Friday, March 23, 2012

NECA Evil Dead 2 "Farewell to Arms" Ash action figure review

Ever so often a movie comes along that's so campy that it transcends the boundaries of good taste and gains a cult following almost overnight. Sam Rami's Evil Dead series does just that. NECA has the license and has given us the film's hero Bruce Campbell a couple of times as the hero Ash as he appears in Army of Darkness. Now rewind to the film that started it, Evil Dead 2. What happened to Evil Dead 1? Don't ask.

Ash stands 7" tall the same as NECA's regular movie/game characters and has a very detailed sculpt. The headsculpt is one of shock and surprise, instantly recognizable as Bruce but the eyes seem a tad too large or perhaps the iris too small. The shirt, pants, shoes, everything is perfectly sculpted down to the individual stitching. He actually has a fully sculpted and articulated chest under the shirt which is a separate piece. This is so they can use the body for his torn-shirt Army of Darkness appearance later. The shirt can't be removed without tearing the glued seam tho.

Paint work is phenonemal as is with most of NECA's offerings. Ash is sweaty, his shirt soaked from the muddy water outside, grimy hand, dirty pants, you can tell he's been through the wringer. And to top it off he's lost a hand! The bandage on the right arm looks musty, he'd better change it soon. Ash's face is bloody and there is both tampograph and hand-painted effects there. It's a nice blend of techniques and works for the look. The black around the eyes is is well done and bring out the surprised look along with the detailed open mouth.

Ash's upper articulation is great. A wonderful ball-jointed neck, shoulders, elbows, and wrist(s) allow for some nice poses. Not Marvel Legends double-jointed range but enough. His waist turns, or rather his hidden upper chest. The lower body is a mix of V-crotch with cut thighs so he can at least get into a run/crouch with ball ankles helping. With the previous Ash figures having static legs this is better than nothing and NECA added it towards the end. The left hand is a bit loose but still works to hold his accessories, tho it needs a separate trigger finger for the shotgun. Get your X-acto knife out and fix it easily.

Speaking of accessories Ash comes with a severed hand, alternate right arm with the corrupted hand attached, shotgun, and axe. The axe has a sickly green goo splattered over it and the shotgun is well detailed/painted. I like the fact you get an extra hand because the sculpt of the bone/tendons is there where it was cut off. Not so if you unplug the one from the extra arm, which you still can.

What's the verdict? This is a great likeness of Bruce and is much more articulated than the previous ones for around $15. There's three different Ash's in the set including a Deadite one and AoD version. Buy all three and you can swap pieces between them to give ash both regular hands and get all his accessories like the Necronomicon. Our sponsors Big Bad Toy Store have singles or the set of the first two and you can snag them on Amazon.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Marvel Legends 2012 Fantomex, Captain America (bucky cap) Figure Review

Didn't series 1 of Marvel Legends just hit stores? Yes and series 2 is already here. It's a good year for ML fans and here I cover two of the more anticipated figures in the Arnim Zola wave Fantomex and Captain America. This version of Cap is where his sidekick Bucky takes the mantle after Steve dies. Fantomex is a techno-organic being with 3 brains that can create illusions and spits out a symbiotic flying saucer.

Fantomex's sculpt shares the same body as the 2-pack Forge/Wolverine. His head and coat (movie Nick Fury) are removable but his belt isn't. Neither is Cap's so Hasbro may be moving away from cast-off gear. His sculpt is a detailed athletic one, the coat looks great and it's the same as Movie Fury's. Tho he has no rocker ankles you can still get him into some nice wide-stance poses due to his coat supporting him from the back. Everything is double-jointed and has great range.

Paint for Fantomex is sharp and clean with 0 slop. He's primarily cast in black and white plastic with no shading but there are sections with those colors painted. You can't even tell it's so nicely done. His accessories are two nicely detailed silver pistols with extended clips. They store perfectly in his holsters and fit great in his hands, able to wield them in any direction. What's also nice is that when you take off his coat his arms still match the body so you can display him both ways.

Cap is a brand new sculpt and a REALLY nice one at that. He has both the Marvel Legends style articulation but borrows the new diagonal hinge ankles and cut-thigh from Marvel Universe. From his stern expression, textured boots, and muscled body, it's all new. He comes with a removable knife, pistol, and shield the same as Steve Rodger's but cast in a darker red I believe. It pegs to his back and clips to his wrist nicely.

Paint for Cap is equally nice tho lacking the airbrushed shading of the first series. The metallic paint on the chest perfectly matches the metallic cast plastic of the head and shoulders. The star is centered and probably the first time I've seen a pec-cleft that deep without missing paint. Everything from the waist down is black plastic. The shield colors are nice and clean, as is the knife handle.

Articulation for Cap is amazing. Hinged wrists return, as mentioned the diagonal ankle that works so much better than a separate inner tilt, and the thigh cuts that get rid of the ball-hips but provide the same movement. Add an ab crunch with great range of movement and Bucky-Cap here could very well be the new standard in ML articulation. His head can look nearly straight up as well.

Each figure in this series comes with a mini pamphlet about Arnim Zola's backstory and trust me, you'll probably need them. I thought I was a diehard Marvel junkie but know next to nothing about this guy. Fantomex comes with and arm and Cap comes with a leg. The packaging is done in the same cool style as the first series and I'm digging it. There's 3 different variants in this line, Spidy, Dark Wolvie (Dakken) and Madame Hydra/Masque. But also a variant torso for Zola that displays the Red Skull.

So what's the verdict? Well if you're a Marvel Legends collector you're probably already hunting these down. I'll review the rest when I find them but if these two are any indication, Hasbro is doing this line proud. Pick them up at our sponsors Past Generation Toys or Big Bad Toy Store so you don't have to hunt for them. I wonder if series 3 is right around the corner too?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Avengers: Iron Man Stark Tech Assault Armor

Once upon a time we saw test shots of some neat looking mech suits for the 3 3/4" line of Iron Man and War Machine. While they were cancelled for that line the suits were brought back for the Avengers line. Here we're looking at Iron Man's suit. War Machine's suit was repainted USA colors for Captain America and the only thing different is the chest hatch being round instead of triangular. Hey, I'm just happy we got these.

The suit stands 7" tall and the sculpting is pretty fantastic. All sorts of tech detail, armored panels, and Iron Man design is worked onto it making it look like a Hulkbuster armor of sorts. The inside of the suit and hatch are detailed too and show all sorts of cool circuitry. Even the add-on weapons, while most are hollow, have a great look to them. Open up the suit and you can fit the Iron Man figure inside nice and snug.

Articulation is pretty decent. The only thing the suit lacks is a bicep swivel, waist, and knees. But the range on the hips is ball-joint quality and the ankles is excellent, enough for a walking pose. Ball shoulders and wrists help with the upper body posing and the head is on a swivel. Articulation on the included Iron Man is better than I expected, upper body being the same as a single carded figure. But he has no ankle or forward hip movement, only side to side. But since his waist turns it allows him to 'walk' inside the mech when you move the legs giving it a good enough motion.

Paint apps are few but clean. There's some painted gold and silver sections, a little blue around the head, everything else is molded in color. The control hand-pods are clear blue. Paint for the smaller figure are equally well done which is surprising because pilot figures usually take a big hit in both articulation and paint. The weapons are removable but are sculpted to only attach one way. You get a shoulder cannon, wrist cannon (either hand), shoulder and leg missile pods. They look nifty but again, are hollow from the back.

There's a big hole in his back for something to attach to but the instructions don't show anything. Perhaps to a larger vehicle? Speaking of the instructions the borders and parchment-like colors are done 'Steampunk' style with gears and vintage designs instead of a current tech look. It shows how to put the armor on, add the figure, and fire the missiles from the two main cannons.

What's the verdict? This is a pretty cool addition to Iron Man's arsenal and with some customization could turn into a really neat 'Hulkbuster' armor. Our Sponsor Big Bad Toy Store has both Iron Man and Captain America's assault suits separately or as a set. You can also find these anywhere Avengers products are shown but they're actually selling out which never happens with the vehicle types. It just goes to prove both kids and adults must like giant robot suits!