Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Son Gokou: Dragon Ball (S.H.Figuarts)

S.H.Figuarts Son Gokou
It really took me awhile to decide whether to get these S.H.Figuarts Dragon Ball Z figures or not, mainly because I was still looking for a space in my room to accommodate this "family". Now I finally decided and got a lot of catching up to do. The first and coolest Saiyan-dude that I'd like to introduce from this family is Son Gokou, and since everyone knows this character then... why not start with him! He's notable for his colour and size changing hair, and his destructive kamehameha which can obliterate almost anything in its path. Gokou is the iconic superhero from Japan who always gets pitted against Superman that most DBZ fanatics believe he can bring the Man of Steel to his knees... and this is where I enter the debate and piss them off! Though inferior to Supes limitless strength, Gokou is an instant favourite of mine because of his characterization and his unique powers and abilities just can't be rivalled by any other superheroes.

S.H.Figuarts Kamen Riders, Sentai Rangers, Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball Z figures got one thing in common and that's the packaging. All these Japanese imports are the same with the entire figure showcased inside this windowed box. The only difference are the artwork and design in which in this box, you can see a screen-toned portrait of Gokou at the side of the box and a Dragon Ball Z label at the bottom.

Out from the package, you can see a clean cut accurate rendition of Gokou based off from the anime series. You probably all know that this is not the Super Saiyan version of Gokou with the golden yellow hair but the first Gokou we saw in DBZ Season 1. And this... is like coming straight from the cartoon show where it highlights all that bright solid colours on Gokou's classic suit. Also, there are a few noticeable colour shading that's shaping the muscles over his arms. Again, this is a show of how Bandai S.H.Figuarts is using simple paint applications effectively.

"...spirit bomb!!"

The figure is a spot-on representation of the character. All the wrinkles on his clothes, his hairstyle and the definition of his muscles are sculpted nicely and designed well to hide the joints a little bit. That being said, this action figure may give you that illusion of being a statue, and that's a good thing!

clear stand not included

This Gokou is loaded with accessories; just by looking through the windowed box alone would tell you that. However, I really wish this figure has that kamehameha blast/shooting effect and not just this one (like in this photo) where it made him like he's about to throw his signature move. Still it is a decent accessory that create for those moments, and it's fun to use while you try to get him in that pose.

Surprisingly to me, Gokou's interchangeable parts are the ones I had fun with the most. He's got a total of five (5) different facial expressions also creating those moments with the most common one (of course)- the stern look. He has the angry face with readable lips ("kamehameha"), two (smiling faces), and a face which looks as though he's in trouble (Gokou in trouble? How??). Also, he got five (5) different pairs of hands- a pair of fisting hands, finger-spreaded hands, flying/saluting hands, the "kung fu-move" hands, and lastly, his gripping hands that can hold his maturing kamehameha. Plus, there's a bonus- he got the one hand that do his teleportation move! The amount of accessories is just mind blowing!

Articulation-wise, the amount of joints is a lot and mirrors that to the amount of accessories this figure has. Gokou's neck is on a ball-joint which lets his head to rotate and pivot side to side. Sadly, his head can't look up very well. He's got another joint at the lower part of the neck that allows his head to move forward. His shoulders are on double ball-joints with an articulated shoulder pads for extensive movements. There are swivel at the biceps, double-jointed elbows and ball-jointed wrists on his arms.

Moving on to his torso, Gokou got this double ball-jointed waist made special for these S.H.Figuarts DBZ figures that allows him to lean at any angle and rotate 360 degrees. With his belt suspended around his waist, it doesn't hinder articulation. Just like the waist, his hips are on a double ball-joints. He has swivel at the upper thighs, double-jointed knees, rotation plus pivot around the ankles and hinged toes. The only articulation that I want this figure to have is a bootcut rotation which would have been useful.

To the tip of his hair, Son Gokou stands 6.3 inches tall and unfortunately not ideally in scale with some of the Marvel Legends figures. If there is one word I'd like to describe this Son Gokou action figure, that word would be AWESOME! Right now, this is the best Son Gokou figure out there that can't probably be beaten. If you're a fan of the anime and want to start your Dragon Ball collection, you may wanna include the S.H.Figuarts Son Gokou by Bandai for it's something you might wanna love.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Samus Aran: Metroid- Other M (Figma)

Figma Samus Aran
If you're one of those guys who haven't played Metroid back in the late 80's and still hasn't played it today because you just don't wanna get yourself a Nintendo Wii, then you're like me- clueless as to who this Megaman wannabe is while thinking that this character is a dude! Who would have thought this hero is a heroine when every part of her body is covered? If your eyes are not as keen as that of a hawk, then you wouldn't notice those lovely curvaceous waist and butt, and those long slender legs. Samus Aran is right up there on the list of top female video game characters along with Chun Li and Lara Croft! She's probably the answer to Capcom's Megaman, and Figma's finest video game figure it created.

Personally, I think this Samus figure needs interchangeable heads where I can switch between her ala-Master Chief type of helmet and an unmasked version showing her pretty face. Instead we got five (5) different interchangeable left hands- three (3) of which are somewhat unnecessary like the "thumbs-up" hand, the "high-five" hand, and the hand that's sort of holding a melee weapon or something but not sure where I could use it because she doesn't come with any wieldable weapon! It's interesting! The clenched fisted hand and the "relaxed" hand which can also be used to hold and stabilize her arm cannon are those I like best.

