Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Nova (Marvel Legends)

The new Marvel Legends Nova figure from the Guardians of the Galaxy Wave is the most anticipated figure; making him the highest selling action figure compared to other figures in this set for a lot of obvious reasons. He is not a movie figure and could attract anyone who loves him in the comics. And in terms of paint job, sculpt and articulation, this new Nova beats the old Nova from the Nemesis Build-A-Figure Wave in all those areas. You may not be as familiar with his origins and lore as you're with guys like Iron Man and Spider-Man but hopefully with this yet another fantastic job by Hasbro, you'll draw some interest on Nova- a character that might also get a movie of his own (fingers crossed).

Marvel Legends GOTG Wave Nova

Released earlier this month, the figure also adopts the new Marvel Legends packaging which I probably don't need to get into the details. Through its window, you can see Groot's right arm which you'll definitely gonna need when you build your Groot Build-A-Figure.

With the added shoulder guards, arm bracers and shin guards, it's considerably excusable to assume it's a new body mold but... surprise surprise! The Black Panther (or Bucky Cap) body mold is back and utilized once and for all. For a superhero with an average physique, I think this body mold suits him perfectly. The only major changes Hasbro did with this mold are the sculpting of those "disc-like thingies" over his pecs, the line work around his torso and apparently the gears and armour fixed and/or glued on top of his arms, legs and shoulders.

The paint job is well done! It has that beautiful reflective finish like that of an Iron Man figure, which covers probably 80% of his blue and gold suit. You can see bits of waves and swirls inside the plastic but these are just nitpicks. Overall, the paint on this figure looked clean and flawless.

While this may be the Black Panther body mold, the articulation with Nova has some slight differences. Particularly the legs where it usually has that rotation at the boot cut but with Nova, it got none and it's all because of these shin guards. Each shoulder guards have that flapping-type of articulation that allows you to raise his arm without it getting in the way, but the only downside to it is that it makes the figure look anatomically ugly.

Nova's neck is on a ball-hinge that allows his head to rotate and aim vertically but doesn't give you that ideal 60-degree chin lift to do a perfect flying pose. Furthermore, his ab crunch doesn't fully extend to the back making it a lot worse. Both his arms got ball-hinged shoulders, double-jointed elbows and complete articulation on the wrists. He got waist swivel, T-jointed hips, rotation at the upper thighs, double-jointed knees and ankle rockers with the hinges.

Nova stands at 6.5 inches tall and is in-perfect scale with the rest of the Legends figures. It is a two-thumbs up highly recommendable figure with the advice of a "Get him now!" before he's going to be sold out. I think I would include him in my list of favourite Hasbro Marvel Legends figures.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Wolverine - Unmasked (Marvel Legends)

Marvel Legends Unmasked Wolverine
Aww... isn't he cute? But seriously, this is probably the most handsome Unmasked Wolverine action figure I've seen that may envy the most fabulous teen heartthrob! If you want to know which unmasked version of Wolverine I like, check out the Apocalypse Series Wolverine by Toy Biz. But I gotta tell you, I have never been this lost from looking at the eyes of a Wolverine. I'm pretty positive that it's the eyes that made it less intimidating and more cartoony. He's part of the new X-Men Legends Wave or the Jubilee Build-A-Figure Wave as this set comes with body parts of Jubilee... except for Wolvie right here.

You've seen it once and here it is again with its new collector-friendly and reusable Marvel Legends style packaging. The only minor feature of this packaging (obviously) is that it got this Toys R Us exclusive sticker right on that window, and as you can see- he doesn't come with Jubilee's BAF part. Having said that, you are but without that obligation to buy or not to buy this figure.

When compared to the ML Astonishing Wolverine, clearly the Unmasked Wolverine's suit leans towards being orange than the typical yellow one like we most see in the comics. Over the years, we've seen his spandex change from yellow to orange to brown then back to yellow, and so to me the colour really can't matter as long as the likeness and rendition is there. Hasbro finally corrected their mistake with this one after they failed to give "X-logos" on that Wolverine I've just mentioned. He finally got the the logos; one marked on his chest and another over his belt. And they improved on the claws by using a more metallic look as opposed to being just a gray plastic like what we've seen from the previous.

