Category Archives: toys

Star Wars The Black Series Mandalorian Warrior (Holiday Edition)

Straight from my Christmas shelf, it’s the holiday Mandalorian Warrior!

We’re getting to Christmas coverage at The Nostalgia Spot one day early this year with this look at one of the latest in the Holiday Collection from Hasbro’s Star Wars line of action figures referred to as The Black Series. I have previously looked at a figure from the very popular streaming show The Mandalorian from Hasbro’s The Vintage Collection. That’s a line of Star Wars figures that basically takes the old Kenner form and adds a whole bunch of articulation to it. I found that particular figure exceedingly charming and I’m a bit happy that I’m not a huge Star Wars fan or else I’d end up with a bunch of them (I’ve since only bought one more which I didn’t bother to review). Despite my preference, the clear most popular line from Hasbro in regards to Star Wars is the 6″ line known as The Black Series. I guess Star Wars collector wanted to see their favorite characters in a larger scale, or Hasbro simply ran out of 3.75″ figures and going to a new scale was an easier way to get someone to buy yet another Luke and Vader. Since I’m not a huge collector of Star Wars, it’s a line that’s never appealed to me. I always found the smaller scale for Star Wars as something that made the brand unique, plus it works way better for vehicles.

Special holiday figures demand special holiday packaging.

One way for Hasbro to get someone like me to buy a figure from its Black Series is to simply add some Christmas to it! Hasbro has been doing Christmas versions of Star Wars characters for a couple of years, if I’m not mistaken. This year’s lineup was actually supposed to drop last year, but delays at the factory or port, or both, caused them to miss Christmas 2021. Rather than drop them after the holidays, Hasbro simply held onto them to release later. There are a handful of these and they’re basically all just re-paints and re-decos of previously released figures to give them some holiday appeal. It’s been a desire on my end to add more Christmas toys to my annual display, so naturally this caught my eye. While I didn’t care for most of them, the holiday version of a Mandalorian Warrior stood out as being quite striking and festive so I decided to track it down. If you’re unaware, Hasbro arranged for each figure to be sold via a different retailer with this one landing with Target. It actually took me 4 tries to get this guy as I’d see him pop up on the app and I’d place an order for pickup only for it to be cancelled due to lack of stock. The fourth time was the charm though, and I even spied a couple on the pegs last time I was in there, so they appear to be shipping in some relative abundance. Perhaps the delay helped to make sure there would be enough product to meet demand. Nevertheless, lets rip this sucker open and give it a look.

“Fly away, Rodney!”

The Holiday edition of figures comes in a window box that’s desiged to resemble a wrapped present. The other benefit of these being delayed so long is that they retain the old window box packaging instead of the plastic free stuff Hasbro has switched to. I’m generally in favor of the move to eliminate needless plastic, but concede the window box is more attractive. I guess enjoy it while you can. It provides a straight-forward look at the figure inside and the accessories and if you’re an in-box collector it probably looks okay. Once removed, our nameless warrior stands a tick over 6″ at around 6.25″ and looks rather resplendent in his green and red attire. The helmet is rather striking at it’s predominantly red and green, but there’s a bit of shading applied in a dark red and, of course, we have the black visor. The shoulder pads, gauntlets, jet pack, and boots are done in green with red being applied to the belt, trunks, kneepads, and weapon holsters on his thighs. The rest of the figure is a reddish brown though his shin guards are white with thick, green, stripes. Much of the figure is done in molded, colored, plastic with the paint reserved for the helmet, shoulders, and shins. The only major deco is applied to the chest which has a festive, ugly, Christmas, sweater design applied to it. It’s the strong part of the figure and what basically ties it all together. The other colored parts look a bit cheap as a result, especially the trunks/belt and the jetpack. I’m left wishing they hit it with an enamel or clear coat that gave it a hard candy appearance. Just anything to apply a texture really would have helped.

I’m still working on acquiring Christmas figures, so it felt appropriate to pose him with some red and green figures from Hasbro for the time being.

As for the sculpt, this one is apparently an old one. I am not a collector of The Black Series, but my understanding is this was reworked from an old Jango Fett release from the earliest days of the line and it does show in places. I mentioned the finish as being cheap, but that’s more an issue of paint than sculpt. The feet are a bit odd as they’re very small. This guy looks like he’s wearing Crocs rather than boots. Maybe he’s supposed to and the feet are new? I’m not sure, but I suppose it doesn’t matter. By far, the worst offense this figure commits is featuring some sculpted wires that connect his biceps area to his forearms. Assuming it’s true that this is based on a Jango Fett figure, I suppose there was nothing Hasbro could do about the awkwardness involved in connecting two parts of the arm via wires, but here we have a fantasy creation that doesn’t need to be held down by that. Surely they had other arm molds without these annoying things they could have utilized? As it stands, we have two pieces of the figure joined by plastic. It can bend and flex, but stress marks appear rather quickly and I assume anyone that poses this frequently will eventually find these broken in short order. Hasbro must have determined they were too small to implement them like they do the cables on Apocalypse where they’re separate pieces that can be removed effortlessly. Not so here.

Though I suppose he could just battle Krampus.

I suppose that’s a good springboard to talk about the articulation. Here the figure shows its apparent age as well as this isn’t one to write home about. The head is on the typical Hasbro ball and hinge combo, but the boxy nature of the helmet means he basically can rotate and do little else. The shoulders feature the shoulder pads which prevent his arms from coming up to horizontal, but they can rotate around. The biceps do swivel, but as mentioned before, you need to be mindful of those sculpted wires when utilizing that function. There’s just a single hinge at the elbow, and the range is rather abysmal as he can’t even hit a 90 degree bend. The forearms swivel, which helps to keep those wires in-line, and the wrists swivel and hinge horizontally, not vertically as would be better. The armor means he does nothing in the torso and the waist is just a twist. The hips let the figure kick forward, but not back, and he can spread his legs far enough. There is a thigh cut and the knees are double-jointed. The ankles feature a hinge and rocker, but the range forward on the hinge is poor. The rocker is okay, but the feet are rather small so he can be tough to stand and pose. In addition to that, he’s a bit loose and floppy in the lower half which is unpleasant. The figure feels rather basic as a result, and it rears its head with the accessories as well.

You also get this little guy in the box. Cool?

As for those accessories, the Mandalorian Warrior comes with few. He has no extra parts, but his hands are trigger finger hands so he can hold his weapon in either hand. And that weapon is a long rifle, the Amban blaster, which can fit in either hand, but he can’t really hold it properly. I was amused when Target’s solicitation shot even featured him holding the weapon in an unnatural manner. He can basically just carry it, but the lack of butterfly joints and the proper wrist range means he can’t hold it as if he’s firing it. He also can’t holster it anywhere and it’s a shame the two holsters on his thighs can’t store anything. The deco of the rifle is a bit interesting as it’s primarily brown, white, and orange which was done to make it resemble the Nerf version of the same. It’s a bit of a deep pull so many who get this might wonder why they didn’t give it more of a Christmas deco, but it seems appropriate to make it a “toy” version of the gun. The only other accessory is a small bogling, which is done in all white with blue feet. It’s cute, I suppose, and it frees up Grogu for a separate holiday release which is probably what Hasbro wanted to get casuals like me to buy two. And that other figure is the Walmart exclusive Scout Trooper which I may or may not get. I suppose the jetpack can be considered a third accessory since it is removable. It just plugs into the back and, as I mentioned before, is rather plain looking given the lack of paint.

“Well little guy, we’re pretty mediocre, but at least we’re Christmas!”

The holiday edition of the Mandalorian Warrior presently retails at Target for $26.49. That seems really high for a figure that is, as far as I know, just a re-paint. It probably has a smaller run than some other figures which may account for some of the increase, but I’m guessing the added price is mostly to take advantage of people like me who will impulse buy a Christmas Star Wars figure. As an annual decoration, I think it’s okay. It stands out on a shelf because of the color combo and the Mandalorian design, which is basically just Boba Fett, is pretty timeless and distinct. As an action figure, it’s pretty mediocre though as the paint is scarce, the articulation poor, and the accessories lacking. I would have preferred pistols that actually fit in the holsters to the rifle, and they must have done a Mandalorian figure that can holster the rifle like the Vintage Collection version, no? I don’t understand why they would reuse this old mold when better ones exist. Maybe because if they just did the actual Mandalorian it would be even more obvious that they wanted to separate Grogu off for another release? If that’s the reason then that’s lame. Ultimately, I don’t necessarily regret my purchasing decision here, but it doesn’t endear Hasbro to me either. It certainly drives home that Hasbro is a big company out to make as much money as possible, and I’ve helped them out in their quest for that. If you want what is essentially a Christmas Boba Fett, then this might do it for you. If you’re expecting what is the current level of quality of a Black Series release with a Christmas surcharge then this might disappoint you. And if you never needed to see Star Wars characters dressed for Christmas, then you can certainly skip this.


Playmates TMNT The Last Ronin PX Previews Exclusive (Chase)

What’s this?! A brand new TMNT sculpt from Playmates? And I bought it?!

A few years ago, Mattel launched a new subline of action figures based on their most famous IP: Masters of the Universe. The subline was titled Origins and it basically took the vintage toys of the 80s and updated them with more modern articulation while still preserving that vintage aesthetic. And ever since then, collectors have been barking up the tree of Playmates Toys, known throughout the world as the producers of the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles line of action figures, for something similar. And so far, Playmates has said “nah.” Instead, the company seems more interested in reissuing figures from its back catalog and reworking the Classics line from 2012. This is all well and good for folks looking to add or replace vintage figures, and I guess the 2012 reissues are good for those who want a Shredder or Ryu figure? All right, those reissues are pretty terrible, but I’m guessing they’re doing well enough that Playmates sees little value in sinking money into a new line. Then again, who knows with Playmates as they recently re-sculpted a new turtle body for the Stranger Things two-packs. They look okay, though scale with nothing, making the whole thing feel very perplexing.

In-box collectors should be pretty happy with this one.

Since Playmates seems to delight in surprising us, they had a new figure to show off earlier this year based on The Last Ronin. The Last Ronin has been a popular addition to the TMNT universe and it’s a not surprise to see toys follow, it’s just a surprise to see one from Playmates. Especially one that would appear to present a solid enough blueprint for a hypothetical TMNT Origins line. I was initially going to pass on the figure when it was first shown, but my curiosity recently got the best of me. Playmates released two versions of the figure: a standard, painted one, and a black and white version with some hatching, “comic,” paint effects. For some reason, that black and white version really appealed to me, which sucks for me since it’s considered a “chase” version and virtually every retailer that carries it will apply a surcharge to it. Oh well. It comes in a nice window box though with artwork from the series on it and surprisingly no product shots. Since there’s no cross-sell, I’m assuming this is a one and done release, but I suppose if it does well Playmates could revisit it in the future.

This deco just does “it” for me.
Any Last Ronin figure is going to need some weapon storage, and this edition does a solid job. Still needs more though.

Even though this is considered the rare chase version, I am an opener so we’re going to talk about this figure. The figure stands around 4.75″ in height and is pretty close to the same size as a turtle from the vintage line. A direct comparison is a little difficult since those figures all had pre-posed legs, but the height is pretty close though the vintage figures are all chunkier. It’s especially noticeable when comparing the hands between the two releases. Even so, the face on this new figure definitely has a vintage look to it. He has visible teeth on both sides of his beak, but more of an effort has been made to round the features and add detail. He has way more teeth, for example, than a vintage figure and they don’t have a large gap of green (or white, in this case) between them. As far as sculpting goes, this guy is all unique as far as I know. He’s depicted in his overcoat complete with hood and it’s all done in plastic with no soft goods or removable pieces. The hood is a separate piece that doesn’t seem to peg into any part of the figure, but is nevertheless quite secure where it is. With heat, I’m guessing one could pry it off, but I’m not going to attempt any such thing. The bandana underneath is fully sculpted though from what I can tell. The goggles are part of the sculpt on the hood so you can’t do a goggles-on look, but I’m not particularly disappointed by that. The belt and bottom of the coat seems to be the only other overlay and it’s either glued or keyed in. It’s a slightly softer plastic, though the flex isn’t going to facilitate any extra poseability with the figure. The black linework on this guys is very clean save for the top of the bandana on mine and I love the added scuff marks and such all over him. I would have welcomed a little more in some places, especially the hands, feet, and weapon holsters, but it looks solid nonetheless. I also like how he has different knee pads since that asymmetrical look was so popular in the old line, though in this case it’s done to be accurate with the source material.

This sword could probably use some heat to straighten it out.

