Monthly Archives: December 2013

Marvel Legends Infinite Series Captain America, Red Skull, and Baron Zemo

I’m not much of a reviewer, or a photographer, or a blogger, but I love these new Cap figures so much I just needed to share my thoughts with you. these are popping up in stores nationwide and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on them after seeing some pics snapped by various sites, but I can easily say that photos do not do these guys justice. With that having been said, here’s some photos to look at!

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Let’s start with the main man himself, Steve Rogers, AKA Captain America. This figure is modeled after his current Marvel NOW! look, and the boys and girls over at Hasbro really went all  out giving us a brand new sculpt for him.

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You can clearly see all the detail in Steve’s new uniform, and I for one appreciate the effort on Hasbro’s part, especially in an age when tooling a new figure is so costly for a company. The scale seems good to me- not too big and not too small, though I suppose your tastes may vary. The only issue I have is when you pair him up with the other Cap offerings that Hasbro has given us as of recent.

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You can see here that while he stands about even with the Ultimate version, the “Super Soldier” figure just towers over him.  I found the Commander Rogers figure to be a bit lanky looking and I think the proportions on the NOW! figure are more accurate to the character, but again, to each his/her own.

The paint apps are okay, most of the lines are clean and neat, and the colors themselves are really vibrant, but I did have some minor issues with the eyes not being even and some smudging on the top of the helmet. These weren’t enough to dissuade me from getting him, but I did see another in the store that looked ghastly, so buyer beware. Also something to note is the lack of shading throughout the figure- likely a cost-saving choice on Hasbro’s part. I don’t think it really hurts the figure all that much as most of Hasbro’s offerings have been light on the paint apps, but it does stand out when placed with the Toy Biz Legends.

Next up we have the great and often-elusive Baron Helmut Zemo.

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Not much to say about Zemo Jr. here, outside of the fact that he’s a great looking piece of plastic. Based on one of the evil Baron’s more modern appearances, this figure is a fantastic addition to the Cap shelf. Nice clean paint throughout the figure, and a great re-use of parts. The accessories are what make this guy stand out, in my opinion. The gun handle has an awesome spotted pattern on it harkening back to the fur collar on Barry Z’s old outfit, and that sword is straight out of the comics. I especially love the little “z” on his gun holsters.

Now on to my personal favorite of the bunch- the Red Skull. It’s so rare that we get an action figure of this guy that I can’t help but make a big deal when one finally pops up, and Hasbro knocked this one out of the park!

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His body is almost entirely reused parts from the 6″ Nick Fury figure from the Cap/Avengers movie line (or the old Ultimate Fury that came in the 2-pack with WW2 Steve) and it’s a good fit here. What really makes this figure a win is that AMAZING head sculpt! In my opinion this is the BEST sculpt Herr Shmidt has ever had and I love Kirby-esque design.

His guns are a little bizarre- one being a red pistol and the other being a…uh…ray gun…thing? I would have preferred a Kirby-esque blaster to go along with the head sculpt, but I’m not gonna be too picky here. Oh, and he comes with that pesky Cosmic Cube he loves so much. Great figure.

Overall I’m excited to finally get some new Cap villains in Hasbro’s line, and I can’t wait to see what they have in store for the future. I plan on heading out next weekend and picking up the Hydra and AIM army builders if I can find them, but until then, here’s some more pictures!

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Captain America: The Winter Soldier on the cover of Empire Magazine!

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WOWZERS!

The main 3 look great here, though I suppose if you didn’t already know the story of The Winter Soldier this cover is somewhat spoilerish.

In any case this shot gives us our first clear look at Bucky as the Winter Soldier without a mask, and man does he look amazing! I’m not sure what the deal with the dark eyeliner is, but I think it looks great.

Marvel Legends Infinite Series CAPTAIN AMERICA found at Target!

Just yesterday I was saying how I wasn’t sure whether or not to spend money on the new Marvel Mashers figures I had been seeing at Toys R Us stores, and today I can safely say that I’m glad I opted not to blow this month’s toy budget on them. Why?
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Yup, that’s why. Hasbro’s rebranded Marvel Legends figures are creeping their way into Target stores across the country, and my store just got a case in!

These guys look AMAZING in-hand and I can’t wait to pop ’em open and play with them! I only got these 3 today, I’ll probably pick up the 2 army builders on my next outing (Hydra Agent and AIM Soldier), but I’ll snap some pics as soon as I rest up from a long night at work.

For those interested, the figures won’t “officially” hit stores until January 5th when Target resets their aisles, but there’s no block at the register if you find them out on the shelf earlier.

Most stores will likely have the cases in the backroom, but if you ask a team member to look it up they should be able to go grab it out of the back if they have it.

