Friday, February 23, 2024

Action Figure Review: Shadow Tracker from G.I. Joe: Classified Series by Hasbro

 

   In January the newest series of Walmart exclusive G.I. Joe: Classified Series figures shipped out and, once again, they features the Night Force theme for the Joe team members. Tunnel Rat and Wolf Spider were the Joe team members in Night Force gear (Tunnel Rat's a repaint while Wolf Spider is a completely new character that reuses some parts from other figures) but Shadow Tracker, a member of Cobra, might be the star of the show. Shadow Tracker was created during the Pursuit of Cobra era, an era which was perhaps the best post-vintage era ever for 1/18th scale G.I. Joe figures. The Pursuit of Cobra figures seemed to draw from a variety of pop culture sources and featured "Jungle Assault" versions of Duke, Spirit, and Recondo that felt suspiciously like tributes to Dutch, Billy, and Blain from the 1987 film Predator, one of the few truly perfect motion pictures to ever exist. And who did those guys square off against? Shadow Tracker, a mask wearing, blade wielding jungle hunter who sported dreadlocks and various trophies made from bone. This guy absolutely rocked the Joe fandom back in 2011 and he's still a pretty unique villain in the Classified Series today. Ready for an incredible new menace for your Joes to face off against? Then join me after the break...


Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Action Figure Review: Peter Venkman & Gruesome Twosome Ghost from Ghostbusters Kenner Classics by Hasbro

 

   I was surprised in early January when I walked into Target and stumbled upon the retro styled Fright Features versions of The Real Ghostbusters figures from Hasbro. These were right on the shelf alongside the Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire toys and they're currently exclusive to Target until later this spring. I've now found all four of the Ghostbusters from this series (Hasbro hasn't announced a release of Janine Melnitz yet, but she's one of the few original vintage figures I still own) but Peter and Ray were the first two I found from the set. These are pretty much straight up remakes of the vintage figures released in very late 1987/ early 1988, which I definitely had and remember fondly. They would have came out when I was four and when I was really into Ghostbusters. The Fright Features series isn't my favorite variant set of the Ghostbusters (that would be either the Super Fright Features or the Backpack Heroes) but these are definitely one of the most recognizable sets of vintage Ghostbusters toys. Apparently they had the widest distribution of any of the sets, which explains why you'll find these in nearly any loose toy bin at comic and collectible shops. Ready to start off checking these remakes out with a look at Peter Venkman & Gruesome Twosome Ghost? Then join me after the break...



Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Action Figure Review: Mutt & Junkyard from G.I. Joe: Classified Series by Hasbro

 


  Mutt and Junkyard are my first G.I. Joe: Classified Series reviews for 2024 figures! I do believe that some of the deluxe set of Mutt, the dog handler, and Junkyard, the dog, made it out at the end of 2023, but this guy didn't release from Hasbro Pulse or most other online stores until the first week of January, so I'm counting the set as a 2024 release. While there are still plenty to be made, Hasbro has been offering a nice assortment of figures with animal companions in the Classified Series. I loved the figures that came with animals as a kid and I'm always looking forward to any sets that come with a dog. We've had Snake Eyes and Timber and now we have Mutt and Junkyard. Oddly enough, Junkyard is the friendlier of the pair, as Mutt is known for being prone to snapping and having a pretty bad attitude. He's the one wearing the muzzle, after all. Mutt and Junkyard were first released as part of the 1984 G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero series, and it's that vintage figure that these two are largely based on. Ready to check out this two-pack? Then join me after the break...


Wednesday, February 14, 2024

The Best of the Rest: My 10 Favorite Individual Toys of 2023


 

   While the list of my 10 favorite toylines from the past year is always the main event for my annual awards, I've always tried to recognize that not every great toy is part of a larger toyline or a toyline that I fully collect. I find that I'm usually driven to lines where I can build a huge roster of diverse characters that have a steady stream of releases, so those tend to be my favorites. It seems kind of unfair, then, to never acknowledge figures from smaller toylines or one off releases. Sometimes I just grab a single figure or toy from a larger line because it really appeals to me in some way. That's where the list of my Top 10 Favorite Individual Toys for the year comes in. So who is eligible? Most any toy or collectible released in 2023 could have made this list. Who isn't eligible? Any toy from a line I picked in my 10 Favorite Toylines of 2023 list. Remember that these are just listed semi randomly, not in order of merit. Many of the figures I picked this year were from properties with limited characters released, import figures I ordered to supplement other lines, or my favorite figures from lines that just didn't make the cut in 2023. Ready to pick out some of my favorite one-offs of 2023? Then join me after the break...


Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Minifigure Review: Clayface from DC Comics- Batman Tiny Mights by CultureFly

 

   Let's take a short look at another sculpt from CultureFly's C Comics- Batman Tiny Mights: Clayface! I presume this is the Basil Karlo version of Clayface, as he's sculpted to look like a big mess of mud, though other villains with the Clayface name have sported this same appearance. For the full story on CultureFly's Tiny Mights check out my review of Catwoman, but for just the details on this miniature Clayface that really reminds me of a mix between the classic M.U.S.C.L.E. line and Monster in my Pocket, keep reading after the break...

