Boss Fight Studio Vitruvian HACKS Helios Warrior

Available for sale now at BossFightShop.com!

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Throughout the Vitruvian HACKS toy line to date there’s been a healthy helping of influence from the Greek Gods, and the Helios Warrior is no exception.  Helios is a titan, (which I believe is actually an elder to a God) and is the physical manifestation of the sun in Greek Mythology.  Like several of Hades operatives that have already been released, the Helios Warrior serves the will of the titan against the Gorgon Horde.

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Purely from a design perspective, the Helios Warrior is simply beautiful.  Absolutely gorgeous.  One of the few unsung aspects of the HACKS line has been their use of translucent plastics throughout different figures, and it is used to perfection here.  The base color of the figure isn’t  like the existing Transparent Orange, it’s much brighter, and is offset beautifully by the metallic red shine of the Spartan armor.  These two colors combined together really produce a fantastic “flame warrior” effect that works in concert together and provides a terrific supernatural vibe.

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I know there has been some hypothesis that the base figure for the Helios Warrior is little more than a Translucent Orange Blank, but I will tell you that this is definitely not the case.  The Helios Warrior is a very vibrant, almost clear gold figure that looks starkly and amazingly different than the standard clear orange blank, something that is clearly evident when looking at them side by side.  The Helios Warrior is on your left below:

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Along with the excellent combination of light translucent and metallic red, the phoenix deco on the armor is fantastic as well, adding some real spirit to the figure.  Intricately painted flame wings and the upturned beak look really, really nice, with a great concept and even better execution.

Accessories

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For the most part we’re not seeing a whole lot of new excitement when it comes to Wave 6 accessories, since they’ve all been released several times already.  However, looking at the Helios Warrior accessories I see a ton of vibrant color combinations that truly bring this gear to life.  Red handles and orange blades, not to mention the Phoenix tampo on the shield all add some real awesome spark to these existing accessories.  The yellow trim on the red leg armor is fantastic as well and only goes to further accentuate the “fire” elements of this figure.  The red isn’t merely “red”, it’s got a spectacularly rich finish with a great shine to it, the very definition of “candy apple” red you’d be more likely to see on a fancy sports car than an action figure, but it works to perfection.

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Ever since we got our first glimpse of the Helios Warrior I was looking forward to getting this one in hand.  The Undead Warrior is already one of my all time favorite figures, mostly due to his transparent deco, and the Helios Warrior now joins him in this fantastic supernatural cadre coming in to do battle amidst the Spartans and Gorgons.  I’m really looking forward to seeing the Eos Warrior as well in Wave 7, and I think they’ll both make fantastic compliments to each other.  Great stuff!

Available for sale now at BossFightShop.com!

Boss Fight Studio Vitruvian HACKS Myrmex Warrior

Available for sale now at BossFightShop.com!

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The Myrmidon Warrior was a figure whose backstory I knew nothing about when it was first released in the initial Vitruvian HACKS Kickstarter.  I’d heard of the Athenians, the Spartans, etc… but for whatever reason the Myrmidons was a group I was unfamiliar with.  I did some quick research leading up to reviewing the figure and was quite pleasantly surprised to see them affiliated with one of my favorite Greek Mythology heroes, Achilles.

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When it was revealed that Wave 6 would include not only Achilles himself, but also the Myrmex Warriors, another evolution of his mercenary team, I was extremely excited.  According to mythology, many of the Myrmidon Warriors were created from armies of ants, and they seem to be taking this concept close to home with the Myrmex Warrior who is quite obviously patterned with those ants in mind.

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The base figure itself comes with one of the short haired Blank heads which is great, and of course the Myrmidon Warrior armor (chest and legs) for obvious reasons.  What I love most about the figure is the deco, with a healthy amount of red, complimented by brown and gold trim, which ties him in nicely with Achilles himself and with the rest of the Myrmidon crew.

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Articulation and paint is fantastic as we’ve come to expect with the Vitruvian HACKS figures, and while I’m not sure the Myrmex Warrior is a hole I felt needed to be filled, I do find this figure it be a fun addition to the steadily growing human legions.

