Monday, March 30, 2015

Action Figure Review: Split Cycle Superman from Man of Steel by Mattel

     Before I get into the review, I want to think Action Figure Man over at Action Figure Imagery for sending me these figures. I won their February 2015 contest and received this figure and one of the smaller Guardians of the Galaxy two packs. I appreciate Action Figure Man's generosity in running these contests pretty frequently and giving out prizes! Thank you so much!

    Man of Steel. I liked it. I liked it quite a bit actually, as it turned out to be one of my favorite films of 2013. I've always found Superman to be a Mickey Mouse: A recognizable and popular character whom people love that has done little to nothing noteworthy. Sure, I love the first two Christopher Reeve films and I enjoyed Lois and Clark when it first came on (I was pretty young), but there has been little else Superman related (other than his appearance in Batman-centric stories) that has interested me). Man of Steel changed that for me, although I think the things I enjoyed about the movie probably alienated Superman fans. I will say something we probably all agree on, though: Mattel's Man of Steel was pretty lackluster. Let's be honest: Superhero movie toylines have just gone down hill. While we're living in a time when superhero movies are box office gold and quite decent overall, Hasbro and Mattel keep giving us pure and utter trash. Seriously, many of the figures from the recent Marvel and DC movies truly look like they could be discount retailer material. For Man of Steel, Mattel did offer their "collector" focused Movie Masters line, but even those ended up fairly week. Today I'm looking at what was probably the best figure to come out of the Man of Steel smaller scale toyline: Split Cycle Superman. Ready for a look at this figure? Then join me after the break...

Friday, March 27, 2015

Action Figure Review: AT-DP Driver from Star Wars: Rebels by Hasbro

     One of the things that you can always count on in the Star Wars universe is that the armored troops will have some awesome visual designs. Today I'm looking at another figure from Hasbro's Rebels assortment: The AT-DP Driver. Also known as Imperial combat drivers, AT-DP drivers pilot a variety of the new vehicles features in Rebels including the All Terrain Defense Pods that are employed on the planet Lothal as part of the Imperial security forces. I don't have an AT-DP yet but I did manage to find the driver on the same day that I picked up my Jedi Temple Guard. The Rebels figures have been pretty tough to come by, at least in my experience, so I was glad to find this one. Ready for a quick look at this figure? Then join me after the break...

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Action Figure Review: Jedi Temple Guard from Star Wars: Rebels by Hasbro

First things first: This figure is not from Star Wars: Rebels. He's from The Clone Wars. It even says so on his packaging, which is almost the same as the packaging for the Rebels characters other than the fact that the Rebels figures have the Rebels logo on the front. Basically, Hasbro is mixing together figures from both Star Wars TV shows and the six films in the newest incarnation of the Star Wars: Saga Legends collection which most fans are just referring to Star Wars: Rebels. Secondly, the Jedi Temple Guard is a very cool character. We saw these guys hanging around in two episodes of the fifth season of The Clone Wars and one episode from the sixth season, and it seems like a lot of fans have been anxious to get them in toy form. Of course, it's a bit disappointing that these guys ended up in the minimally articulated Saga Legends line rather than in the more articulated 1/18th scale Black Series assortment. Who knows if we'll ever see these guys redone as better figures? I'm finally going to try and stop complaining about the Saga Legends limitations and just look at this figure as it is. Ready for a look at one of the guys who guards the Jedi? Then join me after the break...

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Action Figure Barbecue: I Have a Logo!

     I have a logo of my very own now and it's all thanks to Matt over at The Toy Box! A few days ago Matt was having fun designing some logos for a few other toy blogs and he very kindly created one for Action Figure Barbecue. I love it! Not only does it capture the casual (yet flame grilled) flavor of my site but it also pays tribute to classic action figures. I'm so excited to have this on my site! A very special thank you to Matt at The Toy Box, which is one of the best action figure reference sites I know of. Seriously, the put together some great features covering almost every toyline you can imagine. I use them as a reference quite often when I'm researching toylines for writing reviews. Of course, they also spearheaded Toy Bloggers United. 
Seriously. They love toys.

Anyways, want to know why my site is called Action Figure Barbecue? Then join me after the break and I'll tell you...

Action Figure Review: Predator (Thermal Vision) from Predator ReAction by Funko

  Last fall I stayed at a hotel in Asheville, NC that was within walking distance of Comic Envy, a pretty nice and well organized comic shop that I've visited once or twice before. While I was there I happened to find the newly released Predator figures from Funko and purchased the masked version of the Predator. Anyone who has read some of my reviews of NECA's Predator figures knows that I'm a huge Predator fan. I'd wager that the movie is on the list of my top ten to fifteen favorite films. I'm neither a hardcore collector of Predator merchandise nor a completionist of Predator action figures, but if I see something cool I'm inclined to pick it up. So, when I saw Funko's Toys 'r Us exclusive "Thermal Vision" Predator variant, I had to pick it up. I was captivated by the bright colors and the sheer novelty of the toy. Of course, a minute or two after picking this up, I started thinking to myself: "Wait? Why are we seeing the Predator in thermal vision? Thermal vision is what we get when we see from the Predator's perspective." You know what? Don't let that ruin this toy for you. Maybe the Predator is hanging out with other Predators. Maybe the Predator is standing in a mirror. Maybe he's taking a selfie. Does a sherbert colored Predator have to be justified in order for it to be awesome? Read more about this figure after the break...

Monday, March 23, 2015

A New Batgirl Review: Batgirl from Headstrong Heroes by Monogram Masterworks

     As you probably already know, I'm a huge fan of Batgirl. It's gotta be Barbara Gordon, though. Betty Kane, Cassie Cain, and Stephanie Brown are certainly worthy and interesting heroes, no doubt about it, but nobody tops Babs in my book. While I'm always picking up new and interesting Batgirl products, I also do lots of online searching for older stuff I don't have, particularly statues, busts, and action figures. A month or two ago I learned about this bobble head from Monogram Masterworks. It was was released in 2004 under their Headstrong Heroes line which was billed as a line of "Dynamic Bobble Heads," probably due to the more action oriented body sculpt. I watched a few online listings until I found one for a pretty good price for one new in the box (probably under $20 bucks shipped) which I jumped on. A few days later she arrived at my door. Unfortunately, I did have some quality issues with this bobble head. It wasn't due to the shipper, as the figure was safely packaged and find before I removed it from the package. It seems that perhaps the materials have broken down some overtime. As you're watching these pictures, I'll note a few areas where I had to do some repairs on the figure. Ready for a closer look at this bobbling bat babe? Then join me after the break....

The Facts:
Height: About 8 3/8ths inches from the base to her ears

Articulation: Spring attached bobble head (broken)

Accessories: None

Year of Release: 2004

The Positives:

* The sculpt on this figure is really nice. The head looks a bit oversized since this figure is technically a bobble head. Since the attachment for the spring on the neck that gives the bobble head it's bobbling motion broke, I had to create a new neck with Sculpt-it. This keeps the head on securely, but it makes the head look a bit oversized since it is now closer to the body. Regardless of that, it's a solid sculpt and captures the classic Batgirl costume.

     The base of this bobble head is really nice: It's the batsignal with a "Batgirl" name plate. I love when extra environmental elements like this are incorporated in a statue or action figure as it gives the final piece a diorama like quality. I'm definitely a fan of that. Batgirl looks great perched atop the batsignal. It's just a recognizable and fun aspect of the statue. The sculpting is nice as well with quite a few cool little details. It also reminds me of one of my favorite Batgirl statues from my collection: The Batman: The Animated Series Batgirl statue where she's lounging on top of the batsignal. Considering that Babs isn't really linked to the signal in any significant way other than being part of the Bat-family, it's interesting that it was chosen.
 The Negatives:

*I mentioned the breakage issues, and that's coming up, but first I want to talk about the paint. The paint applications themselves aren't bad by a long shot, but the paint itself is kind of...tacky? I'm not sure if that's the right word but after handling this piece I found blue traces of blue paint staining my fingertips. (Before I realized what was causing this I thought that maybe Tobias Funke was stalking me.) The darker paint also seems to be encroaching on the space of the yellow paint, which is a bit bothersome and entirely uncalled for. This has got to be the case of the paint simply breaking down over the years, although this piece is only about 11 years old.
     Let me talk about the breakage issues I alluded to earlier. As I mentioned above, this figure came new in the the original window box. It was safely packaged by the seller I purchased it from and it looked great. Upon opening it, though, the head fell off. It appears that whatever attached the spring to the head had disintegrated. When trying to work with the statue the right ear on the cowl just snapped off and a chunk of the left edge of the cape cracked off. Once again, I think this is a case of the materials breaking down over time. I'm not sure what the statue is made of, but it seems to be problematic.

     After sitting down to fix the neck and glue the cape piece and ear back on, I'm happier with the statue. It is a nice piece and it's a real shame that it seems to have aged poorly. Being that it's not new, I really have no frame of reference for if this is a widespread problem or not. As a collector of Batgirl stuff, I still wanted this on my shelf as part of my display even with my repairs. For anyone besides the most hardcore Batgirl collectors, I'd recommend avoiding this piece unless you plan on keeping it in the box. That might help to preserve it, although I can't guarantee it. It's tough reviewing older stuff sometimes but, considering the breakage issues I faced, I'm giving this statue a Crap and a 1/2. Serious Batgirl collectors who don't mind fixing their toys need only apply. You deserve better, Babs!

If you're interested in checking out my Batgirl collection, I've got some of it posted right here on Action Figure Barbecue!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Action Figure Review: Thunder from Big Trouble in Little China ReAction by Funko

     While Lightning has the most recognizable special move and Rain has the coolest weapons and battle face, Thunder is quite possibly my favorite of the Three Storms. Played by Carter Wong, a guy who is so freaking awesome that he trained the Royal Hong Kong Police Department in martial arts and made a ton of movies with titles like When Taekwondo Strikes, Snaky Knight Fight Against Mantis, and Killer of Snake, Fox of Shaolin, Thunder is an incredible bad guy who just oozes confidence and charisma. He also gets so pissed during Big Trouble in Little China that he causes his body to expand and explodes! And yes, it is as awesome as it sounds. Anyways, to finish up my coverage of the first series of Funko's Big Trouble in Little China ReAction line, here's my review of Thunder. You know, over the past two weeks I've not only reviewed six Big Trouble in Little China figures and watched the movie but I've watched countless clips from it on YouTube, listened to the soundtrack, watched the TMNT episode "A Chinatown Ghost Story," and searched through prop and reference photos. I'm son such a BTiLC kick that last night I dreamed I was in the basement of the Wing Kong exchange with Egg Shen, Wang Chi, and Jack Burton while Egg was giving everyone cups of the Six Demon Bag. I woke up during the elevator ride down. Maybe it's a good thing that there's only six figure in this first series instead of eight, otherwise who knows what would happen to me over the weekend...

Friday, March 20, 2015

Action Figure Review: Rain from Big Trouble in Little China ReAction by Funko

Ready for another Big Trouble in Little China ReAction review? I hope you are because today I'm hitting up the second of the Three Storms: Rain. Played by Peter Kwong, Rain is the Storm best known for his awesome long hair, his crazy back scratcher like weapons, and for having pretty much the best facial expression ever. Even though he gets killed by Wang Chi in a sword fight, Rain still has a pretty good run in the film. He's also never been offered in action figure form before this release. Rain was slated to appear in the second series of N2 toys' now crazy expensive 2002 Big Trouble in Little China action figure line but, unfortunately, that second series never happened. Ready for a look at Rain in the faux-vintage ReAction line? Then join me after the break...

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Action Figure Review: Lightning from Big Trouble in Little China ReAction by Funko

     Recently I walked into my local Food Lion and did a survey with random folks. I asked them whether they thought Big Trouble in Little China was the best move in existence or the greatest film ever made. Of the 17 people I surveyed before the management ran me off, 100% chose some answer that indicated that the John Carpenter masterpiece was indeed pretty much the #1 film ever. Anyways, today I'm looking at another figure from Funko's Big Trouble in Little China ReAction line: Lightning. Played by James Pax, Lightning is one of the Three Storms in service to Lo Pan. Not only is he a super cool martial artist who throws a Kukri, but he also can summon and use lighting as a weapon. Ready for a look at Lightning? Then get ready after the break...

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Action Figure Review: Lo Pan from Big Trouble in Little China ReAction by Funko

 Which Lo Pan? Little ol’ basket case on wheels, or the ten-foot-tall roadblock?!

Which Lo Pan, indeed. David Lo Pan is simultaneously the elderly crime lord of Chinatown who runs the Wing Kong Exchange and a powerful, ancient sorcerer who was cursed Qin Shi Huang, the first sovereign emperor of China. Played by James Hong (a man who has been acting non-stop since the 1950's), David Lo Pan is a character who manages to be incredibly memorable whether he's appearing as a shriveled old man with a shrill voice or in his spirit form as a powerful and noble warrior. Both incarnations of the character would be awesome to own in the ReAction line but Funko went with the spirit (and later flesh) form of Lo Pan for the first series of Big Trouble in Little China figures. I really have a tough time picking a favorite character in this movie: Jack Burton is the obvious choice but Lo Pan is so fun and crazy, too. Of course, everything Egg Shen says is pure gold. Anyways, how about we jump right into this review of Lo Pan. Sound good? Indeed!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Action Figure Review: Gracie Law from Big Trouble in Little China ReAction from Funko

    "Don't panic, it's only me, Gracie Law!"

 A few days ago I looked at Jack Burton from Funko's Big Trouble in Little China ReAction line and today I'm looking at another of the film's heroes: Gracie Law. Played by Kim Cattrall, Gracie Law is a lawyer and an activist who is independently working to rescue victims of human trafficking in Chinatown. While every character in the film adds something special to the mix, Gracie Law has some excellent, lightning fast and razor sharp dialogue that definitely complements Jack Burton's "speaking without thinking." While I'm a bit baffled as to why Funko didn't make this an eight figure series like many of their other lines (Egg Shen and Wang Chi are absolutely necessary- Wang's kind of the hero, after all) I'm glad Gracie Law made it into the first assortment of six figures. Funko opted to include Gracie in the wedding dress for her and Miao Yin's wedding. It's not what you'd call her "basic" look in the film, but it's probably the more exciting option. Ready for a look at Ms. Law? Then join me after the break...

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Action Figure Review: Jack Burton from Big Trouble in Little China ReAction by Funko

"Just remember what old Jack Burton does when the earth quakes, the poison arrows fall from the sky, and the pillars of Heaven shake. Yeah, Jack Burton just looks that big old storm right in the eye and says "Give me your best shot. I can take it."

     Big Trouble in Little China is one of the greatest films ever made. Fact. Maybe it's due to the amazing sets and great martial arts action scenes. Maybe it's due to John Carpenter's excellent soundtrack and the colorful, Hong Kong inspired sets. Maybe it's due to the amazing cast and snappy dialogue. Or maybe, just maybe, it's due to the presence of Kurt Russell as Jack Burton. Jack Burton is one of the most unique and entertaining characters in any film; for my money, this is without a doubt Kurt Russell's best performance. While Burton is technically the main character in an action movie, he really plays the part of the sidekick more than being the hero. Sure, Jack's got more personality and more bravado, but he also proves to be incompetent a few times. Not all the time (he does have some excellent reflexes), but Dennis Dun's Wang Chi is more of the hero in the traditional sense. Anyways, consider me a Big Trouble in Little China, a Jack Burton devotee, and a collector who has anxiously awaiting some new action figures from this film. Back in 2002 N2 toys released a series of action figures from the film but they proved to be incredibly difficult to find. Miss Mermista from Diary of a Dorkette wrote up an overview of the series for me back during my days at The Epic Review, but that's all that has ever been released. While I've always hoped that NECA would pick up the license I was thrilled to hear that Funko was releasing ReAction figures of Jack Burton and some of the crew. Today I'm looking at the first of six figures in the series: Jack Burton. "Sit tight, hold the fort, keep the home fires burning. And if we're not back by the president." Also, join me after the break...

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Action Figure Review: Snake Plissken from Escape from New York by NECA

     Over the next week I'm going to be reviewing seven action figures based on the films of director John Carpenter: The Snake Plissken figure I'm looking at today and the first series of Big Trouble in Little China figures from Funko's ReAction line. Consider this week a mini tribute to both John Carpenter and Kurt Russell!  I've said it before and I'll say it again: If someone told me I could only watch the films of one director for the rest of my life, I'd ultimately choose the films of John Carpenter. While everyone with any shred of taste or dignity will readily praise Halloween, Big Trouble in Little China, The Thing, They Live, and The Fog, even some of his less renowned films, such as Prince of Darkness, In The Mouth of Madness, Vampires, and Cigarette Burns resonate with me. Since today I'm reviewing NECA's recently released 8-inch Snake Plissken action figure, I wanted to write just a little bit about my introduction to the films of Carpenter through watching Escape From New York with my dad. One of the absolute best weeks of my life occurred during the summer of 1997. If you want to hear about it, keep reading after the break. Otherwise, if you'd rather just read about the toy, skip to "The Facts" after the break...

Monday, March 9, 2015

Cool Kickstarter Project: Universe Expanded- An Unauthorized Guide to Kenner's 1998 Star Wars Action Figures

     If you're not a regular reader of you need to be. Philip Reed has a real passion for latching on to (possibly obsessing over) great toy lines and unique concepts from the past and writing all about them. Over the past few months Philip has been frequently posting about Kenner's 1998 Star Wars: The Power of the Force II sub-line based on the Expanded Universe books, looking at not just the figures themselves but also the interviews, magazine articles, and marketing surrounding them. I have vivid memories of receiving most of these figures for Christmas of 1998 and they've always been some of my favorite Star Wars toys ever since their release (tell me that's not the coolest Luke Skywalker look ever). To celebrate this great line, Philip is putting together a hardcover book through Kickstarter: Universe Expanded: An Unautorized Guide to Kenner's 1998 Star Wars Action Figures. If you've never checked out one of Philip's books such as Each Sold Separately, Action Figures Not Included, or Transforming Expectations, you should know that these are well written, professionaly printed books filled with excellent reference photos of not just toys but also marketing materials and images from various periodicals. If you're a fan of Star Wars or action figures from the mid-late 1990s, you definitely need to check out this book. If you're interested in joining in to get this book published, head on over to Kickstarter and pitch in a bit to get yourself a copy.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Work In Progress! I'm Now a .Com!

Hey everyone!

Action Figure Barbecue has finally made the jump to having its own URL today. You can now visit the site directly at or get redirected through

Is everyone getting redirected successfully? Am I still popping up in your RSS feeds if you're a subscriber? Notice any problems with functionality? Leave a comment and let me know.

Action Figure Review: The Gimp from Pulp Fiction ReAction by Funko

     For my money, Funko's ReAction figures excel when they're doing one of two things: Releasing figures that feel like they should have been actual toys released in the late 70s/ early 80s or releasing toys that are absolutely inappropriate for a children's toyline in that fun, playful, "collect them all" Kenner style. The Gimp from Pulp Fiction absolutely falls into that latter category. Diamond Select has released Pulp Fiction minimates and soon will be releasing traditional action figures in a 7 inch Diamond Select but it's pretty clear that those are products aimed at adult collectors. Funko's figures, though, playfully manipulate our minds into imaging "What if Pulp Fiction had come out with a kids toyline?" Quentin Tarantino's groundbreaking film was released in 1994, back when I was only 11 and far too young to see Pulp Fiction (I probably first saw it in 1999 while in high school). Still, something about that iconic poster definitely stood out from many other films. Not only was the text bold with eye-catching colors and a weathered appearance but it featured that now classic image of Uma Thurman as Mia Wallace both looking incredibly gorgeous while acting like she doesn't gives a flip about anything.  While it's been imitated so many times in the past 20 some years, watching Pulp Fiction is still a fresh, unique experience. Like a Big Kahuna Burger, Jack rabbit Slims, or the failed pitch for Fox Force Five, there's something about these toys that makes you believe that maybe, just maybe, these could have really existed as a kids toyline but you just forgot about them. I can almost see the commercial with a deep voiced narrator speaking about bringing the action of Pulp Fiction home with new Pulp Fiction action figures! I can see the kids in the commercial playing with Vincent and Jules action figures while spouting overly enthusiastic and kid friendly lines as the narrator. "Oh no! Mrs. Mia Wallace is sick! Call in Jimmie and the Wolf!"

     At some point in the commercial, one kid would be playing with Butch and Marsellus Wallace when some kid would shout (in his best bad guy voice) "Bring out the Gimp!" and proceed to knock a stack of small cardboard crates over to reveal the Gimp action figure. The narrator would close us out by stating "Who will win? Will Butch get his watch back? Does Marsellus Wallace look like a wimp to you? You decide with Pulp Fiction action figures; from Funko! (all figure sold separately)." Long story short, I really found the inappropriateness of the Gimp as a retro styled action figure far too funny to pass up. He's the only figure in the series I've bought so far, and I'm getting ready to review him. Let me wake him up and get him out of his box and we'll get this show on the road...

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Action Figure Review: Commissioner Gordon from DC Comics Designer Series: Greg Capullo by DC Collectibles

     The presence of Jim Gordon is one of the most consistent elements of the Batman mythos. Appearing in the first panel of Detective Comics #27 back in 1939, Gordon has been around since the beginning and I'm hard pressed to think of any Batman adaptation he hasn't appeared in. While we don't see him in action figure form as often as some other Batman allies, looking at my shelf I've realized I'm starting to amass a nice collection of Commissioner Jim Gordon action figures. This version might be the best version of the character yet. Released as part of the third series of figures from the Greg Capullo inspired DC Comics Designer Series, this figure seems to portray Gordon during the events of the New 52 Batman origin story "Zero Year." I find it interesting, then, that DC Collectibles is calling this figure Commissioner Gordon rather than Sergeant Gordon (his rank during "Zero Year") or just Jim Gordon. There's also no mention made of the fact that this is a "Zero Year" tie in unlike the "Zero Year" Batman figure from the same series. Just take a look at this image, or this one: Is there any doubt this is a "Zero Year" Gordon? While Gordon retains his red hair in the New 52 timeline (as opposed to going grey), his hair is typically much shorter. Also, if you've read "Zero Year," the jacket is a dead giveaway. Anyways, naming issues aside, let's take a look at this figure, shall we?

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Winner of the First Toy Bloggers United Contest is....

Last week we held the first contest for Toy Bloggers United and today we're announcing the winner! And the winner is....

Chris Mapp, AKA Stunt Zombie! Chris blogs about action figures, snack food, and other great stuff over at Stunt Zombie and is now the winner of an awesome prize package that was contributed from the good folks at Cool and Collected, The Harvey Mercheum, The Toy Box, Toyriffic, and Action Figure Barbecue.

Chris,has claimed his prize and lots of new junk will be making its way to him shortly!

Thanks to everyone who participated in the contest! Please continue to visit out blogs, leave comments, and subscribe to our content! We all exist simply to entertain, inform, and interact with you, our dear readers!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Action Figure Review: Mini Munny (Loot Crate Edition) from Munny World by Kidrobot

    My February Loot Crate came in last week and this little guy was included. It's a Mini Munny di it yourself vinyl figure. I'm familiar with Kidrobot but I'm not sure that I've ever paid much attention to anything they've released. Anyways, Munnys have been around for a few years and the mini Munny was first introduced in 2008. The idea is that you're supposed to use markers, paint, or whatever else you want to design your own vinyl figure. Not being an artsy person, I'm a bit intimidated and would rather have had an actual character or something in my Loot Crate. Still, I'm going to not just review the base body and articulation but I'm also going to attempt to make a Munny of my own. Can I do it? Let's check and see...

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Episode 37 of the Confirmed Epic Podcast: Marvel's Star Wars: Darth Vader #1 and #2

This afternoon I recorded episode 38 of the Confirmed Epic Podcast with my friends The Reel Brad Bell and Andrew Stokes. Head on over to ThEpic Review and check it out. It's available through the site, on PodBean, and on iTunes. If anyone has any questions for future episodes, please ask us. We'd love to answer reader questions! If you post them below, I'll ask them on the next episode!