Monday, February 12, 2024

Action Figure Review: Robin (DC vs. Vampires) from DC Multiverse by McFarlane Toys

 

   I've really enjoyed DC Vs. Vampires. It's an excellent "Elseworlds" story that's been quite fun with some wonderfully gruesome redesigns. It's sad that we'll likely never get a full roster from the book, though with how many comics DC releases, that's just not even really possible, is it? Last year I reviewed the Walmart exclusive Gold Label Batman from DC Vs. Vampires and this year I'm reviewing the Walmart exclusive Gold Label Robin from the same title. Walmart has been getting all of the DC Vs. Vampires exclusives as they've also had the Joker, Green Lantern, and Superman. I grabbed the Joker but skipped the other two. I'm a Gotham City guy, though, and Damian Wayne actually plays a significant role in the DC Vs. Vampires series, so he was a sure buy. Ready to check out this vampirized variant of Batman's son? Then join me after the break...




Sunday, February 11, 2024

Minifigure Review: Catwoman from DC Comics- Batman Tiny Mights by CultureFly

 


   Last year minifigure collectors got pretty excited over the Scooby-Doo Tiny Mights by CultureFly. A series of 2 inch rubber minifigures similar to M.U.S.C.L.E., the Tiny Mights were apparently sold at certain Walmart locations. I never found any, though. When I heard that CultureFly was following up the Scooby-Doo series of minifigures with Batman Tiny Mights, I knew I'd have to jump in and acquire them. These are awesome! They're very M.U.S.C.L.E.- like with crisp sculpts, bold solid colors, and just the right level of rubbery texture. They're not squishy or gooey, but they're solid and brittle, either. The DC Comics- Batman Tiny Mights come three to set, packaged in a little plastic Batmobile. The Batmobile is translucent, though, so for the most part you can tell what figures are inside. I ordered mine through CultureFly's website where they're sold as a set of four packs, so twelve figures, for $20 bucks. That's pretty good for minifigures. I ordered three sets and while I only ended up getting 11 of the 12 sculpts (I'm still looking for the Joker), I didn't get any color duplicates. From what I can tell there are different colorways for these: Grey, yellow, purple, green, peach/ M.U.S.C.L.E. pink, red, glow-in-the-dark blue, and glittery translucent green (There's also a special Arkham Asylum set of all twelve sculpts in translucent glittery purple). I'm not going to look at all the sculpts in the series but I'm going to check out a few of them, starting with Catwoman, Batman's former adversary, regular ally, and sometimes wife. Ready to check her out? Then join me after the break...

Saturday, February 10, 2024

Wrapping Up 2023: Chun-Li from Ultra Street Fighter 2: The New Challengers by Jada Toys

 


   I've been looking forward to reviewing some figures from Jada Toys' Ultra Street Fighter 2: The New Challengers line but I didn't get my hands on any of them until December. I haven't reviewed many Street Fighter figures on the site as there haven't been many readily available over the past decade or so. Revoltech, Storm Collectibles, SOTA, Super7 (under the ReAction banner), NECA, Funko, Max Factory, Toy Biz, and Hasbro (along with a few others) have all put out Street Fighter action figure over the past 30 some years or so, but most of them have either been too expensive, too hard to acquire, or the companies just never came close to completing the main roster. Besides grabbing Jada's Nano Metalfigs and two of NECA's Street Fighter IV figures, my main Street Fighter collection is still my collection of Hasbro figures. Hasbro actually released 1/18th scaled Street Fighter figures as a subset of the G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero line in 1993 and as their own line in 1994. My set of the main twelve Street Fighter II figures was cobbled together from those two lines and I played with those figures like crazy as a kid. I'm really excited for Jada's line of Street Fighter figures, though, as they seem to have a solid plan to get out the cast appearing in Street Fighter II and all it's later iterations, including the New Challengers. Series 1 kicked off with two mainstays, Chun-Li and Ryu, and one later fighter, Fei Long. Ryu and Chun-Lil are without a doubt the faces of the franchise and it's pretty cool to have some new figures based on them. They've been readily available from many online retailers but I found mine in store at Target. Ready to check out Chun-Li? Then join me after the break...

Friday, February 9, 2024

Wrapping Up 2023: Kazim from Indiana Jones: Adventure Series by Hasbro

 

   OK... one last Indiana Jones Adventure Series review! I missed Kazim at Target last year and ended up snatching him up earlier this week online. He's become one of the tougher figures to find but I'm glad I went ahead and picked him up as he is a surprisingly good figure. Kazim is definitely not an A-list figure, though, and it's surprising to get him in this line ahead of so many other figures. He feels like he'd be a "second year" figure for the line, though, if you know what I mean. That's what I find kind of weird about the Adventure Series: There are some deeper character choices present while main characters are missing! I'd love to have been a fly in the wall in the planning of this series. How was the roster selected? Why were certain main characters left out? Why leave out characters who had figures in the vintage line and the current Retro line? Why completely skip Kingdom of the Crystal Skull? Anyways, let's just enjoy Kazim. Join me after the break...



