Toys! Toys! Toys!
DST - Marvel Minimates: Heralds of Galactus
This set include Morg, a guy I'd never heard of but he does look cool. They came up with an interesting solution to his bald-head hair piece, it's actually a neck piece that the head rests on. Very cool and effective! He suffers from boot-thickness and thus can't put his legs or feet together. Interestingly the sculpt doesn't cover the back of the leg, only the front and the sides - odd. Terrax is an excellent 'mate and is spot on for what I would hope for in this style. I especially adore his asteroid base though the angled stand makes it tricky to get it at an even plane. Nova, aka Frankie Raye, is yellow with a hint of metallic glint. She has an all-new head featuring the peaks over her eyes sculpted on. It's an effect lost in the hair but really helps lock the head in place which helps in posing. The hair a large sculpted piece that features an awesome feature - the bottom is removable so that it can plug on to the fiery hover base! Finally, the reason this is a must-have - Galactus. He's cast in a semi-translucent pink which is... just weird. Oh well, just means there are surely repaints in store which is fine by me as I can never have enough of the Planet Devourer! I will note that his boots fit so loosely I lost one immediately upon removing him from the package and can still not find it (hence he's on the pink flight base, which I think is intended for Morg). As if the figure wasn't perfect enough as is, he includes a micro Silver Surfer (complete in Minimate style!!!) which can connect to his back. This is a must-have set - buy it!
Hasbro: Marvel Universe - Future Foundation
Repaints - gotta love 'em! I haven't read any Marvel Comics in several years (in fact I haven't bought a single issue since Spider-Man unmasked himself during Civil War) so I don't know much about the "Future Foundation" save but that they are the F4's current incarnation. The F4 were basically my gateway drug getting back into comics during high school so I have a particular attachment to them and thus will buy just about anything featuring Comics' First Family. This a logical and decent repaint of the standard Fantastic Four box set. I'm not too crazy about the heavy gray shadowing, but toymakers often panic in the face of solid colors so it's understandable. For the most part the paint is pretty good and the linework is straight and lines up. Well, not so much for the Thing's legs (they match up but only when in a weird, wide footed pose). Speaking of Thing I really appreciate that they brought out the other tool and gave him the full pants. However, looking at art from the book online Ben is almost always in a "tank top." That would of course require a new tool but its something that could be re-used so it would have been worth it. In fact, in seems like if Ben doesn't have the shirt on then he's just in white trunks, so... yet another never-was figure. Oh well, it's the Thing. I'm sure we'll see a corrected one eventually. Oh, and we get H.E.R.B.I.E. once again, which ain't a bad thing since he's so cool.
Hasbro: Marvel Universe - Guardians of the Galaxy
As per the above I have no idea who or what this set is other than it's really, really cool looking! Drax is probably the least interesting but succeeds as the token big badass character. Shirtless and brawny he comes with two daggers that fit snugly in the hands (with a little effort) and also slide into sideways pouches on the back of his belt. I'm sure he's mainly a repaint with a new head but the body and pants are not readily identifiable to me. Rocket Raccoon is a much requested figures from fans and is novel enough to make me enjoy him. I like that they just embraced the silliness and went for as kickass as sculpt as possible! Lots of beautiful detailing on the fur and outfit here and good-enough paint to boot! The downside, though, is that he only has two points of articulation - balljointed tail and balljointed head. Both work quite well, but swivel shoulders (at least) would have been appreciated. He comes with a big space rifle that not only looks cool but R.R. can hold it firmly with ease! Paired with him, I think, is a little potted plant-man - Groot. I've seen some griping about the paint but you know what, for the size of the thing it's just fine by me. I really, really dig his skull face! Finally we get to Starlord and any hesitation I had about getting this set disappeared when I saw his helmet. Such an awesome design that is executed so well it's almost unsettling! All of the edges and details on it are so crisp I can barely fathom how it was cast in a factory. He comes on the Ghost Rider/AIM Soldier body and it works well for him. He comes with two all-new blasters which he too holds snugly. Good sculpts, good paint, and good accessories that are all firmly held - this set is nothing short of a total winner! (I can't wait to see Steampunk repaints of Starlord and indeed the entire set!)
