Friday, 31 January 2014

Winter Soldier (Marvel Select)

Marvel Select Winter Soldier
When you enter a Disney Store, you just won't know what kind of surprises this store could possibly bring to you and your family. Sometimes these surprises turn into tears of joy and excitement... but probably not in my case. What am I,... a 4-year old!? Other than that creepy store guy who handed me the receipt and told me to have a "magical day", I chuckled at the fact that I won't worry no more about ordering the Marvel Select Winter Soldier online. I just got very lucky finding this action figure. I may be a little bothered here the fact that the face kind of reminds of Bruce Campbell but then it doesn't really matter because... hey, we finally got this character on Marvel Select!

The packaging is pretty standard with its bookend style Marvel Select type of packaging. Inside the blister, we got the figure itself displayed nicely and got this amazing artwork of the Winter Soldier at the side which, unfortunately ends up in the garbage because I always open all my Select figures!

Now let's take a look at the paint apps. You can't beat what this toyline has done to the almost realistic colours painted on Winter Soldier's entire body. This blue wash applied sporadically over the "cloth" is well executed; making it come to life. Though the beige and brown to the boots, pouches and straps added some variety to his rather simple colour scheme, the paint app over his cybernetic left arm could have been done better. A much lighter metallic-type of gray perhaps could help it stand out while maintaining the presence of the star insignia, rather than just this deep black and gunmetal paint that almost matches his tactical suit.

As far as face and head is concerned, I think the sculptor kinda overdid his chin and jaw but the overall sculpt on this figure is amazing. I got no complain but to praise at all these texturing and how gorgeous these folds and creases are sculpted around his arms, legs and torso. Moreover, the line works, grids and muscles shaping his cybernetic arm should also be as eye-catching as his utility vest and belt. Once again, Diamond Select did an impressive job in incorporating all the details.

Before we inspect all his weapons, lets take a closer look at this very dramatic base stand that he comes having this broken window, glass of wine and what it seem like a thermo canister on the floor. There's probably a story here! Being a sniper or assassin as he is, Winter Soldier was probably drinking close to this window while waiting for his target. Looking at these bullet holes, somebody must have tried to kill him but ended up shooting at the wall and the window. Does that sound plausible? And with the crate that has this familiar insignia on it, it's very likely that he is on a mission somewhere in Russia.

Now the best part- weapons! Though not as ample as that of the Marvel Select Deadpool but the Winter Soldier essentially got all that weapons he usually carries. He got a huge ass sniper rifle that stands almost like 6 inches tall, a small pistol that has its personal holster, and a submachine gun that just dangles around his back having tied to this strap. All of which are very well detailed. The only problem with these weapons is that some of it might not fit well on either hands but it's still very cool looking things.

The articulation on this figure is not entirely the best nor is a big letdown. You can still execute some decent pose on the Winter Soldier. His head cannot fully aim up but can move down and rotate 360. He got a ball-hinged shoulder with bicep swivel, which is pretty standard for Marvel Select and has single-jointed elbows and hinged wrists. The torso has a good diaphragm swivel that lets him rock side to side plus a waist swivel. He got this DCUC-style hinges at the hips that creates these gaps at the groin areas, but best of all he got double-jointed knees, mid-calf swivel, ankle rotation and the ankle rockers.

Captain America 2- starring Chris Evans and Bruce Campbell.

So what can I say? Should I recommend this figure? Absolutely yes! The head sculpt might get you a little appalled especially when you own and you're able to compare it with the Legends version of the Winter Soldier, but this is just a different take or style by the designer of this figure. He is pretty much in good scale with some other figures in this toyline standing at exactly 7 inches tall. What saved Winter Soldier from being a flop figure is the decent amount of articulation within his well sculpted and painted parts. He's another fine creation by Diamond Select.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Link: The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword (Figma)

Figma Link
Oh c'mon... Christmas is over; not one of Santa's merry toy making elves! Anyways, all joking aside, I'm sure everyone knows this iconic hero from the Zelda video game series. If you don't have any clue who this dude is or what the game is all about then that makes the two of us (like we care, right?) because never in my childhood years had I played Zelda. Call me "ungroovy" but I just can't get into it! Something just drives me not to like this game or maybe it's just me but at least I know this guy's name. His name is Link... distant cousin to Legolas and Tinker Bell's half-brother.

I might know a thing or two about this game but when it comes to action figures, I can tell you all that you need to know about the good ones like this Link figure by Figma. Looks like a CGI model, doesn't it? It's Figma's finest in my opinion, that is well translated from its pixelated origins to this articulated plastic. The details are just spot on based on his appearance in The Legends of Zelda Skyward Sword.

