Friday, July 31, 2020

Transformers Cyberverse - ARCEE!

Transformers
 Cyberverse Adventures (Macadam Series) - Arcee - Hasbro 2020

The year of Arcee continues! It's been such a joy seeing so many female Transformers on the shelves these last few years. And it's especially nice to be getting so many different representations of Arcee. As the prime representative of the fembots, I always assume her presence is a reliable indicator of figures yet to come. For instance, this Cyberverse Adventures Arcee will almost certainly be retooled into a Chromia or a new Windblade. The tooling that went into the body is too good not to be re-used. While this figure is generally in the same scale as the Warrior Class Slipstream and Windblade, it is a big step forward in quality. The sculpt, paint, transformation, and poseability are impressive and more at the collector-level than the previous figures which definitely seemed geared towards kids. There are two more Arcees due out this year (Earthrise Deluxe and Masterpiece) plus the Tiny Turbo Changer and any other surprised we might see (Funko?). It's an exciting time. Let's check out Arcee below!

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

First Appearance - WONDER WOMAN!

DC Comics - First Appearance: Wave 01 - Wonder Woman - DC Direct 2004

First Appearance figures are my favorite theme of superhero toys. For a long time I had a display with a first appearance figure next to my favorite modern interpretation of that character. Both Marvel and DC figures were intermixed and it was a great collection. This Wonder Woman would have been the only female on that shelf, but I sneered at making the purchase back then because of her soft good culottes. A few years ago one of my very favorite relatives surprised me with a giant bag full of her Wonder Woman collection. I somehow never realized that she was a fan, and likewise she had only recently discovered my hobbies. She was gifting me her collection and sadly she passed away shortly after in 2019. I only recently started going through that bag and incorporating the contents into my collection. I was very happy (and sad) to find this First Appearance Wonder Woman. And like a true Gift of the Magi, I had just sold all my (male) First Appearance figure earlier this year to fund some new purchases.

Monday, July 27, 2020

Infinite Crisis - WONDER GIRL!

DC Comics Infinite Crisis - Series 2: Donna Troy Wonder Girl - DC Direct 2007

This figure and I have a past. Way back in 2007, I ran to my comic shop the day of her release and picked up both her and the Donna Troy (black starfield costume). I had been waiting excitedly since their solicitation months prior. But in person, I didn't love them. I took them home, opened them up, posed, re-posed, re-re-posed... I just couldn't make them look good. They both had cocked-hip contrapposto sculpts, which isn't my favorite thing in the world, but sculptor Sam Greenwell is a pro at making it look great. The problem was the arms. They stick out at an unnatural angle and are way too long. Even the fingers are significantly longer than they should be. I blame almost all of this on the engineering and not necessarily the sculpt. I eventually sold both of them because I didn't like seeing them on my shelf. But we all know how this story goes.. ten years later I regretted the sale and began hunting her again. I'm much more accepting these days (although she still stays in the back row). Let's check her out below!

Saturday, July 25, 2020

DC Universe Classics - DONNA TROY!

DC Universe Classics - Trigun C-n-C Wave 13, Fig 7 - Donna Troy - Mattel 2010

DC Universe Classics was a very impactful toy line. When the line began in 2008, Marvel Legends was irritating. Most notably, their female bucks were horribly gangly and odd. However DCUC was a bright light that boasted consistent body designs with great articulation and a standardized scale. This would set it apart from both DC Direct and Marvel Legends. The DCUC line was not without its faults. The female characters in particular suffered from spindly short arms and often were sculpted with flat faces. But the overall impact and success of the line was amazing. My absolute favorite among all 30-some female DCUC figures is this Donna Troy as Wonder Girl. Her costume is simple and well-executed, her headsculpt is... intriguing (like she's actually conveying some emotion unlike the typical blank stares), and her arms strangely don't seem too short or too skinny. She is a great looking toy. (Although some runners-up are Big BardaDove, and Platinum). Let's check out Donna Troy below!

