Saturday, July 30, 2022

ThunderCats Ultimates - CHEETARA!

ThunderCats Ultimates - Series 3 - Cheetara (Cartoon Colors) - Super7 2022

When Masters of the Universe Classics was launched in 2009, the collecting world changed for me. I suddenly realized that what I really craved was modern interpretations of my most beloved nostalgic properties. Before this, I was buying vintage product on eBay (with modern expectations) and regularly being disappointed. Things didn't feel the way I remembered, the characters never really looked like their cartoon counterparts and the prices were too high overall. But then I realized that there could (and would) be modern figures custom-made for collectors like me. Specifically when Adora was released in Jan 2010, I knew this market would eventually give me all the characters I wanted. It would just take patience. And a mere twelve years, a few false starts, and a handful license transfers later, I have the character that was Number One on my list for years, Cheetara. And I think she's perfect. Super7 has captured the essence of her animated look better than I dreamed possible. Let's check her out below!

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Super7 ReAction - PINK RANGER!

ReAction Action Figures - Power Rangers Wave 2 - Pink Ranger - Super7 2021

I remember being an adult toy collector and being very resistant to the Power Rangers franchise. I was in high school when Mighty Morphin Power Rangers first hit the US. I was plenty nerdy at the time, I watched Robotech and Birdman every morning before school, I read comics fiendishly, and every Friday I would watch Are You Afraid of the Dark? with my friends. But for some reason I just never got into MMPR. As I got older and my peers would lump the show in with other (1980s) nostalgic properties I would get irrationally angry about it. But when Bandai started to reintroduce MMPR characters to the toy shelves decades later, I started to dabble. A lot of this was because the female Ranger toys finally had distinct female bodies. Plus I had become obsessed with Japanese pop culture in my post-college years. Either way, I'm a big fan now and I have more Power Rangers toys than ThunderCats and TMNT combined. Let's check out my newest Pink Ranger ReAction figure below!

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Super7 ReAction - SCORPINA!

ReAction Action Figures - Power Rangers Wave 2 - Scorpina - Super7 2021

I don't think any single ReAction figure I've seen so far exemplifies the potential of the line more than this Scorpina. For a character who I personally feel has the most interesting and unique design of the original Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers show, she has has shockingly little merchandise produced. And despite her recently getting a nearly perfect Lightning Collection figure last year, I think this small retro-styled figure from Super7 is my favorite. Her complex asymmetrical organic costume somehow works extremely well with a simple 5-point body construction and the mix of flat colors and metallics really pops. When I look back to one of my first ReAction purchases, the MOTU Sorceress, (irregular sculpting, bad paint, awkward posture) and it's hard to believe these are from the same line. Most of the modern figures are great, but have simplistic designs by nature (G.I. Joe, ThunderCats, etc) so I focus on Scorpina as an example of how Super7 handles complexity. And they kill it. Let's check her out below!

Monday, July 25, 2022

MOTU Minis - EVIL-LYN!

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (Netflix) - Eternia Minis - Mattel 2022

Well SDCC just wrapped up yesterday and the Masters of the Universe product reveals were plentiful. Masterverse and MOTU Origins predictably got the lion's share of attention, but there were also Fall Guys toys, Mega Construx playsets, Mondo figures, and Iron Studios statues as well. It was really a great show for MOTU fans (especially considering that Power-Con is just 11 days away with potentially even more reveals). Something that bummed me out though was the absence of any Eternia Minis products. This line has been exciting for me since the beginning, and I think there is a lot more potential for it. Hopefully they squeeze out a few more waves because they are fun, cheap, and fill in the long time gaps between the collector-focused figures. This Evil-Lyn is the fourth figure from the Netflix CGI He-Man show. She was a bit of a surprise since all the previous cardbacks showed only three characters, but then she popped up already in-stock on BBTS as a bonus 4th character. Let's check her out!

Saturday, July 23, 2022

The Mandalorian - AHSOKA TANO!

