Wednesday, July 24, 2019


Halo Universe Series: Wave 2 - Spartan Tanaka (Grunt Ultra BaF) - Mattel 2018

I have always found the Mattel handling of the Halo property to be very confusing. However, I just finally wrapped my head around how different waves and character assortments work. So far, each Wave of figures has had two assortments. I have dubbed Wave One the "Crawler Wave." The first six figures allowed you to build the "Alpha Crawler". Then the second assortment for Wave One had two characters swapped out. These new characters had different Build-a-Figure pieces (Head & Shoulders/Back) which allowed you to build a slight variation, the "Crawler Snipe." Wave Two I call the "Grunt Wave." The first assortment allowed you to build the "Imperial Grunt." Then the second assortment swapped out a whopping four characters and allowed you to build "Grunt Ultra." If this roadmap was laid out for collectors, I never saw it. I would just see new figures in stores and get really confused. But I admit it was also exciting to stumble across unexpected characters like Holly Tanaka. Let's check her out below!

Monday, July 22, 2019

Halo - KELLY-087!

Halo Universe Series: Wave 1 - Kelly-087 (Crawler Snipe BaF) - Mattel 2017

I find it kind of amusing that McFarlane Toys stole Mattel's long-standing and lucrative DC Comics license this year when just a few years ago the reverse situation happened when Mattel nabbed the (rather iconic) Halo license from McFarlane. The Mattel Halo line started out with a lot of promise, but the momentum was squandered by poor distribution, and almost a complete lack of publicity. I'm pretty sure I've only seen these for sale at Toys R Us, K-Mart, Walgreens, and discount stores like Ross and Marshalls. Even the character lineups for different waves is really confusing to sort out (although I made a recent discovery that makes it all a lot more logical - I'll detail that in my next post (for Holly Tanaka)). I'm also having trouble finding out if Mattel even still has the Halo license. There hasn't been news of new product in a long time. And some of the announced figures appear to never have had a wide release (the Skeletor homage and several of the 12" figures in particular). Let's check out Kelly-087 below!

Saturday, July 20, 2019

The Ladies of TOP WING!

Nick Jr's Top Wing - Penny, Betty, and Shirley Squirrely - Hasbro/Playskool 2019

I have a real fondness for modern preschool toys. I don't normally get over-sentimental about these cute blobs of plastic, but when I walk down those toy aisles, I can't help but imagine my younger self seeing these selections and going wild. I may be exaggerating, but I feel like kid toys in the 80s were inundated by trucks, farm animals, and plushies. So seeing adorable articulated anthropomorphic action figures hanging on the pegs stirs up all kinds of (hypothetical) nostalgia. My current obsession is the Nick Jr property, Top Wing, which features a paradoxical group of bird pilots. I first noticed the puffin and penguin characters and I excitedly thought they would all be flightless birds ironically flying planes, but the Blue Jay throws that fun theme askew unfortunately. The character designs remind me of a throwback to 80's staples like Shirt-tales and the Getalong Gang, too. I especially got hooked when I started seeing non-bird characters like Betty Bat and Shirley Squirrely. Love some animal diversity! Let's check them out.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Character Spotlight on BIG BARDA!

A Small Collection of the Grand Dame of the Female Furies: Big Barda 2007-19

I wasn't always a fan of Big Barda. In my less-enlightened youth I thought all superheroines had to fit a cookie-cutter body type and wear a nondescript spandex costumes to be worthy of my attention. But as an adult I realize that this large woman in a glaringly bold costume is all-around awesome (and a terrific example of non-conformity). And to add to my infatuation, I just learned Big Barda's look was inspired by Lainie Kazan (who I will always adore as the mom from My Big Fat Greek Wedding). I also appreciate her classic Jack Kirby geometric designs and her bold primary colors (all the primary colors to be exact.. I love it!) She is also currently starring in the comic Female Furies, which is her first (sort of) lead role in her 48 years, so the timing of this Character Spotlight seems pretty appropriate. Her merchandise makes for a fun-looking collection, like an exploded box of crayons. It's been a few years since I've done one of these posts, but it's really fun and I'm already brainstorming my next one. Let's check out the Bardas!

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Marvel Gallery - SQUIRREL GIRL!

