A few new acquisitions & SWB Darth Vader speculation

Just some random musings for you.

toxie-toxic-crusader-playmates

I got this guy recently via sponsor Nerd Rage Toys. Playmates’ short-lived Toxic Crusaders line was great because it was 100% compatible with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in every way –  size, style, articulation, and even the overall theme. I only owned Toxie himself, but it was a great figure and line. In retrospect I wished I’d picked up the Radiation Ranger.

ggrapptikk-grunt-four-horsemen-power-lords-poe-ghostal

I also received a care package from the Four Horsemen that included two Power Lords Elite Soldiers and one of the Ggrapptikk Grunts (pre-release variants of Ggripptogg, which were available at NYCC last month). Ggripptakk won me over immediately – he’s a big articulated alien figure with tons of articulation and, if you’re into it, lots of interchangeability with Glyos. I’m not a huge fan of this particular color scheme – it just screams “early 1990s girl toys” – but evidently this colorway was meant to evoke the Major Matt Mason character Scorpio. (I don’t know whether the Horsemen specifically selected this colorway for Ggrapptikk or just piggy-backed on the production run for Onell’s early-September drop). But color aside, I will definitely get Ggripptogg come next spring.

four-horsemen-power-lords-elite-soldier

The Power Lords Elite Soldiers are great too, but before I warmed up to them I had to get over two minor disappointments: they’re just a bit too tall to fit in with Star Wars (they’re just the right height for today’s G.I. Joe, however), and their hands are designed to fit thin, angled, cylindrical weapon handles, which means I couldn’t use any of the random weapons I had with the figures – not even Sauron Sky Sentry’s gun, which has a straight up-and-down handle so the figure doesn’t quite hold it right.

Once I accepted those two issues, however, the figures quickly grew on me. The Horsemen have a knack for creating figures that hit the sweet spot between great sculpting and practical design and articulation, and that’s on full display here. A proper review of the Soldiers and Ggrapptikk will be forthcoming.

DarthVader

So I was thinking about Star Wars Black and rather than discuss this on someone else’s site, I thought I’d just bring it up here. How would you like Hasbro to do Vader’s cape? In general, I hate soft goods. We’ve already seen a decent amount of fabric in SWB (Boba Fett, Darth Maul, Leia), but it’s all been used very sparingly and in ways I haven’t minded much. But I’m not sure about a full fabric cape. I’ve yet to come across a Batman in the 6″ scale with an acceptable soft goods cape.

Vader wasn’t very agile in the films, so it’s not like he needs a fabric cape so that you can get him in all sorts of dynamic poses. On the other hand, super-articulation is an important selling point for SWB, and you don’t want Vader encased in a molded cape that won’t allow you to make use of his articulation. And many fans have gotten used to a more athletic Vader in the videogames and comics. So that’s a point in favor of a soft goods cape.

I wish there was some sort of pleather-like substance that could be used. What do they use for the Hot Toys Batman figures?

In any event, ultimately I would probably prefer some sort of plastic. Perhaps something a bit rubbery, like Darth Maul’s cloak, rather than a hard-plastic cape like what you get on most DC Universe Classics figures. A more pliable cape like Mattel’s earlier DC Super Heroes figures, or DC Direct/Collectibles’ stuff, would be acceptable.

Of course, I suspect this decision has already been made at Hasbro (not that I’m saying the rumored list is accurate, but either way I believe a Vader figure is likely already in development), so this is probably a moot discussion. Nonetheless, I’m curious – what sort of cape would you want?

Comments now closed (56)

      • Star Wars collectors are much less averse to soft goods.

        The 4" Vintage line showed just how awesome soft goods can be when incorporated into a design. That vintage card Darth Maul is absolutely beautiful and to my mind the best they've made (scale preferences aside), whereas The Black Series feels like a huge step backwards. It looks like it belongs in Toy Biz Marvel Legends. That's not to say Hasbro has perfected soft goods (Tarkin was a misfire), but they've made great strides. Death Star Escape Luke, the Gamorrean Guard and Wooof demonstrate how well the form factor of soft goods can be worked into the aesthetic of a figure.

        This isn't to say all 6" TBS figures will have soft goods. Rather, I think Hasbro will make the call on a case by case basis. For instance, Greedo's vest is almost enough to make me start collecting the 6" line. It's so, so good, and way overdue in the 4" line. But a Vader with a black plastic cape that absorbs light and can't contrast against his glossy black dome and textured chest plate? I just don't see it. You'd have a very unconventional Vader.

