Odds and Ends
So as a collector I do tend to read up on other review sites. However most of the time I am just looking at the pictures. For the most part I am looking at better views of the figures I think I might get a hold of. Anything that is sort of in that "maybe" gray area gets a view. Of course sometimes I am bewildered by the fact that figures that don't necessarily look great or have some pretty significant flaws get rave reviews. Sometimes I read them and wonder why the heck some glaring detail, some obvious flaw, or other issue goes by without mention. So up front I will say all of the figures below have some issue. While many of them are still cool, they all have a universal issue of having at least two reviews I have read that have not mentioned some glaring issue, problem, or something that really needed to be mentioned to have an informed opinion of these figures. It's not even that these issues would have stopped me from buying them but at the same time the lack of knowledge of these issues did make the figure not reach my expectations in some way.
Add to that, these figures kind come from all over the place and really don't fit with anything I might be reviewing in the near future.
This figure is getting loads of attention from the GI Joe fandom, mostly because he is the first totally new character in the GI Joe mythos in quite some time. For being new alone he gets plenty of points in my mind. However he does remind me a bit of an older character from a few years ago named Ghost Bear who was the son of the GI Joe comic character Quinn. Really the talk of Ghost Bear's skills with blades as well as his upbringing in a native village bring those similarities around. Still those are where the similarities end. Although nothing says Shadow Tracker was raised in any sort of Native setting, but at the same time it's not a huge leap to make either. Also they both have code names that are two words which isn't rare in the GI Joe world but not common either.
While he is a cool figure there are a few things that bug the crap out of me about him that seems to get overlooked by most reviewers. First and foremost is the fact that his collar on his jacket pushes his dreadlocked head forward and while it can be put in a slightly more normal position it is annoying. Also that same collar gets in the way of putting Shadow Tracker's head in a side view, it actually looks like he is peeking over the collar. Maybe some like that but to me it looks like he is hiding his face in his jacket and is weird. Also it's not a very realistic way to stand when one is aiming a bow. But the one that has gotten to me the most is how many reviewers are showing pictures of Shadow Tracker with his arrow pack in his back without mentioning once the fact that his locks get in the way of keeping the arrows there. The only way to put it in his back is to move his head to the side, there would be a ton of ways to remedy this in the design but it appears no effort was made. This is not something that is hopeless because the pack can go into the lower peg (where most are putting the Flail/Bola, more on that later) on his back. Of course that further limits his ability to carry his weapons as well.
Also the knife sheath keeps slipping and the knife falls out. Not sure if that is just mine, but it is annoying. Shadow Tracker also comes with a spear, not sure if this is on purpose but you can put one of his knives into the hole on the side. Doesn't do much but is a neat side thing. Also he comes with either a flail or a bola, hard to tell which. Given his nature I am inclined to thing bola but still the handle matches his hooked blade so maybe that is what it is. I do like the idea of a bola though and in his hands it defiantly looks like one.
His lack of ability to carry weapons has been talked about at length. It is still annoying. One more problem is that he has the elongated abdominal that has been a real problem in the GI Joe line since the 25th anniversary began. There are plenty of pictures of this all over so I am keeping my pics about the weapons and such.
Weapons are one of this figures best features. He comes with a ton and with the exception of a few they appear to be new. New accessories are always a plus with figures as it makes them feel a bit more individualized. I think the accessories being recycled in the old Joe vs. Cobra line is a huge reason that line didn't work out. Not all of the figures features are bad, his legs are a bit skinny but not bad, his hand is cocked in an arrow drawing action but also has the ability to hold his weapons. This is something I really wish was done with the Marvel Universe's Hawkeye.
The head sculpt is great, many feel this is an homage (uggh that word) to Predator. Only similarity I see is the dreadlocks, the face has little to be similar with the Predator look. The face is a slightly transparent mask that hides what appears to be a skull underneath. There was a story floating around that this was because the Nantes from Rise of Cobra had eaten away his face and thus he had to wear a mask. Of course nothing is mentioned on his filecard.
The filecard is another majorly weak area (as it has been for many of the latest GI Joe Figures), I have seen some say that this figures card gives more character info than most in POC. Honestly, I don't see it. The only bit of characterization I see is that he refuses to use firearms. OK might be cool to have a reason for that, but nope, no mention of why. Other than that he is a tracker and guide who can "track with primal instinct" and smell fear and other such crap (don't you love cliché's).
Still he is, overall, a cool figure and a new character to the GI Joe universe, that alone gets him some great props.
