to me this bust signifies a significant evolution of an iconic character.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

BTAS Diamond Select CATWOMAN Bust!

Batman: The Animated Series - Catwoman Bust - Diamond Select Toys 2015

I've been really excited about all the awesome DST products lately. The Batman: The Animated Series and Batman '66 products alone have forced me to create detailed spending budgets for the last two years. I'm budgeted for 7 busts and I'm ecstatic about all of them. I have four already, and I can say without a doubt that this Catwoman one is the nicest. The sculpts by Steve Varner Studios are gorgeous on all of them, but all the paint apps have been very sloppy. This Catwoman is the only one of my first four that required no touch-ups at all.  Plus the sculpt truly looks good from every angle. I'm super happy about this because my Catwoman bust collection is my pride and joy. This BTAS one is my eighth and hopefully not my last (c'mon Michelle Pfeiffer! c'mon Earth Kitt! c'mon TNBA! c'mon Darwyn Cooke artist series!). There are so many great incarnations of Selina Kyle and I would love to see them all in this format. Let's check out this gorgeous Diamond Select BTAS Catwoman bust in detail below!

Friday, May 13, 2016

Power Rangers Imaginext - RITA REPULSA (2.0)!

Imaginext - MM Power Rangers - Finster & Rita Repulsa - Fisher-Price 2015

In advance of the upcoming Mighty Morphin Power Rangers movie and the presumed popularity of Elizabeth Banks as Rita Repulsa, Fisher-Price released a pretty great repaint of last year's Rita figure (that came packaged with the oversized Goldar vehicle/figure). This new figure is much more show accurate and is a fantastic redeco overall.. I think the only part of her that remained the same from the original is her hands. Rita is the main antagonist from the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers series. She is an alien sorceress who rallies the evil space mutants against the Rangers time and time again. She went on to appear in 6 other incarnations of the show after the first three MMPR seasons. I'm pretty sure that her constant presence is unparalleled among the show's antagonists. These Power Ranger Imaginext figures are just great. I hope they continue coming out for a long time. Perhaps we'll finally see a figure of Scorpina! Let's check out this redecoed Rita Repulsa Imaginext figure below!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Marvel Animated Universe Minimates - GAMORA!

Marvel Animated Mini-Mates -  Walgreens Exc Series 2 - Gamora - DST 2016

I love that Gamora is getting so much action figure play in recent years. Movies have a knack for inspiring the merchandising Gods like nothing else. It's even better when movie popularity ripples out into other media and new video games and cartoons are created. I have yet to watch the Guardians of the Galaxy cartoon on Disney XD, but I heard it's actually pretty good. Someday I'll binge it all and report back. These Marvel Animated Universe Mini-mates are a cool exclusive for a toy-friendly chain like Walgreens to embrace. It must be hard to find a way to re-release main characters in a way that would incentivize collectors to head to these stores. But animated re-decos is a brilliant solution (as if having exclusive Funko Pops, Marvel Legends, Walking Dead, and World of Nintendo figures wasn't enough). Mini-mates are by far the best toy line for both team building and character variations. This is now the third Gamora released in a few short years, and I doubt it's the last. Let's check her out below!

Monday, May 9, 2016

3.75" Marvel Legends - GAMORA (MARVEL NOW)!

Marvel Legends 3.75" Series - Wave 2 - Gamora - Hasbro 2016

I love a good green-skinned girl. At one point in my collecting I had a shelf dedicated to these emerald beauties. It was loaded with She-Hulks, Oolas, Vinas, She-Dragons, Poison Ivys, Jades, various witches, and a couple Turtles. I'm thinking with all the Gamora product we've seen in the last few years I might want to re-establish that group. It was a pretty striking sight if I must say so myself. I really dig this modern comic-based costume of Gamora's. The first time I noticed it was in the 2013 Guardians of the Galaxy comic series. It was a given that we'd get an action figure featuring this look eventually. There's already an Eaglemoss Chess piece and a Heroclix figure sporting the utilitarian duds after all. Her previous comic looks have been anything but functional so this is a step in the right direction if they want to court the movie fans. The new 3.75" Marvel Legends figures are impressing me.  The lack of wrist and torso articulation isn't great, but overall the aesthetics are on point. Let's check out Gamora below!

Friday, May 6, 2016

12" Batman Unlimited - HARLEY QUINN!

Batman: Unlimited - 12" Action Figures - Harley Quinn - Mattel 2016

A few months ago I noticed a listing for 12" Suicide Squad Harley Quinn from Mattel. There were no pictures associated with it and it had a shipment date of June (when all the other movie stuff seems to be coming out).  So when I found this figure a few weeks ago I was really confused. It's clearly a comic-based Harley, but the 12" DC heroes don't seem to ever stick to a common design theme. I'm thinking this might actually be the Suicide Squad version solicited months ago, especially considering that Deadshot and Joker are solicited on the back. Then again, the 12" Wonder Woman came out in both Comic and Movie versions without much fanfare, so maybe we'll be seeing a second 12" Harley soon. I'm kinda digging these 12" figures.  I don't have room for them on my shelves, so they have a unique spot on my windowsill. I'm predicting a Catwoman and Gamora in the next few years. I have many empty windowsills waiting for them! Let's check out Harley Quinn below!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Avengers: United They Stand - WASP!

The Avengers: United They Stand - Series 01 - Wasp - ToyBiz 1999

Avengers: United They Stand was a very short-lived animated series from 1999. It lasted only 13 episodes, but it the first time that the Avengers were featured in their own series. It was essentially the Avengers version of X-Men the Animated Series. They had made previous appearances in X-Men, Iron Man, and Spider-Man, but for the most part the Avengers were unknown to the general public and the show was not a success. With only 13 episodes, I'm totally going to find it on YouTube and binge it all. It will be interesting to see how the earliest non-comic representation of Marvel's super-team was portrayed. The toys they made from the cartoon are pretty awesome. Hawkeye is a dud, but most are pretty sweet. I've always liked this Wasp figure and definitely thought it was way nicer than the first Marvel Legends Wasp from 2006. There is going to be a film titled Ant-Man and the Wasp in 2018 so I'm curious to see how popular the character gets.  Let's check out this 1999 figure below!