Tag Archives: action figures

Hasbro Lightning Collection Mighty Morpin Green Ranger

Go! Green Ranger! Go!

In the early days of the ongoing Covid-19 Pandemic I found myself filling the social hole in my heart with toys. That has continued, but in the earliest days I went backwards. I grabbed some toys that I had wanted as a kid, but never got, and I talked about them here. One such toy was the Bandai Dragonzord and Green Ranger from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Toys from the show were shockingly hard to come by in 1993 and beyond, and it was something I always wanted despite not really being a huge Power Rangers fan.

Another thing you should know about me is that I’m kind of anal when it comes to toys. Especially my own, and it seems to extend to toys my kids own. I treat my toys well, and as a kid, if I broke one it really ate me up inside. When I got those Power Rangers toys for myself, I also grabbed a Red Ranger and Pink Ranger for my son and daughter. Over the summer, my nephew visited and he wanted to play Power Rangers with my kids. He was nearly 4 at the time, but he’s notoriously mean to his toys. Still, I didn’t want to be the grumpy uncle so I let him play with my Green Ranger. I do not blame the 4 year old for what happened, I blame myself for allowing it to happen. Needless to say, I wouldn’t be telling you this if it was an uneventful play date. It was not, as when I went to put the Green Ranger away at the end of the day I found his head was flopping around. Somehow, the kids managed to break the housing for the neck joint that is in the figure’s chest. It’s an odd setup for head articulation, as I found when I opened the figure up. My attempts at repairing the break failed, so now I have a Green Ranger with a floppy head. Oh, joy.

“Hey man, sorry to hear about your neck.” “Thanks. It’s…it’s fine.”

Just as I was when I was a kid, the broken toy has bothered me ever since. It looks okay on a shelf, the head just sits a little lower than before, but it’s enough to make me want to replace it. Rather than replace it with a vintage toy though, I was able to score a recent release: the Hasbro Lightning Collection Green Ranger. This figure is sold everywhere, but a new packaging variant was released to Target this fall. It’s rather snazzy, though the figure is the same as the other versions out there. I was drawn to it because it’s a more show accurate version of the character. It has the gold armbands, dragon dagger, and black holster. And since it’s a great deal smaller than the vintage figure, it looks a little better beside the Dragonzord than the vintage figure, which is basically the same size as the zord. It’s still not even close to scale, but it is a bit more aesthetically pleasing.

Not a bad look for you mint-in-box collectors.
One blade just isn’t enough.

2020 has been a year for me to get reacquainted with Hasbro. Over the summer I bought a Peter Venkman, a Deadpool two-pack, and more recently a Soundwave from the Transformers RED line. The Green Ranger is definitely similar to the Deadpool I acquired earlier. The body may even be identical to that figure with different paint applications. The neck, torso, and legs especially look to be the same and the articulation is quite familiar at this point. This isn’t a bad thing as the figure differs where it needs to and this sculpt is able to pack-in a great deal of articulation while remaining pleasing to the eye.

Yup, that’s a Green Ranger all right.
You gotta be in shape to wear an outfit like this.

From an aesthetic point of view, the Green Ranger certainly looks the part. The figure is mostly green plastic with the feet and forearms cast in white plastic. The sculpt-work is quite nice. The helmet features all of the details I remember from the show while the gloves and boots contain detail I didn’t even know was there! That’s standard definition for you, but in looking at some pictures from the show today I was able to confirm that these details, like ribbed material across the knuckles, was indeed present in the show. Where things are less impressive is with the paint. The paint application to the gloves and boots is quite sloppy in places with the gold parts in particular. The helmet could have also used a bit more to give it less of a plastic look and the dragon’s teeth around the visor are all silver rather than silver teeth on white. There’s more slop around the morpher and there’s a green dot on the inside of the right foot that really stands out on the white of the boot. At least the paint on the golden shield is neat as that would have really stood out if it was sloppy. I ordered this guy online, but I wish I had run across it in-store so I could have looked a few over and found a better one, but maybe they’re all like this. I should also point out that the chest is unpainted. The shield doesn’t appear to be designed to be removed, but if you did the figure wouldn’t be show accurate as he’s missing the white diamond. Hasbro actually worked in a piece of white plastic in the butterfly joint to create the impression that the undershirt was accurate. It seems rather lazy on their part.

Insert Jason David Frank’s unmistakable “Suh-ya!”

The articulation on those old Bandai toys was pretty impressive for 1993, and isn’t even too bad by 2020 standards, but it doesn’t come close to matching what this guy can do. Nearly everything is articulated here. He can rotate at the head and look up and down as well. The arms can go all the way around and come out to 90 degrees. There’s a butterfly joint that works really well and is also hidden by the shield, which is a nice benefit of that piece. There’s a bicep swivel and double-jointed elbows that allow for a full curl. The wrist rotates and there’s a hinge as well. There’s a ball-joint in the diaphragm that allows Tommy to tilt and rotate with an ab crunch below that which allows him to go back a bit and forward pretty much all the way. Just watch out for the lower point of his shield. The legs can go forward, but not really back. There’s a thigh swivel, double-jointed knees, boot cut, and ankle hinges with ankle rockers. Really, the only things he lacks are a true waist swivel and a toe hinge, neither of which are really needed. The only thing I wish he had was a side-to-side hinge on at least one hand for wielding his sword or dagger. He can achieve a variety of poses though and is well-balanced so he can even do the old one foot kicking position.

I always did like that evil sword.
Now we’re having fun!
Here’s an image you can hear.

The Green Ranger comes with a few accessories. He has his trusty Dragon Dagger which fits into his holster and he’s able to hold just fine. He can’t quite get it to his “mouth,” but you can get him into poses where it looks like he’s at least getting ready to summon the Dragonzord. He can play it off to the side, but it doesn’t really look the part. He also has his evil sword, or Sword of Darkness, if I remember it correctly. It’s the sword he used when he was in the employ of Rita Repulsa. It’s a nasty looking, curved, blade with a tassel at the end that’s sculpted plastic. It looks cool and it gives him something else to wield aside from the dagger. There’s also a green lightning effect piece that can attach to it that looks pretty impressive. He also has two extra hands. He come with gripping hands in the box which work well for both weapons. The extra hands are a closed, left, fist and an open, pinching, right hand that’s probably meant to work with the dagger as the hand pressing the flute buttons. Lastly, he comes with an alternate, unmasked, head featuring Tommy with his long hair and green bandana. It looks fine, but I’m probably never going to use it. Both weapons are well-sculpted and the paint is fine on both of them, which is a relief considering the paint issues on the main figure. The paint on the alternate head also looks great and they even remembered his lone earring.

Hey! It worked!
He can also go unmasked if that’s your preference.

Fans of the Power Rangers seems pretty enthused about Hasbro’s Lightning Collection and it’s easy to see why based on this one figure. This figure really looks great, especially considering it retails for right around 20 bucks. I even scored this for less as Target had a promotion running at the time that I wasn’t able to use on the NECA products I had purchased. It’s a shame the paint wasn’t a little better, but that’s pretty much the only negative piece of criticism I have for this one. The sculpt is quite good and the articulation is fantastic. It may be hard to get him into a proper flute mode, but I honestly don’t know how Hasbro could have done better. Best of all though, is that this figure just hits the right nostalgia points. If I had this toy when I was 10 I would have been over the moon. Similarly, whenever I see him next to the Dragonzord I’m going to get that little rush of excitement. Like I said, I’m not a huge Power Rangers fan, but this figure makes me want to be. Wish me luck in suppressing that urge, for the sake of my wallet.


Transformers R.E.D. Generation 1 Soundwave

For today’s photos, red feels like an appropriate backdrop.

Full disclosure here: I’m not much of a Transformers guy. Transformers took off when I was a wee one and I kind of missed the boat. I had some friends and cousins really into it, and I even had a few myself that were gifted to me, but it was nothing I gravitated towards. And I say that as someone who very much enjoys the concept of toys that can switch between two modes of play – that’s just economical! I did get into the Generation 2 stuff a bit. I remember saving up, what was a lot of money at the time for a kid, to get the Generation 2 release of Optimus Prime, and I would also get a Megatron and a few others. It was a mostly passing fad as it basically occupied the brief period of time when I was transitioning from being a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles kid to one obsessed with the X-Men.

Since I didn’t grow up enamored with Transformers, I’ve very rarely dabbled in the collector scene for it. When I was younger and had my first post college job and more disposable income than I was used to, I did dabble in the Masterpiece line. I picked up the US release of Optimus Prime and I grabbed the Takara release of Megatron to pair with him. And that’s where I left the Transformers. It’s just too expensive a line for me to collect when I don’t have tremendous interest in it.

One character though that I have always had affection for is Soundwave. I feel like that’s fairly common as Soundwave is just so decidedly 80s in his design. He’s a tape deck that can turn into a robot, and better yet, he has tapes that transform into robotic, animal, sidekicks. He’s awesome, and there’s a part of me that has always wanted a kick ass Soundwave. Maybe I should have grabbed a Masterpiece version of the character or the G1 reissue from a few years ago. I didn’t, and instead I’ve turned my attention to the R.E.D. release of the character from Hasbro.

Walmart took special care to make sure this box got banged around before it got to me.

R.E.D. stands for Robotic Enhanced Design. It’s a bit of a controversial line in the Transformers collector community because these are Transformers that do not transform. What?! It doesn’t seem to make sense to have Transformers that literally do not do as their name suggests, but it’s also not a new concept. I remember seeing non-transforming Transformers released to stores not long after the Michael Bay films hit. Transformers are notoriously expensive, whether new or vintage, versus a standard action figure. It’s not at all surprising that Hasbro has sought to introduce cheaper versions to retail, especially as a whole new generation of kids got sucked in. I know I’m not eager to drop 30 bucks on a good Transformer for my kid when I don’t know how much play he’ll actually get from it. Plus, having a non-Transforming option means parents aren’t called upon to transform the toy every ten minutes.

The extra stuff gets its own panel, which is actually really helpful.

The difference with R.E.D. versus those other releases is that this one is not really aimed at casual fans, but collectors. That doesn’t mean casuals (like me) or even kids can’t enjoy them, but they’re definitely collector-focused. And the whole purpose is to produce robots that resemble their animated counterparts in a way that a transforming toy cannot. It’s not a secret that the old cartoon took a lot of liberties with the design of its characters. The show could have directly adapted the toys, but that probably would have resulted in character designs deemed too complex for animation, plus lesser robot designs could be improved for the aesthetics of the show. And now, collectors who grew up on that show can add some Transformers to their display that reflect the robot look of that cartoon. And honestly, from a collector’s point of view, it doesn’t feel that controversial a move considering the vast majority of collectors are going to display their toys in robot form anyway.

Hooray for product shots!

Even though my affection for Soundwave is deeply rooted in the fact that he could transform into a 1980s styled boom box, I still find the robot form immensely satisfying. And since the R.E.D. line retails for less than $20, I decided to take the plunge and add a Soundwave to my toy collection. The line comes housed in an attractive, red, window box. It’s shaped like a trapezoid with the figure in the center and off to the side is a window for the accessories, which are in their own, separate, tray. First of all, I think some may be taken by surprise at the size of the figures in this line. Soundwave stands pretty much right at 6″, which is pretty small for a Transformer. This line is likely designed to scale with itself, but it also feels like a typical size for a Hasbro action figure release. And it even feels like one as far as articulation and accessories go, which I’ll get to in a moment. If you’re a dedicated Transformers collector looking to mix and match your display with these guys and traditional G1 or Masterpiece figures, then you might be disappointed.

