Friday, 31 May 2013

Battle Cat (Masters of the Universe Classics)

Masters of the Universe Classics Battle Cat
When it comes to innovation and variety, the Masters of the Universe Classics toyline doesn't really pass in this category. If you take a bunch of some average MOTUC male action figures and compare them with one another, you'll see how laughably their height and body mold look the same. Though the same can be also said to Marvel Legends figures, but they're not as consistent and as obvious as the ones from this toyline. But since I've been itching for another MOTUC review and for the sake of variety, I therefore unleash something that is not a man nor a humanoid, but a four-legged Eternian beast. Enter this 10.5-inch long Battle Cat!

Just as any main characters of the Masters of the Universe, collectors are "obliged" to get not only this cat-steed but also its rider, He-Man. But with or without its rider, this Battle Cat action figure looks elegantly amazing; even surpassing that of the classic Battle Cat in the 80's. MOTU vintage collectors would cry out and wish Mattel have upscaled it in the past. This version, for me, is the perfect size!

Other than size, what I like about this figure is the overall sculpt. Regardless of the added joints and other types of articulation, Battle Cat maintained its body's contours and shapes. Looking from side view, you can see how the spine waves like an "S" from the nape down to the tail as you expose him as Cringer (the cowardly cat). The head is well designed; combining both lower jaw articulation and face sculpt... and again without disfiguring its form. Having the likeness of a tiger, this big cat has a few fur-like feature molded under its neck and legs while its surface is covered with waves and lines mimicking that of a hair.

Nothing much to be said with its paint application other than just plain solid colours of green and streaks of orange paint. Even its face gear or helm doesn't have any colour shading or any kind of variation besides maroon. Battle Cat's saddle, however, has a little bit of detail with that leathery kind of look in the middle. Other than that, this action figure just look exactly like its cartoon counterpart with no additional details or whatsoever.

One major flaw with this action figure is the stability of its face gear. Though these little hooks behind it try to prevent it from falling off its face but it's unreliable and doesn't really do a good job as something like a fastening strap. It makes me wonder why Mattel installed straps to its saddle but not to its face gear! Another major flaw are the footrests at the sides of Battle Cat's saddle. He-Man's toes can't even completely step right into these poorly designed footrests 'cause it's just too small.

Articulation wise, Battle Cat has a good amount of articulation for an animal figure. Its head can rotate clockwise or counter-clockwise and can move up and down. This hinge inside its neck helps Battle Cat aim its head all the way up or way down. It got diaphragm swivel; something we don't see alot on animal figures, and a ball-hinged tail that can move side to side. Each of Battle Cat's four legs have hinges under its groins that help spread its legs just a tiny bit. Every joint on each of its legs are single jointed with paws that can swivel and rotate.

It shouldn't take long for someone to decide whether to get this figure or not. "Every cowboy needs a horse"- a statement generally agreed by most people, and from that I recommend every MOTUC fans to get this figure not for its prime reason that "He-Man needs Battle Cat", but the Battle Cat itself is one amazing figure; unique from this toyline.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Batman: The Dark Knight Trilogy (Play Arts Kai)

Play Arts Kai Batman: The Dark Knight
Just looking at this new Play Arts Kai Batman figure out from its package gives me goosebumps; like he's actually here ready to bring some excitement with his crime-fighting skills as that music from the Dark Knight rises plays inside my head. I remember the same feeling when I watched the third movie in that scene where this dude finally showed up during a police chase on Bane's motorcycling henchmen. What excites me more with this action figure is the amount of details it has, laced with standard Play Arts Kai-style articulation. Everytime I get my hands around on any of these action figures from this toyline, I always get that positive feedback with less complains. And without further adieu, let's check this out.

Even with Batman's type of colour scheme, Play Arts helped this figure come alive by adding not just black, but a couple of different colours that have been useful with contrast. If you look closely, you'll see that the "blackness" on his bat suit is not purely black. Most parts are covered with some grayish paint that is close to being black. Batman's gloves and arm guards, however, are a clearer type of gray. There is some kind of a brownish paint sprayed around his chest area, while some are around his thighs. Moreover, there are some light touches of darker blue on those creases around his cape. And, of course, Batman got this gold/yellow belt, which seem to be the only thing that's shimmering behind all these darkness.