Accessories

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The Myrmex Warrior comes with a basic accessory compliment, including the Myrmidon themed armor pieces I mentioned above, a short sword with sheath, a spear, and the shield with a really nice ant tampo.  It’s fine, though nothing exceptional and not a whole lot that you can’t necessarily find elsewhere with other figures.  Like all of the shields from Wave 5.5 on, the handle has been extended slightly to allow for an easier grasp with male hands.

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This figure is nice.  He does somewhat get lost in the shuffle with three other far superior aesthetic figures in this wave, but he’s a welcome addition to the ever growing Achilles division, and I’m glad to have him.

More great stuff from Boss Fight Studio!

Available for sale now at BossFightShop.com!

Boss Fight Studio Vitruvian HACKS Achilles

Available for sale now at BossFightShop.com!

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Ever since we first read the Odyssey as a class in fifth grade I had some fascination with the characters from Greek Mythology, especially as it pertained to characters with greater than human abilities.  After all, I was a comic book fanatic back then as well, so the idea that a character like Achilles who was more or less described as a super hero really appealed to me.  When Boss Fight Studio released the Myrmidon Warrior in their first series, it was clear that they at least had Achilles in their viewfinder.  Once Penthesilea was released, Achilles’ character grew even more fleshed out, and here, in Wave 6 we finally get our hands on him as his own figure.

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He does not disappoint.

The basic figure buck is obviously the same one we’ve seen numerous times at this point with great construction, sculpting and articulation.  His head sculpt is the same short haired head we get with the Blanks, but in full deco you can barely tell the reuse.

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One awesome aspect of the figure, too, is that he also comes with the bald head from the blanks as well as a swappable right foot so Achilles can also serve as another sort of Myrmidon Warrior to help further his personal army and also help get some great mileage out of this figure.  I know I have plans to buy more of these figures to now use as troopers.

Speaking of the right foot, the silver foot was included to show Achilles’ wearing some kind of protective armor, since that’s the most vulnerable part of his body, and it’s a neat look, certainly separates him from the crowd in some good ways.

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The overall look of this figure is excellent.  Using the Myrmidon torso and leg armor ties him in with his troops, and the deco here is spectacular with some very nice golden trim, it really helps blend Achilles with his army, but also sets him apart.  The brown color of the armor is very leather-looking, but a slightly different shade than some others, showcasing the awesome ability of the Boss Fight folks to choose just the right color tone for these figures.

Accessories

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I really enjoy Achilles’ accessory assortment.  As I mentioned previously, the armor looks great with the dark brown and gold trim, and the deco on his shield is astoundingly great at such a small scale.  His helmet, spear, sword and scabbard have great paint applications that blend with the rest of the armor nicely, and I’m always a fan of the throwing axes. Black and gold handles with silver axe blades are great combinations of colors and finish of this compliment of accessories to perfection.  What really strikes me about all of these parts is the vibrant colors.  The silvers are just stark and bright and amazingly well chosen.

The shield certainly deserves some attention.  It’s an amazing array of symbols very closely based on Achilles’ legendary shield.  Obviously on a smaller scale not quite all of the different layers can be applied, but I think Boss Fight did a spectacular job approximating the overall look and feel of this piece of epic equipment for one of Greek Mythology’s most iconic warriors.

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A terrific character which builds on the existing Vitruvian HACKS mythology while also bringing some new elements to the table is something I will always embrace enthusiastically, especially a key character like Achilles.  Add to that the inclusion of spare parts to turn the character into a trooper, excellent adjusted paint deco and a great accessory compliment, and you have one heck of a great figure for Wave 6.

Available for sale now at BossFightShop.com!

Boss Fight Studio Vitruvian HACKS Warrior Skeleton

Available for sale now at BossFightShop.com!

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The evolution of the skeleton figure in the Vitruvian HACKS toyline has been pretty impressive, and this Warrior Skeleton is only more proof of the amazing sculpting and production values of those figures.

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Initially part of their wildly successful Kickstarter, the Skeletons were seen as add on items that could compliment the already impressive hordes of humans and Gorgons, but as time went on, they got wrapped into the story a bit more fully, especially starting with the Wave 5 Cursed Skeleton figure, which was the first to include the Skeleton as an actual base figure to build a packaged figure around.

