And we’re back! This episode of Spoils of the Week brings you a right smattering of products from around the, well, frankly, aisles of Toys R Us. Yes, that once fault-less bastion of toy good-ery! Bask, dear friends, bask in the glory what is... TOYS!!!
DST – Marvel Minimates: Vindicator & Box
I love it when they plus out box sets with these two-packs! It's a really cool way to get out as much of the team as possible and shows off DST's planning at its best. Here we get chick-Guardian, who is apparently that dude's wife. She comes loaded with not one but three hair pieces (one is just hair, then we get mask-and-ponytail with blue visor or red visor) and a "fwoosh" base. She comes packed with Rocket Red. I mean... that is Rocket Red, right? It looks exactly like him from JLU. But that's DC... maybe this is Crimson Dynamo? Nope... is popular character "Box." Oh you Canadian heroes and your clever names! He gets an alternate cannon arm plus an alternate translucent yellow hairpiece and with fireburst base from the Nova figure. As suggested by a reader, it sure enough can work as a serviceable flight stand. Be forewarned, the face and helmet paint made a very tight seal so it took a lot of careful knife work to get the helmet off.
DST – Marvel Minimates: Storm & Havok
I've never been much of a Storm fan and only ever really was into her '90s white costume, which is what she wore in the books and cartoon of my youth. This black version of that costume is novel just in that it's what the very first ToyBiz figure of her wore way back in the day. She comes with two electro-arm-bits and one of the new single-leg "fwoosh" bases. A double leg one makes more sense for her, but we have plenty of those from past releases, which I will gladly swap for this new piece which is better for proper flyers. Havok is a nice, if not simple figure. The mask turned out quite all things considered and I dig his tornado hand blast accessory. He also gets an alternate blonde hairpiece for unmasked appearance.
DST – Universal Movie Monster Minimates: Princess Anck-es-en-Amon & Frank Whemple
One of the two Toys R Us exclusive sets, this follows the model from the previous series by offering one set with a re-issue figure and exclusive one. While it is pretty annoying to have to double up on a non-armybuilder it is very cool to get an additional character for the display. Princess Anck-es-en-Amon is the carryover figure here, originating in The Mummy boxset. She is a phenomenal figure and with an all-new hairpiece, featuring her headdress, and skirt. Both are well sculpted and a very comfortable blend of detail and simplicity (for which I am notoriously a big stickler). The skirt is cast in translucent plastic which gives it a great, realistic appearance, however because of it she can not stand! It's too tight to adjust her legs and no base is included so... no dice on keeping her upright (sure would be nice if DST sold bags'o'bases). The exclusive figure is Frank Whemple, the male lead, and essentially just a new face on an all too familiar tux body. This set really, really aggravates me. The titular character has less than a minute of screen time in the famous bandage look and spends most of the film as aged Egpytian Ardeth Bey – this set would be a perfect way to get Ardeth Bey out, but instead we just get Johnny Tuxalot. Fantastic. At least we don't need two Anck-es-en-Amons. So, basically, this set is only for completists or hardcore Mummy fans.
DST – Universal Movie Monster Minimates: Imhotep & Quasimodo
And here we have Series 3's proper TRU exclusive – "black and white" Mummy & Hunchback. Both are identical to the standard figures, just painted in grayscale colors. Both are very nice figures and this is a fantastic set to add to the collection if you are already collecting the b&w versions. Though I am suddenly reminded that we don't have a B&W Bride... I wonder how they'll get that out, because it is a significant hole in this sub-collection.
Lego – City: Miners Bulldozer Polybag
I really dig the new "Miners" (miners, not minors) theme but I just don't know what I do with it, really, as I don't collect any of the other contemporary themes. This is a cool introductory piece. A very simple build its of value for the pieces. The scoop is pretty cool and I'm sure there are a million uses for the roll-cage (Power Loader!?) plus one can never have enough of the gold ore brick. My favorite piece, though, is the safety helmet, complete with headlamp. He gets a flat, clear 1x1 circle to go on it, but I think it would have been preferable to have a translucent yellow one to simulate "light on," but what're ya gonna do (plus it's Lego – it's more than easily customizable).
