Toys Я Us apologized for providing nothing last week in a relatively big way. Between the Hasbro "2 for $10.99" and Lego "Buy 1 Get 1 50% Off" I did quite well.
DST - Thor Minmates: Sif & Volstagg
Whew - completed the set! Another lovely addition to the Thor movie line, and a TRU-exclusive one at that, with all new characters! Sif falls on my preferred end of the spectrum, in that her costume is accomplished predominantely through paint. She does have new, sculpted wrist guards but they look nice and do add a nice flourish. She comes with her sword, but due to scaling it's not as cool as the actual prop (what has an elongated, two-handed hilt). Volstagg has a new hair/beard piece and a big torso cover to help add bulk him up to his large side. I should also note that much as with Odin and Anthony Hopkins, this set brings us our third Minimate of Ray Stevenson, the previous two being of him as Frank Castle/Punisher from Punisher: War Zone. The figure comes with his trusty battle axe, which is equally large and has a really cool look, as though the blades are comprised of three parallel sheets of metal - maximum carnage to the foes of Asgard!
Hasbro - Marvel Universe: AIM Soldier
Though I already have two and no real attachment to A.I.M., at $5.50 each my army-builder instincts grab hold and don't let go. I do like the distinctive look of A.I.M. goons: despite its goofiness, the bucket heads are kind of neat. The figure is predominantly the same as the Ghost Rider figure with only a couple key changes, and of course the banana yellow hue. Included are a sort of laser bazooka and lazer hand gun. Neither are terribly stellar. I do like the bazooka, but its scope is on the right making a lefthanded weapon, which looks odd. Plus I prefer my army-builders to have two-handed weapons. Still great diorama fodder.
Hasbro - Marvel Universe: Captain Britain
Nothing special really, other than it being his most familiar costume. The head is all new and maybe the knees too, but this is pretty much just the same figure as the Wrecking Crew figures from the Secret Wars two-packs. The Union Jack paintjob is relatively clean and decent enough on the head considering the size/scale of the work, but it's still nothing very remarkable. Outside the sale, I mainly got this figure to go with the retro and modern figures in the upcoming two and three packs.
Hasbro - Marvel Universe: Skrull Soldier
Oh ho ho how I've wanting this figure. In fact I almost dropped $15 for one at C2E2 but ultimately thought better of it, and good thing! Not only did I find one, but four and during a sale! Cha-ching! These are the hipper modern Skrulls from Secret Invasion and they look pretty cool, the purple jumpsuit and black armor with gold highlights. Unfortunately it's built off the crappy thin body which means posing is awkward and standing with the base is fairly tricky. Included though are a pretty cool hand gun and an awesome rifle. I love those spikey things on the front! The Skrull can't really hold the "barrel" of the gun with his left hand which is a bummer, plus its too wide to hold the handgun, but the figure overall is cool enough I'm okay with that.
Lego - Atlantis: Angler Attack
I've been looking at this for a while and was pleased to finally pick it up. Sadly, it's not quite as cool as I had hoped. The new diver's colors are red and yellow rather than red and green - it's not a good change and makes the figure appear sleeveless. Plus his sub vehicle is pretty underwhelming in every way. Thus the star is the giant Angler Fish. What's cool is that the angler is green, i.e. natural colors, which fixes what ruined the previous aquatic animals in the line, especially the completely awesome turtle, which were all black with neon color highlights. But as a result we now have a monster fish that doesn't fit in with the rest of the monsters so the oddness remains. It's a cool toy and uses rubber connectors for the bottom jaw to allow for a kind of play feature as you pull back and release the jaw. The eyes are incredibly cool in that they are of poseable in both vertical and horizontal directions; basically just excellent and simple use of articulated Lego pieces. Part of the real draw to the set is the new Fish-Man monster (clearly inspired by the gray, droopy headed alien in the Space Police line). The little column base is pretty cool too.
