So the last chunk of 2014 was awfully busy for me and my regular posting certainly slacked off. As a result I had around 30 toys sitting on my coffee table for about three months just waiting to be photographed and Spoils-ed, so it is with GREAT relief that we'll finally take a look at half of these so that I can get the review ball rolling again, and get my coffee table back!
DST - Aliens Minimates: Carter Burke
Aliens is one of those licenses that's just perfect for DST and for Minimates! There's a ton of characters that realistically couldn't get made as toys outside the stylized mini-figure route, and this is one such character! Paul Reiser's Carter Burke is so easily overlooked when thinking of the film but he is, in effect, the Maltese Falcon of the movie so even though it's just a dude in a vest I'm really happy to have this guy! I must confess though that as a figure (with a $7 +/- price tag) he feels lacking without an accessory. A facehugger, at least, or maybe a file or clipboard would have helped a lot, but as I mentioned, ultimately I'm just happy to have the character.
DST - Aliens Minimates: Crew Chief Pvt. Spunkmeyer
I pretty much hate the Minimate "counter dump" assortments but I will concede that it works fairly well for Aliens with the three human characters each one-per and the Alien variations duplicated it's effectively a perfect case-pack for a collector and I debated a lot about getting a case. Ultimately the relatively high price-per-figure was a turn-off and I'm really not crazy about how the Aliens themselves turned out so I was very happy to find these three at my local comicshop. Surprisingly they were the only ones left in stock and the guy at the register said the Aliens sold out fast - I completely expected the inverse! Much like Carter this guy is has little-to-no chance of being figurized elsewhere so god bless Minimates for coming along! The jumpsuit is simple but effective and the sculpt of the flight helmet is really cool! I especially dig that he has painted-on hair stubble too. He comes with a handgun which isn't terribly exciting but getting something he can hold is pretty nice and it makes all the difference between he and Carter.
DST - Aliens Minimates: Pvt. Wierzbowski
Now this is a Minimate! Removable armor and alternate hair piece with jumpsuit camo deco - I love it! Makes me tempted to get a second to eventually have a pre-launch diorama but alas the boot armor is sculpted onto the feet (but awesomely it's only on the front so there's no problem getting him to stand naturally!) and oddly, though cost-wise understandably, the camo paint is conspicuously absent from the back of the legs and torso. Otherwise this is a great Minimate with solid sculpting and paint, and boy oh boy did the pulse rifle turn out cool! I can't wait for the sets-proper to hit. And DST/DSTChuck, if you're listening... PLEASE BRING BACK MINIMATE VEHICLES!!! The range is the ONLY way we'll get figure-compatible vehicles, and I promise that if you make the APC I'll buy every Alien I can get my hands on! (But also the Dropship [and a cheated scale is fine, it doesn't have to actually fit the APC, just 1+ pilot like the old Action Fleet version], the Powerloader and the Queen are MUSTS, too!!!)
DST - Universal Movie Monsters: (Revenge of the) Creature from the Black Lagoon
I'm super tickled that this is technically from the sequel, Revenge of the Creature from the Black Lagoon - that's a pretty cute way of separating this from the previous figure! I believe there are some minor suit differences between the films but must confess ignorance to them or if this figure accurately captures them, but this is ostensibly the Creature figure we've been waiting 50 years for! Twenty-three points of articulation gives us the most poseable Creature ever released! I will confess that some of the joints don't have the range of motion that I'd prefer but really only the head bothers me. The fins on his back and back-of-head keep him from being able to tilt his head up at all. That's really frustrating for a figure that otherwise can hit some nice swimming poses. I really, really wish they would have taken a bit of design liberty there and left out the neck-fins. Otherwise this is another great Jean St.Jean sculpt with equally nice paint. This version is the Toys Я Us version which comes with a new and exclusive "land" base. I do kind of wish they would have given him a unique paint scheme too, like the TRU version of the first figure, but it's not a deal breaker. I also got the TRU versions of Frankenstein and Van Helsing, but from what I can tell they are identical to the Direct Market versions and come with the Phantom's TRU base, so there's no real reason to keep them.