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Silver Age - WONDER GIRL!

Silver Age Wonder Woman & Wonder Girl Deluxe 2-Pack - DC Direct 2001

One of the things I miss most about the heyday of DC Direct (circa 2000-2010) is the constant mix of genres and eras in their action figure lines. For any given A-list character, you could see a variety of representations from Golden Age to Modern (and with a healthy dose of Elseworlds re-imaginings thrown in). That kind of attention just wouldn't happen today. Of course less common characters also saw inclusion, and I think those are the real gems of the line. The Silver Age line of 2-Packs from 2001-2004 was a great way to get collectors classic designs of the Teen Titans as secondary pack-in characters. The costumes were not consistent to a specific roster, but the figures are still great in their own right. I especially love the wide-eyed good girl art style in the face sculpts. It's cheesy. But spot-on. This Wonder Girl figure is a favorite of mine. It features her second costume (her original was styled after Wonder Woman) back when she was Diana's younger sister, Donna. Let's check out Wonder Girl below!

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Transformers THUNDERBLAST (and REDECOS)!

Transformers Thunderblast, Elita-1, and Chromia - Hasbro 2005/TakaraTomy 2009

As I get more and more involved in collecting female Transformers, I find myself going back and coveting figures I had turned my nose up at in the past. When I first saw the Thunderblast toy 15 years ago, I thought she looked bulky and silly. And the whole "shellformer" criticism it was receiving stuck with me and it quickly fell off my radar. But recently I realized that this is actually a really terrific example of an early fembot toy. The robot form has a really good design with a feminine silhouette and great articulation. I also love the head design with its subtle nod to the earliest G1 fembot, Elita-1. And what really sealed the deal was when I saw the three very different color variations of this mold that had been released. I normally avoid repaints, but with Transformers I am inexplicably drawn to them. And them kismet happened when I found the Japanese Chromia version (easily the rarest of the three) for $30 at a local toy show. I'm excited to finally have them in my collection. Let's check them out below!

Sunday, July 19, 2020

12" Power Rangers - PINK RANGER!

Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers - 12" Series - Pink Ranger - Hasbro 2020

One of my favorite reveals at New York Toy Fair this past February was the new classic Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers products from Hasbro. We already knew the core team would be completed in their flagship Lightning Collection series, but it was such a welcome and unexpected surprise to see multiple larger-scale MMPR products aimed at younger audiences. I fully expected any products like this to be limited to the current iteration of the franchise being promoted on TV (ie Beast Morphers), but instead we saw this amazing 12" basic line featuring MMPR Red, Blue, Black, and Pink (I can only assume Yellow, Green, and White will be released in the future). Plus we saw a line of 12" Morphin' Hero figures that feature an updated version of the classic head-flipping feature. Only Pink, Blue and Red for shown for that line so far and should hit shelves in the Fall. But who knows what other product we might see. The sky is the limit as far as I'm concerned. Let's check out Pink Ranger below!

Friday, July 17, 2020

Spin Master - WONDER WOMAN!

DC Comics: Heroes Unite 4" Series 2 - Wonder Woman - Spin Master 2020

There's something really special about this new Spin Master 4" Wonder Woman from the second wave of their new Heroes Unite series. Without any real connection to it, this reminds me so much of the 1980's Super Powers Wonder Woman (which was the first true female action figure I ever saw in person). The bright simple coloring and the smaller scale have a powerful retro vibe, but in actuality the sculpt is definitely inspired from the modern cinematic costume and there have been a million 3-4" scale Wonder Women between then and now. It's such a shame I was unable to find my Super Powers Diana, or even my 1990 Toy Biz one, in time for this review. I have no clue where they might have escaped to. I hope this line continues for a long time and other figures give a classic vibe too. I think Catwoman is the next female coming (who looks decidedly modern), but hopefully the next one will carry the retro torch. Let's check out the 4" Spin Master Wonder Woman below!

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Classic Marvel Character Series - MARVEL GIRL!

