Well hullapazoo it's been a busy week over here! It was the kind of "find something at every store" kind of weeks, which on one hand was pricey but on the other quite welcome as I'm about two weeks out from SDCC. I sure do love paying retail prices rather than scalper/dealer ones! I was able to knock out the flood of recently released NECA stuff (I scored the full Pacific Rim series but am waiting to see the movie before committing to the other two figures), all of the remaining Man of Steel Movie Masters (except I still need a Superman...) and even was able to complete my Star Trek Into Darkness Kre-O set. All that, AND MORE - this week on Rustin's Spoils of the Week!
Burger King: Jurassic Park - Jeep
Burger King did a tie-in to the Jurassic Park re-release!? AND I MISSED IT!? Fortunately I discovered this by accident at a BK which still had some of the best of the line still available - the Maintenance Jeep. It's a simple little toy with a good sculpt, good paint and a $1 price point. There's no play feature or anything, just four turning wheels on two axles. Oddly enough the JP logo is a sticker you have to apply yourself, and, of course, the windows aren't painted, but you know what - for $1 this is pretty much the best Jurassic Park we've gotten since the '90s. Plus, it's a fun throwback to the actually-enjoyable Fast Food toys of my youth. It's really a shame this is kind of the best thing they did (but at least that means I didn't miss much).
Hasbro - Star Trek Into Darkness: (Kre-O) Mini Enterprise
So the Star Trek Kre-O sets only showed up at Toys R Us and from what I could tell each store only got in one case of each set, and thus it was that this became the hardest to find set in the line. It's not bad and certainly does a decent job of re-creating the ship - if nothing else it certainly is recognizable right away. The Bussard collectors on the nacelles and the deflector dish are executed in a surprising off-model way for a line do dedicated to making one-off unique bricks to solve design issues. As with the other sets, this comes with the light-up stand and a spare Brand brick.
Hasbro - Star Trek Into Darkness: (Kre-O) U.S.S. Enterprise
This set, being the largest and most expensive ($60 - ugh) was hard to find as well - that's what happens when you half-ass the product offerings for a movie that opens at $70+ million. I'm a Trekkie first and foremost so I am dedicated to buying product despite its quality, and this is certainly something only for the hardest of core. The biggest letdown is three large, unique pieces: the top of the bridge; a baseplate in the saucer; and the body, nacelle supports and nacelle heads. The latter makes "toy sense" in that it connects the three light-up elements and provides firm stability for the nacelles, but if I wanted massive pre-fabbed parts I'd NOT buy building sets. The ugly "bridge roof" was incorrectly engineered and can not connect to the top of the saucer by more than 2-4 studs at once! Come the hell on, Hasbro. If you're going to make something no one wanted, at least try to make it work. There's a large volume of excess bricks (they're even listed on the inventory but aren't used in the instructions). I suppose I could be impressed by the extras but frankly I don't see it as anything more than incompetent product design/manufacture and unwanted cost/price boosting. At least I was able to make a "display" for the five Kreons included with some of them. You get Kirk, Spock and McCoy plus two of the "Specialists." I'm so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so happy we have those two Specialists (three in total counting the other sets) rather than something more relevant or interesting... like, say... CHEKOV!!!
Lego - Avengers: Quinjet Aerial Battle
From one of the worst brick sets to one of the best! I'd been holding off on this set but between a 30% off special for it at TRU and rewards points I was able able to snag it at a great price - waiting pays off! This set offers five mini-figures but only two of them are exclusive, and Iron Man just has unique chest-deco so Black Widow is the one that is the key selling point. Well, her and the cool ship. Notice the stickers? The sure-fire way to tell I like a set and am dedicated to not breaking it up! This is the signature Avengers vehicle and it even has plenty of articulation. The wingtips are essentially "balljointed," the front of the wings are hinged as is the cockpit. There is a two-seater compartment under the window behind the cockpit and the back has a lowering ramp and space for mini-figures. The center of the body is home to an "eject-able" Technic pseudo-elevator which holds a little Drone type thing. It's a neat touch but I think I would have preferred just a full open cargo hold (and perhaps a Coulson mini-fig in exchange). Loki's chariot is nice but nothing all that special, particularly since they don't include any clear bricks to support it (it's a sort of "z" configuration). All in all this is a great set and will certainly be the centerpiece of my Avengers collection!
Mattel - DC Signature Collection: Red Hood
Finally a cool looking figure from this line! I've never really expected how boring this line would turn out to be, but I'll tell you this - it's very nice to see a figure that just looks neat and is something unique to toys (rather than Just. Another. Flash.). I was surprised at first when I read Yo's review that this outfit barely exists in the comics - but it is pretty toyetic and if nothing else this is Mattel we're talking about. It is a shame they didn't go with the more common/familiar version, but as far as I'm concerned I'm plenty happy with this guy on a pure aesthetic level. The only real fault is that he comes with two guns but only a trigger finger on his left hand... The forearms look new, but I'd FAR rather have the gauntlets painted on if that meant they'd tool a new right hand (but aren't there existing tools of right handed trigger fingers?). Like most every figure in DCSC this won't please everybody, but it does tickle my fancy.