This guy is really charming to look at. It’s not the hyper-accurate to the source material the NECA version goes for, but it has a certain appeal for those who either grew up with or just collect the vintage line. He may lack the chunk of that old line, but I think he can fit into a vintage display without too much issue. The standard version might stand out a little more given it has far more paint apps, though a stark white figure doesn’t exactly have any comparables in the line either. This is a fun look though, it just might be a little too pricey for what it is. Most seem to list the regular version for around 30 dollars. If Playmates could do this level of quality at 20 or even 25 that would feel a lot more agreeable. Having this black and white version has made me more curious about the regular release and how many paint hits it has. Are all the ropes painted? Are there any wash effects? I don’t know if I’m 30 dollars curious, but maybe if this thing hits clearance I’ll add another.

You also get the broken sword, which just reminds me of all of the broken swords I had in the old line.
Raph had a pair of sais, so Ronin gets two as well!

The big selling point of the Origins line is the addition of modern articulation, so it’s fair to wonder if this figure could be a model of things to come in a similar line from Playmates. And if that’s the case, well then there’s some good, and some not so good when it comes to this figure. The head appears to be on a ball peg, but the hood makes manipulating it rather difficult. I can get him to look left and right, and even up and down a little, but I’d call it more nuance posing than anything. The shoulders are ball-hinged and he can raise his arms up past a horizontal position, so that’s good, and there’s no real shell to prevent rotation all the way around too. The elbows are double jointed and bend past 90 degrees with ease and the wrists swivel and feature horizontal hinges which is a bummer since vertical would have been better. There is a waist twist and the legs attach via ball and socket joints. He can spread his legs basically as far as the skirt of the jacket will let him, which isn’t much, and the same is true for kicking forward and back. You get a tiny bit of thigh twist, or pivot, on that ball joint, but it’s not a lot. The knees are double-jointed and bend past 90 without issue while the ankles feature a hinge. The feet appear to peg into the hinge so you get a tiny bit of swivel there, but there’s no ankle rocker which is a bummer. That’s the biggest omission for me as being able to pivot down at the feet really opens up the stances available when posing a figure. Without it, there’s not a whole lot he can do below the waist. The other major omission is the lack of a biceps swivel. If they added those two points, which might not have cost them anything when they were tooling this guy, it would have made a world of difference. Instead, he moves just okay. It’s certainly below average for a modern figure, and this is a guy with a lot of weapons so it’s an extra bummer he can’t pose better. Yeah, he’ll pose better than your turtles from 1988, but that’s probably not the standard we should be holding Playmates to in 2022.

Donnie typically only wields one bo staff though, so he only gets one of those.
If you don’t want him wielding any of the more traditional TMNT weapons, he also has some shurikens he can turn to.

One of the hallmarks of The Last Ronin is the character is basically a one turtle army. He has all of the weapons of the core 4, and even more in the book, so this edition has to do the same. There are no extra hands or portraits so all of the accessories are weapons. In the box, you get: two sai, two nunchaku, one sword, one broken sword, one bo staff, two star-shaped shurikens, and two diamond shaped shurikens. It’s a good assortment and the only weapons missing are the tonfa the character wields in the book. There’s also a grappling hook that pegs onto the belt, though it’s just a lump of sculpted plastic and not something he can really do anything with. All of the weapons are sculpted in a light gray with a black wash added. The shurikens might be a darker gray, but they also have a much heavier wash on them making them appear more black than gray. The sculpt of the weapons is all solid. The ‘chuks are sculpted to have ropes instead of chains and they all feature wraps sculpted onto the handles. The sai are the only ones I don’t love since the bladed portions have been rounded off significantly and look a bit silly as a result, but I guess that’s because Playmates adheres to department store standards when it comes to safety. Like the book character, this figure has room for weapon storage, but he can’t store everything. There’s a slot for the bo on his back and a scabbard for one sword. There are two pieces for the sai, one on the rear and one on the front, and they even pivot so you can adjust them as needed. There’s no way to store the nunchaku though nor is there a place for the shurikens. He can at least hold everything and his hands are sculpted so the sai blade can go between his fingers if you wish. I just wish he had a true belt to slot some of this stuff into when he’s not holding it. I almost feel discouraged from displaying him holding any of the weapons he can otherwise store.

So where does this guy fit? We have a NECA toon on the left, and a Playmates vintage on the right. He’s close to the vintage, but decidedly less chunky. I think he mostly exists on his own, which is appropriate given the source material, but some may want him to blend more seamlessly with the vintage line than I do.

On its own, this Playmates version of The Last Ronin feels like a worthwhile release. The word I keep coming back to with this guy is “charming.” He’s a charming figure. It has enough of that vintage aesthetic going for it with the face, but it also brings its own flair to the shelf. As a one-off, it feels okay at this price point, but as a blueprint for a potential revival of the old line it does feature some room for improvement. I would like to see the articulation shortcomings addressed, and if they can’t get the price below 30 then it might not matter what they do. That feels way too close to the going rate for something from NECA, though an Origins-inspired line might not face competition from NECA, but Super7. Maybe a 30 dollar price tag is good enough if consumers are comparing that to the $55 remakes Super7 is doing? It’s hard to say. I’m not even sure I want such a line to exist as I feel pretty well covered at this point when it comes to TMNT toys. As a novelty, I could see myself kicking the tires on the four brothers at least, but as another line I’m all-in or nearly all-in on? I don’t know if the appetite is there, but I could be in the minority. Hopefully, if Playmates continues to do one-off styled releases, or even does more of those two-packs, they try to adhere to this style more than the 2012 Classics Collection mold which just doesn’t hold up very well. More of this, please, Playmates.


Marvel Legends X-Men Animated Series Mystique

Mystique is bringing the big guns.

The penultimate figure in this series is a bit of a curveball. When one thinks of the animated series X-Men, the first villains that come to mind are Magneto, Sinister, Apocalypse, Sabretooth, and then it gets muddled. Graydon Creed made quite the impression in the show’s second season and may even be the most hate-able villain the show produced. Omega Red was certainly memorable since he was a very 90s sort of villain and being tied to Wolverine never hurts. And, of course, we have Mystique, the character Hasbro selected to be the second villain of the line (third if you want to count Morph). I think she has a claim to that fifth spot and I can certainly see an argument for Mystique as one of the most memorable villains of the show. It’s just that her character is very much tied to others. She does briefly cross paths with Sinister, and her box art appears to be inspired by that scene, but she’s not really associated with him. There’s her adopted daughter Rogue, biological son Nightcrawler, and her lackeys in the form of Pyro, Avalanche, and the Blob. All of those characters could certainly make an appearance in this line, and I would certainly argue that Rogue should be, but it strikes me as odd to get Mystique before some of these other characters. And it’s especially surprising considering she is, as I mentioned in the first setence, the penultimate figure of the line with the only remaining character set for release being Cyclops. Hasbro left open the possibility that they will return to the world of the X-Men animated series, but for now we basically have to consider it done which just makes this selection an odd choice.

Are we all in agreement that the box art is the best thing about this line?

I don’t know how Hasbro settled on the characters for this line, but my guess would be it’s largely sales related and cost-oritented. You can’t do this line without Wolverine, and basically any member of the team can’t be considered a surprise. I’m guessing Hasbro skipped over Rogue and Gambit because of their recent retro card released figures, and the same is true for Beast who has a new figure shipping now. Magneto also had some recent figures, so maybe that’s why Hasbro went with an older figure like Sinister. He was prominent enough in the show that it was hardly an upset to see him released as soon as he was, and he pairs well with Morph who was a character they absolutely had to do. With Mystique, it’s possible she’s a favorite of someone on staff who pushed for her, but it seems more likely to me that this release has more to do with Hasbro and the Legends team wanting to get her back out there. Like most of this line, Mystique is a re-paint with some minor additions and the previous figure was released as a Walgreen’s exclusive. Retail exclusives can be a pain to track down, so putting out another version that’s easy to acquire is often a welcomed development. I could be wrong, but that’s my guess on how Mystique made it into this 8 figure line.

I don’t hate this figure, but I would like it a whole lot more if it actually looked like the render on the box.

Mystique comes in the customary VHS styled box with artwork by Dan Veesenmeyer. It depicts Mystique in a shadowy area holding a candelabra which gives it a real horror vibe which mixes well with the character’s blue skin and affinity for skulls. It might be my favorite illustration in this line so far. On the spine is the usual profile shot and on the rear is the customary product shot, only with this figure the product on the back is not representative of the figure inside. In what has become an annoying and, frankly, unacceptable trend with Marvel Legends of late the promotional renders for figures have been using the wrong molds. The actual figure is on the same female buck that the former Mystique figure utilized, while the render on the back appears to be based on the newer Shriek figure. It’s a much better base for a superhero line as the figure is well proportioned, looks like a woman of impressive physical fitness, and it’s an all-together better looking figure than what’s actually in the box.

“I have some information about your daughter…”

The render basically gives Mystique an unfortunate hurdle to overcome right out of the gate and I’m going to try to not let it impact my feelings here, but the simple fact is this older female body is just okay. It’s very slight and not particularly heroic looking (granted, she is a villain). It has articulation limitations as well which we’ll get to and it’s just a base body that I would like to see retired. Mystique does feature her cartoon accurate costume of a white, sleeveless, dress with long gloves and boots. The head has been reworked to give her a new hair piece which looks fine. I love her wicked grin which is very appropriate for the character and they got the little skull on her hairline correct. Her body is mostly colored plastic as she’s basically a two-toned figure of blue and white. The controversial cel-shading is also present and, once again, Hasbro made the odd choice to use gray instead of black and it’s a shade of gray that looks too close to the gray-blue of her skin. It’s applied okay here, certainly not as bad as some of the other figures in the line, but it still comes across as half-assed. She really should have multiple shades of gray, black, and blue to do her justice and considering she’s a character who often featured heavy shading in the show it really feels like a missed opportunity. There’s no shading on her hair or on her yellow belt and it just very much feels like an afterthought. The only shading is applied to the clothing. The belt is a floating piece and the skirt portion of her outfit is a part of the belt which is a little odd. I think an overlay might have worked better, but then you lose the articulation in the torso. I am forced to reiterate, once again, that I love the idea of putting shading on these figures, but if they’re not going to put the effort in then don’t do it. She really needs some on her face to bring her to life, but I’m not brave enough to try my hand at customizing. She also has a hole in her back which is unnecessary and unwanted.

“Lord Apocalypse!”
I don’t know if she ever had a gun this large in the show, but at least it opens up the smaller gun for another figure.

Mystique comes with a fair amount of accessories, though most are just reused from elsewhere. She has open hands out of the box with her right hand being more “cupped” than the left like she should be holding a long-stem glass. She has optional trigger hands and they’re for her two guns. One is a large, machinegun, type and the other a pistol. Both are just cast in the same blue-gray plastic used for her flesh which is pretty damn cheap on Hasbro’s part and it makes the larger gun, especially, look stupid in her hands. The pistol is the same gun that came with the movie Deadpool. At least being blue makes it kind of resemble the gun she used in “The Cure” and the one Morph was seen with at times. Her final accessory is a more thoughtful one, but again, Hasbro’s cheapness ruins it some. That accessory is a baby Nightcrawler wrapped in a brown blanket which has better shading than most of the figures in this line. This is a callback to the show and the scene of Mystique preparing to toss her unwanted mutant child off of a waterfall. The problem is, this baby is repurposed from a baby Hulk figure. It lacks Nightcrawler’s defining pointed ears and he has this pompadour styled hair that looks stupid. He also has a yellow pacfier, which he did not possess in the show. Lastly, Mystique’s portrait is inappropriate for posing her with the child. Had they included a secondary one with tears streaming down her face that would have been something. Should we give Hasbro credit for at least referencing the show? I guess, but I’m also the type who sees little point in doing something if you’re not going to do it right.

And the other character in need of a gun is Morph. This blue one looks a little like the gun he featured in “Till Death Do Us Part.”
I appreciate the thought, but that’s not Kurt.

The last thing we need to consider with this action figure is the articulation. Mystique, being essentially on the same body as Jean, has few surprises. The ball-hinged neck lets her look in all directions save for up since her hair gets in the way. The shoulders can lift out past horizontal and rotate fine while the arm articulation is limited to single-hinged elbows with a swivel point in the elbow. She can’t quite hit 90 degrees and the lack of a bicepts swivel is a disappointment. The wrists rotate and hinge with the right trigger hand featuring the proper, vertical, hinge so that’s good. The torso has the diaphragm joint under the bust which offers little more than some rotation and tilt with very little forward and back. There’s no waist twist, and the legs can barely manage a 45 degree spread. She does kick forward okay, but not back, and there’s a thigh cut for rotation there. The knees are double-jointed and they feel less gummy than Jean and Storm’s. There’s no boot cut and the ankles hinge forward and back a decent amount and rock side-to-side. It’s a mediocre spread of articulation. She can at least pose fine with the hand gun.

“Oh, my beloved child. Wait…you’re not my baby!”

