Tag Archives: super7

Super7 Disney Ultimates! Robin Hood

Robin Hood is after you and he’s not in a joking mood!

When Super7 announced it was taking Disney into its world of Ultimates! line of action figures, they really seemed to confuse the Disney fans unfamiliar with their business model when the first wave consisted of Sorcerer Mickey, Pinocchio, and Prince John from Robin Hood. Where was Robin Hood?! Well, he was coming, just in Wave 2. The company was apparently going to slow burn the movies in Disney’s very famous film library, but persistent confusion and outcry (which Super7 felt was coming from the Disney collector, and not necessarily the Super7 collector) caused them to change lanes. Wave 4 of Disney Ultimates! was solicited a couple of months ago and all three figures are based on The Nightmare Before Christmas. That will apparently be the model going forward, but given that there’s a significant lag between solicitation and delivery, we’re still talking about Wave 2 which just dropped in the past month and included that much sought after Robin Hood.

Robin and PJ together at last!

Robin Hood is the lone figure from the film of the same name in Super7’s Wave Two. He comes in the standard window box with slipcover and I got mine direct from Super7 for the not so lovely price of $55. Back when the figure first went up, I really wanted to support Super7 in their journey into Disney so I placed my order direct with them. I also thought that meant I’d get it before other retailers, but Big Bad Toy Store has been shipping these for about a month now so that obviously didn’t work. And after being all-in on Wave One largely on principle, I just couldn’t do it for Wave Two which also featured Alice from Alice in Wonderland, the Mad Hatter from the same, and Hyacinth Hippo from Fantasia. I just could not muster up any appetite for those three figures as I don’t really like either movie. The hippo looked the most impressive out of all four figures in the wave, but since I had Prince John I did want to pair him with someone. And Robin Hood was a film I liked a lot as a kid and it holds up pretty well today.

So what do we think? Accurate enough for you?

When the solicitation did go up, I wasn’t that impressed, but I also wasn’t for Wave One and those were refined along the way and turned out better than the render. Unfortunately, the same isn’t true of Wave Two. Robin Hood looks as solicited which is to say he’s a bit off-model. The head shape seems all wrong to me, the proportions are off, and there’s nothing in the paint or sculpt that attempts to capture that scratchy look of the lines from the film. It’s like they had someone sculpt the character from memory, or maybe there’s some modern, licensing, art out there designed to make the character look cuter? There could also be another factor contributing to the aesthetic that we’ll get to. First glance though is that he doesn’t look right. There’s clearly no commitment to make the character look like he just jumped out of the film which is the approach I want to see, but maybe that’s not what Super7 wants?

Who has two thumbs and an arrow through the head?

It doesn’t get much better with the figure in hand. Robin Hood is very plain looking. There’s almost no paint on this figure past the neck. It’s a very “plastic” looking release similar to Prince John. Unlike Prince John, there are no soft goods present on the base figure. And I should talk about this like it’s two figures. I’m fine with that though as a soft goods tunic would probably look terrible. Unfortunately, the figure just looks cheap and it feels just as cheap. The tail in particular looks too soft and feels worse because it’s hollow. I don’t disagree with making it hollow as a heavier tail affects balance (and he already balances poorly), but there’s nothing really on it. No attempt to make it appear furry. It’s just not good.

This pose is easy enough to pull off, once you heat the hand to fit the bow anyway.

Accessories can help liven up a dull experience, but with this figure, your mileage may vary. Robin Hood has gipping hands in the box and a second set of hands with a tighter grip and a thumb up. They appear to be intended for use with the bow and arrow. The bow looks fine and has a real string, but it doesn’t fit either hand well. The standard gripping hand is too loose and the secondary one is too tight. At least with the too tight option some heat can make it pliable to get the bow in there. The included arrow fits fine into the other tighter hand as it slides between the index and middle finger so he can string it. There’s also a quiver and to get that onto the figure you will want to remove the head because there’s almost no give in the strap. The quiver is also solid plastic and the arrows don’t come out which is a bit of a bummer, but not the end of the world as long as you don’t lose the one, lone, arrow. His other accessory is a second head which features a startled expression and an arrow through his hat. The arrow is warped and looks ridiculous and I doubt I ever would use this head anyway. There’s also an unsightly seem line on the lower jaw that takes away from the presentation. All of the other accessories are for the stork disguise, which we’ll discuss separately, which really makes the base offering feel light. The default gripping hands are essentially useless as they don’t work with the bow and arrow and he has nothing else to hold. No sword, really? And how about a legitimate second head that maybe has a cocky grin or a more determined face instead of this gag head? You basically can pose with the bow and arrow or with nothing which is pretty poor for options.

This is not, though it’s hardly convincing anyway. If I let this figure rest like this either the bow or the arrow would eventually give out and go flinging off somewhere. The arrow should be able to peg into the bow, or knock, for added stability.

Which brings us to articulation. Never the strong suit for Super7, I’m afraid it’s worse than usual here. Super7 went with a ball-hinge for the head, which is different from the usual big ball peg for this line and also different from the double-ball I see in the TMNT line. The only thing the hinge does is let the figure look down, but not really any more than the previous setup. There’s no up rotation and no nuance posing. He can rotate, but that’s basically it. The hinge just gets in the way when swapping heads making for a frustrating experience. The shoulders can raise out to the side and rotate all around while the elbows are single-hinged with a swivel. The biceps also swivel at the sleeve. The arms are very thin and gummy feeling, but at least the elbows bend past 90 degrees. The wrists also swivel and hinge and all of the hinges are horizontal hinges which is not optimal for the bow and arrow. There’s a diaphragm joint that does almost nothing. No forward, no back, just a little rotation. The waist also can rotate. At the hips, we just go forward and back. There’s no out to the side and the knees are a single hinge and swivel point. The swivel does more harm than good as it’s hard to figure out what the neutral position is supposed to be. The hinge does very little and I think his knees are supposed to always be pointing out from his body, but it’s frustrating to pose. Worse are the ankles which, like the knees, just swivel and hinge. There’s no ankle rocker. And what’s more annoying is trying to get the hinge pointed where you want it is a pain because it swivels above and below the hinge so if you grip the foot to rotate that piece it will just spin with the shoe. It’s maddening. Thankfully, he does have that ugly tail because it makes getting him to stand much easier than it would be without and that thing swivels and has a hinge. No ankle rocker is an awful choice. It’s usually the one joint Super7 does well and here they declined to try it for some reason (probably for the disguise). The only saving grace for this figure, articulation wise, is he can do a bow stringing pose, but that’s pretty much it.

Hey! It’s some stork guy!

And now that takes us to basically the other figure: Stork Robin Hood. During the film, Robin Hood disguises himself as a stork to enter an archery contest and Super7 decided to make that a focus for this release. I don’t know that I agree with the call, but it’s what they decided. Personally, I consider his beggar persona more iconic, but admit the stork has a fun look in the film. To do that, the figure separates at the waist and Super7 included a second lower half. It’s just the legs in a squat pose and the only articulation is found at the ankles which is the same hinge piece the other lower half possesses. Basically, we’re just cutting out the knee joints. For the that, there are new “feet” which are Robin’s feet on stilts that peg into the ankle joints. They feature no additional articulation, not even a swivel at the boot. I’m guessing this is why they abandoned the ankle rocker to make the connection point simpler, but why not just make the stilts peg into the standard feet? Were the knees that much of a problem? And if they were, just make the stilts already attached to the second torso – why separate them? The left leg also isn’t straight and I don’t know if that is by design or not. There are three sets of winged hands that peg into the arms where the hands go plus there’s a quiver, bow, and arrow to match the ones he used in the film plus the golden arrow trophy on a pillow. Lastly, we have a new head to complete the ensemble.

Robin is considerably taller in this getup. Note how I picked he wrong bow and failed to secure the quiver before putting on the head.

Assembling the figure isn’t what I would describe as a fun experience. The hands are tight, but they came off without damage and the winged ones go on fine. Before doing that though, you will want to slip the soft goods tunic over the torso. The head is a bit of a pain to get off and on, but doable. The torso pegs together easy enough as do the feet and once assembled Robin stands over 8″ tall. It’s once the whole thing is together that the frustration sets in. The hinges where the feet peg in are way too loose. It makes his legs want to go all over the place when trying to stand him. And since there’s no articulation at the boots on the stilts, you have few tools to work with when trying to balance the guy. I watched it fall over and over before finally getting him to stand still in a semi decent arrow-knocking pose. And once I did, I realized I forgot to put the quiver on. That thing has no give in the strap so getting it on is way harder than it should be. And then once it’s on, trying to get the head without disturbing it is even harder. My quiver now has purple paint on it from it riding up under the hat while trying to get the head on. Plus at some point he fell and one of the false arrows in the quiver snapped off. And if you need to do anything to this guy once posed, expect it to all fall apart. The waist isn’t held on by much, though I suppose it’s better that it separate easily than not. Having him actually draw the bow is pretty tough too as the arrow doesn’t have a notch in it. I hooked the string onto a finger and then just tried to balance the arrow in a convincing manner, but it doesn’t work too well.

