Friday, April 9, 2021

Wei Jiang - ARCEE!

3rd Party Transformers - Robot Force Deformation Era - Alcee - Wei Jiang 2014

I remember that not long after the 2014 Generations Arcee figure came out, there started to be 3rd party knockoffs of the mold popping up everywhere. A lot of these were resized to be "Masterpiece Scale." As someone who only collected female Transformers (of which the 2014 Arcee was one of the first great ones), I had no clue what this scale meant. Nowadays, of course, there have been three Masterpiece females (Road Rage, Blackarachnia, and Arcee), but the appeal of an upscaled Generations Arcee still didn't appeal to me until very recently. I realized that the Wei Jiang Alcee featured more classic colors than the main Hasbro release. It actually matches the color scheme of the scarce Target-exclusive Platinum Arcee repaint (but without the shiny paint). And I also realized I want as many Arcee representations as possible in my collection. There are a lot of disreputable eBay sellers offering Alcee. I have had several failed transactions but I finally got one. Let's check her out below!

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - APRIL O'NEIL!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Series - April O-Neil (Reissue) -  PlayMates 1991

I am well aware of April O'Neil's iconic status among action figure collectors. When I hear like-minded hobbyists rattle off their favorite vintage female characters, she's always right up there with Teela and Scarlett. But until very recently I never saw the appeal. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles wasn't my favorite property. I had a personal aversion to martial arts, I liked more serious cartoons, and I never saw the appeal of surfer dude culture. So in the midst of this immensely popular cartoon, that I had very unpopular opinions of, was a sole female reporter who inexplicably wore a bright yellow jumpsuit all the time. She just failed to capture my imagination. It honestly wasn't until Super7 unveiled their TMNT Ultimates figure that I looked back and really began to see the appeal. I received this figure MOC in a random eBay lot many years ago but only recently opened her. While this orange-pocketed reissue isn't an ideal vintage representation in my opinion, she's a perfectly suitable stand-in for the yellow one.

Monday, April 5, 2021

Transformers - AIRAZOR!

Transformers: War For Cybertron - Kingdom Deluxe - Airazor - Hasbro 2021

I still have yet to watch any of the Beast Wars cartoons, but after reading about Airazor for this review, I'm legitimately excited to start. For those unaware, Beast Wars takes place in the future when the Maximals (Autobots) and Predacons (Decepticons) crash on Earth in the midst of their ongoing war. As they entered the atmosphere, the Maximals has to jettison many stasis pods (essentially embryonic Transformers) into the upper atmosphere for their protection. Over the course of the series, these orbiting stasis pods would fall out of orbit and both sides would race to retrieve them and imprint a new soldier for their side. Airazor was in once such pod and fell to Earth deep in Predacon territory. But luckily the Maximals found her first and she imprinted on a nearby Peregrine Falcon for her beast form. She became one of the only flying good guys. I've always been aware of this characters, but her design never read as "female" to me so I never hunted down any toys. But this new Kingdom figure proved hard to resist.

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Metropolis ReAction - MARIA (NEW VARIANTS)!

ReAction Figures - Metropolis' Maria (Vac Metal Silver & GITD) - Super7 2021

A colorway is any of a range of combinations of colors in which a style or design is available. You hear this term used a lot in the collectible toy world but I only recently looked up the definition. In general, I'm never too obsessed with collecting color variations of a single mold. My first hobby was PEZ dispensers, and many collectors go crazy trying to get every variant stem color. I just never thought it was a worthwhile endeavor. But at the same time, the idea of a spectrum of identical figures has a certain aesthetic appeal. I have definitely fallen into this trap with certain Transformers and G.I.Joes in the past, but my most recently obsession has been this Super7 ReAction Maria figure. Maria is from the 1929 silent film, Metropolis, which is regarded as the original Sci-Fi film. As such an iconic design, she's very under- merchandised. So when Super7 started releasing different colorways, I just couldn't resist. This post highlights the 4th and 5th releases of Maria in Silver and GITD. Let's check them out below!

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Power Rangers S.P.D. - PINK RANGER!

Power Rangers Lightning Collection - S.P.D. Pink Ranger - Hasbro 2021

I first started paying attention to Power Rangers as an adult in 2006 when Mystic Force came out. That series sparked an interest in all things Rangers and I dove deep into all the iterations I had missed. At the time, I could easily say that S.P.D. was my least favorite. When there are amazing themes like dinosaurs, jungle beasts, and mythical creatures, the thought of space police just seems lackluster. But now that I have this Pink SPD Ranger in hand, I really appreciate the design. The profile of the helmet is great and the asymmetrical color blocking on the torso is really unique among Ranger designs. SPD is the 13th season of Power Rangers and stands for Space Patrol Delta and the are essentially space cops. Still not my favorite, but I love having this Pink SPD Ranger as part of my collection. And this season has quite a few additional Rangers like Nova (silver, blue, and gold) and Kat (silver and orange) that would make for awesome toys. Let's check out S.P.D. Pink Ranger below!

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Marvel Legends - OMEGA SENTINEL!

Marvel Legends - X-Men Tri-Sentinel BaF - Omega Sentinel - Hasbro 2021

Outside of robot-centric properties like Transformers and Go-Bots, robotic traits in comic characters bore me. It's my personal preference, but I want mutants and magic, not cyborgs and mecha. And oversize villains always seem like a lazy set-up. I'd much rather see the X-Men vs the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants than a giant Sentinel. So, despite years of unavoidable exposure to them, I always just kind of breezed over Sentinel stories. Then I found myself reading the Powers of X storyline in 2019 and I was suddenly exposed to new evolutions of human-sized Sentinels with unique names and personalities. I am still very naïve about their histories, but I've learned that Omega Sentinels are humans that were transmuted into Sentinels via nanotechnology. All I know is that they are visually stunning and make for great action figures. The idea to include alternate parts to make her an army builder of sorts is genius. One of the many reasons Marvel Legends sets the bar high. Let's check out Omega Sentinel below!

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Marvel Legends 3.75" Retro - ELEKTRA!

