Wednesday, December 31, 2008

DCUC Wave 4 Squeaks in to 2008!

Picture 001 When I found out that the cases of DCUC Wave 4 didn’t contain full waves, I decided to cancel my pre-order and be uncharacteristically patient, collecting the figures I wanted and the figured I needed to build the Collect & Connect, rather than ending up with extra Wonder Women, a WW variant I’m not really interested in and still needing a piece of Despero.

It took a bit of hunting through eBay listings with ridiculous international shipping prices and eventually a little help from some online friends, but I managed to collect the five figures needed for the Collect & Connect, including the variant Captain Atom.

Picture 004Initially I wasn’t rapt about the character selection for this wave, but in “the flesh” most of them are growing on me. Wonder Woman is a breakthrough for 6” female figures at the retail price point with this level of articulation. This is am excellent body sculpt that really looks female, with a detailed face and an excellent hair sculpt. She stands well and isn’t too bendy like Harley Quinn or many of the Marvel Legends females.

For a character I don’t really care about, Ares is now my favourite of the wave and one of my top figures in the line. The detailing of his armour is excellent, and the paint job on this figure is impeccable. His weapons are all a bit floppy as are his legs, which makes posing more challenging.

Picture 008Cyborg draws the short straw paint-wise, with white flecks on his chest marring the QC here. His armour is well designed, but the facial expression is a bit flat. His extra attachments are a great addition and fit well. Height-wise he really makes the Robin from Wave 3 look very silly. Not sure where DCUC is going with those teen characters.

The Variant Captain Atom always looked a bit frantic to me in photos, but it works in person better than I expected. I’d much rather have seen a Ditko version as the variant, but an addition to the Kingdome Come display isn’t all bad.

Picture 007I wasn’t really wild about the Despero Collect & Connect, especially with the great version that just came out from DCD, but this version is better looking than I imagined. His legs took a bit of effort to connect. His weapon snaps on to the strap on his back, and 

Batman Beyond really isn’t on my radar as a character, and while the execution is good here paint and sculpt-wise, he seems a little overtall to me. Meh.

Picture 009DCUC is quickly becoming a must collect for me, despite distribution issues, eBay scalpers and a few worrying QC issues. The group shot gets more impressive with every wave!

Wave 5 is going to be a big challenge to collect as we have no Wal-Marts here, so it’s going to be another case of working my hardest to be patient! I’m mostly after Black Lightning and Atom, and have to say that Riddler looks pretty poxy, but knowing my OCD tendenices when it comes to figures, I dare say over time I’ll collect the lot to make Metallo!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Seven of Nine is fine, but….

DSTBorgPX7of9I’m hoping the appearance of a not-very-Jeri-Ryan-looking Seven of Nine in the upcoming DST’s Borg Series 1 doesn’t mean that we’re not going to see a Voyager line from DST.

For that matter, are they going to finish off the DS9 line? This is all important, because I may actually be getting room to display my Star Trek figures soon, and I want a complete a set as possible.

Is it me, or does this Seven of Nine look a lot more articulated than previous DST Star Trek figures? Not sure I like it.

Whatever the case, I’ll be all over these Borgs. Just hope I have some Voyager crew to with them….

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Amanda Waller for JLU!

27.12.08Got to the website for a new JLU tidbit: Amanda Waller will debut in the line in 2009!

Is this line ever going to stop??  I hope not!!

I’m all for a version of Waller in the 6” (well, 4 1/2” for her) line, maybe as a web exclusive: no Suicide Squad display will ever be complete without her.

Many thanks to Mattel for the late Christmas present!!

Is this Wild enough for you?

IMG_1690I mentioned a few posts back that someone was making a custom Bronze Age Wildfire from the Legion of Superheroes for me. My custom Silver Age Legion is almost complete – I should have some group shots as soon as I get some minor repairs done on a couple of figures – so it’s time to start on the Bronze Age, and I can’t think of a better first entry than this.

Normally I don’t blog on customs until I have them in hand, but this is just too good to hold on to! Huge kudos to Dr. Terrific from Critical Mess for what I am sure you will agree is an outstanding effort. You can track the development of the figure by looking at the whole thread here.

