Saturday, January 20, 2018

Rampage Toy Review: Lizzie

I recall the video game Rampage from way back in the glory days of video game arcades. Hey, I was there when the arcade cabinets first appeared! I played Death Race, Asteroids, Space Invaders... so many awesome arcade games!

Rampage was an awesome game that showed up back in 1986. It was a great three player game as well! The purpose of the game was to take control of one of three giant monsters. George, the giant Kong-like gorilla, Lizzie, the Godzilla like beast, and Ralph, the giant werewolf creature. The goal was to simply smash the city around you while avoiding being attacked by humans and each other. Once you lost all of your energy, you reverted back to a human form which could then be eaten by your opponents. It was later adapted into a console game that was fairly successful.

With a blast of originality, Hollywood decided to resurrect the concept into a movie. Add Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and you've got an instant blockbuster. Does the Rock ever turn down a script? I like the guy myself. Larger than life in his personality and he seems to be a pretty damn decent human being.

With the movie, usually there's a toy line to accompany it. Lanard, the toy company usually associated with The Corps line of military figures, plus a whole load of other toys, secured the toy license for the movie. This comes after their snag of the Kong movie from last year (?).

Lanard's figures range from a breath-taking two points of articulation to pretty decent near high quality GI Joe articulation. The vehicles are often odd and goofy looking, with some amazing bright spots as well.

Rob, over at usually does an annual post about the Lanard Warehouse Sale. Awesome stuff to check out!

Anyway... Lanard has the Rampage toy license and pictures of the toys have started popping up across the interwebs. The stuff looked really cool and I was anxious to see them in hand.

Just recently, I went to my local Walmart, which seems to be the main store to buy Lanard stuff, and spotted what appeared to be their first shipment of the Rampage toys. 

Apparently George, the gorilla, is the main creature character of the movie. George is a gentle albino gorilla that gets mutated into a giant Kong-like beast. The initial concern about the toy was that it first appeared to be a repaint of the Kong toy. That toy looked very cool, but was disappointing, at least to me. Arm and neck articulation, nothing else. Kind of boring. The Mega-George is nicely articulated and can be posed in a standard gorilla movement position.

I think that I would like to eventually pick up the Mega George, but we'll see. Only $19.87! So very awesome, but he's also so very huge!

The smaller $9.84 sets include a figure, some accessories, and each of the main beasts in their original form. Ralph is a wolf, while Lizzie is an alligator. Maybe... Maybe not... Probably not.
For the $14.92 price point, we get the next stage mutation for George, Ralph, and Lizzie. George just gets bigger; Ralph and Lizzie get bigger and uglier. After looking through everything, I decided on Lizzie as my first purchase of the toy line. 
Holy crap, Lizzie is just awesome! I like a good action figure, but I've also got a weak spot for a well sculpted alien or monster. There's so much photographic potential in this beast! 
I had to do a quick shot with Lizzie and some of my Renegades. More to come eventually!
Next up is a much closer look at all the monstrous glory that is Lizzie. I took a bunch of pictures, so I'm going to just make a separate page for those, rather than load this post with pictures. Click here for more pictures!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

FSS 6.0: Rampart & Night Stalker Commander

Time for some new GI Joe figure reviews! The third shipment of FSS 6.0 has arrived and I figured that I would get this dumb blog rolling again with my thoughts on these two figures. 
This shipment brings us Rampart and the Night Stalker Commander. Initial appearances from the card art and the figures in package looks like some good solid work by the Club. Time for a closer look.  
 Rampart first appeared back in 1990 alongside quite a few other brand new characters to the ARAH line-up. Quite a few have already been recreated in modern form by the Club. I believe that Grid Iron, Stretcher, and Rapid Fire are the only ones left to be made. Rapid Fire? Yeah... we'll see... I suppose Super Trooper would have to come out first. Yikes... those two would be interesting to see in modern form! 
Overall, I'm very pleased with how Rampart turned out. He's got a decent set of weapons included with him. The parts choices work out well, mostly. There always seems to be at least one issue with Club figures. The Club often hits solid home runs with figures like Cross Country, but usually, there's at least a minor issue. With Rampart, it has to do with his neck. The head choice works just fine; it's a reuse of the head used for Blocker from the BF2000 Convention set from last year. And like Blocker's head, Rampart doesn't have any eyebrows! No worries, the goggles cover up his eyes nicely. So the combination of the head and the torso is a nice fit, but the head rests just a little too high on the neck post. Rampart suffers a bit from the giraffe neck syndrome. Easy fix though, a gentle twist of a drill bit in the head will carve out a little extra room to allow the head to rest lower on the neck. Alters the original figure a bit,but so what, it's mine to do with as I please. Besides, I've already glued some of the loose bits to one of the weapons that he comes with!
 Next up is the Night Stalker Commander. The Night Stalkers are an original creation by the Club. They were a set of female Cobra operatives that first appeared in the Tanks fro the Memories convention set from way back in 2007 in Atlanta. I actually went to that convention, but only as a one day guest.

The original figures were, of course, made from o-ring molds. This new version is naturally all modern construction. 
What's cool about this figure is that she is a unique character. She's got a real name, Rebecca Bristow. She's pretty much the same base figure that the Club created for the female Cobra troopers from just a couple years ago. The main difference is the arm construction. The troopers used Helix arms, while the commander uses... uh... some other female arms. Baroness arms? I think so.

Bristow is just as... well endowed as the Cobra troopers, which is okay, I guess, but still impractical for the personal protection of the soldier. Overall, the Club has done great work with these female troopers. I believe that the plan is to release a set of Night Stalkers like they did with the Cobra troopers. They'll all be geared up in black uniforms and I believe that they'll be ethnically diverse as well. Hopefully, they'll be out this year and also hopefully available at the convention in Chattanooga in June.

Next up? Who knows? We'll see next month. Maybe I'll have some other new posts on this silly ass blog before then.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

FSS 7 Reveals

The Club recently announced the list of figures for FSS 7.0. As stated at last year's convention, their plans are to push out the last few rounds of the FSS pretty quickly. The Club has lost the license for GI Joe and Transformers back to Hasbro and they are wrapping up their products. There's supposed to be an FSS 8.0 as the final round and I think that there was one or two figures listed, but I don't recall them right now.

FSS 7.0 is supposed to start shipping nearly immediately after FSS 6.0 wraps up. I suppose that may be the plan for FSS 8.0 as well. Throw in the convention set for next year and it's going to be expensive!

The due date for ordering FSS 7.0 is December 4th or 5th; fast approaching. There's a part of me that would like to be able to resist and just stop. Yeah, I can afford them, but still, they are expensive. I'll probably jump in primarily for the reason that I don't want to miss out on any figures or pay secondary market prices.

I'll keep this post first on the blog until the Club has finished with the reveals.
  1. Dusty & Sandstorm - okay, so the original o-ring figure was mediocre at best. This new update is, well, fairly mediocre. The original paint apps were a bit too muted and the Club went back with a new design. Looks much better. Other complaints include that Sandstorm is not a coyote. Whatever. Who cares? Additionally, the Club used Falcon's head instead of the PoC Dusty head, which they have used before. Why did they do that? Well, the original o-ring version is wearing a beret. What other modern figure head sculpt has a beret? Stalker? uh, no... Flint? no, it's obviously Flint... Sgt Stone? oh yeah... used as Skip. What about the movie Flint head sculpt? licensing issue? Well, what about Falcon with a removable beret? Well that would work, but be prepared for outrage! sigh... #casuals
  2. Cobra Commander - in cold weather gear. Looks like the version from the animated movie. The design is fine, just not really impressive. But why didn't the Club use this or that part or sculpt a new coat? Sigh... #casuals
  3. General Hawk - I really liked the original o-ring version of Jet Pack Hawk. Cool design and just an awesome update to Hawk. Sure, a General wouldn't be out in active combat like the figure, but who cares? It's GI Joe! The Club has done a great update to the idea of that original figure. Fairly predictable in the parts choice, but that's what they have to use. so I'm digging the design. Which head did they go with? Here's hoping that they were able to use the head from the Resolute Arctic Duke figure. That would rock!
  4. Dreadnok Kaos - who or what is this? Apparently, this is a Dreadnok "troop builder" from the Hasbro Concept Case from a few years ago. Maybe? I don't know exactly. I'm kinda' over the whole Dreadnok team in my GI Joe world, so I'm not terribly excited by this figure. Looks like a solid figure and I'm sure that I could find a place for him as an independent Cobra contractor or just a maniac that the GI Joe team needs to take down.
  5. Treadmark - did they lose the trademark or are they avoiding the negative connotations of the original name - Skidmark. Sadly, I never got the joke when I bought the original. Whoosh! Right over my head! I really liked the design of Skidmark. Yeah, he was brightly colored, but he was also a very solid design. The Club has done an effective job of recreating the figure and I like him. The biggest issue right now from the fans is that the sleeves and the shirt don't seem to match in material. Fair enough, but it may have to do with a torso that can wear that vest. Maybe the Club will revisit the design before production? 
  6. Tomax - from the Shattered Glass comic series from the Club magazine? Or just completing the Crimson Twins in suits. Whatever, I like the idea of Tomax and Xamot in suits. Very cool! Much like Xamot, Tomax is suffering from an enlarged cranium. Please keep it jumbo, so that they both can match in their bobble-headedness.
  7. Jinx - Tiger Force Jinx with an unmasked head. Was there ever an o-ring Tiger Force Jinx? I don't recall. She did make an appearance in the Club comic, so that kind of justifies her inclusion. The unmasked head was supposed to look like the character from the animated movie. Yeah, somewhat, but I like this head sculpt better than the face from the movie. Looks similar and yet more realistic than a 'toon head.
  8. Ice Viper Officer - Okay, yeah, this figure looks cool. (pun intended) Looks to be very well made with a solid design. I never picked up the vehicle set with the Cobra Wolf and the Ice Viper driver. Therefore, I really don't have a lot of personal interest in the figure. Plus, while I understand why the Club has to go with Cobra soldiers, I don't really like expensive troop builders. I'm guessing that I could make a few extra bucks selling this figure on the secondary market. Nothing wrong with the figure, but I probably won't keep him.
  9. Budo - A Black Friday reveal! Looks pretty good. I think the Club did a decent job of recreating Budo. The Retaliation version was really quite amazing, but was essentially a traditional samurai warrior. I thought that that figure was decent enough, but was just very out of place with the rest of GI Joe. This new version maintains some traditional elements, but does not have quite the full samurai look. I saw one suggestion online that called for more traditional pants and military boots for Budo; that would have been pretty cool.
  10. Kangor - South American repaint of Big Boa - Hell Yes! Missed Big Boa in FSS 1.0. I'll just consider this guy as a Big boa repaint.
  11. Sgt Stalker - Arctic Ranger Stalker - sounds awesome! And he turned out awesome! OMG, I hate teh head sculpt!!! RAGE RAGE RAGE... geeze... I believe that's the head sculpt that was used for Tiger Force Stalker and Jammer from the past few years of FSS and Con sets. I think he looks very well done. I was never really excited by the kayak with the original figure; I suppose it's okay.
  12. Crystal Ball - one of the lamest GI Joe/Cobra figures ever - looking forward to see what the Club does. Remember Raptor? I think the Club did a decent job with Crystal Ball. I'm digging the head sculpt. The single jointed knees are all the focus of nerd rage on various Facebook pages. Decent update to another of the Cobra weirdos.

    Well that wraps up the reveals for FSS 7.0. Registration is due by December4th. I'm pretty sure that I'll jump on board for this FSS. I'm thinking that I'll do it primarily because we're close to the end of the Club's time with GI Joe and I really want to get these last sets of characters.

    In my opinion, General Hawk, Treadmark, Kangor, Stalker, and Crystal Ball are the five strongest figures. FSS 6 seems to be a bit more exciting to me than FSS 7.

    I'm guessing that 2018 will pretty much wrap up the relationship between the Collectors Club and Hasbro. The future of GI Joe will rest solely in the hands of Hasbro and Paramount since they have the movie license. Time will tell, I suppose. Honestly, I would be just fine if I'm done with GI Joe at the end of 2018. There are chunks of my collection that I would like to eliminate and I'd probably just want to stick with a mostly figure based collection. Maybe I can dig in and work on some diorama sets. Heck, maybe I'll actually dig in and start writing down all of these stories in my head. Hopefully...

FSS 6.0: Dojo & Captain Skip

Well, it certainly didn't take long for the next shipment of FSS 6.0 to arrive. One week after the first shipment? I don't know what the story behind that was, but I don't really care. New figures!
The next two figures are Dojo and Captain Skip. Captain who?
First up is Dojo. Okay, the original Ninja Force figures were some crazy looking figures. Usually bright colors and wild designs. Initial thoughts of the design of modern Dojo were pretty rough. But he actually turned out pretty well, considering the goofiness of the character. The Club matched the goofiness quite well. The head sculpt turned out quite nicely. Much speculation is running around the various Facebook groups about the idea that the head sculpt can be easily reused as Headman. Will the DEF be next year's convention set? Sounds good to me!
Minor issues with Dojo. Including the sash and the harness makes for a bit of bulkiness in his gear. Without the harness, he looks a bit casual. Maybe off duty and hanging out around base.
The harness looks a little better by itself, but it seems a bit loose. Minor issue, but not that big of a deal.
So who is Captain Skip? I believe that he was a character from the Palitoy line before they got use of the original o-ring molds back in the 80's. I've seen pictures of a 5 POA figure in the same color palette. 
Captain Skip is a member of Z Force, a branch of the Special Action Force from Britain. The Club did a great job with the build and the Rise of Cobra Sgt. Stone head sculpt works quite well for Skip. Seems like there's always an issue with most Club figures, from minor to serious flaws. Skip's issue? Poor choice of web gear. The web gear actually looks fantastic, but it just doesn't really fit on Skip. It just seems a bit too loose. I'll probably switch it out with some other gear.

Overall, these are two fairly solid figures in their design and execution. Four great figures from the Club lead off the FSS 6.0 releases. Who's next? I'm seriously doubting that the next set will come out next week. I certainly won't complain if they do!

Stay tuned!

FSS 6.0: Hardtop & Cross Hair

FSS 6.0 started shipping just a few weeks ago and the first two figures arrived in my mailbox on November 13th. My Club magazine seemed to have been running a bit behind, so it was nice to get both in the mail on the same day.
The shipment had already been "spoiled" online, which really doesn't bother me much. Everyone knows who is coming, they just don't know who is in each shipment.
First up is Hardtop and Cross Hair.
Nice to see the Defiant Crawler driver get remade in the modern format. It was a pretty safe bet that the Club would use the Tollbooth head sculpt as Hardtop. No helmet mic, but that's not a big deal to me.
The build of Hardtop is simple and effective. I'm not sure of the parts, but they certainly work well together. I would have to say that Hardtop is one of the best figures that the Club has put out. Top ten easily.
Next up is Cross Hair. This figure turned out quite well also. There was an issue with the original design regarding the web gear. Fortunately, the Club revisited their design and used a different set of web gear. Much better!
While this is a great weapon to include with Cross Hair, it really doesn't work too well. Yeah, it's cool that the rifle breaks down into the case and I suppose it was an easy to use accessory since Hasbro had recently used it with Shooter, but it has issues.
It just doesn't stay together. I couldn't get the scope to stay on long enough to take a picture. There are alternatives!
I think this rifle came with the BBTS Slaughter's Marauders Lowlight figure. It's still a bit of a cumbersome weapon, but a little more easily held by Cross Hair.

My only complaint about Cross Hair is the head sculpt. Again, I have no idea what the decision making process is for parts usage, but I'm sure there were limitations in the design. There's only so many times that you can reuse the Airborne or Dusty head sculpt. It's a minor issue.

FSS 6.0 is off to a great start! I'm excited to see who's next!