Marvel Legends 3.75" Retro Series 02 - Elektra Natchios - Hasbro 2021

Elektra has never been one of my favorite characters. For the majority of my youth I was forced to participate in martial arts. I say forced because my older brother was both passionate about it, yet afraid to do it alone. And as a middle child I had no say, so they just signed me up for six years of sparring and kata. No boy scouts or wrestling for this guy. And predictably so, martial arts in comic characters isn't a skillset that particularly thrills me. But flash forward to 2003 when I read my first Elektra comic (Elektra #23) and I was really intrigued. The story was from the eyes of a man who knew Elektra was coming to assassinate this. She was viewed as a myth, but as his lines of defense failed one by one in a flash of red ribbon, his fear and resignation grew.  I believe that story was used for the intro scene for the 2005 Elektra movie (although the comic writer is not given credit). Ever since that comic, and against all odds, I can say I finally genuinely like a martial arts character. Let's check out Elektra below!

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Marvel Legends 3.75" Retro - CAROL DANVERS!

Marvel Legends 3.75" Retro Series 01 - Carol Danver (as Warbird) - Hasbro 2021

I never would have guessed that a 3.75" retro Marvel line would thrill me so much in the year 2021. I bought every single female figure in the Marvel Universe line from 2009-17, which ended up being well over 30 figures, but I was always a little unimpressed with the basic proportions and body structure. Then in 2014 Super7 kicked the retro toy trend into high gear with the first ReAction offering (Aliens) in classic Kenner style. I swear almost every property in the world has been given this treatment since, but a glaring absence was Marvel Superheroes. The union of these two action figure genres finally came into existence with this new Marvel Legends Retro series. The style is a bit like vintage Kenner (the logo is on the cardback) and a bit like Mattel Secret Wars. But the solid body construction, colorful illustrative packaging, and classic character selection combine to make a truly spectacular toyline. Carol Danvers in her 1978 "Warbird" costume is the perfect choice for the first female in the line. Let's check her out!

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Marvel Legends - MOIRA MACTAGGERT!

Marvel Legends - X-Men Tri-Sentinel BaF - Moira MacTaggert - Hasbro 2021

2019's House of X #2 is the singlemost comic in recent history to truly surprise and excite me. I will try my best not to make any spoilers because I highly suggest reading the House of X mini-series. This issue took some well-established characters, relationships, and history, and told the story from a completely different perspective. And the result (for me at least) was mind-blowing. I walked away being absolutely obsessed with Dr. Moira MacTaggert. When I was a young comic reader obsessed with The New Mutants, Moira was a maternal fixture to the team early on (and adoptive mother to Wolfsbane). I had always been aware of her, and liked her character. But I can admit I found her a little boring and inconsequential. And I certainly was never clamoring for a Moira action figure. But House of X #2 changed all that. How could I have overlooked her all these years? And why isn't she represented in my collection?! Luckily Hasbro read my mind and we rather quickly got a terrific Marvel Legends figure of her.

Monday, March 22, 2021

Disney Heroes - MALEFICENT DRAGON!

Disney Heroes - 9" Maleficent Dragon (w/ Sound) - Disney Store Exclusive 2005

Back in 2005, I was very excited about this new Disney Heroes line of highly-articulated action figures. Previous the Disney Heroes brand had been small Kenner-esque figures featuring the casts of Peter Pan, Robin Hood, and Sword in the Stone (possible Euro-only releases). Then I saw the announcement for a wave of these large, stylized, highly-articulated figures of Peter Pan and Prince Phillip (with a note saying Captain Hook, Hercules, and Maleficent were also coming - to US Disney Stores). I was very excited. I had always wanted a Maleficent action figure. As one of the most visually striking Disney characters, I was surprised we only had PVC figurines and dolls. But when I finally saw an image of the toy I was crestfallen to see it was her dragon form. While it looked great, I was hoping for the mistress herself. But then years later I got the DST figure and immediately wanted to pair her with this dragon. It took a few years to finally hunt her down and display them together. Let's check out Maleficent below!

Saturday, March 20, 2021

G.I.Joe Classified - SCARLETT (v2)!

G.I.Joe Classified #05 - Shana "Scarlett" O'Hara (Version 2.0) - Hasbro 2021

This new wave of repainted G.I.Joe Classified figures was going to be an easy pass for me. I'm not a big fan of redecos in general, especially when it's such a minimal change. But then I randomly stopped in Walgreens for a drink when I saw this Scarlett and couldn't resist. There's something subtle about the paint apps that looks good. Her hair and skin are a touch darker, her gray parts are now black, and copper parts are brown. While not a particularly exciting change, it's noticeable. Plus I eventually want super cartoon versions, so I can rationalize that supporting these repaints will get me closer to that reality. Scarlett is pretty special to me because she was one of the first female military characters I was ever exposed to (after Hot Lips Houlihan). My father was in the military and I spent many Summers on Army bases. And from my perspective the military was a total boy's club. Seeing Scarlett kick Cobra's butt and challenge her teammates was powerful. Let's check out Scarlett v2 below!

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Transformer R.E.D. - PRIME ARCEE!

Transformers R.E.D. - Series 02 - Transformer Prime Arcee - Hasbro 2021

I am abysmally bad at transforming my robots. I am a pro at assembling Ikea furniture. I've been doing origami since I was eight. And I even proved this weekend that I can fix my own plumbing issues. But something about Transformers challenges all of my mechanical skills. I'm always nervous about breakages. And, honestly, I don't love vehicles. I just don't find them interesting or aesthetically pleasing. So I find myself nervously fiddling with a toy with an end goal that I'm not even excited about. That said, robots are a major obsession of mine, so I will always be drawn to Transformers. When the Transformers R.E.D. (Robot Enhanced Design) line was announced - a non-transforming, highly articulated line of the characters stuck in their robot forms - the general response from fandom was incredulity. Transforming is literally in the name. But I was thrilled. No more anxiety! No more weird kibble! Just a well-formed robot mode. The first female in the line is the Transformers: Prime Arcee. Let's check her out below!

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Gremlins - GRETA!