Star Wars: The Black Series 6" - Ahsoka Tano (The Mandalorian) - Hasbro 2022

I love how popular Ahsoka Tano has become. She was introduced in 2008's Star Wars: The Clone Wars CGI animated film, and was a major character in the following animated series as well as 2014 follow-up series Star Wars: Rebels. I admit I've never watched any of the modern animated Star Wars installments, but I would see this character in the toy aisles all the time and her design intrigued me. She was the only character in the preschool Galactic Heroes lines (which I was obsessed with) to get multiple figures (aside from Leia and Amidala). And I even got a PEZ dispenser of her. But I still didn't know anything about her character until she stepped out of the fog in that amazing 2020 episode of The Mandalorian. Almost immediately there was buzz about an Ahsoka solo series for 2023. And then we were treated to an unexpected appearance in The Book of Boba Fett earlier this year. I'm impressed by what I've seen so far and am excited to see more of character when the show debuts next year.

Thursday, July 21, 2022

World's Smallest - ARCEE!

World's Smallest: Transformers (Series 02) - Arcee - Super Impulse 2022

I'm becoming really obsessed with the current merchandizing trend of tiny action figures in tiny packaging. Lately there are a lot of options. The Mini Brands from Zuru Surprise have two general toy waves plus a Disney specific wave (that includes mini Marvel and Star Wars action figures). Super Impulse has the Micro Toy Box line with inexpensive figures from Power Rangers, He-Man, and Transformers (among others). Even the new Sgt Slaughter G.I.Joe Classified 6" figure comes with a miniature packaged version of himself. But the originators of this genre, and still the highest-quality on the market, are the World's Smallest Micro Figures from Super Impulse. These are the only ones that are intentionally removeable, articulated, and accessorized. I have 45 of them in my collection and I'm craving more. I never expected Arcee to be included in this line, but she and Teela are now my favorites. I'm hoping next for Scarlett and Baroness, but I'll take anyone. Let's check out Arcee below!

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Star Wars - PRINCESS LEIA ORGANA!

Star Wars: The Black Series 6" - Princess Leia Organa (Yavin 4) - Hasbro 2022

A wonderful thing I discovered in the past few months was the Toys R' Us Experience pop-up in Macy's department stores. With the loss of the main TRU stores, as well as K-Mart (and a ton of individual Walgreens and GameStop locations), there have been a palpable void in my toy hunting grounds. But then this pop-up came into existence around the 2021 holiday season and gave back a tiny smidgen of what was lost. If you haven't been to one yet, it reminds me of the toy section at Kohls, but five times as large. Almost every time I stop in, I find something that's not in Target or Walmart. A recent find was this Yavin 4 Leia figure. I actually think this is the most attractive of all Leia's outfits. It's simple, regal, and iconic - plus I really like the necklace and belt. In A New Hope, she wears this at the Rebel stronghold on the moon Yavin 4 as she awards Luke and Han with medallions after they destroy the Death Star. It's kind of a cheesy ending to such a groundbreaking film, but I still love it. Let's check out Leia below!

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Star Wars - PRINCESS LEIA (EWOK VILLAGE)!

Star Wars: The Black Series 6" - Princess Leia (Ewok Village) - Hasbro 2022

Princess Leia truly did have a bizarre number of costume changes throughout the original Star Wars trilogy. Even as a child, I was always left wondering when she had time to change - and where was her luggage? But no outfit raised more questions for me than this Ewok Village outfit from Return of the Jedi. She wears this the entire time she is in the Ewok Village on Endor and I wanted nothing more than to see little Ewok tailors creating this outfit out of thin air. Even the twine in her hair seemed elaborate and detailed. Obviously the Ewoks are skilled at many things, so hair and clothing are not unthinkable, but if there was ever a need for a fashion montage, it would be Leia being groomed, measured, and cinched by a bunch of fussy Ewoks. I've been fantasizing about this for almost 40 years. This figure marks my ninth Black Series Leia - all in unique outfits, and all very iconic. I can't wait to see what version is next. Cloud City is top of my list, but I'm down for anything at this point. Let's check out Lea below!

Friday, July 15, 2022

Bumblebee Movie - ARCEE!

