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?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Walmart exclusive Movie Thor and Loki Marvel Legends Review

Available at USA Walmarts right now are the Thor and Captain America movie figures in your favorite 6" Marvel Legends scale. I'll be covering Movie Thor and Loki in this section but there's other figures in each series, some new and some repaints. Starting off with Loki you'll notice he looks downright pissed. This is a great headsculpt that really shows off his dark nature. The grasping left hand is great for those "I SHALL RULE THE WORLD!" poses. He clocks in at 7 1/2" too which makes for a pretty tall villain.

Loki's back fur is removable and technically so are his fur boot cuffs and waistband if you heat them up. See, that's the Hulk Classics Doc Samson body underneath with extra parts added on like Hasbro is doing with the Marvel Universe line. Re-using bodies is fine except Loki's thighs don't have a swivel, making it hard for him to sit. Instead he gets an Indian-style sitting position. But if you're going to just have him stand there and look tough this isn't an issue.

The paint work on both the Thor and Cap A are truly awesome. It's what we remember Marvel Legends being like when ToyBiz had them. There's wash on the body, fur, highlights on the muscles and face, and drybrushed highlights on his furry cloak. Everything is detailed and the re-release figures (Ultimate Cap and Blob-series Battle Thor) are painted SO much better than the original ones they're worth picking up again.

So with Loki out of the way we move on to Thor. This is Chris Hemsworth and he stands at 7 1/4", way taller than your regular Marvel Legends. In fact he's almost the same size as the Marvel Select version and much more articulated. He has cut-hip swivels like the Marvel Universe figures, a first for the ML line if I'm correct. Everything is super poseable tho and works for getting some amazing poses out of him.

I like the helmeted head but wish he came with an un-helmeted one as well. You might be able to use the Marvel Select alt head for this with a little Dremel work. The sculpt on Thor and Mjolnir is sharply detailed. From his winged helmet tips to the super fine tread on the underside of his boots, this is one well sculpted figure. His cape has a great texture to it as well. Mjolnir looks equally impressive.

The paint work on Thor is quite nice tho the helmet is missing any sort of wash, almost like it was a last minute addition. Everything else is painted and has some sort of shading on it like the very subtle tones on his cape. His scale-mail sleeves are highlighted to look like floating metal plates. Even Mjolnir has a great wash that brings out the detail and battle scuffing on its surface.

So what's the verdict? At $14.99 each which seems to be the running price of 6" figures now from all companies they're great figures. The other re-released figures in the set actually have more paint apps than these and are worth the price too. The scale might turn some collectors off but we are talking about Thor and Loki, two Asgardian gods who are portrayed at different heights in the comics, Loki especially being able to shapeshift. This will probably be your definitive Loki for the moment seeing how absolutely badass he looks. So run down to your local Walmart and pick them up.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Marvel Universe Scarlet Spider figure Review

Spiderman has gone through a lot of changes over the years, none so controversial as the whole clone thing that read like a bad soap opera. But one good thing to come out of it was the Scarlet Spider costume design, a red suit with a blue hoodie. Here we have SS in 3 3/4" scale in the Marvel Universe series. I really wish they'd make one 6" scale because this figures shows how well they could do it.

Scarlet Spider has great articulation since he sports an updated MU body that has the better torso and cut hips. Still no rocker ankles and only single joint elbows so far but it's still the better MU body and works great here. You can get SS into the spiderman poses you need and still have him look great. His head is on a decent ball joint as well.

Sculpting on his hoodie and costume accessories are excellent. They're all removable too if you pop his different joints off carefully, with the exception of the hoodie. You could remove that too if you peeled the glue from the side seam however. Basic body sculpt and paint is on par with the current MU offerings, a great wash on the hoodie and sharp details on the eyes. The spider symbol is nicely done as well.

If you like the Scarlet Spider design then hit up Past Generations Toys because he's selling out everywhere. They also have harder to find characters like X-23 and Steve Rogers. With Marvel Universe exploring a whole lot of characters you can add Scarlet Spidey to your collection as the first decent version of him we've ever had. Just watch out for clones and Jackals. They end up making a mess of things.

