I'm out traveling the world for ye olde day job yet again and am thus trying to save money, but alas the stars align to thwart such valiant efforts! Between some unique finds at a Meijers, the Lego Store and some dastardly Buy-1-Get-1-50%-Off sales at Toys R Us I ended up filling a duffel bag with this week's scrumdiddlyumptious spoils.
DST - Marvel Minimates: Captain America & Scarlet Witch
Oh hey, these are out! Sadly they did not have the "Phoenix Five" set and only one of this exclusive, so though it's not that exciting I certainly bought right in. Cap is... well, just another cap. That's not totally fair - he does have (what looks like) a new helmet and nice new deco plus, FINALLY, a second left glove that doesn't have the shield peg on it so we get some options (plus a hair piece for unmasked look). I imagine this is the latest "modern" Cap and while it looks good and is executed perfectly, it's just so similar to all the other Caps we have I can't get too excited about it. Scarlet Witch, thus, is the star of the pack sporting her not-a-Playboy-Bunny modern(ish?) outfit. It looks great and DST translated it excellently. It does feel, though, like we JUST got her though so all around while these are both good Minimates they don't feel new or different enough to be all that exciting.
DST - Universal Movie Monsters: Mummy & Sarcophagus
I didn't know until yo recently pointed out to me that the Mummy four-pack had been canceled so I went into a scramble to find this set lest I be left incomplete! Fortunately, despite being a year old (and having the awesome Sarcophagus) I was able to find one at the, like, sixth TRU I checked. Both pieces here are very good. The Mummy is an excellent example of the beauty of simplicity with his right hand being the only unique, non-base-body piece. He comes with his Sarcophagus which likewise turned out pretty darn cool. I particularly love that it's sculpted to have a Minimate head and arms - that is some damn nice continuity! The lid closes nicely and the figure fits in quite well. Carded this set looks perfect, but in hand it does feel a bit lacking. An alternate head with closed eyes seems like a big oversight and I would have loved at least one alternate arm that could cross over his chest for proper "in tomb" posing. It's really too bad that the UMM Minimates have come to an end, each release seemed to be improving, and I really would have LOVED an Ardeth Bey (let alone a Creature Walks Among Us Gillman).
Hasbro - Iron Man 3 Assemblers: Iron Patriot
Well, the much lamented Iron Man 3 "deluxe" interchangeable limb 4" figures were one of TRU's "BOGO" sales so I finally got the necessary, but limited in screen time, Iron Patriot to go with the Mark 42 I got some time ago. This figure is pretty disappointing and it's hard not to feel some anger at whoever developed this line. Why these figures weren't just the $5.99 line with a couple "deluxe" sets that included these nonsensical missile launchers is beyond me, but looking at the cheap quality of this figure and his silly alternate pieces and accessories one can certainly see how how a company that only makes building bricks has surpassed Hasbro's diverse portfolio in terms of worldwide sales.
Hasbro - Iron Man 3 Assemblers: Starboost Iron Man
Starboost is tied with Heartbreaker as my favorite "new" armors from Iron Man 3 so I've been eyeing this guy for a while. I like the astronaut-ish color palate and overall aesthetic. His alternate black/bronze arm is annoying since the missile launching metallic part is attached via a peg rather than a balljoint but I will concede a degree of enjoyment from the metallic blue chainsaw arm. While I'm not opposed to the renaissance of five-POA figures the lack of elbow joints is sorely felt on that arm. I was most impressed, though, to find that this armor includes a jetpack that plugs on to the back! I presume it's screen accurate, which is pretty cool, and since it uses the same back-peg it should be transferable to other armors too, a rare instance of "coolness" for this concept. Alas, this figure does falter chiefly in it's "cheap" looking and feeling white plastic. Beyond that, though, I'm pleased to add this armor to the collection.