Mattel - Man of Steel: Faora
Last minute addition!!! I hit a Target just before posting this and scored the short-packed Faora, essentially completing the collection for me. She's a cool sculpt with all the Movie Masters familiars. Decent sculpt, paint, articulation, an oversized head and a display base too small for her to fit on. It'd be funny if it weren't par for the course from the Biggest Toy Company In The World. "Quality - BAH, 'good enough' sells just as well!" And so it does. I dance like a good little monkey for you Mattel. So many dances do I do. Aaaaaanyways... Yeah! She's cool. It's very surprising she doesn't come with a helmet accessory, but maybe they'll just re-release her with one later on, too.
Mattel - Man of Steel: General Zod in Shackles
CLASSIC MATTEL. "Hey kids - here's a boring figure that appears only in two shots while chained up. Buy him! Oh, but now we'll re-release him in the next wave with the chains making it actually screen-accurate." I feel sorry for everyone that bought the previous Zod who didn't know this one was coming. I'm even more surprised that he's basically flooding the TRUs near me. The shackles are removable, at least somewhat. His hands can being pulled out from the restraints in the front and there is a tab on the back which undoes the "belt," though I believe you'd have to pop off the head to fully remove the piece. But frankly, who would want to do that? Zod only ever appears in this suit, sans goatee, in two shots and is shackled in both of them. They did paint a cut on his face which is a nice touch and I was honestly surprised to see they tooled a new chest with Zod's Omega symbol sculpted on (Mattel? Spend money!?). If you're a dope and a completist like me and compulsively need to get a "naked Zod," make it this one. If you spend $16 on a figure with maybe 30 seconds of screen time, it might as well be accurate.
Mattel - Man of Steel: General Zod in Kryptonian Armor
This is what I expected from mainstream toys! This is just a cool toy. Big, bulky armor, a cape and even a helmet. He's got articulation in all the normal places, though there's something weird about the knee hinges (they seem too low or something). The cape has some really nice, subtle paint work that make it better than just being a basic black, which they could just have easily done. The helmet is a pretty good sculpt, even though it is "scare the masses" style rather than the more translucent look it sports most of the time. The armor is pretty cool, though it certainly has a Gears of War feel to it in the film, with the raised collar and whatnot. In fact, that raised collar is reminiscent of one Mr. Lex Luthor's famous Power Suit, so I wouldn't be too terribly surprised to see him paint it green and prance about wearing it in a sequel. Yeah, sure, there's lots of ways this could have been better but as is it's probably the best "Movie Masters" figure Mattel has released yet.
Mattel - Masters of the Universe Classics: Octavia
The hits keep on coming as we get yet another MattyCollector figure I dig! I have no idea who this is but she sure looks cool and is a welcome addition to ye olde collection. I was surprised by all the accessories, but they are welcome. There was an "uproar" when it was revealed that her tentacles wouldn't be bendy, and while that didn't matter much to me at the time (nor do I have faith in Mattel's bendy technology) I must confess that once in hand, the bendy-ness is a very conspicuous absence. Not only is just expected, there's precious little you can do with the tentacles as is. They are connected by balljoints, but since the hair is so big not only can she not move her head, the tentacles are essentially just on swivels. I would very happily have given up the swords, and even the crossbow (which does have a neat octopus sculpt), for the bendy arms. I must also note that she has pretty weak ankles. Still though, despite all of this, Octavia is visually striking toy and absolutely the kind of figure that made me subscribe in the first place.
NECA - Aliens: Alien Warriror (Brown)
The previous Aliens Warrior was a bit of a letdown for me so I'm very happy to see a new 2.0 version, especially since it is quite possibly the most articulated figure NECA's ever done. It has everything you'd expect, plus hinged feet, balljointed wrists and DOUBLE-BALLJOINTED elbows! This is also the best articulated jaw they've done (because it stays closed so snugly). The figure isn't without its faults though. I'm sure it's "film accurate" but the head seems too small while the neck is massive (big enough to conceal a human head in scale) and this is certainly one instance when some "creative license" would have been appreciated. Plus, the paint on this figure is just... the opposite of subtle. While the earlier Warrior had some nice, two-tone light dry brushing to just bring out the detail this figure is just cast in black plastic and has a very generous helping of brown.Essentially this is a brown Alien with black highlights rather than the more expected opposite. It's the kind of paint that actually hurts the sculpt/figure by being too heavy. The thin legs and top-heavy torso also make it tricky to keep him standing, but he does have pegholes on his heels, so here's hoping those stands NECA has teased aren't too far away. On the plus side, the big "fifth spike" on his pack is removable allowing for some better head posing. This is absolutely a good figure, but it sadly falls short of its potential greatness.
