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Saturday, February 28, 2009

And the Doctor makes the team!

Picture 004I picked up Dr Manhattan and The Comedian (non-variant) from DC Direct’s Watchmen Series this week, following up on Series One from a couple weeks ago, and I am very glad I did, because to me these two make the series.

Dr Manhattan is, to me, one of DCD’s best male figures in quite a while, both for the effectiveness of the sculpt and the extra features. The good Dr comes with two sets of legs – one articulated set for free standing poses and one sculpted set for his floating pose, which locks in to a floaty thing that locks into the base.The legs interchange easily at the torso. This is a great design – no holes in back of the figure and the owner has a choice of how they want to display it – floaty option for me of course.

Picture 008The Comedian is a great figure, although along with the Rorschach figure, this isn’t worth a variant for what should have been an extra head, and I certainly won’t be buying it. This figure  gets extra points with me because it comes with something I’ve been wishing toy companies would do for years – index figures that actually fit in to the triggers of his guns to make sure he can hold on to them robustly. How novel! His uniform is very well detailed and sculpted – Tim Bruckner is responsible for both of these.

I’ll be staying away from the early versions of Nite-Owl and Silk Spectre because they’re a bit pointless unless they make more early Watchmen versions, but I do have to say they looked quite well done. I may cave on them when I see them on sale (which I expect to see eventually).

The group shot says it all for me – a great effort DCD. Now bring on the movie!

You can see a wider range of shots including close-ups at Facebook and discuss this in the Watchmen thread at the AFB Forum.

Mattel’s Friday Facebook Update

Mattel have posted an update at Facebook:

“Hey gang,
Been a while since I rattled off a info block or two, and now that we are hitting a weekend, wanted to take the chance to update everyone with the latest.
DCUC Wave 7B (with Booster, Beetle and Ocean Camo Aquaman) are now shipping. To complete your DCUC collection and finish off the Atom Smasher Wave, be sure to pick up the latest figs at your local toy re-seller.
On that note, we are indeed looking to bring DCUC retail figures onto Mattycollector, possibly as soon as later this spring/early summer. We are working on this, stand by while we worked out the kinks.
JLU Wave 3 should be out in about 2-3 weeks. It was supposed to ship in Jan, but what almost seems like an annual event, we needed to switch vendors again. Not our favorite option since it delayed the product by 2 months, but ideally will help to continually improve the product. The Cheetah and Batman Beyond 3 packs as well as single of Booster, Parasite and the rest will be out very soon.
Infinite Heros is also shipping strong. Check out Wal-Marts for some of the latest figures since they just completed an order! And don't forget to save your AntiMonitor points for SDCC 2009!
In Masters of the Universe World we are taking measures to increase production of future figures. We are hoping this can start with Mer-Man, although if it does, likely we will get him in two shipments. Meaning we may sell out right away but get in more in a week or so.
As for Faker, he goes on sale March 16 (the 15th is a weekend). And because we did pre sell him at NYCC, we are going to change the limit to 4 per person for this sale only. (this is the same limit as at the convention).
We know there has been a lot of talk online about whether limits are good low or high based on people buying together to save shipping vs. "scalpers" on the second market.
We've looked at the sales and honestly, there are very few people buying 10 of each figure. Very few. The overwhelming majority buy 1 with 2 of each following up. After that the numbers tale off all the way to 10. Stratos and the Adam Strange pack are selling out because individual fans are buying them. If we saw a huge overwhelming number of people buying 10, we would take measures. But most people buying 10 are also outside the US, so it is likely these are indeed fans buying together to save on shipping. Sure we know some people sell them on the second market, but with numbers of people buying just 1 so high it seems fair to keep the 10 option open to help those who want to save on shipping. Plus we announce sale dates three months in advance. So if you want an upcoming figure, you'll know when to come online!
Speaking of sales outside the US, Germany takes the medal on that one. Although they are the largest fan base outside the US, we're not seeing the numbers yet to justify opening a second distribution center. We will keep working with overseas fans all over the world, and if we are indeed doing high enough sales in any one area we will look at finding a way to distribute there directly.
Lastly, we know from our experience at NYCC that a lot of fans don't yet know about MattyCollector.com. We are 100% open to fan suggestions of how to get the word out. Best bet would be to start to thread on one of the fan sites. I've got Toy Guru checking in on those to see what fans say about spreading the word!
Other than that, keep letting us know what you want to see on the site. We are working hard on the brand pages and those should be complete soon. And don't forget to support the product! Your purchase is a "vote" for continued offerings in each line.
Oh, and as always, if you need to reach customer service, the number is 1 877 GO MATTY, We can't answer customer service questions on Facebook!
See you in the toy aisles! (and on MattyCollector.com!)
Matty

On the whole this is good news all around. The best news from my perspective is making the DCUC waves available at mattycollector.com – however if they do that I hope they start offering Paypal as a payment method again.