Marvel Gallery PVC Diorama - Squirrel Girl - Diamond Select Toys 2019

I love it when a wacky character becomes legitimately popular. A character whose name, power, and team affiliation (The Great Lakes Avengers) are all clearly intended to be tongue-in-cheek typically wouldn't have much staying power, but when they do, they tend to be pretty great all-around. Harley Quinn and Gwenpool were both similarly meant to be one-and-done pun-based characters who have persevered and established themselves as standalone characters. And now the quirky Doreen Green is joining those ranks. Squirrel Girl may have been introduced more than 28 years ago, but only in the last 10 has her popularity skyrocketed. She has had two solo comic series (the current one is up to issue #46), appearances in numerous animated shows (and a movie), many videogames, and her merchandise is starting to trickle out. We have yet to see a true action figure, but stuff like this gorgeous Marvel Gallery PVC Statue is more than enough to tide me over while I wait for the inevitable Legends figure.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Kotobukiya ArtFx Plus - CATWOMAN!

ArtFx Plus 1:10 Pre-Painted Statue - DC Comics Catwoman - Kotobukiya 2018

If I ever upped my game and seriously started collecting much beyond action figures, I can guarantee I would become obsessed with the ArtFx+ line from Kotobukiya. They have a level of quality and a not-too-unreasonable price points that really captures my fancy. Plus the 1:10 scale can really blend well with most action figure collections. I haven't taken the plunge with the X-Men Animated statues yet, but every time I see them in a store I am super tempted. When I bought the first Catwoman ArtFx+ back in 2013, I immediately began wishing to complete the Gotham City Sirens. The villainous trio of Catwoman, Poison ivy, and Harley Quinn always captured my imagination like few other team-ups could. But the only other interesting figure in that first wave was Batgirl. Eventually there was a gorgeous Harley Quinn followed by Ivy, but they were in a different (better) style and I was upset my long-awaited trio wouldn't match. But alas, there was a new version on the horizon. Let's check out Catwoman v2 below!

Friday, July 12, 2019

Marvel Legends - SCARLET WITCH!

X-Men Legends - Family Matters 3-Pack - Amazon Exclusive - Hasbro 2019

I wasn't sure that I was going to like this updated Scarlet Witch figure. In the solicit images, it looked like her headsculpt was very different from existing Marvel Legends. It looks good, but almost as if they have a new sculpting team or maybe they're doing face scans of live (non-celebrity) models. If you compare her other comic-based Legends in the past five years, she just looks different. Also, her outfit looked metallic - which is a toy trend I really don't care for. But in actuality her outfit is a pearlescent plastic (like Moonstone) and her head looks so good that I don't care if she doesn't blend in. In fact, this figure reminds me so much of my favorite Wanda storylines from Young Avengers that it's reinvigorating my desire for updated figures from that team. Also, the fact that we got an updated figure within 4 years gives me hope that we might also get a redo of her sister Polaris (which I never thought was quite right). I'm not holding my breath, but I have a glimmer of hope now. Let's check out the new Wanda below!

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Star Wars Black Series - DOCTOR APHRA!

Star Wars 6 " Black Series #87 (Comic Universe) - Doctor Aphra - Hasbro 2019

Before I bought this figure and researched her, I knew next to nothing about the character Doctor Aphra. A few years ago I noticed her featured on one of those "action figure variant covers" that Marvel loves to publish and I thought she looked like an interesting character. But upon reading her backstory tonight, I'm now super intrigued. Doctor Aphra was first introduced in the pages of Star Wars: Darth Vader from Marvel Comics in 2015. She was an archaelogist who originally worked for Vader, but eventually ended up running from him. She is an expert in droid and weapons technology and is notable for having the first solo spinoff title featuring a character original to the comics. She has swagger like Han Solo, charisma like Lando Calrissian, she makes a lot of poor decisions, she's essentially a villain (although not as bad as others), and she is the first gay character I can think of in the Star Wars universe. I'm now super excited to read her solo series. Let's check out Doctor Aphra below!

Monday, July 8, 2019

Marvel Legends - SHURI!

Marvel Legends - Black Panther (Hulk Build-a-Figure) - Shuri - Hasbro 2019

We know there is definitely going to be a second Black Panther movie and I'm really anticipating good things from it. The first movie wasn't my favorite. I wanted to see more of Wakanda, I wanted more Dora Milaje, and I wanted a whole lot less Erik Killmonger (Something about that character annoyed me *almost* as much as Lex Luthor in BvS). I think the second movie will embrace and expand upon my favorite elements and make for a better movie (IMHO). I'm also hoping we'll see an MCU Storm introduced. But one element I know we will see more of is Shuri. I never knew much about her other than her brief comic stint in the Black Panther mantle. But the recent movies have made me appreciate her on a whole new level. I personally work in the technology industry and the lack of females in STEM fields is a big problem. Role models like Shuri do a lot to encourage young girls to enter STEM careers. And aside from that, she is cool, competent, and confident - everything you want in a hero. Let's check her out below!

