Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Halo 12 Inch SPARTAN VALE!

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

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

Monday, March 30, 2020

Mythic Legions - SKELETON SOLDIER!

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

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

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Dreamworks Dragons - ASTRID & RUFFNUT!

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

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

Thursday, March 26, 2020

MOTU ReAction - TEELA(S)!

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

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

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Disney Sleeping Beauty - MALEFICENT!

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

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

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Titan Hero Series - GWENOM!

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

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

Friday, March 20, 2020

Centauria - GO NAGAI ROBOT COLLECTION!

Go Nagai Robot Collection - Centauria 2017-2018

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

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Centauria Figurines - MAZINGER ANGELS!

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

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

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Fortnite - SKULLY!

Fortnite 7" Premium Action Figures - Skully - Epic Games / McFarlane Toys 2020

Just when I think I might give up on one of the various Fortnite lines, a new product comes out that sucks me right back in. So far, I think that McFarlane Toys Fortnite figures have been the least inspiring. This is mostly due to the high cost and slow release schedule. Plus comparatively, the Cuddle Team Leader seemed awkwardly proportioned and too tall and Dark Bomber's face, although technically not bad at all, looked like it was stamped on cheaply. So, yeah, I was ready to give the whole line the axe. But then this character named Skully was revealed who I had never heard of before. At first glance I was unimpressed. She looked like another forgettable militant character that I've seen a thousand times before. But upon further inspection I really dig her design. The maroon and teal colors really pop with the rainbow details and her bright blonde hair. Plus the candy-skull details on her hip, backpack, and axe combine to create that quirky vs deadly that I love about Fortnite. She's amazing. Let's check out Skully below!

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Perfect Effect - MOTOBOT RC!

3rd Party Transformers -  MotoBot PE-DX01 RC (Arcee) - PerfectEffect 2012

This MotoBot RC figure is the first 3rd Party Transformer that really caught my attention. Prior to this mold in 2012, all the fembots looked like simple model kits. A lot of their features looked soft (and improperly molded), there were plastic flashes, odd proportions, and exposed screws. But these figures from PerfectEffect really stood out from the pack. They looked amazing: well-proportioned, excellent details, lots of accessories, and bright, molded colors. I even liked that fact that the design seemed to be based off her current IDW comic appearances rather than her classic G1 look. Although a classic look was still my main desire at the time (Generations Arcee wouldn't be released for another two years), I really appreciated this unique modern interpretation and was excited to get the figure. Of course, I didn't pick her up until I found her at a toy show last year, but better late than never. She still holds up great against the other more recent 3rd Party figures. Let's check out the Perfect Effect MotoBot RC below!

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Iron Factory - PINK ASSASSIN!

3rd Party Transformers - IF EX-16 Pink Assassin (Arcee) - Iron Factory 2016

Iron Factory was really on to something special when they started this 3-inch line of fembots. Between 2015 and 2018 they released seven amazing figures. Granted, there are several repaints and several simple retools, but the overall effect is a nice little troop of pocket-sized female Transformers. I only wish they would release more. Chromia, FireStar, and Moonracer would make a perfect three-pack. The tricky thing is that two previous releases (the Elita-1 and Dark Arcee homages) were surprise pack-ins with larger figures. So this makes me jump with excitement for every single Iron Factory solicitation. But with no new fembots in the last two years, I fear the line may be done. I've owned several of these ladies for years, but I only started opening them recently. I'm excited to review them one-by-one. The scale, articulation, sculpt, and paint apps are top notch. And the anime-inspired faces might seem cheesy on a larger figure, but with these it's downright adorable.  Let's check out Pink Assassin below!

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Titans Return - ARCEE!

Transformers: Titans Return - Hascon Exc Arcee w/ Ultra Magnus - Hasbro 2017

This Arcee figure has a very frustrating history for me. At first, I didn't want her at all. As pink redeco of the Titans Return Blurr, this was precisely the kind of Transformer I tried to avoid. She was a convention exclusive, and she was using a male body.. a recipe for meh. But then I picked up the Nautica figure and suddenly I had a change of heart. This body appeared way more androgynous than I expected and I regretted not trying to get Arcee. Then, in true flip-flopping fashion, I again decided not to get her when she was $24.99 on the hasbrotoyshop and toysrus websites for months. Then she sold out, and I suddenly had to have her. I'm not sure how much I ended up paying, but I eventually snagged her on eBay. I have a hunch that this Arcee is the last of her kind. In recent years, there has been a major push for female-specific body molds. Sometimes a repurposed male buck yielded decent results, but the gender-consistent options now available probably make that a thing of the past. Let's check out Arcee below!

