Monday, March 17, 2014

Captain America Marvel Legends Infinite: Hydra/AIM Soldier, Baron Zemo, Marvel Now Cap figure review

Marvel Legends is officially dead, all hail Marvel Legends Infinite! According to Hasbro the 'Marvel Legends' series will no longer ship as a stand-alone line. Instead they will be released as movie tie-in lines that will feature both movie characters as well as comic versions related to the movie. Case in point, the Captain America Legends line out now. It's working out quite well and we're getting a slew of new characters along with variants. Here we look at the AIM and Hydra soldiers, Marvel Now Captain America, and Baron Zemo. The build-a-figure is the SHIELD Mandroid, an armored robot looking thing which will be covered as a separate figure in part 2 of this review.

We start off with the AIM Soldier, an excellent brand new sculpt that's actually going to be the base body of a future comic Starlord figure. The unpainted stars on the gloves and buttons down the front are a dead giveaway. The body has lots of leathery detail, folds, and creases. AIM Soldier's headsculpt is what we've been waiting for, the Beekeeper look! It looks awesome moving around at the inset collar. The boots are molded separately in black and attached to the lower knees which is a nice touch. Add the classic AIM belt and you have a great looking figure.

The Hydra Agent uses the familiar medium build body and this works great for him. A new headsculpt looks far more menacing than the last Hydra Agent and his gear is removable as well leaving you with a perfect base body for customizing (tho you probably won't want to, he's only one per case). Baron Zemo shares the same general body using the US Agent mold with a new headsculpt, holsters and belt. Both bodies are excellent in design and proportion for the characters they're used for. Zemo's head is brand new and has awesome looking sculpted seams running down it.

The Marvel Now Captain America is a completely new sculpt from head to toe and is filled with detail like the honeycomb pattern on his armor and armor straps along his lower arms/legs.The right hand is a sculpted fist so he won't be holding anything but his left hand can. I'm a big fan of the headsculpt and the belt, tho his upper torso nicks the top of the belt when you turn his waist. Other than that his sculpt is great.

Articulation for the AIM soldier is top notch with a huge range of motion in all the limbs. There is a bit of a gap in the shoulder but it allows clearance for the raised sections of the shoulders not to rub. Side-swivel boots make for great running poses and the head motion allows him to look around in lots of direction thanks to a high set ball joint inside. The Hydra Agent's articulation has been covered many times before with the basic medium body build and needless to say is perfect with no issues.

Baron Zemo shares the same body as the Hydra Soldier and has the same excellent range of motion. The loincloth isn't hindering (it can be removed too) and he can even sit if you work with it a bit. However the sword gets in the way if you tuck it in the front sheathing. Instead put his gun in there and slip the sword behind his back webgear strap 'Blade style' for an easier time. Captain America's articulation is wonderful with one small exception, his biceps are so large the upper hinge joint barely moves at all, acting like a single hinge instead of a double. Other than that he can leap, dive, and crouch like anyone else.

Paint apps are clean through the whole wave thankfully. The AIM soldier is primarily cast in yellow and black plastic and the Hydea Soldier in green and yellow. There's some orange shading on Hydra but none on AIM tho he doesn't suffer from it. Zemo sports great paint work with orange shading, linework on his mask and chest, even his accessories are fully painted! Cap A has nice bright colors without any shading but there's enough breaks in the design to look detailed. A bit of an issue tho, his ab crunch is so flush to the hinge the paint can scrape off if you're not careful. Same with the grey under his arms, there's almost no clearance against the shoulder socket. A bit of carving with an X-acto knife can fix this, just be careful.

Accessories are plentiful here! Cap gets his standard folding clip-peg shield which is cast in a nice metallic red plastic and stores on his back. He also comes with a piece of the Mandroid, as does everyone. Hydra agent has removable webgear/belt and two brand new weapons, a crazy looking long-rifle and large ray gun. Both sport great paint apps and the Hydra symbol! AIM Soldier has similar weapons that are new designs and sport the AIM logo/colors along with a removable bandoleer. They're great and could be repainted to work with anyone. Zemo comes with a leopard-handled pistol, hard plastic broadsword, and removable webgear. The pistols aren't removable from their holsters, tho they do sport two emblazoned 'Z's.

So what's the verdict on these figures? If you're a Marvel Legends collector or even an Avengers fan you can't pass up these 'army builder' troops. Captain America's new mold and Zemo's modern look are great additions. You'll have trouble finding these in stores as they're one per case aside from Cap so your best bet is to head over to our sponsor Big Bad Toy Store and snag a set. Alternately you can camp Amazon and try to catch them when they're restocked or purchase your favorites separately.