Mystique is another bare minimum type of release from Hasbro in this line. She looks okay, the cel-shading is at least passable, and there’s a tiny bit of re-tooling with the head. They still half-assed the accessories and really should have just used the new body they had already made for other figures as I bet this belt and head would have fit just fine. Why they didn’t is not something I can figure out. And making the guns the same color of plastic as her body is just weird and cheap. Imagine if everybody ran around with guns that matched their skintone perfectly. That’s Hasbro not wanting to pay to change the color of the plastic in the machines. And the baby Kurt is a nice thought, but a poor execution. At least the box art looks great.

“So long, imposter!”

Mystique is presently available via Hasbro’s Pulse website and the Shop Disney webstore. Like all of the figures in this line, she comes with a slight upcharge that’s not really reflected in the product. Chances are, if you’ve been collecting this line then you’ll probably want to add Mystique to your shelf. She could have been a lot better, but by the standards of this line she’s actually one of the better releases. I suppose I’d stick her somewhere in the middle, and I probably prefer her to any of the X-Men women. I’m still left wishing she wasn’t the character we got with one of these precious 8 slots Hasbro budgeted for, but at least she’s not a dud. That means we only have one more figure to look forward to in this line, Cyclops, before we say “goodbye for now.” Hopefully it’s a good one, but it’s not looking like it will arrive before the year’s end so check back in 2023 for my thoughts on Cyke.

If we’re only getting a few villains out of this line, at least they fit reasonably well thematically.

Super7 TMNT Ultimates! Sewer Surfer Mike

Surf’s up, dudes!

We are back with one more look at Wave 6 of Super7’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles line of Ultimates! action figures: Sewer Surfer Mike. This, like every figure in the line so far, is a recreation of a Playmates Toys figure from the vintage line of TMNT action figures, and in this case it’s of Mike the Sewer Surfer. That was the Michelangelo included in the inaugural disguise series which was basically the first of the “wacky” variants that Playmates would do. Many more followed, but for me, that first wave was the most memorable and Michelangelo as a surfer dude made plenty of sense. And it was a toy I really enjoyed as a kid. Something about that pink and blue wet suit was just a pleasing aesthetic for me. I loved the sculpted details like the octopus on one of Mikey’s legs or that metallic paint on his sunglasses. He also had a little, crab, buddy that affixed to his surfboard and it was just a fun, silly, figure. And because of that affection I had for it as a kid I had to get the Super7 version. There was at least one other compelling reason to get this, which we’ll get to, but it was largely a no-brainer. I really liked all of those disguised turtles, it’s one of the few waves I had every figure from, and the nostalgia is strong here.

He certainly looks the part.

Mikey comes in the standard Super7 Ultimates! box with slipcover on the outside and window box within. Mikey stands around 6″ and is basically in-line with the other turtles, as expected. Since he features a new outfit that’s all done as part of the sculpt, everything about this guy is new. The only parts Super7 could reuse were the hands and maybe the shins. He’s done in as much colored plastic as possible, which for Mikey is that deep, forest, green that distinguishes him from his brothers. The wet suit feature some painted details and it’s done in an acceptable fashion. There’s a lot of additional, fun, sculpted bits on this guy in the form of various sea creatures. Mikey looks like he was vomited up by a whale or something as he’s got crabs (the good kind), sharks, and seawood all over the place and it’s something I remember fondly of the original figure. I’m a little surprised some of these aren’t removable, but they weren’t on the old figure so I don’t hate it. I’d have kept them on, but I understand if some are disappointed just like how some out there wanted Scratch’s shackle to be removable. It is interesting that the default portrait for this figure has Mikey with his tongue hanging out. That is not how the original figure depicted him as he instead had a sly smile and shades. The shades, by the way, are removable this time. The second portrait is more in-line with the original. It doesn’t matter since both heads are in the box, but I found it a bit curious. He still features a big, yellow, belt and I am a bit disappointed there isn’t more paint here. I thought Super7 did a good job making Slash’s belt pop more, but with this one it’s like they didn’t even try. Despite that, I think he looks good and I’m as charmed with this version as I was the original when I was a kid.

He’s got some board wax and these oversized throwing stars, but the board is the main attraction.

What certainly adds to the fun factor here rests with the accessories. Mikey’s got a decent spread, and it starts with the optional hands. Mikey comes with two sets of gripping hands (vertical hinge and horizontal), fists, and style posed hands. For those gripping hands he has his trusty nunchaku. These are of the molded plastic variety and Super7 added some seaweed to them in keeping with the theme. The original figure did not come with these so I like that Super7 gave us some. The only issue is they’re very gummy to the point where I find the texture unpleasent. It’s a shame, because the sculpt and paint are nice, but they’re so soft that I couldn’t even get them into his gripping hands. He also has three cans of wax, I guess to maintain his board, and I initially wasn’t sure what they were. They’re painted okay, my blue and yellow one isn’t lined up properly, but don’t do much for me otherwise. He also has his starfish shurikens which is something that did come with the old toy, and most important he comes with his surfboard. It looks like the vintage one as it’s cast in orange plastic and has a decal on it. It’s disappointing to see a decal in place of paint or a printing, but that’s what we got. The little crab guy is included, but he no longer clips into the board and instead is intended to just be placed on it which doesn’t work as well since the board needs to lean forward. There’s also a foot strap for the board in case Mikey wipes out. It looks pretty cool, but it’s really crying out for a display stand of some kind. Similar to the Optimus Prime figure Super7 did, the fins on the underside of the board make it a challenge to actually pose Mikey in a surfing position. He’s a bit annoying to pose because while he can peg onto the board, nothing else does and his sunglasses just rest on his head unconvincingly so there’s a lot of balancing going on. Lastly, he has a weapon sprue which contains the shuriken, nunchaku, crab, and wax cans surrounded by a block and tackle. It would have been cool to get the block and tackle as an accessory, though admittedly I don’t know what I would have done with it. Just like I don’t know what to do with the sprue. These are being phased out from future waves and I consider that no great loss.

As is often the case, two heads are indeed better than one.

Of course, we also have that other head which is more vintage inspired. Put that on your figure with the shades and the look is mostly complete (the fit of the shades is rather poor) which frees up that other head for another figure. It’s no secret that a lot of folks weren’t crazy about Michelangelo’s alternate head from the Wave 3 release of Ultimates! I’ve been using that head, because I overall liked the alt heads more, but it is my least favorite of the four. It’s just an odd expression. They were going for a smile or a laugh, but it’s very blocky and he has huge gaps between his teeth. This one kind of carries that weakness forward, but overall both heads do a much better job of getting Mikey’s termperment across. And the good news is that Super7 was able to match the colored plastic very well between this release and that past one so, if you want to, you can swap out the old head with one of these. I’m definitely going to do that with my display, though I haven’t yet decided which head I want for which figure. And I suppose the inverse is true if you really want your Sewer Surfer Mike to have one of the old heads. The classic, vintage, head doesn’t look terrible, though I can’t see myself going in that direction, but it’s always nice to have options.

One clear and obvious negative with this figure are these gummy, awful, nunchuks. I love the seaweed and such, but he can’t even grip them easily because they’re so gummy.

Now, the big deal with this line of late has been articulation. Wave 5, which arrived at the same time as Wave 6, was pretty much a disaster as far as loose joints are concerned. The Wave 6 figures I’ve looked at have been much better. Slash was pretty great, and while Scratch had some odd engineering choices, he was at least plenty sturdy. Mikey, being a Wave 6 release as well, is more of the same which is a good thing. He articulates just like the other turtles so we have a double ball peg at the head that has subpar range because of how low it sits on the unarticulated neck. The shoulders are ball-hinged and he can just about get his arms out to the side. He has a biceps swivel and the elbows are single hinges with rotation and it’s fine. The wrists swivel and hinge and the hands swap fairly easily. In the torso, is a waist twist that does little and at the hips Mikey can almost do full splits (it’s the sculpted eel on his left thigh that keeps him from achieving a true split), kick forward, and can’t really kick back due to the shell. There is a thigh twist and the knees are single hinges with a swivel. At the ankle, we get hinges and rockers which continue to be the strong point of the line. The rest is just basic. The range is mediocre as he can’t quite hit a 90 degree bend at either the elbow or knee, but there are at least no surprises. We know what to expect and that the articulation is going to be a weak spot for this line, at least what is here seems fine as far as quality control is concerned. I’d love to see Super7 do better, but we’re at a point that we should expect this level of articulation and either accept ir or pass because it’s unlikely to change.

Whether you go with the tongue head or the closed mouth, I think it’s an improvement for the wave 3 Mikey.

This is a figure that is not likely to excite many, but it’s probably not going to let many down either. It feels like it should be regarded as a new baseline for the entire series. There’s a good amount of paint on the figure proper and it’s applied reasonably well. Yes, it’s not pristine upon close inspection, but it’s good enough. The articulation is not impressive, but is up to the line’s own standard and at 6 waves deep it’s mostly on the consumer at this point if they’re letdown in that department. And the figure also comes with enough, though I definitely would have appreciated some new hands like open palms for a more traditoonal surfing pose or maybe a “Hang 10” gesture. At least there is already plenty of new tooling with this guy so it doesn’t feel like Super7 cheaped out on us. My only true criticisms rest with the belt and nunchuks. The belt just needs more paint as it shouldn’t be all yellow like that. At least hit the cans with something. And that gummy plastic utilized for the chuks needs to take a hike. I get that they were looking for a flexible alternative for the weapons, but this isn’t the right solution. Mostly though, if you’re into this line and have been generally pleased then you’ll like this figure and if you liked the vintage one well then it’s a no brainer. The fact that his second head works well with the older Mikey might be reason enough for some to drop the $55 it costs to get this guy.

The new heads for Mikey are a bit “toony” compared with the other brothers, but it works well enough as far as I’m concerned.

S.H.Figuarts Dragon Ball Super – Ultimate Gohan Super Hero

As part of the promotion for the film Dragon Ball Super – Super Hero, Bandai released a wave of action figures from its S.H. Figuarts brand of characters from the film. The neat thing was, these releases were actually really cheap relative to other SHF releases with a MSRP of just $35. Of the four, the only one I grabbed initially was Goku as I was looking for a base version of Goku and that figure really stood out as better than the alternative to me. I was tempted by Piccolo as well because the headsculpts looked like an improvement over the figure I have, but ultimately I didn’t want to spend money for some new heads. Another temptation for me was the new Gohan. Depicted in his “Ultimate” form, the adult Gohan from the film looked really interesting because it would appear he’s on a newer body that could see some reuse down the road. At the end of the day though, I’m not a huge Gohan fan so I decided to pass. The question was rendered moot too when he sold out really quickly as there’s a legion of Dragon Ball collectors out there who have been waiting for a good interpretation of Ultimate Gohan.

Then Bandai put up for sale on its Premium Bandai webstore two characters from the film: Gamma 1 and Gamma 2. They’re the “sort of” villains from the film and I liked their look. I wasn’t sure if I liked it enough to pay the Premium Bandai upcharge to get them though, but once I finally saw the film, I ended up taking the plunge. The thing with those figures is they both come with optional parts for the Ultimate Gohan figure. I suppose I could have sold those parts to recoup some of the expense of those two figures, but instead I just went in for more and purchased the Gohan figure. Retailers opened up some additional preorders for him, at the slightly inflated price of $40 (he may have started off there too and I just forgot), and I grabbed one of them. I’ve had the figure for about a month now, and let me tell you something: I love it!

My Gohan, you’re looking unusually focused this morning.

Gohan comes in the usual window box and should look fairly routine from outside the box. Once removed, he stands just shy of 5.5″ to the top of his face, closer to 6.5″ if you want to go to the top of the hair. Gohan from the movie is depicted in his classic Piccolo training uniform. It’s a purple gi with red sash and he has the big, chunky, shoes he and Piccolo both feature in the movie. He basically only distinguishes himself from Piccolo via his black wriststraps. He’s in his “Ultimate” form which was his ascended form he learned from the Elder Kai during the Buu Saga. It’s basically Gohan’s ultimate form, hence the name, though it doesn’t come with a flashy transformation. If anything, he just has slightly bigger, spikier, hair. He’s also jacked and that comes through in the sculpt. It’s an interesting juxtaposition to Goku who keeps going through all of these different forms and hair colors to get more powerful, but his kid just bulks up a bit. I kind of like that about Gohan, though he has his own wild transformations too.

The new style for the shoulder joints can be a bit finicky to work with, but the reward is that they look so much better than the old style with the sleeve cuff pegged into the shoulder itself.

Like most figures in this line, Gohan is largely composed of molded, colored, plastic which minimizes the need for paint. I suppose “need” is a strong word and certainly a subjective one as many (myself included) would like to see more paint on these releases. It’s much harder to criticize them for that though at this lower price point. With Gohan, there appears to be a hint of shading on the legs, which they like to do for some reason. It’s not as visible with Gohan as it is with Goku and his orange gi, which almost works out better for Gohan. It adds just a touch of depth and comes across well. It’s also helped by the fact that the purple is quite matte on this figure giving him a nice finish. The chest is painted and it’s not a perfect match to the neck and arms. The chest has a matte appearance, while there is a touch of shine on the neck, but it’s not awful. The red sash is a separate, floating, piece though it is rather snug on the figure. It may cause some paint transfer if you’re not careful. Lastly though, the faces for this figure look terrific. I don’t know what Bandai did to improve their facial printing, but keep it up. The previous Goku figure looked nice, but Gohan is even better. These faces all look fantastic and it really brings the figure to life. The hair also looks nice and it’s even tricky to figure out where the seem is to remove the bangs because the fit is so good. The only blemish is a bit of mold release, roughness, on the side of the hair. It’s not very noticeable from a shelf, but it does kind of suck and I considered trying to exchange it, but opted not to. Aside from that though, I think this figure looks wonderful.

On one foot with not assistance, and on the flimsy plastic of the arena playset at that.

Adding to my enjoyment is the articulation. I’ve been a little critical of the various Goku figures as I acquire more of them because that figure has some limitations and some features that are a bit of an eyesore. This figure doesn’t solve every problem that Goku has, but it comes close. The head is on a double-ball peg with another ball joint at the base of the neck. He can move around nice and smooth and there’s great nuance posing afforded by this setup. It’s only weakness it he can’t look up very well so if you wanted to position him in a flying pose parallel with the ground it would look awkward. The shoulders have a newer style of joint similar to what Krillin has which means theres no pegged in shoulder piece to look stupid. The sleeve is just a floating piece the arms goes through and it pegs into a ball and hinge style of joint inside the torso. The end result is you get some up and down movement at just the shoulder before even engaging the hinge which allows the arms to be raised out. You do have to work with the sleeve to get them horizontal, but it’s do-able. There is still a butterfly joint and that may be the only limitation here as he doesn’t seem to reach across quite as far as Goku. A Kamehameha pose is still possible, but a little less natural looking. The rear of the joint is cleaner, though there will still be angles where it looks unsightly. The joint is all cast in purple though so at least it doesn’t look as ridiculous as Goku’s where the interior is flesh-toned. The rest of the arms are typical stuff with a biceps swivel, double-jointed elbow that goes well past 90 degrees, and ball-peg wrists.

This one needs a stand though.

In the torso, we get a ball-joint at the diaphragm. There is no hinge in there to lift the upper torso higher which seems cleaner, but the figure also doesn’t have much range forward and back. He can pivot a bit on the joint as well. Below that is a waist twist which feels like a ball-peg of some kind. It mostly lets him twist, but you do get some nuance posing out of it as well. At the hips, we have some kind of a ball-joint that works very well. Gohan can achieve full splits and kick forward plenty far, though can’t kick back because he does have sculpted cheeks. There’s a thigh twist below that which is very smooth and the double-jointed knees both look and function well. At the boot, there’s a swivel and the feet are ball pegs. They don’t have much range going forward and back due to the cuffs on the shoes, but the rocker works okay. There’s also a toe hinge if you like those.

The Masenko pose is a bit tricky. Anything that requires the figure to raise its arms above the shoulder is tough because of the shirt piece.

Most importantly, all of the articulation is really smooth. No stuck joints, no uncomfortable creeking or squeeking noises, and it’s all very visually appealing. That may not sit as well with some other folks as I can see some wishing Bandai sacrificed some of the form to get better range in places. The torso feels like the biggest issue as we could probably get a better ab crunch in there. The ankles also aren’t great, but I think that’s partly due to the character design and the shoes present. The shoulders still aren’t perfect, but I think they look much better this way and I’ll take the reduced range there for this visual. I would definitely be interested in seeing a new Goku on this body, though I don’t know what version (I did order the Super Saiyan 2 Goku, but it’s on the usual buck). Maybe a brand new Super Saiyan 3 or “Awakening Super Saiyan” Goku?

He can do a reasonable Kamehameha pose though.
Fire away, Gohan!

This is a bit of a budget release, but there are still some accessories to talk about. Unfortunately, they’re not particularly exciting. Gohan just comes with some extra hands and face plates. For faces, he has a stern expression, teeth-gritting, and a yelling one. For hands, we get fists out of the box plus Kamehameha hands, martial arts pose hands, and a set of open “Masenko” hands. That’s it. It’s expected given the price point, but still disappointing to only get a conventional spread of hands plus three facial expressions. An effect part would have been welcomed and, honestly, adds mere pennies to the cost. How about the Super Saiyan 4 Goku blast effect, but in yellow or blue? Just something to put in his hands for a Masenko effect, though his shoulders aren’t really made for the charging effect so maybe it’s better not to draw attention to that via an effect?

Bandai is really killing it lately with the faces.

If this is the new, standard, body going forward for Bandai then I think it’s pretty good. It could be better, but I think we’ll get a lot of nice looking figures out of this. And even though there are some short-comings, I still love this releasae. And I don’t even consider myself a fan of Gohan. Nothing against him, I don’t actively dislike the character, he’s just not my favorite. This figure though is one of my favorites in the line and I’ve been having a blast with him just posing and fiddling with him on my desk while he waits for me to write this review. And maybe that’s partly what took me so long as I drew out the process. He’s going to head for the shelf soon and join his buddies, but I am definitely looking forward to getting those extra parts with the Gamma brothers so I have an excuse to mess with this one again. If you thought you didn’t need it for one reason or another, I must encourage you to rethink that. And at 40 bucks, this feels like quite the steal. This figure is way better than the Apocalypse I reviewed recently, a figure I did ultimately like, and it costs the same. While lesser companies are getting more expensive, Bandai is actually getting cheaper and that’s awesome. Keep it up!

I wasn’t sold on him initially, but I’m pretty happy to have added Gohan to the shelf.

NECA TMNT Adventures Series Slash

The big, bad, alien, turtle is here to kick some ass!

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 based on the original comic appearance of the turtles in the Mirage Studios series which has lead to video game, movie, and cartoon adaptations. The cartoon is, by far, the most popular and successful it would seem and a natural complement to that television show is the line of comics released by Archie while the show was in production titled Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures. These comics started off as adaptations of the show, but soon went their own way. It’s through this comic that many characters fans would come to enjoy in both the Playmates toyline and the show actually originated. One of the most popular characters to debut in this fashion has been the sometimes evil mutant, sometimes alien, turtle Slash!

Slash is someone we’ve talked about recently as Super7 just sent out their take on the beastly snapping turtle. That figure is based on the Playmates release which really honed in on Slash’s debut where he was more bad guy than good. It likely made sense to someone in marketing to basically have an anti-ninja turtle in the ranks of the bad guys and that toy set the stage for the character’s introduction in the show, even though toon Slash would end up being quite different as far as temperament goes. Slash as he was presented in the comics was a little more nuanced. His home world was destroyed by industrialists which essentially sent him into a frenzy that landed him in an intergalactic prison of sorts where he befriended Krang. Not really knowing how evil Krang was, Slash helped him and was introduced as a villain to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but he’d eventually come to realize that Krang was no friend of his and was taken in by the Mighty Mutanimals which basically made him a good guy. A lot of other takes on the character seem to have followed suit where Slash will start off as an adversary before becoming more ambiguous and even heroic. His debut was in an issue of the series written by Stephen Murphy, though I can’t find a credit for who actually created the character, but many on the Archie staff were unhappy with how the Mutanimals characters were treated when brought over to the cartoon and I assume Slash was no exception.

Per usual, NECA went all out with the artwork on the box hiring former TMNT Adventures artist Kevin Mitchroney to handle things.

Slash, being a popular character within the fanbase, makes some sense as NECA’s debut in the Archie universe. They have done two versions of the character already, one for the video game and one for the cartoon, but both utilized the standard ninja turtle mold. I like both interpretations of the character, but my main criticism with each release was that Slash was too small. He doesn’t necessarily need to be taller than the turtles, but he should have more mass. NECA seems to have heard that criticism from the fanbase as this version of Slash is on the newer Tokka base body. It’s amusing to me because in the vintage Playmates line, Tokka was basically a repurposed Slash so the cycle is complete! This body though gives Slash that thicker, more physically imposing, appearance that I think fans wanted from the other figures. TMNT brand director for NECA, Trevor Zammit, has even indicated they may redo the cartoon version on this body. They have been saying similar things about April for awhile too so I certainly wouldn’t hold your breath, but as the toon line gets further into deep cut territory it wouldn’t shock me to see a fan favorite like Slash revisited once again.

This figure shares most of its anatomy with the previously released Tokka.

Since this is the first in a new subline from NECA, we should talk a little about the box. It’s in the same shape as the Fugitoid and Loot Crate Claw Shredder packaging which is that of a trapezoid and features a window display on the front with artwork on the sides and product shots on the rear. All of the art is done by former Archie artist Kevin Mitchroney who also previously worked on the San Diego Comic Con exclusive carrying case from a few years back. It’s great to see NECA continue to seek out an authentic artist for these lines as it really does add to the presentation. Of course, ultimately the box is just trash that houses the action figure and mine has been ripped open, but I still think the box is pretty cool. Slash comes on a plastic tray that is easily removed from the box, if you want to preserve it, and the backdrop is that of his home world, if I’m not mistaken. Possibly my biggest pet peeve with this release starts here as every limb and accessory for this guy is held down by an annoying, plastic, tie-down. I hate these things so much because you have to pull on them to stretch them and then snip. You can try to rip past them, and I ended up doing that for the optional hands, but these little things get everywhere and leave your fingers sore. You also can’t do the rip technique for anything painted, which for a NECA figure is almost everything, as that could damage the paint. I find the tie-downs unnecessary as the bubble is plenty strong enough to keep the figure in place, but maybe it’s extra reinforcement to appease mint-in-box collectors, but screw them! NECA, please, ditch these things!

One thing NECA had to re-sculpt for Slash is the shell, which is a bit more vicious looking than Tokka’s. Note the unfortunate white blob of paint on the belt of my figure.
And speaking of unfortunate paint apps, paint rub might be a universal issue with this release.

With that out of the way, lets actually talk about the figure. Slash when standing upright is about 5.875″ tall. He is one of those characters that’s a bit hunched forward so he’s never as tall as he could be. He seems to scale well with the toon turtles, and I’m assuming if they do Archie turtles they’ll be the same height, and that promised mass is certainly on display out of the box. He is just a chunky boy. Most of the figure is cast in a muted green, but then painted over, to give him a matte finish. He has some black linework on his muscle lines and the plastron which helps the figure to pop. The warts on his skin are done in a darker green and the plastron brown. On the back, his shell is cast in a much richer green and features a lot of that linework featured elsewhere. It’s also on his belt, and the metallic portions are painted white with a hit of blue shading which gives him a very comic-like appearance. There’s no panel shading so the approach here is definitely similar to the Mirage line. As for the new sculpt, the new parts are the plastron, hands, shell, and obviously the head. I love this expression Slash is sporting with one eyebrow raised and his sharp teeth all on display. The paint on his head is really clean and: Look! – painted shoulder pauldrons! His trademarked blades are also quite pointy and a little sharp and if I have one critique with the sculpt it’s that I wish they were longer like they are on the box art. In terms of presentation issues, it’s basically just paint imperfections here and there. There’s a small blob of white on the back of the belt that I might try to remove and there’s a couple of rough spots. One is on the edge of the plastron above his right pectoral and the paint is pretty choppy around the thigh joint on the rear of the leg. There’s also a bit of paint transfer around the the knees on mine from the kneepad to the thigh. That joint was also stuck out of the box and I think it’s because of the paint there. When you use as much paint as NECA does, these blemishes are bound to happen and overall I’d say it’s at an acceptable level here. Especially since the alternative would be to use less paint which I am not in favor of.

This chunkier build is much more suitable for Slash than the turtle body, which is what the previous NECA Slash releases utilized.
And here he is with those past releases. I like all three, but I much prefer this body for Slash, though I wish his wrist blades were as long as the video game figure’s.

