I've been dying for these Lanard Alien figures ever since photos first leaked, and I was finally able to find a set - man... they're so fun! And so, ridiculously cheap! The "Swarm" sets were like $8, the "Attack" packs are, like, $13 or $15 and the gigantic Queen is just $20!!! And then after some further mighty luck I managed to find a Bebop & Rocksteady set at long last, and then the brand-new Black Widow Minimates! So, while this technically wasn't from just one week, it sure is a hell of a nice batch of Spoils!
DST: Black Widow - Black Widow & Taskmaster
This set delivers the titular character and the villain of the film. Like all four 'mates, Natasha relies primarily on prints for her costume detail - and they turned out really, really well! She does comes additional sculpted pieces of course: both her "stinger" bracelets, two thigh holsters and a torso harness with baton handles sculpted on the backpack portion in the rear; and then of course two handguns which also fit in the holsters! It is kind of odd that she doesn't get batons, but those can always be borrowed from the Infinity War set if needed. Taskmaster also turned out surprisingly well, and I'm learning the design makes for cool toys despite looking goofy as hell in the trailer/set photos. He's got an all new cowl+shoulder-pads piece for his head, shoulders and back/pack, and a (presumably) new belt piece. Ol' T-mas also gets his laser-looking sword and a new shield sculpt - it's pretty flat and has a simple L-handle on the back, which is frustratingly tough to get properly into the hand since it's a bit bigger in diameter than the hand-hole, and the plastic is kind of soft and gummy. On the shield and across the body are more great, tight prints! I really love that they're getting these costumes through paint rather than tooling!
DST: Black Widow - Yelena & Red Guardian
White Widow (?) Yelena sports the same thigh-holsters and stringer-bracelets as Black Natasha above, but all unique printed details, which really pop thanks to her brighter costume. I have, do and always will far prefer Minimates with printed detailing over those with sculpted pieces so I madly love her torso having the green vest printed on it, rather than a sculpted piece! Somewhat surprisingly it's a different design to the one on the Infinity War Black Widow, which is a nice touch; and this design really feels a lot more Minimate-y to me. Red Guardian also features a fully printed body, which is surprising since his bulk seems to be a key trait. But he is the only figure in the "series" to have an alternate look, which is nice (especially since Hasbro couldn't even offer the same on their Marvel Legends figure). He comes with the same shield sculpt as Taskmaster but with now with appropriately communist design printing and the aforementioned swappable hair-and-beard and helmet-and-beard head coverings. It's a shame there's not an alternate look for Yelena (a rare instance where I might have taken a removable vest for full white jumpsuit design underneath) which would have easily got me to double up on this set. I can't say I'm looking forward to, or even have interest at all in, the Black Widow movie, but at least it got us some neat looking Minimates!
Jazwares: Fortnite - Leviathan
I don't even know a Fortnite, but I do know it is leading to a LOT of really fun looking figures! Had this all happened three or four years ago I would have been all-the-mother-loving-in on these lines, but "fortunately" for me it has come at a time when I have become more actively "responsible" with collecting and spending. But still, there are some things just too cool to pass up - case in point, a fish in a bowl piloting a diving suit! I don't know if it's the licensor, or new creative teams, or that it's such a big license, but both McFarlane and Jazwares have remarkably stepped up their game on these lines. I mean... the last time I bought a Jazwares figure it was those semi-half-assed Hanna Barbera and Nickelodeon lines back in 2013! The sculpt on this figure is really nice and the paint is pretty impressive, with a sense of airbrushing in the teal parts of the costume that's more effective than we typically see in mass market toys. He's also articulated up the yingyang, and it all works pretty well! There's a lot more ratcheting at play in the joints than I expected, with the shoulders being particularly tight. Another surprise is a hinge joint in the palm which should make it easier to hold the weapons, but makes it a bit tougher on some since the grip can be a bit loose. He's (she's?) also loaded with accessories - there's a backpack that is clearly two pieces but glued together for no clear reason, a handgun, a machine gun, a claw/axe-y sort of thing, a blue jewel and, be still my cinema-loving heart, a bucket of popcorn! The jewel fits nicely into the "claw" of the axe thing, and both it and the popcorn have a rectangular notch in them so the hingey hands can hold on. His "head" Is even easily removable, but I'm not sure how intentional that is. Overall, I'm really pleased with this figure, and it'll be a struggle to keep passing up others... And I really hope we see this body get repainted in classic diving suit colors with a new classic style diving bell helmet!
