Author Archives: Joe

Mondo X-Men TAS 1/6 Scale Jubilee

Let’s welcome young Jubilation Lee to the world of sixth scale action figures!

When one hears the phrase “mall babe” it implies a certain visual. Probably a short, young, girl with intentionally messy, short hair. There’s a certain confidence the phrase exudes so she has to have style. Maybe hot pink, bright blues, and certainly a long yellow coat with gloves to match! There has to be an attitude present in anyone deigning to call themselves such a thing so shades are a must. Boxy, hot pink shades would do best and we might as well toss some bubblegum for added effect. And just what part of the mall does a self-proclaimed mall babe setup shop? The food court – where else?! Any mall babe worth her weight in quarters needs a steady supply of chili fries and soda to wash it down. It’s a staple of the mall babe’s diet.

If what I am describing does not meet your own personal definition of a mall babe then clearly you weren’t watching X-Men in 1992. That paragraph describes Jubilee, the self-proclaimed mall babe of the team who was our gateway to the world of Marvel’s most famous superhero team (well, before The Avengers became a household name). This role as the audience surrogate is perhaps what has made Jubilee so popular, or at least, why both Mondo and Hasbro perceive her as popular enough to introduce her relatively early in their respective action figure lines. Jubilee had the privilege of being the second figure and second member of the X-Men introduced in Hasbro’s line of Marvel Legends based on the animated series and Mondo has essentially bestowed upon her that same honor. The only difference is Mondo went to a villain for its second release where as Hasbro held off on the villains for a little longer. For me personally, I always found the kid characters in shows as more patronizing than anything. Jubilee didn’t offend me though, and it was a great choice to use her as a way to introduce the audience to the X-Men, but she was never a favorite of mine. And with the price of Mondo’s figures being north of $200, I thought Jubilee was going to be one for me to skip. Then I saw the full reveal of her and found myself sucked in, and you know what, I don’t regret it one bit!

In addition to being an expert at blowing stuff up, as she puts it, young Jubilee is also an accomplished bubble blower.

Jubilee arrives in the same style of packaging as Magneto before. Mondo partnered with storyboard artist for X-Men, Dan Veesenmeyer, to adorn the box with actual model sheets production art of Jubilee from the show plus a brand new illustration by Veesenmeyer to shine on the front. It’s a five-panel, window box design though Mondo packages their figures very carefully so opening the Velcro front flap basically just reveals a bunch of tissue paper concealing a figure behind it, but it’s still nice. On the inside of the flap is a profile of Jubilee from X-Men showrunner Eric Lewald and his wife and fellow writer Julia which just adds to the overall atmosphere that this figure is a labor of love by those involved, something the Hasbro releases most certainly don’t possess.

“Wow! You’re so small and sucky!”

Jubilee stands at approximately 9.25″ once removed from the packaging. She’s close to 9.5″ factoring in her hair and if I pull out the handy-dandy reference art from the show, I can see that Jubilee is supposed to be right at 5′ to the top of her hair making this figure a little small if we’re talking true sixth scale. It’s not a big deal on its own, but it is going to compound things a bit when she’s placed beside Wolverine who came out a little tall if we’re talking true sixth scale with him. My assumption is that Mondo isn’t taking a literal approach to the scale and it’s more subjective. It’s one of those things that I think most won’t care about that much, but I do have to point it out as part of a review.

Attitude to spare.

Jubilee is depicted in her traditional show attire: pink shirt, blue shorts, blue boots, yellow gloves, and that big, yellow, trench coat. It’s a style that could only come out of the 90s and I can honestly say I have never in my life, 90s or any other decade, seen a person sporting such a look. It’s always been something that’s amused me about Jubilee. The sculptor for this figure is Alex Brewer and I think he did a great job of nailing Jubilee’s proportions. Her sunglasses are part of the headsculpt which I think is the right call to preserve the look of the character as she appeared in the show. The coat has her sleeves rolled up and the strap on the back. She also has those little rings by the collar which really captures the details present in the show. The coat is all plastic, no soft goods, but it is soft and pliable. She also has her yellow gloves, instead of the blue she had in the comics, and it looks like Brewer took a bit of a creative license with her face as more of her Chinese ancestry is reflected in her eyes. Jubilee, as presented in the show, was mostly white-washed, though I don’t think it was for any nefarious reasons.

I love that Mondo seems committed to spotlighting the opening title of the show as much as possible.

As was the case with Magneto, what really stands out with Jubilee is the paint work. Credited to Tom Rozejowski, the cel-shaded paint job on Jubilee really makes the figure pop. I’ve admired Tom’s work as a customizer for years so it’s great getting to see him show off with an official release. It starts at the hair where streaks of gray-blue are added for shading, a common tactic for cartoons and comics when dealing with black hair. I love the light pink streaks on her glasses and the black linework all throughout the coat and rest of the clothing. Three shades were used for the coat as the primary shading color is orange with a more brownish yellow for the interior of the coat. The direction of the shading is with purpose and follows the curves of her body and the flow of her coat. It looks fantastic and the paintjob is very clean across throughout the figure. About the only nitpick I can offer is that the orange on her coat is perhaps too orange when the show used more of a marigold to shade her coat. It would also often use a very light yellow in places that was almost white. Yellow is a hard color when dealing with paint and I will say this looks much better than that mustard color Hasbro utilized.

All you need is a spark.

In keeping with the other releases in this line, Mondo saw fit to include plenty of extra parts and accessories with Jubilee. For hands, she gets a set of fists, open hands, and clenching hands. She also gets two sets of effect hands and a pointing right hand with a couple of sparks at the end of her index figure, probably a callback to breaking out of her restraints. The effect hands are terrific. The first set has her hands in an open pose with stars shooting out in a nod to her appearance in the show’s opening. The effects are attached to the hands and done with red, translucent, plastic with painted, gold, stars at the end. The other effect hands have her powers coming from her palms in a big, conical, blast with stars shooting off the ends. It has a metallic paint job that does a great job of capturing the color spectrum to mimic Jubilee’s powers as best as can be. These ones are a tad on the heavy side, but I was able to get Jubilee posed with her blasts going forward so they can be worked around.

And now you know why she has the shades.

Jubilee also comes with a variety of heads to choose from. I did get the deluxe version of the figure, so I will have some extra stuff the standard version does not come with. Her default portrait is a neutral expression that very much looks like Jubilee to me. She can swap to an open-mouthed smile that works for a Jubilee getting in a quip type of expression and it would be my guess that this one gets the most use out of those who buy this set. She also has a glasses-down head with teeth-gritting and her hair is a touch more wild, good for use with her blast effects. For something more fun, there’s a bubblegum blowing head where the bubble is sculpted and painted pink with a couple swashes of white.

This one is here if you want it. Only putting it on once resulted in a little scuff on the neck of my figure. Would not recommend.

The “deluxe” edition of Jubilee includes two additional heads and another accessory. The first is a head depicting Jubilee as she looked in the episode “Jubilee’s Fairytale Theater” from the show’s final season. That season featured a redesign for the characters that gave Jubilee long hair and ditched her sunglasses. For this particular episode, Jubilee tells some kids a fairytale where she puts herself and fellow X-Men into the roles of the heroes. Jubilee was some sort of elf Robin Hood, so the head features her with long hair, a headband, and oversized elf ears. It looks fine, but since she featured an entirely different costume during the story, it’s not a particularly useful addition and more like an in-joke. I would have preferred just a normal Season Five head with long hair, though admittedly I would not have been likely to use such for display purposes either so I guess it doesn’t matter.

A sidewalk surfer.

The other bonus head features Jubilee with her shades down and a skateboarding helmet on. This is from the episode “Red Dawn” where she’s briefly seen skateboarding. To complete the look, she also has a pair of purple kneepads which are made out of a very soft, rubbery, plastic and fasten over her knees pretty easily. A skateboarder obviously needs a skateboard and she has one of those as well. It’s all blue with some shading and it features sculpted wheels. I’ve seen some gripes out there that the skateboard doesn’t have real wheels, but I don’t need my $200 action figure to roll around and potentially fall. It does not have peg holes either so I am hesitant to actually display her standing on this thing without some support. She stands on it fine though, and overall this is a pretty fun look and one that I think will see some use from me.

Jubilee is never far from her chili fries and soda. That’s, like, her thing, right?

Lastly, Jubilee has a couple of “mall babe” accessories. One of her first scenes, and possibly her best, features her accidentally nuking an arcade machine and sarcastically responding with “Yeah, a quarter,” when the manager asks her how much she thinks that machine cost. She gets a cup, and it’s modeled after that scene and it says “SLUR-P” on it and has some bubbles or something. It looks really cool for what it is and there’s even a bubble on the top that’s been pushed in to indicate what flavor she selected. One of Jubilee’s other lines from the show was “Does a mall babe eat chili fries?” which she says in response to her foster parents asking her if she’ll come visit them now that she’s going to live with the X-Men. Jubilee does indeed consume chili fries and she has a tray of them and they too were featured on the arcade cabinet she demolished by accident. It’s a yellow fast food tray and the fries inside have a red-brown sauce slathered over them. It’s not super detailed, but it’s from a cartoon that couldn’t be super detailed itself so I think this works just fine and it’s a really fun inclusion. Between the heads, hands, effect parts, and accessories, it’s going to be a lot of fun switching up Jubilee on the shelf. She also comes with the standard Mondo action figure stand. I consider it pretty useless, but maybe others find some use with these.

“Me and Wolverine can take on anyone!”

Okay, last and maybe least, we should break down Jubilee’s articulation. The articulation for this line has been adequate. It’s not really a homerun, but the designs are also limited and the articulation can’t interfere as much with a sculpt at this scale, plus there’s paint to be considered. Jubilee, for her part, has basically all of the points of articulation one would expect, save perhaps one area. And I think she moves about as well as could be expected. It starts with a double ball peg for the head so she can move around quite well up there. She doesn’t look up really at all, but everything else is fine. She at least doesn’t rub the collar of her coat with most of her heads and it’s really only the elf head that introduces any paint rub concerns, but we already established that few are likely to do much with that accessory.

“Did you say ‘anyone,’ girl?!” “Gulp.”

At the shoulders, we get the standard ball-hinge setup. They’re very tight and getting Jubilee’s arms out to the side takes a little work. Her biceps swivel where the arm meets the cuff of the jacket and that works fine. The elbows are single-hinged and will get pretty close to a 90 degree bend, but it’s basically that one area I mentioned before where some may have been hoping for more via a double joint. The hands are on ball-joints and Jubilee’s work much better than Wolverine and Magneto’s. I had some QC issues with Magneto, but Jubilee’s hands have been free and easy out of the box. The peg goes in and out of the forearm very easily and the hands will spin on the ball to allow you to line her hands up however you wish. Some of the effect hands aren’t as easy to move, but I’ve mostly left them alone as I want them to be on the tight side considering the heft they present.

In the torso, Jubilee has a diaphragm joint that lets her tilt to the side a bit and grants some rotation. You have to work around the coat to do so, but it’s not too difficult. There’s a ball joint at the waist that provides for some forward and back and rotation. At the hips, we get some big ball and socket joints. They’re done at an angle, so it limits her ability to do splits by quite a bit limiting her to about 45 degrees out to the side. Kicking forward is only a little better as she can’t get her leg all the way up into a horizontal position. I’m also backing off as the “diaper” piece gets in the way and those willing to push it could probably scratch out a little more. There’s a little play on the ball joint at the hips in the form of a thigh twist, but it’s minor. I’m surprised they didn’t sneak a cut into the thigh itself where her shorts meet her legs. The knees are double-jointed and are very smooth. She bends past 90 degrees there without effort. There’s no boot cut that I can see, and at the ankles we get a hinge and an ankle rocker. The hinge is pretty tight and seems to only go back one “click” and doesn’t really go forward at all. The ankle rocker is not steep at all and is more for adjustment purposes. Lastly, the little rings coming off of the collar of her jacket do move. They’re pegged in so they can be positioned slightly. I think this was done to prevent them from snapping off accidentally when posing her arms and they’re not really intended for anything else.

This figure is just a lot of fun. I’m even going to make use of this silly look!

Jubilee’s articulation is basically as expected. She’s going to be able to hit plenty of Jubilee poses on your shelf and she has enough range to cooperate well with her accessories. I do wish she could do wider stances a bit better than she can, but even that’s fine and it’s more her feet won’t stay flush on the surface due to the limitations of the ankle rocket. I’m mostly happy that it seems a lot of care was taken to try to prevent paint rub as there’s plenty of clearance at the head for her to look around without fear of rubbing on the collar. The angled hip joints are a bit weird, but they also have the benefit of reducing rub at the joint so I don’t think it’s a bad trade-off. She probably moves as well, if not better, than Wolverine which is impressive considering she has the big coat to work around. Magneto has a similar handicap with his cape, but came out far more limited than Jubilee.

The animated series shelf didn’t even exist a little over a year ago. Now it’s looking mighty crowded and we need to make some room for Gambit!

At the end of the day, the only thing stopping more people from buying this figure of Jubilee is price and scale. Some people just don’t collect sixth scale figures and I get it – they take up a lot of real estate. Even Jubilee, who is small for a sixth scale figure, still takes up more space than a Marvel Legends Build-a-Figure and you do have to be more thoughtful about where to ultimately place her since shelf dives are likely to be far more destructive considering the amount of paint present. Excepting those two hurdles, it’s hard to imagine someone making a better figure of Jubilee from X-Men than what Mondo has produced. She just looks fantastic and has so many useful accessories and optional parts that just adds to the enjoyment. I loved the Magneto release, but even I have to admit I’m likely to never use most of the heads he came with while with Jubilee I’m having a hard time picking one. Which is why I have to remind myself that what she looks like on my shelf today doesn’t have to be what she looks like tomorrow. It goes without saying, this figure absolutely blows the Hasbro one out of the water and it should considering the price difference. At the same time, it’s easier to tell that Mondo set out to make the definitive Jubilee from the cartoon. The attention to detail is present in almost every facet of this release where as the Hasbro one always felt like a cheap cash grab. If you love X-Men and want the characters from that show on your self in the best way possible, then you’ll be pretty content with this Jubilee.

I purchased Jubilee direct from Mondo which included the extra parts. A dedicated retail version is expected to follow at other locations and is supposed to be priced at $195 (you can still preorder that version direct from Mondo right now). It’s pricey no matter what version you get, but in my opinion she’s worth it. And up next is sure to be another fan-favorite as the cajun himself, Gambit, is expected before summer’s end and I cannot wait to see how he turned out.

