Tuesday, 31 March 2015

The Joker: Injustice (S.H.Figuarts)

S.H.Figuarts The Joker (Injustice)
This Joker figure really put the smile unto my face. He's a lot better than the Batman figure I played with last week despite the fact that his accessories are fewer and less sophisticated than those of the Dark Knight. Perhaps simple is better! The reasons why I'm happy about the Figuarts Joker are his decent sculpting and his "in-scaleness" to Marvel Legends figures. A lot of people may not be a fan of this look from the video game but this is the only Joker I've seen so far that payed homages to the two versions of Jokers we've seen in the movies. He obviously carries Heath Ledger Joker's style of messy makeup combined with that crazy Jack Nicholson Joker's long-barrelled pistol! It's something of a rare find.

The Injustice Joker, of course has his own originalities... like the laces criss-crossed around his sleeves and those pointy lapels sticking out from his jacket. His alternate head wearing a gas mask is probably not something unfamiliar with him since he is always been infamous for his use of chemical weapons.

The sculpt of the figure is in good depth and the paint job is almost looking like CGI. With that being said, the figure doesn't really have too much paint shading... but it's good! Just solid colours all over his suit with the exception of his face which has a few paint wash and intricate details that made it a little realistic. I can't say anything bad about the sculpt and the structure of his body. Looking long and lanky, it is the right body structure for a Joker.

For accessories, the Joker has a total of 17 of them which I'd like to categorize into three. There is the "weapon category" which is composed of his pistol (or revolver), knife and crowbar. The "body parts category" are his 3 interchangeable heads and 3 different pairs of hands plus one gun-holding hand and one card-holding hand. Now the last category is more like stuffs to make him look cool- I call it the "effects category" which is his Joker card and a couple of his toy dentures.

What really blew my mind is how they put all these fine details on Joker's tiny little joker card. Moreover, it has the hand designed for holding it. Both toy dentures, which are also an homage to Nicholson's Joker are articulated. The accessories are very much in-scale with the figure and that is why he looked a lot better than the Batman.

S.H.Figuarts is known for not sacrificing articulation for the sake of aesthetics and similar to the Figuarts Batman, he is very poseable. The only sad thing about him is that his head cannot move up to a 90 degree angle. Unlike his arch-nemesis, the Joker doesn't have the armpit pivots that would allow his shoulders to move towards his chest but luckily he got the long arms to wield his crowbar two-handed. He got this double-tail at the back of his jacket that doesn't have any articulation but would be fun if it does. He got the ankle rockers and hinges to his toes, and everything else is double-hinged and double-pegged.

To size-compare the S.H.Figuarts Joker with the S.H.Figuarts Batman, Joker seem to be a bit taller which makes the two of them together not very comic book-accurate since Batman is suppose to be the taller and bigger guy. It still pleases me though that Mr. J blends perfectly well with my ML figures. I am very much impressed with this figure and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is a fan of Injustice or to someone who collects DC figures. S.H.Figuarts did such a good job in the rendition department taking all the likeness from the video game while maintaining their standard amount of articulation.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Batman: Injustice (S.H.Figuarts)

S.H.Figuarts Batman (Injustice)
Finally joining the S.H.Figuarts lineup of action figures is Batman from Injustice: Gods Among Us, a superhero fighting game that has actually been well-received by critics. We can only imagine how excited both Bat-fans and fans of the video game (including myself, actually) were with Bandai's first announcement of a Batman figure having a dozen of accessories and moving parts as what this Japanese toymaker is notable for. But the question is- will Bandai, a company who has been creating a lot of Sentai Rangers and Kamen Riders pull off a well-engineered figure of a DC character such as Batman? That we'll have to find out as we crack him out of the box.

But before we set him loose, let's have time to take a quick look at the box. With its reusable feature, S.H.Figuarts' standard windowed-box is always beneficial to collectors who always have trouble finding some space in their rooms. You can use it as a storage case as well as a display item because of its simple yet elegant design.

When it comes to accessories, you can always count on S.H.Figuarts bringing loads of them. To begin with, you got two interchangeable heads and three pairs of interchangeable hands plus a "special hand" for holding his grappling gun. Batman's grappling gun has two types of hooks- one is retracted while the other one is "spreaded" with a 6-inch bendy wire at the backend. And last but definitely important accessories are his two batarangs, which are a bit oversized yet considerable.

What's really bothersome is the size of his grappling gun- the handle is too wide for his "special gripping-hand" to hold. It is as big as his shoulders that forcing his small grip around it could break his fingers.

The measurements on his cape is 5 inches tall and almost 9 inches wide, and it's articulated. There are 3 "cape-pieces" to assemble this mind-blowing cape which can be attached all together to a peg hole at his back. To me, the only ugly part with it is this big bad fissure that separates the cape's uppermost portion from the rest of it. Bandai has engineered it very poorly.

