Curse you Toys R Us! Curse you and your sudden arrivals of a ton of product! Curse your "Buy 2 Get 3rd for Free" sales. Don't you know I'm on a strict budget!? This is about half of my purchases, with the subsequent half coming next week. Yep... I bought just that much.
CDI - The Dark Knight Rises: Miniatures Multi-Pack
Some lesser-known company, apparently a fully owned subsidiary of Jakks, somehow nabbed some kind of license for TDKR which equates to plastic miniatures of characters and vehicles. I only ever saw these at Target but was traveling for work in early august when they were apparently totally clearanced out of all my local stores. I stumbled on this lone ranger $10 on a recent trip and was happy to grab it. The sculpts are pretty detailed considering the size and soft plastic. Paint is a bit rudimentary though. Outside of the compulsive need for the obscure toys of the future the main draw for me on this was The Bat (I'm still not sure how I feel about that design) as who knows when or if Mattel's Hot Wheels version will ever come out. These are fun little pieces but nothing special.
Hasbro - Avengers: Black Widow
She's definitely been the hardest to find figure from the 4" Avengers line, but now she is mine and the team is complete! Oh... no, wait there's still a Fury somewhere out there. This is certainly one of the best figures in the line. Of course she gets a big dumb missile launcher but more importantly gets her signature two handguns (the left hand holds one excellently, the right is a bit tougher prospect) and holster belt. The sculpt is pretty good, but there's something about this costume that doesn't look accurate to either Iron Man 2 or Avengers. Paint is remarkably good, lots of great, clean line work, but I have a feeling the weak likeness is more a result of the paint than the sculpt. But it is articulation that makes this figure queen - she has all the balljoints of the rest of the figures but now with swivel wrists and balljointed ankles. If you can find her she is worth the getting of.
Hasbro - Clone Wars: The Return of Darth Maul
One set, two exclusive figures (though it wouldn't surprise me at all to see at least Maul show in on a single card). Savage Opress appears to be a 1:1 re-issue of his carded figure, but lacking his double-bladed light saber this time. Darth Maul is the anchor of the set, of course, and the main reason to buy in. I'm disappointed that they had or chose to stick so close to the comicbook version since it's a bit too... "silly," I guess, for my tastes. The sculpt is solid but the balljoint hips don't have much range and without a swivel joint on the thigh anywhere the pose options are pretty limited, plus he has no wrist articulation. The paint is darn clean and precise, though, and he gets a two-part lightsaber which can also connect to a little spinning handgrip/energy blast (basically is creates the same functionality as that spinning Grievous role play saber). The real star is the Night Sister, who is inspired by an early Doug Chiang concept drawing for Episode I's Sith apprentice. It's a fantastic sculpt and isn't as Clone Wars styled as I expected, she'd fit in well with your Live Action collection. This is a cool, fun set and it has a sense of being the feather in Clone Wars' cap.
Hasbro - Star Wars: Sand People, Boba Fett, Snaggletooth
Target has been carrying these "Vintage" style three-packs for several years but only now are they worthwhile. Why? Exclusive figures! Here we get a repaint of the Vintage Tusken Raider (here called "Sand People" by some inexplicable counting error), Boba Fett and a 100% new sculpt of Snaggletooth. The Raider suffers a bit from the soft goods and swivel elbows - give us a resculpt all ready! Fett is excellent (if you can accept Fett with a removable helmet) as is the articulation and the paint quality and detail is unmatched - I'm shocked by how awesome this re-issue turned out and he's almost the highlight of the set. Snaggletooth is the reason to get this though as he is an all new figure and character to the line. We've had the Cantina version/s of a Sanggletooth before but this is the hunchback what passes Luke in the alleyways. Obscure, to be sure, but cool nonetheless. We gets a blaster which he can hold or will fit in a loop on the back of his belt. The sculpt is spot on and he gets balljoints at the shoulders, elbows, knees, feet and head plus swivel wrists, waist and T-crotch. Hasbro really spared no expense on this guy, making him all the more impressive.
Lego - Star Wars Planet Set: Bespin Cloud Car
I used to hate the Cloud Car design so much - it's so implausible and orange (my least favorite color) - but then something happened. I'm not sure when, why or how but it's become a ship I have a very soft spot for so I was actually pretty excited when Lego showed this thing off. It's a pretty solid translation of the design, though not as strong as some other (but how could it be, it's so very conical). This series, a return of my beloved Micro SW ships, comes packed in a "planet" and includes a base and a mini-figure. This set gets the blandest planet but the coolest Mini-Fig as it's only Lobot's second time as a Lego Figure and first time in the "fleshtone" era. He's great! The build is fun and the vibrant orange guarantees it'll stand out in any display.
