Wednesday, December 29, 2021

The Mandalorian - KOSKA REEVES!

Star Wars Black Series - The Mandalorian #12: Koska Reeves - Hasbro 2021

As an adult toy collector, the thing that always drew me into the Star Wars market was the rare instances (historically only in the Expanded Universe) of female characters in the different established (mostly male) factions of the Star Wars mythos: Female Storm Troopers, female Imperial Commanders, female X-Wing Pilots, female Ewoks, female Twi'leks, etc. My goal was to have a recognizable Star Wars collection with all female characters. My favorite of these factions was always the Mandalorians. Years ago they released two 3.75 female Mandalorians (and of course Sabine Wren) and I assumed that would be all we would see. But then The Mandalorian came into my life and everything changed. Suddenly there were multiple Black Series toys in the pipeline of amazing female bounty hunters. I'll confess I haven't have my Star Wars ladies on display in years, but these new additions now qualify them for a prominent spot. The latest figure is Koska Reeves and she is amazing. Let's check her out below!

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Star Wars - AURRA SING!

Star Wars Black Series - The Clone Wars #08: Aurra Sing - Hasbro 2021

Action figures give you a chance to really take in the physical details of a character. In movies and cartoons, characters are always in motion so it's nearly impossible to take in all the details. But toy makers get detailed specs, sometimes even the actual costumes and bodyscans for reference. In the case of Aurra Sing, she had such a brief cameo on The Phantom Menace, that I only had a vague idea what she looked like: orange uniform, stark white skin, and a big ponytail on an otherwise bald head. (I never watched any animated Star Wars shows so I missed out on her character development there). So when I got this toy I was taken by two cool details that I had never noticed. First, the antenna-like protrusion coming out of her head. And secondly, she has really creepy long fingers. My first reaction upon opening her was "ohhh man. The factory melted her hands." But now I think they are such a cool detail that I never would have noticed if not for this figure. Let's check out Aurra Sing below!

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Power Rangers - YELLOW RANGER (AISHA)!

Power Rangers Lightning Collection - MMPR Yellow Ranger - Hasbro 2021

Aisha Campbell was the second Yellow Ranger in the American Mighty Morphin Power Rangers series. She replaced the character Trini Kwan when actress Thuy Trang left the show partway through Season 2 over contract disputes (along with Austin St. John and Walter Emanuel Jones) back in 1994. Actress Karan Ashley who portrays Aisha seems to continually reprise the role (According to IMDb as recently as 2018 in Power Rangers Hyperforce). I personally wasn't watching Power Rangers when she was a character, but I think this is a great re-use of a mold and a smart pairing for Scorpina. As collectors, we know that companies often have to re-use toy molds to get their money's worth. And it's how they budget for characters with intense tooling like Scorpina. But instead of a random sparkly repaint of Trini, they included a simple alternate Aisha head and successfully gave us a great two-pack without feeling like we were forced to buy a duplicate character. Kudos to Hasbro. Let's check out Aisha below!

Friday, December 24, 2021

MOTU Minis - SORCERESS & MERCENARY TEELA!

Masters of the Universe Revelation (Netflix) - Eternia Minis - Mattel 2021

I love the surge of Masters of the Universe products hitting the shelves in recent years. I never thought I would see a dedicated MOTU space in the toy aisles of the big box stores, and suddenly there are five unique toy lines (Origins, MasterVerse, Eternia Minis, He-Man Animated, and Mega Construx). Plus a new Imaginext XL line coming soon. So far the only line that blends all the different iterations of He-Man has been the Eternia Minis. It started out as a continuation of the Mattycollector MOTU Minis line, but has quickly shown potential to be so much more. There has been figures from the Vintage line, Revelation, and the new Netflix CGI show, along with vehicles and playsets. I hope this line continues because I want to see so many more characters included, and I would especially love to see that old Mattycollector Snake Mountain playset finally released. These two figures mark the 5th and 6th ladies in the line, and there's at least one more on the way. Fingers crossed the momentum keeps going!

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Marvel Legends Vintage - INVISIBLE WOMAN!

Fantastic Four: Vintage (Toy Biz Homage) - Invisible Woman - Hasbro 2021

Poor Susan Storm. For some reason she can never get a toy that looks quite right. She is a rare example of a maternal super hero, and although a mother can embody an demeanor she wants, when toys look too sexy or too angry it doesn't seem to suit the character. I expect an aura of strong, protective, kind, beautiful, and confident to be exuding from Sue. And believe it or not, that's a real tricky combination. This most recent Invisible Woman toy has been getting a lot of bad critiques for her perplexing face sculpt. I think it looks better in person than in photos, but she has a certain expression that mixes concern, confusion, and exasperation. Perhaps like she is panting in exhaustion after a battle. The overall design seems to be based off the Adam Hughes art from her solo comic title, but the glaring difference is in that art she has wide eyes with heavy lashes. This interpretation has her eyes looking a little on the beady side. But despite me dissecting the public criticism, I genuinely appreciate this figure (as-is).

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Age of Apocalypse - ROGUE!

Marvel Legends - Colossus BaF - Rogue (Age of Apocalypse) - Hasbro 2021

One thing I love about Rogue is that she's almost always recognizable across all her incarnations. Her signature white streak of hair and her penchant for green is a consistent aesthetic and it always looks great. I'm completely unfamiliar with the Age of Apocalypse storyline. It came at a time when I had dropped most superhero comics in favor of manga and indy books. And while I don't necessarily love the details of this specific costume: the chunky boots, billowy sleeves, poofy bangs, and loose bondage-esque collar - the overall look presents like a fun variation of one of the most popular X-Men members. Images of Age of Apocalypse Rogue often show her in a big green cape. It would have been fun to see that added to this figure. I'm still excitedly waiting for a couple other classic Rogue looks (first appearance and that early-90s green and black headbanded outfit), but I think I'll be happy with all iterations in between. And this is by no means the last Rogue we will see in the Legends series.

Monday, December 20, 2021

Marvel Legends - SYLVIE!

Marvel Legends What If...? (The Watcher Series) - Sylvie (Loki) - Hasbro 2021

When I started watching Loki on Disney+ earlier this year, I had pretty low expectations. I wasn't the biggest fan of Falcon and Winter Soldier (never finished it in fact). And after the creative wonder of WandaVision, I didn't expect a show focused on a duplicitous trickster (who I was never a big admirer of even in comics) to capture my attention. I only started watching because my friends in a nerdy group chat I'm in  insisted I start and I had hopes that Lady Loki would make an appearance. Long story short, I ended up really enjoying the show. Despite themes of time travel and alternate realities (which I find exhausting and tedious after 30+ years reading comics and sci-fi), I was intrigued and really enjoyed it. An unexpected joy was the introduction of Sylvie Laufeydottir, an alternate timeline Loki and the MCU's version of Sylvie Lushton (the Young Enchantress character from the Young Avengers comics). One more step towards the Young Avengers movie I predict is coming. Let's check out Sylvie below!

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Roblox - NAILAH THE FORTUNE TELLER!

Roblox Imagination Collection - 4" Figure Wave 04 - Nailah - Jazwares 2021

Yet another thrilling figure from the Roblox Imagination Collection. I love how diverse and fun this line is. In less that two years we've seen female figures representing a wide variety of genres like fantasy, anime, sci-fi, mythology, steampunk, and even modern street clothes. This Nailah figure is like a fantasy or fairytale representation of Middle-Eastern or Indian aesthetics. She's a bit Arabian Nights, and a bit fantasy mysticism. I think she's fantastic and she reminds me of the main character from Night's Dominion, a Ted Naifeh comic from the past five years that I loved (the similarity in their names and character design makes me think it might actually be a nod to the comic). Naileh also marks the first woman of color in the line, but not the last (Stellar the Solar Scientist is noted as 'coming soon'). Every figure in the Roblox Imagination Collection so far thrills me. The designs look great and the production schedule is aggressive. I can't wait to see what's next. Let's check out Naileh below!

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Roblox - SEA SERPENT!

Roblox Imagination Collection - 4" Figure Wave 04 - Sea Serpent - Jazwares 2021

Nothing sparks my collecting curiosity more than a character with unworldly-colored skin. Red or Green or (especially) Blue complexions just thrill me. Although I mostly collect toys related to comics and animation, my personal aesthetic lean toward fantasy. Specifically creature fantasy with humanoid characters exhibiting animalistic traits. And for some reason blue skin has always been associated with aquatic people. When I first saw images of this Sea Serpent figure from the Roblox Imagination Collection line a few months ago I was ecstatic. This line has been the source of a lot of unexpected joy for me. Even though I'm mostly unfamiliar with Roblox in general, Jazwares has produced a ton of quirky and fun female figures. It has already surpassed the Fortnite line as far as diversity and imagination in my opinion. And every time I buy a new figure, I unfold the paper insert to see news of even more figures on the horizon. It's a never-ending cycle and I'm here for it. Let's check out Sea Serpent below!

Friday, December 17, 2021

Space Jam - LOLA as WONDER WOMAN!

Space Jam: A New Legacy - On Screen Team-Up - Lola Bunny - Moose Toys 2021

I recently watched Space Jam: A New Legacy just to see a scene where Lola Bunny became Wonder Woman. I've been seeing images of a lot of Looney Tunes Characters in DC Hero costumes: Daffy Duck as Superman, Bugs Bunny as Batman, etc. And as I watched the movie, I predictably saw these mashups happen on screen. But as far as I can tell, Lola was never dressed as Wonder Woman in the entire movie. Sure, there was a scene where she was on Themyscira alongside Diana taking part in an Amazon training challenge. But Lola was in gray and brown armor. Even throughout the little credits vignettes I expected to see her in costume, but alas, I never did. But I still really enjoy this action figure. And it coincidentally reminds me of a Looney Tunes variant cover for Justice League #46 back in 2015 that showed Lola in the Wonder Woman costume. This toy looks a lot better than her first release in a basketball jersey and will definitely get a more prominent display in my collection. Let's check out Lola below!

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Titan Hero Series - SERSI!

Marvel Titan Hero Series - MCU The Eternals - Marvel's Sersi - Hasbro 2021

I recently moved houses and I'm in the exciting stage of setting up a new collection room. One portion of my action figure collection that I've never given fair treatment was my modern 12" ladies. When I set up my last room seven years ago, there were no females in the Titan Hero Series (Black Widow came out in 2016), but flash forward to present and suddenly I have over 45 figures in a scale I was unprepared for. In my last room they were crammed unceremoniously onto two deep windowsills. But this time I will show them some respect with a proper shelf. The most recent addition to my collection is this amazing Sersi from The Eternals movie. I'm impressed with how the actor likenesses for the MCU figures keep getting better and better. It makes the older ones looks pretty primitive in comparison. I really enjoy this scale and always look forward to buying more. Fingers crossed for an America Chavez from the Dr. Strange movie or some WandaVision figures in 2022. Let's check out Sersi below!

Saturday, December 11, 2021

Miraculous Ladybug - MULTIMOUSE!

Miraculous Ladybug Action Figures: Wave 05 - Multimouse - Bandai 2019

Considering how many cool forms the main character in Miraculous, Marinette, has assumed, it's surprising there haven't been more interesting toys of her. We've seen rehashed Ladybug costumes, and a very cool Lady Noire, but there could have easily been a few fun Marinettes in each wave. It's amusing then that the very last figure produced in the Bandai line would be Multimouse, one of her more unique transformations. I'll be honest, I was never planning on getting this figure. I knew the line was ending and she would be hard to get. Plus I wasn't a huge fan of the gray and pink color scheme, especially when compared to the bright bold colors of the other figures. But, typical of most collectors, over time I began to covet this figure. Her "exclusivity" (meaning: final-wave poor distribution) only ramped up her appeal to me. I finally got her at a decent price right as the new Playmates line started seeing wide circulation. She's a great final addition to the old line. Let's check out Multimouse below!

Friday, December 10, 2021

Miraculous Ladybug - AQUABUG!

Miraculous Ladybug Action Figures: Wave 04 - AquaBug - Bandai 2018

With the first assortment of Miraculous figures from Playmates Toys finally hitting the shelves, I scrambled to get the last couple Bandai figures I never picked up (before they became impossible to get). Similar to any Batman or Spider-Man themed property, there is some version of Ladybug in every wave of Miraculous toys. She's the focal character so I totally get it, but I usually skip slight variations of a character I already have. When I first saw pics of this AquaBug figure, I wrote it off as just "Ladybug with blue hair" and didn't pay any attention. But a few years later I saw a pic of her and realized she had some interesting details. The most impressive part is that her costume is completely covered in a fishscale texture. It's only noticeable up close and Bandai could have been cheap and just re-used the smooth mold. Her hair gradient from light blue to pink also really stands out. In the packaging, the pink blends in with the background graphics, so seeing it in person was a nice surprise. Let's check out AquaBug below!

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Marvel Legends 3.75" Retro - STORM!

Marvel Legends 3.75" Retro Series 04 - Storm - Hasbro 2021

Storm is easily one of the most iconic Marvel heroines ever. Her regal demeanor, her stark white hair, her amazing elemental powers, and her simple descriptive name that ties it all together make her the perfect character. Elemental powers are an easy concept to grasp (and fantasize about) and I'm always drawn to them. Plus Storm is one of the earliest black female comic characters out there. Nubia pre-dated her by a couple years, but Storm is infinitely more popular. Ororo has gone through a lot of transformations, but this classic first appearance look will always be my favorite. When the 3.75" Marvel Legends Retro line debuted last year, I instantly created a wishlist of my favorite characters to be included, and Storm was very very high on that list. I'm not surprised that we got her so soon though. Here's hoping that Firestar, Spider-Woman, and Dazzler come soon! This line has a ton of potential and I adore the early-80s aesthetic.  Let's check out the Marvel Legends Retro Storm below!

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

MOTU Revelation - TEELA!

Masterverse Series 2 - Masters of the Universe Revelation - Teela - Mattel 2021

I'm partway through the second half of Masters of the Universe: Revelation on Netflix and I'm loving it. Teela has always been the most interesting character in the He-Man universe IMO (with Marlena being a close second). The original Masters of the Universe series was fantastic and iconic, but the stories just didn't have a lot of depth. Most characters were a name and a toy gimmick, and not much else (besides awesome). But the writers seemed to put extra effort into the characters that didn't have a punny name or action gimmick. And Teela (and Marlena) were the big recipients of that attention and got complex intriguing backstories. The fact that Revelation seems to focus on Teela is no surprise at all. She is essentially the only MOTU character with any kind of fated prophecy driving a story. Her transformation to a mercenary warrior is interesting and believable. And, honestly, the initial hate from the fanbase just makes me like this look even more.  Let's check out warrior Teela below!

Saturday, December 4, 2021

Sonic the Hedgehog - AMY ROSE!

Sonic the Hedgehog 4" Series -  Amy Rose w/ Hammer - Jakks Pacific 2021

Although I don't play any video games now as an adult, I spent a huge portion of my youth glued to my game consoles. The majority of this was Nintendo and the only Sega exposure I had was my handheld Game Gear, to which I owned three games: Lemmings, Ecco the Dolphin, and Sonic the Hedgehog (in retrospect, despite years of karate training and sibling roughhousing, I realize I was an adolescent pacifist and eschewed any violent games). Sonic was so fun and fast, even on a tiny screen it was mesmerizing. I'm pretty sure Sonic himself was the only playable character in my version, but Tails was already on my radar and Knuckles arrived shortly after. However, it wasn't until I was an adult collector getting into the Jazwares Sonic toys that I discovered Amy Rose, the primary female character in the franchise. She embodies all the cute stylized designs I love about the Sonic Universe and fits seamlessly into my female-focused collection. Let's check out this newest Amy Rose below!

Friday, December 3, 2021

Nintendo - WENDY O KOOPA!

World of Nintendo - 2.5" Series Wave 32 - Wendy O Koopa - Jakks Pacific 2021

Ever since Jakks Pacific started releasing Nintendo figures I have been hoping for a Wendo O Koopa in the line. When we first met the Koopa Kids in Super Mario Bros 3, I actually kind of hated Wendy. Something about her giant bow and rings just didn't align with my adolescent aesthetics. But over the years I really grew to appreciate her as one of the very few female characters in the Mario Universe. And as far as villains go, I'm pretty sure she and Birdo are the only ladies. The 2.5" Nintendo line has been a staple of checkout lines and Target aisles for years, but surprisingly the last female (Samus from Metroid) was released over five years ago. I had pretty much stopped paying attention to the line when I saw a pic of this figure show up in Instagram. I was beyond excited to be on the hunt and found her pretty quickly (and also learned a Daisy is coming soon!) As far as I know this is the first toy of her ever. I couldn't even find a gashapon or PVC. Let's check out the long-awaited Wendy O Koopa below!