Well, after years dillying, dallying, and dilly-dallying we're getting this ship back on its original course... here are the genuine spoils of my past week! Can you believe it!? No recap, no themes, just what I actually got!
Well, I say "got" but "received" is more apt. I find I do practically no in-person toy shopping any more so these are all on-line purchases spread across... months. But it all arrived this week - so it counts! Plus, this entire haul is effectively "the dream of the '80s come real" as it is pretty much as stuff folks dream of having during or since that apocryphal decade!
Hasbro: G.I. Joe Classified - Recondo
Classified is a fun line to cherry-pick, and with no real attachment to or mythos-familiarity with GI Joe I'm just getting the figures that look neat to me. That's generally the more "regular guy" outfits like this dude. I'd bet he's pretty much a repaint of Flint with a new head, but that works well enough here (though this is right on that edge... if he weren't an exclusive [to Target] I probably wouldn't have preordered him). The deco is okay, Flint-esque though it is, though the "tiger striping" on the pants is very basic and cheap-looking. He does come with a good amount of accessories, though, including a pistol and backpack. The rifle is a bit too thin and seems to warp easily, and while his left hand can properly hold the rifle, that wrist's up-and-down hinge means the rifle basically has to be sideways to be held in the left hand - hashtag annoying. Fortunately, though, both the rifle and pistol have peg-holes in the muzzles for effects (man, I wish Hasbro made those more readily and affordably available). The bleeding-edge-of-80s-stereotyping hat and "that's a knife" knife fit the head and hand-or-sheath very well, respectively. The nice inkjet printing on the face really does the heavy lifting of de-toyetic-ing this figure. This is a good figure, but not really a standout for me.
Hasbro: Marvel Legends Retro375 - The Thing
This 5-POA line has certainly been a mixed bag and, while I do like 3.75" scale and 5-POA figures, is generally not really my bag. I've really only cherry-picked the line, focusing almost entirely on just the Fantastic Four, and kept purchasing as sort of "treat" for when/if I find stuff in stores. But I never saw Mr. Fantastic or Thing in store, so after getting Reed on discount from Entertainment Earth during Black Friday I tracked down this fella to be sure I had the complete team. The sculpt is, appropriately, totally unique in the line, and really nice. I quite like the proportions here and the rock texture is perfectly toyetic. The colors are also spot-on for me - bright and poppy, just like my beloved Marvel Superheroes line from ToyBiz back in the day! One place where this line really excels is the card art, so I confess I've doubled up on the F4 so I could keep a set carded. God, how I miss the era of dynamic and eye catching toy packaging like this!
NECA: Dungeon & Dragons - Grimsword
I mean... this guy is huge. Just for context, he's nearly as tall as his blister in the standard sized NECA Ultimate box! I had no connection with the old LJN Dungeons & Dragons toys until well into adulthood and online toy fandom so can't say I was particularly enthusiastic about this figure originally - but who else would one really pick as the second initial update/release - but in hand... he's darn cool. The beefiness of the figure really just does wonders for his sense of fun and value in person. NECA did a pretty good job adapting the design to modern sensibility and detail, though I do wish his red antennae were smaller or more angled for better head posing. He comes with his signature long sword and an all-new (I think) but tonally spot-on cobra-head mace with a metal chain and surprisingly pointy mourning star. He also gets not one or two or three but four - FOUR pairs of hands: first, open with pointy index fingers, open and gripping. One of the signatures of the original line seemed to be the big elaborate shields, and Grimsword's one here is just as beefy as he is. The sculpt is nice and pretty '80s-esque, and has two "leather" loops running horizontally on the backside so he can wear it on either arm and still have his hands free. I'm not sure how all-in for this line I'll be, but this figure goes a long way towards convincing me.
NECA: Dungeon & Dragons - Warduke
I mean... this figure is damn near perfect. Warduke is easily the standout figure from the entire LJN line, and while initially I found the only-armor-on-one-arm-and-one-leg look a bit goofy, it has really grown on me and I now quite love the look of the character. I was a bit surprised that they gave him pointed-plate armor rather than the more standard (and implied by the round bumps on the original figure) rounded kind, but it does look pretty cool here! The iconic helmet is updated perfectly. Interestingly they closed up the face opening more than the original and interpreted the "hollow void" on that figure as a black face plate here (with cut-outs for the eyes, though the skin around the eyes is painted the same flat black, like the movie Batmen). He comes with two daggers, his famous sword and a removable (careful, it's a super tight fit) flame effect for the sword. He also gets three alternate hands - an open armored left hand, a pointing bare right hand and a "holding" bare right hand that is, to my eyes, indistinguishable from the hand he's packaged with. Lastly we get his massive skull shield - which is really my only complaint. The back side has a long "metal" grip of the left and a "leather" strap on the right, both running vertically - this means the only way for the skull icon to be up right is the for shield to be on the right arm... which makes little sense to me (in my mind, the point of the one-sided armor was to have the left side fully protected to free up the right side for speed and maneuverability). I simply can't imagine why NECA chose to anchor the shield in one configuration when they just as easily could have made it more versatile by not having a gripping bar and just two "straps" like Grimsword's and/or running the grip and loop horizontally (again, like Grimsword's, or even the original figures'!). But... you know... your mileage may vary. But that aside, I'm effectively have no complaints and am indeed even tempted to get a second of this figure! I suppose in all fairness, I should add that he hand plastic is pretty firm, so it does take a bit of effort to get the weapons in there - but once in, they're pretty secure. But the articulation is all great, tight but fluid right out of the package with no sense of impending breakage or falling. All in all, NECA hit this out of the park.