The articulation however is good but not all that perfect. Batman cannot aim his head up high to do a flying pose which is crucial to the poseability of this character. His torso got rotation at the diaphragm and waist. Both elbows and knees are double-jointed. He has double-ball pegs at the hips and a couple of fabulous ankle rockers. The toes have articulations as well.

Appreciatively, the sculpt and paint job are not as silly as the playability of this figure. We have different shades of gray seen here together with this blemish-free sculpting. I'm glad they added a decent amount of blue shadings over and under his cape. Although the details are not as impressive as with the ones from McFarlane Toys but this is the best we ever got from Bandai.

Now here's a question that a lot of people are asking- is the S.H.Figuarts Batman in-scale with any of our 6-inch scale action figures? For those collectors who love mashing up DC and Marvel, this figure is pretty much in good scale specifically with Marvel Legends. Some people may be very particular with this Batman not being a "Legends-scale" because of the small head, and lean arms and legs but he doesn't seem weird as I pose him next to a ML Spider-Man. But of course, this is not a figure meant to be in-scale with Marvel Legends.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Broly: Dragon Ball Z (S.H.Figuarts)

Just forget about the things I said about the Super Saiyan Son Gokou. This is the one true guy you don't wanna mess with. An angry evil blonde dude with an uncontrollable temper and appetite for destroying an entire planet. The first 4 letters of his name rhymes with "brawl" that hearing it leaves everyone assume that he loves to fight,... and he does love to fight! Broly fights with all those huge arms and oversized pecs which make him terrifying even for the Hulk. And this is what I would like a Broly action figure to appear like- looking as deadly and terrifying as with his animated counterpart.

S.H.Figuarts Broly

With a hairdo looking so sharp and pointy, it is advisable to handle this action figure with caution even though it's made of somewhat close to being a soft material. Broly has 3 interchangeable faces which are fastened by his hair bangs. You got a face painted with his stern look, one that has his aggressive look and another one that has his smirk probably telling you that he owns you.

Like any S.H.Figuarts, he got interchangeable hands in which there are also 3 of them (in pairs). He got 3 of these green translucent orbs embodying his signature attack. The orbs can sit securely on top of his palms without even worrying about it rolling off. However and sadly, Broly has no way of grasping these orbs around his fingers because he doesn't have the hands to do it for which I wished Bandai had provided.

But Bandai gave him with great amounts of articulation. I was a little worried at first that the articulation might get affected because of Broly's size. He roughly stands at about 8 inches tall- bigger and taller than your average-sized S.H.Figuarts DBZ figure yet the manufacturers managed to incorporate all the articulations that the average has. In addition, that crimson "cloth" around his thighs and loins are poseable. His big fat knees are double-jointed and moves without any unusual limits. The torso got rotation at the diaphragm as well as at the waist. Overall, the articulation is amazing and I'm glad they didn't deduce or change anything.

Sculpt and paint job are also done right. I like how his golden bracers and shin guards has that reflective finish making it metallic-looking along with those blue gems studded over some parts of his outfit. Broly got this necklace that gives us the illusion that it's dangling around his neck but as a matter of fact, separated by his neck and pectoral muscles. And speaking of muscles, he got lots of them evenly sculpted without any deformity. One thing I don't like are these oversized shoulders- too big that it kinda veer away from being animé-accurate. It's not this swollen as far as I could remember.

Even with his tiny bit of issue, this is a solid figure that earns recommendation. I believe this is the best Broly figure we got today that closely resemble the character. Moreover, this figure comes with a standard S.H.Figuarts clear stand that can be useful for anyone who likes to get their figures execute some dynamic pose. But for me, I'm glad Bandai has finally unleashed one of DBZ's fearsome foes into joints and plastics.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Super Saiyan Son Gokou: Dragon Ball Z (S.H.Figuarts)

S.H.Figuarts S.S. Son Gokou
You don't wanna mess with this guy! He's one angry blonde dude ready to blow up everything on his path. This is the Son Gokou we saw the first time he changed the colour of his hair and turned super, which was one of the beautiful moments in Dragon Ball history. With Bandai-Tamashii Nations' mastery in making all these articulated and well-detailed action figures, it's incredible to see our favourite DBZ characters somewhat come to life but on a 6-inch scale especially Son Gokou. We need to see more of their good work but for now let's take a closer look at the S.H.Figuarts Super Saiyan Son Gokou!

Right off the bat, you can see that the rendition is pinpoint accurate. The shape and appearance on his hair, and the expression on his face looked just like what we saw in the animated series. However, there is a bit of splotch right at the tip of his hair which may probably ruin his flawlessness but it's not a big deal.

