Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Clone Trooper/AT-AT (Star Wars Transformers)

Why Did You Buy That Toy?
I know it's a Transformer, but really that's incidental. I just wanted an AT-AT toy. The AT-AT is awesome. It's a giant lumbering walking tank that looks impressive but in real life would be the most impractical vehicle ever. It's like a motor home on stilts if someone then attached machine guns to it. Would you like to ride a motor home balancing on stilts? I wouldn't. But the damned thing looks like a lumbering metal animal and I love it for that reason.

Any regrets?
Well it transforms into an AT-AT pilot, but that mode looks like crap. It's a pain in the ass to transform too. So my plan is to pretty much keep it in AT-AT mode and just pretend it's a model.

Are you Satisfied with your purchase?
Yes. Because as an AT-AT model it's really neat. The legs move and everything. Seriously, the "robot mode" is crap. Look at this thing. It looks like someone decided to make a cyborg but gave up about half way through. Now the legs that look amazing on an AT-AT look like scrawny chicken legs. Bleah.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Batman & Batgirl (Microman)

You know, I'm pretty sure that the guy I bought this from on e-bay swapped out the Batman figure with the single-card Batman. But I like this one better, so, meh.

Why did I buy this toy?
Because I wanted a 3.75" Batman but not the Infinite Heroes one. I'm more than a little disappointed by the limited articulation of the Infinite Heroes figures. So when I remembered they made a Microman Batman with the whopping 30+ points of articulation I decided to go on e-bay and get one. The best deal was in a 2-pack with Batgirl, who I wouldn't mind getting for an okay price, and a Catwoman package, so score.

Any regrets?
Yeah, that I didn't buy that $5 Chun-Li Microman when I had the choice. I also wish that Batman's cape had the same hinge as Batgirl's. (There's a hinge at the top of the cape which allows the cape to be bent at a 90 degree angle.) Action figure capes and they're immobility have always been a pet peeve of mine.

Am I happy with my purchase?
Extremely. The figures have an amazing amount of articulation. (Batgirl's hair also has a hinge to allow the simulation of her hair blowing behind her as she's running.) And they're perfectly in scale with the Marvel Universe figures. The bonus hands also allow a lot of play value. I really like the Mircroman toys now. If they weren't so expensive (import toys) I'd get a bunch more of them. I can't wait to open the Catwoman Microman.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Banshee (Marvel Legends)

Sometimes even a great deal will have you feeling that you wasted your money

Why did I buy that?

Good friend Mario found this on clearance while out toy-hunting. Banshee here was part of the inaugural wave of Marvel Legends after Hasbro took over the master Marvel Comics toy license from Toy Biz. That wave caome out at the start of 2007, so this figure has been hanging around for a while. I really only wanted it because it contained a Build-A-Figure piece of the Fantastic Four villain Annihilus, so I figured $2.50 was a fair price to pay.

Any regrets?

Boy, was I wrong about that. Hasbro totally half-assed this figure. Banshee here reuses a body first introduced with the Bullseye figure years ago, now with a new head, new paint, and removable bits of cloth that plug into holes on his arms and legs to make him look spiffy. Problem is they didn't bother to make his new head look like it belonged on the body. It's too big and sits too far away, giving him a long-necked appearance. As a result it's almost impossible to pose this figure in a way that looks cool; what you see in the picture above is the best I could manage without having him crouch really low. Since he's missing his standard disco-collar as featured in the comics, you're left with a bland base body, which coupled with the ridiculous head on top and some cheap-looking cloth add-ons results in a very underwhelming total package. About the only thing that's really cool about the figure is that the joints are ratcheted to prevent articulation from becoming loose due to repeated use.

Am I happy?

No; this figure is lame. For a long while I figured Banshee was a peg-warmer because people weren't a fan of the character, but now I understand too clearly what a disappointment it is. Yeah, I ultimately bought this figure to get a step closer to completing Annihilus, but Hasbro could've stuck him with something more enticing and essential, like the character's leg or torso. Instead, Banshee comes with . . . a wing. So now I have an Annihilus with no head and one obscenely large wing, plus a Banshee figure I have no need for. Goddammit . . .