Super7: Willow (ReAction) - Bavmorda
I re-watched the original movie before starting (but never finishing) the new Willow series and was particularly impressed by Jean Marsh as Queen Bavmorda - she really goes for it and nails the "gotta kill the baby to save myself" paranoia in a far stronger and more believable way that most genre flicks/performances do. Reminds me of the old anecdote about Empire Strikes Back - half of why the audience buys into Yoda so well is because Mark Hamill 100% commits to the "this is a real person I'm taking to" in his performance. He believes it, so we believe it - much the same can be said for Marsh's performance; there are stakes because you believe she really wants that baby dead. The figure does a good job of recreating that somewhat iconic costume, though the gold crown is a brighter here than on-screen. Interestingly her legs are "hollow" with a separate cap on to close them. It's odd, though ultimately just novel rather than distracting (I guess it would have been to expensive to make them solid plastic or un-Kenner to sculpt legs in relief like Hasbro used to do a few years ago. It's kind of a bummer that she is the only figure with no accessory, but I suppose she doesn't have any memorable weapons in the movie. Maybe, like, a red lightning/magic effect could have worked.
Super7: Willow (ReAction) - General Kael
By far the best thing about Willow is General Karl's mask, so it is exciting to finally get a collectible of it (other than those odd mini statuettes from the film's original release)! Too bad it's a ReAction figure/aesthetic though. The helmet/head turned out well enough given the constraints Super7 places on the format, though it does feel slightly oversized. Of course, it quite sucks that they painted the hair on it orange... the helmet clearly has brown, if not black, hair/fur (it's Kael's unmasked head that has hair of a more reddish hue). The rest of sculpt is good, and he sports a cape with a sort of plush texture on the back side. We also get his epic long sword - ready for slaughter! If Super7 has the rights to make Ultimates for Willow as well, then this guy's a shoo-in for that format - so my fingers are crossed.
Super7: Willow (ReAction) - Madmartigan
Rewatching the movie, while Kilmer is fun in it, man is he tonally in a totally different film. He's very "modern American" while everyone else is the more genre-conventional "classic British." I was a bit surprised they did him in the armor here, but he does change costumes quite a bit and this one is certainly the most toyetic. The metallic gold paint really pops and the likeness is almost identifiable as Val. The hair should be a bit darker, but this shade does stand out against the other colors here nicely. The sculpt is good for the format, but I think this figure/series has officially burnt me out on the weirdly blocky/flat torsos and soft/rounded details on ReAction figures. Certainly not nearly as bad as the old Funko figures, but still... super unappealing to me given the current state and ability of sculpts. I'm sure part of the appeal here is the original intent of the ReAction format: "what if Kenner made Willow figures in the '80s", but even yet... these don't look like Kenner figures at all. Those all had less blocky torsos and more refined details, not to mention much more generic likenesses, than these. BUT, as per my preamble, it is nice to finally have some figures from this iconic-for-we-nerds film.
Super7: Willow (ReAction) - Sorsha
I was surprised and bummed they did Sorsha with her helmet on, so imagine my surprise when I discovered said helmet was removable! Sorsha gets three accessories, two more than any other figure! Her helmet, her bow, and her incredibly cool and grim serrated sword (I'm half surprised the backpack quiver isn't removable)! The sculpt is also good for the format, though also quite blocky in its proportions, and I must confess the flat gray paint does the figure no favors; and her red hair looks nice, though it should be more auburn. They really went the extra mile on this figure's accessories, which unfortunately kind of highlights some of the shortcomings of the others.
Super7: Willow (ReAction) - Willow Ufgood and Elora Danan
This Willow, which comes with Alora Dannen, is a Disney exclusive (indeed I ordered all of these from the Disney website on discount over Black Friday weekend ['cause $20 for a ReAction figure is an insurmountable wall for my wallet], but they were back-ordered - hence the delay), and for whatever dumb reason is officially labeled as "Wave 1" for the license all by itself. The rest of the figures and regular Willow are "Wave 2." All things considered, the sculpts here are good; though Willow's head, I must confess, feels oversized and... just subtly "off" in some indefinable quality. A bummer indeed, as it feels like maybe they overcompensated in trying to match Warwick Davis' proportions. The titular hero comes with Cherlindrea's wand, which turned out quite nice for its size and can be easily held, and, of course, the film's macguffin in her bassinet backpack. Like everyone else in the line, Elora's hair color feels off. It may actually be fairly accurate to the wee babe, but this is the one instance where I think they could have cheated it a bit redder to "pop" a bit more from the other earthy tones here. Willow can pretty easily wear the backpack, and best of all is engineered well enough that he doesn't get back-heavy or anything. I suspect the other figures could wear it easily as well (one more reason a Madmartigan in black would be nice). If you get only one Willow Uffgood, it obviously has to be this one (so good luck at the Disney Parks or webstore)!
We don’t want fake nostalgia Re:Action figures for this Willow! When are we getting modern 1/12 scale action figures for both the movie & TV series? Re:Action figures make sense for the 1988 film, but we should at least get toys up to 2008 standards if the show is set two decades after. What’s the point if they can’t interact with Star Wars Black Series & Dungeons & Dragons Golden Archives toys?
I'm not really into GI Joe either, but have picked up some Cobra figures cos I like the uniforms. I've swapped out most of their weapons with hard ABS guns from the Valaverse weapons packs, which are waaaay better then the Hasbro offerings.
Armor on one arm and one leg was a Roman Gladiator thing, so it actually has some precedent rather than just being cool and impractical. It was cool and impractical for the crowd in the stadium!
Only wearing heavier armour on your sword arm is also a thing. Not as extreme as only one half but there is some precedent