Meet your new friend, The Cannon.
Hasbro saved some sculpt-work for the rear of the figure, including that (non-functioning) volume slider.
You can see how high the head sits from the side, which is great for articulation.

Considering the primary goal of this line is really the aesthetics, I have to say Hasbro pretty much nailed this one. Soundwave looks like he stepped out of the old cartoon and onto my shelf. The paint is clean and vibrant and the physical structure of the character looks pretty good. I could maybe nitpick the broadness of the shoulders, but considering I’m not a big Transformers fan that feels unnecessary. He looks great to me, and I assume most will be quite satisfied with how this guy looks. My only criticism of how this figure looks is that he could have benefited from a bit more paint. The head is a little plain and something to bring out the facial details would have added some more “pop” to the look. There’s a little bit of paint slop here and there, but relegated to minor dots and blemishes. You can also see some residual plastic from the mold extraction process, but thankfully those blemishes are mostly found on the rear of the figure.

The other advantage to this design is that Hasbro can cram in quite a bit of articulation without worrying about the transforming function. First off, the cannon that mounts on his shoulder is prone to popping off. This isn’t a huge deal for a collector, but if you were thinking of this for a kid know that cannon is going to annoy someone who wants to play with this. For posing, I recommend not fighting it and just popping it off, pose your figure, then replace. Soundwave’s head is on a ball joint and rotates fine, but the cannon gets in the way a bit. He can look way up as Hasbro has the head seated pretty high, and he even looks down a little bit with some side-to-side tilt. The shoulders are also ball-jointed, but the blocky-ness poses a problem. There’s a butterfly joint, but it just can’t do much because of the chest. Hasbro clearly didn’t want to break up the chest with any articulation, and there is a reason for that beyond aesthetics, and it is an issue, but honestly it’s actually less an issue than one would expect just looking at this guy. The elbows are double-jointed and he can go way past 90 degrees as he can come up and touch his own shoulder. There’s a bicep swivel and the hands are on ball-hinges with swivel action. You can keep them recessed in his forearm or pop the ball-joint out of the socket slightly for additional range of motion. There is a waist swivel and the legs can go out and to the side. There is a thigh swivel and the knees are double-jointed and he can bend as far back as a Yoga instructor. The feet are also ball-jointed and can rotate all around and have an overall fantastic range of motion.

“I feel empty inside…”
“I now feel complete”

The final piece of articulation is in that chest. Soundwave may not be able to transform, but he still has a functioning tape deck. There’s a button near his head that causes the tape deck to pop open and he even comes with a non-transforming tape to insert. Honestly, this was the capper for me on this figure as if he couldn’t do that I would have passed. Since he can though, we’re all good! The eject function isn’t very strong on mine and it basically just cracks open enough to slip a fingernail behind it, but it works well enough. Overall, considering how blocky he is, I am really impressed with the amount of articulation Hasbro crammed into this guy. The only thing that’s unfortunate is that cannon, and I don’t even know why they made it removable considering he has no need to transform. They could have put it on a ball-joint and called it a day, but I guess that was just too much money to spend on one toy. He feels really nice to hold with solid weight. Nothing feels fragile. There is potential to damage the figure though via his articulation. The crotch piece, where the leg is affixed to the figure, has a sharp edge and when I was messing around with the figure it actually scraped my figure’s right thigh, essentially removing a tiny chunk right on the corner of the thigh piece. There’s a little mark on the other thigh as well so I must have done the same there without noticing. It’s something to be wary of though.

Not a lot is included, but I’d say he at least comes with the essentials.
Other robots assemble!
Wait! You’re not a real robot!

In addition to the figure looking great, the accessories do as well. Especially the tape which is fully sculpted and painted and looks great whether it’s in Soundwave’s chest or out. It’s his coolest accessory, but the not the only one. In addition to the fists he comes packaged with, Soundwave also has two additional hands. One is designed to work with his eject button to make it look like he’s about to summon one of his robot minions, while the other is a simple trigger finger. That one works with Soundwave’s blaster which also looks sharp. It’s well-sculpted and has the right amount of paint on it to really make it stand out. The hands are easily removable, though I had trouble getting Soundwave to hold his gun. I ended up heating up the hand to get him to grip it, as it just had little to no give and I didn’t want to scrape up the plastic. And now that I have the gun in his hand, I do not plan to remove it. It’s a solid assortment of accessories, though some may have preferred an open hand option. I do wish we got a transformed Laserbeak as well to pose on his shoulder, though that probably would have tilted the costs beyond what Hasbro wanted.

Modern day Hasbro All-Stars.

If I am only going to own one Soundwave, I feel like this figure scratches that itch. There will always be a part of me that desires a transforming version of the character, but I’d definitely display him in his robot form anyway so this will do. I just love how he turned out from a visual standpoint. There’s a nice balance to the molded plastic and painted parts and he’s just really fun to look at. Maybe a little bit of shading, especially on the head, could have brought an even greater level of detail, but this is fine. If you’re not philosophically opposed to non-transforming Transformers, then I think this will make you happy. The only real negative is that stupid cannon, but I suppose I could glue it in. And the only other impediment is the scale, but that only matters if you intend to place this figure alongside other, non-R.E.D. Transformers. For me, this is great and I think I’ll keep him beside my Weltall figure which complements him well. If you want to snag one of your own, your only option right now is Walmart. Yeah, I know, I prefer not to shop there (especially during a pandemic), but he has regularly been in stock online if that helps. For 20 bucks, I say grab him now if you’re even slightly interested and return him if it ends up not being your thing, but I think most who do take the plunge will be pretty happy with the end result.

You probably shouldn’t pick a fight with him, Soundwave.

S.H. Figuarts Dragon Ball Kame-Sennin (Master Roshi)

The legendary martial arts master has arrived!

Collecting certainly has a gambling component to it. Sometimes, when a new action figure is released it can pay off to wait a bit and see if the price comes down or a retailer has a sale. Other times, that strategy can completely backfire. Such was the case with the S.H. Figuarts release of Kame-Sennin, better known to westerners as Master Roshi from Dragon Ball. A couple of years ago I started my Dragon Ball figure collection with a Goku from this line. Seeing how readily available he continued to be gave me confidence that a character like Master Roshi, a less popular though still much beloved figure from the anime, would play out the same way. It did not. Maybe Bandai had less confidence in the figure than it does some others, or maybe it had something to do with western distribution seemingly picking up after the figure’s release, but this guy came and went pretty fast. Subsequent figures have not, and I scored several this past summer on a sale, but Master Roshi was seemingly lost.

Well, I finally gave up. When Bandai released a Jackie Chun figure, which is basically Master Roshi in black and with a wig in place of his glasses, I figured that closed the door on a re-release. And thus I was forced to turn to the secondary market. To lessen the blow, I actually sold some figures from my collection that weren’t going to see a shelf which essentially paid for this one, but it still stings to know I could have had this figure for considerably less had I acted sooner. Is there a lesson here or did I simply just play the game and have it go against me? If there is one, it’s simply make sure you get the figures you don’t want to live without. I can have a Dragon Ball collection without a kid Chi Chi and be content, or without a version of Bulma that only appeared in the show’s ending credits. I cannot have one without Master Roshi though.

Master Roshi comes well equipped to add some sizzle to your display.

For this figure, Bandai opted to present Master Roshi in his somewhat official outfit: his orange and blue martial arts uniform. He has quite a few different looks in the manga and anime that are a bit more casual, and if I’m being honest that’s how I tend to picture him in my head, but by going in this direction it gives the figure a bit more versatility. You can go for a comic pose, pose him with his shell, or display him ready for a fight. He can’t do his bulked up Kamehameha pose, but that’s to be expected as it basically requires a whole new sculpt. The figure stands right around the 5 and a half inch mark which allows him to scale pretty well with the rest of the line. His trademarked red and green sunglasses are removable and fit on both of his heads and they rest well on the figure. The orange and blue are both plenty vibrant and it’s mostly just colored plastic. There’s no real paint flourishes on display here which is par for the course. Bandai certainly could have opted for something here to bring out the folds in the shirt, but it’s really not supposed to possess many as it hangs long and loose on the character in the show. I think it looks fine, but I know some others out there wish there was a little more flair to these figures as far as paint is concerned.

Note the plug inserted into the figure’s back to fill the peg hold needed for the turtle shell.

Master Roshi comes loaded with the usual assortment of articulation. It’s certainly needed to get him into various martial arts poses, but with this figure the articulation does detract some from the sculpt. The issue lies with the shirt which is very large relative to the figure. Bandai obviously felt it couldn’t do something like a soft rubber piece over an articulated figure and have it work, and they’re probably right. Instead, a lot of the joints have to be baked into the shirt and it does give it this choppy, scalloped, look. It’s unfortunate as it’s a bit of an eyesore, but ultimately, I think Bandai made the right call since the alternative would be to have very little articulation in the torso and arms. Perhaps soft goods could have been utilized, but that would have been just as, if not more, controversial a choice. The only area of the sculpt that does sort of bother me resides in the character’s elbows. There’s a big, circular, component that just jumps out and looks unnatural. The good thing is, simply posing him with bent elbows largely conceals this. Roshi does have a peg hole on his back to keep his shell sturdy, but if you don’t want to display him with that on, Bandai provided a little, orange, peg to fit into that hole to cover it up. Considering the hole is on the figure’s back, this really wasn’t something Bandai had to do, but it’s pretty cool that it did.

The old man can still move.
Though this requires little in the way of dexterity.

Master Roshi’s shirt may look a bit odd, but at least it does deliver in making this figure fully articulated. His head has the usual range of motion expected of this line. He can look up, but not down much as his beard hinders him a bit. There’s a joint at the base of the neck, but the head moves so smoothly that it’s hard to move the neck without taking the head off completely. The shoulders have terrific range and are also butterfly-jointed with that part of the articulation being completely hidden by the shirt which is pretty cool. There’s a bicept swivel and the elbows are single-jointed with his hands are on ball joints. They are buried a little in the sleeves so the range might not be as great as other figures in this line, but it’s fine. In the torso there’s a lot going on with upper torso articulation and waist articulation. The upper torso basically just allows him to pivot a bit without full rotation. The waist is similar though you could probably get him to turn all the way around if you were determined, but I wouldn’t advise it. The legs are on ball joints and swivel just below that joint. He has double-jointed knees and terrific range at the ankle with rotation and rocker action. Lastly, we have the toe hinge for when he needs to get a little taller, maybe to sneak his perverted, old, man eyes over a window sill or something.

It really is a nice looking shell.
Can’t forget about the Dragon Ball!

