NECA TMNT Cartoon Rat King vs Vernon

This might not be the mismatch you think it is.

When I last reviewed a NECA Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles two-pack it was the Splinter vs Baxter Stockman set and I referred to it as potentially the last essential set for some. The key word there being “some” as I am not “some” and didn’t consider myself “some” when I wrote that, for there are more essential characters from the venerable cartoon as far as I am concerned. And the list of those remaining starts with the Rat King!

These two come packaged in the same window box we’re used to at this point. We’ve got character likenesses on the front which aren’t from the show, but are probably from the licensing art that Viacom has for the show. Rat King’s likeness looks pretty good though, and Vernon looks fine though it draws attention to the fact that he’s a cowardly sort, but his figure doesn’t depict that. NECA opted for something else which I think most will enjoy more, though. The rear features a cross-sell which just displays previously released figures so if you were hoping for a tease of what’s next you’ll be mistaken. And not to get ahead of myself, but I actually don’t know what’s next. It could be the deluxe Muckman, Mondo Gecko and Kerma, or our first punk frog two-pack. Time will tell.

Hey Vernon, the viewfinder is on the other side of the camera, buddy.

Rat King was cool, to put it simply. Some weird dude living in the sewer with a bunch of rats who has a unique look and speaks with this lethal sounding whisper. That patchwork costume, the double-wrapped face, he was creepy which made him a lot of fun on that old show because I was never creeped out by Shredder, Krang, or really any other villain. Most of that show was full of comic relief types, but Rat King had a different aura about him. He was a bit mysterious and his motives less defined than someone like Shredder. He wasn’t in a ton of episodes, but certainly enough to be memorable.

Look at that smug asshole.

And then we have Vernon. Oh, Vernon, the character you love to hate. Or maybe just hate – I don’t know. He was April’s co-worker and was sometimes behind the camera for on location shooting, but I feel like mostly he was just hanging around the Channel 6 headquarters acting like a dick. He was always telling April she was doing something wrong or going about something in the wrong way. At times he was portrayed like a rival, but mostly he was just a dick, and a cowardly one at that. Because he’s not a real villain or anyone that gets into fights on the regular, some may question the need for a Vernon. For me, he was a character that had a presence on the show, and he was in far more episodes than your garden variety villain. He is essential, for a different reason than someone like Rat King, but essential nonetheless. As is Irma, whom I suspect is not too far off.

Now Rat King vs Vernon? That does seem like a bizarre way to sell a two-pack of action figures on the surface. Mostly though, ignore the presence of the word “versus” and it starts to make sense and certainly the extra accessories for Vernon bring that home. There was an episode of the cartoon where both Irma and Vernon were exposed to mutagen via Rat King which caused the two to mutate. Vernon, a character who really only needs a camera and maybe some extra hands, in his mutated rat form is pretty interesting and since it was only his head and forearms that mutated, it was also really easy to work into this two pack.

“April!”
Get behind the camera, Vernon!

Vernon comes in right around the 6″ mark, actually a little over, and is featured in his classic attire of pink shirt, blue tie, and blue jeans. There’s even that little case on his belt which has an unknown purpose. Today, it makes me think of a cell phone case, but no cell phone in 1988 is going to fit in there. He sports a happy, yet cocky, expression that conveys his dickishness quite well. He comes packaged with gripping hands, but he also comes with these open, expressive, hands and a pointing, right, hand. His main accessory is a big ole Channel 6 camcorder with a big display on the rear. It’s much larger than the handheld that came with April as Vernon’s is the shoulder mounted style. The handle is articulated and can fold up so it looks appropriate when Vernon carries it by the top handle when he’s not shooting. You can kind of finagle it onto his shoulder too with his eye near enough the viewfinder and overall it’s a nice accessory.

“Oh please, sir, let me go!”
“No! What’s happening?!”

The best accessories though are definitely those were-rat pieces. Vernon’s arms detach at the forearm where they’re held on by pegs. His rolled up sleeves are a separate piece of plastic that fit over those pegs and can slide off if you’re not paying attention when prying the arms off, so be careful. Otherwise, they come off easy enough and the were-rat forearms pop right on with minimal fuss. Vernon’s head detaches at the base of the neck which is a little trickier to get off, but not as difficult as I was expecting. Be sure to grab the neck and not the head or else you might just pop the head off by mistake. I’m pretty sure it’s on a ball-peg, so you’re not likely to damage it or anything, but once the head pops off once it may pop off again with less effort which will only make it harder to get the neck off. Getting the rat head on is tougher and you should probably just heat it up before even trying. Once on though it looks great, and Vernon gains some articulation at the jaw too. It’s so fun that I’m torn on how I want to display this guy. I have a little bit more room where my villains are so he’s going there for now, but I see myself swapping back to regular Vernon and pairing him with April down the road.

If I’m being honest, he’s only slightly more intimidating like this.
He’s like Splinter with sideburns.

Articulation wise, Vernon is pretty familiar. He’s very much similar to April, even though I think he’s mostly all new parts. If he shares any parts with another figure in this line, it’s not obvious. His head is on a ball peg and so is the base of his neck so he’s got great range in that area. The shoulders are ball-hinges and he has the same double-jointed elbows as April which utilize a second ball joint above the elbow for a swivel. It’s kind of funky, but on figures with rolled-up sleeves like this it works pretty well. He has a swivel in the forearm thanks to the pegged in joint there plus the usual swivel and hinge at the wrist. His wristwatch is glued on, unlike April’s, so you don’t have to worry about it flying off when swapping hands. There’s probably some articulation in the torso, but his shirt is a soft plastic over a body and it steals any articulation that would be found there. And you really don’t want to mess with the diaphragm anyway since it would put stress on the shirt and possibly cause some cracking. He does have a waist twist and ball-jointed thighs that swivel. He has this rubber, “diaper”, over the crotch for his pants that restricts some of the leg movement, but it’s not too bad considering this is Vernon. He’s still capable of wide stances and such. His knees are double-jointed and you’ve got hinges and rockers at the ankles. Pretty typical, but technically a little more than we’re used to thanks to the forearm swivel. There’s certainly enough and I think he’s capable of plenty of expressive poses, which are aided by the extra parts.

There he is!
You can see a little of the brown paint smudges on the upper, inner, thigh

All right, let’s talk Rat King! I’m pretty impressed by Vernon, more so than I would have ever expected I would be for a Vernon action figure, but my focus is on Rat King. And he looks fantastic. This is the cartoon version of Rat King that I’ve wanted since I was a kid. I never had the Playmates Rat King, even though I wanted him, and I think that has made my desire to have this one all the more enhanced. He looks great though as NECA really nailed the likeness. He’s got this cocky grin with wild eyes and the patchwork nature of his shirt and pants just looks terrific. Again, this guy is mostly new parts because all of the stitching is sculpted in and there just aren’t many human males in this line. It’s basically these two guys, Casey Jones, and Shredder. He stands at about six and a half inches, which feels right for this line. Some characters have been either too short or too tall, but Rat King seems like he’s right on the money.

If you’re going to call yourself Rat King then you definitely need some rats.

The only area where Rat King could have been better is in regards to the paint. The actual paint job is pretty terrific. NECA also cast the hinges in the proper colors so when the paint flakes on those joints it doesn’t leave behind an eyesore. And it’s actually pretty clean, actually impressively so, considering all of the linework on this guy. It’s really just that diaper piece where things aren’t great. Before I even moved him out of the box I noticed paint rub on the back of his legs and inner thigh. It’s on the back of the figure so that’s obviously better than the front, but I have a feeling paint is going to rub off of that rubber crotch piece pretty easily so go easy on the thigh joints. I’ve also seen some people end up with cracking paint on that piece and when it flakes off it leaves behind a flesh color. Now Rat King basically wears rags so it’s probably not the eyesore it would be with another figure to see skin poking through, but I don’t know why they didn’t cast that piece in green to match the paint better. And it’s going to be an eyesore if you end up with a cracking crotch piece.

Bomb’s away!

We might as well talk articulation since it plays into that issue just discussed. Rat King’s head is hunched forward and on a ball-peg so it has the usual range of motion, but the hunch restricts it a touch. He’s got shoulder-hinges and biceps swivels and the stitching pattern goes all through both pieces so it still looks good in almost any position. He has double elbows and the hands rotate and have a hinge on them. He has a diaphragm cut that gives him some fun motion in the torso, though he has these straps going over his body which are a separate piece that you want to be mindful of. I don’t think he has a waist swivel. It didn’t turn and I don’t want to mess up those straps, so I’m going to assume it’s not there. His thighs are ball-jointed and, like I said, you’ll want to treat them gently. That diaper is going to limit how far his legs can move, even more so than Vernon because he’s thinner than Rat King, but my advice is only move him as far as that diaper wants you to and not beyond. There’s give there, and it will move, but you might not like the result. The knees are double-jointed and you’ve got hinges and rockers at the ankles. His articulation is fine. It could be better, and since they already had to sculpt so much new for this guy I wish they just sculpted a new crotch piece so they didn’t need that soft diaper, but he’s okay.

This has got to be Rat King’s ultimate fantasy right here.

For a figure with a lot of new sculpting, it’s actually surprising to see the amount of accessories that are included. For starters, Rat King comes with two, open, stylized hands in the box. He has a set of gripping hands he can swap to and a pointing, right, hand. He also has rats! He kind of needs them and he gets his own rather than sharing a rat with Splinter or something. They’re fun too as NECA gave two of them a curling tail so you can place them on the figure without the need to have peg holes. One fits very well on his shoulder, another can go around a bicep or leg and the third can go on his head or in his hand or something. If you place him on a shelf it’s then pretty easy to just place the rats right on him with little frustration. Rat King comes with his hypnotic flute that fits into his left gripping hand pretty well, less so the right one. He’s also got a bandolier that his soda can grenades fit into. He has two red ones and one blue one and it’s easy to slip over his head and the cans pop in and out easily. The cans also fit into his open hands well and look pretty cool. Lastly, he’s got the same gray cannister of mutagen the rock soldiers came with. He doesn’t need this, but I guess it’s good to have more? – EDIT: It’s actually not the same gray canister that came with Traag and Granitor, it just looks like it. This one can actually separate and there’s some pink ooze inside, so that’s pretty cool. And sneaky.

Here’s some size comparisons for you. Rat King with a turtle and one of the tallest figures in the line, Captain Zarax.
Here’s our dear rat boy with the same.

If it’s not obvious, I’m pretty much over the moon with this set. Both figures turned out well and they’re different from each other and from everything that’s come before so it just adds a little more excitement to the mix. They’re fun to pose with different characters. They can be with the Turtles, Splinter, April, or other bad guys. Vernon as a rat is really dynamic for posing opportunities and placement in a display. I really was tempted to buy two, and if Vernon had been packaged with Irma and she had rat parts too then I probably would have. I didn’t want or need two Rat Kings though, plus I don’t want to hog two sets for myself when they’re still hard to get. And that’s the last negative of the set, these are once again Target exclusives. We saw tremendous volume with Krang and the Splinter vs Baxter set because Target ordered direct from NECA to distribute on their own, rather than via NECA’s independent rep relationship. This set is back to that model so as a collector we’re back to stalking the stores when we know the local rep hits and hope for the best. I got lucky that someone on Twitter who follows me alerted me that the store near my house was just stocked late last Friday and I hauled ass to get there and get a set. If you don’t want to go to a store in the midst of a pandemic, I do not blame you one bit. An online drop at target.com is expected sometime this week which is why I’ve fast-tracked this review so I can get you that information! There is a placeholder page on Target’s website right now (search for NECA Rat King and make sure you select “include out of stock” in the filter to bring it up) and if you have the app you should go to it and turn on notifications. Sometimes those notifications work perfectly, sometimes they don’t, but it’s better than being left in the dark. Good luck out there and don’t feed the scalpers!

Run, girl!

Hasbro Lightning Collection Mighty Morphin Yellow and Pink Rangers

Today we complete a team.

Last week we took a look at the male members of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers from Hasbro’s Lightning Collection. Back when the show was red hot in the early 90s, all of the action figures of the Rangers were the same figure with a different head and decal on the chest. That isn’t going to work for a figure line aimed at both collectors and adolescents and Hasbro obviously knows that. That’s why they did a male body and a female body for the line and that’s why the women are getting their own write-up as today I’m looking at the Pink and Yellow Rangers from Hasbro’s Lightning Collection.

I am still a fan of the window box Hasbro uses for this line, but what’s with that awful posing on Kimberly?

The Yellow and Pink Rangers sharing a body sculpt makes sense, though it also kind of doesn’t. The Yellow Ranger was sort of infamous from this era because Saban chose to cast the late Thuy Trang as Trini Kwan to portray the teenager under the mask. Of course, she was never really under the mask as none of the American actors were since that was footage taken from Japan where the Yellow Ranger was portrayed by a male actor. There are some pretty humorous images online too that really drive that fact home. Technically speaking, the action figure of the Yellow Ranger should probably utilize the male body type, but since American audiences associate Trang with the role it would be kind of weird to have a very masculine Yellow Ranger on our shelf. This figure is already not screen accurate because of this choice, and yet, I think it’s the right move and it’s not something I’m bothered by and I can’t imagine anyone is.

I wish I could get my Pink Ranger into that straight a stance.

Trini and Kimberly use entirely new parts when compared with their male counterparts. Despite that though, they’re still engineered the same way so the figures feel pretty familiar. They’re just more slight than the men with thinner limbs and smaller hands and feet. They obviously have unique headsculpts and Kimberly differs from her teammate in that she has an extra piece of plastic for her skirt piece as she was the only female Ranger in the Japanese version. They stand at about five and three quarters inches, which is roughly half an inch shorter than the males. They look pretty good in relation to the male figures, though I think you could argue Hasbro went a little too far in slimming these two down. Their limbs probably don’t need to be quite this slight as these are pretty athletic women, and the thinness of the limbs apparently necessitated a compromise when it comes to the articulation. Their proportions also look less appropriate than the men. I can’t decide if it’s the torso that is too long, or the legs. Something just doesn’t look quite right to me and I notice it more with Kimberly than Trini.

These women are packing heat, albeit in an unconventional fashion.

Like the men, these figures mix colored plastic with painted plastic. And like the men, it’s a problem. With Trini, she mostly looks okay. The yellow is quite bright with her torso being ever so slightly darker than the limbs. I have to be looking for it. Kimberly is another story. Her torso is quite a bit darker than her limbs to the point of being near purple. The pink on her helmet appears to be a completely different shade of pink, as does the skirt. She’s a mess, and to make things worse my figure was quite bow-legged out of the box as she comes packaged in a rather awkward position. I had to heat her legs up to try and straighten them out and they’re definitely better now, but not good enough. Trini is a lot more interesting to position and move. Her paint is fine and she might be the cleanest one I’ve received. It also helps that yellow paint slop just isn’t going to be as obvious as a darker color, but it’s good.

The articulation here is not as good as it is with the male figures, but you can still have some fun.

