Saturday, December 31, 2011

GI Joe Cobra Trooper "Zombie Viper" Review

If you haven't noticed Zombies are all the rage these days. From the Walking Dead show/comic to countless independent and mainstream movies, these shambling corpses are here to stay. Now feast your eyes on what has to be one of the coolest GI Joe yet, the Zombie Viper. Here we have a truly horrifying Cobra Trooper that's been given Compound Z, a mysterious chemical that turns them into these creatures.

Right off the bat you'll notice the extreme attention to detail. Every boil, wart, suit tatter, and chunk of hanging rot is perfectly captured in tiny 1:18 scale. The face is really well done and has a gooey, mindless look to it. There are removable sleeve sections that can be easily lost so be careful. But they look great hanging from the arms. The removable harness is done great too and appears to have some sort of pipe bombs and detonators on the side.

Then we get to the accessories. TENDRIL LIMBS. That is all that's really need to be said here for you to snatch every one you see and army build. Pop off Zombie Viper's lower arms and these long, creepy, plant-like tendrils attach on. They look great and have five tendril-like digits. Mine say L and R but I have to reverse them to match up with the bicep sculpt. He comes with a helmet and container that plugs into it as well as the harness back.

The articulation for this figure is excellent as well. Both wrists have hinges so you can get all the creepy reaching poses. His bare feet have hinges and everything else is standard Joe articulation. A quick note, there are four ports on his back and three holes in his helmet, I suppose if you want to add more canisters tho he only comes with one. But with the army-building possibilities for this guy I'd say load one up with extra juice.

The paint apps on the Zombie Viper are really great as well. His whole body has a grimy wash to it as does his suit. Even the harness has a black wash making it look old and dirty. I noticed the card art shows ZV having dark hair but it's not painted here. Nor are his kneecaps being made from that unpaintable plastic. I suppose you could paint a few of these with different hair colors and mix up their look if you wanted.

So what's the verdict? Another must-have action figure especially if you're into the 3 3/4" scale. Head over to BBTS now and snag him because he won't be there for long. This is an army builder at its finest and I hope to see repaints or variants down the line with different heads or parts. Where else can you pit the Joes up against the undead? Er, chemically enhanced nearly-dead?

Transformers Prime Deluxe Starscream Review

Another 'First Edition' figure, Transformers Prime Starscream like Arcee is an incredible figure. When in alt mode he's slightly bigger than a Scout yet when transformed or 'unfolded' as the case might be, he's almost as tall as a Voyager class figure. I'm really liking this excellent use of space within the figure and the equally great engineering that allows for all sorts of twisting and folding of parts. I'm pretty sure every section of Starscream had to be turned around in some way.

His Alt Mode is a jet of some sort and it actually looks quite nice from the top, fairly alright from the bottom. Like all jetformers you can see robot parts underneath, Starscream's legs in this case. It's not terrible by any means and I was impressed they got the body to fold up as well as they did to make a jet form. This is the first time I haven't seen working landing gears on a TF and I'm really liking it. No obnoxiously large folding wheel sections, yay!

The articulation and range of motion Starscream has is incredible. He can bow, cross his arms, fold his legs, recline, lay on his side, literally just about anything you can imagine him doing. Everything is ball jointed and hinged save for his wrists, they don't turn, only move up and down. This is forgivable seeing you can rotate his arms all different directions in 3 spots. He comes with two missile clusters that fit on his forearms and under his wings. I kinda miss his null rays.

Paint work on this figure is top notch. There are all sorts of metallic colors, both painted and molded in color. Little sections of red adorn his body except they didn't paint his crest red and this may annoy some demanding show-accurate folks. I like the tiny sections of blue, only four of them that they could have easily skipped but were included. Starscream's eyes are painted red and don't light-pipe however.

So what's the final verdict? Buy this figure. Even if you're not a Transformers fan a super-posable slender, evil looking robot is just too cool to pass up. Have him sitting on your computer reading a tiny newspaper or pouring a cup of coffee. He has the articulation to do it. Have him stalking across your display shelves or hiding up against a wall looking over his shoulder. Snag him at our sponsors Big Bad Toy Store or Past Generation Toys for a great deal. The First Edition figures are already selling out everywhere and will be replaced by alternate molds later this March.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Boar Predator, NECA Movie Series 4 Review

Toy company NECA has produced some nice pieces over the years and now we're beginning to see some real amazing products from them. We're use to nice paint apps and well-hidden articulation but sometimes that articulation has been a little lacking. Not this time. With the 7" Series 4 Movie Predators we get a whole new slew of reptilian hunters ready to go on a big game expedition on your shelves.

