Saturday, April 29, 2023

Injustice 2 - SUPERGIRL (and Customization)!

DC Direct 7" Page Punchers - Injustice 2 Supergirl (Comic) - McFarlane 2023

This figure made me laugh a little when I found her in Walmart last week (in the Entertainment section with the Funko stuff FYI). I laughed because I thought this figure is very decent with a lot of potential. But the hairstyle was so distracting to me that it ruined the whole figure. It was a... wait for it... Injustice. It literally says "Injustice Supergirl" all over the packaging - and I couldn't agree more. I have seen images from the Injustice 2 game and I know the actual character design has odd hair. Plus the Hiya Toys Supergirl figure from the same game a few years ago had a similarly off-putting design. But this didn't stop me from picking her up with a the idea that I could pretty easily modify her hair to my liking. I haven't attempted anything like this in a while and seemed like a simple single-piece mod. And honestly it was. I ended up liking her quite a bit, but my fingers are still crossed for a classic Kara someday (right after the classic Wonder Woman we've be clamoring for). Let's check out Supergirl below!

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Star Wars Retro Collection - AHSOKA TANO!

Star Wars Retro Collection: The Mandalorian - Ahsoka Tano - Hasbro 2022

I was reading recently about how when Ahsoka Tano was first introduced, she was met with a lot of fan hostility. I never watched the animated Clone Wars series (or movie), but this is where Ahsoka Tano was introduced as a 14-year-old Padawan under the tutelage of a 19-year-old Anakin Skywalker. Without reading any more details, I can imagine the writers falling prey to same tropes of teenage character stereotypes. I bet she was surly, cool, obnoxious, witty, and scrappy - yet promising. And I'll bet she came off as annoying. That's all just my hunch based on decades of seeing teenage elements inserted into a serious genre. But thankfully the fanbase came around and the character matured. Because the character we see today is pretty awesome. Rosario Dawson's portrayal in The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett was masterful. And the fact that her solo show, Ahsoka, is premiering in August 2023 is no surprise at all - and I can't wait! Let's check out the Retro Collection Ahsoka Tano below!

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Star Wars Retro Collection - THE ARMORER!

Star Wars Retro Collection: The Mandalorian - The Armorer - Hasbro 2022

The Armorer has surprisingly become one of my favorite characters in the Disney+ Star Wars Universe. When she first appeared in The Mandalorian, I was excited to hear a female voice behind one of the helmets, and I thought it was very interesting to see a detailed view into a weaponry-and-armor-centric culture like the Mandalorians. But she definitely didn't seem like a character who would play a part in major plot developments. She seemed non-combative in role and Din Djarin was literally only visiting the planet when we met her. But as the years have passed, we've seen her become an influential leader and voice of reason among the Mandlorians. She's been prominent in later seasons of the The Mandalorian and even appeared in The Book of Boba Fett. I should have realized there were bigger plans for her since we've seen her 6" Black Series figure released three times already. It's amazing how clairvoyant the toy world can be. Let's check out the Armorer below!

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Star Wars Retro Collection - BO-KATAN!

Star Wars Retro Collection: The Mandalorian - Bo-Katan - Hasbro 2022

I'm amused by my love of the Star Wars Retro Collection. When Star Wars figures were all the rage in my youth, I only cared about Ewoks. When I got into Star Wars figures again in the early 2000s, I found the world of 3.75" figures overwhelming. The modern ones were plentiful and the vintage ones cost a fortune (and had a fair number of reproduction accessories being passed as original). I probably only picked up a dozen figures before I got burnt out. The Black Series 6" line provided the fresh start I was looking for as a collector. But I didn't have any nostalgic connection to this universe in that scale. But then the Retro Collection started and I was ecstatic. Finally I could satisfy my modern (read: more-than-ewok) love of the Star Wars franchise with the retro Kenner style that is so signature to the brand. And I love that the line tends to focus on the new properties, letting the vintage Kenner collectors retroactively incorporate these new characters into their displays. Let's check out Bo-Katan below!

