More work-travel equals more fresh hunting ground. Walmart has, in particular, be quite kind to my collection of late, with some great clearance prices. There was more I would have bought, including the giant Cyclopian Imaginext alien, but frankly I just ran out of room in my luggage. I’m quite pleased, though, to be looking at a break from travel because I really need some wallet-relief, not to mention a non-epic Spoils!
C&D Visionary – DC Keychain: Aquaman
Barnes & Noble had this guy 50% off which $2.50 was a fair price to add this to my Aquaman collection and to give me reason to complain about it. I mean… come on – what the hell is this!? Junk. Literally. It’s just cast-off bits from a textile plant, and while I do applaud the “waste not” mentality (assuming this is actually cast-off bits…) any conceivable charm this sort of this might have is utterly ruined by the mass-produced nature of it! This is the kind of thing that would be charming on Artist Alley at a Con, or sweet as a handmade gift from a loved one, but as a packaged product available at retail? Even though I’ve never heard of C&D Visionary, and have to assume they’re fairly small, this products seems like the worst kind of corporate co-opting of fan art. For what it is, it’s that bad – it’s entirely string (other than the felt belt buckle, hair and eyes). There’s no interior skeleton or frame and everything seems packed tight enough to stay in place fairly robustly. It’s labeled as a keychain but it has no ring, so it’s its more of a zipper-pull or phone-charm.
Funko – Escape From New York: Snake Plissken
Also 50% off at Barnes and Noble which meant I could no longer resist it! All I want is a proper 6″ Legacy figure or fully sculpted 7″ NECA figure but everyone seems hellbent on doing this character in every format that we don’t want! At least he makes some sense as a ReAction figure, but once again is hurt by the rough paint and overly simplistic sculpt. He does come with both a handgun and Uzi, each with the trademark scopes, which is pretty cool. There are two versions, one with coat and one without, and I much prefer coat-on version (plus the tank-top version wasn’t on sale), it’s more colorful and more dynamic looking. For $5 I’m pretty happy with this guy; that price really helps me overlook the sloppy paint and terribly soft, awkwardly-proportioned sculpt.
Funko – Gremlins: Christmas Gizmo
I picked up the rest of the Gremlins figures at SDCC but passed on this since I’ve only seen Gremlins 1 once or twice and am not that big of a fan of it (I am a dyed-in-the-wool New Batch man!) so subsequently I really don’t need multiple Gizmos. But looking at regular Gizmo again I realized his trumpet and candy cane accessories would go better with this version, plus now I have a complete collection, so that’s a comforting thought on the cold lonely nights when the mind wanders down into the frigid abyss of contemplation offering no respite from the horrible truths that surround our lives, and which portend an absolutely dismal outcome for this failed experiment that is called humanity. Annoyingly his Santa Cap makes Gizmo back-heavy and it’s a tough bit of choreography of limbs to keep him upright – he’s only got swivel joints at the neck and shoulders and has no pegholes in his feet. Likewise, almost insanely, his hands aren’t sculpted to hold anything which is really annoying with the regular Gizmo’s accessories. This fella comes with a big keyboard which turned out nicely, given the line, and I’m sure will be a fun piece to have in this scale.
Funko – Pulp Fiction ReAction: Jimmie
I’ve been going back and forth on the Pulp Fiction ReAction figures, I really love the movie but it just seems an odd fit for the ReAction line, especially with the “only-halfway-there” aesthetic & QC the figures generally have. But, I spotted this guy at a Barnes & Noble for half off and decided to finally jump in, especially since Jimmie is one of my favorite characters and chapters of the movie. Thanks to his bathrobe he doesn’t seem to suffer quite as much from the awkward body shape of more ReAction figures. His right arm is bent up at the elbow a bit more than normal giving him a slightly more realistic “holding a cup” pose, which is nice because he comes with a coffee cup! Weirdly, the handle on the cup does have a cutout but it’s too tiny to be held normally so Jimmie is basically just pinching it as though it were an espresso. I would have preferred the cup be sculpted/painted full, but it’s not a deal breaker at all. Plus, the likeness is relatively good. One could easily pop this head on to a Vincent body and have a Mr. Brown from Reservoir Dogs. Now I guess I gotta hunt down the rest of the Pulp Fiction figure, toot sweet!