Mattel certainly gets the thumbs up for communication! That’s letting us know what’s going on, not spelling or grammar, but you know what they say about beggars……

Marvel Universe, MY Universe!

Picture 005Pretty much as soon as I saw the initial shots of the Marvel Universe 3 3/4” figures, I knew two things: 1) They were going to kill Mattel’s DC Infinite Heroes, and 2) I was going to become addicted to these.

Distribution and access meant I never managed to get a full collection of the 6” Marvel Legends, so the chance to start in a Marvel line from the ground up has a lot of appeal. The depth of character selection in terms of what has already been sold and what has been previewed is very impressive and shows good signs for a strong commitment by Hasbro for the line, while their commitment to the 6” line seems more than questionable. I know that the diehard 6” collectors have issues  with this line because of that, but for me, I can tell this is going to become “my” Marvel line.

Picture 007My first Marvel Universe lot consists of a mix from Waves 1 and 2. I’m going to try to stay away from multiple versions of characters to keep this habit somewhat manageable. I ended up with Hulk. Daredevil, Human Torch (FF Version), Captain America, Iron First, Spiderman, Black Panther, Silver Surfer, Bullseye, Green Goblin, Ronin and Iron Man. Note I passed on the X-Force Wolverine here because there are versions coming in his more standard uniforms in the Wolverine wave which I have on order.

Picture 014For their scale, these are simply quite amazing. The detail is outstanding – complicated elements like Iron Man’s armour or Ronin’s costume are done with ease. The paint apps are outstanding, and the level of sculpting for this scale is fantastic, They feel like much bigger figures than they are. 

The articulation is first rate, and this is what is going to set it apart from DCIH. This is alot of articulation for this scale – chest, bicep and thigh swivels as well as articulated ankles and wrists. This is all good, but it means joints need to be tight for it to work. Most of these are fine, although my Black Panther has a loose leg which required a bit of fiddling to get him to stand, however once I got them settled they have been pleasingly stable.

Obviously the characters with masks are tighter than faces, which are challenging at this scale, but these are still well done. Full-on faces like Johnny Storm’s are a bit disappointing and could improve.

Picture 012 One of the major highlights of these is the accessories. Each figure comes with something – from the amazing like Green Goblin’s hovercraft or Silver Surfer’s surfboard to the basics like numchucks for Daredevil. The winner here is Captain America’s shield, which can either snap onto his wrist or strap on to his back. The loser is Bullseye’s gun, which he can’t hold (at least mine can’t). A shame when care has been taken with most of the others to make sure they can hold their stuff very firmly – Green Goblin’s pumpkin even snaps into his hand. Iron Fist and Human Torch have flamey bits that snap on to wrists, Iron Man has a groovy pulsar blast which again snaps on to his wrist which all work well, but Spiderman has a mess webbing which I really couldn’t work out. Perhaps with some more patience I’ll get it sorted.

I think Iron Man could be the winner here because of tPicture 014he detail of the armour, but Cap and Iron Fist are also favourites. There’s no figure in the lot I’m no happy with. To nitpick, I would have liked the FF uniform Human Torch better without “Flame On” hair, and Hulk’s face looks a tiny bit dopey. That’s seriously it.

Oh, by the way, I’ve finally found something here in Oz to provide some levels in my display! They’re from Howard’s Storage World. I think I’ll be spray painting them all white, but I’m really happy with them – thanks to an AFB Forum member for the suggestion!

I could do on about these forever, really. I’ll follow up on these with some comparison shots to DCIH, etc, but for now you can see an expanded photo set at Facebook, and you can discuss this at the AFB Forum.

Until next time!

 

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I own a piece of DCUC Wave 5!!

Picture 002

Finally, finally, AFB owns one figure from the elusive Wal-Mart exclusive DCUC Wave 5!

Thanks to a good friend, Black Lightning and his associated Metallo piece arrived in Oz yesterday. One step towards owning the Wave in what I sense is going to be an extended quest.

I’ve heard mixed things about the Wal-Mart figures, but the QC here is excellent. All joints work well he stands easily on his own. Paint is beyond reproach.

Picture 004I’ve shown a shot comparing him with the recent DCD version. While both companies get a “fail” for making a MA Black Lightning before the classic, Mattel’s version wins hands down here. A much better headsculpt, and the goggles, while still not clear like they should have been, look much better and less bulbous. The look works much better for the character.

Something was murmured at NYCC I believe about Mattel trying to make exclusive waves available to international customers. I sure hope they find a way to do this, because the only hope I have is good friends – the eBay costs once shipping comes in are just ridiculous.

Oh, I should also say that Metallo’s leg looks amazing, and now I want the C&C. I never make life easy for myself!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Up, up and away!

Picture 002After seeing them in action in some other displays, I decided to order some flight stands from an eBay seller and have a go at using them myself. I just got three to experiment with, and I can tell you I am going to be going back for more!

These stands come with a large round base, a pole to be inserted into the stand, and two sizes of clasps for varying sizes of figures. The clasps can be arranged at different heights along the pole.

Obviously these look much better with figures with ankle articulation (hello, DCD…..?) but in any display they are going to provide effective levels, which I need at the moment as I set things up. Picture 004

The only thing I don’t like about the stands is the base is very big – needed to keep the balance of course, but it means it takes up a great deal of room.

I used Superman here to show that they can be used with a figure with a cape, but only at top height. When I get my DCUC 6 Hawkman (any day now!!) I’ll let you know how it goes with someone with wings.Picture 009

Here’s an example of how I might use these. I need more to make them look effective. I’m trying to counter the large circumference of the bases by standing smaller figures on them (like Supergirl here) and that seems that it will work.

The main issue I have with my display now (the full shots are coming, I promise!) is making levels to make more figures visible and fit more in. This isn’t going to be the total solution, but it will definitely help!

You can see additional photos at Facebook and discuss this at the AFB Forum.

I’m off to eBay now to borrow some more!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Batman: The Brave & The Bold – in Oz!

Picture 004A funny thing happened to me today – I actually found some Mattel DC toys at retail in Australia!

It’s been so long since I’ve had any success that I really don’t do the toy rounds anymore. All there ever is is movie stuff, wrestling figures and the occasional Marvel Legends stuff. This day, however, I just happened to be returning something and thought I’d have a forlorn look at the toy aisles at Kmart, and when I turned the corner and saw an Aquaman on the pegs my stomach literally did a flip-flop.

Picture 006There in front of me were four pegs full of Batman: Brave & The Bold figures! Being an OCD Aquaman completist I had been trying to find the Aquaman and Black Manta from this line with cheap shipping on eBay somewhere, to no avail.

Today, I managed to get these two plus Batman and Red Tornado for a really reasonable price. I left Kanjar Ro for budget reasons and was sorry there was no Blue Beetle there, as I’d really like to have him. That may be an eBay job, I guess. I’ll keep an eye out now that I know they’re in town.

Picture 008These figures are a fun, different take on the DC toy. They’re chunkier and well articulated for their size, and represent the cartoon depictions well. I can imagine them being a hit with the mum & dad market, and with the expanded range that’s coming (B’wana Beast!) they’re going to be a hit with me too.

Aquaman is my favourite here. I like the mix of his different looks in this interpretation! Bats is nice and solid, and Black Manta is suitably creepy and well done. This is an odd place to get the first early SA-ish Red Tornado, but he’s fun too!

Picture 009One dislike – the weird circular indentations at all the joints. I guess it’s a stylistic thing, but me no like. It’s a small quibble though. Each one has a fun, snap on accessory or extra piece. Aquaman has his trident, and the other three have wings or tornado-y things that fit in their backs (those circular holes again). Aquaman’s trident is a bit loose in his grip but he can still hold it.

I bought more of these than I’d planned just out of the shock of actually finding them here, but no regrets – these are going to find a place on my shelf somewhere, and the ones I can’t find are going on the want list! I just hope that the cartoon does well and that Mattel makes a good commitment to fleshing out this line. I’ll be there!

As an added bonus, here’s a look at my “Aquaman shelf” with these figures added. This isn’t all my Aquaman stuff, but it’s most.

You can see more photos at Facebook or discuss this at the AFB Forum.

Who should be next in JLU? Have your say!

The AFB Forums have really taken off! We hope you'll come in and have a look AND a say!

In "The Pegs", which is our board about collecting life, we're running a poll to come up with lists of the heroes and villains who appeared in Justice League Unlimited but haven't had a figure yet that we'd most like to see. Global Moderator Kimmel Prime has done an exhaustive list of every character that's appeared in the show but not in plastic (there's more than you'd think!), and all you need to vote on which ones you think should be next in this amazing line of toys.

