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Friday, September 26, 2008

Some big blank-faced dude stole Thor's costume!

I haven't bought a Marvel Select figure in a while, mostly because I'm not that into Zombies, and have been keen to see the brand get back to mainstream characters. They seem to be doing it in a big way by starting with the big guns - Thor, Iron Man, Hulk and soon Captain Marvel and the new Captain America.

The relaunch of Thor hasn't really caught my imagination, but I don't mind the new costume with it's groovy chain mail bits, so I thought I would re-enter the Marvel Select world and give him a whirl.

The packaging of these figures is always attractive, with a range of character specific artwork. It's a bit on the big side for storing MIB, which is how much of my Marvel Select collection is kept since I only have DC stuff on my home shelves until I eventually get my new display system. Solely for the purposes of recording and research, I decided to open Thor up. I might take him to my shelf at work to entertain the masses.

The figure itself is more than adequate. He stands sturdily and is easy to pose both on his own and on his parapet type base, which muggins here finally discovered has a peg for easy posing after a bit of fiddling around. Well actually missing it all together and wondering why Thor wouldn't stand evenly on the base and finally discovering that it was because he was standing ON the peg. Doh.

This dude has biceps and thighs that should each have their own postcode. This is comic-accurate, but means that manipulating his arms takes some times so as not to look too strange. He comes with his hammer Mjolnir and holds this firmly both at his side and raised.

As well as his cape and hair, many aspects of his uniform, such as the top of his boots and his skirty thing, are made of a softer plastic which adds texture to this substantial figure. His helmet is not removable, which one might have expected for a figure at this price point.

While paint apps are solid overall, there are a few disappointing spots, chips on his left hand and on his neck. The apps on hair are either really washed out, or trying to indicate that Marvel's resident Norse God seriously needs to condition once in a while and get rid of all of those split ends - either way it's ratty.

The one "miss" for me is the facial expression, which is more blank surfer dude than angry Son of Thunder. It did cross my mind that maybe this is a figure of the construction worker that dressed up as Thor in "Adventures in Babysitting" - remember that movie? (Spent ages trying to find it when I came to Oz only to discover it has some weird-ass different title over here. Hate that.) Anyway, that's who he looks like. A snarl or imperious glare would have worked much better for me.

Still, it's good to see Marvel's heavy-hitters get a slot in this great series. I am really looking forward to the two Captains in the coming month, and seeing what else is to come. I just hope they make the rest of them with the real character in the uniform, and not some stand-in schmuck!

Until next time....

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Mighty Muggs Customs are Mighty Fine!

I have to confess I'm not a huge Power Rangers fan, even though I have a friend who is married to one of the original TV Power Rangers. Shame on me.

Still, I AM a big fan of Mighty Muggs, and I could almost be tempted to bid on these custom Mighty Muggs Power Rangers over at eBay - only 11 hours to go at the time of posting!

I'm assuming that these have been done with the blank Mighty Muggs bodies that I imagine Hasbro is going to make a small fortune on on their own from all the keen MM customisers out there. I'm sure you'll agree these are quite good - it took a moment for me to work out that they were in fact customs.

Enjoy, and if you're quick you might even get a chance to put in a bid!

Until next time....

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Batgirl Scale Comparison

A few folk have asked me for a comparison of the scale of the All Star Batgirl figure to some of DCD's other more diminuitive tykes.

Here they are: Damien (ack! I know!), Wonder Girl, Terra, TT Robin and Dick Grayson Robin in the background to give you a bit of an idea.

Yep, she's small!

Until next time.....

Five Stars for the All Stars

Well, I'm not really giving them five stars, but it sounded good, so I ran with it.

Being a big fan of the Morrison / Quietly All Star Superman, I've been looking forward to one half of All Star Series One. Originally we were to have an all AS Batman & Robin wave, which would have been easy to pass on since I look on that series like I look on all train wrecks. Then a mixed series was solicited with Superman, Super Lois, Batman and Wonder Woman, who was eventually replaced with Batgirl, since WW's AS comic still hasn't hit the stands.

The packaging of this series resembles that of the Showcase Presents figures - plastic box style which is quite good looking but may be on the big side for those who like to store MIB. The artwork is nicely done, and like the Showcase figures, the insert opens out to promote upcoming DCD waves - attractively done and a nice touch.

These figures are a mixed bag. Superman is the pick of the wave. The headsculpt is brilliantly done, capturing the Quietly art perfectly. I have heard complaints that the figure is too barrel-chested, and can only think that these people have never read the comic, since he's a perfect capture of Quietly's art on the series. While the barrel-chest is comic accurate, it does make him a bit of challenge to pose, as there's really only one angle that allows him to stand on his own. Ankle articulation, not included, would have helped greatly with this.