Master Roshi has a solid assortment of accessories and interchangeable parts. For starters, he has an optional head that’s basically his pervert face. It works with or without his glasses and it’s not hard to imagine many fans posing him in such a position. Only thing missing is a way to make it look like his nose is gushing blood. You can also swap the bearded portion on each head in effect doubling your range of available expressions. He also has five sets of hands to go along with the fists he comes packaged with. He has gripping hands for his staff, a set of pointing/pinching hands, a set of martial arts styled hands, an open left gripping hand for use with the Dragon Ball, a left hand making a “peace” symbol, a relaxed open palm left hand, and a firm open palm right hand. He has his trusty staff or cudgel and his three-star Dragon Ball. And then, of course, he has his big old turtle shell. It clips into his back and it also has straps that can pop in to make it look like it’s something the character simply slipped his arms through. The peg on the back of the figure makes it sit nice and I really like the sculpt of this thing. It has that very “Dragon Ball” look to it as far as the texture goes with lots of line work and I do enjoy the almost lilac color it has. Bandai even saw fit to make the middle panel of the shell removable so you can still use the action stand with the figure, whether he’s wearing the shell or not. Lastly, Bandai included an action stand for him which is always appreciated. It’s a real nice allotment of stuff that Master Roshi comes packed with. If anything is missing, I guess it would be Turtle? That’s probably asking too much though since he would require quite a bit of plastic. The only other obvious omission is the lack of Kamehameha style hands. I guess Bandai didn’t see the point since he can’t bulk up, or maybe they figured they’d include those hands with the Jackie Chun release. I can’t say I miss them since I wouldn’t pose him like that, but I can see that being a disappointment for some. Especially Dragon Ball Z collectors who may have wanted to line up all of the Z fighters performing Master Roshi’s signature technique.

Look who decided to join the party.
Of course, we have to bring in Goku too. These three look pretty great together.

Making use of Roshi’s accessories is not quite as smooth as it is with other figures. His head pops on and off just fine, though you do have to make sure the ball-joint is orientated properly. The hands are a bit trickier though. The cuffs of the shirt mean the pegs are recessed and they want to move all over the place when pressing a hand onto them. I don’t feel like I’m ever in danger of breaking anything, but it is annoying. The straps on the shell are also a bit troublesome. I find it’s easier to insert the top peg first on each strap before putting it on Roshi’s back. Then you have to kind of finesse the bottom pegs into their respective hole. It at least doesn’t need to be real snug, but if you don’t have patience for such things it could drive you mad. Once you have the setup you want, the hands at least all function the way they should. He can hold his staff with either gripping hand with no problem and the Dragon Ball rests in the open hand just fine. He also stands well with or without the shell on his back making the action stand Bandai included feel unnecessary which can free it up for another figure in your display, should you desire such.

I am so sorry, Bulma.
Maybe I should look into acquiring Lunch so he has someone of-age to menace.

Master Roshi fits in well with the other Dragon Ball releases so far. I maintain that the kid versions of Goku and Krillin are a bit too big, but it doesn’t stand out as much with Master Roshi as it does with Bulma. She’s still the odd one of the bunch though as she should probably be taller than Master Roshi, but instead she’s pretty close in height. It almost looks like he’s designed to scale to Goku and Krillin, with Bulma and the others scaling better with each other. The only other disappointing aspect of the display is just in the choice of attire. Roshi mostly wore this get-up during the training sequences where Krillin wore his yellow gi and Goku sported his blue pants and white tank top look. By the time the two get their Turtle School gi, they’re at the World Martial Arts Tournament where Roshi is in a formal, black, suit. Oh well. I’m definitely glad this version isn’t in the black suit, but I am still partial to his beach bum look when Goku and Bulma first meet the old man.

Yes, I realize I need a dedicated shelf for my Dragon Ball guys.

Acquiring this figure of Master Roshi more or less finishes off my humble Dragon Ball collection from Bandai. The only other figures released in the line include an alternate version of Bulma, Jackie Chun, Lunch, and kid Chi Chi. I don’t really feel a need to grab any of those, though if Jackie and Lunch ever make it to a sale I could be persuaded. The big omission so far is a Dragon Ball version of Yamcha and I would like to have him. Tien, Chiaotzu, Grandpa Gohan, Adult Goku, and Piccolo Jr. would all be intriguing as well. And if they could get an Oolong into one of those releases that would also be great. At least with Master Roshi in the fold I no longer feel like I have a major hole in my collection. He looks awesome and he really is one of my favorite characters from the show. Hopefully he won’t be my last acquisition from this line.


S.H. Figuarts Dragon Ball Z Yamcha

Look out boys, here comes Yamcha!

Today’s action figure review comes courtesy of online retailer Big Bad Toy Store. No, I have not hit the “big time” where I’m getting freebies for review. Rather, BBTS had a Twitter give-away for an action figure and yours truly happened to be selected. Which is pretty cool, so thanks go out to Big Bad for the hook-up because otherwise I would likely have never had the chance to talk about this figure.

Gotta love that window box packaging.
There aren’t many characters who get featured as a corpse as part of their own product shots.

Yamcha comes straight from the anime Dragon Ball Z. I have reviewed a few of the figures from S.H. Figuarts in the Dragon Ball line, but I’ve largely avoided Dragon Ball Z. That’s because I only have room (and money) for one high-end anime property and if I had to choose I’m taking Dragon Ball over Dragon Ball Z. If I were to reverse course though, and maybe one day I will, I’d probably prioritize the earlier episodes of DBZ like the Saiyan Saga, which is where this figure comes from.

What’s this guy have to smile about?!
I wonder what shampoo he uses?

Yamcha is basically known to the fanbase as the punching bag of DBZ. He’s routinely one of the least powerful warriors and his most famous pose is lying dead in a crater. He makes himself an easy target because he’s often brash and quite arrogant, only to wind up getting his ass handed to him. He’s so bad that I even tried to make referring to someone as a “Yamcha” an insult amongst my friends back in my high school days, but I never really got the phrase over. Yamcha would change in later arcs and in Dragon Ball Super he became more self aware of his lot in life. This has made him actually endearing, to a degree, to the point where Yamcha may be able to refer to himself unironically as a fan favorite these days. After all, being outclassed by Goku is hardly meaningful anymore since virtually no one from those early episodes can hope to stand with him.

Now we’re getting serious.
Here comes the “dreaded” Wolf Fang Fist!

As mentioned earlier, this figure comes from the Saiyan Saga of DBZ so it depicts Yamcha in his orange Turtle School gi complete with big hair. He’s right at the six inch mark which I assume is pretty much average for the line and leaves him about 3/4 of an inch taller than the Vegeta from the same line (not factoring in Vegeta’s giant hair). It’s hard to say what Yamcha’s most popular look is since he’s one of the characters who seems to always change his look, but this one is certainly right up there. He maintained this look through the Frieza Saga before switching to an awful bowl cut that thankfully didn’t last long. It’s a simple look though and I suspect there’s a lot of parts reuse in this figure as he’s essentially Goku. I can’t confirm that though because I don’t have a Goku. The only real difference between he and Goku are the shoes and the lack of a blue undershirt, because Yamcha is first and foremost out to attract the ladies. The more skin showing the better.

I’m more of an energy blast guy, myself.
Solar Flare or “hands up?” Yamcha is not above backing down from a fight.

The S.H. Figuarts line from Bandai is known for its high quality and abundance of articulation. Yamcha is no exception as there’s very little he can’t do as far as posing goes. His joints are all nice and tight with none being too tight so he has no trouble holding a pose. His head sits on a ball joint with surprising range of motion considering the giant hair behind him. The hair keeps him from looking up, but he can do pretty much anything else. There’s a hinge in the middle of his hair if you want to make his hair more billowy than usual, though it doesn’t do much to free up the head any further. He has a joint at the base of his neck that honestly isn’t really needed since he can look pretty far down without engaging it. The shoulders are ball-jointed with butterfly joints as well to allow him to reach across his chest and form a proper Kamehameha pose. The bicep swivels and the elbows are double-jointed. The hands are on ball-pegs with hinges in them so they can rotate and turn in and out. There’s an upper torso joint under the gi that provides for tilt and rotation there as well as another ball-joint at the waist. The legs can go out, forward, and back pretty much without restriction and swivel there as well. The knees are double-jointed and the feet are on ball pegs. There’s a toe hinge and articulation at the knot in his belt, for good measure.

Yamcha with his former lover and the guy she left him for.

Were Bandai leaves itself open for criticism with this line is in the amount of articulation taking away from the sculpt. With Yamcha, it’s not much of an issue because the gi lends itself well to hiding articulation. It’s a flowing, roomy, garment with lots of folds to stash stuff in. Contrast this with Vegeta who is often in skin-tight outfits where the various seems and breaks in the sculpt really stand out. There are still odd parts where things look messy, like the crotch and mid-torso. The sleeves of the gi are also pegged into his shoulders and not attached to the main part of the uniform which is rather odd looking. The other frequent complaint I see is the lack of paint, and there, Yamcha isn’t much of an exception. Bandai sticks with colored plastic for the most part and almost never applies a wash or anything to bring out some of the detail. This figure though does have a wash applied to the sides of the pants, chest, crotch, and sleeves. I’m torn on if I prefer this look to what I’ve seen more recently in the Dragon Ball figures. Kid Goku, Krillin, and even Tao have really no wash applied to them and look mostly fine to me. The effect here does work in certain lighting and poses, though in others it stands out more than I’d like.

I had to…

Yamcha comes packed with an assortment of facial expression and hands to complete his look. He has four distinct expressions for you to choose from, and swapping is simple and effortless. The bangs of his hair pops off to gain access to the face plate and the seems left behind are minimal. For expressions, Yamcha has a cocky grin, an open mouthed yell, a teeth-gritting face, and a stern face. If this were a Dragon Ball version of the character I’d want a frightened/shocked look, or a love-struck one for when he encounters Bulma, but for a Saiyan Saga Yamcha this is a strong assortment. He also has four sets of hands: closed fists, wide open palms, Kamehameha open hands, and martial arts pose hands. There’s some room for criticism in this area as Yamcha really doesn’t need the wide open, Solar Flare, styled hands. What he could really use are pointing hands for his Spirit Ball technique. The Kamehameha hands and martial arts pose hands give him enough range for his other signature maneuvers though, the Kamehameha and Wolf Fang Fist.

He actually he let himself get killed by this!
There is some nice sculpting going on here.

Lastly, Yamcha comes with one other important accessory: the Saibaman. This little green guy is notoriously the one who killed Yamcha. Or rather, it was a Saibaman who felled him and left him dead in a crater and that creature was not distinct from any other Saibaman. This little guy stands a shade under 3″ and is positioned in a permanent crouch. He’s largely colored plastic with very little paint but has quite a bit of sculpting details all over. The eyes and claws on the hands and feet are basically the only parts painted. He’s at least cast in two shades of green so he more or less looks the part, but really could have used a paint wash to bring out the grooves in the skin and the veins in the head. He’s minimally articulated and it’s largely a what you see is what you get affair. His head can rotate side-to-side a bit and the arms rotate at the shoulders on simple pegs. Oddly, the right wrist is on a peg and can rotate, but the left does not. What he’s missing is articulation at the leg, because with a simple swivel there he’d be able to really grab onto Yamcha for his self-destruct attack. Instead, if you want to attempt that you basically need to make Yamcha hug the little alien, which looks a bit silly. This makes the accessory something to pose opposite Yamcha like the two are about to face-off. It’s not nothing, but it’s a shame Bandai didn’t sink a few extra pennies into the sculpt to make it really work. Though if we’re on the subject of small changes that could have made a big difference, I wish instead of the standard one-color backdrop in the box that Bandai had printed the infamous crater instead!

