- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 16, 2017

Here’s a selection of top gift ideas for action-figure fans in the family.

Hela (Hasbro, for ages 4 and older, $19.99) – The mighty God of Thunder’s nemesis in his latest cinematic adventure “Thor Ragnarok” comes to highly detailed life as part of the Hasbro’s Marvel Thor Legends collection.

Standing a lithe, 7 inches tall, this action figure offers a near perfect likeness of actress Cate Blanchett who stars as the villain in a skin-tight, shiny-green, detailed armored outfit.

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She arrives with a soft plastic green cape easily attached via a peg in her upper back, a sword and masked head sculpt showing off an antler-like headdress as well as a generous 17 points of articulation.

A second head sculpt sans the masked headdress highlights her facial features such as makeup around the eyes and slight appearance of black veins around her forehead and stringy black hair. This noggin really brings the figure to life.

Now, gift givers will notice that the package also contains two pieces of a larger Hulk figure — a right arm and battle-ax.

That should compel them to buy the other figures in the set — Ragnarok Loki, Ragnarok Thor, Odinson, Jane Foster’s Thor and Ares — that also contain Hulk pieces, so lucky owners can build an impressive gladiatorial version of the Green Goliath.

The articulated brute stands 9 inches tall with a grimaced face, wields an ax and hammer, and wears armor and body paint that looks ripped from his battle against Thor in the latest movie.

Nanoscene Batcave (Jada Toys, for ages 5 and older, $29.99) – Micro-figure fans that remember the days when Heroclix fueled superhero collector’s passions will really love a set of 100 percent die-cast metal statues standing a mere 1.65 inches tall each.

Just one of Jada’s super-powered lines offers a collection of legends of the DC Comics’ universe and a detailed diorama to place a fan’s burgeoning collection of Nano MetalFigs heroes and villains upon.

Specifically, owners painlessly assemble a version of the Dark Knight’s lair that stands almost 11 inches tall and 10 inches wide. Amid its five levels to position figures, it offers a sliding door, a light-up bat signal platform, computer-monitoring station, a case with a silver bat suit, faux water at the cave’s floor, translucent blue elevator tubes, stairs and walkways.

The Nanoscene also includes a pair of figures to put in the Batcave; Batman in a black cowl and cape with silverish tights; and a traditionally garbed Robin wearing red, yellow and green.

Of course, gift givers will need to toss in more MetalFigs, and the easiest way to amass a collection is with the DC 20-Pack set ($19.99) that features, you guessed it, 20 die-cast figures.

Highlights of these weighty, fully metallic painted dynamos include Flash with a shiny red costume; Superman and Supergirl with their bright red capes in motion; a caped Wonder Woman with gold shield; Lex Luthor in his green warsuit; Thomas Wayne as Batman with a red bat logo and utility belt; a multicolored Two-Face and Metamorpho; a Darkseid Parademon; and a classically garbed orange-and-green Aquaman.

Big-Figs Wonder Woman (Jakks Pacific, for ages 3 and older, $19.99) – The core “Justice League” movie team comes to three-dimensional life in a collection of extra-large action figures sure to please younger DC Comics’ superhero fan.

One of the highlights is Diana Prince’s alter ego bearing a striking resemblance to the actress who portrays her, Gal Gadot. The figure features silver armbands; red-and-gold boots; and red, gold and blue costume almost perfectly recreated from the film. Various textures of plastic offer softer long black hair and blue skirt.

Other notable figures to the lineup include an Armored Batman ($19.99) with a cloth black cape; Superman ($19.99) with a red cloth cape and likeness of Henry Cavill; and a bearded Aquaman ($19.99) in a gold-and-green armored costume.

Cyborg (Mattel, for ages 4 and older, $19.99) – DC Comic’s Multiverse action-figure collection pays tribute to the “Justice League of America” movie with a full line-up of 6-inch-tall heroes.

One of the stars of the team is the human cyborg played by actor Ray Fisher. His action-figure doppelganger sort of resembles the actor with puffier facial features and an armor plate covering 25 percent of his mug.