Looking at the sculpt on this figure, I can't complain anything with the head sculpt, body mass and proportion. It is all well balanced and highly detailed. Everything in his bat suit- from its outer layer to the inner layer are sculpted "movie-accurately"; reminds me of how well he engineered this suit along with his other bat gears. Speaking of design and engineering, Play Arts got one minor mistake, and that is the top part of his cape is not actually touching the shoulders; like it's hovering there and this is bad engineering right here. Furthermore, I wish the cape is a little smoother instead of having this rough and sandy look. But overall, the entire figure just looks amazing!

All of Batman's features are completely intact like these rows of shark fins at the side of the arm guards, the geometric patterns around his suit, and, most importantly, the things around his utility belt. Now the belt doesn't have removable parts. If only Play Arts made the belt better by having all these things hanging around completely removable, and having an actual holster for the grappling gun, this figure could have brushed me off my feet.

But Play Arts made up for it by giving Batman some decent amount of interchangeable hands to choose from. We have a pair of fisting hands, a grabbing hand, a pistol-gripping hand, a batarang hand, and last but not the least, a bomb-holding hand. And these hands goes right into these pegs on the wrists with ease and smoothness- something I  don't come across more often on figures with interchangeable parts. So... good job on this!

Certainly, we also got the weapons that goes with these hands. We got Batman's primary weapon, the batarang... and it's painted with gold and I'm not quite too impressed about it. It should be silver instead (don't remember if it's gold). Then we got this kick-ass weapon, the grappling gun that I like best of all his three weapons. And then the third ones are a couple of these hand grenades or smoke bombs or whatever it is, but one is sort of activated and the other one is armed and ready to be thrown. Fire in the hole!

Like every Play Arts Kai action figures, the Dark Knight Batman is highly poseable with a little pain in the butt. Batman's cape has a considerable weight in it enough to drag his upper torso down and back. And so I had a bit of a hard time keeping him at a desirable pose. One awesome thing about his cape is that it is attached to these ball-hinged joints at the back. So you can flip it up and somewhat get him do an aerial assault pose.

To name all joints, Batman got both ball-jointed articulation on the neck and just above his sternum. He's got armpit joints that lets him move his shoulders halfway to his chest. He also got swivel around the biceps, ball-hinged elbows and ball-hinged wrists. His torso has both diaphragm swivel and waist swivel. Ball-hinged and T-joints are incorporated on the hips. He got double-jointed extending knees, ball-hinged ankles with pivots.

Now for size comparison, and I know I shouldn't be doing this cause it'll just make me upset having to look something that this toyline shouldn't be doing. Someone should talk to them personally about how their action figures should have its height interrelating with each other. As to why they do that, I really don't know.

This action figure should get everyone's eyes bedazzled. For something that captures the likeness of Batman from the movie, deserves not just being in these geek talks, but also having to own one. Well, you might going to complain about the price but... hey, this is way way cheaper than the one from Hot Toys! Plus, this could serve as your memoir of the great Dark Knight Trilogy.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Boar Predator (NECA)

NECA Boar Predator
So here it is- a Predator action figure (finally) from NECA, and this is the first action figure from this toyline ever being posted in this blog. I'm not really into collecting NECA figures but I guess there is that little exception, especially if it's something you've always been a fan of... like the Predator! If you've never had any figures from McFarlane Toys or NECA, then you should know that in the sculpt and paint app department, they are unbeatable; not even my Marvel Selects could come any near to the enormous amount of details these figures have.

Though basically all these Predators looked almost the same, and perhaps use the same type of gadgets and weaponry, this Boar Predator (and I honestly don't know which Predator movie he came from) is my least favourite maybe because of the design on his mask and the way these spots around his skin are being placed. It's kinda funny how we can identify each Predators basing from their masks, and skin pigmentations or spots somewhat like fingerprints. Every Predator should wear mask different from one another; guess that's just part of their "Predator culture".

