Tuesday, October 27, 2009

DCUC Wave 13 Pics!

A user at TNI posted pics of the full DCUC Wave 13: Blue Devil, Wonder Girl (red costume), Cheetah (Priscilla Rich) and variant (Barbara Minerva), Cyclotron, Blue Beetle III (Jaime Reyes), Negative Man and variant with exposed face, Superboy with jacket and sunglasses, and Collect and Connect Trigon!

Check out the AFB Forum for the full set of pics, but here’s Trigon for a teaser!

Some thoughts on these pics: very glad to get this version of Wonder Girl, and I’m really hoping this is an adult buck. This would be a good sign for some adult-sized Titans down the road. Very happy with the versions of Cheetah we are getting, although I’m not sold on Priscilla Rich’s face for some reason. Loving the fact that we are going to have a Negative Man figure, but I do wish they’d use a slimmer buck, and I’m not sold on the variant at all – Larry in his Negative form would have been my choice. Blue Devil blows the recent DCD HOTDCU version out of the water, Blue Beetle III looks great, as does Cyclotron, but I’m glad he’s reported as coming with the stand so I don’t have to buy him. Superboy is a great figure of a forgettable costume, and Trigon looks amazing, although I’m keen to see a scale comparison.

Mattel continues to knock this line out of the park. Just a shame we have to wait so long to get these!

Until next time!

Monday, October 26, 2009

It was an Impulse buy….

eBay is rightfully called “ePay” at times, because there’s always someone out there ready to gouge collectors, and when you realllly want something, it can require an iron will to resist.

The flipside of the system is that you occasionally find some bargain gems. I only came to be doing an eBay search for the DCD Impulse Statue because someone at the AFB Forums was asking about the Young Justice Statues. I thought I knew everything DCD had ever done, but this set must have been before my time. I wasn’t wild about the Robin and Superboy statues that bookend the Young Justice set, but the Impulse statue is a standout that really captures the character and something that I knew I wanted for my collection.

Therefore, it was happiness to find an auction for said statue that had a low starting bid and never got off the ground. I snagged this puppy for an unspeakably low sum – even when the shipping to Oz was factored in.

I received this a couple of days ago and I couldn’t be happier with my purchase. This statue IS Bart Allen – it captures all of his cheeky charm through a great headsculpt and pose. It’s a very dynamic piece, with Bart skidding in and a dust cloud forming. The only shame here is that his goggles have fogged over a bit with age, clouding a full view of his eyes. Certainly doesn’t take too much away from a great statue, which I will proudly display in the Flash section of the AFB Museum.

So, for all that that eBay took from me in my green, early years of collecting, it’s nice to strike a blow back by getting such an amazing piece for such a steal! Score one for the little guy!

You can see more pics at Facebook, join in the Young Justice Statue discussion thread at the AFB Forum, and comment on this post to enter the October AFB Comment of the Month Contest.

Until next time!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

It’s a Wonder, all right…..

I really don’t know if I can do a blow by blow on this one. Short story is that this is without a doubt one of, if not the most gob-smackingly bad collectibles I have ever seen from a major toy company. Gob. Smackingly. Bad.

So bad in fact, that Mrs AFB, who doesn’t know Aquaman from Spiderman from the Invisible Woman, and never has much more to say than “That’s nice, dear” when I show her my new acquisitions, has not been able to stop criticising this poor Diana wannabe. My youngest, who takes a great interest in my toys and has been waiting for “The Big Wonder Woman” ever since I started my DCD 13” collection, looked at this one and then asked me sweetly if I would be able to get my money back. Out of the mouths of wives and babes…..

To deconstruct the 13” Wonder Woman trainwreck, we need to start with the adult female buck for this line. My big gripes are that the bust is too big to allow for easy fitting of most costumes, and there’s nothing good to say about the lower half of these ladies. The knobbly knees and frightful thigh cuts that really don’t lend themselves to stockings are bad enough, but we also have the hideous hips with gaps between the hips and legs that cause the panty-style outfit to bunch so unattractively. Characters like Catwoman or Batgirl who have full bodysuits can cover these issues, but poor Wondy is exposed on all levels.

The sins of the body are enough to deal with, and then DCD presents us with the dog of all headsculpts. There’s nothing right about this one – hair, nose, mouth, all wrong, but the eyes are the killer here. Too small, uneven, glistening in an off way, it’s all bad. Very different looking from the eyes on the figure used in the photos for the packaging. I think I well could have tolerated  this effort if the face was painted as per the packaging. As is, this is just a big fat bucket of fail, Georg Brewer style.

Having made such noise about waiting to release Wonder Woman to make sure he “got her right”, one has to look at this and ponder if Georg just gave up. I picked up my Blackest Night Wave One at the end of the week, and from these it’s quite clear that he can get things right when he has the motivation, and we all know how he loves his Lanterns.

The question is, can Georg really afford to be so point of interest in the quality of the product he oversees? Methinks not.

Oh, and I’ve heard and read dozens of comparisons of what this figure looks like, but my favourite has to come from Mrs AFB, who said: “She looks like some poor young girl with huge boobs who dressed up as Wonder Woman for a costume ball and then wet herself on the way to the party.”

Probably not what you were aiming for, Georg?

You can see more pics (if you can subject yourself to them) at Facebook, discuss this at the AFB Forum, and comment on this post to enter the October AFB Comment of the Month Contest.

Until next time!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The beginnings of DCUC Wave 10 at AFB!

Retailer exclusive lines are not the friend of any collector, but to the international collector they are the enemy. I read in one of the latest round of Mattel Q&A’s that DCUC Wave 10 “will be available to all of Wal-Mart’s international locations”. Seeing as there are NO Wal-Marts in Australia, that’s super helpful!

Thanks to my friends at Critical Mess, I’ve managed to get on a DCUC 10 “Want List” and am being helped out by some of the members there to get the figures from this wave. I’m also lucky enough to be close to the top of the list, I’ve already scored Power Girl and Joker and have a Forager on the way!

I’ll save a detailed review for the happy day when I have the whole wave (minus Batman, who I already have enough versions of), but I’ll just say now that this has to be the best 6” version of Joker ever. Amazing that Mattel has done in one what DC Direct has failed to do in so many attempts. Great headsculpt, great props, great everything,

Also, you’ll note in the packaging shot that Power Girl has been strategically positioned to keep the conservative market from goggling too much at her “assets”. The figure is great, but the funny pose curse strikes again somewhat with a slightly warped left leg. Doesn’t take the shine off the figure, but I do wish Mattel would stop creating unnecessary issues with figures through silly packaging.

More when Forager arrives, and hopefully the rest of the wave won’t be far behind!

Until next time!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Enter the Bronze Age Legion!

With my amazing custom Silver Age Legion nearing completion thanks to Jackknight, I’m thrilled to be able to present the first instalment in the next Legion phase: a custom Bronze Age Legion done by Dr. Terrific!

Dr. T. has been discussing the development of this line of customs with AFB Forum member Polarboy3 (who is getting a matched set) and myself in “The Originals” custom section of the AFB Forum. You can check out the thread here to see WIP photos and discussion about each of these and upcoming figures.

Wildfire came first: Doc’s first Legion custom effort and the one that launched the whole idea. I’ve had him for awhile now and still can’t get over it. I have dreamed about having my very own Legion figures since I was a kid, and to see it coming true is so exciting. I’m just glad I finally have some plastic friends for Wildfire! Wildfire’s base was a Crisis on Infinite Earths Earth-Two Superman.

Lightning Lad is probably my favourite of this wave, simply because of the thrill of seeing that iconic costume come to life. You can really see the care that Doc has taken in his work with this figure: his eyebrows matching his hair colour, the clean lines, the great colours. This is a custom masterstroke. Lightning Lad’s base was a Smallville Aquaman.

Doc’s version of Saturn Girl brings one of the Bronze Age Legion’s most memorable costumes to action figure land. As well as capturing the lines of the costume so perfectly through the sculpt, the paintwork has a beautiful metal sheen to it. The base was an All Star Superman Lois.

Cosmic Boy’s outfit, or non-outfit, is certainly one of the most infamous bits of gear from this chapter in the Legion’s history. While it’s certainly my least favourite of Cos’ uniforms, the aim here is to be true to the era, and in that light Doc has done a  brilliant job here, especially when you consider that the base for this figure was an Infinite Crisis Alexander Luthor!

Dawnstar is a whole bundle of major wow. Perfect colour choices, amazing work with the fringing, and those wings! Using an Infinite Crisis Donna Troy and repainted wings from a Marvel Legends Angel, Doc has completed what will certainly be the centrepiece of the whole Bronze Age Legion Collection.

All up, I couldn’t be happier with the first “wave” of Doc’s Bronze Age Legion. He’s knocked these figures out of the park, and if this is anything to go by, then there’s a great deal more Legion happiness ahead in the years to come!

You can see more pics at Facebook, discuss this at the AFB Forum, and comment on this post to enter the October Comment of the Month Contest.

Until next time!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

JLI Series Two – The Boys are Back!

We haven’t had a whisper about a third wave for DC Direct’s Justice League International Series, (No Rocket Red? Criminal!) so it looks like I’m reviewing the second and final wave in the series. The two waves are nothing to be sneezed at, having given us the first Fire, Ice (albeit perhaps not the versions most collectors would have preferred) and G’Nort figures and Black Canary in her 80’s Crisis-Era outfit, plus a cracking Batman that’s become one of my faves.

Now, in addition to Fire, we have Maguire-styled versions of Booster Gold, Martian Manhunter and, to a lesser degree, Blue Beetle. I have a niggle with three figures, and one with a pretty much fatal flaw.

Fire is a great addition to the collection. As mentioned above I’d really prefer Fire and Ice in their later costumes, but this is a start, and perhaps DCUC will come up with the MA goods. It’s a lovely sculpt, however she has a slightly googly eye and a headsculpt that has her looking a little too far down for my taste with a lack of neck mobility due to her hair. Her hair is soft sculpted like Black Canary’s in Wave One but doesn’t allow the same movement. The only niggle with an otherwise great figure.

J’onn J’onzz is a real reminder of happier times in comics. Very happy that a lighter and more obvious shade of green was chosen, true to how he was depicted in this era. This is a true Maguire-inspired sculpt, with the exaggerated brow and bemused look, and of course his trademark cookie in his left hand. My one niggle? The fact that the cookie can’t be removed. I suppose it was most likely get lost, but I’d still have the option.

Booster Gold is a fun figure, one which really embraces the comedy that was the JLI. If this was the first Booster figure ever, I’d be disappointed by the high degree of camp, but as we already have the serviceable DCD “52” version and the even better DCUC versions, this one is fine for a JLI group shot. My one niggle? His teeth are just a liiiiitle too big and his chin a bit too thick. Is that two niggles? Let’s combine them so we don’t break the pattern.

Blue Beetle is where the wave breaks down for me, quite literally. Every figure I’ve seen had issues with Beetle’s goggles. I chose one with just a warped left goggle, but even so it’s still coming away from his head at one point. Sad to think this was best looking one of the bunch! Thankfully we have the excellent original DCD figure and the very good DCUC Beetle. As for the JLI group display? Beetle will have to stand at the back.

Despite this one blot on the JLI copy book, this was a very welcome series of something a bit different from DCD’s usual SuperBat MA fare. A third wave with Captains Atom or Marvel, Dr Light II, Rocket Red and Maxwell Lord would really put it up there as one of the better recent DCD series. Sadly hoping that DCD might snap out of its attention deficit disorder is probably wasted energy.

You can see more pics at Facebook, discuss this at the AFB Forum, and comment on this post to enter the October Comment of the Month Contest!

Until next time!

Saturday, October 03, 2009

A Slice of Plastic Heaven – DCUC Wave 9

There’s no better title for the review of DCUC 9 – and not just because I actually got my order despite the distribution issues that have plagued this wave (thank you Mike’s Comics N’ Stuff!). This line truly gets better with each wave, and Wave 9 is no exception. There are some missteps, but the combination of an outstanding Collect & Connect and one of the line’s best figures yet gets it well and truly over the line.

When the wave was introduced, I would have picked Black Canary as the star of the wave, but the shine has been taken off her somewhat in the execution, first by the addition of some dark streaks in her hair, and secondly by less than perfect paint apps on her face. She is still an excellent figure, and the use of blue legs underneath her fishnets makes her a perfect addition to a Golden Age  JSA or a Satellite JLA display – so much so that I’m buying a second so that I can do both.

Guardian is the second figure that was better in the solicits than the final result. His helmet and shield were gold in the Two-Up shown, and looked a darn sight better than the final all-yellow, all-bland product. Now, I’m not turning up my nose at actually having a Guardian figure (one which again would warrant a double purchase for Golden Age and Modern Age displays), but it is a shame that Mattel scrimped on the final product. I may have to cajole one of my customising friends into fixing him up for me.

Wildcat is a huge step forward from the DCD “Wildcat taking a dump pose” version, but I really can’t get my head around why Mattel would make a variant version of this figure and not make one without taped hands so that we could have a Golden Age version. Hard to imagine this would have been a challenge, or that a Golden Age Wildcat is going to get a separate release. A great figure, but a sad omission.

On the flipside, Black Adam is a character that I’m not wild about, and yet the perfect execution of this figure has made me very happy to have him. Great headsculpt, great execution, without a doubt the quintessential Black Adam figure. One shame, as you can see in the group shot, is that the neck articulation is different in the figures in this wave, and the vertical articulation has been removed, making flight poses awkward. Hopefully this “running change” will run back to the better version!