In the original Star Wars, when Leia refers to the Clone Wars I figured she meant a war against clones. Instead we found out it the prequels that it was a war with clones. To say the least I was a bit disappointed. Still I have rode with the idea and ended up (finally in the past two years) picking up some Clone troopers for a small Clone Army. This clone got some major props from a few reviewers for being original after a steady diet of white clad clone troopers. Problem is he isn't that original.
In the grand Hasbro tradition of repaints, this is a repaint of Captain Rex in cold weather gear. Ironically a flame trooper and a cold trooper apparently wear the same gear. Beyond paint the only difference is the Flamethrower Clone does get a soft goods skirt. With the skirt he also loses the ability to holster guns. Does all of this make him bad, no, but it does make him not great.
But in Star Wars, Hasbro generally avoids much of the recycling of molds they tend to do with many other lines like GI Joe or Marvel Universe. While there is some recycling done in the line, it is usually reserved for Droids, Stormtroopers and Clone Troopers. While this figure does fall into the Clone Trooper category it is kind of a shame that it came from a figure with a diametrically opposite specialty. Also it is a shame it came from a such recognizable character as Captain Rex, who is generally one of the main clones of the Clone Wars animated series.
One of the coolest aspects of this figure is the flame attachments for the gun. One can wrap around other figures to look like they are getting hit. Of course flames to a robot seems odd, but it isn't as bad an effect as one might think.
Overall this hot version of a cold weather trooper isn't a terrible idea to add to a Clone army, but it also isn't something necessary to make the Clones feel complete either. Being a repaint hurts it slightly though as we all know Star Wars as a toy line has made it's bread and butter back in a host of ways.
Mandolorians are overrated, there I said it. I've never really gotten to up on a Boba Fett wannabe. However it seems that many people go crazy over them. Such is the case with Pre Vizsula and the Mando Trooper. Pre viz gets some props for individualization at least. He comes with a cool cape, a darksaber that is black and still translucent. His paint job is more individualized than the other Mandos as well.
Under his mask sits the face of the dad from the Incredibles. Not sure if that was an homage or if it was just a funny coincidence but it is funny to note in either case. Pre Viz has the distinction of being one of the first Clone Wars figures with any sort of hip articulation besides the old T-Crotch design, something that makes the figure noteworthy in itself. It also appears the entire line is beginning to follow this example as well, slowly at any rate.
With the Mandolorian Trooper, however, these parts are stripped away and one is left with the most basic of elements in what amounts to a simple repaint. I can see why Hasbro ran with this as I bet they were trying to cash in on the Mando love many fans have due to Boba Fett. For me though, the idea of a Mandolorian Warrior being a simple troop doesn't work. Personally I would love to see much more individualization among the Mandos where the weapons and even helmets are all different. Will never happen but a guy can dream.
For the most part this figure is going to be another character for me, bounty hunter most likely who is part of the Mandos, thus I am not going to army build these guys. I suppose that leaves more for those that do.
As for how they stack beside the regular Star Wars figures, they look OK but a bit skinny. It think I might work that into their characters and try to work out some combat areas that take advantage of their wiry nature.
If you love Mandos, well the answer is obvious. Again, and this is just me, I do not love all these clones of Boba Fett (Analogy people, no angry messages about how "Anyone who bothered to watch the movies knows Boba Fett is the clone, are you stupid" Seriously I have had messages and posts like that), that really are lesser versions of Boba Fett and just seem to borrow his clothing. Maybe he should start a line or something.
I was so happy to get this guy in the mail, finally the version of Havok I wanted in the first place, the version that appeared in that Marvel Team-Up with Spider-Man and Thor to fight the Living Monolith. Probably one of my first and favorite of the team up stories besides Project Pegasus in Marvel-two-in-one with the Thing, Quasar, Deathlok, and others. I was really ecstatic as I opened the package and-
Yep the head piece came right off, when I put it back on it kept flopping to the side. Thing is that I have read dozens of reviews on this figure and yet nowhere has anyone mentioned this flaw. You can set it back easily enough but it also can come loose just as easy. The way it came off I doubt anything was holding it in besides the package.
Other than the head the body is exactly the same, the only other difference is that there is a circle pattern in the chest. It is a cool pattern and sells this as Havok
Still it's an annoying situation I will probably fix it with a dab of glue but still would be something a reviewer would need to mention. At first I thought it might be mine alone, but the way this happened and the positioning in the package I doubt it. Still he can be fixed I suppose, so it shouldn't be so bad.