Reviews > Power Soldier & Elite Soldier (Power Lords, Four Horsemen Studios)

power-lords-four-horsemen-poe-ghostal-review-1

The Power Lords has to be one of the strangest action figure lines of all time. It was developed in the early 1980s by Revell, a company known primarily for making model kits. Many of the characters and creatures were designed by Wayne Barlowe, a legendary science fiction and fantasy illustrator and creature creator for film and television.* It was a 6″-scaled line in a 3.75″ (Star Wars) and 5″ (MOTU) world. And for some reason, the figures were loaded with more articulation than would be regularly seen on any other (American) action figure line for nearly two decades.

The line was a seminal influence on the sculptors of Four Horsemen Studios – in particular Eric Treadaway (who discussed it in this interview from the second day of this blog’s existence, December 2, 2007). And so it’s not very surprising that Treadaway and the Horsemen managed to track down the owners of the Power Lords license and brokered a deal to bring the line back to the toy world. Continue reading “Reviews > Power Soldier & Elite Soldier (Power Lords, Four Horsemen Studios)”

Review > Battle Damaged Gipsy Danger (Pacific Rim, NECA)

This review was cross-posted here, and on Poe Ghostal’s partner site CollectionDX.  Hit up CollectionDX.com for all your robot toy coverage needs!

neca-gypsydanger-bd-01

 I loved Pacific Rim.  The tone and writing were great fun, the jaeger designs were creative and well-realized, and the action intense.  What could be a more perfect film to get awesome, highly detailed and well-made action figures?  Well, at least NECA got it half right. Continue reading “Review > Battle Damaged Gipsy Danger (Pacific Rim, NECA)”

Review > Star Wars Musical Holiday Waterball

Today’s review is part of the Toy Advent Review Calendar. Visit adventfigurereviews.com for a new toy review every day until Christmas!

star-wars-vader-snow-globe-2

Star Wars holiday items are generally stupid. Anachronistic and stupid. Why the hell would Yoda or Darth Maul or Jango Fett wear a Santa costume? Why would Boba Fett be armed with a candy cane? The R2-D2 bobble head with a Santa hat and Christmas gifts around him? It’s a cash grab that leaves the recipients of these crapola gifts with only one response:

“Thanks, I guess.” Continue reading “Review > Star Wars Musical Holiday Waterball”

Review > Mordles Mega-Review (Mordles, ToyFinity)

mordles-poe-ghostal-review-16

Mordles Review by Doc Thomas

Mordles are great. Make no bones about it. These little guys rock.

Others have already conclusively covered Mordles and their origin as part of Ideal Toys’s 1980s toyline Rocks & Bugs & Things, so I wont go into that here (I highly recommend Dinosaur Dracula’s terrific rundown). As far as I know Rocks & Bugs & Things never made it to my native Australia, so I never had the chance to sample the delights therein. Because of the recent popularity of the series and the subsequent insane rarity, I suspect Bloodstone will forever be on my Wants list, but John Kent of ToyFinity has done collectors worldwide a favor and brought back the amazing Mordles, making them easily available in packs in a variety of different colors (often with bonus figures)! Continue reading “Review > Mordles Mega-Review (Mordles, ToyFinity)”

Review > Scarabus (Gothitropolis, Four Horsemen)

scarabus-gothitropolis-four-horsemen-poe-ghostal-review-face-1

It’s taken over two years for me to review this figure. There are a lot of reasons why, but “sheer procrastination” is probably the most honest one.

For those who don’t know, Scarabus was made and sold by design-studio-turned-toy-company The Four Horsemen. They started out as sculptors for McFarlane Toys in the mid-1990s. They were responsible for many fantastic and memorable figures. In 1999, they left McFarlane to form their own design studio and were swiftly contracted by Mattel to revamp the Masters of the Universe toyline. The result was Millennium (200x) MOTU. Mattel not only gave the 4H credit for their work on the line, but – in stark contrast to McFarlane – actually used the Horsemen as a selling point to collectors. Continue reading “Review > Scarabus (Gothitropolis, Four Horsemen)”

Doc Thomas Reviews > Batros (Masters of the Universe Classics, Mattel)

batros-motuc-poe-ghostal-review-8

This review was sponsored by friend, editor and webmaster Poe Ghostal, who sent me a toilet and a dumpster, oddly fitting items for the review subject.

Batros is one of the worst, most ridiculous and most bewildering characters in Masters of the Universe, a place where bewilderment and ridiculousness flourishes. So it’s fitting he’s got one of the worst, most bewildering action figures in Masters of the Universe Classics – but we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

To prep for this review, I watched the specific Filmation episode from which the action figure originates, “The Great Books Mystery.” In the episode Batros (a character who exhibits no bat-like traits whatsoever) decides to take over Eternia by stealing all of its books. A winning plan if there ever was one! Why swiping all of the books would immediately plunge Eternia into ruin and force the kingdom to make Batros ruler goes unexplained. I don’t know, it seemed to me like no one would have even noticed if Orko hadn’t gone looking for his book on unicorns. Continue reading “Doc Thomas Reviews > Batros (Masters of the Universe Classics, Mattel)”

Review > Hive Wars Predator (Predators, NECA)

predator-hive-wars-poe-ghostal-review-6

Note: this is a sponsored review. The figure was provided by NECA.