Seriously, Yamcha! This should be a freakin’ mismatch!
Well, looks like this one is over.

There’s room for nitpicks with this release, but at the end of the day this is easily the best Yamcha figure ever made and likely will ever be made, at least as far as the Saiyan Saga is concerned. It’s another high quality release from Bandai via the SH Figuarts brand. There are very few poses he can’t pull off and the screen accuracy aspect is fantastic. Sure, the Saibaman is essentially a foot note for the release, but it’s not as if Yamcha is missing anything. Sure, some might have preferred another energy wave accessory, but this is fine. Though I’m guessing there are some diehard collectors out there rooting for a proper stand-alone Saibaman figure. Until that happens, this will have to do. If you ever wanted to add Yamcha to your collection, it would be hard to pass on this one.


Boss Fight Studio Captain Mimi LaFloo

After a disappointing 2019 for Bucky O’Hare, 2020 has managed to be far more kind. No new figures were released last year, but this year has seen three new releases in the line including two new sculpts. I know 2020 has been a rather lackluster year, to say the least, so we need to take our wins where we can. Closing out the year for the Bucky O’Hare line is Captain Mimi LaFloo. She is just the second figure in the line to not be featured in the vintage Hasbro line of action figures from the early 90s. And unlike First Mate Jenny, she was never even planned for that line making her about as new a thing as any figure can get for this line.

I love the blister art on these things.

Fans of the cartoon series Bucky O’Hare and the Toad Wars should be familiar with Mimi. She debuted in the third episode of the series, “Home, Swampy, Home” which was my pick for best episode in the entire run. She returned in the “The Artificers of Aldebaran” as a full-fledged captain of her own ship, The Screaming Mimi, though she still had yet to hire a crew (funds are notoriously tight for the mammal frigates). Even though she originated with the cartoon, she is still depicted here in her Continuity Comics colors in her captain’s uniform. It’s not that drastic a change and really the outfit just features more color and detail when compared with her cartoon counterpart.

You may be wondering how Mimi is #12. Not pictured: Bruiser(#10), CC Dead-Eye (#6), Holiday Bucky(#8). That leaves the count one off (#9), which possibly refers to the unreleased Stealth Dead-Eye. There’s also an unreleased Aniverse Bucky.

When Mimi was announced as the next figure, a lot of chatter I saw online surrounding the announcement was surprise, with a tinge of disappointment. Sure, Mimi isn’t part of the main crew like Blinky and Willy, nor is she one of the heavy hitters on the villain’s side like Toadborg and Al Negator, but she really was one of the best characters to come out of that vintage cartoon. She’s a strong-willed fighter and takes orders from no one, and since she’s basically the only female other than Jenny to receive much air time it’s not that surprising a company like Boss Fight Studio, which strives for diversity with its toys, would be drawn to her. I actually had her fairly high on my wants list when I broached the subject a while back, so while I shared in the surprise that some of my fellow collectors exhibited, I was certainly not dismayed. Plus, I think it’s exciting to see Boss Fight step outside of the Hasbro comfort zone with this property.

Mimi arrives on the standard, resealable, blister card Boss Fight is known for with artwork provided by Continuity Comics to go along with a character bio on the reverse. She stands a tick over the 4″ mark, nearly 4 1/2″ including the ears, and comes bundled with the usual assortment of accessories. She comes out of the package sporting a smile which can be swapped out in favor of one of two extra faceplates: an open mouthed winking expression and a smile with exposed teeth. She has two trigger finger hands to go along with two pistols featuring a sculpt unique to her as well as a set of fists and a set of open hands. The pistols are the same shiny, metallic, silver we’ve seen with the other figures and fit easily in her hands. Her card art seems to depict her with a pistol and a small shotgun-like blaster that is unfortunately not a part of the figure’s loadout. She also has little nubs on her belts to holster the weapons. Lastly, she has a removable hat that’s designed to sit at an angle over one ear. There’s molded plastic inside the hat to fit over an ear as opposed to just hanging or resting on her head. You can even adjust the positioning a bit to sit higher or lower, though you can’t fit the hat in between her ears if you wish her to look a bit more regal.

I prefer her with the hat.

Where this line earns its keep is with the sculpt, and Mimi fits right in. She’s well-sculpted with lots of detail in the exposed fur on her person. Her uniform is a truly spectacular shade of blue with lots of bright yellow and red trim which is right at home in this line. The boots might be my favorite part of the sculpt as they have a really interesting look to them with straps and stars affixed over the top of the foot. Being a fox, she also sports a big, bushy, tail that not only looks great, but acts like a third leg making it relatively easy to position her on a shelf. The inclusion of the tail, and the fact that she’s a female, lends herself well to direct comparisons with Jenny. Both feature much slimmer arms than say Bucky, but they don’t feel fragile. Mimi has a bit more going on with her accents like the shoulder pads and the hem of her top, which hangs like a skirt.

“Don’t call me, Foxy.”

This line has become known for containing specific accessories like the faceplates. I do like the simple default look, but this figure might be the only one where I’m not sure which face I like best. I found the winking one a touch odd looking in promotional images with its combination of an open mouth and a wink, but in person I find it pretty eye-catching. It captures the character’s playful side well and adds a little “fun” to the display. The toothy smile is intended to be the more fierce or battle expression. It’s kind of odd because the smile on the front of her face looks like any old smile, but look closer and you’ll see gritting teeth on the character’s left side. It’s similar in approach to Dead-Eye’s teeth-gritting expressions, but it just looks odder on a fox to not see teeth the whole way down the side of her muzzle or at least a continuation of the lipstick. I would not be at all surprised though if this is a Continuity mandate and refers to how they draw her. And speaking of Continuity, I also feel I should point out that she does not have the tuft of blonde hair she featured in the cartoon. My guess is that was a show addition and not something reflected in the Continuity art, so I don’t consider it a shortcoming, but felt like I should acknowledge it.

Mimi seems to have a “thing” for Bucky. Considering she’s a fox and he a rabbit, he’s right to be wary.

When it comes to articulation, Mimi should feel rather familiar. This line has done a good job of getting as much articulation as it can into what are fairly small figures. Her head is on a ball-joint and can rotate quite freely. She has little restriction in her design and can look up and down as well as tilt her head side-to-side. The shoulders are ball-jointed with hinges that allow her arms to go out, but she does have those shoulder pads that prevent her from reaching straight up. She does not possess a bicep swivel, but does have a swivel at the elbow along with a standard hinge, and a wrist swivel. On her torso, there’s a waist swivel behind her belt and her legs are attached via ball-pegs. The skirt of her uniform does hinder her legs a bit, and Boss Fight did put slits in the side to loosen it somewhat, but functionally the range of motion is pretty good. Her legs can swivel at the top of the knee, and her knees are single-hinged. She does not have a boot cut or a toe hinge, since her feet are rather small, but there is a hinge hidden behind those boot straps. She also gets some rocker-motion at the ankle. Lastly, she has that tail which is on a ball joint and has a hinge for good measure. The only disappointment is that, like Jenny, her ankle hinge is susceptible to paint flaking. And underneath the yellow paint is blue plastic. My figure’s paint flaked off immediately out of the package exposing a blue eyesore. The boot straps can hide it a little, but not all the way. On the plus side, at least she has that tail for balance so I should be able to get her into a pose (if I wish) that does conceal the blemish. Her boot just probably won’t be flush with the shelf.

Oh captains, my captains!

All in all, Captain Mimi LaFloo is pretty great, as expected. She may not be the character a lot of fans were hoping to come next, but I can’t imagine any of them being upset once they have her in hand. Not only is her sculpt great and the paint app clean, but the engineering is probably the best yet. Her faceplates are super easy to swap as are the hands and her pistols can effortlessly be fit into her trigger hands properly. This is great as I’ve had difficulties with that aspect of pretty much every release in this line to some degree, though I’d say each subsequent figure has been an improvement. She scales well with the line and I am truly thrilled to finally have her in my collection after being introduced to the character nearly 30 years ago.

The only thing these two agree on is that we need more Bucky O’Hare figures!

The elephant in the room though, as they say, is “what’s next?” This is the first time I’ve reviewed a figure in this line and didn’t know what would be following it. On the cross-sell, there are no silhouettes to tease an upcoming figure and Boss Fight Studio has been silent on the matter. They did show unpainted prototypes of some mini figures with tiny vehicles akin to a Kid Robot blind box figure, but that was back in February. In the hobby world, no news is often bad news and I know the fear is that Mimi could be the last in the line. Since the first release, Boss Fight Studio has acquired numerous other licenses and it’s possible they’ve outperformed Bucky. There could be difficulties in renewing the license and my initial fear when I saw those mini figures was that maybe Boss Fight felt it needed a lower-priced option to make Bucky viable.

The complete line of Bucky O’Hare figures from Boss Fight Studio, for now?

There’s also the simple possibility that COVID, which has reeked havoc upon all of Boss Fight’s releases this year, has simply forced this property to the sideline for now. It took a long time for Bruiser to come out, and pre-orders for Mimi opened in August of 2019. I’d be understanding of Boss Fight if it didn’t want to unveil another figure that collectors would have to wait over a year for. Still, it’s never a good sign when a company won’t even pay lip service to something so fans are going to continue to fear the worst, but hope for the best. If this is the end, it’s a shame the line went out with a less popular character like Mimi LaFloo because there will be some fans who will blame the character for the line’s end, even though the character would probably share little or no blame. This is my favorite toy line going though, and I really hope it continues into 2021 and beyond because there are still many characters I’d love to have. If this is it though, at least I have a tremendous, modern, Bucky O’Hare display as-is which is something I didn’t think was possible just five years ago. Thank you, Boss Fight Studio!


NECA TMNT Cartoon Triceraton Infantryman and Roadkill Rodney

That Triceraton cartoon has some real “Karen” energy.

Wave 4 of NECA’s Target exclusive Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon line continues with its second two-pack release: the Triceraton Infantryman and Roadkill Rodney. The Triceraton has been adapted for basically all iterations of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles save for the live-action films. The Triceraton frequently appeared in the collections of kids in the early 90s as it was a somewhat early release in the Playmates line of figures. Despite that distinction, it was a late addition to the cartoon universe not showing up until the Season 7 episode “Night of the Dark Turtle” where the character took a backseat to a crazed Donatello who basically fancied himself as Batman. As for the Roadkill Rodney, it was an early addition to the cartoon universe as it appeared in the original mini series that got the whole TMNT craze kickstarted. Despite that though, this tiny robot went without a figure entirely until now.

The Triceraton basically looks like a mutated triceratops, as the name would suggest. In the cartoon, they’re a race of space reptiles looking to conquer and enslave Earth. In order to make that a reality, the Triceraton Empire sends a whopping five units to Earth to get the job done. You can probably guess how that turned out. Among those numbers was Captain Zorax and his attendant, Zork. If you prefer those two to what we have here then you’re in luck as they should be released soon as a two-pack of their own. What is contained in this two-pack is the lowly infantryman (infantry…dino?) whom the Playmates figure was based on. The major distinction between the three is in the color of their scales as this fellow happens to be mostly orange with an armored onesie. Being a soldier, he’s packed with weapons and this two-pack is being advertised by NECA as an “army builder” set as many fans may want two or three of these brutes in their collection as opposed to one. Never mind the fact that many Target stores limit these sets to one per customer.

