Friday, December 21, 2012

Figma Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword Link action figure review (Max Factory)


I just want to get that out of the way before anything else. Apparently a lot of people are breaking their swords and figures trying to force the handle in to Link's cold plastic digits. You must heat the hand up so the fingers become flexible to put the sword in. Don't listen to 4chan's /toy/ board about 'dipping the hand in acetone' or 'putting it into the microwave'. They're just a board full of trolls looking for a laugh as you destroy your figure. Now, on to the review!

The Legend of Zelda series is one of the longest running video game series by Nintendo and there's scarcely a figure to be found of the main character Link...until now. Max Factory has created the hero in fully articulated form under their Figma series. It's an import figure so you'll need to track it down. But is it worth the effort? Let's find out!

Right off the bat you'll notice the excellent sculpting here. Link's face is clean and smooth, his tunic wrinkles, boots, and belt sections all done with precision care. His hair (both sets) is sculpted perfectly as are his tiny earrings. Link has two sculpted pouches on his belt and a hoodie-tip that are also true to the game. Sculpted fingerless gloves look great on each of the extra hand sets as well.

Link's articulation is pretty nice. He doesn't quite have the range of a Marvel legends as only single inner joints are used but you can get him in to some pretty amazing poses. There's no bicep swivel but the elbow swivel combined with the ball jointed shoulder give you enough range. A great neck joint, toe joints, and hat-joint let you recreate most any pose you'd need.

Paint applications for Link are clean but lacking. Everything is done in a matte paint with the joints and skin tone molded in color. But without shading or line detail to separate the colors everything looks a little one dimensional. A skilled customizer could fix this with a very thin brush and some acrylic paint however. Paint work on the weapons is excellent with the Master Sword getting a dual-metallic tone and every bit of the shield painted including the handle and strap.

The accessories that come with Link include two faces and hairstyles, tho the other hair is barely different being ruffled a bit. I would have liked to see another accessory like a pot or rupee instead of the hair. There are four pairs of hands to choose from and a great looking sword-slash effect that slips over the sword. The Master Sword fits into a scabbard which plugs on to Link's back and a clear plastic stand is included for intricate poses. The shield's handle and strap unplug so you can fit them into his hands.

As I mentioned before you will need to heat his hands up to get the fingers flexible enough to slip the sword in. The pommel is glued on and while some may be removable you could easily loose the small nub if you try to remove it. Additonal accessories such as rupees, bombs, and heart pieces can be found with the Phantom Hourglass gashapon or the Windwalker pvc figures. These are pretty much to scale with Link and look neat.

What's the verdict? If you're a Legend of Zelda fan then this is the best Link available. It's the 'available' part that's a pain however. He was pre-orderable at Ami-Ami and Hobby Link Japan but is out of stock. You can get him on Ebay and on Amazon at a premium. He's pretty scaled to your normal 6" action figures and can help fill out your video game figure collection.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

NECA Half Life 2 Gordon Freeman action figure review

NECA is known for its single-character lines and the one character people have been waiting a good 14 years for has finally arrived, Gordon Freeman. Hero of the Half Life video game series his horn rimmed glasses and beard have almost become a cult trademark. Here NECA brings him to you in their 7" Player Select scale. But is it the figure that's been sought after for more than a decade? Let's find out.

The packaging is classic NECA, a rectangular clamshell with nice graphics and a quick bio on the back. Once you get the figure free of the single twisty tie (yes only one) the sculpt really stands out as downright amazing. Each fiber of the mesh undersuit is clearly defined. The pockmarked HEV suit armor sections look realistically weathered. Gordon Freeman's headsculpt is quite realistic, but not as young as the game's source material. The Lambda Complex symbol is sharp looking and even his gloves have tiny seams sculpted on the finger edges.

The  equally impressive paint applications help accentuate the detail put into Freeman. Different washes for grime, blood stains (or perhaps a very red rust), and highlighted weathering make for a very realistic look. Gordon's glasses are painted cleanly which is a real task these days. His hair and beard are cleanly applied and the overall application of paint is something to behold making this figure look like a tiny high-end statue.

Articulation for Gordon is astoundingly good. While the shoulders and knees may not get past the 90 deg angle this is the HEV suit design, a protective suit not meant for leaping and crouching. Gordon's neck, wrists, torso, and ankles are all ball jointed allowing for great poses. His hips are a modified V-crotch but with DCU hinge-style/swivel hips which work perfectly for sitting positions. Basically anything he'd be doing in the game can be mirrored here.