Thursday, February 8, 2024

Wrapping Up 2023: Jason "Shockwave" Faria from G.I. Joe: Classified Series by Hasbro

 

   I'm almost through wrapping up reviews of 2023 stuff I picked up and I'm starting to pepper in some new 2024 releases that I've acquired, but today I have another 2023 release: Jason "Shockwave" Faria from Hasbro's G.I. Joe: Classified Series by Hasbro. Back in early February 2021 I made a list of 10 G.I. Joe team members I was really looking forward to in the Classified Series figures and Shockwave was one of them (to date four of them have been released and one, Jinx, was just revealed). I loved the vintage figure as a kid and I even loved the 1992 D.E.F. version. Actually, he was my preferred Shockwave later on, and is still one of my favorites. The vintage Shockwave had a hilariously brilliant file card write up that compares being a member of a S.W.A.T. team with being a member of a choir (it goes on to note that Shockwave is "a half-decent tenor when his voice is in shape..." He's the guy who kicks down the door and enters in first and has been equipped this time around with a ballistic shield. In his post vintage releases, Shockwave was known as Shockblast, but now that Hasbro tends to use the character's "real" name with their codename, he's back to being good old Shockwave. Ready to see how Shockwave stands up to some heavy fire? Then join me after the break...


Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Action Figure Review: Vincent Price from Toony Terrors by NECA

 


   Today I'm really excited to check out a new Toony Terror. It's been over two years since I last reviewed one but from the moment I heard that NECA was releasing a Vincent Price Toony Terror, I knew I'd have to have him. Vincent here isn't based on any particular film role; this is just a figure of the actor himself. The Toony Terrors line captures horror icons in the style of a traditional Saturday morning cartoon and, if you remember watching The 13 Ghosts of Scooby Doo, you might be getting some serious Vincent Van Ghoul vibes here. Ready to add a distinguished horror icon to your shelf who just embodies coolness and class? Then join me after the break...



Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Wrapping Up 2023: Grail Table from Indiana Jones: Adventure Series by Hasbro

 

   Last week I looked at the Skull Temple Build-an-Artifact from Hasbro Indiana Jones: Adventure Series line and today I'm looking at the last of the Build-An-Artifacts: The Grail Table from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Housed within the Temple of the Sun, the Grail Table holds the Holy Grail and the other false grails in the secret Grail chamber. Out of all five Indiana Jones films, the only film scene with more than two characters you can really do any justice to with the figures released in the Adventure Series is the Grail chamber scene as Hasbro released the Grail Knight, Elsa Schneider, and Walter Donovan to accompany Indy. That's pretty wild, right? This makes for a great backdrop for those figures, even if it is scaled down a bit from the movie set design. Let's take a look at the Grail Table after the break...



Saturday, February 3, 2024

Wrapping Up 2023: General Clayton "Hawk" Abernathy from G.I. Joe: Classified Series by Hasbro

 

   While I released my Top 10 Toylines of 2023 list yesterday, I'm still making my way through a few 2023 releases that arrived near the end of year or that I've acquired since then. Today I'm looking at General Clayton "Hawk" Abernathy, better known as just Hawk or General Hawk. This version of the character was released in 1986 and was actually the second version of Hawk in the line (the first was in 1982, when he was just a Colonel). I'm still pretty confident that the vintage Hawk v2 was the first action figure I ever owned. I've speculated before that it could have been Peter Venkman or He-Man, but I'm really pretty sure it was General Hawk. I've been looking forward to this guy and it shouldn't surprise you that he's one of my favorite G.I. Joe: Classified Series figures to date. The 1986 version of Hawk feels like a pretty timeless figure, so Hasbro's Joe team didn't do much here but enhance details, offer up a great portrait, and load him down with some nice accessories, but it all works. Ready to give your G.I. Joe team the leader it deserves? Then join me after the break...


Friday, February 2, 2024

My Top 10 Toylines of 2023

 





February has arrived yet again and it's time for me to start releasing my annual "Wrap Up" lists for 2023 at Action Figure Barbecue.

   So, what were the highlights of 2023 in the toy world?  Box office bombs at theaters meant less product on store shelves or stuff that went almost straight to clearance, lots of overshipped merchandise heavily clearanced out both online and at retail, Funko scrapping $30 million dollars in unsold product, the usual retail mixture of feast or famine on shelves, Hasbro ditching their plastic free packaging, laying off employees (or planning to down the road), cancelling the Selfie Series, and hiking prices, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles once again being a retail toys juggernaut, toy sales overall dropping from previous years, and stuff either getting delayed like crazy or showing up early and in large numbers.

   Once again, toys are still available at retail (this year 7 of my top 10 lines had a mass market retail presence) and while it felt like more companies were offering product at retail, most companies continue to  grow their dedicated online stores. Face it; most collectors are ordering their stuff online, now. Previously it seemed like some of the larger companies didn't want to upset their retail partners, so online offerings directly from the company were more limited, but now you can find most everything direct from the manufacturer. While I still love browsing stores, very few of us want to truly hunt for toys that retailers often carry in sparing numbers. 