Never have I seen a figure so relaxing and soothing to look at. Link's vibrant and pastel-like colours makes it easy for my eyes gaze upon him for a long period even with his simplistic colour scheme. The paint is exceptional without any scuff marks or bleeds at the edges. You can see the pinpoint accuracy on the paint job just by looking at how the eyes are shaped, the designs embossed on the shield, and just the neat look on the figure. It's laughable to see how my beloved Marvel Legends tries to fair up with this Figma.

The overall sculpt is smooth and seamless as though someone "nail filed" all the curves and corners. All the wrinkles and creases on his clothing are sculpted realistically; bringing this character alive. While I admire the simplicity and neatness of how the paint is applied, the same can be said when it comes to Link's sculpt. The body mold is well proportioned and balanced... though I can see that he got a large head but this is significant to the feature of this character as it was in the game.

Heading down now to his accessories. There are two main accessories and the rest are extras and/or interchangeables. Like the S.H.Figuarts War Machine and other Japanese imports of his kind, Link has loads of them which you can switch around and play with. Most important feature for his accessories is the Master Sword and the Hylian Sword which can be assembled and stored together at his back along with the sword sheath that can be attached through this peg hole at his back. Link has another peg hole designated for the Figma clear stand that he comes with. Some people had voiced complains about how difficult this figure to stand and pose without the stand but so far, contrary to what people say, I haven't had a hard time executing some pose with this figure even with such small feet.

Link's Master Sword combined with this translucent blue plastic gives it some motion; simulating a slashing-hacking type effect! Also, using a "sword-pointing" hand (which comes in pairs) holding the sword tight, it allows you to get a better dynamic pose and a more pronounced swing. Because it fits nice and tight, I often worry about paint rubs around the hilt so it's probably advisable to snug it carefully and gently.  He has a total of five pairs of hands; the sword-pointing hands as I've just mentioned, the normal sword grips, the finger-spreaded hands, the calm or relaxed hands, and lastly, the clenched fists which was attached to the figure upon purchase.

With such a beautifully sculpted figure, surely there must be some sort of trade off. Not that I'm looking for one but it's just there in his articulation. Link does not have waist swivel around his belt, and the fact that he wears a skirt and although it's made of a pliable plastic material still makes it hard for me to get him to do a better running pose. His head barely moves up because of the hair; rendering the ball-joint to his neck useless albeit rather not a deal breaker. Link got ball-jointed shoulders, double-jointed elbows and hinges to the wrists at the arms. Diaphragm swivel at the torso and a complex T-joint at the hips. His knees rotates and they're double-jointed with toe and ankle articulation at his feet and ankle rockers.

Surprisingly, Link is in perfect scale with almost all my 6-inch Marvel Legends figures! Standing at exactly 5 inches tall, he is like Thor's boy wonder sidekick. The Figma Link is a solid figure that earns recommendation especially for those of you who grew up playing the Zelda games. This figure is yet another example of top level import quality.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

War Machine: Iron Man 2 (S.H.Figuarts)

S.H.Figuarts War Machine: Iron Man 2
Nothing brings me awe and amazement better than this S.H.Figuarts War Machine. I could sit here all day just looking at the details and play with this figure along with its sheer amount of accessories. This is my first S.H.Figuarts post on this blog. This toyline as you might already know are known for their Kamen Rider, Sentai and Dragon Ball Z figures, and other Japanese anime-related figures that we've probably encountered. Now taking on Hollywood, this line surely does a good job on War Machine based from the movie. Released in last year's summer, I got it for like $72, a price which is a little on the higher end but it gave me more than what I paid for. Hopefully Bandai continues on with this Iron Man line.

The packaging is, I suppose should say, "collector-friendly". It answers the most common dilemma experienced by most collectors- to open or not to open. Unlike most packaging, you don't have to worry about twists and ties nor any irreversible damages with this type. This packaging is simply reusable and durable along with these nice artwork and designs that makes it great looking for both the figure and the box.

BRUBUDDA BUDDA BUDDA BUDDA BUDDA... That's the sound of this picture! Sometimes you gotta use your ears to imagine that it's alive and moving. Almost everything is painted in gunmetal with a few lighter gray colours that are even from part to part, and decals to make it movie-accurate. If we look very closely, we'll see a few dust-like glitters embedded within the plastic which I believe, gives it a metallic tone.

The texture and feel of the plastic material on this figure is different in a good way. Probably a higher end to Hasbro's Marvel Legends with edges that are smooth and free from factory leftovers. The proportions are well measured and balanced; no weird oversizing or undersizing of certain body parts. What totally impressed me are the joints and hinges that are almost non-visible, which makes this figure a good display piece. The eyes kinda glows when exposed to light as well as these blast effects which are one of the few of the accessories he comes with.

Speaking of accessories, collectors will have so much fun changing and placing these loads of weapons and interchangeable parts! War Machine's infamous shoulder gatling gun comes with this huge blast effect as well as an ammo belt that connects from the back, and it's very poseable and removable. Both his forearms are equipped with submachine guns which are also removable. To fully expose the jets behind his legs, you have to remove the flaps (though completely unnecessary) and replace it with these much opened flaps, ...then you can start installing these little jet boosts along with a couple of these bigger jet boosts that goes at the bottom of his feet.