Right up his neck and down to his toes is all ML Astonishing Wolverine body mold. There are no major changes but just the new face/head sculpt along with the this cowl hanging at his nape. Regardless of whether you despise the look on that face or not (I despise it apparently), the sculpting is well done... for a clean good-looking Wolverine. The cowl is actually a separate piece (not glued) and just hangs loosely but immovable.

The long, soft and floppy claws are over! Having it reincorporated, I believe these are now Hasbro's standard Wolvie claws that we'll see with all the variations of Wolverines they will possibly make in the future. Again, just like the X-Force Wolverine and the Astonishing Wolverine (or freelance Wolverine as I'd like to call him), these short and sturdy claws are individually removable- a really cool thing for display options.

The only downside to his articulation is that you can't lift his head up to a 60-degree angle obviously due to the fact that he got this Beast-like hair sticking out at the back of his head plus that cowl. With this body mold, it still retained the shoulder blade joints. He got ball-hinged at the diaphragm that gives you that side to side rotation as well as act like an ab crunch. And the rest are just standard joints for Marvel Legends action figures.

Upon seeing the flaws and/or imperfections of this figure, there are two important things I would Hasbro to do in the future when they make another Wolverine; one- just give us two removable-interchangeable heads (one masked & one unmasked), two- do not make "the unmasked one" look like a Teddy Bear! As far as recommendation goes, it is highly recommendable if you're a "completionist" and if you can't get enough of Wolverine.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Mandroid (Marvel Legends)

Marvel Legends Mandroid BAF
The Marvel Legends Mandroid Build-A-Figure is finally complete but I never expected this long to find all the parts and get it completed. If it wasn't for that hard-to-find Black Widow (now I'm talking about her again), I would have showed photos of it here like 2 or 3 months ago. But here it is now, armed with a wide array of weapons! Go up to it and you'd be shattered like a piƱata with its huge ass claws. Run far away from it and you'd get peppered with rounds after rounds of bullets. It's the perfect killing machine and may be the perfect wallet killer if you're becoming too excited of purchasing "the figures" just to assemble it.

Yes, always comes back to how tough to find the action figures that comes with Mandroid parts. Stealth Captain America, Black Widow and the Winter Soldier are just the last three action figures you need to courageously search for your Mandroid. But if you just want to skip all that hassle, you can actually buy a completed Mandroid BAF on eBay right now... with a price that's pretty reasonable! uh-hmm...

By glancing at the sculpt, you can almost immediately pinpoint Iron Monger's legs being utilized. Also, the arms are from that of the Build-A-Figure but being added with a whole lot of features like the claws to its left arm and this double-gatling gun to his right, along with other parts such as these bendable "cables" that made it so much different. The figure kinda reminds me of a Cylon in Battlestar Galactica but on steroids. The mechanical features and the line works are incredible. It's realistically designed that make you actually wanna sit and imagine how we can actually turn this beast into a life-sized real one.

For paint job, the only silly thing about it is that there are absolutely no paint variation or paint washes over its metal-like body. It would have been better if Hasbro added more details on all these little thingies (i.e. the bolts and the screws) being molded and sculpted to its armour to make them pop out! The big black S.H.I.E.L.D. logo painted over its wide torso doesn't make up for its lack of paint details. Moreover, I think it would probably look cool if they fixed a translucent plastic over its visor kinda like the ones on the NECA Gipsy Danger, but that's just me asking too much. I would just say they need to at least step the paint job up a bit.

The Mandroid comes with only one accessory- the shoulder turret! The turret is removable and it's made out of this bendable, pliable, cheap plastic that's hollow underneath, and it's something I'm not a huge fan about especially when it comes to weapons. Weapons for action figures are suppose to be made of sturdy hard plastic to prevent it from being deformed! Another issue and probably a minor one is that there are no articulation that would let you aim this turret up or down; only rotations towards the sides.

