SpartanNerd…Micro Reviews 1

New thing.  MICRO REVIEWS!

These posts will be brief summary thoughts concerning my feelings about various “nerdtainment” items.  This is becoming a necessity, as I am getting more content than I have time for a formal review.

 

SUICIDE SQUAD.  I promise, I will bring a full review after I see it a second time.  I saw this on opening weekend, and was impressed.  Very nice movie, that remained faithful to the comic book characters.  Harley Quinn stole the show…

 

HE-MAN AND THE MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE: “THE THREE TERRORS” (Short Animation)…This is now available on iTunes, and I watched it today.  It is ten minutes of an attempt by Super7 to revive the Filmation style of animation.  This little cartoon hit it at about 80%.  Alan Oppenheimer still voices Skeletor, but he just doesn’t have the high pitches that he carried in his younger days.

 

SPEAKING OF SUPER7…I was shocked to hear of their takeover of MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE CLASSICS.  I think their small figure line is cute and interesting, maybe even worth the $5 a figure.  But I don’t own any…I am in the camp with many other fans that jittery times are ahead.  Why would Mattel pass that property?  I am glad Digital River is done.  Maybe shipping will be cheaper.

 

METALLICA: “HARDWIRED FOR DESTRUCTION”…This is the only track and also is the title track) released so far, for an album slated to release on November 18.  It’s about time!  The few reviews on iTunes so far compare the song to stuff on “Justice for All.”  I think the singing might be a little smoother than what was on “Death Magnetic,” but the band’s all around sound is about the same.  Robert Trujillo is KILLING that bass!

 

YOUNG JUSTICE…I began watching this again…I watched it last year.  What a great cartoon!  I wish more would happen.

 

DC COMICS: REBIRTH..I have been reading Batman as well as Robin, Son of Batman, and also I picked up All Star Batman.  So far, the most powerful story is the Batman book that came out this week.  Batman #5 dropped a couple of bombs, that they are going to kill Batman ONCE AGAIN.  And that Duke Thomas is going to marry Gotham Girl.

 

MAGIC THE GATHERING: CONSPIRACY-TAKE THE CROWN…The spoilers released so far have fans scratching their heads.  This set looks to bring more power and almost better reprints than Eternal Masters and Modern Masters 2015.  Very odd!

 

First Ever Micro-Reviews!  Let me know what you think in the comments!

 

 

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SpartanNerd Unboxing and Review…MTG Eldritch Moon Intro Deck “Shallow Graves”

Sadly, I bought this as an impulse buy while standing in line at Wal-Mart.  The back to school shopping crowd had maybe fifty customers waiting in line at three registers.  While I stood and waited, I thought, (I guess) “I would like some more punishment.  Why not buy and intro pack.”

So was it punishment?  Keep reading!

I chose “Shallow Graves” because it is in the colors Black and Blue.  I am interested in making a zombie deck with my foil Liliana, The Last Hope, and my four copies of Gisa and Geralf.  I have worked at this at home a little bit, but not really tested it out, and didn’t really feel all that inspired with my results.  What I made at home was simply with the cards I owned that fit the theme in Standard right now…the kind of thing I might have made when I first began playing Magic.  I thought maybe opening a pre-constructed Black Blue Zombie deck might let me attack the problem from a different angle.

That said, I also like the foil alternate art Noosegraf Mob card feature.  I own several copies of Noosegraf Mob, from drafts and from pre-release.  In limited it is the kind of card that makes your opponent sweat.  I feel it is probably too slow for standard, but we will see!

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Shallow Graves came in the standard window box intro pack package.  This one was wrapped in tight fitting thick plastic, which I’m sure was meant to deter thievery.

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Here are the contents of the box.  The deck, with the foil Noosegraf Mob, shrink wrapped in a cigarette wrapper.  Two Eldritch Moon booster packs.  A Quick Reference Guide.  (Trash).  And a nice poster with propaganda and a decklist.  Here is the front side of the insert, notably featuring the fantastic art of Liliana.  (The SpartanNerd IS Liliana.  What else COULD I say?)