He can at least handle the bow in a slightly more convincing fashion than the base figure.

Once standing it’s the type of figure that you don’t dare mess with. Or at least, I wouldn’t if I intended for him to stay this way. I will say, the stork head looks great. It’s easily the best sculpted part of the set and also the best painted. One of the legs features some chipped paint which stinks though. The whole costume really looks much better than the base figure, provided you can stand him. I just don’t know why so much of the budget was put into making this costume the way it is. He has a set of open hands, a set of gripping hands, and a set of bow and arrow hands. Why so many when the regular Robin Hood gets just two? What purpose do the regular gripping hands serve that the arrow hands can’t do? The direction and decision making on this one is just baffling and to top it off there are no peg holes in the feet. For a figure that struggles to stand, why not at least put some holes in there? He really should just come with a stand, or a second torso. Or the damn legs should just be static so he stays standing. It’s not like they can do anything. They could have included a second, unarticulated, torso then at least you would get a second display piece out of this. The money spent to tool more hands would have been better served on that. They wouldn’t even have to paint it or anything since it’s hidden by the soft goods. Instead, it feels like an inordinate amount of the budget went towards this disguise that most people will never use. I’m slightly tempted to display it by virtue of the fact that it looks better than the standard Robin Hood, but I have zero confidence in it staying upright on my shelf and I’m not sinking more money into this thing to add a stand. I think the proportions and articulation of the base figure were compromised to make this stork version look more on-model and that makes no sense. Someone just fell in love with the concept of making Robin Hood “transform” into this stork persona and never stopped to question if it was really a good idea to move forward with.

PJ seems to think he smells. He’s not wrong.

The final verdict is that Super7 delivered an off-model and compromised figure of Robin Hood that can pull off a convincing stork disguise in theory, though in practice the results are far more mixed. Is that what people wanted? I know I didn’t. To make matters worse, the figure looks and feels cheap, the articulation is poor, and the display options boil down to two, three if you’re in love with the arrow through the hat expression. And it costs 55 bucks! This thing is way overpriced relative to what you’re getting. At this price point, this thing needs to “wow.” It needs to feel like a premium collector item, but it looks like a toy from the 90s. The look of it really reminds me of the Lion King action figures from when that film came out. The plastic look of the figure makes me think of Happy Meal toys. That’s not a good thing for a $55 action figure. This is the worst Super7 figure I own and I’m out. No way am I paying upfront for any of the figures in this line again. Had I ordered this from another retailer I would have cancelled it. It’s that bad. If it were 25 bucks and didn’t feature the stork I still don’t think I’d buy it because it just doesn’t look that good. Why spend money on something that doesn’t look good whether its 10, 20, or 50 bucks? And I didn’t even mention the shipping so I’m actually in for closer to $70 on this thing. That’s pretty bad. I’m also really second guessing the preorder I have for Wave 3’s Big Bad Wolf. I want to see Super7 go into the classic shorts for this line so I preordered that partly as a show of support for that move, but after getting this and looking at the anatomy of the character in the solicitations I’m left feeling the experience will be similar. Unlike with Robin Hood, there’s still time for me to cancel that one and I’m thinking that’s probably a good idea.

We’ll end on a shelf shot, since that’s probably what matters most for many would-be buyers.

It probably goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway, that I do not recommend this figure at all. If you love the stork version or are not bothered by how Robin Hood looks then maybe take a swing when it inevitably hits clearance. This thing will not stay at $55 and I bet it’s around $38 before long. Hold out even longer and you may do better. Seriously, Entertainment Earth has had some wild sales on Super7 stuff of late so at this time next year it wouldn’t shock me to see this sold for less than $30. I still wouldn’t buy it at that price, but it’s a lot better than $55.

Looking for more from Disney and Super7?

Super7 Disney Ultimates! Prince John

Our third and final figure of the inaugural wave of Disney Ultimates! from Super7 is the most surprising of the bunch: Prince John, the phony King of England! Super7 often surprises with its deep cuts, and Prince John certainly fits the bill. While it’s hard to argue much from Disney could be considered a true…

Keep reading

Super7 Disney Ultimates! Mickey Mouse as The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

The first figure from this line of Super7 action figures based on characters from Disney’s treasure trove of animated characters was Pinocchio. In that review, I mentioned how Disney wanted to outdo itself with Pinocchio and sunk a lot of money into that film’s production. Well, the only other film from that era that might…

Keep reading

Super7 Disney Ultimates! Pinocchio

It seems I keep setting personal records this year for longest duration of a preorder and the new champion is Super7’s first wave of Disney Ultimates! These figures went up for preorder in August of 2020 likely closing sometime in September. At the time, the expected release was somewhere around June 2021, but a lot…

Keep reading

Super7 TMNT Ultimates! Sewer Surfer Mike

Surf’s up, dudes!

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

He certainly looks the part.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Super7 TMNT Ultimates! Scratch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My best attempt at tip-toes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All right, who let the cat out?!

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

“So…what are you in for?”

Super7 TMNT Ultimates! Leatherhead

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Hahahahaha – dumb turtle stepped in the trap!”

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

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

Super7 Ultimates! Ghost – Papa Emeritus I

Lucifer! We are here!

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

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

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

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

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

For those wondering what’s under the robe.

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

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

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

He looks positively resplendent in white and gold!

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

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

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

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

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

The corruption is even affecting princesses!

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

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

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


Super7 TMNT Ultimates! Sewer Samurai Leonardo

He’s traded in the shadows to learn the ways of the samurai.

Well, after looking at the Wave 6 Slash a couple of weeks ago we can now finally turn our attention to a Wave 5 release from Super7’s line of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Ultimates! series of figures: Sewer Samurai Leonardo. The thing with TMNT is, you have the four good guys, a few core allies, and then a whole bunch of bad guys or one-off guests. In the show, there was a constant presence from Shredder and his associates, but also often a mutant of the week as Shredder would enlist someone’s aid or create a new monster to throw at the turtles. This worked well for toys as Playmates always had new designs to work with. And they didn’t usually wait on the show anyway as the toyline seemed to introduce new characters more often than not with the show to follow. The only issue there is die hard fans are buying them all, but there’s also a ton of casual fans or kids that just bounce from one thing to the other and they only tend to recognize the good guys. What’s a toy company to do in order to sell more turtles? The answer is variants.

It was a long wait, but he’s finally here!

Playmates kept the original four turtles in circulation for much of the toy line. They’re technically still releasing them to this day. To keep the line interesting though, the company would take those characters and do something different several times a year. This first took place with the Wacky Action series in 1989. Those were new sculpts with wind-up features which is a fairly typical variant for a toyline to introduce. After that, Playmates started doing more “weird” versions of the turtles to the point where it’s one of the often cited things about the line today as people remember seeing Leonardo as a life guard and Raphael as a magician which is pretty damn goofy when you think about it. The variants started off a little more straight-forward though with the 1990 Disguised series. That line consisted of Raph the Space Cadet, Mike the Sewer Surfer, Don the Undercover Turtle, and Leo the Sewer Samurai. Of the four, I’d say only Raph as an astronaut seems particularly odd. Mikey was using surfer lingo in the show and Donatello was just sporting the disguise look from the same show. Leonardo as a samurai also felt pretty normal as the turtles often do feel more like samurai than ninja, so why not depict the stoic leader as a ronin? And now that Super7 has released all four base turtles, they too are turning to the variants and up first is Sewer Samurai Leonardo.

This guy has swords to spare.

Leonardo comes in Super7’s typical Ultimates! packaging with a green slipcover on the front that features an original logo for the figure and the classic logo on the rear. The shade of green on the slipcover this time seems just a touch more saturated than the others I have, but otherwise everything is pretty familiar. Inside is the same sewer deco with the figure behind a window box. First of all, I should say I am a big fan of the Playmates original for this figure. Leonardo was my favorite as a kid, so naturally, this was my favorite figure from the Disguise series. I don’t believe there is a Leonardo variant in that line that I enjoyed more than this one. Tragically, I no longer have that figure and I contemplated buying one just to have on-hand for when this came out. I obviously didn’t or I wouldn’t bothered to have mentioned that, but I am predisposed to like this figure and I’m going to do my best to be objective here, because subjectively I am practically bursting with glee just looking at him in the box.

He lacks a toe hinge, but you can still point him up on his toes if you desire.

