Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Superman Man of Steel Movie Masters Faora and General Zod (Kryptonian Armor) action figure review

With Superman the Man of Steel movie climbing higher on the charts the first series of 6" Movie Masters figures are beginning to disappear from the pegs. Fortunately there's a new wave to restock that contains an older General Zod in Kryptonian Armor and his right hand lady, Faora. How do these figures match up with current and past offerings? Let's take the review train to Krypton!

Sculpting for Zod is pretty impressive. The headsculpt appears to be an older version with a beard this go around but what really sets him apart from the first version is the incredible armor. Its overlapping scales are detailed and tech-looking with just the slightest hint of a 'Aliens' in the design. Zod's black undersuit where it shows through the armor has the same micro-texture as the rest. The helmet Zod comes with looks fearsome, like an organic breather unit and I swear the face took cues from a Storm Trooper if I look close enough. A great tattered cape rounds out Zod's look.

Faora's sculpting is equally as detailed with nice armored sections, tho less of them, and gives her a Medieval look with the shoulderpads and elbow armor. More of her undersuit is showing and there's lots of micro-detail on that. This doesn't appear to be her combat armor as the clips from the film show her with shoulderpads that are the same size. Faora's face sculpt is pleasant to look at with strong features, tho with certain paint apps missing it looks more like the actor without her makeup on. Her cape is more textured than Zod's and looks great draped behind her. Faora has a non-removable blade on her left him as well.

Paint apps for Zod consist of his armor molded in black with silver drybrushing over the edges to give it a worn appearance. His helmet is the same way with the top fading to clear. I would have liked to see more highlights on his lower arms and legs but perhaps that's the way its suppose to look. Faora Has more color to her with lots of bronze highlights and an airbrushed cape as well as Zod. But she's just woken up and forgot to put on her black eye-liner and blue contacts. Without this distinct look there's definitely something missing about her wearing the armor and being Faora.

The articulation for these figures varies with high and low points. Zod has now standard Movie-Master articulation missing ankle rockers and an ab crunch, only having a cut waist now. His armored skirt gets in the way of his leg articulation and only allows him a 20 deg range of motion unless you feel like cutting the straps/plates away that sit in front of his thighs. Zod's shoulder pads are part of his arm so there's no hindrance when raising his arms. He even has separate trigger fingers indicating that he may have been styled to hold a weapon at some point. Faora fares much better in articulation range except that her shoulderpads are part of her torso, tho they are flexible and don't stop her arms from moving up very much.

Accessories are scarce once again here. Zod comes with his neat removable helmet and base, Faora only coming with her base. She has a sculpted knife on his left side but can't wield it. With clenched fists it wouldn't do her much good anyway. You'd think with her knife play being part of her character she'd have something to hold. Some of the other Movie Masters come with things like shackles or a prop-like Kryptonian command key.

So what's the deal with these two galactic fugitives? They're pretty neat armored figures especially Zod with his Vader-esq appearance. A little paint on Faora's face would go a long way and a good customizer can fix her right up. Our sponsor Big Bad Toy Store has them all for preorder (or perhaps in stock by the time you read this) and Amazon is also an easy way of snagging them. They can also be found in stores but keep selling out as the Movie Masters series is the only decent line of Man of Steel figures out there for retail.

Monday, July 1, 2013

NECA Pacific Rim Jaeger Crimson Typhoon and Kaiju Knifehead action figure review

Pacific Rim looks like it's going to be the movie of the summer. Giant robots vs giant monsters with giant special effects going on. Did that robot just pick up a battleship and use it like a baseball bat? Yeah just take my $18 now. NECA toys is on top of things with the license for this hopefully epic throwdown by offering us a line of 7" figures and an 18" Gypsy Danger. Here we take a look at the three-armed Crimson Typhoon and the four-armed Knifehead. Are they cool? Let's find out.

Sculpting for the Jaeger Crimson Typhoon is decent but somewhat soft around what is supposed to be straight-edged mechanical sections like the arm framework under the armor. This is because the entire figure is made from PVC like all of NECA's 7" scale offerings. It's hard to grab giant-robot-detail in that material but they did a fairly good job of it. The mono-eye is great, the clawed hands, and curved outer armor are all captured well enough. There are a lot of seam lines on the larger left claw

The Kajiju Knifehead's sculpt is really nice as it deals with monster-like
detail. Fleshy folds, claws, and razor sharp looking teeth stand out along with the large blade-like protrusion from its head. The leathery skin looks very detailed but there's some sort of one-directional 'mesh' design covering it almost like someone laid a cloth over raw clay. The figures were supposed to have been created directly from the movie's 'digital files' so perhaps this is some sort of pixel or wire framework leftover? It's only noticeable up close and everything else about Knifehead like his tiny eyes and flipper-tail look perfectly monstrous.

Articulation is a mixed bag between the two figures. All of Crimson's main joints like his hips/waist/shoulders are double-ball-jointed allowing for excellent flexibility and rang. The legs are single hinge as are the arms and he lacks bicep or wrist swivels meaning you'll need to rely on the shoulders to turn the arm slightly. It's not terrible but NECA could have done so much more with the articulation if they had just given it ball-in-cup or just more ball joints like they usually do.The lack of tilt ankles hurts the leg posing.

Knifehead's articulation is severely limited to a hinged jaw, cut shoulders, hinge elbows, cut/ball hips, hinge knees, and a bendy tail. You can tell this was a direct-from-stature articulation job as there is gapping on the neck and elbows instead of a fluid sculpt around the articulation. The hips while having a ball joint in them have such small range outward it's more like a cut joint tho you can still get a little extra pose option here and there. I would have loved to see some head/neck articulation as that is THE most important joint to give a toy personality while posing. The bendy tail works great and the plastic isn't too rubbery or too hard, it's just right. His front arms are static and I really wish they could be posed.

Paint application for Crimson is molded in color brick red that's been darkened up by a dirty 'oil wash' with the inner sections black using silver highlights. Tiny tampograph Japanese names, symbols, and tech detail really help the look. Make sure you compare paint jobs because I saw some with plenty of slop around the eye and waist. Knifehead's paint is excellent. The sea-worn greys it uses, gloss black claws, and mouth give the figure a screen-worthy look. The yellow lines that run across the skin are too thick and clean compared to the screen-look of the Kaiju where they run across the body in a more natural way. Still Knifehead will fit right along side your Godzilla figures.

So what's the verdict for these two figures? I didn't pick up Gypsy Danger yet but Crimson Typhoon and Knifehead are a good start to the series. They both have heft to them so you feel like you're getting your money's worth. While they could have been better articulated (a skilled customizer could replace a lot of Crimson's joints with Revoltech ones) these are some pretty cool giant mecha vs giant monster toys. You can snag singles or better priced sets at Amazon with free shipping in most cases or find them at our sponsor Big Bad Toy Store along with other great movie merchandise. I'm really REALLY hoping this movie does well and from all the trailers and interviews it looks like it will. Hopefully we'll see all the Jaegers and Kaiju done by NECA this year, hopefully seen at the 2013 SDCC.