Lego – Monster Fighters: Coffin Car
This is a pretty cool little thing. It's a simple but fun build based mainly around the coffin base. While the grill-brick in the front and fire-exhaust in the back help sell the look of it, I would have liked a bit more going on with the body than just the coffin piece though. The real winner here though is the zombie mini-fig. A must-have if you're not getting the other, higher priced sets – but if you are, he's utterly redundant as this is the third set he's available in. Zombies = awesome; armybuilding such a specific zombie = not so awesome.
Mattel – The Dark Knight Rises: Ra's Al Ghul
WOW... how the HELL did I not only find this guy, but find him at retail!? There he was, just hanging on the front of a peg full of Batmen at TRU. Thank you, dumb luck! This figure is, well a kitbash with a new head. For some insane reason his feet are angle with the soles slanting up and away from the center, almost as is they or his lower legs were assembled incorrectly but that doesn't appear to be the case. As such standing is a little difficult. The likeness is solid for the mediocre Movie Master style, though for some insane reason his lips are slightly but specifically parted... as if this "in the middle of a word" Ra's... ooooookay. He gets the rarest of all Movie Master things: an accessory! And it's his Batman Begins gas mask...? While this is clearly signature BB Ra's it's very odd we get the gas mask rather than the cane/sword. His really worth comes from the inclusion of the final piece of the Batsignal BAF. It houses the batteries (not included, thank you very much), electronics and light. Once fully assembled it does indeed cast a surprisingly robust bat signal, even with some decent range. It's a cool piece, too bad Mattel is making it as hard and as inconvenient as possible to complete. But then again would we ever expect less from Uncle Matty?
NECA – Prometheus: Engineer
We all can agree that Prometheus was a terrible film but one with amazing visuals. One of the highlights for me was the Engineer, I absolutely adore his pan-human head and "is it skin or suit" Giger-detailed body. It's all capture perfectly here. We get nothing but balljoints and stellar sculpting with minimal paint. It'll take some comparison shopping to find the gray/brown wash on the suit that is most to you're liking as it seems to very greatly but the affect is quite nice, though not as subtle as in the film. He has tiny yellow irises painted on his pupils which I do kind of wish were omitted. I don't recall them in the film and either way think he's look cooler with black "doll eyes." One of the things I love about the makeup is its translucency and I wish they had used their new "ink dyed plastic" approach for this guy's head and hands (like with the new Rocky figures) to get that look here. I think this guy is just awesome and is a must-have for any movie monster, or certainly Alien franchise collector. He is as iconic to this film as the Xenomorph is to the original (though not as much as the Xeno is to, well, everything).
NECA – Prometheus: Chair Suit Engineer
Everyone seems to be going nuts over this figure simply because it is an allusion to the Space Jockey from Alien. They're not wrong, but it's certainly the lesser of the two figures, in my humble opinion – but that is not to say its bad at all. Every joint is a balljoint and each is firm while offering a decent range of motion. The sculpt is very textured, which I always love, and very detailed. The paint is simple but still very affective. Despite being accessory-less, between the reasonable $16 price tag and 8" size this is a very solid release and another "win" for our friends at NECA.
NECA - Predators: Scout Predator
Aaaaaand we're done. You know, I gotta say I'm happy for it. This was certainly one of those completist traps for me as I've felt compelled far beyond my enjoyment to collect up the Lost Tribe. But at last it is completed I can happily shift back to my more selective tendencies. So... what to say. I feel like I have nine of this guy already so there's not much to mention. I was pretty surprised and disappointed to see how yellow/orange his coloring is as the cardback made him look a much more preferable and unique green-ish hue. The plus here, though, is that he's fully painted rather than having a base of just colored plastic. Consistency is big for me and it's really chapped my hyde that it's been so back-and-forth on these guy in terms of paint vs plastic. The colored plastic works on things like Rocky that are predominately just skin. But with the patterning, etc. it's just never worked for the Predators. So while this guy looks much better than many of his brothers he still doesn't really aesthetically stand out from them. I'm glad NECA completed this group for the Predator fans but I guess I'm just not one of them, and as such probably should have sat this one out.