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Here we get the Warrior Skeleton which dials back the hyper-enchanted look a little bit and dives deeper into realism, but the end result is the same.  The figure looks spectacular.

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First and foremost, unlike any of the other skeletons to date, Boss Fight Studio went super realistic here, adding very nicely layered paint wipes to a white Skeleton base giving us a figure that looks a lot like a living, breathing Skeleton with worn bones as if it pulled itself right out of a freshly dug grave.  The texture achieved with the added paint is fantastic and brings this figure to a whole new life (no pun intended).

Along with the excellent new deco on the Skeleton, we see Medusa’s arm armor in a very nice golden bronze paint finish alongside the Amazon skirt and the Myrmidon helmet, which sets the whole figure off nicely.  The accessory color is so bright and clean that it just looks striking, an amazingly cool combination against the worn and hewn bones of the living skeleton wearing it.

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The combination of armor and the intricately painted skeleton underneath is truly awesome and really portrays a sense of dead soldier come to life.  As with all of the other Skeleton figures, I’m astounded by the level of articulation and sculpted detail within a figure that is so skinny, but Boss Fight managed to make a Skeleton that looks like a true 1:18 scale Skeleton and is still a very functional toy.  It’s pretty amazing, and this one is no exception.  I’ve been really impressed with the durability of this figure, the movement, and the fit of the armor, it’s been exceedingly impressive.

Accessories

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I really love the somewhat outside the box armor choices and the octopus tampo on the shield is really terrific as well.  An excellent and interesting logo, though I’m not sure what the specific inspiration was. A combination of brown and gold/bronze gives a great sense of realism, and I enjoy the helmet choice as well.  This is a great figure and comes with some excellent, if understated, accessories.

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Another excellent entry into Boss Fight Studio’s increasing skeleton army.  He looks great alongside all of his skin and bone comrades (and in fact, his excellent worn paint scheme makes some of the others feel a little under-detailed) and I’m excited to scoop up some more of these bad boys to stock up my skeleton legions.

More great stuff from Boss Fight Studio!

Available for sale now at BossFightShop.com!

Boss Fight Studio Vitruvian HACKS Amazon Warrior v2

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Available for sale now at BossFightShop.com!

I think the Amazon Warrior took everyone (myself included) by surprise.  In spite of the body style being slimmer, Boss Fight Studio has managed to put a female figure buck together that is exceptionally well constructed, well articulated, and just flat out fun to pose, display and play with.  I would argue vigorously that the Amazon Warrior is actually a better and more fun foot soldier than the Spartan Warrior himself.

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When I heard Boss Fight Studio was running out of stock on the Amazon Warriors, I made sure to grab a second before they were gone, and I was really wishing I’d grabbed a third (and fourth and fifth), but thankfully they announced the Wave 5.5 update and holy cow.  Their Amazon Warrior redeco knocks it out of the park!

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Taking some potential cues from both the standard Amazon Warrior and the Elite Amazon, this updated Amazon Warrior has the same skin tone and tattoo design as the original, only with purple tattoos instead of red.  As usual with their color choices it isn’t just that the purple trim is purple, it’s that it’s a really terrific shade of purple, an awesome balance to the darkness of the armor that the figure comes with.

Yes, the darkness of the armor…  This version of the Amazon Warrior comes with jet black armor on the chest, legs, and arms, and the skirt is mostly black as well with a lightly worn silver badge.  The skirt is similar in deco to the exclusive Amazon Elite Warrior but with some slight color tweaks that work really nicely.

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I find myself amazed that the black armor works as well as it does, but it truly does, making for a fantastic combination between the light skin and the purple tattoos.  I really loved the gold armor and brown skirt deco of the original Amazon Warrior, but heck I love Penthesilea’s deco as well.  I think I just need to accept the fact that if Boss Fight Studio designs it, I’m probably going to enjoy it.

Accessories

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Like the armor, the Amazon Warrior’s weapons are colored in darker trim on the handles, and a really vibrant purple trim on the Spartan helmet separates this figure really nicely and give it’s some terrific “pop”.  She comes with the same accessories as the first release Amazon Warrior, but the different color applications go a long way towards separating this figure from the original, and providing another outlet for human foot soldiers.

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Yeah, this figure is terrific.  Structurally she’s built just like the other Amazons, which is to say, to near perfection.  Awesome range of motion, articulation and quality sculpting has become the norm with Vitruvian HACKS and this version of the Amazon certainly doesn’t let me down.  The ankle joints continue to be fantastic and I do hope that maybe for Series 02 we might see a movement towards that for the Fantasy figures.  Time will tell.

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Excellent.  Fantastic.  How many different descriptive adjectives can I come up with to commend these latest figures from Boss Fight?  Yes, they are mostly minor color variations to existing product, but considering that product is now out of stock, these will make for terrific substitutes for those hard to find items.  I’m thrilled that Boss Fight is continuing to move forward with new product, it makes the wait for Series 02 a bit more bearable, and heck with Waves 6 and 7 on the way, we’ll have some really excellent stuff to supplement our HACKS addiction while Series 02 continues trucking forward.

More great stuff from Boss Fight Studio!

Available for sale now at BossFightShop.com!

Boss Fight Studio Vitruvian HACKS Spartan Warrior v2

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Available for sale now at BossFightShop.com!

Unsurprisingly, as the months have gone on, the base Spartan Warrior figure from BossFightShop has dwindled in available stock until it eventually vanished entirely.  Considering the backbone of the entire Virtuvian HACKS human forces are made up of the Spartans, this seems like a problem for the human race as the Gorgons press their attack!

Have no fear… Boss Fight Studio went back to the factory and had a fantastic Spartan Warrior update created, with just some minor tweaks.

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Keep in mind that there are collectors out there with countless Spartans already, and many of them probably love the consistency in deco with the armor, swords, and shields.  For that reason, Boss Fight didn’t tweak the accessory or armor colors at all.  What you see with each Spartan Warrior version 2 is essentially the same as what you saw with the first release Spartan, just now, these are actually available for sale!  Go figure.

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However, in order to add some variety, what the Boss Fight folks did was give the second version Spartan a slightly darker skin tone and a black hair and beard.  The result is a figure which blends perfectly with his 299 fellow soldiers on your display shelf, but also adds some uniqueness and difference to the soldiers underneath the armor.  It really is the perfect combination.

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Because this figure is so similar to the one already released, it’s tough to find new avenues to explore with an additional review.  Trust me when I say the sculpting and articulation are just as impeccable now as they were a year ago, and actually I kind of like the darker color of the skin and hair better on this second version than I did the first time around.  This Spartan blends really nicely with both the Spartan Warrior and the Ultimate Spartan and I have no doubt that even folks who do not aggressively army build will soon have displays full of Spartan Warriors (as well they should).

Accessories

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There isn’t much to talk about here, the accessories are all (mostly) the same.  The only real difference is that this Spartan Warrior shield is one of the new shields with a larger hand grip, which allows male hands to hold it more effectively than the previous version.  Beyond that, the accessory compliment and paint deco are the same deal.

This figure is pretty much the base figure for the Vitruvian HACKS Series 01 assortment, and it is spectacular.  Anyone who needs more Spartan Warriors should not fear in scooping this one up, and anyone who does not need more Spartan Warriors definitely needs new Spartan Warriors, they just haven’t realized it yet.  SPAAAARTTAAA!

Available for sale now at BossFightShop.com!

Boss Fight Studio Vitruvian HACKS Medusa v2

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Available for sale now at BossFightShop.com!

What is about the Vitruvian HACKS figures that just brings a smile to my face every time I get a new one in my hands, even if they are ostensibly, just repaints?  There is an ingrained sense of quality and craftsmanship that just doesn’t exist with many other lines out there, where each application of paint deco, each accessory choice, and each design based decision is something actually thought about and executed as a part of an overall design aesthetic, not just stuff thrown at the wall, hoping that some stick.

This repaint of Medusa takes the familiar design cues from the first, but goes in some different directions.

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The skin tone here is a pale mixture of green and brown (at least it appears that way my eyes, I’m notoriously color blind) which separates it distinctly from the previous version.  Offsetting the skin tone is a dark snake hair application which adds some great deco variety.

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Along the surface of the tail, the scales and pattern continue to stand out very nicely, adding awesome detail to the rough texture of the sculpt there, and no matter how many of these Gorgons I get in hand, I continue to be utterly blown away by the engineering involved to make one of these figures.  They are truly and utterly spectacular.  The articulation is smooth and flawless, the joints stay together for play and display, yet are also fairly easily removable for customization.

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This version of Medusa has some starkly different armor than the previous version.  It’s still a very metallic shade of silver, but where the previous armor was worn down by some spectacular paint applications providing an awesome sense of battle worn metal, this armor is clean and unmarred.  The effect is the opposite of the previous armor, but no less impressive.  One of the many things that Boss Fight Studio does right is the various shades of these colors.  This armor isn’t just “silver” it’s a fantastic, resonant SHADE of silver, and picking that exact right color is an art and a science.  Anyone who looks at the various accessory packs or figures can tell that the people designing these things are doing so with meticulous care and attention to detail.

Accessories

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Along with the armor paint changes, Medusa version 2 also comes with the same snake knife and snake whip as the original, but also with some minor tweaks.  On the cosmetic side, the wraps are black here instead of the green/brown of the original version.  On the structural side, the weapons are firmer material, which is especially cool for the snake knife, which was a little soft and floppy the first time around.

At first blush the weapons look nearly identical, but there are some critical changes that help.

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This figure is fantastic.  I own three of the original Medusa (cannibalized to make one longer tail) and countless Gorgons at this point, yet I am still immersed and captivated by the quality of this update.  I think ultimately, just from an aesthetic perspective, I do enjoy the vibrant green of the original Medusa a little more, but there are certainly qualities to this one that are great, too.

And for those of you folks who don’t feel like you need another Medusa, I assume you’ve grabbed some Grab Bags along the way… grab one of those spare Gorgon heads and make this one another soldier.  It’s worth considering!

Available for sale now at BossFightShop.com!

Marauder Task Force Valkyries

How can I properly express just what lengths Marauder “Gun Runners” has come in the past few years?  Evolving from manufacturing and selling unique 1:18 scale weapons to distributing diorama accessories, then finally, through their first successful Kickstarter they started developing their Task Force action figures.

Since then, their second Kickstarter for the Task Force Valkyries was successful as well, and they’ve simply taken their formula for enhancing 1:18 scale action figures and spun it completely into a second stratosphere.

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With the first run of Task Force figures, I was suitably impressed with what Marauder had accomplished, actually designing and producing (with the help of the best toy designers in the business, Boss Fight Studio) a fully functional action figure line, yet they were essentially the same figure buck and many of the same accessories, just spun out in some different colors.  While certainly exciting, I saw them mostly continuing as enhancements to an already large roster of 1:18 military figures.  What a difference a couple of years makes.  With what Marauder has done over the past 18 months alongside their additional Kickstarter is to add an immeasurable amount of versatility, customizability and variability to what was already a fantastic formula.  Thanks in no small part to the addition of several new female action figure styles, new head sculpts, new arms and legs, and many new paint decos, we now have a veritable barracks of different combinations with the ability to build out any number of combinations of strike teams.

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Marauder Task Force is no longer an enhancement, it’s an evolution, and things may very well never be the same again.

Looking at the female figures first, thanks to the sculpting of Boss Fight Studio, we have some of the finest built female figures in 1:18 military history.  Fantastic layered sculpting throughout the uniforms, nearly seamless armor enhancements, and the unique “faux-ring” articulation scheme gives us tough and rugged female troopers to serve alongside our roster of male soldiers that we’ve already amassed.  Even with the elaborate sculpting, the articulation is absolutely top notch, with great range of motion in every joint.

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Along with the standard military buck, Marauder also included some spare arms without armor and developed a brand new t-shirt torso which is spectacular, especially for how comparatively plain it is.  The arms are sculpted narrow, but really well articulated, with flexible fingers and wrists that can hold all manner of weapons without fear of breakage.

Additional female head sculpts are incredible as well, with various skin tones, hair designs (and hair colors) allowing for a massive amount of variation here, too.

To equip the female figures there are several different versions of combat vests now available as well, from a plain flak vest (ready for pouches currently sold or that came with the previous Kickstarter), to a great armored vest, and a very nicely sculpted additional heavier combat vest as well.

Along with the Valkyrie female figures, Marauder also included the fantastic Stedi-Cam gunner which added several great new elements to the Task Force collection.  Not only did it give us a very cool new weapons system including the gun, armored mask, and armored plate chest (with amazingly engineered web gear) but it also provided some added short sleeved arms and non-armored legs, which has provided a wealth of great variability to the existing Task Force collection.  The new limbs match the fantastic sculpting style of the rest of the figure with amazing articulation and some great new flexibility with existing tooling.

But let’s talk more about the web gear and chest plate.  The chest plate connects to the web gear via two of the standard Task Force pegs, which means you can take it off, then use the underlying web gear to mount pouches, holsters, and whatever else you can dig out of your Task Force storage bins.  For some reason I wasn’t aware of this neat feature, and it was a very pleasant surprise when I got the Stedi-Cam Gunner in hand.

As a great added bonus, Marauder has dedicated a wealth of different plastic color options (and decals!) for the Stedi-Cam gunner gear as well, really ramping up the potential for great mix and match variation.

What may be the coolest aspect of the Stedi-Cam Gunner, though, is the camouflage paint scheme.  This intricately decoed camouflage pattern is among the best I’ve ever seen at this scale, and the way Marauder has carried it over to a female figure as well is exceptionally cool.

As you read through this review, you’ll notice that I’ve grouped collections of accessories together, mostly because that’s how they were offered with the Kickstarter.  Keep in mind, though, through the wonders of MarauderInc.com you can pick and choose any number of thousands of variations of figures, heads, gear and other add ons which essentially makes the combinations nearly infinite.  If you see a figure you like in this review, but think it would look better with different gear, you have that option right at your fingertips.

Keep in mind I haven’t even talked about a number of new male head sculpts in different hair (and beard) colors, not to mention all the new paint schemes and additional new accessories including a fantastic flight helmet with translucent goggles.  Don’t even get me started on the baseball hat…it’s made from a fantastic flexible rubber, which lets it fit seamlessly over many different heads, and you don’t get the typical gap or stiff fit that you see when it’s been tried elsewhere.  There are bandoliers, belts, a duffel bag, a weapon sleeve, backpacks, baseball bats, the list goes on and on, and each new accessory comes with some level of customization available, whether its decals or holes for the standard Task Force plug.  There is just so much to talk about here, it’s very tough to frame a review around it, so I’m trying to look at this from a holistic perspective.

The figures are also incredibly easily customizable with simply swapped ball joints at the hips, the waist, the head, and even relatively easy to remove arms.  Boiling and popping is the best way to ensure smooth lower arm removal, though you have to crack the torso to pull off the shoulders.

One comment, because I know people will ask… yes, there are a lot of small parts, and yes I very strongly recommend finding a combination you like and gluing the pouches and accessories down to ensure maximum playability.  This stuff is not expensive.  You can certainly beef up on more pouches and vests and feel confident that dedicating a few key small accessories to a particular look isn’t going to break the bank, and will only make you happier as you pose and play with the figure you’ve designed.

In short, the improvements and enhancements made to the Task Force line since its inception are impressive and downright amazing.  It’s a completely different line now than it was even 18 months ago and has grown into a world of its own.  I am fully in love with this evolution of the Task Force, and have already made follow up purchases after the Kickstarter, and I’m poised to make some more.  I cannot wait to see where things continue from here and I’m greatly looking forward to the exo-suit Kickstarter coming this year from Marauder.

Great stuff, head over to MarauderInc.com and beef up your barracks now!  And if you have any questions about the product or just want to show off your creations, the Marauder Task Force Facebook Group is the place to be.  A ton of awesome looking customs and a great community willing to answer all sorts of questions.  MJ and Marauder Ruben are always there to interact and listen to suggestions as well.  Hit it up!

G.I. Joe 2016 Stiletto

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Okay, I admit straight up.  This is going to be a tough review to write.  I was desperately hoping that Whisper might end up winning the fan vote, and I fully admit I was pretty upset that she didn’t get the nod.

That’s not meant to be any slight against the other three excellent candidates, but I’d be lying if I said this review wasn’t being written through at least some gritted teeth.  As it stands, the Stiletto figure came out pretty good, and manages to capture the elements of Bill Nedrow’s character relatively nicely.

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The new head sculpt is decent, but would have benefited from better paint apps, especially on the scar and potentially missing left pupil.  The figure build is essentially Rise of COBRA Agent Helix with Lady Jaye arms, and as much as I love the parts for that figure (I consider her one of the highlights of the excellent Rise of COBRA toy era) the color placement on Stiletto is odd to say the least.  Purple and black on the torso with oddly green colored pants and a blue scarf makes for an eclectic and eye-opening array of colors that seem almost arbitrarily chosen.

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While I fully admit to being somewhat disgruntled at Whisper’s shunting to relative obscurity, I’m generally a fan of new characters, and Stiletto works in that regard, although her filecard is in pretty direct contrast to the actual character in the fiction.  That leads to some challenges, as she is clearly a COBRA agent in the books, but is written as purely a G.I. Joe member according to the filecard.  It’s an interesting dichotomy which will make for some intriguing storytelling opportunities.

ACCESSORIES

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As an expert in edged weapons, Stiletto comes with two swords and knives aplenty, as one might expect.  She also has a submachine gun and a Drugonov sniper rifle.  I’d argue out of the 2 packs she is the best equipped figure and has the most sensible assortment of weapons out of the whole crew.

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Stiletto is an intriguing new character and I’m happy for Bill that she managed to get included in the 2016 assortment, and I’m still totally not holding a grudge about Whisper.  All that being said, this figure is a decent build with some strange color choices and a nice assortment of useful accessories.

YouTube Video Review

G.I. Joe 2016 Heavy Duty

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After the run that Heavy Duty had in the early 2000’s, it’s tough to picture a time when fans might actually be looking forward to a new version of this 90’s character.  Essentially a Roadblock replacement when the trademarks were lost during the new sculpt era (and into Sigma 6), Heavy Duty was often the target of derision from collectors who much preferred the more popular Roadblock.

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Now here we stand in 2016 after getting a healthy helping of Roadblock from G.I. Joe: Retaliation and now people seem happy and satisfied with a new Heavy Duty.  In truth, there’s a lot to be satisfied by.

Heavy Duty here is by and large the Retaliation Roadblock from the neck down, with what looks to be a new head sculpt.  The result is a large, imposing looking figure as the classic was meant to be, though this version’s baseball cap is replaced by a bandana.  His shirt is off-white, like the vintage version was, and the green pants offset it nicely.  I will say without some kind of vest or web gear the figure looks a little plain, but still is pretty cool. Once you put the Resolute Roadblock web gear on him, it’s a huge improvement and the figure all told is surprisingly effective. Certainly it’s basically a Roadblock repaint, but this particular Roadblock is a fantastic figure with great sculpting and impressive articulation, so it’s pretty tough to complain about that formula.

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Heavy Duty is a nice compliment to other figures in this first 2 pack assortment, and I think Hasbro did a decent job with it.

ACCESSORIES

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Heavy Duty is littered with accessories to the point where he seems to have more weapons than he has places to store them.  This seems to be an ongoing issue with these modern figures as Hasbro kind of treats them like “accessory packs” simply dumping a pile of gear in there that aren’t necessarily meaningful.  Heavy Duty comes with two separate oversized machine guns along with the M249, pistol, and knife.  He also has the great Resolute Roadblock vest, too.

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In spite of the prevalence of Heavy Duty back in the early 2000’s, I was excited to hear about his inclusion here, and the end result is really nice.  It’s got some vintage twists, but some new elements, and the figure is surprisingly one of the highlights of this year’s series.

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