Funko - Horror Mystery Mini's: Chucky (Bride of Chucky)
I really like the aesthetic of this line, and then seeing the Sci-Fi Mystery Mini art, in this same style, pretty much broke me and convinced me to buy in to the WORST THING IN TOYS - blind box figures. Fortunately, or unfortunately, I not only scored a figure I wanted but one of the exceptionally rarer variants in the line (at 1:144) thus I was sort of hooked and have subsequently spent a small fortune on basically getting duplicates of the same Sci-Fi figures... PARUMPH! At any rate... Bride of Chucky is my favorite movie in that series and absolutely my favorite look for Chucky. He's just a repaint of the regular Chucky figure to add on the facial scars (but not the fabric rips). The sculpt is great and the paint is remarkably good. Obviously there's no articulation, which is a bummer since his legs are a bit warped so his feet aren't even, but at least he stays standing alright. It's a pretty cool figure and the beginning of a dark, expensive and frustrating collection for me.
Funko - Terminator Re-Action: Endoskeleton
I've been slow on the uptake with ReAction. Though it covers many of my favorite properties I was ultimately so underwhelmed by the Alien figures and these new ones just look... kind of awful. So clearly rushed in the design and sculpt they utterly lack all of the character and charisma of the classic, vintage figures. That said, though, I will say that the Endoskeleton turned out relatively well so when I came across the "limited" vac-metalized one I went ahead and and nabbed both versions. The sculpt is solid, nicely detailed and appropriately stylized. The limbs are a bit spindly but he stands fine, which is nice since the thin feet have no pegholes. Paint is equally nice though simple. From what I've seen the metalized version has trouble staying assembled, though everything plugs back into place fine. I've never been a fan of vac-metalizing but I will admit that version look better. There really is only one flaw with the figure (given the intention of the line/format) which is that he gets no gun! Double-yoo, Tee, Eff Funko...!? Every figure in this format needs an accessory and these guys... I mean it's a Stormtrooper without a blaster, an Orc without a sword. Incomplete! Other than that, though, it's a fine little figure.
Hasbro - Star Wars Black Deluxe: Scout Trooper & Speeder Bike
My underwhelmed-ness with this line continues on to the deluxe sets. This look really good in person, and had the Scout Trooper come alone I'd probably be raving about him but the combination of he and the bike is very frustrating since finding a good or realistic pose is pretty damn tough. The bike is pretty well sculpted and painted but I just have a hell of a time getting the handlebars into the Scout's hands and his feet onto the pedals. The trooper is otherwise a pretty damn good figure - loads of good articulation including double-hinged elbows (hey Hasbro - this entire line needs double hinged elbows!!!). My favorite thing about the set is actually the stand for the bike. It's a hollow pyramid with balls at three of the points and each fit the bike's socket AND each are at a different length meaning you can vary the height of the bike - and that is flat awesome! The ball-in-socket seems to hold fairly well, though the more extreme the angle of the bike the less the ball will hold the placement. TRU had a sale so I got two, but this deluxe line seems to be tanking hard so I'm a little tempted to pick up a couple more (currently half-off on Amazon) for the future Endor Luke and Leia should those ever get made.
Hasbro - Star Wars Mission Series: Bespin Luke & Darth Vader
Luke's Bespin fatigues are my second favorite costume in Star Wars so there is no chance I would pass this up. He's pretty good considering the format of the line and he even has a working holster - nice! It makes plenty of sense that he'd be packed with Vader but it's a bummer since we already got him in a Series 1 two-pack. I'm pretty certain it's the same figure but I don't have him handy to corroborate.
Hasbro - Star Wars Mission Series: Emperor Palpatine & Yoda
TRU was having one of their famous "Buy One Get One 40% Off" sales so I decided to succumb to my love of the Emperor and pick up this set from the reviled Prequels. Palpatine is actually a shockingly good figure. The sculpt is darn impressive and his face is wonderfully expressive. Something very surprising, too, is that he has articulated wrists! Likely it's a result of them being cast in white plastic which makes Yoda all the more frustrating since his separately-cast hands are glued in place. I hate Prequel Yoda but this figure does have one noted improvement to the format - a ball-and-socket head. Now that's what I'm talking about! It takes all the same effort, etc., as a swivel joint but results in a much better figure. However, between that and the separate robe this figure doesn't "feel" right for the line, so I'm guessing he's from or was meant for the non 5-Points of Articulation line. Also, both figures come with lightsabers despite the fact that neither character should ever have a lightsaber (at least on screen), but that's whatchya get when ya don't respect the source material.