I'm normally not into figures based on one-off characters, but for Super Lois I'll make an exception. This is a fun figure, but unfortunately the facial features aren't captured nearly as well with this figure, which may be the sculpting or may be the paint apps, which seem slightly off just on her face. The rest of the figure is well sculpted, although her left leg is a little bit bowed in a manner reminiscent of many of the JLU figures, She stands easily on her own.

For those that would like DCD to push past its normal BVP stylings, the All Star Batman may fit the bill. This figure is sculpted in a hunched over, ready for battle or perhaps about to take off running pose, and does this in a much more successful manner than the INFINITE CRISIS Batman. His cape is furled out and the effect is actually very visually pleasing, which is good since this pose is the only option - there's no waist articulation to go for anything more upright. Paint apps are very solid on this figure. It's a shame the comic never came up to this quality.

Batgirl is an interesting figure is for no other reason that it is a really different body type that might make customisers happy in doing younger female characters. The splayed cape and flowing hair actually work for this figure, making it a bit more substantial, as she is quite tiny. This is in scale however and scale is in fact quite good across the line. Paint apps are again solid here, and fans of the character should be well pleased with this effort.

Oddly enough, one of my favourite things about this was is the stands, which are good-looking, small circles. I'm normally a nazi for figures standing on their own, the reason being that I like to pose my figures in groups without metres between them due to the usual ginormous DCD bases. These bases are more substantial than the tiny Kingdom Come ovals, but still don't take up much more than the circumference of the figure, allowing them to still be posed close together. I like.

Thanks for reading and looking. While you're here, two quick pointers - firstly, the AFB Cafe Press store is now open - see previous post for details, and if you look over to the right there is a DCUC poll up - please vote!

Until next time....

Friday, September 19, 2008

Open for Business!

Partly because a few of you have asked me about it, mostly because I want the gear myself, Action Figure Blues now has a Cafe Press Online Store!

It you want shirts, hoodies, mugs or some of the most amazingly silly gear you could possibly imagine with the groovy new AFB logo emblazoned on it, head on over to http://www.cafepress.com/af_blues and buy to your heart's content!

The shop has not been set up as a profit generator. Any small profits made will be used for site costs. It's just there for anyone who might enjoy the products - so enjoy!!

Until next time....

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Lovely Ladies of the 1:6 Scale

As I mentioned previously, part of my Father' s Day Swag were the 13" Power Girl and Harley Quinn figures from DC Direct. After a brief stay in hospital (who knew the middle ear was so important??) I've now got a bit of extra time on my hands so I got a chance to unpack them today, and I wasn't disappointed.

Now you might remember that I had previously posited that owning the 13" PG was going to be out of the question. I made the silly mistake of running the idea past Mrs AFB and she balked at the idea of allowing PG's peekaboo hole into a home with two impressionable young girls who aren't really into the Barbie stage yet (and never will be if we can help it!).

I have to admit that I'm not a fan of PG's peekaboo hole or her overendowed depiction either, so I wasn't too fussed, but there she sat on the shelf at my LCS, taunting the completist in me, and once I learned that a 1:6 Supergirl was on the way I knew I had to build up the Superman family in the same way that the Batman family is coming along nicely (if a mishmosh of eras). I know a guy who does the most amazing DC 1:6 customs, so I'm going to ask him about doing a SA Power Girl outfit for my Kara. Good enough for Mrs AFB, and hey, it was Father's Day, so she was mine!

As with all of the DCD 1:6 Scale figures, Power Girl looks much better when you get her out of the box and pose her. She's very sturdy on her feet and can take a number of poses. She comes with two extra sets of hands for greater flexibility. I like the headsculpt, always a fan of the sculpted hair as I certainly wouldn't buying these if they'd gone for the rooted option. It's a very MA Power Girl hairstyle, but that goes with the costume. And the boobage. (Sorry, had to use that word once.)

The issues with this figure makes it very clear why DCD hasn't produced a Wonder Woman in this scale yet. Foremost is the bare limb situation, covered here (quite literally) by flesh coloured stockings. There are two issues with this - the first is that the stockings wrinkle at some points creating a saggy elephant skin-like look, and the second is that the joins between her hips and legs are far from seamless, and really expose the weakness of the stocking system. The resulting effect is that her legs look to small for her body. Ugly fugly.

Very nice detailing with blue leather gloves and boots and nice touches with her cape, belt and sash. No accessories to speak of, unless you count her enormous... well, I said I was only going to use the word once. All in all I am very happy to own this figure, but will be happier if I can get her some SA duds.