Lego - Star Wars Planet Set: Naboo Starfighter
I have a mad passion for this ship so this one was a no-brainer. The Minifig Pilot is nothing new or unique, though still a welcome army-builder and a relatively uncommon one at that. The build is great, they totally nailed the look of the ship in this scale. It's a fun thing to construct with more parts and steps than you would guess looking at the completed build. The planets are two halves of the same piece and they fit together snugly. each "pole" has a 2x2 stud section and included is the octagon brick which is a shockingly good base as well as a piece I can't think of a name for which allows for it to be hung as an ornament or mobile. Pretty cool!
Lego - Star Wars Planet Set: Sebulba's Podracer
This is yet another awesome build and a fantastic companion piece to the Toys R Us exclusive Anakin's Podracer Polybag. It includes a cool mini-figure of Sebulba (mine actually had two!) which has some pretty solid paint on him to help bring him to life. This is probably my favorite set in the line so far. A fun, complex build, vibrant colors, an interesting Mini-Fig and a cool looking planet. In fact, it turns out that the planet halves are identical, which betrays some very clever designing that allows the various patterns to line-up. It can be a little annoying to have to try several times before finding the correct configuration but it's still clever and impressive design work nonetheless.
NECA - Gremlins 2: Battle Gizmo
Oh man, how long have we been waiting for this figure? I had more-or-less written him off since Randy once said at Comic-Con that the licensor refused to let any of the characters come packaged with weapons. This look is arguably the most iconic Gizmo, at least for me, and I am so thrilled to have him. The stern expression is great and all of the necessary details are here. The bandana is a separate piece but is permanently attached above the eyebrow, the belt is actually soft-good string (quite possibly the best use of soft goods I've ever seen, it looks perfect), then we get the paperclip bow and the pencil arrow. The bow unfortunately got warped in the package but I'm very curious to see if one made out of the actual materials would be in scale. The pencil, with white-out bottle, is a great sculpt. It can be held or tucked under his belt. If you get only one Mogwai it absolutely HAS to be this one!
NECA - Gremlins 2: Daffy Mogwai
I've always associated certain creatures with specific actors. For instance I thought that Harry, from Harry and the Hendersons was Ron Perlman when I was a kid, I've always thought that the Girl Gremlin in Gremlins 2 looked "lawsuit close" to Goldie Hawn and, likewise, every time I look at Daffy I see Eric Edwards, Problem Child 2's "Murph" and "Duane Doberman" from Sgt. Bilko. The sculpt captures the look very well and I really dig the sculpted hair curl between his ears. This is the only Mogwai I was looking forward to having the pose-able eyes, since his eyes are always bouncing around in the film, but it's still just as hard to find good poses this time around too. Still, it's a good figure and if you're on board with this line not only will you need him, you'll be pleased with him as well.
NECA - Gremlins 2: Mohawk Mogwai
Huzzah! The Nemesis arrives and he is awesome. The sculpt absolutely nails his mischievous malevolence. I was apprehensive about the squinty eyes, that they'd reduce his "character" too much, but they are actually fantastic. In fact, I'd argue they benefit the most from the pose-able eyes out of all of the Mogwai, as they seem to allow for much more expressions just from simple eye placement. I've kept the plastic tabs of the back-of-the-head balls this time around so that I can "lock in" eye positions and it's working great, I highly recommend it. I only have one problem with this figure, and if you follow this column, you know what it is, so say it with me... softgoods hair. Siiiigh. It looks "good enough" but is still pretty thin, requires grooming and is incongruous with the aesthetic of the figures. If the mowhawk was sculpted this would easily be my favorite Mogwai in the entire line, but as is he's at best tied with "Battle Gizmo" or 2nd. Still a great piece though and as the main bad guy a must-have.
NECA - Predators: Warrior
At last the final series of "The Lost Tribe" have arrived and we can fully congratulate NECA's on kicking every other company's ass in completion. I for one will be very happy to go back to being a more selective Predators shopper but it is pretty cool they completed something so relatively obscure. This Predator is in essence a straight repaint of a previous hunter but now with a new mask. I tend to not like the more detailed Predator masks but this one looks pretty cool to me. Best of all, though, is the dull greyish blue color palette of this guy, a very nice break from the browns and oranges of everything that came before. To be honest, this is nothing special, especially after six plus figures using this exact same sculpt, but on one hand it's nice to complete the team and on the other his coloring makes him more unique looking than the others.
NECA - Predators: Lost
This is certainly the most eye-catching of the Lost Predators. His skin is vibrant green and his armor is metallic blue - if I didn't trust NECA's intense scrutiny and accuracy on this line I'd worry that this was a rehash of an old Kenner figure. As can be the case with these figures, though, the paint jobs can vary and I spent a long time debating between this one and another with a heavier brown wash on the armor. On that one, the armor looked great as it was a dirty brown with with a nice hint of metallic blue underneath, but I ultimately went with this one because I figure with, what, seven or nine of these guys I needed as much distinctive variation as possible. Between his nice green skin, his new chest armor and new knife this one feels like a better purchase than several of his brothers, but, as implied above, if you buy one you gotta buy 'em all.