Thursday, August 25, 2011

Marvel Universe Cable action figure review

Marvel Universe is an ever expanding line and almost has more characters in it than Marvel Legends. Cable is in one of the newer assortments hitting and there's two different ones. Cable with Baby Hope and Cable without. Hope attaches to his chest and can be swapped out with a regular chestplate. Cable comes with two guns that store on his body, a cool spear, and the baby if you're lucky.

This figure is one of the newer bodies or at least seems like it. It has the sought after cut-hips and double jointed knees. The articulation is amazing, especially the ankles which are the most perfect I've seen on ANY figure. By putting the peg at a 45% angle in the foot it turns side to side and is hinged forward to back. This allows him to take any running/kneeling/sliding pose you can think of and I hope Hasbro copies this with all their figures.

Cable's paint work is clean and fairly detailed. His skin has a nice wash to it as does his arms, the yellows/browns on his armor really look nice, and there's small details like the X insignias that are crisply painted. The red line work on his costume is spot on and I'm hoping this is the standard for MU figures in the future. They look like tiny Marvel legends that we know and love for their larger 6"scale.

One neat thing about Cable is that everything is removable, even his kneepads that would seem like part of the sculpt. This is so Hasbro can reuse the base body for other characters and doesn't have to pay for a brand new sculpt. This means you can effectively 'customize' your Cable by adding other 3 3/4" scale (GI Joe sized) weapons and armor. Well, that is if you can find a tad bit larger offerings from those lines.

See, oddly enough Cable is huge. He's taller than any Marvel Universe figure I own, taller than Juggernaut, Thanos, Dr Doom, even Colossus. This is kinda weird seeing as Cable isn't a hulking brute in the comics and if I remember right stands just an inch or so taller than Deadpool. Still, he's an excellent Marvel Universe figure and I recommend him if you're looking for a Cable figure to fill out a spot. Now if only he came in a Marvel vs Capcom 2 outfit...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Transformers Human Alliance Jazz action figure review

Jazz was the one Autobot that didn't survive the first movie which was a real shame. The Human Alliance Jazz with Captain Lennox (or rather a small human figure with large black dots for eyes. He's no Josh Duhamel) gives us the best version of the movie character to date regardless of his short screen time.  This is both a blessing and a curse because tracking him down is quite difficult for some and paying a premium on the secondary market is even more difficult for others.

Jazz's alt mode which is a Pontiac Solstice is quite nice, if not marred by a few more panel lines than I may have liked. But the overall styling and paint apps are far better than the deluxes we've gotten. Lennox can be seated inside or on the motorcycle that comes with. The bike doesn't turn into one of the Arcee sisters but rather Jazz's Gatling gun that fires a missile

When you transform Jazz you're in for a treat. The transformation is easy to do yet complex enough to be interesting. His robot mode is voyager-class tall and really surprised me seeing as the car didn't look that big. It also has more articulation that you can beak-dance too and basically has double-joints for the elbows/knees, only missing waist and ankle rockers to be marvel-legends type articulated. You really don't see this much articulation in most transformers. Even his collar-bones move and turn into little blasters.

Speaking of weaponry Jazz comes equipped with all sorts. A Predator-type shoulder cannon swings out over his left shoulder, he has hidden kneecap blasters, and of course the motorcycle-cannon that can be attached to either arm when you fold his claws down. Human Alliance figures can right on his left shoulder, on bike in both vehicle and cannon mode, and in his legs to operate those kneecap guns. Seriously, it's in the instructions.

But the one feature for me that tops them all is his hideaway visor. Depress a small tab on the back of Jazz's head and his blue visor snaps out of sight under his forehead exposing his real eyes. It works really, really well. It doesn't affect the neck articulation at all and I wish more features like this were incorporated into Transformers figures where you could give them different looks/expressions.

If you're after an absolutely excellent Human Alliance Transformer then Jazz is your bot. Excellent design, awesome articulation, and all sorts of hidden weaponry make him stand out among the other HA figures. He's just now showing up at TJ Maxx and Marshalls so you should check there first. Jazz is showing up on Ebay more frequently for decent prices if you want one there and Amazon is another option to score him. I highly recommend you don't miss out on this figure!