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Transformers Siege - GREENLIGHT!

Transformers - War for Cybertron: Siege - Greenlight & Dazzlestrike - Hasbro 2019

For those not in the know, there was an iconic episode from the 2nd season of Transformers in 1985 called The Search for Alpha Trion that introduced female Autobots. As a young kid (in 2nd grade!), I was obsessed with this episode. And even the instant mythology of these characters thrilled me (apparently female autobots were thought to be extinct). We were introduced to Elita One, Moonracer, Chromia, Firestar, and two unnamed silent characters who we now know as Lancer and Greenlight. These ladies pre-date Arcee by almost a year. I have trouble putting into words how excited I am that we are getting toys of these obscure characters (that are inexplicably branded into my psyche). Seriously though, they appeared in a single 23-minute episode 34 years ago and only had a few seconds of screentime each. I never ever ever expected to add these to my collection. Someone at TakaraTomy is looking out for me. I can't wait for the inevitable Lancer to fill out the ranks! Let's check out Greenlight below!

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Stranger Things - ELEVEN (MALL VERSION)!

Stranger Things Wave 4 - Eleven (Season Three) - McFarlane Toys 2019

I'm excited to dive into the 3rd season of Stranger Things today. I love that mix of Stephen King and Steven Spielberg aesthetics steeped in nostalgic 80's culture. I'm already anticipating the chills I get when the title screen fills up my TV (PS as a kid, I was obsessed with a book of my Dad's called Stranger Than Science by Frank Edwards. I swear the Duffer Bros must've had this book and been inspired by the logo). I've bought all the Eleven figures in the McFarlane Toys line so far, and I'll probably continue to do so, but this Season 3 version suffers from some pretty underwhelming paint applications. This happens occasionally (The Walking Dead Carol comes to mind), but it's still disappointing. The biggest issue is her eyes. They don't appear to have any lashes and the irises seem small and light (a big contrast to Millie's dark expressive eyes). I tried to darken her features a little and it helped, but I'm sure I'll try to touch her up even more once I start watching and get inspired. Let's check out Eleven below!

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Marvel Legends - SPIDER-WOMAN (JULIA!)

Spider-Man Legends - Molten Man BaF Wave - Spider-Woman - Hasbro 2019

This Julia Carpenter Spider-Woman figure is one of my most-wished-for Marvel Legends. I've honestly never even read a Julia story that I enjoyed. Her real prominence was in the 1990s, and I always find that decade to be defined by dubious storytelling and art (at least where superheroes were concerned). But to me she will always be a super iconic Marvel heroine. Her costume is so cool that it even inspired Spider-Man's black suit. Marvel Legends has given us an insane amount of Spiders in the last five years, and Julia was glaringly absent (especially considering she's the second most noteworthy Spider-Lady). But the wait was worth it because this figure is perfection. She's a perfect blend of classic and modern (well, her hair is modern... thankfully). Now I need to re-assess my Spider-Man Legends wishlist... Mania, Agony, Lady Spider, Mattie Franklin, etc. I would love them all. But all the super important ones are now in my collection and i'm extremely happy about that. Let's check out Julia Carpenter below!

Monday, July 1, 2019

Marvel Legends - RESCUE!

Marvel Legends - Avengers Endgame (Hulk Build-a-Figure) - Rescue - Hasbro 2019

This Rescue Marvel Legends figure is a long time coming. Back in 2013, there was a third wave of Legends figures tied to the film Iron Man 3. It's pretty rare for a third wave of movie figures, so I wasn't totally surprised when the wave never hit the shelves. But the Pepper Potts Rescue figure that was supposed to be included was a major loss. But in 2016 we were given a fun bonus in a limited release of the figure as a Marvel Unlimited subscription exclusive. Unfortunately she didn't come with her alternate unmasked head (from the 2013 solicit), and the subscription to get her cost $100. So actually purchasing her proved difficult for the majority of collectors. But then earlier this year, Rescue finally made her MCU debut and I knew we'd be getting some awesome merchandise. It's also pretty impressive to get a Marvel Legends figure that has 100% new tooling. I've become so accustomed to seeing the same bucks over and over again that this was a welcome surprise. Let's check out Rescue below!