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So, basically the deck is designed to flood the board with hard casted zombies.  Crypt breaker here is a new card for me.  The “Discard a card” will enable two things…Madness and Delirium.  The card I can’t get out of my head on this is Voldaren Pariah.  Not a zombie, but a powerful black card with madness.  Sacrificing three creatures lets it flip, and forces the opponent to sacrifice three creatures.  So here is at least one way the deck might be improved…if I had more copies of Cryptbreaker, that is.

Noosegraf Mob is so good because he lets you keep a board presence against players trying to control the game.  You are trading six mana for ten power, basically. which is good, but it is all around deterrent.

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Another card I would like to point out is Ghostly Wings…a card that enables a creature to fly, and creates discard for you.  Spontaneous Mutation is a new trick…flash it onto a creature, and slowly bing down that creatures attack power as the game progresses!

So what was in my booster packs? I am trying to save memory space on WordPress, so let me summarize that a little bit.

I opened Ulvenwald Observer.  A lame tree folk.  I won’t waste a picture.  That pack also had Tamiyo’s emblem.  Graf Rats was here too. That card permeates this set.  I’m glad the Wizards wanted to push the meld mechanic so much.

It was the rare on the second pack that caught my attention.  A card I had never seen.

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Cast him from exile.  WOW!  A THREE DROP.  There is a deck here.

So how does “Shallow Graves” play out?

I tested it against a few non-standard decks, and this time I uploaded a copy to image and tried it out against a standard environment.

In short, this deck is unsurprisingly unfit for a tournament.  New players will like casting the foil Noosegraf Mob, if they survive long enough!

The dominant deck in standard, Bant Humans, just is too much for “Shallow Graves.”  But not just that.  Just about ANY constructed deck can take out this pre-con.

I love its flavor…but I would rather save the flavor for Dual Decks and Commander.  The Wizards are rightly retiring this product.  I have reviewed several intro decks as the SpartanNerd.  This one is “meh.”  Lots of points for flavor.  Not so much for function.

This time, my booster packs were geared more towards other decks.  One pack had almost all black and red cards.  So that one would be better for a vampires player.  Vampires, by the way, are pretty good in standard.  A good Olivia Mobilized for War deck can eat up Shallow Graves.  I did get some black and blue Eldrazi with Emerge.  If I really wanted to altar the deck, thinking BIG, I could add those.  So this time thats a plus.

I RATE “SHALLOW GRAVES”  2/5.

The art is good.  The flavor is good, even though that doesn’t really belong here in my opinion.  It is fun.  But it is a loser.  There are possibilities for expansion.  Throw in Kalitas.  Lilian, Heretical Healer, Liliana, the Last Hope, and Prized Amalgam and you have something decent!

The Spartannerd rates his FINAL INTRO DECK 2/5.  DO you agree or disagree?  Let me know in the comments!

(There are not going to be any more intro packs.  The Wizards are going to put out “Planeswalker Packs” starting with Kaledesh!)

SpartanNerd Unboxing and Review Serpentine King Hssss.

 

Behold.  A figure I should already have….

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When Mattel decided to make 200x Snake Armor He-Man and 200x Battle Armor King Hssss into a two pack, they didn’t account for the amount of money required to have a rubber torso alt form for King Hssss.  Notably, they also didn’t include a transforming sword or snake armor shield for He-Man.  This pretty much left a bad taste in my mouth.  (If you read my review, also a bad smell!)  The two figures were incredibly well sculpted and painted, so much so that I stand by my rating after all this time. ( And they don’t stink anymore.)

Serpentine King Hssss arrived in a mailer not unlike all the others.  (I’m not showing you that boring picture to save data.)  There is a prominent “Snake Men” sticker on the front.  And you can see King Hssss crammed comically into the package.  Notably, he was tethered down tight with rubber bands!  I paid $26 for the figure, with free shipping thanks to Mattel “opening the vault” in honor of the San Diego Comic Con this year.

Here is the back of the box.  A new bio is here, furthering the mythos of King Hssss in the Masters of the Universe Classics canon.

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So what’s inside, SpartanNerd.  Here is everything!