In the late 1980s, there were few action figures I wanted more than a Predator. Sadly, by the time Kenner started making Predator figures in the 1990s, I had entered the four-to-five-year period where I was more interested in Magic: The Gathering cards than action figures. I did, however, pick up the Alien vs. Predator two-pack, because I couldn’t resist movie-accurate versions of the Predator and Alien. but all the other crazy, weird variants Kenner made were completely uninteresting to me.

Today, I still want to have a regular “classic” Predator before anything else, but I already have that. At this point in my life, I’m able to appreciate the creativity that went into Kenner’s line. The figures had unique accessories, bright colors, and the exaggerated muscle sculpting that marked many 1990s toy lines (including, hilariously, the first few waves of Kenner’s comeback Star Wars figures). I think that sort of grotesquely-muscled, semi-posed design was due to a stylistic hangover from the immense popularity of Playmates’ Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (whose own style had been influenced by Masters of the Universe).

Those original Kenner Predator figures were designed to appeal more to kids than cynical teenage collectors. In the 1990s I was both too old and too young to appreciate Kenner’s work. Continue reading “Review > Hive Wars Predator (Predators, NECA)”

Review > SDCC Exclusive Boba Fett with Han Solo in Carbonite (Star Wars Black 6″, Hasbro)

Don’t forget to enter our “Trygg Poftu” contest for a chance to win a Star Wars Black 6″ Boba Fett!

boba-fett-star-wars-black-poe-ghostal-review-head

It all started on November 17, 1978. That’s the day the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special aired for the first and last time. In-between live action scenes that lurched from soul-crushing tedium to wince-inducing sentimentality (Bea Arthur sings!), there was a brief cartoon segment that featured Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and a character who would become one of the most famous members of the Star Wars universe: Boba Fett. Continue reading “Review > SDCC Exclusive Boba Fett with Han Solo in Carbonite (Star Wars Black 6″, Hasbro)”

Review > Darth Maul (Star Wars Black 6″, Hasbro)

Don’t forget to enter our “Trygg Poftu” contest for a chance to win a Star Wars Black 6″ Boba Fett!

darth-maul-star-wars-black-poe-ghostal-review-14

My personal Star Wars: The Phantom Menace story was the same as that of many other SW fans. The excitement of of the initial rumors the prequels would be made. The preview figures. The first trailer, downloading on the Internet oh-so-slowly over my college’s T1 line. The puzzlement at announcement of the terrible title. The plastic orgy of the early May toy release. And then the realization, just a few minutes in to the movie, that something was very, very wrong.

You’ll never convince me the original films are of the same quality of the prequels. I’m not blinded by childhood nostalgia; it’s simply not the case, and I could write volumes on why, but it’s already been well-covered by others. Continue reading “Review > Darth Maul (Star Wars Black 6″, Hasbro)”

Review > R2D2 (Star Wars Black, Hasbro)

The vintage R2D2 I had was the one with the pop-up “sensorscope.” As much as I loved that little toy, it always bugged me he didn’t have the third leg and the feet couldn’t be moved to put him into his proper rolling posture. It would be nearly twenty years before Hasbro finally made an Artoo with both the extra leg and articulated feet. Now, with Star Wars Black, Hasbro is attempting to give us the definitive R2D2 figure. Did they do it?

Don’t forget to enter our “Trygg Poftu” contest for a chance to win a Star Wars Black 6″ Boba Fett!

r2d2-black-series-star-wars-poe-ghostal-review-2

My mother’s favorite “toy hunt” story revolves around R2D2. Back in the early 1980s, Star Wars toys were massively popular, none so much as R2D2 himself. He was funny, he was lovable, he had a great, kid-friendly design. He was almost every kid’s favorite character. (Except for that weird kid who couldn’t get enough of Amanaman. Okay fine, it was me!)

The year was 1982. I had just seen Star Wars for the first time at the Braintree drive-in that summer,¹ and I wanted nothing more than an R2D2 action figure. But the Empire Strikes Back was two years old and Kenner’s big push for Return of the Jedi was a year away, so Star Wars figures were a bit hard to come by, particularly popular characters like Artoo. My parents searched high and low for him, and one day, returning from a visit to my grandparents, they stopped at a small Child World in Quincy. There was no Artoo on the pegs, but there was one of those carriages full of returns in the aisle, and lo and behold, buried at the bottom of the carriage was none other than Artoo. My parents inform me that I danced through the aisles saying, “We found him! We found him!”

One interesting fact about Artoo-Detoo: he always has been and always will be totally awesome. He escaped the prequels smelling like a rose – arguably the only character to do so.

The vintage R2D2 I had was the one with the pop-up “sensorscope.” As much as I loved that little toy, it always bugged me he didn’t have the third leg and the feet couldn’t be moved to put him into his proper rolling posture. It would be nearly twenty years before Hasbro finally made an Artoo with both the extra leg and articulated feet.

Now, with Star Wars Black, Hasbro is attempting to give us the definitive R2D2 figure. Did they do it? No, I don’t think they did. The design team’s heart was in the right place, but the execution failed in a few ways.

Continue reading “Review > R2D2 (Star Wars Black, Hasbro)”