Friday, March 27, 2009

Cobra Para-Viper (GI Joe 25th Anniversary)

Ever since I saw a picture of this figure in a Hasbro product catalogue a few months ago, I knew I had to get it. I haven't technically bought it yet; I can't really buy action figures at the moment (stupid economy . . .) so my friend Mario got it for me with the understanding that I'd pay him back in the future. It's definitely worth the seven or eight dollars I'll eventually reimburse him for, though.

This figure's design is so delightfully busy. I have no idea what the base body is, since strapped and glued to the figure are a helmet, breathing tubes, a huge parachute pack, flight gear, knee and forearm pads, ammo clips, a knife holster, swimming fins (on the back of his shins), wind vanes on the lower arms, and a goddamn wristwatch. I could stare at this figure for hours just marvelling at the details. I haven't tried taking off much of figure's gear, but the goggles that sit atop the head are definitely removable. The knife appears to be glued into the sheath on the right leg, though. Don't pull too hard.

Given this is a GI Joe figure, accessories are a big deal. Aside from the now-standard figure base, the Para-Viper includes two guns. The smaller rifle is cool, but the larger rifle is what's really impressive. The stock folds up, and the sniper stand and the magazine are removable! Don't lose them!

The only thing that bugs me about this figure is something that plagues much of 25th Anniversary Series (well, the only major thing, since I also think the arm vanes look pretty stupid--but not the swmming fins glued to the legs, though!). The series has a scale that veers closer to an even four inches instead of the standard 3.75" scale, so the Cobra Para-Viper towers over most of my GI Joe figures. Still, it's really not that big a deal, since it is a really, really cool figure.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Batman (Infinite Heroes)

Why did I buy that toy?

Because he's the goddamn Batman.

Even if you don't get that well-worn Internet meme, you have to understand that Batman is one of the most ubiquitous pop culture figures ever, and like any right-thinking fan of comics/film/animation/stories were criminals get the crap kicked out of them, I like the Batman character a hell of a lot. And with a character as iconic as Batman, you got a source for literally hundreds of different takes on the character in action figure form. However, there have been surprisingly few plain Batman figures to choose from over the years, so getting straightforward basic Batman in a new scale is a treat. And even though most of the initial images of the Infinite Heroes line that I saw left me cold, I knew I had to at least get that Batman figure, which looked excellent.

Any regrets?

Sure it's the same basic body shared by who knows how many Infinite Heroes figures (I for one already possessed it in the form of DCIH Captain Marvel), but the tooling makes it looks like this figure was what the mold was originally intended for. Comparing Batman and Captain Marvel, Batman just looks so much better, and not at all like an awkward mish-mash of accoutrements, unlike the other figure. Still, like other figures that share this body, his hands are a tad oversized; it's not really noticable if you have him in a punching pose, but if his arms are just hanging down it does look awkward.

The biggest problem is the cape. I don't mind that it's molded plastic; I like how it looks. However, the lower edges are swept back, and this plus the weight of the cape make it hard to stand the figure. I want my Batman to be imposing, and he can't really do that if he's staring at pennies on the floor so he doesn't tip face-forward.

Also, this is just a minor problem with my figure, but there's a little grey showing through at the neck that's supposed to be black to match the glued-on cape. It's not glaring, but I hope this isn't a problem with most figures.

Am I happy with my purchase?

God yes. Yeah, I knew going in that the figure looks great, but I didn't realize how much having a 3.75" scale Batman would excite me. I've had this for about a month, and I still pick it up randomly throughout the day just to mess around it. Having a Batman that is the same size as my Star Wars, G.I. Joe, and Indiana Jones figures is five kinds of awesome. You can bet I already tried putting the figure in a Hasbro Jedi Starfighter (it looks cool, but the cape keeps it from fitting inside the cockpit perfectly). Even without the scale benefits, the figure is just fun to mess around with, with decent, useful articulation and great sculpting that makes it look cool in just about any pose. If you pick up an Infinite Heroes figure and don't have a character preference, this should be the first one you get.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Captain Sisko & Gul Dukat minimates

Because it's Captain Sisko. Gul Dukat is neat, but damnit, I think Sisko's the most awesome Captain in Starfleet. You don't f- with the Sisko or he will f- you right up. And now he's in minimate form, one of my favorite toy forms ever.

