Wednesday, December 31, 2014
This figure made me bleed. I was trying to swap hands, and when I was putting the hand back on, my fingers slipped and the gauntlet scallops cut me. I'm pretty sure this is the first time an action figure has drawn blood from me. Anyway, this is the 1989 Batman figure that Mattel should have given us. Instead, NECA did. This was originally released with a NES game inspired paint scheme, presumably as a way to skirt licensing issues. But they found a way around that by releasing it as a Toys R Us exclusive that can be bundled with a Blu-ray release of the movie. This is a very nice looking Batman, with a great Michael Keaton lower face likeness. The cowl is even a separate piece of plastic covering the head. It's fairly well articulated, although the elbows both seem to be stuck on mine. Batman has two sets of hands, one in fists, and the other to hold his accessories: the grapnel gun and the batarang. I don't know what Mattel's thinking in only releasing a 1989 Batman in the smaller scale was, but since they didn't release one in a larger scale, NECA was good enough to step in and fill that niche.
For the Ninja Turtles Minimates line, the Minimates are figures with a twist. They're actually keychains. I'm assuming this is a way to use a licensing loophole, because these are pretty terrible at being keychains. The keychain is attached to the figure by a string loop around the neck. It's pretty easy to remove. In fact, in Leonardo's case the head is really easy to pop off due to the chest piece preventing the head from firmly attaching. But after you get past that, they are regular Minimates. Leonardo has new forearms, lower legs, and a chest piece, so I'm kind of surprised that he doesn't get a new head piece as well, instead getting a headband that fits over the head. The Foot soldier gets what may be new biceps and thighs (they are definitely not standard). Both of them have weapons that can be stowed on their backs. Leo gets his two trusty swords while the Foot soldier gets a sword, a dagger, and a sickle. Leonardo gets a sewer cover base while the Foot soldier's is clear plastic.
Tuesday, December 30, 2014
Remember a couple years ago when Mattel released the Crime Syndicate five pack? Well, somebody wanted to trade their Ultraman from that set for the DC Collectibles version. So they bought one, swapped it out of the packaging, then returned it to Toys R Us. Then I received it as a Christmas gift. As an evil alternate universe version of Superman, Ultraman's main appeal is that he is kind of Bizarro-ish. So I'll be keeping this one in the package, for the story it tells.
Monday, December 29, 2014
It was recently announced that Figuarts will be adding a Yoshi to its lineup, but whether they will ever do a Bowser is still unknown. Fortunately, the World of Nintendo line has taken care of that. Bowser is pretty massive. It's not just his height, but he's wide and has depth from front to back. He feels pretty weighty, as well. He looks pretty good, and really the only letdown is the articulation. His head is supposed to rotate, but in reality, the hair is in a notch on the the shell. So it doesn't move. The arms have shallow joints, so he can mostly rotate and slightly bend them. But it's generally a cool figure.
Until Guardians of the Galaxy was released, nobody knew how popular Groot would be, which is presumably why it took such a long time for toys to be made of the dancing baby Groot from the end of the movie. Enterprising fans have been making their own versions for months now, but finally official product is being released. There are even a few options, ranging from fairly expensive yet screen accurate, to cheap and cute. The latter is the route I opted for. Because Funko apparently only has the license to make bobble heads for Marvel in this scale (conflicting interest of now defunct Mighty Muggs perhaps?), dancing Groot's head can shake. So although there are no animatronics in this toy, you can still make him dance by shaking him.
Sunday, December 28, 2014
Li'l Gotham is a more fun take on the Batman mythos than the mainline titles, and Dustin Nguyen's artwork for it is consistently a highlight. I like the take on Harley Quinn's costume in that it's her classic costume but with her fringe sticking out from under the hood. These figures are a lot smaller than the usual DC Collectibles fare, with Harley in the three to four inches range in height. The articulation is designed more for small adjustments in display rather than posing. Harley includes a mallet, a Joker doll, one of her pet hyenas (who's sleeping), and a base. She's supposed to be able to hold the doll, but it won't fit into the hole in her hand. This definitely isn't the most fun figure, but it does a great job of replicating Dustin Nguyen's artwork so it's a good display piece.