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Notice that awesome transforming sword for He-Man, and his extendable Snake shield?  I didn’t see that either….We got the figure, which for the first time ever sports snake legs for King Hssss, a snake inspired spear, short sword, shield, rattlesnake club, and a mid-transformation head.  (These weapons are repaints of what came with the Snake Army builders.  I don’t have those.)

A little bit of rant.  The mid-transformation head is undeniably cool.  But by all accounts, head sculpts are the most expensive part of a figure.  WHY NO SHIELD AND SWORD FOR HE-MAN INSTEAD OF THESE REPAINTS!

I said that.  Now I’m going to move on.  I guess if I really want those items, I can get them custom made.  Now that Masters of the Universe Classics has switched hands from Mattel  to Super 7, I’d bet we never see those items.  Not that I don’t give those guys any credit.  I just think someone who has been nagged at by millions of fans and is a multi million dollar company will probably listen more readily.  Maybe.  Finishing He-Man properly is probably on the bottom of their list.

The figure is tan colored, and adorned with snake markings up and down his body, including his legs.  The legs are just regular legs like you would expect.  My figure has weak ankles.  But this is the case forty percent of the time with this line of figures.

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Now, allay your concerns about the bendy plastic.  This toy can seriously bend every way you want.  The main head is hard plastic, the same as the “buck,” and can only swivel back and forth.  But every other snake on this figure is pliable and can be posed how you want.  And will stick, for the most part.

How bendy is he?  Lets ask Vikor.

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You can properly flatten him.

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You can make him look very big to scare off predators.  (Mongoose eat snakes.)

It turns out that King Hsss here can hold all of the weapons he came with as well.

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I am becoming more of a fan of the figure that can hold lots of weapons.  (Modulok, ahem.)  These fit loosely in the snake mouths, but make an intimidating effect, similar to General Grievous from Star Wars.

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The transformation works just the way you would expect.  You just pop the torso off, and attach it to the pair of legs you want.  Making not only an impressive 200x snake form King Hssss, but also for the first time ever, King Hssss Saturday morning cartoon watcher. (He appears to be wearing a shirt but only underwear down below.)

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Now Snake Armor He-Man has a proper foe to do battle with!

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So lets look at that other head, shall we?

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This really could pass as a different snake man.  It’s cool.  It has the green around the back, and the monster snake face on the front.  The green doesn’t so much match the 200x figure however.  Check the picture below.  The backdrop of green will help you see the different shades

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This head definitely works better on the MOTUC vintage take on King Hssss.

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I should note that the head seemed a little harder to snap onto the ball joint of both figures.  I believe it to be the way the neck is built up on the figures main buck.  The colors certainly match the vintage style better.  A puzzler,…we get an alt head meant for the vintage figure, with the torso for the 200x line…

Finally, we can get some proper comparison in.

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Yes.  I compared these in my earlier review.  This time, I wanted to reminisce about how me and my brothers used to think of King Hiss.  (That’s his correct name!)  The green body suit, with mask or eye make-up, was considered the “good guy” disguise.  Then when he earned He-Man and the other heroes trust, the skin would come off!  When you look at the figure on the right, you can really see how we might have thought that.  He doesn’t really look evil.  Unless you are scared of snakes, which none of us were.  (Our mother is, however!)

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Now lets compare the two snake forms.  I don’t think a single Masters fan will prefer the vintage style torso to the 200x torso.  It is much larger and more impressive.  There are snakes everywhere.  While King Hsss the first was bendy to a point, you get an incredible range of poses with the newer one.  Finally, the new version doesn’t have the rabbit teeth effect.  Yes, I understand it was modeled after the vintage toy.  But it just sucks compared to the 200x version.  The only thing that the older torso can do that the new one can’t is that it had a hinged jaw.

So.  Ratings time.

I suppose to be fair, I have to rate what came in the box.  I am going to give this item, as it came in the box, as it stands as a stand-alone figure, a 5/5.

It has lots of play value.  It looks impressive.  You get lots of weapons.  The only negative about this particular item is the ankles are a little weak.  But not so bad that it can’t stand.