To start with, we always want to zero in right away on the mask 'cause this is what the Predator is famous for along with that Whoopi Goldberg-hairstyle. On its wide forehead, you see this bronze paint being applied on top of these two indented domes, which gives the Boar Predator his unique feature. Then you have these hair clips hanging all over his hair each painted with either silver, bronze or copper. His back is all covered with crimson down to the butt, but when you look at the front, this is where you see a variety of pigmentations. The Boar Predator has his armour and weapon (has only one), of course, all painted with metallic silver.

The sculpt is equally amazing as the paint! Holes, dimples and scratch marks can be seen all over this Predator's mask, shoulder guards, wrist bands and shin guards; looking like he has gone through rough hunting. That epic hair is made of a softer plastic, so it actually wiggles everytime you shake his head and it doesn't hinder with head movement. Like most Predators, he has this fish net molded and indented around his torso and legs. And with a well-proportioned body mold, this Predator can easily become one of those head turners on my display.

Moving on to accessories, some of these gadgets and paraphernalias are just less exciting and less playable, and I'm just bummed knowing that you can't remove the mask... and there's no shoulder cannon! Predators should have shoulder cannons- these are their bread and butter in every hunting field they're in. This dude only comes with the disc, which is, in my opinion, one of the coolest weapons ever created in Hollywood. Then, of course, you got the disc holster glued at the thigh, which holds his weapon as you latch it in. With an awesome weapon, comes "trophies" and this Predator is actually wearing them around his chest.

Surprisingly, the articulation on this guy is not as bad as I've thought. I must admit that I'm always geared to thinking that the more detailed an action figure is, the less they become poseable, and I was eating my words the moment I played with its articulation. This action figure got ankle pivots- ankle pivots that Diamond Select can't incorporate with some of their own action figures. To give a complete count, the Boar Predator has ball-jointed neck, ball-hinged shoulders, single-jointed elbows, ball-hinged wrists, waist swivel, ball-jointed hips, double-jointed knees and ball-hinged ankles.

So standing next to an average Marvel Legends figure, this guy is a little on the larger scale and neither Legends or Select would be compatible with this guy. But probably with other NECA toys, he'll be in perfect scale with them. Now should I recommend? Why yes, of course! With some decent articulation and a huge huge amount aesthetic details, I say grab this one and the rest of these NECA Predators.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Green Arrow & Deathstroke: Injustice (DC Collectibles)

Injustice Green Arrow & Deathstroke
"Dear Deathstroke, you're the only reason why I bought this two-pack of you and Mr. Queen here, but how come you're small... like really small?" Anyways, here it is folks, the 3.75-inch Green Arrow and Deathstroke action figure sporting their Injustice outfit, and dammit... this "Injustice-style" makes me wanna wish they're bigger like our New 52 figures. When I first saw this though, I knew it's going to be small but I never expected these guys to be so small. They're not even 3.75 small and you'll see it when I size compare it to a Marvel Universe figure.

As you've already knew, Deathstroke is my favourite DC bad boy and from the looks of this package, it seems Deathstroke looks way more amazing than Green Arrow. However, Green Arrow is actually the "better man" between the two. Although they both have the same articulation but later you'll know why Green Arrow has the upper hand once we'll get into the details. I'm going to begin with each of their sculpt and paint details then head down to their similarities.

Starting with Green Arrow, right away, you'll see that he's not your regular Robin Hood-like archer like you see him in the comic books. While still maintaining his green and yellow colour scheme, this action figure is laced with a little bit of modernity. He got this arm protectors sculpted around half of his right arm. Also, he has "hip guards" at the side of his thighs connecting to his utility belt. Basically, what this toyline did is they sort of going through that Add-Remove-Preserve Process just like when Marvel-Hasbro revolutionized Hawkeye. One thing that really blew my mind about this action figure is the modern bow! Real elastic strings!

Deathstroke, on the other hand, is decorated with a few of his gears and paraphernalias. He has these ala-Batman arm and shin guards painted in orange. He got two handguns plus holsters molded at the front of his thighs, and my complain about these ones is that I can't remove either one of them. Deathstroke got these orange shoulder pads; the one shoulder pad has this big fat ammo pack molded on top of it while the rest goes right around his chest and back. Like his ammo pack, Deathstroke's assault rifle looks pretty much on a larger scale- he's like holding a bazooka! But other than that, his head sculpt and body mold are totally rad.

