Thursday, 15 May 2014

Daryl Dixon with Chopper: The Walking Dead (McFarlane Toys)

If there's one statement I could use to describe this whole thing about Daryl- it is that zombie apocalypse has never been made this appealing for us to wish it would happen! There is nothing more exciting than killing hordes of undead with a combination of precision and style; with a crossbow and a motorcycle! To me, Daryl Dixon has always been the poster boy for zombie flicks. And with all the tension rising and new characters filling up The Walking Dead universe (TV series), comes another wave of action figures. Daryl with the Chopper is the one that I am most excited about with this current release.

The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon with Chopper Motorcycle

Like any Walking Dead windowed box set, the figure is showcased behind this transparent plastic with Daryl's Chopper positioned at the backend. We're still seeing the same "prison-artwork" like the ones we had from the previous series with Norman Reedus' face at the corner. Just by a quick glance, it's very obvious that this figure only comes with two weapons/accessories which I'm going to talk later.

The paint job with all these McFarlane Walking Dead figures have been consistent all through and through. Almost all areas on this figure are painted with maybe 2 or 3 different colours layering on top of each other. However, there is one complain, which is not too obvious and that is his wrists! Just below its rotating part, the wrists got colours mismatching his forearms and it's quite a bummer. I absolutely love the "angel wings" painted over the back of his coat; I can't ignore it. Overall, the paint job on this figure generates a lot of positive comments.

The amount of detail on the sculpt is as high as with the paint. Everything is sculpted perfectly except these ridges at the elbow and knee joints that McFarlane has once again not doing any improvement with it. It kinda takes you away from that awe feeling you get from looking at the details. Anyways, what I like though is how they made the vest look like a separate piece and the angel wings looking like it's patched on. The head sculpt is excellent but it's not perfectly getting the actor's facial features, and he's kinda smiling... it's definitely because he's having fun! I mean, who doesn't when you got a kick-ass motorcycle that doesn't make you look like survivor.

Speaking of which, we now focus on Daryl's Chopper, the main highlight of this deluxe box set and probably the reason why this was a no brainer purchase. I got nothing but praise for this accessory. The only accessory, I believe, that would count as a separate character because of the fact that it also got its own playability. It is an accessory with accessories. You can add or remove its luggage feature at the back, and hung or unhung Daryl's crossbow at the front. In addition, this motorcycle can stand either by utilizing its kick stand or that little base stand that attaches to the rear wheel. Like the figure, it's also heavily detailed. The wheels are rubberized and it is almost as though I bought miniature replica of some Harley Davidson.

Note that this is not the same crossbow from previous Daryl action figure we've seen. Inspired from Season 3's, the crossbow has arrows with green fletchings resting under its limbs. Also, he got his Bowie knife as usual.

The articulation is enough to get him into his ride. He got this DCUC style hip articulation along with his single-jointed knees to help get his butt unto the motorcycle. He got a ball-jointed neck that lets him lean side to side and rotate his head. No rotation to the biceps but has ball-hinged shoulders, single-jointed elbows, rotations near the wrists with hinges. He has diaphragm swivel (which is uncommon for TWD figures) and waist swivel. Unfortunately, no ankle pivots on this one.

Compared to our "old Daryl", Biker Daryl stands with him equally at 5 inches. It's funny how his character improvement in the TV series is somehow congruent with these figures basing from how differently they look. Although he didn't exactly turn into a Filipino man like with this figure here but I think you know what I mean. This is a good improvement plus he got his motorcycle that makes me want to recommend this figure to all Walking Dead fans.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Predator Wolf: Aliens Vs. Predator (S.H.MonsterArts)

S.H.MonsterArts Predator Wolf
This is the mofo who killed like a dozen of Xenos in a single movie! Meet the Wolf Predator... or as I call it the Alien-Clean-Up Predator for its oddly janitorial job it did in the 2nd Alien-Predator movie. After learning that Bandai Tamashii Nations are finally getting into the AVP movie line, I was quite stoked about how their expertise will merge with these iconic monsters from outer space. Now that it's in my hands, I am well pleased with what I am getting from this $56-figure. So far, this is the only S.H.MonsterArts figure I have in my collection and the only Japanese import figure that could compete with some of the American brands in terms of paint and sculpt. Still, I don't think it can compare with those from NECA but I'm a big fan of the Predators, although not entirely because I hate how those AVP movies were made.