There's actually a variant of this sisko, Commaner Sisko. But they gave him button eyes so he looks like a mix between Sisko & an animal from Bambi. It's kinda disconcerting. Plus Commander Sisko wasn't as awesome as Captain Sisko, who, as stated previous, would f- your sh- up if he felt it was the right thing to do.

Besides, this completes my line of "Awesome Star Trek Captains in minimate form."

They've already made Pike, who is pretty much only memorable as being the guy Kirk replaced and sitting in that box while beeping once for yes. And I don't give a damn if they never make a Janeway. Does anyone? Oh right, and Scott Bacula.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Red Tornado & Red Tornado (DC Minimates)

I pretty much got these guys just to fill out my DC Minimates collection. I don't really care about the Ma Hunkel Red Tornado (she wore a pot on her head) or the Justice League Red Tornado. I did like the latter in "Young Justice" but since there will never be a Superboy or Impulse minimate it doesn't matter.

But they were on sale and they helped fill out my order so I could be eligible for free shipping. So at least they did that.

Monday, March 23, 2009


Going in to today's post, I have to say that I really enjoy Transformers, probably more than any other toyline. This is the most recent Transformers figure I've bought (I think . . . yeah, I think it is), but I'll be going through my collection over the next few months to highlight some past purchases.

Why did I buy this toy?

I really like the character. In the current Transformers cartoon series, the unimaginatively-titled Transformers: Animated, Bulkhead is one of the five main Autobots who protect future Detroit from evil. He's a big, lovable lug who's quite clumsy and loves to paint. One of my favorite moments in the series is when he's trying to paint a portrait of his friend Bumblebee: using his thumb to get a sense of distance, Bulkhead's arm is so big it obstructs his view and he unintentionally ends up painting it into the portrait.

Any regrets?

The big problem is scale. Transformers figure size classes/price ranges currently stand as thus: Scout (small), Deluxe (average), Voyager (large), and Leader (pretty big). The Bulkhead figure I bought was in the Voyager- size class. Unfortunately subject to the mercies of shipping weight and production budgets, this Bulkhead ends up being shorter than the average Deluxe figure, and much shorter than the average Voyager (he's still has the same mass as the average Voyager, though!). To get a Bulkhead that's in-scale with the rest of the Animated figures, you need to get the Leader class figure. And unless you took advantage of one of those $15 specials Amazon.com had going during December, you're going to have to fork out over $40 for that. Not to mention that figure will take up a lot of room. I have quite a few Animated figures at this point, and it's disappointing that Bulkhead looks uncharacteristically puny next to them. To be fair in vehicle mode he's pretty much in scale with the others, but if you're like me you're not buying Transformers just for the car form.

Am I happy with my purchase?

Yes, actually. If you ignore the scale issues (or you simply don't care), this is a fun figure in its own right. The transformation is simple but not simplistic; it's fun to convert it back and forth from troop transport to chubby robot with ease. You've got to love the sculpt; there's so much personality that comes across. Bulkhead's bulky, but he's not imposing and is actually quite cuddly-looking. He's got two action features (a show-accurate launching wrecking ball, and a lame arm-punching action where the arm straightens out, of all things), but even without those it's a fun figure to pose with, even if his rotund features mean he never stops looking like a big ball with arms. This figure may not be for everyone, but I love it for being a fun representation of a likable character.

Iron Man (Marvel Universe/Fury Files)

Why did I buy it?

3.75" Marvel heroes? Hell yes! The characters that amuse me to no end in scale with Indiana Jones and the GI Joe? Excellent. Now at $8 a pop I'm only getting figures that appeal to me due to the character or the look of the figure. So Iron Man (which is the latter) was a must get. I love toys that rock the full face mask but still have personality. Also the toy looks awesome.

Any regrets?

