Some folk'll never buy some stuff while out on business travel, but then again some folk'll... like Rustin, the toy-obsessed yokel!
DST - Clerks: Toys R Us Exclusive Color 4-Pack
I've pretty fallen utterly out of love with the relatively one-note Kevin Smith but I'll probably always have a soft, nostalgic spot for Clerks. This "color version" of the Minimate boxset for that film was exclusive to Toys R Us and I kinda picked it up on a whim which proved to be pretty smart since this set was apparently run in low numbers and didn't hang around long at all. Jay and Silent Bob and repaints from the initial two-pack released as a "pre-paint" at SDCC 2013 (which was technically from Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back) though Jay does get a new hat/hair piece making him more accurate to Clerks. Randall & Dante turned out pretty good too, though Randall's face seems a little under-scaled for the head. All-in-all this a pretty fun set and I'm quite happy with it. Plus, kudos to DST for sneaking in an alternate hand for Silent Bob with a cigarette - I'm sure the evil "FloridaMom" would just love that...
DST - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Leo & Foot Soldier
And speaking of kudos to DST, here's several big high-fives for figuring out a loophole to get the TMNT Minimates out of Blind-Bags and into Toys R Us. These 'mates are "technically" "key-chains," which means they have key-chains attached to string loops around the necks (and are fully/easily removable), as a way to get around Playmates' iron-tight, fascist strangle-hold on TMNT toys at retail. I actually found the other three 2-packs at home circa Black Friday but completed the set with this score while out on the road. Both are fine entries into the Minimate lexicon. Leo gets new forearms, hands, and lower legs to complete the Turtle appearance. While his bandana/mask is a separate piece it is non-removable which leads me to think the head is actually three-pieces in a sandwich configuration. He gets two katanas which fit well into their sheaths plus a 'mate stand painted to look like a sewer lid - now that's a fun, clever touch! The Foot Soldier gets new, baggy bicep and thigh pieces plus a katana, axe thing-y and a dagger. There is a place for all three on his back, though the dagger is too soft to fit in its sheath. There was a TRU exclusive variant of this set with a translucent-green Leo which I would have really liked but could not find anywhere, alas.
Hasbro - Marvel Legends Infinite: Cyclops (Marvel Now)
This was basically a "well I found him, I better get him" purchase. I had previously scored Stryfe so this guy gets half a Jubilee too. The figure is everything you'd expect from Marvel Legends, with particularly weak paint on his head-X leaving it partially translucent. At first glance, this is a neat costume, but it immediately falls apart with any sustained viewing. I'm sick as damned hell of "hip and edgy" black jumpsuits and that cowl makes no logical sense. Ultimately, this feels more like a redesigned Daredevil 2099 than Cyclops.
Lego - Legends of Chima: Frax' Phoenix Flyer
Hey hey - a phoenix polybag, nice! The fiery, beaked head is fun and those wings looks cool in bright orange. As per the norm the jet is a very simple, rather bland build but at least the vibrant colors give it some life. It's nice to get those stupid "crystal cylinders" in a new color, though, and I love the flat, round 1x1 with the gold flame print on it - I'll probably donate that to the awesome fire-villain in the new Agents theme.
Lego - Hero Factory - Flyer Beast vs. Breez
While I generally have zero interest in these wonky Bionicle/Hero Factory sets I quite dig this wave of robot minifigures versus kaiju so when I stumbled on this guy being clearanced out at Target I couldn't help myself. The robot is neat though I'm not too crazy about the avocado green coloring, though the trans-orange chain is a very cool piece! The kaiju is much more fun in hand than I expected thanks to the remarkably excellent balljoints - I wonder if folks use these as skeletons for Stop Motion, they're so fluid in range and firm in position-holding. I really like the angular look on the monster's head though I wish the coloring on the figure was more consistent. And that their was some kind of "webbing" to complete the look of the wings. Still though, quite a fun, novel set.
Papo - Dinosaurs: Allosaurus
I've been a HUGE fan of Papo's ever since stumbling on their Fantasy Mutants several years ago and have been coveting their Dinosaurs ever since. Recently Toys R Us started carrying them, and then had a "buy one get one marked down" sale in December, so how could I say no!? THIS FIGURE IS GORGEOUS!!!! The sculpt is so beautifully detailed and the paint is nuanced and brings out all that detailing! This guy even gets an articulated jaw AND he looks awesome with it open or closed! He's just so damned beautiful to behold!!!
Papo - Dinosaurs: Dimetrodon
I mean, come on - they even made Dimetrodons wicked cool! Again, the sculpt... the paint... I love it all. This dude gets an articulated jaw, too, and looks great in both modes. I will concede that these figurines are quite expensive, even on sale, but, like with Playmobil and LEGO, you are paying for a quality not found in more traditional US toys; and that quality is readily apparent here. Plus, this beats out the competition. I mean, if you put any Papo dinosaur next to a Schliech one, the latter would melt out of inferiority. Papo 4 Lyfe!