Interested in the rest of what Mondo has to offer for X-Men, or maybe you want to check out a smaller scale? I’ve got you covered:

Mondo X-Men TAS Wolverine 1/6 Scale SDCC Exclusive Action Figure

When San Diego Comic Con was cancelled for 2021, many of the entities that would have sold exclusive merchandise at the event pivoted to web sales. And since the 2020 iteration of the famed event was also canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many seemed to expect the same for 2021, or the massive delays…

Keep reading

Mondo X-Men TAS 1/6 Scale Magneto

If you showed a random individual this blog and asked them what my favorite cartoon was as a kid I’m guessing they would go with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. And they wouldn’t be wrong as that was my favorite for a time, but come 1992 I was starting to drift away from that show. Batman:…

Keep reading

Marvel Legends X-Men Animated Series Jubilee

There’s a belief when it comes to children’s entertainment that the young audience needs a surrogate on screen, someone who they could believably place themselves in the role of. For the animated series X-Men, that character was Jubilee. The role was of such importance to the property that the earlier pilot, not affiliated with the…

Keep reading

NECA Gargoyles – Ultimate Broadway

Broadway’s here and he brought snacks!

We are getting oh so very close to assembling the original Manhattan Clan in action figure form! Disney’s take on gothic beasts originally included the following gargoyles: Goliath, Hudson, Bronx, Brooklyn, Broadway, and Lexington. The clan would grow from there, but those six are still the first that come to mind for me when I think Gargoyles, and with the release of Broadway we’re just one figure away from having the entire crew in place. Broadway arrives hot on the heels of Brooklyn, or in tandem, depending on where you got your figures. For me, it was basically simultaneous and the arrival of both was very much welcomed by me after only getting one Gargoyles release over the past calendar year. And like virtually all of the rest in this line, Broadway is pretty much as expected. That’s not to say it’s all good, but it is mostly good and I do think that today’s figure will be the favorite in the line for some folks out there.

Broadway arrives just like the others in an oversized NECA Ultimates five-panel box with new artwork by artist and sculptor of the figure Djordje Djokovic with paint by Emiliano Santalucia. I was a little critical of the design of Brooklyn’s box as I felt he didn’t mesh with the background, but for Broadway, it looks terrific and there’s even a little easter egg in the background. As nice as the box is though, I couldn’t care less as I’m interested in what’s inside the box. Broadway, in his neutral stance, is about 6.5″ tall give or take. It’s an inexact science considering the gargoyles always have their knees bent to some degree and that’s true of how I have Broadway. Like the other releases, there’s influences from the cartoon series present in Broadway’s design as well as some added realism. It looks fine in some respects, but maybe not so much in others. His headsculpt is pretty damn close to the show as he has his underbite and there’s a nice roundness to his features. The proportions look great to my eye between the size of his head his fin-like ears and the head is well-painted with some nice shading to help bring out his features.

Broadway is usually pretty cheerful, but he can get angry with the best of them.

Below the head, I have some issues. Broadway is the chubby one of the bunch as seemingly all 90s cartoons needed a fatty who loved food. I don’t recall many jokes at his expense in regards to his weight, and it’s just a feature of his character. NECA did include his rather rotund belly, but they also made Broadway look pretty well-defined when it comes to his muscles. In some ways, it reminds me of 90s Marvel cartoons where seemingly every male character was jacked, even the more portly ones. This wouldn’t bother me if NECA stopped at just the limbs, but it looks like they tried to sculpt some definition to his abs which is weird. And it’s made more weird by the shading along the sides of his belly and a random stripe across his pectorals. It strikes me as a case of just overdoing things. We love our chonky-boy Broadway, just let him be himself, NECA. Not every character needs to be absolutely shredded.

I’m not sure this guy needs weapons to look scary.

Beyond that, the figure does look pretty good. I may disagree with the approach subjectively, but objectively this is a well-sculpted figure. I also think NECA nailed the color of Broadway which is basically a pale teal. There’s more green to him than Demona and I like how his flesh blends with the more saturated blue of his loincloth. The inside of his wings has a lot more yellow applied to create a grassy looking green that’s shaded well. There’s a nice gradient to the membrane with the rear being a dark blue. Unlike Brooklyn, Broadway likely shares some parts with Goliath and Hudson, but it may only be limited to the hands and feet. If they are reused, it’s appropriate reuse and Broadway is going to make up for it with quite a few accessories to pick through.

“What is this?! Vegetables?!”

And those accessories include a bunch of hands, some weapons, food, and a secondary portrait. Broadway has a set of open hands, a set of fists, a tight gripping right hand with vertical hinge, and a loose gripping left hand. His secondary portrait features an aggressive, open-mouthed, pose with the eyes whited-out, which is what we’ve come to expect in a secondary portrait for the line. It looks good, but I always think of Broadway as the most light-hearted of the group so I doubt I’ll make much use of this head. For weapons, we get more Kenner homage stuff with an axe and a morning star. They’re styled and painted in a manner similar to Brooklyn’s lance and they also fit together to form one, long, super weapon. It’s a bit of a bummer that he doesn’t have two, tight, gripping hands to properly wield it with two-hands. Then again, sort of like with the head, I’m unlikely to pose him with random weapons when he comes with food! There’s a turkey leg with a big bite taken out of it that feels right at home with a comic-relief, food, monster. He also has this piece of green sludge, or moss, or algae, or whatever it is which is from the first episode of the show and was consumed by Broadway in the rookery. Best of all though, is the container of popcorn which is well-sculpted and lovingly painted. Yeah, that’s the one going into the display for me.

“Hey bro, let me have some of that popcorn.”

Articulation hasn’t really been a homerun for this line of figures and Broadway is basically more of the same. His more rounded proportions make him feel rather similar to Hudson in some ways, but since he lacks clothing he has a bit more freedom of movement. The head is on the customary double-ball peg which will allow for plenty of rotation and nuance posing. He can look down pretty well, but lacks much range going up as all of these figures seem to have their necks at a bit of an angle coming forward, and without any independent neck articulation they can’t really look up. Which is a shame considering the wings, which peg into the back and are hinged. They’re ratcheted, so you get a handful of positions and they do swivel, but are so damn big and cumbersome. They’re essentially flight wings, but the gargoyles always have to look at the ground since they can’t look forward when flying. Yeah, I’m as sick of complaining about the wings as you probably are reading said complaints, but it’s going to be out there until NECA comes up with a better solution.


At the shoulders, we have the usual ball-hinge setup that allows for full rotation while limiting Broadway to a less than horizontal position when trying to raise his arms out to the side. The biceps swivel works fine and the double-elbows will go past 90. At the wrists, we get swivels and hinges with at least one gripping hand having the preferred vertical hinge. In the torso, there’s what feels like a double-ball peg in the diaphragm. It really doesn’t offer much in the way of forward and back, but the figure can rotate there pretty easily and there’s some side-to-side tilt as well. At the waist, we get another twist. For the hips, good old ball and socket joints which allow Broadway to kick out to the side to a position quite close to a full split. Kicking forward works better than it did with Brooklyn, though like the rest in this line, his leg tends to want to go out to the side the further forward you push it, but it can get up to waist level and a little beyond. Kicking back works pretty well too, if you value that. The single-hinged knees bend about 90 degrees, though these monster types are intended to stand with knees bent, though it can go straight if you would rather that. They do swivel, and below that we get ankle and toe articulation where both feature a hinge and rocker. The ankle rocker works pretty nice, while the toe rocker forces you to fight it a bit due to the shape of the sculpt, but it works. At the tail, the usual hinged peg plus bendy wire provides for some freedom of movement. It’s nice and tight on my figure, better than it’s been with most of the rest, so it works like a third leg if needed. Funny enough, Broadway is probably the easiest for me to stand so far and I haven’t really needed to rely on the tail for much help.

Broadway is basically as expected for those who have been collecting the line. I think he’s a little better than average though as I like his sculpt, for the most part, and I think both portraits turned out well. He probably articulates the best out of all of the male gargoyles, understanding he still has his limitations. I do kind of wish he had an articulated jaw since he has lots of food accessories, but I do like how the neutral head turned out. Maybe they could have scrapped the extra weapons most will never use in favor of a third, eating, head. Where he could have been improved is with a softer approach to the torso and more focused shading. The sculpt preference is more subjective on my part, but the shading is a bit weird. And, of course, the wings remain an issue. Especially for Broadway who many are likely to pose snacking on their shelf. He doesn’t need his wings spread out in an aggressive posture when chowing down on popcorn. He, more than perhaps the rest, would have been better served with something more casual.

They look pretty good together, but damn these wings.

If you want to add Broadway to your Gargoyles collection he can be found in various places online and at local comic shops. He is likely to head to the big box retailers in the near future as well so if you primarily get your figures in those places just keep an eye out. He may also run a few dollars cheaper when that happens. MSRP appears to be about $37 or $38 with some retailers charging over $40. He’s a solid enough value at that price considering he does feature plenty of unique tooling and a solid assortment of accessories. I think this one is likely to be a favorite among those who collect this line, and if you are collecting it, well you have to have Broadway in your display.

Looking for more Gargoyles reviews? Check these out:

NECA Gargoyles – Ultimate Brooklyn

For the first time in a long time, we did not have a Turtle Tuesday post this week. We do, however, have a Warriors by Night Wednesday for you! It feels like NECA’s Gargoyles line is the most stop-and-start action figure line I’m into of late. The line has seen large gaps between releases and…

Keep reading

NECA Gargoyles – Ultimate Thailog

One of last year’s biggest announcements in the world of action figures was NECA’s acquisition of the Gargoyles license. It had been decades since Gargoyles figures occupied real estate at the toy and hobby shops of America and fans of the series were eager to see what NECA had cooking. It being 2021 though, collectors…

Keep reading

NECA Gargoyles – Ultimate Bronx

Well, here’s something different. Bronx, the good gargoyle dog, is NECA’s fourth entry in its relatively young line of action figures based on the beloved Disney Afternoon series Gargoyles. And not only is Bronx here all on his own, he’s also got something for his buddy Goliath that collectors of this line have been begging…

Keep reading

The Little Mermaid (2023)

The Little Mermaid (2023)

This past weekend, my daughter and I found ourselves with an afternoon together. This happens from time-to-time since kids often have their own social commitments necessitating one parent go with them and in this case it was my son and my wife going over to the home of one of his friends for a Memorial Day gathering. My daughter probably could have gone along, but she knew it meant that her and I would do something together. Last time this happened, we saw The Super Mario Bros. Movie (I didn’t review it, despite intending to, but it’s fine) so she wanted to go to the movies again. Despite having no interest after seeing the trailer, my daughter settled on the new version of Disney’s The Little Mermaid for a matinee viewing. I, personally, have not enjoyed any of the live-action remakes that Disney has made that I’ve seen so I wasn’t excited to see the film, but it wasn’t my choice to make. I went online, bought tickets, and…wait…this movie is two and half hours long?!?

I reviewed The Little Mermaid (1989) almost 10 years ago and it was a pretty positive review. Since then, I feel like my affection for that movie has only grown. It’s a tight story that’s wonderfully animated and has some really catchy musical numbers to put it over the top. It’s a delight and ranks rather high for me among the all-time Disney greats. Lately, Disney has found a lot of financial success with their live-action remakes of classic films. Critically, it seems few have been embraced, but movie-goers are apparently excited by them. I saw the first couple and found little to enjoy. These are almost all stories older than any of the folks working on them or seeing them, so retellings I am not against. It’s the act that they’re just remaking their movies, not reimagining them in any significant way. And since they are so similar to what came earlier, the only creative difference seems to be a desire to just add more. More backstory, more songs, more filler, which just makes them longer and more of a slog, so you can imagine my excitement when I saw how long this new remake was.

The new Flounder isn’t much to look at. With all of the wondrous creatures that exist under the sea, why not just make him something else entirely?

Disney choosing to remake these movies also has another unintended consequence in that they feel like replacements. 2D animation has been rapidly disappearing from the world over the past two decades and only recently has it started to make a comeback. And those comebacks are mostly relegated to television or streaming and are not done with ink and paint on celluloid. That’s never coming back, but at least we’re getting some variety today, though still not really when we go to the cinema. Those who love 2D animation done in a classical style feel threatened by these remakes, and it’s easy to see why. If the film is damn near perfect already, why do we need a remake? In truth, it’s not about erasure of any kind and it’s just capitalism. These movies are basically already scripted, there’s a screenplay to go off of, and they’re cheaper to make and seem to have a fantastic return on investment.

All of that being said, I watched the latest version of The Little Mermaid from Disney and it’s okay. To make this short, it’s not as good as the 1989 version and even if it was animated it still wouldn’t be nearly as good. The added length comes largely from the movie wanting to remove all subtlety from the original (and I use the term “original” loosely since the original Hans Christian Anderson tale is far older, but when I use the word I’m explicitly talking about the 1989 version). We now have to know that, yes, Ariel’s voice possesses a siren like charm, her mother was killed by humans, and Eric is essentially just like her. He’s basically imprisoned in his own castle and gets his own “I want” song so that we can see that they’re two sides of the same coin, young people yearning to find their place in the world.

The rock scene is just one example of how some things just don’t work as well in live-action.

Ariel is played by Halle Bailey, and maybe because someone noticed that The Little Mermaid features only a fraction of its running time with the main character a mermaid, there’s definitely more of that this time. This film is considered live-action, but much of the action under the sea is computer generated on a green screen. Bailey was motion-caped for these, but almost her entire body is computer generated. The same is true of her sisters with some looking more “CG’d” than others. Bailey has also been blessed with some natural curves to her physique and it looks like Disney may have even toned them down on her and her sisters. Perhaps someone got a little shy when they realized their lead would be mostly naked for large portions of the film. Other sources of criticism at the character design relies in the supporting cast with Sebastian (Daveed Diggs), Flounder (Jacob Tremblay), and Scuttle (Awkwafina) all boasting a more realistic appearance that lacks in charm. Sebastian seems to be getting the most backlash from what I’ve seen since it’s hard to make a crab look cute, though I found Flounder’s expressionless visage even less appealing.

