It’s time for Figure Friday! As I write this I have a stress headache that may or may not have been caused by a toy realtor that slighted me and kept me from purchasing a toy I wanted. I’d name and shame them but punishing them in print wouldn’t be any worse than how life is punishing them currently.
Now, on to the toys I did buy!
It seems like this year has been a banner year for Transformers fans, particularly if you’re a Generation One OR Beast Wars fan…or a fan of the 1986 Transformers: The Movie. Yes, I’ve seen the Studio Series figures of Hot Rod, Kup, Blurr, AND MORE coming next year and YES I am beyond excited for them. Between Third Party figures and the official releases TF fans are living in the best possible timeline. It just took the rest of the world going to hell to make it possible.
Here’s the product description for Hubcap:
Fans can take their Transformers figure collections to the next level with Generations Selects, a fan-dedicated line of figures featuring fan-favorite, special edition characters you can’t find in the main line.
This special edition WFC-GS13 Hubcap figure is the first modern era update inspired by the 1986 Mini-Vehicle mail-away. He even features the classic orange face unique to the original toy release. Hubcap is a character with some serious identity issues. Not only is he often confused with Bumblebee for being of similar size and color, but the original 1986 mail-away mislabeled him as Cliffjumper. Not that anyone knew who Hubcap was at the time anyway. Though he appeared in the 1986 Mini-Vehicle assortment, he was only introduced into Transformers entertainment in 2007 with the release of IDW’s Megatron Origin Issue #3.
As you may have gathered this Autobot is a repaint of the previously released Cliffjumper figure with a new head sculpt. Depending on the depth of your Transformers knowledge this toy may be some serious inside baseball in terms of the reference or a “Finally! Hubcap!” The thing I appreciate the most about the current era of Transformers is that literally no character is beyond our reach. If Hasbro can slap a new coat of paint on it or retool it ever so slightly…they will! Fans like me will line up for that stuff.
Hubcap was a figure I actually preordered, something I rarely do with the Transformers line. Given that the figure is a limited subset of the main line I decided to jump on it so I could have a nice little Autobot oddity for my shelf.
From a review standpoint, I could just copy and paste my Cliffjumper review here and add on that the yellow paint application is a tad thick in parts and that I worry about it chipping somewhere down the line. It’s a happy medium between the existing Cliffjumper and the yet to come Bumblee (the latter of which is regrettably a Walmart exclusive).
I had to do a quick check of my collection because this is only the second McFarlane DC Multiverse figure that I’ve purchased to date. So far, between this figure and the Nightwing I picked up previously, I have yet to get one that’s more than a glorified statue with “22 Moving Parts!”
Now, I get that these are targeted at the mythical “Adult Collector” market and that the aesthetics of the figure come first for collectors that totally aren’t playing with them when no one’s looking. These figures (so far) are designed to look nice on a shelf in a static pose.
The other issue I have with these things is that distribution has been so incredibly spotty at most major retailers around me and almost nonexistent if you’re an independent comic shop like the one my friend runs. To date, they’ve only received the very first wave from eight months ago and that’s all.
A friend of mine happened to snag this particular figure at a Game Stop store in Port Huron, Michigan of all places. It’s a place that’s A) very far away from me and 2) some place I’m highly unlikely to go. The moral of the story is that it pays to have shooters out there that are willing to pound the pavement hunting for toys where you’re right on the border of agoraphobia.
The “regular” Azrael figure has been frustratingly out of reach for me so far. Out of all the weird and wild characters that were introduced in the 90s, Azrael was one of my favorites. Debuting in the Batman adjacent miniseries Sword of Azrael by Denny O’Neil and Joe Quesada, I received the first three issues of the four-issue miniseries from an aunt on Christmas. I was instantly taken with the character and his totally COOL and EXTREME flaming swords…he also had some cool pouches because it was the 90s, of course.
The fourth issue would remain frustratingly out of reach for me for months, if not years, and before I knew it, Azrael was going to be the guy that was replacing Bruce Wayne as Batman at the end of the Knightfall event series. You know, the new guy and not Dick Grayson or literally anyone else from the Bat-family. I saw this as an absolute win.
But, cursed by his own hubris (and religious brainwashing) Azrael quickly grew too big for his britches. He started slapping Robin around, building a giant sit of Bat-armor and, the ultimate no-no, KILLING CRIMINALS. Bruce Wayne had to come back to set things right and remind us all why the original Batman was so cool. Azrael was ok…he got his own spin-off comic.
This particular interpretation of Azrael is from the Batman: Curse of the White Knight miniseries which takes place in its own separate continuity that I will admit to not having read yet. The figure is a heavily updated and remixed version of the suit he wore in the 90’s and, dare I say, better version. It about as not silly as a giant man dressed in Bat armor is going to get.
Like I mentioned above, the box touts the “22 Moving Parts!” but there’s not much you can DO with them. Once thing that definitely carried over from the 90’s are the giant shoulder pads which really hinder the movement of the arms, even though they’re mounted on ball joints. It’s also a hefty figure and could probably be considered a weapon in the wrong hands.
Still, it’s one more Azrael figure then I had the other day and that ain’t bad.