But I have to give Mattel a 2/5 on this one.  We should have got the Snake Armor He-Man shield, as well as the sword that could open up and blast snake men.  It is all a big mis-handling of the property.  The Horsemen delivered an incredible sculpt.  The toys themselves are filled with fantasy play value.  But we should have gotten all of that the first time around.  They could have charged more money for the figures, or maybe split them up into two separate items.  This is essentially what they wound up doing.  Using another SKU that they were trying to save.

 

BOO Mattel.  However, this is an incredible figure, and I have enjoyed playing with it for a few hours today, and it has a prominent spot on display in my nerd closet.

The SpartanNerd rates Serpentine King Hssss 5/5.  Do you agree or disagree, Hub City geeks?  Let me know in the comments!

 

Masters of the Universe Minicomics Collection

I reviewed the Masters of the Universe Minicomics Collection back in May, after having a tough time getting my hands on a copy.  Since then, I have slowly read through every page, and can give you more of a review of the contents rather than just the product.

VINTAGE MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE

First thing first.  “Miniternia” is definitely a favorite universe of mine now.  I was aware of it, and had read a few books from it.  When I was a kid, these books just confused me because they were so different from what I was used to (the Filmation cartoon.)  But reading these as an adult, there is a definite vibe to those books not found anywhere else.  There are comparisons to Conan the Barbarian, but as a Conan fan, I don’t think so.  Miniternia is a great comic story…an innocent story in a way, and in a way more pure of a story from a writers standpoint.  Mattel gave the writers carte blanche, as long as they depicted the toys.  The barbarian He-Man is awesome, and the miniternia Skeletor is more insane than his other versions.

I remember hearing that there were fundamentalist Christians boycotting and protesting He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.  I was vaguely aware of this as a child (I AM a Christian, and was raised in a Christian home.)  But as an adult, I heard people talk about it on the Roast Gooble Dinner podcasts.  I can see how, after reading over half of the book, I’d bet the word “demon” and “devil” were invoked in almost every single story!  Watching the Filmation show, this also comes up…I don’t know if that was daring on the part of the writers, or what?

 

You can clearly see transitional guidance between Miniternia and the comics that more closely resembled Filmation shows.  The stories become even flimsier sometimes, and highlighting of the products becomes central, rather than story and character development.  Then one day, out of nowhere, the Evil Horde becomes more prominent.  As a kid, the Horde annoyed me because to me, Skeletor was supposed to be the ultimate baddy.  And Hordak was apparently his teacher.  I came to love the Horde as much as anything else in MOTU, but I can see why I felt that way.  Mattel began to push the Horde in the mini comics, and there were more Horde figures on the shelves, and the commercials depicted the Horde more.  They were supposed to be another faction…which worked well in a house with three kids.  Hordes became She-Ra’s main villain, but I didn’t watch She-Ra…(yeah, right!)

I remember the Snake Men story vibrantly from when I was a child…my oldest brother was very interested in them.  My mother (and grandmother) are deathly terrified of snakes, so…I never really thought of them as another faction…just as a side team that worked for Skeletor, which is exactly how the mini comics portray them.  Throw in that Kobra Kahn and Tongue Lasher appeared on Skeletor’s team on the Filmation show working with Skeletor, and you can see why.  It was the Mike Young 200x show that really highlighted them as another team…an even deadlier team that Skeletor’s bunch.

Of all of the things about He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, I rarely ever complain. But now is my chance.  The “Three Towers” really annoy me.  It is one of the rarest toys to be found, and is therefore a valuable item.  But I don’t care.  The whole concept is STUPID.

Lets replace Castle Grayskull and Snake mountain with two smaller versions, and put a stupid lion tower in the middle.  We can connect the whole universe together with a roller coaster thingy.

There are SOO many reasons why I dislike the three towers.  It is billed as “playset Eternia.”  So the whole planet of Eternia can fit into one Playset?  This was EXACTLY how it was depicted in the minicomics.  I heard someone call it “Grayskull 2.0.”  Castle Grayskull was supposed to be this ultimate place of power.  But the Three Towers were meant to supplant all of that.

