Rustin's Spoils of the Week #111

Sales and deals are the name of the game this week, kiddies. I stumbled across a Target that was dumping all of its remaining Monsters Fighters sets for a stellar 60-75% off! Now if only I could find the Zombie Graveyard and Vampire Castle at those prices I'd be set! Plus the latest batch of Lego Store Polybags, MattyCollector figures and more - all on this episode of Spoils of the Week.

Hasbro - Star Wars (6"): Luke Skywalker, X-Wing Pilot
I am blown away by the articulation and how well it works. The leg straps do limit poses but the design of the ankles is PERFECTION - Luke stands rock-steady! The only downside is the balljointed elbows in lieu of double-joints. I suppose it's not too bad since the pilots don't do a lot, but it is a conspicuous oversight (especially on such a re-usable sculpt). Luke comes with his helmet, a blaster and his lightsaber. It has a loop so that it can hang off of a hook on the belt (no pegs in this scale!) and the blade is removable! The best thing about the figure though may just be the likeness - it's quite possibly the best ANH Mark Hamill that's been done since Gentle Giant's busts. Plus it's the rarest of all occurrences in that it actually looks better in production than on the prototype!

Hasbro - Star Wars: Darth Vader, Cloud City
The most interesting figure in the 3¾" Black Series is this Vader. We have a million Vaders but his scene-specific accessories make this one the coolest Vader since the one that came with "Dead Kenobi" a few years back! He comes with the ubiquitous lightsaber plus alternate right hands/gloves and a "blast effect" from hand-blocking Han's shot! That's pretty darn cool! The other hand is meant to hold the blaster a la his force-grab of it but I haven't been able to make it fit. Plus, this guy gets a fully cloth torso robe so his belt and and upper chest armor are separate pieces that fit over it - pretty neat. If they have to keep re-doing the same characters/costumes over and over then lets hope they keep folding in these cool scene/moment specific elements to keep things interesting.

Lego - City: Fire Car
It's just another simple little car, nothing too exciting. The design does, somehow, work better than most of these types of things and I like its look more than I expected. The modern Firemen are fairly cool too and I dig the maroon helmet in particular. He comes with an axe accessory and a neat little fire extinguisher build, both of which clip on to the back of the car. It's fun for what it is but this set is nothing special.

Lego - Creator: Bald Eagle (Polybag)
Picked this sucker up at the Lego Store which is fairly notable since, as my buddy pointed out, the brand stores rarely, if ever, carry the Creator polys. I'm sure glad they did though cause this thing is awesome. It does a better-than-expected job of looking like a Bald Eagle (and indeed being a micro-version of one of the newer full sized Creator sets) but it's the articulation that really makes it fun. The head, legs and tail feathers are all hinges so they're poseable however it's the vertical hinge of the wing paired with the horizontal hinge mid-wing that make it really fun. I had a good ole time having this guy soar around the apartment then tucking his wings to dive on unsuspecting toys. This is really the polybag format at its best - a good model/build and a hell of a fun toy!

Lego - Collectible Mini-Figures: Series 11
As threatened I bought another 9 of the "Evil Robot"/"Bad Mech" figure for my anti-Galaxy Squad army. I wish the Yeti used the longer legs from Toy Story's Woody but the big head head is pretty cool. The Tiki Warrior has some cool body art behind the mask which is a most welcome touch. I also love the Scarecrow a whole lot, and spent the majority of an hour just hunting for one, which I eventually did find, only to discover that I had pulled one earlier thinking he was a second Saxophonist. I need two of those because, come on, it's The Blues Brothers! So I guess I have more hunting to do, which is awful because I've got to tell you... I %#&@ing HATE unlabeled blindbags! This was such a miserable, time consuming experience I almost swore off the line entirely. They really need to even up case mixes and return to labeling - this is an absolute nightmare.

Lego - Monster Fighters: The Crazy Scientist & His Monster
I'm not too crazy about the jail cell and short connecting wall between it and the "tower," and they're attached by hinges that serve no purpose as they just pull it all in closer to the operating table. The "tower" is cool though, with a lot of color on top via torches, electro-bursts and the lightning jewel, though those are all fairly obscured by the wall. There's a red light-brick inside the "brain beam" which glows out through the translucent green rod for a cool effect. The ratcheted, rolling table is great too; I just wish it lined up better with the brain beam, had restraints, and could tilt upright. Well, I guess that's the beauty of Lego... I can easily add all that myself. As for "Monster Fighters," you get the Old Adventurer guy plus the Errol Flynn-ish Dashing Adventurer in a give sky blue car/truck/mobile with a slide-out passenger seat for better attacking. It's a neat enough build that sort of evokes a 1920s-meets-Ghostbusters vibe, but it's probably my least favorite of their proper vehicles.

Lego - Monster Fighters: The Ghost Train
The bat wings flap as the wheels roll which is neat but I'm having a hard time getting them synced up. Each car is connected by a ball-and-socket joint, which works on the ground but they go flipping every which way when you pick it up. The engine is a pretty cool build and it even has an opening boiler in the control housing! What's fun is that the three ghosts and a host of other elements all glow in the dark! The Fighters of Monsters come equipped with a maroon airplane with a homemade ghost busting apparatus on it. The plane is an excellent design and build, and while initially I wasn't happy with the ghostbusting junk it's really grown on me. The good news is that it's all just added on top of the plane so you could easily not include it should you so desire. We then get Girl Adventurer and the Greaser Adventurer, too. This is a pricey set and I'm not fully sold on it but at discount it's pretty darn good!

Lego - Seasonal: Jack'o'Lantern
This is the Lego Store's sole offering for Halloween this year, which is a real bummer. They've done two polybags in previous years but I guess 2011's awful Spider set and its failure to sell even on markdown really turned them off. Regardless, though, this is a fun Polybag set and the best pumpkin/Jack'o'Lantern they've done yet. It's a full, three dimensional build and I like how the face turned out. I do wish they'd used translucent yellow bricks for the back to give it a make-shift light-pipe effect, but what are you going to do. I'm also a little put off by the maroon base and especially the tan bottom slopes - it's just a weird, conspicuous choice, but I guess they must have had a bunch of those left over they needed to use up.

Mattel - DC Signature Collection: Huntress
Well, I have no real attachment to this character and the costume is a bit of turn-off since it's Jim Lee's design from the very disappointing "Hush" storyline, but this figure has still managed to end up being one of the strongest entries in DCSC this year. She gets plenty of new pieces and, praise be to Odin, an accessory! What's more, an accessory of volume and significance which she can properly hold - it's like this is a real toy! You know what, I'm sorry for this snarkiness, I just get so frustrated with the Mattel system/output. But as far as figures go this lady is definitely one of the better ones in the line. Good sculpt, good paint, so on and so forth. I just wish it was a more interesting character or costume, but at this point there's not much else they can really do, I suppose.

Mattel - Imaginext: Tiger the Hunter
Well... it's official... I'm hooked on Imaginext. This guy comes from an appealing but fortunately short-lived line that took "iconic battlers" and gave them alternate masks - one with a permanently attached play-feature weapon. For this guy it's a lion mask with a wicker... thing, and when you push the button a bolo spins. My what fun. Being big into tikis it was his alternate mask that made the sale - a cool (almost The Mask-ish) Tiki mask! He also comes with a spear and shield, betraying this guy's more African than Islander roots. What was a particularly fun surprise is the very cool skull-ish face paint this guy is sporting on his face. Indeed, it's cool enough I kind of what another to display sans mask. However, at an $8-$10 pricetag I'll more than happily steer clear of this line in favor of the cheap blind bags and two-packs, which I imagine is what most people thought and thus it died after one series.

Mattel - Man of Steel: Superman
It had occurred to me a couple weeks back that I ironically had every figure from this series BUT the titular boyscout himself which was minorly concerning since he, and the rest of the line, has been hard to find of late. Well, luck was in my favor and at last the collection is complete. I really like the texturing on his body suit and all things considered this figure turned out quite well. The likeness is pretty solid, especially in hand. However, I would have liked ball-hinged wrists, an ab crunch and a properly balljointed head, but this is just Mattel after all - you can't expect market-leading quality from the Number 1 toy company in the world. Still though, this is the only figure in the line whose feet both fit comfortably on the base, so that's got to count for something.

Mattel - Watchmen: Comedian
This is the strongest figure in the line because he's the most apt to translate into a proper action figure. He looks like the character, gets two different weapons and can easily hold both. I do wish they'd sculpted his kneepads full on to his lower legs, like with Huntress, rather than splitting them. His head is noticeably under-sized, a surprisingly contrary problem for Mattel. And of course... they couldn't "splurge" on the rights to the Smiley Face logo... something so costly I never even realized there WAS a cost to its use until this figure came out. Where this guy really upsets me though is when he's taken in context of the rest of the line. Two big accessories, when several figures get none. PLEASE! Oh well, whatever.

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23 Responses to Rustin's Spoils of the Week #111

  1. yo go re says:

    "Man of Steel" toys being hard to find? HA! Oh, that made me laugh.

    Anyway, fun fact: there is no cost to use the smiley face logo. Although there's a "Smiley Company" that claims differently, a judge ruled in 2008 that the smiley wasn't a distinctive mark under US law, and couldn't be trademarked. At least, not in the US: it's possible that other countries WOULD allow it to be trademarked, and Mattel has no way of controlling which Comedians go to which country...

    • monkey boy says:

      which is why hot toys's 12" comedian didn't have the smileys. still, wtf mattel...

      • Rustin Parr says:

        Well, in may area they've disappeared, though now that I'm back out on the road I'm seeing them again all over (and boy what a joke that "black suit Superman" is)

        They should have included a sticker of the smiley face, at least, to US addresses. Ultimately I guess it doesn't bother me a whole lot since it just required three small lines from a sharpie rather than more elaborate customizing, plus it's just more "classic Matty." Though I will concede that's a somewhat reasonable excuse on their part.

        • yo go re says:

          The idea that the "Black Suit Superman" series of figures has come out is an even bigger laugh than the idea that the plain ones are hard to find. But maybe that means I'll finally be able to find "handcuffs Zod"...

  2. jestergoblin says:

    Bad news Rustin - the saxphone player is 2 per case of 60.

    And I agree, the blind bag method is getting annoying. I would be willing to pay LEGO a slight premium directly to get all the figures at once at this point.

    • monkey boy says:

      i find this difficult to be true. as i sat there sifting through bag after bag at both TRU and target, the sax player kept popping up. several times. definitely him. the sax is unmistakable, and then i could feel the hat too. i feel i must have tossed aside at least 3 sax players every time i was digging to find the tiki guy and the scarecrow.

      • Rustin Parr says:

        Yeah, I'd the Sax player was 2 per, but also felt out more than 4 of him when going through the two "dangle displays" (called 'powerwings' or 'sidekicks') at Target, which is all the more annoying since I very easily could have avoided this predicament if those bastards just labeled the bags

        • J.P. says:

          I've yet to find a sax player, but then my feeling skills seem a bit lacking (hence the two diner waitresses I've found by accident). And for whatever use the "bump codes" we're in past series, they've proven useless this time around. Still, you can usually pick up a set on eBay for $50 or so, if you find the right window between gotta have it now and retired.

        • monkey boy says:

          i also absolutely hate the task of sitting there crinkling a whole bunch of bags trying to find the one or two figures i'm looking for. it's time consuming and a little embarrassing. i've actually in the past just grabbed three or four bags and thought what the hell maybe the mystery of it will be fun...but when you start getting crappy figures and doubles that gets old real fast.

  3. monkey boy says:

    the most egregious oversight on the comedian is the sculpted in pistols. this day and age, a 6" figure with pistols that aren't removable from holsters is ludicrous. i know he already has two other accessories, but considering mattel's insistence that its lines are "high end collectibles" (and god knows the price is premium) i expect holsters to be functional. also considering how iconic the smiley is in watchmen, not having it would have been a deal breaker for me. but mattel has just danced around it with extreme closeups and yellow circles. this figure had great potential, and that's why it's the biggest disappointment of the line for me.

    • Rustin Parr says:

      I can accept the sculpted handguns in context of the other accessories, BUT in context of the rest of the line, I have to agree. They have a handgun tooled up already and it wouldn't have been out-of-line (slight pun) for him to only have those two guns.

      Again, it's pretty insane to me that they dumped so much on this figure for this release when the rest of the figures are so wanting or extras AND, moreover, there is so much with Comedian they could have easily done one or more additional releases with different accessories and heads which most of us would have happily bought.

      • monkey boy says:

        it gets harder and harder to defend the practices of mattel, not that it was ever easy to begin with. i just saw the new "munsters" figures at my LCS and they were asking $25 a piece...that's $25 for figures in a larger than 6" scale, with their own multiple accessories AND parts for a BAF, and the sculpts are more unique. as we've seen with the last "our super limited high end premium figures are selling for half off at some discount chain" debacle, apparently matty's distributors can't "handle" product under a certain quantity, and from what people have been reporting, that quantity is in the 4 figures. so there goes the "limited". and now we have a figure where matty couldn't be bothered to pay for rights to the iconic "smiley" and they're skimping on accessories. seriously, in 2013, guns sculpted in holsters are relegated to the CORPS and other low end, 5 POA figures. oh, and mattel products.

  4. Richard_Grayson says:

    You don't like "Hush?" I think that's a great story.

    Did you get the first series or second series Superman? I think they're the same but the second series one comes with a life-size "S" key on a chain.

  5. Mark K. says:

    I have to agree with you on that Luke figure. The calf swivel/new Hasbro ankle tilt combination is AMAZING!!!

  6. Noy Tazi says:

    The Target-exclusive Imaginext Battle Arena assortment isn't dead. Aside from the half-dozen that have been out for a while, there's a new assortment with Neil the Spaceman and Bones the Skeleton, and a future assortment previewed in the display tube with a mummy and an ogre.

    The Arena itself isn't too bad of a value. For $20 you get the electronic base, a ninja, and a guy dressed as Minotaur.

    You can read more about Battle Arena at http://www.krop.com/jpastura
    One of the pictures confirms that Tiger did indeed look like a tiger at one point.

    • Rustin Parr says:

      Nice photos - that prototype Tiger is way cooler than the final one. I was wondering what the deal was with that mummy in the tube, it looks incredibly cool!

      I also just found a Pirates re-launch that is looking great too

  7. Nega says:

    Hooked on Imaginext? I read your Spoils of the Week and wonder what you aren't hooked on. Your collecting is all over the place. No offense. It's just years ago I decided I had to stop buying stuff that just looked cool that I'd wind up tossing in a box for years and taking up space. Rising costs of everything helped make that decision easier. As long as your having fun. I admit, I've been tempted to jump on the blind bag bandwagon but resisted. Legos are a path that escalates. Playmobils, too. You could start out with just buying the figures, then you talk yourself into more and more.

    • Rustin Parr says:

      And that's the exact problem I'm in now. Aside from the occasional DC character I'd avoided Imaginext for this long ("looks neat but I'm collecting to much else") but now these damn blind bag figures have proven to be the gateway drug into yet another new collection. And trust me, I really am trying hard to curb my purchasing these days (I even passed up some STAR WARS battle builders for $5/each yesterday!)

      • Noy Tazi says:

        But Imaginext is a reasonable addiction. Aside from the many themes and playsets that allow you to tell just about any kind of story you want, the retail turnover is fast enough to be interesting but slow enough that you can just buy one set per week if you want. There will always be something interesting on the pegs.

        Easily-available product... probably one of the reasons why the preschool division is growing. Imaginext, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, and Octonauts are all going to perform extremely well this holiday season. OAFE could probably get a nice "mom & dad" traffic boost by looking at even just one set out of each of those.

  8. Boot Hill says:

    111 Spoils! And I just want 111111111111111 more!

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