This design for Leo is indeed samurai inspired, but he’s pretty garish. I don’t know if any real world samurai ever had this kind of color combo, but that’s part of what makes this line fun. First of all, we have this gold, open-faced, helmet which is non-removable. The portrait of the vintage figure was basically Raphael from the first wave. Playmates basically switched up the expressions for this line for variety (Donatello had Leo’s old facial expression and Raph had Donatello’s while Mikey was all new), but Super7’s looks more like the Wave 2 Leo’s mouth, but with Raph’s eyes. It’s slightly different, which also makes it more it’s own thing. I’m not bothered by it, but some might be if they want this to look exactly like the vintage toy. The chest plastron is armored and painted gold. It’s not a very shiny, or metallic, gold. It’s definitely less lustrous than the original and less than Super7’s Metalhead, but I don’t dislike it. I like the finish, but I know many others don’t.

These boxy sandals also help him to balance on one foot, though you’ll have to fight with his torso to keep him this way.

Beneath that armor, this figure is sporting sculpted chainmail which is where things get kind of weird because it’s blue. It works for a ninja turtle, but for an actual samurai would come across as pretty baffling. I love this shade though as it’s basically the same as Leonardo’s bandana. The sculpt itself though is pretty soft and I wish there was more detail. There’s some blue piping on the gloves and feet too and I like how that plays off of the torso. The pants and sleeves are black which creates a nice contrast with the blue and gold. The hands are now just sculpted hands with black rope over them where as the old figure had a bug or something sculpted onto one. I’m fine with that omission. Where the presentation does take a bit of a hit for me is with the red shoulder pauldrons and thigh guards. They’re sculpted and look nice, but there’s zero paint on them. They just stand out as plain, lumps, of red plastic. And it’s a soft red that reminds me of lipstick. I basically had the same issue with Slash and I don’t know why Super7 seems to refuse to paint shoulder parts on their figures because it’s an area that stands out, so why not make it look good? There’s also minor paint slop here and there, like on the neck and the red straps could have been hit with another coat as the black plastic shows through a bit. It’s the type of stuff you notice when looking the figure over, but not something that shows on a shelf save for a black smudge on my figure’s left, gripping, hand. I’ll probably try to take that off with a magic eraser since the only painted part of the hands is the black rope as Super7 has seemingly stopped painting the finger and toenails.

I love this blue trim on the shell and the belt is soft and pliable so it’s easy to stash additional weapons in it.

The thing I really liked about this figure as a kid were the accessories and the options for weapon storage. The original figure had a belt loop on the rear that was really intended for his banner, but could also store his sword. He also had a loop on the side of his belt to store his katana like a traditional samurai would. And on top of that, he also had a scabbard he could put it in and sling over a shoulder. This figure does the same and you actually have three standard swords and one short sword. Now the odd thing is the swords here look more like a ninja-to, or ninjatō, which is basically what Leonardo often has. They were always listed as katanas, but in actuality he almost never wielded swords that looked like a true katana. The Wave 2 Leonardo from Super7 gave him actual katanas, but this one has swords that look better suited for that figure. It’s bizarre. Now, there’s three of them here so one could take two and give them to the old Leo and keep one for this Leo (and he only needs one), so that might be intentional on Super7’s part since they do hear the criticisms out there. As for what we do have here, the swords are painted well and have a green accent, likely an homage to the original figure coming with all green weapons and accessories (and yes, you do get a green, unpainted, sprue with all of the weapons on it). I think they work for this figure, but I’m not sure I like the green with the prior figure. They’re also soft and some arrived warped which I do not like, but I hope to straighten them with some heat.

He doesn’t grip the kunai very well, but they can slot between his fingers.

In addition to the swords, Leonardo comes with a trio of kunai that are nicely painted with a steel and green finish. There are two throwing stars which are a different design from the Wave 2 figure. He also has a set of “Samurai claws” which he can hold in his gripping hands or the more style posed hands and they basically turn him into Wolverine. They too have the green accents, but also a hit of blue and blend in quite nice. These were not featured on the vintage release. His banner returns and it looks like bamboo held together by wrappings. It can fit in a loop on the figure’s belt and be displayed as so. The banner itself is soft goods and looks okay. It’s not the highest quality print, but better than a sticker like the old figure. His shield returns which is now fully painted. It’s gold with green, red, and blue on the front and it’s the only place on this figure where I think this color combo doesn’t work. I think I would drop the red, and maybe the blue, if I could. There’s a slice of pizza in case Leo gets hungry which has a sardine, or anchovy, on it to distinguish it from other slices we’ve seen. The fish has this really nice metallic blue paint on it and I kind of want to see how that would look for a blade. He also has his scabbard which now features an actual, nylon, string instead of a soft plastic loop so it’s easy to slip on and off, but the plainness of the string doesn’t look great going across his chest. He also has a second head, and this one is a unique creation for the figure that features a mask on the front. It’s pretty cool looking, though swapping heads is harder than I would like. The default one comes off and on fine, but the masked head looks to have a smaller indentation for the ball peg so it’s really hard to snap into place. It does further the trend though of the original portraits included with these figures being really tempting. I think I’m going to stick with the vintage look, but I bet I switch it up from time to time.

He comes with a solid assortment of hands, but lacks the ones I really want. They’re also so hard to swap, due to the combination of the new ribs added to the pegs and the softness of the plastic, that I don’t plan to ever remove the gripping hands which is a shame.

Not mentioned in that list of things are the hands, because I wanted to talk about that separately. This figure comes with 4 sets of hands: open, gripping, style posed, and fists. Out of the box, he has open hands and they’re really hard to get off the figure. I’ve never had this issue with a Super7 figure before, but definitely be careful. A lot of folks resorted to heating the forearm, myself included, out of fear of breaking the peg or even the hinge. You may think that since it’s just a peg that if you don’t exert any bending pressure that you’ll be fine, but sometimes the hinge can break in the hand leaving the peg stuck inside the arm. The other thing that sucks about these hands though is that we have 4 sets, but we don’t get the set that is most appropriate and that would be gripping hands with vertical hinges. The prior Leonardo came with such hands, all of the turtles did, and so did Slash and probably some others. Vertical hinges work best for melee weapons, and even guns for that matter. The horizontal hinge is useless and I’m shocked that’s what we got. I just figured that was something Super7 was sensitive to and when I saw the solicitation image that featured just the one set of gripping hands I assumed we were just getting vertical hinges, or a set was left out mistakenly. I was wrong, obviously, and it’s a disappointment and I wish that’s where the disappointment ended. To rub salt in the wound, the fists have vertical hinges, which is pretty useless for a fist. I think this was an error at the factory and they messed up which hinge went with which set of hands, but it either wasn’t caught during the approval process or Super7 (or the factory) declined to correct the error for one reason or another (likely cost).

The heads are also tough to swap, but not as bad as the hands. This new portrait certainly gives the figure a whole different vibe.

This figure was manufactured out of a factory in Vietnam. That’s not a good or bad thing on its own, but I think it’s worth pointing out for what’s to follow. My Wave 6 Slash came out of a factory in China and I was very happy with the articulation. And as far as I know, every Super7 figure I own was made in China. Given the pandemic, it’s not at all surprising to see that Super7 enlisted the help of a Vietnamese factory. We’ve seen Bandai do it as well, and it makes further sense since Waves 5 and 6 essentially arrived at the same time indicating they were made at different factories. I don’t know if Super7 used this factory for anything else, but the end result for the articulation is not good.

“Back off bub, that’s gimmick infringement!”

In general, this guy moves the same as past characters, but I’ll run it down here. We have a head on a ball peg that can rotate, look down, up, and has some room for nuance posing. The shoulders are ball-hinged and can raise out to the side until the shoulder pads get in the way. For some reason, the right shoulder pad on mine likes to curl under the shell when moving it and some red has transferred to the blue trim of the shell, so be careful with that area. I wish they had done what they did with Slash and actually pinned the pauldron to the bicep and not the shoulder as that allows Slash to move the shoulder pad out of the way via the swivel point. In addition to the biceps swivel, there’s a single-hinge at the elbow and a swivel point that’s fairly useless. This turtle doesn’t have elbow pads so he should be able to bend his elbows better than the others, but he still can’t quite hit 90 degrees. The wrists rotate and I already mentioned the horizontal hinges. I wish he had a forearm swivel so we could re-position the forearm guards, but that didn’t happen. In the torso, there’s a diaphragm joint that’s not very functional given the turtle design, but you get a little range. The hips peg in and hinge and he can raise them out for near splits and swivel at the ball joint. The knees are single-hinged and can’t quite hit 90, they also pivot, but the range is pretty poor. The ankles are hinged and can go forward and back, plus rock side-to-side.

In the battle of samurai vs ninja, who will emerge victorious?!