The underwater segments mostly look fine, though they lack the color of the original. The appearance of the characters and the setting is inconsistent. The hair of mermaids all flows like its under water, while objects casually discarded by Ariel fly through the scene without any impediment. Ariel thumbs through a book that appears to be perfectly dry, which in fairness happened in the original film, but why repeat the same mistake? The mermaids also all seem to be designed as nude with their bodies only covered by scales where as King Triton (Javier Bardem) wears full armor now that just looks cold and impersonal. Ursula (Melissa McCarthy) is wearing this lacy dress for her top that looks out of place since it always looks dry. Aside from that critique, I think McCarthy’s Ursula looks the part well enough and she even got an upgrade to 8 tentacles over the 6 she had in the prior film.

The “Kiss the Girl” scene works very well and the chemistry between the leads is there, but strangely vanishes once Ariel gets her voice back.

The other half of the film takes place on land and is the domain of our prince, Eric (Jonah Hauer-King), who wants to restore the port of his island kingdom to its former glory. He’s the adopted son of the queen (Noma Dumezweni) and he came to be adopted as the result of a shipwreck. This gives the queen a distrust of the denizens of the sea while Ariel’s father conveniently hates humans. The kingdom they inhabit isn’t given a name (or I missed it), but it appears to be located somewhere in the Caribbean. It’s not particularly well-developed, but there is some effort to inject more culture into the scenery.

The plot follows the same general beats as the 1989 version. There are no vast changes to the story, and the only thing subtracted is the comical scene in the kitchen between Sebastian and the French chef. Maybe they felt it just wouldn’t work in live-action? Director Rob Marshall apparently didn’t see the wisdom in altering things further as some moments from the animated version just don’t play as well in live-action. In particular, Ariel’s iconic pose atop the rock when she declares her intentions to inhabit Eric’s world. It’s tremendously dramatic in animation, but in live-action looks about as convincing as your sister jumping out of the pool declaring the same. For me, musicals in general are harder for me to take-in when filmed in live-action. Eric’s song, in particular, was just too much for me and I would have cut the whole thing.

Which brings me to the songs. All of the classics are here, well excepting the kitchen scene, and they’re redone in a mostly faithful way. Some of the words to “Kiss the Girl” were altered for consent reasons, but the melody is still there and it’s a nothing sort of change. Ariel sings along to “Under the Sea” now, which doesn’t make a ton of sense narratively, but Bailey sounds nice alongside Daveed so I suppose that’s reason enough for it. There’s some additional songs added as well, such as Ariel singing inside her head when on land (they just couldn’t have their star say nothing for 45 minutes) and a song Scuttle gets to sing that felt forced. None of the new songs are going to hold a candle to the big four from the original, but the only one that tries is Eric’s song. Bailey is a very gifted singer, and while I still prefer Jodi Benson’s “Part of Your World” (and Benson is in this one, keep your eyes open), that’s not because Bailey’s is really inferior.

This one didn’t do much for me, but for a new generation this is the Ariel that’s going to bring them tremendous joy and pride and that’s okay.

I feel like I’m mostly complaining so let’s wrap this up. If you find yourself with a kid looking to see a movie this summer should you go see The Little Mermaid? Eh, you could do worse. The original is almost perfect, so this one was never going to be as good. The story is still there, and the actors perform well with what they’re given. The final battle has been criticized for being too dark, but I found it easy to follow. Maybe if I had never seen the original though I would have felt different. The songs will delight the young and old alike and at least the one benefit of the long running time is we get to spend more time getting to know these characters. Ariel is very likeable, and the rest of the cast performs well enough. Oddly, I felt Bailey and Hauer-King had great chemistry together when Ariel was stricken without a voice, but it all crumbled after it returned making the payoff of the film feel flat. At any rate, my daughter enjoyed it and I didn’t hate it. I’ll probably never watch it again as long as I have access to the 1989 version, but I’m not a young girl with brown skin. And considering all of the response I’ve seen from young girls (and older ones) fitting that description to Bailey’s Ariel then I think it’s safe to say that this live-action remake, more than most, has certainly justified its existence. That’s something that shouldn’t be ignored or taken away.

Care to read more of my Disney opinions?

Disney’s The Little Mermaid

Come 1989, Disney was back on top both critically and financially as a movie studio.  Oliver & Company, while not wowing many movie buffs, was a commercial success and one of Disney’s biggest in years while Who Framed Roger Rabbit? was able to secure near universal praise for its combination of animation and live-action.  Even…

Keep reading

Disney’s Best Five Film Run

The Walt Disney Company has been producing animated features for 80 years now. In that time, the company has released 55 films with a 56th on the way later this year and others in development. I’m only talking about the animated ones, because if you add in live-action and all of the films released by…

Keep reading

Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

This past December, Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs turned 80. On December 21, 1937 the world was introduced to feature-length animation. Well, maybe not the world since that date was just the premiere. It wasn’t until February 4, 1938 that the rest of the United States was introduced to the picture. The…

Keep reading

Mattel Disney 100 Minnie Mouse & Mickey Mouse

The true “it” couple.

When it was announced that Mattel had wrested control of the Disney license from rival Hasbro, I felt it would be a good thing for my daughter who loves Barbie and also loves the Disney princess dolls. Now they’d be able to swap clothes easily and fit in all of the Barbie vehicles and playsets without issue. I did not stop to consider what it meant for my personal toy buying habits. If the new Disney 100 Minnie and Mickey set is an indication of what’s to come, then maybe I should be a little more excited for the Mattel era than previously thought.

I have made many posts on this blog under the “Toys” subcategory and almost all of them have been action figure related. None of them have been a Mattel product. As someone who just missed the He-Man hype in the 80s, Mattel was rarely on my radar. I can’t, off of the top of my head, even recall if I ever owned a Mattel action figure. I know I had the He-Man power sword from The New Adventures of He-Ma when I was a kid and I think I had at least one figure from that toy line too, though it never sunk its claws in me. In fact, when I role-played with that sword as a kid I would often pretend I was Link from The Legend of Zelda, not He-Man. The other big license Mattel has these days is WWE, but I don’t buy WWE action figures and thus I don’t have any experience there. Rumor has it, there may be a Masters of the Universe x TMNT on the horizon so maybe that will get me to purchase more from Mattel, but for now, this unexpected set is my first experience with a Mattel figure in a long time.

So these two ended up being quite a big bigger than expected. Here with two other Disney stars.

When Disney has some milestone coming up, the company always finds a way to flood the market with new merchandise. There was Disneyland’s 60th a few years back and the company just concluded a 50th anniversary celebration at Walt Disney World that lasted over a year (I managed to catch the start of that and the tail end despite my trips to Disney World being spread over 3 calendar years). The latest money-maker for the company is Disney 100 celebrating 100 years of the Walt Disney Company, or some variation on it. I honestly haven’t dug too deep into the company’s claim so I don’t know how fast and loose they’re playing here, but I always have some degree of skepticism with it considering they don’t even acknowledge the first Mickey Mouse cartoon as being the first Mickey Mouse cartoon. I thought this Disney 100 thing would only lead to new Lego minifigures for me, though that hunt has not gone very well thus far (I only have four), so imagine my surprise when this two figure set popped up on Amazon on a random Thursday. I had no idea it was coming, and it took me all of two seconds to hit “Check Out” on an order for myself. Less than 24 hours later it was in my possession. Say what you will about the practices Amazon engages in (and many are unpleasant), but it always blows my mind when I can order something online and have it on my doorstep just a day later.

These two aren’t going to scale well with your Super7 figures.

Minnie and Mickey come packaged in a nice window box adorned with sketch artwork of the pair and plenty of reminders that this is a Disney 100 tie-in. The first thing that jumped out at me was how big these two are. Minnie and Mickey stand at around 5.5″ to the top of their head stretching to 6.25″ to the tips of their ears. And it’s not just height, they’re just proportionately pretty big. They’re not going to fit in with your Super7 Disney Ultimates or the ReAction figures, but they may look all right mixed with Hero Cross and Beast Kingdom. The height is similar, but even still, the proportions are all together different with Minnie and Mickey having pretty large heads compared with the figures I have. They’re also modeled after their early appearances in the 1920s and 30s, but depicted in color. Mickey has his trademarked red shorts and yellow shoes while Minnie is sporting a light blue, polka-dotted, skirt with red hat and yellow heels. Both feature an all white face with large, black, ovals for their eyes which was the style at the time. My preferred Mickey has always been with a white face and black eyes so this style was right in my wheelhouse for the pair.

They can hang with the offerings from Hero Cross and Beast Kingdom though.

The figures themselves are mostly colored plastic. We have black for the bodies with the clothing being these soft, rubbery, overlays. The shoes and gloves are also a soft material and the paint is basically just reserved for the heads. There, Mattel had to paint on the black around the face as well as the details of the face itself. Their portraits are almost the same save for Minnie’s sculpted eyelashes. She has a dash of purple eyeliner as well. Even with just a little paint, it’s not super clean. The eyes look fine, but the black for Mickey’s widow’s peek doesn’t fill in the entire area it’s supposed to. The painted portion also has a slightly matte appearance compared with the shinier plastic, but it’s not particularly noticeable. The rest of the appearance is solid with the only oddity being there’s a different visual quality to the materials in use. The soft plastic bits have a muted look and it’s easy to tell from a distance that they’re made of a different material from the bodies. Minnie looks fine, but I would have liked a little more saturation out of Mickey’s shorts and shoes. Their proportions also strike me as just a bit off-model. The heads, as previously mentioned, are huge and they also have pretty long arms which is not uncommon for cartoon characters. Shrinking the heads maybe 5% and making them just a little less round might have turned out better, but as is, these fit the part well enough.

They definitely have more stuff than I expected.

A Minnie and Mickey figure set was a surprise, but so was the approach to the accessories. I wouldn’t have expected optional parts, but Mattel surprised me again. Mickey and Minnie can share hands and between the two of them they have a set of gripping hands, a set of gripping hands with the thumbs up, a set of wide open hands, another right gripping hand, and a relaxed left hand. I’m not sure why we got essentially three, right, gripping hands instead of a set of the relaxed hands, but so be it. They also don’t have anything to grip, unless you count Minnie’s hat which slots between her ears. We also get one extra portrait for each featuring the duo in a kissing pose. It’s cute, but I feel like it needs some paint around the mouth. If viewing it from the side, which I think is how it was intended, it’s not as noticeable. Lastly, we also have two display stands with multiple pegs on them to help you pose your figures in case you don’t just want them flat-footed. The stands are all black and say Disney 100. They’re nothing fancy, but can at least provide some piece of mind if you’re worried about shelf dives. There’s also a little card with a sketch of the pair on it that says Disney 100 on the reverse. The packaging also implies the insert (featured as a backdrop in my images) is an accessory, albeit a pretty lame one.

They even come with alternate heads for maximum adorableness.

Where I didn’t expect these two to impress is with articulation, and unlike the additional parts, my expectations were basically met. These two aren’t terrible when it comes to articulation, but they’re also not exactly robust. The heads just sit on a ball peg so they rotate and get a little play on that ball. The ears feel like they’re pegged in and there’s some play, but I’m not sure how much of that is intentional. It’s not enough to position the ears for a side profile pose that mimics the impossible ears of these two in animation. The shoulders rotate and there’s a single hinge for each elbow which also rotates. It can be hard to tell which way the elbow is supposed to bend, but since they have rubber hose arms it doesn’t really matter as the hinge will bend in either direction. It’s not going to give you a full 90 degrees though, and the shoulder hinge won’t raise the arms out all the way to the side either. There is a hinge at the wrist, but it sits pretty deep inside the gloves so it doesn’t do a whole lot. The hands can also rotate on the peg. There’s a waist twist at the shorts and skirt of Minnie and at the hips it’s basically another hinged ball peg so you can swivel the leg and then line the hinge up the way you want it to go. Mickey’s shorts get in the way a bit, though Minnie is less restricted. They’re a bit tight and I didn’t really test it too much. There’s no joint for the knee and instead we get another hinged peg at the ankle. Once again, Minnie gets more range here because of her shoe design while Mickey’s can’t do much. There’s no dedicated ankle rocker, though you can manipulate the hinge so it’s going off to the side if you wish. Lastly, we get another hinged ball-peg at the tail which works well enough.

They don’t do a ton, but it’s hard to argue with the price.

It’s not a ton of stuff, and one can see why some of the more premium imports skip some of these joints in favor of static arms that can be swapped in and out. For what this set is, I think it’s okay. I would have preferred something better at the hips, especially since the joints can be hidden relatively easily with the clothes, but the rest I’m fine with. I also wonder if Mattel would have been better off scrapping the wrist hinge and just doing another ball peg like they did for the head. You will be able to find some poses that look cute for this couple though, be they holding hands, waving, or smooching. The joints are all nice and tight, which is good since these two are a bit top heavy. It does mean there is some degree of trepidation that comes with posing them since the limbs are pretty thin. These figures don’t look or feel like premium items, so there is a cheapness to them in-hand, though I’d hesitate to say they look cheap.

“Ugh, get a room!”

The best thing this set has going for it is affordability. This pair only set me back $42. Basically, getting Mickey and Minnie from Mattel is about the same price as getting two ReAction Minnie and Mickey figures from Super7 and noticeably less than a single Super7 Ultimates release. It’s also less than half of what the Beast Kingdom Donald Duck set me back and I think I like these two more than that figure. There are better figures out there of Mickey, and maybe Minnie, but definitely not ones in this price range. While I think the amount of hands these two came with was probably unnecessary, there are still enough optional parts that make settling on a display quite enjoyable. And swapping parts is easy and I didn’t feel like I was at risk of breaking anything. If you’re interested in an affordable set of Minnie and Mickey figures, I think this will do nicely. Now I’m left hoping Mattel does Donald and Daisy.

Interested in more Disney collectibles? I’ve got you covered:

Hero Cross HMF Donald Duck #006R

I have coveted the Donald Duck figure from Hero Cross for a few years now. If you’re not familiar with the company, Hero Cross is a toy manufacturer based in Hong Kong that specializes in hybrid figures that utilize both plastic and metal. Their main line is called the Hybrid Metal Figuration series, or HMF…

Keep reading

Lego 21317 – Steamboat Willie

It was just over a week ago I made a post wondering what happened to the Lego/Disney relationship. Sure, there have been some Duplo sets and the Lego Friends brand has featured some princess characters, but nothing major followed the 2016 release of mini figures and Cinderella’s Castle (based on the structure in Walt Disney…

Keep reading

Beast Kingdom Disney Dynamic 8ction Heroes Classic Donald Duck

Few brands are as immensely popular as Disney, which is why it’s a bit surprising that the company’s presence in the world of action figures has always felt a little lacking. It’s thought (and maybe even confirmed by the company) that Disney’s interest in properties like Marvel and Star Wars stemmed from them being unable…

Keep reading

NECA Gargoyles – Ultimate Brooklyn

There’s a part of me that wants to just call him “Firebrand” whenever I see him.