Reel Toys: Gremlins 2 The New Batch - Ultimate Greta - NECA Toys 2021

I just watched Gremlins 2: The New Batch for the second time ever (it's streaming on HBO). I saw it originally in the early 90s but I remember not liking it as much as the first one. But watching it now I can see it's a wholly different concept. Where the first movie was mysterious and a bit scary, the sequel was pure camp. I was just a little too young to pick up on the cues that it was one long running gag... like Christopher Lee as Dr. Catheter? Completely over my head. One thing that really stuck in my memory though was the green-haired female Gremlin, now known as Greta... no real details about her other than the visual though. When I watched the movie again this weekend I was excited to see which Mogwai she evolved from. But alas, the mythology was changed so that Gremlins could be spawned from wet Gremlins, skipping the Mogwai step altogether. Also, Greta is a male/genderless Gremlin who drinks a gender hormone and essentially becomes a sexual predator. Oh 1990s you are endlessly problematic.

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Miraculous - RENA ROUGE!

ZAG Heroz - Miraculous - Series 01 - Rena Rouge - PlayMates Toys 2020

I think I could go out on a limb and say that Rena Rouge is my favorite Miraculous character. I don't really watch the cartoons, but I find her design immensely appealing. Her bright colors and fox-like hair is so fun. Plus, orange-clad female action figures are oddly rare, so she really stands out in my collection.  I also like how the civilian characters in Miraculous often evolve into different costumed characters. Marinette becomes Ladybug, Aquabug, Multi-Mouse, and Lady Noire. Chloe becomes Antibug, Queen Bee, and Queen Wasp. And Alya becomes Lady Wi-Fi and Rena Rouge. So they always give that "powered up" excitement that you would get from classic video games or Power Rangers. Even though Rena Rouge is the second fox character after the villain Volpina, Rena just seems special. I'm really glad she was included in the first wave of this new PlayMates line. She's honestly the main reason I decided to jump on board with this new scale after the Bandai line ended. Let's check out Rena Rouge below!

Saturday, March 13, 2021

PlayMates Toys - MIRACULOUS!

ZAG Heroz - Miraculous - Ladybug, Marinette, Cat Noir - PlayMates Toys 2020

Sometimes I find myself totally obsessed with a line of action figures, but be completely indifferent to the source material. This happens all the time with video game properties (since I am not a gamer at all), but it's pretty rare with comics and cartoons (since I am fully immersed in both genres). But Miraculous is a big exception. I adore these character designs. Most of the figures have simple animal-themed and brightly colored costumes. And the base body type is definitely an animated style with spindly limbs and big heads, but they are actually more naturally proportioned than a lot of animation figures on the shelves. I was very excited to watch the cartoon when I first got the Bandai toys back in 2016, but I quickly realized I am very far from the target demographic of that show. I couldn't relate and I just didn't enjoy it. But my appreciation for the toys has been growing ever since. Last year at Toy Fair they announced that the Bandai figure line was ending and a new one from Playmates was launching. 

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Marvel Legends - FIRESTAR!

Marvel Legends - Fan Channel Exclusive - Firestar & Ms. Lion - Hasbro 2021

Every so often I get an action figure that I have been dreaming of for decades... and it actually meets the extremely high expectations that have built up over those years. As a kid watching Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, I was instantly enamored with Firestar. I even naively expected there to be a Secret Wars figure of her. But alas, forty years later she finally gets the quality figure she deserves. When Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends was being developed, the creators liked the idea of a Fire-and-Ice dichotomy. The classic Marvel elementals, Iceman and Human Torch, were the obvious choice. However, the rights to the Human Torch were tied-up in a never-produced television pilot and he was unavailable. (This is the same legal red tape that led to the creation of H.E.R.B.I.E. in lieu of Johnny Storm in the 1978 Fantastic Four show). So the creators took the general design of Mary Jane and paired them with Human Torch's powers to create Firestar. And little nerdy me thanks his lucky stars for that.

Monday, March 8, 2021

Stretch Armstrong - BLINDSTRIKE!

Stretch Armstrong and the Flex Fighters - Series 01 - Blindstrike - Hasbro 2018

Spoiler Alert. I waited several years to post this. And actually the entire basis of this post is one giant spoiler. In fact, once you read the title in the context of a female-centric blog, the spoil has been made. Blindstrike is one of those surprise gender-reveal characters. Like Phantasm from Batman or Lancer from Robotech, Blindstrike was a mysterious figure that presented as a deceptively male character until the surprise reveal that she was Ravi, a classmate of the Flex Fighters. Stretch Armstrong and the Flex Fighters was a Netflix animated series that ran for two seasons in 2017-2018. I watched the first season back when the toys first came out and I really enjoyed it. It was fun, colorful, and had a lot of really unique female characters (mostly villains!) The toys feature traditional action figures, like Blindstrike and Quick Charge, as well as rubbery figures similar to the vintage Stretch Armstrong toys. They were Walmart exclusives but I recently saw them at Five Below. Let's check out Blindstrike below!

Saturday, March 6, 2021

Batman Earth 11 - THE DROWNED!

DC Multiverse - Dark Nights: Metal - Batman Earth 11 - McFarlane Toys 2021

Bryce Wayne is the "Batman" of the gender-flipped Earth 11. Her lover, Sylvester Kyle, was killed by rogue metahumans and she went on a violent revenge spree to kill every metahuman. She was blinded by vengeance and achieved her goal in 18 months. But then the Atlanteans returned from exile to propose a treaty with Batwoman. Bryce saw them as another metahuman menace and murdered Aquawoman (with her own trident). The Atlanteans retaliated by flooding Gotham. Bryce was unhindered and began manipulating/enhancing her own DNA with Atlantean - becoming The Drowned. In this form, she could breathe underwater, and also gained a type of hydrokinesis which allowed her to turn her enemies into ravenous beasts under her command. The whole Dark Nights: Metal storyline is filled with dark, twisted versions of DC characters - which is the natural aesthetic for McFarlane Toys. I knew from that first comic that we would get this toy. Let's check out The Drowned below!

Thursday, March 4, 2021

WWE Beast Mode - BECKY LYNCH!