Cool raven figures weren't the only option available during the Gothitropolis Kickstarter campaign. There were figures based on various bird species available, and I couldn't resist the version based on a flamingo. If I had a house, there would be plastic flamingo lawn ornaments. That's just the type of person I am. So a badass warrior flamingo is a figure I can really get behind. Aside from the head, staff, and feet, this is the same figure as the raven, with a different paint job. The staff here is simplified, lacking the chain and ending in a point. The cool thing is that even though it comes packaged with the standard raven feet (and alternates) for the figures representing species with webbed feet, an extra pair of webbed feet is included. Bonus points for attention to detail! This figure is so out there, it's one of my favorite new toys in a while.
Saturday, December 27, 2014
While I've enjoyed the Four Horsemen's work on the various Mattel action figure lines, I've never really paid attention to their figures based on their own original ideas. Then last year they held a Kickstarter for their newest figures, which were all warrior bird men. The main figure is a raven and is thus hella goth, which piqued my interest. So this is Decimus Hrabben, and I'm really just going to think of him as "raven warrior" from now on. It's really cool to see the Four Horsemen to work without being held back by Mattel bean counters, because this is a beautiful figure. There's a ton of detail to the sculpt, and all the paint apps are well done. For accessories, there's a long staff with a spiked ball on one end and a sickle on the other. There are two alternate pairs of feet, one with the claws somewhat curled, and the other with the claws in a grasping position. This is a figure that would definitely benefit from a flight stand.
One of the Kickstarter bonuses was a weapons pack which includes an alternate head with a screaming mouth, a helmet, and a sword. I couldn't get the head off to swap heads, as it's stuck on there very tightly. Another option that I went for was a pair of wings. They look awesome, and can unfold and swivel, so there are different display options. It was interesting getting inside peaks into the toy production process between the conclusion of the Kickstarter campaign and the arrival of the toys. The wait was kind of long, but the figures turned out really well.
Friday, December 26, 2014
I've been looking for the Snoopy Hot Wheels car for a while, and on my last trip to Target there was one right on the front of one of the pegs. I don't know how long it had been hanging on the peg there, but I'm glad I got there before someone else. I wanted to get this one because it's Snoopy, and because it's fairly ridiculous. Snoopy's sitting on top of his doghouse, looking like he's in one of his World War I flying ace fantasy sequences, but his doghouse is absurdly transformed into a hot rod, with the engine sticking out of the dog house's entrance. Snoopy's hard to find, but definitely a worthwhile addition to a collection. There's nothing else quite like it.
Thursday, December 25, 2014
Brienne is an interesting character in the books, but I feel like she benefits from the actress playing her on the show, so that the live version of her is more interesting. So she goes into the collection. Will there be a Pod figure to go with her? I'm not holding my breath. The sword looks a little too unadorned to be Oathkeeper, so I'm guessing this is Brienne during the escorting Jaime portion of her storyline. Brienne's armor looks great. A lot of it is made from soft plastic so that it won't get in the way of articulation. That seems to be common for this line, but it works well, so no complaints here. While I thought Arya's likeness was great, this one isn't as good.
Monday, December 22, 2014
Like probably almost everyone else, Arya is one of my favorite characters on Game of Thrones. So naturally I was down to get a figure, and Funko wasted little time getting her into the line. Arya's in the outfit from her recent appearances, being absolutely a blast to watch traveling with the Hound. Of course, she comes with her sword Needle. The likeness for Maisie Williams is pretty good, especially from straight on. It really captures Arya's death glare. The joints are rather stiff at first, but I haven't had any breakage issues, fortunately.