The articulation with these figures is nearly the same as the male ones, but it also works a little differently due to the sculpt. We’ve got a ball-peg at the head, hinged shoulders, elbow swivel, single-jointed elbows, and swivel and hinged hands. Shockingly, Kimberly has a vertical hinge on her right hand for her bow. I don’t know what it is about a bow that made Hasbro decide she needed this hinge, and the others didn’t, but at least they got one hand right out of 14 in this line. Trini, sadly, still has horizontal hinges to deal with. The women having single-jointed elbows instead of double-jointed ones is something I can only assume was brought on by the thinness of the arms. Hasbro used a hinged, ball, peg system so that’s why they have a swivel at the elbow instead of a biceps swivel. It’s a bit more awkward looking, but the figures can still curl their arms past 90 degrees so it’s not a huge downgrade. The diaphragm cut is where things get a little worse. It’s still a ball-joint, but it’s far less effective. There’s a lot of gapping when the figure arches back and the range of motion in general is poor. I attribute this to the lower portion of the torso not sitting further inside the upper piece. The ab crunch is also still here, but even more useless than with the men. The belt floats and can be adjusted and for Kimberly it’s attached to the skirt. The hips flare out, since these are women, and reduces the range of motion there. The men couldn’t really do a split, and the women are even worse which is a shame as I feel Kimberly’s signature move was the jump-split-kick. There’s a thigh swivel and double-jointed knees to go along with a boot cut and ankle hinges with rockers. The ankles are still the star of the show. Overall, the articulation is okay, but definitely worse than the men. Kimberly’s skirt also further reduces her range down there and her bow legs make just standing straight like the phony product shot on her packaging impossible and far less elegant than it could be.

Kimberly does have a regular arrow, if you prefer it to the pink, zappy, one.

Trini comes packed with a pair of gripping hands for wielding her Power Daggers. The little sai-like knives look fine and she has no trouble holding them, she just misses the proper hinges for her hands. Kimberly has her Power Bow with a gripping left hand to hold it and the specialized right hand for knocking an arrow. She also has a silver arrow she can hold, but it doesn’t work particularly well or look all that good. She also has an energy arrow which is far more accurate to the show and easier to wield. And it also looks a hell of a lot better than the silver arrow. It’s a translucent pink with the form of an arrow at the front and looks quite good. Trini has two, yellow, translucent, sparks for her daggers that make me think of pom-poms. They’re fine and it adds a little flair to her posing.

A more traditional form of “heat.”

Like the men, both women come with a second set of hands and a Blade Blaster. For Trini, she has another gripping right hand that is meant to be used in tandem with the Blade Blaster. She also has a style pose left hand that’s similar to a karate chop. Kimberly comes with a left fist and a style pose right hand in the same shape as Trini’s chop hand. This is pretty smart on Hasbro’s part as it gives the women a set of stylized hands to share, should you want to. And I seem to recall at least the Pink Ranger using such poses in the show. Neither woman comes with the collapsed Blade Blaster or the knife version, which is a bummer because the blaster version doesn’t fit Kimberly’s holster as well as it does the other Rangers. Curiously, Kimberly’s blaster is painted differently from all of the other ones opting for a metallic silver instead of white. I think this actually looks better, but it drives me a bit crazy that hers is different for no apparent reason. She also doesn’t have a proper trigger hand and neither default hand works particularly well with the gun.

Tommy, your girlfriend – woof!

Of course, both have a second, unmasked, head. Thuy Trang’s likeness is okay. I at least know it’s her, but it’s not as good as Jason or either Tommy head that came with his figures. Kimberly looks awful though. It does not look anything like Amy Jo Johnson to me. The hair looks fine, so I guess she’s not as bad as Zach since both his hair and his face looked terrible, but it doesn’t really matter if she’s as bad as Zach since she’s still bad. It’s a good thing I don’t value these optional heads because I’d be livid if I did. Their long hair also makes articulation much trickier than before. Trini is okay, but Kimberly kind of locks in place once seated so she basically can’t move her head in this form, but you’re not going to use it so who cares?

The various power weapons join forces to vanquish evil! Yes, I had to look at a reference image to remember where everything goes.
In case you prefer something akin to a side view. The bow gets a little cockeyed doing this.

Since these are the last of the Mighty Morphin figures I will review, it feels like a good time to talk about how the weapons work. Just like in the show, the weapons can combine to form a clunky looking mega blaster of sorts. The axe is the base and the bow clips into the front of it while the sliding action on the axe serves to hold it in place. The daggers and Billy’s twin, mini, tridents peg into the underside of the bow while the sword slots on top of the axe and bow. It’s easy to assemble, though a little tricky to get one of the figures to actually hold it properly. I was able to finagle the pose from the show with Billy and Zach grabbing one end of the bow apiece and the women basically just placing their hands on Jason, so it’s doable. There’s no screen accurate blast effect packaged with anyone though, but that probably would have made it far more difficult to pose with added weight on the front. This gun has always looked kind of silly, but I love crap like this. I love that the weapons combined on the show and I would have been irritated if the toys could not do the same.

Megazord? We don’t need no stinkin’ Megazord!

The female portion of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers brought with it a mixed bag. Generally speaking, this sculpt does not function as well as the male figure and that’s disappointing because there’s no reason why it shouldn’t work just as well. Despite that though, I’ve actually enjoyed posing the Yellow Ranger. Her weapons are simple, but not restrictive, so she has a lot of freedom. I’m also happy with her paint as she turned out about as well as the White and Green Rangers. The Pink Ranger though is another story. Her articulation is slightly worse, but what bugs me more are her warped legs and mismatched colors. She’s definitely the worst of the bunch and what’s working against her is I never liked her helmet in the show very much. She looks like an alien or something. She’s not a good figure which sucks because she’s been the hardest to get. I had to pay over retail for her because Hasbro stopped shipping her, possibly because there’s a new version out done in a metallic paint with a different actress likeness. I’m curious if that one is any better, though the metallic paint made it a non-starter for me as she wouldn’t fit in with the rest of my display. And if I didn’t need her to complete that display, I wouldn’t have her. She’s the worst figure I’ve purchased in a long while.

Group shot! Yeah, I know, the presence of the White and Green Ranger makes little sense, but I don’t care!

But you need the whole team! And that’s where Hasbro gets you. They know they don’t have to hit a home run with each figure in this line because collectors are going to buy them no matter what since they want a full team of Power Rangers. And now that I have a full team plus the Green and White Rangers, how do I feel? Pretty good. This is a case where the end result is better than the sum of its parts. I have issues with these figures, some more than others, but I’d rather have a full team than just a lone Green Ranger. And even though the scale is obviously way off, I do like having these guys with my vintage Bandai Megazord which displays better with this set than it did the vintage sets. I suppose that would mean it’s “Mission Accomplished” on Hasbro’s end, and that’s how it is with mass market action figures. At least now, after almost 30 years, I finally have a set of Power Rangers toys!


Hasbro Lightning Collection Mighty Morphin Red, Black, and Blue Rangers

It’s morphin time!

If it wasn’t obvious after my White Ranger review, I have decided I need to assemble a team of Power Rangers on my shelf. Specifically, the Mighty Morphin era. I’ve already posted my thoughts on both the Green and White Rangers, devoting a write-up to each figure, but for today I’m going to do some combining. And that’s because I am basically going to just talk about three different versions of the same figure. The base Power Ranger male figure is the same for each one, at least for the Mighty Morphin figures. I assume the other teams are similar, but I don’t know that for sure because I don’t have any of them, nor do I intend to get any of them. These three though are the same, and they’re basically the same as the Green and White Rangers too, though those two had a few unique pieces due to the slight differences in costumes. Now I don’t intend for that revelation to be a knock on this line, toy companies reuse parts all of the time and when the characters are pretty similar there’s no need to re-sculpt everything just for the sake of doing so. The actors in the show who portrayed the “teenagers” who become Power Rangers were fairly distinct in terms of body shape, but the costumed Rangers really were not.

I like what Hasbro has been doing with their packaging. Simple, but elegant, window boxes.

The good news is, I generally liked what Hasbro did for the other Rangers I reviewed. If I didn’t then I probably wouldn’t have bought more. The molds aren’t cartoonishly bulky like the old Bandai ones and was more reflective of how these characters actually look on screen. You can still nitpick them here and there, but for the most part they look like what I recall seeing on television back in 93. The articulation is solid, the paint has been okay for a mass market retail figure, and each figure has come mostly with enough stuff. This time though we’re going into original five territory. These characters were even more uniform with really the only difference being the head and unique weapon. All of them, in the show, were also armed with what was called a Blade Blaster which was a little laser pistol that could turn into a bulky knife. These three should be pretty similar with some room for there to be a clear “best” and “worst,” but my expectation is if one is good then all three should be pretty good. And, of course, if one is bad then they will all probably be bad.

Though I wish they used actual product shots on the rear as opposed to renders. Good luck getting the Black Ranger into that exact pose.

All three Rangers come in the same attractive window box with some unique artwork on the front and side and product shot on the back. The box is also color themed to that specific Ranger and these would probably look just fine to a mint-in-box collector, and for you openers the packaging is fairly durable and can be resealed with minimal effort. Each figure stands a tick over 6″; we’ll call it six and a quarter. And each one is some combination of colored plastic and painted plastic. Since these figures are essentially just two-toned, Hasbro tries to get away with using as little paint as possible and it creates problems. The Black Ranger is the best of the three as black is pretty opaque and plastic painted black and molded black are going to look the same. The molded white and the painted white which shows up at the butterfly joint is a little off, but for the most part he looks good. There’s paint inconsistencies here and there, and one glove has an ugly smudge of black on it, but it’s something you kind of have to deal with as far as this line is concerned. Strangely, he doesn’t have a red ring on his morpher, something all four have, so this is clearly an error on Hasbro’s part. The helmet is at least clean and looks pretty sharp. It was always one of my favorite helmets in the show with the mastodon tusks curling under the visor and it’s recreated here pretty well.

I’m going to be humming the theme song as I drop images into this thing.

Unfortunately, the Red and Blue Rangers are not as good. On these two, the colored plastic and painted plastic is noticeably different. The torso on the Red Ranger in particular is way darker than his limbs to a distracting level. It’s readily apparent in box, and still when removed. When he’s posed on a shelf with his limbs in a more dynamic pose the effect is minimized a bit, but not removed. The same is true of Billy, our Blue Ranger, but it’s not as severe. Instead, he gets to introduce a separate issue and it’s with the white paint on his torso. It’s not nearly opaque enough and the blue plastic shows through it. It’s bizarre for this figure to have this problem when the black figure is fine. These figures were not all released at the same time so it would appear the factory just had a bad run when it came time to manufacture the Blue Ranger because he feels like the clear dud of this trio. He also has the worst helmet of the three too as there’s a paint chip on the center horn and the shape just looks a little off to me. It’s very round. There are some sculpted lines on it, but the plastic is so dark and glossy that they don’t show well. I wish Hasbro had added some paint to bring them out more like they did with the Black Ranger who has some added silver paint. He’s not awful, but this figure is definitely helped by the fact that I’ve always enjoyed the aesthetics of the Blue Ranger, but someone who doesn’t like blue as much as I do would probably have a harsher take here. The Red Ranger also would benefit from some more paint on his helmet to bring out the design.

Hopefully you can tell how dark Jason’s torso is vs his limbs and how thin the white paint on Billy’s diamonds are.

The paint on these guys is definitely a mixed bag, but at least they’re all the same when it comes to articulation. To run it down again, these guys have a ball peg at the head that gives them an acceptable range of motion. Up and down articulation is limited, but it’s fine. We’ve got a ball hinge at the shoulder with a butterfly joint behind it. The combination of molded white and painted white plastic with this joint is a little unsightly, but the range created by the joint is, for the most part, worth it. I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with butterfly joints. There’s a biceps swivel, double-jointed elbow, and the hands rotate and have horizontal hinges, which are bad for these figures. There’s a ball-joint in the diaphragm that provides some tilt forward and back as well as side-to-side. There is an ab crunch that’s mostly useless, and no waist swivel. I wish Hasbro would ditch the ab crunch and just go with a waist swivel. The legs are ball pegs and can kick forward, but not back. They also can’t do a true split, which kind of sucks for acrobatic characters. There’s a thigh swivel, double-jointed knees, a boot cut, and ankle hinges with rockers. The ankles are terrific and will be your best friend when it comes to posing these boys. It’s fine articulation on the whole with obvious room for improvement. Unfortunately, any improvement to it though will be a benefit to other iterations of the Power Rangers as I suspect Hasbro is not going to re-sculpt the Mighty Morphin figures anytime soon. Maybe when they do guys like Rocky and Adam they’ll retool some things, but it’s not something I’d count on. It also should be noted some are more stiff than others, though I can say no joints are loose. My Red Ranger’s elbows were also curved slightly which made working them a bit difficult. I ran them under hot water to try to bend the bow out and was mostly successful. His shoulder hinges are real tight though and he’s a bit more awkward to work with as a result.

The weapons turned out pretty well, at least.
This is the only blast effect among the five Rangers so if you want the combined blaster to fire this is your only option.

The accessories present the most obvious opportunity for these figures to separate themselves from each other as each Ranger had their own unique weapon. For Jason the Red Ranger, it’s the Power Sword. Zach the Black Ranger has the Power Axe, and Billy has the Power Lance. Very creative names, I know. Jason’s sword is just that, a sword. It’s fine, but the lack of vertical hinged hands makes wielding it properly more difficult than it needs to be. Hasbro also painted the handle black, so now I have black smudges on the inside of the hands. Definitely just heat those hands to make them soft when inserting this thing unless you want your figure to have dirty hands too. Zach’s axe suffers from the same hinge fate when wielded as an axe, but it also functions as a gun which the wrist hinges don’t impact much. And it’s pretty cool! It even has a sliding action on it so he can pump it like a shotgun. It’s probably my favorite weapon so far. Billy’s lance is fine, though it’s a bit flimsy so it will often have a slight curve to it. It’s blue plastic, so there’s less fear of rub with this one as the only paint is reserved for the silver trident tips and some minor details. Hasbro packed in separate handheld daggers for Billy as his lance could break in half. This was mostly for when they combine their weapons (which is something the figures can do if you buy all five Rangers), but he can wield these like sais if you wanted. It’s probably the smarter play than just having the lance separate as they would have had to have a separate middle piece that did nothing in order for the lance to be long enough. These weapons are good though, so no real complaints there. Each one also comes with an effects piece for their respective weapon. Jason and Billy have a lighting effect that is blue for both of them. Zach has a blasting effect for when his weapon is used in gun form. It’s a translucent red with sparkles and works pretty well, though it kind of looks like a pumpkin. It does add a lot of weight to the front of the axe so posing him can get challenging when it’s inserted, but not impossible.

Ready for a shoot out.
Zach is the only one who got the memo it was actually a knife fight they were supposed to show up for.

For the blasters, Hasbro continues to confuse. Each Ranger comes with a Blade Blaster in blaster form. It would have been pretty awesome if they could have made a transforming blaster (since the transformation was very simple), but that might have resulted in too fragile a piece so instead there are just regular blasters. The paint on them isn’t great, but the sculpt work at least looks nice. Zach also comes with a Blade Blaster in blade form. This is cool since it was something each Ranger had, though as a weapon it looked really stupid even to an eight year old, but it was in the show so I want the toy to have it. The blade though is permanently extended so it has basically one function. This sucks because in the show the Rangers would holster these weapons in blade form, but with the blade retracted (it was essentially an ugly switchblade). That means each Ranger can’t holster this weapon in a screen-accurate manner. I’m tempted to just snip off the blade, but that won’t solve the issue of the Red and Blue Rangers only having the pistol version. The pistol fits in the holster, but again, it’s not screen accurate and it bothers me. You can brush this aside by saying “Well, this is a line meant to appeal to kids too,” but kids care about that stuff! I was arguably more obsessed with things being screen accurate as a kid than I am now. At the very least, each figure should have come with this bladed version in addition to the gun, but Hasbro got cheap on us. It’s like they put it in with the Black Ranger just to wave it in our face that they could have done this the whole time, but chose not to.

Spare heads, if you want them. Though I can’t imagine anyone wants that Zach.
Yeah, I’m not going to use these.