Like most S.H.Figuarts packaging, MonsterArts utilizes the windowed box. Half of the parts and features of the Wolf Predator are showcased behind this clear plastic with the name "Predator Wolf" printed at the side. Apparently, our friends there in Japan got the names ordered incorrectly. It should be "Wolf Predator"! Just like how you say the name, Jungle Hunter Predator. Try invert it and it's going to sound weird.

Just by merely looking at the paint job, it's almost as if we're getting a NECA or a McFarlane figure (two companies that excel in this area) here but the more you stare at it, you could see the kind of minimalism in the paint job which is not uncommon with S.H.Figuarts yet it still looking decent. Its neat look is easy on the eyes as always; having no smudging or scraping on the surface. The gunmetal paint along with the texturing over its gadgets and armour is phenomenal and it does seem like Bandai is doing some extra effort in this part.

I believe the sculpting on this figure is a lot superior than those imports I've reviewed before. However, there are certain flaws I've found which are not really obvious. These photos can't give you that clear image and so I'm gonna have to tell this- Wolf's feet are quite big and the length of its legs are a little on a short scale! I've been collecting these guys for a couple of years now and I know too well how their normal physique look. Otherwise, the sculpt that's shaping its Bio-Mask, Wrist Gauntlets and other gadgets are incredibly accurate.

I was kinda expecting that they'll be missing out some of the details but the part where I'm most excited about are the accessories. Starting with the interchangeable parts, Wolf Predator has two switchable heads- masked and unmasked. If you go with the unmasked one, you'll also get two options whether to have its mandible jaws open or closed. By the way, the Wolf Predator is the only yautja that has one of its mandible jaws missing (probably a result of a fight). This figure has a total of six (6) pairs of interchangeable hands each designed for specific weapons or items. Apparently, you need to get a feel of the weapon's diameter before you would use the correct hand for it.

Looking at the amount of weapons and items this figure has just blew me away and here's a complete list:

Plasma Cannon x1
Wrist Blades (short) x2
Wrist Blades (long) x2
Combi-Stick (retracted) x1
Combi-Stick (extended) x1
Whip (coiled) x1
Whip (uncoiled) x1
Cleaner Case x1
Blue Vial x1
Medi-Kit x1

Probably the only weapon this Predator is missing are its shuriken, which will be included in the second release. But with just these weapons alone, you might have to remind yourself not to mess around with Wolf. The Plasma Cannon is poseable and concealable, which is good but I'm not too happy with the Wrist Blades- I feel the need to make them longer. It got a coiled Whip which you can store at its waistline, and another Whip which can be used primarily as a weapon. Same goes with the Combi-Stick- a retracted one and a weapon one. For some reason I thought this is causing too much usage of space inside the box. Bandai could have just given us retractable weapons (like bendy wires in the Whip) to provide more space and allow other types of weapons.

Articulation of this figure rivals that of its accessories. It's the articulation that makes you wish the NECA Predator line would someday have! This Predator got better poseability (than NECA's) because it has double-jointed elbows and knees, a diaphragm swivel and a waist swivel that lets it rotate and lean side to side. Almost all of its joints are ball-socketed creating a wide range of movement but some of it are hindered by either its body mass or armour. An example would be Wolf's toe articulation which is limited by that armour over its feet. A cool feature though is Wolf's Wrist Gauntlet which flips open like a laptop like in the movie. With the S.H. Bandai, you can never be disappointed in terms with their figure's poseability.

The moment of truth is here as we compare this figure with our standard NECA Predator. Measuring at about 6.6 inches tall, I was a little surprised how small this figure is. Maybe because I'm used to them being tall; towering over most of my 6-inch figures. Even if we upscale its size, Bandai's Predator will still remain inferior (in my opinion) to NECA's mainly due to the fact that it got less paint and sculpting details. As far as playability is concerned, you'll definitely have more fun with this Predator.