  Who dominated at retail this year? Unofficially, I'd say Playmates'' Rise of the TMNT movie line and their assorted tie-in stuff was a huge hit as were Jakks' Super Mario Bros. movie lines and Michael Keaton's Batman at retail. The Flash itself might have bombed, but that didn't seem to hurt anything with Batman from McFarlane and Spin Masters. DC Multiverse and other lines from McFarlane seemed to do well, though more exclusives seemed to move online with McFarlane Toys this year. Hasbro is still a dominant force in the action figure retail toy aisle, though they suffered with toys from some box office flops (D&D, Indiana Jones: DoD, The Marvels) and lots of product going to closeout chains like Ollie's and Ross. Hasbro had multiple lines that died quickly like Dungeons & Dragons, Indiana Jones, and their Fortnite: Victory Royale series. Oddly enough, Walmart didn't even carry Hasbro's Indiana Jones: Adventure Series. Mattel still had a decent presence at retail in 2023, though the MOTU line is still dealing with severe over shipments from previous years, something that Funko dealt with, which made major news. Jazwares, NECA, Super7, Jada, and the Loyal Subjects continued to have small but respectable retail offerings, typically in designated collector focused sections. Walmart's collector area is usually pretty picked over with some stuff that just lingers but Target seems to have a nice selection from my experience. GameStop and Books a Million are not bad places either, though Books a Million does charge a premium for some reason (not as bad as FYE, but still noticeable).

   The specialty companies and import lines continue to offer cool stuff and just keep becoming more and more competitive with the mainstream companies as the mass market retail lines raise prices. Delays hit these companies hard, though, and there were a few I just don't recall seeing or hearing from last year. Companies like Four Horsemen Studios, Mezco, Valaverse, Plastic Meatball, Storm Collectibles, Nacelle, and Boss Fight are really keeping things going with good product at prices that most collectors seem to be OK with. Still, you do have instances like Super7, who had a lot of product that was delayed, cancelled, or cleared out by retailers and e-tailers. I have a feeling that e-tailers and the owners of smaller retail stories might be less forgiving of product that they just can't move than larger retailers. Remember back in the very late 1990s and early 2000s how it seemed smaller toymakers were in a race to make figures of the most unusual properties imaginable? I've been getting that feeling more and more over the past year or two. We're seeing some really deep stuff with a limited audience, but since it's sold so directly it has more of a chance at surviving. 
  
   Creating my "Top 10" lists is always one of my favorite things to do at Action Figure Barbecue and I always spend a good chunk of time pouring over my notes from the previous year to determine which toylines I thought were the coolest and most fun to collect. This is the twelfth year I've created a list (the earliest ones were posted at The Epic Review) and it's always interesting too see how my lists change from year to year, often reflecting my changing interests and collecting trends. 2023's list had some absolute shoe-ins that I always knew would be on it, some wild cards that surprised me, and some long time favorites that just didn't cut the mustard this year. While I'm still quite devoted to the G.I. Joe: Classified Series and Mattel's MOTU lines, I did cherry pick more this year from a wider variety of lines.  

    A number of years back I divided my Top 10 list into two separate categories: My Top 10 Toylines and My Top 10 Individual Releases. I always start with My Top 10 Toylines as it's my standard best of list. These are the 10 toylines (action figures, statues, minifigures, etc.) of the past year that I had the most fun collecting and enjoyed the most. They may not always be the best or the most expansive lines, but they're my favorites for one reason or another. As I reiterate every year, the two key word for this list are "my" and "favorite." My list isn't necessarily based on a toyline's true merits and I really don't go outside of what interests me. Take this as a snapshot of the ten toylines I had the most fun collecting last year. As always, these are listed alphabetically rather than by any order of merit. And now, for My Top 10 Toylines of 2023...


Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Wrapping Up 2023: Skull Temple from Indiana Jones: Adventure Series by Hasbro

 

   I've got another Indiana Jones: Adventure Series review lined up for today, but this one isn't a figure; it's actually the Skull Temple, one of the Build-an-Artifacts from the line. Only three were released (or have been released, if we're remaining optimistic): The Ark of the Covenant, the Grail Table, and the Skull Temple. The Skull Temple was part of the second series of figures released and came spread out over five figures, three from Temple of Doom and two from Dial of Destiny. Hasbro calls this the Skull Temple in all of their promotional material and such, so I don't really know a better name for it. It's a skull shaped altar used to hold the Sankara Stones that stands underneath a large statue of Kali in the Temple of Doom. While I think these might have been better as deluxe sets, the Build-an-Artifact idea is clever and it helped sell me on a few figures I wouldn't have likely grabbed. I actually skipped the Ark, though, as I preordered the Mezco One:12 Collective Toht with the light up Ark. Ready to check out a fixture from the Temple of Doom? Then join me after the break...