The gun-metal grey and silver robotics and armor with a glint of glowing red innards cover the rest of his body, which features a very poseable 20 points of articulation. The action figure, which is very sturdy, also includes an attachable weapon to his arm.

Just like the Marvel Thor Legends line of figures, gift buyers will notice extras pieces in the package. In this case, it’s the right arm and silver ax of the movie’s main villain Steppenwolf.

You know the drill. You’ll need to buy the other figures in the line — Batman, Flash, Wonder Woman, Superman and a pretty snazzy Aquaman — to collect all of the pieces to snap together a stunning, 10-inch-tall rendition of Darkseid’s favorite right-hand demon.

Besides the great horned head, our fiendish friend sports 19 points of articulation, wears metallic blue armor and wields a massive battle-ax.

Gladiator Hulk and Valkyrie (Diamond Select Toys, for ages 8 and older, $19.99) – A group of key heroes and villains from the movie “Thor Ragnarok” are now available as a collection of wildly articulated 2.25-inch-tall, blocky action figures loaded with accessories and detail.

This new Minimates lineup offers a trio of packs containing two figures each and feature:

• Gladiator Thor (with an extra brown hairpiece and two swords) paired up with the evil Hela (with alternate long black hairpiece and head without a mask).

• Gladiator Hulk (with battle ax, hammer and extra black hairpiece) paired up with Valkyrie (with a sword and two daggers).

• Exclusive at Toys R Us stores, Loki (in his planet Sakaar outfit with gold cape) and Heimdall (with large brown cape and even larger sword).

The Hulk figure, standing almost 3 inches tall, is the best of the bunch. He has an angry facial expression and wears silver armor with streaks of body and face war paint; a red, black and silver helmet; boots; gauntlets; and a light-blue shoulder pauldron.

All of the figures have roughly 14 points of articulation and include a circular, translucent base for easy display on a bedroom shelf or collector’s case.

DC Super Hero Girls’ Batgirl (Mattel, for ages 6 and older, $9.99) – Well, it’s about time. Young girls can now appreciate the joys of action figure-fueled, super-powered adventures with a collection of 6-inch-tall heroes and villains that pay tribute to a fame comic’s universe.

Based on designs seen in the cartoon shorts on YouTube (and soon to be a TV series on Cartoon Network next year), the collection features Supergirl, Wonder Woman, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn and Bumblebee.

Perhaps the star of the set is Batgirl, teenage Barbara Gordon’s alter ego, with 13 points of articulation.

She arrives in a super-slim body design with orangish-red hair and a mask while wearing a purple-and-black costume; yellow boots, gauntlets and bat logo; a detachable purple cowl; and a removable bat-shaped backpack.

Micro Mutant Sweeper OPS (Playmates Toys, for ages 4 and older, $39.99) — Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle devotees control a bizarre green truck on a mission to clean up the streets of New York City by collecting miniature doppelgangers of themselves and their enemies in this very odd playset.

The 17-inch-long vehicle first has a large soft rubber brush in the front that can be used to run over and collect the three 1-inch-tall, mildly articulated figures of Leonardo, Raphael and Shredder included (each with tiny weapons to hold) or additional micro vehicles and figures (sold separately).

As the vehicle rolls, a hidden conveyor belt moves, pulling the figures in and eventually dumping them in a holding cell. Owners should roll on short-pile carpet for best traction and results.

Now, open up the rear doors to unfold a secret operations base with a sliding vehicle ramp, lookout area, command platform, walkways and that sewer holding cell. The entire base area has pegs to display the figures with enough room for at least a couple of dozen micro figures to create the ultimate mini Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles rave.

The vehicle also works with the 4.5-inch version of the Turtles action figures that fit easily in the front caged cockpit.

Note: A stern warning for parents. They will need to apply 31 stickers to the vehicle, which may cause fits of uncontrollable anger and bouts of depression. As a parent trapped assembling gifts the night before for many a year, I would gladly pay extra to have these sticky monstrosities already on the truck. It’s that bad.

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