Friday, January 10, 2014

The Amazing Spiderman 2 Marvel Legends Infinite Series: Carnage, Electro, Beetle (Green Goblin BAF) action figure review

Remember when Marvel Legends was just Marvel Legends? Each year they get more and more titles tacked on to them. Recently it's a great excuse to attach Marvel Legends to a movie title and get retailers to order that series. While there's only two figures in this series from the movie, don't tell Big Retail that! Here we take a look at some of the bad guys, Marvel's Electro, Spawn of the Symbiotes, and Deadliest Foes. To save money the names 'Carnage and Beetle' aren't on there so they can share the same package as Boomerang and Toxin.

Normally I skip the packaging unless it's something special. Well folks, it's something special. We now have COLLECTOR FRIENDLY PACKAGING. Open either side flap and slide out the tray. There's no twisties either. Some cases have the side flaps taped while others are open. The packages themselves are excellent looking. The black background is matte but all print and pictures are a slightly raised gloss. It makes them look like real collectibles on the shelf. On the back is a quick bio and pictures of the other characters (Black Cat, Superior Spiderman, and Amazing Spiderman) that make up the wave.

We'll start with Carnage first. His sculpt is based on the current body (US Agent, Black Panther, Hawkeye, etc) with brand new lower arms and legs. These have tendril wisps sprouting from them and even the feet are new. Carnage's head and hands are classic looking and the claws are flexible enough to grasp objects. There is no raised sculpt on the body, the black lines are paint but that's how he appeared in the comic anyway.

Carnage's articulation is top notch and the range of it allows for dynamic leaping/slashing poses. Like the other figures reviewed here he can look almost straight up or down thanks to a vastly improved ball jointed head. Everyone has the new tilt ankles! His paint work is primarily cast read plastic with clean black squiggles. His face has the pink inner mouth and is equally cleanly applied. His accessories include a 'tendril backpack' that attaches to him or any of the other figures with a port on the back for strangling-spawning-action!

Electro is supposedly Jamie Fox's character in the new movie tho the headsculpt looks like a generic bald human and nothing like the actor. His body is a unique sculpt all the way around and has burnt/melted sections, I suppose from him gaining his powers in the movie perhaps. There's all sorts of ports on his suit and a neat collar. Electro's paint work is a cleanly applied light blue airbrushing to the black cast plastic and some rusty burnt color to the damaged sections. His clear blue head and hands are opalescent as well and look pretty neat.

Electro's articulation has plenty of range and only his ankles are slightly hindered from the forward/back motion because of his pants cuffs. Side to side they're great. He comes with the most accessories, an extra head with charged-eyes, two electric blast hands, and two fists. The fists are tiny, watch out or you'll loose them. They pop in and out snugly.

The Beetle is his current almost robotic-looking incarnation with another completely unique sculpt. He's slender with detailed bands along his red undersuit with a great headsculpt. On his forearms are raised blasters and his large two-toed feet make for easy posing. The Beetle's paint work is a bit more involved with separated silver sections and big yellow eyes. His wingpack sports a great looking green-to-yellow gradient to it as well.

The Build-a-Figure for this wave is Ultimate Green Goblin which is the Avengers Walmart exclusive Hulk body and upper legs. Everything else are new sculpts with a bumpy, scaly texture and broken horn tips. The paint is a little messy on the horned parts unfortunately. Here even the accessories have accessories! Goblin's arms come with awesome looking removable flames and Carnage comes with the head/black flame. These flame effects can be clipped on to other figures just for kicks or used for custom flame effects.

So what's the verdict here? These figures are nice, really nice. They're sturdy, everyone has fully updated articulation and range of movement. All the pvc plastic is firm, not rubbery as well. While they don't have amazing paint jobs what's there is clean and looks great. The ability to put the figures back in the boxes is something we've needed to truly make Marvel Legends a collectors line and is a welcome change. Snag this set at our Sponsor Big Bad Toy Store or head over to Amazon and see if you can catch them on sale but watch out, their Super Saver Shipping has been raised to $35 worth of product now. It's still a deal if you're buying them all tho.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Marvel Legends Jean Grey, Black Panther (Rocket Raccoon BAF series) action figure review

Marvel Legends are finally hitting the shelf again and en'masse with no less than FOUR different series (two under the Marvel Legends Infinite rebrand) on the shelf right now. Here we take a look at two characters from the Rocket Raccoon Build-A-Figure series, Jean Grey and Black Panther. The other characters in the line are Hawkeye, Scarlet Spider, and Wrecker. All but Hawk and Spider come with parts for Rocket.

Sculpting for Jean is quite nice and her look is the iconic Jim Lee version we've been after for ages. Her body is based on the Hope Summers type I reviewed earlier but with new sculpt on the shoulders, thighs, and lower legs that include rocker feet. Jean's headsculpt is great with a serious look and some nicely sculpted hair. A non-removable X-belt is set on her waist and gauntlets on her arms that swivel. Her hands are actually the 2-pack Invisible Woman's hands and work great here.

Jean Grey's paint applications aren't extensive but whats there is clean. There's great face detail, shiny metallic blue, and her hip pads are gold metallic. Even her fingernails are painted the same shade as her lips to match. Her hair is molded in color but looks just fine without shading, tho you could easily add some highlights or shadows yourself. She sports full articulation with no hampered areas other than not being able to reach straight up due to her shoulder pads. They are soft plastic so there's a little give to them.

Black Panther appears here in his classic outfit and utilizes the new body mold that's going to be the standard these days for any average height hero. It has an extremely nice sculpt to it and features new hands and head. The hands look sharp and will work for a variety of gestures, also future characters (Magneto anyone?) The range of motion you can get out of Black Panther is wonderful, enough to achieve any leaping, fighting pose you could think of.

Paint work on Black Panther is also excellent with great blue highlights on his body and perfect lines on his gloves and boots. People have complained that his gloves and boots are jarring to the smoother blue shading so why weren't they done that way? Fans will recognize this as his classic look rather than his modern all black look. Once you have that in mind the paint apps make sense. Both figures come with parts to make Rocket Raccoon as their only accessory which I'll cover later as a separate figure.

So what's the verdict on this pair of superheroes? Fans of Jim Lee's X-men team will hunt Jean down to the ends of the earth. If you already have the Toybiz Black Panther and prefer his modern look you could almost skip this one. Customizers however couldn't ask for a better base body and already Deadpool-ish head. Our Sponsor Big Bad Toy Store has the whole set and the other new series of Marvel Legends Infinite as does Amazon where they occasionally go on sale. Buy him up for fodder! So there you have it, two more great figures for your Marvel Legends collection.

NECA Kenner Predators (Predators series 10 Lava Planet, Nightstorm, Hive Wars) action figure review

The Kenner Aliens and Predator series released back in 1992 have ended up some of people's most memorable action figures from their childhood and NECA has gone back in time to recreate some of the Predators! Here we take a look at Nightstorm, Lava Planet, and Hive Wars Predator action figures. They're all made with existing Predator bodies but with new limb, weapons, and armor sections.

I don't normally cover packaging so a quick google search will show you the retro 90's style artwork of the packages, this time in cardback instead of full plastic bubble which is usually the NECA theme. The figure sculpting is as always, out of this world. (See what I did there?) Lava Planet Predator uses the standard City Hunter body with a new mask and right arm with great extending blade. His entire body is made of clear red plastic with the exception of his mask, the eyeholes clear red however.

A sharp eye will notice there's no paint on the figure's back but there's a reason for this. It allows you to place in in front of a light source and have his body light up through the back. Red shows through the lava paint deco, around the armor, and even through the machete weapon he holds. This effect is loads of fun and harkens to the original figure. Lava Planet's articulation is the same as your current Predator warriors and comes with Tracker Predator's shoulder cannon. The new extending arm blade is great and looks like the one the vintage figure had.

Nightstorm Predator uses the Super Predators Berserker body which is a tad taller but thinner than the rest. There's new armor everywhere all done in an Egyptian style. Across his scarab styled mask are Yautja markings that read 'Kenner Tribe', an easter egg for diehard Predator fans that can read the native language. Sculpting is amazing on the figure but also on the inside of the helmet with all sorts of tech detail that could have been left blank. It fits on beautifully and Nightstorm is the only NECA Predator with a removable mask currently.

Nightstorm's claws extend but look as if they originally were designed to fold up and back onto his gauntlet into slots tho the hinge isn't a working one. His leg articulation is slightly hampered due to the V-crotch of the Super Predator body design and his neck is restricted up/down by the dreads and larger golden collar. The shoulder cannon's turret spins and he comes with a large golden staff with a skull on top just like the vintage figure had.

Nightstorm's paint work is amazingly detailed with all sorts of metallic shades, black detailing, and oxidation to it. The bicep and thigh armor are new designs and have a tendency to slip down the limb so you could remove them for use on other figures or glue them in place. The straps do help hide the thigh articulation cuts however which was a nice touch.

The Hive Wars Predator features the Jungle Hunter body with brand new upper and lower arms. The mask is a City Hunter Predator with additional sculpt down the middle of it. The detail of the new armor's sculpt is great and features a raised checkerboard pattern. Paint applications on Hive Wars is slick with a dark blue fading to light blue and eerie green eyes. A nice glossy wash on the skin is applied evenly, not too thick and contrasts well with the matte armor.

Hive War's range of articulation is great being able to look up and down effective, he's only missing the ball jointed waist using the Jungle Pred swivel here. So close! A new scythe-like weapon is included just like the vintage figure had and looks wicked. His arm blades don't extend but look like they were originally designed to slide on a track, tho this effect may have been ditched last minute. A new rear flap sculpt completes Hive Wars Predator giving him a really unique look.

So what's the verdict on the newest series of NECA Predators? Buy them, they're amazingly designed figures. Even if you're not a fan of the Berserker body the new armor/mask/paint work is enough to warrant it. And at less the price of your average 6" figure you get a taller one with superior paint and sculpt. Our Sponsor Big Bad Toy Store has them in singles and sets along with other series. You can find them on Amazon on sale as well if you're lucky. Add to your Predator clan with these figures, you won't be sorry!