Being a huge chunking plastic as it is, Mandroid's articulation is limited. Having a short neck, it's really hard to twist his head and aim it at some angle! You can't really move the arms to its full potential because of the weapons it got there on both. The arms have hinged shoulder (no bicep swivel), single-jointed elbows with rotations and also rotation at the wrists. It got a good diaphragm swivel that rotates and bends side to side, and unfortunately, no waist rotation. Mandroid got T-jointed hip, rotation at the upper-thighs, double-jointed knees, hinged ankles with pivots!

Scale: The figure stands at 7.5 inches tall and if it wasn't for that turret, Iron Monger would have been taller by probably a centimeter. In term of body girth though, there's no question that Mandroid takes this especially with that huge torso and all the assembly molded into its arms.

I think if this Build-A-Figure is placed inside a box and sold separately, I probably be first one to pass on the figure because I'm not quite familiar with this character other than being a special army unit for Nick Fury and his guys. But if I plan to build the entire S.H.I.E.L.D. Unit, maybe a single or two of these Mandroids would probably look good on display. Ideally a Mandroid army would be nice, but the fact that some of the parts are hard to find and are probably overpriced make me wanna settle with just one. Oh yeah, is good enough!

Friday, 11 July 2014

Black Widow: Captain America- The Winter Soldier (Marvel Legends)

Marvel Legends Black Widow (Captain America 2)
The Marvel Legends Captain America: The Winter Soldier movie Black Widow is probably the most sought out yet the most elusive action figure currently released by Hasbro. It's so elusive (and probably less-produced) that it's almost becoming frustrating for some people to find this figure. What's really making this figure a "must-have" is the fact that she has the Avengers movie Black Widow head as an interchangeable part! Collectors who are trying to complete their Wal-Mart Exclusive 6-inch movie Avengers team (also by Hasbro) must be shaking their heads. Why Hasbro, why? What are they thinking?

If you haven't seen those movie Avengers action figures (that I've mentioned) that are very much in-scale with Black Widow then take a look at this movie Hawkeye, which I've reviewed, to see which one I was talking about. Now technically Black Widow here is part of the 2014 movie Captain America Wave or the Mandroid Build-A-Figure Wave and comes with Mandroid's torso. She also utilizes the new Marvel Legends style of packaging- a windowed box with the figure and the accessories showcased in front.

One of the major highlights with this figure is the sculpt especially on her face and head. I can't say the likeness is perfect but you can see a Scarlett Johansson over it no matter which angle you look. Body proportions are well balanced and anatomically realistic. Her suit has some areas that are textured which are very good! The only thing here that grinds my gears are these two handguns and two holsters that are molded together at the side of her legs. For a character that relies heavily on firearms, Hasbro could have at least given Black Widow some wieldable handguns and a couple holsters to store it. This one is completely senseless.

I got no complains with the paint job. The combination of black and shades of gray are nicely done along with those tiny silver paint to her buckles and zippers. Also, the S.H.I.E.L.D. logo on her shoulders are neatly done with some great precision. The paint job on her face, specifically the eyes may seem to make her look like she needs to go to bed but it's not a big deal and I just don't want to think of it that way. To me, it's just a stern or serious look or maybe the look of calmness.

It's a shame that she doesn't come with handguns despite having hands with trigger fingers. However, she comes with interchangeable body parts. Black Widow has a set of open palmed hands or relaxed hands and her Avengers movie head with the short and wavy hair opposing to her currently long and straightened one in the new Captain America movie. Well, what can I say!? Women are women. They always keep changing their looks.

guns and prop not included.

Like most Marvel Legends having a female body mold, the poseability is not quite that impressive. She got a ball-jointed neck that might have let her head move at any direction if it wasn't for her long stiffy hair. Although you can still get that range of movement by using the Avengers movie head. Her arms only have hinged shoulders, single-jointed elbows and rotation at the wrists with no hinges. She got diaphragm swivel, T-joints at the hips, rotation at the upper thighs, double-jointed knees and ankle hinges with pivots.