Transformers Studio Series #85 - Bumblebee Movie Arcee - Hasbro 2022

Very few scenes have thrilled me as much as the brief Cybertron War scene at the beginning of 2018's Transformers: Bumblebee movie. In three short minutes, we saw the potential of what a great live-action Transformers G1 movie could look like. After more than 10 years of Michael Bay's cinematic interpretation of the property, my personal expectations were dismally low. But this scene was perfect. The action was logical, the characters were recognizable, and the overall nostalgia was palpable. Seeing roughly 4-5 seconds of Arcee in the mix was just icing on the cake. I fantasized that perhaps someday we might get a full Cybertron movie which would flesh out the characters and spawn a line of toys. But I knew that was far fetched. What I never expected, however, was a thorough representation of all the characters from that brief 2018 scene in the Studio Series line... especially Arcee. But here we have her, and she's practically perfect. Let's check her out below!

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Batman Classic TV Series - CATWOMAN!

Batman Classic TV Series - Catwoman (Julie Newmar) - McFarlane Toys 2022

As much crap as I want to give Todd McFarlane about his gender politics, I can't deny that his toy company has given me a ton of figures that I adore. Just in the last twelve months, I have picked up eighteen female figures from McFarlane toys and I only had negative critiques for two of them. The rest have been truly great.. including Carrie Kelley Robin, Eartha Kitt Catwoman, Batwoman Beyond, and Three Jokers Batgirl among them. This new Julie Newmar Catwoman is just one more example of a figure I have been wishing for since I started my adult collecting hobby. This specific portrayal of Catwoman is what launched a niche villainess to a household name. I have yet to experience a Halloween without seeing at least one Catwoman costume... often from people who have never read her comics or seen her on screen. She has just become a cultural icon, and I credit Julie Newmar with catapulting the character to that level. An action figure of this quality has been a long time coming. Let's check her out below!

Monday, July 11, 2022

Marvel Legends - SIRYN!

Marvel Legends - X-Men: Bonebreaker BaF Series - Siryn - Hasbro 2022

Theresa Cassidy is one of those great characters that combines several of my favorite tropes. For starters, she is practically a direct gender-swapped clone of her father, Sean Cassidy, aka Banshee of the X-Men. Same powers, same costumes, same hair color. I love this kind of character genesis because after all the similarities are stripped away, you are left with a simple gender study of how women and men might approach situations differently - something I always find fascinating. Secondly, Siryn debuted as a villain (in the pages of Spider-Woman in 1981) but quickly turned to the good side. Since her early days, she has been an official member of several mutant teams, but my favorite was her run in X-Force beginning in 1991's X-Force #3 and remaining for years. Aside from a few Heroclix, an Eaglemoss figurine, and a Mini-Mate, she has been surprisingly devoid of any merchandise. So despite this specific costume choice and bafflingly non-screaming head, I adore her. Let's check out Siryn below!

Saturday, July 9, 2022

Titan Hero Heroes - THOR!

Marvel Titan Hero Series - Thor Love and Thunder - Mighty Thor - Hasbro 2022

I saw Thor: Love and Thunder tonight. I won't give any plot details, just a general impression. I wasn't a fan. I feel like it was trying really really hard to be funny and irreverent... every second. But it came off like a 2 hour tiktok video: thirsty, weird energy, and repetitive music. Plus I was shocked at how beloved characters like Guardians of the Galaxy and Thor himself were so oddly written (dare I say annoying?). But there was a lot I did like: The villain, the final climactic scene, and (luckily) everything with Jane Foster was great. I'm really curious to see where the Asgardian storylines will go next. But of course my favorite thing about most comic book movies is the toys they inspire. I saved my review of this Titan Hero Series Mighty Thor because I knew I would want to rant about the movie. That's especially funny since this was the first Love and Thunder product I found (back in April). It's a great addition to my 1:6 collection and finally Valkyrie has a fellow Asgardian on the shelf. Let's check out Thor below!

Thursday, July 7, 2022

Hallmark Star Trek - LT. M'RESS Ornament!

