Monday, September 26, 2011

Articulated Monster, episode 17

Hey all, the latest episode of Articulated Monster is up! Check it out!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

#107: Transformers Reveal the Shield - Lugnut

I happened to be up late one night, so at midnight I checked on the new figure at, and saw that it was the Reveal the Shield version of Lugnut. Since it was released in one of those waves that most people never see on the shelves, I figured it was my best chance to own one without paying ridiculous online prices or shipping. It's a good thing I acted fast, because as I later found out via a Twitter exchange between FOTD and OAFE, there were only six in stock. Good timing!

Lugnut started out as an Animated character, but the original toy was way too short in bot mode, which held me off from ever buying one. Fortunately, Hasbro has been willing to re-make Animated characters in the more "realistic" style, so I was looking forward to getting this version of the character. As in the original Animated toy, Lugnut's alt mode is a World War II-esque bomber. Now the color scheme is a bit more realistic, with a mostly olive green all over the body. The wingspan on Lugnut is pretty massive, about a foot from the tip of one wing to the other. The ID numbers painted on the tail fin are LU-6 NU-7, in case anyone forgets who this is. It's also got the cool open mouth paint job along the sides of the nose cone. There's a missile launcher that when in alt mode fires backwards from the rear of the fuselage.

As I mentioned earlier, the Animated toy was way too short in bot mode, but this one makes up for it by being at least a good seven inches tall. It keeps to the same general appearance of Animated Lugnut, but with longer legs. It's pretty cool looking, and it's got pretty decent articulation. They even kept the appearance of his head largely the same, which is cool. The jaw mouth can even be opened and closed. The rear section of the plane hangs off his back, but he is well balanced enough that it doesn't make him back heavy. It might have been cool if that detached and became a weapon like in the Animated toy, since there aren't any other weapons included here. The arms do have an action feature that when you push a button they extend via a spring loaded mechanism. Super punch! It's cool enough and doesn't detract from the toy otherwise, so it works as an action feature in my book.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

#106: Predators - Classic Predator

A couple weeks ago, was doing one of their occasional themed days, where they offer different figures from a single property throughout the day. Since they were doing a Predator theme, I hoped that they would have the classic Predator available, and towards the end of the day they did, so I ordered one. There are also two different unmasked versions of the classic Predator, but I like the masked look best, so I'm glad it's the one that was available. I haven't had any sort of Predator figure since the 90s Kenner line, when I had the Alien vs Predator two pack. Although I still have that xenomorph, the Predator figure has since disappeared. For whatever reason, I never got the more recent NECA Alien vs Predator two pack, but I figured it would be cool to have a modern take on the Predator.

At nearly 8 inches tall, this is a pretty imposing figure. It's in that weird scale NECA uses for movie figures, so a normal person would be around 7 inches. I don't have a lot of NECA figures, so that means Harry Potter vs Predator! Overall the classic Predator is pretty damn cool looking. The sculpt is very detailed, all the way down to the fishnet bodysuit (what's up with the fishnets, do Predators hang out in goth clubs when they're not hunting?). All the armor bits have mechanical details and signs of wear, and the bare skin has some nice texture to it. For the most part, the paint looks pretty great, although it's not 100% perfect on the fishnetting. There is a pretty good amount of articulation for a NECA figure. Aside from the hips, which are a v-crotch, everything else is a ball or ball-like joint. Even the shoulder cannon has articulation, so it can be aimed. The shoulder cannon is detachable, and the other weapon for the Predator is the dual blades on the right gauntlet. The blades can be extended, which is a nice touch. There are a couple of bone bandoliers, although the string on the skull one was broken on mine. Fortunately, I was able to hang it in a way that still looks pretty natural, but I may go back and glue it later on.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

#105: Batman Legacy - Batgirl

Finally, Batgirl! Mattel originally released Babs as a two pack in DCSH, before I was collecting. Then they re-released her in a two pack with Azrael which I never saw. Both versions are currently way too pricy on the secondary market. So, of course when Batgirl is released in the second wave of Batman Legacy, it's hard to find, showing up at K-Mart first. I still haven't seen one in stores, but I was able to order one from Amazon for the same price as retail (and combined with something else to get free shipping), so no complaints there.

As is unfortunately common, QC isn't to as high a quality as one might hope. The right leg is bent from the packaging, but at least it's not so horrible that Batgirl can't stand. Also, her right bicep swivel was stuck in place, but I was able to take care of it with some time in the freezer. Since this is an old sculpt it reveals that the problem of skinny arms goes all the way back to DCSH days. It's as ridiculous as ever.

Aside from those complaints, if you're at all familiar with DCUC figures, you know what you're getting. There aren't any real accessories aside from the stand and mini-poster, but Batgirl's hands aren't sculpted to hold anything, so a Batarang would have been useless anyway. I'm glad to finally have Batgirl as a six inch figure for my collection, so I'm pretty stoked.

Monday, September 19, 2011

#104: Transformers Reveal the Shield - Megatron

Although my original plans to acquire this tiny version of Megatron were thwarted when Entertainment Earth was out of stock, then later cancelled my backorder because Hasbro wasn't sending them any more, I eventually picked one up from Amazon. True, it was a few dollars overpriced, but since it was a part of an order with free shipping, I was willing to pay a little bit extra. So aside from its adorable size, the main reason I wanted this is because it's the first Megatron in a while that turns into a gun!

I never had Megatron as a kid, and I unfortunately passed up on the Classics version of Megatron a few years ago. Also, I'm too cheap to buy the Masterpiece Megatron. So this is a good opportunity to have a Megatron that turns into a gun. Naturally, the conversion is pretty simple, and the gun totally looks like it's got a chunk missing from the handgrip, but it's still pretty cool in my book. What's the deal with the orange tip on the barrel? There's no way somebody's going to mistake this for a real gun! Stupid safety laws.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

#103: Big O - R. Dorothy Waynewright

So remember a few months ago when I found out about the Figma R. Dorothy figure? After some thought and some searching around to find the best price, I did end up pre-ordering the figure, and now it's finally here! This is my first fancy import Japanese toy purchase, and while that means it's not cheap, I'm pretty impressed. Dorothy is made by Figma, which as far as I can tell is pretty similar to Revoltech in style.

Dorothy comes packaged in a nice window box that shows her and her accessories off pretty well. Most of the text is in Japanese, so I have no idea what it says. The back of the box has a few pictures of Dorothy, a lot more text I can't read, and a sticker from the importer. Dorothy and her accessories are all packaged in a plastic tray and held in place by a cover rather than rubber bands or ties. She comes with a nice range of accessories. There is an alternate face, so she can either be looking straight ahead or to the side, either way with her trademark dour expression. There is an alternate hair piece that has the hairband/disk drive extended like in the show. There is a broom (because she works as Roger's maid?) with articulated bristles. There are five interchangeable sets of hands: fists, pointing, open, holding, and open with fingers splayed. So the extra hands don't get lost, there is a plastic holder for all of them for when they're not attached to Dorothy. Also included is a non-articulated version of Dorothy's ill-fated pet cat, Pero. There is also a stand with a segmented, articulated rod that can plug into her back (I had her in a flying pose for a while just for the humor of it). Unfortunately, the plug is a little too large to use with GI Joe figures. Also, there is a plastic zip bag included to store all the accessories.

The Dorothy figure itself its pretty cool. It is a good representation of her appearance onscreen, capturing her look well. There's not a lot of paint, but what there is all looks good. I would think that the lines beneath her eyes could be slightly thicker, but that is being picky. Dorothy is no statue, and she has plenty of useful articulation. Her points of articulation aren't all perfectly hidden, but they are integrated into the sculpt better than on some other figures. All her joints move well, none were stuck, and it doesn't feel like she's going to fall apart. I'm not exactly sure what scale she is in, but I think it is somewhere in the six inch range. She isn't a tall character, and I think she looks appropriately sized next to Batman (probably the closest I'll get to a Roger Smith figure). All in all, this is a very nice figure. A bit pricy, but I think it was worth it for something that's never likely to be released stateside, and of high quality.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

#102: Alice: Madness Returns Minimates - Alice

American McGee's Alice was a computer game featuring a twisted, more "mature" take on the further adventures of Alice In Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass. I think it was a better Tim Burton style take on the story than Tim Burton's actual film turned out to be. As a life long console gamer, I found the controls somewhat clunky and annoying, so I never got around to finishing the game. Earlier this Summer, a sequel to the game, Alice: Madess Returns, was released for consoles and computers. I got the XBOX 360 version for my birthday and enjoyed it. To commemorate this, Alice was released as a Minimate, but only as an exclusive for San Diego Comic-Con. Fortunately, a friend of a friend was going and willing to pick one up for me, which is how I ended up with mine (they are ridiculously overpriced on Ebay now, but you can buy one for five bucks at Diamond Select's webshop). Incidentally, mine is labelled 321 out of 1,000 on the box.

As far as I can tell, this is the only Minimate based on the property that will be made, although there is an upcoming line of larger scale action figures that will be released in the future. So depending on how that turns out, this may be my only Alice toy. This is a good adaptation of Alice's in game look to Minimate form. Perhaps since it's an exclusive rather than a normal release it has a nice amount of paint apps, which includes the back of her dress as well. The only complaint is that she doesn't have any accessories. At least a Vorpal Blade (it goes snicker-snack!) should have been included, as it's her main weapon throughout the game. I'm kind of surprised they're only doing this one version of Alice in Minimate form. Maybe the character designs in the game didn't seem like a good fit for Minimate bodies (which is pretty reasonable), but they probably could milk the license a little more with variants on Alice, since she wears a  few different costumes during the game.
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