It's the last day of the year and while I'm not nearly through with reviewing all of the stuff I picked up in the last month yet I'm going to wrap things up for the year with a look at Darth Nihilus from Star Wars: The Black Series Phase III. While Hasbro transitioned the Black Series into Phase IV during the second half of 2020 some exclusives were still released in the Phase III packaging. GameStop's Gaming Greats releases in 2020 turned out to be well worth checking out in 2020 and while they were mostly repaints/ retools, they did offer up some new characters. One of the most exciting releases is Darth Nihilus from 2004's Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords. I have very fond memories of receiving the game for Christmas of 2004 and starting it the day that my friends and I went to get fitted for tuxedos for my wedding in 2005! The KOTOR games were quite impressive and I'd love the chance to play them again on a more modern console. Darth Nihilus's creepy mask was a key element of the game's packaging and advertising and Hasbro nailed it here. Let's check out another Sith Lord for the Black Series after the break...
- Action Figure Review Index
- Who is Barbecue17?
- My Toy Review Rating Scale!
- 31 Days of Toy Terror!
- Top 10 Lists and Other Stuff
- Podcasts on The Epic Review
- Oh the Horror!: Horror Movie Reviews!
- The Batgirl Library
- The Dark Knight Gallery
- Fabulous Secret Powers
- Snake Mountain!
- Beast Manor
- The Harley Quinndex
- The Joker's Funhouse
- Tosche Station
- The Kessel Run
- The Crystal Castle
- Teela: Warrior Goddess
- Trap Jaw's Tourist Trap
Thursday, December 31, 2020
Wednesday, December 30, 2020
Action Figure Review: Clone Trooper (Holiday Edition) from Star Wars: The Black Series Phase IV by Hasbro
In 2020 Hasbro really failed on delivering exclusives to retailers. Or maybe retailers failed in ordering enough exclusives to satisfy demand. Heck, maybe both are to be blamed? See, in the second half of this year Walmart received an exclusive four figure series of The Black Series Phase IV figures based on the Siege of Mandalore storyline from season 7 of The Clone Wars. Did you ever actually see any of these figures in stores? Neither did I. Yes, Hasbro made a series of Black Series figures based on The Clone Wars exclusive to Walmart and the only place I've ever seen them are on Ebay. Sadly, this is another figure I had to pay a bit extra for because there was no way I was going to miss out on Ahsoka Tano. Ahsoka was released in Phase III based on her Rebels appearance (which was released this year with face-printing) but this one captures her younger look during the end of The Clone Wars. 2020 has been a big year of Ahsoka and this is a great figure of her released in an infuriating way. Let's check out Ahsoka Tano after the break...
Tuesday, December 29, 2020
Action Figure Review: Din Djarin (The Mandalorian) & The Child from Star Wars: The Black Series Phase IV by Hasbro
Target had some of the hottest exclusives of 2020 but they were a trainwreck when it came to ensuring that they were available to collectors. While their exclusive wave of figures from the G.I. Joe Classified Series is probably the most infamous of their blunders the most egregious might just be the extremely limited availability of the Din Djarin (The Mandalorian) & The Child two-pack from Hasbro's Star Wars: The Black Series Phase IV. Featuring two of the most popular characters out there from one of the hottest TV shows in recent memory there was no excuse for this set not to be loaded onto store shelves in time for Christmas. Unfortunately it was hard to find and seemingly released in limited numbers. And getting in on the preorder? Please. Target doesn't seem to be aware what a preorder is for, do they? Since I don't live in close proximity to a Target and had no desire to hunt this down right now I decided to bite the bullet and pay a bit more. Honestly, with the gas money for the distance I would have to drive to even get to Target plus the regular cost of shipping I probably didn't pay much above retail. Still, it's a shame there was no regular way to acquire this through Target. Enough about that, though! Let's get in and check out Din Djarin and Grogu in this brand new exclusive set after the break...
