Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Transformers Authentics - ARCEE!

Transformers Authentics (Discount Store Basic Series) - Arcee - Hasbro 2022

Basic Series figures have become commonplace in the past decade. The big companies essentially put a nix on all the unlicensed knockoff products that flood the discount store toy aisles by producing their own cheaper simplified toys. It makes a ton of sense for the license holders to tackle all the markets they can. In the case of Hasbro's Transformers product, they now produce everything from the high-end Masterpiece line, to multiple mid-market lines in the big box stores, and of course the low level Transformers Authentics line you see at the pharmacy and stores like Big Lots and Five Below. Unlike a lot of Hasbro's discount lines, which typically feature almost no articulation, these Transformers Authentics are fully transformable. The factors that make them inexpensive appear to be paint apps, plastic quality, and size. But the dividing line between this product and the lowest-tier Transformers at Walmart and Target is not super distinct. Let's check out Arcee below!

Monday, August 29, 2022

Transformers the Movie - ARCEE!

Transformers Studio Series #86 - Transformers the Movie Arcee - Hasbro 2022

When I first saw this figure solicited earlier this year, I thought it was a simple redeco of the 2014 Generations Arcee (that we had seen redeco'd/retooled seven times already). But in actuality, it's only the same head, upper arms, and car kibble, with an almost entirely retooled/resculpted body. The color scheme is also much closer to the animation design than we had seen released in the US before now (the 2015 Japanese TakaraTomy Legends release of the Generations mold was similarly colored, but not available at traditional retail in the US). Looking at the new figure from a front view, the waist swivel is an obvious addition. Plus her thighs and torso are noticeably more narrow. With all the changes made, I wish they would have gone one step further and given her a new head. It's so close to being a totally unique figure, but the recognizable headsculpt and familiar kibble silhouette make it hard to view her as more than a retool, despite the majority of her parts being new. Let's check out Arcee below!

Friday, August 26, 2022

Transformers Model Kit - ARCEE!

Transformers: Bumblebee - Plastic Model Smart Kit - Arcee - Trumpeter 2022

I need to buy more model kits. I had so much fun putting together this Arcee kit from the Transformers: Bumblebee movie that I immediately went online and started looking for more (ended up buying a handful of these kits from the Trumpeter line for holiday presents). I did a Bandai kit of Commander Palmer from Halo back in 2015 (bought at Toys r Us) and also enjoyed it, but having it be a character I'm truly obsessed with, like Arcee, made it all that much better. The kit was simple and needed no tools, paint, or glue. The sprues didn't leave any plastic nubs like the airplane models I made in my childhood. And some of the sprues had painted pieces, like the head(s). I sat in front of my TV and it took me the length of a movie to build her. This Arcee design is pretty great, she appeared in a just a few seconds during the opening sequence of the Bumblebee movie, but  that brief glimpse made an impact. I love the blend of cinematic and classic aesthetics in her design. Let's check out the Arcee Trumpeter kit below!

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Super7 ReAction - SCARLETT!

ReAction Action Figures - Glow Patrol (SDCC Exc) - Scarlett - Super7 2022

In 1987, G.I.Joe: The Movie was released and the classic era of G.I.Joe came to a close. New cartoon production ceased, the comics petered out, and the new toys had no real context anymore. (Batman was all the rage). But then in 1989 there was a new faction in the Cobra toyline that snatched my attention back: Python Patrol. These toys seemed classic, but refreshed and exciting. I didn't even watch the cartoons explaining the redecos until this Summer. (The new cartoons resumed in 1989 produced by DiC). The toys are very nostalgic to me since they mark by last childhood fascination with the property. This Summer, Super7 revealed the SDCC Exclusive Glow Patrol faction in their G.I.Joe ReAction line. While these are fantastic original decos on their own merit, my gut reaction was "OMG it looks like a Python Patrol Scarlett!" Python Patrol was all male Cobra characters, so this thought was nonsensical. But it's still what I think every time I see her. Let's check out Glow Patrol Scarlett below!

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Super7 ReAction - BARONESS!