Wrapping Up 2023: Dreadnok Ripper from G.I. Joe: Classified Series by Hasbro

 

   Today it's time for the Dreadnok of the Year Awards here at Action Figure Barbecue. We've gone through a lot of grape soda and dozens upon dozens of little chocolate donuts, but finally we've arrived at a decision as to who is the meanest, nastiest, orneriest Dreadnok of the year. The winner is.... Ripper! Yes, Ripper (or Dreadnok Ripper, as he's know on his packaging), the meanest Tasmanian devil of them all! I never owned Ripper as a kid and didn't have a figure of him until the mid-2000s when I picked up one of the Joe vs. Cobra versions. This guy absolutely is inspired by the vintage figure but everything is just amped up here. He's reminiscent of the original figure but the details and design are expanded to make him feel fresh and new. Ready for a look at Ripper? Then join me after the break...




Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Wrapping Up 2023: Indiana Jones (Last Crusade) from Indiana Jones: Adventure Series by Hasbro

 

   The Indiana Jones: Adventure Series was one of my biggest disappointments of last year, but also one of my favorite lines. It's a paradox, really. Today I'm reviewing the last figure from the line that I'll probably review for now, unless more get released or I look at some older figures at some point, though I still plan to review two of the Build-an-Artifacts shortly. Today I'm checking out Indiana Jones from The Last Crusade. He doesn't wear this outfit throughout the entire film but it's definitely worn during the fantastic scenes at Castle Brunwald and while traveling with his father. It's just Indy in a tie, yeah, but Hasbro really improved the portrait on this figure and gave Indy an articulated hat. Yes, an articulated hat. How'd that turn out? Read on and find out!

Monday, January 29, 2024

Action Figure Review: Mouse-Jaw from Turtles of Grayskull by Mattel

 

   Today I'm reviewing my first new item of 2024 and it's a pretty unusual figure: Mouse-Jaw from Mattel's Turtles of Grayskull. Yes, Turtles of Grayskull, a mashup of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Masters of the Universe. This is a pretty interesting concept, though it's not unusual for TMNT to be mashing up with nearly every property on the planet as we've seen the TMNT with Karate Kid, Stranger Things, Ghostbusters, Batman, WWE, Star Trek, Street Fighter, Power Rangers, Universal Monsters, and now He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. That means we also now have TMNT toys from Mattel, which means that nearly every toy company in existence has made TMNT figures now. To be honest, I'm really glad that Mattel released these instead of Playmates. They're made using the MOTU Origins parts, so they complement what we already have, and Playmates just hasn't impressed me with anything they've released in probably around a decade. Mouse-Jaw is a blend of Trap-Jaw from MOTU and a M.O.U.S.E.R. from TMNT and is part of a deluxe series with build-a-figure parts to craft your own Metal-Boto figure. Ready to check out Mouse-Jaw? Then join me after the break...




Friday, January 26, 2024

Wrapping Up 2023: Lord Death Man from Batman '66 by McFarlane Toys

 



   The Batman Classic TV Series line really got interesting in 2023 as McFarlane expanded it with characters from the Batman '66 comic series. Figures like Superman, Robot Batman, Two-Face, and new takes on Batgirl and the Joker really added some life to the line and today I'm checking out another new villain added to the series: Lord Death Man. Lord Death Man definitely isn't one of Batman's most well known villains but his first appearance was in May of 1966 (Batman #180, as just Death Man), so he fits the era for sure. He really gained popularity as part of a Japanese Batman manga, though, where he was known as Lord Death Man. He's appeared here and there over the years (in Batman, Inc. and an episode of The Brave and the Bold) but the Batman '66 comic brought him back in 2015 in the style of the '66 series. He's an unknown villain capable of faking his own death who Batman and Batgirl travel to Japan to defeat. He really does just look like a guy in a skeleton costume in the Batman '66 comic, so this is a legit take on him. Ready to check out Lord Death Man? Then join me after the break...




Thursday, January 25, 2024

Wrapping Up 2023: Mole Rat from G.I. Joe: Classified Series by Hasbro

 

   Two of my favorite 1/18th scaled G.I. Joe figures came out in the 30th Anniversary line in 2011: The Hazard Viper and the Zombie-Viper. Both drew elements from the earlier Eco Warriors line, but they managed to add plenty of cool new ideas. The Mole Rat definitely feels like a modern continuation of the Eco Force ideas: Cobra suits up troopers for hazardous duties but also cuts corners, leading to some of the Cobra troops becoming zombies. It's a recipe for success! The Mole Rats was part of the first set of Walmart exclusive figures revolving around the Night Force theme (which also included Big Ben and Shooter) where Cobra is harvesting Dark Energon to function as a new energy source. This figure is a highlight of last year's releases (I'm sure you get tired of me saying that with the Classified Series) and one I'm really hoping we see some variants of down the line. Let's check out the Mole Rat after the break...




Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Wrapping Up 2023: Spikor from Masters of the Universe Origins by Mattel

 



  2023 was another pretty impressive year for Masters of the Universe Origins, a line that keeps going and going. More figures (including a special emphasis on completing and fleshing out the Snake Men), more vehicles, and a Snake Mountain playset. The core line now seems to be mostly heading online while the sublines like the Filmation inspired Cartoon Collecton and the TMNT/ MOTU mashup Turtles of Grayskull will be hitting mass retail, so there's plenty more Origins styled figures to come in 2024 (including Eternia!). Today I'm checking out the last of the 2023 figures I received: Spikor. I'm pretty sure I received Spikor for Christmas one year, maybe in 1987 or so, and while he was never one of my top favorites I have always liked the guy. Getting Spikor also now leaves us with only one vintage Evil Warrior left to complete the vintage lineup: Two-Bad! Or is that two Evil Warriors? Hard to say. Let's take a look at Spikor after the break and see if this guy is still as sharp as a tack in the year 2024. Join me after the break...