The accessory department is where you truly get your money's worth. Freeman comes with his crowbar, an extra set of different gripping hands, bug bomb, gravity gun, and yes, the all important Headcrab! The gravity gun, bug bomb, and crowbar are all nicely sculpted and painted with the same attention to detail Freeman is. The Headcrab excels beyond normal accessory status with both front pincers articulated and a sculpted inner mouth. The inner mouth is removable revealing a larger chamber so the Headcrab can fit on another figure's head.

So what's the verdict? I'm not one to gush over action figures given my picky nature but here I feel like I've just ripped off NECA paying under $20 for this figure. And that's how you should ALWAYS want to feel when you purchase a figure, like you received MORE than your money's worth. You get an amazingly sculpted/painted/articulated action figure, a bunch of accessories, and one accessory that can be combined with another figure. Gordon Freeman is still available at our sponsor Big Bad Toy Store and is currently selling out at all the Toys R Us store.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

NECA Prometheus Engineer (Chair Suit & Pressure Suit) action figure review

The Aliens movie franchise has seen its ups and downs before but so far NECA's offerings have been nothing short of spectacular for the series. Here we take a look at the Prometheus Engineer action figures both in Pressure Suit and in Chair Suit (Space Jockey) forms. The packaging is classic NECA with a quick move bio on the back and some cool 'Weyland Corp' logos on it for homage to the company in the movies that sponsors everything.Out of the package the figure stand over eight inches tall!

Sculpting is fantastic for both figures. The lighter colored Pressure Suit Engineer is done in classic Geiger style, bio-mechanical-exo-skelenton-ish. There's amazing detail in the texture, ribbing, and ports all over the body. The headsculpt is quite accurate to the movie which is basically a bald Roman-esq nosed human. The lower waist is a softer pvc and hides the hip joints while not restricting the articulation.

Sculpt for the Chair Suit Engineer is super detailed with even more texture done in a raw earthen metal style. There's all sorts of segmented bones, scaling, and the headsculpt looks downright frightening. Both the upper and lower torso are covered in a flexible plastic. The snout of the layered snout of the helmet looks really nice and there's hoses running from the back, torso, and legs. The shoulder joints are so well hidden you can't even tell they are there.

Articulation is excellent and -every- joint is either a universal joint or ball joint, no v-cut hips or swivel joints here. You can get 90 deg of motion or better from the elbows/knees of the Pressure Suit and almost that of the Chair Suit. Both have great ball-jointed necks, waists, and ankles. Both figures can be put in a decent sitting position making me hope for a Space Jockey chair at some point, tho it would have to be pretty huge.

Paint work is exemplary for the figures. Pressure Suit has a great murky wash over the entire body that fades out near the hands and head. The eyes and face have painted detail that really makes the ivory plastic look great, almost like real bone. The eyes are especially life-like with a creepy stare. Chair Suit is primarily a black plastic with gunmetal and silver highlights. It's really well done and brings out the rough texture perfectly. NECA really hit the mark dead-on with these paint apps.

Unfortunately there are no accessories this time around. I would have liked to see a worm-snake-arm-hugger or maybe a canister of the ooze but we got two great looking figures and no problems with them. Their joints are very sturdy and most are very well hidden with the sculpt. Scale seems to be in 6" as the Engineers were quite a bit taller than the humans in the movie so these should work well with your current figure collection.

So what's the verdict on these figures? They're solid awesome toys and if you're a fan of the Aliens, Ridley Scott, or Geiger's designs, get them. For around $15 these are much larger, detailed, and exceptionally painted than the regular fare on the shelves. Our Sponsors Big Bad Toy Store and Past Generation Toys has them and on the pegs at Toys R Us.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Transformers Generations Springer & Cliffjumper Toys-R-Us/Asia exclusive action figure review

The Generations line of Transformers has been going strong for a while now and in Asia there's been a release of repaints with new headsculpts. Three classes have been released in Voyager, Deluxe, and Scouts. Here I take a look at the deluxes Springer who shares the Tomahawk mold and Cliffjumper who shares the First Edition Transformers Prime Cliffjumper mold that wasn't released in the USA. The packaging is bilingual as are the instructions.