For the first time in a long time, we did not have a Turtle Tuesday post this week. We do, however, have a Warriors by Night Wednesday for you! It feels like NECA’s Gargoyles line is the most stop-and-start action figure line I’m into of late. The line has seen large gaps between releases and we’re basically on a 2-1-2 release schedule with gaps of 6+ months in between. Today’s figure I think went up for preorder with an estimated ship date of last September or October, but here we are in May and it’s just now arrived, but with another figure! Are these supply chain delayed figures or is it merely NECA having to prioritize other releases to either hit a certain window with them or are events like Haulathon mucking things up for our beloved warriors of the night? I’m not sure, but the release calendar for Gargoyles is looking uncharacteristically crowded for 2023 and I’m curious to see how much product eventually sees release this year. As for today, we’re taking a look at the latest member of the Manhattan Clan and his name is Brooklyn.

Scream for me, Brooklyn!

Brooklyn arrives in the same Ultimates styled box as the rest of the figures in the line boasting original artwork by Djordje Djokovic and Emiliano Santalucia. It seems to appropriately place Brooklyn at the bridge from which he took his name, though it almost looks like that was a thought that came after the image of Brooklyn himself was conceived since he’s hovering in a crouched pose which is a bit odd. Djokovic is the sculptor as well for this release with paint by Geoffrey Trapp and Jon Wardell. Brooklyn is unmistakably based on the character from the animated series, but like the other figures in the line, the realism is dialed up a notch with him. He’s very lean and very cut, and unlike the other humanoid gargoyles we’ve seen so far, he has a visage that’s very much animalistic in form as opposed to the more human features of a Goliath or Hudson. That’s Brooklyn’s defining trait for me, his rather large beak, as well as the red hue his skin features. It’s a muted crimson and he boasts simplified wings that are more like large kites than bat wings. He also has the claw like tips on his wings similar to Demona. And despite being another male character, he does feel a bit like Demona due to his more slight appearance.

He comes with a lance, like the old Kenner toy, in case you feel like he needs one.

Brooklyn in his neutral stance, which does involve some bent legs, stands at around 6.25″ to the top of his head and a great deal taller if you factor in his horns. He seems to scale well with Goliath and the others and he certainly fits in stylistically. His default portrait is pretty similar to his animated appearance, but with an added paint wash over the flesh that makes his eyes stand out a bit more. He translates rather well and so far I think Goliath has been the one to look the least like his animated counterpart. Of course, the added detail of the muscles here really sets this version of Brooklyn apart from the show. He does not look bad by any means, but the musculature does feel a bit overdone. He must have less than 1% body fat as he is absurdly cut. His entire body is cast in the same red plastic, which reminds me of a red crayon that’s melted in the sun, but also hit with a topcoat of paint for some added definition. The claws look like they’ve been hit with a red-brown shade of paint, though it’s not evenly applied. The toes look great, but the right, open, hand he comes packaged with on my figure almost has no paint on the claws. The interior of the wings look like they’ve been hit with a wash in a similar shade that oh so slightly darkens that area from the bone structure of the outer wings while the backside is far darker. They’re almost purple, and the light shines off of them and creates a more vibrant range of colors like a soap bubble might do. The hair appears to be sculpted in white, but with a pearl coating and some light blue to give it a nice luster. He’s also sporting the typical loincloth the gargoyles all seem to be fond of and it’s a pale blue which contrasts nicely with all of the red. This is an overall strong looking figure that compares favorably to the others released so far. He’s not knocking Hudson off the top of my personal list of best in the line, but I think he’s ahead of Goliath.

The clan so far. Yes, obviously, there is a fifth on the way that may already be here, just off to the side.

Brooklyn has a fairly typical arsenal of accessories for this line, but with some surprises. For hands, he comes with two open hands in the box plus a set of fist hands and a set of gripping hands. The width of the grip on each hand is different so one is a bit tighter than the other. The tighter of the two works best with his included lance weapon. I don’t recall a lance in the show which makes me think it’s a tribute to the old Kenner figure which all featured weapons. It looks pretty cool though and is painted with a gun metal finish and I suspect many will display Brooklyn utilizing it. He also has some show accessories in the form of a pair of sunglasses that can fit over his eyes reasonably well and a page torn from Demona’s grimoire, something the sorceress would like to get her claws on in the future. It’s not an amazing accessory by itself, but it’s a fun inclusion since Demona’s grimoire was sculpted with the page torn out so it pairs well. It’s also very well done for what it is boasting more paint than your typical Marvel Legends action figure. Lastly, we have a second portrait which features the jaw permanently open and the eyes whited-out. The hair sculpt looks to be exactly the same, but it looks nice and it will work if you want your Brooklyn ready for battle on your shelf, or hanging from your ceiling, or wherever you ultimately place him.

“Looking for something, Demona?”

Brooklyn’s articulation should also feel familiar as he basically follows in the same footsteps as the other figures in the line. He’s very similar to Goliath, but with a little extra range by virtue of his more slender build. His head is on a double ball peg, but his movement is pretty well restricted by his hair. He can only look so far in either direction and has basically no range looking up. He does have some tilt and can look down. I should add, I’m rating the articulation with his wings on. They do come off, but he’s a gargoyle and they’re a part of his body that he can’t actually remove. If you were to take them off, you’d get a little more range out his head, but why would you display a gargoyle with no wings? He does have an articulated jaw on his standard portrait and that works just fine. He does have a joint at the base of the neck, but it doesn’t really do anything. I’m not sure if it’s supposed to, or if it just exists as a way to connect a neck there and allow for some future reuse down the road. It seems like a missed opportunity though since the cut is already there. The shoulders are the standard ball-hinges and Brooklyn can raise his arms out to the side to a horizontal position. They will rotate as far as the wings will allow, though they do rub a bit on his pectorals which stick out a bit. They’re the same color, so there’s not a lot of danger here, but it’s something to be considerate of. He has a biceps swivel which works fine and double-jointed elbows that will bend past 90 degrees. The wrists swivel and hinge and the tight, gripping, hand has a vertical hinge which is much appreciated.

In case you wanted to try reading it for yourself.

In the torso, we have a ball joint at the diaphragm that mostly exists to allow the character to rotate there. There’s some forward and back and a little tilt to either side, but it also feels a little on the loose side which worries me a bit going forward. So far, it seems fine. There is a waist twist below that which feels like it’s just a twist instead of a ball joint which would have added some more forward and back, but oh well. The thighs are connected via ball and socket joints and Brooklyn can rotate there. His loincloth rides up and over his left thigh, but covers more of his right thigh, so the left has more rotation than the right. The left one also has some paint rub on the thigh which is unfortunate, and the loincloth restricts Brooklyn’s ability to kick forward to about 45 degrees, which is disappointing. He can kick back pretty far though, if that’s something you value. The knees are single-hinged and can bend to about 90 degrees. They also swivel. The ankles are hinged and have okay range and they also feature an ankle rocker. The toes hinge and rock as well as these creatures are designed to essentially stand on their toes. They’re nice and tight which is needed for their normal stance. The tail is affixed via a hinged peg and it’s also bendy. It works fine and the hinge is tight enough that it can act as a support limb for stances, though it could be tighter. The wings connect via the same mechanism and can be adjusted up and down as well as in and out. The hinges are very tight and like the other figures in the line make horrible clicking noises that will have you thinking you’re about to break the figure. So far, I have had no such breakage from any of the Gargoyles figures and Brooklyn’s are nice and stable, unlike Demona’s which were way too loose.

“Check out the shades, bro.”

Brooklyn’s articulation is basically in-line with the rest: good, but not great. The range at the head is an issue for him as NECA declined to include any articulation in the hair. This means you have these big, open, wings for flight, but Brooklyn can’t look forward in a flying pose, something that was an issue for Goliath as well (and really, all of them so far). The range in the torso and hips is also not suitable for crouched poses which is a bummer since these are gargoyles, after all, which typically are crouched when in stone form. I wish we could get these guys into a three-point stance, but it’s just not possible with or without the wings. And then there’s those wings, those gigantic, rigid, wings. You would think we’d be used to them by now, but it seems they just become more of a nuisance with each successive release. They’re really only good for very dramatic posing which doesn’t lend itself well to the more neutral portraits each figure comes with. Brooklyn’s wings are also just plain huge as his wingspan is about 22.5″. I always thought of him as one of the smaller gargoyles, but evidently I was wrong. He’s the first release in the line that I just can’t fit onto my shelf, which already includes Goliath with the caped wings. It’s a problem for this line and NECA’s solution of packing caped wings with the non-winged characters isn’t the best solution. What we really need are relaxed wings, and at this point I think NECA just needs to suck it up and offer a wing set on their website or something. And just package future figures with options. If it raises the price, then so be it, because it’s a consistent complaint I see online about this line.

Brooklyn must be the “cool” one.

In short, Brooklyn is very much as expected. If you’ve been happy with the releases in this line so far then you’ll be happy with him. If you have been displeased, or annoyed by the wing options, then expect the same. I want to love this line, and the paint and sculpt work have been very good. It’s clear that NECA has done its homework given the episode specific accessories we’ve seen so far, but something has to be done about those wings. Then again, it’s an issue that hasn’t stopped me from buying these so maybe that’s all that matters to NECA, but I’m actually seeing people sharing images of their collection and they’ve just taken the wings off which is insane to me. They just aren’t gargoyles without wings, so I’m continuing to try and find a way to work these things into my collection, which now will require a second, dedicated, shelf. If you’re interested in adding Brooklyn to your collection, he’s currently available online and can be found at specialty shops. He should also arrive at Target any day now where you’re likely to find the lowest price available (around $36, if I’m not mistaken). If you’re in on this line, then you probably need him. If you’re out because of the wings, well he’s not going to change your mind. Hopefully, relief is on the way.

Interested in more Gargoyles content?:

NECA Gargoyles – Ultimate Goliath

It was nearly 6 months ago that NECA unveiled one of its newest licenses for 2021: Gargoyles! I was incredibly pumped at the time to see that NECA had acquired Gargoyles because the license had so much potential. The show was basically a cult hit in the 90s often characterized as Disney’s answer to Batman:…

Keep reading

NECA Gargoyles – Ultimate Hudson

Happy Boxing Day! It’s been a minute, but we’re back with another figure in NECA’s line of action figures based on the 90s cartoon/property Gargoyles – Hudson! Hudson, who was wonderfully brought to life by the late Ed Asner, was always my favorite character in the show. He’s basically the old veteran of the group.…

Keep reading

NECA Gargoyles – Ultimate Demona

When NECA launched it’s line of action figures based on Disney’s Gargoyles, it seemed to imply that Demona would be figure number 2. She was not. That honor went to Thailog, the Goliath clone, and that might have had something to do with the many factory delays and shipping woes that were impacting the entire…

Keep reading

S.H.Figuarts Dragon Ball GT Super Saiyan 4 Vegeta

I can just hear him yelling “Damn you!”

We’re back with another action figure review from everyone’s favorite version of Dragon Ball: Dragon Ball GT! And really, the only thing people remember from Dragon Ball GT is the Super Saiyan 4 transformation. Designed to bring the Saiyans back to their more primal roots, the Super Saiyan 4 transformation is pretty much on an island all its own when compared with other versions. It’s essentially been erased too with the creation of Dragon Ball Super and is but a footnote in the world of Dragon Ball at this point. Maybe it will come back at some point, certainly never say never, but for now it’s the black sheep of Super Saiyan transformations.

They think they’re so cool.

The Super Saiyan 4 power was achieved in Dragon Ball GT by Goku. Not wanting to feel left out, he was soon followed by Vegeta, as he often is. Vegeta took some shortcut to get there, pretty much a betrayal of his character and something to add to the long list of reasons why many fans don’t particularly care for GT, but once he did the look was pretty similar. It was a little different though which is actually yet another unique aspect to this transformation. It’s certainly terrific fodder for fan art as individuals try to imagine how Trunks or Gohan would have looked if they had done something similar, but as for the actual series only Goku, Vegeta, and their fusion Gogeta managed to pull this off. Bandai released the Super Saiyan 4 version of Goku last year and I think most expected that Vegeta would follow just as likely many expect a Gogeta next year. And at the time, I assumed it would be an easy way to make a quick buck off of some unique tooling that had to take place for Goku, but it looks like I was wrong with that assumption. Vegeta has a lot of new parts and is almost a completely different figure from Goku despite looking very similar. Maybe since both were manufactured at Bandai’s factory in Vietnam there was more room in the budget for new tooling? However it was accounted for, it’s nice to see that really no shortcuts were taken with this release.

“Behold! The true evolution of the Super Saiyan form! Jealous?” “Uhh, sure…”

Vegeta in his Super Saiyan 4 form stands at approximately 5″ to where the flesh of his head ends and a tick over 6″ to the tip of his hair. He looks good beside Goku as he’s noticeably shorter, but also not as bulky. And it’s really that slimmer profile that necessitated the need for new parts for Vegeta as he can’t really share anything with Goku as a result. In fact, I don’t think a single part is shared as I thought maybe the tails were, but Goku’s is a little more full than Vegeta’s. Even the little pieces for the butterfly joints appear to be different. Design wise, there’s a lot that’s different as even though both follow the same design principals with big hair and a furry torso, Vegeta’s ended up red compared with Goku’s more hot pink. Vegeta’s hair also became more of a chocolate brown. It retained it’s main Vegeta shape, except with hair going down his back as well and the same two parts coming over the shoulders. Because of that desire to keep Vegeta’s classic hair shape, he almost looks like he has a super mullet of some kind. It’s a bit of a goofy look, but that’s Super Saiyan 4 for ya.

Well that isn’t pretty.