Don’t laugh at his space onesie!
He can really look up should he find himself in the rare position of being shorter than his foe.
The tail is not cartoon accurate, but NECA is counting on you either not noticing or not caring. You can also see the “pants folds” on the sides of the thigh from this angle.

The Triceratons are a rather brutish race of reptiles and therefore are rather large. This figure from NECA captures that reality as it’s one of the largest in the series thus far standing at roughly 7 and a half inches tall which puts it on par with the likes of Leatherhead and Granitor. Being that he is a big dude, there’s a lot of parts reuse at work here and I suspect that will be very true of the other Triceratons to come. The arms and legs are likely shared with Leatherhead, as is the tail. It would not surprise me at all if the torso is as well, but it’s impossible to say given the presence of the armor in place. I don’t mind parts reuse at all, especially since it keeps costs down, but there are aspects where it’s a negative here as there are sculpted folds on the back of his leg that don’t make a lot of sense. They’re there because these were previously meant to be pants, but the Triceraton has decided to forgo such a restrictive garment. They’re on the back/side of the thigh, so it’s not super noticeable, but worth pointing out. The other shortcoming with this direction rests in the tail. In the show, the Triceratons have smooth tails, but since this guy is using Leatherhead’s tail, it has a dual fin running down the top of it. Again, reuse is par for the course with figures, but it does harm NECA’s credibility when they claim to be making the definitive versions of these characters when they’re not entirely screen accurate.

Sorry Mikey, it’s yet another bad guy who can probably squash you like a bug.

The obvious new pieces of plastic rest with the head, hands, and feet. And it’s the head that really needs to shine and indeed it does. While I prefer basically every version of the Triceratons to their cartoon counterpart (the Triceratoons?), I cannot argue that this figure doesn’t look the part. The shading and line work that has become a staple of this line are at incorporated here and the figure very much looks like it originated from a cartoon source. It’s pretty clean, though there’s some paint build-up at the base of one horn on mine and it’s a little messy around the eyes, but not too bad. If you have always longed for a cartoon version of the Triceraton, then this should satisfy that hunger, tail be damned.

The oversized feet make it pretty easy to find a walking pose for this guy.
“Hey dude, are you like, related to Cheesasaurus Rex?!”

In terms of articulation, there are no surprises here. The Triceraton is basically articulated just like Leatherhead before him, with the only difference really being the lack of a hinged jaw with this guy (a real missed opportunity, to be honest). The giant “fins” on the back of his head (I’m sure a paleontologist would be able to tell me the proper term for that part) are surprisingly not a deterrent to the head movement as this guy can look much higher than basically every other character NECA has done so far and can also tilt his head side-to-side quite well. Ball-joints at the shoulders and thighs allow for proper rotation, and double-jointed knees and elbows have become standard for basically everyone in this line except the turtles themselves. He has swivels and hinges at the wrist and the ability to swivel at the bicep and thigh. His feet are on ball-and-socket joints so they can rotate and rock a bit side-to-side. There’s articulation in the upper torso which is probably on a ball-joint, but the armor limits the movement here to basically a swivel. It’s soft plastic, so you can kind of force the character into the desired positions, but at risk of possibly marring the paint on that armor. He’s got plenty of range though for a behemoth who is mostly just going to blast away at his enemies and if you are able to army build these guys you shouldn’t have a problem finding a variety of styles and poses for your display. The only thing missing for me, and I say this a lot with this line, is a butterfly joint at the shoulders so he could properly two-hand hold his weapons. The way NECA does their torsos though, often layering rubbery plastic over a harder base to distinguish characters, basically makes such a joint impossible.

Bang!
The design of this bazooka is great. It fits the figure well and I just really like the look of it.

The Triceraton may be a large hunk of plastic, but he also comes packed with a vast assortment of weapons and accessories. This is an improvement over Traag and Granitor and I suspect it’s due to those rock boys not lending themselves well to parts reuse. The Triceraton has five hands; a set of gripping hands (which work as fists as well) and a set of open hands. He also features a trigger hand (right) and if I have one, small, complaint it’s that NECA didn’t just go ahead and give us two trigger hands since now all of your Triceratons are expected to be right-handed. As for weapons, he has the rifle/bazooka the Triceratons were shown wielding in the cartoon, plus two additional guns that appear to match what Bebop and Rocksteady were wielding in their debut episode. And yes, I am definitely giving those to my Bebop and Rocksteady for my display.

The more realistic rifle can kind of balance in his trigger hand, or be jammed into a gripping one.
The machinegun only works in the gripping hand and it looks a bit goofy as a result.
At least both seem to work just fine with their true masters, Rocksteady and Bebop.

The only downside with the Triceraton arsenal, is he can’t really wield the majority of his weapons convincingly. The trigger hand basically just fits his bazooka, and it’s a unique handsculpt for the Triceraton which features a larger opening and two fingers (as opposed to the three of Bebop/Rockstead/Leatherhead). The trigger hand works great with the bazooka since they were literally made for each other. It, and the open hands, are fairly soft and pliable which helps in getting the hand into his hand. The trigger hand is too big though for the other guns. You can kind of fake it with the rifle, but the shorter machinegun looks silly. The gripping hands he comes with are much harder and quite restrictive. You can get the machinegun into it, but it sits high and really calls out attention to the fact that the trigger is well above his hand. The rifle is harder to get in and if you’re determined to do so you’ll want to soften those hands up with some heat lest you want orange paint scraping off of the hands and onto the handle. The guns were definitely designed for Bebop and Rocksteady, and for them, the rifle works well. The machinegun is a bit loose in their trigger hand, but a great deal better than the Triceraton.

These little guys have had to wait over 30 years for proper figures!

With this set you get not one, but two, Roadkill Rodney robots. That makes sense since the machines always showed up in pairs in both the cartoon and video games and because they’re rather small (about 3 1/4″) compared with most figures. Don’t let their size fool you though as there’s a lot of personality baked into these suckers. For starters, the sculpt is perfect and these guys look like they were pulled from the show. That’s to be expected, but it had to be stated as well. Since they’re armless, legless, robots there’s really very little articulation to speak of, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t some clever engineering going on here. The “arms” rotate and bend, and there is a swivel above the wheel. The wheel itself can also spin like a proper tire would, though it’s rather stiff as it’s meant to hold its position once set. The front of each unit opens and a blaster can be pulled out. It appears to work exactly as it was depicted in the show, which is both a compliment to NECA and to the animators of that original mini series who could have just fudged it. It’s almost stupidly satisfying to open and close that portion of the figure, and best of all, it doesn’t feel super fragile.

This little gun is pretty cool.
They also come packed with a piercing headache.

Since these guys balance on one wheel, they need a way to stand. NECA included a smoke trail base that clips into a hole on the wheel to accomplish that feat, but that’s not the only thing NECA packed into this box. There’s also a pair of rock formation bases, but these aren’t intended for the main figure, just the heads! Yes, that’s right, you can remove the head from the figure and clip it onto this formation. Remove the top plate of the head and you even have a drill attachment that can be placed on the unit to make it look like it’s coming up through the ground. And for your figure proper, you have a battle damaged dome with three holes in it to accommodate one sai from Raphael. The only drawback is that NECA made the top of the head swap-able for the battle damaged portion. If they had made it a whole separate headsculpt then we could have effectively got four units out of one box. And doing it that way would also have eliminated the largest shortcoming with these robots which resides in how difficult it is to remove those headplates from the figure since NECA declined to sculpt an opening. Instead, you have to choose between displaying the figure proper, or just the head if you want to take advantage of the rock base. I suppose if you do add the rock base to your set you could use the rest of the body as just some discarded carcass on the battle field, but given the choice, I’d rather have two functioning robots. To sum it all up, since there’s a lot here, you get: two robots, two battle damaged domes, two drill bits, two smoke cloud stands, and two rock formation bases.

Back off, reptile!
The longer coils would have worked better if they held their shape after bending. As long as I can get one to work with the Electrified Turtle figure I’ll be content, I guess.

Lastly, the Roadkill Rodney robots (holy alliteration) also come with their signature weapons: the metal coils. The figures come equipped with short, bendy, coils on each side and a much longer pair to share. It was smart of NECA to make the long ones bendy so you can stretch them out and wrap an end around another figure, be it a turtle foe or a misbehaving Bebop and Rocksteady. It’s not fully poseable though, so while you can uncoil the tentacle it will immediately try to recoil itself. It makes it tough to pose with a turtle since those figures are so light and it’s also not quite long enough to wrap around their waist. You’ll probably prefer to wrap it around a forearm or something. That said, i’m quite eager to pair these guys with the upcoming Electrified Turtle figure featured in the next release from Loot Crate. That figure is intended to be from the classic arcade game, but I think an electrified turtle at the end of a cartoon Roadkill Rodney tendril will work fine in any TMNT display.

Being that this is an army builder set, this one has a bit of a utilitarian feel to it. The characters are a personality-less grunt and a pair of faceless androids, but they’re still pretty fun to look at and handle. It’s a bit surprising to get the Triceraton this early in the line since it came at the tail-end of the original cartoon’s run (the following season was the start of the redesigned “Red Sky” era), but I view that as a testament to how recognizable the Triceraton is to the entire TMNT franchise. For what he is, I think the Triceraton turned out well. He’s not really threatening to become my favorite in the line, but I’m happy to have him. The Roadkill Rodney, on the other hand, is a clever little design. Both figures though, feature unfortunate and preventable shortcomings. The Triceraton has all of these weapons, but only one works well. The Rodneys have a bunch of effects pieces, but the coils could have been done better and those little plates are really frustrating to swap in and out.

Do you army-build this set for more Triceratons and Rodneys, or do it for more Bebop and Rocksteady guns? Maybe both? Maybe neither? Hard to say.

NECA is hoping collectors will want multiple sets, but I don’t know how successful that will be. In the cartoon, there were three Triceraton grunts so some devoted to having an accurate display may want 3 for that reason. There won’t be much variety in the display though since every Triceraton will be right-handed and will probably feature the same weapon since the other two aren’t a great fit. Having some extra Rodney robots popping out of the ground will add some character to any display, but is that worth another 52 bucks? I’m not sure. I was lucky enough to find a pair of these sets in-store. I bought both and sent one off to a fellow collector. I also was able to order one from Target that hasn’t arrived yet and I’m not sure if I’ll keep it or send that one along to another collector too. What’s tempting me most about keeping it is the chance to have another set of Bebop and Rocksteady guns in the event the Easter Bunny versions coming via Loot Crate do not have weapons.

As has been the case, this set is a Target exclusive and is profoundly difficult to find on shelves. It was sold online, briefly, on October 28th and is unlikely to be offered online again. Since it is an army builder, I’m cautiously optimistic that NECA will make the set available again sometime in 2021 as a made-to-order pre-order like it did with many of the sets released during the summer, but there’s no guarantee of that at this time. For now, your best bet is to stalk your local Target stores and figure out the local rep’s stocking schedule. And definitely ingratiate yourself to an online community of collectors who help each other out. A very helpful resource is the #CollectorsHelpingCollectors hashtag on Twitter as it’s literally just fellow collectors picking up the most sought after items and passing them along at cost to fellow collectors. And as always, don’t feed the scalpers!


