Tag Archives: Action figure

Toy Biz Sneak Attack Flip ‘n Trap Red Skull Figure Review

90’s toys are my weakness. They aren’t good in terms of sculpt, paint, articulation, accessories, or scale, especially by today’s standards, but something about them always makes me excited. I think it’s just the nostalgia that comes with them- hell, 90’s toys were MY toys. Yeah, I grew up in the 80’s and I played with toys of the time, but 90’s toys were the ones I started collecting. They’ll always have a special place in my heart because of that, regardless of how stupid they usually are.

Case in point: Flip ‘n Trap Red Skull. Continue reading

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Funko POP! Vinyl Captain America: Civil War 4-Pack In-Hand Photos

Check out some in-hand photos of the new POP! Vinyl Civil War 4-Pack which includes Spider-Man, Hawkeye, and keychain miniatures of Captain America and Iron Man.

I haven’t been taking my POP figures out of the packages, so I apologize for the lack of variety, but these guys are definitely worth adding to a collection. Now all we’re missing is Vision, who I hope we get wearing a sweater. Make it happen, Funko!

Toy Biz Electro-Spark Captain America Action Figure Review

I love 90’s toys. I know, they suck. Well, at least by today’s standards. But, see, these are the toys I grew up with and there’s something to be said for nostalgia. Nostalgia makes everything seem better, even when it’s something that really makes no sense at all. Like Electro-Spark Captain America.

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Ok, to be fair, this figure is technically “Captain America with Sparking Shield and Transforming Hover Jet”, and part of the “Spider-Man: Electro-Spark” line, but one can understand the leap to “Electro-Spark Cap”. But before I start to talk about the figure, I need to jump into the packaging, because, well, just look at that Spidey pic and tell me you don’t want to know more!

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OK, so the back of the package sets us up for why these toys have an electricity theme- the only way to stop electricity is with DIFFERENT electricity. I guess. According to the package Spidey and Cap are the only two heroes capable of defeating Electro, and to do it they need to juice themselves up with zapping abilities.  I would think that if electricity beats electricity (which it doesn’t…unless we’re talking surges and overloads), why didn’t Spidey just go ask Iron Man for help? But whatever, I get another Cap figure out of the deal.

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To take down Electro, of course, Spidey needs at least THREE electricity-themed outfits, including Electro-Spark, which includes a robot spider, Electro-Shock, which has some sorta mech suit, and lastly a Steel-Shock armor- because nothing beats electricity better than draping yourself in highly-conductive metal. I guess the gimmick wouldn’t work well if we got “Rubber Gloves Spidey”, which is a shame, really. We missed out on years of “Proctology Exam Spider-Man” jokes.

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Another info bubble on the box tells us that Cap’s electricity powers actually come from Electro himself; Cap’s shield has absorbed enough power from the villain’s menacing attacks to actually retain the charge. Why isn’t this a video game? I feel like there was a missed opportunity here with Cap running around with his Megaman style shield absorbing enemy powers along the way.

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The jet sled thing we see here doesn’t get an explanation on the packaging, so I suppose we are to just assume it’s the means of transport that Cap took to go help Spidey. Or maybe it’s a space coffin a la “Wrath of Khan”. Let your imaginations run wild, kids!

Once you get past the plethora of bright colors and visual distractions on the package (IF you can) we get what is essentially a definitive 90’s Cap figure.

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His face is sculpted in a mid-battle grimace and there isn’t much definition to speak of- if it wasn’t for the paint I’m not sure I’d know where Steve’s face ended and his mask began- but all things considered it’s a damn good Cap figure. Just look at the detail sculpting on the chest to capture the scale-mail armor, something still missing in most Cap figures today. It would have been easy to recycle piece from other figures for this guy, but I’m glad to see Toy Biz go all out for him.

Now the accessories are where things get a bit iffy. Everyone knows Steve Rogers is never without his mighty shield, but this time out it looks like Cap decided to bring a shield-shaped gun to the party. Ok, so the package states that the shield absorbed some electrical charge, which is why when you pull the cord on the back of it, it sparks up. It doesn’t mention, however, why the shield shrunk down, or how it got glued to a chunk of plastic. I know it needs to house the electro-spark gimmick, but it just looks odd being so small and really wouldn’t offer much in the way of protection. Plus the way Steve holds it make it look like it should swirl and create some sorta hypno-ray, but it doesn’t and that makes me sad.

Now if you take a look at the blistercard, you can see Cap holding a size-appropriate shield. It looks like it would be a better fit, but since we didn’t get it I guess we’ll never know. If only we had that one to see what this guy would have looked like…

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Hey, Marvel Legends Cap! Thanks for helping out!