The paint application on both these figures are flat and solid yet neat and almost precise. I like how they used the appropriate type of paint for each. For example, Green Arrow's bow is painted with a glossier green contrary to his matted uniform, and Deathstroke's bulletproof vest is brushed with a silver gray paint. There are obviously no colour shading or any complex colour details on these guys just like in the case of those other brands of 3.75 inch action figures.

Both Green Arrow and Deathstroke have articulations that are completely the same. Their body molds may be different and deceive you to thinking that the other one is more articulated than the other, but they're all alike. Deathstroke's articulation, however, is being hindered by his "stuff"- he can't raise his arms way high because of these shoulder guards and neither his ab crunch can move to its full potential because of this ammo pack! But with Green Arrow, you can almost utilize every single parts of his articulation given to them.

Green Arrow and Deathstroke have heads that can rotate 360. They got ball-hinged shoulders, bicep swivels, single-jointed elbows, wrist twists, diaphragm swivel, ab crunch, ball-jointed hips, lower thigh swivels, double-jointed knees, mid-calf swivels, and ankle hinges with no ankle pivots. I think it's a fairly good amount of articulation.

Now, the moment we've been waiting for- size comparison! ...With special guest, Marvel Universe Classic Iron Man! If you're thinking of getting these figures just to have them displayed together with your Marvel Universe collection, then just forget it, man! These two midgets just looked like their lost. What I mean is they're not compatible with any MU figures, and what's more surprising is that Deathstroke here is smaller compared to Green Arrow, and I know this guy stands a hell alot taller than the green archer. Like I've said, I purchased this two-pack set because of this one guy here but other than that, I usually tend to ignore those 3.75-inch action figures whenever I see them around. But if you're someone unlike me, I would recommend these two action figures just cause they look well-detailed and modern with some decent articulation.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Hulkbuster - Iron Man (Marvel Legends)

There's just alot of things I love about that movie and alot of interesting turn of events as well, so definitely you gotta check out Iron Man 3 if you haven't seen it yet. In the mean time, I got someone here I'd like to sign up for a football tryout and this guy is from Toy Biz Marvel Legends: Legendary Rider Series. It's the Hulkbuster! This guy just looks kick-ass! Massive from head from head to toe! A monster of a machine!

Marvel Legends Hulkbuster (Iron Man)

Again with the red and yellow Iron Man colour scheme, obviously, the only difference is Hulkbuster's height, body mass, and feature that made him stand out from the many versions of Tony Stark's Iron Man suits. This suit is, of course, designed to take on the Hulk just like every single means and methods out there which seem to underestimate the power of the Green Goliath. I personally think Hulk could still beat Iron Man even with this suit.

There is little much to talk about the paint detail on this figure but the fact that it's glossy, shiny and everything, and this is why I have to move forth towards the details around his sculpt and special features.

I don't blame you if you think he's like the Juggernaut (another muscle-freak) in a different costume, but it's actually just the head that determined Hulkbuster's likeness to the guy. Try replace it with a "regular Iron Man-head" and maybe you'll have a different opinion. An interesting feature I'd like to point out is the sculpt on Hulkbuster's shoulder guards that have these tiny "power cells", which I believe gives him added power besides his arc reactor. Hulkbuster further enhances his defenses with these huge arm guards and mighty mechanical hands that got some great details on it. While these added robot-like aesthetics make him look cooler, the contours and the size of his muscles are merely just an upscale or a "bulking up" to give it a much more intimidating look.

Hulkbuster comes with this power glider, which is probably inspired from Green Goblin's glider but has a Tony Stark touch in it. The glider has a total of three pegs- two little pegs that goes right under his feet and a big one in the middle that goes right into his spine. This is the only accessory I've seen so far that can be used as a base stand as well as a carry-around item. With his glider attached behind him along with the right camera angle, it's easy to get the illusion of looking at it as being one.

The articulation on this action figure is a bit of a pain in the ass, and this is probably the result of having all these added features and extra muscle mass around him that kept me from getting some desired action poses! In no such huge deal, I still like the fact that Toy Biz maintained its trademark individual finger articulation and ankle pivots. Besides, we don't need a Hulkbuster that is as poseable as an acrobat or something. Take note that you cannot turn his head or move it side to side, however, you can flip this head up and... behold, Mr. Stark himself!

