Okay, kids, as you may or may not know I travel a lot for the ol' day job and what that costs me in free time (for things like writing this column) it rewards me in opportunities for toy shopping across the American States United so let's take a gander at one such haul!
Funko - Universal Movie Monsters ReAction: Creature from the Black Lagoon
You know me and my love for the Creature so I'd been waiting a while for this guy to show up at retail; and once he did, bought him I did! I do like the idea of the ReAction format but this first wave/year of figures sure are... wonky; however, the Creature turned out quite well. All of ReAction was clearly built off of a buck with pretty bad proportions but fortunately they don't seem so awkward here. I think being a "monster" certainly helps him on that front plus the comparably very detailed sculpt hides a lot of the blandness. Not only does he have all of the trademark ridging there is also a nice, dimpled texture to imply scales. The hands and head are very well detailed and pretty accurate for the format. Paint is minimal but solid and articulation is the basic Big Five and all swivel joints. I get it for the "retro" factor and though I would certainly prefer balljoints at the head and soldiers I'm happy with this as is. If you get one ReAction figure, it should be this guy.
Hasbro - Avengers Assemble: Loki
One of the nice things about my travels is that they give me access to regional chains we don't have in California, like Five Below, which has become a relative treasure trove of discount figures. This one had a bunch 4" Avengers figures I hadn't seen at retail, and for only $5 each, like this Loki from the '5 Points of Articulation' line. I'm not crazy about the Loki from the movies much at all but I am effectively in love with the character's giant Hellboy-ish horns and that has turned me into a rotten sucker for toys of him. This guy is sculpted well enough and has a solid likeness of Luke Evans. Articulation and paint are minimal but the solid cape makes him back-heavy and tough to keep standing. He comes with his spear (it's a different sculpt than the movie figure's which is weird only because it means Hasbro spent money) and, most sexily, a removable helmet. Unfortunately the helmet isn't quite one-size-fits-all but it's close enough for some novel dress-up times.
Hasbro - Avengers Assemble, SHIELD Gear: Hawkeye
Aaaaaah Hasbro... only you would give the same name and card art to two different 4" Avengers lines with separate styles and prices. How's that whole Star Wars Black thing going for you, guys? I've been pretty vocal in my ridicule of Hawkeye in the past (which is fairly mean, since he is the greatest marksman of IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD) so suffice it to say I got this guy just to complete the set due to his $5 pricetag. He's in his "urban commando" outfit of late and it's well sculpted, painted and articulated. There's a big, full quiver glued to his back (which I dig) and he come with the same bow + missile launcher & missiles as the movie figure.
Hasbro - Avengers Assemble, SHIELD Gear: The Leader
I had COMPLETELY forgotten about this toy until I saw him on the peg at Five Below! The Leader is such a weird, tangential villain but I'm super excited to have a figure of him! He's effectively a repaint of the Avengers Comic Skrull Soldier but it totally works here mainly due to the bright orange and black outfit looking so different. He get's an all new head that's very well sculpted and painted despite it's distractingly scrotal nature. It's pretty surprising they went with this look rather than the more public-friendly tall-head version, but I'll take it! He also comes with a missile launching piece of garbage that is probably a repaint from some Iron Man line. Overall, I really adore this figure. Between him and the phenomenal Red Skull this line really kicked ass with the bad guys!
Hasbro - Avengers Assemble, SHIELD Gear: Nick Fury
Oh MAN I love (the idea of) this figure! It's a perfect mash-up of the two Nick Furys and I dig it a lot! The only down side to this guy is that either the jacket piece, the figure's sculpt or a combination of the two renders the arms unable to really lie flat to his sides; but ultimately I can make that work. He comes with a little jetpack which I'm sure is a repaint from a previous line. I really like the idea of this outfit and the perfect Fury mix that it is. I would really dig seeing this version of Nick in 6" scale!
