Aaaand we're back. Between Comic-on and work life has been hectic so I thank you, and you, and you as well, dear Readers, for your patience. In effort to rush us towards my ever epic SDCC haulage I'll go ahead and just blast through about three weeks worth of buys here so that hopefully, come next week, we can dig into that great wallet-nightmare. BUT, for now, let us look at mail-order and local-hunt finds!
Chinese Bootlegs - "Lego" Mini Figures: Fantastic Four
I normally am quite against mail-order bootlegs, but I figured this was my best shot at getting the F4 in "Lego" form - so here are. All the figures are nice, and are identical to Lego Minifigs save but for the lower quality Chinese plastic. It's "good enough" but definitely has a slight transparency and hollow-ier feel to it than the standard Lego pieces. The faces, particularly on Reed and Thing, also aren't quite the Lego aesthetic but are still close enough. Each figure comes completely disassembled (i.e. you connect the hands, arms, legs, waist, head - all of it) in individual polybags and also a trading card of each character and a little folded paper with assembly instructions and pictures of the other knock-off Minifigs available. I am kind of bummed as I thought I was getting one of the big Hulk-Sized Things, but I'll suppose I'll just have to place a second order. After all, these four figures cost less than $6 - SHIPPED!
Chinese Bootlegs - "Lego" Mini Figures: Lantern Corpsmen
While perusing the rest of the available figure sets I landed on this and couldn't turn it down. Not only do I just, by nature, have a powerful lust for the rainbow Lantern Corps it's also one of the few that is mostly "exclusive" (i.e. not already made by Lego) figures. There were meant to be eight figures in the set and sadly I was shorted an Atrocitus, but it's not especially worth the hassle to me to try and recover that dollar - yep this set was less than $9 shipped! All the figures follow the same format as the F4 above, and each comes with one extra hand for some reason. I do very much wish that Lego would do more Lantern Corps sets as the "build anything" and bright/translucent colors of the Corps should make for very fun sets. I am quite jazzed that they are doing a Hal vs. Sinestro set since this Hal riffs on the previously "released" movie costume and who I suppose to be Sinestro is black. I quite like that the Blue Lantern comes with alternate Saint Walker and Hal heads - almost tempts me to get a second set, don't ya know. Ultimately, these are very novel figures and very cheap figures, so I get a kick out of having them since Lego has not or isn't likely to ever make them.
UPDATE: I found Atrocitus, his little baggy had just fallen away from the others when I opened the little box. He's a pretty solid little duder!
DST - Guardians of the Galaxy: Starlord & Ronan
How fun was that movie!? Sure it ain't perfect but it was absolutely fun which is what I want most superhero movies these days (I'm looking at you every other superhero franchise filled with angsty self-doubt). I was very tickled and pleased to see that they retained Ronan's signature cowl since it's also looked so weird but why does he have to be all in black...? I guess they just wanted him to be as generic a villain as possible. The 'mate captures the character well but the head on his hammer is inexplicably upside-down. Starlord is another great figure, though he sadly has the trenchcoat seen only in the opening scene. It's really a shame DST couldn't have squeezed in an alternate short-coat piece as well, then I'd gotten a third or even fourth set too! I'm definitely going to pick up a second since Quill comes with alternate hairpieces for masked and unmasked look. He also gets his Walkman which is almost awesome but is actually annoying as hell because the headphones are too narrow to fit over any Minimate hairpiece or even the base head underneath! Thanks.
DST - Guardians of the Galaxy: Yondu & Sakaar Trooper
I am very excited that DST made Yondu! I was digging him for the blue skin and metal mohawk but was really surprised by what Michael Rooker did with the character and how much presence he had in the film. The Minimate nails the character wonderfully, I just wish he came with his arrow, the orb or anything. Still though he turned out perfect and is easily identifiable as Rooker. The Sakaar trooper is just another "nothing" design which sort of bugs me because... why even bother, but at the same time they were so pointless and barely present in the film I'm glad an awesome design wasn't wasted on them like with the Dark Elves. Still though, I would have preferred this spot go to the Collector or someone new. But, much like with the Amazing Spider-Man 2 Minimates something pretty fishy is afoot with TRU and Minimates.