Monday, December 28, 2020
I haven't watched WWE in over a year so I've missed the rise of Bray Wyatt as "The Fiend." It seems to be a great gimmick for him and from what I hear it's quite popular. I was quite excited to see Bray appear in the most recent series of Masters of the WWE Universe with a design that captures the look of his Fiend persona with some of the trappings of, well, Trap Jaw. Ready for a look at another figure in the fourth series of Masters of the WWE Universe? Then let's join Bray Wyatt, The Fiend and Evil Lord of Fireflies, after the break...
Sunday, December 27, 2020
Saturday, December 26, 2020
It's been over a year since I reviewed the Cara Dune figure from The Black Series: Phase III and at the time I reviewed her she hadn't even shown up in The Mandalorian yet. Now the second season has concluded, Carasynthia Dune's a fan favorite, and I'm reviewing the repainted Cara Dune from The Credit Collection based on the concept art for the character. This figure is absolutely a repaint but it's a pretty cool one. One of the things I really like about it is that while it's based on artwork you can truly use this version of Cara Dune as a simple character variant. She doesn't look out of universe or anything. This review features a lot of reused text from last year's review but it's not like my feelings over the basic sculpt or anything have changed since then. Let's take a look at Cara Dune after the break...
Friday, December 25, 2020
To hide the spoilers after the break, I'll start with the official announcement Star Wars: The Book of Boba Fett. Yes, folks, we've got a Boba Fett series to look forward to next year. With the sad news of the passing of Jeremy Bulloch last week it's nice to see the character live on through Temuera Morrison who is doing an awesome job. I wish I could go back and share this news with 13 year old Barbecue17. He would absolutely flip!
And the big reveal after the break (again, Spoilers for Chapter 16: The Rescue!
Thursday, December 24, 2020
Collectible Review: Power Sword Scaled Prop Replica from Masters of the Universe by Factory Entertainment
Wednesday, December 23, 2020
While Hasbro has transitioned their main line to Phase IV, many of the exclusives released later in 2020 have still been part of Phase III and today I'm checking out another one of those exclusives: Commander Pyre. Commander Pyre is part of the Galaxy's Edge subset of Target exclusives and is based on the character from the animated series Star Wars Resistance, which is the only canon Star Wars series I haven't watched. It just didn't interest me that much though at some point I know I'll need to give it a go. I like the look of this guy clad in gold armor (he's one of Captain Phasma's subordinates) and I figured that it's unlikely we'll ever see him again in the Black Series. Couple that with Target's buy two, get one free sale around Cyber Monday and picking Commander Pyre up was a no-brainer. Commander Pyre was originally released in one of the boxed sets at Disney's Galaxy's Edge attraction (along with a Mountain Trooper, Kylo Ren, and a mouse droid) but this is the easiest way to get him outside of the parks. Let's check him out after the break...
Tuesday, December 22, 2020
After 6-7 years Hasbro has finally upgraded the Imperial Stormtrooper for the Black Series. The original Stormtrooper came out in early 2014 and was a rather impressive figure for the time but over the years the articulation has began to feel outdated and the mold used is showing its age. Hasbro seems to have taken the sculpt and design for the 1/18th scaled Rogue One Stormtrooper and used it as the basis for this new Stormtrooper in Phase IV. While they have attributed the figure to The Mandalorian, the version o the E-11 used here definitely gives away this trooper's ties to Rogue One. He's been a tougher figure to find but I stumbled upon one about a month ago and I'm finally getting around to checking him out. Ready for an updated Imperial Stormtrooper for your army building? Then join me after the break...
Monday, December 21, 2020
Action Figure Review: Luke Skywalker & Yoda (Jedi Training) from Star Wars: The Black Series Phase III by Hasbro
So....seen anything good on television lately? I'm not going to say anything further but if you have then you know what I'm talking about, right? *High five*
Anyways, 2020 is the celebration year for the greatest Star Wars film of them all, The Empire Strikes Back, and while Hasbro did release a Kenner inspired 40th Anniversary Collection subset for the Black Series the deluxe figures were released as part of the standard Black Series Phase III. Luke Skywalker & Yoda (Jedi Training) are labeled as the fourth set of the deluxe releases (the Probe Droid was the third) and was essentially sold as a two-pack. I love the Dagobah scenes from TESB and watching Yoda ride around on Luke during his Jedi training really is a pretty memorable image from the saga. Kenner's Power of the Force 2 figures were the Star Wars figures I had as a kid and I vividly recall stumbling upon the series containing Luke Skywalker in his Dagobah fatigues and Yoda with my mom on a trip to Toys 'R Us. It was pretty exciting to finally be able to add Yoda to my collection and having a figure that I knew didn't appear in the vintage line was pretty exciting. Of course, that Luke was really bulky and ripped but he was still very cool. Of course, this guy's even cooler than that figure and getting him and Yoda together is convenient. This is actually a modified Yoda as the earlier release (who I've apparently never reviewed) was quite oversized and wouldn't fit on Luke's back very well. Ready to jump in for some Jedi training? Then join me after the break...
