So Nick Fury and Gandalf are a weird combination, but with things being as they are I happened upon these two at the same time so I figured why not review them together. In the process of writing this review I got a couple of other oddities, so we will call Nightwolf and Undead Geo the Odd Couple the Next Generation. That way they all fit together.
To say 1:18th scale collecting has been very tough this year is a but of an understatement, it's down right sucks. I know I sound like a broken record, but those lights at the end of the tunnel do tend to seem farther and farther away.
As such some reviews are kind of screwy, here is one. Avengers, Mortal Kombat, Star Wars and The Hobbit probably have as much in common as Frank Sinatra and Kurt Cobain. Still both have 1:18th scale lines and they are here, so why not review them at once instead of in separate reviews, right?
When I was a kid, I always thought Nick Fury was the bad guy. I suppose it was because in most of his appearances that I saw he was ordering the Avengers around and they were like "Uh, No." Still I eventually grew up to realize Nick was a good guy, then Marvel exiled him over and over and over to make him look like a bad guy. In recent years Nick was ousted from SHIELD (again) and forced to go rouge. Shame as it's an idea that has been done to death (See Nick Fury Vs. SHIELD sometime). Today we have Samuel L Jackson playing the part, which is cool. Of course this follows the Ultimate continuity which means Nick is no longer white. Why? Who knows, but for whatever reason Ultimate Marvel decided to change Nick's race. Still if it gets us Samuel L. Jackson so I dig it.
Right off the bat I'm going to go with my one complaint about this figure, NO WRIST ARTICULATION. I'm not sure why Hasbro left it out because he has everything else most of the modern figures have. Especially when you consider most of the figure was borrowed from Winter Soldier from last years Captain America line (which did shockingly contain wrist articulation). Winter also had a shoulder holster that came along with Nick. It works although not functional. He also comes with the exact same pistol Winter Solder came with, good ol' Hasbro being che-er-saving on costs.
So the borrowing gives Nick everything including Ankles, Torso, and double knees. Funny to hear me say I missed the mid-torso joint but since Winter Soldier does hide it well due to his mold so it works with Nick as well. I never really minded the torso joint itself, just the weird line it left in the figure.
Unlike his Iron Man 2 figure this time Nick gets a plastic coat. I admit, I normally like soft goods better just due to versatility and soft goods doesn't limit articulation like plastic does. However the jacket really has some great details to it so I will go with it.
So I have to say I think this is a better likeness to Jackson than all of the Mace Windu figures put together.
So in summation buy him. He is slightly better than IM2 Nick and works on a great many levels. He is an easy buy if you skipped Winter Soldier (and from the looks of the shelves many did) even though he is not 100% screen accurate he is passable.
Next up, KOMBAT!
Back in the day I really kind of liked Nightwolf when he came out in MK3. His move set wasn't so great but I liked that they included an Apache with the rest of the Kombatants. Granted he is a bit of a stereotype but he fit in and added some diversity to the group of fighters in the arena. Now we get a figure of this iconic character for the MK9 1:18th line. How doe she fair, ok but not perfect.
My two big knocks to the figure would have to be skin tone and face sculpt. I think they were going for a darker skin tone (appropriate if you think about it). but the color they chose was really off. It kind of looks bluish in certain lights and really detracts from the overall figure. The face sculpt looks kind of cartoony at certain angles. Now one might think that a character from a video game looking cartoony would be a stupid thing to complain about but it really began to bother me the more I messed around with the figure.
Nightwolf comes with his "Spirit Arrow" which is just a painted bow. I think some translucent version of this being drawn or even the tomahawks would have been much more appropriate but given the sparse nature of this line with accessories it is welcome. What I really like on this figure is the detailing.
Unlike may lines right now, the parts are clearly unique and probably will only be used on Nightwolf. I'm sure they could get away with a "player 2" version at some point, but this is the only likely use for such distinct parts. It seems Jazzwares is taking it's time with this line which is a good and a bad thing. For me the line is hard to get as I haven't gotten a TRU or Target near me (Still looking for Raiden) which is also why I grabbed this one online. I'm not sure if he is really worth that price but he is cool, so I had to grab him.