WWE Beast Mode Blind Box Series 1 - Becky Lynch as Phoenix - Mattel 2020

I'm such a sucker for 2.5" action figures. They remind me of all the classic tiny action figures of my youth: M.A.S.K., Dino-Riders, Sky Commanders, Legions of Power, etc. But if you think female characters in traditional-scale lines are rare, these 1:28 scale figures are a verified sausage fest. If it weren't for the recent Star Wars Mission Fleet figures, this Becky Lynch would have been the first female in this scale since the Power Rangers movie three years ago. This new WWE Beast Mode blind box line was a total surprise to me when I found them in Walmart last week. I saw the image of Becky on the box and immediately started googling for cheat codes. Luckily they were easy to find and I came home with a couple. The feature of transforming into Beast Modes is really fun. I don't know enough about wrestling to know if there is some connection between wrestlers and a mythical beast theme, but it sure makes for an inspired toy line. And I'm especially glad Becky's beast is a Phoenix. Let's check her out below!

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Last Knight on Earth - WONDER WOMAN!

DC Multiverse - Bane BaF Wave - Wonder Woman - McFarlane Toys 2021

When the McFarlane DC Multiverse line started, I predicted that the figure decos would focus on modern gritty interpretations of the characters. Aka the most McFarlane-esque versions of classic legacy characters. I'm a sucker for retro styles and simple costumes so I figured I would be skipping most offerings. My assumptions were for the most part correct, but my willpower didn't hold up like I expected. This Wonder Woman figure is really stunning. She has my favorite headsculpt of any DC McFarlane figure so far. She is from the Batman: Last Knight on Earth storyline (2019-2020) where young Bruce Wayne was convicted of murdering his parents in crime alley and all subsequent events in the DC Universe are altered. In the resulting post-apocalyptic Earth, all the Amazons had been slaughtered and Diana is leading the New Amazons, a group of survivors including Poison Ivy, Wonder Girl, Vixen, and Supergirl. Wonder Woman's look is very Mad Max and I love it. Let's check her out below!

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Captain Simian - SHAO-LIN!

Captain Simian & the Space Monkeys - Series 02 - Shao-Lin - Bluebird 1996

In 1996 there was a short-lived 26-episode animated series called Captain Simian and the Space Monkeys. I think it has a cool premise. During the 1960's, an experimental space flight carrying a solo chimpanzee named Charlie goes off course and is intercepted by a highly advanced extraterrestrial race (that look like floating shadow amoebas). They altered Charlie's DNA and imbued him with enhanced intelligence and tech. They we so impressed that they sent him back to Earth to recruit others for the same treatment. The team stayed in space to battle the evil Nebula in his attempts to become a sentient black hole. Shoa-Lin is a Golden Snub-Nosed Monkey who had been worshipped as a Goddess at a temple on Earth. She retains some holier-than-though airs with the crew but eventually warms up and becomes first officer. She is known for her martial arts skills and Buddhist wisdom. Bluebird Toys produced two waves of action figures (with spotty distribution). Let's check out Shao-Lin below!

Friday, February 26, 2021

Top Wing - BEA!

Top Wing - Academy Collector Pack (Full Cadet Collection) - Bea - Playskool 2019

My fascination with preschool action figures started with Imaginext and all their DC heroes. In fact, the first Imaginext release of Catwoman was a major factor in me starting this blog. I was thinking how it was a shame Catwoman wasn't included in the line yet when I found a blog reviewing her. I was floored she existed. I became a big fan of the site, and after a few months I was inspired to launch my own. And my fascination with preschool toys has remained, but I often opt to only post the more collector-focused figures. A few years ago, Top Wing was a significant presence in the toy aisles. It features a cast of anthropomorphic birds who illogically fly planes. I think the designs are colorful and fun, but the toy line dwindled before this last set featuring the parental figure and technician, Bea, hit the shelves. She was seemingly only released in Canada (always out of stock on the Walmart Canada website and never on eBay). But then I found her in December at a discount store (Ollie's) in the US.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Star Wars - REY (DARK SIDE VISION)!

Star Wars 6" Black Series: ROS #01 - Rey (Dark Side Vision) - Hasbro 2020

One of my biggest theories for the recent Star Wars trilogy was that Rey would turn to the dark side and become a Sith lord. I love storylines where characters change their allegiances. My favorite Marvel heroes (Spider-Woman, Firestar, Rogue, Scarlet Witch, etc) all started out as villains. Even Polaris spent most of her early adventures on the wrong side of heroics (albeit through mind control). Going from good to bad is more rare, but in some ways it's more exciting. I just had a hunch when we first met Rey that she might go bad. Then in the lead-up to The Rise of Skywalker, two things happened that seemingly solidified my theory. First, the Second Sister Inquisitor figure was teased, and I thought it was Rey in Kylo-Ren-esque armor (but alas, it wasn't her). Second, a trailer showed Rey in a dark cloak with red light saber. I was so excited. Of course, we all now know that was a pretty misleading dream sequence. But either way she makes for a cool toy. Let's check out Dark Side Vision Rey below!

Monday, February 22, 2021

The Rise of Skywalker - REY!

Star Wars 6" Black Series #91 - Rey & D-O (Rise of Skywalker) - Hasbro 2019 

I have had this review sitting as a draft for about 14 months. Back in Fall of 2019 when I purchased and photographed this Rey, I was a little burnt out on Star Wars figures, especially Rey. Don't get me wrong, I loved all the new movies and I adore Rey, but I have posted a lot of reviews for this character. And although this specific figure was a big technical improvement over most of its predecessors, the articulation was identical to other Black Series figures and this costume was already the subject of 9 Rey posts (of 14). But some real incentive came today when I was editing pics for an even newer Rey figure (the Dark Side Vision version) and I saw this old post still sitting as a draft. I'm a little obsessive about having posts like these be in the correct order so there was no more procrastinating. This Rey is mostly notable for her face sculpt. Hasbro is constantly upping their game with face scanning/printing technology, and this is easily the best Daisy Ridley likeness so far. Let's check out Rey below!

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Jurassic World Imaginext - MAISIE!