There are 'variants' too, Red Skull and Baron Zemo being stand-ins for the AIM and Hydra goons and both have Mandroid Arm parts but ship in the same assortment. The second wave will contain the last three figures needed to make Mandroid, movie Black Widow (one per case), Winter Soldier, and Steve Rogers. This wave only has Red Skull and Zemo in it. The third and perhaps final assortment contains Black Widow (two per case so don't pay scalper prices), Winter Soldier, Steve Rogers, and the Marvel Now Captain America. Hasbro spread it out so you'll get an equal number of Mandroid heads, torsos, and limbs, just not in the same wave.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Spider-Man Marvel Legends Infinite Series: Black Cat, Amazing Spider-Man, Superior Spider-Man, Ultimate Green Goblin figure review

Its amazing how many Marvel Legends figures have hit in the last few months with complete series already into their variant waves and new ones ready to drop in tune to the slew of Marvel movies on the horizon. This is part two of the Marvel Legends Spider-Man series review and features Black Cat, Amazing Spider-Man, and Superior-Spider-Man (also known as SpOck because it's Doc Ock's mind in Peter Parker's body. Yeah, comic weirdness). The finished Build-A-Figure is the Ultimate Green Goblin and makes this review a bit longer than normal.

We'll start with the sculpts which are all brand new body molds with the exception of Black Cat's lower torso which the SDCC Moonstone/Satana share. Amazing Spider-Man (ASM) is a thin body with embossed webs instead of raised like the movie character. Other than the movie front/back symbols this will basically pass for your classic Spidey. He shares the special layered-plastic technique we covered before. That red and blue on his torso isn't paint, its bonded plastic. The webbing is cut in as thick lines instead of the normal thin lines leading to it looking a bit squarish. Spidey does have some rather large gaps in his hips and shoulders which allow his articulation to shine.

Black Cat's sculpt is voluptuous and full of detail with great looking fur sections and a face sculpt that's actually pretty. The hair sculpt is . Her small clawed hands look great as do her high heeled boots. It's interesting to see brand new legs and arms instead of just fur sections glued to the new female body sculpt. Superior Spider-Man (Spock) has a thinner more 'teenager' body that's all new as well. His fingertips have little grip-nubs on them and his headsculpt is a little more alien-looking than the normal Spiderman style. It appears the wrong size pins were used in his limbs as you can see the pronounced nubs sticking out of the sides. ASM fares a little better in the nub-department except you can see the red of them against the inside of the blue arms.

Articulation for ASM is downright fantastic. He can pose in almost any way you can imagine such as the classic leg-over-arm or squatting hunched. A new shoulder style has been adopted here, one with the entire shoulder free-floating on a single post instead of locked in top and bottom. This allows for him to reach straight up but leaves a large gap in the shoulder. The shoulder won't break off the post as it's thick pvc plastic but can become loose. Spock has the same shoulder style without the gap and it looks much better. Both Spider-men can cross their arms in front of them and even stand on one leg so there's some great balance in this mold.

Black Cat's articulation is decent enough but her elbows are severely hindered by the bicep sculpt and the fur cuffs, not even being able to get into a 90 degree angle unless you cut away some of the black plastic. This is due to the hinge-cup joint instead of a pin-hinge. Her torso range is excellent as are her legs, tho due to the angle of her high heeled boots her 45 deg ankle rocker isn't as useful as the other figures using this style. Black Cat's hair keeps her from looking up or down but side to side range is acceptable. Oddly enough her wrists are hinged sideways instead of up and down meaning she can't place her claws out towards anything. This was probably so she can wield the whip in a better fashion.

Paint applications for ASM are cleanly applied with most figures but check the eyes as they can be painted off-kilter. There's a nice black wash in his weblines and the layered plastic fills in the need to paint the torso. Spock's paint work is basic with a little red on primarily black plastic. The 'sloppy' lines on his face and chest are actually accurate to the comic where his costume now looks like it has true spider webs covering it in an asymmetrical style. However they're thick and some figures have missing or mis-alinged sections so check yours carefully before purchase. Black Cat's paint is nice with a clean face and great blue shadows in her fur and hair. Everything else is just black or white plastic.

Each figure comes with a few accessories. ASM and Spock have an extra pair of 'thwip' hands and parts to the Build-A-Figure. Spock's hands in general are huge and it shows with the thwip set. Black Cat has her claw-whip made from soft plastic and it looks quite neat. She also comes with the torso of the BAF. Now the reason to purchase all the figures in the set becomes clear, you can assemble the main accessory, a 9 inch tall Ultimate Green Goblin. He's based on the Avengers Walmart movie Hulk body with a reused torso and legs. He looks wicked with spikes all over his arms, horns, and those tattered Hulk pants. The fire effects are amazing looking and you'll be using them in all sorts of ways others than just clipping them to Goblin. Catch fire to everything!

