Thursday, December 31, 2020

Marvel Legends - ELEKTRA!

Marvel Legends - Twin Packs Series 01 - Elektra and Ronin - Hasbro 2008

With all the buzz about Elektra lately, I wanted to go back and review one of my favorite of her figures. (If you're unaware of what Elektra has been up to, go read about Daredevil #25 and let's all wish for a new figure of her soon!). Back around 2008-10, Marvel Legends released a series of twin packs exclusive to Toys R Us that gave us a lot of truly great female figures in quick succession. I think it was one of those situations where pairing them with a male character made them more marketable. This line included Maria Hill (with a Sharon Carter alt head), Black Widow (with a 90's alt head), Valkyrie, Invisible Woman, and Elektra (with bandana alt head). Most of these came with variant versions as well: Black widow and Maria Hill having different color bodysuits and Elektra having a Skrull variant. These figures marked a terrific improvement in Hasbro's female character design. Let's not forget that the dreadful White Queen was released just a year prior. Let's check out the 2008 Elektra below!

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Fortnite Legendary Series - GHOUL TROOPER!

Fortnite - Legendary Series (6" Action Figures) - Ghoul Trooper - Jazwares 2020

I was truly planning on skipping this figure all-together. Decomposing bodies, even when done in a cartoony way, just turn me off. So as excited as I was to see the second female character in the Jazwares Legendary series, she was a pass for me. But then right before Christmas I found myself in Kohl's and saw her in person. I still had the same feelings about the zombie aesthetic, but I was really intrigued by her backpack accessory. It is a zombified Cuddle Team Leader head. Of course, I thought it was an alternate head not a backpack. Being the weekend before Christmas, the checkout lines reached literally to the back of the store (to the toy section in fact). I left without a purchase and googled to find a pic of this "alternate head." I quickly learned my mistake, but then spent a few days thinking about how simple it would be to kitbash that backpack into a head. I soon drove back to Kohl's to get her and give my backpack experiment a shot (pics at the bottom). Let's check out Ghoul Trooper below!

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Mission Fleet - CARA DUNE!

Star Wars: Mission Fleet - Defend the Child 5-Pack - Cara Dune - Hasbro 2020

When The Mandalorian Disney+ show was first announced several years ago, I never would have predicted that it would become one of my favorite chapters of the Star Wars saga. Sure, Din Djarin and Grogu are spectacular and could support the entire series. But the icing on the cake is all the fantastic female characters. There are legacy characters like Ahsoka Tano, the requisite Mandalorians like the Armorer and Bo Katan, and awesome standalone characters like Fennec, Xi'an, and the amazing Cara Dune. Cara is played by MMA fighter Gina Carano who has amazing presence on screen. Cara is someone you just don't mess around with and she's quickly become one of my favorites. Earlier this month, I was really excited to learn that (a) the Mission Fleet line was indeed going to continue. And (b) that there was a great multipack featuring Cara Dune already available on Amazon. FYI I read that there is a set with Bo Katan also coming this year. I can't wait. Let's check out Cara Dune below!

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Roblox - VIE BATTLE WITCH!

Roblox Imagination Collection - Wave 02 - Vie Battle Witch - Jazwares 2020

Merry Christmas! I feel like I am often left out of the fun holiday toy trends. This year my friends are going bonkers for the Holiday Storm Troopers and constantly sending me pics of their cool displays. But I find female holiday figures can be pretty rare (and often cheesy). So imagine my surprise to find one of the weirdest and coolest seasonal action figures I've ever seen right before the holiday. Vie Battle Witch is in the newest wave from the Roblox Imagination Collection (realistically-proportioned figures apparently designed by players using the library of virtual add-ons in the Roblox system). Vie wears a shocking giant deer skull headdress with festive holiday details. I love skulls. I don't find them creepy or dark, but rather like interesting curiosities. But I must admit I love how the antlers and holiday details give a krampus-like vibe. The overall look is intended to be creepy, and I can totally see that, but I just think she's adorable. Plus the title of "Battle Witch" is just damn cool. Let's check out Vie below!

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Roblox - NITR0-Z!

Roblox Imagination Collection - 4" Figure Wave 02 - Nitr0-Z - Jazwares 2020

I've always been really drawn to anime-esque character design. Although the actual anime and manga I consume is very drawn in a simple and retro style (Takahashi, Tezuka, Miyazaki, etc), that doesn't mean the more modern bright colored hair, animal ears, and goggles aesthetic doesn't appeal to me. In the past I've been obsessed with the idea of toylines like Palisades Space Channel 5 or Bandai's EXH, but the actual execution of the toys kept me from ever making any purchases. This new Nitr0-Z figure is the first time I've ever actually purchased a character from this design genre... and I think she's awesome! The bright colors, dynamic sculpt, great articulation, and cool translucent accessories make for a figure that's hard to resist. Roblox is a game system that frankly confuses me. I gather that players can create characters and games and challenge others to play. The characters historically seemed to be blocky lego-like creations, but lately (luckily) they have much more realistic human bodies. 

Sunday, December 20, 2020

The Mandalorian - THE ARMORER!

Star Wars Black Series - The Mandalorian 04: The Armorer - Hasbro 2020

One of my favorite things about the various modern Star Wars media is the introduction of female characters in the style of different factions from the original Star Wars trilogy. We've now seen numerous female Jedi, female Imperial Officers, and female Stormer Troopers. But my favorite additions have been the great female Mandalorians. Starting with Isabet Reau and Rav Bralor, and soon the very popular Sabine Wren. But now with the groundbreaking Mandalorian show on Disney+, we are being exposed to so many more. The upcoming Bo Katan figure looks fantastic (and I hope she is followed by a Koska Reeves). But I think a lot of us were surprised to see a figure of the Armorer. She had a couple quick appearances in Season 1 and I remember being thrilled to hear a female voice emanating from the armor, but I never once expected to get an action figure of her. Her Rocketeer-esque color palette and her non-combat armor is a very interesting addition to the lore. Let's check her out below!

Saturday, December 19, 2020

War for Cybertron - ELITA-1!