Eternia must be about the size of Spartanburg or upstate South Carolina…It seems it takes King Grayskull in the Mike Young cartoon about three days to cross the whole place.  Maybe the three towers fit that scheme?  There is a map in the He-Man art book, it came with certain characters if you subscribed to the “Club Grayskull” or whatever.  That map shows the towers stretched out across a huge central continent.  That MIGHT be plausible.  But why would they all connect together by a vehicle?  And if “Viper Tower” was meant to be Snake Mountain (It DID more closely resemble the cartoon version), and Grayskull tower was supposed to be the base for the good guys…just why?  I believe Mattel sensed that the vintage line was coming to an end, and were getting desperate.

SHE-RA, PRINCESS OF POWER

The She-Ra comics were pretty cute.   One of the interviews mentions that there were strict guidelines for drawing female characters.  That is apparent…the depictions of all those she-ra women are not sexy at all.  Sometimes they are child-like and pretty.  The She-Ra comics “de-evolve” from Minicomics format into Storybook format.  There is an incorrect footnote in the first She-Ra story, that says the Evil Horde is not mentioned in the comics ever again after the first one.  But that was inaccurate as the final two She-Ra stories have Catra mentioning the Horde, and also depict Horde troopers.

These books give you less of a sense of “the great rebellion,” and more just sweet little stories.  Catra, “the jealous beauty” is the main villain in these stories, but she can’t really do anything worse than children do to each other, it seems.  She steals a treasure box, she crashes a party by spraying everyone with water.  She spreads a rumor.  SERIOUSLY?

I made it through all of the She-Ra books, and rather enjoyed them.  But they are far too shallow.  I enjoyed the way they usually depicted She-Ra with the mask and Adora with the headband…A device you never saw on the cartoon.  And I thought the story of “Crystal Dimension” was interesting, where Swift Wind was transformed into a crystal version of himself.

I never really got a sense that The Crystal Castle was a She-Ra’s place of power?  It seemed to be a place where she and her friends lived instead.  The enchanted forest was there.  But Catra seemed to be homeless.

THE NEW ADVENTURES OF HE-MAN

As a child, I was just getting “too old” for toys as New Adventures came out.  My oldest brother wasted no time in getting a few toys, but I don’t think I ever saw a single episode of the cartoon.  I DID remember reading the comic, however.

I wasn’t aware that there were only four comics ever produced for that toy-line.  I DID know that it was short lived.

Basically, the vintage He-Man and Skeletor characters translated smoothly over to the futuristic versions, with Skeletor getting burned badly while witnessing Adam transform into He-Man, and having to “fix himself” with bionic parts.  The only idiotic thing is that He-Man’s sword is already a “techno sword.”  They should have been able to draw the classic sword in those few panels.  I always thought it was kind of stupid that the power of Grayskull had to be transferred into that starship…Really?  The art and the storytelling in these books is good, but different from the earlier ones.  As we read through all of these, we really see Bruce Timm’s art style mature up.  Once, He-Man even looks like we would see Batman on the nineties cartoon!  (Not in a New Adventures book…one of the final vintage comics.)

200x COMICS

I almost forgot!  The singular “pack-in” comic is included here.  With Val Staples and Emiliano Santalucia forming the bond that would become MV Creations, (and eventually break apart into the saddest schism maybe in the whole brand.) There are two comics here, one that never made it to print.

These are similar to the 200x comics that Image and Cross Gen would publish, but shorter and having a lot less content.  The art is just about exactly the same.  Emiliano is great!  (The second book was drawn by someone else, who somewhat emulated Emiliano’s style.)

MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE CLASSICS MINI COMICS

Before the collection, I had no opportunities to read these stories.  I heard fans complain about them because they leave out a lot of story details that should be filled in.  The first one is a modern retelling of the first vintage Preternia book, and the following two pull together the entire story to include even the New Adventures.  An interesting detail, this story portrays He-Ro as the originator of the Power of Grayskull when he passes the Sword of He over to King Grayskull in death.  Funny how it ended, with a remark about building a castle and naming it after He-Ro.  (It would be named Castle Grayskull!)

I also thought the twist where Skeletor gets the techno virus from Bionatops in order to transform into his New Adventures form was also fun!  I was confused about King Grayskull, King He-man (he makes an appearance!) and King Miro.  What was that all about?

