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!