Friday, August 19, 2011

DC Universe Owlman: Crime Syndicate of Amerika action figure review

Sitting on the shelves at your local Walmart is a very large 5-pack of figures exclusive to the retail chain. It's the DC Universe 'Crime Syndicate of Amerika'. Yes, they spelled America different. There's 4 other figures in it but all you'll really want is Owlman who is not the same as the Owlman from the Watchamn but rather the older brother of a deceased Bruce Wayne from a parallel universe. Wat? Don't worry about it.

Thomas Wayne aka Owlman is really spiffy looking. He's basically dark blue with black airbrushing in the muscles with gunmetal armor and silver highlights. This makes for an incredibly sleek looking character that reminds me of the 90's superheroes that were all Shadowhawk-ish. Or maybe that was just Shadowhawk. Either way Owlman looks as good as the prototypes we saw at the SDCC which is rarely the case.

He's the only figure in the set to come with an accessory too, a little owlrang I suppose. It's made of flexible rubber just like his cape so it kinda warps in his hand. Speaking of the cape it hangs beautifully from his shoulders and drapes over his arms in any position you put him in. The sculpting for his helmet is great as are the bands around his arms and legs. Even his belt is neat looking with an owl-faced buckle. Deadpool would be jealous.

Owlman's articulation is the basic DCU style seeing as they used a basic body with two exceptions. One, his head can actually pivot up and down on what appears to be a new neck joint, unlike the old ones that were solidly affixed in the neck. The other is that he's lacking ankle rockers. All the figures are. This limits the wide-legged stance you can put him in unless you steal an older figure's feet and swap them on.

So what's the catch? As I mentioned earlier he's part of a 5-pack set that's a Walmart exclusive only...and one that will run you $75! That's $15 a figure with only one accessory and no build-a-figure parts. For some that's just too steep. Your options are to buy the set and sell the extra figures on ebay to recoup some of your loss or just buy Owlman separately on Ebay at a premium which may be the smarter thing to do. Some sellers in Singapore/China have him for $20 buy it now but those are snapped up fast and then resold the same week for around $40-$50. Who knew he was this popular? Maybe we should start printing out Owlmoney.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Lion-O, Bandai Thundercats Classic action figure review

Thunder, thunder, and you know the rest. Bandai has delivered us a slew of new Thundercats merchandise and Lion-O is part of the 8" line. You can find Tygra as well and I picked Lion-O up at Toys R Us for $20. First thing you notice is the classic feel to him. He looks as if he stepped out of the 80's cartoon and comes with two Swords of Omens, claw gauntlet, and an extra pair of hands.

The gauntlet snaps on to his left wrist or you can attach it to a strip that hangs from his belt. The smaller sword fits inside the glove even while he's wearing it which is a cool touch. The larger Sword of Omens is sculpted great but is made of soft rubber instead of plastic. What Bandai? Really? This means it droops if you try to have Lion-O hold it up.

Lion-O's sculpt is spot on and he feels pretty heavy standing at 8". This means he can battle your GI Joe Sigma 6 figures but not much else. The paint work while basic solid colors is sharp with very little slop. The Thundercats symbols are perfect and the belt looks quite nice. His eyes are great as well.

So how is the articulation? Pretty near perfect. He has ball joints for his neck, shoulders, hips, waist, and wrists. Single elbows but double knees allows for plenty of posing and he does indeed have rocker ankles. If my original Thundercats had this kind of articulation maybe I wouldn't have buried them in the back yard. He can hold the Sword of Omens in both hands which is a plus.
Expect to pay $20 retail or more if you have to order him from online retailers. Also expect the Sword of Flexible Material to droop and bend with him just standing there. But if Thundercats is part of your childhood and Lion-O was your hero, this is the best year for collectors of the genre and this is the best Lion-O figure out there. THUNDERCATS HO!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

iGear Toys Kup01 head set review

There's a lot of controversy surrounding 3rd party manufacturers now that they're creating complete versions licensed characters. But what they also make is add-on kits that require you to go out an buy a figure from Hasbro first. This is viewed as acceptable by most standards and being reviewed tonight is iGear's Kup01 head set.

The heads, two of them, come in a cool little plastic box with a foam insert and tiny screwdriver. The box lid has iGear's logo on it and the plastic is the exact shade of the Hasbro Generation's Commander Kup's darker chest/waist plastic. It's quality ABS too, not flimsy like most knock-off toys are made of.