  • Still can't quite believe that there was a Toxic Avenger children's cartoon. Did no one involved in that ever actually see the original film, or any Troma film…?

    • There was a Rambo cartoon – hell, there was a Robocop cartoon. The opening sequence showed Murphy being blown away. By the time we got to the Toxic Avenger, it was relatively tame.

        • I guess it depends on whether Dark Angel was referring to the film’s violence or overall quality.

          If the violence, I have a hard time believing the Toxic Avenger is more violent than Robocop. I watched the Toxic Avenger at some point and evidently it wasn’t memorably violent.

        • …really? Poe, you are either stone cold, or you saw a massively cut/censored version of the film. Don't take my word for it, Google that shiz. Troma pretty much made their name in gross-out, blinding sex and violence.

          However, I agree that the Robocop and Rambo cartoons were also pretty out-there concepts.

        • I concur with Vincent, while Toxie was more violent than Robocop. It should not be forgotten that Robocop was initially given an X rating by the MPAA, and only received an R rating after significant changes to the film.

        • Remind me, is the first film the one with the liquified thug getting splattered all over the windshield of a cop car?

          Yeah, that and Peter Weller getting shot to hell are pretty violent.

      • I had Toxic Crusader sneakers at some point in Elementary School. They rocked. I was shocked once I saw the Toxic Crusader years later. If only my mother had known.

  • I'm an old-school Star Wars fan who couldn't give two shits about the expanded universe malarkey, particularly when they make Vader an agile warrior. Just stop it. Not only is he physically broken, but the man is also supposed to be a master warrior; he doesn't need to flip around all willie-nillie like that Maul kid. His skill is economy of motion and knowing where his enemies will be before they do. Nothing is more intimidating than the guy kicking your ass without breaking a sweat. (Taking this tangent even further afield, I was as excited as the next nerd to see Yoda fight in Ep. II, but the more I think of it the less sense it makes to me to have that ancient raisin ninja-flipping all over the place. Maybe that's why he got his ass kicked so often. . .)

    Soooo, give me a Vader with a plastic cape. He doesn't need double jointed knees and if his articulation at the shoulders, hips, and neck are limited, then GOOD. They're supposed to be.

    Soft goods on plastic action figures annoy me unless every figure in the line has them. Otherwise the mixed-media nature of the figure with a cloth cape just makes it look anachronistic. As for the Hot Toys Batman capes, some are a velvet-like and some are pleather. But all would be too heavy to hang correctly on such a small figure.

    • I consider myself an old-school Star Wars fan, but there are lots of bits of the Expanded Universe I enjoy, although it's mostly older stuff (like the Han Solo Adventures, plus some of the various Tales… stories). And I was a big fan of the Dark Forces games and their various characters.

      But I like the more active Vader, personally. Most of the particular EU stuff I'm referring to – the Blackman books – take place shortly after the events of the prequels, when you might expect Vader to be a bit more mobile and closer to a time when he actually did fight actively, as a Jedi (and I'm not necessarily referring to the prequel depiction). That's just my opinion, of course.

      • I prefer a little less active Vader (and even when he's right after RotS he's more like a walking tank), but having double jointed knees would be great to have him sit in his chamber. Wouldn't that be a cool accessory?

        • The amazing part of Toxie getting a cartoon and toys, is that Troma is such a tiny and "dirty" company. All of those other movies were backed by major studios, that didn't include the sort of portfolios that Troma does. It's pretty amazing overall, even if it was apparently nothing more than a huge boost for Troma.

        • I re-read them a couple months ago. They're indeed awesome. It still bug me Hasbro has made figures of characters who appeared in a single issue of a comic book, but never made one of Bollux.

        • Don't forget Gallandro and Hart-and-Parn Gorra-Fiolla of Lorrd. ;)

          I love those books. No Jedi, no Sith, just a charming scoundrel and his walking carpet trying to make their way in the universe.

          Incidentally, Lucas/Spielberg totally ripped off the plot of Han Solo and the Lost Legacy for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Seriously, not even kidding.

      • I haven't read the Han Solo series but I read the Lando Calrissan books and they were terrible.

        • I wouldn't recommend them. I'd be interested to read the Solo series as he's one of my favourite characters and the only 3.75" SW figure I still have.

  • I'm not in love with SWB, but I probably would buy Vader if he has a plastic/rubber cape. If it's cloth I'm definitely passing. I haven't been impressed with even the limited cloth they have used so far and I can't imagine they'll make enough of an improvement for it to actually work with Vader. I'm afraid they will go this route though and it will ruin the figure the same way it's ruined a number of the 4" versions.

