This was my last haul of 2017. Let's enjoy it. TOGETHER.
DST - Beetlejuice: Beetlejuice & Adam Maitland
It was a big and very exciting surprise when DST revealed they had the Beetlejuice license! And, they pulled out all of the stops and tooled up alternate looks for more of the figures, too! This is, obviously, the best of the Toys R Us two-packs due to all it includes. We get Adam Maitland in both his "regular" and "ghoul" looks! I can't believe and am so jazzed that they tooled up an alternate head and hands for him in that look! Beetlejuice comes in his signature white and black striped suit, which he barely wears in the film - but DST knew that and they included his merry-go-round hat and mallet hands from the climax of the film... and boy, they turned out great! I just - man, I so genuinely love this set! Not only is it iconic characters from one of my favorite movies, they both get parts for alternate, equally iconic looks! Obviously, I had to have two sets, and I'm even tempted to get a third!
DST - Beetlejuice: Lydia Deetz & Barbara Maitland
These two complete the direct market 4-pack, along with the two fellas above. Barbara comes in her floral print dress, which is impressively well detailed/printed here! She comes with an alternate head for her "ghoul" appearance too! Lydia is nice figure, but sadly she gets no alternate parts, making it tough to justify doubling up. I really wish they'd made an alternate hairpiece for her with her hat on or something. Clearly they maxed out the tooling budget with this license, but it's always frustrating to get alternate parts for just one figure or for 3 of 4. Still though, another great set of iconic characters!
DST - Beetlejuice: Tuxedo Beetlejuice & Otho
This two-pack is a Toys R Us exclusive and a welcome addition to the collection, but it's a weird pairing. Tuxedo Beetlejuice but not wedding dress Lydia? Looking closer, this set relies a lot on printing, so I'm sure it's an issue of limited budget for TRU, which I totally get, but it'd be nice if it came with the Handbook for the Recently Deceased or some other thing to help plus it up. Though memorable costumes, this is kind of "just" two guys in suits, especially when compared to the extra parts in the other sets. Beetlejuice turned out great here with really nice torso printing for his frilled shirt. While I love Otho (and actor Glenn Shadix) this figure seems a bit lacking somehow. I do definitely appreciate that he comes with an alternate head, but with no alternate head, etc., for Beetlejuice this is kind of the same issue as with Lydia and Barbara above. Still, though, gotta complete the set and support the line - I desperately hope there are more in the future!
DST - Marvel Animated: Vision & Abomination
This was the one Walgreens set I didn't find from the last animated series, so I was happy to finally track it down. There are no extra pieces or anything, but there are some nice colors and some bulky parts that help add a sense of value. Abomination is a nice big figure with clean printing. Vision looks good, just like all Visions with that general costume; and while the colors are a bit muted here there are some nice blue highlights that make it pretty dynamic looking. He also comes with one of the new flight stands, and it fits his foot pegholes pretty snugly.
DST- Predator: Mission Briefing Dillon & Renegade Predator
As soon as NECA unveiled their "Mission Briefing" Dutch figure I began wishing for Dillon to go with him, and DST has stepped in and stepped up to meet that demand! Dillion comes with alternate torso and arms for bare chested and shirt'n'tie looks. Plus, he gets alternate hat and hair pieces with removable vest and belt too. Best of all - he comes with a "hand holding" piece that replaces the hands on Dillon and Dutch in order to replicate the iconic bicep flexin' handgrip - how flippin' cool is that!? He comes with the "Renegade" Predator which can only mean one thing - DST is getting into the Kenner homage game! This one looks neat with the translucent green body and bright gold armor. The body is technically glow-in-the-dark, but it barely holds a "charge" and is super dim, so... "it's the thought that counts." Given the infinite number of Predator variations DST has done, though, it's surprising there haven't been any GitD ones yet!
DST- Predator: Mission Briefing Dutch & Jungle Demon Predator
Much like Dillon, Dutch comes with alternate bare-chested with removable belt and vest and red polo T-shirt looks. He even comes with a red waist cover piece to complete the untucked shirt look. Again, combining this figure with Dillon and his hand-shake piece means epic muscle-off diorama, which is just too damn fun and cool! I also want to super-applaud DST for the move of including Jungle and "joke" torsos as a way to both refresh characters in signature looks along with offering something new for those of us who have the previous ones! If only they could do the same with the rest of the Predator team that was so hard to assemble due to blindbag shenanigans. Dutch comes with "Jungle Demon" Predator, another NECA copycat, but a relatively dynamic looking one and definitely more appealing than the myriad of other "cloaked" Predators they've released in the past.