Hasbro - Star Wars: Bom Vimdin
The is the last of the easily recognizable Cantina Aliens not yet made to come out (I think, right?). While I do love new characters even I have to admit they're really going deep in the Cantina. I'd love to see this attention put on the criminally under-represented Jabba's Palace denizens or back into upgraded old PotF2 figures like Lak Sivrak and Labria. Regardless this is a great figure! 14 points of articulation including balljoints at the ankles, knees, elbows, shoulders and head. Plus a rifle, blaster and drink. The only thing that could make this better is a fantastic sculpt and stellar paint - oh wait! He totally has both of those! This may not be the most memorable SW guy but he is a phenomenal figure. I really dig the spiked vest a whole lot! A few years ago Hasbro ran a contest where the winner had their head scanned and put on a figure of their choice as an exclusive one-of-a-kind action figure (which friend of the site Adam Pawlus actually won). Since then I've always fantasized about what body I'd choose and you know what? Move over Ceremony Luke, I believe I'd go with Bom's!
Jakks Pacific - Pirates of the Caribbean 4: Phillip
I think Curse of the Black Pearl is possibly the best script ever written, which is why the subsequent sequels have hurt so very, very bad. The problem I keep falling into is hope - hope that the writers, Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio, understand what made CotBP so good and therefore will carry it over into the imminent film. Such hope was ascribed to the character of Phillip in On Stranger Tides. When announced it seemed that OST might work because once again there would be a co-lead for Jack Sparrow, a moral straightman to his wily debauchery. Sadly, this was not to be and rather than anything approximating a character Phillip became a total afterthought and only circumstantially relevant to the forced requirements of the plot. Similar is this action figure, a "surprise" addition to Series 2 just in time to be late for the DVD release. Phillip has the same 12 points of articulation as the other 4" figures and includes a barrel with a black-light LED and a dagger. The sculpt is on par with the rest of the abysmal line but the head seems uniquely off-model. The dagger can fit in a loop on the back of the belt and his UV deco features ribs on the vest, vertebrae on the neck and a skull face. I got this for completism and no other reason.
Lego - Lego: Micro Republic Attack Cruiser
Readers, you know I love a good Lego set and more often than not the best of those are micro scale Star Wars ships. In this case it's the super cool Episode III version of the Star Destroyer. It's a fun, simple build that does a really good job of capturing the ship with a minimum about of pieces. That's not to say it's lacking, it certainly isn't, this ship just nails the simplicity that really highlights the creativity of the Lego Designers in reproducing ships in this scale. The engines, in particular, are very cleverly constructed to give the illusion of complexity. This is the Republic version of the ship, which you can tell from the maroon coloring. I got a second one to swap out the maroon pieces with gray ones in order to have the Imperial version from the end of the film. Ah Legos... you're too fun!
NECA - Predator 2: Boar Predator
Aaaah the first of the much fabled "Lost Hunters" of Predators from the end of Predator 2. Well, technically I guess the Elder Predator from the previous series was the first but he's more identifiable and therefore not really "lost." This guy is essentially just a repaint of the "City Predator" but with a new Head, torso patch, necklace, belt and right forearm. I really like this helmet a lot, it's one of the few "fancy" versions of the Predator helmet I can take seriously. The figure is fully painted and done so very, very well. The sculpt is impeccable as ever. He also comes with the same battle disc as the "City Hunter" and it fits in (on?) his right hand very well.
NECA - Predator 2: City Hunter
This is the Predator of Predator 2 and is much anticipated as a result. The joints all move great, though the hips are a mixed bag often restricted by the various bits coming off the belt. Similarly while the double-jointed knees works great the ball-and-socket ankle limit how extreme you can go while still keeping the figure erect. As Poe has regularly lamented it's too bad that "super articulation" always comes to the second Predator and never the first, but I can see NECA doing one more Classic Predator with these joints. Maybe they're just holding off until they can secure Schwarzenegger rights. This guy has a shoulder-cannon and it's on a swivel joint on a peg that can slide forward and back on a track making a much more reliable piece than what we saw on the Classic Predator. He comes with his battle-disc which he can hold or it can be fitted into the thigh-holster on the right leg. The paint is pretty good but unlike the other two figures he gets no base coat paint and thus relies solely on the color of the plastic. This of course looks "cheap" but more importantly makes him look wildly off-model since the grayish-skin is far lighter in color than what we see in the film.
NECA - Predator 2: Shaman Predator
Like the "Boar Predator" this guy shares most of his sculpt with the "City Predator." He has a neck collar, an add-on to the left shoulder pad, new forearms, hands and a new belt. Also like the "Boar" he features well executed paint on his entirety. This guy's accessory is a big staff that comes in two pieces that connect at the handle at the top of the bottom piece. It's meant to slide into the thin hole in the right hand but that hole is ridiculously tight - so much so that not only could I not fit the staff through it, in the attempt the staff snapped apart leaving a section stuck in the hand, a half-inch section just off and then the remainder of the staff. Seemingly anticipating this they made the left hand more of a standard "gripping" pose so he can at least hold the staff with that one. It's a good figure to be sure, but man... the right hand is a real bastard!