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.