Bandai Ultraman Ultra-Act: Glenfire figure review

I'll admit I don't know a lot about Glenfire or the Ultraman Zero movie from which he hails but I am familiar with Ultraman. This character shares similarities in costume color/design and combined with a bunch of flames was enough to win me over. The Ultra-Act series are similar to Figuarts in design and articulation. They're like the Marvel Legends of Japan. Right off the bat the figure looks great in packaging and inside shows off his multiple hands and accessories. Open the tray carefully because the hands will spill out.

Glenfire stands 6" tall and has some really nice sculpting. From the fire crest (which can be replaced by a larger one) to his costume tech, it's finely detailed. His accessories are also wonderfully sculpted with a real flame-look to them that's often difficult to capture in plastic. The hands swap out with some practice. They're hard to pull off and you have a moving ball joint that adds to the difficulty of putting them back on. Articulated fingers may have helped here. His toes are articulated but unfortunately cause stability problems since they're rounded on the bottom.

Articulation is a mixed bag. While he sports more articulation points than a Hasbro Marvel legends not all of it is useful. Mainly because the internal hinges in the shoulders/hips can pop free easily when you pose him. Solid ML style ball hips/shoulders would have helped here but careful posing and he shouldn't give you too much trouble. His double jointed limbs give some great range of motion too.

The clear suspended orb in the middle of Glenfire's chest is really neat looking, as are his fire attachments. One is the fire-fist that replaces his hand and he also comes with two fire-staves. The larger one is unfortunately very heavy and falls out of his hands rather easily. Find your balance point. The other one is easy to wield and looks cool as well. Detach his smaller crest for the larger one and he looks like he's ready to do some damage.

Back to articulation, Glendfire and his double-ball-jointed-everything can strike up just about any pose you need but the balance issue with the feet may limit that. He has a plug in his back that can be removed, I'm guessing for a stand (not included) which could help with holding a pose. His paint work is basic solid colors with some very subtle dark shading on the red. You may want to apply a light gunmetal wash to his tech sections to get that great detail standing out.

So what's this guy going to run you? About 2,320 yen at Ami-Ami if you act now which is about $31 with the current high exchange rate. But if you want a 6" scaled flaming superhero with a bunch of neat fire effects this guy is pretty awesome. I've heard about issues with the first series of Ultra Act figures but this one seems to have cleared up any issues. Snag him and battle some baddies.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Walking Dead Officer Rick Grimes; McFarlane toys review

Rick Grimes hails from the comic turned TV show "The Walking Dead". Basically it's zombies 24/7 and the group of people that try to survive. Rick is your small-town sheriff that stands at 5". Yes, even tho these were marketed everywhere as 6" figures they're that odd Halo 3 scale. I guess Master Chief has a hunting buddy. But let's skip the scale and get to the figure which is actually really nice as I don't want to harp on the issue.

Rick sports almost Halo-style articulation like dual-ball neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, and ankles. His hips are swing-out just like Halo and work well enough for what they're intended. He won't be crossing his legs anytime soon but you can get him into most poses. His waist turns and he can hold some of his rifles in both hands. The joints have little ratchet lines on them and look kinda odd close up but you can bend his arms and hide them.

The sculpt of this figure is excellent. Every winkle, seam line, police badge, and pouch on his belt is done in perfect detail. Open his jacket and you'll see his name plate and shirt badge too. All his accessories are sculpted perfectly and the shotguns/rifles have nicely designed stocks/barrels. Rick was sculpted in a leaning position then given articulated so his left leg is a little longer than the other meaning you'll need to lean his hips to make him stand or bend a knee. This isn't as off-putting as it sounds.

Rick comes with five guns, a sack to hold them in, and a hatchet. His pistol and hatchet fit on his belt and the guns in the sack, then the sack on his shoulder via the oddly placed hole right on his jacket. That could have been moved to the back. So the figure can carry everything he comes with. Even his holster strap snaps over to keep his gun in. I really like the detail of the weapons and how they're not just molded in color but have details like the slides painted.