Lastly, each figure comes with some optional parts. All have two sets of hands: gripping and fists. I appreciate the extras, but fists aren’t very exciting as optional hands. I’d have preferred maybe some chop hands or more style pose hands since these characters did a lot of that in the show. The other optional part is the unmasked head that comes with each. This is a good thing if that’s something that interests you, though I personally won’t ever use them. The likeness for each is based on their original actor so we have Austin St. John as Jason, Walter Jones as Zach, and David Yost as Billy. Of the three, Jason looks the best. It more or less looks like St. John. Billy’s head is okay. It’s a bit goofy and glasses are always hard to get right, but it’s okay. Zach though looks terrible. I don’t know what Hasbro was trying to do with this one. He had dreadlocks in Season Two and I guess that’s what they were going for with this one, but his hair just looks terrible and the face looks nothing like Jones to me. It’s bad. It’s probably a bummer for diehard collectors of Power Rangers who want to assemble a team of every actor who played these characters, at least for a casual fan like me it’s just an ugly lump of plastic that will stay in the box.

All right, it’s face-off time!
“Don’t worry, Tommy! I’ll save you by smashing in your face with my Power Sword!”

This collection of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers is okay. I definitely do not like these figures as much as I did the White and Green Rangers, but I’m not feeling any buyer’s remorse or anything. They get the job done when put on a shelf, it’s when placed under greater scrutiny that some things start to fall apart. I think the Black Ranger is fine, ignoring his ugly unmasked head, and I’m mostly happy with how he turned out. The paint issues on the Red and Blue Rangers are my biggest complaints. I can handwave the inaccurate Blade Blaster and lack of vertical hinges for the hands, but the paint is a bummer because that affects the aesthetics of the figure just as much as the sculpt. The Red Ranger’s elbows, in particular, are ugly because they’re basically a candy apple red and the Blue Ranger has those poorly painted white diamonds on his chest. The thing I keep coming back to is that these are mass market retail figures priced at 20 bucks or less, in most cases. I shouldn’t even expect NECA quality with these things, let alone high end collectibles. Even with that caveat, I still think they’re a little disappointing because this is Hasbro and we know what Hasbro is capable of. Whether it’s Ghostbusters, GI Joe, or Marvel we’ve seen them do much better with paint and certainly matching colored plastic to painted plastic. I can’t recall ever having that be as big an issue with another line as it is here.

Hasbro is able to get a lot of important stuff right with these guys like the overall sculpt and articulation. They also realize that Billy should have a separate set of weapons for when his lance is separated. Then they go and mess up the paint and fail to include holstered Blade Blasters and just do some weird stuff that keeps these from being great. It’s frustrating.

Ultimately, you are free to like or dislike these figures. I suspect most will have mixed feelings, as I do, but I also bet there are some extreme reactions too. For me, I like the aesthetics of these sculpts more than I have any other Power Rangers products, so they work well enough. I always hated the over-muscled look of some of the Bandai figures because these guys aren’t Jim Lee drawings, they were just actors who were probably gymnasts first. If I thought Hasbro was going to do better I might have held off, but I don’t think that will happen unless they do some running changes when they get to the other actors, assuming they do. And if they do, I hope they just cast everything in colored plastic save for the hands and I suppose the boots. And they can also keep the white butterfly joint, I guess, though I think they can do better in color-matching that too. And if that happens, maybe I’ll sell these and upgrade (the Red and Blue, anyways), but maybe I won’t? These get the job done for me, I just think Hasbro can do better and I don’t blame Power Rangers fans if they want to hold Hasbro to a higher standard by ignoring these.


Hasbro Lightning Collection Mighty Morphin White Ranger

Looks like I bought another Power Ranger…

A couple of months ago, I purchased a Green Ranger from Hasbro’s Power Rangers Lightning Collection line of figures. The intent was to sort of replace my vintage Bandai Green Ranger following an unfortunate encounter with my children. I never intended to assemble a full team of Rangers on my shelf, but I am a fool. I was mostly impressed with that Green Ranger figure, and after weeks of seeing him all by himself on my shelf I found myself getting the urge to find him some company. Soon enough, I found myself scrambling to assemble the entire team of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, the only incarnation of the show I watched as a kid. And while I enjoyed the show, I lusted after the toys which were supremely difficult to track down and I never had a full team. I had a head-flipping Green Ranger and my sister had the Pink Ranger and I honestly can’t remember if we got anymore. Now some 30 years later I have the means to assemble a team and Hasbro is willing to throw this line out there for folks like me with arrested development.

No one wants to be lonely.

That original team of Power Rangers consisted of the following colors: red, blue, black, yellow, and pink. The Green Ranger was added shortly after the show started as a villain, who would soon become an ally. You’re probably aware at this point about the show’s unusual development. It’s a Japanese show called Super Sentai and what Saban, the production company with distribution rights outside of Japan, did was cast American actors to play the alter egos of the Power Rangers. They’d shoot that stuff in the US, and then just splice in footage of the rangers in action from the Japanese program and overdub the voices. Since all of the Power Rangers wore helmets, it was easy to dub. The problem with this format is that once you run out of footage you’re kind of screwed, and that’s basically what happened with the Green Ranger. To fix this, they wrote him out of the show by having him lose his powers. They then brought back the character of Tommy Oliver (played by Jason David Frank) as a new Power Ranger: the White Ranger! Only this was even weirder as the White Ranger was from a different iteration of Super Sentai so he looked quite different from the others and often found himself taking on the minions of Lord Zed by himself. This was all stuff I was not aware of as a kid or even noticed, but as an adult it’s kind of fun to go back and watch this stuff with that knowledge.

This is the standard packaging release. There’s also the slightly more fancy “spectrum” packaging sold at Target, but the contents are the same.

In order to assemble a team of Power Rangers on my shelf, you could argue I don’t need both the White and Green Ranger. Well, the White Ranger was one of the easiest to find on store shelves and I do like his design and I’m profoundly weak, so here we are! This figure is quite similar to the Green Ranger as they basically all use the same body as the base of the figure. Hasbro then gives each character a unique headsculpt and weapon while also modifying the sculpt where necessary. For the White Ranger, that means sculpting new forearms and boots as his gloves and boots feature gold cuffs that require new sculpting. He also has gold armbands that are different enough from the Green Ranger that he needs some new tooling there as well. The black and gold vest he wears is a soft plastic addition that just fits over the main body of the figure. He also has a distinct belt and scabbard for his sword making him the figure with probably the most unique tooling in the line as far as the Mighty Morphin brand is concerned.

Ready to throw down.

From a purely aesthetic point of view, Hasbro absolutely nailed this one. Even more so than they did the Green Ranger, who I felt looked pretty damn good as well. For starters, the helmet looks great. There’s a lot of fine detail on it and it would not have surprised me to find paint slop in this area, but it’s all really clean. It’s striking, and I like how his head sits on the body in tandem with the vest, or shield, or whatever that thing is. With the Green Ranger, I felt his head sat a bit too low and his torso looked a little too long, but I think that was caused by the presence of his shield and the White Ranger’s vest mitigates those problems. The sculpting and detail on the vest looks terrific as does the belt and other gold accents on the costume. The hands and boots both feature the same sculpting as the Green Ranger as do the other parts of the body so he has some folds and creases which really bring out that authentic look. The only visual flaw with my figure is the presence of a smudge or scuff on the lower, right, side of his vest that’s barely visible because it’s all black. I did see several of these figures at the store and not all of them were as clean looking as this one, so definitely try to pick him up in person if you want this thing rather than order online. Overall though, I’m quite pleased with how he turned out.

Can he stand on one foot? Hell yeah he can!

While the White Ranger’s sculpt may differ a bit from his green predecessor, his articulation does not. This figure features the same articulation as that figure, but I won’t make you go back and read that review to get a rundown. His head is on a ball-joint and he can look up, down, rotate, and tilt a little. The shoulders are ball-hinged and also possess a butterfly joint which the vest works really well to conceal. There’s a biceps swivel above that gold armband and double-jointed elbows. The hands swivel and have horizontal hinges, which we’ll talk about in a minute. There’s a ball-joint inside the torso that provides great tilt and range of motion and there’s an ab crunch below it if you really want this guy to lurch forward. There’s no waist swivel, but that diaphragm joint works pretty well and I don’t really miss it. You have ball-hinges at the thigh with a thigh swivel just below on each leg. The knees are double-jointed and you get a boot cut as well above the gold cuff. The ankles are hinged and also have terrific “rocker” action as they pivot easily from side-to-side. Really, the only thing I miss is a set of vertical hinged hands, or even just one hand, for proper sword wielding. That’s a fault with the entire line though and not something unique to the White Ranger.

The problem with a talking sword is you never know how to hold it.

The White Ranger comes with a few accessories, but a little less than what the Green Ranger came with. He has his trusty sword at his side, Saba, the weird, talking, tiger thing. It’s his signature accessory and really the only one he actually needs, but it might bug some purists when they find out that Hasbro took some liberties with it. The shape of it looks fine and is largely as I remember, but rather than have a white, tiger, face on the hilt Hasbro chose to paint it all silver. It’s cast in white plastic so maybe someone felt it looked too boring being in white, but it doesn’t really bother me. Again, I’m not a Power Rangers super fan or anything, so others may be bothered by it. The stripes are painted black and are relatively clean. One side of his face is gold, while the other is left silver. I think both sides should be gold and, but I don’t believe this is an error on mine as a quick search of other reviews seems to produce the same thing. I think it would have looked cool if they added a little red to his eyes. I think they would glow in the show, or maybe I just wanted them to. Overall though, it looks okay and it fits in his scabbard if you’re a monster and actually want to pose this guy without the sword in his hand.

He also has this thing for the end of his sword. Is it an energy effect that didn’t exist in the show or just supposed to mimic light shining off his blade? I don’t know.

Aside from Saba, the White Ranger just comes with some additional hands, head, and an effects piece. Out of the box he comes with a right gripping hand and a left karate chop hand. In the box you will find a set of fists. It’s weird that he doesn’t have a left gripping hand, but I guess Tommy was a righty. Since he needs to be able to hold his sword, I doubt most will make use of that right fist, but it’s there if you want it. And it’s good that I’m lukewarm on it because the right hand snapped out of the hinge joint when I tried to remove it. The break was clean and I was actually able to get the hand back into the the joint, but it was a bummer. The second head is an unmasked one, as is the case with all of the figures in this line. It’s Tommy, but with a pony tail which is appropriate for this era. I believe this head was also released with the first Green Ranger Hasbro did, but was then replaced with a more appropriate head in the single release from late last year. The likeness on it is fine, but I’ll never use it once this review is done. I also had trouble getting the helmeted head off of the figure, and after what transpired with the hand, I just cut my losses and let it be. This line is technically for ages 4 and up, so it’s probably cool for kids to have the second head as they play, provided they can actually get the other one off. Lastly, White Ranger has this blue effects piece. It’s very spiky and the plastic is translucent and it has a little slit in it so you can stick it on the end of the sword. I guess it’s supposed to be a shimmering effect? I think that’s what they were going for, but it doesn’t quite work.

Everyone does the pose with the unmasked Ranger holding their helmeted head, but how many do the opposite? This is the content you come here for.

The White Ranger is a pretty fine release. It’s a twenty dollar figure that has mostly great paint, solid articulation, an attractive sculpt, and enough accessories to make him feel like a complete release. If I’m being objective, this is probably a better release than the Green Ranger I reviewed last year, but I’m partial to that character so I don’t know that I enjoy this one more than the other. Basically, I think Hasbro could have done a little better with the hands and effects piece, but otherwise this figure checks all the right boxes. My only real complaint is a lack of a vertically hinged sword hand. I think that’s a problem for the entire line though, so for whatever reason, Hasbro just doesn’t like vertically hinged hands. And then of course the quality control issue I had with the hand is not ideal. The pegs connecting the hands to the forearm are almost needlessly long and in this case the hinge gave out before the peg could be freed. It surprised me because this guy had been out of his box for nearly a week before I really messed with him so he had plenty of time to warm up. I’m tempted to return this one for another, but the hand went back on fine and the hinge is functional so I’ll probably just keep it considering the paint app was solid. This guy is not exclusive to any retailer though and should be pretty easy to get ahold of if you’re looking for him, so get get him if Power Rangers are your thing.


Star Wars: The Vintage Collection – Din Djarin (The Mandalorian) and The Child

The wholesome content you come here for.

Today we are celebrating ten years of The Nostalgia Spot! It’s not ten years to the day, the actual anniversary was about a week ago, but it’s close enough. In those 10 years, there have been 750 posts here on a variety of subjects, pretty much all of which could be labeled as nostalgic to someone my age. One such topic though has never been broached, and it’s Star Wars. I have nothing against Star Wars and actually consider myself a fan. The first Star Wars film I ever saw was The Empire Strikes Back when my dad was watching a television broadcast of it in the early 90s and beckoned me to watch it with him. I enjoyed it, even though I thought Darth Vader looked like a rip-off of The Shredder, and my dad made sure to rent The Return of the Jedi for me shortly after our viewing. I don’t think I’d see the original film for a year or so though, and that inaugural viewing was a broadcast television airing too.

I thought Star Wars was pretty great though, and while it never really threatened Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for number one in my heart, I would eventually become a bigger fan later in the 90s. The special edition of the trilogy was heavily marketed as was the novel Shadows of the Empire. Kenner re-launched its Star Wars action figure line and I dabbled in it. I had versions of all of the main cast, as well as a few vehicles, some Micro Machines, and other assorted toys. I got into the Expanded Universe and read quite a few books during that time and also played the video games. I even unironically enjoyed Masters of Teräs Käsi for the PlayStation and sunk several hours into it. And when the prequel trilogy was announced, I was pretty pumped and my family and I made sure to see The Phantom Menace as soon as we could.

Hasbro knows nostalgia.

Ever since though, my fandom has certainly waned. The prequels turned out be rather poor, and when I moved on from toys I largely left Star Wars behind as well. I never stopped liking the original films, but the fandom certainly became exhausting and I’ve never been able to bring myself to care about the franchise in the way a self-described “fan boy” would. To me, it’s just a fun world and fun collection of movies. I have made no grand plans on how to introduce my own kids to it or anything, I’ll just show it to them when they finally show enough interest to care. And so far, they’re fine with not really interacting with it outside of the Disney Infinity game. On the subject of this blog though, I’ve just never felt like I had anything important to say about Star Wars that hasn’t been said somewhere else. It’s a huge topic with a lot of opinions and you can find Star Wars blogs and YouTube channels in astronomical numbers. Anything I post here would just wind up in an echo chamber. I haven’t been actively avoiding the subject, I just haven’t really found anything worthwhile to say on the subject.

If you don’t like the modern stuff, there’s a Luke to keep you happy.

In celebration of ten years blogging though, it felt fitting to finally tackle something related to Star Wars. And today, we’re looking at a toy! The Star Wars: Vintage Collection from Hasbro is a throwback line of action figures meant to remind collectors of the Kenner days. And since Hasbro owns Kenner now, they can even toss the logo right onto the package! The Kenner line was a 3.75″ scale line, though it might be more accurate to say that was really the height and not the scale as the characters did not scale well with each other. They were also articulated in a simple manner with just five points of articulation: head, shoulders, and legs. It was limited, but not in a manner that stood out for the era as a lot of lines offered little articulation. A Toy Biz X-Men figure, for example, often only had four more additional points of articulation at the elbows and knees. I think the line is actually more memorable for just having some amusing sculpts and oddball characters. The original Luke, based on his appearance in Star Wars, had a massive, barrel, chest on him that looked ridiculous. There were also numerous peg warmers of characters no one wanted as the line went on as long as it could often pulling background characters into the limelight. It was a flawed line of figures to be sure, but I had a lot of fun with it and even still have all of my figures to this day.