All of that is largely as expected. Super7 is what it is at this point and expecting double-jointed elbows is basically a fool’s game at this point. The articulation is always going to feel somewhat like an afterthought. What’s not acceptable is the tolerance. I already mentioned how swapping the hands and heads are a pain, but the joint in the torso and at other spots are far too loose. They’re awful, and really, they’re unacceptably bad given that this is actually the first wave of TMNT Ultimates! at the higher MSRP of $55 a piece. This guy is as floppy as it gets in the torso and it’s a damn shame. This has been a problem going all the way back to wave 1 that appeared to be steadily getting better. Each turtle since then has been a little bit better than the previous one. None of the four were perfect, but definitely better. This is absolutely a step back and should not have made it out of the factory in this condition. These are premium, collector-grade, action figures. This can’t keep happening. And I personally hate that it happened to the figure I was looking forward to the most, not just this wave, but this entire line up to this point. It’s bad enough that I’m not actually angry, I’m just really downhearted and bummed out about it. I got this figure direct from Super7, which I can’t recommend going that route anymore because of the cost and the fact that other retailers seem to get this stuff in first, and I probably could attempt an exchange, but I have no reason to think the replacement would be any better. I checked out other reviews and impressions and this seems to be a widespread issue not just with Leo, but Wave 5 as a whole. His upper body just wants to flop around and within the hips are slip points so as you widen his stance he starts to slide at certain points. The wrist hinge on my left gripping hand is also really loose and can’t support the weight of the shield. It’s just such a bummer especially because that torso joint brings so little to the table. If they can’t get it right they should just scrap it all together.

We’ll end with a weapon swap shot. I’m honestly leaning towards keeping them like this. The only thing I don’t love is the green trim on the classic Leo, but the Wave 2 katana works really well with the Samurai Leo’s color scheme.

How does one review such an experience? I think the sculpt on this guy turned out great, I’m largely content with the paint excepting the shoulders, and he has plenty of accessories including stuff the old toy didn’t even come with. On the other hand, we have a design omission when it comes to the missing hands that should never have happened. I just personally don’t get how that could unless the factory screwed it up and Super7 didn’t want to spend the money to redo them. The bigger issue for most though will be the unstable joints. This guy is tough to pose as a result. Once he’s standing he seems okay, but he’s limited to narrow stances and wide open stances with little in-between because the hips can’t stay in place and the torso keeps tilting to one side or the other. The hands and head are problematic to swap so you end up with a figure that can look passable on the shelf, but isn’t fun to mess around with because of the frustrations. For some, that’s fine because they’ll set it and forget it. I like to repose and mess around with my figures from time-to-time so it really bums me out when I want very little to do with that part of a figure. As a result, I can’t recommend this one to everybody. If you’re in love with the old toy as much as I am, then maybe you can justify adding it to your collection. For that person, they probably feel like this is a necessity for their collection. For anybody else, I say don’t bother. At least wait until it hits clearance and can be had for less than $55 because right now I can’t honestly say it’s worth the price and that really bums me out.

All right, one more for the road.

Super7 TMNT Ultimates! Slash

The evil, pizza-hating, mutant turtle from Dimension X has arrived!

It’s been over 9 months since I last reviewed a figure from Super7’s line of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action figures. That figure was Muckman, and I actually waited on that one a little while because I ordered through Big Bad Toy Store and wanted my pile of loot to fill up a bit. Had I ordered directly from Super7 or had it shipped immediately from Big Bad, that month count might be 10! COVID has been crazy, obviously, and it’s caused a lot of delays. I think when I got that Wave 4 Muckman I was hopeful that Wave 5 would follow closer to the original plan of a 3-4 month lag in between. That obviously didn’t happen as we’re here in September ready to talk about the latest and greatest from Super7: Slash!

Slash is the first figure I’ve received from Wave 5 of TMNT…wait! This isn’t a wave 5 release! Slash is wave 6! Yup, I don’t know what’s going on, but somehow Big Bad Toy Store received Wave 6 before Wave 5. Super7 sent out review samples around a month ago for Wave 5 to the usual places, but as far as I know, still hasn’t shipped Wave 5 to any non-reviewers. They haven’t shown up at other retailers either, but here we are with a Wave 6 figure. And the interesting thing about Wave 5 for me is I ordered from both Super7 direct and Big Bad and still haven’t seen a whiff of either (I did get a “pre-order processing” soon for Leatherhead, so maybe the wait is almost over).

I no longer have my original Slash, but here he is with vintage Tokka who utilized the same mold as that old figure.

It doesn’t make much sense, but I suppose it doesn’t matter so lets just talk about Slash. Slash is billed as the evil mutant from Dimension X and he’s one of the characters associated with TMNT that has had a lot of different looks. He originated in the pages of Archie’s TMNT books where he’s a good guy. He still looks rather menacing, but he’s not an enemy of the turtles and will end up a member of The Mighty Mutanimals. When he went to the cartoon, he was made to be Bebop’s pet who gets mutated just like the other turtles. He’s pretty dumb, and gets outfitted with some random tech around the Technodrome and doesn’t really resemble any other iteration of the character. In between both appearances we had the action figure from Playmates which decided he was some evil character. He partly resembled the character from Archie, though they darkened his skin and added some additional details to basically make him fit in with that toy line. He was pretty squat in appearance and came with an arsenal of wicked looking weapons. Since this is how most fans were introduced to the character, it’s often the first thing that comes to mind when someone brings up the topic of Slash. And it was the toy version of the character that was added to the Super Nintendo port of Turtles in Time.

Slash doesn’t have a ton of height, but he does have a lot of bulk.

Because the old toy of Slash is so beloved, this was a figure pretty high on my personal list of wants from Super7. I’m a little surprised we had to wait until Wave 6 considering how popular the figure is, but it’s not like the past waves were full of duds and unpopular releases. And it could be worse since Super7 have revealed 8 waves and still no Rat King! Slash comes in the standard Ultimates! window box with the purple slipcover over it, because he’s a bad guy. The figure is a very faithful recreation of the Playmates original and that’s evident in just looking at it through the packaging, but like the other releases in this line, this new approach should do wonders for the detailing.

A meeting of Slash. I actually forgot how much I liked that video game Slash until picking it up for this shot.

Out of the box, Slash stands just a little over 6″. This makes him not much taller than the hero turtles, but he’s far more bulkier. And like the old toy, his head sits low so he has this crouched appearance to his posture. Handling him though is a trip down memory lane. I didn’t retain my original Slash figure, unfortunately, but this one helps me to remember every nook and cranny on that guy. I really like that old figure, though I hated his belt which never wanted to stay on, and my collection of Super7 figures would not be complete without him. His face perfectly captures the maniacal grin of the old figure with one eye being larger than the other. The teeth are well-painted, though I’m torn on if I like how they just filled his mouth with plastic or if I would have preferred to see it sculpted out. At this scale, it just stands out in a way it doesn’t on a 4″ figure. The skin has a nice, weathered, texture to it that’s consistent throughout the sculpt and Super7 added a wash to the figure to really bring those details out. I love what they did with the belt, going with a black and pink combo (the original was all black and a pink version followed later), and it’s great to finally see him with painted blades on his hands. The only thing I’m not crazy about are the shoulder pauldrons. They’re fully sculpted, like the vintage toy, but also like the vintage toy they’re unpainted. I feel like a major selling point of this line is to get all of the detail of the original toys, but now painted to bring them out, so when something so visible is missed it really stands out.

The belt is cast in hot pink, but parts of it are painted black. He also has some weapon storage on this thing.

The big talking point with this line since the first wave was delivered has concerned the articulation. Specifically, joint tolerance. Lets just get right down to it since that’s what people are most curious about. Slash is pretty good. The hips don’t flop around on this guy like they have on other figures and they stay where they’re supposed to when he’s standing on a shelf. The torso joint also doesn’t wiggle around which I think is a source of the problem on some of the other figures, but hopefully this is a good sign for the rest of Wave 6 (the early returns on Wave 5 paint the opposite picture, unfortunately) as it would be nice to put that issue to bed. Considering their production runs must have essentially been back-to-back, I’m not super optimistic.

The shurikens that were sculpted into the belt on the old figure are now removable which is pretty neat.

The hips are fine, and the rest of the articulation is basically what one would expect of this line. Super7, probably more than most, prioritizes the aesthetic over basically anything else. Their founder, Brian Flynn, is even on camera saying he thinks most collectors just place their toys on the shelf in a fairly neutral pose so that gives you some idea of where their thinking comes from. For Slash, we have a figure understandably limited by the fact that he’s a giant turtle, but it’s also limited because not much effort was made to do anything different with it. The head is on a double-ball-peg that is useful mostly for nuance posing since his head essentially juts forward and to the sides. He can look up a bit, but has basically no range looking down. The shoulders are ball-hinged and he can just about raise his arms out to the side, but those pauldrons get in the way. The arms rotate forward just fine and there’s a biceps swivel past that. The shoulder pauldrons actually pin into the biceps which is smart because it allows you to manipulate them out of the way where the shoulder is concerned. The elbow is single-hinged with a swivel, but because of the elbow pad he can’t quite achieve a 90 degree bend. The wrists rotate and he has both vertical and horizontal gripping hands for his weapons, so that’s a big plus. There is a joint in the torso, but it’s functionally useless and there’s no waist swivel nor is his tail articulated. The legs can go out to the side better than 45 degrees and the thigh twist works fine. The knees are single-hinged with a swivel, and like the elbows, the kneepad prevents a true 90 degree bend. The ankles hinge and rock pretty well and he’s a fairly easy figure to stand as a result.

