- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Thanks to the proliferation of film, comic-book and cartoon characters, companies are bombarding consumers with an incredible selection of action figures. With tongue in cheek, let’s take a peek at some of the specimens worthy of a place in Zad’s Toy Vault.

Joe Montana

The professional football season is under way, and McFarlane Toys helps fans celebrate the history of the sport with its fourth series of NFL Legends. These mildly articulated 6-inch action statues offer key poses from some of the elite of the National Football League.

The current line includes Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Jack Lambert, Minnesota Vikings quarterback Fran Tarkenton, Washington Redskins running back John Riggins, Houston Oilers quarterback Warren Moon, Oakland Raiders defensive end Howie Long and Joe Montana, a quarterback so calm under pressure, he was nicknamed Joe Cool.

Figure profile: Paraphrased from the packaging: The San Francisco 49ers’ legendary quarterback Joe Montana won four Super Bowls, three Super Bowl MVPs, was named to eight Pro Bowl rosters and was elected into the Hall of Fame in 2000.

Accessories: Montana doesn’t even get a football, but he can be mounted on a grassy display stand. He is permanently posed with arms outstretched to the air, a familiar position after he tossed one of his 273 touchdowns.

Price: $12.99

Read all about it: The defunct Revolutionary Comics had a series in 1992 called Sports Superstars Comics. Issue No. 4 was titled the Joe Montana Story and was drawn by legendary silver-age artist Dick Ayers ($3 in near mint condition).

Also, Burke Publishing’s All-Pro Sports Comics, featured Montana in its second issue back in 1991 ($1 in Very Fine condition)

Fran Tarkenton (as a New York Giant) was highlighted in the only issue of Charlton’s Professional Football in 1969 ($32 in near mint condition).

What’s it worth: The players’ likenesses were not as sharp as I have come to expect from McFarlane, but the poses are perfect, and uniform detail is fantastic.

Fans should know that this is the second Montana figure released by McFarlane. Fans also should look for a special edition of Brett Favre (a still playing legend) on store shelves ($19.99) in his Green Bay Packers uniform.

Overall, the latest NFL Legends selection is more than worthy for display in an office cubicle or collectibles shelf.

Pop Bytes

Deluxe Hellboy (Mezco Toyz, $70) -This 18-inch-tall rotocast figure is a perfect representation of actor Ron Perlman’s latest live-action portrayal of Mike Mignola’s famed paranormal investigator from hell.

A detailed paint job and aggravated facial sculpt mix with a fantastic set of accessories and costuming to give fans an affordable display piece for an entertainment room. Figure highlights include 12 points of articulation, a cloth coat with “pleather” collar, a shirt with some red stitching around the neck, a pair of rosaries, a leatherlike holster with metal snap, a rubbery red tail and a utility belt with extra magical equipment and pouches.

However, the best of the bunch are some heavy-duty weapons. First is the Samaritan revolver, which opens up at the cylinder to pull out a four-bullet cartridge. Next, a mutated shotgun nicknamed the “Big Baby” (right from “Hellboy II: The Golden Army”) also opens up and comes with a leather strap and logo.

Duel With Dooku (Sideshow Collectibles, $199.99) - A pivotal battle from “Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones” comes to life in this 1:9 scale polystone diorama. The statue presents a frighteningly accurate sculpt of actor Christopher Lee as Count Dooku locked in a light-saber battle with an equally accurate-looking Yoda, who happens to be in midflight. Detail includes a real chain clasp for the count’s cape, translucent red and green sabers and a base pulled right from Geonosis. Limited to 1,500, the hand-painted masterpiece is more than 10 inches tall and places combatants sturdily in position upon a 9-inch-wide circular stand.

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