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Giving this Cap a more accurate shield goes a long way to make him look AMAZING! The color doesn’t quite match up with the most recent Legends shield- the 90’s Cap has much brighter colors- but the size looks so much better that it almost doesn’t matter. If I can find a good color match in this size, I will definitely display this guy holding it. I just wouldn’t know what to do with the electro-shield the figure came with.IMG_1846

The second accessory Cap comes with is the Hover Jet that can double as a rocket pack.

It’s cool looking enough, but the wings and handles are barely attached and tend to pop off without much prompting, leading me to wonder how any kid was supposed to play with it. If you can manage to get Cap to balance on it without pieces falling everywhere (which took me some effort) it still is a bit funky. The way his arms are positioned he can’t really hold on to the handlebars, and the feet just slide into the goblin-glider foot cups, so there’s no way to keep the passenger in place. I have a feeling that it found its way to many a toy box’s bottom layer.

It also serves another function, though. Well, two more if you count what the package says. First is the jetpack, which works much better than the sled mode does.

It sorta just rests on Cap’s shoulders and hangs there, but the fit is snug and doesn’t come loose as easily as the other mode does. The leg parts have clips to connect the figure’s legs into, but since Cap is sporting his fashionable cavalier boots, and the clips aren’t wide enough, they don’t serve much purpose.  Funny thing is fits a little better when put onto a modern Hasbro Legends figure, despite being made for the smaller guys.

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Now according to the packaging the jet also has a “lab table” mode where you fold the wings back and can lay Steve out for some unsavory experiments. Fortunately (or unfortunately, I don’t know what everyone is into) there are little plastic tabs that keep you from being able to do that. I even tried swapping the wings to opposite sides to see if that would work, but nope. Looks like Cap escapes experimentation due to poor construction.

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Toys from the 90’s are a joy to play with, and Electro-Spark Cap here is no different. We’ve come a long way since the days of 9 points of articulation and “less-than” sculpting, but it’s always good to look back to where you came from, and even for a toy made before the golden age of action figure collecting, this is a dynamite Cap toy. Well, not counting the accessories, of course.

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Hasbro’s Captain America Civil War Miniverse Captain America Bunker

It’s new toy season, and thanks to the new Captain America movie on the horizon, this means a glut of new Cap toys on store shelves. What’s exciting for me is that this means I get to buy Cap stuff that would never get made under non-movie year conditions, like this neat little Captain America Bunker.

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The Cap Bunker is in scale with Hasbro’s “miniverse” toys which popped up with merchandise for the second Avengers movie, and is a cool looking playset for your Team Cap collection. There’s also a fort for your Team Iron Man, but it’s hard to get excited about that one.

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Included with the playset is a single Captain America action figure, which is the exact same one that comes with the Target Exclusive Multipack (say it like Milla Jovovich in The Fifth Element) and is pretty cool despite its 2″ size. The paints are kind of weak on it, so I’ve opted to use the one I custom painted from the aforementioned Multipack for the photos.

The playset itself comes unassembled (unlike the Avengers) and has a sticker sheet, which I have always loved. I dunno, something about putting stickers on toys takes me back. Probably the hours spent making sure the stickers lined up perfectly on the old TMNT Sewer Lair. Those were simpler times.

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Anyway, the set it cast in solid colors, mostly blacks, grays, blues, with some golds thrown around. The parts all snap together easily and seem to hold well, so it should be safe for kids to beat up with their toys. The background is made of cardboard, but it’s a fairly thick piece so I wouldnt worry too much about breaking it. Once it’s together it stands about 14″ tall and features several action features. Yes, it features features. I’m not going to get my thesaurus, so deal with it.

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You get a missile launcher which can
either snap onto a separate stand and be moved around freely, or it can snap into a spot on the second floor of the bunker itself. If it is clipped onto that second floor, however, it doesn’t leave much room for the figures, so I’m just going to leave it on the stand. The playset itself has this strange little section that, to me, looks like a seat, so I think that’s a good spot to set the missile launcher for now.

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It also comes with a…uh…big yellow barrel? At first I thought it was going to be an elevator, but since it doesn’t go up and down and all it can do is turn, well, I’m not really sure what it’s supposed to be. It can fit a figure inside, though, so I guess that’s something.

Several spots on the playset act as “hit points”, which, when shot with a missile from the opposing Iron Man Base, flip up small spots on the floor to send either figures or accessories flying. This, of course, means I now need to buy the other playset. Well played, Hasbro. There’s also a large Cap Shield on the back of the Bunker that can flop up and down, which I guess is a major target but as it doesn’t activate any “flip action”, so I assume it’s just the equivalent of burning an enemy’s flag.