Imaginext – Jurassic World – Indoraptor and Maisie – Fisher-Price 2020

There was one delayed release from 2018's flood of Jurassic World products that I was worried I would never get. I'm a big fan of Fisher-Price's Imaginext line, but I must admit distribution of final assortments can be dicey. I had chalked up this Maisie and Indoraptor set as being lost to the abyss of missed-movie-momentum. But then in Spring of 2020, right as the pandemic lockdown began, she started showing up in discount stores like Big Lots. What was really special about this Maisie figure is that she is the first female Imaginext on a smaller juvenile body. The Indoraptor is also a sought-after toy. The original Indoraptor in the Imaginext Jurassic World line was a big complicated contraption with wheels and posts to simulate a walking action. So this smaller free-standing versions was much more conducive to imagination play. So the rarity of this set, the unique body for Maisie, and the desirability of the dinosaur all convinced me that this set was worth of a post. Let's check out Maisie below!

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Music Video Series - BILLIE EILISH!

Music Video Series: Billie Eilish (All the Good Girls Go to Hell) - Playmates 2020

This figure had me really conflicted. Overall, action figures that are intended to be dark or spooky do not appeal to me at all. Another aesthetic I avoid is bloody, melting, or dirty designs. There's a visceral quality involved that doesn't mesh with my weak stomach. But on the other hand, I love love love character with wings. I am always intrigued by new construction by a reputable company (like Playmates). And I'm a genuine fan of Billie Eilish. So despite the creepy factors keeping me away, my overall curiosity got the better of me. "All the good girls go to hell" is a song and music video from her debut studio album. The video features an "angellic" Billie that falls into an oil spill and transforms into a dark angel in a world on fire. Playmates made a line of Billie Eilish themed products in 2020. Mostly larger dolls, but also this single action figure. The packaging is an event. There are instructions on the box to unfold it all into the large flaming set of the music video. Quite a feat. Let's check Billie out below!

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Fortnite - BLAZE!

Fortnite - Choppa Helicopter (w/ Blaze) - 3.75" Series -  Jazwares Toys 2020

One thing that is really impressing me about Fortnite toys are the inventive color palettes of the figures. It's seems like a silly detail to be obsessed with, but I love outlandish costume designs and I definitely notice when something is breaking new territory. Back in November, I was waxing on about how Singularity's turquoise, dark teal, and maroon blew my mind. And now this Blaze figure mixing bronze, lavender, and yellow. It looks so good, and I'm mostly impressed because I would never have come up with that combination on my own. Kudos to the Fortnite designers. I'm always excited to see what they'll do next. Blaze seems to be a fire-wielding character (who unfortunately comes with a boring gun instead of a flame accessory). She also comes with the giant 17" light-up Choppa Helicopter. I personally never buy toy vehicles unless I have to. In fact, they are usually a major deterrent for me, so that should tell you how impressed I was with Blaze. Let's check her out below!

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Farscape - ZHAAN!

Farscape - Action Figures Series 01 - Zhaan (Delvian Pa'v) - Toy Vault 2000

Farscape was a science fiction space adventure series that aired from 1999-2003. This was a time period in my life that was essentially a television blackout for me. In late college and early career time, I never had cable. Just a television and a VHS collection. But I was still very aware of Farscape. It seemed like a no-brainer that the Jim Henson Company should be involved in a space adventures series. Stargate SG-1, Babylon 5, Battlestar Galactica, Firefly, and the various Star Trek spinoffs were a television staple for a solid decade. And right in the middle was the oddity of Farscape. The creature puppets and makeup made it stand out from the pack. I had a roommate who watched it when back home for holidays and I would get all these action figure junk mail catalogs (remember those?) that featured toys based on the show. I only started watching the show this past Fall and coincidentally one of my favorite local collectible shops just got a bunch of the old toys. Perfect timing! Let's check out Zhaan below!

Friday, February 12, 2021

POP Funko - SHE-RA!

POP! Retro Toys: MOTU #38 - She-Ra (Specialty Series GITD) - Funko 2021

I am one of the fortunate collectors who nabbed the original She-Ra Funko Pop back in 2013. To this day, the one I personally bought (on the fateful morning I hunted her down as my lcs was opening) is the only one I've seen with my own eyes. And for the crazy prices she brings in, she's got imperfections. Mine had issues like a bent sword and a head that's permanently cocked at an angle. Plus her hair color in person has an almost fluorescent quality to it. But this new version is amazing. The detailing and pose is a great improvement. And I'm personally never a fan of She-Ra toys having gold paint on them. Although I think the intention of the animation was to have gold accents, on screen it read as a darker yellow/orange, and that's what I've always wanted on my toys. It's interesting that her head and upper body is Filmation, but her belt, skirt, shield, and sword are from the vintage toy. The Specialty Series release (only available at small independent retailers) has GITD armor. Let's check her out below!

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Roblox - LUNA GALACTIC POPSTAR!

Roblox Imagination Collection - 4" Figure Wave 03 - Luna - Jazwares 2021

When I see this new Roblox Imagination collection figure of Luna the Galactic Popstar, I can't help but think how much she reminds me of Tallstar from She-Ra. The bright colors, pink hair, and gold stars are a visual connection I just can't unsee. The Imagination Collection from Roblox and Jazwares is a series of characters that I presume are designs by fans/players of the game. It's my understanding that the Roblox game features a massive library of elements (bodies, hairstyles, clothes, etc) that let you create your own characters. This toys series seem to feature some of these creations (the cardback says Luna was designed by bunpunk). Seeing the crazy variety of characters in this collection lately makes me think I should start playing this game. Who knows, maybe I'll be awesome and they'll immortalize my work in plastic. In the meantime I will keep my eyes and ears open for news of upcoming figures (they tend to pop up out of the blue with no advance notice). Let's check out Luna below!

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Roblox - AVEN THE SILVER WARRIOR!

Roblox Imagination Collection - 4" Figure Wave 03 - Aven - Jazwares 2021

When I was young I was obsessed with collecting and reading backissues of Batman Family. This was a deluxe anthology comic series featuring both reprints and new material starring the entire cast of the Batman universe. As a kid with a meager allowance ($1.50 a week) augmented by a paperboy salary (that was equally insignificant), Batman Family was easily the most value for my money. One issue in particular stood out to me. It featured Duela Dent and a band of female "daughters" of the key Batman Villains: Penguin's Daughter, Riddler's Daughter, and the only one with a unique name, Scare-Crone. I loved the idea of a scary female Scarecrow so much. And all these years later that's exactly where my head went when I saw this Aven the Silver Warrior figure from the new Roblox Imagination Collection wave. She looks nothing like the Scare-Crone, in fact she looks more like a Tin-Man and Scarecrow mashup from Wizard of Oz, but either way I think she's awesome. Let's check out Aven below!