With Goku, there was a sense that the figure was a bit rough around the edges coming out of the Vietnam factory and some of that seems true of Vegeta. This look required more paint than Bandai seem to like as we get the red fur on the torso which meets up with a bare chest and some of the abdomen. The paint is pretty crisp along the right side of the flesh-tone parts, but less so on the left for some reason. The painted belt looks nice though and most of the colors appear to match when it’s painted vs plastic. The neck, which is bare plastic, is just a touch off and glossy in comparison. The faces all look great when it comes to the eyes, mouth, and linework. The paint on Vegeta’s trademarked widow’s peak is not as well done though with the stoic expression looking downright terrible. The other portraits are at least acceptable. It looks like his gloves are all bare plastic and so are the arms. They appear to have cut off his forearms past the elbow so they could key the gloves on and avoid having to match paint here, which is fine. The pants are really nicely painted though and have a lot of shading applied. I have no idea if they’re supposed to be leather or some other material, but it looks nice. The boots are mostly bare plastic with the yellow portions painted on. They look all right, but juxtaposed with the shaded pants right there makes them take on a very plastic look. There’s also no shading on the rear of the pants so apparently that’s where they cut a few corners. Aside from the one portrait though, this figure does a good job of nailing this unique look for Vegeta so if you wanted a Super Saiyan 4 Vegeta for your collection I think you’ll be pleased with how he looks on your shelf.

I bet his mom thinks he’s cool.

Vegeta has a pretty similar loadout of accessories as Goku. It basically comes down to a bunch of hands, four faces, and an effect part. For hands, you get a set of fists, Big Bang Attack flat palms, open hands, clenching hands, clenching hands with a peg in the palm, and a set of stye-posed three finger gesture hands. The clenching hands with the peg in the palm works with the effect part, which is this little, translucent, green/blue ball of energy with some sculpted lightning cracking around it and a hit of blue air-brushing. It’s not as visually impressive as Goku’s charging Kamehameha effect, but it’s fine. Vegeta can either palm it like he’s getting ready to shoot an energy blast or it can be positioned in-between his clenching hands like he’s powering up a Final Flash technique. For portraits, we get four: stoic, smirk, clenching teeth, and yelling. All four have his eyes forward, so no side eye, and the actual face is painted very well on each. It’s just the previously mentioned widow’s peak that is an issue with the stoic head being so bad I consider it unworthy of display. The other three are fine, with the yelling head being the best under close scrutiny. If I felt confident I could match this shade of brown with a Gundam marker or something similar I’d probably attempt a touch-up. At least it’s the stoic head, which is a bit boring for Vegeta, and not an expression I was likely to use anyway. It should still be better though and it’s also missing some paint behind the ear. All in all though, a solid spread of accessories. I suppose I’m a little surprised at the lack of a crossed-arms piece, but those are always a paint to fiddle with anyway so I don’t miss it. One quality control issue I’ve had with this figure is the ball hinge on the right wrist keeps coming apart. It snaps together, but it’s pretty annoying.

Vegeta is probably angry that his effect part is smaller than Goku’s.

Vegeta may be comprised of all new parts, but he’s still pretty familiar as far as articulation goes when compared with Goku. The head is on a double-ball peg, but since the head is basically all of the hair, he’s a bit limited. He can rotate, but he can’t look up, and he mostly looks down as a result of the joint at the base of the neck. The hair on the back of his head limits how far he can rotate as well and he basically has no room for any nuance type movement. Tamashii Nations tried to lessen the impact of the hair by making the tufts that come over the shoulders and hang off of his head separate pieces connected via ball pegs. They only do so much though. The shoulders are on ball pegs, but they’re quite tight and really don’t get much play in the joint. They are hinged though and Vegeta can lift his arms out to the side past a horizontal position and rotate all around. The butterfly joint in there lets the arms come forward a bit, but almost nothing back. It’s a little messy looking due to the nature of the design, but at least he can do his Final Flash pose so I guess it’s worth having. There is a biceps swivel, double-jointed elbows that bend past 90 degrees, and ball-hinged wrists that work fine. All of the joints so far are on the tighter side. Nothing scary or that required heat, but nothing is remotely loose so far.

Final Flash!

In the torso, we have what I assume is a double-ball peg in the abdomen. I don’t feel a hinge, so this guy just can go forward, back, rotate, and tilt to the side. The range back isn’t very good, but he crunches forward a solid amount which is probably more important. The tilt going to the side is sufficient and he rotates plenty far, possibly all the way if you really wanted to push it. I’m also not seeing any paint rub or gapping issues which is probably more important. At the waist, it’s another ball joint so you get more rotation there and some pivot. The hips feel like ball joints, but it’s hard to see in there since there’s some pieces in the way. Vegeta can do splits just fine, but he can only kick forward to a horizontal pose and really can’t kick back much at all. There is a thigh swivel which works fine, but isn’t the prettiest thing. It’s so poorly implemented that it creates the illusion that these legs don’t belong on this figure. It’s easily the ugliest aspect of the figure and it’s something I’d like to see Bandai move away from. The double-jointed knees really don’t go much past 90 degrees. They also create some gaps at the base of the knee joint when pushed as far as they’ll go. At the ankles, it looks like we just get a hinged ball peg. The foot can go back a little, and basically doesn’t go forward at all. The ankle rocker is a touch restricted by the design of the boot. The ankle can rock in a fair amount though that I don’t think it’s going to be too problematic for posing. There’s a toe hinge, but it’s pretty damn ugly and implemented so poorly that I don’t think it’s usable. The tail is also connected via a ball-hinge, but it’s essentially pre-posed in an S shape and the articulation just serves as a way of making sure it doesn’t get in the way.

I have no idea what Vegeta’s aura looks like in this form, but this looks pretty cool.

Vegeta was doing pretty well until we moved below the waist (hopefully, that’s not what she said). I think he absolutely should have more range kicking forward and back and the knees are pretty limited for a SHF release. Some aspects of this release though are definitely an improvement over Goku. The shoulders look more natural and the neck doesn’t sink in like it tends to with the Goku figure. Sometimes the joint at the base of the neck slides past the chest and leaves a gap, but it can be pushed back into place easy enough. It’s more finicky than anything. The thigh cut looks worse on Vegeta when compared with Goku since his baggy pants mitigated it some. Removing the subjective component of which Super Saiyan 4 looks better, I think Vegeta turned out better than Goku as a result and it just feels like he’s less rough around the edges. The joints being tight and smooth helps, and the only thing Goku has over Vegeta articulation wise is better range at the hips. And even there, Goku came up a bit short too so it’s marginal.

Whenever Vegeta wants to feel tall he calls Krillin.

This whole review is honestly kind of pointless because what’s going to drive someone’s purchasing decision is how much they like the Super Saiyan 4 look. If you think it’s the coolest transformation of all, then this is a no-brainer. If you hate it and consider it an abomination then save your money. This isn’t going to convert you or anything. I feel like the rare person who occupies the middle on Super Saiyan 4. I think there’s an absurd component to the look, but that’s also what makes it charming and unique. I don’t have any love for Dragon Ball GT, but getting this goofy look into my display feels like the right choice. And as a figure release, Vegeta is solid. The sculpt is great and some of the paint is good, but it’s still not up to standard for the price point. The accessories make up for that a bit, but at an MSRP of around $65 this one is definitely pushing it. The fact that this one features all new tooling helps justify the price, but a bargain it is not. Still, if you like the look of Super Saiyan 4 Vegeta then I think you’ll be content with the purchase. And for me, this is probably all I need from GT so if that Gogeta does follow as expected don’t count on seeing a review for it here.

Missed our review of SS4 Goku? You can check it out below along with other S.H.Figuarts releases from the world of Dragon Ball:

S.H.Figuarts Dragon Ball GT Super Saiyan 4 Goku

In the world of Dragon Ball, there are varying opinions on which version of the anime is superior. Dragon Ball Z is unquestionably the most popular, but there are people (like me) out there who swear by the original Dragon Ball that came before it. More recently, Dragon Ball Super has entered the fray and…

Keep reading

SH Figuarts Super Saiyan Vegeta

He’s the Prince of all Saiyans. The last survivor to have laid eyes on Planet Vegeta, home world of the mighty warriors and birthplace of the legendary Goku. And he’s also a pretty fine toy. Vegeta, arguably the most popular character to emerge from Dragon Ball Z, has seen his likeness cast in numerous forms…

Keep reading

NECA Cartoon TMNT Mighty Hog and Rhino-Man

Look who came to save the day.

We did it! We finally made it to the end of the Haulathon releases from NECA Toys and we may have saved the best for last. Back in early 2020, I made a wish list for what I wanted from NECA and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It was only 10 deep, though there were some duos in there, and with this release we have finally completed my initial wish list. Rhino-Man and Mighty Hog are the super hero versions of Rocksteady and Bebop. Don’t confuse them with Super Bebop and Mighty Rocksteady, those are the robot versions, these are the cheesy heroes with their underwear over their pants and capes tied around their necks. I don’t know why I liked this design so much for the pair. I think as a kid, I just liked superhero versions of popular characters. When Bugs Bunny or Daffy Duck did it I thought it was fantastic. And those Happy Meal toys with the Looney Tunes in superhero costumes are maybe the best Happy Meal toys of all time. I suppose my affection for such things just caused the episode where Bebop and Rocksteady try their hand at heroics to be retained in my brain. A great many episodes of that show went in and went out pretty effortlessly, but Rhino-Man and Mighty Hog have lived rent free in there for over 30 years.

I love that these guys have been scaled down a bit as one of the only complaints I had about the wave two figures was that they were a little too big.

Perhaps Bebop and Rocksteady aren’t really so bad which is why tI liked seeing them as superheroes, even if they weren’t doing it out of a sense of justice. They’re almost too stupid to be evil, and as comedic relief in the show I think I warmed to them. Both have a very classic superhero look: shirt, trunks, tights, boots, cape. Rocksteady also adds some gloves and goggles while Bebop swaps his glasses for a bandana-style mask. Rhino-Man stands at about 6″ and is dressed in bright colors. Yellow for the shirt, red for the boots and gloves, and a light blue for the tights. He has his own logo on his chest and the goggles (which are removable) and blue cape just complete the ensemble. Bebop’s go as Mighty Hog has a bit more of DIY vibe to it I guess because he was designated the sidekick. His red cape is tied in a knot around his neck and he doesn’t get his own logo opting for a big, orange, M on his purple shirt. His black pants appear to be his normal pants as do the sneakers. He at least has some orange trunks and retaining the turtle shell shoulder pads is a good look. He’s also bigger than Rhino-Man coming in it at 6.5″ to the top of his head.

Can’t forget the jetpacks!

Both of these figures are all new tooling when compared with their prior release. That is welcomed as those molds feature some outdated joints and it’s nice to finally have updated versions of Bebop and Rocksteady, even if they’re not in their classic duds. The new head on Bebop looks terrific. I didn’t think it was possible to improve upon the first, but I think I like this one just a little better. Rocksteady didn’t turn out quite so well. He’s a little stubby looking, which is interesting because his other figures feel like their heads are just a little too long. He’s still clearly Rocksteady, he just doesn’t look as good as Bebop. The goggles go on and off relatively easy and definitely help to complete the look. Like the first go at them, these two do share some parts. Most obviously are the hands, but also most of the arms, thighs, and probably the torso. It’s hard to tell since both figures sport an overlay. The differences really rest with the forearms, shins and feet to go with the head.

“Heh, snort, you guys look stupid.”

As per usual with this line, the paint job looks pretty nice. Most of the figures feature the toon shading the line is known for where NECA uses a darker color for the figure’s rear. Some parts are skipped, like the feet and Rhino-Man’s belt which is a little odd. Mighty Hog also doesn’t have any shading on his pants since they’re black. The linework is clean and all of the little details we would expect to see from the show have been translated into 3D plastic. One bummer is the capes are both just plain soft goods. After getting a wired cape with Dark Turtle I was hoping for the same here, but I guess we weren’t that lucky. Bebop also still has the actual chain bracelet on his left arm which I could honestly do without. The authenticity is nice, but it’s a little annoying especially when swapping hands. NECA omitted the little T-hook this time so you could just take it off if you wanted to and you won’t have a weird piece of metal sticking out of your figure, though it also means the bracelet can come off even without removing the figure’s hand. I’m surprised they haven’t switched to a plastic one, but it’s fine.

They don’t have a ton of stuff, but it’s fine.

The accessories for this set are actually a little on the light side. Both figures come with the same sets of hands: fists, gripping, a left-handed peace sign, and a right handed chop. What’s missing is trigger finger hands, and while they don’t come with any guns, they used their standard white, laser, pistols (which you probably have a handful of laying around if you’ve been collecting this line for awhile) in the episode so that’s a bit of a bummer. The gripping hands can be finagled though to work with those older accessories. They also have their jetpacks which key into the back of each figure and once secured you’re probably never going to remove them. They also come with the police scanner which looks suspiciously like an old, 80s, cell phone. Shredder uses it in the episode to send the heroes after bad guys as there’s a contest going on that Krang wants them to win, hence why they’re heroes (the episode is just called “Rhino-Man” if you’re curious). Lastly, we get an accessory from a different episode, the Anxietron Ray from “Bebop and Rocksteady Conquer the Universe.” It’s a very intricate sculpt, though the device isn’t the prettiest. It reminds me of the baby translator Herb Powell creates on The Simpsons. It’s a cumbersome weapon to wield like an actual gun, but it can also just be placed on a surface and look fine. And I suppose it’s only included because there was room in the budget for another accessory and NECA didn’t see fit to pull anything else from the episode, which I mostly agree with. Some more hands might have been cool, but this is fine.

“Umm, hey, Mr. Dark Turtle, sir, can we please team-up with you?!” “WHAT?!”
“I can’t believe I’m doing this!”