Hasbro - Marvel Legends: Iron Man
I was shocked, SHOCKED I tell you, to find this guy at retail! From all I could tell Iron Man, Dr. Doom and Archangel were only ever released to scalpers, so I was quite elated to snag this dude for a proper $15. It's a great sculpt and pretty good paint. I have a soft, nostalgic spot for this armor so I'm very glad to add him to my 6" Hall of Armor. The helmet, in particular, turned out quite well, though the boots are a pain. He has swivels at the top of the boot then his gigantic feet are balljointed (tightly) at the ankle making it difficult to get everything to agree on a good pose/solid footing. On the plus side, though, this is the best execution of the hinged shoulder pads approach they've been doing for a couple years. Overall a cool figure and worth getting should you ever find one before the dreaded re-sellers.
Hasbro - Marvel Universe: Nova
"I've been on the hunt-down after you" for a quite a while, Nova. I just finished the first volume of Annihilation (getting myself primed for my most-anticipated-movie-of-2015 Guardians of the Galaxy) so perfect timing on this. I dig this new armor and it's a perfect modernization - retains all of the familiar elements but updates them away from old-timey hokiness. Paint-wise everything is nice, rich and clean. The sculpt is pretty good too, though the red "nova" on the helmet seems a big too big/elaborate. The only problem here is that all the good armor from the chest down is just rubber add-ons, which warp or spin freely. If they're going to the problem of tooling new pieces why not just do new forearms, shins and waist? Maybe it's a safety thing, but it's still annoying. I dig the figure but the more I deal with him the more frustrating those elements become.
Lego - City: Ride-On Lawn Mower
I had put off getting this guy for a while but with the "BOGO" sale my love of Polybags won out. This is a cute idea and may actually work well for you City builders with parks or fields, but otherwise it's just not exciting, even for parts. The design of the "blades" is pretty clever though (in both bricks used and functionality) and "driving" this dude about the desk or table is mildly titillating. All in all, though, this is just MOC fodder for other builds.
Lego - Friends: Summer Picnic
Like the Lawn Mower above, I finally got around to picking this up due to the "BOGO" sale. I'm just burnt out on these boring, repetitive Friends polybags. This one does have some nice pieces, like the 2x2 red flats, the croissant and I'm always down for more foliage. I dig the translucent orange build which I take to be a soda or juice bottle. Mia is the same as has been released before so nothing that exciting there. For an internal IP Friends polys sure cost a premium, which is really too bad as they would be a good way of promoting that line. All in all, you could do worse for parts than this set but still, there doesn't really feel like there's $5 of value here even though this is one of the better Friends polys.
Lego - Seasonal: Thanksgiving Dinner
Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god - OH. MY GOD. In internet slang we say: "THIS." This set came somewhat out of the blue and easily shocked the community (or at least me and my friends) by all it includes. This is a cute set with two minifigs and a big table and spread for the traditional Thanksgiving feast here in the US (though this is a lot of food for just two people), but the value is what it includes!!! Three hotdogs, two glasses, two bottles (one smoky, one with the bottle print from that Pirate of the Caribbean set), two cats (one white, one brown), a barrel, a pot, a carrot, a loaf of bread, a pie(!), and, good golly miss molly, a full turkey!!! The turkey ALONE is practically worth the $8 pricetag and then there's everything else! This is ABSOLUTELY a set to stockpile, and though I only got two and I absolutely need to get more! Turkeys and pies, oh my!
Lego - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Kraang's Turtle Target Practice
Oh man, and now THIS set is out too!? What a hell of a day that was! Plus, it was BOGO at TRU, so you better believe yours truly ended up with four! What is this? Well kids, it's a perfect polyabg - that's all. First, you get a really cool battle builder Minifig. Plus, there's a neat bit of tech that could be a weapon, a vehicle or great excess parts (I can't recall seeing the octagon base or "leg" pieces done in silver before). Then, there's an additional build that gives this whole set an activity (shooting turtles). The ONLY bummer about this set is that the Turtle Targets are square. I'm sure that was done for better stability on the table and because the flat round hasn't been run in green yet, but man, these would be much cooler were they cylinders. Heck, I hope this inspires them to do the turtles as micro-figs in some upcoming set, now that the Games line is dead. Anyways... as if things couldn't get better, this set is only $3.99! That's the cheapest licensed polybag ever released! It is ABSOLUTELY worth your time to bulk up on these, and hopefully next year they'll do this again but with a Foot Ninja!