ReAction Action Figures - Glow Patrol (SDCC Exc) - Baroness - Super7 2022

I normally despise random redecos of action figures that have nothing to do with the character in question. This stems from my perpetual disappointment in character diversity in the toy aisles in favor of 20 new colors for Batman (or any alpha male character the companies need to promote). Don't get me wrong, I love Batman, but give me a blue version, gray version, and black version and call it a day. Although perhaps if a female action figure ever got this same treatment I might change my tune. For SDCC 2022, Super7 released a new faction in their G.I. Joe ReAction line: Glow Patrol. As far as I can tell, this is completely original (despite tons of historic factions to draw from). But I love it. The green-hued good guys and the blue-hued bad guys look great. And glowing gimmicks are always fun, especially with Super7 who knows how to do GITD right. I look forward to what other variants they can come up with to challenge my long-held "redecos are bad" beliefs. Let's check out Glow Force Baroness below!

Monday, August 22, 2022

Super7 ReAction - G.I.JOE SOLDIER!

ReAction Action Figures - G.I.Joe Wave 3 (Army Builder) - Soldier - Super7 2022

As a toy collector for most of my adult life, I've very rarely been tempted by army builders. I don't display my toys in action scenes or dioramas, so the idea of getting a bunch of repetitive characters only to be posed in a yearbook-style lineup seems like a waste of money and space. The other factor is, of course, that army builders are rarely female. But Super7's G.I. Joe ReAction line has been doing army builders the right way. They release both male and female figures, both good guys and bad guys, and to top it off they release a variety of variations for each character type. For this first female army builder, the G.I. Joe Soldier (Army Engineer), there are nine variations of skin tone and hairstyle. I picked up three recently and I think they're great. What's also super unique about this figure is that she is wearing the uniform of an unused 1980's concept (which would have been the first black female character in the franchise). Super7 loves a good deep dive like that. Let's check out the soldiers below!

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Marvel Gallery - FIRESTAR!

Marvel Gallery - Vinyl Diorama Series - FireStar - Diamond Select Toys 2021

Diamond Select Toys has been really impressing me with their Marvel Gallery line. Previous PVC statue lines (mostly from other companies) have typically been too stylized for my tastes. Or sometimes, the sculpts just aren't there for me. But the DST Marvel Gallery (and DC Gallery) statues have the design and sculpt quality of the high-end polystone statues, but at a price point that is far more palatable. I also love the character choices. It seems that all my favorite characters are added to the roster one-by-one. The designs are essentially classic, but there is always a slight redesign. In the case of this Firestar statue, her boots and gloves extend almost all the way up her limbs, which seems like a unique choice for this particular product. But I like it. A few short years ago, I only had one lonely Firestar product in my collection. It was just a simple Toy Biz Medusa repaint, but I was ecstatic. Flash forward a few years and this Marvel Gallery statue is the 13th item on my Firestar shelf. Here's to many more!

Saturday, August 20, 2022

Crash Bandicoot - COCO!

Crash Bandicoot - Wave 01 - Coco with Kupuna Mask - Headstart 2022

Coco is an anthropomorphic Bandicoot and the younger sister of the primary character, Crash, in the Crash Bandicoot franchise. She first appeared in Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back in 1997 but didn't become a playable character until 1998's Crash Bandicoot: Warped. At present, she's appeared in 18 games, plus comics and animation. But I'll admit that I'm mostly aware of her because of two super scarce action figures she had in 1998's ReSaurus line. I've always been tempted by these old figures, but the high price, limited articulation, and "alarmed" facial expression kept me away. Not surprisingly, this new figure has caused a noticeable dip in eBay prices for the vintage figure, but I'm happy with this Headstart figure for now. Headstart is mostly known for their Ice Age figures and the super-sized Ooshies. I'm excited to see them dip into the traditional action figure market, especially with such an iconic license. I can't wait to see more. Let's checkout Coco Bandicoot below!