Saturday, December 19, 2020
Despite everything this year has brought Masters of the Universe fans will remember 2020 as the year that Super7 finally delivered us Snake Mountain. While Mattel is still actively releasing Masters of the Universe toys and they may revisit the scale and style of Masters of the Universe Classics, this piece is truly the end of the long running line stretching back to the first release of King Grayskull at SDCC 2008. Since then Mattel and Super7 have released well over 200 figures, multiple oversized vehicle and beasts, giants, dragons, and even massive playsets, a feat that's quite impressive in this modern age, particularly when you realize that 99% of the product never appeared on a retail shelf. When Mattel released Castle Grayskull in 2013 it seemed like it was the epitome of the MOTUC line. It seemed like mountains had to be moved to make it happen and that it would be the centerpiece of the line. But, little did we know, Snake Mountain was in the works. It didn't happen under Mattel, though, but under Super7. When Mattel lost interest in the MOTU property Super7 took over and continued to offer figures and vehicles that fit in with what we already had. We had Night Stalker but Super7 gave us Stridor. They gave us figures from the 1987 movie, something Mattel assured us over and over again was impossible. And finally, in April of 2019, Super7 began their campaign to give us Snake Mountain.
With Super7 being a smaller outfit than Mattel and Snake Mountain being a much larger playset than Castle Grayskull, we knew Snake Mountain wouldn't be cheap. And it wasn't. Second only to purchasing a vintage Eternia I do believe that Snake Mountain is the most expensive collectible item I've bought. I actually started a side savings account a year or so before just for fun (the Snake Mountain fund) so that I was ready to preorder the day it arrived. Well, now Snake Mountain is here and it's massive. I've had mine for about a month now as I wanted to give myself some time to mess around with it and really get my thoughts together on it. Now, its time for my review, and I'm joined in taking pictures and setting things up by my 7-year old daughter, Adora. She was only 3 months old when Grayskull came out but now at 7 she's all about this. You'll catch glimpses of her in some of the pictures peaking through the various openings and corridors of Snake Mountain. Let's take a journey into the Dark Hemisphere and venture to Snake Mountain after the break...
Friday, December 18, 2020
We're only a week out from Christmas and there are only two work days away from going on my almost 2 week Christmas vacation! Hooray! Today's the season 2 finale of The Mandalorian as well, so you know what I'll be up to this evening. My daughter's remote school schedule has been getting easier and easier as she coasts towards Christmas break as well so we've all been in a festive mood and enjoying lots of fun stuff. What you may ask? Well, let's start by talking about The Mandalorian Chapter 15: The Believer...
Thursday, December 17, 2020
Wednesday, December 16, 2020
Tuesday, December 15, 2020
It's taken until 2020 for Hasbro to finally offer up an Ewok in Star Wars: The Black Series and I'm quite curious to see if they're going to be pretty sparing with them (like the Cantina aliens, who they've really neglected) or if they'll go all in like they've done with Clones and Imperial Troopers. I could see the Ewoks being able to utilize more shared parts, so maybe we'll end up with an Ewok army in the next year or so? Paploo was included in the Hasbro Pulse exclusive Heroes of Endor so Teebo, who I'm checking out today, is the first Ewok you can just go to the store and pick up. That's kind of cool to me because Teebo was the first Ewok figure I had as a child. How cool to be 37 years old and still being impressed by Teebo figures, huh? Teebo's a pretty tough looking Ewok and was an influential member of the Bright Tree tribe, getting other Ewok tribes to join the battle against the Empire on Endor. Let's take a look at Teebo after the break...
