Well... we're all holed up in our homes for the foreseeable future, so what better excuse to get back in the swing of things and return to Ye Olde Spoils'o'the'Week. And let's hope that looking at toys helps stem the growing tide of wanting to order toys online (a very risky proposition for many reasons). So - grab your distancing pole, maintain a six-foot minimum distance and please, no more than 10 visitors read this at once... and now my fellow Spoils-ers of the Week, let's Week these Spoils!
DST - Marvel Minimates: Archangel & Multiple Man
Yeah, bayBEE - two of my favorite '90s mutants, together in one pack! Archangel has ALWAYS been a big favorite of mine - the colors, the costume design, the big angular metal wings... he's just the coolest looking dude! This isn't the first Archangel Minimate, but astoundingly we haven't had one since Series 19 in 2008! (Though there was an X-Force repaint in 2011.) That first one holds up surprisingly well, so this isn't necessarily an improvement, but is certainly welcome redo given how long its been and the subtle shift in aesthetic over the years. His wings are an all-new sculpt (and basically a backpack C-clamped on between the waist and neck) and capture the look and feel of those weird wonderful wings well! Paired with him is Jamie Madrox, the Multiple Man! A character I knew nothing about until the Vol 3 run in the mid '00s where Jamie is a P.I. I really loved that outfit and quite enjoyed his character/power a whole lot. I really, really, really, love his Kirby-esque 6-dot-torso costume/design, so I'm bummed that that's not what we're getting here, but... I guess this is the preferred look for... some people? The set comes with two display stands, a flight stand and Strong Guy's Build-A-Mate head - all are nice, buuuuuut... if there was a set that could use some cheap'n'easy accessories (well it's the Multiple Man two pack below) it's this one. It would have been nice if Archangel had gotten the Death's Head mask the original Minimate had (and, to be greedy, an alternate set of smaller wing's like the Marvel Universe figure) and, I mean seriously... at least one alternate head for Multiple Man!? Really, how hard/costly would it have been to do two or three heads with alternate expressions, and then maybe some un-jacketed arms for further variability? I know costs are going up and without TRU margins are going down, but at the least a Death Mask and an alternate Jamie head would have absolutely had me buy a second of this set. But... well, whatever... At least the figures did turn out excellently! Definitely a must have set!
DST - Marvel Minimates: Beast & Wolfsbane
This is an obvious and fun pairing - the two hairy monsters of the teams! I like the novelty and premise of this series - basically building out two teams ('80s and '90s) simultaneously and then pairing a member from each era in a two-pack. The downside, though, is that there are only 4 two-packs, but at least five members on each team, so this feels a bit more like two just-barely-incomplete teams rather than one complete one... but what're ya gonna do? Beast here turned out awesome, and is my favorite of their blue-furry versions of him (I may actually try to do some minor swaps with the "Jim Lee" one to have this fit better version with that team). I don't know much about X-Factor in general, and even less about the '80s era when it was the original X-Men lineup, but some casual googling makes me think that these costumes for that team are pulled from different times during that run... which is odd, if true. Wolfsbane, though, is her properly iconic early 90s look, as emblazoned on my mind by all the classic Marvel trading cards. She gets a torso cover (no paint detail on the actual torso) and shoulder pads, along with claw hands and shares the same new "not-wolverine" hair piece with Beast. The set comes with two stands and Guido's torso (a torso and properly bulky torso slip).
DST - Marvel Minimates: Cyclops & Havok
The Summers Boys! Comin' at'cha! Cyclops comes in his blue'n'white gear, which I've always disliked, and novel-ly has swappable "condom" head gear and "hair" head gear. It's weird and surprising, given the rest of this series, that he comes with alternate looks... but I'd guess those pieces were basically off-the-shelf and ready to go at minimal cost. I'll note he also doesn't come with a hair-only piece, as has been the norm for Cyclopses in the past. His widdle brudda, Havok looks great - he gets a new jacket piece for his torso and uses the "puffy shoulders" arms to great, '90s effect here. His hair just covers just the top of his head, perfectly recreating that Gambit-look that I (very genuinely) really like. He also gets a couple effects pieces, in translucent yellow, which plug in around his wrist to nice effect. Beyond the aforementioned accessories this set gets two stands and Strong Guy's waist and legs - certainly this set is, part-count-wise, the best value in the wave.