Green Goblin's paint work is so-so with the spines a bit sloppily painted and no other tone of green for his skin, However the dark green works here and the flames add some color. The black flames don't really clip on like the arm flames but hang on his shoulders like a backpack of sorts. They'll fall off if you turn him upside down. Goblin's articulation is excellent, the same as Hulk's and with the new open-claws can slash at Spiderman convincingly.

So do these figures justify an out-of-pocket expense? Well, yes, especially since we haven't had a good classic Spider-Man filler or Black Cat in a long time. Superior Spider-Man could be a pass especially if you hate the new story arc but the body style is really nice and you'd be one part short of Green Goblin otherwise. Snag this set and all the other Marvel Legends Infinite series at our sponsor Big Bad Toy Store or head over to Amazon with your fingers crossed they're still at retail price. Now for some more pictures.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Transformers Generations Deluxe class Scoop and Armada Starscream action figure review

Transformers Generations is a line that's full of surprises especially with the introduction of Beast Wars characters and now even more characters from different series that have been 'upgraded' to Generations design. Today we're looking at Scoop with his Targetmasters and Starscream done in his Armada look. Both are Deluxe class figures and are available alongside a new wave of Voyager class figures as well. You get a comic with each one and if you've been collecting each figure from every wave the story continues with each comic.

Sculpt for Scoop is a very nicely proportioned bot with big clunky feet and a giant scoop on his back. From the back only his lower legs exhibit a hollow feeling but the area is well hidden from the sides. Flip-out hands are the newest thing it seems and this does leave the forearms hollow from the sides. Scoop's headsculpt is great and so are the little details on his chest and feet that pay homage to the original design. You even have the forearm ports so he can wield his Targetmasters as the G1 mold did, since they didn't fit in the original's hands. Fortunately Generations Scoop can hold them correctly.

Scoop has great range of motion with every joint functional aside from lacking swivel wrists or an ankle hinge. He can look up, place his hands on his hips, and even kneel due to the double knee joint that the transformation gives him.This allows for some pretty epic running or leaping poses. Scoop's paint is clean for what's there and applied solidly with no under/overspray. However the yellow paint (or yellow ABS plastic) was apparently budgeted out leaving his scoop and head orange where they had originally been yellow. It's a small price to pay and the seasoned customizer could easily spraypaint both.

Transformation for Scoop isn't overly complex but it does involve more than just the normal folding/turning motions. The result is a nifty construction loader. This form has a little issue of the front tires scooting outwards because of the small tabs used to connect it to his chestplate but other than that it's fine. The greatest thing about Scoop's alt mode is that he can drive himself. The top of the cab folds over his head like a helmet and allows him to look out his window. His accessories are his two Targetmasters just like the original G1 version had. They're very well sculpted with ball jointed shoulders and can be stacked, tho this look somewhat odd. The neat feature of these is that the handle can be removed from between their ankles giving them a better bot look. There is also an extra 5mm port hole on the handle to stack other weapons on them.

Starscream is back in his Armada look and boy does it look sweet. His headsculpt is deadly serious. The large missile ports on his shoulders can now be folded back out of the way and so can his wings. If you remember the original Armada Starscream's wings came off to become his swords, this new figure being able to replicate that look without actually removing them. His overall design is a great homage to the original.

Starscream's articulation gives him the full range you expect with the exception of only flip-up hands, no ankle pivots, or waist joint. His shoulders have a neat flip-up design with an extending yellow arm hinge to fill in the gap allowing him to slice outwards with his sword to an extreme angle. The paint work is solid and quite close to the original aside from the shoulders and chest being primarily red rather than black.l. The lightpiping for his head looks amazing and lets his orange eyes glare out.

Starscream's gimmick is the missile launchers on his shoulders. As mentioned they fold back but also have moving yellow intake sections when pressed from behind. These missiles are launched with pressure instead of a catch so when slung over his shoulders the back extends quite far. It looks funny but doesn't present any balance issues thanks to his large heels. Instead of the entire wing being removed for a sword two clear folding swords deploy from beneath the wings that Starscream can hold. They store nicely underneath and looks sharp.

Transformation is perhaps one of the simplest I've seen in a Transformer. Starscream folds in half like an upside down taco to make his bot mode...and that's about it. His arms just swing back against his body in alt mode. What's frustrating is that his nosecone is made of rubber and extends farther underneath the cockpit making up the two pegs that attach to his crotch. If these pegs were hard plastic they'd actually work as intended but as it stands they only weakly plug in allowing Starscream to unfold if the cockpit is bumped. His alt mode is a nice enough looking jet that's very close to the original. You can even swing the arms forward like the Armada one had, tho it looks much better with them tucked behind the wings out of the way.

So what's the verdict on these? Scoop is a great addition to any collection and has a solid feel to him, plenty of articulation, and a great design. Plus everyone loves construction bots I believe. You get not one but two Targetmasters as well. Starscream is dynamic looking and if you're a fan of his Armada design a definite winner. Expect a lot of seeker repaints with this mold. There's nothing major to watch out for except losing time posing these guys on your desk and possibly losing the Targetmaster's ankle handles as they can pop off pretty easily. Our sponsor Big Bad Toy Store has them as well as the next wave for preorder or you can find them on Amazon.

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Amazing Spiderman 2 Marvel Legends Infinite Series: Carnage, Electro, Beetle (Green Goblin BAF) action figure review

Remember when Marvel Legends was just Marvel Legends? Each year they get more and more titles tacked on to them. Recently it's a great excuse to attach Marvel Legends to a movie title and get retailers to order that series. While there's only two figures in this series from the movie, don't tell Big Retail that! Here we take a look at some of the bad guys, Marvel's Electro, Spawn of the Symbiotes, and Deadliest Foes. To save money the names 'Carnage and Beetle' aren't on there so they can share the same package as Boomerang and Toxin.

Normally I skip the packaging unless it's something special. Well folks, it's something special. We now have COLLECTOR FRIENDLY PACKAGING. Open either side flap and slide out the tray. There's no twisties either. Some cases have the side flaps taped while others are open. The packages themselves are excellent looking. The black background is matte but all print and pictures are a slightly raised gloss. It makes them look like real collectibles on the shelf. On the back is a quick bio and pictures of the other characters (Black Cat, Superior Spiderman, and Amazing Spiderman) that make up the wave.

We'll start with Carnage first. His sculpt is based on the current body (US Agent, Black Panther, Hawkeye, etc) with brand new lower arms and legs. These have tendril wisps sprouting from them and even the feet are new. Carnage's head and hands are classic looking and the claws are flexible enough to grasp objects. There is no raised sculpt on the body, the black lines are paint but that's how he appeared in the comic anyway.

Carnage's articulation is top notch and the range of it allows for dynamic leaping/slashing poses. Like the other figures reviewed here he can look almost straight up or down thanks to a vastly improved ball jointed head. Everyone has the new tilt ankles! His paint work is primarily cast read plastic with clean black squiggles. His face has the pink inner mouth and is equally cleanly applied. His accessories include a 'tendril backpack' that attaches to him or any of the other figures with a port on the back for strangling-spawning-action!

Electro is supposedly Jamie Fox's character in the new movie tho the headsculpt looks like a generic bald human and nothing like the actor. His body is a unique sculpt all the way around and has burnt/melted sections, I suppose from him gaining his powers in the movie perhaps. There's all sorts of ports on his suit and a neat collar. Electro's paint work is a cleanly applied light blue airbrushing to the black cast plastic and some rusty burnt color to the damaged sections. His clear blue head and hands are opalescent as well and look pretty neat.

Electro's articulation has plenty of range and only his ankles are slightly hindered from the forward/back motion because of his pants cuffs. Side to side they're great. He comes with the most accessories, an extra head with charged-eyes, two electric blast hands, and two fists. The fists are tiny, watch out or you'll loose them. They pop in and out snugly.

The Beetle is his current almost robotic-looking incarnation with another completely unique sculpt. He's slender with detailed bands along his red undersuit with a great headsculpt. On his forearms are raised blasters and his large two-toed feet make for easy posing. The Beetle's paint work is a bit more involved with separated silver sections and big yellow eyes. His wingpack sports a great looking green-to-yellow gradient to it as well.

The Build-a-Figure for this wave is Ultimate Green Goblin which is the Avengers Walmart exclusive Hulk body and upper legs. Everything else are new sculpts with a bumpy, scaly texture and broken horn tips. The paint is a little messy on the horned parts unfortunately. Here even the accessories have accessories! Goblin's arms come with awesome looking removable flames and Carnage comes with the head/black flame. These flame effects can be clipped on to other figures just for kicks or used for custom flame effects.

So what's the verdict here? These figures are nice, really nice. They're sturdy, everyone has fully updated articulation and range of movement. All the pvc plastic is firm, not rubbery as well. While they don't have amazing paint jobs what's there is clean and looks great. The ability to put the figures back in the boxes is something we've needed to truly make Marvel Legends a collectors line and is a welcome change. Snag this set at our Sponsor Big Bad Toy Store or head over to Amazon and see if you can catch them on sale but watch out, their Super Saver Shipping has been raised to $35 worth of product now. It's still a deal if you're buying them all tho.