Monday, December 14, 2020
Action Figure Review: Harley Quinn:Playing for Keeps Edition from One:12 Collective DC Universe by Mezco
Last month I reviewed the traditional Harley Quinn figure from Mezco's One:12 Collective line and today I'm reviewing the Previews exclusive Harley Quinn: Playing for Keeps Edition figure. This version of Harley Quinn seems to be a Mezco original design that is intended as a companion piece to Mezco's Joker: Clown Prince of Crime figure. It's a much more modern look for Harley that takes into account elements of other outfits she has worn within the last decade or so, including her Arkham City outfit and her roller derby outfits from the New 52 era Harley Quinn comic series. Over the past couple years I've definitely narrowed my DC Collecting to just picking up the Mattel era stuff (DCUC, Multiverse, etc.) so now that they no longer have the license I've just picked up older figures here and there. I've also sold off most of my DC and Marvel Mezco One:12 Collective figures but Harley's a special case, so I picked up both of them. I liked the standard Harley Quinn but there were definitely some areas where I was a bit unimpressed with her. How does this version fare? Read on after the break to find out...
Saturday, December 12, 2020
Hasbro has been releasing 6 inch scaled Star Wars figures in multiple different lines this year. Besides the main Black Series Phase III and Phase IV (which include various sublines like Gaming Greats) we also have the 40th Anniversary Line for The Empire Strikes Back and now we have the Credit Collection. Inspired by the amazing artwork shown at the end of each episode of The Mandalorian during the end credits, this line of repaints uses different color palettes to merge the concept art with the Black Series figures Hasbro has already released. Since The Mandalorian revolves around a bounty hunter, we also get a galactic credit roleplay sized monetary piece. So, The Credit Collection: Based on the art shown during the end credits and including a credit. Get it? Word play! All of the figures in this series have been retailer exclusives and IG-11 here is a GameStop exclusive. GameStop is the only store where I can reliably find Black Series exclusives and I stumbled upon IG-11 during a sale. I wasn't originally planning on picking him up as the standard IG-11 was pretty a pretty average figure but in hand I really liked the color scheme. I usually like my Star Wars figures to be able to fit "in-universe" but IG-11 seemed like he could be just another IG Assassin Droid who has been eclectically painted and then worn down by the elements. Let's take a look at The Credit Collection IG-11 after the break...
Barbecue's Ramblings: 10 Star Wars: The Black Series Figures We Need From the Sequel Trilogy Era Films (so far)
Since we've got cold weather right now I guess we need something to turn up the heat, huh? Yeah, when you need some good ol' fashioned flame wars it's always best to bring up the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy. I'm speaking mostly in jest, though, as today I'm mainly focusing on the Star Wars: The Black Series figures we still need from the first five Disney Star wars films, which I'm calling the Sequel Trilogy era. It's crazy to think that between 2015 and 2019 we received a Star Wars film every year! With the Sequel Trilogy and the two spin-off films, Rogue One and Solo, Disney and Lucasfilm tried to capture the frenetic pace of the Marvel Cinematic Universe film releases and it....well, it didn't work so well. Oh sure, 4 of the 5 films made gobs and gobs of money, but the Sequel Trilogy ended up being divisive and incoherent. I love Rogue One and Solo, and I actually really like The Force Awakens, too, but the latter two Sequel Trilogy films, The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker, show the weaknesses of the Sequel Trilogy: No clear direction, no coherent plot, and a constant reactionary mentality. But we're not here to talk about the films, though. No, we're here to talk about the action figures from those five films that Hasbro still needs to make.