Sculpting on Springer is the same as Tomahawk who is a cool looking assault chopper. Unfortunately Springer doesn't have a secondary vehicle alt mode but a savvy customizer can fix that with some wheels. His headsculpt is dead-on Springer and the mold has a very classic feel to the character. You may notice his feet are mistransformed in some pictures. If you weren't a fan of Tomahawk's bird-toes and you can flip them around different ways.

Cliffjumper's sculpt is excellent. The body is a First Edition Cliffjumper down to the black plastic placement. I don't own the original so I can't comment on the shade of red but it has to be close. Both hands fold up to reveal great looking tri-guns. His mold is detailed and like Springer's works for a 'classic' feel. Cliff's head has the trademark horns and domed-sides. There are some odd mold lines and off-set plastic on his lower legs where they meet the knee but it's not too jarring.

Articulation for Springer is excellent with a ball-jointed head that can look almost straight up. His elbows are somewhat limited in their range but his shoulders and legs make up for it. Springer's hands and waist are static. Cliffjumper on the other hand has double-jointed elbows, also a great ball-jointed neck, but his knees don't bend to 90 deg unless you shave some of the red plastic paneling from behind them. He has limited side-ankle movement as well.

Paint for both Cliffjumper and Springer is crisp and neatly applied. The silver doesn't go all the way against the sides of their faces however and may need to be touched up. Cliffjumper's rims, bumper, and headlights look great as do Springer's wing stripes, rotors, and yellow sections. Light piping for the eyes on both figures is excellent due to the back of their heads being molded almost entirely in clear plastic.

Transformation is your basic deluxe style tho Cliff's is a bit more complex being a First Edition mold. Their alt modes are a red muscle car and attack chopper. Both are previous molds and look great. Springer is the only one with accessories and include two C-clamp and 5mm peg missle pods but also his sword. The sword is nicely detailed and has two 5mm pegs, tho you will need to swap a missile pod to the back of the chopper if you want to store it in helicopter mode. While I would have liked to see Cliffjumper with a giant gun just the fact we're getting this mold in the USA is good enough for me.

So what's the verdict on these figures? You probably won't get another chance to get a First Edition Cliffjumper mold in the USA and with some effort you could swap the US release Prime Cliff's head on if you had a spare ball joint. This is also my favorite version of Springer so far and the inclusion of his sword was an excellent choice. You're going to have to hunt these down at Toys R Us or wait till Cliffjumper and Springer are back in stock at Toys R Us' website as they aren't immediately searchable anymore. For Transformers fans this will be a hunt. Wheelie and Swerve are the other deluxes in the assortment followed by the scouts which are showing up.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Takara Beast Saga (Battle Beasts) Kingdom of the Sea action figure review

You remember Battle Beasts, those miniature, brightly colored, animals in tech armor produced in 1987? They were a hit with kids and now collectors alike. Finding the vintage ones has been tough (and expensive) but Takara has brought them back with "Beast Saga". This is not to be confused with Diamond Select's "Battle Beasts" which only uses the name and has no ties to the originals, using humans in its storyline. Beast Saga is Battle Beasts redux and available through import only right now.

The factions remain the same, Land, Sea, and Air. This set contains three sea-faring creatures in the form of a shark, piranha, and coelacanth (a living armored fossil fish). Each stands a diminutive two and a half inches tall and resembles the animal in an anthropomorphic design. The sculpts for these are beautiful, every scale, tooth, and knight-like armor bit done in soft pvc but very sharply cut. The Coelacanth's armor looks like it was built from a submarine with little torpedo ports on it.

Paint work is not what you'd expect at first glance, the different colored arms/feet of the characters are actually plastic color and glued on to the armor. That which is painted however is very cleaning done like the facial details and airbrushed faded fin colors. How they were able to do that in such a small scale baffles me.

Articulation is only four points, the shoulders and hips. But considering the old Battle Beasts only had moving arms I suppose this is an upgrade. The main feature of these is the shooting dice in the chest that has replaced the rubsigns of old. The square design will strike a familair chord with collectors and the back plunger has an angled 'light piping' allowing the main symbol to glow, a nice touch. Different battling dice are included but everything is in Japanese so I was at a loss as to how the game is actually played.

The dice-shooting feature works well and once the back plunger is depressed it's not as obtrusive, just a blackish/blank square as if its rubsign wasn't active. Each Battle Beast comes with two signature accessories, a weapon and shield that can be held in either hand. They're sharply detailed but very soft plastic, softer than the figure itself and bend easy.