And speaking of that arm cannon, it comes with two (2) different interchangeable nozzles- the standard one which has a narrow diameter, and the more aggressive type which has a wider diameter. Also, with these comes two (2) different pink translucent blast effects that are interchangeable. Both blast effects can fit right into any of those two nozzles, but I always pair up the aggressive type with the double-shot blast effect because to me, it makes more sense. Moreover, Samus Aran comes with the infamous Morph Ball which (you might know) is what she's gonna turn into when she's dashing and charging like a crazy bowling ball. And like all Figma figures, this figure also has the ever useful Figma clear stand.

Besides rolling herself like an armadillo, Samus has the ability to fly at short distances thanks to these jet boosters behind her shoulders. No flame effects to go with it unfortunately, but the sculpt on this figure is pretty game accurate. Based off from the 2010 Metroid game, Figma didn't miss on the very important details like her big rounded shoulder guards, her pointy knees and ankles, and the overall contour and shape of her body armour as well as the line works that gave rise to her unique design.

When it comes to paint application, this figure can be almost compared to a brand new car! Other brands or toylines may give you that sloppy paint job with colours overlapping at each other but you can't see that with this Samus figure. Not only that I'm impressed by its consistency and tidiness but also with the addition of gloss and a few glitter dust coating the figure. It's done masterfully and I got no complains about it.

The articulation on this figure is more than enough to allow plenty of natural poses. Samus' head is on a ball-jointed neck that lets it rotate, lean side to side but sadly due to the nature and size of her chest armour, her head can't look up. Her shoulders are on double ball-joints that allows full extensions of the arms and articulated shoulder guards to keep them out of the way. Elbows and knees are on this "disc-type" of joint almost works as a double-joint! There is no waist rotation but a diaphragm joint/swivel filling the role. Samus' hips are on that ball and socket type of joint that gets her to kick at an ideal range. She has upper-thigh rotation and ankle rotation with pivots.

Without further ado, let's have a Super Smash Bros. scenario- Link vs. Samus Aran! Both are in good scale as they were made by the same company. Nothing could probably give you that excitement, especially if you're a huge fan, to see your favourite game characters made into plastic. For non-gamers and action figure collectors, you will still love the Figma Samus Aran not only because of its playability and design, but also it has that adult collector value in it. Honestly though for me, I love playing with it.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Hawkeye (Marvel Select)

Marvel Select Hawkeye (Classic)
While we wait for Hasbro to get their own version of the Classic Hawkeye, which they have already confirmed to be released next year, I would like to do this review on the Marvel Select Classic Hawkeye that I had couple of years ago. This Hawkeye action figure is probably the one that Hasbro should compete with because, personally, I think this is how we should envision when we talk about a Classic Hawkeye and Diamond Select Toys brings that to the table. This Hawkeye surely hits the bullseye!

The figure delivers Hawkeye in his classic blue and purple outfit accurately. And when I say accurate, it means that as if he almost came out from the pages of the 1960's or 70's comic books. He just looked clean with no obvious paint defects. It's pretty interesting that while we see most Marvel Select have some good eye-catching paint jobs, the Select Hawkeye didn't get the same treatment but the simplicity still worked effectively. There's a little paint wash and shading going on but you can't really see it. The exposed fleshy parts are solidly painted with one colour that's consistent all through out.

From a distance, a Classic Hawkeye can be easily recognized by his three basic features- the ala-Wolverine type of cowl with the "H" at the front, his chain mail chest armour (reminiscent of Classic Cap's), and his loin cloth along with the utility belt. The attire and body are sculpted authentically to the source material. By the looks of his overall physique, there is no doubt that he got relocated to a gym. The musculature is not too lean nor too bulky; it fits the athletic-type superhero.

For accessories, we begin by looking at Hawkeye's weapons as these are his "superpowers" so to speak. Note that the quiver straps are glued across his torso and so it's irremovable; also making the quiver at his back locked in place, albeit rather you can use the quiver to store all his arrows into its cavity except for the arrow with the explosive tip and a Janet Van Dyne (a.k.a. Wasp) sitting on it. While this quiver may gave that illusion of a dozen purple arrows, Hawkeye only use and carry four (4) of them- a regular arrow, two (2) "headless" arrows (which I will get into later), and the "Wasplosive" arrow that just got mentioned.

Hawkeye's bow is the only accessory he has which I hate unfortunately. Everytime you pull its rubbery string, the bow bends in this awkwardly twisting sideway movement instead of naturally curving back. Furthermore, the string doesn't go far enough across his chest leaving you no choice but to have him neutrally hold it. But the base stand is what I am astonished about!- it gives me a preview of what the ending of the Avengers: Age of Ultron would look like. So this is where we use the headless arrows- put each of them into these bullet holes of a slain Ultron minion.

Marvel Select figures are considerably not very poseable. They are action figures with a blend of being statues and so as this Hawkeye. The head is on a ball-joint but interestingly it cannot do an up-down movement. The arms have ball-hinged shoulders, single-jointed elbows, and wrists that can only rotate without the flexion. He got waist swivel and ball-hinged hips that allow his legs to move forward and back without the loin cloth getting in the way (because it's a pliable plastic). The legs got swivel at the upper-thighs, single-jointed knees and hinged ankles. Sadly, no rotation at the boot area!

I'd say this is a must-have Marvel Select Hawkeye since this is the only Hawkeye we got from this toyline that renders that original comic book version of the character. I am a huge fan of this classic outfit and I like how Diamond Select Toys had done with his paint and sculpt. However, I wish they could have executed the functionality of his bow properly, and wish that they are not too stingy with the articulation. But overall, it is a great figure with a price that's affordable.

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 piñata 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.