Welcome back to Toy Aisle, io9's regular roundup of all things toys. This week, San Diego Comic-Con marches ever closer with even more exclusives, Batman Ninja strikes at your shelf, and Nerf is getting into laser tag. Check it out!
Evangeline Lilly... is that you? We don’t want to look a gift horse in the mouth; we’re thrilled that Hot Toys has turned Hope Van Dyne into a 12-inch figure with 28 points of articulation, swappable hands and wings, and a tiny light-up helmet powered by working LEDs. It’s just that there’s something slightly off with that sculpt of Evangeline Lilly. Maybe it’s the ears, or the eyes, we can’t really pin it out down, but the figure looks much better with her helmet on. And with a price tag that’s going to fall well north of $200, that’s a little disappointing.
The Wasp isn’t the only rather expensive and pretty-looking Hot Toys reveal this week—the company also unveiled two more Summer Convention exclusives that will likely be making their debut at San Diego Comic-Con in just a couple of weeks. First up is the “Concept Art” Captain America, inspired by the work of Marvel Studios concept artist Ryan Meinerding, a darker, monochromatic version of Captain America’s suit that was being considered for Civil War in the early design phases. It’s pretty much the Civil War Cap figure with a new costume, an alternate scowling face, and not one, but two shields—the circular shield and a darker-colored take on the classic ‘40s shield Steve wore to sell war bonds—but it’s an interesting idea for a convention variant.
The second is a bit more involved, however—recreating King T’Chaka’s regal, gold-flecked version of the Black Panther suit from Black Panther’s flashback sequences. Although the base of the suit is similar to T’Challa’s design in Civil War, the 1:6 scale figure comes with gold accents and a new helmet sculpt based on T’Chaka’s own design, as well as the ceremonial sash and trousers he wore over the suit in the movie. Sadly, unlike the Cap variant, T’Chaka doesn’t come with many accessories outside of alternate hands and a Kimoyo bracelet, but at least he makes up for it by giving us a significantly different take on the Black Panther design. Both of these figures will be available exclusively at conventions this year, with more details and pricing still to be confirmed. [Hot Toys]
Despite capabilities that focus on brawn over brain, the Hulk is one of the most expressive characters in the Marvel universe—even if most of the time that expression is pure rage. S.H. Figuarts has managed to capture several iterations of Hulk’s fury in this forthcoming 8-inch figure that will be available in November for about $80. It includes swappable head sculpts and hands, and some fantastic articulation engineering to accommodate the character and figure’s muscular frame.
If you can fight your way to the Hasbro booth (#3329) at San Diego Comic-Con this year, you can plunk down $60 for a six-inch version of Johann Schmidt—aka Red Skull—draped in his Captain America: First Avenger getup and wielding the tesseract. More enticing is the four-inch glowing, flashing tesseract replica the figure comes with. It’s got a hidden battery compartment to help it look as authentic as possible, though none of the mysterious intergalactic powers of the movie version—but don’t tell Thanos that.
Lego’s going light with Ant-Man and the Wasp, revealing only a single set for the Marvel sequel a few months ago. But with San Diego Comic-Con just around the corner, the brick maker has revealed another con-exclusive set featuring the Giant Man version of Ant-Man (or at least his head and upper torso) and a minifig-sized Wasp. The 218-piece, $40 set doesn’t look like it has much play value, but the Comic-Con exclusivity means people will undoubtedly still line up at Lego’s booth to try and score one, even if they never crack open the box.
What happens when Batman, a modern-day ninja, finds himself transported back in time to 16th century feudal Japan? You get a frenetic 90-minute animated film and a gorgeous 27-plus-inch tall Batman Ninja figurine based on Takashi Okazaki’s version of the Dark Knight. This impeccably-detailed sculpted figurine from Good Smile Company is a masterpiece, even without a single point of articulation. On starting August 8, you can pre-order one of just a thousand pieces if you’ve got over $900 to burn. [Good Smile Company via SoraNews24]
There are times when you simply can’t be running around shooting (harmless) foam darts at your friends and co-workers—say, office meetings, weddings, funerals, etc. So Nerf is introducing a new “laser-tag” line featuring a pair of blasters that only fire infra-red bursts of light at your opponents, so you can battle for as long as your batteries hold up, and never have to pick up a single dart. The $30 Laser Ops Pro Alphapoint blaster tracks shots and hits on a small screen, and uses lights and sound effects to know when they’ve scored a hit. The larger $50 Laser Ops Pro Deltaburst blaster adds the feel of real kickback when you fire or are hit, and both blasters can connect to a smartphone app to add additional gameplay features like stat tracking and weapon customizations.
Combining two random things is a simple but effective formula for creating popular board games. Monopoly merged corporate greed and broken friendships, Scrabble combined spelling with decorative tile installation, and Clue mixed Airbnb with first-degree murder. Watermelon Smash, from Yulu Toys, takes the same approach, but by updating Russian roulette with a giant piece of fruit. The results are considerably less lethal, as players take turns pressing a water-filled watermelon against their head, hoping the innocuous fruit doesn’t randomly split open and drench them. Available now for $20, there’s also probably nothing stopping you from filling the watermelon with other summer “treats” and turning it into a drinking game to help beat the heat.