So what's the verdict on these little guys? Battle Beasts enthusiasts rejoice! These are great recreations of the originals and feature excellent designs. They're small enough to work with in scale other mini-figs (Such as Glyos or Minimates) and are pocketable fun. At eight bucks each they are a little expensive but you have to figure they're imported from Japan and you always pay more for that. Out sponsor Big Bad Toy Store has a whole slew of them and blind bagged figures that are cheaper with the chance of secret characters. So if you love Battle Beasts these are the closest thing we have to the originals in a new format, snag some and learn to read you can play the game!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Transformers Prime Rumble and Sergeant Kup action figure review

Heads up, there's more brand new Transformers Prime characters coming out that we haven't seen in the show yet. First we got Hot Shot and Dead End, now the latest wave brings us Rumble and Sergeant Kup. These are Deluxe class figures and come with a DVD in the package as well. Kup is actually a repaint of Ironhide's mold that is being released for the Arms Micron line overseas.

Sculpting for Rumble is great with an angular chest and rounded limbs. Tho unpainted you can see sculpted back guns on the door panels that stick up, homage to the original character. His chest appears to be a very angry face and flipping his head down gives him a 'Gunmen' look if you're familiar with the anime series Gurren Lagann. The car roof kibble on the shoulders also looks very familiar with the series. Rumble has a great headsculpt and overall appearance.

Sergeant Kup's design is taller with nice detail and a windowed chest paying homage to the old Ironhide design, not so much Kups. His head is partially obscured by his shoulder armor and resembles a robotic monkey upon closer inspection. His body design is nice tho he has empty spaces that can be seen in the sides of the legs and bottoms of the arm. I liked how the tires face backwards out of the way in robot mode. There also seems to be tiny Autobot symbols on his hubcaps tho they're not painted in.

Both figures are done in the newer style though some folks have issues with the 'cost cutting' features. The wheels are no longer pinned in but snap in. This gets rid of the silver post we're use to seeing and it's very easy to remove the wheels if you need to paint one. The plastic is very glossy in contrast with the more subtle semigloss of the earlier figures. Every major limb is hollow and while great for range of articulation and ease of transformation, raises complaints from many in the Transformers community.

Articulation for Rumble is surprisingly nice. His legs are so well done you can get him into a 'Spiderman' style crouch. His ball jointed head can look directly up and the only thing he's missing are a waist cut and wist joints. Kuphide's head while on a balljoint is completely limited and functions only as a swivel. His hips have good range of movement but his shoulders are stopped from moving all the way up because of the armor.

Paint apps are few and far between with only a little bit of light green and silver-green for Kup. Frenzy has a lot of clear red sections with excellent light-pipe eyes/headcrest. He sports some yellow here and there but in vehicle mode is pretty much a blue compact. Both characters in vehicle mode suffer from unpainted rear sections which really detract from their overall look unfortunately. Transformation into the alt mode is quite easy however as most parts fold/unfold as the main parts.

One issue that's being brought up is Kup's back hatch that is very distracting in robot mode as it sticks up. All you need to do is pop it off and turn it around tho some feel this is 'partsforming' and should have had a swivel at the base. Accessories for Kup are two Ironhide-ish arm cannons that can combine to form a bazooka. Rumble's weapons are his ground-pounder attachments with the ends styled like cannons of the 3rd party Shadow Warriors. It's nice to see Hasbro using the designs of figures that copy their designs, coming full circle in an odd way.

What's the verdict on these figures? Unless you're a Kup completest or like the mold you can probably skip him. Rumble is a visually distinct figure with great articulation and may strike a chord with fans of chest-faced-robots. You can find both figures at our sponsors Big Bad Toy Store and Past Generation Toys. It's interesting to note the much sought after Vehicon is repacked in this case and also comes with a DVD so you may have luck finding him again.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Marvel Select Ultron action figure review

If there's one foe of the Avengers who keeps coming back for more it's Ultron. This nearly indestructible, self-replicating, agent of destruction has given them more trouble than any one villain I can think of. After years of waiting for a Marvel Legends scale classic version (we got a smaller Marvel Universe one) Marvel Select comes through with the Ultron we've been waiting for.