Sunday, December 21, 2014
I'm usually down for Hot Wheels cars when they are based on vehicles from pop culture sources. I have recently seen the car based on the Lotus from the Roger Moore era "For Your Eyes Only," but the Aston Martin from "Goldfinger" was a must buy. "Goldfinger" is perhaps the best Bond movie starring Sean Connery, and the Aston Martin is the coolest car Bond has ever driven. Unfortunately, this is the first instance I've ever run into of a QC issue with a Hot Wheels car. The right front wheel is bent on the axle, so it won't rotate and sticks out at an angle. It's not like this was an easy to find car, so exchanging it isn't a likely option. I'll just have to live without being able to roll it around. Other than that, it's very nice looking, with a silvery metallic finish.
Saturday, December 20, 2014
For the longest time, there weren't Legend of Zelda toys. There were a couple Ocarina of Time figures, and statues. Then there's a Figma Link, a Real Action Hero Link, a Nendoroid Link, and now a World of Nintendo Link. We are apparently living in the golden age of Link action figures. Like the Figma, this Link figure is based on his appearance in Skyward Sword. Of course, this is a smaller, cheaper figure. He's got a pretty good amount of articulation. For accessories, there's the Master Sword, and a scabbard which attaches to Link's back. There's also a Hylian shield, which is packaged as a mystery accessory. I guess that's just this line's gimmick. I'm curious to see where this line goes from here.
Friday, December 19, 2014
For me, the Platonic ideal of Batman will always be Kevin Conroy's animated Batman. When DC Collectibles announced that they would be making animated style Batman figures, I was sold on at least a Batman figure. Even though this is the version of the costume from New Batman Adventures, I went for it. Naturally, right after I got this figure they announced an Animated Series version. So I'll probably get that too. But this Batman is very cool. It looks just like the cartoon, faithfully recreating the Bruce Timm top-heavy style. Unlike previous toys made from the cartoons, this line has so much more articulation. The shoulders, elbows, and wrists are all swivel-hinge joints, while the knees and ankles are hinged, the waist and shins get swivels, and the neck is on a ball.
The coolest feature of the Batman figure is that it includes two capes. In the top picture is the cape that drapes over the front of the shoulders, somewhat restricting arm movement. For standing around poses, it's my favored option, as most figures don't have a cape that hangs that way. The other cape hangs behind the shoulders and is flared out a bit, giving an impression of movement. Batman's other accessories include a few extra pairs of hands, ranging from fists, to slightly open hands, to more open hands, and one that is molded holding Batman's grapnel line launcher. There is also a loose grapnel line launcher, and a batarang. Also include is a stand with turnarounds of the animation model for Batman printed on the base. A stand is pretty useful for such a small footed Batman. This isn't a line I'm going to get every release from, but I will definitely be getting more.
Sunday, November 30, 2014
Finally, with Snarl, my movie Dinobots collection is complete! Snarl continues the trend of dodgy looking robot modes with odd proportions and kibble. But I really like all the crazy translucent yellow for some reason. Plus, green and purple always go well together.
Getting Snarl back and forth between bot and dino modes is easy enough, and he holds together well enough in either mode. Snarl is one of the better Dinobots that were released for the movie line.
I played the Assassin's Creed series all out of order, and the first game (not counting the two that were just released) was the last one that I played. So I suppose it's fitting that Altair, the protagonist from the first game, should be the last of the Assassin figures that I get (not counting the upcoming Shay). Altair is armed with a sword, four throwing knives, and a retracted and extended version of the hidden blade. The blade fits through the gap where his missing ring finger would be, which is a nice touch.
Saturday, November 29, 2014
Not really being into chibi/super-deformed versions of characters, I am not really into the Nendoroid line. But when the character is chibi to begin with, a Nendoroid version looks pretty accurate. The cel-shaded toon Link from Wind Waker is one of those characters that makes a perfect fit. Although it's now regarded as a great entry to the series, when Wind Waker was new the graphic style caused a lot of controversy.
Naturally, Link includes the Wind Waker itself, as well as a pair of alternate arms and hands to help him conduct the wind.
Link's sword and shield are also of course included. There's a swoosh effect piece that fits on the sword to make it look as if Link is swinging it really fast. He also has an alternate bent pair of legs, and has different facial expressions, like the yelling one above.
Link's other main accessory is a heart container piece, which has its own separate stand so that it can hover.