Transformers: War for Cybertron (Netflix Walmart Exc) - Elita-1 - Hasbro 2020

When I first saw the solicit photos for this Elita-1 figure, I must admit I was unimpressed. I had been following the rumors of a deluxe-scale Elita for a while and considering the awesome G1 designs of  Moonracer, Firestar, and others in the past few years, I was excited to get a super classic Elita. But the eventual pictures were very far from that version I predicted. It was clearly an Arcee redeco, her color was more red than pink, and her head shape looked more like Optimus Prime than Elita-1. But then this Summer I watched the Netflix War for Cybertron series and instantly fell in love with this new version of my Elita-1. She had so much presence and authority that I couldn't take my eyes off her. Suddenly this figure I was sneering at a few months prior was my most desired figure of the year. Then came the long wait. She was originally supposed to be released in September as a Walmart Exclusive. But she didn't hit shelves until December. But she was well worth the wait. Let's check out Elita-1 below!

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Marvel Legends Toy Biz - PHOENIX!

Marvel Legends Series VI - Jean Grey Phoenix (Standard Ver) - Toy Biz 2004

When Marvel Legends began back in 2002, I was instantly smitten. At the time I was a year into my first professional job and making decent money, yet still paying a mere $350/mo rent. That translated into a lot of expendable income. And as soon as I bought a series of young adult necessities (Ikea furniture, my first DVD player, etc), I was quick to revisit all my old hobbies. I found a comic shop near my office and quickly became a regular. My favorite toys at the time were the DC Direct LOSH, which I thought were amazingly advanced. But soon came the fateful day when I stopped in and found the first wave of Marvel Legends. I bought Captain America and Iron Man and was so excited to see the line eventually include female characters. But I think we all know how awkward most of those early attempts were. I didn't buy any for years, and even then it was under duress. But then last week I saw this Phoenix in a toy shop and suddenly thought she looked pretty great. Let's check her out!

Monday, December 14, 2020

Uncanny X-Force PSYLOCKE!

Marvel Legends (Amazon 3-Pack) - Fantomex Nimrod Psylocke - Hasbro 2020

This Psylocke was a very unexpected purchase. When the Amazon exclusive three-pack was first announced last Summer, it was an easy pass for me. I don't know who Fantomex is, I'm not a huge fan of Nimrod, and I always felt the X-Force versions of Psylocke was always too similar, yet less interesting, than her classic ninja look. But then the set showed up as a Cyber Monday deal and I suddenly became covetous. Once I had the set in hand, I really appreciated it though. I imagine the Nimrod figure looking great with the upcoming Omega Sentinel, and the Psylocke figure looks sleek and intimidating in all black with bright pink accessories. Her outfit is new to me. The previous X-Force outfits were just a black versions of the 90's Jim Lee look, but this one has unique cutouts and a more sporty feel. Turns out it's specifically from the Uncanny iteration of the book. If I was going to get any black-suited version of her, I'm glad it was this one. Let's check out Psylocke below!

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Transformers Earthrise - LIFELINE!

Transformers: Galactic Odyssey - Paradron - Ratchet & Lifeline - Hasbro 2020

The first Transformers toy I bought as an adult was the small Heroes of Cybertron PVC of Arcee. I was just starting to get back into toys and comics after a long hiatus for college and this little pink goddess just spoke to me. But then several months after I bought this figure, the same stores starting carrying a green version of Arcee called Paradron Medic. And around the same time I noticed the Energon Arcee figure was also released in a green variant. I was curious enough to do some research and learned of the G1 episode, Fight or Flee (Season 3, Ep 15, Oct 1986). In this episode, Cyclonis and Scourge get stranded on the peaceful planet of Paradron, which they discover is Energon-rich and proceed to overthrow the citizens. The Paradron population is made up of simple male robots (that remind be of ROM: Spaceknight) and a bunch of green Arcees. I just re-watched the episode and the Paradron Medics get maybe three seconds of airtime. But it's a fun setup for a repaint figure. Let's check out Lifeline below!

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Elseworld's Finest - BATGIRL!

Elseworlds: Series 03 - Elseworld's Finest - Batgirl - DC Direct 2007

Sometimes the very existence of an action figure adds to its allure. In 1998, there was a one-shot comic titled Elseworld's Finest: Supergirl & Batgirl. Elseworlds was a DC imprint that allowed for inventive non-canonical stories starring the mainstream characters. The comic is an homage to World's Finest that ran for 45 years featuring a Superman/Batman team-up. I read this Elseworld's gender-swap when it first came out, but I didn't love the story. I remember Batgirl being a tyrannical force in Gotham, isolating the city from the world. I remember the Joker getting juiced on Bane's venom. And I remember a surprise cameo from Black Orchid. Although interesting, it not exactly memorable. But the character designs were something else entirely. Both Batgirl and Supergirl had amazing costumes that instantly seemed both classic and unique. But despite their visual appeal, I don't think anyone could have predicted getting figures of them nine years after their sole appearance. Let's check out Batgirl below!

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Showcase Presents - BATGIRL!

Showcase Presents - Series 1 - First Appearance Batgirl - DC Direct 2008

I think it's pretty clear that the days of awesome, classic DC figures are in the past. Sure, there has been a decent looking Batman, Superman, and Nightwing in the McFarlane Multiverse line, but the majority of products seem to be gritty modern interpretations of characters that seem more aligned with video games than comics. This unfortunate trend has caused me to look back to yesteryear... specifically to a year which stands out as one that seemed personally catered to me, 2008. DC Universe Classics was launched, Marvel Legends has seriously improved their female buck (Shanna and Savage She-Hulk), and DC Direct was in its heyday. The DC Direct releases were the most impressive to me, there was a great mix of classic and modern figures with an attention to detail that I've only ever seen with this company. The standout to me was Showcase Batgirl figure. She was perfectly sculpted by Karen Palinko in the classic style of Carmine Infantino. It's one of my absolute favorites. Let's check her out below!

Saturday, December 5, 2020

I Am Elemental - ELEMENTS OF WISDOM!