Donnie is finding out that Slash is a lot to handle.

Slash basically is a what you see is what you get kind of release as he looks to only facilitate simple posing, and that’s basically true. It would have been nice to get a better waist twist like the other turtles, but that’s probably the only thing I miss. I don’t think they could have sculpted the neck in a way that would have let him stand up totally straight and still preserve the look of the original figure. It would have been nice to see the shoulders given more range via a ball-peg or butterfly joint, because he has room for one, but I’m not surprised that Super7 didn’t try this. And I would have liked to have seen the tail get some articulation because it’s current placement is a bit…phallic. At least the belt obscures it a bit.

He still has this wild looking nunchaku.

One thing we can count on when it comes to Super7 Ultimates! is that there will be no shortage of accessories and Slash is true of that. Slash actually has more stuff than the vintage figure and he even has some sculpted pieces from before turned into accessories this time. First of all, we get some extra parts. Slash comes with vertical gripping hands in the box, but if you want horizontal hinges he has those in the box too. He also has a set of fists and a set of style pose hands in the same style as the turtles. They can be used to hold larger objects or to just embellish a pose. All of the hands are sculpted and painted well and the blades are consistent from hand-to-hand which is nice. Slash also has a secondary head, and also like the turtles, it feels like a slightly more realistic interpretation of the character, but in a comic book sense. The expression is also very similar to a lot of the comic art as he has exposed teeth on each side of his mouth. It’s well-painted and looks really nice and, once again, I don’t know which head I like best. The default head is more of a maniacal expression, while this one with the more grimace expression and narrow eye has a whole different vibe. This one makes him look dangerous and sinister and it’s really cool. All of the hands and the two heads are also easy to swap.

Check out the new mug on Slash!

Slash also comes loaded with weapons to slice, chop, and bludgeon the turtles. The old toy featured ninja stars molded onto Slash’s belt and now those have been turned into weapons that peg onto the belt. There are two curved stars and one that’s more traditional. They don’t feel secure when pegging them on, but they also haven’t fallen off my figure so I guess the effect works fine. It’s the type of thing I like to see with these new figures so I like the approach. Slash also has two hand grenades and they have this metallic finish to them that looks really cool. The style pose hands can hold them all right and you can hook them onto the belt if you so desire.

He even brought some grenades!

The other weapons should seem more familiar as most of them are from the vintage release. Slash, being the anti-ninja turtle, basically came with a twisted version of the weapons featured by the heroic turtles. He has his spiked nunchaku with features studs on the handles and spiked chain. It’s done entirely in plastic as I’m guessing Super7 had no idea how to do it with real chain and preserve the look, but it is bendy, it just doesn’t hold a pose. Slash also has his trademarked crooked sai which can slide into the pink loop on his belt. There’s his giant, serrated, knife with a handguard and that too has a slot on the rear of his belt where it can be stored. He also has his club, which features black wrapping and a spiked ball at the top. I think I used to store this weapon on the rear of my old toy, but Super7 cast the black wrappings at the end in a hard plastic so there’s basically no way to get it into the belt without a lot of heat, and then getting it out would require the same. Lastly, we have a new weapon which is a crooked sword. I think the nunchaku, sai, and club are like the twisted versions of Mikey, Raph, and Donatello’s signature weapons while the giant knife is more its own thing. The crooked sword draws a more obvious parallel to Leonardo and it definitely looks like it belongs here. Lastly, we have the unpainted weapons sprue which is massive for Slash. I think these are on the way out, so enjoy them while you can. The club, knife, and nunchaku feature the hot pink color scheme with painted silver and black details while the sai and knife are black and silver. I feel like the hot pink might not be an exact match to the old toy, but it’s not something I care about personally, but it’s something I felt I should point out.

Look who has a sword now, Leo!

Super7’s take on Slash is mostly what one would expect. It takes that old Playmates figure and ups the scale while also taking advantage of modern sculpting and paint applications to really make this figure look as good as it can be. The engineering and paint applications help push this release to among the best in the line so far. There will always be room for criticism when it comes to Super7’s articulation choices, but aside from that, my only criticism is I wish the shoulder pauldrons were painted. They’re sculpted to look like wood planks held together by rope and just look like something that should have been painted, but wasn’t (to clarify, the renders featured unpainted shoulder pauldrons too so I’m not suggesting it’s an error). Aside from that, nearly every part of the figure has some kind of paint wash applied which really helps to reduce that “plastic” look some of the other figures in the line possess. He may not pose super well, but he at least has enough stuff to provide variety for your display. In short, this is one of the best releases by Super7 I own and if you’re collecting this line then you owe it to yourself to add Slash to the display.


Super7 Transformers Ultimates! Optimus Prime

Super7’s take on the classic 80’s toyline has finally arrived, but is it any good?

I think we’re over discussing the merits of non-transforming Transformers, right? It’s been done for a long time, but was really pushed to the forefront with the Hasbro RED series in 2020 and while there will always be a section of the fanbase that wants nothing to do with such a concept, it’s still an easy thing to justify. When the Transformers arrived on television sets in the early 1980s, they were giant robots that generally went from some kind of automobile to a humanoid robot. And those transformations were pretty unrealistic when compared with the toy. The character models needed to be kept neat and tidy for animation’s sake and if something looked a bit janky on the toy the cartoon could remedy that. As long as a kid could at least tell the character and the toy were one-in-the-same it was fine. And now there are collectors who want their Transformers to look, and move, like the characters from the show and what’s wrong with that? There will always be transforming toys to please the masses and these sublines can go off and do their own thing.

This should be a familiar sight for anyone used to Super7’s Ultimates! line of action figures.

When Super7 announced it had grabbed the Transformers license many people were shocked. Transformers is basically an in-house property for Hasbro, so what benefit is there to Hasbro licensing it out to a company that is just going to make something it can already supply? Well, money, for one. Hasbro clearly doesn’t view Super7’s offerings as direct competition with their own stuff. And Hasbro, being much bigger, was able to pump out the RED series before Super7 was able to announce they’d be doing something similar (and apparently the RED series kind of caught Super7 off-guard). And they are different, to a degree. While both seek to replicate the Generation 1 look for its characters, they operate in a completely different scale and at a completely different price. Time will tell if Transformers collectors need both, but for now both seem to be doing all right.

Optimus certainly knows how to fill out a window box.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m not big on Transformers. I basically missed it by about a year or two, so my first love when it came to a toyline was The Real Ghostbusters, while my cousin who was two years older loved Transformers and G.I. Joe. I had a toy here and there, but nothing I can even cleanly remember (I think it was a yellow car, but memories can be funny). I did get into the Generation 2 re-releases briefly. I thought Grimlock looked cool in blue, and I saved up some money to get Optimus Prime. I’d also add the tank version of Megatron, but I kind of stopped there since Transformers were way more expensive than an X-Men figure. It was basically a 3:1 ratio with basic Transformers, while that Optimus cost me 30 bucks in 1992 money! All that is to say that Super7’s line of Transformers really shouldn’t be my thing, but I have a nephew that really likes the brand and when he got setup in a new bedroom I decided to make him a clock in the shape of Optimus Prime because my grandfather had done the same for me and my sister (his mother) when we were kids. My clock was Leonardo and my grandfather modeled it after my giant sized action figure of the same. I wanted to do something similar with my nephew’s clock and the reference that worked best was Super7’s art for their figure. Now, he’s too young for this type of toyline, but I still thought it would be cool if I also got him the toy. And since I was buying one for my nephew, well, uncle needs one too! I don’t know when I’ll give him his figure, or if he’ll even care about Transformers come then, but these are the specific circumstances that lead me to owning this figure so I’m going to tell you all about it.

The figure certainly looks similar to past incarnations of Optimus Prime, but it has a decidedly different flavor.

Optimus Prime is one of four figures in the inaugural wave of Super7 Transformers and he’s the only Autobot in the lineup. Super7 appears to want to go a bit deep, or obscure, with its choices while also recognizing it needed to include the Autobot leader in the first wave. This line is a 7″ scale line that seeks to emulate the look from the original cartoon. There’s going to be a lot of solid colors, less detail, and a bunch of stuff included as accessories pulled from the show. It’s a good approach as even the RED line from Hasbro deviates from the look of the show with its figures as both Soundwave and Optimus featured clear “glass” on their body when the toon would use a solid color. I believe this wave is also the first one released under the new pricing model of $55 a figure. Previously, Ultimates were $45, but then COVID happened. These went up for order in March of 2021, so a turn-around of 14 months actually isn’t that bad given the state of things.

Sick of working for Michael Bay, Optimus is looking to audition for Quentin Tarrantino.