The DCPI number is 037 06 2560 for the assortment and they retail for $14.99 each. That should be all the info you need to get yourself these beautiful toys from the stockroom.

Happy hunting!

To buy, or not to buy? Marvel Super Hero Mashers

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So these started popping up around the country in Toys R Us stores recently and I’ve been sorta on the the fence about them. I think they look neat, I’ve always liked the exaggerated cartoony look with figures, and you all already know I’m a Cap junkie, but the figures seem like a full investment.
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See, the gimmick in these toys is the ability to “mash-up” the characters and pop parts from one onto another. It’s a cool little play option, but I feel like it forces you to buy several toys just to experience the toy the way it was meant to be experienced.
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And looking at the packaging on these guys, you can see that some of the “mashed” characters are a little goofy looking. Hulk with Spider-Man arms? I don’t even know why I’d want to do that, but I suppose I’m not the target demographic here, so I’ll let it slide. Thing is, there’s some great potential if they get into more B and C-List characters like Deadpool and the Falcon (flying Deadpool for the win!).
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Not that there aren’t some great characters to choose from, and I love that Cap, Doom and Hulk are in the first wave (3 of my all-time favorites) but do I really want to invest money into a new line, especially when Hasbro makes it almost policy to ditch lines after a wave or two? I’m going to have to sit on this one and think it over.

Waiting for Grayskull Part 2: The Wrath of Khan

I’m going to warn everyone in advance that I’m about to rant. The following is my detailed history with the USPS and their transport of the most powerful landmark in the universe.

So my Castle Grayskull was shipped out on 12/6, the day after I received the shipping notice from Mattycollector.com. I was provided with a tracking number for the USPS shipment and spent the next week tracking it as it made its way from California to New York. That ol’ fortress of mystery made a few stops here and there along the way in places like Nevada and Indiana, but I was still receiving semi-daily updates on its journey and I was ok with it stopping to see the country, I’ve always wanted to go on a road trip myself.

After 10 days in transit, a time that I consider acceptable due to the holiday season, Grayskull arrived in New Jersey, where it was transferred from a “partner facility” into a USPS sorting facility. Unfortunately, this was the last I heard from the Postal Service.

The date is now 12/20, a full 2 weeks since “the King of All Playsets” was sent on its way, and I have not received my much-anticipated toy, nor has the tracking information been updated. I’m obviously at this point in freak-out mode and while I know things are probably fine, some sort of reassurance from the Postal Service would go a long way to calm me down right now.

So I head on over to their website and get to the customer service page which offers two ways to “contact” them- through email or phone. Since I prefer to handle things in person rather than via email, maybe I’m just old fashioned like that, I dial the number and wait to get some sort of helpful individual.

What I’m met with is the most obnoxious, pain-in-the-ass automated system I’ve ever encountered. After five minutes or so of being told exactly what it says on the website regarding my tracking information, I ask to speak to customer service. The recorded female voice informs me that I don’t need to speak with anyone because it can answer any questions I have. “Ok,” I said, “Where’s my package?” Again, the computer automated voice simply spews out the latest tracking information.

I again request an audience with customer service, and again am told I don’t need it. I repeat the words “customer service” yet another time, determined to speak with someone with a pulse, and this time the system says “Ok, but before I connect you I need to know what it is you’re asking about. Please say Tracking, Delivery Confirmation, or other.” I reply “tracking”, and that wonderful “lady” on the other end of the phone repeats the same recycled tracking information already relayed to me several times. “She” follows that up with “To track another package, say track package, or for the main menu, say main menu.”

I simply reply with the words “customer service” and the soft voice on the phone replies with a friendly, “Customer Service is not available at this time. Good Bye.” and the call ends.

Not available? The website says they are available Monday through Friday from 8am until 8:30pm, eastern time, and it’s just now only 8:45am. I’m starting to see your game, USPS. But I’m persistent so I call the number again. This time upon reaching the “I need to know what you’re calling about” stage, I state “other”, and my new friend says “OK, please wait while I connect you”, after which I’m greeted by the wonderful sound of hold music and Postal Service ads. Ah, finally we’re getting somewhere. Or so I thought.

After 41 minutes of sitting on hold and listening to “Are you in the business? The need to know when business? Then use our tracking service and blah blah blah” (salt in the wound at this point, that ad was) my favorite computer-automated woman comes back on the line. “Customer service is not available at this time. Good bye.” Oh, how I’ve missed her.