DST- Predator: Lava Predator & Hive Predator
Two more Kenner Predators! This is a nice set and the translucent red of the Lava Pred balances nicely against the light blue of the Hive Pred. Obviously these aren't quite as fun as NECA's figures of the same characters, but these are definitely more welcome than further endless variations of a few Predators as DST has been doing in the past. It also definitely sets the expectation/hope for Kenner Aliens, too.
DST- Predator: Nikolai & Nightstorm Predator
Nightstorm is another Kenner Pred and a nice one at that, though I've never really liked the black and gold aesthetic, so I kinda wish they'd made his skin a dark green like NECA did, but what're ya gonna do? Nikolai is a nice figure too, but he is a frustrating reminder of the annoying blind-bags series. Since my local comic shops don't carry those (nor does TRU) and they made various amounts of rarity I have so very few of those and that means I'll never be able to build the various teams they released chiefly through those series' such as the Predators crew which they guy comes from. Anyway - I like that they gave his torso full deco so that you can display him without the flak vest. He also comes with the T-800's rail gun, which is a frustrating reminder that they STILL haven't made a Minimate hand with a 90 degree hand grip, so this massive gun simply can't be held with two hands as it really should be.
Hasbro - Marvel Legends, Retro Collection: Iron Man
I'm sort of embarrassed to admit how much I like this new line of "retro" Marvel Figures since it's kind of just a packaging gimmick, but ToyBiz's "Marvel Hero Collection" line from the early '90s was my introduction to the majority of Marvel characters, so it definitely has a soft spot in my heart. The homage cardbacks, sporting newsprint with blue & red header, definitely stands out in today's sea of style-guided dark packaging - I'd be lying if I said I wasn't tempted to get some extras to keep carded... this figure is perhaps the most exciting in this series as he is the most unique. He is an update of the "Neo Classic" figure from 2012, but with new boots and, I think, forearms, giving him a more slender look. I definitely dig it, and it's really nice to see a recognizable/classic armor again rather than something movie or "flavor of the month" modern. Sure, it's not quite accurate to figure from the classic MHC series, but it definitely gets the idea across well enough. I like that they used a pearlescent/metallic plastic for him, but I do think I would have preferred a stronger red and yellow like the classic figure. He comes with two booster jet effects that plug into the pegholes on his heels, too.
Hasbro - Marvel Legends, Retro Collection: Punisher
This is a straight repaint of the recent Walgreens exclusive and I gotta say it's much cooler despite coming with fewer accessories. I totally get the politics of why he comes with a techno-bazooka rather than a machine gun, or whatever, but it's still kind of a bummer. At least he can shoulder it correctly and well, though. I also really like the red bandana on this alternate head rather than the white one on the Walgreens version, and I will most definitely be using it on that figure to give him a more "tactical" vibe while this will be just what it is - a nearly perfect classic Punisher figure! I love it!
Hasbro - Marvel Legends, Retro Collection: Wolverine
It's kind of a bummer that they put this guy on this card rather than on a more historically accurate homage to those funky orange and purple X-Men cards. Still though, this is a stellar figure and this collection is a great way to get him back out; though he remains impossible to find and I'm sure I scored this one purely due to his less-than-perfect paint, which I'm okay with. And as if having the figure wasn't cool enough, this release comes with an unmasked head and pulled-back hood piece, which is just awesome - I LOVE figures with sculpted pulled-back hoods for unmasked looks! Swapping the heads was a lot tougher than I expected, but still worth it cause I think that's just such a cool look for a figure. Also - like always, his claws aren't glued in and can be removed if so desired.
