Shopping. Buying. Consuming. There are few things I do better than amassing material goods and this week we take yet another look at catching up on my myriad of purchases over the past six months. Below is a bit of a hodgepodge of stuff I picked up over those many months (and fret not, dear readers, there are at least another four Spoils' worth of catch-up before I can get back to my once standard "real time" hauls... yowzah). So, sit back, relax, sip a delicious beverage and imbibe of this most exquisite potpourri of toyish goodery!
DST - Batman '66 Vinyl Bust Bank: Batman
The sculpt is quite good, far better than DST's own resin busts from the same show (both lines, though, are sculpted by Jean St.Jean). The face here seems a bit stylized, mildly cartoonish, but it works for the property and is still clearly Adam West under the hood. The overall pose is kind of odd, but it's dynamic and feels true to West - plus, this piece is articulated! There's a (tight) swivel at the neck, a swivel at the right bicep and at the left shoulder - it's minimal movement but fun and appreciated nonetheless! Plus, the batarang is removable! It's a terrific sculpt too! Where the figure really shines is the paint. The bodysuit seems like it's a multi-tone gray which adds a lot of depth and realism to the look. Then, all the blue gets a beautiful slightly metallic sheen that looks killer. Some of the edges aren't the cleanest, particularly around the any of the visible skin, but overall it looks fine. The only downside is that these busts are shipping in no packaging, which subsequently means that many of these suffer from paint scuffs and rubs leaving odd marks in various places. That's pretty much the main reason to not get them at TRU, since it's such a chaotic and hands-on venue, but other than that this is an awesome piece for the ol' Adam West shelf.
DST - Batman '66 Vinyl Bust Bank: Robin
The Batman bust bank looked neat but this one was just too cool to pass up. The sculpt is excellent, once again, with so many beautiful folds in the fabric, but it's the paint that broke me. The color combination of red and gold here with the green accents is almost overwhelmingly beautiful but it's the metallic yellow of the cape which I find so utterly intoxicating! Interestingly, Robin's gloves are a much darker green than his sleeves and though they are separate pieces from his arms they are glued in place rather than "articulated." Like Batman, Robin does get three joints though: swivel neck and swivel biceps. They're not quite as expressive as Batman's but they are absolutely better than nothing! Aside from the same "prone to paint scuffs" as Batman the only real drawback to this is the likeness, which seems fairly non-existent. It's not like Burt Ward is easily identifiable but the eyes, cheekbones and jawline seem to be a bit wider than Ward. Regardless, though, it's still and excellent display piece and looks much better (and more accurate) than the smaller, pricier resin busts DST has released. I'll be sticking with the Bust Bank line indefinitely, especially if they keep using this awesome metallic paint!
DST - Plants vs Zombies: Scientist Zombie, Foot Soldier Zombie, Sunflower, Peashooter, Chomper
My entire knowledge of Plants vs Zombies comes from the "needs no explanation" title so I really couldn't tell you how good or accurate these guys are but they sure are fun to look at. The plants are nice little sculpts, wholly unique to themselves (except for the Peashooter which is the same piece doubled) but all of their "heads" connect via a standard Minimate head joint so they do maintain some of the fun interchangeability that is inherent to the format. The two zombies are actually a really nice blend of fairly detailed new sculpts simple Minimate basicness. The set comes with three guns, which they can hold fairly well. One is a bazooka which can also plug into the Soldier's backpack and another is looks to be a prosthetic leg or something because it has a foot at one end, complete with peghole for the bases! It doesn't appear that the gun can do anything other than be a gun, but that's still some fun attention to detail for the format. Another really fun thing was that they painted the twist-ties which hold the plants into the tray either green or purple based on what was appropriate. It's a weird touch that seems kind of equal parts fun and deceptive. This was a Toys R Us exclusive out at the same time as the Clerks one, and like it this too seemed to show up suddenly and disappear quickly.
DST - Marvel Minimates: Infinity Boxset
Even though these are nice Minimates it's pretty tough to get excited for another Hulk or Cap, and even Thanos feels a bit stale even though this is only his third 'mate. Armored Hulk is the same, sculpturally, as the Marvel Now Hulk from the waist down and though he certainly looks unique among the many Hulks, space armor just doesn't mesh with that character. Thane is the son of Thanos (with an eye-rollingly lazy and real-world-term name) and is the highlight of the set both by being a first-time character and by simply being a painted Minimate base body (though he does have a "Venom claw" for his left hand). Next is Space Suit Captain America who actually manages to be a neat looking, fun variation on Cap. Of course, it would be cooler if his helmet were fully enclosed to protect him from the vacuum of space, but hey... I'm not a comics exec. He also comes with the lone accessories for the set: his shield, alternate left hands with and without a peg for the shield and a blonde hairpiece (though the helmet is on his head too snugly for me to be able to remove it). And finally there is Infinity Thanos - a very nice, big 'mate though I'm not too thrilled by his semi-redesigned costume... it feels a little "New 52"-ish. So again, all in all a fine set but nothing really to write home about.
DST - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Donatello & Shredder
I was shocked - SHOCKED, I tell you - when I stumbled upon these at Toys Я Us circa Thanksgiving. The figures are sort of, kind of, technically keychains (thanks to a metal keychain attached to a black string which loops around the neck [and is fully, easily removable]) which I'm sure is a licensing thing to work around Playmates' iron grip of the TMNT aisle. Donnie turned out pretty cool, he's got a unique torso piece complete with a loop on the back which comfortably and easily fits his bo staff (I was very worried it'd warp the staff or scrape the paint, but it did not!). Shredder is pretty darn groovy, complete with many wonderful sharp points. He even gets a removable helmet to reveal his Dr. Doom face - spoooooooky! They both get basic Minimate stands, and like the rest of the Turtles', Donnie's is painted like a sewer lid!
DST - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Michelangelo & Foot-bot
All of the Turtle Minimates are effectively the same save but for different torso pieces giving them their character specific belts. I was curious about the heads, and the bandanas are definitely separate pieces but are non-removable suggesting the whole thing is like a sandwich of sorts. Mikey comes with his nunchucks, complete with metal chains (fully painted figure AND metal chains? He's superior to all of Playmates' stuff!), which fit well into loops on the back of his belt. The Foot-bot is a goofy thing but actually turned out much neater than the Playmates version. He's effectively the same figure as the regular Foot Minimate, even with the katana and sheath plus two alternate "regular" hands, but he comes with a thin piece at the waist which has two shoulder joints at the back allowing for the multi-arm monstrosity you see before you. I quite love the simplicity of that piece and can foresee it being used again, or in customs, for some fun designs.
DST - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Raphael & April O'Neil
Easily the least exciting set in the series, but perhaps I'm just biased by Raph being my least favorite Turtle. He's a good Minimate, though, with all the same strengths as his brothers. April is equally good but quite simple. I appreciate her inclusion but can't help but think the Krang 'mate would have been a better inclusion - though apparently that was some kind of secret Kmart exclusive or some such nonsense. April comes with a fan accessory, which is oddly cast in clear plastic then painted black on one side (and it was packed paint-up in mine which meant the tape took some of the paint with it).
Hasbro - G.I. Joe 50th Anniversary: Baroness vs. Lady Jaye
I can't imagine I don't have a proper Baroness, but I don't expressly remember ever finding or buying one from the 25th anniversary line so I'm pleased to snag her here - especially since I'm sure I never picked up a Jaye. Both figure are pretty good, though I must confess that the paint on Baroness is a little rough, particularly on the face/glasses. Also, Jaye doesn't have as much head motion as I'd prefer as a result of her hair and collar sculpts. But much like the movie version of Lady Jaye, this set is packed with an absolutely obscene volume of weapons and accessories. There's 3 knives, 2 handguns, 3 Uzi-ish small machine guns, 4 machine guns, Lady Jaye's signature missile launcher, a bazooka, a backpack with removable rockets that fit in the bazooka, a weird spindle attached to a big grapple hook but a long bit of string and a Cobra case with five subtle bowling ball pin shaped outlines which don't match any of the accessories. So basically... just a damn ton of stuff!
Hasbro - G.I. Joe 50th Anniversary: Snow Job & Arctic B.A.T.
I have a bit of a soft spot for "cold weather gear" so this set is appealing on that alone, not to mention the B.A.T. is a helluva a battle builder! Snow Job is pretty much the same figure as the phenomenal carded version from several years back, and so is the B.A.T. though it is now painted in snow camo. I love, love, love the plasma gun with the bandage wrap that comes here and while I appreciate the battle damaged head and chest plate for the B.A.T. it's annoying that the damaged chest plate is translucent blue while the undamaged one is clear. I got this set when it first showed up, but I picked up another three this past weekend after seeing they'd been marked down to $10. $10!!!! That's the same price as a ReAction figure and you get everything you see here! I'll probably have to get a couple more to really build out the ranks. My only complaint with the set is how individual Snow Job's head is, with his red beard. I'll have to dig through the other figures and spare alternate heads, helmets and masks to add some variety to the human army.
Jakks Pacific - World of Nintendo: Bowser
This guy was second only to Link in terms of impossibility of finding, though recently he's become relatively easy to locate (unlike Link, unfortunately). Bowser is one of the cooler videogame villains and getting a "proper" figure of him has been a long time coming, but sadly there is plenty of room for improvement here. This guy is huge but what is made up for in size, he lacks in articulation. He's got ball-and-socket hips, swivel/hinge wrists, hinged elbows and swivel shoulders - that's it. And yes... the shoulders, annoyingly, frustratingly, only swivel; and the wrists are so tight it's hard to tell they're even articulated. The head, and lower jaw, and separate pieces but just glued in place due to the sculpt/design. I get the desire for accuracy, but come on - this is Jakks here. They make toys not collectibles - fudge the design a bit and give this guy at least a swivel neck! I love the size and bulk of this guy, but I'd honestly be hard pressed to say he's a good toy.
Jakks Pacific - World of Nintendo: Mario
This is a pretty darn good Mario, certainly one the better ones I've seen at retail. He's got balljointed hips and shoulders, hinged knees and elbows with swivel wrists and neck - so he's a full-on toy for once as opposed to years of PVC statuettes. He's also pretty darn on model, at least for the cartoon-y box cover art for Mario. A balljointed head would have been very nice but it's the lack of ankle articulation I find the most frustrating. He also comes with a very nice red mushroom, hidden away in the silly "mystery box." As the flagship character for the line and brand this is a fairly solid figure. There's definitely room for improvement but I'm going to give Jakks the benefit of the doubt here since this whole series seems more "in line" with modern action figures than their past endeavors like Pirates 4 and Men in Black 3.
Jakks Pacific - World of Nintendo: Wario
This guy might actually be my favorite figure in the line, after Link. I've never played a game with Wario and my exposure to him is pretty much exclusive to product made of him but I do quite like the idea of a "bizarro Mario" (Bizarrio!), and this figure's sculpt looks remarkably on model. Up close the paint is a little wonky here and there, plus the articulation is pretty limited (balljointed arms, hinged elbows and swivel head and feet). Still though, there is just something pleasantly "accurate about him." He comes with a "gold" coin as his mystery accessory and it's... ill-conceived at best. The biggest issue is that it's just cast in yellow plastic - one would expect vac-metalized gold plating, metallic gold plastic or at least a "dirty" yellow to imply gold coloring. Plus, it can't stand upright on its own and both Mario & Wario have fist hands so they can't even hold it thus making the coin totally useless. It's thick enough that had they at least subtly flattened one side it would stand comfortably, but alas - no fun for you. Otherwise, he's a nice figure.
Jakks Pacific - World of Nintendo: Yoshi
I got this guy mainly to complete the set (and fulfill a "buy one, get one" sale) but he's easily the weakest figure in the whole line thus far. Only five points of articulation (at the standard places), the same moderate paint as the other figures, but with what seems to be an exaggerated sculpt that strikes me as fairly off model. His nose looks far too large and bulbous while both his shell and tail seem too small. After a quick search it looks like this actually is on-model for Yoshi's current design - but it's dumb. I much prefer the more dinosaur-y original looks from the SNES, and which Mario could ride. Yoshi's secret accessory is a Yoshi Egg, which is novel if not a bit weird. It's perfectly egg shaped but can trepidatiously stand with a little effort.
Lego - Duplo: Apple
Huh, it's officially an apple, eh? Looks like a tomato to me, but I suppose an apple makes a bit more sense as a one-off polybag. The build is, obviously, quite simple as it uses only 4 bricks, with an extra two included out of pity. This is a novel way to try out some Duplos without having to spend any substantive volume of cash, which was fun since I wanted to test out the rumors, which did indeed prove true - Duplo and Lego work together! It really only works with the more traditional, larger Lego bricks but they they do inter-connect so this is a great way to cheaply/easily build up bulk and infrastructure for your Lego MOCs!
Lego - Friends: Jungle Boat
I don't... while boats are also overly done in Lego format there is nothing really special or unique enough about this one to really set it apart from all the other Friends polybag vehicles. It is pretty novel that they included a little lily pad build, but ultimately all it makes me think of is that Olivia is out running over wildlife, knowingly or unknowingly, in some sort of blind human ignorance, oblivious to the world around her and anything between her and abject, personal novelty/fun. Oh, Olivia... you callous, unfeeling stereotype. How I loathe your flock. How I envy your ignorance.
Lego - Mini-Figure Gift Set: Swamp Police Ranger, Lavertus - Fire Chi, Lloyd - Green Ninja DX, Superboy
This sucker started life as a "gift with minimum purchase" at Target before turning up on shelves for a fairly reasonable $15. The cube packaging is fun, with a window and character-specific graphic on all four sides. We get four Minifigs from some of the, presumably, more popular lines Lego has going on. The Swamp Police Ranger is neat, but nothing special. "Fire Chi" Lavertus is a novel update to the Chima figure but the real highlight is the fiery post that slides into his sword (it's a like a rubber lightsaber blade but with flame sculpts along two sides [ooh, that could be pretty cool - using it as a lightsaber blade!]). "Green Ninja" Lloyd is just more Ninjago junk I couldn't give a damn about but I suppose it's nice to have him, and the double swords are fun. Then finally we get Superboy who is the key selling point to the set, despite being the least exciting costume possible. All things considered I do get a kick out of this set as a whole, and am curious to see if they do more.
Lego - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mikey's Mini Shellraiser
This is another fantastic TMNT polybag exclusive to Toys R Us. While not as awesome as the Kraang one I do really love the micro look of the Mini Shellraiser and am very pleased to have it as the sole representation of that vehicle in the collection. Mikey is a fun figure, and the same as which came with the full-size Shellraiser, too. All in all it's a reminder that I really shouldn't have dragged my feet on the TMNT line since it's dead now (thanks, Mega Bloks!) and I'll likely never have a full set of the boys.
Mattel - Batman '66: Surf's Up Joker
The inevitable follow up to "Surf's Up" Batman and quite plausibly the final figure in the line this guy is identical to the previous Joker but with new hands, waist and thighs. I'm actually kind of impressed by that, especially the new hands, since I figured Mattel would spend as little as humanly possible to release this variation. I "get" the reason why they did the Batman/Robin two-pack but I really don't understand why the 2-pack wasn't these "Surf's Up" variants of Batman & Joker (and ideally with small wave bases for the boards) freeing Robin up to be another anchor figure in the single-carded line. Buuuuuut, like we always say, Mattel never met an idea they couldn't do wrong. I guess someone just really wanted to make that half-assed building wall accessory.
Mattel - Imaginext: Deathstroke & Nightwing
It's interesting and semi-humorous to me that Deathstroke has become such a major villain over the last couple of years but he sure as heck looks pretty cool! This figure of him is pretty great, with a nice balance of simplified aesthetic and sculptural detail - plus he gets a super kickass sword! Nightwing is a bit garbage though. I've never been partial to any of his costumes, and this figure seems to have just made one up for him (loosely based on the type he wore on the '90s cartoon). What's really strange to me here is that the very detailed sculpt looks like it was made for Bale/Dark Knight Batman costume, but I'm pretty sure Imaginext never released proper tie-in sets for those movies. I appreciate that they gave him a yellow belt but the overwhelming blackness of him paired with the black bits on Deathstroke make for a visually boring set. Still though, that Deathstroke is top notch!
Mattel - Imaginext: Martian Manhunter & Plastic Man
Weeeeeiiirrrrrddd! I'd been hunting this set but hard for that Martian Manhunter (I'm not crazy about the costume but was worried this would be my only chance at one of the founding seven of the JLA) so I'm quite pleased to nab it. This is clearly more of a New 52 Manhunter than the far superior classic one (he even has ridge-y, alien forearms) but his boots, cape and loin-triangle are painted... purple!? It looked like blue in all the photos I'd seen but nope - straight-up purple, and it looks/seems really odd in person. But not as odd as Plastic Man... who is a single piece cast in rubber. And not just any rubber, a very firm rubber (or very soft plastic) which allows you to sort of bend his arms and legs but not stretch them. So... great job, Mattel? Fortunately I don't like Plastic Man so it doesn't bother me too much and ultimately it's just a weird Mattel thing. This "sound in theory" approach adds nothing while actually rendering him LESS poseable than a standard Imaginext figure.
Mattel - Imaginext: Ion Crab
The alien figures from the most recent Space line are so cool and fun but the vehicles are so bland that I've been hemming and hawing over getting them since their release, but a "buy one get one" sale at Target convinced me to finally take a spin. I really, really, really dig this figure - other than the big bunch of hair, he's such a fun design and I'd love to seem some repaints of him down the line. His wearable gear is very odd though, but he does have a neat weapon. The vehicle is actually better than I expected - the four side legs wiggle back and forth as you roll the vehicle and the front two claws have hinge joints at the "shoulders" and "elbows." As Shocka recently pointed out, too, it's just another in a long line of Masters of the Universe references in the Imaginext line that further proves the point THERE SHOULD BE A MOTU IMAGINEXT LINE!!!!!! Not only do the two aesthetics blend BEAUTIFULLY, but what better way to reinvigorate the brand than by grabbing the imaginations of toddlers and young kids, just like they did to us in the '80s! Not to mention the fact that the parents of kids in this target age for Imaginext come from our generation so there would be a VERY HIGH "oh cool, He-Man! I loved that as a kid so now I'll get it for MY kid" buy-in from casual shoppers! Buuuuut, we come back to the same answer that these rhetorical rants always end with... "It's Mattel." Siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh.
Mattel - Imaginext: Ion Scorpion
Much like the Ion Crab this vehicle proved to be much more fun in hand than imagined. The tail is on a side-to-side pivot joint (to allow the figure to get in) and the pincers in front are on swivels too. There's even a little plug for the awesome raygun to fit in on the tail too! Clearly what little talent that exists at making real, fun, creative toys at Mattel exists solely in the Imaginext department. The figure is a really neat guy too, and I quite dig the armor with the tall shoulder guns. I'm not super crazy about his yellow/violet color scheme so he too is ripe for cool repaints.
Mezco - Universal Movie Monsters: Mummy
And now, 3+ years after first being shown, the Mummy is finally out. I don't really understand why companies would show product so early (nor why Mezco didn't release all three figures at once, or two waves of two [Wolfman would be pretty killer in this style]), but what are ya gonna do? Like the other figures this 10" tall figure had an SRP of $30 which made him an easy pass, but TRU marked him down to $20 which is a perfect price for him! I've really dug Mezco's stylized aesthetic for some of their lines and they really nailed it wonderfully for this guy. The Mummy's thin, lanky proportions really play to this aesthetic and the sculpt is super detailed and excellent. This guy gets ball-and-socket ankles, balljointed mid-torso, balljointed shoulders, swivel elbows and wrists and a double-barbell balljounted head - all of this adds up to a surprisingly poseable figure! Even though the sculpt is pre-posed that pose and the articulation placements play pretty darn well together giving you multiple fun options. The only downside is the ankles, once again, because they are a little too loose to keep standing in all positions so it takes a bit of work and balancing. Still though, this guy is a much better figure all around than the Creature from the Black Lagoon one and I highly recommend it. Indeed, I'm tempted to pick up a second!
Playmates - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Foot-bot
I was perfectly content to pass on this figure, even though he loosely fits my "only classic characters" rule, but a friend gave it to me (since he ended up being so un-enthused by it) so here we are. It's a fun idea, and the removable weaponized hand pieces are really neat looking, but they are a pretty loose fit on the hands unfortunately. There's also something kind of unappealing about the robotic battle damage, too. All around this just feels like a character/figure straight out of the 4Kids show from the early 2000s. It also makes me lament the more interesting colors and weird proportions of the original figure and cartoon.
Playmates - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: LARP Leonardo the Knight
At last my underwhelming LARP Turtles are complete... Leo's my boy, so I'm pretty pleased that he's the neatest looking one, especially with his Galactus-esque helmet, but just like the other figures - don't look too closely at the sculpt or prototype lest you be inundated with all of the scrapped paint applications. In fact, it's really bizarre that they even sprung for the white lines on the shoulder pads, particularly since those are stop signs so if they could only afford one color it should have been red. But... Playmates. Contractually obligated to make Mattel look wonderful. Aside from Rocksteady, Bebop and Fly-Stockman I really can't imagine I'll be buying any more of these awful figures from that awful company. Oh - and this figure's feet were put on the wrong legs so he can't stand since the flats now slope inward rather than out. Fantastic.