Friday, February 5, 2021

Roblox - SKYLAS!

Roblox Imagination Collection - 4" Figure Wave 03 - Skylas - Jazwares 2021

I love how quirky and weird video game toys are getting these days. I feel like all of my life, this genre was mostly composed of either cartoonish animals or gritty military. Neither of which ever tempted the collector side of my brain. But a few years ago  Fortnite hit the toy shelves and changes everything. Suddenly there were militant character dressed like cartoonish animals? I guess two negatives really do make a positive because I was hooked right away. The teddy bear pajamas are what lured me in, but the plethora of other colorful characters are what kept my interest. And now the imitators are giving chase and I'm here for it. Roblox was historically a block-design game (kind of a cross between Lego and Minecraft) but at some point it morphed into a human-proportioned characters with diverse and playful designs. And the toys it has been inspiring are so fun. They are honestly one of my favorite properties right now because they are so unexpected and weird. Let's check out Skylas below!

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Bucky O-Hare - MIMI LaFLOO!

Bucky O-Hare - Figure #12 - Captain Mimi LaFloo - Boss Fight Studios 2021

Bucky O'Hare is very visually nostalgic to me. Something about the comic covers with their ultra-busy illustrations and bright colors made them really stand out on the comic shelves. Even the small Continuity Comics logo on this figure packaging takes me back to my many hours spent in comic shops as a youth. Something else very unique about the Bucky O'Hare comics was the way Michael Golden would draw eyes. Nowadays, giant irises with color gradients are commonplace, but back then it was very unique. Mimi LaFloo was a mystery to me when Boss Fight Studios first announced her. But I quickly realized that was because she was introduced in the 90's Bucky O'Hare cartoon which I didn't even know existed until recently. But I have a thing for anthropomorphic animal toys, especially foxes, so I was thrilled to get her. In preparing for this review I watched some old episodes and I was happy to see other female characters for BFS to potentially sink their teeth into. Let's check out Mimi below!

Monday, February 1, 2021

Into the Spider-Verse - GWEN STACY!

Marvel Legends: Spider-Man Stilt-Man Wave - Gwen Stacy - Hasbro 2021

I remember the first time I laid eyes on Spider-Gwen. I was on vacation with my family and catching up on a backlog of comics. In the back of one random Marvel book, there was a small picture of her advertising the Spider-Verse storyline. I was so behind in comics at the time and assumed I had missed a big introduction. But the internet failed me and told me nothing. Spider-Gwen wasn't officially revealed for a few months in Edge of Spider-Verse #2, but I was hooked from that first teaser image. Having her be an other-dimensional version of a legacy character like Gwen Stacy just added to her allure. I'm so happy that 2018's Into the SpiderVerse film has launched her into wide popularity. My rube coworkers even know who she is because their kids love her. This Gwen figure is a perfect representation of her from the movie. The unmasked head is extremely impressive. Now I'm excited for her future animation roles, especially the rumored female-centric Spider-Women movie. Let's check out Gwen below!

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Apex Legends - VOIDWALKER WRAITH!

Apex Legends - 6" Action Figures - 05 Wraith (Voidwalker) - Jakks Pacific 2021

I feel like for years fans have been asking for Legends-scale figures for almost every property. Marvel Legends has set quite a high bar for quality and scale. So it's natural to want that same effort applied to other properties. And recently I looked around the toy aisles and realized this has happened. Star Wars Black Series, G.I.Joe Classified, and Transformers R.E.D. are some of the most difficult items to find in stock. And then there there's a video game properties following suit: Halo Infinite, Fortnite Legendary Series, and the most recent addition, Apex Legends. Apex Legends is a 2019 first-person shooter battle royale game and Wraith is one of the many playable characters (Legends) in it. She can control inter-dimensional rifts - whether small like dodging attacks or big like teleporting a whole squad. This is the same character as the first Wraith figure, but in her cool inter-dimensional Voidwalker suit. Her design reminds me of Starcom or the Rulons from Dino-Riders. I love it. Lets' check out Wraith below!

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Nick Jr - RAINBOW RANGERS!

Nick Jr's Rainbow Rangers  - Team Rainbow Rangers 8-Pack - Fisher-Price 2020

It's actually pretty surprising that there hasn't been a preschool-age magical girl series in the US before. The formula is so simple: girls with powers, transformation sequences, adventures. And if you want to have a really successful property, apply color themes to the characters. The most recent similar show I've watched was Glitter Force on Netflix (aka PrettyCure), and it followed an extremely similar format as this new Rainbow Rangers show on Nick Jr, albeit aimed toward an older preteen/YA audience. But the interesting thing about seeing this rainbow-themed genre interpreted for a preschool audience is that it instantly reminds me of many classic properties from my childhood like Strawberry Shortcake and Rainbow Brite. The show itself almost has a Dora the Explorer feel with a constant flow of adorable wildlife in need of rescue, but the costumed adventurer angle really makes it stand out. These toys are simple with only 4-poa, but they are really colorful and fun. Let's check them out below!

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Fortnite - JULES!

Fortnite - Bombs Away! Glider (w/ Jules) - 3.75" Series -  Jazwares Toys 2021

When I first started this blog I loved doing themed months of reviews. Mostly it would be silly, like bumblebee-themed characters or Halloween, but sometimes it took on some social significance like reviews for Black History Month. I've always been drawn to diverse representation in action figures. Since my collecting focus is female characters, we're already swimming in underdog territory. So finding additional dimensions of diversity is exponentially harder. Then came the fateful attempt to do Native American characters. I quickly discovered there were almost no figures of Native American females outside of vintage wild-west toys. Characters were present: Dawnstar, Talisman, Rainmaker, Dani Moonstar, etc, but toys were simply absent (at the time). So now whenever I see a figure that even eludes to a Native American origin, I get really excited. This Fortnite Jules character has no officially defined heritage, but I interpret her design as Native American and gladly add her to my collection.

