Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Cat worth waiting for!

DC Direct has been very delay prone this year, although mostly in the 6” figure department. Statues have been a bit more on time, but the Cover Girls of the DC Universe: Catwoman statue ended up arriving very late for some reason that will most likely never be known, giving DCD’s chronic lack of communication with us wee fans.

The numerous delays had me wondering if there was going to be some kind of killer flaw in the final product, but happily this is not the case. I love the Black Canary and Zatanna statues in this line and like the Wonder Woman, but the Catwoman statue has gone straight to the top of the class for me, which says alot because I am not a huge fan of the character.

Of all of the statues so far, this one most brings the original Adam Hughes art to life – the face and eyes are especially is very well done – she looks stunning. The effect used to make the leather “look” is excellent. The pose is excellent, and I like the use of flexible plastic for bits that might otherwise break, like Catwoman’s “tail”.

Interestingly, while the Black Canary statue was packed with its base detached to minimise the size of the box, this is not the case here. This may because Catwoman was actually supposed to come out before Black Canary and it’s a running change to the line. I hope that’s the case, as I like the smaller boxes both from environmental and storage perspectives.

This is a great line, and I’m looking forward to the upcoming Power Girl, the announced Poison Ivy and hopefully a long life for this line. Vixen, Huntress and Big Barda would be the top of my list for future releases.

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

Until next time!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Happy Holidays! The AFB Christmas Stash

Happy Holidays from AFB! Here’s hoping that you’ve been able to celebrate the season with good company, good food and a good stash of goodies (although I doubt you received anything quite as bizarre as a Nick Fury Christmas Cover!).

Here in the AFB Household, I have long been responsible for doing my own Christmas shopping for anything toy or comic related, while Mrs AFB and the AFB-ettes handle the categories of Non-Comic-Related Things Dad Will Read, Dad’s Intimate Apparel and Things That (Try To) Make Dad Smell Good.

This Christmas I decided to treat myself to some nice statues, but sadly two did not arrive on time, so we’ll see them another day. Luckily my LCS got their pre-Christmas shipment in to I was able to give the family a couple of smaller items to wrap up in their place.

The AFB Christmas Stash ended up being: The DC Direct Cover Girls of the DCU Catwoman Statue, DC’s Absolute Justice,  the DC Direct History of the DC Universe Series 3, Marvel Select Daredevil figure and the Marvel / Kotobukiya Rogue Bishoujo PVC Statue, which was a surprise find at my LCS and something that I have been coveting since it come out awhile ago – a nice Christmas surprise! Not a bad haul, even if some of it wasn’t originally intended to be  Christmas booty.

Over time I’ll get to individual looks at most of these but I wanted to get a group shot up now as part of my holiday wishes.

What did you get for Christmas? Share your stash here (and enter the December AFB Comment of the Month Contest) or log on to the 2009 Christmas Stash Thread at the AFB Forum to share it with the gang!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Marvel Universe – Developments and Detractions

It’s been awhile since I’ve given the little people any love, and by that I mean 3 3/4” figures of course – what were you thinking???

Hasbro’s Marvel Universe and Wolverine Origins lines have both had some new releases in recent time and I’ve cherry picked the new characters out of them.  I’m steering clear of IronSpiderine #437 etc (with extra Underwater Glow-in-the-dark Battle Armor!!) and sticking to the first timers, of which there are quite a few: Electro, Namor, Guardian, Warpath, Jean Grey (Jim Lee outfit), Vision and Classic Sunfire from Marvel Universe and Cyclops and Iceman from Wolverine Origins.

The stinkers in the waves smell from a mile away. Namor’s bushy looking eyebrows and prominent nose makes him look more like your Italian cousin Guido than the King of the Seas. Much worse, the long-awaited Jim Lee-style Jean Grey has been sculpted as a hunchback, which takes away a fair bit of the charm, unless that sort of thing does it for you. It’s a terrible to shame to see this figure, wanted by so many, botched so badly.

Iceman isn’t great either – he looks a little too cartoony or something. The translucent style is fun, but his facial features are too hard to make out. The included ice-slide is fun though.

I’d put Cyclops, Guardian and Vision in the middle – they’re all great but each has some quibbles. I like the inclusions that come with many of these figures – and so they should with this scale at this pricepoint – and I like the idea of the optic beam that attaches to Cyclops’ visor, but the way that it droops towards the ground makes it look more like a giant tongue. He also loses points for the ball-jointed hips. Yikes. Guardian is a good looking figure, but the grey paint used to add highlights has been poorly applied on many of the figures I’ve seen – I was lucky to get a good one. Vision’s cape is a tad too long, which means that he can’t stand up perfectly straight. He looks amazing despite this.

The winners for me here are Warpath, Electro and Sunfire. Warpath is my favourite of the bunch – he has a new sculpt with a larger build and a very detailed headsculpt. The silver in his costume is metallic, which adds depth and texture to the figure. Electro is a favourite of mine, and he is in fine form here. Hasbro’s also done some work on the wrist-attaching power blasts and they work better on Electro than they have previously on other figures. Sunfire is a bit flatter looking due to a lack of any metallic paintwork, but the figure is well done and looks great overall.

One overall grumble about this line – the chest articulation isn’t something I’m really wild about on any figure, but it just doesn’t work in this scale. At best it’s funny looking, at worse it’s utterly horrible. Review this please Hasbro.

We can all bemoan the fact that the firsts here aren’t happening in 6” form, but this is obviously where Marvel figures are at for now so I’m trying to make the most of it. If Warpath, Electro and Sunfire end up being the benchmark for this line, I’ll be in for the long haul.

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

Until next time!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A tale of woe, Skeletor-lessness and MOTUC Matty RaaAaGe!!11! (Or, an ode to LineItem 4827281615)

It’s a hard gig trying to collect Mattel’s Masters of the Universe Classics line for any collector out there, but spare a thought for us folk in other timezones that have to get up at odd hours if we even want to have a chance on these figures.

The original He-Man and Skeletor releases passed my notice, and then some of the next figures were sold out by the time I got up on the day of their release, and this put me off collecting the line for awhile, but after Man-at-Arms dragged me in, I started up and patiently awaited the re-releases of the first two key figures. Things seemed to be going well in Matty MOTUC land when more stock was made available and figures were taking a couple of days to sell out. The He-Man re-release even hung around a little while.

All this lulled me into a false sense of security regarding today’s re-issue of Skeletor, and I decided not to set the alarm for a 4am Australian Eastern Standard Time wake-up to battle the evil red page of waitingness. As fate would have it, however, the AFB Bladder (trademark pending) woke me up at 4:20am and so I decided to order while I was awake.

I got onto the site with no problem and got Skeletor, King Randor, the DCUC Justice in the Jungle 2-Pack and a set of 6” Flight Stands in my cart with no problem. When I got to the checkout page however, I got “Could not increment allocated quantity for LineItem 4827281615” each time I tried to order. Very informative.

After nearly 30 minutes I played around with editing my items (as I did not know which item was LineItem 4827281615, a rookie mistake I know), took out the flight stands, and was then informed that Skeletor was sold out and I needed to remove him from my cart. Did so (with a sob) and the order went through.

So here I sit, it now being 5:20am, with no Skeletor and too wired to go back to bed. Now, I’m not going to swear and rage and say I’m quitting the line. You can check out Matty’s Facebook page if you want to read that. I do think it’s fair to say, however, that Mattel’s continued inability to handle these kind of sales is astonishing given the historic demand for this product. It isn’t about the figure selling out in under an hour - good on them for being so successful – it’s about the fact that folk like me had the product in my cart for half an hour only to miss out. That’s just weak.

Thus ends the rage. I’m not going to buy an eBay scalper a nice meal on this one, though. I’ll just wait it out, and if that means no Skeletor in my collection, so be it. Raspberries on you Mattel and all that jazz.

Oh, LineItem 4827281615, I nearly knew you well.


(If you'd like to join the RaaAge!!!11!, the thread for today's Matty sale is here on the AFB Forum.)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Night gets Blacker…. and Better….

We all know how much Georg Brewer likes his Green Lanterns, so combining that with the mega-event that is BLACKEST NIGHT, it’s really no surprise that we’re getting a massive swag of figures over the coming months. Wave One was a solid start, giving us our first plastic members of the Blue, Red and Black Corps and our first Alpha Lantern. Wave Two brings us our first Indigo Lantern, a second Yellow and Black Lantern, and another version of Green Lantern John Stewart.

The first thing that surprised me about Kryb is that she is a massive figure. She also has a very wide stance so takes up a fair bit of display space. For the uniqueness of this figure and the quality of the sculpt, it’s worth it. She comes with two of her “babies” which she can hold in her multiple hands and also can be contained in the cage on her back. It’s great to have another member of the Sinestro Corps, and I wouldn’t mind some more. I’ll find ways to combine the DCUC “Colour of Fear” figures with Kryb, but of course the massive scale will create some display problems.

Indigo-1 is another very different type of sculpt which is well executed and painted. At first I thought she was going to be difficult to pose, but with a bit of experimenting I found a good balance. This is quite a nice figure, but as with a few in this series, its’ long term worth really depends on whether or not the character is around for the duration or not.

I was looking forward to the John Stewart figure as a chance to have a Stewart figure more in the modern DCD scale. The headsculpt is serviceable, but it uses the buck that was used for JLA Series 3, with those horrid, horrid legs, so it’s not a winner for me. Why DCD keeps recycling this ugly buck is beyond me. A shame for everyone that has been wanting a Modern Age John Stewart.