Hasbro - Rebels: Kanan, Ezra & Holo Obi Wan
I kind of hate Clone Wars but this new Rebels show is suckering me in pretty hard thanks to its heavy McQuarrie-ness. I still haven't seen any episodes but I'm probably "all in" for the toys. When I found out this Toys R Us exclusive had an exclusive (though cutely hidden) Holographic Obi Wan I decided I have to have it. Both Kanan and Ezra are solid figures and everything we could expect from from the 5-POA format. I like both designs but ultimately prefer Ezra for his more overt McQuarrie-ness. I dig the Snowtrooper helmet, but it's a bummer it's unpainted unlike the one he has on the show. The real star here is the Obi Wan, who looks fantastic. He's super simple, just a hollow two-piece body and a heady on a swivel joint but that simplicity has resulted in the best looking "holographic" figure Hasbro has yet produced!
NECA - Godzilla: Godzilla 1995
I own no Godzilla toys so I'm taking NECA's license as an opportunity to right that wrong. This figure follows on the US/2014 version's strengths and improves greatly on them. The most notable change is the detailing in the sculpt, which is omnipresent and excellent! Plus he gets better articulation - more of it and better range of motion! Due to the bulk of the character there still isn't a whole lot you can do pose-wise but he's a hell of a lot more fun to play with. They also designed the head much better this time around and did what I wish they'd done for the 2014 one - given the head a ball-and-socket joint and seated IN the neck rather than the more traditional opposite. While this looks and moves well he, pretty annoyingly, has almost no "up" motion which is a huge bummer as that's the pose I want. I do also wish they could have worked in more tail articulation as the last 4-6 inches is one solid piece. Still though, all around I really can't imagine there being a better Godzilla figure all things considered.
NECA - The Simpsons: Leonard Nimoy
I grew up on In Search Of and I think it really informed and influenced me as a person a lot during those formative years, so when Nimoy not only guested on The Simpsons but did so riffing on In Search Of you better believe I "lost it"!!! I am so excited that NECA made this figure for those same reasons... I mean, sure it's Simpsons but this is In Search Of Nimoy!!! How awesome is that!?!? Well... middle-awesome, actually, because NECA jonked up the colors. He should have a tan coat but instead it's shiny brass... aaa'wha? I never was into Playmates' World of Springfield line but I do appreciate that this series follows stylistically in it's footsteps even though I really don't feel like I'm getting $12 worth of toy here. But, novelty is an important thing, and if I'll spend $10 on a retro Terminator with no gun then that makes such an important icon in my life worth just about any price! So thank you for making this happen, NECA!
NECA - The Simpsons: Mr. Burns
"High" Mr. Burns is one of the most memorable things to me from back when I watched The Simpsons regularly, it's probably the earliest "epic laugh" the show got from me (fun fact, the first time I almost died from laughing, i.e. could not breathe due to uncontrollable laughter, was when I first saw the "Mr. Sparkle" commercial) so my mind was effectively blown when this figure was revealed. Much like Nimoy above it's so wild that NECA is doing something so significant to me on a personal level. The figure is pretty fun but not without its flaws. My biggest issue with it is that yet again they used a translucent glow-in-the-dark plastic which really kills the "reality" of the figure (and doesn't hold a good "glow"). I truly, truly do not understand why they didn't do the figure fully painted then did a coat of GITD paint over the whole figure so the he would fully glow, like on the show. Also, the only way I can get him to stand is by awkwardly V-ing his legs/feet. But, I guess the important thing is that the toy exists, and fun it certainly is.
NECA - The Simpsons: Penn
I adore Penn & Teller and, much like Nimoy above, this line is an excellent way to get figures of people who wouldn't normally get toys so I was all over this duo the moment they were revealed. The sculpt is nice and Penn even looks recognizably like his real-life counterpart. However... he cannot stand. I struggle a lot to get figures standing in these photos but this is the first (at least that I can recall) in 148 editions of Spoils of the Week that one just had to be photographed fallen. I'm not sure if it's the back-heavy design or slightly warped legs/feet but nothing I do can keep him upright. I could live with that if there was a stand to use but in their infinite wisdom NECA decided to not include pegholes in the feet... so... great. Boo-urns, NECA.