Funko - Game of Thrones: Tyrion Lannister, Hand of the King
I have a complicated relationship with Game of Thrones mainly because I read the books first and became pretty married to the version of Westeros in my head. I am, though, a sucker for cool toys and these have been growing on me more and more... so I finally broke down and got a set at Comic-Con, which of course means I needed this guy. It's 110% inconceivable to me that they made this version the exclusive and the battle armor version the standard release. The figure turned out remarkably good and does everything you'd want and expect; including having a pretty strong likeness. He only gets one accessory, his dagger, which is acceptable but he really could have used a second (ideally a goblet). He's a Walgreens exclusive, which is an odd thing but looking to become more common, so he's a tough score since I don't have many Walgreens around where I live. I did spread the hunt pretty wide but of the six I was able to find five of them had brown paint on their faces that ranged between "bad" and "awful," so while there are no breakages here paint QC seems to be a concern for this guy.
Hasbro - G.I. Joe 50th Anniversary: H.E.A.T. Viper & Blowtorch
I was all about this set because I had the weird orange HEAT Viper growing up, thus making him one of the very few Joes I have nostalgia for. The design, mainly of the helmet, is so bizarre it's equally confusing and compelling. This new version takes things one step further by painting the left side silver. This comes from the card art since it certainly wasn't that way on the figure. The helmet is also now missing the peg on that side which always confused me until an image search blew my mind by showing the the bazooka-hose was meant to connect to it!? Mind. Blown. He comes with the same bazooka and wicked backpack as the original figure too. This isn't a great update but it is a fun one. Blowtorch is a decent fireman figure but I'm not sold on his coloring. I like that his face-mask can be removed from the helmet, and that its hose connects to his armor while the backpack's hose connects to the gun. The set also comes with a couple mines, a gun and a fire extinguisher. Each figure gets a standard Joe or Cobra stand, but in a very cool new twist the team logos now get dark bronze paint which makes them surprisingly cooler than the previous releases. At $15 this is a pretty good buy for a pair a Joe figures.
Hasbro - Guardians of the Galaxy: Nova Corps Starblaster
A huge pet peeve of mine is the constant changing of CG designs as a film goes through production. Not only does it make it infinitely harder for us to get screen-accurate toys and collectibles it also just strikes me as indecisive, irresponsible film-making. Aside from the general shape the only thing this has in common with what's in the film is the 8 "star burst" prongs. The body/canopy is very off-model. It also looks pretty gaudy as the base color is black rather than navy blue, and there is a sheet of stickers to apply which mainly is just thin red strips for each of the prongs - nope, I don't have that kind of patience to put into something I'm already turned off by. Why did I get it then? Well, Toys R Us was having a sale and I didn't realize how off-model this was until I opened it. It's also my first purchase in this ridiculous 2" scale line and I have say... I I really don't care for the scale. The figures are just surprisingly tiny in-hand and the ships aren't anything special nor do their role in the film really necessitate toys. The cockpit opens, the fins fold in unison, there's a removable rocket launcher and a tray of confusing maybe-weapons that can plug in to various pegholes on the ship or on the back of the included Nova Corpsman. The cockpit is definitely too big for the 2" figure but too small for a 3¾" one, unfortunately.
Hasbro - Guardians of the Galaxy: Rocket Raccoon Warbird
On one hand it's really cool that they made this ship since it probably had a combined total of less than a minute of screen time, though it is a bit of a bummer since the impression I got was that it's the same size as the Milano but this is in the smaller (cheaper) assortment. It assembles reasonably well and has an opening canopy plus the top two wings hinge slightly up or flat in unison. Fortunately the bottom wings, while neat, are removable since they do not appear in the film. The ship is pretty swooshable, which is key for vehicles. It's perforated with multiple pegholes for it's own copies for the same missile launcher and maybe-weapons (these are just in a different color) as came with the Starblaster. One also gets a tiny, unarticulated Rocket Raccoon. There's a sticker sheet too, but I'm just not into stickers enough to bother with it, and the ship looks good enough without them (though, again, the coloring is inaccurate to the film). I appreciate that this exists, but I think Hasbro would have been far better off doing the figures in a proper, 4" scale and then resurrecting the Action Fleet brand/style for the ships (and/or playsets).