Truly, I'm amazed by how Tony's head got some pretty decent articulation along with these details inside his Hulkbuster armour. The torso got both diaphragm and waist swivel, which lets him rotate and lean forward. With his shoulder guards on the way, it's hard to raise his arms up but both these arms got single-jointed elbows and wrist twists. The legs can twist and turn to the sides with the help of its ball-jointed hips and upper thigh swivel. He got double-jointed knees but are rendered almost non-functional because of all these "muscles" around the area. Sadly, Hulkbuster doesn't have that lower-calf swivel.

To compare him with his arch-nemesis, Hulkbuster stands a little shorter than the Face-off Hulk. However, the Hulkbuster is still the bigger guy because, generally, he got a much wider girth.

The Hulkbuster Iron Man is probably one of those action figures out there that rarely show up inside your stores and I would totally grab him if I were you, especially if you're someone who's crazy about collecting Iron Man stuff.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Nightcrawler (Marvel Select)

Marvel Select Nightcrawler
Teleportation is all I'd like to think about in those days where everything just sucks and where I am desperately wanting to go find a place to settle me down. Then suddenly my thoughts are aimed on this guy who's probably the most envied being in all fiction not because of his otherly world feature but with his ability to hoard some Hawaiian sand under his feet in a matter of seconds! Nobody has delivered this impressive display of teleportation powers better than Nightcrawler. With Diamond Select Toys having already released and action figure of him, I guess that amplifies my yearning.

Taking a glimpse at his physical features, my attention immediately got glued to this sinister look over his face, and it's actually not bad. Maybe some people would find it a little weird looking but for me, this brings some "adult-ness" on the character. Tough and ugly.

Now looking at the entire sculpt, I almost fell under the impression that the body mold is from that of a Marvel Select Spider-Man since both these nimbly superheroes have leaner physique, but it is not what I thought it is. What truly bothers me is his wide crotch, these big big big ball-hinged hips and very lean thighs! This physical deformity may not look obvious once I put Nightcrawler in a crouching stance but once I have him standing with his legs straight, I think I just wanna murder my eyes looking at this debauchery!

Nonetheless, Diamond Select maintained its excellence with paint application. As I had expected, they combined two or three different colours with shading and highlighting and not just plain solid colours like that of a MOTUC and Marvel Legends action figure. By looking at the arms and legs, you could see some darker blue areas following the contours or curves of his muscles, and even the tail has some colour variation around it. The red areas seem to be solidly painted but still I gotta give credit to the overall paintbrush skills.

In addition, the accessory (he only got one) has these beautiful touch of dark colours in the middle of this "teleportation cloud" made of translucent purple plastic. The accessory can be used as a background prop like you've seen on that photo at the very top (I just stick it right unto a wall) or use it simply as a figure stand as it's suppose to.

Articulation-wise, I gotta give this one an average score. Although I like that they gave him a highly poseable tail and the fact that it's even more bendable than the arms of Plastic Man, but I rather want to see poseability around the arms, legs and torso that can match the Marvel Select Ultron. One flaw on this figure is that it got these shoulder pads that hinders the shoulders from moving all the way up. Another flaw is this diaphragm swivel that doesn't really function like a swivel. Nightcrawler got no swivel to the mid-calves and no ankle pivots.

But anyways, let's round them up! Nightcrawler got a ball-jointed neck that rotates his head but barely lets it move up and down. It got ball-hinged shoulders, swivel to the biceps, single-jointed elbows, wrist twists with no hinges that let them move up and down. Diaphragm joint/swivel allows him to hyperextend his spine to the back but hardly to the front and sides. His waist rotates 360 as well as with his upper thigh swivel along with those hip ball-joints I was just talking about. He got double-hinged knees and hinges at the ankles. So there are just parts here and there that needs improvement, but this is Marvel Select... this is what you'll expect.

In comparison with the rest of his teammates, the Select Nightcrawler is in perfect scale standing just about 7.2 inches tall. Being a great addition to an X-men collection, I'd say pick him up but just don't make those sculpt issues look too obvious once he's up on the shelf. Believe me, it's not easy on the eyes.