Monday, January 22, 2024

Wrapping Up 2023: Buzzer from G.I. Joe: Classified Series by Hasbro

 

   The end of 2023 was just absolutely filled with G.I. Joe: Classified Series figures, including two more Dreadnoks for the collection. Today I'm checking out the first of the new Dreadnoks I managed to get: Buzzer. I never had Buzzer as a kid as he was a 1985 figure and I wasn't older enough for G.I. Joe figures until 1986 (though I did end up with Barbecue and a Snow Serpent), so my Dreadnoks were the later figures like Zarana, Zandar, Monkeywrench, Road Pig, Thrasher, Zanzibar, and Gnawgahyde. Buzzer, Ripper, and Torch are definitely the three main Dreadnoks (besides Zartan) and I'm a little surprised it's taken them this long to show up. Despite being a fairly prominent character in both the comics and the Sunbow animated series, there haven't been that many Buzzer figures made. I believe the last one was the 2007 G.I. Joe: 25th Anniversary Collection Buzzer that I reviewed at MWC Toys! How crazy. Overall, this is a really good figure of Buzzer, but the glasses are a pain. Fair warning! Let's check out the former Richard Blinken-Smythe, now better known as Dick Blinken or just Buzzer, after the break...

Friday, January 19, 2024

Wrapping Up 2023: Clamp Champ from Masterverse/ Masters of the Universe: Revelation by Mattel

 


   2023 was another really good year for Mattel's Masterverse line with a wide assortment of characters from multiple different incarnations of Masters of the Universe. While Masters of the Universe: Revolution premiers on Netflix this coming week, Mattel has still been releasing figures from Revelation, which is pretty impressive. Today I'm checking out Clamp Champ from Masters of the Universe: Revelation. Clamp Champ has the potential to be an excellent character but the Netflix show did him and Fisto dirty. I liked Revelation overall, but I think killing off Clamp Champ and Fisto felt pretty pointless. He's not dead in my Masterverse, though, and he's still doing the hero think and championing clamping. He clamps like a champ! Let's check out Raenius, better known as Clamp Champ, after the break...



Thursday, January 18, 2024

Wrapping Up 2023: Indiana Jones (Temple of Doom) from Indiana Jones: Adventure Series by Hasbro

 

   As a kid, Indiana Jones in his ripped up shirt from the end of Temple of Doom was definitely my default look for the character. Temple of Doom was the first Indiana Jones film I saw in it's entirety (I remember watching the movie for the first time, probably on October 1 1989 on ABC, as it was the ABC Sunday night movie) and it definitely stood out to me. For years I had a ripped up white t-shirt that I used as my "Indiana Jones" shirt. Combine that with a random hat, a jump rope, and a Halloween prop machete and I was all set. I never had an Indiana Jones figure when I was younger so I used General Hawk v2 as my jacketed Indy (with a hat from Sgt. Slaughter) while Whipsaw v2 from The Corps with Wild Card's machete was my default Temple of Doom Indy. I have the Temple of Doom Indy from the 2008 series but it sure is nice to have another one, and now in the 6 inch scale. Let's check out Indiana Jones (Temple of Doom) after the break...



Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Wrapping Up 2023: Agent Helix from G.I. Joe: Classified Series by Hasbro

 

   I was thrilled to hear that Agent Helix was making her way into the Classified Series so quickly. I really loved the G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra toyline and how it added in some new characters. Agent Helix is quite unique in that she wasn't a member of the military prior to joining G.I. Joe. She's a very competent individual with Olympic level gymnastic who possesses what is referred to as "Total Organic Battlefield Awareness." She can convert everything going on in a combat situation into data sets which she can analyze. She also can essentially master a martial arts style when encountering a practitioner of it. I believe some of the comics referred to Agent Helix as being a savant and possibly even having autism. Agent Helix first appeared in 2009 in the G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra videogame (she was named after the developer, Double Helix Games), the IDW comic series, and in the Rise of Cobra action figure toyline. She was one of my favorites there and I still think she's one of the strongest figures Hasbro put out in that era. Ready to take a look at a fantastic new G.I. Joe: Classified Series figure? Then join me after the break...

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Wrapping Up 2023: Henry Jones, Sr. from Indiana Jones: Adventure Series by Hasbro

 

   Like the Grail Knight, Henry Jones, Sr. was another figure that I decided I was going to go ahead and pick up at regular retail price. I figures if there was a figure from the third series of figures that was tough to get, it would be him. Plus, he just turned out incredibly well. Hasbro did a great job on Dr. Jones, Sr. and he would always have been one of my most wanted figures from an Indiana Jones toyline. This line has been a weird one as most of the figures have been excellent, but the line as a whole feels haphazard and disjointed. Henry Walton Jones, Sr. is both a man in a suit and a man in a hat, so he fits the general aesthetic of this line pretty well. Indy and Henry will look great together, but it does make me just a bit more disappointed that we didn't get Mutt to have a trio of Jones men. Ready to check out Indiana Jones' dad? Then join me after the break...