The set also comes with four removable “set pieces” in the way of 2 silver barrels, a computer monitor and a…um…unexploded nuclear missile. Spoiler Alert! Civil War ends with apes taking over the Earth. I guess. The missile is cool looking though, and fits snuggly into the base. There’s even a little swivel arm that grips the top of the missile, stopping it from falling over and crushing Cap and friends. The barrels are cool too, but they have hollow backs, so you will want to keep them facing a certain way so they don’t look dumb. The computer monitor is a big screen. Exciting.

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I’m not sure how much, if any, of this set will make it into the movie, but it’s a fun little toy none the less. It retails for about $20, which given the size and playability of it, is a damn good deal. My local Target had this along with some little vehicles for it, so I’ll probably end up with a Miniverse Cap army pretty soon.

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With plenty of new Civil War toys creeping their way out, I’m sure I’ll be playing with more and more as we head into the final stretch. Hard to believe the movie is just 2 months away.

Why Do Toy Companies Make it Difficult to be a Cap Fan?

I’m currently in the process of redoing my toy room. A fresh coat of paint, a new floor, some more Cap-themed décor- it’s coming along nicely. But as I’m starting to put my toys back onto their shelves (and thus moving things out of the living room and giving my wife less reason to kill me in my sleep) I’m starting to realize a mind-boggling fact- toy companies are making it really tough for little kids to be Captain America fans.

Don’t get me wrong- I absolutely love this age we’re living in right now. It’s a great time to be a fan of the Star Spangled Avenger. You can’t walk into a Walmart or Target without seeing Cap’s face plastered on a sign, a card, or even on a box of cereal. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has helped usher in a whole new excitement behind one of comic books’ greatest characters, and I want for very little now. Ten years ago I was struggling to find even a Cap T-shirt, but today I rolled out my Captain America area rug, took a sip out of my Cap coffee mug, and sat back and though, “Man, this is a Golden Age.”

Yet with all the great merchandise coming out, I can’t help but feel like little kids are getting the shaft. You see, while they can buy a Captain America action figure in pretty much any store in creation, they have nothing for that Steve Rogers toy to do. Toy companies see him as just a small piece of the Avengers pie, meaning that very little time is devoted to Cap himself.

Growing up I was a Spider-Man fan. He was just everywhere, and our options back then were really either Spider-Man or the X-Men (unless you wanted to go DC). There wasn’t a lot of media presence for Marvel at the time, but there were always Spider-Man toys on the shelves, and I was 6, so it seemed like a perfect fit. Flash forward to 25 years later and Spider-Man is still dominating toy aisles.

Ol’ Webhead has a bevy of variations released throughout multiple lines. You can get regular Spidey, Ben Reilly version, Scarlet Spider, Black Costume, Spider-Armor, Iron-Spider, Scuba-Spidey…the list just keeps going. In addition to his many iterations you can also get a plethora of Spider-Man villains for him to fight, because, well, if you have a Spider-Man in his Spider-Buggy driving through the Spider-lair, he’s going to need a super villain to be chasing after, right?

When I was growing up, one of my favorite things about Spider-Man was that every now and then my parents would get me a new bad guy for Peter to beat on. Doc Ock was usually my go-to lead baddie, but it was always so exciting to shake things up and have Rhino break out of jail, or Electro rob a bank. And yeah, Spidey occasionally fought Magneto or Sabertooth, but there was always a special joy that came from recreating a scene I had read in a comic or seen on a cartoon. And when I wanted to go a little wacky I could always throw “Stealth Mission” Spider-Man into his missile launching Web-copter and go for a joy ride. But when things came to Cap…well he always kinda just showed up on occasion to help that little Parker kid out, since he usually never had his own bad guys to fight, or his own vehicles to drive.

That brings us to the crux of my issue. Captain America has 75 years worth of great supporting characters that kids could be playing with right now, and most of them would make awesome toys, so why don’t companies like Hasbro try to garner more interest in them? Everyone uses the argument “Well, Cap fight Nazis, and I doubt K-Mart wants a Nazi on a toy shelf.”, which is very true, but we currently live in a time when Cap no longer fights Nazis. Thanks to the movies he fights Red Skull and his evil HYDRA organization. Not a swastika to be seen. The die-hard Cap fan in me cringes a little when I say this, but I think, from a marketing standpoint, that this was a brilliant play. It should have opened up the door for a 4 year old to have a Red Skull Playskool toy, but I still don’t see any around. Now why is that?

And let’s talk about the variants and vehicles here, because I feel like it’s another place where toy companies just keep missing opportunities. Cap has over a dozen different comic looks, and plenty of room for “out-there” variants, I don’t know why no one is taking advantage of it. What I wouldn’t give to see kids outside today playing in their yards with Artic Mission Cap, driving his red, white and blue snow buggy to catch the villainous Batroc. Again I have to ask- why are toy companies afraid to use Cap the same way they do Iron Man or Spider-Man?

Now keep in mind that this argument is not solely held for Cap’s sake. Hulk, Thor, and Antman all seem to share this issue. They are all just “Iron Man’s backup”. It’s a little upsetting that my kids will never be able to play with “Anti-Venom Armor Captain America” while taking on the Serpent Society, or have Space Thor stopping Loki from stealing the Asgardian Shuttle.

Even jumping beyond little kids, we have Hasbro’s ever-growing Marvel Legends line, which, while finally bringing in some more obscure characters, still leaves a lot to be desired. In this newly released “Captain America Classics” wave, we get a new Cap, Agent 13, two Cap villains (Cottonmouth and Scourge), one Iron Man villain (Whirlwind), one Avengers villain (Taskmaster), and one Avengers B-lister (Mockingbird). For a “Cap-themed” wave, we only really get about half the wave being Cap characters. Yet look at the Spider-Man Legends released at the same time. One Spidey variant, one Spidey…uh…supporting character? (Spider-Gwen) and 5 Spidey villains (Venom, Speed Demon, Beetle, Mad Jack, and Morbius). Now THAT is a themed wave.

At the end of the day I just feel the need to ask again- Why do toy companies make it difficult to be a Cap fan? Right now the only thing a four-year old can do is buy a basic Captain America and either have him help the Avengers or fight the Avengers. Though I suppose the latter is good prep for Civil War.

What do you guys think? Am I completely off here? Let me know.

 

New Cap Themed Marvel Super Hero Mashers

This week on eBay a whole bunch of new auctions started popping up for new figures in Hasbro’s “Marvel Super Hero Mashers” line. While I haven’t seen any of these guys in stores yet, I am excited at the prospect of adding more variety to the collection.

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First up is the Winter Soldier. We saw this guy a while back at…uh…Toyfair? Comic Con? Well, wherever it was, we knew he had been produced. Looks like ol’ Bucky has finally started to make his way out into the world. What’s interesting here, though, is there appears to be a second version of the Winter Soldier out there in the form of a deluxe figure with extra accessories.

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Check out the severed Cap head and the disc launcher! What makes this version really extra-special cool is that awesome vac-metal arm!  I’m a sucker for vac-metal.

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Next up we have a new version of The Falcon, or, as Hasbro is legally obligated to call him, Marvel’s Falcon. This is an odd choice to me as it’s a repaint of the original figure done in a color scheme that, quite frankly, isn’t a thing. They could have gone with Sam’s original green and orange look, a more modern Falcon look, or, hey! I know! Maybe a Sam Wilson: Captain America repaint! All I can say is that I sure hope that last one is in the works.

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Next up is something completely out of left field but absolutely awesome- Captain America in his Ultimates universe WW2 outfit! I didn’t even know this one was coming out, but I won’t complain! While I would be more excited to see more of Steve’s supporting cast making their way into action figure form, this figure is just too cool too overlook!

And while we’re at it I want to point out that while looking at all these new toys the other day I did discover a certain someone who hasn’t made an appearance yet on eBay but does appear on the backs of several other figures’ packages.

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Yup, Red Skull! Well, Iron Skull, as he’s called in…um…somewhere? Well, whatever. They can call him “Rosehead Menaceman” for all I care, so long as I get this figure! Again, he hasn’t popped up on the “Bay” so Shmidty here probably hasn’t been released yet, but here’s to hoping he shows up soon in stores! DIg that Cosmic Cube!

Now Hasbro, seriously, Sam Wilson Cap.

 

Mattel Defining Moments HULK HOGAN!!!!!

I decided to stop off at a local Toys R Us on the way home from work this morning just to look around for nothing in particular, when suddenly all the lights in the building began flashing red and yellow! Theme music started to blast over the store’s PA and all the nearby toys began cheering. Seriously, it was the most incredible thing I have get seen in my entire life! Until, that is, I saw what all the fanfare was about.

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I didn’t even know this was a thing!!! When did Mattel get the rights to the Hulkster? Actually, I don’t even care! I was quite the Hulkamaniac back in the day, so the fact that The Champ here gets a new action figure is so cool, I don’t even care what stars aligned to make it happen. He was all alone on the shelf, so I snatched him up right away and ran to the cash register. The only thing I need to do now is decide whether or not to open the package. What am I gonna do, brother, when Hulkamania runs wild on…me…that doesn’t rhyme. Oh well.

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