Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Green Ranger: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (S.H.Figuarts)

S.H.Figuarts Green Ranger
I am a fan of all that Super Sentai stuff! A different brand of superheroes known for their colourful spandex, stylish motorcycle helmets and acrobatic kung fu moves. Originated in Japan, this is the genre that brought you the Kamen Riders and Ultramen, and those countless teams of Sentai superheroes (i.e. Bioman, Machine Man, Jetman) which were then adopted by American T.V. shows now rebranded as the Power Rangers. They're the childhood superheroes even before I got introduced to the X-Men and the Avengers.

To kick things up for my Super Sentai action figures, I would like to present the S.H.Figuarts Green Rangers. S.H.Figuarts by Bandai Tamashii Nations undoubtedly delivers better quality of Sentai figures than any other brands. Having been released a year ago, this figure came with a collector friendly windowed box that showcases the Green Ranger and his accessories along with his artwork and the Power Ranger logo.

Though not my favourite Ranger out of the seven, the Green Ranger still looks amazing with that chest armour of his that made him a little different from the team. This triangular chest piece is ornamented with designs that follows that from the T.V. show. Much to my surprise, Green Ranger's chest armour is not removable but Bandai did a good job of making it look like a separate piece. He is considerably a lanky fella like the rest of his male co-workers but the only difference this body mold has is a golden band around each of his shoulder and a jewel on his forehead. A very special Ranger indeed he is.

As with most Japanese Imports, there are no colour shadings or paint washes seen on this S.H.Figuarts figure. The figure is vibrant with green, gold, and white. Some variations may be noticeable as you can see that the Green Ranger's helmet is glossier than his suit. His golden chest armour literally shines as you expose it against a light.

The Green Ranger has some ample amount of accessories and I'd like to dig right through his weapons! First, his Dragon Dagger. Even with a small length of 2cm, this Dragon Dagger is complete with all its features. The ornaments around the blade are there, the valves are there... nothing seems to be missing out, and you can snug this dagger inside its sheath for storage. And if you're somewhat a fan of the Evil Green Ranger, then you have that option of turning him into his initial stage by just having him hold the Sword of Darkness! Again, there is a tremendous amount of detail on this weapon and it got this gem-like stone which kinda looks cool.

Now let's talk about the interchangeable parts. The Green Rangers has five (5) pairs of hands posed differently. He's got a pair of hands designed for his Dragon Dagger when plays it like a flute... with his lip covered (and this is the main reason why he's my less favourite because of this funny thing he does). He got a pair of gripping hands for his Dragon Dagger and a pair for his Sword of Darkness; specifically designed for each weapon. Last but not the least, his "kung fu move" hands!

One of the many things I like about S.H.Figuarts is articulation and it has always been consistent with every action figure they release. The head move side to side and rotates with its double ball-jointed neck. He got an armpit joint that lets his arms move forward as well as ball-jointed shoulders. He got double-jointed elbows and a ball-jointed wrist. It's like everything here is ball-jointed! The Green Ranger has diaphragm and waist swivel that rotates and lets him lean side to side. Again, another ball-joint found at the hips! He got double-jointed knees. No swivel at the boot cut however, but he got ball-hinged ankles with the ankle rocker... plus toe articulation.

Like I said, S.H.Figuart's rendition of the Green Ranger is the best there is. This figure is more attuned to an adult collector type than a children's toy. As I have hoped, my completion of the team will happen this year that is if Bandai doesn't screw things around. I believe the S.H.Figuarts version is the best choice for an avid Power Rangers fan.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Deathstroke: Batman Arkham Origins (DC Collectibles)

Batman Arkham Origins Deathstroke
Many times I've been thinking about playing the Batman Arkham Origins video game on my PS3. This is all because of its notable graphics and gameplay that had me a little excited and could possibly bring back my addiction to video games. Most of all, it's about Batman! And you know how I feel about him and the entire "Batman Universe". In addition to that is Deathstroke, another bad ass character who's one of my favourite villains. Deathstroke may be DC's answer to Deadpool but regardless of whether he can compete with the merc with a mouth or not, I like the kind of coolness this guy has especially how they made him a lot cooler in the video game.