I Am Elemental - Elements of Power Series 2: Wisdom - Rebel Elements 2016

Sometimes I buy a lot of action figures all at once and then get overwhelmed at the thought of opening, photographing, and displaying them. That is literally the only drawback to maintaining this website; I no longer get to experience the frantic tearing open of my toys as soon as I get them home. But on the plus side, the photography process has created a new unboxing ritual that is very enjoyable in its own way... when I eventually get around to it. That brings us to one of my favorite toy lines in recent memory: I Am Elemental. I've had this second series unopened on a storage shelf for 4 years, which is a shame because this is an amazing line that I'm excited to display. The colorfully costumed heroines, the crayola spectrum of skintones, and the trademark domino masks create a unique product that is unlike anything else out there. And this Wisdom series stepped it up a notch with even brighter colors and wilder accessories. I can't believe I sat on them so long. Let's check them out below!

Friday, December 4, 2020

Marvel Legends Vintage - BLACK CAT!

Marvel Legends: Vintage (Toy Biz) - Spider-Man's Black Cat - Hasbro 2020

I know a lot of collectors groan at the thought of a repainted or slightly redecoed figure. But, honestly, is there anything more retro than a recycled sculpt in a Marvel line? That's actually one of the things I love most about the 1990s Toy Biz line. Noticing how the molds were reused in creative ways to give us more characters was like a toy version of a memory card game.  Sue Storm, Jessica Drew, Julia Carpenter, and X-Factor Jean Grey were the exact same figure. Same with Rogue and Polaris, Psylocke and Elektra, and Medusa, Ms. Marvel, and Firestar. There are tons more. Even the original Black Cat was reused for Tigra. So when I see this Moonstone buck reused for yet another character, it actually makes me quite happy. For starters, it's a great body and a great headsculpt. It's already seven years old but it still holds up. A simple modification, like the addition of fur-lined boots and gloves, gives us a great new version of a classic character.  Let's check out Black Cat below!

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Marvel Legends Vintage - ROGUE!

Marvel Legends: Vintage (Toy Biz) - 1990's Rogue (Version 2) - Hasbro 2020

Hasbro is pretty smart about their toy releases. When the first modern Marvel Legends Rogue figure came out back in 2016, it was pretty much an instant classic. She had a great sculpt, she was produced on one of the most popular female bucks of all time, and she featured the fan-favorite 1990's Jim Lee era costume. Of course, that's also a perfect recipe for extortion on the secondary market and her prices quickly shot up in the triple digits. An eventual second figure was almost a sure thing. But a lot of collectors had paid a lot to get this figure, so a straight-up re-release would agitate their base. So the perfect solution was this release: brighter colors, a new hairsculpt, a new character-specific accessory, and amazing retro packaging. Her Target-exclusive status was the only slight hitch in the plan, but she was readily available on the release weekend both in stores and online. So with a little planning I'm sure everyone was able to secure one. She's a beauty. Let's check out Rogue below!

Monday, November 30, 2020

The Ladies of MINECRAFT: DUNGEONS!

Minecraft: Dungeons - Valorie & Adriene and Skeleton Sets - Mattel 2020

When I was a kid my mom was always doing counted cross-stitch. It was her relaxing hobby when watching TV or sitting on the bench swing while my siblings and I played in the yard. At one point, she told me if I drew out designs on graph paper, she could stitch it for me. It wasn't long before I had stacks of paper and developed my own little cubist universe. Those memories are what attract me to the simple pixelated designs of Minecraft. But over the past five years, I admit I started to completely ignore the toys. It seemed that the token female character, Alex, was just going to rehashed over and over with only the slightest changes - and frankly I was bored. That's why I was so excited to see a new wave of toys for the 2020 Minecraft Dungeons game that included two female characters in the first offering. Of all the Minecraft players I personally know, I would say 3/4 of them are girls, so it makes sense for Mojang to try to finally repair the gender gap. Let's check out Valorie and Adriene below!

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Halo - KAT-B320!

Halo Infinite: The Spartan Collection - KAT-B320 - Jazwares Toys 2020

It's so interesting how Halo toys make a resurgence every few years from a new company. When I started getting into toy collecting many moons ago, Joyride Halo line was a seemingly permanent fixture in the toy aisles. I didn't pay much attention to Halo until 2011 when McFarlane included one of the first females (aside from Cortana and Dare), the pink Spartan Air Assault. But it was the following release that got me really intrigued me, Kat from Halo Reach. This figure was great because she had a unique identifying name (as opposed to a random armor description), with a distinctive metal arm, and an unhelmeted head (which was pretty rare in the McFarlane line at the time). So when I saw that the first female included in this new Jazwares Spartan Collection was a Kat figure with an unhelmeted head, I knew nostalgia would draw me in to collecting yet another Halo line. At least the scale is new territory for me. The 7" scale actually harkens back to that original Joyride line. Let's check out Kat below!

Friday, November 27, 2020

Fortnite - SINGULARITY!

Fortnite - Singularity (Solo Mode) - 3.75" Series -  Jazwares Toys 2020

If you asked me to describe the qualities of a character that would cause me to overlook a toy, this Singularity figure from Jazwares 3.75" Fortnite line would hit all the benchmarks: A helmeted face; A nondescript armored body; A generic repurposed accessory; And from a video game property. I've skipped more action figures like this than I can count. But there's one quality about Singularity that overrides all my scruples: her color palette. I don't know what it is about these colors, but I am inexplicably drawn to them. Her base color is a dark teal overlaid with bright turquoise armor and maroon details. It's a color combination I have never seen before, but that I am nothing short of obsessed with. And once I had her in hand, I began to appreciate other details that I might have overlooked; especially her helmet shape. There's something almost dragon-like about it and the more I see it the cooler I think it is. Hell, I would even buy toys of the (less impressive) alt mode colors. Let's check out Singularity below!

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Fans Hobby - WHEEL BLADE!

3rd Party Transformers - MasterBuilder MB-12B Wheel Blade - Fans Hobby 2020

This is a really fun exclusive variant. The Fans Hobby Athena (Minerva) figure came out earlier this year and I was immediately hoping the body would be reused for another fembot, but I wasn't expecting something so soon. I realize a flightless Windblade homage may seem a little strange, but if Arcee can be a motorcycle or giant spider and no one bats an eye, I think anything is possible. This figure was exclusive for the TFCon 2020 (a virtual event this year). It was limited to 800 numbered pieces and only available through The Chosen Prime. I've been ordering from The Chosen Prime for years (I've bought 16 figures through them!) I originally chose it because the price and stashing policy was the best (although nearly identical to TFSource if I remember correctly). But since then I've come to appreciate the company for their customer service and all-around good vibe. So I was really happy that an exclusive I specifically wanted was a joint venture with them. Let's check out Wheel Blade below!