I was probably lucky when I found her first at my local comic bookstore but not totally impressed with the way Hasbro is marketing this figure. There are only a few of them that were released and they get absolutely hoarded by scalpers! Evidently if you go to eBay, you'll find how she's been ridiculously priced. But overall, this figure is solid that earns recommendations and I'd like to kudos Hasbro only for that.

Friday, 4 July 2014

Falcon: Captain America- The Winter Soldier (Marvel Select)

Marvel Select Falcon
If there is one guy that I'd like to be part of the next Avengers movie, it's got to be Falcon! Falcon's character is one of a kind; making him a great addition to the roster. Although the movie got me wondering why he is stripped with one of his unique powers (i.e. bird talk) but I believe it shouldn't be importantly necessary. A guy with mechanical wings flying and swooping around while spraying loads of bullets from the sky is as spectacular as 4th of July fireworks! The absence of a 6-inch Marvel Legends version of Falcon in the Captain America Wave made me quite excited to purchase the much upscaled, more detailed Marvel Select one, but there's no guarantee that Falcon will be immune to scrutiny as I tell all the good and the bad.

Nothing has changed with the design of Marvel Select packaging. It's always the bookend style, standard type with the figure suspended visibly behind this clear plastic along with all its accessories. We got a beautiful artwork of Falcon from the movie at the side, which may be one of the reasons why some collectors still hang on to its packaging and have it displayed sideways.

But let's talk more about the figure, shall we? With or without his mech-wings, this Falcon figure look stunning! He comes with these 6-inch long wings that are removable and can easily be plugged at his jetpack. The only downside to it is that they don't have any joints or articulation that allows you to move them in varying ways. But what totally bugs me is that there are no weapons! In the movie, I know for sure he carries two semi-auto handguns but Diamond Select seem to ignore that. Though a lot of people suggested to use Deadpool's handguns but it's still a shame that such essential things are not included with this Falcon figure.

Like most Select figures, Falcon comes with a display base that you can also use as a prop. From what it looked like, it seem to be some sort of a wall from the inside of a helicarrier- I'm not too positive but the application of gray and almost silvery paint is perfect.

Speaking of paint, let's move now to how the paint job is done. Falcon's suit is primarily composed of black and different shades of gray. Even the American flag at his leg is all black and gray, which I think was also the same as in the movie. Any paint defects would not be too obvious or visible since the application and choice of colours are too plain and simple. I like the kind of brown tone used over his face and skin, though I'm not so sure about his hair. I think it should be black instead of a darker brown but it's no biggie.

Like I said earlier, you can use any handguns from either the Marvel Select or the Marvel Legends figures for Falcon. However and what's really bothersome is the way the hands are sculpted and are not in a trigger finger pose. It just seem odd to me that he's holding it like some weirdo. Another issue that this figure have are the leg guards around his calves that overlaps the ankles; rendering the articulation on the ankle joints useless.

guns and clear stand not included.

That's not the only sad part- the Marvel Select Falcon doesn't have rotation at the upper thighs and boot areas making it even more harder to pose regardless of being blessed with ankle rockers. He doesn't have rotation at the biceps, which again bothers me since I've been collecting these figures and I know most of these figures have them. The head rotates but doesn't look up. He got a waist swivel, rotation at the single-jointed elbows and at the hinged-wrists. Falcon's legs only have T-joints, double-jointed knees and as I've mentioned, ankle rockers.

This figure reminds me of the old Marvel Select days where aesthetics triumphs over functionality. The overall details and the likeness to the Anthony Mackie Falcon is accurate. However, the figure is poorly "engineered". I think Diamond Select is capable of stepping up to their game, but it seems like laziness has prevailed. I know I shouldn't be expecting more from Marvel Select figures especially when it comes to articulation but sometimes you got to wonder why they're not consistent, but a figure like the Marvel Select Falcon is an excellent display piece for 7-inch collectors.