Lego - Pirates of the Caribbean: Captain's Cabin
Man, how awesome is it that Lego got PotC away from Megablocks!? So killer! This is great small set ($12.99). The focus is the rack with houses two little bottles with ships painted on them. Between these and the Jakks accessories one must assume they play a significant part in the film and I can't help but wonder if they're related to the conspicuous absence of The Black Pearl from all of the advertising. Also included are two "environment" pieces - a spinning table with bone legs and a globe. Both are very cool and really make a diorama out of this simple set. Even better yet is the inclusion of not one... not two... but three, three figures! Of course we get Jack Sparrow, plus the ever present Gunner Zombie and the Yeoman Zombie. All three come with two facial expressions of opposite sides of the head: straight-face and Jack gets "scared," Yeoman gets "angry," and Gunner has a barely visible visage in gray lines that basically looks like Ghost Face from Scream - spoiler? I've yet to see if this set fits in the cabin of the also-available Queen Anne's Revenge set but it would be awesome if it does!
Lego - Pirates of the Caribbean: Fountain of Youth
Spoiler alert. Well... no point in avoiding the rather compelling evidence that one again the three main characters all make it to the focus of the plot. This is a pretty cool set with two separate environments and, come on, it's the MacGuffin of the film. Also - one, two, three, four figures! Jack, Barbossa, Blackbeard and a Skeleton! Gotta say, I really like the idea of a skeleton being at the Fountain of Youth. Jack gets the same two facial expressions as the Captain's Cabin set, but the other three get only their key face. Another really cool set that is both fun to build and great to diorama-ize.
Lego - Pirates of the Caribbean: Isla de Cruces
Of the three PotC films yet released only
three one of them is any good, and it's pretty disappointing that Curse of the Black Pearl gets only a single nod in this introductory offering. What's more is that it's a $20-range set of the key location from the film. While that works (apparently, maybe I'll change my tune once I see On Stranger Tides) for the Fountain of Youth, the treasure grotto from CotBP could easily be a $100-range set or at least a $60-range one much like the Fertility Idol's Temple from Indiana Jones. I just hope that in every wave there is at least a $20-range Isle de Cruces set and across the waves we can build-a-cave. Once more, we get four figures - Jack Sparrow (with normal and "skeletal" faces), Liz Swan, Barbossa and Skeleton Barbossa. There's two cute play features; a knock-over-able mast into the "water way" and a spin-around wall to swap the two Barbossae (note: only works in direct moonlight). In addition to the main cave set there is a rowboat and a little piece what houses the Aztec Gold Chest. It's a cool piece, but not as "grand" or remarkable as I would hope for that chest. I really, really, really like how each set builds more than one environmental piece - it really gives a much richer playset feel and notably pluses the fun of the build and perceived value of the set.
Mattel: DC Trio - Mr. Freeze & Freeze Mobile
I'm a slut for Mr. Freeze and this $9 nightmare is the quantifiable evidence. Mattel's attempt at... they're not Legos, Megablocks or even Duplos but whatever Trio its just a failure waiting to happen. Basically it's just gaudy 1" cube building blocks with no style or passion targeted squarely at the toddler crowd. Throw the DC brand and popular characters in and we suckers fall in line. I got this to have the Mr. Freeze figure which is unremarkable in every way. The car is... uninteresting to begin with and a fail of a building experience as the wheels/chassis is one piece and the shell is a second. Really you're only building the "cannon." This is... I'll regret this one.
McFarlane: Halo Reach - ODST with Jet Pack
I feel like this is McFarlane's first "Spoils" - so, if it is, welcome former-king. If you have been on the list, sorry I forgot (since you release desirable product so intermittently). I really like the jetpack but hated the colors from the two-pack, so was quite relieved to see it not only released on a single card but also with one of my favorite armors, the ODST. Essentially this is just a repaint of the Battle-Builder two-pack of the military guys without face masks. This means great sculpt but no bicep articulation which... well, it's shocking at best and ruins the figure at worst. Consider the oodles of other articulation. Overall the paint is clean and the jetpack plugs in nicely, though it does not connect flushly against the back due to prongs at the four corners. All in all a solid entry in the line and I'm happy to call him mine.