NECA - Aliens: Hicks
Marines!!! We got a Hicks from McFarlane years ago but it was easily forgotten which is fine since this one blows it out of the water. Hicks gets a good likeness, articulation up the wazoo, the awesome Colonial Marine gun plus his signature shotgun and its removable holster. Double-elbows would have been very welcome, but the balljointed ones work fine, even with some over-sculpting on the forearm which looks natural but does inhibit some posing. I especially appreciate the unique chest arm complete with padlock sculpted on - it's those touches that make NECA King. However, all is not perfect. Paint on this series has been very rough. I went though five of each figure across three TRUs and this is the best I could get. It looks fine in the photo, but in-hand the hairline is a little sloppy and there are a handful of noticeable color inconsistencies and airbubbles on the face. Several figures even had blotches on the arms missing paint. So I highly recommend not buying sight-unseen. Accepting the paint issues, though, this is a fantastic figure and bodes very well for the new line!
NECA - Aliens: Hudson
How can you see that head and not want this figure? This is THE "game over!" character sporting a wildly "game over!" face! He's pretty much identical to Hicks but has "clothed" shoulders and rolled up sleeves as separate pieces added to the biceps, and his left arm is bandaged. He also gets the machine gun and a neat little removable handle-with-screen thing hanging from his belt. Unique to him are the motion tracker accessory and a removable light (or something), which is surprisingly not articulated, on a pack that plugs into his back. The big bummer with these figures are the straps on their accessories which get warped by the packaging and don't hang naturally. It'd have been nice if they could have used metal rings to connect them like the strap on Dutch's machine gun, but I'm sure the budget was being maxed out on these as is. At least half of the figures I saw suffered from the white of the eyes coming down over the eyelids and all ended up cross-eyed and with hairline issues to varying degrees. It's really a shame because these easily could have been serious "Best of the Year" contenders but poor QC will keep my vote with their previous Dutch figure. Regardless, I'm still thrilled as punch to have these and can't wait to get more down the road!
NECA - Pacific Rim: Crimson Typhoon
I'm not much of a Guillermo Del Toro fan nor do I have a particular soft spot for Godzilla or Transformers so with such mediocre character designs and Evangelion-ripoff plot I can't say I'm too excited about Pacific Rim, but I do love both toys and NECA, so here we are. Crimson Typhoon ("I have one of those once a month," said my female friend when I showed her the figures) is one of the more interesting robot designs from the film so I'm pleased to add it to the collection, though I had to admit it's pretty wholly underwhelming. It lacks that trademark NECA texturing and detail in the sculpt betraying the smooth finish of digital sculpting. Moreover, opposite to the Aliens figure above, there is considerably less articulation here than you'd think. The neck, torso, hips, left shoulder and rear right shoulder are ball-in-socket joints and everything else is just hinges or swivels... it's pretty bizarre and very disappointing. The lack of balljoints and/or swivels paired with hinges (giving balljoint range of motion) is confusing and conspicuous because it simply doesn't look like it'd be difficult to add them and they would infinitely improve the figure. The knees and ankles are also a little weak. I really love what NECA is up to these days but this is almost a Mattel figure. Doesn't bode too well for the other figures, but hopefully this is just a one-off issue.
NECA - Predator: Jungle Encounter Dutch
I'll be honest - I'm not too sure why I got this figure. I guess it's just the completist in me. Encounter Dutch is identical to Jungle Patrol Dutch but with new bare chest and torso. I would have really appreciated one or two alternate hands with different poses (for example a relaxed left hand for the pose pictured) to help add value and options. Still though, this is a darn fine figure and probably the best execution of the "dyed plastic" technique NECA has been pioneering. This skin tone and quality is exactly what Rambo is lacking. Plus, with these two Dutches you end up with a display of Arnold in increasing states of undress, which is darn novel in its own right. Allegedly all versions of Dutch are selling so well there will be another two coming in 2014 - consider my fingers more than firmly crossed for a Heat Vision re-paint!
NECA - Predator: Jungle Disguise Dutch
And I said gol darn!!! The NECA team apparently sat down and said "look, despite the value of reusing parts we will only ever release one Mud Dutch - ever - so he's got to come with everything." And boy howdy does he! New torso, chest, biceps and head plus some nine (9!) accessories, including the basically-only-in-two-shots torch! The only thing this guy is missing an alternate right right that can hold an arrow and the bow's string so that you can do firing pose. It's actually a big oversight considering he comes with a bow and four arrows but I can roll with it since he comes with so much else (maybe one of the two coming next year will be a v2 of this guy). In fact, the bow's string is loose enough that in can be pulled out some, but this also means it fits a little too loosely over the figure's chest. I'm really, really, impressed not just in NECA for cramming everything in with this one release, but also with the manufacturer for doing such a good job with the figure. The paint on the face is particularly clean and tight. This must be a different company than the one who produced the Aliens stuff, but still - major kudos to NECA on crafting such a kick ass figure!