DC Collectibles has done a great job translating these characters into plastic. Despite how awesome these action figures are, I don't have plans of making them part of my collection. A man has his limits. The only reason why I bought this figure is because it's Deathstroke. The figure just renders accurately but boy oh boy... I've never been so scared of playing with it after I heard some complaints by other reviewers about its poor quality of plastic that breaks easily once you move the joints. Fortunately, I haven't encountered such problem yet.

The main highlight of this figure is inarguably the sculpt. There's just good depth in here with Deathstroke. Almost half of his body is covered with armour. I describe it like a thick protective shales of rock molded on top of his clothes and it made him look heavy. The other good thing is that there is so much attention to details over his ammo pack, grenades, utility belt and holster for his gun. The holster is made of a pliable material so it's easy to snug the gun in. Also, you can't ignore the head sculpt. His hollowing eye is perfectly recessed at the left orange side of his head and looked a lot realistic and superior than the other Deathstroke figures I've seen.

The style of painting is something that I'm not a fan of. The choice of colours used on this figure are not bad and lean closer to the standard. However, all these scratch marks that seem to render a battle damaged armour are over the top and not properly done. In fact, it seem to look like some 3-year old was scribbling aimlessly with a pen on this figure. I'm not an expert in this art but I know the paint job could have been done better. Otherwise, the rest of the body parts are paint detailed nicely.

I wish Deathstroke had an additional handgun and a sword plus an assault rifle, but that's just asking too much. I thought he could look more deadly and intimidating other than just his bō staff, his one handgun and his ninjato (a.k.a. ninja sword), but what can you do. The funny thing about Deathstroke's sword is that it got this soft rubbery hilt that is kinda hard to get it through his grip and quite prone to being destroyed. I got no issue with his gun and staff. All his accessories are painted in gunmetal and black which is perfect.

The more current and newer releases of DC figures are more articulated and highly poseable and this figure is one of them. But like I've said, the joints break easily and some of them are stuck. With my Deathstroke, I got a problem with the ab crunch- it's stuck! The rest of it got no problem. His neck is on a ball-joint that has a decent range of motion. He got ball-hinged shoulders, mid-bicep swivel, single-jointed elbows that bend at a perfect 90 degree angle and hinged wrists that bends and rotates. He got a ball-jointed waist that allows him bend forward and back; compromising his dysfunctional ab crunch. Like a Marvel Legends figure, he got T-joints at the hips, upper-thigh swivel, double-jointed knees and hinged ankles with ankle pivots.

The DC Collectibles Arkham Origins Deathstroke doesn't go well in terms of scale with either the Marvel Legends or the Marvel Select figures. He stands at 6.7 inches tall that made him a little too big for a Legends but too small to be a Select, which I guess DC has to do in order for them to not support the competition! And I guess that's what business is all about. Nonetheless, a DC action figure collector might be happy to own this figure because of the detail that would fairly look cool on top of a shelf. If you're strictly a classic comic book fan then this Deathstroke is not for you. Personally, I think the unique feature of this video game Deathstroke should be something that we could consider to be standard.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Wasp Predator (NECA)

NECA Wasp Predator
The NECA Predator line keeps getting better and better with Predator figures each having their own unique features, outfits, and sometimes weaponry that almost have that "superhero-ish" type of vibe. Like if we look at something like a Boar Predator, its feature is far different from that of a Jungle Hunter or a Shaman Predator for example. Sometimes these Predators have their own themes like Nightstorm which has an Egyptian theme or Big Red which is inspired after a Samurai. All of which have their unique designs that keep fans intrigued and have them wonder what other stuff that NECA could come up with this toyline.

Predator fans may also influence this whole idea of variety. Like Big Red, the Wasp Predator is based from a fan made YouTube video, Batman: Dead End where you will see this dude standing side by side with Big Red and some unknown type of Predator during the closing credits. I really got no clue why they created such video; pitting Batman against Predators and Xenomorphs but whoever came up with this Wasp Predator concept should continue his/her contributions.

The black and yellow colour scheme worked! NECA did a fine job of translating this character into a 7-inch action figure. With colours resembling that of a real wasp, the Wasp Predator may deliver a stinging blow to its predecessors. Its bio-mask is strewed with brown and lower tones of yellow along with this black paint at the dome of the head that kind of forms the eyes of a wasp. In addition, it has this "camouflagic" look over its mask with all these streaks around. Wasp's skin pigmentation is nothing but typical. However, it has a brighter tone to it than the average. Its shoulder protectors, shin guards and gauntlets are just standard colours.