With the Boar Predator you'll notice right off the bat it looks like a scaled down version of a Hot Toys figure. The sculpt is mindbogglingly detailed with all sorts of skin texture, armor tech, and individual sculpted accessories. His helmet is particularly nice with all sorts of pitting and hand-hammered style of detail. The leather armor is strung with fabric cord and the tiny skulls are really well done. This time the netting looks believable as part of the sculpt. His flying disc is well done and fits perfectly in his fingers, but that's the only accessory he comes with.

As paint apps go this figure is a thing of beauty. Different faded flesh tones mixed with a mottled black and orange look to his skin make him look quite realistic. A gloss is applied to only the lighter shades of flesh to give the Boar Predator a really unique look to his skin. Each dread is fully painted and the tiny bands on them sport a 2 color weathered look. Inside his disc carrier are tiny painted gears as well. Truly NECA went all out here.

But what about articulation? I'm happy to say NECA went all out here too. Their Predators now sport a ball waist, ball hips, and double-jointed knees so you can make them crouch. Along with the regular ball shoulders/neck/wrists, and elbows this allows for a full range of posing at last. You'll need to heat the ankles to get full motion out of them as I found out later but once you do it's near perfect articulation for your hunters.

The points of articulation are well hidden too with only the knee pegs slightly visible. Everything else fits snugly like a Hot Toys Predator. Now for a gripe. All the Boar Predators sport two lower left arms. Either way the piece is the same just flipped around so the bottom of the armor sculpt faces up and makes it look different. This was probably done to save on tooling costs and you really won't notice it unless you look underneath to see the armpad display.

I found out you can heat and pop the previous series Predator figure parts on so this gives NECA a wealth of different parts to mix and match to make unique figures. You could to this too, well except for the lower legs which are hinge jointed instead of plug-in. But that doesn't mean you can swap heads with your other figures for some cool looks. So what's the verdict? For around $16 you cannot go wrong. Amazing sculpt, full articulation, and great paint apps make series 4 look like they stepped off the screen. BBTS has them as a set or singles for a great price, or you can check your local Toys R Us as that's the only place I've seen them at so far.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Murderbee, aka: Cyberfire Bumblebee Transformers DotM Review

"Enraged by the betrayal of Sentinel Prime and the death of his teammates at the hands of the Decepticons, Bumblebee could no longer stand for Optimus' quest for peace. Too much had been lost and now it was time for vengance. Bumblebee set out on an energon-soaked quest to slaughter of every Decepticon in the universe starting with those on earth. With every spark taken his eyes began to burn with the endless fury of a warrior who had gone over the edge into the abyss. Murderbee had awakened."

Alright none of that was real... but it's what Cyberfire Bumblebee's bio should have read. As a rule of thumb Bumblebee repaints suck and yet this figure takes that rule and crushes it to scrap. The mold is the exact same as the 1st wave DotM BB right down to the Mechtech weapon. The kind blue eyes have been replaced by blazing red ones and he sports a fiery yellow black paint job. Somehow this is all it takes to create the most violent looking Transformer ever.

While alt mode is the same it sports the neat 'cyberfire' deco. Like most of the DotM deluxes it also has a secret stealth mode where you partially transform him to expose various c-clip and mechtech ports in vehicle mode. There's some neat blasters hidden in the roof as well. Add enough weapons and suddenly you have something out of Death Race which is oddly appropriate for this mold.

BB's robot mode is very well articulated and designed better than Nitro BB's. The ball jointed everything, articulated thumb, and locking hood really work nicely. The dark colors lend themselves well to the mold's sculpt. When you get to Bumblebee's face you'll find some of the brightest red light-pipe eyes staring back at you with an unbridled, eternal malice that cannot be reckoned with.

No matter what position you put Cyberfire Bumblebee in he will look like he's just torn the head off of Megatron and jammed it down Unicron's throat for kicks. Just holding him makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up and this is exactly the response a repaint should illicit, shock and awe. BB doesn't disappoint in this category and he feels like a 'violent future version' of the character where everything that could have gone wrong has.

His Mechtech weapon is the same as mentioned and works great, pulling back the hammer extends it in various places. But why stop there? Tack on every Mechtech, 5mm, or c-clip weapon you have. Now you have an Armored Black Ops Assault Murderbee. Barricade? Yeah he's over there, reduced to a pile of ashes in the corner. Too bad Megatron is dead because BB here would have liked to add another trophy to his wall, Predator style.

So what's the verdict? Do you really need another Bumblebee repaint in the sea of BB figures already on your shelf? HELL YES YOU DO. Big Bad Toy Store has him right now. You might even find him in a two-fer pack at Walmart if you're lucky. Track him down. Buy him. Put every Decepticon in a pile and have him sitting on top as he should be. Because this isn't your daddy's Bumblebee. This is Murderbee.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Transformers Prime Arcee Review

With every new Transformers show or movie we get a brand new line of figures and Transformers Prime is no different. Well, I guess that's not exactly true as they didn't give us just figures but rather plastic masterpieces this time around. Arcee is part of the Deluxe wave and stands a tad under 6". She's no longer pink and white like her G1 form but a nice dark blue and silver with some black thrown in.

Right away you'll notice her female form and what a form it is. The sculpt is gorgeous and she has some nice curves, er.. angles. Her face sculpt is really nicely done with sculpted inner pupils that show up when the light piping is activated. Petite hands and feet give her a graceful appearance and there's plenty of mechanical detail on her body that stands out with a little help from the paint apps.

Articulation is spot on. Ball jointed everything, double jointed neck and elbows, jointed wrists, swivel waist, cut biceps/hips, everything on Arcee moves. This means you can get her into some amazing sitting/crouching/leaning poses. There's no ankle articulation but that's not a real issue as her wide high-heels of sorts give plenty of stability in any pose. It strikes me as amazing they got everything to move on her!

Transformation into altmode is easy and part of the engineering masterpiece. Spin this, flip this, fold this, and you're done. She looks like a bike, not a folded up sexy robot. She's almost scaled for GI Joe/Marvel Universe figures, shorter figures will look fine riding her. Arcee's blades attach on to both forms and look pretty cool tho only one side of the blade is painted. Speaking of paint it's crisp and clean looking, her autobot tampo nice and centered like a necklace.

It appears all of the Transformers Prime figures have deceivingly small alt modes that transform into these full-sized robots. It's almost like mass-shifting and I'm blown away by how well it works. Combined with amazing articulation, sculpted, and engineering work, you should already be on your way to buy all of the Transformers Prime line. Our sponsor Big Bad Toy Store has them for preorder.

Something of note by the way, the packaging says "First Edition" and these initial run of figures will be different than the full release of the line in February 2012. There's different molds/versions of the characters and running changes seem to have been made. This First Edition is available to specialty shops and for a limited time at Toys R Us if you're lucky enough to find them on the shelf. The verdict, a must-buy for Transformers fans especially if you like the show!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Batman Arkham City Batsuit figure Review

The line of 6" DC Universe figures is ever expanding and we now have figures from the video game Batman: Arkham Asylum and Arkham City. Toys R Us has an exclusive grey and blue Batman with the black mask that pays homage to the classic Batman design. This appears to be one of the modded costumes you can wear in the game as well. He doesn't come with any accessories, but his hands are fists so he wouldn't be able to hold them either.

Sculpting is pretty decent. There's a nice carbon-fiber texture all over his main body, the armored boots/gloves are nicely done, and the belt is pretty spiffy looking too. The face/cowl looks stern and the cape hangs well. The packaging does a nice job of displaying the figure and is part of the Batman legacy line that's out. No Build-a-figure pieces here unfortunately as it only has 3 or so figure in it per wave.

Now, articulation..this is where the figure disappoints. The range of motion is exactly what you see in the pictures. Because of the design neither his elbows, hips, or knees, can achieve a 90 deg angle. He has all the points of artic that a regular DCU has but they simply don't work. No ankle rockers and no decent movement forward/back means you can't really pose him walking that well either. You'll have to carve a lot of plastic out of the joints to fix this, if you want to go the customizing route.

Paint is a mixed bag. I'm not thrilled on how bright everything is but that's the classic look for you. Its applied neatly for the most part and there's a light wash over his body that brings out the suit detail along with his belt. The blue doesn't have any sort of wash which is a shame because there's a lot of cool armor detail that can be brought out here.

