After another "busy life"-induced break we're back with the latest "Spoils of the Month" featuring pretty much everything I got during December of last year. Well, everything except for the constant haulage from Amazon's sales - look forward to that nightmare next week! In the meantime I beg you sup your empty vision-bellies on the multitude of purchases within the 120th installment of Spoils of the Week.
DST - Marvel Minimates: Marvel Now Hulk & Iron Man
Against all odds Series 16 showed up briefly again and I was able to score the missing pair in my set with these guys. Though very annoyingly labeled just "Hulk" and "Iron Man" with the most generic of bios these guys are the recent "Marvel NOW!" versions of both. Hulk gets an odd widows peak hair piece and electro-undies while Iron Man is in too-cool-for-school black. Despite not liking the colors I do have to concede that the Iron Man turned out pretty cool with new upper arms and (possibly) new chest armor. I particularly I like the head-in-cowl look under the helmet. Hulk honestly doesn't do much for me, and weirdly it's the hair that's more of a turn off than the robo-briefs. He comes with a cool little hover 'bot, who is probably his best friend (Marvel) now... the box text certainly can't be bothered to tell me.
DST - Marvel Minimates: Rescue Armor Iron Man & Robot Hulk
Hey look - Series 17 of the TRU exclusives showed up with yet another Iron Man/Hulk set, though this one is a bit more interesting than the previous. First up is "Rescue," aka Pepper Potts - very cool! She comes with an alternate hair piece and removable helmet so with a quick head swap on a female 'mate (I'm thinking probably one of the Battlestar Cylons) you get both Rescue and Pepper - not bad! Plus an energy blast flight stand, which as always welcome. Robot Hulk never existed beyond the ToyBiz Figure but this is both a great homage to that toy and an awesome repaint of the Marvel vs.Capcom Sentinel! And as if he wasn't cool enough as is, he comes with alternate pieces to turn him into a Kraang/Terminator type robot carrying The Gremlin. With two cool looks for both figures this is absolutely a set worth doubling up on, which is no doubt why it's so hard to find (packed only at 2 per case).
Hasbro - Super Hero Mashers: Dr Doom
So this Mashers line came out of absolutely nowhere and I can't help but suspect it was a wicked rush job to compete against Mattel's upcoming 6" DC line. From what I've seen this line uses 2 or 3 bodies with minimal paint and unique heads to take the aesthetic of the old G.I. Joe Sigma 6 figures and render them underwhelming. As a Dr. Doom nut I was obligated to pick this up from the blessed cheapest range of Mashers for $9 or $10 at TRU. Most of the joints are designed to be separated apart so you can "mash up" the different heroes into gaudy and illogical combinations. The sculpt is bulky enough that the range of motion isn't that great and a lot of the joints pop off annoyingly easy. Still though, as far as Dr.s Doom go this 6½" incarnation is kind of fun. He turned out well visually and I particularly like the head sculpt, even the all red eyes.
K'Nex - Super Mario: Boo
I just couldn't help myself. This guy is too cute, too memorable and too unique not to pick up. He is also surprisingly well made! The body is pretty firm plastic while the teeth are predictably rubber. The whole mouth seems like it's one piece but the tongue and teeth must be separate pieces because there's no way you could mold that. He gets two hex-shaped plugs on either side, presumably for K'Nex bricks or wheels to attach, and even a peghole on his underside, though unfortunately no stand is included. That's not too bad, though, since he balances fairly well. Overall, this is a delightful little novelty.
K'Nex - Super Mario: Wario
I've never played any game that had Wario and really I have no knowledge of him beyond his appearance, but I am a sucker for Bizzarros and evil doppelgangers so I was oddly excited to find this guy. His addition, though, seems to necessitate my collection's growth beyond just Mario, Luigi and Bowser. I believe Wario's fat body is unique to him, including his little elf-shoe feet. The head is obviously his alone and is even better executed than Boo - lots of very clean paint and a great likeness from a company I'd always written off as "less than Lego." This is a great mini-figure and he may have broken me into collecting more of this line.
Lego - Chima Speedorz: Swap Jump
Furty the Fox suffers what is quite possibly the worst build of the entire Speedorz line. A high-jump makes perfect since but this is an insanely boring design with no interesting pieces. Basically, they knew there was no way for fans to pass up a Fox mini-figure and thus put little effort in the build. Furty shares the same head and tail sculpt as Skinnet above but it looks better with this species I must say. Like all of the characters he gets a fully painted two-sided head with "happy" and "angry" faces. His tail actually attaches by the neck, which makes sense I suppose but for some reason I was expecting it to be a wait piece (though LEGO has never done such a thing). For half off this is a pretty cool set predominantly for Battle Fox.