Monday, April 24, 2023

The Mandalorian - BO-KATAN!

The Mandalorian - Bo-Katan Kryze (Limited Articulation Figure) - Hasbro 2022

Limited Articulation figures are a very interesting trend in the modern action figure market. I presume that the big toy companies wanted to tap into the dollars being "stolen" by the knockoff and bootleg market by producing their own lower-budget, lower-quality, and limited-articulation figures. I personally love these figures. They show up in weird places like grocery store checkout lines and drug stores and they tend to look pretty great since they are using simplified, re-scaled versions of the collector lines. The main downfall for me is that they very rarely include female characters. The only ever female ever made in the Star Wars assortment was Rey back in 2016. The inclusion of Bo-Katan was a surprise and also a foretelling of her prominence in the Disney+ Star Wars Universe. So far, only the A-Listers ever seem to get recognition in these discount lines. And after seeing The Mandalorian Season 3, I can see that prediction was correct. Let's check out Bo-Katan Kryze below!

Sunday, April 23, 2023

Mission Fleet - BO-KATAN!

Star Wars Mission Fleet: Gauntlet Starfighter - Bo-Katan - Hasbro 2021

Star Wars Mission Fleet is a fun line of miniature articulated action figures with stylized vehicles. They seem more like a maturation of the Playskool Galactic Heroes line (which I loved) as opposed to the more "serious" Micro Galaxy Squadron miniature line. The Mission Fleet line started out strong back in 2020 with a lot of initial releases, but there has been a steady slowdown ever since. I've had this Bo-Katan set in my stash for quite a while but delayed opening her since I assumed she would be the last lady in the line. But to my surprise we got a Reva Third Sister figure late last year and there is an upcoming Fennec Shand this Summer. So the line is definitely alive, just really slow. This figure also marked a turning point in collecting for me as she was the first Hasbro figure I saw (and purchased) in plastic-free windowless packaging. It may be commonplace now, but back in October of 2021 we were still waiting to see if it was real. Luckily mine looked good. Let's check out Bo-Katan Kryze below!

Thursday, April 20, 2023

POP! Masters of the Universe - SORCERESS (TOD)!

POP! Television #993 - MOTU - Sorceress (Diamond LACC Exc) - Funko 2022

The Masters of the Universe collecting community seems to love character variations. Excluding more modern iterations, the vintage characters alone typically have three potential design options: toy design, animation designs, and mini-comics design. The mini-comics always appealed to me the least of the trifecta. I can't help but think that printing limitations played more of a factor than true artistic intent. But it makes for some fun variants. Teela in pink armor doesn't appeal to me at all - it seems to clash with the palette of Eternia (perhaps if she visited Etheria I would be more accepting). However, the 1984 mini-comic The Temple of Darkness featured an all-white Sorceress that I really liked. The toy interpretation of  translucent plumage just adds to the appeal (in one panel of the intro comic, she appears as a translucent vision). This glittery white ("Diamond") Sorceress Pop was exclusive to the Los Angeles ComicCon in 2022 with the LoungeFly backpack bundle. Let's check her out below!

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

POP Funko - SHE-RA (GOLD)!

POP! Retro Toys: MOTU #38 - She-Ra (Gold WonderCon Exc) - Funko 2022

I'm not usually a sucker for metallic repaints. I tend to like bright saturated colors that mimic animation or comics, and metallics often dull that vibrancy. However, I've found it interesting that when it comes to She-Ra, I definitely prefer her "metal" pieces to be painted metallic gold rather than a literal translation of the orangey-mustard color from the screen. This recent repaint of the POP! Retro Toys She-Ra is a perfect example. The original release from 2021 had cartoon-accurate mango-orange armor, but in execution the color just blended in too much with the yellow of her hair and the light tone of her skin. But this WonderCon 2022 exclusive repaint looks so much better. The intended contrast and weight of the armor is there and is very impressive. This Pop came with the expensive LoungeFly/Funko exclusive She-Ra backpack. The bag is very cool and high quality. I was hesitant to make such a large purchase (I got her slightly cheaper on eBay) but I think it was worth it. Let's check out She-Ra below!