Papo - Dinosaurs: T-Rex (Brown)
OhmygodT-Rex'sarejustthebestthingever.... drooooooool. Probably a result of Jurassic Park I prefer my T-Rexs brown and this guy delivers. An immaculate sculpt with broad but subtle paint wipes add in so much realism and bring a load of texture. There is some paint errors on these figures but they are easily on par with NECA's output and in most cases far better. The format is one of no articulation but Papo pioneered hinged jaws (which the competition is now duplicating) and they do it so well! I mean the sculpt is so flawless you barely even notice the articulation because the figure looks so good in either mode you just assume that's how it was sculpted.
Papo - Dinosaurs: Running T-Rex (Green)
Ohmygod Ohmygod Ohmygod Ohmygod - look are damnably gorgeous this figure is!!! That running pose... AAARRRGGGHHH!!! I can barely stand how effing beautiful this is. I love him, I love him, I love him, I love him, I love him, I love him, I love him. So much. Again, articulated jaw, and it's so damn incredible how much character and story that adds to the figure. One simple hinge joint is the difference between stalking and attacking. If you only ever own one dinosaur in your life, it should be this one (or the Allosaurus... please don't make me choose, you monsters!)
Playmates - Ninja Turtles: Shredder
So back in December Target had a "buy one get one" deal running on TMNT so I decided to go in for the LARP Turtles but they didn't have Leo, so... since I had the movie Turtles I figured "why the not." It's very easy to hate the henchman-y totally-not-Iron-Man Shredder from the movie... and I do. This figure is far better than any other playmates toy since those first Turtles a couple years back chiefly because he actually has articulation. Swivel neck, balljointed shoulders, hinged elbows, swivel wrists, balljointed hips, hinged knees and, shockingly, even hinged ankles - yes folks, thanks to these 13 points we actually get a poseable TMNT figure! A good toy from Playmates!? I bet someone is getting fired. Sure this design is stupid, but hey, it includes the even-too-stupid-to-be-in-the-movie knife-cape!
Playmates - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: LARP Donnie the Wizard
Isn't fun how the TMNT has developed its own internal game: "count the cost savings!" It's one thing to have zero paint on the cloak despite is clearly having sculpted elements meant to be painted but whats with the unpainted wrist bands? "Hello, factory! This is Bill Playmates and we will only pay for two hand-straps to be painted! What!? No - YOU don't sculpt a third one, then! Parumph!" Donnie is pretty much all-new from the waist up, though the head could be reused. His hat/beard combo fits on surprisingly well but his lack of elbow articulation is conspicuous and annoying. This is so close to a fun figure, but Playmates cheapness is just too obvious for me to ignore.
Playmates - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: LARP Mikey the Elf
Mikey looks great, those the flesh-colored ears kinda freak me out, but that whole affair does fit on remarkably well/snugly. His unpainted hand-bands don't bug me as much as the other figures but they are still quite noticeable. I think this is pretty the same the same figure as the "show accurate" figure but with a new torso and biceps. It's still pretty fun though, this batch of the guys hits me right in the nostalgia for those old Turtles that came in weird themes like "Sports" or "Old West." I hope we continue to see more of this sort of thing.
Playmates - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: LARP Raph the Barbarian
Raph feel the most unique thanks to his bulky fur bits. His helmet is nice, though the one red horn is annoying (but I presume that these are from the show and it's thus explained for some reason). He also comes with a pretty badass axe. Again, it's so nice to get fun variations on the Turtles for once and I hope it continues.
NECA - Planet of the Apes: Zira
Zira was the hardest figure to find in the first wave of Series 2 so I had to snag her while traveling. The sculpt is another stellar example of NECA's excellence, though there is something weird about the face paint that made finding a "normal looking" Zira almost impossible. In hand, the face skin and blue irises seem very dull/light implying she's blind and wearing a metric ton of face powder. It's weird. Interestingly she gets a cloth skirt but it blends and works well with sculpted plastic of the rest of the outfit, though the green tunic is cast is fairly firm plastic which limits the range of motion in both the legs and the forearms. She also comes with not one or two but THREE accessories, and they're all paper goods. She has a small card which reads "my name is Taylor" and a photo of she and Cornelius (it's of the figures, not the actors - I'm not sure how I feel about that) which are both printed on a thicker cardboard, like a cardback, and then a paper airplane made out of thin paper. That's intellectually impressive (I mean is that a machine or did some poor guys get forced to fold a couple thousand tiny paper airplanes?), but honestly it's underwhelming to me as an end product. So, ultimately, aside from a great sculpt, this isn't a very exciting figure but she's still worth getting just for her significance to the film.