Monday, November 23, 2020

Mortal Kombat - KITANA!

Mortal Kombat XI - Kitana (Edenian Blue Version) - McFarlane Toys 2020

For someone like me who doesn't play any video games, I get bizarrely excited for new Kitana figures. In the past few years I've picked up three very different versions of the figure. Each time, of course, part of the excitement is the (always unfulfilled) assumption that there will be more characters made. At the very least Mileena and Jade would make for an amazing trio. But, no, the recent lines all seem to produce no females other than Kitana. At least the old 90's lines would typically toss in a Sonya Blade. I have some faith that this newest McFarlane Toys line might be different though. For starters, McFarlane is well-versed at producing toys for video game properties, even if they're just adding a handful of new figures each year. Secondly, Mortal Kombat XI is loaded with cool characters. And 12 of them (of 37 currently) are female. I think we'll definitely see some more ladies in the line, and I honestly don't even have a preference for who is next - which is a refreshing position. Let's check out Kitana below!

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Marvel Toybox - GHOST-SPIDER!

Toybox - Marvel Action Figures #24 Ghost-Spider - Disney Store Exc - 2020

I must admit that Disney's Toybox line has really been impressing me lately. When they first started rolling out back in 2017, I had pretty low expectations for character selection and overall quality. My first purchase was a Star Wars Rey who, at the time, was an overproduced character with chunky articulation and an odd face sculpt. I still loved the figure and I was still intrigued by the line, but I couldn't say I was necessarily excited. However, the next three years would see a steady (but slow) flow of new characters across a handful of licenses (Disney, Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, and NBX). And the quality has steadily improved. The face sculpts alone are getting better and better - at least for Marvel and Star Wars (the recent Bo Peep looked creepy imo). Spider-Gwen aka Ghost-Spider was a character I knew would eventually come to the line, and she does not disappoint. She has a great sculpt and her sturdy build and articulation create undeniable sense of playability. Let's check out Ghost-Spider below!

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Star Wars - PRINCESS LEIA (ENDOR)!

Star Wars: The Black Series 6" - Princess Leia Organa (Endor) - Hasbro 2020

My favorite of the original Star Wars movies is Return of the Jedi. It was one of the first movies I saw in the theatre and I became absolutely obsessed with ewoks. It actually started when choosing toys at Kay-Bee. My mom would say we could each pick one "Star Wars guy" (or a matchbox). We lived deep in the woods and I was a nature and animal fanatic, so Ewoks were a predictable choice for me. And of all the Star Wars movies, the forest moon of Endor had the most relatable setting to me. Imagine idolizing characters for two movies, then finally seeing them in an environment that looked like your backyard. It made me feel connected. And my jealousy when Leia first met Wicket was palpable. I was the weird kid who dreamt of discovering his very own bigfoot, mokele-mbembe, or E.T. in my woods. But I digress. I've been waiting for this version of Leia since the Black Series began. It's not the most glamourous or memorable look, but it is definitely the most nostalgic for me. Let's check her out below!

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Impossible Toys - VALKYRIE!

3rd Party Transformers - TRNS-01 Valkyrie (Arcee) - Impossible Toys 2010

I'm a little sad that this Impossible Toys Valkyrie figure is the last of the 3rd Party Arcee homages in my fembot hunt. It's funny actually, because my first 3rd Party purchase ever was the TRNS-EX1 Ninja (Nightbird) back in 2011, and my lackluster impression from that figure (which was a simple retooling of this Valkyrie) caused me to steer clear of 3rd Party figures for years. My Ninja figure felt flimsy, with loose joints and seemingly fragile joints. So until I recently set out a goal to get all the main Arcees, I had written off this figure completely. But upon opening her last night, I was pleasantly surprised. She didn't seem so brittle anymore, her joints were tight, and her headsculpt was brilliant. Maybe I just had a bum Ninja. Or maybe the fact that it was a retool meant to molds had degraded. But either way, I was very happy to go out with a bang with this very impressive Arcee homage. And let's not forget, this was the first transforming G1 Arcee figure ever. Very impressive indeed. Let's check out Valkyrie below!

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Marvel Vinylmation - SPIDER-LADIES!

Marvel Vinylmation Series 1 & Marvel Junior Series 15 - Disney 2013 & 2016

It's hard to deny the popularity of vinyl collectibles. These days, when you visit a collectible toy store, chances are it will be largely dedicated to vinyls (which can be unfortunate). While the Funko Pop line is the current industry leader, they weren't the first, and they won't be the last. But about a decade ago, it seemed like every single company took a shot on the fad.  One of the more prominent lines was Vinylmation from Disney. They started in 2008 as Disney park exclusives, but soon they were in every Disney Store and all over the secondary market. Vinylmation used the successful blind box formula of a standard quirky mold with unique paint designs. Bearbricks, Dunny, and Labbit had laid the groundwork, and Disney had a guaranteed hit with an iconic Mickey Mouse body and an endless supply of popular licenses to tap into. Of course, even successful toy lines rarely last forever, and by 2017 these were all but extinct. The Spider-Ladies were my obvious favorite. Let's check them out below!

Friday, November 13, 2020

The Mighty Ducks - MALLORY!

The Mighty Ducks - Mallory McMallard (Standard & Spin Attack) - Mattel 1996

One of the unexpected perks of running this website and associated social media is meeting so many like-minded collectors. And on rare occasions some of them even send you action figures (Thanks Peter!) I had been eyeing these Mighty Ducks Mallory figures for years, but I never got around to actually purchasing them. When they came out in 1996 I was on an exclusively retro 80s cartoon kick (Robotech and Hanna-Barbera Heroes), so the show should have been completely off my radar. But I had friends who were obsessed with the Ducks franchise; the movies, the NHL team, and the animated series. So I when I discovered this toy line (a few decades later), they got me all nostalgic about my old high school buddies, one of which I'm miraculously still close with. The cartoon is bizarre. Puckworld is an icy planet inhabited by humanoid ducks that skate around fighting an invasion of reptilian enemies. Mallory was the main female and got an action figure and a repaint. Let's check them out below!