NECA - The Simpsons: Teller
The silent half of Penn & Teller fares much better than The Mouth. Not only does he stand solidly he can hold his bizarre energy-ball accessory pretty well. The sculpt and paint are simple yet clean and nice. There is, though, something weird about his face but I'm not sure if it's the Simpsons-ification of Teller, the translation of it from 2D to 3D or just the sculpt itself but it certainly doesn't look recognizably like the man. But, I can't imagine many folks are just buying Teller so he works well in the pairing of the figures.
Mattel - Imaginext: Scarecrow & Poison Ivy
Imaginext rears its glorious head yet again with this phenomenal two-pack! This is a character pairing that not only looks good visually but makes a ton of sense given their hallucinatory propensities - if they haven't teamed up before they definitely should! Both are 100% new sculpts (or at least very close to it) and are gorgeous. Looking at them again I'm thinking I might need to get a second set just cause I like 'em so much. Scarecrow is done up in an excellently patch-y affair with a suitable creepy cowl and I even dig the ragged cape. He gets an awesome creepy scythe too. Ivy gets a wonderfully sculpted bodice and equally great vine prints on her arms and legs. Her head is appropriately, if not surprisingly (for the aesthetic), beautiful and she has a very nice new hair-do. She gets an odd vine/blossom staff or scepter. It's not necessary but is certainly welcome. This is absolutely one of the best sets they've done in the DC line so it's no wonder it's been such a bear to track down!
The solid piece at the end of all the NECA Godzillas tails are soft plastic with bendy wire, so it may not be jointed, but you can get some decent curl out of it.
Interesting... I could have sworn I gave that I gave that a shot but got not bend
Oh yeah. All three of my NECA Gojis have their tail curled. It gets tougher the closer you get to the joint because of the thickness of the plastic, but it'll move.
Admittedly, I'm not a huge Godzilla fan, but that '95 Gojira looks fantastic!!! Might have to pick one up!
The helmet Ezra has on the show actually is unpainted in the early episodes. I think another character paints it for him later in the season.
I didn't like Clone Wars either, but Rebels is fun, you should give it a try.
I'm curious, what is it about Clone Wars you don't like?
I just didn't enjoy watching it, and I tried again several times when people kept telling me it got better in later seasons, but the characters and story didn't connect with me at all.
I don't think Rebels is amazing or anything, just for me it does a better job of evoking the fun/adventure/humor of the original movies, with the darker stuff and Jedi elements that much more effective because they're used sparingly.
Fair enough. I don't care for clone wars either, mainly because of Ahsoka. I mean, seriously if someone on the playground at school told you that Anakin had a secret teenage apprentice during the clone wars, you'd tell him gtfo with his fanfiction.
And that's what clone wars feels like.
Don't even get me started on the Darth Maul story.
"Also, both figures come with lightsabers despite the fact that neither character should ever have a lightsaber (at least on screen), but that's whatchya get when ya don't respect the source material."
Yoda and Palpatine had a lightsaber battle in Episode 3. Am I missing something?
The prequels are just goofy fan-fic as far as I'm concerned.
When you watched the Original Films pre-1997 did you ever think "gee, Yoda is okay... but I wish he had a lightsaber fight!" or "man, the Emperor is totally the type of guy would slash at folks with a sword"? The POINT of those characters is that they DON'T NEED weapons.
I actually enjoyed watching Yoda whip around with a light saber. This was a mission series for that specific fight. So, it would seem odd for them not to have lightsabers. Opinions vary. Anyway, thanks for the clarification and thanks for writing these columns. I always enjoy reading them.
What's funny, in interviews from back in the early 80's, George Lucas said Yoda would be useless in a lightsaber fight. Not that he'd use other abilities, but that'd be no help at all.
The Vaders from both 2 packs appear to be the same to me.
Some of the previous Legends Jedi figures had separately molded hands but no wrist joints, part of that must be the complaints Hasbro got from parents about figures breakings and pieces getting lost. Perhaps it's more cost effective to mold the hands separately and glue them in than paint them?
I have the 3 3/4" Toy Island Endoskeleton from the 1990's, it actually has elbow joints and didn't cost $10 and came with a gun. It's arguably sillier looking, bot not that much more.
I just realized that this Spoils was posted on the 4th Anniversary week of the column! That's pretty damn novel to me (if not betraying of how many weeks were missed over the years... still though I managed to be about 75% weekly, which ain't too bad)
Is the Creature from the Black Lagoon giving Penn a scalp massage?