Marvel Legends Deadpool 2 Two-Pack

Look through my various toy reviews and you’ll probably notice that I’m not much of a Marvel guy. That wasn’t always the case for me though as I was huge into Marvel Legends once upon a time. I basically stopped around the time Hasbro was awarded the Marvel license. I felt there was a dip in quality and also the character assortment stopped appealing to me. I knew what I wanted from the line and had wanted for years, but it seemed the line refused to give me what I wanted. I moved on, and it wasn’t long after the line was actually suspended for quite a few years before it made a comeback. I’ve never gone back though and that’s largely just due to my fading interest in the Marvel Universe.

Pardon the stock boxed photo, I was so eager to check this set out I forgot to snap a pic.

One figure I did review though was the Marvel Legends Deadpool. That figure was from the sixth series released by Toy Biz. I reviewed it simply because it’s the only Marvel Legends figure on display in my house. All of the rest are in bins crammed in an attic and most of the choicest figures have been sold. I liked that Deadpool a lot though when it came out so I did a little post on it. Well, when I was walking through an aisle at my local Target I happened upon one of the latest two-packs released by Hasbro in the Marvel Legends line. And that two-pack is the Deadpool and Negasonic Teenage Warhead set from the film Deadpool 2. It’s an eye-catching window box as it’s done up in red with Deadpool “effects” added to it like marker crossing out the figure’s real names and a faux Deadpool sticker placed over the X-Men logo. Since I still have a Deadpool on display in my house, I was really intrigued in having an updated version of the character to go with it. It turned into an impulse buy, so here we are.

She looks the part.

First off, let’s talk about the other figure in this set: Negasonic Teenage Warhead, who will now be referred to simply as NTW. I have little to no interest in this figure, but if I wanted a new Deadpool I had to get her. She is depicted in her Deadpool 2 costume complete with the mohawk hairstyle. She stands a tick under five and half inches to the top of her forehead, and is a bit taller when you factor in the hair. She looks the part and the face is a good likeness for actress Brianna Hildebrand. The sculpt features some nice texture work on the yellow portion of the chest as well as the sleeves and shoulders. Strangely, the pants feature no such touches and are basically just plain, black, plastic with some yellow painted on at the thighs. It would be okay if this were a figure based on a comic, but not a film. The only other aspect of the sculpt I’m not high on is how her head sits on her neck. The cut just looks odd from the side as there’s quite a gap between the back of her head and neck. I suppose the counter here is how many people are going to pose her on a shelf at a side angle? Probably few.

I don’t like that gap on the back of her neck.

NTW does come packed with quite a bit of functional articulation. Her head may look odd on her neck, but it can roll around effortlessly and she has a solid range of motion when looking up and down. The shoulders are ball-jointed and she has a bicep swivel and double-jointed elbows allowing her to bend about 90 degrees. It looks like the bottom joint should allow for movement past 90, but my figure doesn’t seem to want to cooperate. She has hinges and swivels at the wrist and an upper torso joint. It works more to pivot her side to side as she has little to no movement forward and back. The legs attach via ball-joints and can swivel. She also has a thigh cut and double-jointed knees. There’s a boot cut and her feet possess hinges as well as the ability to rock side to side. Being she’s not the most acrobatic of superheroes, this strikes me as a perfectly acceptable amount of articulation for this figure. It’s all integrated well into the sculpt and should you want to get creative I don’t think you’ll be limited too much.

Hands open.
Hands closed.

When it comes to accessories, NTW is a bit lacking, but also there’s not a ton of room to really add much. She comes with two sets of hands: fists and open style pose hands. They pop off and on easily enough and both are suitable for posing with this figure. She also has a pair of energy effects that wrap around her forearms. They’re okay, a little too flimsy for my liking, but the translucent yellow-orange plastic is a good look. That’s it though, but like I said, I’m not really sure what else would make sense for her to have.

Oh you are one sexy superhero.
And the view from behind, because the audience demands it.

The real draw of this set, for me and probably most who pick it up, is Deadpool. And to Hasbro’s credit, the company seems to be well aware of that. He comes with a lot more stuff than his boxmate and a lot more care went into his sculpt as well. First of all, this is a Deadpool 2 version of the character’s costume, though he does come with two sets of all black gloves, reflecting his appearance from the first film. I think Hasbro intends for this to be a catch-all version of the character, though the shoulder strap is clearly based on the sequel. Regardless, it’s not that important since his costume was pretty similar from one film to the next and he very much looks like Deadpool.

Home Alone face!
Sometimes a hero just needs to chill.

Deadpool stands at around six and a quarter inches and scales well with NTW. I assume he scales well with the other figures in this wave, but I also don’t have them to confirm. The sculpt is pretty involved with this guy as he has lots of seams, straps, and buckles, all over the place. The entire costume is well textured and looks like it was pulled from the film and there’s some minor battle damage on his chest as well. The belt Hasbro put on him is floating, so it doesn’t hinder his articulation to the degree one would expect. It’s also painted and sculpted quite well, at least on the front. Hasbro went cheap on the rear of the figure as the pouches are not painted to the degree the ones on the front of the belt are. Like the head on NTW, it’s something that won’t really show on a shelf, but come on, Hasbro! That’s pretty cheap. There’s also some errors here and there when comparing this costume with the film. The sculpt seems to be all there, it’s just some parts (in particular, the boot area and the collar) are either unpainted or painted black when they should be red, or vice versa. My figure also has one paint chip on the black portion of his abdomen and I’m frustrated at myself for not noticing that in the package since I had my pick from around half a dozen sets at the store.

Let’s pose!
Gun fight? Knife fight? Deadpool is always prepared.

Deadpool, essentially being a superhero ninja, is pretty well stacked when it comes to articulation. His head appears to be on a dumbbell joint giving him movement at the head and base of the neck. The collar Hasbro has on him limits the movement a bit, but it’s fine. The shoulders are on butterfly joints that give him some inward motion without marring the chest portion of the sculpt. They’re also ball-jointed and his elbows double-jointed and he can bend well past 90 degrees as he can basically do a full curl. The hands are hinged and also able to rotate, as expected. He does have an ab crunch and the way his costume is designed makes it work well with the sculpt. The waist can swivel and you can slide his belt up a bit to make it work. He’s ball-jointed at the legs with rotation there to go along with a thigh cut below it. The knees are double-jointed and his feet are hinged with rocking action. I’m a little surprised at the lack of a boot-cut or swivel down there, but it’s fine.

Let’s get messy!

The articulation Hasbro packed into this figure is plenty enough to get him into various poses, which comes in handy since he has a lot of stuff to pose with. In terms of hands, Deadpool has two all black fists and a pair of all black open, style pose, hands. His gripping hands have the back of each painted silver and his set of trigger hands are the same reflecting his appearance in Deadpool 2. I’m still not sure if this was intentional, or if the all black hands just weren’t painted by mistake. He also has an assortment of weapons including two katanas which fit neatly into the scabbards affixed to his back and a pair of handguns he can wield. They look like action guns in that the bolt appears to be set back like it’s being fired, either that or they’re some weird, made-up, pistol. He also has a pair of holstered handguns that Hasbro, for some reason, glued in place. I’ve seen some people get these out and they’re completely separate pieces, but mine are well stuck. He also has a knife which can slot into the little holster on his left ankle. You’re unlikely to pose him with the knife in hand, but I like that it’s included. Lastly, he has his stuffed unicorn and it’s pretty adorable. I actually might have to pose him with that for the sake of comedy.

Deadpool really is just a fantastic figure. I have some nitpicks with the paint, but I think the sculpt is great and I love all of the articulation Hasbro was able to work into this figure. My biggest complaint with my old Deadpool figure was with how that sculpt prioritized articulation ahead of aesthetics and some of the joints, in particular the shoulders, are kind of ugly. I have no such complaints here and really my only other complaint is with those guns Hasbro glued in. I love that Deadpool comes with lots of stuff, so it drives me a little crazy that he can’t holster the guns he’s intended to grip because his holsters are occupied by more guns!

I’d say things have improved over the last 15 or so years.

NTW is a fine figure as well. I’m disappointed that Hasbro seemed to phone it in on her lower half sculpt, but she looks the part and has all of the articulation she needs. Let’s be realistic though, if I could have bought Deadpool solo I would have. I’m not collecting Marvel Legends and I don’t plan on adding to this Deadpool collection either. Maybe Hasbro will get me to grab Cable if I run into him since I already have these two, but probably not. It’s great to see the Deadpool franchise getting some love from Hasbro though since it’s presently in limbo as far as films go. It was very successful for 20th Century Fox, but in the hands of Disney it feels like it doesn’t have a home. We know the company likely has plans for the whole X-Men Universe. I hope Deadpool is a part of those plans, but who can say? This figure sure kicks ass though!

I found this set at Target, but it’s being sold elsewhere as well. You can even pre-order it at Best Buy right now, or find it at other various online retailers. The MSRP is $49.99 so happy hunting!


Boss Fight Studio Stealth Mission Bucky O’Hare

He (quietly) goes where no ordinary rabbit would dare!

It’s been almost three years since toy maker Boss Fight Studio started shipping out it’s first figures in its Bucky O’Hare line of products. Ten figures have followed with an eleventh soon to be released and I’ve been an enthusiastic supporter of the line since day one. When the product first launched, my family had recently welcomed a new addition. We were in a new house and getting acclimated to our new life. At the time, I was pretty cautious with money and I set some limits on myself, especially when it came to a hobby like toy collecting. And when it came to Bucky specifically, I told myself I’d stay away from variants. Well, my restrictions have loosened over the years and a recent sale at Boss Fight Studio has allowed me to go back and grab some of those variants I had passed on initially, variants like the third release in the Bucky O’Hare line: Stealth Mission Bucky O’Hare.

It may be “just a repaint,” but Continuity Comics contributed new card art from Neal Adams plus a new bio on the rear from Larry Hama.

This variant is basically a straight re-paint or recasting of the inaugural Bucky O’Hare figure. It’s actually the second Bucky variant I’ve purchased as I couldn’t resist the Holiday Bucky that Boss Fight Studio released alongside Dead-Eye Duck. As you could probably guess from the naming convention of the figure, this is Bucky in a stealth suit, which is the same as his standard suit only it’s black and blue with a camo deco. This isn’t a look that appeared in the animated series nor did it appear in the comics. It’s a look dreamed up by the designers at Boss Fight Studio and approved by Continuity Comics. They even supplied some new Bucky artwork for the card back which features the new look.

Gettin’ sneaky.

Bucky O’Hare stands at about 3.75″ which stretches to about 4.5″ if you include highest point of the ears. Since this a repaint it includes all of the same accessories and articulation as before. What you’re paying for is the new aesthetic, and I must say I do enjoy this black and blue look. The blue is more like a deep turquoise while the black is almost a graphite color in places. Bright green are the lenses of Bucky’s goggles which contrasts well with the deeper colors of the costume. His fur is still that light green we’re used to, only now it has streaks of black across it to break-up his image. Even his guns are black though there’s a slight blue hue to the metallic coating on them. It’s a sharp look, and even though it’s one I initially passed on that was entirely due to cost, not look.

Bucky auditioning for the role of Fall-Out Boy.