Sunday, April 16, 2023


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Dirk Savage & Mona Lisa - NECA 2023

One of the main reasons I never fully bought into the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise was due to the lack of costumed (read:mutated) female characters. The main female (in my opinion) was Mona Lisa, a mutated human physicist (mutated into a salamander) who appeared in a single episode of season 4 ("Raphael Meets His Match"). The setting of the episode is a costume party where the Turtles think Mona Lisa is a human in costume. By the end of the episode they all reveal their true identities and a romantic tension with Raphael is formed. An action figure was made of her a few years later in 1993 (which incorrectly labels her as a lizard). This original toy was my first exposure to the character and I never saw her episode until recently. Different versions of Mona Lisa have appeared in the turtles franchise since those early days, but this figure is only her second piece of merchandise made. I'm excited to see what other TMNT ladies NECA might highlight in the future. Let's check out Mona Lisa below!

Friday, April 14, 2023

AstroBots - ATHENIA!

AstroBots: Robotic Space Colonisation Force - Athenia - ToyNotch/ToyForge 2023

It's amusing to me that the best looking fembot figure I've purchased in years is not a Transformer and is in no way tied to any nostalgia for me. These non-transforming Astrobots toys were unknown to me when I spotted them for preorder on BBTS earlier this year. The toy line is designed by Aaron Thomas and will be supported by a comic series in May written by Simon Furman, writer of the original Transformers comic series (and creator of Marvel's Death's Head) with art by Heavy Metal artist Hector Trunnec. My first impression was that this Athenia figure had a fantastic face sculpt and a color palette reminiscent of one of my favorite Autobots, Moonracer. I also appreciated the non-sexualized body sculpt. A lot of recent 3rd party fembots tend to have exaggerated feminine features that lead me to believe their sole purpose is titillation. But while these figures are unmistakably feminine, I don't perceive any objectification. I can't wait for the other fembot, Artimis, to be released. Let's check out Athenia below!

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Transformers Legacy - MINERVA!

Transformers Legacy - Deluxe Class - Minerva (Walgreens) - Hasbro 2023

When I first ventured out on my own post-college in the early 2000s, the cities seemed full of cool collectibles shops. I don't know where they all went, but back then I could spend a whole day walking around hopping stores and browsing Japanese imports and vintage collectibles. On one of these excursions I found a small PVC figurine from the Heroes of Cybertron line featuring a female Autobot I had never heard of before: Minerva. I was impressed that she looked so much more like a true Transformer than Arcee (who seemed shaped like a human with robotic details). Minerva had a head and silhouette that seemed way more in line with the overall Transformers aesthetic. Over the years I have learned a lot about her and picked up some great 3rd Party figures, but I've always wanted an official modern figure in the Hasbro line. And years later we get this fantastic Walgreen's exclusive retooling of Elita-1 that fits the bill perfectly. It's an exciting time ot be a Transformers fan. Let's check out Minerva below!

Monday, April 10, 2023

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts - ARCEE!

Transformers Studio Series Core Class - Rise of the Beasts Arcee - Hasbro 2023

I'm very excited that Arcee is finally getting more than a few seconds of screen time in the Transformers Cinematic Universe. She had a very iconic (for me at least) cameo in 2018's Bumblebee in the famous Cybertron Battle scene that thrilled me and prompted a few figures for my collection (Hasbro Studio Series and a Trumpeter model). But the upcoming Transformers: Rise of the Beasts film seems to feature her in a more prominent role. She has several different scenes in the trailers and already has two figures on the shelves. Both are from the smaller Core lines, but eventually I know she'll get a full-sized Deluxe figure in her new red and pink deco. But considering Rise of the Beasts hits the screens in two months, I'm assuming any additional figures will be far future releases - but hopefully not a four year delay like the Bumblebee figure - I want my Arcee soon! I'm excited to see the movie in June regardless. Airazor, Nightbird, and Arcee add a ton of much-needed gender diversity. Let's check out Arcee below!