Monday, August 15, 2022


Marvel POP! #1020 - Spider-Woman (Mattie Franklin) - Amazon Exc Funko 2022

Mattie Franklin has a very interesting history. She was introduced in the Spider-Man comics just a few months after Mayday Parker debuted in 1998. But it wasn't until May of 1999 when she donned a costume and was introduced as (the third) Spider-Woman. Her powers came about via ritualistic magic, and origins like that never seem to turn out well. It's almost as if there is karmic retribution for achieving powers unnaturally. Mattie's stories took some pretty macabre turns later on, but for the majority of her 18-issue solo series she was a fun character who constantly had new costumes and shifting power sets. The Funko Pop costume is one of her later looks from issue #12 onward. It was at this point when she absorbed the powers of Charlotte Witter and was able to grow organic spider legs from her back. She has has an understated presence in the Marvel Universe since her series ended. And aside from two HeroClix figures, this is her first time in plastic. Let's check out Mattie below!

Sunday, August 14, 2022


Marvel POP! #955 - Spider-Girl (Mayday & April Parker) - PIAB Exc - Funko 2022

In 1998 there was an issue of What If? that posed the question, what if Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson had a teenage daughter (with Spider powers). The concept proved popular and soon May "Mayday" parker spun off into a solo series that became the longest running female-led title of all time from Marvel. (Plus two follow-up series Amazing and Spectacular). And she was also the catalyst for a whole new comic universe, MC2, which gave us Stinger, Wild Thing, and American Dream among others. What I always loved about Spider-Girl was her costume. It seems like no-brainer, but there had never been a real female hero wearing a version of the classic Spider-Man suit before (not counting Valerie from the Electric Company). This Funko Pop is awesome. She took a while to arrive.. just under a year from her pre-order, but she was well worth the wait. I ordered three Mayday Pops in hopes of scoring a 1:6 chase and I ended up getting two. Let's check out the Spider-Girl(s) below!

Saturday, August 13, 2022


Marvel POP! #1064 - Silk (Cindy Moon) - SDCC / Hot Topic Exc - Funko 2022

When the character Silk was first teased back in 2014, I was super intrigued. The first images of her were in shadow and you were led to believe this was a new spider-villain. I had hopes that she would be a reimagined Madam Web (The Hostess Ad character, not the creepy old lady). But instead what we got was Cindy Moon, a new character with Peter Parker's same origins. In fact, she was bitten by the exact same spider. Cindy had been raised in isolation (that's why Peter had never heard of her prior) and the two share an intense pheromonal draw to each other. Her first costume is spun out of her own silk and is a pretty iconic look. She quickly adopted the more traditional costume we see in the comics, but I'm glad this impromptu outfit was finally merchandised because it's very cool. This Funko Pop was an SDCC shared exclusive available at Hot Topic. There were three new Spider-Lady Pops released in July and I will be reviewing them all in the next few days. Let's check out Silk below!

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Marvel Legends 3.75" Retro - FIRESTAR!

Marvel Legends 3.75" Retro Series - Wave 7 - FireStar - Hasbro 2022

So today is my birthday and and I think the fates aligned to give me this perfect gift. Firestar was the first superhero I ever became obsessed with. The Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends cartoon was a regular viewing staple in my home in the early eighties, and Angelica Jones commanded my full attention. Her monochromatic costume, her cool mask, and her flame powers were a perfect recipe for awesome. (I realize her powers are technically microwave, not fire, but at that age I was constantly being told that flames were dangerous and bad, so I just saw Firestar as the living embodiment of something forbidden and fascinating). This Marvel Legends Retro series is making up for the gender gap in all the toy lines of my youth. I'm always excited to see what's next and I'm thrilled that they are sticking to late 70s and early 80s design aesthetics. This Firestar wasn't supposed to be released until September, but I'm thrilled she showed up just in time for the perfect birthday post. Let's check her out below!

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Marvel Legends 3.75" Retro - BLACK WIDOW!

Marvel Legends 3.75" Retro Series Wave 6 - Black Widow - Hasbro 2022

I've grown a great appreciation for Black Widow over the years. When I was a kid, an espionage-themed character character wearing an off-the-rack jumpsuit couldn't hold my attention in a world of bright spandex and otherworldly powers. In my first real job after college, my boss was a Marvel fan and was obsessed with Black Widow. He was even buying expensive Bowen statues of her. He was a smart and insightful guy so his fascination with the character made me start to rethink my stance. About seven years later when she became an Avenger in the MCU, I was initially steamed that they replaced Wasp with someone so boring. But Scarlett Johansson's excellent cinematic portrayal slowly start to wear down my resistance and I started to see the appeal. I've gone back and read a lot of her classic comics and I'm now a fan. I still think her costumes tend to be boring, but there is something iconic about her third outfit - this 1970's look with a black catsuit, big red hair, and gold belt and cuffs.