Hasbro - Star Wars Black: Deluxe Luke Skywalker with Ahch-To Base
Seeing Old Luke at the end was one of my very favorite things about The Force Awakens so I'm happy to finally get some toys of him and that costume. This is a Target exclusive where, for $10 more than the regular figures, you get a slightly retooled figure and a base - I'll take it! The figure is nice, and reuses most of the standard release but gives him a new torso and new "outer robe" & belt piece allowing for the "under robe" to be cloth and, subsequently, Luke to be more poseable. It would have been nice if the "outer robe" had been cloth too, but maybe that'll be a Version 3.0 down the road. This figure's face is cast in a paler beige and gets more paint than the standard release resulting in a somewhat improved likeness (despite being the same sculpt) though a very sickly look for the Jedi Master. He comes with an alternate robo hand (we have fist and grip options here) and the rocky terrain base. The base is actually pretty nice, all things considered, and it makes me wish Luke's cloak wasn't was wonky so that we could do the diorama/pose a bit more accurate. I totally get why some folks won't give a damn about this Target exclusive, but I quite like it!
Hasbro - Star Wars Black: Deluxe Supreme Leader Snoke with Throne
Never in a million years did I expect to like Snoke but he was arguably my favorite thing about The Last Jedi so I was quite happy to snag this GameStop exclusive. Besides... all Snoke DOES is sit around... why on earth would anyone want him sans throne!? The figure is pretty good, and his goofy gold bathrobe fits fairly well and conceals his little body decently. The poseability is fairly good though his collar really restricts his head movement, which is very frustrating since head tilts and body leans were a big part of Andy Serkis' performance. Still though, Snoke's head is the highlight of the figure and a real stand out for the line - the sculpt is top notch and the paint gives it a great sense of detail. The Throne turned out pretty good, and better than I expected as there are a number of painted details (lights?) on it, and even the back is fully sculpted. There will be a Walmart exclusive Kylo Ren with some floor panels that connect to this and I can't wait to find that to build out this diorama. This is great and release and the only conceivable way anyone would want to get Snoke.
Lego - Brickheadz: Iron Man
I really dug those "Cube Dudes" sets that hit the internet years and years ago, and I couldn't believe Lego didn't jump on that concept. Aside from a one-off SDCC exclusive years ago, Lego finally rolled out a line of brick-built figures in 2017 but they clearly are trying to ape the Pop! Vinyl aesthetic which renders pretty mixed results, in my opinion. The Brickheadz line is just kinda devoid of the personality and creativity that made the Cube Dudes so appealing. I got this one mainly just because it was clearanced down to $7 to try the format out. The build is more enjoyable than I expected as the big head is fully brick built with some more interesting bricks that it seems it would be. And all the deco is printed rather than stickers, so that's nice. Still though... it's not surprising that these aren't selling too well. Like Mixels, these are really just worth picking up on markdown for spare bricks.
Lego - Ideas: Women of NASA
The last time Lego did a female/science-based Ideas set it sold out super-fast, so imagine my surprise at not only finding this but at Target, and on clearance too! This is a great set at regular price, and even better for $18! The 4 minifigures are quite nice with Ride and, particularly, Jemison being the real stars thanks to their fantastic flight suits. Hamilton's build is fun and seems to recreate the classic photo of her next to the massive stack of her code. Roman's build is a nice mini Hubble Telescope but the printed solar panel bricks and printed "nebula image" brick are the stars here and definitely make one tempted to get more for use in customs! As far as builds go, though, it's the Space Shuttle with full, three-stage booster rockets that bestills my heart. I'd love to see that as a polybag for gift-giving later on - it nails the look remarkably well. All over this is just a wonderful set and a great addition to the collection! It's very cool as is but also offers up some great pieces too - which is basically my desire for any good Lego set.
Lego - The Ninjago Movie: Green Ninja Mech Dragon Polybag
Found this polybag at Walmart right before the holidays which was a pleasant surprise (I think it was a "free with purchase" Lego Store exclusive previously, so $3.99 as a single purchase was certainly an easier route). It's another micro version of one of the bigger Ninjago Movie sets and it replicates it well enough here. Thanks to a bunch of balljoints and some hinges there is a pretty good amount of poseability here which helps add a sense of value to the otherwise simplistic aesthetics.
Lego - Star Wars Micro-Fighters: Y-Wing
The Micro-Fighters range has pretty much bottomed out over the last two years, but I found this marked down to $7 so that was "good enough" for me to add a Y-Wing to the collection. The build is okay and is recognizably a Y-Wing, though it's not that sexy of a build or final aesthetic. Since this hails from Rogue One we get a minifig of Blue Leader (I believe) which turned out pretty neat and is a nice change up in the world of flight suit colors. Overall it's a fine set, but is nothing exciting (or even that memorable).