And with him, as always…

For The Vintage Collection, Hasbro wisely did not just emulate Kenner. These are not ReAction figures. This is a 3.75″ scale line of figures with modern articulation and a lot of the bells and whistles collectors today are used to. I do not collect anything Star Wars today, but it looks to me like this line works largely in tandem with Hasbro’s The Black Series, a 6″ scale line, with these figures just being scaled-down versions of figures from that line. I do not know if that’s true of every figure, but it certainly appears to be the case with Din Djarin, better known to most as The Mandalorian.

This is awesome.

The Mandalorian has been a big hit for Disney and its streaming service, Disney+, pretty much since day one. The second season just finished at the end of 2020 and a third season is expected later this year along with a spin-off series concerning Boba Fett. Like basically everyone with a Disney+ subscription, I have watched The Mandalorian and I’ve found it pretty damn enjoyable. It’s probably the best Stars Wars thing Disney has done and I think that’s due to it keeping things simple. Some of the episodes get a little too formulaic and feel like video game quests or missions, but for the most part the show is anchored by the relationship between its title character and The Child, a toddler of sorts who bares a strong resemblance to Yoda, hence why many just refer to him as Baby Yoda. The Child was given a name in Season Two, but I’ll refrain from including it here since it’s not printed on the package and because I don’t need to spoil it for anyone. This set features both characters and appears to be partly inspired by the final episode of the first season and is very similar to a set from The Black Series that also includes both. And because Hasbro needs to please all retailers, that Black Series set is exclusive to Target stores while this one comes from Walmart. I don’t know if any of these have actually made it to physical stores as it seems everyone who got one did so via Walmart’s online store where this set was made available as a pre-order (which Walmart cancelled many orders of). I did not get a preorder and was actually hooked-up by a fellow collector whom I met on Twitter via the #CollectorsHelpingCollectors group so a special shout-out and thanks go to Jay (@TMNT_MOTU_RGB)!

He’s got a spot for his rifle.

This set comes packaged on a retro-inspired blister card. The card itself is really attractive and features a shot from the series and a cross-sell on the rear. It looks so nice that I almost hate to open it as this is a classic blister and not something that can be resealed, but this wouldn’t be much of a review if I kept it mint-on-card. Once freed from his plastic confines, Mando stands almost right at that 3.75″ mark coming in a tick over. This makes sense as he appears to be a character of approximately average height for the setting. He’s in his beskar armor and he looks like he’s been in a fight as I think this is modeled on the Season One finale. There’s a nice graphite quality to the beskar with just a hint of a pearl finish on it. Black scuff marks and dirt smudges provide the distressed quality the figure is going for while the rest of the figure is mostly an earthy brown and gray-blue. He’s quite detailed for such a small figure and it’s incredibly rewarding to just sit an admire all of the little touches sculpted into the belt, armor, gloves, and boots. The amount of paint on him is rather impressive as there’s lots of little touches, especially on the belt or the shells strapped to his right calf. And it’s remarkably clean for the most part. The only areas I have some paint slop are the fingers and inside of the glove. The trigger finger of his right hand has some turquoise on it that I don’t think is supposed to be there, and it’s the only paint slop I’d consider an eyesore.

Or if you prefer, a jetpack!

Like the detail work on the sculpt, the articulation is rather impressive for such a small figure. His head is on a ball peg and has great range of motion. He can look up and down and tilt as well as rotate. The cape doesn’t really get in the way too, which is surprising. The shoulders are ball-hinged and he has single-jointed elbows with swivel right above the hinge. Even without a double joint at the elbow, he can still bend his arm a bit past 90 degrees. The wrists swivel and his left hand is a gripping hand while the right is in a trigger position. There’s a ball-joint in the torso with some nice range of motion that affords forward and back bends and plenty of twist and side-to-side action. The bandolier across his chest is loose enough that it doesn’t restrict the torso at all. His legs are on ball hinges which is certainly different. You can get him to kick forward and back as long as you line that hinge up the way you want it to go. This means he can swivel at the top of the thigh, plus he has a thigh cut just above his armor so you can finagle a kicking pose, for example, by spinning the top joint to orient the hinge properly and then twisting the thigh so his leg doesn’t look like it’s been contorted in an impossible fashion. I don’t know why they don’t just use a ball-joint, but this is okay. He has a single hinge in each knee and can swivel below the knee for an effective boot cut. The ankles are hinged and can rotate, but don’t appear to have an ankle rocker of any kind. And really, that’s probably the only thing I miss. An ankle rocker just adds stability for more spread out stances, but this guy stands pretty well and I am just impressed that Hasbro got as much articulation into this one as they did.

The best I could do with the rifle. Note how his jetpack can stand on its own though!
The ever important beskar.

Since this is Mando, he needs to come with some accessories. And obviously, important to him are his weapons and tools. He comes with a blaster holstered at his hip which fits snugly in there, but is also easy to remove. The sculpt on it is quite nice, but the paint is understandably simple. It’s just gray with a brown hilt, but there is a touch of pearl in the finish on the gun metal. He also has his rifle which he can either hold or have pegged into his back. The sculpt of the rifle is great and it’s painted or sculpted in that same graphite gray nearly matching his beskar armor. The stock of the rifle is more of a copper than brown and there’s some gold portions where the scope is fastened to the barrel. It looks rather nice, though there is a couple of spots of missing paint on the stock that I don’t believe I caused when trying to pose him with the rifle. His articulation means he can hold it in a ready position, but struggles to hold it in a firing position, but that’s common for six inch scale figures as well. He also comes with a container that probably has a special name, but I don’t know it. It opens at the front with a hinge and the top can also come off. It’s off-white with a little gray paint and looks like something from Star Wars. It’s mostly here to store his stash of beskar. He has a single brick he can hold in his left hand and a molded stack of bricks to put in this container. It might sound stupid, but even this little, plastic, brick is sculpted rather well as it even has the Galactic Empire insignia stamped into it. The finish is the same graphite color as his armor. He also comes with his jet pack, and it’s done in the same graphite color. I’m not sure if this is painted or just the plastic used, but it’s nice. It pegs into his back just fine too.

A canister, some space metal, and a kid.
“I love you, little buddy.”

Of course, there is one other accessory and it’s The Child, or Baby Yoda, whatever you refer to him as. He’s in scale with his much taller buddy meaning he stands at just three quarters of an inch. He is tiny, and yet somehow he’s just as cute as he is on television. The face is perfect and his eyes are a shiny black so they really capture the eyes of the actual character. There’s a little paint in his ears, but otherwise he’s kept pretty simple. His robe is two-toned and has some nice sculpted details in it. Best of all, he’s articulated which the Black Series two-pack can’t even boast. His head is on a ball-joint and it can rotate all around. He can look up and down slightly, but the way the robe is sculpted won’t allow much. That’s the only disappointment since he can’t really look up at Mando. The arms are ball-jointed too so he can raise his arms out to the side a bit and rotate forward and back. I don’t think his hands can move, but they look like they could be pegged in. Maybe they were strengthened with glue. He is beyond fantastic as far as I am concerned though. Somehow, Hasbro got more personality into this tiny chunk of plastic than some of the much larger versions of the character I’ve seen out there. The only downside is he lacks his little, floating, bubble (pram?) stroller of a device which would look nice beside Mando. He’s also so small that he basically can’t have his little steel shifter-top from the show.

What’s in the box?!
SHIT!

And one last thing! Mando also has an alternate head. If you prefer your Mandalorian unmasked you can pop the helmeted head off and replace it with this unmasked version. Once again, I am left floored by this figure as the likeness to actor Pedro Pascall on this tiny, piece of plastic is better than a lot of the larger scaled figures out there. It’s also a far better solution than the Black Series which made the helmet fit over the head thereby smooshing the nose of the actor and leading to a slightly imperfect fit. I can’t imagine ever displaying him with his unmasked head, but it’s nice to have the option. It’s also worth noting that this head features no battle damage as one may have expected given the rest of the figure. And I suppose now is as good a time as any to mention that his cape is removable. One you have popped off the head, simply slide it off, if you desire. It’s well positioned though so as not to interfere with the jetpack slot or the rifle slot so I doubt most will want to remove it. Plus, everyone looks cooler with cape!

He’s so small that it’s hard to get a camera to focus on his face.

If you can’t tell already, I am in love with this release. It’s the best Hasbro figure I’ve ever owned. It makes me want to check out more from the Vintage Collection, though presently I am not after any other characters. Instead, maybe I’ll just quietly hope my son or daughter falls in love with Star Wars and wants to start a collection of these or something. I definitely don’t feel the need to acquire other characters based on The Mandalorian, at least not the characters who originated in the show. I can think of one character from the Season Two finale that might tempt me, but otherwise I think I’m all set. We’ll see. Time has a tendency to make fools of us all. For now, I have this awesome set of figures that I’m really excited to find a home for in my house. I don’t know where they’ll be displayed, but it will be somewhere prominent, I suspect. This set is being sold by Walmart and is presently sold out, but considering how popular these characters are I expect a restock is underway. There may even be a reissue that omits the battle damage and is distributed to other retailers, so if you missed out don’t despair just yet. And if you’re not interested in The Child, there are single card editions of just The Mandalorian available. It also should go without saying though, if you’re a fan of the show or a Star Wars collector you absolutely do not want to miss this!

I feel like we should end this on a comparison shot, just in case I didn’t properly convey how small this figure is. Left to right: Lightning Collection Green Ranger, Mando, Funko Scrooge, NECA Leonardo

Superman (1978)

It might be hard to convince younger people today that superhero movies were once huge financial risks for production companies. It might further surprise them to learn that only one comic book company seemed to figure the whole thing out, and it wasn’t Marvel. While Marvel struggled to get Hollywood interested in its characters, Detective Comics did not. That’s because DC held what were easily the two most identifiable superheroes in existence: Superman and Batman. Both had successful runs in theaters as serials or theatrical animation. Both also made the jump to television and in the 1970s the most recent to find success on both the small and big screen was Batman by way of the Adam West starring show and film. That Batman, created in the 60s, was the definition of camp. It was pretty delightful, but come the 70s audiences seemed to want something else. The comics pivoted back more towards a serious tone, though it would take Hollywood awhile to do the same. In the 70s though, one hero was available to take comics to new heights on the big screen and his name was Superman.

I don’t think it’s a great stretch to say Superman is the most recognizable superhero in the world. He’s the first thing that comes to mind for me when I hear the term “superhero” and he can do all of the things I think of when I hear the term “super.” He can fly, he’s incredibly strong, invulnerable, absurdly fast, and to top it all off he can do other things like shoot lasers from his eyes and has super…blowing…power. There’s no way to phrase that without sounding awkward. Throughout the years, Superman also has been known to possess what is basically a super constitution as he fights for truth, justice, and the American way all without ever telling a lie (except for those that protect his secret identity). He’s so pure a character, that it’s hard not to take a cynical approach sometimes when interacting with him. And depending on the current temperature of society, it can make the timing difficult. Maybe that’s why Superman has mostly spun his tires in the world of modern cinema, but apparently 1978 was the perfect moment for him to hit the big screen because the film, Superman, was a massive hit.

This is a long movie, partly because we apparently need to see every decision made before this baby was sent rocketing through space.

Directed by Richard Donner, Superman is a film that had a long development cycle. There were numerous script rewrites and it took a long time to develop the proper techniques to convince an audience that what they’re seeing was plausible. Making a man fly is almost ho-hum in this modern world full of computer-generated imagery, but in the 70s it had yet to be perfected. On a technical level, Superman was extremely ambitious, but apparently that wasn’t enough. The visionaries behind it, Alexander and Ilya Salkind, together with producer Pierre Spengler, decided it wasn’t enough to make one movie and settled on filming two at the same time. It was a laborious process that was always behind schedule and over budget leading to constant conflict between Donner and the Salkinds eventually leading to the director’s firing before the sequel could be completed.

Jeff East plays young Clark and they try to make him look like Reeve, but it’s not very convincing.

The film also assembled a pretty large cast of actors, some of which were heavy hitters and others were virtual unknowns. Christopher Reeve was cast in the lead role of adult Clark Kent and Superman after a lengthy search. Looking over the list of actors offered or asked to audition is pretty entertaining as Donner and the producers tried to find someone who could both act and look good in spandex. To give the film star power, the Salkinds brought in Marlon Brando to play Superman’s father, Jor-El, and paid him a princely sum to do so. Fellow Oscar winner Gene Hackman was cast as antagonist Lex Luthor while Margot Kidder played Lois Lane.

The film makes no attempt to hide the fact that Metropolis is just New York City.

Superman as a film is designed to introduce the audience to the character as if it were the first time. This necessitates a rather laborious beginning where we see the events that lead to planet Krypton’s demise while Brando chews up screen time looking rather disinterested the whole time. Following that, the setting shifts to Earth where we need to see John and Martha Kent (Glenn Ford and Phyllis Thaxter) happen upon the young boy who spent years traveling to their planet in an odd-shaped pod. The film is forced to fast-forward to Clark’s teenaged years (where he’s awkwardly played by Jeff East with Reeve dubbed over) before we can finally get to Clark’s adult years when he officially dawns the cape and blue tights. It’s a long process to get to our hero, and it’s awkwardly paced. Donner clearly had some bullet points he wanted to hit, but the speed at which he hits them reduces their impact. When Clark’s adoptive father suffers a heart attack at the farm, we’ve only just met him and it’s hard for the actors to get the audience to feel the dread and fear of the moment the way their characters do.

Kidder is a lot of fun as Lois Lane, especially when paired with Clark Kent, even though that pairing feels nonsensical at times.

At least when we finally get to Metropolis and the main meat of the film, it starts to soar. Kidder’s Lois Lane, who embodies a manic, hyper, persona as a go-go-reporter livens the film up and she plays off of Reeve’s bumbling Kent very well. Their first scenes together are movie magic and I wish we could spend more time with them, but the film is well over an hour at this point and needs to bring in its hero. Superman and Lane’s scenes together are far less interesting. There’s a romantic angle imbued into them that’s forced, and made painfully obvious during the infamous flying sequence where Lane recites a poem in her mind via voice over directed at her new super beau.

The Daily Planet just making it easy for Lex.

It’s also at this point the film’s main antagonist, Lex Luthor, is introduced. Hackman is charismatic in the role and he plays off of his bumbling sidekick Otis (Ned Beatty) and the dashing Eve Teschmacher (Valerie Perrine) in an entertaining fashion, but he doesn’t get enough time to convince us of his evil genius. The film just basically gives him kryptonite, and his scheme to create some expensive real estate for himself comes together quite rapidly. He’s at least wise enough, and I give the film credit for this, to know that Superman will be his enemy and that he needs to have a plan in place to deal with him before Superman is even aware of his existence. And his plan, at least as it pertains to Superman, is a good one. His overall plan though comes across as a bit camp, which is something this movie sort of struggles with. For much of the picture it plays things pretty straight, only slipping in a corny little line from the comics here and there, but Luthor’s plan feels like full camp to me. Some of Superman’s scenes are similar and it’s hard to know how the movie wants them to be interpreted. I think in most cases they’re playing it straight, but years of Superman parodies have left me damaged.

Kryptonite is not his only weakness.

I don’t want to spoil the ending of the film, even though it’s over 40 years old at this point, but it is a problem with the film. The only aspect of the ending that I like is it asks Superman to make a decision that is essentially the character choosing to take the advice of his adoptive father over that of his biological one. Brando’s Jor-El hangs over the film as he’s able to pass on knowledge to his son via some crystals he packed in his space pod. The two even appear to have actual conversations which is rather confusing and feels like an unnecessary cheat. It’s hard not to make a biblical connection here as well as Jor-El gifts his only son to humanity for he sees potential in mankind and that child is Superman. The only thing missing is a resurrection angle. At any rate, the ending is setup early via a quote from Jor-El to his son, but it still feels kind of cheap and like a deus ex machina.

Show off.