While Star Wars: The Black Series seems to be doing really, really well, continually producing exceptional figures, there definitely were some rough patches between 2015 and 2019 where products from those films were over-ordered and languished at retail (just last week a local Walgreens still had the TLJ Poe Dameron and Cassian Andor. Not all of the figures warmed pegs, but enough that Hasbro seems to have moved on from producing much product from the films. That's probably for the best right now but, as someone who loves collecting Star Wars figures, particularly the Black Series, there are some characters I hope Hasbro does eventually release. Maybe they'll merge them into the main line over time, one or two per year, or maybe they'll be some sort of special offers on Hasbro Pulse, but they're figures I think we need yo copmplete collections and rosters. With The Mandalorian being an absolute hit, I really think we've reached a nice point to divide up the Disney era (even though it premiered before ROTS, The Mandalorian feels like the beginning of a new era for Star Wars). While it seems like figures from The Mandalorian, the Original Trilogy, and the Prequel era are always going to be on the table, this list is about the figures from the last era of Star Wars that we could possibly miss out on if they're not made soon. (Maybe not Rogue One, as that seems to be pretty well received and the least divisive of the Sequel Trilogy era films). Anyways, after the break let's see the 10 Black Series figures Hasbro still needs to deliver to collectors from the Sequel Trilogy era...
Friday, December 11, 2020
Hasbro has released a few troop builders from last year's Jedi: Fallen Order game in the GameStop exclusive Gaming Greats subset of the Black Series Phase III and today I'm taking a very brief look at another recent release: The Electrostaff Purge Trooper. Trained and equipped to hunt down any surviving Jedi, the Purge Troopers wear lightsaber resistant armor and carry weaponry designed for combat against a lightsaber. The Electrostaff Purge Troopers will absolutely test your melee combat skills in Jedi: Fallen Order as they strive to hunt down and destroy Cal Kestis. This figure is just a repaint of last year's Purge Stormtrooper (which was actually the Purge Trooper Commander) with a new weapon, so there's not a ton of new stuff to be said. Still, we'll give him a once over after the break...
Thursday, December 10, 2020
Wednesday, December 9, 2020
Tuesday, December 8, 2020
Collectible Review: Havoc Staff Scaled Prop Replica from Masters of the Universe by Factory Entertainment
While I review lots of Masters of the Universe items and an almost equally large amount of specifically Skeletor based collectibles, today I'm checking out something a bit different. It's the Havoc Staff Scaled Prop Replica from Factory Entertainment. Coming in at about 8 inches and made of solid metal this is an interesting and more cost efficient way to get a version of Skeletor's signature weapon in your collection. Factory Entertainment has a 6 3/4 foot 1:1 scale replica coming out but I just couldn't bite on that release for $600 dollars. This one is available for around $30 and does offer up something we haven't seen much in MOTU collectibles. Yeah, there have been kids roleplay items in the past and the Icon Heroes letter openers but so far as I can recall we haven't received any items billed as prop replicas. That definitely is an interesting term to use here as this version of the Havoc Staff isn't based on the 1987 film's Havoc Staff; it's based on the vintage toy. Is it still a prop replica if it's not based on a live-action prop? Pushing semantics aside it's very cool to see the MOTU license diversify more by offering more "higher end" items. I received both the Power Sword and the Havoc Staff a week or two ago but I'm going to start with the Havoc Staff. Let's take a look at Skeletor's evil tool of destruction after the break...
Monday, December 7, 2020
Han Solo and Luke Skywalker in their Endor gear but Princess Leia might be the best figure of the group. Like her two companions, Leia was part of the Heroes of the Endor set sold through Hasbro Pulse earlier this fall (it was originally intended to be the SDCC 2020 exclusive) but Hasbro repacked her in the newest lineup of the Black Series Phase IV figures as well. I remember ordering my vintage Princess Leia in combat poncho figure over the telephone back in early 1996 through an add in the back of a copy of Lee's Action Figure News and Toy review. She was quite inexpensive but listed as loose with no accessories. I was quite young and assumed that meant she wouldn't come with her blaster but I was a bit surprised when she didn't come with her combat poncho, either. Still, I was glad to have her as the POTF2 version (with a Speeder Bike) didn't come out until the middle of 1997. It's amazing how Star Wars action figures have improved over the years, isn't it? I wasn't around for the true vintage line but I'm still amazed by the difference in what we're getting today compared to the POTF2 figures I had growing up. Let's take a look at and see progress in action with this amazing Princess Leia figure after the break...