Lanard: Alien Collection - Alien Queen
This beautiful bitch is just pure, unapologetic toy joy! I didn't realize how much I missed '90s toys until this line showed up, and frankly THIS is the "take" I want! Basically applying modern production and articulation techniques to '90s toys, rather than redesigning the '90s stuff to fit modern aesthetics (though that is fun) or sculpting modern stuff to be "identical" to older aesthetics. And this Queen figure nails it perfectly! She's a beautiful, rich, slightly metallic purple and has a pearlescent bluish-purple spray on her head and tail to add some variation. She's big and bulky, but really well balanced and is quite solid - and articulated! She's got 14 points, with balljoints at all four shoulders, both large elbows and kind-of the neck, then swivel cuts at the hips, tail and mid-tail, and remarkably good ball-in-socket joints at the ankles! The head is "kind of" a balljoint because it's perfectly swivel-able, but tilting it back causes the inner jaws to push out the mouth, given that you've got the jaw open. I do think she could have used some wrist articulation on all four arms, but it's not something that really feels missing... especially since this figure cost the same as the Leviathan figure above! This is just the ultimate monster figure I would have used in all my playtime battles as a kid.
Lanard: Alien Collection - (Xenomorph Attack) Warrior Alien, Powerloader, Colonial Marine
This a super fun bit of clever reuse, pulling forward the obviously inspired-by-the-Power-Loader mech suit from their standard military line and running it in bright yellow. Sure, it's not very accurate to the movie at all, but it feels right for this line, and for $13 I ain't complaining. It is a shame it doesn't get a paint wash or something, but this is Lanard we're talking about after all. The Marine is, likewise, a repaint of one of their existing figures, which is fine enough - I mean, I'm basically buying these for the aliens figures, and between that and these prices its easy enough to view everything that isn't a Xenomorph as just an accessory (speaking which, this guy gets some weird pickaxe thing). The Xeno, which the packaging names a "Warrior Alien," features the ridged head and "fin-boned" forearms from Aliens. The sculpt is wonderful and is astoundingly articulated! It's cast in a bright, pearlescent green plastic which is... just a glory to behold! This is set is a genuine delight!
Lanard: Alien Collection - (Xenomorph Attack) Advanced APC Vehicle, Colonial Marine Sargent
This set has the most unique tooling, after the Queen, and is also the most skippable set since it lacks a Xenomorph. It's a pretty nice sculpt of the APC, and actually seems to scale better to Minimates than the one DST made (which, amazingly, we never reviewed...!?) but it is surprisingly narrow, to fit the packaging dimensions, which sort of look weird. It has "working" wheels and rotating guns on the top and front, and then a hinged section of the roof opens to reveal a driver's seat and seat facing some "computers" with stickered consoles. The roof is a real pain to open, though, and not much can be done with the interior. Given the prices of these sets I can't really fault them their decisions, and this is a remarkably good toy for $13... but it does feel lacking given the source material. We also get another generic repainted marine with another generic blue weapon. It is a real surprise that they didn't tool up a new, accurate pulse rifle for these guys, but... *shrug*.
Lanard: Alien Collection - (Xenomorph Swarm) Xenomorph Drone, Egg & Facehugger, Research Scientist
Yeah, baby - here we go! These $8 sets are where the real fun is! Here we get the "Xenomorph Drone" which is effectively the Xeno from the first movie, and boy oh boy is he a treat! He's about 4.5 inches tall and, get this... has 13 points of articulation!!! Including a lot of balljoints! Man, Lanard really hit this sucker out of the park! He's got hinged knees and a swivel tail... then balljointed shoulders, with ball-in-socket ankles, wrists, hips, mid-torso and neck! I mean... the poseablility of this figure is insane! It's so good one doesn't really notice or mind the lack of elbow joints. The wrists and, especially, the ankles are especially fun and lend themselves to a lot of poses! And the figure is cast in gorgeous pearlescent yellow... he's just a treat! The set also includes an open, hollow egg and a yellow facehugger, but despite a coiled tail the facehugger cant's stand upright sadly. We also get a surprisingly fun looking spacesuit guy (who bears a remarkably good Robert Forster likeness, for no clear reason). I really like the peach, maroon, black and eggshell color pallet on him - and the removable helmet is quite nice. It has a nice "Nostromo space suit" vibe to it. The figure has 12 points of articulation, with hinged knees and elbows with t-crotch and swivel biceps, waist and neck. The hands are annoying because each are in a different position and the grips are awfully wide - he can only barely hold his gun. But, again, he looks neat enough but one is buying this for the Xeno - who is well worth $8 just on its own!
Lanard: Alien Collection - (Xenomorph Swarm) Xenomorph Runner, Planetary Rover Bike, Weyland Commando
Here we get a fully unique sculpt, which completes the "trilogy" of classic Xenomorphs. It gets 10 points of articulation, most of which are balljoints! There's swivel hips, then balljointed shoulders and elbows and ball-in-socket tail, wrists and neck. Because of the legs, this guy can only really be in "running" position, but the arms have so much fluidity to their joints there is a surprising amount of pose options! And then add to that the pearlescent red plastic, and... man, I am in love with this figure and line! This dude comes with a repainted "bomb suit technician" that feels remarkably good as a fun interpretation of the Commandos at the end of Alien3. He has similar articulation to the spacesuit guy above, which helps him fit on and "ride" the repainted sci-fi motorcycle from some other Lanard line. It too feels shockingly appropriate and Kenner-y. It's a neat piece with two big wide wheels and spokes on just one side (no doubt a cost-effective production thing but also feels aesthetically "right" as well for these pseudo Alien 3 vibes).