Link's final face is giving someone side-eyes. One of the cool features of the game is that Link's eyes would look towards secrets in an area, providing a subtle clue on how to find things. Link wasn't making quite this expression in the game when he was doing that, but that's what this face reminded me of.
A while back Hasbro asked for fan feedback, allowing voting to help create a new character. Windblade was the result, and they put out a toy version of her pretty quickly. So far she's only appeared in the comics (the comic included briefly involves her), even carrying her own series. Windblade's altmode is a VTOL jet. It's mostly black, with some red, and a yellow canopy. The turbines can rotate up and down to whichever angle you'd like. It's pretty cool looking, although if you look at it from the top down, there is a little gap in the middle. The transformation scheme is different from the typical seeker style, so that is a nice touch of difference.
Robot mode is pretty cool, with a lot more red showing. Windblade is armed with a sword that has a translucent blade that fades from purple to clear. There's a scabbard that can plug into her hip. In jet mode, it does stow along the bottom, helping to mostly plug the gap in the middle. According to the instructions, the golden fan in the back of Windblade's hair is removable, but I couldn't get it to come out and didn't want to break something by forcing it. Given how rare female Transformers are, it's cool to get a toy of one.
Slog is the second voyager class Dinobot, after Grimlock. For whatever reason, Amazon has been selling this figure for the price of a deluxe Transformers toy. I'm really glad that I didn't pay MSRP, because this is a pretty disappointing figure. Let's start off with dinosaur mode. According to the packaging, Slog is an apatosaurus, but I would say that it looks more like a brachiosaurus. There are ridiculous movie style spikes on either side of his back, as well as a couple different weapons, two mount on the shoulder, and the other two go on the neck. They're both removable, but the weapons that attach on the neck attach via a couple of non-removable pegs. So if you take those weapons off, there are a couple of Frankenstein's monster style neck bolts.
Slog has a particularly unhelpful instruction sheet, making the transformation even less fun than it would have been otherwise. Robot mode is just weird looking. He's got odd proportions with ridiculously large lower legs. There's this flap that sticks up behind his head which can't be re-positioned anywhere else, and it just looks bad. In both modes, it doesn't feel like Slog is very solidly holding together. If not for my stated goal of getting all the movie Dinobots, I would have skipped him.
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Arno Dorian is the star of the newest Assassin's Creed game, solely for next-gen consoles and PC. I have the game, but haven't played it yet because I don't have a next-gen console yet. So all I know about him is that he's French and his story is centered on the French Revolution. The protagonist from the other AC game released this year (AC: Rogue), will be getting a figure in the next wave. Arno is armed with a sword, a pistol, and the Assassin's signature hidden blade. Only, this isn't the standard hidden blade. In addition to the interchangeable regular retracted and extended blades, there is also a little crossbow. I'm curious to see how playing with the new version of the weapon will play. His long coat is a fairly stiff plastic, so it can get in the way of the legs somewhat. Fortunately it's a cool enough looking figure.
Monday, November 10, 2014
Ezio is the most well known protagonist from the Assassin's Creed series, starring in three games. There are a variety of looks McFarlane could have gone for, and for this figure they went with the version of Ezio that appears in Revelations. This is an older Ezio, who has adventures in Constantinople. Ezio is armed with a sword, a dagger, and his trusty hidden blades. The blades can be swapped out for retracted or extended versions. Also, Ezio includes two sets of hands. One set is sculpted to hold weapons, while the other has open hands. Presumably this is meant to replicate the widely used promotional image of Ezio with his arms held out to his sides with blades extended. Although, that's a younger Ezio. The hood is easily removable, but it sits a little too high on the head. So far, there haven't been many variants in this line (Connor has a couple), but I wouldn't be surprised if there are different versions of Ezio down the line.
Friday, October 31, 2014
Here is where the Black Series really lives up to its name. The Imperial Shadow Squadron is a Target exclusive black repaint. When the set was announced, there were some rumblings that it would be available for forty dollars as a Black Friday special. Ultimately, it ended up available on Target's website a couple weeks ago, for ten dollars more than the rumored price. Even still, it's a good deal. Perhaps it will still show up as a forty dollar Black Friday exclusive, but that wasn't a risk I wanted to take. The set features a speeder bike with shadow scout and a shadow Stormtrooper commander. I have several of the various shadow troopers in the smaller scale, so this set is right up my alley. Aside from the new color schemes, these are the same toys. The only real difference is that the commander has the sandtrooper shoulder pauldron and belt, which means he can't holster his blaster. The blaster rifles that come with the regular Stormtrooper and sandtrooper are also included.
Thursday, October 30, 2014
Compared to previous series, I restrained myself with this one, and the spooky girl is the last minifigure I picked up. She was easy to identify in the packaging by feeling for the teddy bear. Also, the hair piece is made of a softer plastic than I was expecting, but it is something that can be helped to identify her as well.
Here's the bump code for the spooky girl, as seen on the back of the packaging, with the code 421B4 stamped into it.
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Were I to only get one minifigure from this series, it would have been the Piggy Guy. It's the person in an animal suit member of this series, and that's one of my favorite themes with these. I found him by feeling for the apple, which is identifiable by touch as the little round piece with a flat protrusion next to the narrow protrusion. I felt for the pig head piece as secondary confirmation. The apple is oddly smooth on the bottom, lacking a socket for a LEGO stud to plug into.
Here's the bump code for the Piggy guy, as seen from the back of the package, with the code 421B4 stamped on it.
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
LEGO minifigures are back! Thankfully, the pace at which these series of blindpacked minifigures has slowed down enough that I was ready for more this time around. I opted to get the wizard because it's a cool archetype, and it's very much a cliche wizard design. His staff is in three pieces. I really dig his cape and collar combo, which is made from two pieces of soft goods. There is a shiny silver star pattern printed on it as well. Finding him is pretty easy by feeling for the skirt piece. To make sure I wasn't getting the princess, I made sure to also feel for the pieces that form his staff.
For the bump code, here it is as it appears on the back of the package, with the code 421B4 stamped into it.
Monday, October 27, 2014
Rounding out the latest group of Black Series figures is everyone's favorite Wookiee, Chewbacca. Not surprisingly, he's super tall. Groot is only about an inch taller. Not bad for a non-BAF. For accessories, Chewie includes his bowcaster, plus his bandolier/satchel is a separate piece. Chewie's face is sculpted in mid-roar, which seems pretty typical for his figures. The paint does a good job of picking out the differently shaded areas of his coat. I don't really have a lot to say, but this is a very cool Chewbacca figure.
Sunday, October 26, 2014
As I've mentioned on every other post involving Luke Skywalker, Return of the Jedi was the first Star Wars movie I watched, so that version of Luke has always been my favorite. Trying to keep character repeats to a minimum for the new scale, I held off on getting a Luke until this version was released. This has the usual Black Series articulation, which is well done. Although it would be nice if the elbows bent a little more.
Like previous Lukes in the smaller scale, there is an alternate chest piece that can be swapped out if you'd prefer to display Luke with the flap of his tunic fastened or not. The lightsaber has a removable hilt, but instead of having a peg that plugs into the belt like usual, this one has a loop that hangs from a hook on the belt. I think this is the first time I've seen a lightsaber toy that attaches that way.
Friday, October 24, 2014
I'm not surprised by it, but it sure is weird seeing "Disney" on my Star Wars toys packaging. Either way, a few waves into the line and we finally have one of the heavy hitters of the franchise, Darth Vader himself. Before he was released, I was curious to see if his capes could be soft goods or not. They have been for years on the smaller scale figure, but there has been the occasional plastic one on other figures. Hasbro went with soft goods, and it turned out really well. It's a bit thicker material than usual, and there's a little extra fabric on the corners, helping to give it some extra weight so the cape rests a little more realistically.
Vader's helmet is removable; there are two pieces, the outer helmet and the mask. The likeness underneath is pretty decent, and it's Sebastian Shaw, so you know it's Return of the Jedi, and not a prequel Vader. Vader's lightsaber is also, of course, included. It has a removable blade, but it doesn't look like there's a way to attach the hilt to his belt.
For the most part, the articulation is pretty great. Unfortunately, the shoulders restrict the arms from moving up laterally. Also, the elbows can't bend as deeply as I'd like. So Vader's not going to really be putting his hands on his hips. Overall though, it's a pretty cool Vader figure.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Along with Adéwale, I picked up Aveline de Grandpré, star of Assassin's Creed Liberation. This is the only game of the series I haven't played so far (not counting the various handheld/mobile/Facebook games). It was originally released for the Sony portable console, but was given an HD upgrade for consoles, which I plan to play in the future. For me, one of the most striking features of Aveline's design is that she is not wearing a traditional Assassin hood. Rather, she has a tricorn that fits low over her face, helping to conceal it somewhat. It's even removable. McFarlane is definitely good at detail work, as the sculpt is very well done, with a lot of paint. It's a good looking figure, to be sure. Aveline has the typical hidden blade (both extended and retracted), a flintlock pistol, a big knife, what I think is a blowgun, and a whip. Aside from being a good action figure, Aveline is interesting in that she's a woman of color, which is unusual enough as a video game protagonist, but is also fairly unusual as an action figure.
Monday, October 20, 2014
A couple weeks ago, I was surprised to find an endcap at Target with a bunch of Funko product, as well as a couple pegs of McFarlane figures as well. This was pretty soon after I had decided I wanted to collect all the playable assassins from the Assassin's Creed games, so this was good timing as I had been eying the latest wave online. In Assassin's Creed IV, Adéwale is Edward Kenway's first mate aboard the Jackdaw. He was one of a few characters that helped provide a conscience for Edward, but it wasn't until the Freedom Cry DLC that he became a playable character. This figure is based on the DLC, after Adé has joined the Assassins. He's armed with the typical hidden blades (with both extended and retracted versions of the blades), a blow gun, a blunderbuss, and a machete. Those last three weapons can be stowed on his back. The story of Freedom Cry involves Adé helping out in freeing slaves from plantations, so presumably that is why he includes shackles as well.
Sunday, October 19, 2014
A few years ago, Hasbro released a Jetfire in the classics lineup, but it was not an easy toy to find. So I missed out. I had hoped that they would eventually re-release it, but that never happened, even after the movie version of the character showed up. Finally the powers that be decided to just go all out and do an all new version (an upcoming remold as Thundercracker has already been announced). In a somewhat controversial move, Jetfire's accessories are all chromed red plastic. Aesthetically, I do think it looks cool if a bit garish, but there is the potential for flaking in the future.
Of course, those chromed pieces are all removable. It's a pretty cool looking jet, as long as you ignore the legs on the underside, which make the lower body of the jet really wide towards the back. The wings fold in or out, F-14 style.
For a Leader class figure, it seems like the transformation scheme is a bit easy. While overall the robot mode is pretty cool looking, the cockpit and nosecone for the jet are merely hanging off the back. This is one of those toys where the chest looks like a cockpit, but isn't. If you choose to have all the chromed pieces off the robot, they can (with the exception of the boosters) combine into a big gun.
Jetfire has a removable mask, so you can decide whether you prefer his helmeted or bare faced look better. He's a bit on the pricy side, and feels kind of lightweight, but is generally pretty cool. If I had the classics version, I'd be content to skip this version. But since I don't, this is a cool addition to the collection, especially as a character I've never had a toy for.
Friday, October 17, 2014
I have the Edward Kenway figure from Assassin's Creed IV already, but then I found out that McFarlane is going to make an Ezio and an Altair. I wasn't into Assassin's Creed when NECA was making figures, so hearing that those two will be getting the figure treatment again made me want to get a figure of all the main assassins. So first that meant getting Connor from AC III, which is the first AC game I actually played. Connor is pretty well armed, as befits an assassin. He's got two flintlock pistols, a bow (with an elastic string), his trusty hatchet, and the trademark hidden blade. The face isn't the greatest likeness of the in game render, so it's good that the hood helps cover it and keep it in shadow.