The verdict? Unless you have some customizing skill and want to carve the excess plastic from every joint (which I did, and it works) he's kinda a statue. The design is cool and there's a black and grey version which you may prefer. Our sponsors BBTS carries all the Batman legacy figures at great prices and Past Generation Toys has some of the Legacy as well.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Skylanders Spyro's Adventure Figures Review

So the newest craze in video game/collectibles are the Skylanders figures. They're 2"-3" tall statuette pvc figures on bases. You put them on a portal that's a peripheral to whatever game system you have (Xbox, Wii, PS3, DS) and you can play as that character. As the character levels up the figure (some of them if not all) store the information and you can bring them to your friends house. This in itself is a pretty neat idea.

I picked up a few and though I don't have the game/portal device yet I'll just focus on the figural aspect of them. At first glance they're neat little collectibles. Prism Break has transparent crystal sections on him and sports a really nice weathered paint job. The eyes/glowing sections of the characters are airbrushed in and are really well done. Even the bases are hand-painted with washes and brushed-on highlights.

If you were hoping for articulation, sorry, these are little statues. But that doesn't get in the way of their charm. Each one is intricately sculpted, some way more than others. Hair buckles, scales, armor, it's all visible. Chop Chop the skeletal knight has tiny bone sections and a great armor design. For a 2" tall characters this is pretty impressive. His skull-base looks fairly menacing too.

Speaking of bases they can't be removed and that's where the info is stored. I opened one up, they're little foil discs with a tiny microchip embedded in them. On the bottom is the element/faction and surprise, they're made by Activision! For the video game company's first foray into the figure design/production they did a wonderful job. If only they were articulated!

The Skylanders will run you $7.50 or so for the singles, $20 for the 3-packs, and more for the portal/starter sets for your individual gaming system. However the figures can be used for any game system which means you can play on your Xbox at home and take the same figure for your DS on the go.

The verdict? I haven't played the game but lots of other people have and it's apparently works for single, multiplayer, and vs covering all the basic play types. Some characters are inherantly more powerful than others like the Legendary characters and some are store exclusives like Whirwind you see there. So head to Ebay to pick up the game system exclusives like Ignitor and Dark Spyro.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

NECA Robocop action figure Review

"Your move creep." Who is Robocop? You should know by now, officer Alex Murphy gets wounded (well killed) in the line of duty and brought back as a cyborg cop. There were three movies, two if you consider the last one a bad dream. Back in the 90's we had Robocop figures that fired strips of caps that ran through their back, remember those? NECA decided it was time to revive the Robocop name with a 7" tall action figure of our favorite cyber-cop.

From what I can tell matching up the figure with the movie designs the sculpt is dead on, so are the proportions. The helmet could be a bit more rounded at the bottom edge but that's nitpicking. THEM LIPS. It's all about the lips. If you don't get Peter Weller's lips down then you should just forget about it. Fortunately NECA blows us away with their ability to produce an excellent sculpt all the way around.

Articulation is pretty decent. Let's remember that Robocop was a slow moving tank in the movies. He punched through walls, shot things, and got in and out of cars. The NECA figure features a ball jointed neck, torso, and shoulders. Then there's hinge elbows, knees, ankles and a cut waist. The hips are kinda V-crotch kinda all joint because of the character design. Pistons on the ankles actually work. He can't punch the street like Iron Man but he looks great when posed.

Robocop comes with an alternate dataspike right hand that's easy to attach. It's hard plastic so careful you don't break it off. Also it can go right through your eye, awesome! One thing of note is that the nose is showing on some of the figures in package. No worries, that's an assembly error. Heat the helmet up and it peels off. Add some superglue and press it down further where its suppose to go. Very easy fix.

Paint is also excellent, a nice glossy silver with fading purple and blue hues that are airbrushed on. The lower face is painted perfectly and the black is all glossy with little slop. So what's the verdict? Get this Robocop if you love the character. It's the best version in a 7" scale and looks much better than its squiggly-lipped smaller Figma clone that was released later. Our sponsor BBTS has him for a great price and if you're really lucky you might stumble on him at a Toys R Us that hasn't sold out.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Walmart Exclusive Sideswipe Transformers Dark of the Moon Figure Review

Strolling through Walmart I stumbled upon a really brightly colored Autobot, Sideswipe. Normally plain silver he's been decked out as a Walmart Exclusive in dark blue and Spawn-eye green. I know what you're thinking, recolors are usually bleh but this one is quite good since he's the Sidearm Sideswipe mold. He comes with two allspark-blue guns and some neat features that make him worth picking up. 

Transformation is much simpler than his previous versions and his head is on a neat spin-n-spring up feature that hides it away in alt mode. Sideswipe has excellent articulation and a head that can look straight up. His knees are a little hindered by the black piston in the back and you can just cut it off for better range of movement. His little crotch pistons don't hinder his movement at all.

