Thor opens this Friday and thus begins the summer movie phenomenon. To unintentionally tie-in with that I had a relatively big week for summer movie merchandise. Green Lantern stuff apparently had a May 1st street date and thus hit in force so behold Movie Masters Series 1, along with Marvel Select Thor and Loki, a smattering of Star Wars and my now-ubiquitous Lego product!
DST - Marvel Select: Thor (Movie)
Seeing the Marvel Select figures at C2E2 really got me excited for them, and then when I came across the Thor and Loki figures are my local comic shop last week I was just too tempted to leave them behind. Thor is a pretty good figure that pretty much hits on all the points you'd want for a $20 figure. Good sculpt, good paint, decent articulation and a decent base. The paint, especially on the head, is uniformly crisp and clean, an increasing rarity in today's market. Like all Marvel Select figures, this figure is about 7" tall so he won't fit in well with your other collections, but between the Iron Man 2 and Captain America figures, it's fun to have a Marvel Movie collection. The base is two of the same semi-circle that can pop apart to house the sword-mount that comes with Loki, a neat build-a-base concept DST is doing more with in the future. I have one issue and two problems with the figure, though. The issue is that the right hand thumb and fingers are sculpted together so he can pretty much only ever hold just his hammer. The problems, though... independently and combined they cause Thor unable to remain standing. Firstly, his excellently detailed caped is ⅛" too long, which means its thick PVC is always pushing Thor forward. Worse yet are his ankles, whose joints are not tight at all. As a result he naturally just jeans/falls forward, and there's really nothing with the articulation that can be done. I'm hoping it's just this figure and not the whole run, cause that would be miserable. He does have a peg hole... but there are no pegs on the base for it. One also can't help but wonder why there isn't and if there will be a helmet-on version. I would have much preferred that look and the hair is clearly a separate piece in anticipation of that reissue.
DST - Marvel Select: Loki (Movie)
This is why I broke down and got both figures. Well, actually it's his helmet. My god that thing is just so damned awesome! They capture the angular horns perfectly here and indeed capture all the great detailed and coloring of the "armor" seen in the trailers. Just like Marvel Select Magneto, Loki comes with a confusingly high volume of leg articulation that is pretty much good for nothing. There's not even of a range of motion, nor is the cape flexible enough to really allow any good poses, were this even a character known for his physical agility. Basically I can't help but be frustrated that they didn't spend that tooling money on more accessories, etc. Loki does come with a 12"-long and pretty-much-too-thin-to-hold spear/staff that I think is Odin's. His part of the build-a-base is a very cool cylinder that holds a giant sword. The stand fits in Thor's base and Loki can hold the removable sword. Sadly though, just like his brother, he has loose ankles and keeping him standing is a pain in the ass. He can't even be tripod-ed with the Spear because he can't really grip it. Regardless, I still really like this figure because the execution of the helmet is so kick-ass.
Hasbro: Clone Wars - El-Les
Once more, I'm just a sucker for cool lookin' toys, and this toy looks cool to me. I think I read somewhere he's the sidekick of the "Brainiac" guys included with the mailaway Battle Mat and according to the card he's a bounty hunter that trains Clone Troopers. You know... well, what can be said that hasn't? It not that it isn't "cool," but remember back when Star Wars was clearly stationed as our modern mythology? I guess it's just a substantive comment on humanity that even something of that magnitude has been farmed out as vehicle of commerce. And of course I wax philosophical about the integrity of SW as I squarely support such squandering ...so back to the toy! He's got all the articulation we've come to expect, which is to say balljoints at the shoulders, elbows and knees with T-crotch, swivel wrists and ball-and-socket head. The slim sculpt and diverse paint are very good. It's just a fun addition to the neat alien horde in the collection.