Slash, being a chunker, is not the most impressive figure when it comes to posing. He has pretty much all of the joints one would want, but his design limits his range. The head is on a ball peg and since it’s positioned forward he doesn’t get as much range as one might hope. He can look up a little, down a little, and to each side a little. Perhaps if he had more of a neck he could get better range, but as it stands it’s a bit lacking. The shoulders are ball-hinged, but he has those white pauldrons to be mindful of. The right one on mine sometimes wants to curl under the shell when positioning the arm which makes me worried about paint transfer. He basically isn’t going to get his arms out all the way to the side, and since he’s a turtle, he can’t rotate all the way around either as the shell gets in the way. We do have a biceps swivel after that and the elbows are double-jointed. Because of the elbow pad, he’s basically only good for a 90 degree bend. If you really work at it, you can possibly get him to go past that. The hands swivel and all feature horizontal hinges, which is a bummer for the accessories. It also kind of stinks that he can’t rotate his blades at all. In the torso, there is a waist twist that’s either single or a double-ball, but because he’s a turtle, it doesn’t allow for much movement. The hips are ball and socket joints with a thigh swivel. He can just about hit a full split, though the built-in thigh swivel doesn’t seem to want to move much on mine. Instead, the hip mostly pivots on the ball and socket, but that might be enough rotation for most. The knees are double-jointed, but like the elbows, you’re probably not getting past 90 here. The ankles are hinged and have a rocker and both work well. In terms of joint tolerance, I would say most of the joints are on the tight side. The right knee is the only one I had to heat up, but the shoulder hinges seem especially tight as well. The hips are a little on the loose side, but he’s holding himself up even at the widest stance possible so it’s not presently an issue. Because of the blades in his wrists, the wrist hinges are pretty tough to make much use of as you definitely don’t want to rub the hands on those mostly white blades. It mostly just highlights the need for vertical hinges as those would be far more preferable than what’s present.

In addition to the kris, Slash also come with one of these things.

Slash does come with a few accessories he can make use of in the form of weapons and spare parts. Out of the box, he’s equipped with fists, but he also has a set of gripping hands and clenchy, style, pose hands. Swapping them is a bit tricky because of the blades, and the fit is also rather snug, but do-able without any heat. In terms of weaponry, he has his kris sword which some refer to as a sai. It’s just a crooked, short, sword and it has the same white and blue paint app that his belt and blades feature which I like a lot. Based on most of his artwork, I think it could have been made a little bigger, but otherwise it gets the job done. Slash also comes with a bladed, hook, weapon and it’s mostly known as that thing that came with all of the vintage turtles. I have no idea if he actually used such a weapon in the comics, but I’m probably not going to make use of it. That’s it though. It’s definitely not a lot, but for most it will probably be enough. I think an extra head is always nice to have, but admittedly, I really like his present expression so I’m not sure another would be any better. I find it curious that he’s depicted with his little, toy, palm tree on the box art, but NECA declined to include one with the figure. It’s made more odd since they’ve already tooled such an accessory for the toon Slash. The only thing I really miss is just vertically hinged gripping hands. It would have also been cool if the bladed wrist weapons were removable just for some different posing opportunities.

He also looks rather menacing without a weapon.

Slash is a pretty cool looking figure. I suppose I didn’t need to write as much as I did up to now when I could have just said that and been done with it, but it’s the truth. He just looks cool. There are some issues with the articulation and paint, but the overall package seems to overcome that just fine. And since he’s the debut of a new line, there’s an added element of excitement at play as well. Slash is just the first, and still come to are Man Ray, Jagwar, and Dreadmon with more certain to follow. It would seem that NECA is prioritizing the Mutanimals first, and I think that’s a sound strategy since some of them have never been in plastic before. This figure is currently being sold at specialty retail for around $38 which is basically what NECA Ultimates are starting to retail for these days. It’s higher than I would like, but I have already seen this one discounted in some places. I do not know if there are any plans to bring any of this line to big box retailers like Target. The fact that Man Ray was unveiled quite a while ago and no preorder has gone up makes me think there’s a chance he’s going to one of the big stores initially, like Fugitoid, before specialty gets a crack at him. Unless the plan is only to do one figure from this line per year. I actually have little affection for the comic this figure is from so I don’t know how deep I’ll go on this line, but I liked this look enough for Slash that I got it anyway. I’ll probably do the same with at least Man Ray since he never had a proper appearance in the cartoon. For fans of those Archie comics though, this is pretty exciting and I hope they’re happy with how this figure turned out.

I’m guessing someone out there will want to see this guy with the Super7 figure, so here you are.

Super7 TMNT Ultimates! Scratch

Nothing to see here, folks. Just a couple of fellas in striped pajamas minding their own business.

Ask a casual fan of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles who Scratch is and it’s possible they’ll have no idea who you’re talking about. Ask a collector of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action figures who Scratch is and their eyes will shift to one of longing. Scratch the cat was a late entrant in the classic line of Playmates action figures. He was originally released in 1993 when the basic assortment of TMNT figures had shrunk to just 7. In their place were figures based on a new movie, the toon subline, cave turtles, mutating turtles, and a bunch of other gimmicks. Kids had basically grown bored with the franchise, so Playmates was throwing a bunch of different tricks at them to try to cling to a demographic that had been obsessed with their product for a few years at this point. And a few years for a children’s toyline can sometimes feel like an eternity.

So it was that Scratch, Halfcourt, Hot Spot, and the other figures from ’93 went somewhat ignored. They were also produced in fewer numbers compared with the basic assortment of the prior years, and the people who were buying them were kids which meant they’d get beat up, broken, donated, etc. As a result, they’re even harder to find today and if you have a mint, carded, Scratch or one of those other guys from ’93 then you have yourself a decent little payday in front of you, should you wish to sell. And for whatever reason, Scratch has become “the one” from that assortment and for collectors of the line he’s become a bit of a grail piece, despite the fact that there are other figures more rare in the line. Because of his infamy, it’s not surprising that Super7 would turn to the character that went unloved nearly 30 years ago, but so many are after today.

In 1993, I was barely clinging to my TMNT fandom. I saw the third film and liked it enough and would get it on VHS later that year. I had Cave Turtle Leonardo from the prior year and was very smitten with that year’s Turtle Trolls. It was also the year I bought my final TMNT figure until 2003, a Ninja-flipping Raphael. Otherwise, I was really into X-Men and the offerings from ToyBiz. Plus, Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers debuted that summer and set the toy world on fire as well. And I can remember encountering that basic assortment like Hot Spot, Mona Lisa, and yes, Scratch, and my take then was “Wow, these look stupid.” And they kind of were. Mona Lisa is fine, but Hot Spot? He’s a mutant dalmatian that is a fire fighter – how creative? Scratch is a mutant cat burglar who….wait for it…is a cat! They’re two of the laziest designs put out by Playmates and are totally unremarkable as characters and as action figures. If that’s the case, why did I bother with this updated version of a character that I think is kind of lame? The answer is: I don’t know! When the solicitation went up, I didn’t give it much thought. I guess I liked the idea of a figure with a ball and chain and I was intrigued by the presence of a diaphragm joint and what looked like a fairly ambitious paint job, by Super7 standards. I don’t know if that should have been enough to get me to drop $55 on the figure, but it did so here we are.

It’s starting to feel like a rarity to get a non-turtle in this line that isn’t massive.

Scratch is one of those figures that can best be described as “what you see, is what you get.” He stands about 6.5″ in height and comes in a standard sized box. He’s sporting an old timey jailbird outfit, so white jumpsuit with black stripes. He’s got a cat burglar mask and a little hat too. Like many, many, figures from Playmates, he has one foot sporting a boot and one that’s bare. The booted foot is also shackled and a bluish-grayish ball is attached to the shackle via an actual chain. Around his neck is a piece of black thread with a small nail file attached for busting out of jail. His clothing is mostly in tatters as he’s either gotten into some scrums in prison or his escape act left him a bit worse for ware. It was a pretty bland design in 1993, and it’s really no better in 2022. I suppose the thinking here is that the large scale of this line can improve the sculpt and the added paint can elevate it. And I suppose it does. Kind of. His face is very expressive and every piece of exposed flesh is nicely textured to simulate fur. There’s no texture to the clothing, but there are numerous rips and the folds of which are sculpted on. I like that his prison uniform was apparently custom made because it continues onto his tail, though it’s pretty torn. The end of his tail is wrapped as well, like many a cartoon cat. The shackle on the left ankle is a bit odd though. It’s part of the sculpt, which was true of the original toy, but it feels like this is something Super7 could have improved upon by making it removable. The area between the curved bar of the lock and the actual lock itself is also filled in with plastic so it doesn’t look as good as it could. The actual ball portion can be removed since it’s just affixed via a small, weak, chain, so if you wish you can simply bend the last link and slide it off, though each time you do you likely risk the link just breaking all together.

Looks like they messed up Scratch’s missing tooth. That white indent is probably supposed to be painted black.

Excepting the shackle, I think the sculpt looks pretty good from a technical standpoint. Whether or not you like the character design is certainly subjective. The paint though is a bit of a mixed bag. The fur is the standout. Scratch is basically a light brown with a red-brown overcoat. The hands, the feet, the face – all look good. The teeth and the mask are especially clean, though the factory screwed up Scratch’s missing tooth by basically painting the gap as if a tooth were there which just looks strange. It also looks like they missed the black outline for his right fang as it’s present on the left side. The jail suit is a little less impressive. Scratch appears to be mostly cast in white plastic so the black lines and the exposed fur are all painted effects. This is a sound strategy, but may have been a little too much for Super7 to handle. There are numerous places where the paint doesn’t go far enough to the edge of the clothing and doesn’t look great. It’s especially noticeable on the wrappings on his tail. The rip around his right shoulder also looks weird because the arm is cast in white, but it looks like the rip should result in an exposed armpit, but doesn’t. There’s also a scuff on one of the black lines on my figure’s left leg. Interestingly enough, some of the spots that look hard to paint turned out very well. There’s a thin rip at the base of his rib cage on his left side that’s nice and clean and the little slashes on his left thigh all look great. “Mixed bag” is probably the best way to describe this one when you’re talking paint.

My best attempt at tip-toes.

Scratch, being one of the more generic character designs in this line, should be one of the best articulated as a result. There’s no shell to work around, he’s not super chunky, or an alligator, he’s basically a humanoid character that just happens to be covered in fur and features a tail. Again, you would think that would bode well for Scratch, but eh, more mixed bag. It starts at the head where Scratch is surprisingly locked down. He basically can’t look up at all and only down a little because his head sits so low on the neck, which is unarticulated. He does get a little tilt to each side and can rotate, but the lack of up and down is disappointing. At the shoulder, he can just hit horizontal and rotates all the way, of course. There is no biceps swivel once again, and instead we get an elbow swivel that can at least go all the way around. The hinge there can’t hit a 90 degree bend which continues to be a disappointment. Yeah, there’s little different between 90 and almost 90, but the goal here is to be able to go past 90 degrees. The wrists swivel and hinge and Scratch does have a vertical hinge for his trigger hand, so that’s a plus. In the torso we have a new joint not featured on other figures in the line which is at the diaphragm. It feels like a ball joint, and it allows Scratch to rotate a little bit and he seems to have more range rotating to his right. He can’t really bend back far, but he does crunch forward a bit. You also get some nuance posing which I like. It’s not amazing, but being able to break-up the torso like this adds more than you think. At the waist we have a twist that is surprisingly tight. He can’t go all the way around, or at least he doesn’t want to and I’m not going to force it. The hips can go out to the side to almost a full split and he kicks forward well and there’s a bit of a thigh swivel. At the knee, we have the standard single hinge and swivel which rotates all the way around on the right leg, but does more of a pivot on the left. The right leg can hit a 90 degree bend, or close to one, while the left knee barely does anything because of it’s shape. It’s a poor design as there’s nothing unique about this guy preventing better range. The ankle hinges and can rock to the side, and just like the knee, the right foot is far more functional than the left though the ankle rocker is more like a swivel on the right foot than a true pivot. Lastly, the tail is on a ball peg and doesn’t do much of anything save for swivel around. Trying to pose it any other way is likely to just result in it popping off.

At least he has the right hinge for his trigger hand!

The articulation continues to be a weak spot for this line and Scratch is, in some ways, more disappointing than most. As I said before, there’s nothing about this character’s design that should make the articulation hard to implement, but it still comes up short. With the knees and elbows, they’re just not allowing for enough room to add in the necessary range. Don’t do double-hinges if you don’t like them, but single-hinged joints should work better than this. A double-ball peg approach to the waist would add a lot of nuance as well, and Super7 needs to allow for more clearance at the head. I should also add, the joints on the knees are painted so you’ll want to be careful there. The right calf is actually cast in clear plastic, so it’s not too unsightly if some of that paint rubs off of the hinge. The left calf is in white and part of the stripe by his knee is painted onto it. The knee barely moves as it is so most should be okay, but it’s something to be mindful of. As far as tolerance goes, Scratch is definitely more in-line with Slash than he is with the Wave 5 releases. Most of the figure moves fine, though that diaphragm joint is a bit loose. It will flop a bit if you shake the figure, but otherwise seems to hold its pose okay. The hips are fine and so are the wrist hinges and waist.

This is definitely intentional. Image on the left is from the excellent Rad Plastic.

So far I would categorize this review as merely okay, but Scratch has one last chance to impress and that’s with his accessories. Scratch is pretty well loaded with stuff and it starts with an assortment of hands. Scratch has a set of fists, gripping hands, style pose hands, and trigger finger hands. The gripping hands feature a different grip for each so one is tighter than other. His left trigger finger hand has a horizontal hinge, which is useless, but the right has a vertical hinge. I don’t know why they did it that way, but as long as we have one good trigger hand I’m content. Scratch also has an alternate portrait and this one features more of a closed mouth and side-eyed glance. I don’t normally like side-eye expressions, but something about this one works for me. It’s a little more toony in the eyes as there’s no exposed eyelid so I might settle on this one for my display. This expression also dates back to an uncovered clay sculpture for the original figure, which was done by Anaglyph, and was apparently considered for the final figure (image above is from the wonderful TMNT toy resource Rad Plastic). Getting the head and hands off is no problem, though seating the second head is a bit of a pain, but doable without heat.

I’ve seen Sylvester the cat have to settle for worse.

For those hands, Scratch has a few items he can wield. I already mentioned the small file dangling from a rope around his neck, but he also has a large one he can kind of hold in the tighter gripping hand. It’s cast in that same blue-gray as the smaller file and the steel ball and it looks fine. There’s a dead fish for Scratch to apparently snack on that’s also the same blue-gray color, which is weird, but has some yellow, painted-on, eyes. There’s a claw hammer for Scratch to smack stuff with and it’s fully painted and fits well on the other gripping hand. There’s a sack of money and it’s really well painted. It’s flat on the bottom so it’s designed to be placed on a surface and it’s sculpted to look like the gold coins inside are spilling out. You can put it in his hand if you want though, but it will look weird. My favorite accessory though is the cake gun. It’s a handgun with a slice of cake over it implying that Scratch snuck it into prison in an actual cake and pulled this sucker out. It’s goofy, but reflective of the vintage line. I’m left wishing Super7 gave us the rest of the cake. Lastly, Scratch comes with a buddy figure named Jailbird. Again, pretty weak design as he’s just a bird in a prison uniform, but who didn’t like getting a little buddy figure in the vintage line? Jailbird is well painted and in a casual pose where he looks like he’s flipping a coin. I think he’s supposed to be a hawk, though he’s purple. He doesn’t stand totally upright, which bugs me a little, and features zero articulation. At least he’s fully painted. There’s also a weapon sprue for Scratch and it’s cast in yellow like the vintage toy, though it appears to be a paler yellow. The ball and chain accessory makes up the outer part of the sprue, with the file, cake gun, fish, and hammer inside it. The shackle doesn’t open or anything so I don’t see how you could get it on the figure without removing a foot. It’s more for those who want Scratch to wield yellow weapons though, but still feels rather pointless. It’s no surprise then that these look like they’re going to be phased out in the next wave.

He’s going to need those tools if he wants to get that shackle off.

At the end of the day, Scratch was a fairly unremarkable figure in the vintage line, and he’s close to that in the Super7 line. He’s a little better than unremarkable and that’s mostly accomplished with the accessories. I love the cake gun and the money bag is one of the better painted items I’ve received from Super7. The hammer, file, and dead fish are done well, but aren’t particularly exciting. I do like the alternate head, and the ball and chain is basically an accessory too and one that’s pretty fun. The vintage figure did not have the actual ball and chain, but did have the shackle, so I guess it isn’t a terrible thing that the shackle isn’t removable. You can make this display like the vintage toy, though going the extra mile there would have been cool. The articulation is subpar though. He’s better than some of the other figures in the line in that regard, but those figures were poorly articulated so that makes Scratch just underwhelming by comparison. I think Super7 can do better and I’d like to see them try. The paint is at least more ambitious than some of the figures in the line, even if it isn’t exactly a homerun. He’ll look fine on a shelf, but closer scrutiny leaves something to be desired.

All right, who let the cat out?!

Your fondness for Scratch will likely come down to your subjective reaction to the character design, which I don’t hate, I just find boring. There’s enough here in the accessories and overall look to leave me content, but this figure will never enter my mind when I’m trying to pick my favorite from this line. That’s also true of the opposite though as he’s far from the worst and if anything collectors should feel okay about the quality of the product coming out of Wave 6 considering how shaky Wave 5 turned out. And even as I say all of this, I can’t deny that I had more fun than usual snapping pictures of this guy, utilizing my own cat’s carrier, and such. Scratch is a corny design that’s been elevated due to the scarcity of the original figure and for many longtime TMNT collectors this is as close as they’re going to get to that figure. If you have always desired Scratch the action figure, then this should “scratch” that itch. It’s unarguably a better, more enjoyable, figure than the vintage release and should look fine with the rest of your collection. On the other hand, if you see a figure of a literal cat burglar and it does nothing for you then you probably won’t miss this one. I give it a measured recommend for that reason.

“So…what are you in for?”

Marvel Legends X-Men Retro Card Series Apocalypse

“I know more of this world than you could even dream, that is why I must…destroy it!”

It is Halloween and that means it’s time for costumes, candy, and spooky fun. It’s also Halloween 2022, a pretty important date if you grew up loving those mutants who ran around in colorful spandex fighting for a better tomorrow. That’s because 30 years ago on this very night, the animated series X-Men premiered on the Fox network. The decision to debut a cartoon in prime time with characters still on the periphery of mainstream appeal was both a bold choice and one brought about by necessity. Fox had done the same recently with Batman – The Animated Series, but that hardly feels like a gamble considering that was coming hot on the heels of Batman Returns. You see, the show should have premiered in September on Saturday mornings, but the project was fraught with delays and the early animation sent back from studio AKOM was said to be a disaster. And since the show wasn’t going to be able to premiere as planned, the producers involved decided to focus on the first two episodes to get them ready for a Halloween premiere with the rest of the season to follow in early 1993. Marketing dubbed it a sneak peek, and it must have worked because before long the show was a ratings hit and the rest is history.

Given that it’s such an important day for an elder X-Men fan like myself, it only felt appropriate to forego something spooky this Halloween in favor of something celebrating that show. Now, I originally intended to debut my review of Hasbro’s Morph, but I received that figure in late September and I was just too eager to talk about Morph. The timing just didn’t make sense, so we’re pivoting to something else. Had Mystique, the next planned figure in Hasbro’s dedicated X-Men animated line, arrived this month she would have been featured here. And she even embodies a bit of that Halloween look with her blank eyes and affection for skulls. Instead though, I think we have the next best thing with one of the major villains from the show: Apocalypse.

This card is stupid big.

Hasbro’s retro card series of Marvel Legends has caused some confusion in the collector community, and I’m afraid this Apocalypse only adds to that. It started a few years ago as an homage to the classic ToyBiz line of figures from the 90s. Hasbro created updated blister cards based on those styles and packaged Legends in them. They had to be slightly oversized to accommodate the larger Legends figures compared to the classic ToyBiz ones, but who in the collector community doesn’t love a good dose of nostalgia? They’re definitely neat, and since the designs of the figures are largely based on their 90s appearances they hit pretty hard when it comes to nostalgia. It was successful enough that Hasbro then did the same with Spider-Man. Unlike the old X-Men line, the Spider-Man line from ToyBiz was a direct tie-in to the animated series that premiered on Fox (in sneak peek fashion as well since it worked so well with X-Men) in 1994. As a result, collectors weren’t sure if these new Spider-Man retro card releases were based on the animated series as well. I’ve seen many collectors refer to the Hobgoblin, especially, from that line as being animated inspired, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. The only one released that is definitely based on the cartoon is the PulseCon exclusive Venom from last year (which is being followed-up with an animated Spider-Man this fall).

The actual figure though? Not really that big. I would have actually liked a little more height out of this guy.

Now adding to any confusion that still exists out there is this Apocalypse figure. Apocalypse had multiple releases in the ToyBiz days so a retro card release makes sense. However, this particular figure features a purple and blue deco. That is significant because that’s the color scheme Apocalypse had in the animated series. No where else has Apocalypse ever looked like this. And to drive the point home further, he comes with an interchangeable gun attachment for his arm that is pulled right from an episode of the show which has left many to ask “So why is this not a release in the VHS line?” And the answer is, “I don’t know.” I don’t think any of the marketing team for Legends has explained that one. My guess is that someone on the team really wanted to do this character in this look, but the budget for the VHS line couldn’t accommodate it so they did it this way. It’s bizarre, because this figure does not feature the cel-shading paint job of the VHS line so it’s not just a difference in packaging. This figure is also based on the build-a-figure Apocalypse released a few years ago, so disassembling it to fit in a VHS box would not have been problem. Plus, as illustrated with Mr. Sinister’s VHS box, Hasbro is willing to adjust the sizing when necessary on those boxes so there’s really nothing stopping Hasbro from releasing the figure in that line from a design standpoint. I know the cel-shading is a bit of a contentious topic in the community, but this figure is so cartoon specific that I can’t imagine there was a ton of demand from collectors not interested in the animated series. This version of Apocalypse has always been viewed as a little “goofy” because of those colors so comic collectors are most certainly not the target audience, but here we are.

This is unquestionably supposed to be Apocalypse from the cartoon, you can’t fool me Hasbro!

Because of the colors on this guy, I definitely consider him to be part of the animated series line of action figures. It’s bizarre, and if it’s simply a matter of budget then I don’t know why they didn’t just hit this guy with more paint so he would fit in, but here we are. That said, I’m happy to have Apocalypse in this deco as it’s been perhaps the figure I’ve wanted most to come out of the animated line next to Morph. This funky color palette just hits right for me. Like most kids in the early 90s, I was confused why Apocalypse looked like he was painted for Easter in the show and would have preferred him in black and blue, but over time this look has just become a hallmark of the series for me and I appreciate it more as a result. Plus, Apocalypse is so bad ass that he can look like this and still be feared!

The figure does come on the aforementioned blister card and it is pretty massive. It’s almost comical to look at how big this thing is relative to other retro card releases and even more ludicrous compared to the 90s cards. It features some nice artwork, though not in the animated style aside from the suit colors, and definitely has that old school ToyBiz feel. Many like to keep these releases mint-on-card, but I am not one of them. If you want to preserve the card as much as possible, I recommend slicing the bubble from the bottom with a blade which will allow you to slide this big boy out. And once removed, he is indeed rather big standing at around 8.25″.

Even this gun attachment is taken right from the show.

In looking at this figure, what immediately stands out as “animated” aside from the colors is the sculpt of the chest. I mentioned earlier that this figure is based on the build-a-figure from a few years ago, but it’s been re-tooled in several places and the upper torso is one such place. The musculature has a very soft look to it which is in-line with the show. There’s basically just a hint of pectorals and nothing more. The other details of the costume, such as the shoulders and the collar area, look as they should. The only parts not exactly screen accurate are the boots and the gloves. The boots are just all-together busier in their design, something an animated show would strive to eliminate. The hands are similar, but they’re also just not sculpted right as he should have a blue knuckleguard on each hand. Lastly, the cables that connect his arms to his back should plug-in around the elbow and not the forearm. Obviously, these inaccuracies exist because Hasbro is reusing old parts and I would say it’s mostly fine. While I would love to buy action figures that are committed to matching the source material to a more exact specification, I know that’s not Hasbro’s approach. They do things mostly with cost in mind and basically think giving us a new torso is good enough. The issue now is that approach was more acceptable when these figures were a lot cheaper. It’s something that will bother some folks, and for others it won’t. In my experience Hasbro has done a good job of conditioning its fanbase to accept these figures for what they are so my expectation is most will be unbothered.

In typical Hasbro fashion, they give you some of what you want, but not everything. This gun has four barrels, but you get just 3 blast effects.

As a last bit of aesthetics, we should talk about the paint job. Apocalypse is quite purple and quite blue, as he should be. Hasbro prioritizes using as much colored plastic as possible with their figures and this one is no exception. The paint is mostly limited to the head, upper torso and the gauntlets. The head is where the most paint was needed and it’s done well enough. We’ll talk about the appropriateness of the expressions when we get to the accessories, but there’s enough paint to bring out the sculpted details of the face with minimal slop. He’s not the easiest face to paint as the lips basically wrap around the whole head and he has that gap in the blue on top of the head, so Hasbro did a very nice job here. What is unfortunate though is his head is in two pieces glued together and there’s a blue seem as a result between his forehead and the portion of his flesh that runs up his head and it looks stupid. Otherwise, the paint details are fairly simple and done well enough. The chest even has this really nice, matte, finish which looks great, but also makes the shiny, plastic, portions look worse by comparison. Where they had to match colored plastic to painted, the figure also looks fine.

The source material for the gun is clearly the show, though it was simplified a bit for this release.

The elephant in the room when it comes to paint is obviously the exclusion of cel-shading. This is a retro card release, so cel-shading isn’t normally expected, but he’s also animated Apocalypse and the other X-Men animated figures all have it. Personally, I would like characters based on a cartoon to feature a paint job that reflects that medium. On the other hand, I concede that the cel-shading in the VHS line has been applied poorly. Part of me would like to give Hasbro some credit here in thinking that with a bigger figure to work with, the cel-shading would turn out better, but there’s no guarantee of that. They seem to struggle just finding the right colors to use when shading (see the hideous mustard color they use to shade yellow). Ultimately, it is what it is. I would love some shading on the torso, especially, but it’s not here. Maybe that’s a good thing? I don’t know, but that’s just my opinion. I don’t think he clashes in a significant manner amongst the other figures in the VHS line so I guess it doesn’t matter that much. As was the case with the accuracy of the sculpt, the absence of shading is going to matter more to some, and not at all to others.

Would it have been hard to just give us one more teeny, tiny, piece to stich in that bottom barrel? Though the proper thing to do would have been to sculpt a new, double-barrel, blast effect that plugs into both at the same time.

Moving on to accessories, Apocalypse is pretty much par for the course when it comes to Legends these days. He doesn’t have a lot, but at least here what he does have is done well. First of all, he has two sets of hands: fists and open, “clenchy,” hands. That’s fine as it allows him to look menacing, dramatic, and you can even get those clenchy hands to grab onto another figure. He also has two heads: an angry one and a stoic one. The angry one is reused, and the stoic is new. As a comic inspired sculpt, I think the angry head is fine. As an animated Apocalypse? It’s terrible. He basically never looked like this in the show so I probably won’t be using it. The stoic head is more my thing. It’s still done in the Legends style so it’s not a toon-accurate look for the character, but that’s been true of almost every release in the VHS line as well save for Wolverine. I refer to it as stoic, but he is frowning and looks kind of ticked off. I do wish the shape of both was different as Apocalypse tends to have a wide jaw compared with the top of his head, in both the comics and the show, but these heads are pretty uniform. If it were up to me, I’d have gone with this head, but with less detail to remove the frown and paired it with a laughing head. Imagine a laughing Apocalypse on your shelf with his fists on his hips or his arms crossed? Perfection. Lastly, we have the optional gun part. It attaches to the forearm and the cable can even plug into it. It is taken directly from the “Beyond Good and Evil” plotline when Cable confronts Apocalypse at the start so it is pulled right out of the show. It looks nice and Hasbro even included some blast effects for it which I would not have expected. It’s nice to have as it allows you to display Apocalypse as a menacing overlord on your shelf, or as someone willing to get his hands dirty which was rather true of the character in the show. They could have loaded him up with more arm attachments, but this feels like a fine selection of stuff for Apocalypse. It just would have been nice to get a new effect part for the main part of the gun that plugs into both of the center barrels. Since they instead gave us three separate pieces, one barrel will always be empty.

The gripping hands are wide enough that you can make your Apocalypse perform chokeslams on Wolverine.

Time to talk about the articulation. Despite being a big boy, Apocalypse moves okay and is pretty standard for the line. We have the ball-hinged head that lets him look up and down, all around, and even tilt the head a smidge. The collar doesn’t really get in the way until you try to rotate the head, but the range is decent. The shoulders are just ball-hinged and he can raise his arms out the side and rotate them pretty well even with the shoulder pads getting in the way slightly. The elbows are single-jointed and he can’t quite hit a 90 degree bend, so that could be better. The wrists rotate and hinge horizontally. In the torso, we get an ab crunch that lets him bend back a bit, and crunch forward a decent amount. It’s mostly colored plastic here so paint rub shouldn’t be of great concern, but it’s worth being mindful of. The waist is just a twist and the legs are ball-pegs. He can damn near do a full split and is capable of kicking forward just fine, though the cheeks will prevent much rear leg motion. There is a thigh cut which does what thigh cuts do and the knees are double-jointed. There’s no boot cut, but down in the ankles you have the usual hinge and rocker combination which works just fine. More importantly, everything is nice and tight so he shouldn’t be toppling over on your shelf. Apocalypse really only needs to hit a few poses and this figure is capable of doing that.

He is here to crush the mutants, and seems capable enough.

All in all, I am quite pleased with this release for Apocalypse. Yes, I would have preferred this come in the VHS line for both the packaging and the cel-shading, but since it didn’t, at least we got a fairly robust release as far as accessories go. I’ve been pretty disappointed with the majority of the VHS line because of the poorly applied cel-shading, inappropriate reuse of some sculpts, and the dearth of worthwhile accessories. It’s really been a money-grab kind of line and at least this Apocalypse feels more substantial and like a better value. They actually did some re-sculpting to make the figure more cartoon accurate, and while they didn’t go as far as they could with that, I think most will find they went far enough. My preference would have always been to receive figures with sculpts actually designed to mimic the animated look, but Hasbro was never committed to doing that for one reason or another. This figure does suffer a bit as a result because the head isn’t right and the veiny biceps look stupid on Apocalypse (and they would look stupid on any version of Apocalypse so I don’t get the thinking here). The rest of its shortcomings are just par for the course with Marvel Legends, like the dearth of paint apps (the cables look especially plain), so regular Legends collectors will likely be content. Unless someone else can get the license to produce animated X-Men figures (highly unlikely), this is unfortunately the best we’re likely to get. And at least with Apocalypse, this one does indeed feel good enough. Most of the VHS figures are not and the feeling of settling is palpable with each one, but here I don’t feel that way. At least not as much.

Apocalypse does come at an inflated price though of $40 which is obviously a lot for a Marvel Legends release. This one at least feels more worthy of that price compared with the VHS figures at around 28 bucks. A comparable figure would probably be NECA’s Chrome Dome from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles line which was also $40. I would argue that the NECA release is a better value than this as it came with more stuff, more paint, and was 100% new tooling, but it also came out a year ago so maybe in 2022 it would be $45. Value, as always, is rather subjective, but in this case I think the value is there. If you’re interested in picking this one up, you may have to dig around a bit as it is sold out in several places. Hasbro Pulse still has it open for order so that may be the safest bet. Amazon does as well, but they can be hard to trust. Re-stocks may be on the way too so I don’t think it’s one you’ll have to spend a fortune on eBay for, but I also would recommend acting fast since I don’t think this one is ticketed for big box stores which would indicate there will be fewer of these out in the wild than the Age of Apocalypse version, by comparison. More importantly, if you can find some time today (admittedly, difficult given the holiday) or maybe even just this week throw on some classic X-Men and take a trip through time. It’s incredible to think I was watching the show as a kid 30 years ago, and while it may not hit the same as it did for me then, it’s still a worthwhile nostalgia binge and a show I think is worth celebrating. Or if you want to read more about it, I’ve covered both Previously on X-Men and the X-Men art book and recommend both to fans of the show. Here’s hoping the sequel series due next year is able to carry on its legacy.


Super7 TMNT Ultimates! Leatherhead

Time to meet the good old boy, or gator, or whatever.

When we last looked at a wave 5 release in Super7’s line of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Ultimates! it didn’t go that well. Sewer Samurai Leonardo wasn’t an abysmal failure, but it had some problems that really took some of the shine off of the release. It was the type of thing that really shouldn’t occur at this price point when it comes to action figures, so I approached my next Wave 5 release with some trepidation, but I’m happy to say that this one is a better, overall, experience. It’s not without it’s flaws, but they’re more acceptable than what we saw with Leonardo.

Leatherhead is another big boy, but not necessarily when it comes to height.

When Wave 5 went up for sale, I initially only pre-ordered Leonardo. Some time later I put in for Ray Fillet, but as time went on I fell out of love with that decision. The one I was on the fence about from day one though was Leatherhead. When it comes to this line, I’m finding the attraction for me is either a love of the original figure from Playmates, or I’m just blown away by the larger scale. With Leatherhead, I never had that old figure and it wasn’t some giant hole in my collection. I’m pretty sure I wanted it, as when I had a friend over that brought the figure with him I remember being happy he forgot it as he was getting ready to leave, only for his mom to remind him not to forget his toys. Damn! When the Super7 solicitation came out though it was clear Leatherhead was going to be the big boy of Wave 5, but I wanted to see the final product before putting in an order. When they started to trickle out, I decided to take the plunge, though I was a bit afraid I was going to get burned. It was a daily decision, do I keep my preorder or drop it? Then it came in stock and the decision was made, so lets check it out!

This box is stupid big. On the left is the slipcase and on the right is the actual box with a standard sized one in the middle.

Leatherhead comes in a massive version of Super7’s standard Ultimates! packaging. It has an extra 2″ of depth which really makes a difference. By height, it’s basically the same, but they must have found themselves in no man’s land when it came to the figure. I’m surprised they didn’t package him with a profile view instead, but the box is certainly an attention grabber as a result. The figure itself isn’t massive in the same way that Bebop or Muckman is. By height, he’s about 6.25″ to the top of his head and approaches 7″ when you factor in the hat. He doesn’t really stand fully upright, so his height is deceiving. Where the size comes in is from his depth. He’s a gator, so he has a massive snout plus a tail, though that comes disassembled form the figure in the box. In the same stance as I took the heigh measurement, his length is approximately 9.5″ which can actually be made longer if you crouch him down into a pose more resembling the vintage figure.

And this is why the box had to be made so deep. Granted, the tail isn’t on in the box.

Leatherhead is a uniquely sized beast for this line, but he’s still fundamentally a Super7 release. Most of the figure features sculpted plastic done in a base color that negates a need for paint. Or at least, that’s the thinking. The scaled texture of his green flesh looks nice and his belly is less scaled, though still green unlike a real alligator. There is a hint of a wash on his hands and maybe a touch on the neck, chest, and tail. What’s there is extremely subtle and I wish there was more of it since this guy came out of a swamp. He should be grimy and gross. His vest is sculpted in a marigold color and that has a wash applied to add some texture to it. Parts of the pants and boots are painted, but the right leg is a little off. He has a torn knee in his jeans on that side so they sculpted it in green and painted the blue onto it, but it doesn’t match the thigh. A wash to make those jeans look dirty might have helped to conceal that, but oh well. The painted parts of the boots also don’t match the colored portions, and it seems to stand out even more in pictures than it does in reality. On the face, his eyes are painted well and his blonde eyebrows look okay. The teeth are a bit of a mixed bag. They’re painted an off-white color and in some places that ended up covering the gums, namely right on the front of his muzzle, which sucks. The hat is rather well-painted as are the various bits and bobs on his belt. There’s a dagger sculpted onto the arm that is also well-painted, but I wish it had been made an accessory instead. Isn’t that part of the point of this line to make some of those sculpted bits more realistic and functional?

The paint on the gumline could certainly be better. And you can also see a faint scuff, or some kind of residue, on the upper jaw if you look closely.

The paint is acceptable. It’s not exactly praise worthy, but I can forgive some of the sloppiness. There is an odd scuff on the right side of my figure’s face. I can’t tell if it’s just some glue-like residue from the factory or actual damage. I’ll probably hit it with something later, but I don’t know if it shows in pictures. From a presentation perspective, how much you like this figure will largely depend on the overall look and that’s a good thing. It has some of the oddities of that vintage figure like the big, buck, teeth on the front of it. I know a lot of people find that part of the sculpt off-putting and it’s something that stands out more at this scale, but it was on the old figure. There’s no alternate portrait, unfortunately, so if you don’t like the look there’s nothing in the box that’s going to remedy that.

Articulation wise, the joints are better here than they were with Samurai Leo, though functionally there isn’t much for Leatherhead to do since his legs basically need to be in this pose in order to keep him standing.

Let’s just jump right to the articulation since that was a major problem with Leonardo. Leatherhead is definitely better, though not perfect. He is going to suffer because of his form factor. Some of that couldn’t be helped, some of it could have been, but Super7 declined to address it. His head is on a big ball-peg and he can rotate all around and has some room for nuance posing. He can also look up, but he can’t really look down. The jaw is articulated and as long as you don’t have his head all the way down it can open reasonably far. The shoulders are simple ball-hinges and he can raise his arms out to the side past horizontal, so that’s nice. There’s no biceps swivel as he has that at the elbow instead. It’s not ideal, but it works okay. The wrists rotate and hinge and all hinges are of the horizontal variety including his trigger finger hands, which is unfortunate. The waist is a bit of a trouble spot. It just swivels, but it’s very loose. Just flicking him will make him turn. The hips are okay though so he stands up fine. The range at the legs isn’t very good though, and the knee is even worse. They’re practically useless for the hinge, though the swivel is okay. The ankles have a hinge and a rocker and they’re fine. He can be positioned forward into his vintage pose which was low to the ground like a normal alligator. The balance is tough though as he wants to tip forward. I never planned to display him like this so I’m not bothered, but anyone who prefers the vintage look you have been warned. Lastly, the tail is on a big ball peg, but it doesn’t do much since that’s the only joint on it. And do yourself a favor and just heat that sucker up before trying to put it on.

He does have some weapon storage, though I can’t imagine posing him without the shotgun in-hand.