When Superman soars though, it’s pretty damn fun. The special effects have obviously aged quite a bit since 1978. You know you’re looking at an old movie when you watch it, but it’s not so aged that it takes the viewer out of the fantasy. The flying stuff looks fine, the only aspects of the effects that really stand out are the miniatures used for much of the climax. In fairness to them, no one ever envisioned these scenes being viewed in HD when they were shot and I suspect that’s a major part of the problem. Possibly the best part of the film occurs when Superman outs himself and is just soaring around Metropolis knocking off conventional crooks. There’s also a more extravagant scene where he saves Air Force One from a crash landing. It probably didn’t need the added drama of having the airplane be Air Force One, but it’s a great scene. It was so good that nearly 30 years later Superman Returns went back to that well to reintroduce the audience to Superman. The only issue with the film is it takes so long to get to that point, and it’s a relatively small portion of the film, but the moments are at least captivating enough to enrapture even the youngest viewer.

The score for this film is fantastic, except for maybe this scene. Though there it’s not really the score’s fault.

A part of the film that has not aged at all is the score. Composed by the renowned John Williams, Superman has what I consider a perfect score. There has never been a character or franchise more perfectly suited for its theme than Superman and the Williams composition. It’s triumphant, wonderous, and jubilant. Is it controversial to say this is the best main theme John Williams has come up with? I love the main theme from Star Wars, and Jaws is an all-timer, but Superman takes it to another level. I have to assume Williams had the old Superman theme, from the Fleischer cartoons, in the back of his head so a hat tip to those classics should be granted.

The film probably makes you wait too long to get to these moments, but at least when it does it pays off.

I had not seen Superman since I was a kid before re-watching it for this film. It was my choice for family movie night, and in that role is probably miscast. It was tough sledding for a five and a four-year-old to sit through for two and a half hours, even with an intermission. Thankfully, I didn’t go with the three hour cut. Yes, this film has multiple cuts at this point, but the original theatrical cut is probably still the best. The scenes Donner added back in years ago aren’t memorable and just increase the film’s already generous running time. The film also suffers for being shot with its sequel. There’s a sense one gets when viewing this that a lot is being intentionally held back to introduce in the sequel. It just feels like a setup for Superman II, a far more confident and direct film that many prefer to the original. It’s also a film I have not seen in decades so I’m not certain it’s the superior film, but I’m fairly certain it is.

Superman is the type of hero who can save the world from a super villain like Lex Luthor, but also finds time to help a little girl get her cat out of a tree.

Superman is still a worthwhile watch in 2021 and it’s better than any of the films starring the hero to come since the year 2000. Superman is a pretty simple character with a simple premise, but modern filmmakers struggle with him when they become fearful of how powerful he is or fail to see the character’s appeal. To make a moody, timid, Superman is to totally miss what’s appealing about him. He’s the ultimate hero who is nearly infallible. He doesn’t have to be perfect, but he’s a character that is always striving to be perfect. And even though I was probably more let down by this re-watch than I was rewarded, whenever that familiar John Williams score kicked up and the character came into view, I was a kid again and I was completely enthralled in what was playing before my eyes.


Boss Fight Studio Sam & Max

Sometimes a toy comes along that I just can’t ignore. There’s just something neat about it, or the aesthetic so on point, that I want to own it even if I have little or no attachment to the source material. Such is the case with the Boss Fight Studio release of Sam & Max. I am only aware of the existence of Steve Purcell’s Freelance Police duo. I mostly remember them from advertisements in video game magazines since their point and click adventures were fairly popular back in the day, at least, as popular as that genre ever could be. I’ve seen a little of the animated series that aired on Fox Kids and even covered the Christmas episode in 2019, but that’s the most in depth I’ve ever gone with the property. Still, I always found the duo pleasant to look at and I am drawn to the property as it certainly sounds like something I would enjoy (in particular the graphic novels), but I’ve just never taken the plunge.

When Boss Fight Studio started teasing these figures back in 2018 I mostly had no reaction. When the full reveal took place in February of 2019 I thought they looked nice, but was able to just file it away in the back of my mind. As time went by I’d get more and more looks at these guys and they just started to really captivate me. When they were finally released in late 2020 I was fully onboard and intrigued enough that I knew I wanted them, and I held out until Boss Fight Studio revealed their Christmas deals. Even though these guys weren’t on sale, I used the excuse of free shipping and the desire to add another Bucky O’Hare Storm Toad to grab a pair.

Sam & Max began life as a comic, but has since migrated to other forms of media.

It’s probably a good thing that I wasn’t hooked from the get-go, as you probably noticed in that last paragraph that there was a lengthy development cycle associated with this duo. I don’t know if there were any challenges that pushed things back on the development side. I would guess since these guys are very much their own thing it takes some time to get stuff together at the factory. Boss Fight may have elected to wait for the pre-orders to clear a certain amount before going into full production to ensure profitability. And then, of course, COVID eventually messed things up. In the US, we tend to think of COVID as a 2020 problem, but for toy makers it was a 2019 problem as well when factories in China shut down as the virus spread and didn’t restart for months. And when they did restart it was with skeleton crews that persist to this day. Even big toy producers were hit hard, so a smaller shop like Boss Fight was especially impacted. Patience is a virtue though, and as the old saying goes, good things come to those who wait. Sam and Max have arrived, and hopefully for fans of the property, the wait was worth it.

Both Sam and Max come packaged in a very attractive window box. It features new artwork from Steve Purcell with a comic strip printed on the back. There are some product shots as well as a summary of the items on one side. Max is labeled as 01 and Sam 02 and I do not know if there are any plans for more figures in this line. My guess would be some variants are probably under consideration so that Boss Fight can squeeze a little more value out of these molds, but even if it’s just a duo, it’s a nice little display piece for collectors. And the box is attractive and it’s easy to reseal should you desire to. I’m a big fan of the resealable blister Boss Fight has utilized with Bucky O’Hare, but this is pretty nice too!

Max, resident “Rabbity Thing” and most of his stuff.

Since Max is considered the first figure in the wave, we’ll start with him. He’s rather diminutive and would be even in the smallish Bucky O’Hare line. He’s roughly about 3″ in height not including the ears. Since he’s essentially all white, or a slightly off-white, he has a really clean and simple appearance. The articulation is not overpowering so there’s very little that breaks up the sculpt. Even though the character is fairly simple in design, Boss Fight sculptor Daniel Rheaume should still be credited with nailing the expressions for Max. He comes packaged with an open mouthed, toothy, grin that imparts just a touch of Max’s somewhat maniacal nature. It’s never easy to go from 2D to 3D, but I suspect the video games aided in finding the right way to position the mouth, eyes, and nose on a spherical head.

I enjoy the juxtaposition of the rather violent gun display with the peace sign.

The articulation for Max is fairly basic. His head sits on a ball-joint and can rotate freely with a little bit of room to move up and down. His shoulders are in sockets with hinges and he rotates above the elbow which contains a single hinge. The hands are just pegged in and can rotate. There’s no articulation in the torso or at the waist. His legs are on ball-joints with single-hinged knees. While I like how clean the sculpt is, I do think there’s room for more articulation with this guy. Boss Fight did say they tried to do something with the ankles, but apparently it wasn’t working. It seems strange since we have Bucky O’Hare, a fellow rabbit-thing, to compare to and he has ankle and toe articulation, but maybe they just didn’t like how it looked with Max. The other aspect of the articulation that’s a bit odd concerns the knees. Max is drawn with pronounced kneecaps so I see why Boss Fight sculpted those on, but it does look a bit weird when he bends his knee as the kneecap is attached to the lower leg. This is where a double-joint actually would help the sculpt as the kneecap can kind of exist in-between, but Boss Fight stuck with a single-joint. I think it may have looked better to have the kneecap affixed to the upper leg instead, but it’s not a big deal.

“Hello?! You’ll have to speak up, I’m dealing with a rat problem!”
Less elegant than the gun, but it makes a satisfying crunch!

Max comes with an assortment of accessories to dress him up. Being that he is a mere 3″ and retails for $40, he kind of needs to justify his pricepoint with a lot of stuff and Boss Fight mostly delivers there. For starters, he comes with two extra heads. One has a huge grin and the other features no mouth at all. I will say, I love all 3 heads and choosing a display is tough. I actually like the no-mouth look for comedic reasons, though I can’t see myself going with that. Toy photographers will probably have a lot of fun with it though. Swapping heads is not exactly fun as his head is on there real tight. Heat it up and apply consistent force and you’ll get there. Getting the others on is also trying and requires both heat and patience. It’s a sturdy joint so the risk of breaking anything is probably minimal, but be careful. I did find that after swapping heads for the first time the joint appeared to be more loose. His head is rather heavy relative to the rest of the sculpt and it is just barely supported by the joint. One little touch on either side will cause it to bobble. The ears pop out and in easy enough though as they’re shared with all of the heads. Boss Fight also labeled them so you shouldn’t have any trouble remembering which is left and which is right. The hands are also quite tight and when removing them you will want to make sure you secure the figure’s forearm to prevent applying too much force to the elbow joint. If done incorrectly with a Bucky O’Hare figure, the peg above the elbow will usually just pop out and can be re-inserted, but I do not know if this figure is constructed in a similar manner. His arms are very thin so you definitely want to be as careful as you can. The good news is, switching hands will leave your own fingers a little sore and likely discourage you from putting too much stress on the figure over a short period of time.

The mouthless head works to convey a shocking phone call.
Also useful for when Max wakes up in the morning to find his ears missing.

In addition to the extra heads, Max also features 6 extra hands. He comes packed with dueling trigger fingers, but also has a set of open hands, fists, and one pointing right hand and one “peace sign” left hand. He’s also got some stuff he can hold with those trigger hands like his trusty pistol of German origin and a hammer, because a hammer is always useful. He also has an old rotary phone and I absolutely adore it. It has a spiral chord on it that’s plenty pliable and Max can hold the receiver just fine with his trigger hands. If the actual dial could spin, I’d be doing backflips. I don’t know why, I just think it’s neat. Lastly, there’s a rat. He’s painted really well for a non-articulated little figure and he’s holding up a finger. I’m not sure if he’s supposed to be taunting Max or how the two are supposed to feel about each other, but he looks pretty nice. It’s enough stuff that it makes settling on a shelf pose rather challenging. I like the expression hands like the pointing finger and peace sign, but I also like the accessories he can hold. They’re pretty easy to work into the hands too, which is certainly a plus. I almost feel like the fists are wasted as I don’t see myself ever posing him with those, but it’s always nice to have extras!

Sam is very happy with the size of his gun.

Figure number 2 is the canine shamus Sam! He is much bigger than his little buddy as he stands about 5 1/2″ without his hat. Popping him out of the box immediately feels a lot different than taking Max out. This is a chunky, dense, figure with a pretty intricate sculpt. He comes packaged with an open mouth happy face and he has three pieces of hair/fur sticking up on his head that the hat fits over. His torso is sculpted and painted all around it, even the parts hidden by his suit jacket, which is pretty impressive. No corners were cut here. His dress shirt looks so lifelike that it’s almost a shame to see it hidden under the coat. And the coat itself is soft plastic over his body with the sleeves part of the sculpt. This is a pretty common approach for jacketed characters and it works well here. The tie is soft plastic as well and can be moved and manipulated as needed since it’s attached to the collar which just slips over the ball-joint for his head. If you wanted your Sam to be more casual and ditch the tie you can just slip it off. He certainly looks the part and it’s hard not to be blown away by this sculpt.

He can get a bit angry if you take that gun away.

Sam is articulated a bit more extravagantly than his partner. His head sits on a ball peg that can move around which would typically allow for more up and down movement, though his collar and jacket limits him there. At the shoulders, it looks like his jacket should keep his arms from being able to come out and up at his sides, but it’s engineered really well and the sleeve will actually dip under the shoulder pad in his coat pretty easily. Maybe if you do this a lot there will be some rubbing damage, but you should be safe to pose him however you wish as long as you don’t go nuts. The arms can go all the way around too and there’s the usual single-hinge with a swivel at the elbow and the hands are once again just on pegs. He has a nice ball-joint at the waist so he can not only swivel all the way around, but also tilt forward and back and side-to-side. And the sculpting of the shirt works in tandem with the articulation here and slides easily behind his belt and over it. It’s really satisfying to mess around with. His legs are on a barbell joint and can come out to the side quite a bit, though not a full split. There’s a swivel at the knee and a single hinge. At the feet, he has a hinge and a generous bit of tilt so he can rock side-to-side and swivel. And what I love about both figures is that their feet are nice and big so they’re very easy to stand.

Poor Sam found himself injured. Max was fairly amused by it.

I did have one issue with Sam though, and it was a pretty big issue. His paint looked great and all of his joints were quite free and easy out of the package except for those knees. They just peg into the thigh with the hinge below the peg. I’m not a fan of this method of knee articulation, and it’s something I didn’t like about the Super7 Raphael back when I reviewed that. When I bent a knee on that figure, the peg popped right out without much warning. I wish that had happened with Sam, for when I went to bend his left knee it snapped. There was really no warning either, it was just a quick, clean, break. I then tried the right knee with a little heat from some hot water and a more delicate touch – snap! That one left a bit of the peg still on the lower leg and just for shits and giggles I tried heating that stub up and seeing if I could get that hinge to budge and I had zero success. I then went to YouTube to see if I could find some video reviews and see how people handled theirs on camera and noticed most of the reviewers received a letter with their set basically warning them about tight joints and to just go ahead and heat these guys up. It sounded like Boss Fight wanted them to not even attempt to work the joints at all without first applying heat. They did not include such a letter with my order. I wish they did, but also I have to say every other joint on both Sam and Max worked great right out of the box. It was only these knees that offered any resistance so maybe I’m just unlucky and got a bad Sam.

“Well, no sense letting this go to waste. Think I’ll try a stew.” “Hey!”

I reached out to Boss Fight via email and it took them a couple of days to get back to me. When they did, the rep from their store apologized and promised to get replacement parts out to me soon. It was nice to not have to deal with any condescension as I was half-expecting a lecture on proper action figure handling. Maybe they saw how many orders I’ve place with them over the years without any quality control issues and took me at my word that I know what I’m doing. While waiting for the new parts to arrive, I was able to have a little fun at poor Sam’s expense. Max, to his credit, found it all very amusing.

A week later, Sam’s new legs arrived at no additional cost to me. Each one was in a separate bag and the knee was bent on both probably to make sure the joint was fine. Getting the old stumps off of Sam was pretty easy and getting the new legs on was no trouble at all. All in all, a minor inconvenience that was remedied by the manufacturer and that’s all you can ask of toy makers.

After all of that trauma, Sam deserves a little treat.

Sam comes packaged with a fair amount of accessories, as did Max. He comes packaged with gripping, trigger, hands and in the box are a set of open hands and a set of fists. Removing and swapping hands is easier than it is with Max, largely due to Sam just being a more generously proportioned creation. He also has a pseudo-extra hand in the form of a brown bag puppet with Max’s face on it. I believe this is from an episode of the cartoon, but the bag looks pretty great and has a peg inside of it so it can peg into Sam’s forearm. There’s also a set of orange, melty, popsicles that I take it Sam is a fan of. They’re pretty easy to position in his hand since the stick end is rather small. Lastly, Sam has his massive revolver. The barrel on it is curved slightly to really give it a toon quality and I absolutely love how it turned out. The handle on it is pretty substantial, so you’ll probably end up warming one of Sam’s hands up to fit it in properly. Once you do, chances are you won’t want to take it out.

The “Ooo” mouth works well with the Max puppet accessory.