Star Trek: The Animated Series - Lieutenant M'Ress Ornament - Hallmark 2018

I grew up in an extremely rural area where cable television was literally not an option. We only had about 4 or 5 staticky channels and the more interesting television programming of my childhood was limited to stints on my dad's army base or time spent in other people's (urban) houses. But then, one year my notoriously cheap father agreed to get a satellite dish. It was a huge 6-foot wide contraption in the corner of the yard that we weren't allowed to throw footballs near. The first amazing thing I ever watched in this new era of home entertainment was episode 5 of Filmation's Star Trek: The Animated Series. This was the tribble episode and I was entranced. I had seen the live action episode a dozen times on PBS, so this continuation of the story was mind-blowing. Then in the very next episode, we were introduced the new feline bridge member, Lieutenant M'Ress. She became an obsession of mine for many years. It took decades to get a piece of merch with her likeness, but it was well worth the wait.

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Power Rangers - ASTRONEMA (V2)!

Power Ranger Lightning Collection - In Space Ecliptor & Astronema - Hasbro 2022

Astronema is one of those characters that everyone seems to love but that I have never seen on screen. My first exposure to her was her blue-haired figure from two years ago. I taught myself a little about her at the time, and this time around I learned a little more. Karone was a young girl from Planet KO-35. She and her brother Andros (future Red Ranger) dreamed of being Power Rangers, but Karona was kidnapped and raised by Ecliptor to be evil. As an adult, she became Astronema, a major Antagonist in the In Space and Lost Galaxy seasons. At one point her brainwashing became undone and she became the second Galaxy Ranger Pink. Only to adopt the Astronema identity again to infiltrate the bad guys. I'm not sure which iteration of Astronema this lavender-haired figure represents, but she is known for sporting a wide variety of hair colors and styles. I wonder if this will be the last... I could so with at least one more for a punky trifecta.  Let's check out Astronema (v2) below!

Sunday, July 3, 2022

Monsters, Inc - CELIA!

Disney Pixar 7" Featured Favorites - Mike Wazowski & Celia - Mattel 2022

This 7" Pixar line from Mattel is unexpected awesome. I say unexpectedly because I don't typically buy figures from genres that aren't superhero or sci-fi. Sure, I've seen and enjoyed every Pixar movie so far, but I can honestly say I've never finished a film saying "oh man I need action figures of these characters." But when this line started hitting the shelves last year I was really intrigued at the quality and scale of the figures. Especially at the price point of roughly 10 dollars per figure (so 20 for this 2-pack). The first one I bought was Merida from Brave, followed by a few Incredibles characters. Then I realized they paired well with my Toy Story 4 Bo Peep figure. I didn't know how many others I would buy, but then I saw this amazing Celia figure from Monsters, Inc. I love odd characters with alien-like features, and her cyclops eye, medusa hair, and octopus legs always thrilled me. Even in this Pixar-specific line, she is not a character I ever expected to see, but I'm ecstatic that she was. Let's check out Celia below!

Friday, July 1, 2022

Marvel Legends 3.75" Retro - PHOENIX!

Marvel Legends 3.75" Retro Series - Phoenix & Dark Phoenix - Hasbro 2021-22

I always have trouble deciding which version of Phoenix I like better: the green regular outfit, or the red fiery Dark Phoenix transformation. They are both super appealing to me. Luckily these two Marvel Legends Retro figures came out in quick succession so I could have them both. The green version was in a Hasbro Pulse exclusive 2-pack in late 2021 (packaged on in a double-mailer with a tiger-striped Wolverine on individual cards). They came with unique holo-foil cardbacks (that don't photograph well at all, but look cool in person). The Dark Phoenix version came in the Wave 5 standard store assortment in Spring of 2022. They look awesome and really continue that aesthetic of late-70s / early-80s comics. Since I took these photos, I picked up the Black Widow figure and pre-ordered Firestar. The line thrills me and I can't wait to see who is next. Spider-Woman, She-Hulk, Dazzler, and Medusa are all great contenders. Let's check out Phoenix and Dark Phoenix below!