Optimus comes in the familiar Super7 Ultimates! packaging. The box is a bit beefier than some of the other figures I’ve purchased from them, but it’s still the same slip-cover over window box. The outer slip-cover is rather nice as it has a reflective outline of the character and the window box has the familiar red and black grid pattern with an old school character power level grid on the back. Optimus takes up quite a bit of real estate in the box and the inner cardboard is mirrored, but the figure (and accessories) are so big that it doesn’t really add anything. I didn’t even notice it until I pulled him out.

This is pretty much as best he can do when it comes to a gun grip. Why not just straighten out the handle so he can actually grip it properly? The first in many questionably decisions to come.

Out of the box, Optimus stands at about 8″ in height, maybe a tick over. He’s a very blocky, chunky, figure and at first blush I’d say that, yeah, he looks like the cartoon character. He does not, however, give off that “Just walked out of the television set,” vibe as there’s almost no paint on this guy. Most of what you’re looking at is molded plastic. It’s not super shiny, which is good, but definitely lacks pop. It’s most apparent on the windshield panels on his chest which are just a light, flat, blue. Pull-up almost any image from the cartoon of Optimus Prime and you’ll see some white accents on the glass part. Why not paint that on? Super7 used decals with that effect for their vinyl version of this character, but decided against it here. I wouldn’t expect cel-shading out of Super7, but a little flourish would have been nice. Aside from that, most of the paint is found on the crotch because they used a plastic overlay (affectionately referred to as a “diaper” in most collecting circles) that’s quite soft and requires paint. The gray band in the torso is also painted and there’s the Autobot logo painted, or printed, onto the left shoulder. I wish the logo was raised or stamped in, but it’s clean so I guess it’s fine. The smaller details on the face are well-painted too.

I’m not sure how obvious it is on camera, but the fist hands have this nice, matte, coating applied while the rest are just bare, glossy, plastic.

The low detail approach just makes Optimus a little plain looking. I think the figure would have benefitted from at least some panel lining which would be in-line with the cartoon’s presentation. Obviously, Super7 tends to think less is more, so I’m not shocked by their choices, but a little let-down. For $55 this could have been better. I also find it interesting they opted for an off-white or light gray shade for the crotch, thigh, smokestacks, and fuel tanks when the cartoon was pretty consistent about making those parts white. I associate the gray coloring more with the toys so it’s a bit of an odd choice. It just looks a bit dingey, so I would have preferred white, but it’s more of a nitpick than anything. Worth pointing out is that the right smokestack on mine came rather warped. It’s nothing I don’t think a little hot water or blast from a hairdryer can’t remedy, but I review these things as they come out of the box to give you the best idea of what to expect.

But hey! He comes with a surf board! Also, that’s as far as his elbows can bend. Yeah, not good.

Where the design is going to cause further problems is with the articulation. Now, I have the Voltron from Super7 so I had an idea of what to expect here. Plus I know from experience and just from what the company has told us that they prioritize the look over the articulation. Super7 believes articulation is fine, but that most collectors are going to put their toys on a shelf in a fairly basic, or neutral, pose. I don’t really agree as I think that’s what five-point figures and vinyl toys are for, but I’m not the one running the company. As far as I’m concerned, Super7 can take whatever approach it wants so long as it’s consistent which is why you won’t hear me complain about the lack of double-jointed knees and elbows. Super7 just doesn’t do them. This toy is, however, still an action figure so it should be judged as one and in doing so there’s some good stuff here, and some very not so good stuff.

If you don’t like the toony head you can switch to a toy-inspired one.

For starters, Optimus has a head that sits on a double ball-peg. This is a welcomed sight as the last Super7 figures I looked at featured a single ball-peg. Since he basically has no neck though, his range is going to be limited. He can look up and swivel with a little tilt, looking down is basically impossible. Once you introduce the ab crunch can the figure look down a bit. And that ab crunch is well-hidden and feels smooth. I’m not too worried about paint rub on the grill piece, though the figure doesn’t get any reverse crunch movement out of it. It strictly allows him to bend forward a bit. At the shoulders, we have an interesting setup. There’s a hinge inside the housing for the shoulder, with a pivot point just outside that, and a hinge just beyond that. This allows the bulky shoulders to swing out and come over the top of the torso allowing Prime to raise his arms out to the side past the usual 180 degrees. He can basically be the “Y” in a performance of “YMCA”. Unfortunately, Super7 apparently used up all of their creativity here because the elbow is a different story. There’s a biceps swivel above it, but the actual hinge bends maybe 45 degrees, if I’m being generous. The general accepted range on an elbow is 90 degrees, and that’s considered passable. My Hasbro RED Soundwave can do full curls and touch his shoulder with his hand to illustrate how big a difference this is. The comparably bulky Voltron could nearly get to 90, which I felt was satisfactory given the character. Not even getting close with Prime though is really unacceptable for a premium action figure, and at $55 a pop, that’s what this is. All Super7 had to do was cut out some relief on the forearm or elongate the piece where the elbow exists. It wouldn’t cost anymore to have done it right, nor is it going to ruin the look of the figure. It just feels like they hit a mild trouble point and decided not to address it at all thinking this amount of range was acceptable, but it’s not.

“Good thing you don’t have an eject button you need to be able to press!”
I think this is how I’m supposed to use this thing.

Moving past that unfortunate piece we have hands that peg into the arms and feature a single hinge which is fine. The waist has standard rotation so I’m assuming it’s a peg joint and not a ball. At the hips, we have the usual ball-pegs that Super7 likes and they’re fine. They’re pretty big so they don’t look as scary as some of the pegs on the TMNT figures and you get a swivel and range out to the front, back, and side. If you read my Voltron review, it was this spot that I deemed unacceptable on that figure as it just had pegs with no ball so that figure only kicks forward and back which is terrible. Optimus thankfully has normal leg function, though that diaper piece limits how far his legs can move. It will flex, but I wouldn’t want to leave the figure posed with too much stress on it. The knees are single-hinged and can achieve a 90 degree bend with no problem, it’s the ankles where we hit another roadblock. Optimus has rigid plastic alongside the lower legs so the ankles are effectively in splints. They hinge up and down and there is an ankle rocker, but it’s functionally useless because there’s just no room. Again, this could have been solved without cutting into the sculpt much. They could have brought the toe portion of the foot out a little further and it actually might have been more screen accurate. Doing so would have allowed them to just put a swivel point there. They also could have done what Hasbro did and do a drop-down ankle joint. That’s probably the better way to go, but there’s a number of things that could have been done, but Super7 opted for none. While Optimus can actually widen its stance, unlike Voltron, it can’t be widened much because eventually the figure can’t stand on its feet because there’s no rocker. It’s just a bummer.

He’s got a jet pack, if you think he needs one.
Check out my Matrix!

Super7 is certainly not known for articulation, but what it’s Ultimates! line is known for are accessories, and Optimus does okay in that regard. We get two heads with this figure, the toon accurate one that comes on the figure and a toy accurate one for those who prefer that look. I had that toy and loved it, but I really have no use for the alternate head. For what it is, it’s fine. Optimus comes with fist hands in the box and the figure can swap to a trigger right hand, pointing left, open right hand, and an open left hand with a peg on it. What’s missing are just normal gripping hands, which is a problem I’ll get to in a second. Interestingly, the fist hands have a matte coating on them and you can see where it ends near the peg. The other hands don’t have this and as a result are a bit glossy. It’s not something everyone is going to notice, but given the choice, I would have liked all of the hands to have this matte finish. For the trigger hand we have Optimus’ gun which matches the old toy and the show. The handle is at an angle though and I can’t get the trigger finger onto the actual trigger. If the angle wasn’t so steep it would be fine, but it looks kind of dumb as a result. The gun is also just molded, black, plastic with an ever so subtle graphite finish. For a more melee approach, Optimus has his orange, Energon, axe. It pegs into the forearm in place of a hand and it’s done in orange, translucent, plastic with a frosting on the shaft portion and it looks pretty damn cool. It’s just tough to find a natural axe-swinging pose given the figure’s articulation limits. There’s also this energy net thing (Energon binder, per the listing) that’s sparkly and made of soft plastic. I guess you can wrap it around a figure. It’s fine for what it is.

Spike isn’t really meant for close-up shots.
He’s probably not going to make it as a Globetrotter.