As for the most recent addition to the ranks of the female DCD 1:6 scale figures, Harley Quinn is a laudable effort at a strange and often confusing character. The weaknesses of the standard body system are apparent here, as you would imagine Harley being a much slighter lass than Power Girl, and yet in this scale they are the same size, although Harley seems less generously endowed in the breastal regions. (This scientific observation was triangulated by independent comments from each of my two daughters, who independently said "This one's boobies aren't as big as the blonde girl's are they?" or something like that. If there is a "Teen Body Female" to come, it would have been nice to see Harley done in that form, as it would put her more in scale with her Bat family friends and foes.

Harley's costume is very nicely put together, with ruffles around her wrists and leather shoes. Her head is all molded plastic, which is a bit of a shame, as the opportunity of a fabric costume around the head, while potentially less durable, would have been more consistent with the way the line has been done. Likewise her mask, which is painted on and not removable like the other masks in this series.

Harley's two main accessories are her mallet and her gun, and unlike the disappointing recent DCUC version she can actually hold them. The grip on the mallet is a bit looser than I'd like, but it does hold. She comes with two additional sets of non-accessory holding hands.

Harley is also very stable on her feet and accepts a range of poses, although the mallet over the head pose is rather precarious both from the perspective of balance and because of her loosish grip on the silly thing.

I am still saving up for my glassed-in display cabinets and so looking forward to displaying my 1:6 Scale figures loose, as the Batman family is very well represented, and Harley is a more than adequate addition to the line.

That's Part One of my Father's Day haul: Part Two is BSG Wave Two which I will attempt to review shortly. All up it was a very good haul and I'm certainly not complaining!

Until next time!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Save the Aquaman Hoodie!

Okay, not Action Figure news, but close enough. The Point has an online campaign to save the Aquaman Hoodie, promised by 80sTees.com but then pulled from sale. Apparently they have offered to reconsider if 200 people promise to preorder. The Point's campaign has 112 members at the moment, so obviously we need some more Aquaman fans to join the fight.

Now, you need to do this because, well, I WANT MY AQUAMAN HOODIE!!

Come on, be a sport. I've been sick after all.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Father's Day Haul

For some reason, while Mother's Day is the same here in Oz as in the U.S., Father's Day is the first Sunday in September as opposed to the U.S. date earlier in the year. Plays havoc with remembering the day for my American-based dad.

Anyhoo, while I will get detailed reviews up eventually, I thought I'd post my Father's Day haul, all pre-purchased by me of course since Mrs AFB counts comic shops as no-go zones. This year I got the DCD 1:6 scale Power Girl (finally!) and Harley Quinn and Series Two of the Battlestar Galactica figures, minus the SDCC Exclusive blood-splattered Cylon which is coming from a mate of mine.
Oh, I also got the obligatory cute cards and school crafts from the young ones, who apparently both love me because I'm silly and buy them comic books, and I'm very reassured to know that the eldest would love me even if I was a Hippo. Hope she's not trying to tell me something...


Hope you enjoy - and just warning that I may be quiet for a little while as I've just come out of hospital with a nasty middle ear thing - the world was spinning for all the wrong reasons!


Until next time!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

The paint fairies have smiled on me, but gee that's a short neck....

First off, I love Cornerstore Comics. It's pretty painful trying to collect a line of toys that isn't being distributed in Australia without having to resort to eBay, and Cornerstore is in a league of its own in terms of reasonable shipping to international customers. Thanks CSC. Long may the love affair continue.

It's always interesting having to wait for your figures when other people have them - you get to listen to all the discussion, praise and complaints, and by the time they arrive I am poised to go through the list of potential faults with an eagle eye. DCUC Wave 3 certainly provided alot of those, what with lots of complaints about paint apps, scale and of course, will I or won't I get the elusive long-neck Sinestro variant??

I was happy to discover that I'd received the case I wanted - masked Deathstroke and classic Sinestro - alas I received the regular short-necked version. Pretty sure that long-necked bugger is an urban myth.

I like the packaging of these figures, and the way that there are some consistent themes running through all of the Mattel DCU products, however I could do without the preposing of the DCUC figures. On one level it makes for dynamic looks in the box, but since they can't stand up in those poses, it also makes it hard to get them out and hard to get into a standable pose. Some of the joints are stiffened in those strange positions as well, and it can take awhile to actually work out how to get the little fellers erect. Wait, that really doesn't sound right. You know what I mean. I'm also hating on the little plastic bands that are hard to remove from wrists etc. because they can get caught into the join between the wrist and arm. Seems unnecessary when they are so tightly packed into the mold anyway.