If you've been collecting these S.H.Figuarts DBZ figures, then you'll immediately realize that the body mold of this figure is the same as with our last year's Son Gokou. It's also important to mention that the Super Saiyan version of Gokou was the one that got released first before we got the Son Gokou in his "de-powered" version.

Though they may have the same body mold, the colours are different. Obviously, Super Saiyan Gokou got that brushed-up yellow hair while Son Gokou's is just black and "normal". You can see that Super Saiyan Gokou's suit has the brighter orange while Son Gokou is red just like in the animated T.V. Series. Everything else is the same except for a couple of features.

The accessories are mostly composed of interchangeable parts that probably couldn't compete with our Marvel Legends Iron Fist. There only 3 pairs of swappable hands and plus the one hand holding two fingers for his "Instant Transmission Technique". He got two swappable faces in which neither one of them is on a good mood. There's unfortunately no "kamehameha blast effect" that might possibly make him twice more awesome.

The articulation is standard S.H.Figuarts with 32-points of movement. There are no changes or anything added to the figure. The only thing that's needless to mention is that Super Saiyan Gokou is as moveable and poseable as those Dragon Ball Z figures in this toyline.

Not recommending this figure to a DBZ collector is like telling you not to add water when making a soup. Gokou's Super Saiyan form is one of the most recognizable version of him that fans would never forget and this is why this action figure is a must-get. It is a likeable figure by S.H.Figuarts. Despite the lack of very essential accessories, it's still up there at the high end.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Odin the Allfather & King Thor (Marvel Legends)

This Marvel Legends Odin and King Thor is the perfect representation of a "like father like son" look. Having almost indistinguishable features, both of them got the same torso, legs and height... and probably age (as you could see in their face sculpts), which gives me that bit of confirmation that sons may look exactly like their fathers when they get old. With Odin and King Thor being the Build-A-Figures in this Wave and with the Allfather not having met Thor in his grandpa version in the comics, it only feels right to review these two gods as we look at their similarities and differences.

Marvel Legends Odin the Allfather and King Thor (BAF)

If you're a "completionist" and have already gotten all the action figures that came with the BAF pieces, then you should be able to assemble either Odin or King Thor. The one thing that bugs me with this Series is that I actually have to purchase two Hawkeyes, two Iron Fists, and two Marvel Now Thors to bring the two Asgardians standing next to each other for these photos. I believe it's just ludicrous that Hasbro had forced collectors to spend another 60 or 70 dollars just to complete the other Build-A-Figure, which is in my case- King Thor.

It is important to know that Odin's and King Thor's heads as well as their capes and weapons are swappable since they are easy to remove and in the same scale. They roughly stand between 7.4 to 7.6 inches. The Allfather (of course), with his helm giving him the height, stands a little taller than the king. Surprisingly, these two stand almost of the same height as the Marvel Now Thor! -which really made me wish Hasbro could have downscaled this Thor figure to make him look a lot ideal.

Both their articulations are very much the same and got the same amount of hinges and joints as with the Marvel Now Thor, which I reviewed a week ago. Their heads can only move at a limited range because of their shoulder-length hairs and beards... and that ram horn on Odin's. Over their shoulders, there are pairs of shoulder guards that can pivot and are removable. They have rotations at the elbows which I'm not a huge fan of. No waist rotation however, they got swivel at the diaphragm. Their hips are on T-joints in which the movements are hindered by its skirts. Double-jointed knees, hinged ankles with the ankle pivot are also fused to their legs.

One thing that also bothers me with their shoulder guards is they didn't entirely cover the shoulders, which made it odd to look at. Each have their own accessories. For the Allfather of course, he got his scepter which I wish has some details on it than just a plain bronze-coloured plastic. The king got a battle axe made with a soft pliable plastic, which is kind of interesting why they go with such material. While holding their weapons, you can pair them with a broadsword or Thor's hammer since their hands are both on gripping poses. King Thor has the metal arm while Odin does not.

As for the sculpt and paint jobs of these figures, both are equally and fairly done. I think the area where Hasbro needs to work on are the details over their heads. Odin's helm show not a lot of shadings. Thor, on the other hand doesn't have much details on his hair. To me, the colours look flat on their faces but the armour on their chests, shoulders and feet are quite the opposite. They are paint-washed with gray to make them look like they're worn. I think these are the main highlights of these figures.

You can also see that their capes are very much the same with the Marvel Now Thor, which is... okay I guess? These wavy capes have a windswept effect that are nicely sculpted. Even though we see these being reused, it still fits and doesn't make the figure look bad.

Overall, the Marvel Legends Odin and King Thor aren't bad figures once you get them on display but I really hoped Hasbro could have at least made a few extra effort on the details. Moreover, the articulation could have been better if they didn't use the Marvel Now Thor framework. Despite all the matter, it's a must-get figure since this is the first 6-inch scale Odin and King Thor action figure we got from Marvel Legends.