For the peg hand, there’s a basketball. The lines on it are sculpted in, but the black paint in those lines isn’t well done. I’ve seen images of people with pretty nice looking basketballs so mine might be worse than most (the second Prime I bought looks to have a better basketball). The ball fits nicely into the peg, and it’s this sort of goofy accessory that people may find charming about the figure. It would be nice if the peg hole was smaller though so it could better fit on the end of the pointing finger hand. It’s do-able, but the ball sits so low that it doesn’t convincingly create the illusion that Optimus is spinning the ball on his finger. There’s also the Matrix of Leadership thing that would normally go in Optimus Prime’s chest, but without gripping hands he can’t really hold it so it feels rather perfunctory since he doesn’t have a chest cavity to place it in. There’s a little, painted, Spike Witwicky that’s mostly in scale with Optimus which is kind of neat. There’s a big surfboard for Optimus as well which is pulled from an episode of the show. It’s rather plain looking as it’s just a gray-blue shade of plastic and it could really use a stand of some kind. There are peg holes on it and it’s pretty easy to get Optimus onto the thing, but I don’t know if I’ll ever use it. Lastly, we have a jetpack which is just a big old hunk of plastic that snaps into the rear of the figure. I like that Super7 was able to make it removable without a peg hole, but it’s rather boring looking. It’s at least really light so it doesn’t throw off the figure’s balance, but again, I’m not sure if it’s something I’ll ever use.

“I bet you wish you could ball like me!”
“I bet you wish you could hold a gun like me.” “Aww, that hurt”

In many ways, this figure is largely what I expected. I knew the blocky design would present issues with the articulation, as it had with Voltron, and I expected Super7 to keep it simple. With the shoulders and even the ab crunch, Super7 actually surprised me in a good way. They also surprised me in a bad way with the very limited elbows and ankles. I do strongly believe that for a figure to be considered articulated in this day and age we need elbows that hit 90 degrees (or near enough) and ankle joints that provide for better stances on the shelf. The ankle is hugely important for a figure because that’s the joint closest to the surface. Bad ankles limit posing or cause figures to fall over. Optimus Prime doesn’t have the falling problem, but that’s because he pretty much has to keep things vanilla. Which is a real bummer because I was hoping to be able to pose this more dynamically than my Masterpiece Optimus which is really too heavy to attempt much out of fear of it falling over. And if the figure isn’t going to move great, it needs to make up for that with the paint and this figure doesn’t really try to do that. I don’t think the included accessories make up for that either.

Some of the figure’s shortcomings when it comes to articulation could be more easily overlooked with a paint job as exciting as what Voltron received.

I’m not a huge Transformers fan so it’s hard to say if my reaction is more forgiving than the average fan or more harsh. If you’ve been on the fence about this one then there’s a good reason for that. At least the solicitation images paint a fairly accurate portrait of what you’re getting. If you want a more toon accurate Optimus in a much bigger scale than the Hasbro RED series, then this might do it for you. If you were expecting a dynamic posing figure that looked like it stepped right out of the TV then I don’t think this figure is for you. A subpar action figure in 2022 is also not without value. There is certainly a “fun” aspect to this figure just in the size and the some of the silly accessories, mostly the basketball. On a subjective level, I can be okay with this thing and not regret my purchasing decision. Objectively though, this is a real tough ask at $55 and it’s not something I can give a blanket recommendation for. If you know what you’re in for and like what you see, you may feel differently.

He’s here. He’s flawed, but you can probably still have some fun with him.

Super7 Disney Ultimates! Prince John

“Too late to be known as John the first, he’s sure to be known as John the worst!”

Our third and final figure of the inaugural wave of Disney Ultimates! from Super7 is the most surprising of the bunch: Prince John, the phony King of England! Super7 often surprises with its deep cuts, and Prince John certainly fits the bill. While it’s hard to argue much from Disney could be considered a true deep cut, it’s certainly surprising to see the villain of Robin Hood in the first wave of the line without the film’s protagonist. This supposedly caused some confusion in the Disney fanbase which had little familiarity with Super7 prompting founder Brian Flynn to take to the internet to assure the fans that Robin Hood himself was coming, he’s just not in Wave One. Prince John is apparently Flynn’s pick and it’s a character he has a lot of affection for and when you run your own toy company you get to do stuff like put Prince John into the first wave of Disney figures. As someone who grew up watching the film over and over, I can’t say I’m disappointed to see the prince so early.

He certainly fills out more of the window than Mickey and Pinocchio.

Prince John stands a full seven inches making him, by far, the largest figure in the first wave. He absolutely dwarfs Mickey and towers over Pinocchio. I suppose that’s appropriate considering he’s a lion and all, but it will be interesting to see how he scales with the upcoming Robin Hood. Prince John, or PJ, is not particularly big in the film. Robin is pretty close in size while Little Jon and the Sheriff look down on him. That’s an issue for another day, for now, he looks great at this scale and his big, soft goods, robe is particularly lovely. What’s not, and stop me if you’ve heard this criticism before, is the lack of paint. The body of PJ is cast in a yellowish plastic and with no shading or embellishments I can’t help but feel that it looks an awful lot like those Lion King toys from the 90s. Those things were probably five bucks at Toys R’ Us, but this is a $45 collectible and it just needs something more. Beyond that feeling, the head looks nice and his crown is painted well with gold paint and gems, but he’s missing his whiskers on all three heads. His hands feature the gemmed rings and his default expression is rather neutral. Beneath the robe is his soft, blue, gown (I guess that’s the proper term?) that’s all sculpted. Unfortunately, there’s already some color transfer from the robe to the gown and I don’t know if that’s likely to get worse or if it was mostly an issue of being confined to a box. Since the robe hides it, it’s not that great an issue, but hardly encouraging.

It’s a bit hard to photograph, but you can see some red on the under garment of John from the robe.

Excepting the feeling of a lack of paint, PJ really looks the part. That robe goes a long way in adding to that which is soft and just the right shade of red. The trim is more dense as the white is clean and the black dots within look nice. As was the case with Mickey, it’s also plenty big to allow the figure to move underneath it. Unlike Mickey, the robe doesn’t close with a belt, but it’s heavy enough that it basically closes on its own. Most importantly, it behaves as it does in the film and since it’s comically large on PJ it’s practically a character all on its own.

It is a bit odd how much of this character is just non-articulated torso. The hips begin way down at the bottom of the robe.
Where would John be without Sir Hiss?

And speaking of characters all their own, we have Sir Hiss! And not just one Sir Hiss, but two! The first features a smiling Hiss partially coiled up that can sit on a surface. He has a ball-hinge at the base of his neck so he can swivel and look up and down, but is otherwise non-articulated. He’s very well painted, and the likeness is quite possibly the best of any character in this first wave. The same can be said for the second Sir Hiss which is elongated and features a strangulation expression. This is for John to grip and it’s pretty damn funny and also a little surprising that Disney let them do this, but since it’s from the film and the violence is bad guy on bad guy I guess that made it okay. As much as I love these additions, I feel like we need a Sir Hiss accessory pack! Or more versions with other characters from the film. Flying Sir Hiss, drunk Hiss, scared Hiss – the possibilities are nearly endless!

He’s rather fond of admiring himself.
Hiss can also hold the mirror for his lord.

Aside from Hiss, PJ doesn’t come with much else. He does have his mother’s mirror, which has a slightly reflective, foil-like, sticker for the mirrored surface and the back of the mirror is well painted and sculpted. PJ can hold it with his lone, right, gripping hand or you can finagle it into the coils of Hiss. PJ has open hands in the package, but can swap to two different sets of fists: one with the gems in his rings, and one without from when Little Jon steals them. As for heads, we have two extra: angry John and a perplexed John where the crown is tipped forward covering his eyes. His neutral head has a removable crown which pegs into his ears, but the other two feature a permanently affixed crown. I do like the comedic one, but I feel like the angry one could have been embellished more. He gets really mad in the film where as this expression is more menacing than angry, and maybe that’s what they were going for? What’s missing though is plainly obvious: no thumb-sucking hand or expression! Considering how much Flynn seems to love the character, I am shocked that Super7 didn’t give us the pieces to recreate those scenes from the film. This line is called Ultimates because it’s supposed to represent the ultimate expression of the character, and how can you do Prince John without that?! Did they honestly prefer these portraits to that, or did they just find it too hard to get him to suck his thumb and tug his ear? Not only should we have gotten a proper thumb-sucking hand, but we should have got a second one with mud on it! It’s just baffling.

Don’t make him mad!
It feels like we won’t get many strangulation accessories in this line, so cherish this one.

The last thing we need to talk about with Prince John is also the least impressive: articulation. Same as it was with the other two figures in this line, PJ doesn’t move all that well. He has the same, bland, ball and socket for the head that lets him move in all directions, but without tremendous range. He can look up a bit as well as down, but there’s no reason for him not to have a double ball peg given the presence of the robe. The shoulders are ball-hinged and he can almost raise his arms out to the side, but more importantly, he can rotate just fine even with the robe. The elbows are tight and single-hinged with swivels and they’re somewhat buried in the sleeve of his undershirt or gown. They’re fine, and his hands rotate and hinge in-and-out. The torso features nothing, and bizarrely, Prince John is like a tube of plastic. His hips are way down there and I guess it makes sense considering he’s a lion. Though if he were to go on all fours his rear legs would be comically short. He can rotate at the waist at least with ball-hinge hips, single-hinged knees that swivel, and ankles that hinge and rock side-to-side. His knees are basically sculpted to always be bent so the range isn’t great and the ankles are definitely more loose than I’d like. He’s able to stand okay, though my kids running into the room where his shelf resides was enough to cause him to fall over so his ability to stand could be better. He also has a ball joint for his tail, but it doesn’t do much aside from just letting you control which side it trails off towards. It’s basically the same story though where there’s not a lot of articulation and some of what is there is just too loose. I really wish Super7 could at least figure out the loose issue as so many figures suffer from it.

