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Final Faction

Seems to be getting to be an annual tradition for me, unexpectedly "discovering" some new toy line in January of a new year.

In 2019, it was Lanard’s Primal Clash line of dinosaur-riding soldiers.

Last year, in 2020 it was again Lanard but with an Alien Collection.

Now in 2021, it’s Dollar Tree‘s Final Faction.


During the first weekend of the new year while browsing a local Dollar Tree store, I happened to notice some generic "GI Joe-like" figures. I’m not sure what actually caught my attention…perhaps the packaging, perhaps the logo alone, perhaps the sheer quantity of figures on pegs. Maybe it was the Mech character. Whatever the case, I ended up flipping through figures on the pegs to see what the assortment was like, and noticed that the back of the cards showed several characters.

While there were none of the alien/villain characters…they had all 5 of the "good guy" Alpha Team 1 characters, so I figured for the whopping $5 to get one of each figure, not bad…and bought ’em.

final_faction_assortment1_alpha_team_1

There was a QR code on the back of the cards referencing some cartoon–and maybe that was also a selling point for me?–but the overall packaging was a definite draw.

Each character has a unique card front, which seems like a definite rarity in "dollar-store toys." Even better, each card has a unique back with a "profile" and the classic "clip and collect" note…hitting a huge nostalgia point for me.

The scale of the figures is great, too–3.75"/4" so they’re right on-par with most other figures, and likely could fit right in with modern retro GI Joe or even Star Wars figures.

Another bit of nostalgia/classic-ness is that in addition to the basic figures themselves, there are multiple accessory packs. Most of the characters come with accessories as-is, but these packs let you outfit the group with even more weaponry or add onto the A.C.R.M. and such.

While the A.C.R.M. profile indicates it’s a singular unit piloted by a single specific character…I see it as something cool for a "good guy army-builder," which seems a bit of a rarity to me.

alpha_team_1_outofpacks

Here are the five unique "good guy" (Alpha Team 1) figures out of their packaging.

They’re not overly-articulated…you basically have the classic 5 points of articulation–arms and legs move, and head rotates. You also have holes for pegged accessories…particularly on the ACRM.

In watching some YouTube review of the figures, someone compared these to Happy Meal toys, and I think that’s a great point/comparison. These aren’t heavy figures by any means, and definitely DO seem to be well on-par with (if not significantly surpassing MODERN HM toys)…but they’re ONLY ONE DOLLAR EACH.

I’m not ever sure you can buy "just the prize" from McDonald’s for $1.

And the lack of articulation–to me–is a benefit. Less articulation is less points for the figures to break. Less moving parts to destabilize the figures in displaying them. Less for whatever meager paintjobs to gum up and incite the individual into accidentally breaking their figure while trying to get an articulated joint to move.

And below are the "profile cards" for these Alpha Tea 1 figures:

profilecards_alphateam1_msgt_steadfast

profilecards_alphateam1_sgt_ruck

profilecards_alphateam1_sgt_steel

profilecards_alphateam1_spc_shift

profilecards_alphateam1_acrm


And what line of toys is complete without some cool villains?!?

We have five "hero"/"good guy" characters…but only three unique Kharn/alien/villain figures.

final_faction_assortment1_kharn

However…these seem to be generic alien/villains. None of them are named characters. So it’s basically three classes of alien invaders. The basic Drone…the much beefier Brute…and then the mechanical Synthoid.

And considering the mere $1 price point per figure…these are excellent to "army-build!"

kharn_outofpacks

I’m content with the Brutes and Synthoids…but I feel like the Drones should at least match, if not outnumber the Brutes and Synthoids combined, quantity-wise…which means I’ll be interested in getting at least 9 more Drones.

The Brutes and Drones come with handheld blasters, while the Synthoids don’t come with any additional accessories.

That’s definitely where the accessory packs will come in–adding onto the Drone and Brute, but interchangeable alternate arms (literally!) for the Synthoids.

Below are the "profiles" of these:

profilecards_kharn_drone

profilecards_kharn_brute

profilecards_kharn_synthoid


I’ve assembled this quick collection with a visit to a whopping six different Dollar Tree stores. I particularly wanted multiples on the Kharn, BUT even as cheap as these are and plentiful if in stock at all…I didn’t want to "clear the pegs" at any of the stores, so snagged several from each store, to leave stuff to be further discovered by others.

Though one store only had the heroes, another only had the aliens, and only a couple had the accessory packs.

final_faction_cardback_alphateam1

Considering the price of even ONE modern GI Joe Retro figure ($12.93 at Walmart IF even in-stock there at all and being ‘scalped’ online for up to $40-something), or the price of a single larger figure (Marvel Legends in the $20-25 range up to $30+ each or $50+ for 2-packs) or NECA singles ($27-30+ for single figures, $50-$53+ for 2-packs, etc) my entire 26-figure collection of Final Faction for under $30 is extremely gratifying. Even allowing for an additional $10ish for 9 more Drone figures (in time) isn’t bad. And a bunch of accessory packs aren’t bad.

Especially considering the sheer quantity and bulk of the collection as a whole vs. merely getting UP TO FOUR figures for any other line.

And while these are Dollar Tree exclusive…based on looking the up on the chain’s website, figures are something like 40 to a case. Forget that 6 to a case or 12 to a case nonsense of stuff at Target or such. These may be exclusive but they don’t seem RARE, and they’re certainly not one-per-store or something that’s disappearing in SECONDS to MINUTES from the store with crowds of people hanging out waiting for the store to open to get in and get ’em etc.

final_faction_cardback_kharn

I saw some $5+ individual figures listed by third-party sellers on Amazon, but that’s somewhat to be expected…being on that platform at all IS going to be third-party and marked up, since these aren’t just available for ANY store to order. (Though $5 + s/h while knowing these are $1 figures is rather steep and DOES technically constitute 500%+ markup from retail price).

But "scalping" and such is a topic for some other post.

These figures are apparently pretty new–from what I can tell, they’ve only been out since November 2020 or so. If your local Dollar Tree doesn’t have them in-stock, presumably they’re coming (or already sold through?). That said…if their site actually FUNCTIONS (it did not, for me, initially, and I’m actually glad it didn’t) apparently you can order certain quantities or full cases of the figures.

I "assumed" there was some whole "season" of multiple episodes out there…but from what I’ve found/seen, there’s really only 1 episode and then a gallery of the figures, and a gallery of the characters.

The episode is listed as "episode 1" suggesting more, but…time will tell.

For price, product, etc…even just a week’s novelty of hunting down these figures in these quantities and a random (if cheesy/laughable) mini-movie as made them VERRRRY worthwhile to me, and I’ve gotten MY money’s worth…even if I get no further Drones…or any more figures for the line, period.

But two particular characters from the cartoon that are not represented are Churro–the dog with a dog-mech, and the Kharn’s specific big-boss. Part of the appeal of these figures is they’re $1/each…but for a larger boss and a dog-with-mech, I’d certainly gladly spend $5 each!

final_faction_blogtrailer

Recently Redone Action Figure Shelves (Early April 2018)

Along with recently redoing the setup of my comic space with new bookcases and such (which I will "eventually" be showing off here), I’ve been working on redoing some action figure shelves.

tmnt_shelves_april05

I now have a shelf set up with the various TMNT villains, and another for variants of the Turtles themselves as well as allies. (Some folks might notice a potential villain in with the allies, but to me he is one of the Mighty Mutanimals and thus an ally!)

tmnt_display_april05

I also have this old wall-display shelf I "rescued" from the attic of my parents’ old house. It’s perfectly-slotted to display the three "generations" of TMNT so far, along with Splinter and April. Whether this display remains somewhat permanently or not remains to be seen…especially with a new "4th generation" line due out soon (for better or worse).

superman_shelf_april05

Then there’s my Superman shelf. Previously, I’d had most of these crammed onto one shelf on the same level and couldn’t even see many of them. Redoing the display, I’ve been able to incorporate a tiered system that allows for better overall display and visibility of the various figures and such–from the 12" figures to DC Direct to Multiverse to regular size to the various miniatures and such…as well as a statue and even a Heroclix figure.

…And these are not even all of my Supermen! But I barely got these to all fit into one shelving slot, and with other figures that I will eventually have displayed and such, it won’t hurt to still have Superman mixed in with those as well!


I have several other "shelving slots" to fill, but have to get more supplies yet for my "tiered system" so my efforts were put on hold for a bit. Given events going on in my personal life, that’s not a bad thing, and it’s certainly not a rush to get done!

I’m sure I’ll show off other shelves in the near future. (And those of you who follow me on Twitter, you probably recognize the above photos from me sharing "in the moment" as I finished up the displays!)

recently_redone_action_figure_shelves_april_2018_blogtrailer

The Legendary Voltron…Toys

I’ve long been a sucker for build-a-figure toys. Collect multiple figures, get pieces for a big/other figure, voila! Bonus figure in addition to the individual figures.

Even longer than that, though, I’ve been a sucker for the likes of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers and their Megazord…the combining of the Pterodactyl, Triceratops, Mastadon, Saber-Toothed Tiger, and Tyrannosaurus into the larger humanoid robotic machine (with a power sword!).

Alas, the Power Rangers license is screwy (to me) and their Legacy line is ridiculously expensive, especially for buying all in one go, and for the actual size…to say nothing of my ever-so-favorite subject in comics, movies, and toys…VARIANTS. (I am NOT interested in Black-and-White variants of the zords…I want the fully-colorized ones that look like the show.

So when I started noticing Voltron toys popping up, they caught my attention. I knew enough to know that they’ve got five lions and Voltron. The combining of the Green Lion, Yellow Lion, Red Lion, Blue Lion, and Black Lion into the…larger…humanoid..robotic machine (with a power sword!).

voltron_lions_all

So I started snagging these. Way too expensive to justify getting all at once, but over a period of time, didn’t "feel" the cost as much. And then some more time before getting them out of their packaging. I got them out of the packaging all in one sitting…barely. Compared to when I was a kid, modern toys’ packaging is ridiculous! All sorts of zip-ties and twist ties and bindings and lock-in plastic and tape and fasteners…I wound up with scissors, a pocket knife, and wire cutters to get these things apart from their packaging and into the open!

As individuals, the lions are pretty cool. I like the different sizes, and the looks in general, and definitely dig the sound effects from the Black Lion.

For detailed reviews of the individual Lions, please check out the following, over at Figure Fan Zero!

Legendary Blue and Yellow Lions

Legendary Green Lion

Legendary Red Lion

(and check out his blog in general…loads of great posts about all sorts of toys and such…very much a great read for the "adult collector" (as opposed to "for kids"). Those posts do a far superior job to anything I could do on these guys…and helped ensure my purchases on these after having thought idly about ’em before that!

voltron_assembled

I had a heckuva time getting thet lions configured to join together, and eventually had to resort to YouTube videos to kinda figure it out…I’m not 100% that I’ve got them assembled correctly, but they look good enough to me!

This massive Legendary Voltron stands supposedly about 16" tall…certainly taller than any proper shelves that I could put it on, so it’s with a talking Galactus that I have on top of a rack of comic boxes, and practically touches the ceiling up there!

Here, he’s standing on a longbox that’s on the floor, and reaches a table above.

I was quite amused at the sound effects generated as I cycled through the Back Lion’s "phrases," and my amusement increased to being highly impressed when I connected the Blue Lion and it acknowledged that the Blue Lion had just been connected, and told me the others were needed. As each connected, it was (correctly!) acknowledged!

voltron_with_donatello

Now, saying "16 inches" may not really mean much. So, here’s Legendary Voltron with a regular-sized Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Storage-Shell Donatello just for scale. Regular size standard TMNT action figure…huge Legendary Voltron.

Also an appropriate comparison, as both come from the same toy company!

Part of me can’t believe I bought all these…but past that, I’m quite impressed with this, and while I’m keeping Voltron assembled in this configuration, it’s awesome to know that I could disassemble it back into the five Lions, that are all individualized and poseable themselves, not just pieces of some "real" figure, but real actual figures themselves!

voltron_3_pics

And there’s those little "speeders" that came with the lions, each itself supposedly a large vehicle, in scale to the humans…showing the sheer scale of these Lions. There’s a storage compartment in each Lion for the speeders, so though they’re not seen in the assembled Voltron…they’re tucked inside each Lion!

New Pop Vinyl ’90s X-Characters

I’ve recently gone against my better judgment and bought a couple of Marvel characters in their Pop! vinyl format.

I phrase it this way, because I loathe the bobble-head format. I means that otherwise-solid, otherwise-sturdy, otherwise-quality figures are rendered EXTREMELY fragile and breakable in a way that is NOT repairable with simply a bit of glue or such. And since they’re gonna be "just on display" and not "played with" the way an action figure would…I do NOT get the "appeal" or "reasoning" from Funko TO do the figures this way–it actually killed my interest in the line for awhile and has (and continues) to leave be extremely DISINTERESTED in their Marvel range of characters.

new_marvel_pops_archangel_cable

But there’s a certain nostalgia factor for me that overrode that. First, in coming across Archangel after a friend had shown her figure off some weeks back.

Then over the weekend, I came across Cable in this classic ’90s getup and realized he’d look really cool "with" Archangel. Of course, now the added frustration of ’90s Cyclops and ’90s Xavier being long "out of print" and far too ridiculously-priced to try to acquire, along with an even-MORE-ridiculously-priced Wolverine.

But at least I have these two!

They add "character" to my X-shelf for now, and will likely remain such a presence for awhile!

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History of the TMNT in Action Figures: Leonardo Box Set

I first saw this box set quite awhile back–probably late 2015, if not late 2014. It was interesting enough..and fairly appealing to me, as "traditionally" Leonardo was always my favorite of the four turtles (though over the years I’ve come to appreciate Raphael and it’s a toss-up on which of the two I’d claim as my favorite at any given moment).

So a box set with 8 of 9 major iterations over the years? Pretty nifty…but the price always seemed so ridiculously high for "just" a display piece like this…and then in it BEING a "display piece," something that would "just" sit around.

history_of_tmnt_feat_leonardo_front

But I found it on "clearance" at Toys R Us, and the price was a lot more reasonable, pulling it down to "tempting" and getting me to "think about it." After stewing on it for a couple weeks, I went into a TRU store figuring I’d go ahead and buy one if they actually still had it (and for the clearance pricing).

history_of_tmnt_feat_leonardo_back

I was pleasantly surprised to find that the store I was in had two of these left…but moreso, they had TMNT stuff 20% off…which included this (20% off the clearance price!).

So for what amounted to roughly $4.60 per figure, I went ahead and bought this. While the only "new" to me figures are the Movie Star Leonardo, the Next Mutation Leonardo, and the Fast Forward Leonardo, at contemporary new-in-box figures’ pricing, this was still worthwhile; and the "extra" copies of the other figures just made for an even better value!

If you want to see more detail about the contents of the figures and what this looks like out of the box, there’s a great video on YouTube with all of that covered.

What I’ll show off below is the back of the box, the actual "history" or "timeline" provided.

history_of_tmnt_feat_leonardo_1984

While this one is billed as the 1984 version, this figure is actually just from the last several years–a wave of "variant" turtles with the sculpts based on the original comics’ style. Years earlier, NECA had done a series in this style as well (2010 or so, perhaps–before the Mirage sale of the property to Viacom/Nikelodeon or the current animated series.

history_of_tmnt_feat_leonardo_1988

I had the original 1988 figure in its 1990-ish iteration; I also have the more recent re-release via the TMNT Classics line.

history_of_tmnt_feat_leonardo_1992

I’m very disappointed that this figure doesn’t come with the belt…it looks "naked" without it. (Isn’t it amazing how complete or "clothed" the characters look with JUST a belt?!?). Based on that YouTube review, I do know without unboxing this set that the figure is not the flexible, rubbery material, so I’m a little less disappointed, as I definitely want to get the rest of these "Movie Star" TMNT (I already have Donatello).

history_of_tmnt_feat_leonardo_1997

I don’t consciously remember seeing any of these at the moment, though I’d be surprised if I hadn’t–but by the time these would’ve been in stores, I was heavy into comics over getting TMNT figures; and I was never particularly enamored with the Next Mutation as it was. Like the reviewer in the video, I agree at it seeming odd to have this "art" image instead of a still from the show…but I’m guessing perhaps this is at least "card art" from the line?

history_of_tmnt_feat_leonardo_2003

I still have my original 2003 Leonardo that I bought that January day in 2003, shortly before the premiere of the new series. I’d either actually seen or was hunting them down, and found the turtles while with a friend, and I believe I at least got all four turtles in one purchase, though I don’t recall on the other characters.

history_of_tmnt_feat_leonardo_2005

I’d trailed off a bit by the time the show went to Fast Forward, and as such had no real context for any of the newer characters, and with occasional/rare exceptions have never much cared for a bunch of "variants" on a character within the same line…and I probably considered Fast Forward to just be a "wave," probably like the current Tales of the TMNT branding/re-issues going on with the present line.

history_of_tmnt_feat_leonardo_2012

Of course I have the 2012 one–I’ve got more of the "current" line than I care to admit, though I’ve passed on plenty of characters and spent way too much time/effort hunting down other characters. I even bought a newer iteration of this "basic" figure to have on my desk at work at my last job.

history_of_tmnt_feat_leonardo_2014

I also had the 2014 movie Leo, and I think also Raphael, though I’m not sure where he’s gotten to at present. I was not particularly thrilled with the 2014 film…though I found the 2016 one to be surprisingly entertaining, especially by comparison, though I "missed" its theatrical run.


Based on info from that video review of this set, I was reminded of the missing 2007 film version of Leonardo…and that’s one that I’d actually like to get. I suspect, though, that with the destruction of the mold or such, that’ll be harder to come by than any of the other versions, thanks to the COLLECTOR-for-MONEY mindset on stuff (as I’ve been perfectly happy with various reissues of classic figures and don’t care if I get an actual VINTAGE "Party Wagon" or the more recent "print run," whichever is cheaper for roughly the same (good) condition!

I have a hard time justifying $15+ for a single figure, and even $9 makes me stop and "think hard" about it. But if you’re interested in this and can find it, seems at present that Toys R Us has whatever limited stock remains in stores of this set for a little over $40, which is quite worthwhile if the interest is there for you! (and still cheaper than most single "statues," so this is worthwhile at this price even if only as a static display piece!)

New Robins of Spring

I’ve added some new Robins to my collection this year…and most recently, my first-ever “new in package” Eaglemoss figurine!

robin_eaglemoss_box_front

I’ve been contemplating ordering this one for awhile, but held off awhile. I finally pulled the trigger and ordered it, actually expecting it to be “loose,” though hopefully well-packed. I was pleasantly-surprised to get it still in its package, which afforded me a little more context on these figures than I’d seen so far.

robin_eaglemoss_box_back

For one thing, definitely cool to see more, including a number of ones I do not have. I’d gotten the Penguin and Ra’s Al Ghul, but the rest of these are new (to me). Definitely VERY interested in the Superman one, as well as Green Arrow and this version of Batgirl!

newer_robins

Along with the Eaglemoss figurine, other recent additions include the Batman: The Animated Series Robin from Funko, though this one’s one of my Tim Drake exceptions, as I’ve found myself increasingly interested in figures and such of all the Robins, not just Tim.

Then there’s the Imaginext version of Tim’s Robin, as well as the Imaginext version of Red Robin. And finally, the elusive Mighty Minis version of Red Robin.

most_robins_in_context

These join a few of my other Robins, as well as the other Eaglemoss figurines and other Mighty Minis and such. Not in this particular photo are a 12″ Robin from the Batman Unlimited “Titan Heroes” line, a Robin bust bank, a huge version of that Dorbz Robin, and at least one shot glass.

robin_eaglemoss_box_booklet

This is the booklet that came with the Eaglemoss figure…while this is not my favorite version of the costume, it is Tim Drake, and I want to say he was in it for several years before going to the Red Robin thing for a couple years, before the New 52 stuff.

I do look forward to actually reading through this booklet, though I wonder at its take on the character, and what I’ll learn from it or if it’ll seem “off” to me, considering I’ve largely followed the character (off and on) since 1989. (Just think: in 2 more years, Tim Drake will have been around for 30 years! More than 1/3 the entire existence of the Batman comics!)

most_robins_in_context_blogtrailer

Funko TMNT Blind Box Minis

I’m still missing Bebop, Splinter, and Casey Jones from this line of the Funko minis…I’m not really interested in buying more of the boxes blindly due to the odds of “just” getting a duplicate (the only one I wouldn’t mind getting duplicates of would be the Foot Soldier).

tmnt_blind_box_minis_01

I really like the four turtles…especially as these are so much more expressive than the full-size Pop line.

tmnt_blind_box_minis_02

I didn’t like the Foot Soldier at first…but when I wound up with a second one and realized how great they look flanking Shredder, I decided I do like ’em. And I far prefer this Shredder to the classic action figure!

tmnt_blind_box_minis_03

While I’d love the Krang having an actual piece as Krang himself (that’s just a sticker on the gut), I do like the size/bulk of the figure. Rocksteady looks smaller here than he actually is, and is a good size himself…all of these are.

For the most part, I’ve had little interest in any full “wave” of Funko figures…but this TMNT one is a definite exception as yet again, the TMNT prove a weakness for me.

Star Wars Angry Birds: Rise of the Telepods

darthmaulpig01I’ve been seeing all the licensed Angry Birds stuff for ages–ESPECIALLY the Angry Birds Star Wars stuff. More recently I’d been seeing these Telepods ones…apparently a sub-brand. On closer look, apparently they’re minis that have a digital code so you can “scan” them into an app; essentially “unlocking” the character at a specific time of your own choosing.

I’ve already been amassing a small collection of Angry Birds on my desk at work…some of the “eraser puzzles,” a stress-ball, a couple Mash-‘Ems, a clearanced plushie, even a giant magnet. So when I decided to check these out, they seemed a natural addition…with the added bonus that they’ll affect gameplay in the new Star Wars Angry Birds app.

Surely a ‘phase’ for me, but for now, I’m enjoying increasing my arsenal of these little guys, and mainly (presently) looking to find the Boba Fett Pig.

swabtelepodsweek1

A New Wave of TMNT figures, but I’m not buyin’

tmntbackinstockattargetOver the last few weeks, I’d actually begun to fear that the new line of TMNT figures had been dropped by BOTH Walmart AND Target…as both chains seemed to have no stock of the figures, and were filling the pegs previously marked for TMNT with Power Rangers and Ben10 and other lines.

I even did some digging online just to try to find some information, and found a couple discussions suggesting it was that the toys had sold exceedingly well during “the holidays” and neither chain had yet restocked…which makes sense (for the most part).

Also made sense that the stores would spread other stock out to avoid the constant empty pegs. It was just a wonder (to me) to consider that a chain would not be able to get something restocked more quickly.

Then a couple weeks ago I noticed a handful of figures again at a Walmart, and the other day spotted a restocked selection at a local Target (pictured to the left).

While it’s good to see the line back in stock with some numbers (rather than just an isolated single figure here or there) I continue to be rather disappointed at the selection. I bought the entirety of the first wave of figures, and bought the next three the first time I saw them, the third wave of figures seems to consist simply of “Ooze variants” of the four turtles.

oozelaunchinleoWhile I am not a huge fan of endless variants, I was guilty of snagging several variants of a character from the 2003 line, and had a slew of Leonardos from the ’80s line. But for $9/figure I’m NOT buying into the variants…especially as stupid as these.

Maybe I’m still just in the mindset of the ’80s stuff, but to me, the turtles should want nothing to do with the ooze; that contact with it again could revert them to “normal” turtles.

Regardless…the fact that the figures themselves–made to utilize actual ooze–do not even come with a small “sample” of ooze puts me off all the more. I don’t mind that the ooze is sold separately in “bulk,” but if I’m buying a $9 figure I’m not exactly inclined to want to have to spend another $4-7 on a container of figure-compatible ooze product.

I also continue to be entirely unimpressed with the “vehicles,” save the Van, which I have the intention of snagging “eventually,” though kinda bummed that Target’s bumped their asking price from $29.99 to $32.99. Discounts’ll suck me in…making stuff more expensive than the “regular” price you started with is NOT going to entice me.

I believe there’s a Leatherhead figure coming soon, and I have no idea what else–I’ll probably snag that figure, but for the most part I’m not all that interested in the “oozed villain of the week” characters introduced on the tv show so far, and it’s going to take something more interesting than slinging ooze to get me to buy variants of core characters.

oozelaunchinleo

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