Funko – Star Trek ReAction: McCoy
Yes! After a couple weeks of worried searching I found him at a Target and thus completed my set! Just like the men of Series 1 and Series 2 Bones use the same Starfleet body. His uniqueness is a result of his head, which, like Sulu, does seem a hint closer to The Animates Series than the TV show. He comes with what appears to be the same tricorder as Spock, which makes sense, though there does seem to be some contouring to the strap on this one indicating it is meant to be hung “left shoulder to right hip.” I appreciate that it’s sculpted open, but the open flaps prohibits the arm from hanging naturally, and since the tricorder is too thick to be held its open-ness is kind of moot. I’m happy to now have all the figure released, but that’s only 85% of the bridge crew – where the hell is Chekov!?
Funko – Vinyl3: Bizarro
Another find in Barnes &Noble’s 50% off bin was this originally-$8 1.75″ figure. Woof, that’s quite the comparative cost/benefit ratio… The cube-oid nature of the figure is kind of neat, and I do like the “only differing in paint” aesthetic, but the blockiness and, especially, tiny stature of the figure aren’t all that appealing. The box has one small graphic on the side showing that this guys is held together by magnets at the neck, legs and shoulders allowing one to mix’n’match character parts. Well, as novel as that might be, it’s only half true – the shoulders aren’t magnets and tough enough to unplug it suggests they aren’t designed to be. The magnets are pretty strong and work well but it is kind of a bummer that the magnets and their pegs/pegholes are directional so while you can connect the legs to the head, you can’t connect the legs to the top of the body. Still though, it’s novel. But definitely about 40% overpriced, I think. I do like it enough though that I’ll try to track down an Aquaman for that collection. I should also note that Bizarro (my love for whom is second only to Aquaman) has a sculpted cape on the back of the torso piece.
Hasbro – Marvel Legends: Ant-man (Black Ant)
This guy proved to be pretty tough to find at home but was all of the place out on the road. When I first saw him at SDCC I was pretty pleased to find the outfit terribly boring and thus had no desire to get him. But after all the rest of their reveals, and getting the Ant-Man boxset at the show, I figured I just need to accept my all-in-ness with Legends and snap this dude up. He’s pretty good all around, though I do wish he had proper balljoints at the hips, these are a bit too restricted. The paint is fairly clean, the un-glued belt is a nice touch and the helmet (as boring as black may be) is pretty dynamic looking. It’s a sold figure and a decent addition to the sudden Ant-Man family/collection we now have. Some kind of pack-in would have been nice, maybe alternate hands or head. It doesn’t really bother me that he’s the same price as a figure with a BAF piece, but it does seem like he could use something to really plus up the release.
Hasbro – Star Wars: Commander Doom
I love Doctor Doom, so as soon as I saw this I knew he was to be mine. But, to be perfectly honest, there is something terribly tacky about this guy being an official Star Wars character, particularly even having the name “Doom.” The paint scheme makes for a wickedly fun custom or variant, a wink and a nod, but as a proper character… I’m not so sure. He’s just too on the nose. Likewise, why is he in the Black series, and fully articulated? This guy is exactly what the 5-PoA line is for – pure, and utter novelty. And a lower price, certainly not the $12.38 he cost me at Walmart.
Hasbro – Star Wars: Han Solo in Carbonite
Oh The Carbonite Block is a repaint of one that came out in ’05 and was done in a mid-melt kind of thing where the top half of Han’s protruding body was translucent red. It was a neat idea, though not screen-accurate, and weird choice for an all-new sculpt. But here, the block is solid metallic gray (I do think it was released this way with the big Amazon Slave One a couple years back, but I never got that pricey sucker). I really like, too, that the back has a solid cover on it rather than the waist-clip of former Carbonite blocks. The sculpt is gorgeous and the paint is pretty nice. The Figure is pretty solid and I think he’s actually an all new sculpt – and if so, that’s pretty cool! I like the untucked shirt and pulled back sleeves but, man, are the arms super annoying! He can not get his wrists together enough for the handcuffs to fit! The arm restraint for the biceps is such a cool inclusion, and works remarkably well, but is so effective it makes it even tougher for the handcuffs to function. They really need to retool the cuffs or design the arms far better – it’s very annoying that he can’t really do the one think he needs too.
Hasbro – Star Wars: Jawa 2-Pack
Dude! Big pack-ins and double packed little figures? This series is excellent! I quite love my army-builders and my Tatooine denizens so I was very happy to see this set. I was this impossible release was a repaint but it looks like both are all new sculpts – how G.D. amazing is that!? I will happily take a price bump to $12.38 if that means we can get back to 30th Anniversary Collection quality/style of pack-ins and 2-packs! Both Jawas have T-crotch and swivel waists under the skirt and balljointed shoulders and elbows with swivel wrists with a balljointed head. Plus… four guns! Two identical pistols and two unique rifles! Man, this set is so great! Honestly, the only problem with it is that Hasbro is as burnt out as we are because if they had really gotten the word out about this stuff being new sculpts or done anything to break us out of our general malaise with this line these would be far more anticipated and beloved. But this set, man, this is reminding me what it’s like to enjoy collecting Star Wars!
Hasbro – Star Wars: Moseep
Now this is pretty neat – an all new character! Sure he’s awfully weird looking (and not in a good way) but apparently he was featured in Mos Eisley Cantina so he helps pad out that collection (despite my recognizing him only from the old comics). The costume is, frankly, boring as heck but I’ll buy anything that’s a new character and/or a Cantina alien. But really, what could be left at this point? It’s really time to finish up Jabba’s Denizens and get us some much needed resculpts (Yak Face) for there and the Cantina (Devilman/Labria).
Hasbro – Star Wars Black: Clone Trooper
Walmart was clearancing out The Black Series for $9, so even though I don’t really want these figures, my compulsiveness convinced me to get them since they were cheaper than a 4″ figure. I’d really like a plain Clone but I’ve never seen one at not-scalper prices, so these will have to do. In effect, they summarize all that wrong with the Black Series. Not only are they uninspired, lazy repaints used as series filler, they’re not even consistently colored! The Green guy’s green is way more muted than the Red guy’s red, and the Green dude is even a different shade of white! It’s just so impossible to be excited about this line at all. Hasbro has driven the 4″ line so long, and so hard it’s really burnt me the hell out and these 6″ figures are just weak versions of stuff I have multiple times over in 4″ already. There is nothing to get excited about here. At all. Hopefully The Force Awakens will change that.
Lego – Space: Moon Rover Polybag
This is a pretty fun little polybag I found at the checkout in Target. It’s interesting and novel that both Lego and Playmobil are re/launching their own NASA-ish Space lines. This is a fairly fun little build. I really dig the big trans-blue satellite dish and I absolutely adore the gold visor! This thing really makes me nostalgic for those old Space baseplates with the sculpted craters on them. I’d love to see Lego re-release those!
Lego – Superheroes: Joker Bumper Car Polybag
Oh boy, I’ve been anticipating this! I love the idea of this Toys R Us exclusive polybag a whole lot. It ties in nicely with the new “Jokerland” big set, and indeed I bought several with an aim to re-theme them to some other villains for a full little display! The build is pretty clever, and builds out the bumper in a fun way. The thing is has one axle piece with just two of the small wheel hubs – it’s surprisingly effective for rolling around! My only sort-of complaint is that this Joker mini-fig isn’t that exciting and feels like it’s been overused at this point. But, on the flip side, the inclusion of a pie is pretty fun. If you can find this set – get it!
