Saturday, February 6, 2016

Transformers 3rd Party: MakeToys RE:Master Series Wrestle MTRM-05

The 3rd party scene has gotten really crowded over the last few years and it has left me at knowing what to do. I've grown tired of buying a figure, only for some other company to come later and release a figure of the same character, only better. Combine that with being at a crossroads of sorts of what to collect and it's left me with buying very few 3rd party figures.

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I've really grown to appreciate the Masterpiece series of figures from Takara Tomy and have purchased just about every release to date. With their popularity comes MP scaled 3rd party figures. While I believe that Takara Tomy will eventually produce an official Masterpiece figure of just about every Transformer from the 1984 and 1985, there are times my impatience gets the best of me. That's were MakeToys' new RE:Master series of figures comes into play; specifically Wrestle.

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Wrestle marks the second MakeToys RE:Master series figure I've bought, but the first I've opened (sorry Cupola!). When it was announced that they were making Inferno (Hellfire) and Grapple (Wrestle) I knew I wanted to at least buy their take on Grapple. After all Grapple has always been one of my favorite early G1 Autobots.

The packaging is very nice. The box has a matte finish and the RE:Master logo is done up in a silver foil. Wrestle comes packaged in robot mode so the box is a good size, larger than most of the official Autobot Masterpiece releases.

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Wrestle is currently a MakeToys website exclusive and can only be obtained via their website. I'm not sure what the reasoning is behind this move, but it explains why I was having a hard time finding the pre-order back around Christmas at the normal online stores I shop at.

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The first thing that I found once I opened up the box was a set of replacement pieces for Gun Dog, their version of Hound from their Re;Master series. I'm not sure if there was some sort of issue with Gun Dog, but I'm guessing since two heads, faces and eyes were packaged w/ Wrestle MakeToys was trying to correct something. On a side note I'm not sure if the Mitsubishi license will ever come back to Takara Tomy so an official Masterpiece Hound may or may not ever happen. If the the latter is the case then at least I know what 3rd party version of Hound I'll be purchasing.

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I was surprised at the general heft of the figure upon pulling the plastic tray out of the form fitting box. Grapple was always bigger than most of the Autobot cars so I expected this figure to be a good size. Right out of the box I was impressed with the overall look of the figure. He looks a lot like his G1 self, minus the cartoon accurate head.

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Speaking of the head, I do wish he came packaged with a black toy accurate head, but it really doesn't bother me as much as I thought it would. What is included w/ Wrestle is another set of 5 faces with difference expressions along with metallic blue eyes. I tried to change one of faces after I wrapped up the photography and I found it rather easy to do so. No tools are required!

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The face that comes on the figure isn't that bad, but I prefer one of the other included faces.

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Wrestle's other included accessories are a black rifle and a silver missile. Wrestle has articulated hands that easily grasp the rifle's handle. To attach the missile you simply open up the forearm cavity and rotate the fist back. Doing this exposes a hole for the missile to plug into. Unlike the G1 toy, the missile does not launch from his arm.

Transforming Wrestle into his crane truck form is rather easy. I've heard the included instructions weren't much help, but I found the steps easy to follow. There were times during the transformation I felt like I was transforming G1 Grapple.

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The crane truck is beautiful. MakeToys did a great job at capturing the the look and feel of the original G1 toy. I kept going back and forth on that transformation step to see if I was doing something wrong, but I couldn't quite figure out why two side panels weren't lining up correctly.

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In a surprising move Wrestle's weapons were made to integrate into the vehicle mode. Above you can see that his rifle fits just under the crane arm. The missile actually can separate into two pieces and simply plug into a small area between his black knee pads. I was in a hurry the day I was photographing the toy so I didn't bother plugging the missile in. I knew I'd be displaying him in robot mode w/ the missile attached anyhow.

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" Move over Hook, let a real 'bot handle this job "

The quality of this figure really impressed me. The shade of "construction yellow" looks great in hand. the plastic quality is top notch and the paint apps are spot on. Wrestle's wheels are in deed rubber and roll across a hard, smooth surface just fine. 

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I may not have had another Masterpiece toy readily available when I snapped the pictures, however why not compare the new with the old? In my opinion MakeToys did a terrific job with both modes. I wonder if we'll get a green Hauler version some day?

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One last comparison shot, this time with Transformers Reveal the Shield Solar Storm Grappel.

In closing I'm very happy with my purchase of Wrestle. It's not a perfect figure, but it's pretty darn close. Both Mastermind Creatures and X-Transbots are coming out with their own masterpiece scaled versions of the character later in 2016, so if MakeToys' asthetics aren't for you then you'll have a few different choices soon.

I'm sure that Takara Tomy will eventually release their own version of Grapple and when/if they do I'll pick up it. Grapple, Smokescreen and Sunstreaker are those characters that I'll buy multiples of - assuming they each get the official and 3rd party masterpiece treatment.

Wrestle is currently available for $124.99 exclusively at MakeToys' online store so if you think this may be the version for you I wouldn't wait too long to pick him up as their past website exclusives have sold out not long after their release.