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Halo 12" - SPARTAN TANAKA!

Halo: 12" Action Figures Wave 1 - Spartan Holly Tanaka - Jazwares 2020

There's something about Halo toys that always grab my attention. I rarely play video games, and on the rare occasion when I do, it's never a first-person shooter. But I still feel a thrill when I see the kickass female Spartan Warriors all armored-up and fighting alongside their male counterparts. The only downfall is that the Halo license keeps changing hands. In the past five years the baton has been passed from McFarlane Toys, to Mattel, and now to Jazwares. And of course the scales never line up. But despite the good female representation across those three companies, there have been very few 12" figures. Holly Tanaka is an interesting character choice because out of all the female Spartans, she has the bulkiest and most gender-neutralizing armor, and nowhere on the packaging does it mention her full name or elude to her gender. So if a company is hesitant to take a gamble on an under-selling female character in a testosterone-laden property, Tanaka is pretty perfect compromise. Let's check her out below!

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Marvel Legends - ROGUE (LEGACY)!

Marvel Legends: X-Men - Rogue and Pyro 2-Pack - Hasbro 2020

Here's my unpopular opinion for the day: I was never a fan of the iconic yellow and green 90's Rogue outfit. The aesthetic of a leather jacket over spandex was always a little silly to me. And the costume underneath looks boring without it. That's why I was so happy when her subsequent costumes all tended to hearken back to her original green and white. I'll admit that I had no real connection to the specific costume of this figure, but Rogue in a green and white is always appealing to me. After some research, I learned that this outfit is from the pages of X-Men Legacy from 2010 through 2012. It's a great looking outfit, and a decent improvement over the unreleased 2013 figure from the Wolverine line. My only wish is for this to have been one of her costumes with a hood. I may sneer and leather jackets, but I get giddy over a woman in a hood. The Marvel Legends 2-Pack offerings lately have given us some wonderful figures and I'm very excited to see what's next. Let's check out Rogue below!

Friday, November 6, 2020

Marvel Legends - GHOST-SPIDER!

Marvel Legends: Spider-Man VenomPool Wave - Ghost-Spider - Hasbro 2020

Some figures are just notoriously difficult to photograph. This Ghost-Spider figure is a prime example. Her deep hood and dark bodysuit cast shadows and obscure her (limited) features. I took more than 80 photos to get this handful of good ones. But despite those hassles, she is a gorgeous figure. The dark colors with the stark white and the pops of bright pink and blue are very dynamic in person. I only wish Marvel and Hasbro would embrace the name Gwenom. This figure is labelled as Ghost-Spider, which is now the name of Spider-Gwen (a name oddly stolen from the Ghost Rider Spider). So this figure is technically Venomized Ghost-Spider, but everyone refers to her colloquially as Gwenom. So if VenomPool is an acceptable name, I argue that everyone can get on board with Gwenom. Now, as cool as this figure is, I concede I definitely would have preferred another symbiote. Agony, Mayhem, Mania are all deserving of figures (and my Scream is lonely!) Let's check out Ghost-Spider below!

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Marvel Legends - JOCASTA!

Marvel Legends: Avengers Joe Fixit Baf Wave - Jocasta - Hasbro 2020

This is the ideal type of Marvel Legends figure I like to see. I love (relatively) obscure characters, I love uncomplicated costumes, and I love 70's and 80's comics. It also earns a lot of points by using so many features of the Moonstone buck, which has a sturdy, strong build that looks and functions great. So many recent female Legends have had flimsy rubbery legs that wilt after a month of standing. This body, however, has already stood the test of time. Jocasta first appeared in the 1977 issue of Avengers #162 as Ultron's self-created mate. Her name has obvious oedipal connotations, but she's more of a Bride of Frankenstein type character. Ultron intended for Jocasta to house the consciousness of Janet Van Dyne (the Wasp), but Jocasta rebelled and fought against Ultron, eventually earning a spot on the Avengers. However, she retained some of the "psychic residue" from Janet which contributes to Jocasta's human persona. Let's check out Jocasta below!

Monday, November 2, 2020

Dragonball Evolution - BULMA!

Dragonball Evolution (The Movie) - Series 01 - Bulma - Bandai 2009

It seems like every time an anime series becomes a certified worldwide success, some genius decides to make a live action version which almost never holds up. Big ones that come to mind are The Last Airbender, Ghost in the Shell, and Alita: Battle Angel. These movies often have mixed reviews, but are usually far less successful than their source material. One of the most universally panned examples is Dragonball: Evolution from 2009 (with a dismal 15% on Rotten Tomatoes). I never saw the movie, but the consensus seems that the story was muddy, the characters weren't engaging, the CGI was inconsistent, and the movie overall was full of lame clich├ęs. The reviews are very entertaining, and they actually make me want to watch it. Bandai had high hopes and pushed out a toy line in 2008 with both 6" and 3.75" figures. The sole female release was a 3.75" Bulma (played by Emmy Rossum). Bulma is the token female typically portrayed as a brilliant scientist and creator. Let's check her out below!

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Castlevania - CARMILLA!

Castlevania (Netflix Series) Wave 2 - Carmilla - Diamond Select Toys 2020

Happy Halloween! I thought I might not have a good vampy character for a Halloween post this year, but I completely forgot about this amazing vampire queen Carmilla from the Netflix Castlevania Series. I unfortunately stopped watching the show before she became one of the primary antagonists of Season 2. But way back in the late 80s I was obsessed with the game Castlevania II: Simon's Quest and I remember her as a boss you had to battle. She was an extremely lame boss, basically a floating drama mask that was easy to beat, but it still made an impression. Her makeover for the animated series thrills me. She is a former general of Dracula and Queen of Styria, with all the wickedness and cunning typical of a good villainess. I always love a tall creepy vampiress. Something about the blending of horror and glamour just fascinates me. And her stark white skin and hair set her apart from her genre. Almost all the women on my vampy shelf have black hair and black clothes, so her pallor and her red and gold accents really pop (without being outlandish). I love her. Let's check out Carmilla below!

Thursday, October 29, 2020

World's Smallest - TEELA!