Sam also comes with a pair of extra heads. His default look is an open-mouthed happy expression and Boss Fight chose to give him the same, but with angry eyes, as one option and another where he’s making an “O” mouth, as if he were talking or whistling. I don’t think of Sam as the angry type, so I’ll probably stick with the happy look. The whistling head is pretty tempting though as it’s quite cute. Popping Sam’s default head off is pretty easy and you’re likely to do it by accident when testing out the range of articulation at his neck. Getting the others on is definitely a struggle. Even just examining the different heads, the opening on the default head appears to be larger and there’s a gradual slope to the front of the opening that would appear to exist to facilitate swapping. The angry head has that as well, while the whistling one just has a hole. You will want to heat the heads up when swapping if you want any chance of getting them on properly. It was still a bit odd as they didn’t seem to “pop” into place even after heating, but just kind of slid on. It’s a real workout for the thumbs.

The Freelance Police stand ready for action!

Sam and Max are mostly what I expected. Swapping parts has never been the strong suit of the Bucky O’Hare line and it isn’t here either. It’s kind of a chore, but I’m still glad to have the extra parts as they do a lot to liven up a display. The issues I had with Sam’s legs was something I did not anticipate, but to Boss Fight’s credit, they rectified it at no cost to me and without hassle. As a wise man once said, no harm, no foul. As for the figures themselves, what we have here is a tremendous representation of the characters in plastic form. Sam is easily the star for me, even with the broken legs, as he looks great and is a lot of fun to mess around with. Max also looks good, but his very basic articulation is a bit of a bummer. He’s kind of pushing it at $40 too, considering he’s a three inch figure. Niche license and a small company often means a bit of sticker shock. I know I had it with Bucky, and Sam & Max fans probably felt it a bit here. I suspect the Sam & Max diehards (and most fans might fall into that category) are okay with the cost. I obviously bought a set and I’m a casual at best fan and the cost didn’t deter me. Other, more casual, fans may want to wait a bit and see if there’s ever a promotion at Boss Fight or one of the third party retailers who are stocking this set. One likely isn’t coming anytime soon, but they probably won’t retail for $80 forever. As for me, I like these figures and I’m further comforted by the fact that I’m supporting a small toy maker that is also local to me. I think Boss Fight Studio runs their business the right way, and I like to support them and I intend to continue supporting them in the future.


Let’s Rank the NECA Cartoon TMNT Figures!

The collection swells!

So I swear I do not want this to be a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toy blog. It’s definitely looked like one ever since Christmas ended though and that’s partly because of new releases and some technical difficulties. I have some posts I’m working on, but they’re not ready to go up yet and it’s a situation where it’s out of my control. However, this is a post I have wanted to do for awhile and it’s just been a matter of when to do it. In the review of the most recent release, Splinter vs Baxter set, I mentioned that particular set was the end of the essential figures for some folks. Not me, as I’m sticking with this line for awhile, but it was a sentiment I’ve seen expressed online more than once within the collecting community.

Given that, it’s a perfect time to take stock of where we are with the line. And specifically, what characters have been done well and which may have been underserved. I will say upfront that this line has largely been very good. Ignoring complaints about scarcity and scalpers, this line has delivered a great assortment of characters from the classic cartoon series and will be the measuring stick going forward for a lot of TMNT related releases. The old Playmates line of action figures was great, but most of the characters did not resemble their cartoon counterpart and that’s a void NECA has filled. And I have liked every figure so far, just some more than others. Despite what you may read online, a NECA figure is also not destined to fall apart in your hands. By all means, if you have bad experiences with NECA toys your opinion is valid, I just feel the need to point out that I own a lot of NECA product at this point and I have yet to have anything break. I have had one quality control issue so far and it was with the cartoon Slash who arrived with a detached strap on his backpack, something easily fixed with a dab of superglue. That doesn’t mean I don’t think NECA has room for improvement, but my overall experience has been very positive.

With that said, let’s move on to the rankings! I’ll link to my individual review and write-up where appropriate (but only once, so I don’t have four different links going to the same thing) if you want to read more of my thoughts as what is presented below will be a summary. And in some cases, my opinion may be slightly different than what it was originally since we’re going back a few years at this point. Let’s get started though with what is probably the consensus worst figure in the line:

She doesn’t look great, but at least she comes with a bunch of stuff!

April O’Neil – April is an essential character to the cartoon and I think fans and NECA are in agreement there, but for whatever reason, NECA just didn’t get her right. Depending on who you ask, either her head is too big or her body is too small. It doesn’t really matter which is the true issue (it’s the body) as in the end we have a miss-matched figure that looks pretty goofy. Even absent that, her face just doesn’t really look like April. It’s very round and her expression is pretty blank. When I think of April I think of a fearless, cocky, go-getter reporter and that’s just not here. She isn’t terrible as the articulation is good and I like the paint app. She also has some great accessories. I’ll continue to hope for a redo on her though, maybe as a deluxe release with swappable parts referencing the times she was mutated on the show. I don’t expect that to happen, but a man can dream.

He’s not nothing without his body, but he’s definitely lesser.

Krang (Bubble Walker) – Krang was originally released as part of the San Diego Comic Con 8 – pack and then again as a two-pack with a turtle and once more as a two-pack with Shredder. For what he is, he’s fine and I like that this version of Krang really resembles the Season One depiction of the character. He is a little on the small side, but that wasn’t really apparent until the new version came out so I don’t consider that much of a strike against him. He’s mostly ranked here because he’s just limited by his design from the show. He’s just a brain with tentacles and his bubble walker doesn’t really do anything. The legs move, but they lack “knee” joints which is unfortunate. By far the coolest thing this figure did was have easily removable tentacles that could plug into the bubble walker, a much better way of doing things than what the classic toy did.

The Turtles (Style Guide Colors) – The brothers four saw themselves re-issued as part of the second wave and have the dubious honor of being the only figures on this list that I do not have (hence why there’s no link or pic). I just have no use for them. They’re the same figures from the SDCC set and Wave One, but painted a bright green to match the style guides put out for the property in the 80s and 90s. These were the colors utilized for notebooks, t-shirts, lunch boxes, etc. and because the property was so popular it’s this look that some people most associate with TMNT to this day. There was even enough demand for NECA to release them as two-packs (Leo and Don, Raph and Mikey) with a few extra paper goods thrown in for good measure. Again, I personally have no use for these, but acknowledge that some people probably get more out of them than I would.

These robots may not blow you away, but they sure do look pretty great for what they are.

Roadkill Rodney – Like Krang in his walker, Roadkill Rodney is a figure that’s just limited by its design from the show. It’s a robot with no arms or legs that rolls around Gizmoduck style and has extendable tentacles. NECA packed two of them in with the Triceraton Infantry figure in what was the line’s second army builder bundle. For what they are, these robots are cool and NECA nailed the likeness. The swappable parts, while unnecessarily challenging to make use of, look great and were a good idea. I like them enough that I bought a second set, this is just a figure that really had no chance to be one of the best in the line.

Foot Soldier/Bashed Foot/Slashed Foot – No line of TMNT action figures would be complete without the lowly Foot Ninja. NECA included two with the SDCC set and packed some in with Wave One turtles and as a two-pack, army builder, set in Wave Two. Wave Three then saw the introduction of the variants, bashed and slashed, and there’s actually a deluxe version still to come. This is a solid figure that really nails the likeness of the source material, it’s just hard to get too excited about a Foot Soldier. I do wish it had more articulation as this figure would really benefit from some torso articulation. The variants, of course, can’t have that, but the standard Foot would benefit greatly. The bashed variant is definitely the lesser one as it just has some exposed metal and circuitry inside it. The slashed variant is pretty great though and I love it for what it is. I wouldn’t mind a few more, though I doubt NECA would ever release a two-pack of slashed Foot and I don’t need more bashed ones.

He comes packing heat.

Triceraton Infantry – The Triceraton is best known from the original Playmates line, and the infantry ranked dino-alien is the one that resembles that figure the most. And that’s because it’s a big, orange, triceratops in an armored onesie. This figure is one of many to make use of the general body created for Bebop and Rocksteady, only it has Leatherhead’s tail with hands and feet to call its own. I do like how this guy turned out, and my main complaints were with some inaccuracies (the tail should be smooth, there are pants wrinkles because of the parts reuse) and the fact that this was an army builder not designed to be an army builder. A proper army builder should have some variety, but this figure has just one trigger hand and it only works well with the rocket launcher. The other guns, which resemble what Bebop and Rocksteady used in the show, work with the gripping hands and look kind of stupid without a trigger finger. I also wish he had an articulated jaw, something the other Triceratons possess. Still, on his own, this is a striking figure on the shelf and I liked it enough to buy two.

They’re here, but they don’t impress like their many rogues.

The Turtles – the Turtles have the somewhat dubious honor of being ranked in the back half of this list, despite being the stars of the show. They also have the added challenge of competition. Few companies have done a proper Shredder or Traag, but a lot of companies have taken stabs at doing figures of the Turtles. And these ones are showing their age. Originally released in NECA’s arcade set, the Turtles have been re-released a few times with little or no added engineering. Their articulation scheme is dated compared with the rest of the line, and they also stand out as many of the villains to follow feature a lot of paint given them a real matte finish while the Turtles are a bit glossy due to the presence of colored plastic. And I’ve never been able to shake the feeling that the general shape of these figures works better as a representation of the classic arcade game than it does for the cartoon. That said, while other companies may be able to boast that their Leonardo or Donatello is better than NECA’s, few can compete on price as these guys are basically $25 figures instead of twice that. And as we speak, NECA is prepping a release that’s a four pack of these figures with soft goods, new heads, and some re-tooled articulation. Maybe Raph will have better sais and the other boys holsters for their weapons (only Leo can accomplish that) to help move them up the ranks. For now, they’re fine, but there’s some obvious room for improvement here as well.

The only way to display this guy is with those blades!

Zarax – The Triceraton Captain who few remembered. He’s essentially the same as the Triceraton Infantry, only yellow and with different armor. He has an articulated jaw which works great and I love what such a thing can add to a display. He also has removable bracers for his wrists and can swap in some bladed ones which look pretty cool. Aside from that, his accessories are the same from the previous release and any faults that other figure had, this one does too. Only this figure does have different feet which unfortunately are plagued by NECA’s paint woes. The ankle hinge is painted to match the bootie this guy is wearing, but the paint will flake off almost immediately and the plastic underneath is flesh-colored (which in this case means yellow) and it looks bad. He’s not the first figure to suffer from this issue, just the most recent. Hopefully he’s the last.

I just prefer my dino aliens to be green.

Zork – Zork is the other Triceraton released with Zarax. I rank him ahead of Zarax because I just think he looks cooler. He’s green and has his own headsculpt which is a bit wider and spikier than the others. Any con is shared with Zarax, so I won’t repeat those. The pros are also the same, I just prefer green to yellow apparently.

Slash is here and he’s armed!

Slash – A lot of folks seem to hate on the cartoon version of Slash, but I for one enjoy him! Sure, the comic depiction that Playmates sourced from is cooler, but not every villain needs to look cool. Slash was a bit of a goof in the show, and NECA really nailed the likeness with the head-sculpt here. The body is recycled from the video game Slash, which was recycled from the other turtles only with spikes added to the shell and claws to the feet and hands. That does mean the articulation could be better, and Slash wears these half gloves that suffer from the painted hinges issue mentioned earlier, but the figure is able to bring it all home with an assortment of awesome accessories. He’s loaded with a pair of futuristic-looking guns, a pair of bad ass katanas, his precious binky, and an unmutated version of himself. And since his box mate has yet to appear on this list, you can basically infer that Slash has been part of one of the best two-packs so far. The only true criticism I have for this figure, and what keeps him from being higher, is just the reuse of the turtle body. Slash should be squatter, and chunkier, and reusing that mold did him a disservice. Not enough to truly disappoint, but it’s also something that comes to mind every time I look at the figure.

“I’m Casey Jones, and I’m here to fuck you up!”

Casey Jones – A fan favorite, Casey Jones has been there since the beginning. It’s no surprise that NECA turned to him relatively early and even felt he could anchor a two-pack all by himself since he was packed with one of the Foot variants. Casey comes equipped with an assortment of weapons he apparently acquired from a sporting goods store and a golf bag to store them in. He also has a bunch of extra hands and all in all looks really good. The only cons with this release is that this was the start of the painted hinge problem and it affects both his feet and his hands. And he’s also made of a really soft, bendy, plastic that gives the figure a cheap feel. His knees are prone to bowing as a result and he’s a more challenging figure to stand than most. Thankfully, most of the figures to follow have not been of this construction, though the paint issue will persist.

“I swear, I only want to talk to him.”

Granitor – Granitor had the distinction of being one of the earliest villains introduced in the show to never receive an action figure. NECA showed off a version of this figure a few years ago as part of its video game line, but it was before the cartoon was on the table for retail and it was apparently cancelled when the cartoon line took off. Granitor is a cool figure though who shares a lot of parts with his box-mate and fellow rock soldier, Traag. The only reason why I rank Traag ahead of Granitor is because I think Traag better reflects his cartoon appearance. Granitor has a lot of the parts in place like the pointy nose and big shoulders, but something is off. He probably should be taller and slimmer than Traag, and his head might actually benefit from being smaller. He looks good, but more so than the figures to come (and actually some that came before) NECA just didn’t quite nail the likeness. His rather lofty ranking is a testament to how fun he is to handle and the fact that he’s been missing in action since 1987.

“Tonight I dine on turtle soup!”

Shredder – This was the figure that really impressed in that initial SDCC 8-pack. Which means that for a little while this was the best figure in the line. Shredder has since been topped, but he’s still the definitive take on the cartoon version of the character. Like the Turtles, he was adapted from a previous arcade release, but unlike them it all works perfectly. He also gets a new headsculpt and NECA’s paint app on it looks great. Like the Foot, I do see opportunity for more articulation that could have been incorporated into his torso, but for the most part I have no complaints. He just looks a little dated now for the same reason the Turtles do as he has more colored plastic and less paint. Again, I’m not against colored plastic in place of paint (Bandai pretty much shuns paint and they put out great stuff), but it makes Shredder look more toy-like when positioned amongst the later figures which better capture that “ripped from the screen” look.

The disciplinarian has arrived.

Splinter – The most recently released two-pack brought us the first cartoon accurate Splinter. And once again, NECA really nailed the cartoon likeness. Splinter scales well with his surrogate sons, and I welcome the use of soft goods with the kimono. And more than anything, this guy has tons of accessories. Some no one asked for, but it’s still nice to have them. I didn’t have much to complain about when I reviewed him, and he’s ranked here because he’s just not as fun to mess around with as some other figures. Because of who he is, he lends himself better to simple poses as opposed to dynamic ones, but no one can deny that this is a rat that belongs on the shelf.

Traag is the general because he’s superior to Granitor in every way.

Traag – Krang’s general, Traag, got a figure in the old Playmates line, but it looked nothing like the character in the show. This was the first time we got a proper cartoon Traag and NECA knocked it out of the park. The only negatives with the figure is just the lack of accessories, but that’s because there’s so much plastic in the sculpt (and he was bundled with Granitor) that it likely prevented NECA from adding much else. He moves well though and has tremendous presence on a shelf. He’s basically the surprise sleeper of the line so far as I don’t know that many had Traag high up on their list of wants, but anyone who got him is probably pretty happy with him.

The only figure in this line capable of kicking some ass and then cleaning up the mess afterwards.

Metalhead – The first deluxe figure in the line, and thus the first solo release, was The Mighty Metalhead! And he’s awesome, a true cartoon-to-plastic creation that’s big and beefy with some fun parts. The more recently released Android Krang does make him appear a little less “deluxe” than he did before, but he was also cheaper. He was also a real pain in the ass to find last summer, but at least NECA put him up for order on their site leading to scores of people like me ending up with two by accident. Nonetheless, I’m not down on having two as he is a great figure. The only real negative is his articulation isn’t great due to the shape of his arms and such, but he also doesn’t need a ton and he’s perfectly capable of looking imposing on your shelf or tidying it up with his vacuum attachment.