DST - Marvel Minimates: Phoenix & Polaris
And last, but not least, The Ladies Of X-Factor (yes, I know Wolfsbane is female, too). Jean sports her comparably meh "big X" outfit, like Scott above. Despite the bleh costume, the Minimate looks good, and the thicker boot cuffs and glove cuffs help build out the silhouette and make her seem more interesting. Polaris looks surprisingly rad in this perfect balance of green, blue and yellow. Like Hakok, she's got the puffy-shoulders and then Jim Lee-ish boot straps, which add some nice dynamism. She also gets the same effects circles as Havok, but in translucent green here. In all of these sets, the '90s team figures are the real stars (well, it's neck-in-neck for Archangel & Multiple Man) and that's probably the most true in this set. These ladies also get two stands and Guido's arms.
DST - Marvel Minimates: Multiple Man Two-Pack
Luke's Toy Store, seriously the greatest source for Minimates, got themselves an exclusive add-on set for with series - this Multiple Man two-pack - which immediately solves the issue of Madrox being an army-builder but packed with not-an-army-builder! Essentially since this was made in concert to standard production, DST was able to just run an extra 1000 Maddroxes, allowing for 500 of these two-packs. I got myself two, and Luke also threw in a bonus bundle of custom mini-stands with the order, too - awesome!!! This set is simple: it's just two Multiple Mans, identical to the figure in the two-pack, and a stand for each. It'd be easy to complain about the lack of alternate parts here - but honestly, I just look at this set as a huge favor Luke did for folks like me that want MULTIPLE men (phrasing), so I certainly can't and absolutely won't fault him for not having budget to allow for more. But it just frustrates me more at how there are no alternate parts in the standard two-pack - cause those would, at least, help plus up/out this set (if not make it easier for their inclusion here). ...But I also have to accept the diminished state that Minimates are in these days... I'm just thankful DST, and key retailers like Luke's, haven't fully thrown in the towel on the line... but it feels like they could at any minute. As of March 2020 this Multiple Man two-pack is still available in minimal quantities - and I can not recommend it enough! This kind of thing is a dream for battle-building, and hopefully opens the door for the potential of doing the same in the future if the opportunity arises. So... support Minimates, support small businesses, support army-building, support Multiple Man - Support Your Collection, and go buy this set!
DST - Marvel Minimates: Build-a-Mate Strong Guy
This is the first of the build-a-Minimate series' I've opened and I really like the idea of the format... but not when it results in the removal of accessories and alternate parts, as seems to be the case here... which sort of kills one of my very favorite things about Minimates. BUT - at least this method got us our first Strong Guy Minimate!! He's a nice build and captures the iconic look pretty well, but I gotta say his arms look very odd. The torso cover has a set of shoulder joints wider set than the standard torso, which help recreate Guido's look, but the standard Minimate arms look fairly dinky on this silhouette now... I really wish they'd given him the bicep bulky parts (like Beast has here) to help boost up his size. Also, for some reason I was expecting his head to be one of the smaller-sized ones... but it makes perfect sense to use the standard one here. I really got into comics in the early '90s so I, for one, and really excited to see the teams and costumes of that era starting to get a lot more toy love!
DST - Tron: Flynns
After the (presumable) success of the Tron figures in the Kingdom Hearts line, DST has spread out into the untouched world of Disney '80s sci-fi, and first up is stuff from the original TRON!!! In classic DST fashion, the line is available both as a (main) Direct Market series and at Walgreens, who got this exclusive deco of Flynn in his standard blue-lining. It's kind of surprising and annoying they made the main version of Flynn an exclusive, but strategically it makes sense (as it's in everybody's best interest for Walgreens to sell through) so I can't really fault them. "Infiltrator Flynn" is the "standard" release of the character and, like the rest of the line, comes with accessories while the Walgreens version doesn't really. Both releases come with an identity disk, which plugs in to the back of the figure, and a generic black oval stand with a single foot peg. The standard version also gets an alternate set of "extended fingers" hands and, arguably the best accessory in the line - a red identity disk with yellow trail bouncing off a blue disc! That's pretty damn rad, kids! The hands swap surprisingly easy but frustratingly neither hold the discs very well... OH, DST... more of that trademark "good enough" effort... The Walgreens figures hit shelves a couple months before the standard releases, and we all expected the differences to be just Flynn's color piping and the inclusion of the accessories - but it turns out the color palettes are actually quite noticeably different - at least when the figures are side-by-side. The body suits are white in the Direct Market set but a very light gray at Walgreens. Similarly, the faces are gray at Walgreens but purple in the Direct Market line, so... you can't really mix'n'match - which is really only frustrating with Flynn since one outfit only works with one set... but maybe, if there's a series 2, they do a rerelease with the colors flopped - at least for Blue Fynn (and ideally with one of those hand-scoop accessories from the arena)! The sculpts are pretty solid and pretty well articulated, with something like 24 points on each figure. Kevin here also gets his signature toga, which is a separate "rubber" piece over the torso, which looks pretty good and natural. It only really impacts the left shoulder articulation (but the bicep swivel and double-jointed elbow still help give options).
DST - Tron: Trons
It's hard to say which version of the figures I like more... the white bodysuit of the Direct version is a bit more appealing, but the light gray and gray faces of the Walgreens versions seem a bit more screen-accurate. They're relatively subtle differences though, which, again, one really only notices when they're side-by-side... and certainly the Direct version have the benefit of the extra accessories. Tron gets an extra set of hooked-finger hands (which kind make it easier for the figure to hold a disc, but only in underhand style and with the peg wedged against the gauntlet piece). He also gets two different thrown discs - one in a curved "whoosh" that actually has a peghole and a second identity disc that plugs into it (so we get two discs here) and then one in a straight "woosh" with the disc as part of the sculpt. On that disc, there is a peghole in the center of the underside - which betrays the intent, and honestly the NECESSITY, for a stand to be included. Since the figure effectively can't hold the discs in any of their hands, and the energy trail only appears which "in flight" these really only make sense for mid-air posing, which currently isn't possible. But to switch gears a bit to something more positive - most of the color piping on the figures is actually sculpted in to the sculpt, which is very nice, and the paint overall is remarkably clean given how fine the detailing needs to be (and DST's mixed track record). Similarly, the articulation is pretty darn good, as is the proportioning and subsequent balancing, so one can more-or-less actually get some good poses out of these figures.
DST - Tron: Sarks
The paint differences between releases is most conspicuous with Sark. At Walgreens, his body suit is a dingy gray with red paint, while the Direct version has a white suit with neon red (almost orange) coloring. It's really stark (StARK?), and absolutely the Direct version is superior. Plus, is comes with the same accessories as Tron, but now in red and translucent yellow rather than blue. One other difference between the sets of figures is that the Walgreens version come in boxes (with lots of dead space) like all of their Walgreen exclusives, while the Direct versions come on blister cards just like the Toys R Us versions of the Ghostbuster figures. The boxes use a calmshell insert to hold the figures rather than a tray, and it definitely warped Sark's head gear a bit on mine. These guys are, like, $15 or $16 at Walgreens and $20 for Direct versions. Infamously the line was originally sold as "Select" and meant to include a build-a-Recognizer accessory... but obviously the Recognizer got scrapped (it would have been neat, but would have too similar a problem as the Ghostbusters Firehouse in that it'd just consume space and not add room for displaying figures, so I don't really miss it). What is really nice, though, is that DST cancelled those preorders and re-solicited these at a lower SRP - which is super cool of them. I do very much hope there is a second series as we need a Warrior/Guard (army!) and I'd die for a CLU from the film's opening! We shall see though.
NECA - Predator: Ultimate Lasershot Predator
And lastly, we have the latest in NECA's Kenner homage series. I kind of miss the "good old days" of when we had full waves of Predator product, but between whatever weird "remember when NECA didn't really release anything for a year" issues they had and the closure of Toys R Us, it really seems like the Ultimate format is it from here on out. That isn't the worst thing ever, as it allows for a lot of fun extras (though if I'm being honest, I'm not sure I personally want or need all of them... but to each their own). This sassy bitch come with, well, just a whole lot of gear. I believe his armor is all new and all unique, which is cool - and I particularly like the Terminator skull on his loins; a fun little homage/easter egg. He has swappable fist and open-palm right hands as well as swappable gauntlet décor with and without translucent pink shield. His backpack is position-able on a hinge and slides up and down his back, and the right cannon is now a sort of harpoon with two different heads (arrow or claw) which can either plug directly in to the cannon or on to a bendy "chain" that will plug into the cannon. The left hand has swappable armored hands, one more "normal" and the other a giant gauntlet with articulated fingers! The gauntlet is awesome, but several of the fingers snapped right off... so... that sucks. A whole lot. Lastly is the head, which has a removable helmet and an LED with lights up the mecha right eye, which is pretty rad. The head, though... is (well aside from the easily broken fingers) the weak part of this release... the mask BARELY stays on and, worse/more bizarrely, the battery port is right there on this guy's forehead... screw and all! WTF, NECA!? Such a weird, and seemingly lazy choice (it couldn't be hidden behind/under the dreadlocks?) ... but at least the dark coloring of the figure helps camouflage it somewhat. I dragged my feet on getting this guy, mainly cause of the price versus my budget, but once I did and got him open, I was REALLY happy him - until his fingers snapped off right away and before I got to his head... But it's still a fun figure, to be sure! I just wish they hadn't overthought it so much (i.e. no light and no finger articulation would immediately remove two of my three issues).