When I finally opened this sucker up and held it in my hands... the thing's a lot flimsier than I thought. Some of the joints move in an odd way. The ball joints at the hip won't allow much leeway moving the legs back and forth, so Iron Man can't sit at all, but he can damn near do the splits because the horizontal hip joint movement is loose as hell. Also, the ball joint at the neck allow minimal movement. And weirdest of all (to me anyway) the mid chest joint allows for a 360 degree turn.

Are you happy with your purchase?

If this was $5, yes. But for $8 the problems with the figure come into sharp focus and I wonder if I spent too much on this. It doesn't seem like enough toy for $8. It's made me re-evaluate whether how many figures in this line I really want to own.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Scarecrow (DC Infinite Heroes)

Why did I buy that?

Action Ranger Timmy was out shopping and spotted the newest Infinite Heroes releases. He rattled off a list of what was there and Scarecrow seemed the most appealing since, hey, new mold.

Do I have any regrets?

No; in fact I was pleasantly surprised by this figure. It looks great and has a fantastic sculpt. Yeah, it doesn't really fit with the other Infinite Heroes aesthetically, and the hat is oversized, but those points don't bother me. It's just great to have a cool-looking original figure from this line.

Am I happy with my purchase?

Yes. It was the equivalent of an impulse buy, but it feels like I got my money's worth. I mean, I own the Flash/Mirror Master/Weather Wizard box set, so entirely new figures are a treat for me. Also, the articulation is great and the sculpt is well done.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Blue Beetle (DC Universe Classics)

Why did I buy that?
Because it's TED FRICKING KORD the Blue Beetle. I loved the old JLI run of Justice League and Ted Kord's Blue Beetle was a big part of that. He's one of my favorite C-list DC characters of all time. He's a fan favorite, which means he's not popular enough to sell a comic book but that enough people like him that they'll get all pissy if something's done to the character that they don't agree with.

Like if he gets shot through the head.

So it's a DCUC figure of Ted Kord, an highly articulated, well-sculpted Blue Beetle Action Figure? How can I not get that?

Do I have any regrets?
I wish he had more accessories. I don't expect a bug ship or anything, but maybe the rappel line he always uses to exit the ship? But that's probably too much to ask for.

Am I hap-YES.
I really like this toy. Of course my love for the character might be coloring my opinion, but it's a good figure of a character I like, so I'm happy. Although now I want the entire JLA group. They made Booster, but now I really want Fire, Ice and Guy Gardner. Also G'nort. GIVE ME A DCUC G'NORT!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Question (DC Infinite Heroes)

Why did I buy that toy?
Like most of his modern fans, I fell in love with the character "The Question" thanks to his appearances on the Justice League cartoon. I passed on the JLU figure because I don't like the lack of articulation those figures have and I knew they were making a figure of the character for the Infinite Heroes line, which meant it would be in the 3.75" scale.

I've gotten into the idea of 3.75" figures. There's a number of lines in the scale so you get to do toy crossovers (which I love), they're small enough for vehicles, etc. etc. etc. The downside is that for the amount of toy you get they're pretty expensive. But at Target the DC Infinite Heroes are usually $4.99, so yay!

Any regrets?
When I got the Question it in my hand I was very disappointed. The head's a little small and even worse, the damned legs don't move even though they have a hip joint. That's because the Question's coat restricts the leg's movement. So the articulation isn't that great. And the look of the figure is kinda meh. It looks like a generic faceless dude in a suit, as opposed to "Hey! It's the Question." The figure has no personality is what I guess I'm trying to say.