The art on these books are terrifically modern, and yes, they COULD have gave us more story.  I see how these serve the same purpose as the earlier mini comics…justify more toys.  They even introduced members of He-Ro’s team that have never been produced, simply to spark interest.  Ultimately, mini-comics aren’t the best vehicle for telling a grand story…they are a place to jump off and use your imagination.  And since Scott Neitlich was the guy in charge of these, that statement sounds exactly like something he would have said.

EXTRAS

The Mini-Comic collection contains lots of interviews…most of them seem to have come directly from Roast Gooble Dinner podcasts.  Maybe the DID actually re-interview some of the people…and maybe these are redacted and edited versions of those interviews.  I enjoyed reading them all, thought they didn’t teach me much of anything new because I had already heard it from the mouth of the person being interviewed.

So, just when I think James Eatock has astounded me with his intense Fanhood and knowledge of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, he surprises me yet again!

James “Bustatoons” Eatock apparently is the owner of a discarded and never produced mini comic, which is published at the back of this book.  It apparently never made it to the coloring stage.  I wonder if more stuff like this is out there?  And what a find…AND how does someone like him find all this stuff?  The comic is apparently the supposed pack-in with Flying Fists He-Man…it has some details issues, which might be why it was scrapped.  But it is a terrific read.

And finally we have an outline of a never-produced mini comic, which would have featured Faker prominently.  It is cool to read over, and I wonder if any fans who are good artists have made this book as fan art?

I enjoyed reading the Minicomics collection, and recommend it to anyone who is a fan of He-Man…a great value at under $30.  Reading this kept me from purchasing other comics for awhile…I always had something new to read, and this will make its way to my office at work to read in my “spare time.”

 

SpartanNerd Unboxing and Review…Star Wars Black Series Rey (Jakku) & BB-8

The SpartanNerd is back!  I have decided to archive some of my older posts…some of those that never get hits, and this will solve my memory problem until I can pony up the 70-ish dollars to graduate to a higher tier on WordPress.

So with my newfound space, I will review a new product for me.  My first ever Star Wars Black Series figure(s).  Rey and BB-8!

I have long wanted to get Star Wars Black Series Darth Maul, but he is scarce and expensive when available.  Have I been justified in my interest in this series?

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Rey and BB-8 came in this box.  Why this specific figure, and not, say, Kylo Ren?  Well, I feel some connection with this character.  She is enough child and enough adult…lots of mystery about her.  But the other thing, we also get BB-8.  And if I’m not mistaken, R2-D2 was a Black Series figure all on his own.  So I kind of felt I got a two-for one.  I got this at GameStop on the east side of SpartanBurg yesterday.  Today I visited the Wal-Mart and noticed they had a ton of the other figures in stock, including Kylo Ren.  But not Rey…in fact, many people have noted that Rey has few toys floating around out there depicting her, maybe because they are trying to dodge details about her full name and story, or otherwise.

The box is a nice blister where you can see what you get.  And literally, thats it.  It is very basic.  The side is plastered with a “02” number indicator, and if you were a MIB collector, that is a nice touch, helping you feel you have the complete series.

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The back has that “02” and a little bit of her story.  Then warnings, and legal mumbo jumbo, including Disney and Hasbro.  It is still hard for me to associate Star Wars with Disney.

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Remember when I said the box was basic.  I weren’t kidding.  No instructions.  Promotional materials.  Bonus weapons.  Nothing.  Just the products.  The red back drop is OK, but I just want to throw the box and blister bubble away.

Time to play!

So, Rey is one of the few female figures I have.  I feel that her hands are a tad too soft.  Her joints are OK, I expected her to be somewhat like the Liliana Vess figure I have.  But Rey is more rubbery.  Her elbows need to be moved just right, and they feel like they might break off if played with too rough.  She has head swivel, shoulder and elbow articulation, and wrist swivel and rocker.  No waist swivel.  Her hips rock but are on a ball joint, as well as her knees and ankles.  So it is her arms and head that you are going to get the most out of. Star Wars figures have a history of falling apart when you open them up, and not being durable for extended play…the verdict is still out on Rey here.

