Gearing up for my travel I decided to play into my recent, and major, obsession with Lego by visiting the Chicago Lego Store and Legoland Discovery Center in Schaumberg, IL (about 35 minutes outside of Chicago). The Center itself was a bit of a wash, but clearly a score of Series 2 Mini-Figures was to be had! Add to that some comic book character finds, and you got yourself a Spoils of the Week!
Hasbro - Marvel Universe: Archangel
Disney's purchase of Marvel finally pays off with the discovery of this must-have figure at the Disney Store! He gets a new body with holes in the back for his wings to connect. The paint is surprisingly clean considering the normal state of Marvel Universe and the intricate line work. The wings connect via pegs and are theoretically able to turn 360°, were it not for the other wing. They're also articulated with hinge-joints at two places allowing for small wings to stick out from the back and the main wings to open up or fold in. I'm amazed how cool the figure looks with "wings-in." Good work Hasrbo - now re-release this guy, he's much cooler than the Iron Men and Captains America that have been clogging pegs for two years.
Lego - Games: Pirate Plank
I picked this up at the Discovery Center mainly just to have a micro-scale boat for which I will build a Moby Dick to assault it (now that's a fun sentence!). The build is a good time and bit more elaborate than I anticipated for the game-range of sets. It comes with five "micro-figures" as game pieces and a die, lined in red rubber with a 4x4 block base on each side. The idea of the game is you try to make the other players walk the plank with goal being to be the last one in the water. Lego suggests that players create their own rules, or even games, pushing the creativity angle of Lego; and its a good thing too because the game is terribly boring and unengaging.
Lego - Minifigures: Mummy
Swish! Scored this guy giving me 75% of "Universal Movie Monster" mini-figures. He's pretty much exactly what you would expect. Really nice, clean paint with more detailing than the Mummies in the Pharaoh's Quest line. He comes with a little red scorpion in addition to the standard black base. What fun!
Lego - Minifigures: Explorer
A neat little figure that will go excellently with the Pharoh's Quest series. He comes with two pairs of binoculars (though that could have just been an error on this one), a Pith Helmet and a working magnifying glass! He's pretty cool though not terribly exciting I must confess. Great custom fodder for Steampunk Lego-ists and very handy for any number of themes or displays.
Lego - Minifigures: Geisha
A very cool figure indeed, especially with the ninjas coming out in that silly Ninjago nonsense. I like the creativity and flexibilty of Lego, so it's pretty cool that they can just use the angled 4x4-to-2x1 brick as a dress, here completing the kimono. The paint is excellent, as always. Included are a fan and a new (I believe) hairpiece. A great little figure and completely the kind of one-off cool I want from the Mini-Figures line.
Lego - Minifigures: Hockey Player
He's got the stick, which isn't designed super well because it's longer than the height at which he looks best holding it. Ah well, such is Lego. He comes with a "pads" torso cover and a helmet with removable faceguard and a 1x1 black circle as a puck. It dissappears on the black base sadly; which does, though, raise the concept of themed coloring to the bases. Like white (ice) for the Hockey Guy, green (grass) for the Explorer, yellow or beige (sand) for the Mummy, and so on. On one hand it would be cool to see the specialization, and on the other I like the consistency of all black. Hmmm... not sure which way I'd prefer. Also included are ice skates that plug into the feet. This guy is a repaint away from being a Football Player, so look forward to that.
Lego - Minifigures: Lifeguard
Part of my mad grab of Series 2 mini-figs. Eh, she's a fun semi-wacky addition to the club, and the "floaty" thing is neat. Had I a more reliable way to look at the barcodes (didn't expect to see any Series 2 so all I had was my phone) I probably would have skipped this. But what the heck, right?
Lego - Minifigures: Pharaoh
I love me some ancient Egypt so I was more than happy to double-up, especially considering how cool the (not-Jafar's) snake staff is! I do wish he came with an alternate hairpiece for when I give the "headdress" to the Mummy, but that's just getting greedy. This is a great figure.
Lego - Minifigures: Radioactive Suit
Lego - Minifigures: Skier
Another fun one. The skies are pretty cool BUT they have no holes in them for the brick pegs. Aesthetically, its obvious why (they're so thin they couldn't be hid so the skies would just have big holes in them) but its really a bummer. I feel like they're robbing up from a lot of display options as this can only ever be a cross-country skier.
Lego - Minifigures: Spartan
Aaaaaw yeah! And I was able to double up. Super, super cool figure with the all-new helmet and spear. I was expecting the "blade" on the spear to be rubbery for safety but no such luck. This is one of those figures where they clearly just made a famous character (Leonidas from 300) and god bless them for it. Its a shame these aren't easier to come by because who doesn't want a Spartan army!? Maybe this is not unlike a testing ground, like the Specials figure from Playmobil, to test out a concept before rolling it out as a full theme.
Lego - Minifigures: Surfer
Just like the Lifeguard, a fun little dude but something I would have passed up were I not in the throes of having found some Series 2 stock. The surfboard is pretty cool. It has two pegs on top and can connect to a 4x4 underneath. I feel some wave-building opportunities coming up!
Lego - Minifigures: Witch
Like the Geisha she uses a brick for the dress, which is pretty neat, and like the Spartan is certainly a reference or tribute to the most memorable screen character of its ilk (maybe I'm just going there in my own mind being such a "movie guy"). She's another great addition, but I'm not totally sure where she would fit in outside of this line. I guess Castle though this kind of witch seems too contemporary. She comes with a broom for cleaning up her messy abode (and perhaps even, commode). A red apple would have been greatly appreciated. Certainly any color would help liven up the almost solid black palette.
Lego - Minifigures: Wolfman
And we're 100% done with the UMM, at least until they do a much needed Sea Creature/Gillman. How cool would that be!? Wolfman comes with a bone for chompin' or chuckin' as per your own opinion. A vast improvement on the gray werewolf head from the old Movie-Making theme and a welcome addition to the catalog of Lego assailants.
Lego - Minifigures: Vampire
Wound up with a second "Dracula" for my collection and no problem with that. He's definitely a highlight of both the line and Monster sub-Collection, surpassing Frankenstein('s Creature) only in that he doesn't have any clearly silly elements (the other's forehead suffers bandaids). Included is a bat, which is at your discretion as to whether it'd a pet or an alternate form. This is another great figure save but for the cape which is a real pain in the ass. Like other capes, it has the two holes that must be lined up to slide over the neck peg, but in order to have the upwards collar you have allign an additional two holes. So keeping four relatively alligned with one hand while hold the figure in the other is no fun feat, achievable though it is.
Lego - Mini Model: Disney World Sea Serpent
This is the Sea Snake in the lake by the Lego Store at Walt Disney World's Downtown Disney shopping, eating and entertainment district - so that's pretty awesome. I love anything that re-creates elements from the Disney Parks so when I heard about this it was a must-have. Surprsingly, though, I was able to pick him up at the Chicago Lego Store - I was under the impression he was a WDW exclusive. The build is plenty fun and active, and the four separate parts give you some fun flexibility in displaying. The good news is that the head is not front-heavy and stands just fine. Only the tail piece suffers from lopsided weight and can tip over with some ease. I've already designed out a lake-inspired display base for this guy in the Lego Designer software - were only it cheaper to order those sets...
Lego - Mini Model: Sun Flower
Apparently the first Tuesday of every month Lego Stores give away a set with purchases. Fortunately they still had one set left over from the May promotion and thus you see the sun flower, which came to me in no packaging, just pieces and instructures in a cup. Its a neat kit, but can get front-heavy due to the "petals," which also come off their base too easily - they're connected by only a 1x1.
Mattel - Green Lantern Classics: Naut Kei Loi & Medphyll
Once more I collapsed to Toys Я Us' domination when I found these there. $17.99 is a really hard price to swallow on these, but as established weekly I am a slut. Like Mash/Low figure from Series 1 this is one of two 2-in-1 figures that can create multiple characters. Medphyll is the Plant Man. He's got a good head with really solid paint apps. Naut is the Fish Man and as such is cooler. The clear dome is removable from the silver neck piece, so you could actually have his head on sans helmet, a very cool feature. The removable-ness is also handy because the head packed with Medphyll has a clear plastic shell in it to hold the head in place so you'll want to remove that. I don't really get why they have two toes but five fingers or why Mattel keeps using the triple-barbell for the necks completely removing the range of motion the figures promise, need and deserve. I guess we don't call it "getting Matteled" for no reason...
Mattel - Green Lantern Classics: Skallox & Nite-Lik
Red Lanterns! Its way cool to see some Red Corpsmen, even if one of them is a cop-out. Skallox is the cool Skull Head Man seen fighting around in the backgrounds. He's some great new sculpts on the standard "big male" body but is almost ruined by such limited neck articulation. Nite-Lik is a design and character made-up by the Four Horsemen, and while I love them I hate that idea. I mean... really? There aren't enough characters in the comics as is you have to make some up? Red Lanterns' costumes can vary a lot but Nite-Lik gets extra "armor" in addition to his new limbs so that would have worked just fine for some of the not-the-same-as-Skallox costumes. The sculpt and paint for Nite-Lik's head and hands are phenomenal, as we would expect, but what bugs me about this guy is he is so clearly in the Four Horsemen's in-house design style. He belongs in one of their FANtastic lines, not the homogenized DCUC series. The flesh/bone bandoliers are actually Twilek-like growths from the back of the head that scream for bendy-feature, just as the palm "whips," but of course they don't have it and just stay crossed around the torso. Its just a weird thing - it turned out well for what it is, but what it is was a mistake.
Mattel - Green Lantern Classic: Star Sapphire
A DCUC Girl figure so what does that mean? Ridiculously thin extremities. A good sculpt that handles the modern costume pretty well. It lacks the "panache" of the DC Direct versions, but if you collect by style, like me, (or are just after the Stel Build-a-Figure) you're getting this one anyway. Just another solid, standard entry in the DCUC line.
NECA - Dead Space 2: Isaac Clarke
This figure has been impossible to find until coming across a small cache at a rarely visited TRU. It's another great NECA figure. I know nothing about the character or game/s but I do dig that costume. It's a kind of a bummer they left that rusty, steam-punky look behind, but the more detailed, futuristic armor of white and blue is really cool. Articulation abounds, even on his gun! The split "barrel" can turn so that you can have it vertical, horizontal, and at any other degree between those. Like the previous figure, this one's face plate and spinal armor light up. I really like that its just an "on/off" button rather than the standard "on for 5 seconds" button most toys get. I just wish they'd use a colored LED rather than a white one for these, though. The white one just overpowers the translucent plastic's color and lacks the cool, colored glow effect I was hoping for. Still, though, an awesome figure by all accounts.