Am I happy with my purchase?
It's pretty lame, but it is a figure of the Question in the scale I wanted. And the fact that it was only $5 makes the pill easier to swallow. So overall it's not a huge disappointment.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Two-Face (Dark Knight 5 inch line)

I thought Two-Face was a lot more interesting than the Joker in the "Dark Knight" movie. He also had the better visual look, so I decided that I would buy a toy of him when he came out, assuming it looked at least vaguely like the movie image. I wasn't certain if I'd get the 5 inch version or the Movie Masters version, but then I saw this baby.
He's the 5 inch version, which means he's in scale with my Doctor Who figures, which I like. He fits right in with that menagerie of weird looking dudes. In addition it's a really good likeness, not perfect, but enough that I feel satisfied that they captured what I wanted them to. And finally, and perhaps even more importantly, I got him when the Movie Masters version, which would be more expensive anyway, was not availble.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Cheff Duff

It's a minimate of a baker from a Food Network show I've never seen before. According to the back of the box the dude makes fancy cakes. Whatever. I got this guy for the accessories. He comes with stuff that can be used with my other minimates. These accessories are, let's face it, pretty fricking neat. A chainsaw, a blowtorch, an electic guitar, some sort of frosting gun. Also: fancy cakes and some cooking utensils. Marty McFly with a chainsaw? Yes!

But what really made this a must buy? It was on sale for $1.99.

Monday, March 16, 2009


One of the most awesome parts of old character showing up in the new series of Doctor Who is that it gives them a perfect excuse to make figures of classic characters. I've wanted a good looking Davros figure since 1996, and I finally got one after he showed up in the latest batch of episodes. And since they didn't really change the character design he goes perfect with all the Doctor Who classic figures they've been making. This is a very adaptable Davros.
Even more awesome is that they've given him only the articulation that he could actually have. In the show he's been paralyzed except for one arm, hanging onto life through an elaborate life-support system and the sheer will of hatred for everything else in existence. So the toy has exactly three points of articulation, all on his right arm. Now normally I think the more articulation the better, but in this case it makes perfect sense for there to be limited articulation and I'm happy.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Hawkman (DC Universe Classics)

Hi, I'm A.J. I'll be posting here on this blog as well. In most instances my reviews won't be as self-flagellating as Action Ranger Timmy's. Anyway, moving on to business . . .

Why did I buy that?

Hmm . . . You know, I can't really say. Action Ranger Timmy called me when he was at a department store and spotted the sixth wave of DC Universe Classics, asking me if I wanted any. Well, I did want the Captain Marvel figure, but my brother was already going to pick that up for me. Swayed by the positive reviews I'd seen over the Internet, I chose Hawkman. Not that I was particularly eager to get a Hawkman figure. I like some of comic appearances and his general aesthetic therein, but the figure from what I had seen seemed a little too bland. Nonetheless, I got Hawkman. He's a dude who flies and smashes people with his mace; it's like if Conan the Barbarian were a superhero. It's a simple yet glorious concept, although DC Comics has a laughingly bad track record at keeping things simple and straightforward when it comes to this character.

Any regrets?

Several notable toy reviewers on the Internet would have you believe this is one of the best figures from Mattel's six-inch scale DC Comics line. Well . . . I wouldn't necessarily agree with that. I have my Green Lantern figure right next to my computer and I enjoy that one a hell of a lot more, which is interesting since both figures share most of the same parts.

In fact, that's my main complaint with the figure, and why I am wary about buying too many DCUC figures: Mattel keeps reusing the same base bodies over and over. I get that they want to save money, but it's pretty easy to cross that line between "clever reuse of base parts" and "cheap bastards". That's why I'm not really into the Justice League Unlimited line (that, and Kenner/Hasbro did a much better job with the Dini/Timm animated series-based figures in the 1990s, but I digress). I own five DCUC figures, and three of them (Hawkman, Green Lantern, and Orion) basically share the same body with different heads, some unique tooling, and different accessories. I really have no compulsive desire to buy essentially the same figure in different colors multiple times, even if Mattel paints it in the most half-assed way possible to resemble my favorite comics characters. Hawkman does have the advantage of having a unique torso (the key difference is the presence of nipples, although it is also wider than the Orion/Green Lantern torso and the rib muscles are set deeper). He also has new tooling for his boots and features raised veins all over his upper body. Still: essentially the same figure. It's like all these figures were drawn by a 1960s DC house artist.

Of course, he has a new head; it's a good sculpt, but he can't look up and the glued-on beak is unslightly up-close. And then there's the wings. They look great folded down in a resting position, but I'm not fond of how they look extended, and something I can't quite figure out bothers me about the articulation (which is funny, since in most case I'd be perfectly satisfied with two wings glued to a figure's back without any posability).