My biggest problem with this figure is none of that…it is the weapon.  The weapon is supposed to be able to hang on Rey’s shoulder, and she grasps it with her right hand in an overhand grip.  This can’t happen with this figure.  See how the strap is too stiff, and unnaturally juts up over her soldier.  And those hands really are rubbery…I fear that the thumb is going to break right off if I’m not careful.

BB-8 is just a ball, a peg, and a ball jointed head.  Nothing fancy here.  He can’t roll like he can in the movie…Not sure how they would accomplish that though.  He does look exactly like he does in the movie.  I wish he came with some kind of stand, because it is really hard to display him in a stable manner.  Below I have him in “straight up” pose.  It doesn’t want to flop over with the center of gravity focused like that.

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But he usually just wants to flop over, like in the picture below.

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So here is Rey with some other female characters I have.  She really seem like a child standing next to Lilliana (from Magic the Gathering).

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Liliana is of a “heftier” build than Rey, though she has articulation difficulties.  I find that I am not afraid of breaking Liliana the way I am of Rey.  Yes, I know Liliana is in a larger scale, slightly, before anyone says anything.  But isn’t Star Wars Black Series supposed to represent a 6-inch Star Wars line of figures especially for adults?

Humor me, Rey is laughable next to Masters of the Universe Classics Balltleground Teela.

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Scroll slowly for a funny picture!

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OK, so how do I rate these two figures?

I have to mark off for three things. (I only use a five point scale!)

First of all, the whole weapon thing is bothersome.  If Hasbro made this figure to compete with Marvel Select, MOTUC, and all of the other “adult collector” lines, they missed the mark on something crucial…adults don’t play so much as they display.  Rey doesn’t look proper with that strap sticking up over her shoulder.  And add in that BB-8 doesn’t have a display stand of some sort, and displaying Rey isn’t as pleasant as displaying almost any other figure meant for adult collectors.  Dang.  I mean, I gave Marvel Select Thor a 2/5, but his merits are in that he looks cool on display.  Rey is pretty.  But she doesn’t display properly.

The second thing is the durability problem.  I haven’t broken ANY of the things that I have unboxed and reviewed.  But if I do break something, I’d wager it’d be Rey’s thumbs and fingers/hands.  Add in the way the elbows feel like they could break, and it just isn’t acceptable.  I’ve heard arguments that they make, especially female, hands a little softer because they can be sharp and be a danger.  I get that.  But isn’t it a choking hazard if the hand breaks off?  Think about THAT Hasbro.

Finally, something I haven’t mentioned.  The paint is sloppy.  Her hair seems like it is globbed on.  Her eyes are always gazing upwards, which I’ll admit adds to the humility of the character, who subjects herself as a child.  But it is better for the eyes to be neutral.  The brown belt around her waist and wrist wrap on her left arm also feel quite globby.  and finally, where her shins meet her boots, the caucasian color is painted around the high-top…or is it the boots were painted over a caucasian colored buck?

The redeeming qualities of the figure are…well we got two for one.  And BB-8 is exactly like he appears in the movie, even if he has stunted displayablity.  For all my complaining about the paint, Rey has an excellent sculpt…the clothes she is wearing are sculpted perfectly.  If only they didn’t whiff the paint job.

The other thing, It is fun to have Rey as a figure.  I haven’t bought a lot of merchandise associated with The Force Awakens.  I have held out for “the perfect things.”  And I haven’t seen Rey depicted until now.  (I noticed on my trip to Wal-Mart she finally IS making it into toy form in other ways.)  Why didn’t I pick up Kylo Ren for the same price?  His lightsaber doesn’t look right.  Why didn’t I pick up any of the others, or even some of the Hot-Wheels/Micro Machines?  None of them have been good enough looking…I always talk myself out of it.  But with Rey, we also got BB-8.  And I can play with them and display them together.

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So a good sculpt and finally-I-can-play with Rey and BB-8 are the merits whereby the SpartanNerd rates Star Wars Black Series Rey (Jakku) & BB-8 a 2/5.