Mattel - Imaginext: Blind Bag Series
So TRU was having a "BOGO" sale on Imaginext so I broke down and completed my set of Series 1. I've reviewed the Mummy and Diver before so let's look at the others. The Racecar Driver is neat mainly because he has the Imaginext brand printed across his chest and while I don't much go in for sports the Soccer Player turned out surprisingly neat once in hand. I'm not much for Luchadores but this guy is really fun, plus he comes with the coolest accessory in the line - a wrestling dummy which can even stand on its own! The Lumberjack is pretty cool and while I dislike his safety gear I love his head and axe. The robot is more fun than he should be and comes with a tool wheel he can barely hold a big ol' gun. The Alien is fairly awesome, a great sculpt and a neat staff plus I dig that, like the Luchador, his "slip on clothes/armor" is a just a cape. The Beefeater is a fun figure than I probably should double up on and the Secret Agent is good but even moreso with his surprisingly cool jetpack and removable grappling gun. I out and out love this line and am really looking forward to more!
Mattel - Imaginext: Skeleton Pirate Captain & Officer
I haven't seen these guys anywhere other than Meijer's so I'm not sure if they're exclusives, old or new but I do have a thing for Skeletons and Pirates so I couldn't leave town without them. This set is, though, sadly disappointing. The slip-on "clothes" aren't too impressive, primarily due to very limited paint but worst is that they use the base Imaginext torso! I was really hoping for and expecting a cool rib cage sculpt but ooooooh noooo, not from Mattel! The Officer's slip-on is litigiously close to being Jack Sparrow, down to the braid trinkets, which both is and isn't surprising - I guess Mattel does have a relationship with Disney. They come with a torch, pistol, maybe-a-lantern and a 1:1 key or maybe it's an in-scale axe? None of them can really be held too well further adding to the regret of this purchase.
Mattel - Imaginext: Skeleton Deckhands
I wasn't too sold on the shark armor at first on these guys but it has grown on me. Though they are identical figures sculpturally to the previous pair this set is much better. I think it's the more interesting armor and more appealing colors. One of the nice things is the interchangeable nature of the brand so indeed putting the Captain's "clothes" on the crewman with the hook-hand makes for an all around better looking Captain. This set also gets two swords, an oar and a pirate flag - also MUCH better accessories than the previous set and plenty to share with those others. If you get one, make it this set. If you get none, I certainly can't blame you.
Mattel - Imaginext: Whale
I remember eyeing this guy upon his initial release years ago, so while I prefer that original, darker color scheme I simply couldn't risk missing him again. I love whales, I love sperm whales and I love stylized aesthetics, so this guy checks all of those off! His tail is articulated in two places and there are wheels on his underside that flap his flippers (flip his flappers?) as he roles along. One button of the back closes his mouth and the other launches his spout as a missile from the blowhole - that is kind of pretty awesome. He does have a weird, white criss-cross pattern on his topside which may be scars but I take as patterns cast by the sea's surface. It's an odd choice either way and I would have preferred some alternate shading or paint patterns. He comes with a Harpooner that is a really cool sculpt though clearly from an old aesthetic as he is more detail than the current figures and lacks neck and wrist articulation. He gets a harpoon and a neat but confusing whale coin-thing. For $15 this is a pretty reasonable set, though I think the Whale could benefit from more paint, though perhaps I'm biased by the earlier release. I would love to see this re-release this as Moby Dick in a light gray and an Ahab figure!