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Power Rangers - ASTRONEMA!

Power Ranger Lightning Collection - Red Ranger & Astronema - Hasbro 2020

I felt very defeated when the Power Rangers license shifted from Bandai to Hasbro. I had invested a lot of energy and excitement in the Legacy line and starting over with the Lightning Collection just seemed depressing. However, I must say that Hasbro's efforts to give us the weird and quirky villains from the Power Rangers franchise has been very encouraging. In all the years of the Legacy Collection we saw very few villains, but with Hasbro we've seen a steady inclusion of bad guys. Astronema is known as the Princess of Evil and is the prime antagonist in Power Rangers In Space. She also appeared in several other series and has been portrayed by a number of actors (mainly Melody Perkins), and is notable for numerous outlandish hairstyles. I never watched In Space or Lost Galaxy, but in recent reading I learned that Astronema becomes the Pink Galaxy Ranger and is the sister of In Space Red Ranger. Now I find her immensely more interesting. Let's check out Astronema below!

Friday, January 22, 2021

Marvel Legends - WASP!

Marvel Legends Series 15 (MODOK BAF) - Wasp (Red Variant) - Toy Biz 2006

One of my biggest wishes for the Marvel Legends line is to get a full-size classic Janet Van Dyne Wasp in her original red outfit and bullet helmet. The Wasp is actually a problematic character for me, because a big aesthetic of mine is for costume consistency. The majority of my favorite characters have had unchanged costumes for decades. Sure, all characters change it up occasionally, but most return to their original looks. But Janet van Dyne is a different story altogether. Her character evolved into a fashion fanatic and designer in the 70s and wore a different costume in practically every appearance. It became an endearing and unique character trait, but I crave consistency so this drove me nuts. I always wanted a classic full-size wasp in her 60's costume, and this 2006 Toy Biz version is the closest I could find (the 1999 miniature version is amazing too). In true Wasp fashion, this 2006 figure was intended to have three distinct variants, although only two were released. Let's check her out below!

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Transformers Kingdom - BLACKARACHNIA!

Transformers: War For Cybertron - Kingdom - Blackarachnia - Hasbro 2021

I must admit I was really surprised to see a Blackarachnia figure in the War For Cybertron series. So far, the Siege and Earthrise releases seemed focused on really classic (essentially 1980's) characters. And honestly I was excited to see who we would get in the final part of the trilogy. But in a surprise twist, the theme jumped forward to 1996's Beast Wars franchise for final Kingdom series. I unfortunately am very unfamiliar with all the Beast Wars shows and my only connection comes from my knowledge of the toys as an adult collector. That said, Blackarachnia has a special place in my heart for being the first notable female Decepticon. I have an affinity for vampy female villains and the easiest way to do that is to is to borrow themes from bats or spiders. The original Beast Wars Blackarchnia toy was a boxy retool of a male character (Tarantulas). The first decent figure was 2015's Legends release, but it was a little odd as a retooled Transformers: Animated mold. This Kingdom figure finally scratches the itch.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Transformers Masterpiece - ARCEE!

Transformers Masterpiece - MP-51 Arcee (Cybertron Warrior) - TakaraTomy 2021

One of my favorite decisions of the past decade was to start collecting all the Arcee figures I could get my hands on. I do this a lot with other characters I love (Batgirl, Catwoman, Spider-Woman, etc), but the effort to get all the Arcees was a daunting and pricey goal. These challenges are of course accelerated by the dynamic 3rd Party Transformers market where high-end fan-made unlicensed figures break new ground each year. I credit all the previous attempts to create unofficial Masterpiece-Scale Arcee figures in the success of this long-awaited official TakaraTomy version. Almost every detail seems inspired and improved upon from the past 3rd Party releases. The single flaw I find with this figure is the low-placed, mis-measured, and undersized chest plate. And ironically, this flaw will likely be remedied with a 3rd Party add-on kit, making it a joint effort toward a perfect Arcee figure. I'm really looking forward to that day. In the meantime, let's check out the TakaraTomy Masterpiece Arcee below!

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Marvel Legends - MARVEL GIRL!

Marvel Legends - Walmart Exc Twin Packs - Cable & Marvel Girl - Hasbro 2007

Hot on the heels of yesterday's 1997 Toy Biz Marvel Girl figure comes this early 2007 Marvel Legends Jean. This was an odd transition time for Marvel Legends females. Hasbro took over from ToyBiz in 2006, and the production quality hadn't quite hit its groove. A year after this figure in 2008, the female characters looked great (see my recent 2008 Elektra post), but in 2007 they still looked scrawny with awkward limbs and flat faces. I remember being very excited to get this figure of Marvel Girl in my favorite costume. However, I also remember finally gazing at her in Walmart and being terribly disappointed at how off she seemed. The proportions were (slightly) unnatural, the gold paint in place of yellow looked wrong, and her face sculpt just looked cheesy. Still, I always half-wished I had picked her up. The announcement of the 2021 House of X Marvel Legends Jean in this costume was the push I needed to finally get her. My original criticisms still hold merit, but I'm still glad to have her. Let's check out Marvel girl below!

Monday, January 18, 2021

Toy Biz - MARVEL GIRL!

Marvel Comics - Marvel's Gold - Collector's LE 10,000 - Marvel Girl - Toy Biz 1997

It's difficult to collect vintage figures sometimes because every once in a while you come across a toy that has little to no redeeming qualities. One of my favorite collecting  goals is to get all versions of a specific character and display them in a cluster. Especially when there is a unique costume that I'm especially drawn to. This classic green and yellow mini-skirt look for Jean Grey has always been one of my favorites. She wore it from X-Men #39 in 1967 until X-Men #100 in 1976. The reprints of these stories in Classic X-Men was my first exposure to the X-Men, so it is a very nostalgic look for me. Nothing made me more excited than seeing the return of this costume for 2019's House of X storyline. But at the same time, I just knew there would finally be a great Legends figure made and I would feel compelled to track down all the early awful offerings of this costume. That brings us to this 1997 Toy Biz figure. The first time this costume ever saw life in plastic, and it was pretty tragic. Let's check her out below!