Lanard: Alien Collection - (Xenomorph Swarm) Xenomorph Warrior, Rotating Sentry Gun, Colonial Space Marine
And last, but certainly not least, we've got the Warrior figure now cast in my most beloved of colors - metallic blue! He's the same as the Warrior with the Powerloader above, but just a unique color. The Warriors are identical to the Drone, but with new arms that include the forward bones and the Aliens ridged heads. Something of note is that all four Xenomorphs have wide open mouths with mini-jaws inside, which seems to be glued in place implying that extended mini-jaws could be coming in the future. The set also include a simple sentry gun, which can rotate, and another Marine. All the marines have the classic five-points of articulation, as well the same sort of alternately positioned hands as the other figures (except for the Weyland Commando). This is easily the most battle-build-friendly of the sets, I think, but man alive.... The xenomorph figures are so great and so damn cheap I'll absolutely be doubling up, AND am ALL IN for every future release!
McFarlane Toys: Fortnite - Peely
Peely is just one of those "love at first sight" figures and I've been desperately searching for any of the three figures of him (Jazwares also did him in 6" and 4") and finally just had to order this one online after accepting that was my only way to get one. The figure is just utter, goofy, toyetic joy! A nice sculpt with a ton of nice, tight articulation throughout the limbs. Surprisingly the body is a hollow rubber piece over a semi-articulated skeleton inside of it. It's weird, and certainly a "thought that counts" sort of thing since the nature of the rubber body restricts the ratcheted "neck" and waist joints. Paint is simple and nice (including a blue "sticker" print on his back)! He comes with a rifle, a coconut staff with a machete wedged in it (weirdly and annoyingly, the machete is a separate piece but glued in so what could have been an easy "bonus" accessory but just... isn't) and a surprisingly cool bunch of bamboo as a backpack; plus a generic stand. I must concede that I don't love this figure as much as I'd expected to, but the simple idea of it goes a long way and I'm very pleased to have him; and will continue to hunt down both Jazwares versions as well!
McFarlane Toys: Fortnite - The Prisoner
Remember when I said "old" Rustin would have been all-in on these lines? It's figures like this would cause that... I mean, just look at how COOL this monstery muthahflippah looks! He was marked down to $18 when I ordered Peely so... look, I'm just a man... I'm allowed human weakness! The sculpt is awesome on this dude and the paint really adds a lot to him, especially the rusty wash on the "metal" parts! I do wish there was some more texture or paint on the skirt, but what are ya gonna do. Beyond just the cool, demon-y look of the guy, the various chains and lock motif really give him a sense of story. The little bits of translucent crystal on the forearms, shoulders and helmet are neat as well, but mostly confusing to me. He comes with a revolver, which seems quite out of place, and a rad lock-based backpack, the removable helmet, a generic stand and a really, really cool looking Norse axe! The axe's handle is a bit too bulky, but this still looks amazing. While I am making a concerted effort to be more judicious in my spending, sometimes you just need something that you have no familiarity with beyond that it just "looks cool as hell" to be reminded why one got into our nutty hobby in the first place!
NECA: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Bebop & Rocksteady (80's Cartoon)
Aaaaaaand FINALLY. This has been a frustratingly tough set to find, but fortunately I was able to find just one on a Target shelf. Of the various TMNT lines vying for our cash these days, NECA's animated series is my preferred one (at least until the '90s movies line takes off later this year), so I'm relieved to finally add some of my favorite characters to that collection. The figures are good, but honestly not great. There's a lot of paint dots and scuffs in places on both (but beggers can't be choosers, so I got the only set I ever saw) and some of the joints are a little too tight. Mainly it's the hinges on the wrists, and it took a lot of force to get some of them to move. The necks on both figures are surprisingly tight and have limited motion, and while I really like that they have articulated jaws, Bebop's jaw has remarkably slight range (and that's after spending a day in the freezer). Also interesting is that Rocksteady's features are notably asymmetrical and that Bebop's glasses are, well, not removable but easily position-able. From the waist to the heads, these figures appear to be identical but with significantly different torso coverings (a vest for Bebop and a paunch-y tank top for Rocksteady) and leg sculpts help make them feel different and unique. Aside from the more-than-none-but-not-hugely-distracting paint scrapes and dots mentioned earlier, the paint is pretty good on these guys, and I enjoy the "cell shading" dark colors on their back sides - though its really weird and annoying that the back of Bebop's mohawk and ponytail are brown rather than purple. The set comes with two of the Foot rifles and hand lasers, one of the communicators and three sets of identical hands for each figure - fist, grip, and open. It's a conspicuous bummer, though, that the knife on Rocksteady's back is a solid sculpt with the sheath and not removable. The gripping hands hold the weapons surprisingly well/easily, given that these are NECA figures with painted hands and painted accessories. It's not the homerun Randy will tell us it is, but it's a strong set and a super welcome addition to the collection. For my tastes, these guys make me feel like the collection is "complete" - so everything from here on out is gravy, and I'm excited to get more!