Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Catwoman: The Dark Knight Trilogy (Play Arts Kai)

Play Arts Kai Catwoman: TDKR
After I saw Anne Hathaway finally donned a superhero role and played the ever sexy yet deceitful Catwoman in that third and final instalment of the Dark Knight, I wasn't sure if I should be happy that she finally entered into this genre or feel bad knowing that that was her first and last movie being as Catwoman. She actually did a pretty job handling the role, and although she might get another offer for another superhero role, she will always be marked in my head as the Catwoman! Nolan's Batman trilogy is one of my favourite superhero movies of all time, and I'm so glad that one of my favourite toylines, Play Arts, finally entered into making some movie characters and getting Batman and Catwoman on hard plastics and ratcheting joints.

Like the Play Arts Kai Dark Knight Batman, the sculpt on this figure is fabulous. All that definition, especially those curves, just captures what the actress would probably look like if she's shrunk into an 8-inch action figure. I like how Play Arts gave you that option of getting her hair sway around her side to better appreciate the entire sculpt of this figure. As for the face/head sculpt, there is no doubt that this figure had come close to the actual Hathaway-Catwoman in the movie.

By checking the surfaces around her "get-up", you could see different textures on different areas. The torso is mostly covered with this fine grain of dots looking like meshed spandex, while her arms and legs are smooth and has a little gloss in it. In addition to this skin tight all-black spandex, comes a couple of these pointy heels painted with metallic silver, which (aside obviously from her face) stand out. Catwoman's utility belt are sculpted perfectly yet you can't really notice it from this photo because there is no paint shading nor texturing aside from just being solid black.

Articulation wise, this figure is comparable to some of those Marvel Legends action figures with the shoulder blade articulation like the one in X-Force Wolverine. But having said that, there's still that standard Play Arts Kai knee joints that elongate every time you bend her legs. To point all of them, this Catwoman got a double ball-jointed neck (yes, I said double) that extends and hyperextends her neck to the front and sides, however with her long fiery red hair, you cannot have her look up.

She got ball-jointed shoulder, swivel to the biceps, ball-hinged elbows, and ball-hinged wrists. At her torso lies her diaphragm swivel that lets her turn and lean side to side, and waist swivel that is a little hard to twist and turn. She got this T-joint that is ball-hinged that lets her move her legs forward and back, and spread outwards. The only letdown this figure has is that it got no thigh swivel, and even with the ball-hinged ankles, this figure still needs those cuts around the thighs desperately for better poseability.

Catwoman got a few interchangeable parts. As I've mentioned earlier, she got an interchangeable hair that goes from loose and hanging to that shampoo-like commercial type, and faces that are switchable for her masquerade ball and voyeurism. She has a pair of hands that seem to perform some kind of a claw attack but doesn't have any claws. Surprisingly, I didn't expect her to come with a 9mm handgun since I am used to of her carrying a bullwhip like in the comics, but I'm still happy about this accessory. But I wished she could have at least two more interchangeable hands or parts and that's the other complain I have with this figure.

Overall, the Play Arts Kai Catwoman is a likeable action figure because of how she's accurately being sculpted to look just like in the movie. Standing next to Batman, Catwoman is just in the right scale with the right height and body mass. Batman fans may want to include this in their collection.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Gambit (Marvel Select)

Marvel Select Gambit
Here's a guy that can turn his deck of cards into stack of grenades; behold the Ragin' Cajun, Gambit! For sure, he is one of the coolest guys around in the X-men universe with powers never to be underestimated. Since 2011, the year when this action figure was released, the Marvel Select Gambit, so far, still got the most accurate rendition on a Gambit when compared to other brands. Sporting a classic look (the pink shirt) based from the cartoon, this figure got all what it takes to make it look good on display with a lot of accessories to choose from. May that be Gambit throwing his cards or Gambit holding his bo staff; you name it... Gambit got it.