So at this point I think persistence is turning into stubbornness and I call back. Yes, I’m a glutton for punishment. This time I try a different approach- I tell that stupid, pompous, digital she-beast that my package was damaged, mangled beyond repair, and I don’t know what to do. Ha-HA, USPS, now I’ve got you. Surely you’ll need to answer a call like that and, what? Oh. Oh, I’m just supposed to go to the website. OK. well played. Well how about I need to change my address? Someone is going to have to talk me through that and I…oh, again the website. Alright, I get it. No actual people exist where this number picks up. Clearly I’ve been dialing Skynet this past 2 hours.

Well it’s safe to say that I’ve been defeated by modern technology, so I fill out the #$&%ing email form and send it on it’s way. I tell them that my package is lost, completely and hopelessly abandoned in some sort facility that I’m certain is really purgatory. I cry a little too, because it’s for my sick Granny, and she won’t live if she doesn’t get this Castle Grayskull transplant (her old one has broken clips and the Jaw Bridge just won’t stay closed). That’ll get someone’s attention.

The email form has 2 options- receive a reply by email or by phone. Well, since you’re kind enough to ask, I’ll go with phone. That’s right, I’m still determined to find someone living who works within the cold and empty corridors of this God-forsaken institution. I click “send” and curl in my bed in the fetal position. It’s just a waiting game now.

After only a half an hour I get a call on my phone from an unknown number. I usually don’t answer those but since I was expecting a call from the sole survivor of whatever tragedy that had occurred over in the USPS customer service department I decided to pick it up.

“Hello?” I say with a suspicious tone, half expecting the call to be a telemarketer.

“Hi, is this John Stranger?” the woman on the other end asks. I confirm my identity for her and she politely responds, “How are you? This is Debbie with the United States Postal Service and…”

OH MY FREAKIN’ SWEET BABY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!! A PERSON! A REAL PERSON!

It didn’t matter that she sounded EXACTLY like the automated voice from earlier, maybe that just meant that I reached the central neural output of this bizarre hive mind, all that mattered was that I was getting actual responses from an actual intelligent being!

As a side note here, as I’m typing this, I realize that had I just filled out the email form to begin with instead of being a stubborn jack ass, I would have saved myself two hours of aggravation. I can’t help but laugh at my own stupidity, but at least I got a story out of it.

Oh Debbie, you sweet, sweet thing. I’ll listen to whatever it is you want me to hear.

“I’m sorry to see that you haven’t gotten your package yet, but it was shipped the slowest method available (thanks Matty…) and since it’s oversized, it requires additional handling time. You should receive it within the next few days, I don’t see any reason why it should go beyond that. If for whatever reason it doesn’t arrive by Wednesday, just call me back since I’ll be personally following its progress for you, ok? Here’s the number to call.”

😀

I jot down the number and thank Debbie like a guilt-ridden sinner thanking a priest after confession. Peace of mind! Potential resolution! Ahhhhhhhhhhh…feels so good. For about 14 seconds before I decide to allow my cynicism to take control and I dial that number Debbie gave me. I don’t know why, but for some reason I never take anything at face value and I suppose I just wanted to make sure I got the number right. So I hit “call” …and SHE answers…

“Hello, you have reached the United States Postal Service automated support line. Para continuar en espanol, dice “espanol”.”

Well played Debbie. Good game.

Waiting for Grayskull

Well the time is here, boys and girls. Chesnuts roasting, songs being sung, and trees going up across the nation. It’s that time of the year when we sit back with our families and watch as the greatest struggle of good vs. evil unfolds. Literally. Because that’s what this thing does. It unfolds.

It’s Castle Grayskull time and much like Saint Nick, Mattel is delivering the greatest gift in the world to collectors this holiday season. Many lucky fans are waking up to find ENORMOUS gifts on their front porches…or depending on your carrier they may have just thrown it under a tree, I assume in the spirit of the holidays. How lucky they are to play with the Barbie Dream House of the action figure world. But amongst all the joy and frivolity I must ask, “Where’s mine?”

I know that sounds greedy, but lets be honest, you don’t order something like Grayskull and just be content with looking at pictures online.

Yeah, I know, it’ll get here eventually, but as Dinobot once said, “Eventually can be a very long time, Optimus.” and I’m impatient. The long trip from California to New York seems to have been made even longer by rough weather in the Midwest, and it doesn’t really help when “Newgistics”, that atrocious shipping company that Matty uses, only seems to update its tracking once every 3 or 4 days. It shipped on the 6th of December, updated the 9th in Nevada, and then hasn’t been updated since. I wonder if CG is just sight-seeing in Sparks, Nevada…I’ve never been so I don’t know what there is to look at.

Anyway, like the kid on Christmas Eve, I sit impatiently waiting for Saint Matty to bring me a treat. But do I really have to wait til Christmas? Let’s hope not.