Hasbro - Avengers Assemble, SHIELD Gear: Thor
Like Hawkeye above, this was there and $5 so I bought in. His cape makes him back-heavy and disinterested in prolonged upright-ery but he's still a novel toy. The outfit is a moderate redesign that "works" though it does has a conspicuously "generic" sensibility to it. Plus, it's Thor with his helmet, which Thor should always be wearing (at least in battle). He comes with Mjolnir, which fits loosely in the figure's wide grip, and an utterly useless articulated axe/spear/thing from the Thor movie line.
Hasbro - Captain America 2 The Winter Soldier: Black Widow
A'whooooa!!! I finally found her, guys!!! Only took six. damn. months! The figure is great, all things considered. The lack of guns is conspicuous but perhaps that's a Scarlett Johansson request, more corporate sexism or something, but at least they are sculpted into the holsters so you can at least sort of pretend. She comes with alternate hands and an alternate head with the Avengers hairstyle, which is super, super cool of Hasbro, but kind of frustrating as a collector since she wears notably different costumes in Avengers and Cap 2. So really that alt-head is just for customizers but it's certainly welcome in the "thought that counts" kind of way - though spending that money handguns would have made everyone happier. She also comes with the Mandroid torso so I can finally complete than big ol' S.O.B. - what terrible fun!
Hasbro - G.I. Joe Retaliation: Alley Viper
I have a very soft, nostalgic spot for the original Alley Viper figure so that, and the $5 price, broke me down and got me to pick this guy up. The neon orange and blue look of the original figure always confused the heck out of me and I'd often wonder why they didn't do more "traditional" or cool colors, and the dull maroon and gray here certainly proves why; emphasis on DULL. The figure is effectively the same as the one from a few years ago, aside from the colors, and now includes some big grapple/zipline nonsense. For all I know it could be a fun accessory but honestly all that kind of stuff just goes straight into the "accessory bag" for me these days.
Hasbro - G.I. Joe Retaliation: Jinx
Retaliation wasn't a huge improvement on Rise of Cobra so I don't recall much of the going's on but Jinx's bright yellow jumpsuit certainly stands out and looks nice on the shelf. She comes with a big zipline launcher that's really only remarkable in that it's also an articulated weapons case for the increasingly insane volume of accessories packed with these figures. For 5 bucks this a fun, novel figure to add to the collection.
Hasbro - G.I. Joe Retaliation: Lady Jaye
$5, how could I say no? I'd been debating about getting her for a while but for that price it'd be a crime NOT to get her. This basically a carded arsenal with a figure accessory. What's packed in is numerous to list but I particularly love the camo backpack and the couple guns that get paint applications. The figure also turned out to be very poseable, and she holds them well, thus making her a ridiculous amount of fun. To be honest, all this figure were just thrown into a ziploc bag while I was on the road I'm not entirely sure who came with the base (it was probably the Alley Viper, in retrospect) but it's so much fun combined with Jaye's poseability!
Hasbro - Marvel Legends: Stryfe
This is THE figure to get from the insanely rare Toys R Us exclusive X-Men Legends line since he was the only all-new character - indeed I think this the first Stryfe toy, if not collectible, since the ToyBiz boom of the mid-'90s! (Apparently the hold-up was some weird hatred of the character by Jesse Falcon?) He's a big ol' sucker but he stands quite solidly, even with such a big, heavy cape. The sculpt is good though the mecha-nippples are remarkably weird and I do wish the helmet fins were more separated than stacked. He comes with a new sword, which is apparently comic-relevant though I would loved to see the massive mace the old ToyBiz figure came with. We also get Jubliee's head and a pair of energy jubles for her hands. It's such a big, big bummer than this line was under-produced as I'd quite like that Magneto, and Storm (like Cyclops) is neat enough to warrant completing the BAF.
Hasbro - Marvel Universe Infinite: Death's Head
Any attachment I have to the character is more for Death's Head II so this guy's release has at least been informative as towards why anyone would give a damn about him. But despite his infamous origins how could any sane toy collector pass up such a killer looking figure!? Sure the head is a bit goofy, but mixed with the overall design I just love this guy! It's a great re-appropriation of the Marvel Universe Colossus body, which you can barely recognize under all the cool new armor bits. The color pallet is equally wonderful, with the rich burgundy and mustard accenting the metallic blues. Plus, he come with three all-new accessories AND they are brilliantly engineered! The shield's wrist-clip also plugs into the cape and the shield's underside has clips for the axe and mace so you can pose D.H. wielding OR wearing them - TOO COOL! If only all of the 4" Marvel figures received this much love and care we'd have such a great toyline on our hands.
Hasbro - Rebels: Stormtrooper
Luck of lucks, I managed to find one of the single carded Rebels Stormtroopers! It's a nice Clone Wars-ification of the classic design. He comes with a single blaster and gets the classic 5 points of articulation, and while I understand why things like ReAction would get a swivel neck joint it's REALLY annoying that Hasbro doesn't give all of their figures ball-and-socket neck joints. Overall, this guy's a simple but nice figure.
Hasbro - Star Wars: Ree Yees
Four-inch Star Wars collecting has become so incredibly convoluted of late I totally forgot this figure was coming or was even out! It is FANTASTIC. Toyetic perfection. However, I look over the ol' collection and I have to wonder "why Ree Yees?" Sure the PotF2 figure's proportions were a bit over-scaled but sculpting wise he was the best detailed figure of those early years, so why not spend the money on a character that needs a reboot... Like Yakface or an Ishi Tibb that actually appeared on screen? And that's just sticking to the Jabba's Palace theme - there's a bunch of characters that could use a re-do. But, at any rate, this is wonderful figure.
Hasbro - Star Wars: Starkiller (Galen Marek)
I've never played, or really even seen, The Force Unleashed but BOY does that game produce some cool looking toys! And throw in alternate costume pieces? Forget about it - I'm hooked! I assumed this would be one of many figures I'd never see in person so imagine my elation in finding my target volume of two! He's got a great, unique sculpt and minimal but fine paint (excepting the hairline, which has a jagged edge right in the middle of the forehead on both figures I got). Where he really shines is in the accessory department - he gets two ignited lightsabers and two lightsaber hilts plus two removable wrist-guards, chest armor, a backpack plus alternate "flight gear" and "loin cloth" belts! Everything works and swaps pretty well, though the wrist-guards are a little too loose so they can spin freely on the forearm. Again, just classic Hasbro - they make a great figure then put him in a case half full of pegwarmers.
Jakks Pacific - Nintendo: Link
Jakks pretty much came out of the blue with a big Nintendo push and were it not for seeing photos of this guy from others who'd found him I would have figured the line was solely Mario related. Guess what game series I have zero familiarity with and will thusly be the recipient of much scorn and derision? Despite almost total ignorance of Zelda, Link here is as almost an indelible bit of pop-culture as Mario himself so the figure is an obvious must-have. For a company really only known to action figure collectors for their misbegotten Pirates 4 and Men in Black 3 figures it comes as a big shock to me that this is actually a pretty great toy. Link's got balljoints or close-to-it and almost every joint and they generally work well (though the legs are a bit restricted). Link comes with a sword and sheath plus the iconic shield hidden in a "mystery accessory" box (oooh, what fun...). It's a crime this figure, so long anticipated, was/is so very hard to find because he'd no doubt be a welcome addition to countless toy and/or game nerds' collections!
Lego - Seasonal: Snowman Polybag
This adorable little sonuvabitch was a holiday season exclusive to Target. This isn't the first time Lego has done a Snowman Polybag but it certainly is the best! It's remarkable how much "life" is given to this model by adding in some color by way of the red scarf and blue cap. The Mixels eyes are a cute touch, too, as is the broom. The build is fun since it involves some multi-dimensionality. It would be SUPER COOL if Lego and Target use this guy as a basis for an on-going series of snowmen with different styles and colors of scarves and caps!