Hasbro: Star Wars - Weequay Skiff Guard
Weeeeeeeeeeeeeequay!!! Only thing better than a Jabba Denizen is a previously unproduced character; and the only thing better than an un-produced character is an un-produced Weequay!!! I've been nutty in love with Weequay's since the POTF2 figure of the late '90s. Just so you know. I love those awesome wrinkly heads. That said, this is honestly a miss-able figure, especially at the current pricepoint. It's a good figure, decent articulation and good sculpt/paint, but the costume isn't very eye-catching and this is really one of those characters that you only really register in the film now that there is a figure of it. This is also part of the first run with the longer neck. Originally that's what I was hoping for, but honestly the head hovers out enough that I totally see why Hasbro spent the money for the new tool and running change.
Hasbro: Star Wars - Senate Guard
Okay, so wow. Normally I lead the charge in bemoaning the stylistic horror of softgoods on action figures, but this is executed remarkably well. The figure is essentially an update of the Episode III Senate Guard figure, and among the upgrades are a stellar new head (the helmet isn't removable from the head, but they are two separate pieces) and a two-piece softgoods cloak. The under-layer is a light blue tunic encircling the torso and legs, and is made of a soft "not silk" material. Over that is the faux-velvet dark outer cloak. That one has some stitching to maintain the proper shape and slits for the arms are really just looks fantastic. Of course, as is always the problem with softgoods, the outer cloak doesn't hang totally natural as the thicker material fans out around the figure requiring a wide berth. He includes a laser pistol, rifle and staff; the great thing is that the staff's ball is big enough that it can be held by the right "shootin'" hand. Sure the staff doesn't rest directly against the shoulder, but short of interchangeable hands this is the best solution. All around a great figure that makes the current $9/$10 per figure price really hurt - I want several!
Lego: Creator - Party Pack
Picked this up for under $15 at Toys Я Us mainly because I'm currently obsessed with Lego and I want the parts. The pack claimed to contain four jeeps, four airplanes, eight children's tickets to Legoland and eight free subscriptions for Brick Club magazine, and I took that as four different kinds of cars and planes. In reality it was four of the same of each vehicle and I got no tickets or subscriptions. Bummer. This is a really cool party favor idea and think it would be neat to see them continue it just because its cool for parties, but also in that it's a cheap way to get micro-scale pieces (SRP was $20, and micro vehicles are usually $4-$6 apiece). The build is simple and fun, as always and there are definitely several pieces I can/will put to use.
Lego: Minifigure - Frankenstein's Monster
A big shout out to my man Teej for making this happen! This guy is easily the star of Series 4, at least in my opinion. The only special or unique piece is the head extender that gives him that quintessential Karloff look. I'm a little torn on the bandaid paint apps though. On one hand I enjoy them in context of and reference to the light hearted nature of Legos, but also would like a more "pure" incarnation of the character. Regardless he goes quite well with the rest of the classic monsters. We now have Dracula, Frankenstein, Mummy and Wolfman in this format - here's hoping a Gillman isn't too far behind!
Lego: Star Wars - Micro TIE Fighter
Lame. This is the first Micro Lego set I've ever disliked. It just... it recreates the shape of a TIE fighter but beyond that just looks like something an amateur would build from spare parts. I really think they should have gone with all gray bricks, then have a black shield/dome for the cockpit rather than clear, and "colored" the wings with 4 3x2 black bricks rather than the oddly placed blue 2x1's. Just odd all around and unfortunately not very good at all. Its just lacks the... pizzazz, the flair of most Micro Sets.
Lego: Star Wars - Micro X-Wing
This is exactly the kind of thing that makes me love the "micro" scale! A clear and perfect representation of an X-Wing built entirely of existing blocks/parts on a such a small scale - just beautiful. The S-Foils are position-able and it is relatively easy the get them to match in angles, though of course one can have the open up fully vertical were they of the mind. An especially neat detail is the translucent orange "caps" for the engines to recreate the exhaust. The only complaint I have is that the "cap" that represents the astromech droid is silver and thus gets easily lost in the overall white-ish hue of the ship, a blue or red one would have been much more appreciated - and fortunately we can make that change on our own.