Oh, and his shield is too small. Seriously, it looks ridiculous. It's not even shaped like a shield; for some reason it makes me think of a deep-dish pizza. And the belt on my figure is glued on crooked, so when the sword is in the sheath, the handle impaires the placement of the right arm when it's holding the shield. His mace is fine, though. Except that the figure doesn't have a firm grip on it, and the word "CHINA" is clearly visible on the head of the weapon.

Like all DCUC figures, Hawkman comes with a piece of a Collect-n-Connect figure, in this case the New Gods villain Kalibak. I don't have the accompanying arm anymore, because I gave it to Action Ranger Timmy so he could assemble the figure. Somehow I feel I got the raw end of that deal.

Am I happy with my purchase?

Yeah, I guess. I know that's not the best answer to give when these things cost thirteen dollars. It's just not as great as I was led to believe. I don't hate the figure; it is fun to mess around with and looks decent standing on a shelf. It's just not great.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Kif Kroker

Kif here was on sale. That pretty much pushed everything in the "must buy" direction. You see, I bought the Zapp Branigan figure so I could get the disembodied head of Nixon. But once I put Zapp up I realized that I really liked the figure, so clearly I needed to get his long suffering first officer, Kif. The articulation on the Futurama figures is pretty grim, and I'm usually all about articulation for play value, but with these guys, they look so awesome that it's pretty much like owning a really well done mini statue of Futurama characters and for under $10 (if they're on sale) that's something I can really get behind.

I also love the accessories. The cowboy hat fits really well and he comes with a figure of another character! (I love when they do that!) One of the balls from the ball planet!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Dataframe & Beachhead (GI Joe 25th Anniversary)

Why did I buy that?
Because Dataframe is the character Mainframe from the old GI Joe line but with a new name due to trademark issues. And Mainframe was the first GI Joe I ever owned as a kid. So he's automatically one of my favorite characters. He's the GI Joe computer expert, which was novel in the 80's but insanely impressive these days. Also, he got the Cobra punk girl/espionage expert to fall in love with him.

Yup this is a nostalgia purchase. Plus, it's part of a comic 2 pack, so the cost doesn't seem so extravagent, which is what put me off buying off most of the other GI Joe 25th anniversary figures.

Any regrets?
Well Dataframe's head is ridiculous and his face looks like crap.

Am I happy with my purchase?
But he comes with a computer and his costume looks right, so I've made my peace with with the bad head. Hell, at least I've got my Mainframe figure even if it's only 85% good. And almost as if to make it up to me, Beachhead comes with a second head that has a hilarious goatee that amuses me to no end. So I guess, yeah, I'm happy.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Ambush Bug & Lobo (DC Minimates)

Why did I buy that?

I like Minimates and I like the characters. Ambush Bug was hilarious in the metafiction comedy comics DC put out a long while back. (In one the villain was a badly photo-manipulated image of one of comic's most beloved editors.) And Lobo was awesome in some of the over-the-top one shots DC did in the 90's (like when he was hired by the Easter Bunny to kill Santa Claus). And now they're in minimate form.

Plus they were on sale and I needed to hit a certain price point to be eligible for free shipping. So it was win-win all around.

Any regrets?

Lobo's widow's peak is a little distracting. He doesn't always have that, depending on the art style. And I sort of wish Ambush Bug was wearing clothes of some sorth. He usually has on a Hawaiian shirt or something. The green is pretty dull.

Am I happy with my purchase?

Yeah, they're pretty cool. I never thought they'd make a Lobo minimate, let alone an Ambush Bug one. It's fricking Ambush Bug!

Totally Ripping of Mario!

Just so we're all on the same page, I am totally ripping off my friend Mario's blog at A Year of toys.

There is a slight difference. Whereas he just talks about the toys he buys, I'm taking a slightly different approach. Let's face it, toys are expensive. So when I do buy a toy I need to justify the purchase to myself.

Which is what this blog is about.