Wednesday, December 31, 2014

#117: Batman - Batman

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.

#116: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Minimates - Leonardo & Foot Soldier

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

#115: DC Universe Classics - Ultraman

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

#114: World of Nintendo - Bowser

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.

#113: Pop! Marvel Guardians of the Galaxy - Dancing Groot

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

#112: Batman Li'l Gotham - Harley Quinn

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.

#111: Gothitropolis - Flamingus

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

#110: Gothitropolis - Decimus Hrabban

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

#109: Hot Wheels Peanuts - Snoopy (HW City 59/250)

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

#108: Game of Thrones - Brienne of Tarth

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

#107: Game of Thrones - Arya Stark

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

#106: Hot Wheels James Bond 007 Goldfinger - Aston Martin 1963 DB5 (HW Workshop 200/250)

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

#105: World of Nintendo - Link

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

#104: The New Batman Adventures - Batman

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.
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