So as a big MK fan I would say buy it, unless you hate MK or something, then pass.
The next figure is purely for fun.
I know technically he is "Undead Geonosian" but how often do you get to use the term Zombie and Star Wars in the same sentence in which it doesn't suck (Looking at you Death Troopers).
So zombies are apparently everywhere, even the Clone Wars. That episode kind of surprised me in many ways because while labeled a kid show they went for the horror elements, pretty gutsy move IMO. Something I'm sure wouldn't even be thought of a decade ago. Is that showing how far Night of the Living Dead has come to be excepted in the public consciousness? Who knows. But the fact is I never thought I would see a zombie (or Undead) Star Wars figure in my life.
The figure has a ton of novelty value but it was in a very hard to find wave (No not a Hasbro wave that is hard to find, never). I finally got my hands on one so here he is. He's just fun which I think is the point of toys.
Probably my favorite details is the rotting wings. Really sells the figure as a zombie-er-undead. I've never been a huge fan of Geonosian even though Lucas said they were kind of an anwer to the conversation in Clerks about engineers and contractors on Death Star II in ROTJ (Seriously, check out the commentary on Episode II the Attack of the Clones, if you can withstand that movie LOL). Still just the idea warrants owning this figure, it's just too funny.
If you see it, grab it I say. Too much fun and look, zombies are beginning to come out in every line now (still want my Zombie Ninja though).
Now, (and I don't say this lightly) the granddaddy of this review-
"A wizard is never late, nor is he early, he arrives at the exact time he is supposed to."
Let me explain:
Ever since I was 8 and read the Hobbit I have wanted a 1:18th Gandalf to hang with Obi-Wan Kenobi and share a pipe. I know its weird but seriously I have waited over 23 years for this figure and I couldn't be happier.
Although I usually avoid reviews before I get the figure I made a huge exception with Gandalf. I saw a ton of complaints about the likeness. Might be me but I feel this is pretty close to Ian McKellen. Gruff, intense but also a hint of fun in the eyes. I don't know, I felt the same way with the GI Joe ROC figures when people said they were "spot on" to actor likenesses, but in reverse.
Gandalf has is signature long hair but amazingly it doesn't effect articulation as much as it does with most figures with long hair (look at Nightwolf above). You can easily move his head to to the side with minimal struggle (but it's not instantaneous I admit, you have to work at it a bit).
Much to the shigrin of many an anal Dungeon Master, Gandalf does come with his long sword. For those not familiar with Dungeons and Dragons many Dungeon Master held hard to a "suggestion" of limiting Wizards weapons which exclude long swords. Of course the common player response was "but Gandalf had one." Of course DM's often came back with "not in my world" which usually translated as "I'm not as good as Tolkien to begin with."
A minor gripe to the figure is that the robes do kind of block articulation. Really though there is no way around it. Soft goods maybe but it would throw off the whole look of the figure. On articulation, it's really good, much better than most of the Avengers line (Even has wrists). This makes me more interested in the rest of the Hobbit figures.
The sword has a scabbard that is-surprise-removable. In fact it removes quite easily. Thus you can have wandering Gandalf as well as adventuring Gandalf (yeah, just a slight difference in the fact he is carrying the sword).
Gandalf opens up a ton of doors as well and everyone is talking about the possibility of Lord of the Rings 1:18th scale figures. I totally hope so but as it is all we really have is Gandalf and Legolas (who makes a cameo in the Hobbit film as I understand).
Another minor knock is the fact that the hat falls off kind of easy. Still I'm glad it's removable and will take a bit of difficulty with it.
So when I got Gandalf my first thought was how does he compare in scale to the larger LOTR figures. Well with the cave troll there is a problem.
I thought Gandalf would be closer to his size in the movie in comparison but really he looks about hobbit sized with the larger Troll. I now need to hunt down the Balrog and compare, that might be just right.
With the smaller version of Treebeard Gandalf looks pretty close to accurate. In fact I am willing to bet Bilbo could sit on his shoulder (will get back to you on that).
So does anyone have to ask at this point? Really, it's Gandalf, that's enough.
So that wraps up this edition of the oddities from various lines, so until next time-Have a nice day!.
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