Mattel - Green Lantern: Hal Jordan
First off, the head paint on this figure is all over the place. I had to go through about 20 Hals to find one this good and it's still not ideal. The mask's edges are soft and the iris clarity is only okay. There are 18 Points of Articulation: balljointed shoulders, swivel biceps, balljointed elbows, swivel wrists, T-Crotch, hinged hips, balljointed knees, balljointed ankles, swivel waist and "balljointed" head. I just don't know where to begin, but in essence, this thing is a mess. 18 articulated joined and few of them really do what they're supposed to. The biggest problems are the wrists and elbows. The elbows can only bend at about a 45° angle, at best, and the wrists are - well, put it this way, Hal is the only figure not to have balljointed wrists. Beyond that the shoulders are a "new" kind of approach where the balljoint doesn't cut into the full shoulder. This means that Hal has ridiculous little balls forcing his arms to hover a little out, and likewise can only raise his arms to about a 45° angle - once more both other figures have full/standard shoulder joints. Being Mattel they of course triple-barbell-ed his neck so it's basically just a swivel. And what's with that left hand? The fingers are crooked to hold the Lantern (I opened these at a friend's house and left the battery, so alas, no photos for you) but it's at such a weird angle the arm has to be awkwardly posed to keep the lantern from falling, which it's going to do regardless because they made it too small for the grip to be held normally. I can blame Mattel for a lot of the crappy direction of this figure but to be perfectly frank, where do they start and the Four Horsemen end? There are some definitively bad things here (shoulders, left hand) that go to the sculpt level. Similarly who is to blame for the bad elbow joints - Mattel for not cutting them properly or the Horsemen for not sculpting them correctly (meaning with enough clearance to move like a normal joint). Its just shocking to me that Hal is the worst figure from Series 1, not just because he is the main character but also because of the excessive reuse we've already seen of this figure/tooling. Neitlich couldn't spring for double-jointed elbows or balljointed wrists seeing as the cost would also be recuperated from the TRU two-packs, and so on!?
Mattel - Green Lantern: Rot Lam Fan
Ahhh, a character few of us really knew before this figure, and a pretty decent representation of the comic version. I was hoping for some kind of "opening back" feature but indeed this is just a big chunk of nothing. Excellent articulation though, all well executed and placed. Sadly based on the character/deign/torso there's not a whole of lot of pose variety but all the balljoints hold well and ensure you don't have to finagle a steady standing pose like with the MS Thor figures. Each of these guys include the same 11" tendril for the Parallax build-a-figure. I guess fear isn't very creative in manifesting his appendages. I'll tell you one thing, though - what the hell is up with the "bell" logo? Why doesn't this guy have the standard Green Lantern one? I've never been a fan of each Lantern having a different costume - these are cops afterall, they need a uniform uniform - but seriously, a different icon? What is he, a Bell Lantern? And come on, change it for the movie. It just makes things more confusing and why would keep such an inane detail to please the fanboys when you so radically redesign favored characters like Tomar Re?
Mattel - Green Lantern: Tomar Re
This is a weird redesign. Movies also changes things more because they can than because they need to. That's not necessarily a bad thing, and sometimes it actually improves upon it, and Tomar had lots of opportunity for a cool upgrade but he was also sort of a fish-man, so why did they make him a chicken-man? This guys has 16 points of articulation: balljointed shoulders, swivel bicep, balljointed elbow, ball jointed wrist, T-Crotch, hinged hips, ball jointed knees, balljointed torso and "balljointed" head. Like Rot it all works pretty well, except for the torso joint which is pretty loose and thus hard to keep ol' Re centered. Tomar comes with a DCUC stand, but cast in translucent green, because he's such an awkward body type that he cannot stand without it. Oh, and only one foot has a peghole, so let's hope you and Neitlich are on exactly the same page in terms where and how you want him on the stand.