The figure of the wave is Deathstroke. Excellent detail like the scales on his torso and his thigh straps could easily have been painted on but are sculpted and add to the texture. He comes with an amazing range of weapons, including a staff, a sword with functioning sheath and a gun with functioning holster. Groovy-ness. Paint is perfect, everything works, and he's well articulated, not bow-legged like some of the others.

A close second is Hal Jordan Green Lantern. For some reason this reminds me of the Super Powers Hal, which was one of my first superhero action figures along with SP Aquaman. I think this is because this is a really classic representation of the character. This is one of the figures I have heard the most complaints about in regards to paint, but both of the GLs in my case were perfect again.

Nightwing is also a solid figure, but does demonstrate some of the limitations of a line reusing bodies in that he is a bit too tall and bulky, especially when you stand him next to Batman. It worried me more in photos I saw than it does in person. I love the inclusion of the holsters for his staffs on his back which gives display options if you don't want him holding one or both. Nightwing has a bit of the leg problem that more profoundly troubles Robin and Sinestro - his legs aren't quite tightly enough aligned to his hips which causes his legs to bow a little bit when posed.

Having been disappointed with the DCD Batman & Son Robin in his new costume, I have been looking forward to the DCUC version. I would definitely put this above the DCD version, but they share the two annoying traits - his cape is just a tad too long which effects posing (this is much worse on the DCD version), and he is shorter than I'd like. Actually the DCUC version is quite short, and this is exacerbated by the bowed legs - loose hips thing I mentioned earlier, which this figure suffers from the worse. If his legs were more tightly fastened he'd be a tad taller. I'm cool with this scale as long as DCUC's other teen heroes are in line with him, but it's shorter than I imagine him being in my own little mind. Paint apps again are spotless. He comes with two batarangs and a staff that is a bit too long and bendy for easy posing, but I must confess I have little patience for such.

While Robin is shorter, poor Sinestro is the runt of the litter. For all the negative press this figure has received, the scale doesn't bother me, but I do wonder if this is a production issue despite Mattel saying its intentional - otherwise its a whole new body again. Ah well. If you look on the back of the card you can see there have been changes since the promo photo, as he's pictured with no white collar and a proper neck. Unless that's the variant of course! Sinestro does prove I have been truly blessed by the paint fairies, as his apps are also excellent, and he doesn't have any of the shoulder rub many people have talked about. I think this may be caused by the preposing thing as it took a fair bit of work to get his arms into normal position.

Finally, there is the amazing Collect & Connect figure, Solomon Grundy. This is the SG figure we've been waiting for and blows all earlier versions out of the water - good thing too because otherwise he could just step on them - he's huge!! It's good to see that Mattel is moving towards some bigger C&C's, gives hopes for characters that really should be huge like Chemo, Colossal Boy, Atom Smasher, etc.
The quality being put out by Mattel for a mass market line is really exceptional. Having been burned before, it's taken me time to allow myself to get excited about this line, but the reveals at SDCC certainly have given me hope for it's longevity. That is, of course, assuming that we get the first Legion figure soon!

That's all for now, I'm off to find a box for Sinestro to stand on so he doesn't feel so intimidated by Hal. If you see a "long-necked variant" anywhere (actually I'm sure someone's trying to pass one off on eBay) be sure to let me know!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

AFB has a new look!

If you're logging on to AFB today you'll notice a new banner - many thanks to my great friend apokolips from the Doosh (warning: not always safe for work) for his design work.

I did love the original banner, which was designed by another Doosh denizen, Coffee Joe, and will try to find another way to use it. Many thanks to both gents.

apokolips also designed this smaller "AFB" logo which is going to come in handy shortly when the AFB Cafe Press store opens - more about that shortly!

Let me know what you think, and thanks for all the feedback and encouragement - I enjoy bringing the blog to you and it is good to know you enjoy reading it!

Monday, September 01, 2008

What rock have I been under??

Speaking about other addictions I don't need, I'm already regretting running across some examples of Hot Toys 1:6 Scale figures at tompop and AFHub today.

I don't know how I've managed to miss pics or news about the Hot Toys 1:6 Scale Iron Man which is coming out in October. I only discovered this today when I read about the Hot Toys 1:6 Scale Iron Man Mark II which has just been announced!

These are absolutely gorgeous. with battery operated lights and features and interchangeable heads. They are modelled on Robert Downey Jr. which is a bit of a minus for me - nothing against RDJ, I'd just prefer they were comics based as opposed to movie based.

I haven't been that wild about the Hot Toys TDK Joker or movie Spirit (ugh!), but I could certainly be tempted to fork over the major moolah required for one of these babies.

Except I won't, because I can't, because.... well, my children need to eat..... and, well, that's important, right?

... isn't it?
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