For a small figure, Bucky’s articulation is rather robust. His head sits on a ball joint that mostly rotates as opposed to being able to look up and down. The ears swivel, as does his little tail and his cape fits into a peg hole on his back with a satisfying “pop” and stays in place. The shoulder tassels and belt are separate pieces of plastic and can be moved and repositioned as desired. Which is necessary at times to free up the articulation at the shoulders, which are ball-jointed. He has single-hinged elbows with a swivel there and at the wrist where the glove meets the arm. There’s a waist swivel and ball-joints at the legs with single-hinged knees and a swivel there as well in place of a true boot-cut. The ankles are on hinges and they can rock side-to-side. There’s a toe hinge as well to top it all off.

Not much differentiates the two extra faces.
Face #1
Face #2
Face #3

Bucky’s big feet make him easy to pose and stand. To add some variety to those poses he has some swappable parts. First off, he does have two pistols which are his primary weapon and accessory. He comes packaged with trigger-finger hands on both arms so he can dual wield, if you so desire. The pegs on his belt are to store the pistols when not in use and they clip on rather easily. You can put them on the front, back, or side, though doing so adds some bulk. If you want to change-up his hands he has two additional sets. One set are fists and the other contains an open palm and a pointing hand. To swap them, just give a firm tug on the figure and off it comes. It’s a little tricky because there isn’t much to grab onto between the wrist and elbow of the figure, but I’ve never feared breakage there. Bucky also has swap-able faceplates, and unfortunately they’re the weakest aspect of the figure. The default face is a frown with a closed mouth. The other faces both feature an open mouth and one has what I would call a relaxed frown and the other a deep frown. It’s the type of thing where the difference between the two isn’t obvious right away. I’ve also always had a hard time getting the optional faces to sit flush on the figure. It can be done, it just requires more effort than it’s worth, in my opinion.

The comparison shot you’ve been waiting for!

There’s not much more to say than that. This is a re-paint of what I already considered a great figure to begin with. I love Bucky O’Hare and I love the design of the character and Boss Fight Studio really nailed the likeness. I wish the optional faces worked better than they do, but I also like the default face that’s there and so it doesn’t bother me that I can’t go with something else, especially since there’s not much difference between the three. Even though I had passed on this figure for more than two years at this point, I still always wanted it and figured I would get it at some point. My plan was to actually buy it in-person with my Aniverse Storm Toad Trooper earlier this year at Boss Fight’s retail location, but COVID messed that up and since they have no plans to reopen I just figured I’d go the online route. He’s a fun figure and I hope there’s more to come. If you would like to secure one of your own, head on over to www.bossfightshop.com to find it and other figures in the series.


NECA TMNT Cartoon Traag and Granitor

Reinforcements from Dimension X have arrived!

After I posted my review of NECA’s take on Metalhead from the classic cartoon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles I thought I’d have a little break based on the upcoming release schedule for the line. Turns out, that break ended up being almost exactly one month as while I was out toy-hunting for my kids I happened upon the latest two-pack from NECA: Traag and Granitor!

And when I say it was a chance encounter, I mean it. This set started rolling out maybe a week or two ago in parts of the country. Like all of the NECA product based on the old TMNT cartoon, this set is exclusive to Target and a pain to find. The sets usually start showing up in California first and then gradually make their way east. As a denizen of the north east, I’m used to waiting a bit for them to show up in my area. Though in the case of Wave 3, I never saw a damn thing and had to purchase product from Canadian retailers that were willing to ship to the US. Well, either NECA or NECA’s vendor squashed that going forward so I was back to the old-fashioned way, since these guys have yet to appear on Target’s website (despite indications from NECA it was supposed to happen last Friday).

My kids love the show Bluey and a set for that toyline was supposed to release on the 4th. I went out looking for it locally, but while on my way my wife texted me to say she just scored a set online at Walmart. Since I was already out early on a Sunday, I decided to take a drive. While browsing Target’s app I had been keeping an eye on this set since it was supposed to go up any day now. I noticed when I looked at the stores in my area, there was actually one store across the border in New Hampshire that listed the item as in stock. I couldn’t do store pick-up though, and I have found it’s hard to get anyone at Target to answer the phone before 9, so I made the half hour drive to the store. Sure enough, the little inventory machines they have in some aisles indicated there were two sets in stock, but they weren’t on the shelf. I asked a clerk in electronics and he didn’t think they had anything since they never show on the app, but that he’d check in the back. Lo and behold, they did indeed have a set! It seems the store did its monthly inventory the night before, and someone actually scanned the sets into the inventory. This is unusual as a NECA rep is the one that stocks the section, not a Target employee, but in this case it worked out for me. It was especially surprising as I had yet to see anyone in the region on social media or even eBay list a set so this store may be one of the first in all of New England, maybe even including the tri-state area, to receive stock. Needless to say, after feeling rather snake-bitten with the last wave, I’m feeling quite fortunate today.

And it was a great set to get lucky with because Traag and Granitor are practically all new. Traag did receive a figure in the vintage Playmates line, but he looked nothing like his cartoon counterpart while Granitor never received a figure. And this was despite the two appearing in the first mini series as they debuted in episode four “Hot-Rodding Teenagers from Dimension X” when they crossed over into the dimension of the Turtles in pursuit of those pesky Neutrinos. And being made of stone means these guys are pretty unique looking to begin with so there’s little opportunity to reuse parts from already released figures. They’re big, dense, and chunky. I want to say beefy, but that doesn’t seem appropriate for beings made out of stone. And to top it all off, these guys have been a long time coming as NECA unveiled them years ago as part of the video game line, since both appeared as bosses in the original arcade game, but soon moth-balled them for the release we now have.

Traag and Granitor come in the standard window box format you should all be familiar with at this point. You get a nice look at the figures from the front with some licensing art beneath. The backdrop for the two has actually been changed from the sewer one we’re accustomed to and replaced with the Technodrome in Dimension X, which is very appropriate. The side and rear panels feature product shots of the figures in action while the rear also includes the series bio (sadly, not character specific) along with promotional shots of two of the sets to come as well as the previously released Metalhead. Since these boys are on the larger side, this is the oversized box previously used for Bebop and Rocksteady so if you’re a mint-in-box collector you’ll need to plan for a little extra room on the shelf for these guys.

Buns of stone.

In terms of likeness, Traag and Granitor are like a lot of this line – damn near flawless. Traag stands around 6 5/8″ while Granitor is slightly taller at 6 7/8″. Both feature a ton of sculpting to capture that rock appearance. They share some parts between the two in particular at the hands and basically from the abdomen down. The upper body is probably the same as well, but with different parts glued onto each to differentiate the two as they were quite different in the show. The plastic is very rigid and not that pliable, rubbery, stuff we’ve seen in some of the figures (in particular, the human figures like Casey and April) which really enhances the feel of the pair in-hand. Traag has very rocky shoulders while Granitor possesses a rock collar at the base of his neck and these huge shoulders and biceps. Of course, their heads are where they differ the most. Both are helmeted, but Traag has a flatter face and his open-mouth expression is a dead-ringer for how I continue to picture the character in my head. Granitor has this huge nose and these triangular eyes that make him look a great deal more evil than the general. If I have any criticism of the sculpt, it would be that Granitor’s head probably could be a little smaller as he was quite the pinhead in the show. I think the prototype head from a few years ago was a little better, but you’re not going to mistake this guy for someone else. The legs also probably should be longer, but I’m guessing these guys are just so big that NECA was limited to what it could do there and it was certainly more important to capture their massive upper-body.

General Traag seemed to always be making this stupid face in the show.
Meanwhile, Granitor looks ice cold! He’s not planning on playing nice with those Neutrinos.

Where I can’t render a single complaint with these two is with the paint app. This line just keeps getting better in regards to the paint and these guys look amazing. Traag, in particular, is an almost perfect recreation of a difficult deco to capture from the show. He’s mainly a red-orange, with a softer orange used for highlights that imparts a volcanic glow quality to the texture. Granitor is a bit cooler with shades of gray and both feature a lot of black line-work where appropriate. It’s all been applied in a very neat and clean fashion, which is especially impressive considering how much is here. There’s a little badge on the chest of each and both feature a belt complete with ammo and a holster for their gun. The belt is soft plastic, which has been the case with a lot of this line, so you do need to be a bit careful with the accents on it as they’re just glued on.

As far as articulation goes, these two are not quite as robust as some of the other figures in this line. That has a lot to do with the sculpt which only allows for so much. In terms of the points of articulation, it’s fairly similar with past figures. There’s a ball-joint at the head which affords the typical range of motion and both heads are on a neck with articulation at the base. Traag can look up, but not much down. Meanwhile, Granitor’s neck is quite long and thin and reminds me of an analog joystick on a video game controller, only without the tension that pulls it back to center. As a result, his range of motion feels a bit more dynamic and it’s a satisfying joint to play with, though also a bit scary since it’s so thin. The shoulders are on ball-joints and here Traag gets a bit more use as he can raise his arms outward, while Granitor’s massive shoulders are a hindrance, though his ball-joints are extended from his body more to at least provide for some functional range of motion. The elbows are double-jointed, though the top joint doesn’t have much range due to the bulky nature of the bicep. You still get close 90 degrees out of both. The triceps area swivels at that second elbow joint and the hands swivel and are on hinges. The hinges are pretty tight on mine, so a little heat goes a long way. The upper torso is on a ball-joint and you get a lot of twist there and it’s also nice and tight. The waist does swivel, but it was super tight on both of my guys to the point where I haven’t bothered to get it moving so be careful there (edit: I got it loosened up with just some added effort). The ball-joints at the thigh allow for some forward and outward motion, but nothing really backwards. There is a thigh swivel, but it doesn’t offer a ton. The knees are single-jointed at the hinge, but there is a tiny bit of swivel articulation at that point. The ankles are on hinges and have some outward, rocking, motion. Watch out for paint-flaking though as the entire boot and foot is painted over the base color. It’s not as visible as it was with Leatherhead at least, but still disappointing to see NECA isn’t casting the feet in the base color of the boot still.

“Lord Krang, please forgive us for our posture.”

The articulation is a bit less than what maybe some were expecting, but all in all I think it’s fine. These are big, bulky, rock creatures and they’re not looking to strike much in the way of dynamic poses. They basically lumber around, shoot their guns, and that’s about it. The upper torso is what really helps give them some posing options, and despite the fact that they’re rather top-heavy, they’re still fairly easy to stand. The only pose I wish I could pull-off that they just can’t do is to have them on one knee paying fealty to their lord Krang. Their arms are so long that they can even mostly pull off the ability to two-hand grip their pistol as they do in the show which is pretty cool as most NECA TMNT figures can’t do something like that since they lack a butterfly joint at the shoulder and chest.

Stuff.
“Can I interest you in the finest retro-mutagen Dimension X has to offer?”
“Traag! You must eliminate those radical teenagers before they start a rock concert! No offense…”
“Have you seen this boy?!”