This might be the most elaborate posing he can achieve.
This goofy head might be my favorite.

Overall, I do think Prince John turned out well enough when judged on what is actually there. The sculpt is solid, I like the robe, I just wish there was more paint and tighter joints. I don’t need him to do ninja kicks, but I do need him to stand. The color transfer issue is also concerning. Mostly, I can’t help but look at this guy and feel like Super7 really missed an opportunity to deliver a truly ultimate version of Prince John. Who else is going to make a Prince John figure? The lack of a thumb-sucking pose is a real bummer. Maybe they’ll come back to him when the cast of the film is a bit more fleshed out. They could do a throne that comes with the needed parts or maybe do a pajama version of the character or blue-robed variant. Do I want a variant of PJ? No, not really, but maybe I could do the throne. Considering they’ve already solicited thrones for other lines and they’re around $45 though, I’m a little less enthused about that prospect. Super7 tends to make things right when they get something so fundamentally wrong, and so I do feel like this may be one of those things. The fact that PJ is a favorite of Brian Flynn gives me a little more optimism. As released, Prince John is fine, but he could have been so much more.

Overall, PJ turned out pretty well, but he should have been better than that,

Super7 Disney Ultimates! Mickey Mouse as The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

Do bad things always happen when the mouse puts on the hat?

The first figure from this line of Super7 action figures based on characters from Disney’s treasure trove of animated characters was Pinocchio. In that review, I mentioned how Disney wanted to outdo itself with Pinocchio and sunk a lot of money into that film’s production. Well, the only other film from that era that might compare is 1940’s other feature: Fantasia. Fantasia was Walt’s passion project as he saw the marriage of animation with classical compositions as high art. I think he was mostly happy with how it turned out, but not happy with the reception as audiences didn’t seem to appreciate it the way the company figurehead did.

How come Mickey gets a special sticker, but Pinocchio doesn’t, when both films were released in 1940?!

Even so, there’s no denying that at least one segment from Fantasia has impressed and delighted movie goers for generations and that’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. That segment starred Mickey, who was still a pretty big deal in 1940. He was voiceless in the film, but was arguably never as expressive as he is in the short segment because no Mickey cartoon before (or likely since) had the budget of Fantasia. It truly is a delight and one of the best cartoons of all time and it’s no surprise that Super7 turned to Fantasia, and Mickey, with its first wave of Disney Ultimates!

Doesn’t get much more iconic than this.

The direction of Super7 founder Brain Flynn with this Disney line is to not simply do characters from Disney in their most recognizable forms. For Mickey, that would be classic red trunks and yellow shoes. The thinking from Flynn is that you can get that Mickey anywhere so Super7 should do something else. Now, doing Mickey as the Sorcerer’s Apprentice isn’t exactly breaking new ground either, but it’s apparently enough for Flynn who basically conceded that they needed to do something a bit more expected and generic for this first wave as Disney collectors are probably pretty new to Super7. And since the figure did sort of coincide with Fantasia’s 80th anniversary (curiously, so did Pinocchio but that one didn’t get a fancy sticker on the box), it makes perfect sense to have this Mickey in Wave One.

Careful, he doesn’t like it when you call him short.

Being a 7″ scale line, Mickey comes in on the small side for an action figure. He is not, however, as small as Pinocchio and I think most collectors are likely going to be pretty happy with the sizing of the mouse. To the top of where his head would be he’s nearly 4″, and once you factor in the hat he’s basically a 5″ figure. His proportions are fairly small, though more substantial than Pinocchio, and he does feature the trademarked oversized gloves and shoes. This is a figure that largely features no paint. There’s the blue on the hat with the painted silver runes, Mickey’s eyes and mouth, and the black lines on the back of his gloves. Under the robe, he does have blue trunks which are a mix of colored pieces and painted ones and the brown boots are colored plastic. It’s largely fine, as his entire body is covered by the robe, but where paint is sorely needed is on his face. The flesh-tone plastic is just not saturated or warm enough for the character and it has a glossy characteristic that is off-putting. Some have gone so far as to say it ruins the look of the figure, but I’m not willing to go there. Instead, it’s just an unfortunate shortcoming. Simply painting that area of the face would do wonders for the look of this guy.

Mickey’s feeling pretty good in that snazzy robe.

I mentioned in the Pinocchio review that one of Super7’s goals with this line is to incorporate soft goods into each release. For Pinocchio, the inclusion was a minor one, but for Mickey the soft goods needed to be something special and I’m happy to say Super7 pulled it off. Mickey’s robe is a touch darker than it is onscreen, but it has a shimmery quality to it that really imparts a sense of quality into the release. It’s cinched with a simply knotted rope, and it’s appropriately sized for the figure. It doesn’t look overly baggy, and the roominess of the design allows Mickey’s articulation to function as intended. Like a lot of collectors out there, I’m not often partial to soft goods, but here they work and they work well.

Things always start off well enough when tossing magic at a broom.

As for that articulation, I’m happy to say it’s better than what we got with Pinocchio, though it’s still hardly a strong point. Mickey’s head sits on the same ball peg design as Pinocchio so there’s no neck articulation and what you get out of his head just depends on the amount of range on that single ball. It’s sufficient as Mickey can look up an okay amount, but there’s really no reason why they couldn’t a double ball peg. The shoulders are ball-hinged and Mickey can raise his arms out to the side just fine and he can even rotate around with the robe on. He has single-hinged elbows with swivel and his hands rotate and feature horizontal hinges. Once again though, we have no torso articulation. Not even a waist cut, which is a shame because, again, the robe would hide everything! Maybe it’s a size issue – I don’t know, but NECA’s done figures at this size with more articulation so I’m not willing to allow that as an excuse. At the hips, we have the usual Super7 ball-peg hips and they’re fine. The knees hinge and swivel and Mickey can at least bend 90 degrees. The ankles are, once again, rather floppy and the oversized shoe means the ankle rocker isn’t as useful as it could be. The right ankle on mine isn’t as bad, but the hinge is pretty tight. I actually have a hard time getting both legs to appear the same length as the knee hinge is loose on the left leg. There’s also a ball-hinge at his tail giving that some movement. He can hold a pose at least, and hasn’t fallen down like my Pinocchio, but there’s room for improvement.

Eventually though, things take a turn and it’s time to break out the axe!
There’s certainly a nice assortment of stuff here, and I didn’t even place all of the extra hands into the shot.

On the accessory front, we pretty much get all that we need. The default head is an open mouthed smile and Mickey can swap to an angry head or a standard smile. Both extra heads feature a bend in the cap which is nice for a little added personality. I probably could do without the smile though in favor of a scared expression because it feels redundant with the open smile. All of the heads also feature the ears sculpted into the hat, and I feel like Super7 missed an opportunity to change the ear position so we could have a screen accurate way to present Mickey from the side as he is on the back of his box or as he was in the often seen tag before every Walt Disney VHS release in the 80s and early 90s. A scared expression would have been really nice for the giant book accessory that Mickey floats on towards the end of the segment. The book is just a big slab of plastic, and it’s cool, but without a scared head I really don’t know what to do with it. There’s also a single, animated, broom with a pair of water buckets it can hold. There’s no articulation on the broom, but both it and the buckets are very well-painted. And for when Mickey gets angry with said broom, he has an axe to chop it up. To go along with all of that, are numerous hands. Mickey has open hands in the package to go with fists, gripping hands, pointing hands, and a more relaxed open set of hands. With the hands, the only criticism I can make is the hinge on the gripping hands isn’t going the right way, but otherwise this is a fine set of expressions.

There’s probably a lot of people wondering how they can get more of these guys.
The book is neat, but this would work so much better with a scared expression.

Objectively, and subjectively, Mickey succeeds far more than Pinocchio did at making the jump to plastic. The articulation could be better, but that’s often true of every Super7 release. My main critique is in the lack of paint on the face, and if not for that, I’d consider this a homerun. As released, it’s a solid line drive for a double and I think it will please both action figure fans and Disney collectors. It’s very on-model, and the soft goods robe adds a touch of class. Plus, it’s an iconic version of an iconic character. Personally, I would have loved to have seen Super7 roll with The Band Concert or The Brave Little Tailor version of Mickey, but at least we’re getting that with the ReAction line and I can’t fault them for doing this version. It’s both safe and pleasing for the audience and an easy recommend for Disney enthusiasts.


%d bloggers like this: