Well, kids... Episode 8 opens this week so we'll shortly know what's the what. My expectations aren't very high, and of course there will be a large percentage of the populace who will like it just 'cause it has the words "star" and "wars" at the head of the title (so word of mouth can't really be trusted), but I certainly hope it's not bad. Not as boring as the toys/costumes, at least... please... But anyways - let's take a brief respite from Star Wars before it consumes all of our collective lives (shortly after this is posted). Also, fair notice - not sure if I'll be posting again in 2017. It might be a good time to take a break, plus it'd be fun to kick off 2018 with Spoils #200. Who knows... TBD.
Disney Store - Toybox: Hulk
So, like, last month, out of nowhere, news came out that the Disney Store was starting a new action figure line that was basically just adding articulation to digital sculpts from the now-defunct Disney Infinity game figures - and now the toys are out! This Hulk figure is BIG and bulky, and genuinely a great figure, especially at $13! The sculpt is really nice and tight, the paint is pretty darn clean and the articulation is remarkably ample and definitely allows for a much wider array of poses than I expected! He even comes with an accessory - a giant hunk of crunched pipe! It is pretty tough to get the pipe in his hand since both are cast in hard plastic, though. All in all, if you get only one - make it this. This is probably the best Hulk figure I've bought in years!
Disney Store - Toybox: Iron Man
I love me the Ultimate Iron Man armor, so I was quite jazzed to see it homaged in Spider-Man Homecoming, and even more excited to see that armor done here! The sculpt is nice, and definitely in the Disney Infinity style, though it does seem a bit more rounded/less angular than the previous figures. The articulation is solid, but be wary of loose joints, and the paint is pretty good, all things considered. He comes with an accessory of an energy blast that weirdly has a clip that only fits around his wrist... so bizarre. I like the figure and it's a reasonable toy for $13 that's a store exclusive, but it's not great enough that I'll be "all in" on the line or anything; but I'll cherry-pick for sure!
Eaglemoss - Star Trek Starship Collection: #56 Saber Class
This is the last of the First Contact ships to arrive in my collection, I believe, and this model of it has actually really improved my opinion of its design. The more of a departure a Federation Ship's design takes from the classic Enterprise configuration, the less I like it (sorry, Defiant). So this one wasn't high on my list, but seeing in now in three dimensions I notice that it does in fact have a small hull under the saucer with a deflector dish (!!!) AND its shuttle bay is on the front of the saucer - cool & intriguing! The execution of the model is at Eaglemoss' standard high quality and it is a very nice addition to the collection.
Eaglemoss - Star Trek Starship Collection: #72 USS Enterprise NCC-1701-A
I am embarrassed and ashamed to confess that I did not realize that the 1701-A only referred to the Enterprise that was built at the end of Voyage Home - I ALWAYS thought the A was the call sign for the refit starting with Motion Picture! I'm a bad fan! This release seems to be identical to the previous Movie version of the Enterprise they release, just painted glossy white here (versus flat blue-gray earlier). In all honesty this is very boring release and feels a lot like filler, BUT it is technically a must-have for the line-up of Enterprises, so at least there's that.
Hasbro - Star Wars Black: Darth Vader
Walmart had this guy marked down to $16.82 so I finally picked him. He is absolutely an improvement over that shockingly bad Return of the Jedi version they first released. I'm not really sure exactly how much of this one is new but he finally has a proper helmet that actually does make him look like Vader. He has new hands, at least, too, and, of course, is under-robe sits over his shoulder armor in proper A New Hope (and Rogue One) style. His cape, though, does seem a little too big. It's a good figure, and more so if you don't have the previous releases, but it's not the "massive improvement" some have made it out to be.
Hasbro - Star Wars Black: Guardians of Evil 4-Pack
Multipacks of $20 figures is kinda BS, but I suppose I get it. It's just annoying when you don't want all of the figures included. In this instance - I HATE shadow troopers, and ever more so the Shadow Guards. Sooooo Fan-Fic-y (like most of the Expanded Universe). The Elite Praetorian Guard is the most unique figure here, and is essentially the standard release with the new helmet and, frustratingly, a cloth skirt (frustrating because the standard release and the Amazon exclusive both have plastic skirts, so this guy won't fit in as well). The Royal, Shadow and Senate guards are all the same bodies and cloaks, just in different colors (and, obviously, only the senate guard has a unique helmet). The body is clearly the Crimson Empire armor, so that figure/s is even more inevitable now. Ultimately this is a solid set, it's just that the Shadow Guard is just such a total waste of everything. I imagine the draw was it was cheap and added some color diversity to the set, but that slot really should have included the Episode 1 senate guards - were that the case I absolutely would have gotten two.
Hasbro - Star Wars Rebels: Fenn Rau
For whatever reason this figure was essentially not released in the US so when he popped up in Amazon for SRP I kept on him. It's a decent figure and though coming from Rebels looks VERY Clone Wars-y. He comes with a removable helmet (and breather that plugs into his chest) a gun and a loose-fitting jetpack with slightly extending wings. It's a nice addition but a very lackluster end to the Rebels collection. Such a bummer as that show has a lot of fun designs.
Hasbro - Rogue One: Shoretrooper Captain & Bistan
This final two-pack from Rogue One was all but cancelled until Entertainment Earth suddenly listed it and then a couple weeks later Amazon had it too, so I "had" to have it to complete that collection. The Shoretrooper Captain is a well-made figure of an armor I don't really "get" or "like." The dull yellow of the armor and its red and blue accents look neat, though. Bistan is the real reason to get this set and he turned out... Awesome! From the neck down, he's your standard 5 PoA figure but his neck... man, it's an epic ball joint that allows for a ridiculous amount of posing and fun! Both figures come with blasters and Bistan gets a big backpack rocket launcher thing. This isn't necessarily a hole in your collection but it really is a fun set and Bistan is easily one of the best figures in the Rogue One line!
Hasbro - Star Wars The Last Jedi: Obi-Wan Kenobi (ANH)
I really love Old Ben Kenobi so I ended up ordering this from Amazon along with the others above as I didn't want to wait for him. The sculpt is great and the likeness is phenomenal. I really expected the arms to have swivel cuts at the elbows, but alas they are solid so this figure pretty is only good for this one "fightin' Vader" pose. His head is separate from the cloak too, so that's a pretty simple "version 2" they can release down the road (with hood down). I would have preferred him more in the classic "waiting for the bus" pose, but any Old Ben is a good Old Ben in my book!
Jakks Pacific - Disney Tsum Tsums: Series 7 (Crush, Genie Jafar, Mad Hatter)
Managed to track down the remaining three Tsums I needed to compete my Series 7! The evil genie is nice, but his base is just a repaint of Genie's, so that's kinda boring. Crush is great because, of course, translucent blue water base! But also because instead of little nubs like the rest of the line he actually get little flippers! The Mad Hatter is just cool and I dig his big stack of teacups, though interestingly they are glued together and cannot be separated.
Jakks Pacific - Disney Tsum Tsums: Series 8
I made a quick run to Target one night, and BAM! Out of nowhere Series 8 was there! I feel like 7 just came out and now 8 is here too! I felt my way through what I think was 2, maybe 3, cases and was able to assemble a complete set! Santa Jack is a clear highlight though there is something a little bland about that set. Maui's giant hook turned AWESOME but it's so unbalanced you can't really do anything with it. Fear and Disgust complete our Inside Out collection using the same annoying bases as Joy and Sadness (which also means Anger stands alone with his themed fire base). Heimlich is a very welcome surprise and turned out fantastically, and the top of his candy corn plugs in to the main candy corn so you can display a micro Tsum on top, too. The real highlight of this assortment though is, of course, Dragon Maleficent!!! She's a fun sculpt and comes with a nice big mess of thorns!
Jakks Pacific - Disney Tsum Tsums: The Palace of Agrabah Playset
I've been eyeing this playset for awhile and Target had it marked down a couple bucks so I took the plunge. It comes with a micro sized Genie and Aladdin, and a regular sized Jasmine who is inexplicably and unfortunately coated with glitter - UGH. The set comes with a bunch of little clip-on hat accessories (mostly for the micro scale), the highlight of which is a Goofy hat for the Genie - which is honestly pretty fun! There is a large lamp, cast in solid yellow plastic with a Tsum sized hole in the core and a removable lid (and sadly the Genie' "smoke" base doesn't really fit with this lamp), a Palace with opening doors and a decent amount of little windows for variously sized Tsums, and, the main draw for me, the Cave of Wonders tiger head. All in all, it's a nice set, but really seems to favor the micro scale which is a pain to collect as they only come in multipacks. So... I'll stay with the more enchanting blind bag series.
Jakks Pacific - World of Nintendo: "Breath of the Wind" Link
A brand new Link figure is finally out and this is easily the best Link figure, and maybe even best figure period, in the line yet! The sculpt is great and the paint is remarkably detailed and clean for Jakks! He even comes with THREE accessories? A bow (with actual string), and arrow and a quiver (which plugs on to a peg on the back of his skirt). When I first started seeing this character design pop up it was very weird to see Link NOT in green, but I do have to say the blue does look really nice on him. This figure only has one problem... there was no rod in his left elbow's balljoint and thus nothing to hold his arm together! What's worse, I know of another person in a different part of the country who had the same issue... so... this isn't a one-off! Just make sure to inspect the elbows when (and if) you're able to find this figure.
Mattel - Hot Wheels: Justice League Batmobile
Found this sucker and couldn't pass it up for $1. It's the Batmobile from the ill-fated Justice League movie. Not sure if I have the Batman V Superman one, but this is pretty similar, just painted in glossy black and with a pivot-able cannon in the passenger seat. For a buck this is a nice toy and about as good a representation of the car from the movie as I'm willing to get.
McFarlane Toys - Stranger Things: Eleven
Wow - these are actually out! It's even more surprising as I don't think we've seen more than control art for Eleven and maybe a gray prototype for Hooper. Much like the Destiny figures, this is a pretty nice figure, especially for how bizarre McFarlane was getting last year. Yes, the elbows and knees have super noticeable ratchet joints, but it's not as big of an issue for me as it is for others (after all, it is just a toy and at least it has articulation). The sculpt is really good here. The likeness is solid but not a dead-ringer for Millie Bobbie Brown. It uses the same digital printing for the face paint as recent Marvel Legends figures so the face is annoyingly pixelated. And while she does have a good amount of articulation, here skirt is thick, hard plastic so that restricts most of the leg motion. She comes with a ton of accessories - a wig (also cast is hard plastic, so it's a tough/tight fit), an Eggo waffle, a walkie talkie and two alternate hands. Annoyingly, one of the hands has a big giant peg on the palm to hold the (seemingly oversized) walkie talkie, which just seems like lazy engineering. She also gets a stand with the Stranger Things logo on it, which is nice (though only the left foot has a peghole). Ultimately this is a pretty impressive figure and it certainly exceeds my expectations for McFarlane product. Not sure if I'll collect "the whole team" once the boys start rolling out, though.
McFarlane Toys - Stranger Things: Hopper
Another nice figure from the once-great McFarlane. Good sculpt, good paint, good articulation - nothing "great," but certainly good all around. He comes with a gun, a coffee mug, and a stand. The mug looked too small to fit in his hand but, impressively, the fingers are in a subtle C shape which fit the mug's handle perfectly and VERY realistically. The prototype was shown to have an alternate head without the head on, so it's pretty frustrating that it was dropped; but also suggests an exclusive or something may be coming soon. The likeness is fantastic and the paint is less pixelated than on Eleven. The lack of accessories compared to Eleven makes this release feel lacking, but he's still neat. It's raised my hopes for the upcoming Star Trek figures, too - so we shall be cautiously optimistic about how McFarlane's future unfolds...