Hasbro - Star Wars Black: Stormtrooper
The figure is pretty much everything you could want or expect from a Hasbro toy in 2014. He clearly seems to share a lot of tooling with the Sandtrooper, which is expected but annoying. I mean, we paid the same price for that figure and it came with a bunch more accessories and paint. At the minimum they could have retooled this guy's torso to get rid of the peghole on the back, but at least it's "hidden" within the armor's designs. Poseability is plenty of fun, despite the soft plastic, thanks to double-hinged elbows. I would have really appreciated a nice coat of gloss white paint on these figures. It would have turned "good" into "great," and helped cover up some black splatter. The blaster is pretty good and fits perfectly in his belt-holster and he also comes with a rifle which I'm fairly certain never appeared in the films and is only a reference to the Power of the Force 2 figure from the mid-'90s. I would have happily given that up for alternate-grip hands, the paint/re-tools mentioned above or a re-release of the rifle from the Sandtrooper.
Mattel - Imaginext: Harley Quinn & Joker
I finally got around to getting this set. I already had a Joker so the appeal wasn't too high for me, but at least he's all new. It's only obvious in the head, which is hipper, younger and not grinning but below the neck it looks effectively the same as the original Joker mainly due to using the same colors. It would have been nice is, at least, if they'd gone with a darker purple. The real star of the set, though, is Harley Quinn, of course. And best of all - she's actually dressed like Harley Quinn for once, rather than some pervy artist's masturbatory cosplay fantasy. The figure turned out fantastic in this style and even gets a novel little mallet. She is a most welcome addition to the collection!
NECA - Bioshock Infinite: Motorized Patriot (Benjamin Franklin)
I'd been fighting the urge but finally broke down knowing that giant, mecha Ben Franlin and George Washington would just look too cool together. I dig this figure - the sculpt and paint turned out pretty well. I've had some trouble with the articulation, particularly the legs and right arm, but ultimately got things working alright. He's a pretty sturdy fellow and stands very soundly despite a natural forward tilt. The flags are huge and printed only on one side which, though subtle, is more noticeable than I expected. His giant gun is super cool with a truly functioning crank that spins the barrels! Sadly, the right handle is connected by a very thin peg and the hands are cast in very firm plastic so that handle snapped right-the-eff-off with very minimal pressure put on the gun. And I can't get the other handle in the left hand, so now I just have a broken gun and a metal-dildo wielding Robo-Franklin.
NECA - Planet of the Apes: Dr. Zauis
I was ecstatic to find a fresh case of the new Planet of the Apes figures out on the pegs, but I decided to go home and get my Toys R Us Rewards coupons and when I got back this one figure was all that was left - ZOINKS! There is no doubt that NECA is at the top of the game for mass-market figure makers but their final product generally tends to be either great or lack-luster, and I am quite relieved and pleased to say that these fall in the former category! The sculpt is fantastic and, even better, so is the paint! Articulation is pretty darn good too! He comes with a scroll and a cane - not the most exciting of accessories but pretty good none the less. I've always liked PotA but these figures are turning out so well that they're turning me into a big fan and I am absolutely "all in" for this line.
NECA - Predator: 8-bit Predator
Certainly the least exciting of the 8-Bit repaints to date I'd be lying if I said I was looking forward to this one, but I'd be lying even more if I said I was pretty impressed once I had him open and in hand. The paint is much more interesting and varied than it appears to be in photos. The figure is cast in black plastic then has layers of purple, dark blue and light blue in different relations and consistencies that provide much more depth than I'd anticipated. It remains a bit of a bummer than this is only based on a load screen and that 75% of the 8-bit figures so far are in the mostly-blue end of the spectrum but all things considered this dude turned out quite well. The only downside is that his ankles and hips are very loose which leave precious few posing options.
NECA - Team Fortress 2: Spy
This line, man... I love the look of these figures so much they're just so hard for me to turn down but despite all my hopes they keep disappointing (again - NECA's end product is either "great" or "lack-luster" and while Zaius is great, Spy is lackluster). The paint is good but the lines are rough around his mask and tie (plus his skintone just feels too peach-y). He also comes with few accessories, at least in terms of their comparable size, but that's fine - I like the sense of variety with this guy, in his suit and everything. Like all the previous figures I've gotten, though (Pyro & Demoman and Heavy) the articulation remains the core issue and despite this guy's more normal proportions I continue to have trouble keeping him standing. Even more frustrating though, is that is elbows are very limited in their range making it pretty darn tough to come up with varied, fun poses. I'll get the Medic if they make him and then happily be done with this line.