Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Giganta is stomping her way to Oz

AFB is on the road for work at the moment and Internet access has been limited, so I have been jumping for a chance to get onto the website once it was "live" and have a look at how it was functioning and see what their international shipping was like.

I'd read in a few places of people having trouble with the site and not being able to pay, etc., so my expectations were low. I must have come in after the rush, however, as I was able to negotiate through it without any problem.

I had organised with a mate to pick up the exclusives I was interested in, but after the strong showing Mattel made for the JLU line at SDCC (and considering that the dismal showing DCD made means there's nothing to look forward to on that end, but that's another story.......) I decided to look at the Giganta exclusive, and was pleased to find it in stock and also find that the international shipping to Australia was extremely reasonable! This really made my day as it means that I'm not going to have to fork out eBay scalper shipping prices to get the exclusives coming up - especially the yummy Adam Strange - Starfire 2-pack I'm hanging out for! (Although I'd be keen to see Mattel fix Starfire's uni-boob before she's released....)

Obviously the proof is in the pudding, so I'll update you when Giganta actually arrives down under, but all signs are very positive. Thanks Mattel!!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

I've joined the club!

I was pretty excited to discover that Mattel's online store had gone "live" earlier than expected. If you haven't headed over there yet, click on to and get an advanced look at what's on offer.

Much happiness here that these special offers will be available to non-U.S. denizens like myself - here's hoping the shipping costs are reasonable! I was particularly happy about this once I read at AFI that one of the JLU-related special items will be Legion 4 packs!!

I signed up for the email newsletter and finally got my confirmation email today - so bring 'em on!

Starman gives good head!

Sorry, just couldn't resist that one.

There's lots of great SDCC coverage out there at the moment (big props to Action Figure Insider and Toy News International for everything they've put up) so I'm just going to be making some random observations, yays and nays from the couch here in Oz.
After the reveal of the first wave of JSA Figures at Wizard Chicago, I posted asking for unmasked heads for Starman and Sandman. Good to see from the pics here that I got half of what I was asking for. Still nothing for Sand, but we now have a Thom Kallor head which I'm pretty chuffed about. He's going to go really well with all my other great BA Legion figures..... oh, wait.........

Still, you know what they say about beggars, and when it comes to DCD it seems that's all we'll ever be. So, yay for Thom. Good to see a better looking headsculpt for Jay Garrick as well.

Now, if these could just be in scale with anything DCD has made previously.......?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Hellboy scares the Hell out of my kid!

I'm quite the a fan of Mike Mignola's Hellboy, and I'm really looking forward to catching Hellboy 2 when it reaches cinemas here. I didn't pick up any toys from the the last film, but it just seemed like my shelves at work were calling out for something Red-related, so I made the trip to my LCS last week, only to find that they didn't order any cases of the last assortment from Mezco as the toys from the first movie hadn't sold (well, I hadn't bought any after all...).

Across town I found all of the figures, but at a ridiculous price (that shop is so much more expensive than my LCS, I just don't get it....) so I only bought Hellboy. I actually wasn't overwhelmed by the other figures. Abe Sapien looks great, but both Liz Shermanns that were there didn't have great paint apps around the head and for that matter the headsculpt is not a great capture of Selma Blair (these are meant to be movie figs....). While I was disappointed with the headsculpt for Liz, Hellboy's was spot-on, a perfect likeness, so I decided to fork out the major moolah for him and then hope to find Abe cheaper at another time.

I had two options: Hellboy with or without black t-shirt and bare-chested Hellboy. I went for the t-shirt version mainly because I preferred the accessories he came with. The bare-chested had swords and stuff while the t-shirt version comes with his "Big Baby" shotgun which was a must for me. Also, there was a bit of paint flaking on the trenchcoats of both Hellboys and it was much worse on the barechested one.

The paint apps, aside from the minor flaking paint on the trenchcoat, are solid and the accessories are functional. The Big Baby has moving parts which is fun. He has another gun which fits snugly into the holster around his waist.

Hellboy is fairly poseable, however the Right Hand of Doom, while in scale for the figure, is clunky to move and creates a bit of an awkward look, which is exacerbated by the fact that his holstered gun sits on the same side. It isn't overly irritating, however.