Friday, February 5, 2016

GI Joe Pursuit of Cobra: Low-Light

As I've been working on getting some new content prepped for the blog, I went to the last few pages of photos yet to be edited and I ran across several GI Joe figures that I photographed before I sold off the majority of what I had of a Joe collection. It kind of saddens me to see the brand not getting the attention it used to, but I get it. Military and war toys just aren't as appealing as they were in the 60's, 70's, 80's and 90's. I understand why parents may not want their kids playing with toys of a "ruthless terrorist organization determined to rule the world". Even so some of the best Joe figures Hasbro pumped out where right before things seemed to sizzle out. I'm talking about the great Pursuit of Cobra series.

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It's funny how certain characters become super popular when the original toy this new hot figure is based off of wasn't anything special. I never owned the Real American Hero Low-Light figure and I really never cared for the way he was depicted in any of the original Sunbow animation, however when pictures of this new version surfaced on the internet I could see why so many people were anxious to add him to their collection.

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To saw that Low-Light came with a lot of gear, weapons and accessories would be a huge understatement! Just take a look at the massive backpack he comes with. Unlike the backpacks of old that just plugged into the back of the figure, this one can hold some of his gear. We've got what appears to be night vision goggles, ammo for his sniper rifle, a walkie talkie an some other sort of device. 

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This case that holds his sniper rifle is something else. I thought the case that Bullhorn from the ARAH series was impressive before. Being a marksmen it makes sense that Low-Light's main weapon be something as stealthy as a sniper rifle, but to take the extra step to include a case like this? Kudos goes to somebody on the Joe team working at Hasbro.

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You're not going to get many (if any) dynamic poses out of me, but see how awesome this gun looks in his hands?

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I almost overlooked this subtle feature of the figure when I ripped him out of this packaging. On this right thigh is a small flashlight that can actually be removed and held in his hands! Just one more small touch and an added accessory that helps make this figure stand head and shoulders above his peers.

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When a sniper rifle won't get the job done, Low-Light always has an uzi to fall back on!

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Prices for this figure range from $15-$20 loose, complete to $30+ for sealed, carded versions. It's an awesome figure with great detail and great paint apps. The accessories are what put this figure over for me and I'm sure the same could be said for other Joe fans. If you collect modern GI Joes, you need this figure in your collection.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Marvel Legends Infinite Series: Agents of Hydra (Red Skull & Hydra Soldier)

Hasbro has been releasing movie themed releases of their popular Marvel Legends brand around Marvel's movies. When Captain America: Winter Soldier was released to theatres nationwide, Hasbro released a new Captain America themed assortment of figures. While I've shared many of these, the Agents of Hydra figures just kept getting buried in the workload of photos I have to edit.

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Just like the Soldiers of A.I.M., two characters share the title Agents of Hydra. The Red Skull and a basic Hydra soldier/grunt. The packaging is virtually the same for both figures, which is good since I forgot to take a packaged picture of the Hydra solder.

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As much as I love the Marvel movies, I'm glad that they are mixing in comic versions of a lot of these characters. The Red Skull in particular looks fantastic and was one of the figures I eagerly awaited when this wave was first revealed.

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This version of the Red Skull is a good mixture of the classic comic and the movie version. He shares the same trench coat as the Punisher and Blade from a previous wave of Marvel Legends figures. While I like the flowing look of the trench coat, I could have done without it...or at least a non-flowing version. His coat does restrict some of the figure's articulation. It's a sleeveless coat essentially and can be removed, but I didn't bother for the photo shoot. On his right leg is a gun holster which can hold the small pistol he comes with.

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The Skull's outfit wouldn't be complete without an Hydra emblem somewhere. This red emblem can be found on the side of his arm.

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The head sculpt is gorgeous and one of the best features of this figure. The intricate detail is great and even the paint applications are done well. On his chest he has bandolier that is made of a soft plastic. There is a holster that can hold the small red pistol he comes with.

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The other included accessory the Red Skull comes packaged with is none other than the Cosmic Cube! Instead of trying to accurately describe what the cube is, let me let the Marvel Wikiapedia do the work for me:

The Cosmic Cube is an item that controls matter and energy, answering to the will of the sentient beings that use them. They require practice to be used properly, but a skillful user can alter all reality to answer to it's thought, granting anything they desire.

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The Cube is made of a soft plastic and has a hint of glitter mixed in. It fits perfectly inside the Skull's left hand. This is one of the better non-weapon accessories I've seen packaged with a Marvel Legends figure in some time.

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The Hydra soldier is pretty basic. It features the classic olive green costume accented by the yellow bandolier, belt, gloves and boots. Even the iconic bug eyed red eyes are featured on the costume's cowl. I like the figure, but I think the A.I.M. soldier comes in a little higher. Initially I found this figure fairly hard to find in my area, before eventually becoming a little easier to find. I'm not sure of Marvel collectors troop build generic characters / soldiers such as this, but at $20 a figure I'm OK just having one.

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The Hydra soldier comes packaged with two weapons. The first is this assault rifle looking weapon. It's an interesting looking weapon as is, but on top is the familiar Hydra emblem, only with it's tentacles down. Not sure I've seen that look before.

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The other included weapon is more of a traditional sniper rifle. Both of this weapons are rather large, making it hard for me to pull off many action poses. Speaking of poses, the articulation is your standard Marvel Legends fare.

The Agents of Hydra figures are quite nice and make an excellent addition to any Marvel Legends collection. It's always nice to get more villain characters, especially someone as iconic as the Red Skull.

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