I am in a constant battle to save money, and while I probably spent less on non-exclusives this year than in the past five, I still couldn't help but buy many a toy. Part of the fun of conventions, like San Diego Comic-Con, is the relative unpredictability of what you can find there. So last week we took a look at half of my Comic Con 2013 haul, so why don't we check out the other half this time?
Lego - Cuusoo: Back to the Future Time Machine
This had an "early release" at SDCC (though many were treating it like it was a show exclusive). Sadly it takes significant liberties with the Cuusoo submission: the roof is now four studs wide rather than six, meaning there's no easy way to fit in two figures; and the hood is a layered affair rather than a flat incline, absolutely contrary to the car. It essentially ruins the whole set. The wheels both spin and flip down for hover mode! The doors turned out decently too. Alternate wheel wells and pieces allow you to build the BttF III hood so that you create all three versions of the Time Machine from this set. The license plates plus the time circuits display and flux capacitor are all printed on the bricks, no stickers! You get two pretty solid Minifigs: Marty and Doc. They didn't include a remote control for Doc and while his hair piece is a good match, there is a stark contrast between the detailing in the two figures' hairpieces betraying the evolution of style. I can pretty much guarantee Lego will be doing a full BttF line in 2015 for the 30th Anniversary and, unless you're an obsessive like me, I'd say you just wait for those, which will no doubt be better in design.
Lego - Star Wars: Umbaran MHC (Polybag)
This is one of those rare polybags here because it's only available at Legoland/s. Fortunately, if not oddly, the SDCC booth is operated by the Legoland group so they had a bunch on hand - huzzah! I generally hate legg-ed Star Wars vehicles and junk from Clone Wars but I gotta admit this is one of my favorites in a long while! It's a surprisingly fun build with some non-simple steps and great details. The legs are a clever compilation of arced bricks and hinges The body has some nice angles and shapes plus a "viewport" and "engine exhaust." I really expected very little from this one but instead I got a lot! It's a shame it's such a pain to come by, I'd certainly like one or two more!
Mattel - DC Universe Classics: Green Arrow
Hoo boy - what's better than a figure of a recent, modern redesign? One of a redesign that is dumped relatively soon after the figure is released! Yay? Still though, it's a good toy - well sculpted and well painted. He gets balljointed wrists which help A LOT with posing, but why he doesn't have double jointed elbows is beyond me. Overall he's a pretty good figure for DCUC. My only real complaint here is that his bow, with arrow sculpted on, isn't done in a "drawn string" pose. As it is, there is quite literally nothing plausible you can do with it. There is a gap in the strap next to the quiver for stowing it, but again... stowing it with arrow strung. He gets one of Nekron's arms too, which DOES have a double jointed elbow. I'm so very thankful that a character who does little more than loom gets double-jointed elbows and knees on a wholly unique sculpt - that tooling money is FAR better spent there than on, say, his Battery Scythe or on these individual figures.
Mattel - DC Universe Classics: Red Arrow
And with this, my DCUC collection is complete (well, technically I still need that impossible to find Red Robin from the final assortment). He's a repaint of the original Green Arrow figure, but with a new head and belt. He comes with the same, flawed bow accessory as Modern Green Arrow above but with the added benefit of three very flimsy arrows that he can't do anything with. They're really "it's the thought that counts" accessories. I would have preferred a variant or a pack-in of the "older" Kingdom Come head so that I could continue building out that lineup. He provides Nekron's other arm, for all your Collecting and Connecting needs.
NECA - Avengers: 18" Iron Man
This is a beautiful figure, but much like Captain America before him, he is flawed. I never thought I'd say this BUT... I miss the days of NECA's limited articulation. At least those 18" figures can stand. While this would be a killer 7" figure, at 2.5 times that size the articulation becomes difficult to manipulate, features pretty limited range, and can be wobbly leading to a very unstable, very heavy figure - a recipe for disaster. Like Cap, Tony here too has many paint imperfections which are, fortunately, not very noticeable unless you're close to him. The paint is highly metallic looking, though, and really pops in person, adding a lot of life to the figure. This guy gets a ton of features, too, including interchangeable hands (fists and open palm), six "flight flaps" on his back, plus four individual light-up functions - one in the head, one in the torso, and one in each forearm (the open palm hands are cast in clear plastic and use a light-pipe to illuminate with varied results). The lights really help boost the quality of this figure, though I don't begin to understand why the forearms have orange LEDs rather than white ones. All in all he's okay-to-good, but when you factor in the price tag ($80-$110) he can be fairly disappointing. After him and Cap, I'll be dialing back my plans for the 18" figures, alas.
Sideshow - Universal Movie Monsters: Translucent Creature From the Black Lagoon
Ever since DST released the "8-inch Retro Cloth Figure" of the Creature I've decided that I am on a mission to have a diverse and eclectic Creature collection, which firmly placed this guy at the top of my hunt list. He's just the Sideshow 8" figure sans accessories and cast in a very crisp and clear translucent green. It's a bit goofy but definitely stands out on the shelf. And best of all - he hasn't broken anywhere, which is far more than I can say for both of my standard release figures from that line. This is an old figure (the better part of 15 years old, in fact) and has a sticky feel to him but other than that he's darn cool. He came packed in a narrow clamshell, in the base of which I found a dead spider in its own webby home - definitely the weirdest "pack-in" I've yet come across!