I would have loved an unmasked Deadshot variant (perhaps a possibility for a Secret Six boxed set?), but for the moment it is enough to be able to put the horrendous DCD version behind us. Mantis (Comic Version) is also brilliant – the caped arms effect is excellent and fun to pose.

The winner of the wave, and perhaps the whole line, is Green Arrow. The DCD Hard Travelling Heroes version has always been one of my favourite figures, and I wasn’t expecting the DCUC version to top it, but this one does. At first I was dismayed to find that a small arrow is moulded to the bow, but this allows you to pose Ollie in a “bow drawn” stance, making a very dynamic pose. The moulded arrow does make the extra arrows redundant, especially since Green Arrow’s backpack has no storage space, but the figure looks so great I don’t care. Definitely in the running for 6” Male Figure of the Year!

After all this action figure goodness, Chemo is the icing on the cake. I got the “running change” Chemo with the extra bubble insert. This is one of my favourite Collect & Connects from any line. He cuts an impressive and imposing figure, and he’s just darn good fun. A great way to cap off a brilliant wave. Hopefully something can be done about the distribution issues that Mattel “can’t discuss” so that everyone who wants to enjoy this wave can do so.

You can see more pics at Facebook, discuss this at the AFB Forum and enter the October AFB Comment of the Month Contest by commenting on this post.

Until next time!

Friday, October 02, 2009

The Golden Age Comes to DCD’s 13” Line

I’ve had a bit of a break from the DC Direct 13” line – between characters that haven’t caught my imagination, the increase in the cost and the delays that have been plaguing so much of DCD’s product these days – so I was very much looking forward to the arrival of the Golden Age Flash figure. I’m happy to report it’s very much worth the wait.

The presentation of the packaging of these figures is usually a bit bland for my tastes, and this is no different. I’d like to see a juxtaposition of photos of the actual figure with pictures from the comics to create a more dynamic look as opposed to photos of the figure only, which is what we have here. It’s a bit of a yawn, however I do like the display window and the fact that the packaging allows you to open and inspect the figure and repackage if desired.

Turning to the figure, kudos to MA-centric DCD for presenting Jay Garrick in his prime. The headsculpt is excellent, as is his removable helmet. The helmet fits nicely with the aid of what seems to be a magnet. One of the best headsculpts in this line.

Jay’s outfit is excellent – not sure what it is about this particular design, but the dreaded bicep and thigh cuts are not as obvious on this figure as they have been on many of the past efforts in this line. Whether this is by chance or design, it’s a very good thing. His belt is not attached to the outfit – I didn’t realise it was out of whack until it was too late to retake the photos – oops!

All I can say is that I am very hopeful that Jay Garrick won’t be alone as a GA character in DCD’s 13” line for long! In his SDCC Interview with AFI. Georg Brewer foreshadowed and Alan Scott figure, which would be very welcome – along with Wildcat, Dr Fate and any other Golden Age JSAers! Bring them on!

You can see more pics at Facebook, discuss this at the AFB Forum, and comment on this post to enter the October AFB Comment of the Month Contest!

Until next time!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

AFB Comment of the Month Contest – October!

First off, thanks to everyone who commented on last month’s blog posts. Congratulations to AFB Forum member fishmilkshake for winning the September Comment Contest! His selected prize of either the DCUC Wave 9 Green Arrow  or The DC Direct History of the Universe Black Lightning will be on the way shortly from Mike’s Comics N’ Stuff.

Now to October’s Contest: on offer are two great prizes: the winner will be able to choose either from the DC Direct JLI Series Two Fire or the Star Trek: The Original Series Salt Vampire. As well as being great individual figures, these two could be combined together to make an excellent “Before and After Smoking” Set!

Here’s a reminder of the basic contest rules:

  • every genuine comment on a post from the calendar month will be eligible for receiving the prize. I’m going to stick to my own time zone and call it at 23:59:59 Australian Eastern Standard Time – best to comment often and comment early!
  • if my super scientific randomizer comment selector system chooses an Anonymous comment, I’ll skip it and go again – you need to leave a name, a link, your AFB Forum username or email addy so that I can contact you if you are the winner. Blogger comments allows you to do this.
  • you will be given a choice of one of the two figures on offer from the month’s contest – figures will be in their original packaging
  • figures will be sent by first class mail within the US (Mike is sending them, remember) and first class international to any overseas winner. An overseas winner can elect to chip in for Priority Mail or Insurance, but otherwise we can’t take any responsibility for a parcel that doesn’t arrive – after this is coming out of AFB’s  not dreadfully deep pockets!

Once again, thanks to Mike for making this all possible for us, and here’s to another happy month of commenting!

Until next time!

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