Speaking of paint, the entire figure is painted head to toe. There's highlights and shadows on all his clothes, a nice flesh tone with stubble, a bloody bandaged right hand, nice gold badges on his clothes and hat, you name it and they painted it. This leaves you with a very nice looking figure. And it better be nice looking for $20 toys r us is charging. I hope he'll be cheaper at Walmart but don't know if this line will show up there. I mean you're getting zombies that have pop-off limbs, one with an exploding head feature, and another with a torn-away-guts-hanging-crawler action. This is both amazing and mainstream-ewww at the same time. Rick's eyes are painted in a look-to-my-left position so take that as you will.

So there you have it. Rick's guns are scaled for Halo and some of them will fit Marvel Universe figures. The Punisher would do well here. Rick is scaled odd but he's a really decent figure that's painted great and articulated well. But we're getting a whole line of pop-apart, gut spilling, brain-exploding zombies. I'll pick more up if they're around $15 elsewhere as $20 is hard to swing when it doesn't match anything you already own. Man, if only these were Marvel legends scale, McFarlane would have sold so many for the accessories alone..

DC Universe Wave 19 Magog action figure review

If you've read the Kingdom Come graphic novel (and you better have) then you know who Magog is even if you haven't caught his appearances in the regular comics. Cabl...I mean Magog stands 6" tall like the rest of the DCU and has a brand new sculpt for every part of his body. I particularly like the sculpt of the organic golden sections growing out of his skin, pants, and boots. His waist gun is sculpted on to his belt and can't be removed unfortunately.

Magog's paint apps are what you expect for DCU with a light shading on his flesh tones and a wash of dark brown on his belt and pouches. His boots could have benefited from a wash but like the rest of him are solid colors. The gold is nice and neat, shiny and smooth. His ram horns are shiny gold and look pretty nifty. You can even see the tiny scars on Cab...Magog's right eye and his mouth-line is painted in, uncommon for a DCU.

Articulation for Ca...Ok let's get this out of the way. Magog is DC's visual version of Marvel's Cable. Pouches, shoulderpad, kneepads, webgear-pants, metal left arm/body section, and a right eye with a star-scar. I simply can't unsee that. But anyway articulation is what you'd expect for a DCU with a better tilt neck joint. His shoulderpad fringes are flexible to allows his arms plenty of room. Mattel got rid of the rocker foot joints and that's all he's missing.

Overall Magog is another fine addition to your DC Universe collection and comes with a hard plastic staff and a chunk of the S.T.R.I.P.E. build a figure robot. You have to collect all 6 figures to make STRIPE but that's where you'll pause. because each figure will run you $18. While I want a giant red white and blue robot I'm torn between the characters I'm not interested in and the $100+ it will cost to end up with them. Though the golden age Sandman is in the set. I'd get him too. Magog the Cable clone, he's waiting at a Walmart/Target/Toys R Us near you.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Transformers Cyberverse Autobot Guzzle action figure review

Transformers Cyberverse has plenty of already Deluxe and above sized guys such as Optimus Prime and Megatron but there's also the G1ish gems like Powerglide thrown into the mix. Another such character is Guzzle who hasn't been seen since his G1 Sparkbot toy. He's a green tank that turns into a yellow chested robot with some rather large limbs.

Guzzle has some pretty decent articulation for a Cyberverse like ball shoulders, elbows, hips, moving toes, tho his head is restricted to barely a swivel. His knees are jointed but more of an unfolded transformation, still they do the job. Guz's long reach is great and he can grapple other figures like a wrestler. I wish the giant cannon folded down over his shoulder but it can be swung out of the way.

Detail, detail, detail! Guzzle is loaded. His head is tiny yet you can see the inner eye detail and beak-like mouthparts. All over his body is excellent detail and on his alt mode every rivet is pronounced. His paint is pretty good too tho a wash would have really brought out the detail. Like his G1 form he has a bright yellow chest and tan/silver sections.

Tank mode is nice and compact. The turret doesn't rotate which may be a deal breaker for some. His gun comes in two parts and the larger section folds allowing it to be held in both hands, one hand, or split up on top of the tank. There's lettering on the sides and it looks like a great little military green tank. Overall he's a great little pocket-sized character like Powerglide and I hope Cyberverse starts to focus on the lesser known characters like Guzzle.