“You’ll have to speak up, I’m wearing a towel.”

Krang (Android Body) – Bubble walker Krang is nice, but this is the Krang everyone wants. Krang in his weird body is a natural for NECA’s deluxe line. He snuck in just before 2020 ended and nearly stole the show. He’s big, he’s got a new Krang to go inside him, and he comes with a bunch of extra stuff. The only thing that stinks about him is that he has so much paint on him that he is prone to chipping and factory defects. He’s definitely the kind of figure you want to come across in-store in larger quantities so you have a chance to pick the best available. Thankfully, that’s what happened to me and I was able to find one with pretty terrific paint, but literally every other one I left on the shelf had some ugly smudge or chip somewhere. He’s a truly goofy looking figure, made more so if you slap that shower attire on him, but that’s TMNT!

Lets see you get out of this one, Leo.

Leatherhead – More so than any other figure, Leatherhead surprised me. I wasn’t really looking forward to him even though I like the character, but once I had him in hand I was pretty blown away. He looks awesome and he’s based on the Bebop/Rocksteady body so he’s big and moves well enough. NECA gave him an articulated jaw and also packed him with some fun accessories like his weird ketchup gun and shackles. I love this figure, and the only issue I had with him is the damn painted joints. The issue is just more pronounced with Leatherhead because his legs and boots are blue since he’s wearing hip waders, but for some reason they were cast in white plastic which really shows up in the ankles when the blue paint flakes away. Supposedly, there has been a running change with this figure that fixed it, but I haven’t seen evidence of that. I’ll be curious to see if it’s no longer a problem when NECA ships out its made-to-order Leatherhead/Slash sets next month. Despite that annoyance though, this is a great figure, just watch that hook on his belt which appears to be prone to popping off.

He’s about to say something stupid!

Rocksteady – The moronic duo of Bebop and Rocksteady were staples in the cartoon, and they were part of the first offering of figures from Playmates back in the day. They were, however, never toon accurate until NECA stepped in. Rocksteady, to put it plainly, looks perfect. He’s chunky, he’s got a gut, and his eyes capture that “dangerous but stupid” expression he seemed to always wear. When I lucked onto a set around Thanksgiving 2019, I had nothing to really complain about. He could have come with a helmet, but he rarely wore that so I don’t know if I would even use it. He’s probably a little oversized when compared with the Turtles, but he looks so good this way that I hesitate to really complain. This is the Rocksteady I wanted when I was a kid, and I’m really happy to have him now in my 30s.

Oh I do love this little fly boy!

Baxter – Old Baxter is a character I just have a soft spot for. I’ve always liked his design, and like with many figures in this line, I always wanted a cartoon accurate version of him for my collection. He’s tiny, but packed with articulation and, more importantly, personality and I find myself charmed more and more each day that passes with this guy in my possession. NECA gave him some great accessories and he’s one of the few figures I really don’t want more from. The only real criticism I had was the lack of articulation in his purple appendages, but it’s not a deal-breaker, by any means. Just a wonderful little figure that does what it needs to and more!

Trust me, this is not a mug only a mother can love.

Bebop – The mutated wart hog is my pick for best figure in the line. Like Rocksteady, I just had nothing to complain about with this figure. He has all of the screen-accurate details I expected and his size and proportions are even better than what we saw with Rocksteady. Sure, you can quibble with that size as far as being too big goes, but he looks great and I wouldn’t mess with him. Literally the only thing that bugs me with this figure is his wrist chain, which is a real chain. It looks wonderful, but it will fly off when you swap his left hand and it’s hard to get it to look as good as it did out of the box. If they had sculpted the chain on his arm it probably wouldn’t look as good, but it would also work better, so it’s both hard to complain and praise the decision. Otherwise, he’s fantastic and I’ll never need another Bebop. Oh, I’ve definitely bought more that you’ll get to read about some day, but I didn’t need any more. For now, Bebop is the high water mark for this line and if NECA never tops it that’s honestly okay, but I hope they do at some point.


Bringing Bucky Home

Bucky and the gang approach a cross roads!

The New Year holiday is a time for both reflection and looking forward. Almost every publication, network, YouTuber, blogger, etc. does some sort of “Best of the Year” segment or just a feature that recalls the events of the past 365 days (or in the case of 2020, 366) because it can be both fun and it’s easy to fill time during a period when everyone is looking to take time off. Toy producer Boss Fight Studio is no different in that regard for it did a webcast on its Facebook account recalling the events of 2020 as it pertained to its line of toys. It featured the partners and some of the designers at the company and it gave them a chance to maybe spotlight something that fell through the cracks and also draw attention to what collectors could look forward to in 2021. As a rabid collector of Boss Fight Studio’s Bucky O’Hare line, I tuned in to see if there was any news on that front. Captain Mimi LaFloo was released at the end of 2020 and it was the first figure in the line to see release without an announced figure in the pipeline. It’s a bit of a cruel reality for toy designers that once a new figure is put out fans immediately turn to ask “What’s next?!” but that’s the way it is.

Needless to say, the update on the Bucky franchise was not what I would consider promising. To paraphrase, the update (which is archived on Facebook) was that there is no update! There are plenty of figures in stock and ready to order, but the company is not ready to announce another figure to follow. It was, of course, stressed that they love Bucky and have enjoyed their relationship with the license holder, Continuity Comics, but that doesn’t change the reality that there appear to be no plans for Bucky O’Hare at this point in time. Sure, things can change and maybe something gets announced in the future, but for an industry that works on lags of more than a year from conception, to announcement, to release it can certainly be inferred that there will be no new Bucky product in 2021, and if there isn’t an announcement of some kind before the end of the year then you can probably write-off 2022 as well.

2020 was not a good year for a lot of people and things, but for Bucky O’Hare it was a significant improvement over 2019. 2019 was the first year since the line launched that there was no new Bucky product released. Anything that might have released in 2019 was pushed to 2020 due to a variety of reasons, one of which was undoubtedly COVID. It was pretty fruitful though as Boss Fight released two new characters, Bruiser and Mimi, as well as a fun variant of the Storm Toad Trooper. I, of course, got all three and even in the case of the Storm Toad I got two. I am all-in on this line and that pretty much includes new sculpts and variants at this point.

Boss Fight Studio has given us a wonderful assortment of figures, something I never thought would happen with this property.

It should be noted that Bucky O’Hare was the first license Boss Fight Studio acquired. Since then, the company has added a bunch more and has released or is preparing to release action figures based on Sam & Max, Flash Gordon, Zorro, and more. It’s a small, Massachusetts-based, company that sells a lot of its product direct to consumers with a few internet outlets and comic shops also stocking product. Space is a real constraint for a company of Boss Fight Studio’s size and I took the comment from the Facebook Live event about having plenty of stock to mean there physically is not any more room for Bucky O’Hare figures in their warehouse. At least, the company does not want to devote more space to the line. Bucky O’Hare is, and I’ve said it many times, a niche license. The fanbase is small and has been given no reason to grow over the past few decades as pretty much the only new Bucky merch have been the toys of Boss Fight Studio. And being that this is a small company, it can be assumed the figures are being sold at a price that is as low as it can be, and at $35 a figure, it’s not priced to invite a casual fan that may have a fading memory of the old Hasbro line or Konami game. And the fact that they’re not in a lot of physical stores also means the company loses out on impulse buys. That’s all to say that Bucky O’Hare is dependent on its fanbase, and it’s a small, limited, fanbase.

If that sounds negative, I don’t intend for it to be. I think of it as a realist point of view. From what I understand in speaking with people who have some inside info on the line, it’s that it’s a pretty flat line in terms of sales. In some respects, that’s good as it implies that the fans have bought basically every character Boss Fight has put out in roughly equal numbers. They know what to expect, and since they’ve released 6 sculpts in the line they must not be losing money on it or else why keep putting figures out? Boss Fight Studio isn’t Hasbro or NECA where it can take on some pet projects that maybe just break even or actually come in at a loss, so the fact that the line has gone as long as it has tells me it’s not a loser. It just doesn’t appear to possess any growth potential, and when the company is launching new licenses that maybe have more active and excited fanbases, it’s easy to push Bucky aside. And it can also say to the company that if they do indeed come back to it they know what to expect sales-wise

The villains has found it tough sledding as far as getting action figures is concerned.

All of this is to say that I’ve had this line and Bucky on my mind in general for the past few weeks. I’ve been in a reflective mood when it comes to this toy line. When Boss Fight Studio announced this toy line back in 2017, I was both surprised and psyched. Up to that point, Bucky O’Hare had come to feel like a forgotten property not even worthy of a true DVD release in the United States. It’s legacy seemed destined to be constrained to the retro gaming circle where the old Nintendo game was both praised and a bit of a hard-to-come-by item. If someone had told me I could have a modern Bucky O’Hare action figure I would have taken it and happily paid probably a dumb amount of money for it at that. A whole line though was a dream come true. I was also guarded from the moment it was announced though. The only other Bucky announcements from the 2000s had ended in cancellation before anything was officially produced. As a result, I’ve always approached this line with the thought that whatever figure I get could be the last one. An announcement or prototype unveiling didn’t necessarily mean I’d ever get my hands on the product, and that has even been true of this line. Boss Fight showed off additional variants of both Bucky and Dead-Eye that have gone unreleased, alongside a line of mini figure and vehicle combos that are apparently cancelled at this point.

Even though I’ve always had reservations about this line’s survival, it didn’t stop me from compiling a wish list for where I wanted the line to go. And even as I made that, I mostly acknowledged that the chances of seeing every character on that list get made was remote. Now that we’re at what can best be called a pause in the line, it has me wondering what it would take to end this whole thing on a happy note? To bring it all home, so to speak.

For some collectors, recreating the old toy line is all they’ve wanted out of Boss Fight Studio.

For most collectors I know who have been into this line, they’ve largely wanted to see it re-make the characters Hasbro did and if they could have got to Commander Dogstar’s crew then all the better. For me, I have a lot of nostalgic attachment to the cartoon so I’ve always wanted to see that embraced more than the classic toy line or even comic. A character like Mimi was one that excited me, but appeared to disappoint others. That said, we have presently received the following figures: Bucky, Jenny, Dead-Eye, Bruiser, Mimi, and the Storm Toad. It’s a selection heavy on good guys and naturally my greatest wants are bad guys at this point. The lowly Storm Toad Troopers have no one to lead them, and they’re hardly formidable even with leadership so without they’re just laser fodder. As much as I would love a Toadborg or Al Negator, it pains me to admit they’re now low priority, because if we want to end the line with a sense of closure, and only have room for a figure or two, I think we need to focus on Bucky’s crew.

When both the comic and animated series begins, Bucky’s crew consists of the following: Jenny, Dead-Eye, Chief Engineer Bruce, and A.F.C. Blinky. Bruce is the brother of Bruiser and he gets killed off rather quickly and is essentially replaced by Bruiser in the cartoon’s second episode. Bruiser, being a marine, is not really equipped to take over for Bruce and Bucky is forced to turn to the displaced human, Willy DuWitt, to serve as his new engineer. I am not a huge fan of the Willy character, but I can’t deny he is a member of Bucky’s crew after that first episode and is pretty essential for a toy line based on the property. Hasbro already provided the blueprint for a successful Willy figure back in ’91 and that’s to put him in his space suit (a holdover from Bruce) and equip him with his silly squirt gun. For Boss Fight, this does mean a whole new sculpt which isn’t a new thing for this line as basically every character is entirely unique. He possibly could reuse Bruiser’s feet, but that’s it. And it would mean the standard roll out of accessories: alternate hands, head (masked and unmasked), and a gun. And seeing how the glasses of the old Hasbro toy always seemed to break or fall off, it would be really cool and appreciated if he came with a spare set.

Those damn glasses…

More important than Willy though, is that other character who was there from the start. Little Blinky was always a favorite of mine. He just has a nice, clean, and even cute design being that he’s a little robot with a giant eye for a head. The old Hasbro figure was not in-scale and he was the same size as everyone else when he should be noticeably shorter than Bucky and is absolutely dwarfed by the likes of Bruiser. I’ve wondered if the fact that he’s so small has turned off Boss Fight from doing him since he’d look so tiny beside the other figures, but would probably still need to retail for the standard MSRP. As we saw with their release of Max from Sam & Max (a review from me is coming, I promise), it seems like the solution there is to pack the figure with some more accessories, but with Blinky what do you give him? In the original comics and cartoon, he really doesn’t use anything. No guns, no signature items, and being that his head is just an eye he doesn’t really demand additional faceplates or heads. Sure, you can get creative and play with the size of the his pupil to illustrate surprise or even fear, but that’s all. Hasbro gave him a jetpack with a gun and I assume Boss Fight would just do the same, but what if they didn’t have to? He’s still a figure needing a unique sculpt, tooling, and production and being that I’m not an industry insider I don’t know how much cost accessories add to the package, but what if they could do a two-pack?

A final release in the line of just Willy and Blinky together as a two-pack would be a neat way to put a bow on the whole toy line. Could they price it closer to Bruiser’s retail? That I don’t know. Is there enough fandom to consider a made-to-order release? I suspect “no,” in that if Boss Fight solicited such a thing there might not be enough orders to satisfy a factory order at a tenable cost. And as neat as a two-pack would be, I don’t know that it makes any real financial sense since anyone who spends $35 on a Willy action figure will probably spend $35 on a Blinky. And honestly, if they could do a Blinky on the cheap compared with the other figures produced thus far I’d be totally fine with the company putting him out at the usual price-point to boost the profit margin on the line in hopes that it could help finance a Willy. Simply put, a two-pack makes sense only if Blinky has little or no accessories and if Boss Fight just wants to do one, last, release that completes the team.

Blinky has become my line in the sand. I would like a Willy, Toadborg, etc., but if Blinky fails to materialize it’s going to haunt me whenever I look at my collection.

As much as it would pain me to see this line come to an end, I’d feel a lot better about it if it ended with Bucky having his whole crew together. I think Boss Fight could do an awesome Toadborg, but I understand their reluctance considering he’d have to be another deluxe figure. If Bruiser underperformed relative to the other figures, it would make sense that the company would have little interest in doing another figure with a $55 price tag. Even though I personally think the fanbase would be more excited for Toadborg than it was Bruiser. If Toadborg can happen one day then I’ll jump for joy, but my focus is on the crew and I hope it’s a goal Boss Fight and Continuity has as well. We don’t know how the license works. It could have an expiration on it, it could expire if the company doesn’t release new product within a certain window of time, or it could be totally at-will with both parties able to cancel at anytime. It’s not like Continuity is fielding offers from other toy makers looking to get in on that Bucky “action.” My guess would be the license is Boss Fight’s until they no longer want it, but sometimes company’s can be unrealistic about the value of their property so who knows? Hopefully both parties have the same goal and can work towards that. For now, at least we have a great selection of characters that, in some respects, shouldn’t even exist! I’ll continue to hold out hope for more and if there’s any Bucky O’Hare news you’ll definitely be able to read about it here.


NECA TMNT Cartoon Splinter vs Baxter

Got another two-pack for ya!

I didn’t intend for so many TMNT reviews to hit one after the other, but Christmas pushed a bunch of stuff into the final week of December and then some surprise difficulties with another review has moved this one up. So be it. 2020 had a final surprise in store for collectors of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. NECA had previously announced all of Wave 4 of its cartoon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action figure line would release in the fall, before having a change of heart. The two most anticipated releases of the wave were pushed to 2021, the deluxe Android Krang and the two-pack of Master Splinter vs Baxter Stockman in his mutated fly form. In addition to being some fan-favorites, these two releases were important to collectors as they represented for many the last essential release of the line. Everyone’s mileage is a bit different, but I think all can agree that the most important characters in the show are (in some order): the turtles, April, Shredder, Bebop, Rocksteady, Krang, and Splinter. You could certainly make a strong case for the generic Foot Soldier, and maybe some would push for Irma considering she was in a lot more episodes than you may recall. No one would argue though that those 10 previously mentioned characters are not essential.