Both heads have a great detailed sculpt to them and one sports a 'Cy-gar', Cybertron's version of cigars that Kup sports in the comics. The second has a slightly different mouth shape and no Cygar. The screwdriver isn't anything special but looks nice, like one of the ones that comes with those Tech-Deck finger skateboards. The paint work is crisp and clean as well, quality stuff.

It should be noted that the front of the head doesn't actually hold the head on the neck post. Only the back attaches so you really do need to take the head completely apart when attaching it. The head snaps together pretty securely without the screw as well. Since this is the case I wonder if they could have saved money by just including a second removable front half.

For $12, the price of the hasbro figure itself you get two heads, a box that can sit in the back of Kup's vehicle mode, and a little screwdriver. If you really hated the zombie looking head that came with Kup then this you'll probably want this and I can recommend it. You can pick it up from iGear's site for $12 free shipping but it's coming from Singapore so it will take a few weeks. For $2 you can snag one off of Ebay from a US seller and get it faster.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

RedaKai, Conquer the Kairu: Harrier action figure review

I stumbled onto Harrier when I was browsing Toys R Us and found the RedaKai figures all alone on a peg near the Marvel figures. They appear to be one of those card-game-based-figure lines made by Spinmasters. Some of them project 'Blast 3D' card effects through their chests. Harrier doesn't have this feature, instead he comes with a large pair of wings and a feather sword.

Harrier's design is solid and doesn't look like anything else out there. He's 4" tall and well sculpted with all sorts of angled features on him. The wings are particularly well done and his menacing clawed hands along with crow-like head really scream avian. You can pop off his wings if you wish and they rotate. His sword is clear green and fits fairly well in his hand.

Harrier's articulation is also pretty good with everything ball jointed or hinged. His legs pop off a little too easy but that's a minor point with the only waist and ankle articulation missing. I was able to get him into a few cool poses and the huge wings help with the coolness factor. Judging from the other figures on the pegs they all look fairly posable and that's always a plus.

The paint apps are well done with very little slop though I noticed from the back of the package figures with silver on them were shown having a mirror-chrome finish. This isn't the case on the pegs, rather the silver being swapped out with a regular matte silver paint scheme with some sort of black wash.

The game card he comes with is actually quite cool. It's a lenticular card, meaning when you tilt it the animation kicks in. You can see through most of it but the 'sniper sight blast' moves around. Apparently you slide these cards behind the smaller light-up figures or in the backs of the larger figures and it projects the animation. Nifty.

Harrier was $10 which seems a little high for a 4" fig and the 7" ones were $20. But for large green wings that just scream "Marvel Universe Vulture custom" I caved and bought him. Check out the RedaKai at Toys R Us and K-mart, that's where I've seen them so far.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Marvel Universe Apocalypse action figure review

Apocalypse has always been one of the big baddies of the X-men/Marvel universe and now he's available in the...uh...Marvel Universe. The ever expanding 3 3/4" Marvel line has Apocalypse in the newest wave along with Cable, Gladiator, and some others. The sculpting on him looks nice from his nasty expression to the intricate armor sections. Hey, is that a cod piece?

Yep, Apocalypse shares the same body, upper arms and legs as Juggernaut with newly tooled other parts and armor glued to him. He's taller thanks to the new lower legs and feet which along with the hands are Marvel Legends scale practically. Custom fodder anyone? There's also an assortment of hoses that run from his back and arms.

For being so large and stocky his articulation is great. You can get Apocalypse into most poses and everything is balljointed including his ankles. The arm hoses kind of get in the way of Apoc reaching straight out as they tend to tug his shoulder pads forward, or arm backwards. They could have been a little longer.

The paint work is nice enough. Good metallic blue/silver and some black wash in the muscles to bring out the body detail. Some panel lining in the armor would have been nice to see but you can do that with a brush and some black paint. Apocalypse is fairly imposing but I wonder if his head is too big for his body. A smaller head would have made him look all the more buff.

So what's the verdict? Well if you're collecting the Marvel Universe line especially the X-teams, get him. He's a big hunk of posable plastic and kinda hard to find. Amazon has him of course and if you're lucky he'll be in stock at HasbroToyShop, tho he keeps selling out.