Paint is what's new here and man is it nice looking. The lime yellow stands out great against the blue and there's just enough silver and black to blend. Not sure why they made his guns and inner thighs bright blue but it's a minor quip. Sideswipe has Transtech symbols on him! This is pretty cool considering the line got scrapped and replaced by Amada...ugh. The giant Autobot symbol on his hood was a great touch too.

Sideswipe's feet can be spun around to recreate his skating action with his toes serving as hidden balance points in the back. In alt mode the gullwings of the car open up to deploy his guns or store them inside. These along with the hide-a-head gimmick make him really neat to play around with. However you'll have to find him first. He's a Walmart Exclusive so check there first or just save time by snagging him at Past Generation Toys seeing as he's been out for a while and everyone has snagged him up. Ebay is another option to find him. There's a repainted Bumblebee in the same exclusive wave but he's pretty forgettable seeing how he's based on the first movie mold we ever got.

Dr Who: The Silent, closed mouth action figure Review

The Silent (or group Silence) are one of the scariest monsters in Dr Who history and were created by producer Steven Moffat. Based off the painting of Edvard Munch's The Scream these creepy tall men were also explained as the 'Men in Black', causing people to forget they had seen them as soon as they looked away. Underground Toys' makes the Dr Who figure Silent with closed mouth.

Right away you'll notice the excellent sculpting on the head and hands, full of winkled alien texture. The suit is well done too with plenty of wrinkles and folds to it. The Silent's beady black eyes are deep set into the sockets giving it a very creepy look. There's different versions including one with an open scream mouth and one with lighting attachments like they zap people with in the show.

Paint work is really well done on the alien skin and make the Silent look withered with deep shadows and highlights. The suit is all one color, black of course, except for the inner shirt. Articulation has much improved with this figure and it's almost on par with DCU. Ball shoulders, hinged hips, cut bicep/thighs, only thing it doesn't have are ankle joints and the head is just a swivel. But that's a minor nitpick seeing as how they don't do any running around in the show.

The Silent is 6" tall so he fits in perfect with your Marvel Legends/DCU while the other Dr Who are unfortunately only 5" Halo sized. Watch the episodes The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon if you missed those to see these guys in action. BigBadToyStore has both versions in stock and you can find them loose on Ebay for a decent price.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Play Arts Kai Sneaking Suit Snake: Metal gear Solid figure review

If you're a fan of the Metal Gear Solid series then you may have heard about the new Play Arts Kai series of MGS figures. These are 10" super-articulated figures. This review is for Snake in his 'sneaking suit'. Right off the bat you'll feel the weight of this figure. All the parts are solid PVC not hollow ABS plastic. The design chosen from this figure is from the Peacewalker game but I hear we'll be getting the original game designs as well.

Sculpting is out of this world immaculate. Every fold, texture, web-belt notch, and buckle is rendered sharply in plastic. Snake's face is amazingly realistic and reminds me of a scaled down Hot Toys head. Of course these figures are only 2" off from being that tall. I really like how they sculpted the web gear on but made it look like a separate piece to the body. There's lots of little gold rivets that stand out as well.

The paint work on Snake is equally amazing with every level of shading, highlights, texture wash, and effect you could think of. His eyes and mouth have a realistic gloss to them that adds to his lifelike appearance. He comes with an extra set of hands, riot shield, twin pistols, and silencer that are really nicely sculpted and painted. The shield has different detachable straps so he can hold it different ways. The insignia on his shoulder and shield are crisp and readable.

Now for articulation. If you're familiar with the old 7" Play Arts figures then this is fairly close. You get ball jointed everything with basically a great range of movement allowing you to pose Snake however you'd like. However the elbows only bend 90 deg. And then there's the knees. For all the great sculpting when you bend the knees fully the inner knee joint is completely revealed looking totally bizarre.

This kind of design allows for the knee to fold all the way back but at a terrible price. Kai figures have inner plug-in joints like Revoltech for their knees and elbows but they double-jointed the joint itself and not the actual limbs. The Play Arts Kai figures are a whole different scale than anything else out there so they may look odd with your normal collection. Snake will run you about $40 plus shipping depending on what version you want. Ebay is a good place to find him as well as BBTS for about $50. So the choice is yours, will an amazingly sculpted/painted Solid Snake fit into your collection with weird knees and at a 10" scale?