I guess these two were paired-up because of their similar height?

Well, as I said, 2020 had a final surprise and it’s that both the deluxe Krang and Splinter vs Baxter two-pack arrived early. They first popped up in California Targets in the middle of December and gradually worked their way east before the end of the year. I actually found my Krang on New Year’s Eve, but had to wait on Splinter vs Baxter until 2021. While it’s always nice to get something earlier than expected, I definitely wasn’t thrilled about the prospect of running out to stores and hunting for action figures during the holiday rush, COVID or not. The whole pandemic thing just added another layer of anxiety, but I suppose there’s enough fool in me that I did go out. I masked-up, armed myself with a ton of hand sanitizer, and went through stores as quickly as possible until I found what I was looking for. In the case of this particular set I’m reviewing today, I never actually found it myself and was helped out via the CollectorsHelpingCollectors hashtag on Twitter so a special shout out is reserved for user og3 (@OG_mulch) for helping a fellow collector out!

Check out the sculpting around the base of Baxter’s wings and extra limbs.

Splinter vs Baxter comes packaged in the standard NECA window box. It’s a thinner box than some of the more recent releases as these are two of the smallest figures in the line so far. The only one smaller is the Roadkill Rodney. Not that we’re going to hold their size against them as these two boys more than make up for their small stature. And perhaps to compensate, there’s a ton of stuff included with this release, most of which belongs to Splinter. Some of it should be very familiar, but some of it is pretty obscure and I’m not even sure where it all comes from, but I’m happy to have it! More than accessories though, I am just thrilled beyond belief to finally have cartoon accurate depictions of both of these characters. The old Playmates line featured a Splinter that didn’t really resemble any version of the character. There was a slight resemblance to the Mirage Studios depiction, but he was kind of his own thing. And there weren’t a ton of Splinters to follow, and none really resembled the cartoon look. As for Baxter, his Playmates version was close, but like a lot of that line there was a lot more detail and grotesqueness with the figure that the cartoon chose to ignore. Playmates also wasn’t that concerned with scale so even though he was a fly he was the same size as basically everyone. For the cartoon, they took the already short Baxter Stockman (he was the same height as the turtles, pre-mutation) and shrunk him further when he was mutated resulting in a rather diminutive villain. They also gave him a sweater vest, but kept the bowtie, which just further separated him from the action figure.

Enter: The fly!

I get the sense that Splinter is the figure fans are most excited for, but I want to talk about Baxter first. I touched upon it a bit in my review of the Super7 Baxter Stockman, but this character was one of my favorites in the cartoon. And since I never got the original toy, it actually made me drawn to him more. He was used sparingly in the show, and he was able to be a sort of perfect villain for the show because he could be threatening, funny, and even sympathetic. He was as much a villain for the turtles as he was for Shredder, whom he blamed for his transformation into a fly. And I love the design! He’s got that big fly head with tiny wings and those purple appendages coming off of his back. He’s just a fun design.

Aww, he brought flowers!
And he brought a friend.

For this figure, NECA absolutely nailed it. First off, I love his size. Like a lot of characters in the show, he could be inconsistent in how he was portrayed, but generally speaking, Baxter should be shorter than the turtles. And he is here as he stands around 4 3/4″ when standing upright. The proportions also look pretty good with Baxter having a rather large head given that he has those big fly eyes. The paint though is where this thing shines. The way NECA painted the eyes is especially striking. This line does a great job of really giving the impression that these characters stepped out of a television set, but Baxter might be a new highwater mark as far as that goes. And I think it’s partly due to the fact that Baxter is basically fully clothed as the shading NECA has utilized for this line works really well here. NECA also matched all of the hinged pieces to the appropriate color this time around, so no paint-flaking that reveals the wrong color underneath as we saw with Leatherhead and the Triceratons. Oh, there’s still plenty of flake though as NECA continues to paint over joints, but at least once removed it doesn’t leave behind an eye sore.

“Hey, dude, you’re lucky I left my fly swatter in my other shell!”
“Lucky, am I?”

Little Baxter comes packed with an impressive array of articulation. Mine did feature some pretty stiff joints out of the box. Some of that is likely due to arriving rather cold since it did come by mail to the north east in January, and some of it is just the usual assortment of stuck joints this line is known for. Strangely, the joint that gave me the most trouble out of the box was the head which is just a simple ball-joint. I held him under running, hot, tap water for a bit and was able to get it to move. It sounded like there was some paint or something just holding it fused and once broken his head spun just fine. He has good rotation up there with a little ability to look up, but he can look down quite far which is useful if you intend to place him on a flight stand. His shoulders are pretty standard, ball and hinges, but at the elbow he features NECA’s somewhat unique double-joint. There are two hinges at the top and bottom and the arm can swivel at the top joint. He can bend well past 90 degrees as a result, but be a little careful as after the head this was the part that was toughest to free up. The hands are pegged in and can swivel. There’s also a hinge, but the hands sit fairly deep into the cuff of his dress shirt so it doesn’t do much. There’s what seems to be a ball-joint at the waist hidden under the vest that allows for some rotation and a little pivot. The legs are secured via a ball-joint, but they lack the usual amount of swivel we see in this line. He can swivel his thighs maybe 45 degrees or so, it’s not much. The knees are double-jointed and his feet are hinged and can rock side-to-side. The feet are also stuck pretty well on mine, so be careful. Lastly, Baxter has those wings and extra limbs on his back which are all attached via a ball-joint and hinge. I wish NECA had added additional hinges to the purple “arms” and some pinching articulation at the claws, but they’re largely just decorative.

I hear people enjoy comparisons.

Baxter is able to move around quite well which comes in handy since he has plenty of stuff he can be posed with. For starters, Baxter comes packaged with fisted hands, but he also has a pair of gripping hands and a pair of trigger finger hands. I’m glad NECA gave him trigger finger hands since it could have been argued he didn’t need to come with them since his main weapon, the trans-mutation ray, doesn’t have much of a trigger. You may recall this weapon from the cartoon as it allowed Baxter to mutate Shredder into a fly and Michelangelo into a gerbil. It’s mostly white and features a dial on the rear of the gun by the sights that allowed Baxter to select what animal he wanted to apply to his victim. It’s well-painted and looks great, though I wish that dial could actually move. Mine has a black blemish across the top too that I hope to rub off. Baxter’s hands are painted purple and are pretty stiff so it’s probably not a bad idea to heat his hands before trying to insert this gun into them lest you want ugly purple smudges on it. Baxter also comes with his computer buddy who helped him escape Dimension X. I don’t remember if he had a name, but he’s basically a computer monitor with attached keyboard. The screen is a lenticular image so he can display different emotions and it’s pretty cool. He has an opening for a socket underneath, so I’m curious if NECA will sneak a body into another pack for him, even if it’s non-articulated. The doku flower is also included, which poisoned April in the same episode Baxter debuted his fly form. I’m actually not sure if this is a Baxter accessory or a Splinter one, as it could be the gazai plant which was used by Splinter to cure April. Both plants looked identical in the episode. What will likely entertain people the most though is the included fly Shredder and gerbil Mikey. Both are non-articulated, but they look pretty great. The paint is applied well and Mikey is actually quite cute.

“What the devil?!”

It’s an impressive haul for Baxter, and like I said, I appreciate NECA including proper trigger hands with him so he can also wield any of the other guns from the show (like the small handgun that apparently belongs to Splinter, but kind of looks like the gun Baxter used in “Enter: The Fly”) with ease. Maybe some wanted a goofy accessory like a stack of sugar cubes and I know people are aching for Mousers, but I suspect those will be included one day with a human version of Baxter. I’m happy with this loadout and it’s cool that his computer buddy could even just function as a computer in a display for someone like April, if it’s so desired. The inclusion of the trans-mutation ray also makes it more fun to compare this figure to the Super7 version since that one came with the same weapon, albeit, unpainted.

Your ninja training has begun!

Baxter is impressive, and his box-mate Splinter is much the same. He stands basically at the same height as Baxter with his ears taking him up to approximately 5″. This is a depiction of Splinter from early in the show when his fur was a lighter brown and his kimono a deeper magenta. In later seasons, his fur would change to a much darker brown and his kimono lightened to a shade of pink, or maybe it just looked lighter by comparison. This is my preferred look though and it makes the most sense since the main turtle figures we have feature that olive flesh-tone from the show’s early seasons. Splinter has a rather stern and serious expression on his face which is appropriate for the character. NECA’s toon shading they utilize is blended really well with the sculpted fur which is different as it’s usually more pronounced. I think it works quite well. There’s a minor paint imperfection on my figure where a blob of the light brown is present on the back of his neck, but it’s partially hidden by the kimono. His body doesn’t have the toon shading on it and is painted the darker brown as it’s hidden by the kimono. His hands though are cast in the light brown so it looks odd when his wrists are visible. The kimono itself is a soft goods addition which I think is the way to go with this figure. I just wish NECA had done something different with the belt as it’s just a black ribbon tied in a knot. It sits too high on the character’s chest as his lower abdomen is very round making it hard to put it in the right place. A plastic belt like the old Playmates toy or the more nylon one Super7 used might have worked better. Or they could have sculpted a channel for the belt to fit in. It would have made the figure look a bit ugly when disrobed, but who is going to display Splinter without his kimono? They also could have just made the figure less round which probably would have worked the best.

Well, he apparently didn’t put much thought into their names.

The articulation on Splinter comes largely as expected. He has articulation at the base of the head and where the neck meets the torso. It’s very stiff on mine even after heating it multiple times so I’m not sure if this is just my figure or if the articulation is doing what it’s supposed to. He can look down, but I can’t really get him to look up and turning his head is also a bit challenging. It’s hard to get just the head to turn without the lower joint trying to as well. And that one is sculpted fur to fit over the body so it’s a bit rough and definitely not a fun joint to mess with as it feels like it’s rubbing quite a bit on the torso. His jaw is articulated, but mine looks miss-aligned. It’s like he has a cross-bite and I’m tempted to see if I can get it into a better position with a heat gun, though I’d probably have to remove the soft goods lest I want to set them on fire. The arms are standard joints at the shoulder and feature double-joints like Baxter’s. They move very well considering you have to contend with the soft goods. My only concern is that the top pin holding the elbow joint together on the left arm of my figure looks pretty jacked up like it was damaged during insertion and pushed in too far. I’m only pointing this out because it seems to be rather widespread with this figure. He moves fine right now, but I’m definitely being careful there. The wrists are the same peg and hinge joints we’re accustomed to. There is a diaphragm cut and the legs are joined with standard ball-joints. The shape of his rump prevents him from kicking back, but he can kick forward and balance on one foot so ninja kicks are still on the table. His knees are double-jointed in a very rat-like manner as they angle backwards. There’s a hinged joint at the ankle and also a toe hinge. Thankfully, that ankle joint is cast in white so no paint blemish down there, but the toe hinge is a bit ugly as there’s a gap between the wrappings and toes. Lastly, Splinter’s tail is connected via a ball-joint and moves much better than any of the other tails we’ve seen in this line. It’s also a wire with plastic sculpted over it so there is some bendy quality to it. It’s not a lot, but better than the movie Splinter from NECA.

Splinter, I think it’s upside-down…

Splinter probably won’t demand a ton of posing ability from most collectors, but he is a ninja and should be able to move like a ninja. I think NECA did just okay in that respect. I really wish they could have figured out a scheme that allowed him to cross his legs in a meditative pose or got some more torso articulation into him as well. I feel like they could have taken advantage of the fact that this is a robed figure, like they kind of did with the movie version, to fit torso articulation into him that may not have been super aesthetically pleasing, but would have been covered up. He looks the part, which is most important, he’s just not quite the homerun I was expecting after seeing the promotional images.

That’s a lot of stuff for both figures.

Even more so than Baxter, Splinter is loaded with extra goodies. He comes with gripping hands instead of fists, but also has five extra hands to work with. I should clarify they’re more like relaxed gripping hands as he has a set of tighter gripping hands he can swap for. He has a set of what I would call martial arts posed hands, or maybe even meditative hands. One even looks like Bart Simpson’s infamous Touch of Death. The other is a two-finger pointing hand. And lastly, he has a right, single-finger, pointing, hand. All of the hands are painted light brown and feature sculpted fur and claws, though the claws are unpainted (which is consistent with the show).

When a walking stick literally won’t cut it.

Splinter has all of those hands because he has a lot of stuff to hold. The relaxed gripping hands work great with his books and scroll. He has two books, one is open and features depictions of the artists that inspired the names of the turtles and the other is closed. The scroll, which is from an episode of the show and did something, is unfurled and he can hold it via either end. He also has his walking stick which the relaxed hands can fit over for standing poses. The tighter gripping hands come into play with the sword and gun. The sword is the Sword of Yurikawa taken from the episode of the same name. It looks a lot like one of Leo’s non-stylized katanas, which is to say it doesn’t really look like an actual katana. It has a yellow-gold hilt and short blade, but best of all, it comes with a flaming effect piece which is cast in translucent orange plastic and slides over the blade. It’s pretty cool and if you prefer your Splinter to be less of a pacifist this should work. If you think that blade is too elegant though, there’s a gun. I don’t recall where this gun came from, but it’s a small pistol. Splinter also has a Yin Yang medallion that he can wear and a dojo mat to meditate on. The mat is kind of cool as it’s made of a springy, foam-like, material instead of paper of cloth. Lastly, we have a little rat. It might have made more sense for a Hamato Yoshi to come with a rat, but I’m not complaining. The martial arts pose hands can even allow the rat to sit in Splinter’s palm.

When necessary, Splinter can turn up the heat.

That’s a lot of stuff, and there was so much in the box that NECA had to put the extra hands on their own, separate, tray and tape it to the underside of the main bubble tray. It’s something I really appreciate about NECA and this line as when figures seem to come in under budget they fill the set with extra stuff until they hit their standard baseline. They could have just shipped a set with a larger profit margin than usual, but didn’t, and that’s cool. I give a lot of credit to brand manager Trevor Zammit for spending probably far too much time with this cartoon to find all of this stuff and to director Randy Falk for encouraging him. Of the two figures, I think I prefer Baxter as he both looks fantastic and has the articulation needed to make him wonderful. I do wish he had a little more articulation in those purple appendages he’s got, and I wish NECA in general would start supplying vertically-hinged hands for proper weapon wielding. And I also largely like what we have with Splinter. He looks like the character from the show, and while I found more room for criticism with him, I still think he turned out well enough. You won’t hear me asking for a better version anytime soon.

And when that doesn’t work, he’s also packing heat.

This puts a capper on NECA’s release schedule for 2020 as far as TMNT is concerned. It was quite a year for the line with lots of frustration, but also lots of damn good toys. Trying to figure out a favorite is an exercise for another day, but I’m really looking forward to seeing what’s next. Next up is a Rat King and Vernon two-pack and I am super stoked to add a cartoon accurate Rat King to my collection. Also announced are the punk frogs, Ace Duck, Mondo Gecko, Muckman, Chrome Dome, and a four-pack of turtles all featuring cloth goods trench coats and new headsculpts. There’s also the cartoon city scape diorama set to ship to those who ordered it last year sometime this quarter. 2021 is going to be busy, but hopefully rewarding. Once again, thanks to those in the collecting community who helped me secure this set and good luck to the rest of you. Remember, don’t feed the scalpers! Good luck, and happy hunting!

At long last, the family is together.

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