When it comes to sculpt and paint job, there are two areas in this figure that brought me awe! First, the head and face sculpt really captured the ones from the T.V. series or comics while getting that realistic details from the paint. Upon its great head sculpt, a lot of people say he looked a bit like James Franco or David Beckham but, for me, he just look the good ol' slick and suave Gambit. I like how the paint job on the hair appears to be having that black-brownish look, and that facial grimace made this figure as alive as his kinetically charged cards.

Second, Gambit's signature trench coat added some "energy" on this figure. With the coat's bottom part slightly bent towards the back, it renders a kind of air-assault look. Made of soft plastic, this trench coat got a lot of folds and creases around it along with these dark colour shadings making it more fabric-like. Gambit has a body-type of a sprinter so his entire body especially the legs are much leaner. The application of dark colours between those muscle folds on the torso defined Gambit's physique.

The articulation on this figure is being hindered a bit by the areas being covered by his trench coat. Gambit got a ball-jointed neck that moves his head up but doesn't go far. He got ball-hinged shoulders, swivel to the biceps, single-jointed elbow, and swivel to the wrist. This figure got a beautiful diaphragm swivel that lets him rotate to the sides and lean forward and back and to the sides. He got ball-hinged hips that lets his legs move forward and to the sides, upper thigh swivel, single-jointed knees, and hinges to the ankles that lets it move up and down. No ankle rotation or pivot on this figure.

This figure comes with a Danger Room back drop that looked kinda like the one on the Marvel Select Storm, which I turned into a flooring (if you've noticed it among these photos). Gambit has quite a lot of interchangeable hands. One hand is used for holding a charged-up cards. There is a throwing hand that can latch on into this purple energy with flying cards molded in it, and then you got a pair of hands for his bo staff. He got two sets of flying cards; one set can be held with his fingers and the other one doesn't have anything that could let Gambit hold unto.

The Marvel Select Gambit stands about 7.5 inches tall and is on the same height as the MS Nightcrawler. This is a very well done action figure by Diamond Select Toys and I totally recommend it if you're trying to complete your team of Marvel Select X-men.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Vikor (Masters of the Universe Classics)

Masters of the Universe Classics Vikor
If there is one guy from the Masters of the Universe Classics that can closely render the likeness of Conan, then that's gotta be Vikor. Out from his package, this guy can easily be mistaken as the "other guy" for those who are not huge into collecting MOTUC figures because of one simple feature- the loin cloth! That's right! Those furry loin cloths have always been a popular active wear for both boys and girls of this Eternia kingdom, but one guy seems to go against the groove and that's my man, Vikor right here. Regarded as the "He-Man of the North", this guy simply out-styled a rather much standard warrior-type looks of the most powerful man in the universe.

The overall feature of this guy looks kind of like a crossbreed between a Hun and a Viking. Vikor's horned helmet, robe and shield are very much Viking-like. However, when you look at his dark hair and brownish skin colour and, especially, the shape of his eyes, it strongly resembles that of a Hun... or someone like Attila.

One cool feature about this guy is the sheath for his sword is placed at the back; just above his butt that holds his sword stably without causing any issues with the articulation. Being a northerner such as he is, he wears this robe that is completely irremovable; being tied around his neck with this ornamented necklace, which is sculpted and textured nicely to look just like a real furry robe for that nasty northern weather. Like we've discussed, his loin cloth is different than most we've seen in this toyline; this torn dirty drape made of soft plastic makes him a lot refreshing to look.

In addition, each wrists has these medieval handcuffs molded together with these real chains that hang loose (a memory of a prisoner he once become). Unlike his "southern" counterpart, Vikor's set of weapons comes with unique designs. Given with a green and red colour scheme, he got a shield with a huge spike in the middle, and a more simpler yet beautifully crafted sword and battle axe.

While I think it is needless to go over with the articulation after I did all that review with He-Man and King Grayskull, I still want to mention how smooth these joints move as I execute every pose I could think of from this figure. The only gripe I had with this figure is the movement on his head that has been limited because of his long and almost rock-hard hair that's keeping his head from looking up and also making it harder to move side to side.

Despite having the same size and body mold as the rest of the MOTUC male action figures, Vikor stand out in a way that he is apparently anti-He-Man. I thought I just want to grab him from the shelf after my unresting search for newness took over, and so Vikor is definitely a must-grab figure to keep that MOTUC collecting fresh and exciting.

Friday, 5 July 2013

Xenomorph Warrior: Aliens (NECA)

Xenomorph Warrior: NECA
Quite normally, it's always been those little green men that are associated with the word, "aliens" whenever people come to hear it or asked what they look like. But in my case, I grew up with Ridley Scott's and James Cameron's sci-fi movies of aliens back in the 80's, and so alien for me is always this nasty looking beast trying to slaughter each and everyone of us. This depiction of an alien- the Xenomorph got stuck inside my brain when I was a kid until I grew out of it. One thing that never faded though, is that the Xenomorph alien is still the best sci-fi horror movie character that keeps giving me the thrill.

Like the NECA Predator line, these movie-based action figures from Aliens is loaded with lots of details. From this package, you'll be amazed by how the sculpt is finely done; from its basic feature down to the deepest and smallest detail. And at the back of the package is a little background info about the Xenomorph, and portraits of other figures like Dwayne Hicks and William Hudson that comes with this series.

The Xenomorph Warrior is painted with a combination of some shades of brown and black with brown equally dominating the black colours. Using a dry brush technique, shadings are done mostly around its big long head, torso and its skinny legs with that exoskeleton mostly covered in clayish brown paint while what it seemed to be its "internal part" are all in black. In addition, the entire body has some gloss to capture that wet and slimy look from the movie. But to be quite honest though, I would probably like it if NECA put more black than brown in this figure; I think that would have been movie accurate, ...but it's still a cool looking figure (got no complains about it)!

From the head down to its toenails and tail, the sculpt on this figure is inarguably phenomenal. You can't say something is missing with the detail on this figure. In fact, I didn't even know some of these alien anatomical parts exist on a Xenomorph not until I got this figure! Parts such as these bone structures popping out from its forearms, this oversized vertebra located just below its nape, and these floating veins that runs along from its jaw to the shoulders are something I didn't catch in the movies. These four "bagpipes" (yes, I call 'em bagpipes) at the back of this figure and those floating veins I just mentioned are made of a softer plastic while the rest are just regular action figure plastic material.

Xenomorph comes with some cool features. If you open its mouth, you'll get introduced to its infamous phallic tongue, which is retractable and can be pulled in and out with your nail tips. Despite this amazing feature, I wish NECA could have sculpted the tongue with some bony alien structures like what they did on the head instead of just covering it with white paint. Its oversized vertebra can be removed if you want to get it out of the way as you move its head. And definitely not the least, its bony tail is imbedded with a bendable and malleable wire, which helps you position it in any way you desire.

Articulation wise, this action figure got a decent amount of joints with some minor discrepancies. Like I've said, you can remove the vertebra at its upper back to allow the head to move freely. However, the head itself only has limited movement, and you can't get its head to gaze high up nor turn its head all the way to the sides. It got ball-hinged shoulders and swivel to the biceps. The elbows and the wrists are all ball-hinged that lets you bend as well as rotate. It has a diaphragm swivel that is close to its waist. No thigh swivel on this Xenomorph, but it got a ball-jointed hips. The knees are double-jointed and the feet rotates and got some toe articulation!

To a NECA Predator, the Xenomorph stands taller with a height of 9 inches tall, which is the right size the fact that Xenomorphs do stand taller than the Predators. I hopefully (crossing my fingers) want to see NECA create an Alien vs. Predator line in the future. If you're starting to get into the sci-fi horror/action movie line or if you've been collecting these figures, then definitely you gotta check out the ones from this company.