I’ve had this review in the chiller for over a month now as life became chaotic and Voltrons and Optimus Primes took over my fascination, but I’m getting back to it now, and I’m glad to be able to do so. This was the last purchase that I made on the now defunct FigureoftheDay.com, a wonderful site that offered inexpensive figures with free shipping – deals that probably directly point to why the site is now defunct. It’s a shame, really. I only ordered from them three times, but each time I was thrilled with the experience. They will definitely be missed. This figure is Marvel Select’s Chitauri figure, from the movie The Avengers. These are the bad guys that came pouring through the portal, threatening to overpower Earth’s Mightiest Heroes ™. Marvel Select is not the most dependable of toy designers, typically getting articulation or sculpting right but rarely both. Is this the exception to the rule?
Continue reading Marvel Select Chitauri – 2012
I officially have to make an apology here. See, Voltron was my absolute favorite cartoon when I was growing up. Transformers were cool, and G.I. Joe was alright, but Voltron is what had an edge to it. The five Space Rangers were brand new to the giant robot battle game, and it showed. They lost, they struggled, and heck, one of them even died (at least everywhere but the U.S.). There characters were stereotypical anime characters of the time, but that was alright. It was a galactic fight with a bad guy whose motivations ranged to more than just “Kill ‘em because.. you know..”. Prince Lothar’s love of Princess Allura added a lot of depth that wouldn’t be there otherwise. Sure, King Zarkon was a straight-up jerk, but it was all about Prince Lothar in the end. He was the Vader to Zarkon’s Emperor. But what has that to do with Voltron? Well, I’m pretty serious about my Voltron toys. There haven’t been a ton of them made over the years, and I have consistently turned my nose up on any figure that didn’t break down into five individual lions. My Voltron was a giant robot AND five lions, and I would accept nothing less. About a month or two ago, Carolanne and I decided I could get my own “definitive” Voltron figure, and I spent a long time deciding which one to buy. Finally, I settled on last year’s Blazing Sword Voltron from Mattel. The problem was, it didn’t break down into five lions!! Could I still enjoy it? Well, that’s where my apology comes in. I can definitely acknowledge that Voltron works even when he can’t be disassembled. This toy, without any dissemination, is absolutely phenomenal. Why? Let’s find out!
Continue reading Mattel Blazing Sword Voltron – 2011
Memories are a funny thing. We think of them as being truthful and honest. That they are purer than reality. The toy collector, sadly, knows very different. Perhaps we grew up thinking that Wheelie was the coolest Autobot of all time, or that Ewoks were always worth buying for army building. Sadly, however, we grow up and go to buy our most favored toys only to find that, well, they really stink on ice. There are those rare and treasured moments, however, when you buy one of those toys and find that they are even better than you remembered. I’ve had the chance to feel that way a few times in my adult life, most recently with my purchase of the vintage Adam from Masters of the Universe and appreciating the detail and quality of the sculpt for the first time. Still, there were few characters I cherished more than Optimus Prime. Having bought him this month through Takara’s “Transformers Chronicles” line, it’s the closest I’m willing to come to the authentic, Generation-1 toy of my childhood (without hitting triple digits in paying for it!). How does it stand up to memory? Just one way to find out!
Continue reading Takara Chronicles Generation 1 Optimus Prime – 2012
I’ve never been one for character variations. It’s been done so many times – you take the hero or villain of a story, and then you release 48 different versions on the same idea. Different colors, different weapons, maybe a new head and you get paid all over again for a minimum of costs! I normally am not a sucker for that, but as a kid there were a few variants I had that I really enjoyed. One was Battle Armor He-Man, and another was Dragon Blaster Skeletor. When I saw that DB Skeletor was being released, I couldn’t help but jump at the opportunity to grab him up. It’s one of the last times I’ll be able to do that, and to purchase the figure from MattyCollector. See, Mattel hates me. They have been moving to all-in subscriptions while I prefer to cherry pick and only pay money for the figures I want. Insanity, I know, but I don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars to get maybe one out of four figures that I care about. Next year, there will be no day-of-sale figures available so I won’t be able to sneak in and order the figure I want without the subscription. Fair enough, I’ll happily keep my money. After all, I already have my Battle Armor He-Man and Dragon Blaster Skeletor. I’m good.. but how is the figure?
Continue reading Mattel MOTUC Dragon Blaster Skeletor – 2012
Marvel Select is a company that has come a very long way in just a few, short years. They have made a name for themselves in creating well sculpted and decently articulated figures based off of the Marvel property. Often competing with figures made by Hasbro, it has gone from Marvel Select having the better sculpt and Hasbro the better articulation to moments where collectors really have to debate which offer the better selections. Back in 2003, however, they were far more interested in making mini-statues rather than action figures, and this figures is pretty solid proof of that time frame.
Continue reading Marvel Select Black Cat – 2003
DC Universe Classics had a lot of ups and downs during its run, with some waves being truly solid and some waves being a serious step back. Sculpted by the Four Horsemen for Mattel, there were more unique head sculpts created than anything else, since most of the figures shared the same body with different paint applications to set them apart. Many people were okay with that, but I never really warmed up to it. The Four Horsemen do fantastic work on male figures, and when allowed they could knock a figure out of the park. Unfortunately, they did not get that chance very often. Suffice to say, when there is the chance to get a figure with a 100% new sculpt, it’s hard for me to turn that down. While browsing the website Entertainment Earth, I stumbled across Jonah Hex from Wave 16 on sale at a ridiculously low price and had to jump at it. I tend to get burned as often as not when I do that, so let’s see if Jonah is the exception to the rule!
Continue reading DC Universe Classics Jonah Hex – 2010
Thor is one of the characters that has benefited most from the Marvel Universe taking over the world of cinema. Played by Chris Hemsworth, a.k.a. the father of James T. Kirk, he managed to get himself a rather enjoyable romp for a movie and truly solidified his place in pop culture with his role in the movie The Avengers. Between the movies and an inspired redesign in the comics, it makes sense that when Marvel Legends returned, so too should Thor. He received multiple figures in the 3 3/4″ scale, but it’s been a while since we saw a truly great figure in the 6″ scale. Does this figure change that? Let’s see!
Continue reading Marvel Legends Thor 2011
There are times in every toy collector’s life when they choose to go against their inner instinct. You can tell yourself over and over again that you aren’t interested in something, that the aesthetics just don’t appeal to you, and you’ll never spend the money to pick up that particular figure. You are adamant. You are set in your ways. And then you find it cheap and fold. The DC Universe Classics figure of Supergirl is one of those figures for me. I’ve never been all that fond of Mattel’s female sculpts, as supplied by Four Horsemen. Still, I ended up with Supergirl in my possession, so the least I can do is take a look at it and see how it all works out. Was I right to be skeptical, or does it win out when I look at it out of the package? Time to find out!
Continue reading DCUC Supergirl – 2010
Ah, the color swap. There are few things that Mortal Kombat gave to us that have truly lasted, but the palette swap was one of them. Have a ninja and need more characters? Make one blue, one yellow, one green, and then pick some other random colors! You can have, like, thirty characters all with the same resources. Marvel has used color to their advantage many times, with a Green of Gray Hulk, a Silver Surfer, a Green Goblin, etc. etc. Want to add some pep to your lineup? Hey, how about a Red Hulk and She-Hulk? What’s the worst that could happen?
Continue reading Marvel Universe Red Hulk – 2009