World's Smallest: Masters of the Universe - Teela - Super Impulse 2020

One of my favorite new obsessions is the Micro Action Figure sub-line from Super Impulse. These show up under two of their product lines: World's Smallest and World's Coolest, and include miniature action figures of the most iconic toy lines of all time like G.I.Joe, Transformers, Mego Horror, Power Rangers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and of course Masters of the Universe. These figures are roughly 1.25" tall in packaging that measures 2.25" by 1.75". They feature tiny accessories and several points of articulation (usually just arms and head). While I generally predict female characters to be scarce in lines like this, I was pleasantly surprised (read: ecstatic) to see Teela offered right off the bat. My only wish now if that there might be a second wave of MOTU Micro figures. TMNT and Power Rangers are licenses that could be reasonably be considered complete with only a single assortment, but having only four MOTU representative is just cruel. Let's check out Teela below!

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Apex Legends - WRAITH!

Apex Legends - 6" Action Figures - Wraith (Season 1) - Jakks Pacific 2020

It's amazing how all the random videogame toys these days are of such high quality. I remember when these would be cheap merchandising grabs and the figures would only ever caught my attention when they employed almost fascinatingly retro construction techniques. Not out of nostalgia, but out of speed and cost. But in the last decade, the quality is usually on par with Marvel Legends or DC Multiverse. This Wraith figure from the new Apex Legends line is a prime example. These characters look amazing, the packaging is crisp, and the product placement is ideal (right next to Marvel Legends in Walmart). Apex Legends is a 2019 first-person shooter battle royale game and Wraith is one of the many playable characters (Legends) in it. Her unique powers deal with controlling inter-dimensional rifts - whether small like dodging attacks or big like teleporting a whole squad. It's a shame she didn't come with any power effects, but she's a gorgeous figure either way. Let's check out Wraith below!

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Transform Element - BLACK WIDOW!

3rd Party Transformers - TE MM-01 Black Widow - Transform Element 2019

I've always been quick to note that the presence of a 3rd Party Transformers market doesn't hinder my purchases of official Hasbro or TakaraTomy product at all, and that the 3rd party presence actually deepens my interest in all Transformers products. However, I can think of one exception; this tiny 3.5" Transform Element Black Widow figure from last year. This figure was announced right around the same time as the official TakaraTomy Transformers Masterpiece Blackarachnia, which I was fairly certain I was going to purchase (although the $100+ price tag was keeping me at bay). To be fair, Beastformers aren't my favorite iteration of the Transformers Universe, so I'm much more likely to shell out big bucks for a vehicle mode than a robotic animal. But when faced with a the decision to add a large-scale, very expensive figure to my collection or this tiny, cheaper alternative, I chose the 3rd Party route. (And knowing me I'll eventually cave on the Masterpiece). Let's check out Black Widow below!

Friday, October 23, 2020

Marvel Legends - STORM!

Marvel Legends - Storm and Thunderbird 2-Pack - Target Exc - Hasbro 2020

The first female superhero I ever saw in an actual comic book was Storm. Sometime in the late 80s my older brother came home from a sleepover with a few tattered issues of Classic X-Men and I was instantly intrigued. A big part of that was because I remembered her fondly from the Pryde of the X-Men cartoon that aired continuously throughout my childhood. By the time I personally got into reading X-Men comics, she was depowered and mohawked, and shortly after she donned her 90's Jim Lee look. But I always loved her classic costume best and have been wanting a Legends figure forever. Especially since that teased prototype 13 years ago in Toyfare. Hasbro really went all out with this figure, giving her alternate heads, capes, and hands like a true deluxe figure. I'm really loving the retro focus on the Legends line. Along with all the ultra-modern MDU figures, there has a been a consistent flow of classic comic gems and I can't wait to see what's next. Let's check out Storm below!

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Iron Factory - NIGHT ASSASSIN!

3rd Party Transformers - IF EX-16N Night Assassin (Nightbird) - Iron Factory 2016

I'm a little sad that this is the last of my Iron Factory mini fembots to review. From 2015 to 2018 there was steady flow of these little beauties. I got them all with the exception of some variants but I waited until very recently to finally open and photograph them all. They are 3" tall and very well articulated with fun anime-esque faces and great sculpts all-around. I'm very impressed with the quality and aesthetic. I don't know for sure that there won't be any more, but there's usually a ton of advance knowledge with 3rd Party Figures (often years) and I haven't heard a peep about anything new. The character selection was proving to be so interesting too. Windblade was the darling of the moment and Arcee was the classic. But then we got Elita-1, Slipstream, and Nightbird, which were very unexpected and exciting. Nightbird was a mysterious military ninja robot from the G1 Transformers cartoon - who coincidentally has been getting a lot of merchandise in the past decade. Let's check out Night Assassin below!

Monday, October 19, 2020

Transformers Earthrise - ARCEE!

Transformers: War for Cybertron Trilogy - Earthrise - Arcee - Hasbro 2020

Hasbro and TakaraTomy have been really impressing me with their constantly improving female robot designs. Of course, the cartoon versions of the female Autobots feature almost organic-looking bodies with soft curves and physics-defying transformations into blocky vehicles. In toy world, this typically means the ladies are shellformers with excessive kibble. This Earthwise Arcee is a prime example of this, but I still think she is undeniably the best official Arcee released so far. I'm just waiting for a slight redeco with some slight paint mods. A pale pink face, white feet, and some variation to the flat pink plastic would make this a perfect figure. Maybe a Japanese release in the coming months will offer some of these changes. Also the retooling of this buck for the upcoming Walmart-exclusive Elita-1 and the repaint for the Paradron medic creates an exciting precedent for more characters. I have a wishlist a mile long, but only time will tell (Beta! Nautica!). Let's check out War for Cybertron Earthrise Arcee below!

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Hammer Films - COUNTESS DRACULA!

Hammer Glamour Masterpiece Collection - Countess Dracula Bust - Titan 2011

I love movies. I literally watch at least one movie a day and I find joy in almost all genres. But one of my favorite subgenres is classic (think 1985 and earlier) "horror" movies. I put that in quotes because my favorite ones are really hard to label as horror. I am especially drawn to films that features misunderstood monsters or (duh) vampy women. Countess Dracula is a 1971 historical horror from Hammer Film. The Dracula title is a bit of misnomer, because it's really about Hungarian noblewoman Elizabeth Bathory and her rumored penchant for bathing in the blood of virgins. It stars horror icon Ingrid Pitt and despite its poor ratings, I find it quite watchable. My bootleg DVD won't play on any of my devices anymore so I was very happy to find it streaming on Amazon Prime tonight. I forgot how much boob kissing there was and how very little blood (which is odd considering the subject). I don't know how obscure the movie is, but I know I was shocked this bust got made. Let's check out Countess Dracula below!