We’re thinking of doing Dawnstar next – I’ll be sure to keep you posted!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas To All!!!!

SupermanWonderWomanBatmanChristmasLPFrontHere’s hoping that your holiday is everything that you want; that you are surrounded by good company with  good food and festivities and that you have the opportunity to make the day a special one for those you love.

Whatever gifts you give or receive, it’s the people around you, the relationships, that will last the longest. Make sure you treasure them today – be thankful for them!

And thanks to you folk out there – for indulging me in this little window into my hobby which provides me with a much needed escape hatch from my “real” life, which is a great one, but, well…… real.

Oh, and of course I hope that your stocking is stuffed with amazing toys! Look forward to sharing with you what I score!

By the way, I totally had this DC Christmas album. Can’t remember a thing about it except the cover, but I know I owned it. Ah, memories…….

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

All I Want for Christmas…..

It wouldn’t be Christmas without wishlists, so I thought that just in case Santa is reading I’d put my top five toy-related wants out there. I’m going to stay away from pipe dreams like Legion figures (*sob*) and Hasbro getting Marvel Legends back into form or Georg Brewer and Dan Didio being hit by the same bus or asteroid or resigning and running away together , and stick to things that should be more attainable:

7543_a_full#5: DC Direct Power Girl and Huntress Statue

I had hoped this might be under my tree last year, but the budget (and the exchange rate) weren’t in my favour. Still have hopes that this one might actually end up in my collection some day. Two of my favourite DC ladies in one hit? It’s the stuff of (bad, bad…) dreams.

#4: DC Direct Tim Bruckner Aquaman / Green Arrow Statues

3540_a_fullI love both of these characters, and I can’t separate these two amazing statues (Green Arrow pictured) from Tim Bruckner and DC Direct.   They run about $200 US which at the moment is about $350 AUD, and since Mrs AFB is totally against selling one of the kids for toys (I know!), it looks like these are just wishes at the moment – but they’re pretty awesome wishes…..

234320198_462cc40ffc#3: Legion Flight Ring

As much as I love Aquaman, I love the Legion. Maybe more, actually (but don’t tell Arthur). I wasn’t in to the collecting  game when the Legion Flight Ring came out, or I can assure you one would be adorning my right middle finger. I should say I was a might disappointed when I read the disclaimer on the box thingy that the ring does not enable the wearer to fly, but….. it’s still a Flight Ring. When the exchange rate gets itself sorted out (again, the whole no selling kids rule, blah blah blah….) I’m seriously going to have to eBay this baby.

mego8inch#2: Mego Aquaman

Did I mention I love Aquaman? I’ve always considered the Mego Aquaman to be the Holy Grail for my Aquaman collection, but never had the bucks to pick one up, plus it seems there’s alot of phony or partly phony ones out there. Some day.

#1: Proper Mattel distribution to Australia

Mattel_logoThis is by far the biggest ask, but it’s also my biggest wish: that Mattel’s DC products find distribution to Oz so that I can get my sticky fingers on DC Universe Classics, Infinite Heroes and JLU without having to eBay and deal with international shipping scammers and exorbitant exchange rates. Mattel is where it’s happening for DC figures at the moment, and I want my part in it in an easier way that I can at the moment!

Well Santa, there’s my wishes. “Course, if any of my loyal readers want to make any of these dreams come true, I could hardly knock back your generosity, My mother raised me with manners, after all……

Until next time!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Groovy AFB Gear!

23.12.08If you enjoy the blog, why not stop by the AFB Cafe Press store and get some groovy AFB goodies! Everyone who I know who has some (and that would be me, mainly) absolutely raves about them!


Santa visits AFB!

Well, a Secret Santa that is.

Picture 008The DOOSH (which to some stands for Domain Of Online Social Hooligans) has a very active customiser community, and they have a great tradition of a Secret Santa Project where members post their top 5 custom wish list, and then another customiser is assigned to choose one of the characters from the list and make a Christmas Custom wish come true! The whole project is coordinated by Doosh Mod Jackknight92 who is responsible for all of the Silver Age Legion customs featured in these pages.

I am already on record as confessing to having pretty dodgy fine motor skills, so I know I couldn’t customise anything to save my life! I am, however, a great patron of the custom arts, so I get Jack to make my custom “gift” so that I can take part.

You can look at the 2008 Secret Santa Project thread here, but beware – if you travel outside that thread, not all regions of the DOOSH are work safe, or normal human being safe for that matter. You have been warned. Seriously.

Picture 012 Here’s a sneak peak of my Secret Santa gift, which arrived yesterday and will be up at the DOOSH tomorrow. It’s Amazing Man III from the current JSA. I’ll have to wait til its been posted at the DOOSH to find out the recipe, but it’s very cleverly done. I imagine that cape must have given the customiser a few fits! Once it’s all been revealed at the DOOSH I’ll be sure to give the customiser credit here.

I was especially pleased to see that Amazing Man fits in perfectly with my MA JSA display, which also features customs of Liberty Belle, Stargirl, Maxine Hunkle, Danger and Wildcat by the amazing Lars.

Oh, and speaking of customs, you might like to check this thread out at my other online home, Critical Mess. A dude is making me a BA Wildfire to make up for making fun of my mum. Really. All in (mostly) good humour of course!

Hope your Christmas stocking has similarly yummy things in it this year!

Marvel Universe to tower over Infinite Heroes?

78470-600If the test shots of the upcoming Marvel Universe figures from Hasbro are anything to go by, it’s safe to say they’re going to be giving Mattel’s DC Infinite Heroes line a run for their money.

I’m a big fan of the 3 3/4” scale and a fan of the Infinite Heroes line (although I’m way behind in my collection as it’s all eBay for me – there’s no DCIH distribution to Oz), but the detail and articulation on the MU figures really looks like they’re going to leave DCIH choking on their dust. I know that Mattel is boosting the articulation on the newer releases of DCIH, but the detail on faces, etc and the individualisation of the sculpts still looks far superior on the Marvel Universe figures.

I’m definitely going to be collecting these, especially if they get distribution to Oz, which is quite possible. I just hope they don’t put too many nails in the coffin of the DCIH line, as the last thing we need is to end up with another pocket-sized DC line with limited character selection gathering dust at the bottom of our collections!!

By the way, I am now truly converted to Windows Live Writer – it’s very user friendly, has sorted out the photo problem (as far as I know – please let me know if you’re still having trouble) and talks easily to Blogger. I highly recommend it.

Until next time!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

.......yM hO

Speaking of DC's beautiful ladyfolk, Big Bad Toy Store has this amazing Adam Hughes Zatanna Statue up for preorder, which means we'll see it in the next DC Direct solicits.

I. Want.

Just in time for my birthday, too! Well, a little bit early, but I've never been good at waiting!

1:6 Scale Black Canary Screams Into Town

For those of you not following international currency exchange rates at the moment, the Aussie dollar has tanked against the US Dollar - not sure how that works when we're not in recession and they are, but hey, them's the breaks.

The upshot for us collectors of Yankee-based geek goodness is that a decent geekgasm is going for alot more these days. In the case of the DC Direct 1:6 Scale Black Canary, I have seen this figure going for upwards of $200 AUD in some places. Thankfully my loyal LCS works hard to keep its costs low, so I paid significantly less than this for my figure.

I've been greatly anticipating Black Canary turning up in this line - one of my favourite DC Characters and another step towards what I hope will one day be a complete Satellite JLA in the 1:6 Scale. The result is quite exciting, but with a few niggling aspects that represent what is keeping the DCD 1:6 figures from the perfection they deserve.

The ups: The headsculpts (for the interchangable non-screaming and screaming Dinah heads) are excellent. The heads swap easily, and the paint work is excellent. The beautiful blonde hair on both answers any argument about sculpted vs. rooted hair - it's an outstanding job. She comes with an extra pair of hands which are also easy to swap, and unlike some previous figures in the line, her hands stay on snugly - my Green Arrow in particular has hand-drop off syndrome.

Black Canary's outfit is exquisitely crafted, with a great use of leather. Her boots have working zips at the back. Her fishnet stockings are well designed and look as durable as you could expect for a figure in this scale.

The downs: the bust and thighs, two aspects one would expect to be highlights of a female figure, are the two trouble spots here. All of the DCD females in the scale are on the very busty side, and the issue this creates here is that Black Canary is a tiny bit too busty for her top, so it doesn't fit as snugly as you'd like and comes adrift with any sideways movement of the torso. This is exacerbated by her jacket being on the small side, leaving little margin for error. All in all, not very practical for crimefighting, unless the aim is to distract the bad guys - if so that will work quite effectively.

I am already on record as hating on the thigh cuts on these figures, and this particular figure is a classic example of the thigh cut gone wrong. It might be useful for articulation and posing, but it creates a scrawny, chicken leg look that is hardly going to intimidate villains, or attract verdant archers for that matter. For someone like me who is just looking to display these figures in a relative BVP (if I ever get the display space), the thigh cuts are an annoying distraction. Bah.

Those two things don't take much of the shine off this figure for me, however, partly because I love the character so much, and partly because the excellent headsculpts and the craftsmanship of her outfit, however correcting the excess boobage and weird anatomy would really make Dinah and the other 1:6 scale ladies fly.

This figure looks great next to the Green Arrow figure, although I do wish Ollie didn't have such a pinhead. I can't wait to have the space to display these out of the box!

My quibble about the thigh cuts on this figure leads us to our new poll: What's your opinion on the thigh cuts on these figures? Have your say in the poll on the right.

Until next time!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Ramona Fradon rocks AFB's House!

Inspired by this thread at my online home, Critical Mess, I decided to purchase my first pieces of commissioned art from famed Aquaman artist Ramona Fradon. If you haven't checked out the Catskill Comics Original Art Site, do. It's a gem.

The plan was to get coloured headshots of my main man Aquaman and his trusty pal Aqualad, and then have them framed for my study / action figure display area for Christmas. I would have loved to have added Mera to the mix, but the budget just didn't allow for it at this time. Thankfully I ordered and paid before the AUD tanked against the greenback! To buy these now I'd have to sell one of my kidneys.... or kids......

The art arrived the other day and it's amazing. Everything I had hoped for. If I was going to quibble at all, it would be that Aqualad really should have purple eyes, but I am just overlooking that because I love these so much.

I don't have a scanner, but the headshots are up on the Catskill site as well, so it was easy to bring them over here!

Have to save up a bit for the framing - when it's done I'll show you the final product!

Once the framing is done, I've got my eye on some Mike Grell Legion commissions, but not until the exchange rate gets back into whack!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The Great GL Switcheroo

Like alot of small comic shops, my LCS doesn't get in bigger ticket items like boxed sets unless someone orders it, which makes me cautious about my choices. My LCS is actually very good about putting stuff back on the shelf if you don't want the item when you see it, but I don't like sticking them with things.

I certainly didn't forsee wanting to return the DC Direct's Green Lantern Boxed Set, since the solicited figures looked fantastic. Hal Jordan, Tomar Re and Abin Sur with excellent headsculpts in Classic GL uniforms? For that I could live with a "battle damaged" Manhunter. Heck, I could live with an army of them!

But..... what's this? Those aren't classic uniforms! That's not even really the modern age uniform! Wait, that's not the solicited body, that's the slightly dodgy, weird angled, undertall body sculpt from the Hal Jordan figure from the Green Lantern series. Check the photos on the box - it's the solicited uniforms. Big frowns all around.

I was so surprised when I saw the figures that I obviously looked disappointed, and my LCS owner told me I didn't have to take them, but I know times are lean and they wouldn't have ordered it in otherwise, so I felt obliged. The three GLs still found a place on my shelf, but not in pride of place as I had imagined they would. I dare say Abin Sur will only last until I get my hands on the DCUC version.

So what is there to review here? Nothing but the final damage: One boxed set that contains markledly different figures from those solicited or pictured. Three great headsculpts on a crap body in a uniform that two of the characters never wore and one wore only in the Modern Age. One useless battle damaged Manhunter.

As for the number of disillusioned fanboys? Well, I'd say quite a few......
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