A couple weekends ago I amassed a fairly epic haul while visiting Louisville, KY. Part of that was due to Toys R Us rolling out a pretty remarkable clearance sale, and since it was chain-wide I, of course, had to hit up several TRUs back near home. It is remarkable how stock can vary from store to store and this certainly allowed me to fill in some holes I wasn’t really expecting to due to both availability and interest. Because, let’s face it, the more discounted something is the more appealing it becomes. So, lets take a look at this “because it’s cheap” edition of Spoils!
DST: Marvel Minimates – Wolverine & Reaper
I am thoroughly burnt-out on Wolverine Minimates and this guy comes with a “Reaper” who just reads as pretty-much-Sauron and really who needs more than one of him? The figure is nice enough for what it is, but clearly I’m not too excited by it. He gets a new back piece (that attaches under the neck and over the waist) which has the tail and two pegs holes to which sections of the wings attach. It’s an interesting solution in theory but it’s just aesthetically very weird in practice. It would have been nice if they’d just made them in the same manner as Falcon’s wings, and then they way they could have included feral Logan’s loincloth from the “Wolverine: Through the Ages” boxset to make a more proper Sauron. Wolverine is just Wolverine. It’s no surprise that this set didn’t move at all until this clearance sale began.
DST: Street Fighter vs Tekken – Guile vs. Raven
I guess I can understand why this line happened. Marvel vs. Capcom seemed to do pretty well so why not continue that, but only replacing the “printing money” half of the title with a property whose career highlight is a cute joke in Shaun of the Dead… I really have almost no interest in these sets, but the final price of about $2.50 mixed with my massive love of Minimates talked me into buying in. Guile is a neat, recognizable SF fighter who’s done simply but quite well. I can imagine using him as a base for some fun Captain America, etc., customs. Wesley Snipes just kind of a weird take on his costume from Blade with his hair from Demolition Man. Plus two little knives with long… ribbons, maybe? Too cute…
DST: Street Fighter vs Tekken – Ken vs. Steve
I love the name of this set… such a thrilling battle for the ages – Ken versus Steve!!! The epic duel to determine who was responsible for replacing the toner last!!! If you ever wanted to see two blonde cliches hit each other then this set is for you. Steve gets a new, odd hairpiece plus pretty neat boxing gloves while Ken is just… every Ken Minimate they’ve made, though he does have nice little knuckle guards. Ryu & Ken are always a bit of mystery to me… are they really that popular or does Capcom/Manufacturers just think they are? To my eyes they are the least interesting Street Fighter characters, so I’m just left to marvel that DST made him in lieu of someone more unique/interesting like Dhalsim, Vega or Blanka.
DST: Street Fighter vs Tekken – Sagat vs. King
I’ve developed a big like for Sagat over the years so this was probably the most appealing of the sets but it’s also disappointing since Sagat ends up being the shortest of all the figures despite his looming presence in the game. The paint/printing is pretty good and nails his look. I guess that since he’s the most bad-ass of the Street Fighter characters that they used, DST felt compelled to pair him with possibly the silliest thing ever. I mean… come on… Cat head? Yep… that’s why Tekken is SSSSOOOOOOO cool. This goofball gets a bunch of pieces, including a bulky torso cover – what, Sagat isn’t worth a bulky torso, or even “tall feet”?
DST: Street Fighter vs Tekken – Zangief vs. Marduk
What’s better than one big hairy guy? Well two, of course! Despite these guys being twins the red vs. green colors actually make them feel like more of diverse pairing than the other three sets above. Marduk is just “not Zangeif” and is fine for that, though he does suffer the presumed-to-be-cured minimate plague of short-leg. Zangeif may be “a bad guy,” but that doesn’t make him a bad guy. He’s a pretty good translation of the character and I dig the new mohawk sculpt he gets. It would have been fun it he cape with a cape this is good enough.
Jazwares: Hanna Barbera – Fred Flinstone
I know… I know… What can I say… it was on sale and The Flintsones were fresh on my mind having just got the Hot Wheels Flintmobile. Believe or not (and I know you will because this is Jazwares) this was the best paint job of the 4 or 5 they had. His one accessory, the Water Buffalo Lodge hat has a peg which doesn’t fit the peghole in his head well and thus it hovers. The sculpt is pretty great and articulation is fairly good (though why does he have a cut through his waist?) but paint is… just garbage. Jazwares only continues to prove that they are either clinically insane or just ragingly angry at either shoppers or their licensees because their product just keeps turning out awful.
Mattel: Young Justice – Aquaman & Aqualad
I finally broke down and picked this set up for my Aquaman collection. I’ve still never seen any of Young Justice, though I’m given to understand it’s pretty good. One of the reasons I never got into this line (aside from the crazily high prices) is the super bizarre pose the figures are in. I’ve heard of “waiting for the bus” but what’s this – “invisble-weight curls”? Other than the pose the sculpting is good enough, with each figure getting unique legs with calf-fins. Paint is clean, which is a plus since that’s mainly what this line is based on. They come with little stands that have very weirdly offset pegs, but it’s nice that they’re included since Aquaman inherited JLU‘s incredibly aggravating forward-lean meaning it’s tough to keep him standing. All that and a price so high that this still cost me about $8 with a 40% clearance on an all-ready marked-down price… Mattel – where the motto is “we made it… why aren’t they buying it?”