Lego - Chima Speedorz: Tower Target
This set is certainly eye-catching, mainly a result of its bizarre rainbow but it's not as exciting as some others. The build is simple enough with some good bricks to bulk up on. Upon construction I realized that the odd "rainbow" is actually a meter that ranks how hard the Speedor hits the target within the arch - a very cool feature that I think could have been executed more clearly somehow. Grizzam is a neat old Gorilla with white fur no doubt indicating a fabulously wizened state. All in all this set seems a bit middle of the road based on appearance but is actually pretty solid one in hand.
Lego - Chima Speedorz: Skunk Attack
Since the Speedorz remained on 50% clearance I had to jump back in for this unique/one-off Skunk character, because... damn! Cute as heck. The build is a nice little wolf head that has a blue ball (ahem) trapped his mouth (double ahem?). By hitting the target, the mouth opens and the ball is freed - huzzah. He even gets a little jump to help him go the distance. Skinnet is this skunk's name and boy is he a little cutie patootie, but that aside one can't help but think this set was designed by someone who downright hates skunks. Firstly, the set name isn't only conspicuously violent it's the only one to include the character's species in it, as if they couldn't be bothered to come up with a more clever name (like "Swamp Jump" or "Tower Target"...). Then we have the skunk versus his enemy's snapping jaws and finally there is his painfully alliterative name of Skinnet - a name or a request?
Lego - City: Fire Motorcycle
A Christmas present with a bit of irony/humor as the giver found the "toy of a trash bin fire" pretty funny, but it's the idea of a Firefighter on a motorcycle that tickles me the most. Is there a fire that can't be reached by Fire Engine or hose and that can be eliminated with a single fire extinguisher? Then call Ace, the Renegade Fireman - he doesn't play by the rules. He doesn't care about the Chief's procedures or logic. Ace deals with small, contained fires his OWN WAY!
Lego - Friends Pets: Bunny
Twenty-five percent off and I bought in... This second series of Friends pets was pretty lackluster, and this set is total case-in-point. In retrospect this was just an impulse buy due to a markdown I probably should have passed on. The bunny is cute, of course, and at least there are six of the neat brick-work bricks but overall... nah, this one just does nothing for me.
Lego - Friends Pets: Hedgehog
My friends who collect Legos love this set because of how adorable the hedgehog is, and they aren't wrong. The real appeal of the 'hog, though, is that it's hollow which means it fits on a mini-figure's neck-peg perfectly! The bricks are nothing special, though I'm never one to turn down foliage and the inclusion of the new "Fall colors" is particularly nice. Plus you get an apple and an un-pictured pitchfork.
Lego - Friends: Water Scooter Fun
Another Christmas present and certainly one of those "humor gifts" of which I so adore. Here we get Kate properly attired for a fun-filled day in, on and around Heartlake - the town's namesake. She gets a jet ski and a mini dock, neither of which is very exciting nor includes any exceptional bricks. It is a nice change of pace to get a new-to-me minidoll though as the reuse was getting pretty boring. Much like the Pets above, year two of Friends was nothing very exciting.
Lego - Galaxy Squad - Hive Crawler
I had the great honor and pleasure of spending a day with our dear Poe Ghostal over the holidays hitting many a toy store, including a Toys R Us which had this set marked down to a more reasonable fare - I (reluctantly) couldn't pass it up. It's one of the rare Red Team sets so I am glad to have gotten it because I now have at least one representative of each Team. On top of that, though, his speeder-bike-esque ship is quite awesome looking, and the back end pops off as a vehicle for the Red Robot. The star of the set, though, is the titular Hive Crawler; a massive bug which catapults translucent pink "eggs," each carrying a larvae, from it's abdomen and is driven by a bug mini-fig sitting behind the eyes. The catapult works surprisingly well and you get two eggs and larvae. The really cool thing about this guy, though, is an ingenious wheel system that makes the Crawler's six legs "walk" as it's rolled forward or backward. I'm generally not crazy about play features but goodness gracious this equal parts cool and fun! I can't recommend this set enough!
Lego - The Hobbit Desoltion of Smaug: Laketown Guard
Another Hobbit movie and another surprise battle-builder polybag at Toys R Us. This guy isn't as cool as last year's Mirkwood Elf but he's still fun and unique, not to mention much needed as the Laketown set only includes one of him! He gets a little wheeled catapult which is nice but nothing terribly special and a neat little weapons rack. Despite their "not doing or appearing much" in Hobbit 2 this is a pretty solid little polybag and I'd love to see more of it's kind in the future for other lines. What could next year be? Hopefully an Orc, probably a dwarf?