Bebop and Rocksteady have never articulated particularly well when designed by NECA (or really anyone, for that matter) and Rhino-Man and Mighty Hog are mostly the same. The head for both is on a ball peg, likely a double, and they rotate fine. Bebop has a little more up and down range by virtue of having more of a neck while Rocksteady is slightly limited for both. Each figure has a hinged jaw and it’s not the prettiest hinged jaw NECA has done. Rocksteady’s looks pretty bad when opened all the way and Bebop’s doesn’t look much better. The hinge is just set too far forward on the head when it needs to be recessed further back. It’s also done in pink and then painted and if you tilt the head up all the way you can see the pink hinge poking through on the underside. It’s something you’ll never see when they’re on a shelf, but it is odd. The shoulders are ball-hinged and they can just about hit horizontal with Rhino-Man while Mighty Hog’s range is hindered by the shoulder pads. It’s also hindered when rotating while Rhino-Man is fine. There’s a biceps swivel past that and double-jointed elbows to go with wrists that swivel and hinge horizontally, including the gripping hands. There might be a diaphragm joint in both, but it’s covered-up by the overlay. There’s a ball joint at the waist that allows for rotation and a little tilt, but very little forward and back. The hips are ball and socket joints which is the welcomed change over the original Bebop and Rocksteady figures and they kick forward almost to horizontal and kick back a bit. Both guys can pretty much hit a split and there’s a little thigh twist there as well. The knees are double-jointed and those bend past 90 degrees and at the ankles we get the hinge and rocker setup. Bebop’s shoes are much better this time around and less restricted. They still don’t get a lot of range out of the hinge, but the rocker works pretty well. Curiously, the right foot on my Mighty Hog has a curve to the sole and I’m wondering if that’s a defect or true for all. He stands okay despite it, but it is odd.

“Stop, hooligans, you’ve tagged your last wall!” “Wait, how is this even happening?!”

Many of the joints on this set were pretty tight or stuck out of the box. Out of all of the Haulathon releases, that issue was most prevalent with this set. I don’t think I had to heat any joints on the other figures. I did opt to heat some of the hands to make inserting weapons easier, but with this set I had to heat the elbows to get them working. Rhino-Man couldn’t do much below the waist so he got the full spa treatment, but once things were heated and the paint allowed to “crack” at the joints, things started moving pretty well. I still have a stuck hinge on one of Rhino-Man’s elbows, and the same hinge on Mighty Hog has some chipped paint which is an eyesore, albeit a minor one. Overall though, the range of movement is pretty basic with these two. Even though the elbows are double-jointed, it’s actually hard to get them past 90 degrees and place both figures in a heroic pose with their hands on their hips. They’re also heavy and cumbersome so getting them to appear as if they’re flying using one of NECA’s flight stands is also rather precarious. They at least look up well enough to pull it off, but I definitely didn’t feel comfortable leaving them on a shelf like that.

“Rhino-Man! Away!” “Blast! You morons, you’re hitting me with your exhaust!”

Rhino-Man and Mighty Hog are two figures I was really looking forward to and I’m mostly satisfied with the result. I do wish the head on Rocksteady was a little better and that they moved easier as well, but overall I’m happy with how they turned out. They look silly and that’s appropriate and I definitely like having them on my shelf. I’m also happy that wish list has been filled. Is this the best set from this massive Haulathon drop? I’m not sure. Subjectively, it’s probably my favorite, but objectively there was little to find wrong with the Dirk Savage and Mona Lisa set. Chakahachi and Lotus look pretty cool too even if some QC issues with Lotus dampened my enthusiasm there. Mostly, these sets have continued to basically excel without necessarily blowing me away. I don’t know if any of these figures would crack my top 10 were I to revisit it (and I probably will have to at some point since so much has been added), but none are likely to end up in the bottom 10 either.

“Bomb’s away!”

If you would like to add these phoney heroes to your collection then keep checking Target. The main Haulathon drop is over and done with now, but more product is likely to keep shipping. Given that we’re talking about Bebop and Rocksteady, it’s likely more of this set was produced than some of the others. NECA may also open up orders on their website for those who missed out so just try to stay in the loop and avoid feeding the scalpers.

Can’t get enough of Bebop and Rocksteady or TMNT characters moonlighting as superheroes? Check these out:

NECA TMNT Cartoon Super Bebop and Mighty Rocksteady

2021 introduced a lot of good things for collectors of NECA’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles line of action figures based on the classic cartoon. The toy maker still kept the line a Target exclusive when it came to brick and mortar, but it also started selling a lot of it online to coincide with each…

Keep reading

NECA TMNT Bebop and Rocksteady Target Exclusive Series

I have been rather fortunate when it comes to toy collecting in recent years. When I was a kid, toy collecting meant going to Toys R Us or a similar store and seeing what was on the shelf. Catalogs, commercials, and card backs were my main source of information. I assume there were newsletters and…

Keep reading

Marvel Legends Spider-Man ’94 Spider-Man vs Carnage

It’s not Spider-Man vs Venom, but I guess it’s the next best thing?

Last year, Hasbro celebrated the 30th anniversary of X-Men, the animated series that premiered on Halloween 1992 and would become a ratings hit shortly thereafter for the Fox Kids Network. It was responsible for getting a lot of kids into the X-Men and Marvel comics in general and the first, prime, benefactor of that rise in popularity was Spider-Man. Spidey had taken a couple of swings at television and found modest success, but certainly nothing on the level that some of the other prime kids’ shows that were contemporaries. I personally recognized Spider-Man more from his public service announcements or the Marvel Productions animatic that would follow a show like Muppet Babies. With X-Men being a hit though, it opened the door for more Marvel cartoons and Spider-Man was next in line arriving in sneak peak fashion, just like the X-Men, in the fall of 1994.

You guys still into the VHS inspired packaging? I think I still am, but this would have been way cooler if it was actually two boxes and a slipcover instead of just one, big, box.

The Marvel Legends VHS series for X-Men must have been received well for the company to do the same with Spider-Man. That is easy to understand. What is not is why now? The X-Men wave has almost sold out on Hasbro’s website and it’s expected the remaining figures will eventually get there (Cyclops was just added to shopDisney in April) which suggests that a second wave is certainly in order. The 8 figures Hasbro did release hit on some members of the team and some notable villains, but more remain. Why not come back around with another 8 in 2023, 30 years after the show really took off since only 3 episodes premiered in ’92, and then come back with Spider-Man in 2024 to, you know, coincide with that show’s 30th anniversary? It seemed like it was setup perfectly for just that, but apparently Hasbro and the Legends team got impatient or they feel like they need to space the X-Men releases out more or that line is dead and they’re not ready to admit it. I personally don’t get it and I will be a little ticked off if they don’t come back to X-Men to finish off the team, at least, even though that product line was rather poor. I’m a sucker for that cartoon though so I was committed to filling out the roster, as imperfect as it was, and not having the likes of Gambit, Rogue, or Magneto leaves my shelf feeling incomplete.

It’s Spider-Man once again, who is the same, but different, as the last black-costumed Spider-Man we saw.

That aside, Hasbro’s approach to Spider-Man could be described as the same, but different. We’re still getting VHS styled boxes with TV show inspired artwork, only now they’re apparently coming in two-packs. I guess that’s great if you didn’t like the gap in releases between the figures in the X-Men line, but it stinks if you only want one of the two figures (and I think that will be true for many with the upcoming Doc Ock and Aunt May two-pack). Hasbro doesn’t think it’s worth their effort to credit the artist on the box, but good thing we have social media as I was able to find out that it’s Harry Moore once again who did the art on the retro card release too. The box is designed to look like a slip cover with two VHS tapes in it, but it’s just one box with the two figures inside. Like the X-Men line, this one is likely to be a collection of repaints with minimal investment made in the tooling of new parts. These figures aren’t direct adaptations of the characters you saw onscreen. It would have been great if that was what Hasbro committed to, but at this point no one should be surprised. A big feature of the X-Men line was also the cel-shading approach to the paint. It was something that was not applied consistently from release to release. Some figures looked okay, some looked terrible, but it mostly came down to the application being cheap and unfocused. With this line, we’re going to have two figures where one is shaded, and the other is not. It looks like cel-shading isn’t going to be as big of a focus here, but it’s hard to know why with anything Hasbro does.

Yeah, it’s pin-less and has some toe joints, but the only reason to get this figure is if you like the shading.

We’ll start with Spider-Man first. This is the symbiote, or black suit, Spider-Man from the show since we already received a standard, animated, Spider-Man via the retro card release late last year. Thematically, it makes some sense to pair symbiote Spidey with Carnage, a fellow symbiote, though anyone who watched the show can point out that Spider-Man never fought Carnage while wearing the black costume. Interestingly, this Spider-Man is a repaint of the figure that came in the Renew Your Vows two-pack last year. The animated Spider-Man from last year was on the noticeably smaller Amazing Fantasy figure mold making this figure basically not scale with the other Spidey. Cool. The sculpt is also much more cut than that one so this is a Spider-Man that looks almost absurdly ripped and lumpy for this source. The head appears to be the exact same as the retro card black costume Spider-Man and so are the hands, and for that matter, the torso. Whatever your preferred body is, none are particularly great for the animated Spider-Man as he was very broad shouldered and full in the chest which neither figure is. This one is pin-less in the arms and legs, so it has that going for it.

I don’t consider myself a Legends collector, and yet I now have 5 Spider-Men (Web-Man and Cyborg version not pictured).
“We’re the same guy, just in a different costume.” “If you say so.”

What is going to be most divisive with this release is probably the paint. The figure is cast in black plastic so the only paint present is the white and the blue. Yes, blue, as this figure is shaded like the show. Or rather, like basically every version of black-costumed Spider-Man. Just doing him in all black won’t show up on print or on TV, so he (and Venom) have always been shaded blue. In the show, Spider-Man was outlined in blue and the muscles were also done in blue. For the figure, Hasbro appears to have tried to outline the abdomen with blue while also hitting both clavicles. For the limbs, it’s just a few lines down the meat of the arms and the front of the legs. There are a couple of lines in between the eyes, and almost nothing on the back of the figure. There’s also none on the hands. It looks okay, but there doesn’t appear to be a ton of thought put into the blue on the arms. And, as usual, I think the figure would have benefitted from a little more. Something on the crown of the head would have looked nice, and maybe some under the pecs. And maybe just more curves to the lines would have helped with the biceps looking the worst out of all of the spots, but it’s probably as good as we could have expected out of this line. The rest of the paint is reserved for the eyes, hands, and the spider logo which has some gray shading. That is not consistent with the show, but it looks okay on the front, though I don’t know what they were going for on the back. The spider itself is pretty clean, though the white on the hands is too thinly applied. The eyes, which have a little luster to them, look okay.

“What am I supposed to do with these?”
“Nice split, spider dweeb!”

There’s no point in devoting a full paragraph to accessories for this guy as he just comes with the standard array of hands: fists, wall-crawling, and thwip. The thwip hands are useless since this version of Spider-Man shoots webs out of the back of his hands so why not drop them for a set of gripping hands? Or web accessories? It’s like the people who design these figures have little or no attachment to these characters, but any average fan would say “This doesn’t make sense.” Anyway, this guy should be pretty familiar when it comes to articulation too since he’s like most of the other Spider-Man releases. We get a double ball peg at the head that feels rough. It has some gapping issues and they did that thing where they cut out a chunk of the rear of the neck which shouldn’t be necessary for a figure that has no hair. Even with that, he doesn’t look up all that far and the head just wants to fight me for some reason. The shoulders are ball-hinges on butterfly joints. He can raise his arms out to the side fine while the butterfly joint provides okay range going back and forward, but nothing crazy. They also didn’t continue the paint on the spider logo on the rear so when the arms are all the way forward you get a gap. There’s a biceps swivel and the elbows are double-jointed. I cannot get the top hinge on the right arm of my figure to budge, but I was able to get the left one to move. He gets a little better than 90, so nothing impressive, but it doesn’t look ugly. The wrists swivel and hinge.

Go web! (Web not included)
Yeah, it doesn’t make sense, but they look good when they’re matchy-matchy.

In the abdomen we get a ball joint that lets the figure bend back and forward a little bit. It creates gaps in both directions so it’s better used for rotating and pivot and the range going to the side is pretty good. Below that we have an ab crunch that does what it’s supposed to and at the hips we get the utterly useless drop-down hinged hips. With the hinge up, he can kick forward about 90 degrees and he doesn’t really kick back due to the sculpted butt cheeks. With the hinge down, he kicks forward…about 90 degrees. Maybe a little better and more straight, but you’re gaining practically nothing. With the hips up or down, he can’t achieve a full split. It’s pretty crazy the amount of figures I have that can do a split, and yet none are Spider-Man. There is a thigh cut, but not only does it break up the anatomy it breaks up the blue shading as well. The double-jointed knees work better than the elbows and they go well past 90. There is a boot cut if you want it, but again, it breaks up the sculpt and the shading. At the ankle, we get a hinge that lets the feet go forward and back an acceptable amount, though it’s kind of ratcheted so finding those in-between positions is a challenge. The ankle rocker works well and we also get a toe hinge which is fine. Aside from the addition of the toe hinge, this figure moves as well as the previous symbiote Spider-Man which I would categorize as good, but not good enough for a Spider-Man figure. There’s plenty of things to nitpick, but mostly it’s just scrap those garbage hips. Ball and socket hips would work better and cost less than the silly hinge. The whole thing also has a gummy feel and ultimately posing this guy isn’t really a fun experience.

This entry won’t have the maximum amount of Carnage, but it will have enough.
He wanted a picture with his daddy.

Okay, that’s enough about Spider-Man, let’s talk about Carnage. This figure is a partial reissue of the Monster Venom wave Carnage from about four years ago. Some stuff is the same, while some stuff is different. The head, hands, and probably the arms are the same while the torso and legs are actually different. That older figure lacked butterfly joints while this one has them. It appears to be the same torso we saw with Web-Man, who shared a torso with Spider-Man 2099, if I’m not mistaken, and probably several others. He is a very bright red, which isn’t really what I’d call show accurate, and the black paint for the various swirls and lines on Carnage is understated compared with a comic version of the character to attempt to match the show. The head is clearly the comic inspired head so it doesn’t really match the show aside from the amount of black on it. The Carnage in the show had a much stubbier head as opposed to the elongated one from the comics. There was one shot of the symbiote right after it attached to Cletus Kasady that looked like the comic book character, but that was pretty much it. I think there should actually be a bit more black on the torso to really match the look of the show, but that’s not Hasbro’s goal apparently so I don’t why I feel the need to point out the inaccuracies. This figure also has some tendrils plugged into the arms and a removable one that slots into the back. That aspect of the character wasn’t seen much in the show where animation and the ability to do it well is a concern, but I prefer Carnage with them so they don’t bother me. I think he looks okay, he just doesn’t really look like the character from the show. He’s much too lean and suffers from that Marvel Legends “tiny shoulders” syndrome that so many figures in this line possess. The figure also struggles with trying to be somewhat inspired by the animated series without looking cheap. It seems to me if they just committed to a more toon-accurate paint job that would have solved that issue to a point, but I’m just some guy with a blog so what do I know?

