- The Washington Times - Monday, December 17, 2018

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

Captain America and Crossbones (Hasbro, for ages 4 and older, $49.99) — Celebrating the first 10 years of the popular Marvel Cinematic Universe, this twin pack of 6-inch-tall action figures offers a pair of enemies that met in the 2016 film “Captain America: Civil War.”

First Captain America, dressed in his tactical gear costume right from the film, gets his glossy Vibranium, striped-and-starred shield that fits perfectly on his arm and an extra head of actor Chris Evans, the actor who plays him in the movies.

SPECIAL COVERAGE: Zadzooks 2019 Holiday Gift Guide

By the way, the sculpt of Mr. Evans is by far the best I have seen in the Hasbro action figures lines.

Next Crossbones, dressed in S.H.I.E.L.D. tactical gear, gets a pair of removable hydraulic gauntlets that cover up to the bend in his elbow, a non-removable holstered pistol and an extra scarred head of actor Frank Grillo, who portrayed the villain.

Both offer nearly limitless poseability options through more than 24 points of articulation each.

SEE ALSO: Zadzooks 2018 Gift Guide for younger action-figure fans

The price may be steep, but the smile on the gift receivers face will be permanent.

Mr. Freeze (Diamond Select Toys, for ages 4 and older, $24.99) — Literally the coolest villain in Fox’s crime drama “Gotham” gets transformed into a 7-inch-tall figure with 16 points of articulation.

Owners will admire its metallic blue armor and grey quilted costuming and a spot head sculpt of actor Nathan Darrow with silvery hair and red-lensed goggles nestled in the enveloping metallic collar.

Three ice grenades and a pair of freeze guns, one holding three liquid canisters and the other just one, gives Mr. Freeze plenty of firepower.

However, I’ve got to admit, it would have been nice to have a translucent helmet and maybe an easier way for the hands to hold the weapons.

The figure can be mounted to a flat base that looks like alley concrete with a mounted pair of garbage cans and a crumbled box from Wayne Enterprises resting on it. Better yet, the base attaches to a back, faux red brick wall spray painted with Joker graffiti (a pair of eyes and “ha, ha, ha” no less).

Fans of the TV show will also appreciate Diamond’s version of Hugo Strange ($24.99) and Azrael ($24.99), the later getting a rickety catwalk that will attach to the Mr. Freeze diorama.

The Pickle Rick Game (Cryptozoic Entertainment, for ages 17 and older, $45) — Hold tight fans of the mega-popular “Rick and Morty” animated show seen on the Cartoon Network.

Not only do owners get to grab a friend and replay, via a card-based board game, the famous episode “Pickle Rick” — that featured grumpy scientist Rick Sanchez turning himself into a puckered condiment to avoid a session with a family therapist — but they get to store all of the pieces in a fully painted, 12-inch-tall version of Pickle Rick.

The game requires rolls of four custom dice (pickle green of course); two decks of 25 cards each (illustrated with images from the episode); 28 cardboard tiles; and two, 2-inch-tall unpainted statues of sworn enemies Pickle Rick and the Soviet-hired assassin Jaguar as well as 10 cardboard standups of Russian agents.

One player is Rick while the other handles the bad guys as our protagonist tries to escape from the bathroom to the roof, designated by a maze of two-sided tiles set up on a table.

Each turn requires Rick moving on tiles via dice rolls and using cards to also move and deliver hit points to opponents. Meanwhile, the Russians stop Rick by using dice rolls and their cards to placing extra security to block a path or deliver hit points during the rounds.

OK, not the most intense 30-minute gaming session but certainly intricate. However, when not playing, I can use the included translucent base to mount and display an excellent version of the coolest pickle in any galaxy.

“Ant-Man and The Wasp” Minimates (Diamond Select Toys, for ages 4 and older, $24.99) — Based on the Marvel Cinematic Universe blockbuster from earlier in the year, this quartet of blocky action figures offers 2.5-inch-tall version of the film’s core characters, loaded with 14-points of articulation and interchangeable pieces.

Owners get Ant-Man aka Scott Lang (with removable helmet), Wasp aka Hope van Dyne (with removable helmet), Dr. Hank Pym aka the original Ant-Man (with swappable, helmeted head) and the silver-garbed Ghost aka Ava Starr.

Best of the bunch is Wasp who also gets a pair of large wings, ponytail (remove to wear her helmet) and an extra, pronged display stand to make it look like she is in mid flight.

Each Minimate wears its colorful movie costuming and comes with a flat, translucent base for display.

Youngsters and collectors smitten with the heroes’ pint-sized antics will not be disappointed.