Sunday, January 14, 2024

Wrapping Up 2023: Jodie "Shooter" Craig from G.I. Joe: Classified Series by Hasbro

 


   The last quarter of the year was filled with G.I. Joe: Classified Series releases and I have a bunch of them to catch up on. Today I'm looking at another of my favorite Classified Series figures of 2023: Jodie "Shooter" Craig from the Night Force subset. Shooter wasn't part of the vintage Night Force subset as she wasn't ever a figure released in the vintage A Real American Hero line, but her roots are there. In the fist issue of Marvel's G.I. Joe, there's an image of a computer panel that shows the Original 13 members of the G.I. Joe: Team and a 14th member whose face is obscured. The name Shooter is visible, though, but it was originally a reference to Marvel's then editor-in-chief Jim Shooter. In 2006, Larry Hama used the name in G.I. Joe: Declassified for a new character, a sniper who was killed during the early mission "Operation: Lady Doomsday." Shooter received her first action figure in 2016 as part of the 50th Anniversary line, so she's a "newer" character when it comes to G.I. Joe stuff. Yeah, there is a name mentioned in 1982, but she really is from 2006. Still, she's been around for 18 years, so she's not new-new or anything. She's a really cool figure who was part of the Walmart exclusive Night Force subset along with Big Ben and the Mole Rat. While my preorder of her (and the rest of the first series of Night Force figures) arrived without any issues, I actually grabbed a second Shooter when I found her at retail... for $7 dollars. No idea why a Walmart I was at clearanced out one random Shooter when they had plenty of older figures on the shelves, but it worked for me. She's a very versatile figure. Let's check her out after the break...



Friday, January 12, 2024

Wrapping Up 2023: Grail Knight from Indiana Jones: Adventure Series by Hasbro

 

   Hey! This figure doesn't have a hat or a suit! That makes the Grail Knight, the unnamed eldest brother of Sir Richard, a pretty unique figure in this line. Hasbro's Indiana Jones: Adventure Series was a line I was really looking forward to in 2023 but also one that disappointed me. Well, the figures themselves are overall quite good, but the character selection is bizarre and incomplete. When you think about the figures Hasbro made, are there any movies scenes you can actually recreate with figures where multiple characters interact? The only two I can think of are Indy and Sallah locating the Map Room in Tannis from Raiders and the Grail chamber from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Hasbro has released Indy, Walter Donovan, Elsa Schneider, and the Grail Knight, (along with Henry Jones Sr. and Marcus Brody who wasn't there, but who was right outside). Considering those figures and the Build-an-Artifact of the Holy Grail table, you can put together a nice scene. Too bad we didn't get a Last Crusade version of Sallah. The Grail Knight is definitely a cool figure and while he doesn't have much screen time in the film, he's very recognizable and stands out from the rest of the collection. The 2008 Indiana Jones collection also included the Grail Knight, so he definitely has a precedent in Indiana Jones collection, but this guy is truly a nice upgrade. Let's take a look at the Grail Knight after the break...



Thursday, January 11, 2024

Wrapping Up 2023: Phillip "Chuckles" Provost from G.I. Joe: Classified Series by Hasbro

 

   Chuckles was always one of my favorite G.I. Joe figures as a kid. He was an odd duck in the line due to his loud Hawaiian shirt, sure, but his shoulder holster and smaller, concealable pistol really gave him the feel of a secret agent. He's a guy who blends in by sticking out a bit. I always loved Chuckes and I'm very excited that Chuckles has made it into the Classified Series as he's not a character who gets visited that often in action figure form. Hasbro released him as the SDCC 2023 exclusive, though he went up for sale after the show a few times as well. I got mine through Hasbro Pulse. Chuckles is connected to the Crimson Strike Team (the 2023 Pulse Con exclusive) as there's a story told via the packaging of Chuckles stealing a briefcase and some documents from the Baroness and the Cobra twins. Hasbro loaded Chuckles down with accessories, though some of them don't work with the figure as well as I'd hoped. Still, he's a pretty solid figure with some nice goodies. Ready to check out Chuckles? Then join me after the break...



Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Wrapping Up 2023: Kanoxx Vull from Cosmic Legions by Four Horsemen Studios

 


   As I continue to wrap up my reviews for stuff I picked up near the end of 2023 I'm returning to the Four Horsemen's Cosmic Legions line once again. There weren't as many figures from the newest series that interested me (Hvalkatar: Book Two, Gravenight) but I was immediately intrigued by Kanoxx Vull. Kanoxx Vull is called a "Brute Scale" figure, so he's taller than your average figures, but not overly massive like Kraggnar. Kanoxx Vull (better known as just Kanxox the Stinger) is a member of a group called the Red Spiral, scavengers and traders who live at the far edge of the galaxy and who augment themselves with cybernetic upgrades. It turns out that Kanoxx didn't want to be a gladiator in Hvalkatar; he was abducted by Highwarden Slogg's because of his fearsome appearance. Now one of the combatants forced to fight in the Grave, all Kanoxx wants to do is make his way back home. Kanoxx Vull is based on a cool sketch that Eric Treadway made in a red spiral notebook on November 12, 1984, so this guy definitely has a true "made in the 1980s" feel to him. Ready to check out Kanoxx Vull? The join me after the break...