Leatherhead is a figure of limited pose ability, but that was expected just by looking at him. The hips being fine are what makes him for me. If those had been terribly loose then it would have ruined him. Instead, it’s just the waist, which since it just twists, isn’t a huge posing issue. It still sucks that it’s as loose as it is and it really shouldn’t be, but he’s not falling over so I’m not angry about it. The hinges for the hands are a bit loose too, but his accessories are staying put so I guess it’s not a big deal. Swapping his hands is also much easier than it was with Leo. The plastic used for Leo feels a lot more rubbery and the ridges they put on the pegs seem more pronounced. I still don’t know why they put those on them when the hands have been fine up until now, but it is what it is.

He somehow manages to look intimidating and like a doofus all at the same time.

When it comes to accessories, Leatherhead has a mix of old and new. For hands, he comes with gripping hands attached in the box and he also has a set of trigger hands and fists. As mentioned previously, the trigger hands have the wrong hinge. I’d even liked the standard gripping hands to have a vertical hinge as they would work better with his other accessories. His main one is a shotgun and it’s cast in orange plastic with some brown wood grain added and a silver barrel. The pump action on it works, but mine was kind of warped and hard to manipulate out of the box. I heated it up to straighten it out some to get it moving, but be careful as the silver portion of the gun is all paint and it can rub off. It kind of sucks that the weapon came with the pump in the wrong place so most will want to move it at least once. Maybe they should have just cast it in a gun-metal gray like Rocksteady’s machine gun? There’s also almost no indentation at all in at the end of the barrel, or black paint to create the illusion it’s an actual barrel, which looks weird.

The red accessories on his belt are all removable. They look fine, but would have looked better with some paint.

Leatherhead’s other vintage accessories include a giant claw trap. It has a metallic finish, almost bronze, and it too works in that it hinges. It’s pretty menacing looking too. He also has his belt fixtures from the old toy: a crayfish, turtle, and flock of feathers. Unfortunately, they’re unpainted and just case in red plastic. The crayfish looks fine, but the turtle and feathers look pretty stupid all in red. All three key into his belt and they all do so in a different manner so they can’t be put in the wrong place. They stay on okay, but in order for these to work well the factory had to cast the belt in some fairly rigid plastic which doesn’t work as well for the shotgun holster. It has to really be squeezed in there and I worry about paint rub, which is why I’ll probably just keep it in his hand anyway.

Maybe we have this guy figured all wrong and he’s just a fisherman that wants to be left alone?

New for this release is a fly-fishing rod. Like the gun, it was a little warped out of the box so I tried to straighten it as best I could. It’s painted rather well, but the wheel on it doesn’t spin or anything which would have been cool. I like it though and I think it adds to this hillbilly persona the character has. Lastly, he has a weapon sprue which features the shotgun, claw trap, and rod which is used as the frame of the sprue. Apparently it snaps together, but I don’t know if that painted one is supposed to come apart. If you like that look though, it’s here, only they did it in brown and not the red of the vintage toy so it feels kind of pointless, more so than usual.

“Hahahahaha – dumb turtle stepped in the trap!”

Leatherhead is an overall better release than Sewer Samurai Leonardo. He is more in-line with the level of quality and functionality of past releases in this line and the shortcomings are more acceptable as a result. He’s still not perfect, and I feel like the Wave 6 Slash is a higher quality figure so I’m eager to look at some more of that wave. At $55, it’s the type of release that warrants consideration, but isn’t a slam dunk either. It’s expensive for what it is, and I don’t know that it compares too favorably with other figures in that price range. As has been the case with this line, the main selling point is the sculpt and inherent nostalgia involved in remaking a classic figure from a memorable toyline. And for many, Leatherhead was a pretty important release for that vintage line so I suspect this is a figure a lot of folks have been looking forward to. I think if you know what you’re in for, this one can be a winner. As always, value is subjective and it’s hard to overlook how a lot of retailers have gone all-in on this line which has lead to discounts down the road. If you’re unsure about $55, maybe wait for a sale. As for me, I’m content and I think this figure is a fine addition to the collection. I don’t plan on getting the other Wave 5 releases, but I have a couple of Wave 6 figures left to talk about so stick around for that and plan for a few more Turtle Tuesdays in the near future.

I figured I’d give you all a comparison to another big, green, guy from the line.

Super7 Ultimates! Ghost – Papa Emeritus I

Lucifer! We are here!

I feel like I have a pretty interesting relationship with the band Ghost. They came to my attention in 2010 with their album Opus Eponymous and came at the recommendation of one of my friends. It wasn’t so much a recommendation based on quality, but more of a “You have to hear this,” because it was so out there. I grew up with heavy metal and it’s been my genre of choice since I was a pre-teen so Satanic metal was nothing new (have you seen the amount of Danzig shit I’ve posted?!), but it had been awhile since I heard something quite like Ghost. Ignoring the content of the material, Ghost sounded like a throwback to the 70s. The somewhat high-voiced vocals of Papa Emeritus I mingled with sludgy riffs and driving percussion. It wasn’t the blast beasts, grunts, screams, and such of black metal or death metal, the subgenre most associated with Satanism these days, and instead was more in-line with originators like Black Sabbath. Only there was little subtlety to what Ghost was singing about which added a different kind of entertainment value. Shock value? I suppose, but at the end of the day it’s all entertainment.

Super7 can be criticized for a lot of things, but presentation is rarely one of them.

Ghost was next on my radar due to the band’s placement on the Hunter/Heritage tour, a co-headlining affair between the then more established Mastodon and Opeth. That was a show I had to see, and if Ghost was on the undercard then yeah, I wanted to see them too. Only I ended up missing their performance that night. It would be years later when the band opened for Iron Maiden that I found myself with tickets once again to see Ghost. That time, I really wanted to make sure I saw them and so did my cousin who I was attending the show with, but the evening traffic of Massachusetts had other plans in mind. We got to the show just after Iron Maiden took the stage, so naturally, we missed Ghost. Again.

An action figure that comes with not one, but two, thuribles is something I never thought I’d see.

This year, I came out of my COVID cocoon to attend a live event in the form of Nightwish. It was after that show that my cousin told me Ghost was coming around later in the year and he really wanted to see them this time. I had kind of lost touch with the band, but my cousin swore by the new album so I followed his advice and grabbed Impera. I loved it. It’s more poppy than the first two albums, which were the only ones I owned before 2022, but the hooks were great and the band had definitely evolved more of an arena sound which has apparently suited it very well considering the venues they now headline. I grabbed the other albums I had overlooked and also enjoyed them. What I couldn’t have predicted was how much my kids would like the band. My daughter, especially, loves Ghost now. She has a Frozen karaoke machine she’d rather sing Ghost songs through. And my son’s favorite song is “Year Zero.” It amuses me to no end.

For those wondering what’s under the robe.

Given that, of course I had to go grab the Super7 figure of Papa Emeritus I! Papa Emeritus I is the frontman for Ghost’s first album before being replaced by the logically named Papa Emeritus II. He’s essentially a Satanic version of the pope as he’s clad in the long robes and features the tall, funny, hat (I’m told it’s called a mitre), but his clothing is adorned with inverted crosses and his face painted sort of like a skull. It’s a look, for sure, and it’s not a surprise to see it converted to plastic and soft goods. Super7 has a track record for working with punk and classic metal acts and some contemporary musicians. Ghost seems to almost check all of those boxes to some degree, the music may not be “punk,” but there’s a punk attitude in place. Super7 also employs Kyle Wlodyga to spearhead some of their brands and he LOVES Ghost so the company has partnered with the band to produce not just Ultimates!, but ReAction sets as well.

The second head is the same sculpt, but with a different deco. Mine has a little color bleed on the black which is unfortunate.

The Ultimates! Papa Emeritus I comes in the standard Super7 Ultimates! style packaging. It’s a slipcover over a window box and it’s tailored to the band’s aesthetic. We have a white slipcover with the band’s logo on the front embossed in a metallic material, a G mixed with an inverted cross, with the rear featuring the band’s name in their stylized font. The logos are both really cool as the metallic portion plays with light. Sometimes it looks like a traditional steel color and other times it looks almost gold. The inner window box presents the figure with arms outstretched in a “T” shape with the cardboard over the window evoking the image of a stained glass pattern, though absent any color. On the back is a bio for the first Papa Emeritus and speaks of him in the past tense, which makes sense given this came out last year.

He looks positively resplendent in white and gold!

Presentation is nice and all, but I want the figure! Papa Emeritus comes wearing his signature black pallium with crimson trim. There’s inverted crosses up and down both sides and the face is painted up to resemble the actual character. The mitre is non-removable, but true to the band’s presentation as it’s largely silver and black (is he a Raiders fan?) with the logo on the front. Twin tassels (I’m sure they have a proper name, but I don’t know it) come off the back of the mitre and are sculpted in a soft plastic and possess some flex. The actual pallium is all soft goods with black on the outside and red on the inside. It possesses Velcro on the inside so that it holds together and the only actual hole in the robe is one for the head. There are two sleeves inside to help keep it in place as well. The outer edge is wired so it can be posed to your liking. The hands are really the only parts of the figure visible aside from the head and they’re sculpted in black. It’s a striking look and I’m very impressed with the quality of the soft goods. The head looks pretty good, but does have some paint imperfections, though probably not so bad that they’re noticeable from a shelf.

“Ugh, dude, we mostly just sing about pizza.”

Under the robe, we have the figure itself which is cast entirely in black plastic. Papa is wearing a black, three-piece, suit underneath this thing. It’s mostly stiff plastic, save for the coat. I have no idea if this is accurate to the actual performer, but it makes sense for future releases in the line as far as reuse goes and it looks better than just a blank body, which is what I initially expected. I’m guessing no one will actually display the figure without a robe, but it’s nice to know the option exists. And the suit looks good, it’s just on the bland side since it’s entirely black. It is more matte than I would have expected with the only real shiny spot being the shoes, which are likely supposed to have a hit of gloss. I’m interested in seeing what Super7 does with the body down the road as I think it would look pretty good with some paint.

Oh shit, he’s made his way into the Dream House!

Papa Emeritus, when in his robes, probably doesn’t need to do a whole lot, but he does have some articulation we can talk about. The head is on a ball-peg and it rotates as far as the tassels on the rear of the head will let him. He looks down all right, but not much up because of those tassels. The shoulders are ball-hinged and raise out to the side just fine and rotate all around. The single-hinged elbows go a little past 90 degrees, which is good, and they swivel. The wrists rotate and hinge horizontally. Vertical hinges probably would have been better for the gripping hands, but oh well. The torso has an ab crunch and it works okay, plus it doesn’t look bad. The hips are on ball-pegs and Papa can do full splits and kick forward pretty far. The knees bend at 90 degrees with a swivel and the ankles hinge and rock side-to-side. It’s all pretty good, though some of it is hard to take advantage of with the robe on, but an unrobed Papa can certainly perform like a dynamic frontman should.

The corruption is even affecting princesses!

Papa Emeritus also has some accessories to speak of. He comes with open hands in the box, but also has two sets of gripping hands with one looser than the other and a set of fists in case he needs to punch someone. He also has a silver thurible, the incense holder priests swing around at funerals, that slips onto his open hands. It’s made of real chains with plastic pieces and is a really cool accessory. He also has a black microphone and a microphone stand, since he is a vocalist, after all. And if that’s not good enough, he has a complete second outfit. This one features a head with a white and gold mitre and a robe to match. He even has a second, gold, thurible to complete the look. I’m torn on which one I prefer. The second head has a slightly cleaner paintjob, but also has some color bleed under the nose and left eye. The pattern of the black is also slightly different with a smoother approach to the lips. Neither one actually matches the promotional shots of the figure and it looks like they opted for a less ambitious pattern. Right now, I’m displaying the original look, but maybe I’ll swap to the white in the near future. Maybe for Christmas?

I don’t know if I’m going to be able to get him out of there at this point.

This is a pretty specialized figure, even more so than the usual Super7 products. If you like Ghost and you like action figures, then this is for you! It’s not cheap as it will set you back $55, but I feel better about this figure than some of the other Super7 products I’ve purchased. And obviously, I’m having quite a bit of fun with it if you’ve been paying attention to these pictures. And I feel good about this one mostly because I have no issues with the sculpt and articulation, it all functions well and looks good. The accessories accommodate it very well and are well done. The only thing I’m less impressed with is the paint job on the face. It’s not horrible, but it could be better and considering the head is basically the only part of the figure that’s painted I think it should be a lot better. Is it bad enough for me to consider passing on this figure’s eventual successor? No, probably not, though I have yet to order it because I don’t know that it’s different enough to warrant a purchase. There are other looks for the Ghost frontman that interest me more that I’ll definitely be interested in when and if Super7 gets there. For now, we only know that Papa Emeritus II is on the water for delivery to Super7’s warehouse and a Papa Emeritus III has yet to be shown. I suppose if I want more, I should get on that, but maybe I’ll leave the second one dangling out there in case my kids want to get me something evil for Christmas.


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