A vote of authenticity for this figure is that he scared the crap out of my 5 year-old, so as soon he had been opened and photographed he was dispatched to the office to keep our resident Preschooler happy!

All in all I'm happy with my purchase, and hope to add at least Abe Sapien to the mix when I can find him at a sensible price.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Green Lantern Series 3: Sculpts Pass, Scale Fails

I was a huge Star Wars fan was I was a kid. I had all the original toys and playsets, in fact I sold off the majority of that to fund the start of my superhero toy collection - keeping my main characters and of course Admiral Ackbar, who for some reason has always been one of my favourite toys.

The thing I loved about getting toys from each wave of the Kenner line was the expansion of the Star Wars "world". That bit more of the universe to explore, display and enjoy. Now I've been collecting DCD long enough to know that having an aim like that with these toys will only lead to frustration. I just collect the lines I like and put them together where I can. It usually works for me. Sadly with this line that's not the case. I'll give you a rundown on the four new figures on their own and then show you why.

First to the good: I appreciate the way that DCD gives each wave its own distinctive packaging and styling and usually keeps it consistent between waves. This is the case here, and despite the distance in time between waves these would fit in perfectly with the previous for the MIP collector.

The overall look of these figures is great. The paint apps are very clean - no issues on any of mine. I really dig Sinestro's new uniform, so much so that I am almost tempted by the 13" version, but not if it's going to be as purple as this guy is. Grape Ape attacks! He includes a yellow lantern and a Despotellis figure which is a bit lacklustre - a bit more detail would have made it worth the effort.

Star Stapphire is pretty hot - I've heard her described as "Turnerized" but the main difference is she has a bigger noggin than the pinheaded ladies from the Identity Crisis line. This is an excellent figure and easier to pose than the original. She has basic articulation, but her head is pretty impossible to move because of her hair and her collar.

I don't own the original Cyborg Superman to compare with, but this one is a very adequate representation of his appearances in the Sinestro Corps War. The biggest annoyance with this and the other male figures is the lack of ankle articulation which makes them difficult to pose upright. I haven't been able to get Cyborg Superman to stand without a base. CS does have some nice touches, like a set of yellow Sinestro Corps rings.

I was totally not buying Bat Lantern, despite the fact that actually really liked the story that inspired the figure, but - what can I say? He looks great!! Not sure about the thing poking out of his Bat Symbol tho - I think it's supposed to be a projected it looks a bit wonkyville. It's a great toy for any Batfan, but I still think it will be the peg warmer of the wave.

And so the time has come once again for AFB to sadly blow a giant, juicy scale raspberry in the face of DC Direct. As has been discussed previously, I don't get hung up on scale as much as some collectors, but the very least I do expect that is that figures within the same series are in scale with each other (JSA Atoms, anyone........?). While these four figures work together on their own, things start to go pear shaped when you introduce figures from previous waves, and the biggest clanger of all is the Hal Jordan GL from Series One. Shorty City! Obviously the figures from the newer waves are fed a much more nutritious diet than those poor Series One guys were. However it happened, it doesn't make for a very impressive display.

And that's the rub, as so often happens with DCD. The character selection on this wave is bizarre - why not slip in one long-awaited GL Corps member like Arisia to keep the collectors happy? How hard is it to ensure that figures in the same series are at least in scale with each other? Why can't DCD seem to go those few extra inches to really deliver?

I wonder what vintage Star Wars figures are going for on eBay these days?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

DCUC Fan Poll: Save Ragman!!!

If you haven't come across it yet, the promised DCUC Fan Choice poll is now up at Wizard and will also be featured in this week's Toyfare. The picks are Huntress, Question (Vic Sage), Jack Knight Starman, Catman, Vixen and Ragman.

I'd actually love this to be a wave on its own. - they're all great characters! For a Fan Poll, It's not a great list - it's hard to imagine that Huntress, Vixen, Catman, Vic Sage and even Jack Knight really need the help of a fan poll to get made.

Ragman's the one in the bunch that I'd say we're least likely to see without the help from something like this, so to that end AFB is coming out in full support of Ragman, who's currently coming dead last in the poll.
C'mon guys, I want a Question and a Catman too, but we're going to get those anyway. Rags is the one!

Vote early, and if you can, vote often!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Previews Picks: July

It's a bit of a sad statement on my months, but one of the highlights of each 30/31 days is picking up my copy of PREVIEWS and flicking to the Toys section to see what goodies I can't afford for the coming months. With early solicitations etc alot of it's not a surprise but there are always a few goodies in there which make the choosing and budgeting challenging!

In celebration of this pleasant monthly ritual I'm going to post a monthly overview of my picks from the Toys etc. section of Previews each month. It may not match anyone's else's top wants but hey.... it's my blog!

Top Pick: Bowen Northstar & Aurora Mini-Bust Two-Pack
I kid you not, on the day I picked up the new Previews I was thinking how cool it would be if they finally put out a Northstar mini-bust, and wa-lah! Jean-Paul and Jeanne-Marie in one go - even better! If only I'd known my thoughts were going to be so productive, I would've wished for that pony, or at least a better golf game!
These look pretty much perfect. I just hope that they're in scale with the other Bowen busts and not more "mini" because there are two. Cannot wait.

Pick: DCD 13" Supergirl
I'm a big fan of this line (but not addicted, really!) and it's great to see another female character in the line. From the pics I might say this could well be the best female entry in the 13" line yet. The headsculpt is excellent and for me puts a true end to the sculpted vs. rooted hair debate, if there ever was a need for it.
The inclusion of Streaky is great fun, and the lack of a peekaboo hole in the breastal area means Mrs AFB will let this one in the house. Everyone's a winner!

Pick: Previews Exclusive Mighty Muggs Admiral Ackbar
I've already talked about my
developing Mighty Mugg addiction, and this Admiral Ackbar is a must! A double "Grrrr!" then that these aren't available to Australia through Previews. An eBaying I will go.....

Possible Pan: Heroes Action Figures Series 3
I'll hold out final judgement until I see Series 1 in person, but I just can't get into these Heroes figures because the headsculpts just seem sooo off. Some of them are just bad likenesses, but what power is the Peter Petrelli in S3 exhibiting? Super wrinkledness? Super constipationedness? Hrrrmmm. Love the show and I'm hoping they look better in person, but these pics don't fill me with confidence.

You Wish Pick!: 1:1 Thor of Asgard Helmet Replica
As much as I would love this (totally for display - I mean it would just look silly without the hammer...), this little collector just doesn't have a spare $400 lying around. Yeargh.

Those are the main highlights and possible lowlights as I see them. As always, too much good stuff, too little in the bank account.


Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Which Bulleteer is better? Doosh Custom Con 5

AFB is a lucky judge of the current Custom Con taking place over at the crazy and anarchic message board known as the Doosh. As you know if you've read much here, I'm a great lover and consumer (as in buying and displaying, not eating) of custom figures and I don't know many better customisers than the dudes that hang out at that site.

The way these Cons work is that folks from the amazing crew of customisers over there match up on set characters and then a panel of judges decides a winner for each character without knowing whose custom is whose.

Little did I know how challenging this job was going to be! We've done our first four match-ups today and they were all close calls in my book. Check out these two Bulleteer customs as an example of the amazing talent that is over there.

If you want to find out which Bulleteer I voted for and see the rest of the customs, have a look here:

As I've mentioned before, if you decide to venture outside of the linked thread on the Doosh, send the kiddies out of the room first and keep an emergency eye washing kit handy, just in case! And it goes without saying that AFB takes no responsibility for any psychological damage or therapy you might need after.

Oh, and if you see anything you want to buy or commission another version of for yourself, you'll probably have to get in line - I've started my list already!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

AFB is now on Twitter

When it comes to technology, I'm what's called an early adopter. I love new toys, new sites. Can't help it.

I don't quite know what Twitter is good for yet, but I'm not gonna be the last kid on the block without one, so if you look on the left you'll see that AFB now has Twitter updates. You can also "follow" me on Twitter if you wish.

Everyone needs followers, right?

Anyhoo, join in if you wish - love to "see" you over there.
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