Saturday, April 8, 2023


Nascar Racers - "Spitfire" Megan Fassler - Figure & Rescue Racer - Hasbro 1999

From 1999-2001, Fox Kids Network and Saban Entertainment cashed in on the exploding popularity of NASCAR and created the animated series NASCAR Racers featuring two rival racing teams in a futuristic setting. The show was popular and lasted two seasons but fell victim to the sale of Saban to Disney before season 3 went into production. But before that cancellation, the show spawned books, a video game, and of course toys. Most of the toys are simple cars in various scales. And eBay is inundated with Kellogg's promotional toys and Wendy's Kids Meal cars. But hidden in the mix is this great line of "Figure & Rescue Racer" toys featuring nine of the most popular characters in action figure form along with their signature vehicles. Megan Fassler is the token female from Team Fastex (who later assembled a separate team of female drivers). She is the only female who got an action figure. Which is sad, but also a blessing because these are super hard to track down. Let's check out Megan below!

Thursday, April 6, 2023

G.I.Joe Classified - ZARANA!

G.I.Joe Classified Series (6" Line) #48 - Dreadnok Zarana - Hasbro 2023

Zarana is iconic to me because she was the first female G.I.Joe character that all the boys desperately wanted the toy of. The previous ladies all still seemed to have a cootie factor making them uncool for the average boy to play with. But Zarana had a natural badassery, family lineage, and highly sought-after color-changing gimmick that made her a desirable toy regardless of your gender hangups. I would love to say that her ability to disguise herself was a notable trait. But Scarlett, Lady Jaye, and Baroness had been pulling that trick for years and we were all wise to the random female civilian like a Star Trek redshirt by the time Zarana was introduced. Instead, her punk-rock aesthetic and typical Dreadnok temperament made her a standout character foe her first appearance in Arise Serpentor Arise. I've been wanting a Zarana in the Classified line from the beginning but was curious how they would handle her hair. Luckily they gave us two amazing options - cartoon and vintage toy. Let's check out Zarana below!

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts - AIRAZOR!

Transformers Studio Series Deluxe #97 - Rise of the Beasts Airazor - Hasbro 2023

While the Beast Wars and Beast Machines eras of Transformers were never my favorite, I have grown to respect the series for the number of female characters they introduced. The first time I appreciated Airazor was when the recent Kingdom toy was released. Before that, all her figures were designed with a male character in mind and didn't appeal to me. But that figure, while largely androgynous, had some distinct female qualities that I was drawn to. In the upcoming Transformers: Rise of the Beasts film, Airazor is played by Michele Yeoh and I'm very excited to see her on screen. I don't have a solid grasp on what her robot mode will look like on screen because the toys and images shown so far depict her differently (and we all know how misleading the initial Shatter toys were for Bumblebee). This Studio Series Deluxe figure is (predictably) androgynous, but there is a Jungle Mission figure coming in August which, IMO, has a much nicer design. I guess we'll see what she looks like when the movie hits.

Sunday, April 2, 2023

Batman Knightfall - CATWOMAN!

DC Multiverse - Batman: Knightfall (Jim Balent) - Catwoman - McFarlane 2023

I have this insane competition in my head where I always want a specific toyline to have more Catwoman figures than Wonder Woman. It's usually a losing battle for Selina (and probably will be yet again in the McFarlane DC Multiverse line), but right now, if you count variants and the two Batman '66 figures, they are tied at 9 figures each. This newest Knightfall Catwoman in her 1990's purple Jim Balent costume is always a nice change of pace from her modern all-black designs. I was never a huge fan of this design in the comics, but in toy form I've really grown to love it. I especially love more recent toy interpretations where her hair isn't so exaggerated, her chest is a more proportional size, and her face displays an expression that is not a gritted-teeth snarl. This specific sculpt may have swung a little too far in the other direction and made her look a little bored, but it's a solid figure overall. I'm also excited to find the gray variant of this figure showing up in stores now. Let's check out Catwoman below!