I was in a rush when I picked these figures up from the LCS and so I grabbed the whole box, forgetting that the Black Lantern Martian Manhunter would be there, so I have included him in the in-package pics. The sculpt and look is great, and it’s almost enough to break my resolve about not buying the Black Lanterns (even Aquaman, and that’s saying something!), but I’m going to try to stick to it, mainly because I am going to run out of display space soon and need to avoid giving it to flash-in-the-pan characters – even good looking ones.

There are some great figures coming up in this line, and recent promo pics show that there has to be at least one more wave, of what looks to be all Black Lanterns. That will be an easy pass for me. I remain hopeful that Mera’s star turn in the event will lead to her finally appearing in 6” form. We shall see.

You can see more pics at Facebook, discuss this at the AFB Forum, and comment on this for a chance to win the December AFB Comment of the Month Contest.

Until next time!

Monday, December 07, 2009

A Bust that Hits the Target

Following on from Black Canary’s turn in the Cover Girls of the DCU Statue Series, her hubby Green Arrow gets cut down to size in the Heroes of the DC Universe Mini-Bust Series, and it’s a corker. That’s Aussie for awesome!

The bust has a dynamic pose that looks great from multiple angles, with Green Arrow holding his bow in the air with his left hand, and his right hand sculpted as though he’s just released an arrow. The statue is well painted, with a range of lustres adding depth the the mix: metallic for the base, different sheens for the different greens on his outfit, etc. Much like Aquaman’s trident is flexible to avoid breakages, Arrow’s bowstring is string, which is a helpful touch.

In a clever piece of packaging, Green Arrow’s bow arm is packaged separately and attaches via a steel rod and a bit of pushing and prodding. This keeps the box from being gigantic and also provides opportunity for some amusing “Oh no! My arm fell off!” photos. I mean…… I think it would….

This is my favourite bust in the series so far. Aquaman has an equally dynamic pose, thrusting his trident in the air, but his squinty expression takes a few marks off and lets Green Arrow squeak ahead. Not to mention, this makes a great matched set with the earlier Green Lantern bust!

I’m really enjoying this series, although I haven’t bought into the Villains side yet (mostly because I really don’t like the look of upcoming Joker). I really hope that this line expands to cover some of the B-list characters in the same way the Women’s Mini-Bust line has. Watch this space!

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

Until next time!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

The Cover Girl to beat all DC Cover Girls

We’ve waited longer than we planned to for another instalment of the DC Direct Cover Girls of DC Universe Statue Series, thanks to a lengthy and unexplained delay in the Catwoman statue. (Great communication as usual DCD!). Thankfully Black Canary has come along in all her Adam Hughes glory to end the wait!

I’m a big fan of this series – a size that’s big enough to appreciate the detail in but also small enough to display easily, and a price point that doesn’t completely break the bank. This is my favourite in the series to this point – I love the pose, the facial expression, and it’s all been captured very well in this sculpt, apart from the seductiveness in the eyes in the cover art which doesn’t make the transition. A great paint job is the finishing touch – different finishes and sheens for surfaces like Dinah’s jacket and the yellow bands on her boots add to the detail.

My one criticism of the Zatanna statue was the lack of fishnets (which, granted, were not in Hughes’ cover drawing), and their presence here really makes Zee look bare when you stand them  side by side. I’m very glad they were included in this statue. Of course, alongside the fishnets comes the horrid seam at the back that is a feature of all DCD fishnets. I can kind of understand them on a 6” figure, but I would have expected them to be “ironed out” in a statue of this price.  That’s my only quibble.

A nice touch here is that the stand comes separately packaged. This means the box is much smaller than the previous two, and the statue plugs in to the base with two metal spikes. I liked being able to really hold and check out the statue without the heavy base. Better for the environment, easier to store the box and fun for the collector – it’s all good!

You can see more pics at Facebook, discuss this at the AFB Forum, and comment on this post to enter the December AFB Comment of the Month Contest – with a special Christmas bonus for AFB Forum members!

Until next time!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

AFB December Comment of the Month Contest – with a Twist!

First off, thanks to everyone who commented on last month’s blog posts. Congratulations to “Kyle” for winning the November Comment Contest! Kyle – please get in touch with me – probably easiest to do so through the AFB Forum. Once we hear from Kyle his choice of either the Blackest Night Series Two Kryb or Marvel Select Kree Captain Marvel will be on the way from Mike’s Comics N’ Stuff.

Now to December’s Contest: on offer are two great prizes, with a twist: the winner will be able to choose either from the DC Universe Classics Wave 11 Shark or the Marvel Minimates Infinity Gauntlet Boxed Set. The twist? Well, it’s the Christmas month after all, so it’s time to be giving! In the Christmas Spirit, if you are a member of the AFB Forum and your comment is chosen, you will win both prizes!

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 – for this month only, if the selected comment belongs to a member of the AFB Forum, the winner will win both prizes!
  • 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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