Why use the regular hands when you can use these?
I basically feel the same way about this head as I do the hands. Plus it’s a pain to get on anyway.

When it comes to accessories, Carnage fares better than Spider-Man. Again, these are all reused from past releases, but you get a second head that’s of Kasady and he looks pretty creepy. There’s no paint on the hair, so that’s a bummer, but at least the face appears to be done with face printing making it much better looking than the original release. It’s a comic inspired look, but you probably could have guessed that. If you have the older figure, it might be fun to have this head on that, but I’ll probably never use it. For hands, Carnage has two open hands by default where his fingers look long and bladed. They’re basically style posed, though the right hand is more curled like it’s trying to grip something. The fingers on that hand also don’t end in points and are rather stubby so they look stupid. You’ll never use it though because the optional hands are way better. For the left, we get a more exagerrated, clawing, hand that also has some added tendrils on it. I think it looks great save for the added blob on the index figure which is just a bizarre design choice as it makes it look like he has six fingers. For the right hand, we get a fisted hand that’s affixed to a big, symbiote, axe head. I like how it’s sculpted to have slime separating the fist from the axe and then the axe head itself has a neat design with a little hook in it. It’s painted too so we get some black lines that look nice and help sell it. They also gave the figure a vertical hinge on this hand which is appreciated. The only downside is it is pretty heavy, and the hinge fairly loose, so posing it can be a tad frustrating.

Spider jump!

For articulation, we have a pretty standard Marvel Legends figure. The old ball hinge is in place for the head and the figure can look up and down without issue as well as rotate. He even gets a touch of tilt on the ball, so that’s okay. The shoulders hinge out to the side less than 90 degrees so that’s disappointing. Web-Man can get his arms out to the side without issue which has me thinking these two share a torso, but the arms are actually different. The butterfly joint provides for solid range going back, but not much across the chest. There’s a biceps swivel and the double-jointed elbows will let the figure bend past 90 degrees there. The wrists swivel and hinge and all except the axe hand hinge horizontally. In the torso, we get an ab crunch that works well going forward and back with no gapping issues present. Hasbro also continued the black paint so that looks good. The waist has a twist which looks pretty ugly because there’s nothing to hide it, but it does work. At the hips we get the standard ball and socket setup and, what do you know, he can do a split. It’s a miracle! There’s a thigh cut below that which works fine, but breaks up the black paint. The double-jointed knees also work fine and you get a boot cut if you want it. The ankles hinge forward and back all the way and rock side-to-side just fine. I think the legs are basically the same as the old release, they just don’t have the plug holes for more tentacles. In other words, more old Spidey parts shared with Web-Man and other Spider-Man figures. Aside from the shoulders, he moves well enough. There’s still gummy-ness to the joints with Carnage, but it isn’t as pervasive as it is with Spider-Man.

Spider kick!

Overall, this release is basically what I expected it to be. It’s a bunch of parts reuse, with a different paint job. As a kid, it always bothered me that every Venom figure I bought was just black plastic when in the comics he was clearly blue. Obviously, that’s because an all black look wouldn’t work, so he had to be shaded blue and even some artists made blue his dominant color (he was very much black in his first appearances though). Because of that, I always wanted a Venom or a Spider-Man in the symbiote costume that took a similar approach so that’s what drew me to this set. Plus, I did like the cartoon series and it’s where most of my Spidey knowledge came as prior to that it was all from Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends and the occasional stray comic book. This figure from Hasbro has its problems, but it comes close to satisfying that urge for me and I think it looks better than the more plain release from the retro card line. It’s pretty absurd that he’s so much bigger than the red and blue Spider-Man when they’re supposed to be the same character from the same show and the accessories blow, but at least the base figure looks fine.

Worth it? Eh, I guess if you like what you see, it’s okay given the apparent new going rate for Marvel Legends.

With Carnage, this is a character all new to me in figure form. Well, new in the sense that I had not purchased a Carnage since the Toy Biz Carnage II figure from the Spider-Man line way back in the 90s. I was never a huge fan of the character, he was just Venom without a conscience, but he did look cool and I certainly spent many hours playing Maximum Carnage back in the day. As a figure, he’s fine. He looks good, moves well enough for the character, and I like the optional parts. I like them so much that I consider the main hands rather useless, but it’s fine. And when I got that animated Venom in 2021 I knew I wanted to add a Spider-Man and a Carnage to my little display so I at least achieved that. As for this series going forward, I might have been interested in that Doc Ock, but the Aunt May he’s bundled with looks bad and I’m not paying for her. This set retails for $53 on Hasbro’s Pulse website. If you’re a member, you get free shipping, but if you’re not then tack on the price of shipping as well. This was the last order I made with my subscription and I don’t intend to get more. At this price, it’s something a fan of the show can possibly talk themselves into. The box is nice, if that interests you at all, and the figures are I guess the usual level of quality for Marvel Legends. Had they just given Spider-Man some worthwhile accessories it would have been much easier to recommend, but since they didn’t it puts this one squarely in the niche category. Few Marvel Legends are worth their asking price these days, and these are no exception. If you’re primarily a comic book collector and already have these figures, then don’t bother. If it looks like something you like and you know what to expect, give it a shot. Or wait awhile for the next warehouse sale when you can probably get it for 40-something where it would be a much easier recommend. That’s probably not going to happen for awhile though. There’s also shopDisney which is supposed to carry this and may be more aggressive with its sale prices if it hangs around a few months. You can also get free shipping there, though you have to spend $75 I think. If you time it right, and have a wife or kids that love Disney, it’s not a tough threshold to meet. At least it’s easier to get than the stupid Walmart exclusive.

Need to know more about what Marvel Legends has done for Spider-Man? Check these out:

Marvel Legends Spider-Man (Animated)

It was in 2021 that Hasbro released a PulseCon exclusive Venom figure on a Spider-Man retro card. The retro card series is meant to stir-up nostalgia for all of the adults who were buying toys and watching cartoons in the 90s as the retro card is a facsimile of the old cards Toy Biz used…

Keep reading

Hasbro Retro Card Symbiote Spider-Man

One of the most iconic costumes in the world of superheroes is definitely that of Spider-Man. I put that classic red and blue with webbed detailing right up there with Superman and Batman. I would argue that there’s no more iconic costume in the world of Marvel than Spidey’s, and the crazy thing with Spider-Man…

Keep reading

NECA TMNT Adventures Dreadmon

You guys like bananas?

We’re almost done with all of these NECA Haulathon drops from March and up today is the last of the single-packed figures, the Mighty Mutanimal Dreadmon! Technically, he’s the third figure in NECA’s line of figures from the pages of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures since he’s listed as number 3 on the box. However, Dreadmon was the most recent to actually hit stores as Man Ray and the actual number 4 figure Jagwar were released on the first weekend with Dreadmon following a week later. I don’t know why they shipped out of order, but it hardly matters in the end. Like Jagwar, this is Dreadmon’s first go at plastic. I could not confirm if he started off as action figure concept art like Jagwar did, but like Jagwar, Dreadmon has basically only existed in comic form. He started off with Archie in issue #15 in an adventure where the turtles and Jagwar encounter him and he’s also made the jump to IDW, albeit with a pretty substantial redesign. As another member of The Mighty Mutanimals, Dreadmon continues to put us on the path to one day assembling the full team which is something a lot of fans have been dreaming about for 30 years now.

Dreadmon comes in the same style box as Jagwar featuring new artwork from Ken Mitchroney, who was also the illustrator for Dreadmon’s debut issue. Out of the box, Dreadmon stands around 6″ to where his head most likely would end and 6.75″ to the highest point of his mane. I’m measuring him with his legs bent slightly as he’s intended to be posed, but you could possibly get him a little taller, or shorter, depending on how you position the legs as he’s one of those characters that really stands on his toes. As for what he is, he appears to be some sort of wolf man. The newer version of the character has clearly landed on jackal, but wolf seems fine for this version. Like Jagwar, he’s not a mutant and is actually a thief who was magically turned into this beast by a talisman. He’s of South African descent and his family escaped apartheid to Jamaica where a young version of Dreadmon became a street thief before eventually turning a corner after his encounter with the good guys. Even though the Archie books always had a reputation for being like kid version of the more serious Mirage comics, it’s pretty cool how a lot of the characters born within those books have a pretty mature backstory.

These two share quite a few parts. And a love of fruit.

Dreadmon is a character with a pretty neat design. He has a wild mane of hair on top of his black face that is supposed to be dreadlocked. There’s some evidence of that where the hair is twisted and slid through tiny skulls two of which hand over his shoulders with three more on the back of the head. There’s a lot of black linework in the hair to add some character while the sculpted texture looks more like thick fur to me. There’s even a curve to the back of the mane and from the side it looks a little spiky giving me images of Sonic the Hedgehog as I look at him. The ears and face are black with the nose and inner ear painted purple. It’s a fun look and the paint is really clean. The inner portion of his mouth is also painted and looks clean. For his attire, I’m not really sure what he’s wearing. He’s got this black tank top and a three-ringed necklace. Unlike a lot of figures from NECA, the torso clothing appears to be part of the sculpt instead of an overlay. He has a belt that looks like it’s wooden slates bound together by hemp rope and there’s a purple skirt sticking out below that. I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be an actual skirt or was conceived as the end of a tunic, but it’s essentially a skirt and I think he pulls it off.

Obligatory scale shot – I’d say he looks fine.

A lot of the body outside of the torso on this guy is actually shared with Jagwar. The shoulders, biceps, hands, and thighs are the same which is fine. They don’t need to be different and this sort of reuse is what companies should be doing to keep costs down. And the parts are well-sculpted with a fur texture applied and they’re painted a matte brown. There’s also some black lines applied here and there and it’s a nice touch. The forearms are unique so that Dreadmon can have tufts of fur which are done in a redder brown to match his mane. He has some black spots there as well and there’s some on his thighs too. The lower legs had to be different to accommodate his canine feet so the calf is shorter because the foot is longer with a hinge in the center of it. He stands on his toes, though if you wanted to you could flatten the feet and stand him that way, but it looks pretty silly. He does have a tail which is a unique sculpt and it’s a bushy one the color of which matches the mane and there’s some linework applied as well. He looks nice as the paint is once again really clean and has the appropriate finish. The darker palette certainly adds some contrast to the display, but he still has that “pop” factor by nature of the design and those little hits of white and purple help. About the only thing, aesthetically speaking, that bothers me a little is that it’s hard to get him to look like he’s staring straight ahead. His head seems to always be tilted down and it’s hard to pose away and that’s basically due to the hair. We’ll get into that more with articulation, but that’s pretty much it. You do have to watch out for paint rub too as the white skulls that hang over his chest can leave behind streaks on the torso. I had some and I did lightly hit his torso with a dry Magic Eraser and it mostly came off, but I also don’t want to take off too much of the black either as everything is painted on this guy.

I did not have much luck with this particular accessory. The one on the left came with Jagwar and is missing the jaw while the one on the right came with Dreadmon and has a horribly misaligned eye.

A lot of Dreadmon’s accessories feel similar to Jagwar’s in both concept and because they are quite literally the same. That includes the hands as Dreadmon comes with the same, three, sets: fists, open, and gripping. NECA painted some black linework around the claws which does make them look a little better when compared with Jagwar’s which lacked that detail. Dreadmon also has the same Malignoid worm thing. The one I got with Jagwar was missing the lower jaw, while the one I received with Dreadmon has a terrible paint job. The black lines weren’t lined up properly so it looks stupid. I guess I can’t win when it comes to this thing. Dreadmon also has a fruit bowl, but it’s different from Jagwar’s as his bowl is a bit more distressed and also features some intestines under the fruit. He is a wolf or coyote or something and they do enjoy their entrails! It looks appropriately gross, though not exactly realistic, so it doesn’t throw off the vibe of the property. If it’s too nasty though you get a pair of bananas that he can hold. One is intact while the other has been partially peeled and is ready to eat. He has a blue can of something. There’s no indication of what’s inside it so someone more familiar with the property will have to clue me in, but it looks like a soup can. There’s also an unmarked grave. It just sits on a surface and looks foreboding though I have no idea what significance it holds since it’s unmarked. The Mutanimals did meet an unfortunate end in the books so it could just stand for that. Lastly, Dreadmon comes with a second set of eyes. His default ones are wide open and have a bit of a toon vibe to them while the alternate set is narrowed and more menacing. I like the look of both so I haven’t decided what I’ll ultimately settle on for the shelf, but it’s nice to have options. Swapping them is also pretty painless, provided you keep your thumbs clear of those pointy ears.

“Uhh, got anything without entrails?”

After being pleasently surprised with the articulation on Jagwar, I’m sorry to say that Dreadmon is a bit of a step back. Much of that is unavoidable based on his character design, but it is what it is. The head is probably on the standard double-ball setup we’ve been seeing with NECA figures of late, but the hair isn’t going to let you do much with it. You get some rotation and a little tilt, but virtually no ability for the figure to look up. There is a hinge at the base of the neck which will allow the figure to look down pretty far. The jaw is articulated and it’s fine as it looks good when open or closed. The shoulders are the standard ball-hinges we’re used and they rotate just fine and allow the character to raise its arms out to the side to a horizontal position. There’s a biceps swivel plus single-hinged elbows that have some room to swivel. He can hit a 90 degree bend, though I remain surprised that NECA opted not to use a double-jointed setup here. The wrists swivel and hinge and all of the hinges are of the horizontal variety. In the torso, we get just a ball joint at the waist with no diaphragm cut. He can rotate freely on that peg and crunches forward a bit, but doesn’t go back at all which is a bit surprising. There’s some tilt as well, but it’s pretty limited. The legs are ball and socket joints and NECA put slits in the skirt to keep them pretty much unencumbered. Dreadmon can just about his a full split and he kicks forward to about horizontal and kicks back a bit too. There’s some twist on the ball joint so you have some play there followed by the usual double-jointed knees. After that comes the ankle hinge and rocker followed by the mid-foot hinge. That hinge is a little loose for my liking, but he’s standing okay so I guess it’s fine for now. There’s also a ball hinge for the tail that gives him some pretty good range there as well. Because he has a bushy tail, it’s not wired for added posing like Jagwar’s or Man Ray’s. It’s also too short to be relied upon as a third leg of sorts unless you put Dreadmon in some really low poses.