    • I'm wondering how I'll feel about the fabric cape, if that's what they go with. I'll have to see it in person.

      I do hate fabric on figures, but I haven't hated it as much on SWB. I don't know if I'm drinking the Kool-Aid or mellowing out in my old age.

  • Toxic crusaders was amazing. I love it even more now because I get the satire. The toys are fabulous & I wish I could afford them all!

    • They're very rare in mass-market toys. I think there are too many safety concerns with having wires that could potentially poke out of the fabric.

        • Do those have ‘em? That’s cool. Well, never mind my speculating, then :) I honestly have no idea what Hasbro will do. But part of me thinks – hopes – that they won’t cheap out on their most popular character.

        • The CnC Trigon also had a soft goods cape with wire.

          I hope Vader comes with a plastic cape though. I am just not a fan of cloth materials at all in the 6" scale.

        • Yeah, it was only on the box-set versions though, which had a specific reason for such, the reason being the wall display base. They also had large apparently legally-mandated tags, but those were easy to snip off.

  • I think a cape with the Darth Maul cloak material would be fine. After seeing Slave Leia with that unattractive softgoods dress, I'd much rather have plastic.

  • I prefer cloth capes. Every time I think of plastic capes I think of those awful Vader cloaks from the SW figures from the mid 90's. There is little point giving Vader loads of articulation if it's going to be hindered by a hard cape. Having said that though, Vader's cloak in the movies was always hanging over his shoulders all the way to the ground but all the 3.75" figures with cloth capes do not sit like that, they all look very triangular.

    • Well as I said, I'm willing to bet Hasbro has already made the decision on this. Some are speculating that Hasbro is getting cheap with the line already. I'm not sure that matches my own observations, but if it were true, we should definitely expect a cheap fabric cape.

      • lol whats funny about the phrase "cheap fabric cape" is that scott nietlich for mattel keeps saying fabric (cloth goods) capes cost MORE than plastic.

        personally i prefer the fabric over plastic, as i feel the plastic limits things too much, but thats just personal preference. vader (and maybe the bounty hunters) are just about the only swb figures id ever want to pick up, so whatever looks best is what my vote would go towards

  • Probably wishful thinking, but it would be great if they included a cloth cape and a plastic molded one.

    I prefer plastic.

  • I find it kind of amusing how we've got over thirty comments in this thread, and not one about Power Lords.

    To be fair, I've never really cultivated the kind of readership that collects 4"-scale figures…

    • I'll pitch in. The Power Lords look cool enough, but at this scale they don't interest me too much. I had one blue alien guy as a kid and he ended up with my MOTU collection. If the new Power Lords were MOTUC or DCUC sized I probably would have ordered a couple. However I am happy to see the Glyos system being used in a style like this instead of the goofy cute figures I usually see.
      I wonder if these new Power Lords are being bought by actual fans of the original line, or if it's mostly just fans of the Horsemen and Glyos who are buying these..

      • Let's face it – the fan bases for the original Power Lords (and Robo Force, Outer Space Men, and Manglors for that matter) are all very small. I have no doubt in my mind that the Glyos compatibility is a huge part of what helps sell these toys. That's not to say there aren't fans who would collect Power Lords because of the license rather than any fondness for Glyos – I'm in that category, for example – but I don't think the line could survive without the Glyos fan base.

        Personally, I do wish the line had been made in the 6" scale. But as the Raven Kickstarter (and the last five years of MOTUC) suggest, producing even one quality six-inch figure without a powerful media tie-in (TMNT, Marvel, Star Wars) is a very expensive proposition nowadays.

    • Oh, I'm interested (1/6th collector first and foremost, then 1/18th, then 1/12th a distant third). I'm liking the design for the Power Soldier especially, but the complete absence of a second axis of movement in the legs is really hard to take…

      • I do hope they decide to revisit the swivel legs at some point in the future, although I don't find them quite as objectionable on a 4" figure as I do on a larger one.

    • I'm sick of trying to figure out what the heck is going on with the line. Lost any interest I might have had.

        • Power Lords

          I love collecting lines that educate me, and somethig from the early 80s hits the sweet spot for me. But this one feels like it will be too much work for not a whole lot of reward.

  • Swap out capes on vader would be my pick. One molded the in the straight down over the shoulder hanging in front for the standing around look and one fanned out behind the back for action.

    • Now that's a good idea. Also he needs an a light sabre to hang from his belt, something the has been missing on all but one (to my knowledge) of the numerous 3.75" figures made.

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