Mattel: Young Justice – Martian Manhunter & Miss Martian
I had really meant to keep this “collection” solely to Aquaman but I just really like this set too much and couldn’t resist. This is probably the best redesign on Martian Manhunter I’ve seen and likewise the girl’s (J’onnette?) outfit works surprisingly well for its blandness. I think what makes them click for me is a return to the lime/avocado green of the Silver Age for their skin. Sculpting is solid (even though J’onn really just wants to show you his stigmata) but the paint is remarkably good. The lines are all super clean and Miss Martian’s face is shockingly crisp – it may actually be the best face paint I’ve seen in… well, a very long time! The set includes only one base and BAF legs for Amazo.
Mezco: DC Mez-Itz – Green Lantern & Sinestro
I’d already got this set but since I’m kind of nuts for Green Lantern and definitely nuts for Sinestro Corps Sinestro I took this opportunity to double up. As I’ve mentioned before I really like the aesthetic of this iteration of Mez-itz and this pair turned out well, though not nearly as excellent as the 6-inch versions. This is another line that still feels over-priced on clearance. It cost about $5 which is essentially where these should have started, rather than $12-$15. They’re just so simple and there is so little once can really do with them alas. It’s too bad because I do quite like the format.
NECA: Hellraiser – Wire Twins
Much like the exploding-head Locust I was absolutely shocked to see these pop up at a local TRU last year seemingly out of nowhere. I’d been tempted to get them all this time for the simple novelty of it, but the price just kept me from pulling the trigger. Well, it turns out that $7 is the right price for me so I was more than happy to dive in. This was the deluxe set way back from Series 1 which makes these figures over a decade old! Both twins are identical save but the heads since one features an extended tongue. The sculpt and paint are both fine but articulation is exceptionally limited with only three swivels – shoulders and neck – but little strands connect their chins to their chests limiting the head’s range of motion. They also come with a cute little half-man. I was very surprised to find that he’s cast in rubber and has bendy arms, though poseability is limited due to sculpt. Overall this release is only okay, but it is a fun reminder of the “good ol’ days” and is a nice indicator of NECA’s drive and focus to make every Cenobite, something we’d see resurface a decade later with Predator.
NECA: The Hobbit – Bilbo Baggins
He’s way more poseable than the quarter scale Iron Man or Captain America figures too, he even has some hidden articulation including balljoints at both ends of the neck and an ab-crunch under the rubber clothes. The likeness is excellent! It looks EXACTLY like Dudley Moore!!! Normally I love sculptural texturing, but it’s overkill on the face and make Dudley look much older and pock-mark-y than Martin Freeman ever has. He also gets oddly dark eye-bag paint. He comes with Sting, which is flat and only has the engraved flourish on one side. On his own this is, similar to the quarter scale Marvel figures, exactly what you wish the other companies were doing in their 6″ lines. HOWEVER, in context of Quarter Scale, Bilbo feels off. He is an even 12″ tall, which sounds about right but he just looks way too tiny next to Gandalf. Based on photos the height might be accurate, but the proportions look off. Maybe it’s a result of the Lord of the Rings being in 19″ scale rather than true Quarter Scale, but regardless it’s pretty disappointing to me, though to folks without those figures it may not be so bad.
NECA: Marvel Heroclix (TabApp) – Super Heroes
I have a mad lust for Silver Age Iron Man and this figure is a really interesting, very appealing spin on that armor so I’d been eyeing this for awhile, but it was the clearance price of $1.98 that got me to finally buy in. Iron Man is just great, his neat design and stylized proportions. Sadly neither other figure is likewise re-imagined. Cap is fun, but is weirdly undersized compared to the others. Thor is Thor. Paint QC on these was all over the place and the set with the best paint on Iron Man also had Thor’s arm out of it’s socket. I figured I could just replug in it, but it was a glue-error and thus glued that way so once I popped it off both the peg and peghole were thus misshaped so now it can only precariously balance unplugged. I think this was a novel attempt on Heroclix’s part to try and go digital by creating a Tablet-based game, but the final product, at least with the figures, leaves a lot to be desired.
NECA: Marvel Heroclix (TabApp) – Wolverine & The X-Men
Since they were only $1.98 I got this set as well, though I’m honestly not even sure it was worth that (at least for me). Jim Lee era is my X-Team, so with Brown Wolverine and mostly-Jim Lee Cyclops (where’s his outer-underwear!?) I was in, but this set skews so blue and yellow overall it feels very bland. Iceman is a fun choice, due to being translucent, but they really need some red or green in here to mix things up visually. I haven’t played the game, nor do I think I will, but since this is a branch of Heroclix they come glued to the familiar dial base. These bases are extra thick and the vacuum-formed tray they come is so tight I broke apart one just trying to get it out (and boy was it a hassle to reassemble). I don’t know… I guess these are really just part of my “hey remember that these happened” collection, unfortunately. They just don’t do much for me.
NECA: Rambo – John J. Rambo (Survival Version)
Still having never seen Rambo and having been disappointed in the first figure I’d been holding off on this one, but The Sale’s The Thing! Sculpturally this guy is identical to the previous Rambo but with a new head with surprisingly lifeless expression. In person it’s a pretty good likeness though it doesn’t quite look it in the photo. The figure does excel over the first one, though, because either the skin has a red wash or a red dye in it that really helps it look much, much, much better than the semi-translucent skin on the first. This one also gets a bag dress (which is surprisingly removable thanks to the waist-rope connecting via peg and hole on the left side), his signature knife (which fits in a sheath on his belt), an Dutch-esque knife-on-stick, a machine gun, a handgun, walkie talkie and an alternate right hand. All around this is a pretty solid figure and a welcome addition to the “Action Stars of the ’80s” collection.