Legendary Solgaleo (Wicked Cool Toys, for ages 3 and older, $19.99) — The Pokemon universe continues to thrive after more than two decades, thanks to a current addictive mobile game as well as numerous cartoons, comic books, films and games and, of course, a slick collection of action figures.

This lion-esque shaped, 10-inch-long (from tail tip to snout) and 6-inch-tall colorful creature is said to hold vast amounts of light energy and is closely tied to the sun.

The figure has seven points of articulation and offers a white body with a rubbery mane that radiates orange-and-yellow tips enveloping his starry-themed blue face along with grey paws and underbelly. It looks nearly exact to its animated counterpart.

Wise gift-givers might also consider tossing in large figures of Lunala and Necrozma to complete the Legendary collection ($19.99 each) as well as a Battle Feature Ash and Pikachu ($9.99), which offer a 4.5-inch-tall human with the spring-loaded ability to toss a 1.5-inch-long yellow Pokemon.

Michelangelo (Playmates Toys, for ages 4 and older, $8.99) — Believe it or not, those fun-loving, anthropomorphic, pizza-loving, shelled protectors of New York City have another hit cartoon show on Nickelodeon and some slick 4.5-inch-tall, super-poseable action figures.

Specifically, the “Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” collection offers an eye-popping version of the artistic team member nicknamed “The Wild Card.”

The figure’s hyper-angular design (based on its animated counterpart) boasts 13 points of articulation, with most joints that can twist and bend, an orange-banded mask and costuming, and a blue shell.

It comes with translucent orange nunchucks, a pair of orange kusarigama (chain-tethered weapon), a pair of grey throwing stars and an orange skateboard with working wheels. The package also contains a sheet of 22 graffiti stickers to apply to the skateboard.

Kudos to Playmates for the impeccable paint detail and a perfect replica of Michelangelo. Other figures available include Raphael, Leonardo, Donatello, Splinter, April, Meat Sweats and Baron Draxum.

Now, Playmates Toys also excels when producing vehicles for the Turtles.

Take the case of the Turtle Tank ($34.99). As seen in the cartoon series, this weighty, kid-friendly and super-rugged, 13-inch-long purple, green, yellow and red rolling street machine is a two-in-one mobile operations unit for the heroes.

First, in vehicle mode, the front cab opens for two Turtles to sit inside. Next, a removable lab tower can be pulled up (13 inches tall at it peak) attached partly to a ladder and serves as the command headquarters. The spinning, saucer-type capsule fits a Turtle and has a pair of missile launchers.

Parents should note that 19 stickers will need to be applied, and it is not a terrible ordeal.

For gift-givers, the tank is a highly recommended complement for the action figures.

Roxas, Donald and Goofy (Diamond Select Toys, for ages 8 and older, $24.99) — Square Enix’s popular role-playing, video game series Kingdom Hearts that mixes legends from the Disney universe with anime-inspired heroes comes to three-dimensional life in this second series of action figures.

The package contains accurate sculpts by Oluf W. Hartvigsen of a 3-inch-tall Donald Duck (three points of articulation), a 6-inch-tall Goofy (nine points of articulation) and 7-inch-tall Roxas (11 points of articulation).

Goofy, dressed in a floppy green sweater, zippered vest and yellow pants comes with a Mickey Mouse logo-encrusted shield. Donald wearing a purple top and blue vest comes with mage’s staff tipped with a brown hat. Roxas, garbed in a bone-white zipper vest, grey top and grey parachute pants wields a near 7-inch-long silver weapon called the Keyblade.

The figures look great as far as paint details and likenesses to the game, but here are two caveats. First, it’s hard to keep the accessories in the hands of the figures, and the more the joints are moved, the more they loosen, to the point of causing issues with stable posing.

I would suggest owners treat these gems more as statues to place on display and not rugged action figures, appreciating their beauty rather than functionality.

Skull Trooper (McFarlane Toys, for ages 12 and older, $24.99) — A nightmarish rare costumed avatar used in Epic Game’s Fortnite Battle Royal survival video game arrives for fans to appreciate as an impeccably designed 7-inch-tall action figure.

Capturing his black military style, tactical suit with white skeleton bones painted over it (front and rear), the figure has a white head covering and a painted face that reminded me of the demon in “The Exorcist.”

He also features 20 points of articulation, paint detail such as blue monitor screen on his right arm and has a detachable black backpack used to hold acquired bling and a black display base.

The Skull Trooper wields the familiar Death Valley Harvesting Tool (a pickax adorned with a steer skull) or can use the included sniper rifle to terminate opponents.

For those looking for more to buy, he’s part of McFarlane’s first series of Fortnite figures that also includes Cuddle Team Leader, Raptor and Black Knight (also $24.99 each).

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