It’s just pragmatic to have a blank tombstone onhand. You never know when you’re going to need it…

Dreadmon’s unique leg situation and the more simplified approach to the torso means he’s not as poseable as Jagwar or even Man Ray. The unique nature of the legs can also make him a bit tricky to just get straight up and down. You have to make sure both hinges in the knees are bent at the same angle in each leg and then the same is true at the ankle and foot. Often times, I find myself placing Dreadmon on a surface and he’s taller on one side than the other so I have to mess around to try to get his shoulders more level, unless I’m going for a more angled look. And then there’s the previously mentioned annoyance of just trying to get him to appear to be looking forward. I wish the waist joint could bend back to help with that as the range going forward just works against what I’m trying to do. As far as tightness goes, everything felt pretty nice out of the box. The joints are all tight in a satisfying manner. The only ones that are a bit on the loose side are the waist and foot, but neither are failing to hold a pose. He is going to be a little harder to stand than the other figures in the line, but if you’re having problems he does have peg holes on his feet. I’ve done a couple of poses with him so far to just leave alone and he’s fallen over a couple of times. Other times he’s been fine, so there’s a nuance to it when it comes to finding a shelf-safe pose that will last longterm.

That’s hardly a bad looking group.

Dreadmon gets us one step closer to assembling the entire Mighty Mutanimals squad. Slash was associated with them, but most consider the core team to be Man Ray, Jagwar, Dreadmon, Wingnut, Screwloose, Leatherhead, and Mondo Gecko. NECA has yet to indicate what’s coming next, but it will be interesting to see if they continue with the Mutanimals or if they pivot to something else. They have stated that evergreen versions of the turtles aren’t really in play right now as they’re design is very similar to the cartoon, but it was suggested that some of their other looks from the comics might be in play (think wrestling attire). Could that be next? Maybe, though I wouldn’t be shocked if such a set started off as a convention exclusive or something. I hope they don’t dick around though and just continue with the Mutanimals as a lot of people have been waiting a long time. Mondo and Leatherhead from the toon line can kind of fake it as Archie versions, but Wingnut and Screwloose most certainly cannot so it’s for that reason that I’d like to see them be next in line. Hopefully we won’t have to wait long.

If you’re looking to add Dreadmon to your collection of NECA TMNT figures then you shouldn’t have too hard of a time. Haulathon has come and gone at Target, but Dreadmon is not exclusive to that event or store. He should start showing up at other brick and mortar locations and will also be solicited to specialty retail. At Target, this figure cost $35 so the specialty shops will likely tack on a few bucks, but if you missed the initial drop your patience should pay off eventually.

Want to know more about the other TMNT Adventures action figures from NECA?:

NECA TMNT Adventures Jagwar

The next figure in NECA’s line based on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures comic series is a much anticipated one for fans of those books and its spin-off The Mighty Mutanimals. And that’s because this character is making his debut in plastic. Previously, we looked at Slash who has been pretty well-represented in some…

Keep reading

NECA TMNT Adventures Man Ray

Back when Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ruled the world, there was a lot of brand synergy between all of the various media being generated by this one mega popular piece of intellectual property. The comics came first followed by a toyline which necessitated the creation of an animated mini series to basically serve as a…

Keep reading

NECA TMNT Adventures Series Slash

As NECA continues to find success with its Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles lines of action figures, the company has sought to branch out beyond the usual source material in an effort to give collectors more of what they want and also likely to just keep the hype train rolling. NECA started first with doing figures…

Keep reading

Super7 Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Ultimate Tyrannosaurus Dinozord


Today we are wrapping up our look at Wave 1 of Super7’s Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Ultimates! action figures with the lone zord of the wave: the Tyrannosaurus Dinozord. The T-Rex zord was the vehicle of the Red Power Ranger and main body of the Megazord. It was basically the only one of the original five zords that could function on its own in a meaningful way. The other four rarely did anything, but on occasion, the T-Rex went into battle and took on some monsters in its dino form. As such, it made sense for Super7 to do a figure of this particular zord since it can standalone as an action figure while something like the mastodon or pterodactyl really would not. And it’s also because Super7 either isn’t allowed to produce, or has no desire to produce, zords that can combine into other zords like the famous Megazord.

Packaged for maximum width.

For me, a very casual Power Rangers fan, the appeal of this line is that Super7 can produce zords that are more accurate to the show. Whenever a company makes a combining one, they have to work within that framework. The zords in the show existed as both models, or puppets, and as actors in a suit. When the Megazord was formed, it then transitioned to a costume which could basically cheat the proportions. As a result, any figure that does the same isn’t going to resemble the one on TV. It does in a general way, but usually the proportions are off (especially the head) and any articulation the figure has needs to be able to be integrated without causing an issue for one of the individual components. When I look at my vintage Bandai Megazord, it almost feels like they prioritized the individual zords over the Megazord. Or, they simply determined that was the best way to go. The head is tiny, but since it needs to fit inside the head of the T-Rex that was something that couldn’t really be avoided. The shoulders are huge as well and the body is quite thick. There’s also the issue of the T-Rex tail which kind of just disappears. It’s still a tremendously fun toy, especially for 1993, but for collectors that want a screen accurate Megazord it’s not really going to cut it.

This is amusing to me.

For the T-Rex, the same is basically true as it needed to be more narrow to accommodate the transformation. The head also needs to fit in the chest and something has to be done with that tail. Ignoring that allows Super7 to just look at the character onscreen and let that dictate where the figure goes. It obviously can’t scale with the Power Rangers in the line so that part is essentially made up, but Super7 is a company that tends to feel bigger is better and that’s certainly the case with the T-Rex. The box alone is massive. I was pretty amused when I got my figures in the mail as I ordered just the Green Ranger, Goldar, and the T-Rex and each box was different in size. I knew this one would likely be the biggest, but I still wasn’t quite prepared. And that’s mostly due to Super7 packaging the figure from the side and leaving the tail fixed. They could have sent it out disassembled, but what’s the fun in that?

He can stand upright.
Or he can stand “Jurassic Park” style.

The Tyrannosaurus stands at roughly 8″ in height. I say roughly because this is a character that’s always going to have its knees bent to some degree so I’m basically selecting what I feel is a neutral position. Lengthwise, he’s going to need about 10.5″ of shelf space for that tail and that’s with a gentle curve in it. Not only is the figure pretty big, but it has some heft too. It’s solid which helps give it more of a premium feel over the other figures in the line and really over just about every other Super7 figure I own. And in terms of show accuracy, I’d say it’s pretty damn close. There’s a lot of paint on this figure and the metallic portions have a nice shine to them. There’s some black linework on the shins and around the silver portions of the tail. There’s lots of places that are just blocks of color consistent with the look of the show and most of the paint is cleanly applied. There’s a little slop on the linework on the left shin of mine and the right eye could have been better. It’s also missing linework on the top of the head which is disappointing (the paint is present on the promo images) as the head is one of the few places where there’s a plastic look to the figure. Basically everywhere on the body, Super7 decided to paint this guy, except for the head which is mostly red plastic. Normally, you would see the opposite as we did with The Simpsons since the eyes are naturally drawn to the head. I wish they had painted it, but it is what it is. The proportions also strike me as a touch imperfect when comparing it to the suit on the show. The head should probably be a little bigger and the hands boxier. The knees also should indent on the sides, but here they’re basically flush, and the red areas around the shoulders should be more rounded off. These are nitpicks, for the most part, and the only thing I really miss when comparing it to the screen is just more of that black linework., but I think most people will be happy with how this figure looks.

This one is probably not going to scale with any Power Rangers in your collection.
He’s sized well for battling Goldar.

There may be some temptation to display this guy with past iterations of the Dinozords. I only have one such era of releases, the 1993 and 94 stuff from Bandai. I did also get the Hasbro Megazord for my son, but that thing is pretty small and neither vintage nor collector grade. As for the old Bandai stuff, this figure isn’t that much bigger than the Tyrannosaurus released back then. He’s just a little taller, but way more bulky. The vintage one does have the proper linework on the head though so at least it has that going for it. The Dragonzord is another one some may want to place with this figure and, size wise, it more or less works. That Dragonzord is pretty damn chunky and not exactly screen accurate, but it’s a fun companion. If you want to go battle mode with your Dragonzord, then it suddenly dwarfs the T-Rex. That’s to be expected since the Megazord does the same to the Dragonzord. There was apparently just no way to get those forms right as a combining toy, and since it was for kids, it’s not like Bandai was that concerned about accuracy. This figure will presumably scale much better with future Super7 zords.

Meeting some old friends.
He’s big.

Naturally, a big, robot, dinosaur isn’t going to articulate particularly well. Super7 basically got most of the joints one would expect into this figure, it’s just not particularly functional. The head is on what feels like a double ball peg and can look up and down pretty well. The large panels on the side of the head prevent natural rotation in that the head will always want to turn to the side when trying to rotate, but it has a lot of room for nuance posing. The base of the neck is where you get your rotation and it’s on a ball hinge so you can get a little extra “up” range as well. For the arms, it’s the silver parts that move. The “shoulders” are on ball hinges and can move up and down and you get about 90 degrees of movement. Their range out to the side is very minimal. There are elbows that get you something less than 90 with a swivel as well and the wrists swivel and hinge and those are fine. There’s a basic twist in the waist area which begins where the silver portion of the chest ends. The hips are big ball hinges that go out the side a small amount and rotate a minimal amount. The knees are hinged joints that barely move and are rather useless and the joint is mostly going to be used for a swivel as the lower leg can rotate there a decent amount. The ankles are on hinges that don’t go back very far, but do go forward a decent amount. There is an ankle rocker but the range is pretty limited, but it’s enough to accommodate the range at the hips. The tail is on a series of ball joints. The first segment doesn’t move, but each one after that does so you get full rotation at each segment and a little up and down movement that allows the tail to be curled. If you have a heavy duty stand, you can even get this guy into his kicking attack pose where he stood on his tail in the show. Lastly, there’s also a hinged jaw and that works fine.

There’s 30 years of toy advancements staring right at you.
I’m actually surprised at how comparable they are in size.

The Tyrannosaurus isn’t going to do a whole lot on your shelf aside from stand there and look cool. I like the range at the head as it imparts some personality, even though I think the suit in the show didn’t allow for that. The hips are limited, but allow the stance to be widened which looks nice, or you can go for a more straight up and down pose. There’s also enough range going forward at the hips that the figure can be posed like one would pose an actual T-Rex which is more horizontal. It’s a pretty cool look, though not something you would have ever seen on television out of this character. It’s also easy to stand and there’s not much rub at the joints that will impact the paint as they mostly go as far as they’ll go and then stop. In the end, I think it’s fine as this isn’t supposed to do a whole lot and it’s technically more articulated than it is in the show.

Here’s some tiny Jasons for your dinosaur to play with.
If you like novelty coins, you get this too.

The accessories for this figure are also another area of limitation. What really can this thing even come with? Super7 decided we needed some hand options so we get a set of fists, open hands, and more neutral hands. I’m a little surprised they didn’t just make the hands articulate, but this is honestly probably better for us. There’s also a pair of mini, in-scale, Red Ranger figures. One is posed with the hands on the hips and the other is in a summoning pose. They’re very minimally painted as they’re just red, slug, figures with the white of the gloves, boots, and belts applied. I certainly wouldn’t expect a fully painted figure at this size, but I feel like those tiny, novelty, figures are better painted than this. Adding a white diamond to the chest would have helped to break it up a bit and some black for the visor. Without it, these look too cheap to really do much with. Lastly, we get a replica Power Coin that features the snarling T-Rex on one side and the zord symbol (I think that’s what it is) on the reverse. It’s a really heavy, chunk, of metal and it features some shading which looks nice. It’s neat, but not exactly practical and I have no idea what I’ll end up doing with it. I wasn’t expecting much, but I do think we could have used an effect piece for the mouth cannons. I honestly don’t know if it ever used them in the show, but who cares if it didn’t? Some little blast effects or something like a breath attack would have been pretty damn cool.

Making friends with the other dinosaurs. This guy will probably pair nicely with the upcoming Grimlock Ultimates! from the Transformers line.
“I gotta get me one of these!”

Ultimately, which is how I pretty much have to end a review of a Super7 Ultimates! release, I think this figure gets the job done. It’s supposed to be a more screen-accurate depiction of the Tyrannosaurus Dinozord from the TV show and it succeeds in that department probably better than any other release I’ve seen. There have been some really cool, and really expensive, Megazords over the years, but usually the T-Rex has to be compromised in some way to facilitate the transformation. Here, we don’t have to worry about that. Aside from some missing paint on the head, I’m really happy with how this figure turned out. It’s a chunky, hunk of plastic that moves about as well as can be expected and will look great in any Power Rangers collection. He doesn’t scale at all with the Rangers, which is to be expected, but will look fine battling someone like Goldar and I assume the monsters to come will follow suit. For me, this line is all about the zords and monsters so I’m generally pleased with what I’ve seen. I decided to pass on the Yellow Ranger and Putty, so this will be my final review of the first wave. I do plan on picking up the Dragonzord when it comes out and eventually I’ll have the Megazord as well. And like Goldar, this is a Super7 release that actually meets its asking price of $55. I’m actually surprised they didn’t try to get more for it as they will with the Megazord so I guess be happy for that. This is an easy recommend for me though.

Looking for more Power Rangers toy coverage? Well, look no further:

Super7 Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Ultimate Green Ranger

We continue to finally offload some long standing preorders this year and up next is Mighty Morphin Power Rangers from Super7. It was June 2021 when these figures were announced to the surprise of many. Why? Because Power Rangers are now owned by Hasbro, probably the biggest toy producer in the world who has its…

Keep reading

Super7 Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Ultimate Goldar

Last week, when we took a look at the first Power Ranger in Super7’s line of Ultimates! action figures based on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers I expressed some surprise that Hasbro would license out this brand since it competes with their own Lighting Collection. I do feel like the actual Rangers are pretty safe. People…

Keep reading

Bandai Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Megazord

It was now a couple of weeks ago I posted about some toys I always wanted as a kid, but never got. Shortly after, I rectified some of those decades old injustices by purchasing the Dragonzord with Green Ranger from Bandai’s Mighty Morphin Power Rangers line of action figures from 1993. The Dragonzord was my…

Keep reading

%d bloggers like this: