Thursday, 28 February 2013

Venom (Marvel Select)

If I'm going to pick just one word to describe the Marvel Select Venom, that'd be- "INSANE!" This figure has a crap load of accessories that makes him unlike anything you've seen on a Marvel Select action figure. Venom got lots of interchangeable hands and heads, and a variety of features that gives you so many options on how you'd want him to look. The playability and fun factor on this guy is incredibly beyond my expectation, and that I just don't know where to start with this topic.

Marvel Select Venom

But perhaps putting him on "default setting" will make my life easier as I start off with Venom's basic form (just the head with no tongue and hands with no claws) and slowly turn him into a monster, that way we can also appreciate each of these accessories he comes with.

Needless to say, Venom is painted with mostly black and white, but has a blend of darker blues around his symbiote uniform to give a bit of that light-dark contrast, which may actually help you when trying to get some real good photos. The Venom-symbol, of course, covers a third of his torso from front to back. I like how the teeth looked with all these tiny dirt; adding more sinister to that sick smile and lips extending all the way to the ears.

The sculpt and the proportion on this body is very well done! Venom has an athletic body-type with added bulk onto his shoulders and biceps. You can see veins all over his arms with these " Venom web shooters" popping up at the back of each hands. What's truly nice with the sculpt are these swirls and twirls around the skin as though the symbiote is restless and excited.

I am not totally loving the articulation but I'm fairly satisfied with it. Diamond Select Toys incorporated a hip joint that I always thought is exclusive only in DC Universe action figures (and probably other toylines), and you may be familiar with what I'm talking about. It actually looks nice when you have both legs clipped together, but when you spread the legs to the sides and see these sharp angles at the groin areas, it just ruins the form of the figure... and that is why I prefer the ball-jointed hips over this one. Just saying.

But moving on... Venom's articulation includes a ball-jointed neck that lets the head turn 360 (but doesn't move up and down), and ball-hinged shoulders, bicep swivel, single-jointed elbows and wrist swivels to the arms. He got a diaphragm swivel that is really hard to turn plus waist swivel in the torso area. No ankle rockers to the legs; just swivel at the mid-thighs, single-jointed knees and a couple of hinged ankles.

Regardless of what is there and not with poseability and articulation, the accessories are the real deal and may have saved this action figure from getting a low score (at least in my perspective). I started hoping this toyline will soon switch to figure parts and accessories rather than those cardboard props and bases, which I almost never use on my display.

Venom comes with three types of interchangeable head; The Eddie Brock head on its mid-transformation, which I thought is on the larger side of the scale, then you got the head with a smiling face, and last and certainly not the least, the head that defines Venom- long tongue (removable), razor-sharp teeth with goo all around his mouth.


The hands are interchangeable and exchangeable! In addition, you can attach extra arms near his elbows, making him look sicker and more twisted. My favourite pair of hands are the ones with pointy claws. The rest are just regular hands; opened and clenched.

"We are Venom!!" I think that's what he said when he combined with strays of symbiote other than his own. This "skin extension," as I call them, has six (6) heads- four of them can turn individually, and latches perfectly over his back... but wait, more of these insanity coming in the way! The skin extension itself has arms that are articulated having hands that are interchangeable on each. Damn! With all the parts place together, Venom got four limbs and seven heads in total, and it's taking a toll on his feet as you get him to stand.

Now if you haven't had a Marvel Select figure, I'd say it's a good way to start with this figure. With a 7-inch height, fair amount of articulation, finely detailed paint and sculpt, and ton of accessories, you'll get more than what you payed for. The Marvel Select Venom is now among my favourite Select figures and I highly recommend him.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Iron Man - Heroic Age (Marvel Legends)

Marvel Legends Bleeding Edge Iron Man
According to my calculations and intensive research, Bleeding Edge (a.k.a. Heroic Age Iron Man) won't appear in this third Iron Man movie despite tie-ins by the movie with Hasbro, and having an "Iron Man 3-themed" package as you can see on one of these photos. Like I've said in my Iron Patriot review, the movie will be circling around the Extremis storyline but I do hope I'm wrong since this version of Iron Man's armour is probably my favourite.

And just to show you the packaging, you can see the Mark 42 suit (as seen in the movie) right on these corners, also with the Avengers logo. He comes with this left leg of Iron Monger, and at the back there's a picture of how Iron Monger would look like once you complete it this coming fall. Yes that's right, 7 months from now... have to deal with it. This first batch of Iron Man figures (which came out 2 weeks ago) includes the Iron Patriot and the Hornhead Classic Iron Man which, needless to say, not gonna be in the movie as well.

Out from its package, I can really tell this Iron Man is bulkier than the previous ones they have just by holding it. This guy seems like he has been working out! But for some funny feeling, I find the head and face sculpt along with the paint job a bit weird- looks like he's flirting or something. It's hard to explain.

The paint job needs some minor improvements especially with that arc reactor at the center of his chest. I feel a need to customize it; put a little white in the middle as well as with all these blue dots around his chest, arms and legs. Looking closely at his red and gold armour, I see some waves and lines within the plastic, and not solidly coloured but it's completely unnoticeable from a distance. Overall, the paint and sculpt is nicely done.

Moving now to articulation, Hasbro has been recently consistent in providing us with highly poseable action figures and I can name alot. With Iron Man figures, I usually get them to do a "flying pose" first before anything else for me decide whether they're a pass or a fail. Being unable to do a flying pose equals fail, and this Bleeding Edge Iron Man is almost a fail if it wasn't for some trick I found online about how to flying-pose this guy.

So anyways, it's really simple; you gotta remove the head, pull the ball-hinge all the way back and put the head back.

He's got an ab crunch that lets you bend his torso all the way back and front. I'm glad they gave him a waist swivel as well. He's got shoulder joints, swivel to the biceps, double-jointed elbows, and twist to the wrists. Now the only problem with the articulation on his arms are these arm guards that extend towards the back of his hands; hindering that movement when you try have him do a repulsor blast pose, but what you can do is twist the wrist and position it where that arm guard is not on its way. I got no complains with the articulation on his legs. It got a nice T-joint that lets you move his legs up and back, and to the side. Thigh cuts, double-jointed knees, hinged-ankles and ankle pivots are here for the job.

Standing at around 6.8 inches tall and with that extra bulk, this Bleeding Edge Iron Man is probably a more accurately scaled Iron Man I have seen so far that blends perfectly well with other Marvel Legends. Hasbro nailed it this time after all those growth deficient Iron Men they've been giving us for the past few years.

Regardless with that funny look on his face and some minor problems with the paint job and articulation, I'd still recommend this guy probably because of his overall good points he have. It's definitely something you must have whether or not you're a huge collector of these Iron Man figures.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Iron Patriot & Extremis (Marvel Legends)

Marvel Legends Iron Patriot and Extremis
I am very much excited about the third movie for Iron Man coming out this May, and I really expect it to be better than the first two movies now that Stark's major archenemy, the Mandarin is there! Plus the movie is slightly based from the Extremis Iron Man storyline, and... oh Iron Patriot is gonna be there as well so I can't wait to see how this movie turns out with all these added characters.

Today, I'm going to present two Iron Men. We got the new Iron Patriot that came out couple weeks ago and, of course the Extremis Iron Man that came out around 2012 in that Terrax Wave Series, which I should have done a review last year. But for the sake of this upcoming movie and for the sake of variety, I'm gonna do a review on both since they got the same body mold and articulation with the obvious differences on their colours.

Iron Patriot, of course has that red, white and blue scheme while Extremis got the traditional red and gold Iron Man suit. Notice the red colours on Iron Patriot is much lighter than Extremis, and the eyes are orange while Extremis got white ones. The overall paint job on both action figures are pretty decent with its plain solid colours that really doesn't have much details on it.

One of the minor differences between the two body molds are those symbols on their chests. We know Extremis has that "inverted triangle" on his, and Iron Patriot got his "star." Another minor difference is the size of each of their hands and its orientation. You may not notice it at first glance but Iron Patriot has a slightly larger pair of hands than Extremis, shooting his repulsor rays from his right palm in contrast with Extremis' hands.

The rest of the sculpt, proportions and features of the two are completely the same; even the sculpt on their toes are completely the same. They both stand about 6.5 inches tall, probably got same weight regardless of the size difference of their hands!

The most important poseability you want to see on an Iron Man is a head that looks all the way up, in addition to a torso that bends all the way back to get him to do a more pronounced flying pose! Both these guys achieved this poseability. Other articulations include double-jointed elbows, ball-hinged shoulders with the adjustable shoulder guards, wrists that can twist and move up and down, diaphragm swivel, double-jointed knees, hinged ankles, and they got this upper thigh swivel that cuts diagonally across its thighs, which is pretty unique for these figures.

I'd say both action figures are "a must get" if you're trying to complete Terrax and Iron Monger, with Extremis, of course having Terrax's right leg and Iron Patriot coming with Monger's torso (the torso looks pretty big so it seems like we're getting a pretty big build-a-figure). Iron Patriot and Extremis just look pretty awesome standing side by side, and both are great additions to your collection.


Thursday, 14 February 2013

Thing (Marvel Select)

Marvel Select Thing
Everybody loves Benjamin Grimm. I mean, who doesn't? The guy's adorable. Behind that rocky, crusty outer layer, lies a warm and gooey core of his. He can literally pummel through an entire squad of ninjas and mindless trolls, yet cry on a farewell scene of a romantic movie. Indeed, you can't truly judge a rock by its cover. But to all you mamas out there, I'm not gonna be telling a story about some fictional guy who's been an essential member of the Fantastic Four. I'm going to take a close look at this Marvel Select action figure, and ooh boy... this is going to be a grim look on Mr. Grimm here.

It is already given that Marvel Select figures are not really designed for some great amounts of poseability, so I'm not going to rant anymore with regards to this issue but rather give some opinions or suggestions on how to improve on the poseability part especially on this Thing.

But first, I got to say this is rather a more accurate rendition of Thing. All these cracks and ridges are well sculpted, and the brown colour is in perfect tone just as what a Thing should be. I know some people are complaining about how oversized his arms and hands is but to me, it's never been an issue. To give sense to Thing's odd body structure, just imagine how warts would grow at a size of a brick populating the entire skin,... gross isn't it! Luckily, it gives him superpowers and... instead, it made the guy look cool.

Surprisingly, it's got 14 points of articulation; has swivel-hinged neck, ball-hinged shoulders, single-jointed elbows, wrist swivels, waist swivel, ball-socketed hips, single-jointed knees, and hinged ankles.

Now lets talk about improvements (the need of it). There are some major issues that needs to be modified or removed. Notice the elbow as it is flexed; there is this sharp edge hanging that needs to be sawed off or filed. Another area that needs to be sawed off is this wide area around his groin. Perhaps it needs to be narrowed down, add some ball-joints plus swivel to the upper thighs. When you create a big and heavy figure like Thing, you gotta give him the ankle rockers and ankle swivels to help with balance. This action figure is actually pretty heavy and stands about 8.5 inches tall.

This guy is literally a rock! Despite having the lack of articulation, this Thing is awesome for display, and he is in perfect scale with the rest of the Select figures. Unfortunately, he comes with this nonsensical accessory (like the one with Juggernaut) for which I don't bother talking about. You may wanna have this Marvel Select Thing in your collection, but this is not something you should have right now.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Storm (Marvel Select)

Marvel Select Storm
Being a Marvel Select collector is like being with a person with unpredictable mood swings. One minute she will keep you warm and fuzzy then later she'll give you a headache. I guess I should get used to it by now; collecting them for almost a year. Although Marvel Select has been very consistent on creating action figures with highly detailed sculpt and complex paint apps, the articulation seems quite like a weather. Marvel Select doesn't really have, I'd say- a general standard with their articulation. Like some action figures having this type of issue, Storm has a great sculpt but the design and poseability is a let down. She is definitely on the "stormy" side of this toyline in my opinion.

What really bothers me is her "vibranium steel-hard" cape that is so stiff and super-solid, which limits movements to her shoulders. It is even stiffer and harder than Captain America's shield, no kidding! You see, the MS Gambit's trench coat is made of soft and pliable plastic... so why not on Storm's cape? This is not how we should treat the Queen of Wakanda (the former, by the way). On the side note, Wakanda is a nation rich in vibranium ores, so maybe that explains the cape... but I don't know- this figure just makes me laugh and wonder at the same time.

At least this action figure got an accessory that you may be familiar of- the Danger Room background prop! Unlike other Danger Room props, hers actually got attaching holes where you can hook up couple of these added accessories: the flamethrower and the pizza slicer.

But the real good news is that Storm can actually take off her cape! It requires pulling her head off from its ball-joints, removing her cape, re-attaching her head and wallah!- Storm ala Next Top Model. Now this would open for some ways and opportunities to customize this figure.

You may not want to redefine or reconstruct Storm. The proportions and measurements of her arms, legs and torso are perfect. The paint application and texturing between her skin and her uniform is absolutely well-done. Her uniform is glossier and shinier in contrast with her skin, and I love that.

And although removing the cape may have brought in some air to her shoulders, other areas of her body are still hungry for some articulations. No waist swivel, ab crunch or even diaphragm swivel, and no ankle rockers. This action figure just makes you cry, and it's pointless to mention what her arms and legs can do when the poseability is nearly nothing.

Without wearing that high-heeled boots, Storm would probably stand roughly around 6.3 inches so I still think the Marvel Select Captain America is taller even in this picture.

Now the question is- should I recommend it? Well it really depends what you're trying to achieve from collecting Marvel Selects. If you're already on the process of trying to build the X-men (Marvel Select) team, then you got to get Storm.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Rhino (Marvel Select)

Here comes mister big and stout out with his snout! This Marvel Select Rhino is one hell of an action figure. Though I'm not really a huge fan of the character and probably one of my least favourite super villains, but Marvel Select did a superb job on this Rhino figure here especially with the paint application and sculpt. In addition, Rhino can well execute a better charging pose than the Marvel Select Juggernaut. No doubt, this is definitely one of Marvel Select's finest.

Marvel Select Rhino

Then again, they captured a more classic and accurate look of an action figure while adding a higher detail on its paint and sculpt. You can see how Rhino's skin just looked almost real with all these cracks and creases around combined with shadings of dark and light grays.

Most eye-catching of all are these ivory-like horns and toenails with all these imperfections that made it looked as though it belonged to an African rhino or an elephant. The face sculpt is pretty impressive having that grimmacing look over his face but the application of the flesh colour is too simple and flat.

Articulation wise, I think it's not really that good as I may have expected but considering the fact that at least I can do a charging pose on this Rhino, I'm not that really bothered about it. Still let me show you why it may bother someone who's very particular with articulations.

Rhino has this collar joints that's suppose to move forward and back in a somewhat 90 degree motion for a more emphasized full frontal assault, but it seems to be not working properly on my Rhino. He doesn't have bicep swivels, just the rotation on the elbows and wrists, and shoulders that can move up and forward. No double-jointed elbows and knees. Quite suprisingly, the diaphragm swivel is able to move and lean Rhino only towards the sides but not to the front and back! This would have at least help cope with the limited articulation on Rhino's neck. No ball joints to the hips and without that, the legs tends to move to the side and up in a weird way. Perhaps, the only saviour to Rhino's dumb articulation are these ankle rockers, which probably helped him stand on one feet.

This Marvel Select action figure doesn't come with any extra accessories or base stand yet interestingly Rhino got peg holes at the soles of his feet. With the horn, he stands maybe 5 millimeter taller than the Juggernaut but Rhino looks leaner with his 8-inch height.

Head to Head!
Totally, this figure is recommendable whether or not you're a big fan of this guy. Marvel Select Rhino will be a great addition to your display of "Select Collection." I am happy about it and so would you.