Dark Horse Deluxe Presents - The X-Men #3 - Marvel Girl - Dark Horse 2013

There's nothing I love more than a good retro collectible. No matter what the era, I love classic character designs. These are often simplistic in nature, but hearken back to a time when comics were drawn quickly and more attention was paid to character development than to realistic costume details. On the flipside, I often correlate more detailed (modern) design to weaker storytelling. So, year, that explains my retro obsessions in a nutshell. What makes retro toys even better is when the product itself is also a retro throwback. In the case of these Dark Horse Statues, they are in the style of old Syroco figurines from the 30s and 40s. Marvel Girl is one of the earliest (and longest-lasting) female characters in the Marvel Universe. This classic costume only lasted for about 4 years before she donned her yellow miniskirt look (which is a look I also love), but this original will always be iconic to me. I only wish there was more merchandise featuring it. Let's check out Marvel Girl below!

Monday, July 13, 2020

Funko POP Batman Returns CATWOMAN!

POP! Heroes #338 - Batman Returns: Michelle Pfeiffer Catwoman - Funko 2020

I can't believe it's taken so long for Funko to finally make a Michelle Pfeiffer Batman Returns Catwoman Pop. It was just about this time four years ago when I was obsessively trying to buy the SDCC Dorbz set (if I remember correctly, GameStop posted them online at 2 in the morning - and I was still at a phase in life when I had patience for such things). But seeing that Catwoman finally appear under the Funko Brand was exciting, because Funko is nothing if not prolific. And I thought for sure we'd be seeing a Rock Candy, Mystery Mini, Plushes, Vynl, and most certainly a Pop of her within a few months. But no. We didn't see anything until this figure four long years later. But I guess I'm glad for the wait, because back then Funko was still giving a lot of the DC ladies that squat Batgirl #03 body. (Classic Catwoman and Batgirl '66 are two examples of figures that had old-style bodies well after the modern style was in use). This figure just wouldn't be the same without a feline pose. Let's check out this long-awaited Pop below!

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Jurassic World - ZIA & MAISIE!

Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom - Maisie & T-Rex, Zia & Triceratops - Mattel 2018

This quarantine is a affording me a lot of time to go through my basement of unopened toys and finally review a bunch of figures I had skipped over recently. Mattel's Jurassic World and Jurassic Park lines were such a fun and unexpected addition to the toy aisles. It seems that as the years go on, less and less movies have associated toy lines. Back in the day every random movie had toys (Think back to Congo, Virus, Lost in Space, Battlefield Earth, etc. Movies that that would never get merchandise today.) But the new Jurassic properties brought it all back. Not only did they release a wide range of product for the modern movies, but they did a classic line as well with all the characters from the 90's franchise. These two figures, Zia Rodriguez and Maisie Lockwood were late to the line and didn't show up in most stores until well after the movie craze had dwindled. Maisie stayed scarce, but Zia almost became a shelfwarmer (but she still was gone after a couple months). Go figure. Let's check them out below!

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Ready Player One - ART3MIS!

Ready Player One - 4-Pack - Parzival, Art3mis, Aech, and I-Rok - Funko 2018

I swore I was going to read Ready Player One this Summer but I already have a huge lineup of books on my nightstand. I've heard great things from both grownups and kids (and those cross-generational genres are typically my favorite). I finally saw the movie this past Winter and genuinely enjoyed it. It was fast-paced, fun, and absolutely overflowing with pop culture easter eggs. This action figure 4-Pack from Funko was released back in 2018 back when I had never heard of Ready Player One. They are kind of unofficially aligned with the ReAction line, so this set was always on my radar, but I didn't consider actually buying them until a year later when Walmart had them on clearance for three bucks. And once I finally saw the movie I was so glad I didn't let them slip by. Art3mis is the OASIS avatar of the token female character, Samantha Cook, who is one of the Top Five players (I'll admit I snicker every time I read that the players are called "gunters"). She's a cool character. Let's check out Art3mis below!

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

VR Troopers - KAITLIN STAR!

Saban's VR Troopers - Deluxe Figures - Battle Grid Kaitlin Star - Kenner 1996

VR Troopers was the first "spin-off" of the Power Rangers franchise which ran on US Television from 1994 to 1996. It has no connection to Power Rangers, but it followed a similar formula of taking existing action sequences from a Japanese property and re-splicing it with new American footage. Where Power Rangers was created from the Super Sentai Series, VR Troopers came from the Metal Hero Series (Big Bad Beetleborgs was the only other property adapted from this series in the US). VR Troopers is unique because it creatively mashes together three different shows, and it uses the oldest footage (1984) of all the 90's Saban properties. VR Troopers was focused on the popular 90's theme of virtual reality and features three teens who meet a hologram who exposes them to the the VR dimension and makes them heroes. Kaitlin is the token female and a budding photographer and journalist. She had three action figures produced, but this particular one stands out. Let's check her out below!

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Muppet Babies - PIGGY & SUMMER!

Disney Junior Muppet Babies - Piggy & Summer - Target Exc - Just Play 2018

The original Muppet Babies cartoon was a constant presence in my childhood. In fact, it was one of those shows that I watched well into young adulthood purely out of habit. It was this random show that my siblings and I all found non-offensive and silly. I just learned that it ran from 1984 through 1991 with eight seasons and 107 episodes. The original Muppet Show only had 120 episodes, and Muppet Babies surprisingly almost matched that run. Who would have guessed that the mature sardonic humor of the primetime Muppets would translate so well into an imaginative children's cartoon. I was really excited when the property was being rebooted back in 2018. I knew I would likely never watch this show, but I love that a new generation of kids (and, hey, teenagers too) might be exposed to the same joys I was able to experience. In true Disney Junior fashion, a line of action figures hit the stores. I was intrigued to see the new character, Summer Penguin, along with Piggy. Let's check them out below!

Friday, July 3, 2020

An Assortment of Non-DC Comics IMAGINEXT!

Imaginext - Toy Story, Minions, Power Rangers - Fisher-Price/Mattel 2019-2020

While the DC Super Friends Imaginext gets the lion's share of attention in the preschool aisles and toy forums, the figures from the other lines are nothing to turn your nose up at. I tend to let a bunch of Imaginext figures build up and photograph them in a group. In this post I have a few characters from Disney's Toy Story 4, Illumination's Minions: The Rise of Gru, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, and two unbranded Fisher-Price lines... all released over the past few years. I'm always excited to see what surprises will come down the line. There are always new themes and blind bag series in the works and I think there's a very good chance of Masters of the Universe line in the near future (It's been hinted at by Mattel and they recently announced an MOTU Little People set). Plus I would love another Adventure People homage in the form of the X-Ray Woman. The X-Ray Man from a few years ago is lonely! Let's check out this recent collection of Imaginext ladies below!

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Marvel Legends - SPIRAL!

Marvel Legends - Red Hulk Series (Target Exclusive)  - Spiral - Hasbro 2008

One of my first exposures to X-Men/mutant comics was reading my older brother's copy of Excalibur: Mojo Mayhem in the late 80s. I had been obsessed with Arthur Adams' comic art from the covers of Classic X-Men (again, belonging to my brother). So when I got my hands on my first full-length example of his interior art, I was fixated on every single panel. I distinctly remember being very intrigued by the character of Rita/Spiral. In fact, she inspired me to hunt down the backissues of the 1985 Longshot miniseries. But honestly that story confused the hell out of me because the dual nature of the two characters (Spiral and Ricochet Rita) wasn't fully fleshed out yet. For the unaware, Ricochet Rita was scorned by Longshot in the future and her hatred for him caused her to align with Mojo, who in turn altered her into the multi-armed teleporter Spiral. She traveled back in time to join the current stories. This Marvel Legends figure is twelve years old but really stands the test of time. Let's check her out below!