It's no surprise that they utilized Big Red's sculpt on Wasp, which is originally from the Jungle Hunter Predator. This body mold has been used over a dozen times and quite frankly, I got no issue with its sculpt. I wish NECA could have added the plasma cannon over its shoulder but I guess they have to be faithful to the video. Like most Predators, the wrist blades are housed at the right arm while around its shoulders are cables made of pliable plastic that bends as you move them.

Now the best part- the accessory! Having that sole purpose of annihilating all forms of Xenomorph life, the Wasp Predator means business. And by business, it means having a Xenomorph head mounted at the tip of a spear. This is probably the coolest Predator accessory I've ever seen. Adding the Xenomorph Warrior action figure into the mix creates a badass Alien vs. Predator scenario!

The articulation on Wasp goes the same with most Predator figures we had from this toyline. The neck is ball-jointed so the head can lean forward and back but with some major limits as well as with the rotation. There are no bicep swivels, only single-jointed rotating elbows and ball-jointed rotating wrists. I wish we would see an ab crunch someday with these figures but for now we will have to deal with the limited articulation on his torso. It got a T ball-jointed hips, upper-thigh rotations, double-jointed knees and hinged-ankles with no ankle rockers.

The Wasp Predator stands at the same height and scale with our Big Red Predator. What truly impressed me with this figure is its unique colour scheme that turned out very well. Some avid fans may not like it due to the fact that it strays from what we normally think of Predators but, again, this is probably recommended only for guys who are huge Predator collectors.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Spider-Girl (Marvel Legends)

Marvel Legends Spider-Girl
When I first saw a preview of this figure on the Internet, I was clueless of whether we're getting a black suit Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew) or an Arachne (Julia Carpenter) figure. My bets leaned more towards Arachne not only because of her Spider-symbol's unique design but also I was thinking maybe Hasbro is paving a way for Alpha Flight. I shouldn't have assumed something like that since most of the action figures we got from this Series are very much "Spidey-related". Though this Spider-Girl character is not really that prominent, the figure is as gorgeous as the Marvel Legends Black Cat even with the downsizing of everything including her boobs.

Having made her way as a running change for Black Cat, we're still getting the Ultimate Green Goblin's upper torso Build-A-Figure piece apparently. The sharp and classy collector-friendly type of packaging made it less like a child's toy and more appealing to adult collectors. It's reusable and convenient without getting tied up on some twisty ties.

The Marvel Legends Spider-Girl uses a totally brand new body mold. A smaller and leaner body mold that creates a whole lot of potentials for a 6-inch scale Shadowcat, X-23, Jubilee and many others. The sculpt really defines the physique of an average teenage girl with proportions that are well sized and balanced. The waves around her hair along with the ponytail are well executed; looking so natural. And her face, of course is pretty!

Having just a solid black and white colour scheme, there's nothing much here to talk about except for how they carefully painted the symbol that hugs her suit. I see no white paint seeping over the black areas, which is good! The only minor complain I have are the little scuffs at the hinges of her shoulders, which has always been a problem in most figures. But if we're talking highlights, I'd say the face grabbed my attention mostly because of the colour of her lips and the flesh tone. The hair could have been done better if there are some shaded parts on it but it's not a huge deal.

Unfortunately, there are no accessories that come with this figure- zero! No interchangeable hands unlike our Superior Spider-Man and it's kind of a bummer.

While Spider-Girl still shares every joints and hinges we had from Black Cat, Hasbro added one important part which I think is a must-have for all female Legends figures, and these are calf swivels. It took them awhile to finally incorporate these. Still missing a waist swivel, Spider-Girl got a ball-jointed diaphragm swivel at the torso and T-joints at the hips. Her head is on a ball-joint that allows her head to rotate, move up and down without hindered by that long ponytail because it's made out of pliable material. She has ball-hinged shoulder, single-jointed elbows with rotation and hinged wrists with rotation. The legs got thigh cuts, double-joints, mid-calves rotation (as I've mentioned) and hinged ankles with the ankle rockers.

Now for size comparison. She stands at an ideal height of 5.8 inches, which is suppose to because she's petite. She looked someone like a little sister to those previous female figures we had from Hasbro Marvel Legends. Getting this action figure or not depends on how big of a fan you are. Personally, I think I'm gonna keep this figure not because I'm a fan of Spider-Girl, but because I like the way this new female body looked.