Sunday, January 17, 2021

MOTU Origins - SHE-RA!

Masters of the Universe Origins - Evil-Lyn (Princess of Power) - Mattel 2021

I think any collector who invested in the Power-Con exclusive She-Ra was cursing Mattel the day they showed the cross-sell art in a Power-Con video and confirmed a standard store release of the character, seemingly identical, was on the way. There is nothing more frustrating to me as a collector than investing in (often over-priced) exclusives only to discover that the only exclusive feature was the packaging, or even worse a measly sticker. I was ticked off personally, especially since I open all my toys. But thankfully the eventual store release featured a new head composed of. hard plastic and fully sculpted hair. If I knew this figure was coming last Spring, I probably would have skipped the Power-Con preorder, but in retrospect I'm glad to have them both. The Power-Con version looks more polished and of a higher quality overall, but they both have good attributes. Hopefully a whole Princess of Power line will follow (with an eventual Filmation She-Ra as well). Let's check out the Origins She-Ra below!

Saturday, January 16, 2021

35th Anniversary Power-Con - SHE-RA!

Masters of the Universe Origins - She-Ra - Power-Con Exclusive - Mattel 2020

I have always struggled with vintage She-Ra toys. The classic cartoon was amazing to me. Having a whole cast of dynamic and strong females was groundbreaking. And the fact that this gender-bridging show gave me "permission" to peruse the pink aisles at the toy stores was an amazing gift. I loved looking at all the colorful pink packaging and all the glorious pastel characters robed in glittery metallics. But my fascination ended there. The toys only peripherally resembled their cartoon counterparts, and I always had an aversion to soft goods on toys. It wasn't because I avoided "doll" attributes, but rather that I thought the production looked messy and distracted from the illusion of action figure play. But as an adult collector, I regret having this major piece of cartoon nostalgia absent from my collection. That's why I was really excited to get this Power-Con exclusive She-Ra. I still stink the soft goods are a total mess, but I can handle it in small doses these day. Let's check out She-Ra below!

Monday, January 11, 2021

Toy Biz - SHE-HULK!

Marvel Comics: The Incredible Hulk - She-Hulk (Gamma Crossbow) - Toy Biz 1996

I've been sick for a week but today the announcement of a new Marvel Legends She-Hulk figure thankfully brought me out of my funk a bit. I adored the Gray Hulk version of Jennifer Walters we got last year, and I eventually read and really enjoyed that comic (the 2017 Hulk series), but I'll admit, despite my admiration for gray Jennifer, I always had my fingers crossed for a classic green repaint of that mold. And today was that long-awaited day. So in honor of my happy green day, I decided to post a flashback review to the first She-Hulk figure from the 1996 Toy Biz Hulk line. It's actually surprising it took 5 years into the Toy Biz Marvel lines to finally get us this green goddess. She seems way more popular that most of the B-and-C-listers that came before her. It's probably because she required an original mold. And it's quite a unique mold too, at over 6", she towers over almost every other Toy Biz figure, especially the females. She's not perfect, but still a really fun toy to have. Let's check her out below!

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Final Faction - SHIFT!

Final Faction - Alpha Team 1 - Specialist Shift - Greenbrier International 2020

It seems that roughly every ten years there is a knockoff G.I.Joe line that will give us some good female action figures. Back around late 80s, Olmec gave us Agent Telepathy in the Bronze Bombers line. In 2000, Lanard released the Wow Action Girls line which featured a ton of sport and career themed females. In 2010 Greenbrier released S.T.O.P. vs S.C.U.M. including the Dreadnok-looking Lady Lead. And finally in 2020, Greenbrier again gives us the Final Faction line and Specialist Shift. Greenbrier International is the in-house branding arm of Dollar Tree, so you'll see this company name on a lot of products there. I think these figures are very impressive considering they only cost a dollar. The sculpts are lovely, the designs are fun, the paint application is pretty good, and the plastic quality is decent. But the very best part of these toys is the hunt. There is rarely any notice before people start posting finds online. And Dollar Trees are pretty much everywhere. Let's check out Shift below!

Monday, January 4, 2021

Tron Legacy - QUORRA!

Tron Legacy - 3.75" Action Figures Series 02 - Quorra - Spinmaster Toys 2010

Very few properties have quite the same nostalgic punch for me than Tron does. I watched the original movie countless times in my youth. I found it mesmerizing, confusing, and even scary. But still, every time it would come on TV, I would be glued to the set. And I would always try to slip the tape into our basket at the video rental store, despite having taped if off the TV. There was no rhyme or reason, I was just drawn to it. When the 2010 Tron Legacy movie was announced, I was very excited. But when I finally saw it, I found it forgettable. Fun, but forgettable. I fully plan on watching it again soon with an open mind, but at the time it just didn't capture my fancy. In fact, the 2008 Speed Racer film seemed more in the visual spirit of Tron than Legacy did. It's on my Disney+ list so I will revisit it shortly. Spinmaster had the main toy license and put out a decent number of 6" and 3.75" figures. The only merchandized female was Quorra in the second wave of the 3.75" figures. Let's check her out below!

Saturday, January 2, 2021

A Long Overdue 2018 YEAR-END REVIEW!

A Collection of 2018's Most Amazing Female Action Figures All In One Post

Yes you are reading that right. 2018. I had a desire to do a year-end review for 2020, but I'm pretty obsessive-compulsive and my last annual post like that was for 2017 (so unfortunately I have some catching-up to do). But looking back on a recent yesteryear is pretty fun. It's so easy in this collecting life to get caught up in what's coming next on the horizon, but we are living through some amazing times and it's nice to slow down and celebrate the hobby. Action figures are getting better and better every year and the nostalgia game in the toy aisles is stronger than ever.  I find myself holding a new toy every few months that surprises me with it's very existence. So looking back on 2018 is very humbling. I remember opening all these toys like it was yesterday. But even I can admit that they are already overshadowed by newer shinier purchases. I'm looking forward to posting a similar 2019 review in the coming months. It will be nice to be all current by this time next year. Let's check out 2018 below!