Sunday, December 6, 2020
Yesterday I reviewed Han Solo in the gear he wears leading the Rebel strike team to the forest moon of Endor and today I'm following that review up with a look at Luke Skywalker (Endor) from the most recent set of Star Wars: The Black Series action figures. While 2020 was the 40th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back, Hasbro has really gone pretty heavy on figures from Return of the Jedi lately. The planned SDCC 2020 exclusive set was the Heroes of Endor set which included the most recent Luke, Han, and Leia figures along with Paploo and a Speeder Bike but if you missed that when it was sold on Hasbro Pulse the three main heroes are still rather easy to find. Luke Skywalker in his combat poncho was originally released in this outfit in the vintage Power of the Force line but since I was only 1 or 2 years old at the time I didn't get a version of Luke in this outfit until the POTF2 version that came with a Speeder Bike. Remember how crazy it was that the Endor version of Luke came with knees? It seemed almost miraculous at the time! Anyways, this version of Luke is heavily based on the Phase II Luke Skywalker (Jedi Knight) figure which makes perfect sense, and yet it's an older base figure that needs updated to meet the high bar of the modern line. Let's take a look at Luke Skywalker (Endor) after the break and see how Hasbro crafted another solid version of Luke...
Saturday, December 5, 2020
This weekend prepare yourselves for a mini review series looking at the heroes of the Rebellion during their mission to the forest moon of Endor! The most recent series of figures from The Black Series includes Han, Luke, and Leia in their Endor gear, all three of which were repacked from the exclusive Heroes of Endor set which was intended as an SDCC 2020 exclusive (the set also came with Paploo and a Speeder Bike). I waited for the single released, though, and wow! This is an impressive set of figures! Today I'm starting off with General Han Solo decked out in his cool camouflaged trench coat from Return of the Jedi. While his lower body is reused from Han Solo in ESB black coat the rest of the figure is new, giving you the option to create quite a few different looks for Han. Ready to take a look at this one? Then join me after the break...
Friday, December 4, 2020
The Christmas/ Advent Season is in full swing and I'm spending it decorating trees, singing carols, and watching every version of A Christmas Carol I can get my hands on. How about you? How are you celebrating the holiday season this year? This past week we've played a lot of games at my house, so this installment of Barbecue's Bonfire is loaded with lots of games. Of course, I've just got to talk about last week's episode of The Mandalorian, right? Yup.
First Order Stormtroopers wielding flamethrowers. The Imperial Incinerator Troopers really made a splash, though, during their first canon appearance in Chapter Eight of The Mandalorian when, under the command of Moff Gideon, they attempted to burn Din Djarin, Grogu, and the rest of the crew out of the cantina on Nevarro. These guys might be hot stuff but they were no match for Baby Yoda (it's going to be really tough to stop calling Grogu that, isn't it?)! Hasbro seems to be trying to get quite a bit of Mandalorian product in The Black Series and this guy is part of the newest Phase IV series which also includes The Armorer. Furthermore, the Incinerator Trooper uses the new Stormtrooper design that was released for Phase IV. The articulation is much nicer and the way the armor covers the body is far more realistic. Ready to light things up with the Incinerator Trooper? Then join me after the break...
Thursday, December 3, 2020
Wednesday, December 2, 2020
Tuesday, December 1, 2020
Just before transitioning into The Black Series: Phase IV, Hasbro released a final series of Phase III figures mostly based on Attack of the Clones. I'm just now getting around to checking most of these out as it took me awhile to find some of them and, frankly, some of them were a bit dull and I might have passed on them until I found a good deal. Today I'm checking out Anakin Skywalker (Padawan) which depicts Anakin in his Jedi tunic that he wears throughout most of Episode II. I don't think it's entirely off-base to say that Hayden's performance in Episode II might be the weakest of any of the films and yet he really turned things around and did a pretty good job in Episode III. I'm still chalking Hayden's performance up to George Lucas' directing efforts and I find myself really liking Hayden and always hoping that he gets worked into another Star Wars project. I really, really wanted to see him appear as a Force spirit and talk with Kylo Ren in The Rise of Skywalker (the original script for Episode IX was so much better than what we got!). Anyways, let's take a look at this version of Anakin Skywalker after the break...