Toys, toys, toys, toys are the best. How about that Toy Fair 2013, huh!? A pretty good future-haul overall, forcing me to ask some very hard questions of myself and my collecting. But, enough on what is to come, let's talk about what already has arrived!
Bridge Direct - The Hobbit: Balin & Dwalin
All I need now is the Thorin & Goblin King set and my Series 1 four inch collection is complete. Other than Thorin and Bombur these are the only two Dwarves I can match a name to a face (thanks, "quality film-making") which is great because they are my two favorite ones. Balin is the elderly fellow full of wizened advice and the rarest of Dwarf-ish qualities: dialog. He also gets a short sword and a great copper mace. Dwalin is the quintessential Dwarven badass - not only does he get a dagger and scabbard, two twin axes and an awesome battle hammer. I'm not crazy about his bald head tattoos but am smitten with his wrist/finger guards! Both figures are very well executed with some good articulation and clean paint. This is by far my favorite of all of Bridge's 4" offerings so far!
DST - The Walking Dead: Morgan & Zombie Mike
One half of the impossibly hard-to-find Toys R Us exclusive Series 2 sets is mine! Here we get Morgan, a significant character from the comics but in a costume that doesn't seem very familiar to me at all... maybe it's because its in color rather than black & white. He comes with a shotgun, handgun and a shovel. The other fellow is "Mike," one of Michonne's pet zombies which I swear to you here and now that I have no recollection of from the comic at all (which is weird since its such a cool idea one would think it'd stick). He comes with a metal chain connected to a collar and two removable arms. When the arms are off there are two "gore" rings that fit around the shoulder pegs. Those are actually "U" shaped and top heavy which means its a real pain to keep them on and in place. This is a good set but it's not really an exciting one to be honest.
Hasbro - Star Wars: "Sand Storm" Lando Calrissian
FINALLY I've tracked this series down, and you know what, it took $15 a pop at the Disneyland Star Tours shop to do it... SIGH. This is a fantastic figure and virtually the definitive Skiff Guard Lando. Great sculpt, plenty of good articulation and really solid paint, plus he gets the helmet, axe and blaster. On top of that he gets a little cellphone-ish comm thing, a pair of goggles, cloth poncho and sculpted cowl to protect him from the deleted sand storms of Tatooine. There is only one flaw with this figure and it's that his skin tone is too light. But that's not too bad cause this can and will be most likely re-issued in the future so there is plenty of time to revise that. It's a horrible shame this series was so impossible to find at retail, these figures are fantastic.
Hasbro - Star Wars: Mon Calamarian Pilot
I still haven't seen the deleted scenes, so... there you go. That doesn't change the fact that the only thing cooler than pilots is alien pilots. Other than the legs this is a completely new figure, which is pretty cool. I dig the green A-Wing uniform and the Mon Calamarian's have always been a favorite race of mine so this is a good match. He gets a blaster which he can actually hold but it's the all-new helmet I'm more enamored of. This guy represents the best aspects of this line - excellent figures and obscure characters. I hope the latter doesn't get lost in the shuffle with the introduction of the 6" line and the new premium "Black" re-branding this year.
Mattel - DC Unlimited: "New 52" Hawkman
Wow... new Mattel DC figures actually in stores - what's going on here!? This guy is basically a re-do of the previous Hawkmen but with the obligatory new head but now with a new bandolier, lower thighs, shins, feet and forearms & hands (or are they re-used from Wildcat?). PLUS not one but TWO accessories. This is a pretty cool figure and an okay re-design. I would have preferred the '90s blue pants version just because its a bit more interesting to look at - there's just too much gold on this one for my tastes. I do like the brown wings though, which get a great tan dry-brush to bring out the detail. I'm no fan of the New 52 designs but this is certainly one of the more interesting of them and as such is the only figure I'm after in this line. It's nice to be able to get in and out for once.
NECA - Harry Poter: 18" Harry Potter
SO... ever since NECA began teasing that 2013 would see a lot of 18" figures I've been increasingly slipping back into my lust for the Quarter Scale figures of yore (indeed I believe I have every 18" figure they released save but for maybe 3 or 4), so it was with incredible excitement that not only did I stumble across the seemingly un-sellable 18" Harry at a local Toys R Us - this effer was marked down to $15.98! I don't like to brag, but OH HELL YES!!! This is just a large version the first 'school uniform' Harry NECA made, which came out towards the tail-end of their "dark days." That means the figure is highly pre-posed and has limited if not confusing articulation. Barely swivel-able ankles, swivel waist, swivel right shoulder, balljointed left shoulder (!?) swivel wrists and a barely balljointed neck. His pose makes him off balance so it is a bit of a balancing act to keep him. Harry comes with his wand (which is a tight fit in his hand since everything is cast in a very hard plastic) and a motion-activated sound chip which does a couple muddled quotes and some odd sound effects. Despite it's flaws (which ARE numerous enough I never got him in the first place) I do quite like the detailing in the sculpt and the likeness is darn good. I wouldn't recommend him at normal prices but at a deep discount I'm very happy to add him to the collection.
Playmobil - Stone Age: Sabretooth Cat with Cavemen
This is a PHENOMENAL set and I highly urge everyone to get it. Even if you're not into Playmobil it's worth it for just what you get! There's a great little cave (the following year it'd be reused for the Western Bandit's Hideout) and a ton of animal bones to litter about the den. You also get two (despite the set's singular name) Sabretooth Tigers, they're great sculpts but unfortunately the jaws are not articulated, which feels a bit of a gyp. You also get two awesome Cavemen figures in the all-new furry clothes, but it's their accessories that really are amazing. There's a branch which can hold the new style fire, a staff and an axe handle. Cast in the same color as the spare bones are bone tools for the staff and handle! The staff gets a wicked, jagged spear tip and the axe head is actually just a shoulder bone!!! No kidding - realism!!! How do you like those apples!?!? Man, oh man, I didn't think my love for Playmobil could be incited any greater after the new Western sets but I was wrong... I am on a mission to complete this line ASAP!