Sunday, August 7, 2022

Toy Biz - PENANCE!

Marvel Comics - Generation X Series 01 - Penance - Toy Biz 1995

This blog often causes me to dissect what I like and dislike about certain characters. Because of this introspection, I can lump the majority of my favorite characters into one or two categories. But my very favorite category is one I rarely discuss, because characters that fit the description are rarely merchandised. It's also hard to describe succinctly. But here is an awkward attempt: I love a mysterious character, often noncommunicative, who is at first feared, has an otherworldly appearance, but who other characters quickly find themselves being protective of. Like a secret friend no one else could possibly understand. E.T. is a universal example. But I like them ever more when they are more human-like (my absolute favorite example being Skarrow from the Courtney Crumrin comics). A powerful example of this type of character is Penance from the the first few story arcs in 2004's Generation X comic. Later writers completely changed her backstory, but for a while she was my favorite thing in comics.

Friday, August 5, 2022

Lost World: Jurassic Park - SARAH HARDING!

Jurassic World Legacy - Dr. Sarah Harding & Stegosaurus - Mattel 2022

Leading up to the release of Jurassic World: Dominion, I made an effort to re-watch all the movies. The surprising thing was I quickly realized I had never actually seen The Lost World: Jurassic Park. My vague memories lead me to think I was protesting the movie because I had read about the differences from the book. I was a pretty big Crichton fan in my teen years and I think I was appalled at the (perceived) insult to the source material. Of course my memories of the book are even fuzzier now and I enjoyed the movie quite a bit now that I finally saw it. Julianne Moore plays Dr. Sarah Harding, a behavioral paleontologist and Ian Malcolm's girlfriend. She is a strong-willed character who puts the pursuit of knowledge before her own safety, much to Malcolm's dismay. She is a great character for a movie like this, because she gets into trouble and is a catalyst for good drama, but she never comes across like a damsel in distress. This toy was unexpected, but much appreciated. Let's check out Sarah below!

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

He-Man Animated Series - MO-SQUIT'RA!

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

My favorite thing about Season 2 of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe on Netflix was the introduction of the reimagined villain, Mosquitara. In the 1980's toyline, Mosquitor was a very late addition and never made it into the cartoon. He was a confusing character that always reminded me of the He-Man Woolworths knockoffs that had an MOTU body with some random head that looked like it didn't belong. I know the fandom adores this character, but I always thought the idea of this musclehead running around and stabbing people with his nose to drain their blood was awkward and silly. Flash forward 35 years and this female reimagining of the character has me thrilled. First of all, she has wings, and she's fast. You know.. like a mosquito. But my favorite thing is her voice and sinister demeanor. Her hissing cadence reminds me of Shadow Weaver (but more creepy). The minute I saw her on screen I dreamed she would get a toy, and just a few months later I have her. Let's check out Mosquitara below!

Monday, August 1, 2022

BendyFigs - LT. UHURA!

The Noble Collection - Star Trek TOS BendyFigs - Uhura - Noble Toys 2021

I was very saddened to hear about the passing of Nichelle Nichols yesterday at the age of 89. When I think about iconic television women from my youth, she is right up there in the top (despite me never being a real Trekkie). My brothers and I had a weekly tradition of watching Star Trek on PBS every Saturday Night while staying up to for Saturday Night Live. But oftentimes when SNL would come on at 11:30, we would be too engrossed in the dilemmas of the Enterprise crew to turn the dial. Lieutenant Nyota Uhura was the communications officer on the bridge and I found myself fixated on her all the time. She was always calm and competent amid the perpetual chaos of the Enterprise missions, and her overall presence was just magnetic and comforting. I was a kid watching this in syndication in the 80s, so I had no idea of the cultural impact she had on the 1960's viewing audience. It was a huge ordeal to get a female character on the bridge at all, let alone a woman of color. It's was a different time.