That's not all! He comes with two missile turret and the one and only... ex-wife! Definitely, he is someone you don't wanna mess around with. Also, War Machine comes with two sets of interchangeable hands. To get a better view of the amount of accessories this guy has, here is a list:

Shoulder Gatling Gun x1
Ammo Belt x1
Submachine Guns x2
Missile Turrets x2
Ex-wife x1
Gun Blast Effects x3
Jet Boosting Effects x4
Jet Boosting Flaps x2
Pair of "Flying Pose" Hands x1
Pair of "Repulsor Blast" Hands x1

The articulation on War Machine is as ample as his accessories that brings some decent pose. His head can look up and down, and suppose to rotate 360 if it wasn't with these gears on his shoulders. The shoulder protectors are hinged to get some good shoulder movements as well as an armpit joint. He got swivel to the biceps, double-jointed elbows, ball-jointed wrists that rotates and bends. War Machine got this unique ab crunch that cuts across the mid-section of his abdomen as well as a diaphragm swivel. He got this T-jointed hip with hinges to its groin; letting his legs not only to raise forward but also hyper-extend kinda like the armpit joint. He also got upper-thigh swivel, double-jointed knees, ankle swivel and toe articulation. Unfortunately, he doesn't have ankle pivot which might have given him a perfect score.

The figure stands at exactly 6 inches tall. Compared to an average Marvel Legends figure, the S.H.Figuarts War Machine seem to be at a smaller scale thus apparently deemed incompatible with this toyline. But if you're into collecting Iron Man figures and/or starting to get into the Japanese imports, then check this one out! The fun factor on this figure is truly unmatched.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Gipsy Danger: Pacific Rim (NECA)

I'm gonna start this year with something BIG! Yes, this is the 18-inch Gipsy Danger action figure brought to us by NECA, and this is my first action figure review for 2014. If you have watched Pacific Rim and/or just a huge fan of big robots and monsters, then better check out this gigantamonious figure here! Buy it if you're amazed by it and believe me- it's worth every penny. NECA's 7-inch Pacific Rim line also offers some pretty good figures, but why settle for jaeger figures that are as tall as your average Marvel Select when you can have this badass towering at almost anything that exists in your room!? Definitely a must-have massive figure.

One of the things that made this figure truly impressive is its LED light up feature at the chest. The on-off button at the upper portion of its back is small and the colour kind of blends in with figure so you may at first have a little problem finding it. But once it's all bright and lit up, it will blow you away! Also, this tiny light bulb on Gipsy's forehead lights up together with its chest. Inside its upper torso are batteries which are concealed and secured with a screw that keeps it stable while maintaining every detail that is going around its back.

The sculpt is fantastic. NECA might have never missed out on every detail on its mechanical arms, legs and other body parts but the basic features are there. On top of that, you can find some dents and scratched marks sporadically distributed around its armour/plating looking like it had just battled a kaiju. Its legs that is probably the size of a wrist benefited heavily to the weight of this figure.

The paint application is accurate and faithful to the one in the movie with the right shade of blue alongside with this gunmetal paint at the joints and other corners. We can see these decals that say "34" printed on both its shoulders and this amazingly sexy yet almost microscopic artwork of a pin up girl located at Gipsy's chest. To add, there some beautiful streaks of white and red painted at the edges of its armour.

Gipsy Danger only comes with a couple of these chain swords that are about 8 inches in length. The way you place these swords at the wrists is quite an effort since the slots are kind of incompatible to the bottom of the sword when you try insert it. Nonetheless, you can still plug it in but the only problem is they aren't stable. Probably this is my only complain about this figure but a minor one.

Articulation junkies may be find this figure a little underwhelming, but as you know- less articulation means more amount to the details. Gipsy's head and neck are on a ball-joint, so supposedly it can move at any angle but it's hindered the surrounding parts. Both shoulders are on a ball-hinged. It got single-jointed elbows and ball-jointed wrists that flexes and rotates.

No bicep swivel and it doesn't any finger articulation or whatsoever. It got a diaphragm swivel that apparently left a huge gap across its torso. For the legs, Gipsy got T-jointed with hinges at the hips that lets it kick at any direction, it only have single-jointed knees and ball-hinged ankles. It got this "heel articulation" that moves up and down and hinges at these flaps around its back making this figure a little special so to speak.

My verdict is that this jumbo-sized figure is absolutely a thing to be treasured. Like I said, if you love big robots or action figures then this Pacific Rim jaeger is for you! Size-compared to the Marvel Legends Sentinel, Gipsy just dwarfs it by 6 inches. Gipsy Danger might have been part of my Top 10 if only I had posted it last year when it got released, but then I am happy about this acquisition.