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Iron Factory - WINDSABER!

3rd Party Transformers - IF EX-05 Windsaber (Windblade) - Iron Factory 2015

Windsaber was the first of Iron Factory's 3rd Party 3" fembots back in 2015. At the time, I wasn't familiar with the world of 3rd Party collecting and the price really threw me off. She was around $25 at a time when similarly-scales Hasbro figures were only $5. I just didn't understand the appeal. But now that I'm a fully-indoctrinated fan, I can assure you that the sculpt, paint, plastic quality, packaging, and engineering is almost always top notch. The price is still an obstacle, but I can always budget for my must-haves. And coincidentally, my interest in 3rd Party figures has revved up my purchasing of official Hasbro and Takaratomy products more than ever before. A rising tide floats all boats as they say, and fan-made collectibles help raise my interest in fembots across the board. An interesting fact about this Windsaber figure is that, although unofficial, she is the second Windblade figure ever released. And considering how prolific she in the toy aisles these days, that's very impressive. Let's check her out below!

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Deadpool - NEGASONIC TEENAGE WARHEAD!

Marvel Legends: Deadpool 2 - Negasonic Teenage Warhead - Hasbro 2020

I pride myself on knowing a lot about comic book characters. My social circle is decidedly not nerdy so when we all go to see the latest blockbuster, I'm the one getting questions whispered to me during the movie.. "Who is that supposed to be?" "Do they have powers?" "Are they good or bad?" I get over my mortification about theatre chatter and dip into my wealth of knowledge. But every so often I get completely stumped. The most recent example was Negasonic Teenage Warhead in Deadpool (2016) and Deadpool 2 (2018). She had a great presence, an awesome look, and she seemed powerful, but I had absolutely no clue who this character was. I'm kind of glad I didn't either, because after some research, I think I like the cinematic interpretation way better that the original comic. With her cool name and edgy look, her sonic burst powers in the movies make a better match than her precognitive telepathic abilities in the comics. Plus I always dig a costum eover street clothes. Let's check out Ellie below!

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Iron Factory - SHRIKE'S FEATHER!

3rd Party Transformers - IF EX-27 Shrikes Feather (Slipstream) Iron Factory 2018

One of my favorite genres of character is female gender-swaps of existing male characters. My obsession with all the bat-ladies and spider-ladies are a prime example if this. But I've been getting really into Transformers in the past few years and this gender-swapping is almost unheard of in this universe. The biggest example, however, is Slipstream. Slipstream is a female clone of Starscream introduced in the Transformers: Animated series. In that storyline, Starscream had made a number of clones of himself, but Slipstream really stood out. Not only was she the token female, but she was wicked and funny. Each clone had unique traits: cowardly, prideful, obsequious, etc. Most of these traits resulted in comic buffoonery, but Slipstream seemed like a genuine villain. She became really popular and has since appeared in comics, videogames, and other animated Transformers franchises. Plus she's gotten a lot of toys! Let's check out this 3" Iron Factory Slipstream homage, Shrike's Feather!

Friday, October 9, 2020

Iron Factory - ALLERIA!

3rd Party Transformers - IF EX-16A Alleria (Elita One) - Iron Factory 2017

One of my favorite discoveries of the past few years was the 3rd Party company Iron Factory's line of tiny and adorable 3" fembots. And the absolute best discovery within that line was this Alleria figure. She is a fantastic homage to the G1 Transformer Elita One, but she was a sneaky release. Iron Factory only made her available as a bonus figure included with preorders of IF EX-14 Ultimate Commander (an Optimus Prime homage... that was twice as tall as her). I don't know what her actual production run was, but it must be fairly small. She is a simple repaint of the Pink Assassin (Arcee) figure with a newly sculpted head, but she is honestly one of the best Elita One figures ever released. I've had this figure for a while, but I only recently opened her in anticipation of the upcoming War For Cybertron Elita figure that should finally be released in the next month or so. I'm very excited that the original female Autobot has finally been getting some long overdue plastic representation. Let's check out Alleria below!

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Marvel Legends - SILK (VERSION 2)!

Marvel Legends: Fan Vote 2020 - Silk (Cindy Moon) Version 2 - Hasbro 2020

Spider-Women have come a long way in the last 15 years. For decades there was a few seminal ladies in the Spider-Verse, but starting roughly 15 years ago there has been a steady stream of new female characters: Mayhem, Ashley Barton, Ultimate Spider-Woman, Anya Corazon Spider-Girl, Mania, Lady Spider, Spinnerette, Spiderling, Spider-Gwen, and last but not least, Silk. While Silk may be slightly overshadowed by Spider-Gwen's popularity, I've always thought she has an equally cool design and a much better backstory. Her intertwined origin with Peter Parker was a stroke of genius. The original Legends Silk was released in 2016 and has become one of the most sought-after figures on the secondary market. Then she won the 2020 Fan Vote on Hasbro Pulse and in no time we got this great repaint. While I'm not always a huge fan on repaints, this new version has enough of a visual difference to easily earn her a spot on my Spider-shelf. Let's checkout Cindy Moon Silk below!

Monday, October 5, 2020

X-Men Movie - MYSTIQUE!

Marvel Legends: X-Men (2000) 20th Anniversary - Mystique - Hasbro 2020

I was obsessed with mutant comics for a most of my childhood so my expectations were always going to be high for the 2000's X-Men movies. I was mostly looking forward to seeing a live-action Storm, but despite Halle Barre's impressive acting chops, I found that character portrayal to be highly disappointing. In fact, with the exception of Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen, I found almost every character to be lackluster. The only real interesting reimagining of a character for me was Mystique. Her nude/scaly redesign made a lot of sense for her shapeshifting abilities, and her motivations suddenly seemed a lot more streamlined and understandable than in the comics. Casting the gorgeous Rebecca Romijn in a role that disguised her beauty was also an intriguing choice. I didn't realize how much I wanted a toy of this character until I was teased by the cancelled Jennifer Lawrence Marvel Select figure from 2014. It took another 6 years but we finally got a great one. Let's check out Mystique below!