Span of Sunset - Pirates of the Caribbean: Skeleton Pirate
This thing... is just wild. It's a big, giant hunk of vinyl that stands 16" tall and 5.5" wide. It's a reproduction of the coolest "beach skeleton" from the Pirates of the Caribbean ride and succeeds at being immediately recognizable as such, though he does suffer some wonky paint apps. The legs and left arm do have a bit of floppy wiggle room but really the only articulation is at the head, which is a swivel that's likely the result of simple production needs. Interestingly, if not oddly, both swords he comes with are actually metal. The one in his hand is glued in place (and seems markedly over-sized) while the one in his chest is packaged separately requiring you to insert it yourself. A very cool touch is that the back of the rock is a flat wall with the entire "talking Skull" speech printed very nicely on it - a most excellent plus. I have no idea who "Span of Sunset" is why this exists, but seeing as it only cost me $20 I'm very happy that it does! This is just an odd but very cool PotC piece - especially since it's from the ride and NOT the movies!
Spy Monkey Creations - Weaponeers of Monkaa: Glow in the Dark Gohlem
I'm one of those guys who has a fairly strict "don't alter the factory release of a figure" feeling, so I've never really jumped on to the Spy Monkey bandwagon, though I thoroughly support and envy what they're doing. I was a bit bummed to see that their Weaponeers of Monkaa line is such a stylized affair so similar to other comparable "indie toys" but seeing this big hunk of Glow in the Dark plastic at their booth forced my hand. This is a fairly beefy figure to begin with, but then you add in the additional heads, waist and blades and he's just darn cool! Every segment is a Gylos joint, which has the various pluses and minuses that entails, but it certainly does allow for a variety or re-configuring. And, of course, everything is cast in a wildly robust GitD plastic that holds light remarkably well! I have to admit this figure hasn't really broken through and brought me into the Monkaa fold but he is darn awesome and has earned the center-piece status of my GitD collection and display! I would love to see them do this with GitD Red and Blue too - that could make for some really awesome figure re-combining!
TheeA - Evenfall: T.O.T.E.M. Thus Suit v.1
I know precious little about this guy short of having discovered him at the ThreeA booth after I stumbled upon it on the last day of the Con. My understanding is that this is a new product category for Ashley Wood's phenomenally cool/expensive toy company - a line of small, 3½" mech suits that come still attached to their plastic tray (like the old TMNT accessories) for the relatively low price of $15. This dude came in twelve pieces and he winds up assembled with hinged elbows and ball-and-socket shoulder, hips and ankles. I picked this up mainly as a novelty and he exceeds well at that, indeed I wish I had gotten a second to play around with painting. This could be a pretty fun "designer" line and I look forward to seeing what else they have in store. (I should also mention this came with an SDCC exclusive poster for the line launch - it's simple and neat, but nothing you'd really be missing without it)
Toy Biz: Lord of the Rings - Battle Cry Uruk Hai
Oh boy have I been after this guy for a long time. A booth had him for $20 which was low enough that I finally bought in. By today's standards he's certainly worth twenty bucks - all the more shocking to think that he retailed around $7 less than a decade ago. He's classic ToyBiz through and through - more articulation than you know what do with and plenty of loose joints, ESPECIALLY the ankles... yay. He gets a torch, a two-part pike and a removable helmet. The name "battle cry" comes from his action feature - the entire head is cast in rubber and by pressing a button on his back the lower jaw extends slightly down to recreate that one (honestly iconic) shot of a roaring Uruk. This is a great variation of the army builder Helm's Deep Uruk Hai, but that's also his downfall. Aggravatingly they made the "it might have appeared in the film" Crossbow Uruk first, and then re-released him over, and over, and over, and over, and over. This version, with the more army standard fan-helmet, instead came out in the very final series of figures for the line and was impossible to find. It's easy to forget the woes of that line a decade later, but man... had they only put this helmet with an Uruk sword and shield on a generic Uruk body I would have literally bought a hundred of him. Harumph, sirs!
Toynami - Futurama: Hypnotoad
I hated Futurama for the longest time. It wasn't until a year or two after it was originally cancelled when my friend, an avid fan, forced a highlight reel on me, and thus my eyes were opened. Two jokes broke me, transforming me into the big fan I am today, one was Jonathon Frakes saying "alright, front row!" in the Star Trek episode (bonus points for Koenig's line "I have my own friends and keys and credit cards now") and the second was this guy - Hypnotoad. I laughed myself almost to death over this joke. Thus, it was with great excitement I discovered that Toynami was unannouncedly selling this little vinyl guy. He's small, just over two inches tall, and sculpted to perfection with paint to match. The only possible downside is that his eyes are sculpted permanently into that pattern, but hey - that ain't really a problem. I don't THINK this is an exclusive to the show, as he was in their display with other Futurama figures, and next to a 200% sized one (which I will also eagerly purchase). This was only $10, a relative good price at SDCC, and I wish I had gotten one or two more. ALL GLORY TO THE HYPNOTOAD.
Weta - Dr. Grordbert's: Saboteur 66
Not only did I not know this was out, I also didn't realize this was vinyl, and therefore (somewhat/comparably) affordable. It's not as iconic looking or as Raygun-y as the previous vinyl gun, the Righteous Bison, but it's more hearty feeling and definitely fits the hand better. I think the canisters on top are diecast, too. They even left a small hole in the nozzle for customizers to add lights, as they've done with the Bison. I kind of impulse purchased this, but I'm pleased I did, it's the most enjoyable "roleplay" item I've gotten since... well, probably since I was a kid! (well, no - there is number one toy: Voldemort's wand!)Sadly they're sold out of the the Raygun stands so I'm not too sure what I'll do with this guy but I'm glad to have him. It's pricey, but if you have the mind for it I highly recommend this jaunty bastard.