Lego - TMNT: Kraang lab Escape
Target had this set in a beat-up box on clearance so I finally jumped on to the TMNT LEGO wagon (Turtle Van?). This fun little set has two nice mini-figs and a Kraang. The latter is sculpted as a "mask/helmet" that fits over a bright pink minifigure head, so options for hilarity not doubt abound. He gets a surprisingly cool build that sort of recreates the old Playmates terrarium walker, though due to the Kraang's tentacles it is much larger. The other build is some kind of break-away holding chamber that is actually less cool than it looks. At least it has a couple neat bricks. Speaking of which, this set gets three (2 for the build plus 1 extra) of a silver 1x1 flat round with a meter printed on it - too cool! As the "cheap" set for the series things could have been worse and now that I have Michelangelo I'm going to have to get his brothers too!
McDonalds - Happy Meal Toys: Bugs Bunny as Superman & Daffy Duck as Batman
These guys were yet another Christmas gift, this time from Poe out of the childhood remnants of Dr. Mrs. Ghostal's youth - so an uber thanks to both! Aside from the food-transformers (which they should really bring back!) this line is the most memorable of the McDonald's Happy Meal Toys of yester-year for me. These are essentially reasonable-enough PVC figurines of Bugs and Daffy but with two-piece clip-on costumes. Despite their similar poses the anatomy is different enough that you can not interchange the costumes, alas. I have to say these have enough kitschy novelty to make ostensibly perfect food premium toys. There was a Porky Pig as Wonder Woman and Taz as Flash (my introduction to the Flash was through that toy) as well.
NECA - Aliens: Hicks & Alien
I was really looking forward to this set because the head-exploding Xenomorph is the stuff dreams are made of. The chest-burst and cranial gore are cast in translucent plastic then dry-brushed over for perfect effect. I also appreciate that he's paired with a Blue Xeno since the regular version in blue won't be out until Series 2. I've never had much success with getting these Xenos to stand so I wasn't able to try out the signature shotgun-to-the-head diorama this figure necessitates. Hicks is... well a disappointment. Basically... he's too good, and absolutely negates the Series 1 version. I'm a sucker for variants (hell I have every Dutch) but this figure not only include all of the same accessories as the regular release of Hicks, he also gets the accessories exclusive to Hudson. Hicks now has a helmet, but as yo pointed out there's absolutely no reason it couldn't be a removable accessory. If you didn't get the Series 1 Hicks this figure will be an 11 for you, if like me you did... well, this is the first time NECA has really made me feel like they've taken advantage of my wallet, and honestly it kind of hurts.
Playmates - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Kraang Hover Ship
This darn thing was only $9.99 at Walmart - how could I not get it? I really, really dig the design and the slightly metallic sheen to the gray and muted blue is fantastic. The pink highlights come from thankfully easy-to-apply stickers and the like-colored missiles, wheels and propellers actually look great as a counterpoint to the other colors. The handles pivot side-to-side and the stock folds down flat to the platform. The blue turns relative to the silver base, which has three enclosed propellers. The blue platform is cleverly designed to leave airflow open for all three propellers and, more awesomely, as you role the ship forward or backward wheels beneath spin the propellers. Basically - this is just flat out cool, and for the price it can not be beat. I've seen this vehicle range priced as high as $25 which is certainly way too much. But at $10-$15 this is a very, very cool little vehicle!
Playmates - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Classics: Bebop
And the collection is complete. This guy is cool for what he is, which is a sort of MOTUC-take on Bebop. He's sculpted well and while not as articulated at the Turtles he is slightly more-so than Rocksteady. I particularly appreciate his balljointed neck, though it easily could have had more range. I really dig the inclusion of his ridiculous drill-gun, too - it's just silly, nostalgic fun. All things considered I'm pretty pleased with this figure (as long as I don't think of the price) however it does have one major flaw... his skin tone is basic Caucasian. It's a weird and conspicuous choice for a character that was always various hues of brown. I didn't think it'd bother me as much as it does, but it's just as annoying as if Luke Skywalker came with black hair.
Playmobil - Dragons: Dragon Knight Promotional Figure
A final Christmas Present that was part of some unpublicized September Toys R Us promotion. This is the second year in a row my friend has given me one of this "Playtember" promo figures but never once have I heard nor seen anything about said promotion. At any rate this is one of the dragon Knights from the ill-conceived Dragon Knights sub theme. The figure itself turned out fairly neat. He comes with a helmet, sword and shield plus to wings that plug onto his back. The wings are pretty annoying in that they curve in towards him thus limiting the options for having cool poses (and continuing the "who thought this was good" premise of the whole theme). On the plus side he's got a cool scale pattern printed on his chest and waist and the scales & eye pattern on his shield does, legitimately, look cool. So, ultimately, I dig this figure, but he certainly hasn't changed my stance on his home theme.