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Ocular Max - AZALEA!

Ocular Max (Perfection Series) PS-04 Azalea  - Mastermind Creations 2018

Of all the 3rd Party Arcee figures out there, this Ocular Max Azalea from Mastermind Creations seems to be the most popular. There are already five variations of her announced (three released so far), and I have a gut feeling there will be more. Mastermind Creations first fell into my radar back in 2015 when they released their Reformatted line of fembots (Eupatorium (Elita One), Salvia Prominon (Solus Prime) and Azalea (IDW Arcee)). They were all fantastic and they marked the first time I ever spent real money on 3rd Party figures. But they were pretty stylized figures that didn't really fit in with official Hasbro or Takara products. Then three years later they shocked me by unveiling one of the most perfect looking G1 Arcee figures to date. It's not a perfect designs by any means, but it sure looks it. I hope they make more fembots, MMC did a deep dive with characters in 2015, so I hope this engineering gets the same longevity (beyond the repaints). Elita 1 would be amazing. Let's check out Ocular Max Azalea below!

Friday, March 6, 2020

Fans Toys - ROUGE!

3rd Party Masterpiece-Scale Transformers FT-24 Rouge - Fans Toys 2018

This Masterpiece-Scale Rouge figure from Arcee marked a huge turning point for me in collecting Transformers. I was always patiently waiting for official TakaraTomy or Hasbro products to come out, but upon seeing this figure, I realized the 3rd Party market was always going to pay more attention to the female Transformers than the main companies ever would (of course this was before Power of the Primes hit the shelves). This Rouge figure also confused me because it make me realize I hadn't been paying attention to the market and I had completely lost track of all the fembots already released. I vowed to backtrack and become a completist. I won't go crazy getting repaints. Arcee alone gets tons of re-releases in Stealth Mode and as the Paradron Medic, I would go broke trying to keep up. But trying to get each mold and seeing what these different 3rd Party companies can do has been a really fun side hobby (and I credit these companies with lighting a fire under Hasbro's butt).  Let's check out Rouge!

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

War in Pocket - LEAH!

Third Party Transformers - War in Pocket 14: Warrior Leah - Dx9 Toys 2016

I'm truly surprised how much I love this figure. In general, she is significantly cheaper that the average 3rd Party figure. Plus she's a smaller scale and she comes in a 2-Pack with Toufold (Kup). I ordered her years ago on a whim and never had very high expectations. But when I finally opened her last week, I was instantly enamored. She measures about 3.75" tall so I had instant flashbacks of playing with my G.I.Joes. If Takara has been making toys like this in the 80s I would have been all over them and the crossover play potential would have been insane. Leah is also very easy to transform. That's one thing smaller-scale figures like this will always naturally have over the bigger ladies, much simpler engineering. I think Dx9 could had had a lot of fun with this scale and made a ton more characters. Elita's Army would have blown my mind. But I'll take single female Leah is that's all that's meant to be. It will be fun to compare her to the future BFS Robot wave. Let's check out the Dx9 Leah below!

Monday, March 2, 2020

Toy World - TW-M06 LEIA!

Third Party Masterpiece-Scale Transformers TW-M06 Leia - Toy World 2017

2020 is going to be the year of Arcee. The Movie Series figure just came out, and there are three more on the horizon: Cyberverse, Earthrise Deluxe, and Masterpiece. I'm very excited. I'm so excited, in fact, that I finally opened all of my 3rd Party figures that I've been stockpiling for years. For a long time there weren't any official G1 Arcee figures out there, so the 3rd Party market eagerly filled the void. I have quite a collection to review, so prep yourself for a parade of pink robots. This Leia figure from Toy World is currently the largest one in my collection towering at 8" tall. I think she looks great, and she feels really solid (and heavy!) Although one thing I've found that 3rd Party figures have in common is extremely complicated engineering. When I opened Leia last week I found myself literally awake until 7am trying to transform her torso back to bot form. I resorted to YouTube videos (Xakimus Prime, you are a life-saver! That move at 6:05 mark killed me) and I will likely never attempt that again. Let's check out Leia below!