Mattel – Imaginext: Blind Bag Series 5
HUZZAH!!! For some reason it seems like Walmart is the only place carrying this series so I was super stoked to find a full display box! The Wolfman and Fly-man are the obvious winners for their monsterly awesomeness. My favorites, though, are the absolutely gorgeous Genie and translucent skeleton with glow-in-the-dark Ghost sheet! The Elf Queen and Cylcops are pretty cool/fun but the Chinese Warrior is kind of lacking. The Crash Test Dummy is an absolute dog and quite possibly the worst figure in the entire line – his accessory is just a safety cone and the figure is a single, solid piece of rubber. Despite his total lame-ness, though, there is a lot to like in this fifth series and it remains one of the funnest lines out their to collect these days!
Mattel – Imaginext: Alpha Eagle
Walmart had these on half off so I finally dove it. As I prepared this column I realized I don’t have the figure or the yellow disks that are shot from the wings, so I guess I was in such a hurry while packing they got left behind. Conversely, maybe I was so excited by the discount I didn’t realize they’d been stolen from the shelf… who knows. The ship is a mix of cool and goofy. I really, really dig the body and cockpit but the wings are kinda weird. The thing is electronic too, which is honestly more annoying than anything else. There is a slide button on the top than opens the canopy and moves out the chair. However, the accompanying sound clips are reversed so when I open the cock pit there is a “whir/clunk” sound followed by “cockpit secure” dialog, then when I close it there is a “clunk/whir” sound – and I can’t seem to trick/reset the system. Plus pressing a trigger in the back there are blaster sounds and lights too. I’m just not a fan of electronics in toys.
Mattel – Imaginext: Ion Claw
I really, really like the look of this ship. The purple pincers angle in for flight mode and spread for landing, but they’re manually. If there was a button/slide to control them, like the Alpha Eagle’s cockpit, that would easily double or triple the fun factor of this toy! The chair in the cockpit is free spin meaning the passenger is upright at all times, but the canopy is so shallow you can’t barely even see the chair, and the figure not at all, in landed mode. If only they had made the translucent canopy reach further back… This thing has electronics, too, and when you press the trigger there are lights, sounds and the recessed portions of the engines slide back becoming orange rather and (orange plastic painted) purple – it is a surprisingly fun touch. And is the cool design of the ship wasn’t enough… look at this amazing figure!!! The Zygon-ish head looks amazing! The only bummer here is that he lacks wrist articulation (and that he’s not available in any other set) but man is he cool looking!
Mattel – Imaginext: Ion Orbiter
I’ve been eyeing this ship since its release but I just couldn’t pull the trigger on the bulk of it, but for half off? Now you’re talking my language! It’s a neat design with the play feature of spinning rings around the canopy being the real star of the release (imagine a backwards version of Spock’s Jellyfish ship from the first J.J. Star Trek). It’s got lights and sounds too, what fun. The alien figure is pretty cool, I really like the big fins on its head, though I will say it’s the one alien figure I think looks better with his headgear on. Also, his head is articulated, which is fun since some, like the Zygon above, don’t have that luxury.
Underground Toys – Doctor Who: “The Snowmen” Doctor & Oswin “Soufle Girl” Oswald
I was shocked to stumble over this set at Barnes & Noble, but very pleased for it is one I quite wanted! Clara was my favorite companion (until the first Capaldi episode utterly ruined her – thanks, Moffat, you hack) so I really wanted a 5″ scale figure of her, and while it’s great to have one it’s odd it’s not Clara-proper but her first appearance as “Souffle Girl.” That was the second episode of Who I’d seen, and a pretty solid one, and she’s great in it so I’m still pleased to have her. The figure, like the whole line, is really well sculpted and painted. She’s fully articulated, too, complete with swivel cuts at the shoes. Her belt is a separate, free-floating piece and she comes with, appropriately, a souffle. The Doctor comes from Clara’s second appearance, which makes this two-pack, well, just weird. Two highly episode-specific figures but neither from the same episode… He’s a nice sculpt, and obviously an appealing costume to toy-ify, but would be far better paired with an evil Snowman or the Clara from that episode (or, ideally, both). He comes with his sonic screwdriver and, no, the top hat is not removable. Rumor has it this was meant to be a SDCC 2014 exclusive but didn’t make it out of China in time, so it’s been bouncing around in limited release.