Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Favorite Toy of the Day

Toybiz' X-Men Series One Ruby Armor Cyclops.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Hot Toys Scar Predator - Reviewed!

Hot Toys' 1/6 Scale Alien Vs Predator Series One Scar Predator. Sold as a model kit, this seems to be a way to get the license for much cheaper than the figure license would cost. Don't buy it - this thing is an action figure, from top to bottom. Since Sideshow Collectibles made a deal to import these figures from Asia, there has been a lot of interest but a rather suprising lack of information. Perhaps due to the price and rarity in this hemisphere, rather little is known about the figure outside of some pictures posted on the Spawn boards. This review is an attempt to rectify that lack. Due to the amount of pictures this review will be extended beyond my usual format, and there will be several categories addressed I tend to ignore.

Excellent. I hate packaging. I consider it a thin, short lived layer of trash between me and my toys. Not a fan. However, the packaging for this figure is truly well done, and the first I will actually keep. About twice the size of a standard 1/6 figure box(assuming Sideshow is the standard), but somewhat deeper. The first layer of packaging is a holo-foil slip cover, and underneath is a very nicely design Sideshow-style cover, which opens up to reveal a cutout showing the Predator inside. Inside this there is several sheets of molded plastic to hold the parts. I have no pictures of the box unfortunately due to complications with lighting it, but I may try again in the next day or so if you're curious. It will be posted in this space if I do.

Building It
Okay. Here's where Hot Toys cleverness in licensing and selling this as a model kit bites us in the ass. Essentially it means that we are forced to actually put the figure together ourselves, which sounds easy enough in theory but in practice is a somewhat harder. Sore fingers and lots of anxiousness awaits anyone who buys this figure. It's a real chore, forcing the figure's pieces together all the while trying to avoid overdoing it for fear of breaking this expensive piece. Out of the box you have the torso including the thighs and biceps, unattached calves and forearms, and an unattached head. Also the costume is in several distinct layers, first a fishnet body suit that snags somewhat easily, second a fringed brown skirt, and third and most difficult the body armor. This last part is the hardest to put together, as the potential for breakage seems highest. Fortunately Hot Toys has chosen some very hardy materials, and despite being worried throughout, I managed to dress the figure without damaging it.

Excellent. Beautiful. Fantastic. There are not enough superlatives to describe the sculpt here adequetely. Easily one of the best 1/6 creature sculpts I've ever seen, I only hope my pictures do justice to it. There is not a millimeter on this figure overlooked. There has been some worry about the size of the figure's head, due to some unflattering early prototype shots, and in fact it is rather big. If this figure were based on the first or second Predator film, perhaps it could be called ridiculously big. However this figure is based on one of the Predators in the film Alien Vs Predator, and the creature's head was oversized in that film. To this extent? Probably not. Is it a big issue? Not to me - in person it looks perfect. I could understand this being a deal killer to some, perhaps. A large part of it is due to the tentacles/dredlocks of the monsters, they are rather bulky taken as a whole.

Excellent. Probably the least ambitious element of the figure's design, there's just not that much to screw up with the paint applications. There's no flaw to be found in the figure I received, the paint is cleanly applied and well done.

Excellent. Given the high pricepoint of the figure, one is entitled to ask the question: is it worth it? I can't really answer that for everyone, but if you go based on the criteria of quality then I believe this figure is worth the price. The plastic used is well chosen, pliable when it needs to be, thick and hard when it's called for. The joints go together well, and are not loose nor overly tight - they're just right. As an example of the thoughtfulness of the construction, every single dredlock on the Predator is bendy. All 50 or so.

Excellent. I won't go into a full articulation count, it's hard to see through the armor, but basically take the most articulated Marvel Legend figure and add: Ball wrists, ball ankles, articulated calf armor(!), articulated knife weapon on his forearm armor, flip up cover for his forearm computer, *multiple* points of articulation on his shoulder laser, and 50 or bendy dredlocks.

Excellent. Multiple accessories is nothing new for 1/6 scale figures, however Hot Toys certainly did not skimp on the ones provided with this figure. Not including the mask, we have four hands, knife and hilt, throwing star(closed), throwing star(open), trophy necklace, logo-styled base, and telescoping spear. The last in particular is well, made, shown below in closed mode, you can extend the spear at four points, making a particularly fearsome weapon. All the accessories are well made, though that open throwing star is not going to last through much handling.

Very Good. Frankly I didn't take out a ruler and measure this guy, but compared to various BBi and Sideshow 1/6 scale figures he seems about right. He appropriately towers over just about anyone in my (admittedly meagar) 1/6 collection. Considering how large the Predators were portrayed in the film, I think it's about right on.

Excellent. Can you tell this is on my shortlist for figure of 2006 already? Given the price this will not be for everyone, but for those willing and able to spend the money I think it will be well worth it. Bottom line, if you want it but aren't entirely sure, just try and imagine trying to get this figure later on. No one wants to be the guy who missed out on the Marmit Boba Fett or some equally cool, equally expensive, and now equally unobtainable figure. This is one of those figures. Sideshow has given you a golden opportunity, the preorders are still available, don't miss out.

Favorite Toy of the Day

DCD Secret Files Series Two: Unmasked Batman/Bruce Wayne.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Favorite Toy of the Weekend

Hasbro's Transformers Alternators Z06 Corvette 'Tracks'.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Favorite Toy of the Day

Toybiz' Marvel Legends Series Twelve Maestro Hulk.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Favorite Toy of the Day

Toybiz' The Amazing Spider-Man Series Sixteen Venom.

The Notorious Scarlet Mitch - Reviewed!

Toybiz' Marvel Legends Series Eleven Scarlet Witch action figure. Figure is allegedly cancelled due to poor appearance, but an undetermined amount was released to retail. Ever since the figure first hit in Asia the story is that she's the worst female, if not the worst overall Marvel Legend to date. Is that fair? Well, no. Is she a good ML? Well, no.

Okay. This is probably going to bite me on the ass, but I honestly don't think she looks that bad. Not great, but Toybiz has done worse. While a lot of people have been calling her Scarlet Mitch and Scarlet Manwich due to her perceived bad sculpt, I think that's a bit much. Her face sculpt is actually rather nice - take a look above, that's a pretty face, especially compared to some "good" ML females like Black Widow and Storm. The real problem here is her body:

It's not even that apparant in the pic imo, but various parts of her body are just plain anemic - her thighs and upper chest, in particular. See how her ribcage is too big for her upper chest(the so-called "boobticulation")? Also due to her large amount of hair, her head doesn't quite fit the size of the body that was produced for her. Finally, the lack of detail on her torso is just plain lazy. Her pelvis looks like a hard plastic diaper. What's interesting is that her body is basically the same one as Mystique's, but unlike that figure there is no attempt to try and improve it or at least draw away the eye with other details.

Awful. Here's the other part of the equation that equals a bad figure. This might be hard to believe, but of the three Scarlet Witches I found at retail, this was BY FAR the best painted. The most obvious victim of the factory meltdown Toybiz experienced with ML11, though the paint apps on the other figures in the waves tended not to be winners either. It's not just the paint app quality, though, but the decision to make her torso raw plastic as opposed to painted. This is something often seen in lesser mass market lines, and it's always a bad idea - it always ends up looking cheap. You can get by with that cheap raw plastic look with minorly detailed animation-based figures like Yu-gi-oh, but with Marvel Legends it sticks out like a sore thumb. In addition the hard smooth glossy plastic used is inappropriate - it looks like nothing if not plastic. The rest of the body seems a bit soft, and the thinness of the joints makes her seem quite rickety.

Okay. Not the most articulated female ML, and not the least, either, Scarlet Witch is about average. I forget what the packaging claims but I count: swivel and hinge neck, ball shoulders, bicep swivels, double hinged elbows, glove-line swivels, wrist hinges, knuckle swivels, upper rib swivel, ab hinge, ball waist, ball hips, double hinged knees, boot line swivels, ankle hinges, so 29 points of articulation.

Well, she's not the worst ML ever in my opinion. That goes to ML11 Ultron. However like her in-comic paramour the Vision, her transition to ML has resulted in a generally dull and unaccomplished figure. Actually, she kind of matches the ML7 Vision because of this - he is one of the poorer figures in the line as well, imo. Had she been made by a better factory she might not have gotten as much hatred aimed at her, but I suspect the final result wouldn't have been much different. Primarily I bet we see, if we see a correction at all, better quality paint apps and maybe new thighs. Given the upcoming Hasbro transition for ML, I doubt we will see anything on the Scarlet Witch front at all. Considering how important a character she is, that would be a shame.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Favorite Toy of the Day

Toybiz' Fantastic Four Classics Series One The Thing.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Who to Review?

I'd like to do a review or two for the blog here, but I'm having trouble getting motivated and picking figures to review. Anyone I've featured so far is fair game, and in addition I have these figures as yet undocumented: the rest of ML12, SOTA Street Fighter 3 Adon and Sakura, DCD Unmasked Batman, ML11 Scarlet Witch, SMC Manwolf and Venom, FF Classics The Thing, X-Men Series 1 Stealth and Ninja Strike Wolverines, X-Men Series 1 Ruby Armor Cyclops, SIC Kamen Raider Faiz, and Jakks Deluxe Aggression Rey Mysterio.

Any recommendations?

Favorite Toy of the Day

Toybiz' Marvel Legends Series Twelve Iron Fist(regular and variant).

Monday, February 20, 2006

Favorite Toy of the Day

Toybiz' Fantastic Four Classics Series One Super Skrull.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Favorite Toy of the Weekend

Toybiz' Marvel Legends Series Twelve Sasquatch(regular and variant).

Friday, February 17, 2006

Favorite Toy of the Day

Toybiz' Marvel Legends Series Twelve Astonishing X-Men Wolverine(regular and variant).

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Favorite Toy of the Day

Sideshow Collectibles' Universal Monsters Metaluna Mutant from This Island Earth.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Favorite Toy of the Day

NECA's Pirates of the Caribbean Series Two Jack Sparrow.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Favorite Toy of the Day

Toybiz' Marvel Legends Series Twelve X23(variant).

Monday, February 13, 2006

Favorite Toy of the Day - the return

Hero Production's 12" Blade Hunter.