Wrapping Up 2023: King Tut from Batman: Classic TV Series by McFarlane Toys

 


   I certainly haven't been buying everything from McFarlane Toys' Batman: Classic TV Series line but I do tend to pick up the unique villains. Today I'm checking out King Tut, one of the villains who originated on the 1966 TV series. While King Tut has made his way into the mainstream DC Universe a few times in the past 15 years or so, he's still most well known from Victor Buono's portrayal in the TV series where he is a Yale University Egyptologist who gets conked on the head and comes to believe he is the reincarnation of the pharaoh Tutankhamen. King Tut was the fifth most prominent villain in the series, appearing in 8 episodes across all three seasons, and featuring a number of flamboyant, Egyptian inspired outfits. This appearance looks like King Tut from the season 2 episodes “King Tut’s Coup” and “Batman’s Waterloo.” Ready to check out another fine villain from McFarlane's Batman Classic TV Series line? Then join me after the break...



Saturday, January 6, 2024

Wrapping Up 2023: Indiana Jones (Cairo) from Indiana Jones: Adventure Series by Hasbro

 


   Near the end of the year I did end up grabbing more of the Indiana Jones: Adventure Series than I originally planned. The reason was that they went on sale at clearance prices at most places, so I ended up with all but a few of them for probably half the original price. Indiana Jones (Cairo) captures a very recognizable look for Indy, similar to how he looks on the iconic 1982 Richard Amsel US re-release poster. This guy was sure to be a winner of a figure, right? Well,for some bizarre reason he was shipped at deluxe pricing, meaning this guy originally cost $34 dollars. That's within the past few months. That's... ridiculous. He's largely a reuse of other prior Indy figures, he has no new or unique accessories, and a few extra hands. This is definitely one of those pricing issues that Hasbro has right now that causes a lot of ill will towards collectors. There's no reason this guy should be should at a price above the standard price point. I'm glad I waited for a deep price cut and you should, too! Let's check out Indiana Jones (Cairo) after the break and try to discover why Hasbro thought this guy was worth about $10 more than a regular figure. 





Friday, January 5, 2024

Wrapping Up 2023: Scarecrow (The Dark Knight Rises) Jokerized from DC Multiverse by McFarlane Toys

 



   Some people hate the Jokerized DC Multiverse variants with the passion of a thousand suns, but there are some of them I really like. Today I'm checking out the Jokerized Scarecrow based on the Scarecrow figure from the Dark Knight Trilogy series. This guy is completely a McFarlane Toys repaint creation and not based on any prior concept I'm aware of and while it's quite bizarre, it's also very cool and just eerily unsetting. This guy is part of a Target exclusive Build-a-Figure series which features all Jokerized repaints of the Dark Knight Trilogy series figures, so if you want a Jokerized Bane this is the way to get him. Ready to check out a really creep version of the Scarecrow? Then join me after the break...



Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Wrapping Up 2023: Indiana Jones (Map Room) from Indiana Jones: Adventure Series by Hasbro

 


   I'm about to make an old man rant, so be forewarned: Movies just don't feel as magical as they used to. I'm not at all saying there aren't any good movies these days or that they don't have really powerful moments, but just that those moments that feel magical and special are fewer and farther between than they were a couple decade ago. When special effects are so prevalent and make up so much of what we see now, can something simple really stand out? Last night we were at my parents' house eating dinner and competing a 2,000 piece Pokemon puzzle with Home Alone on the TV. During the scene near the end of the film where Kevin ziplines over to his treehouse, I was just amazed at how special and amazing it felt. I mean, ultimately is it that big of a deal? A kid zip lining to a treehouse only two or three stories off the ground? Maybe not, but the movie makes it feel wondrous with the cinematography, Kevin's reaction, and the stirring John Williams soundtrack. 

   Now, what does that have to do with Indiana Jones (Map Room) from Hasbro's more than likely defunct Indiana Jones Adventure Series? If you ask me, the scene where Indiana Jones discovers the location of the Well of Souls (the resting place of the Ark of the Covenant) in the Tanis Map Room is just magical. Simple? Compared to most modern CG fests, no, but there's just something about that scene when the sunlight shines through the headpiece on the Staff of Ra and John Williams music hits that's just magical. Maybe it's the magic of the music of John Williams but there's also something that feels really special about those scenes in some of those movies. Those special effects really felt special and out of the ordinary and not just like dime a dozen stunts or effects shots. I did purchase quite a few Indiana Jones: Adventure Series figures in November on clearance and sale but this guy was one of the last Indy figures that I paid full price for. He was a Target exclusive and I snagged him right away due to my love for Raiders of the Lost Ark and the map room scene. Let's take a look at Indiana Jones (Map Room) after the break...