Sculpting for Ultron is smooth and clean. This is his classic design and doesn't have a bunch of crazy panel or armor sections as previous versions did due to 'artistic visions' had by the designers. The armor lines are nicely cut into the sculpt, not just painted on. Ultron has a great open 'gesturing' right hand and closed left fist to threaten with. A great looking open mouth and sharply sculpted ear-fins make for a great look here.

Articulation is excellent. Ultron has a ball neck with great range of movement, ball torso, cut waist, ball shoulders, two bicep cuts (one at the shoulder and one at the elbow, tho this gives his biceps the 'spinning meat' effect) ball hips, double jointed knees, and the perfect 45 deg ankle rockers. You can get some great crouching or hunched over poses, even the look from the Bowen Ultron bust.

The paint work is a little hit and miss. Here in the photos he looks really shiny but the silver is more of a matte in hand. There's darker shading airbrushed on him and the lines are a bit sloppy, you may want to snag some silver paint for touch-ups. His eyes and mouth are a nice metallic red tho I'd have liked to see some black Kirby-bubbles in there or at least an energy effect to mimic it. Still he's a nicely done silver robot and sports the look of classic Ultron with attention to paint detail where it counts.

Ultron stands at seven inches tall which basically puts him in Marvel Legends scale seeing as he's often drawn larger than the heroes in the comics. He will fit right in with your other Avengers figures and look pretty vicious doing so. Ultron comes with one accessory, a base with broken arrow shafts littering it and an unconscious pair of Ant Man and Wasp figures, tho they can't be removed. The base is well done and the paint work looks nice.

So what's the verdict on this android of destruction? If you're an Ultron fan he's a must-buy and will make for great custom fodder with his simple and fairly smooth design. I do wish he came with more extras like the upcoming amazing looking Venom figure but he's a good figure none the less. Our sponsors Big Bad Toy Store has him as does Past Generation Toys. Snag him up and have some Avengers battles!

Final Fantasy Creature: Kai volume 4 trading figures review

When one thinks of the Final Fantasy series it's more than just the characters that stand out in your mind, it's the amazing creature designs as well. Here Square Enix brings us a boxed set of five creatures in 3" format. The set includes the Omega Weapon, Bahamut Fury, Exdeath, King Behemoth, and the vile Malboro. They can also be purchased individually but are blind-boxed and only available overseas.

Right off the bat sculpting for these little guys is absolutely incredible. The detail put into these is akin to a statue that has been miniaturized through some magical means and turned into a perfect representation of the character. Every armor plating, tendril, weapon, and claw is rendered. There's sharp points on every figure and you can easily put a hole through your foot if you were to step on one.

There's no articulation because these were meant to be mini-statues so let's focus on the characters. Omega Weapon looks menacing with his half beast lower body and a skilled customizer could easily give him some purple tones and make an Ultima Weapon, the more popular of the two. Exdeath's clear billowy cape and amazingly detailed scrimshawed armor are done expertly and he has a swirly magical base with a crystal on it.

Bahamut Fury is the tallest of the bunch and has great mechanical-style wings with two clear green gems that light-pipe really nicely with back lighting. The clear crystal base is also cool looking with a cloud-swirl inside the middle orb. King Behemoth is brutal looking with a long tail that wraps around his base and a sword-crest on his head. A skilled customizer could remove the sword-crest and make the creature hold it like it does in the game during battle.

Now let's cover the nastiest creature in the bunch, the Malboro. In the game these things usually spelled the end of your party as it coughed up all sorts of toxic status ailments and poisons. The toothy maw is sculpted beautifully as are the tendrils. You can even see he's sitting on a pile of skulls and weapons, a testament to this nasty little fellow. As gross as he looks the Malboro is still the more popular creature in this series.

Paint work on these Final Fantasy creatures is nothing short of perfection. Each one is airbrushed and given intricate washes of color to bring out the details. Some feature opalescent metallics and fade-to-clear metals like Bahamut's wings. Sitting on your desk these figures look great and I really wish they made current larger scale versions of them.

So what's the verdict? While you may not like the Final Fantasy Play Arts Kai figures these smaller creatures look great. Remember they're only about three inches tall but that's a perfect size to put on your computer or car's dashboard. Our sponsor Big Bad Toy Store has various sets and you can snag individual ones from larger selections on Ebay and Amazon. Series 5 has the Bomb and Alexander, two more fan favorite characters so you may want to preorder them!