Do you agree or disagree, oh hub city geeks?  Let me know in the comments!

 

 

SpartanNerd Unboxing and Review…Lego Speed Champions

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LEGO SPEED CHAMPIONS!  These caught my eye at Toys ‘r’ Us in early spring as I walked through with the SpartanKid…bored out of my mind.  When I told the SpartanTeen about it, well…he was seriously psyched.

Finally, we had the chance to go together and pick one out.  I chose the Porsche 918 Spyder, and he chose a Ford Mustang GT.

Was all of the anticipation worth it?  Keep reading!  This will be a double review…

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The box for the Porsche looks like this, showcasing the car, driver, and the little flag in the background.  We see the target age of 7-14, and 151 pieces included to build the kit.

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The back of the box gives us some action views, and some specs for the real car.  0-60 in 2.5 seconds….WOW!

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The side of the box shows off the mini figure driver.  Not sure if he is supposed to represent a real person.  He’s cool in his green and black color scheme.

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The Mustang GT has a similar box, showcasing LAP TIME instead of a flag.  I imagine if you collect all of the sets, the little pieces will add a lot of details to your racetrack!  This set is notably 185 pieces…odd, because it was three dollars less expensive than the Porsche.  ($17.99 and 14.99, respectively.)  I theorize it has something to do with the pack-in ratio.

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We get some action poses on the back.  But no spec information like the other model.  And model is the operative word here…

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The driver sports blue and white.

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Both boxes have this easy access feature.  It is a perforated tab and flap to keep the box reusable.  So that’s nice.  If I was a kid, I would be interested in looking at this box over and over.  As a grown-up SpartanNerd, I am keeping the Lego boxes of all of the sets I open for organized storage.  I’m just crazy like that!

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Both sets have the pieces polybagged.  No numbers on these bags, like in the Ninjago Dragon.  Just all-business polybag.

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I won’t chronicle the build of the Mustang so much…The SpartanTeen put it together his own way.  I put mine together my way.  So I patiently organized my parts by color.  (He just free-for-alls with his pieces.)

After I built the car, I had these pieces left over!  Was it difficult to build?  Not at all.  Not the most interesting thing to build…I mean…it’s a car.  My only complaint is that the flag only had a sticker for one side…it clearly should have had two.

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Here is the final build.

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The wrench is a tool for the driver to hold, but it also serves another function as a separator tool for the hubcaps.  You can replace them with those seen above in the extra pieces.

Here are the leftovers from the SpartanTeen’s Mustang GT.  Not as many….He hit a snag in that one of his pieces was missing.  But he went to the spare lego parts and accommodated.

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And here is his final build.  (His driver is inside the car.)

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And the burning question I suppose everyone is asking, which car is faster?  We tested them by rolling them down a flat ramp.  The Mustang GT is fastest by a mile.  It is heavier, having more pieces.

So what do I rate these two Lego cars?  I mentioned that the build was kind of unremarkable.  It’s true.  But It IS just a car.

As a model, it looks like a lego version of the real thing.  BUT, there are a few things that could be improved.  The wheels stay straight.  There are no opening and closing doors.  No lights.  No spring action.  No working motor.  It functions as a push toy…like a big, plain hot wheels.

It is a great looking model.  It comes with exclusive mini-figures.  The extra accessory pieces could come together to make a great play set.  It was pretty affordable…the SpartanWife thought a little too expensive, but really, $15 is about par for the course when talking about basic toys nowadays.

I could see a grandparent buying ten of these for a grandchild at Christmas and keeping them busy for hours.

I have to rate it low because of what it lacks, but high because of how cool it is, and the playability.  Additionally, they are pretty durable, taking a pretty forceful hit against a paneling wall and only losing an exhaust pipe (In the case of the Mustang GT.)

So I am going to rate it 3.5 out of 5.  I don’t usually do decimals, but this is a little better than a 3/5.  I had fun doing something with my teenager, and tons of other adult fathers could have a similar experience with their child

I am catching a bug for building Lego sets…first Nexo Knights, then Chima, then a Ninjago Dragon, and now Speed Champions…What will I do next?  (I’m thinking about the girls oriented Elves!)