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Marvel Legends Vintage - STORM!

Marvel Legends: Vintage (Toy Biz) - 1990's Storm (Black Suit) - Hasbro 2020

I always tell myself I will resist buying simple repaints of action figures, but then a figure like this Storm is released and all my strict rules go out the window. My perception of Storm's 90's outfit, the color in particular, was always very fluid to me. My memories place her alternately in white, black, and silver versions of this same costume. In a similar fashion to two of my favorite DC heroines, Silver Age Batgirl and Golden Age Batwoman, the true colors of Storm's costume seem up for interpretation and present very differently depending on the inker and colorist. So given that unintentional variation in the comics, I was happy to add this black-suited Storm to my collection (a simple repaint of last year's white-suited version). Although I may hit the brakes before I purchase the inevitable third silver version. I only have so much room for duplicate characters. Especially ones that look best with space-hogging dramatic cape poses. Plus I hope to have the classic figure soon. Let's check out Storm below!

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Little People - BATGIRL and WONDER WOMAN!

DC Super Friends Little People - Heroes 7-Pack - Fisher-Price 2020

If you think about, Fisher-Price's Little People is one of the longest running figurative toy lines out there. They started in the 60s (although rebranded in 1985) and have consistently been putting out product ever since. They were even inducted to the exclusive National Toy Hall of Fame in 2016. That puts it up there with the likes of Barbie, G.I.Joe, and Lego. It was only relatively recently that Fisher-Price started including licensed characters. I believe the first ones were actually DC characters in 2011, but since then they've includes licenses like K.I.S.S., the Beatles, WWE, Disney/Pixar, MOTU, The Office, Lord of the Rings, and Elf (among others). In the nine years since the first DC sets, the design has changed a bit, so it's nice to see this updated set hit the shelves for 2020. The figures now have a more slender body shape composed of a denser, heavier plastic as opposed to the older hollow squeezable bell-shaped bodies. Let's check out Batgirl and Wonder Woman below!

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Power Rangers in Space - YELLOW RANGER!

Power Rangers Lightning Collection - In Space Yellow Ranger - Hasbro 2020

The Power Rangers Lightning Collection from Hasbro just keeps getting better and better. When I bought the first female in the line. The MMPR Pink Ranger this time last year, I has a lot of trepidation about the quality of these figures. Beyond scrawny limbs and mismatched pink plastic, the unmasked Kimberly head looked pretty frightful. But a mere year later I have this Power Rangers In Space Yellow Ranger which has probably the nicest unmasked headsculpt of the entire line. I'm honestly not even too familiar with the In Space iteration of the franchise, but a quick Google search proves it is a great likeness to actress Tracy Lynn Cruz. Plus the legs are well-structured and not weak and warped like earlier figures. It all combines to give me a renewed sense of confidence in the line. I can admit that I considered dropping Power Rangers all together when the Bandai's Legacy Collection ended last year. But now I'm officially on board for whatever this line produces. Let's check out Yellow Ranger below!

Sunday, September 27, 2020

POP Funko - LADY SYMBIOTES!

Marvel POP Heroes: Scream, Carla Unger, and Mayhem - Funko 2020

Who would have ever thought that Funko would be leading the race for the most female symbiote toys? In the past year, they've surpassed Toy Biz (who had an early lead with their 90's Scream, Bride of Venom, and Earth X Venom).  And surprisingly DST Mini-mates and Marvel Legends haven't been tough competitors at all (and they usually cream the competition!)  These three ladies: Scream, Mayhem, and Carnage (Carla Unger) are original symbiotes, but Funko has also released venomized versions of Spider-Gwen, X-23, Storm, and Captain Marvel. It's a pretty impressive collection. But my wishlist is nowhere near complete. Agony, Ann Weyling Venom, and Mania would be a great start. I find it interesting that these three ladies were all exclusives, too; one for Walgreens, and two for Pop-In-A-Box. I think this is likely the new normal for the more obscure female characters, but I don't mind as long as they aren't too difficult to procure. Let's check out these three wicked Spider-ladies below!

Friday, September 25, 2020

MOTU Origins - EVIL-LYN!

Masters of the Universe Origins - Evil-Lyn (Evil Warrior Goddess) - Mattel 2020

All throughout my childhood I would see the classic Evil-Lyn tossed by the wayside in my friend's toy bins. I was so jealous and covetous of this weird yellow-skinned villainess. It wasn't until the mid-2000s when I finally bought her for myself. And then I made the embarrassingly late realization that her toy design was so different from her Filmation look, and also that she shared Teela's body. Captain obvious here. But in my defense, the DVDs hadn't even been released at that point so I was going on 20-year-old memories. Even since then, though, I've been obsessed with the duality between the vintage toy look and Filmation look. I can never decide which I like better, but I usually steer toward the yellow just because I'm fond of bold colors. This Masters of the Universe Origins Evil-Lyn is the figure I didn't know I needed. She is colorful, fun, very poseable and owning her is like mainlining nostalgia. Now I'm just super excited for more of these Origins figures. Let's check her out below!

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Five Nights at Freddy's - VANNY!

Five Nights at Freddy's: Security Breach - Wave 01 - Vanny - Funko 2020

I've always been intrigued by the Funko Five Nights at Freddy's action figures. They're always bright, colorful, quirky, and creepy. It's a really intriguing mix of design traits. the always catch my eye, but overall the boxy-jaw and buggy eyes aesthetic always kept me from ever making a purchase. But then I saw this Vanny figure for the upcoming "Security Breach" (I put in in quotes because apparently the game is actually going to be called PizzaPlex) game and I knew she would be my first purchase. Not only does she have a unique design to her head (with no boxy jaw, chiclet teeth, or buggy eyes), but she's a rabbit. Lately I've had a thing for anthropomorphic rabbits and foxes and I'm always excited to add a new one to my collection. She also has a distinctly feminine looking body unlike earlier androgynous characters (like Chica). This whole wave actually looks really cool, Glamrock Chica and Roxanne Wolf will very likely be my next tow purchases. Let's check out Vanny below!