Since these guys are so big and mostly new molds, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the only true negative here is the lack of accessories. It’s a business, so it’s to be expected, but still a bit disappointing. Both figures have a trigger finger right hand and an open, stylized, left hand. There are no optional hands to switch in and out, but I’m honestly not really missing them. Maybe a pointing finger for Traag, since he is a general after all, would have been fun, but it’s not a big loss. Their main accessory that both feature is a pistol. It’s a new sculpt and it’s painted up in a dark and light blue scheme that I find really appealing. It honestly probably has a bit more flourish to it as far as the paint is concerned when compared with the show, but that’s for the better. The only drawback is the hands of these guys are very rigid so you may want to heat up the hands before placing the gun in to avoid any paint scraping, which would be tragic. The pistols also fit into the holster on their belts in a snug manner. They also come with the Dimension X communicator many of the villains have featured in this line. In this case, the sticker decal is of Krang, but it appears to be the new Krang that’s expected to be released in November with the android body. The final, plastic, accessory is a mutagen canister. This time it’s painted gray instead of blue. It’s fine, though not really applicable to these guys and I think it’s just included because it was cheaper than doing a new one, like the weather bomb Traag unleashes. I was expecting that to come with them so it’s a bit disappointing to see it excluded, but again, I get it, it all has to do with costs. Lastly, they do come with three wanted posters each featuring one of the Neutrinos. They’re printed on a transparent plastic giving them a holographic effect which is pretty neat. They’re in a little bag taped to the underside of the blister so don’t throw it out by mistake!

Pictured with fellow big boy, Leatherhead.

Traag and Granitor are yet another addition to the many rogues of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It’s great to see them as part of Wave 4 since, even though they appeared infrequently in the show, they felt important. That’s probably owing to their debut appearance in just the fourth episode and those early episodes just feel a lot more important to the show than what followed. It’s especially great to finally have a Granitor since he was overlooked back in the day. I’m very happy with how these boys turned out and my only real issue is trying to find room for these bulky beings on my shelf. I’m really going to need that street diorama, NECA!

Poor Raph, he’s really going to need a few more allies.

Traag and Granitor is just the first two-pack in Wave 4 of this line. They’re being rolled out slowly across the US at Target, though considering I found my set in New Hampshire I would expect them to be in every state this week so start looking! There should also be an online release at some point, but that can be a real shit-show as product usually goes fast. Follow NECA on twitter (or me @samhainsgrim) with alerts switched on for your best chance to land them. This looks like it’s going to be a pretty awesome wave as up next on or around the 15th is the Triceraton Infantryman (Infantry-dino? Infantry-reptile?) and Roadkill Rodney (2) set followed by a big one on the 29th, Master Splinter and Baxter the Fly! The Triceraton officers, Zarax and Zork, finish things off on November 12th alongside the deluxe Krang with his android body. This line is hotter than hell right now so don’t go to sleep on it. NECA also isn’t offering any more made-to-order sets in 2020 so if you can’t get these guys at Target over the next couple of months the wait will only get longer. Plug yourselves into a toy community, stay vigilante, don’t feed the scalpers, and good luck!


Super7 TMNT Ultimates! Baxter Stockman

Baxter is here to swat some reptiles!

I am weak. When Super7 first unveiled its Ultimates! line of figures based on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toyline from Playmates I said I was out. I still had those toys so why did I need 7″ versions of them in 2020? I had NECA and all of the TMNT product being released there, which was more than enough for the meager space in my home that I have for toys and it was going to eat up enough of my disposable income. “Not for me,” is I believe how I rationalized it.

I am weak, for I have since given in. I detailed it my thought process in my review of Raphael from the same line. In that I said I had decided I only really had affection for the actual turtles and that was it. I secured a Raph, and submitted orders for Leo and Mikey. When Donatello goes up for pre-order I’ll get him too.

Like Raph, Baxter gets his own logo on the packaging.

Again, I am weak! For when Big Bad Toy Store started putting figures up for sale, at the unfriendly price of $59.99 at that, I caved. If I am looking for small hints of my inner strength, at least I left Splinter and the Foot Soldier alone. I did not, however, pass on Baxter Stockman. Perhaps Baxter The Fly is the more appropriate name for this figure for it does indeed depict the mad scientist Baxter Stockman in his mutated fly form.

Hear him scream, “Let me out!”

Why Baxter? Well, I always liked that old toy from Playmates. Baxter was gross looking, like a lot of the figures in that line, with great sculpting on his feet and these two, purple, insect-like, limbs coming out of his back. He was just fun, and for some reason I have a “thing” for action figures with extra limbs. The thing is, I never got that toy. I didn’t lack for much as a kid, but I also wasn’t truly spoiled so on the rare occasion I was allowed to pick out a toy at the store I was limited to what was available. I don’t know if I just never ran across Baxter, or if when I did there was something else I happened to fall for instead. I usually could count on Santa or my parents to get me the top tier figures for Christmas or my birthday, but maybe I just didn’t push for Baxter as much as I should have? My grandmother got me Scumbug, and it would be a very grandma bit of reasoning to wonder why I needed two bug-based figures.

As tall as he can go.
And you thought back hair was gross.

In the end, I never did get a Baxter Stockman figure. I thought I would be content to just get a cartoon accurate version later this year from NECA, but apparently I’m wrong. I had even passed on the figure several times as pre-orders were available for quite awhile, but I just couldn’t let it go this one, last, time. Which is unfortunate since I ended up paying a $15 mark-up for my indecision. I did it though, what’s done is done, so how do I feel about it?

I call this pose “The Honker.”

For one, no amount of reviews I watched or read on this figure could properly prepare me for just how big he is. He may have been tiny on the small screen, but the action figure of Baxter is quite large, made even more so by the fact that he comes with his legs fully extended. Being a fly, he’s supposed to have his legs positioned in a crouch-style pose reducing his height, but since this is a super-articulated figure all of those joints are functioning now so he can stand as tall, or as squat, as you like. Fully extended, he’s a touch over 7″ in height, but in his crouch he gets down to about 6″. Even ignoring his height, he’s a pretty beefy boy even next to Raph. His torso is big, his hands are huge, and his head is also quite massive. The extra, bug, limbs on his back really widen the figure and overall he is just a really imposing presence on a shelf, which is amusing because again, he’s a fly!

It might be a stretch to say that’s a face only a mother could love.

In hand, he’s quite solid and has a nice feel. He’s weighty, and out of the box I found almost all of his limbs to be quite free and easy to move. The only joint that was stuck on my figure was the right elbow. I ran it under hot water and have had no issues since, unlike my Raph who still has a stubborn knee joint. His limbs are also the right tightness and if you position him a certain way he’s going to stay in that position. The only loose joints are the hinges on the hands. It’s unfortunately worse on the trigger hands so his wrist basically flops around whenever he has his gun in hand, which is a bummer. It’s amusing to me though, since tiny hinge joints such as those are often the hardest to break-in.

It’s like squeezing a melon.

Baxter comes pretty well loaded-up with articulation, especially if you compare him to the old Playmates toy. His head is on what I assume is a ball-joint or maybe a dumbbell. It’s hard to say since it can only rotate side to side as he has basically zero ability to look up and down. The shoulders are on ball joints with single-jointed elbows with a swivel at that point as well. The hands rotate and have those aforementioned loose hinges as well. There’s articulation at the waist and ball-joints at the thigh with a swivel as well. Single-jointed hinges at the knees and hinges at the ankle. The feet can swivel, but don’t have much movement side-to-side to speak of. The back arms are on ball-joints with hinges at the “elbows” and wrists with an additional swivel at the elbow joint. The wings are also on ball-joints so they can be rolled around and positioned where needed. It would have been nice to see double-hinges at the elbows, though they’re not really missed at the knee since he will most likely be crouched in many displays. The lab coat is a separate piece of sculpted plastic and I wish they had utilized that to hide a butterfly joint in the torso, but oh well. Overall, the articulation is good and pretty much what would be expected.

I love the sculpt work on those rear arms.

When it comes to these TMNT Ultimates! from Super7, I would say the articulation is good enough, but what helps sell these figures is the sculpt. Once again, this is from Four Horsemen and the reference is Playmates. Baxter has all of the little details you remember from the toy, and maybe some you never noticed or forgot like the wedding ring or watch. I love how the lab coat is soft plastic over a sculpted body as it adds some depth and texture to the figure. I’m surprised I haven’t seen any images online of folks removing the coat to look at what’s underneath. He’d look a little silly as the sleeves are sculpted with the arms, but from what I can tell the body underneath is a full sculpt. What really pushes Baxter to another level is the purple, bug, skin featured on the rear arms and feet. It’s so veiny and gross, but in a most excellent way. I get a very Xenomorph feel from it. It was the defining characteristic of the toy and Super7 did not disappoint here. Baxter’s face is also wonderful and he has this fiendish grin that I love. The hair is glued on and features some nice paint. The only aspect of the sculpt and paint that disappoints me a little rests with the wings. They look “too Playmates” for my taste. There’s so much good texture on the figure, so it stands out when the wings are just gray plastic with some purple splotches. I wish Super7 had gone with a translucent effect or something, but this just seems like the one area of the figure where they were too beholden to the original release. If they had even just painted the veins on the wings it might have done enough to add some more pop to the figure.

Baxter’s got some stuff.

On the accessory front, Baxter is a little less exciting than Raph. He comes with enough hands though as he has a pair of trigger hands, gripping hands, fists, and open hands. They pop in and out real easy and I can honestly say he’s not lacking there. If anything, it would have been cool to get extra bug hands in place of the fists or something. For weapons, he has a pistol which I believe was adopted by the cartoon as an animal muation weapon of some kind. It’s a nice sculpt, but for some reason Super7 neglected to paint it. It doesn’t “wow” like it should as a result. He also has his fly swatter painted teal with a smashed, baby, turtle on it. It can clip into this red contraption that fit on the original figure’s wrist, but now appears to just slide on the gun. It at least breaks up the gray of the blaster, but the weak hand hinges make it almost impossible to pose well in this form. He also comes with the old weapon rack like the original toy which features the same weapons, but all cast in gray.

You probably wouldn’t want to reach in there.
I tried to tell you…
“Good boy!”

By far, Baxter’s most exciting accessory is his mouser. The mouser features the same color scheme as the wind-up version from the old Playmates line, just not nearly as big. It’s about 3″ tall and features articulation at the jaw, neck, and each leg can rotate where it meets the body. The feet are nice and big so it’s easy to position the mouser standing upright or leaning forward a bit. The sculpt is great as there’s some nice detailing inside the mouth that makes it look like a really bad time to get your arm stuck in one. The only disappointing aspect of it, aside from there being only one, is the paint is a little sloppy on mine. The “eyes” aren’t very clean and there’s some slop on the legs. Hopefully Super7 finds a way to release more of them though, especially some with slots for maybe a sword or sai to stab at them as they are a lot of fun to have around.

“You have anything better than a turtle swatter, bud?”
“Good answer!”

Baxter Stockman from Super7 is largely as expected for me. He takes an old design from Playmates that was actually pretty good to begin with and just draws it out further. Every little nugget of detail on that old figure is here, but times 10. His size might shock some collectors who are more used to the cartoon version of the character, but few will argue he doesn’t look great on a shelf with your other TMNT toys. He was one of the best figures in the old line, and I think he definitely will be for this line as well. If I only end up with one villain from this toy line, I think I picked a good one. Though since I’m planning on assembling a squad of turtles, it would probably be a good idea if I grabbed another villain or two to supplement things. Maybe something awaits in the yet unannounced Wave 4, but since we’re probably a year away from release of that series it would seem Baxter will have to tend to whatever turtles stand in his way alone. At least he’s got a mouser.


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