The poll is here - come in and have your say!

MOTUC: Stratos Sold Out, He-Man and Skeletor re-issued

P1620_Statos_fullsizeimage1According to Matty Mattel’s Facebook Page:

“Yup, MOTU fans are absolutely into this line as Stratos sold out in what, 4 days! Wow. Didn't see that one coming. And in all honesty while we did produce slightly more He-Man and Skeletor, it wasn't THAT much more. So this really is a good indication of how the line is doing. And yes, we will go into increased numbers. Faker has already been produced so we will see if it is possible to up the order of Mer-Man, if not we will apply to Zodac and Hordak for sure.
And in other MOTUC news, yes we will be brining back He-Man and Skeletor with only slight packaging changes indicate this is the second run. We also switched He-Man's shoulders correctly and per fan requests lightened the red around his eyes. We know some fans are asking for a lighter material on the loin cloth, but this wasn't possible without delaying his rerelease.
These guys won't be back until a bit down the road, but they will return to ensure all fans can get key characters.
Next up is Faker which we will have less of online since we took a bunch to NYCC. So if you want Faker, based on sales of Stratos, be online quickly on March 16 after 12:00 noon. We imagine since it is too late to produce more for this sale, his remaining stock will go fast.
After him is Mer Man on April 15th and Zodac on May 15. We are looking into a few bonus figures (as mentioned at NYCC) for some months later in this year. Bonus figures will include repaints and rereleases (such as He-Man and Skeletor mentioned above). Should be some great surprises!
We'll see you on MattyCollector.com!”

Thankfully no negative comparisons to DCUC or JLU sales this time! It’s great that this line is going so well. Like it says above, if you want Faker you’re gonna have to be online when he goes up because the stock is limited!

I’m glad to hear that He-Man and Skeletor are getting re-releases and that some of the issues folks had with He-Man the first time around are going to be corrected. I don’t collect this line but I would consider getting these two for nostlagia’s sake, as I had them all as a kid (and am pretty sure my mother threw them out – sob!).

No Martok – My Mistake

Picture 003Last week when I picked up DST’s Deep Space Nine Wave 2 from the LCS, I decided to leave the Martok figure behind to save some money, and because I was just concentrating on core cast members.

After DST’s very strong Star Trek showing at Toy Fair (they’re making Romulans, baby!!) I decided that my DST Star Trek collection really needs to be complete, and so I needed to give him another look on this week’s trip, and all I can say is I’m really glad I did.

Picture 004Martok is quite easily the figure of the wave. He’s beautifully detailed with soft leather pieces for parts of his uniform and a great range of accessories. I really don’t know what I was doing leaving him behind! Once again anyone wanting to act out scenes or create dioramas will be thrilled with this figure as he comes with a range of weapons - and drinking gear!

One thing I did notice is that both of the Worf figures I have are taller than him – is that correct for the heights of the actors? I’ll need to go back to the DVDs and look to check that. Was there a Worf done in the Nemesis line that would fit in more with the DS9 figures? I need to check that out.

Picture 008I really do hope we get another DS9 line. The Sisko / Gul Dukat 2-pack is promising, but to leave this like without Quark would be a tragedy, and I’d really like to have Jake and Keiko as well.

Also, here’s a pic of how my Star Trek shelves are shaping up. I’m still not ready to show off the whole new display but I’ll give a teaser here or there!

The whole collection of AFB’s DST Star Trek stuff, including more pics from this wave, can be found at the AFB Facebook page. You can also discuss this at the AFB Talkback Thread at our Forum.

Enjoy!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Seven Seas Sing!

AquamanTNI has the DC Direct Solicitations up for October, and this gives us a nice close look at the Aquaman and Mera Mini-Busts which were premiered at NYCC.

Very nice that these are coming out in the same month, and even better that it’s my birthday month – good to have the present list sorted already!

I’m not planning on collecting the whole range of Heroes of the DC Universe Mini-Busts for space and budget reasons, plus when it comes to statues (apart from the Women of the DCU line) DCD tends to do the major players and then stop, but I’m sure glad Aquaman is getting in a place in the this line for however long it lasts. It’s an imposing statue too and I can’t wait to own it.

MeraThe Terry Dodson versions of the Women of the DC Universe Mini-Busts have been a mixed bag for me. Some of the stylings have been too cutesy for my tastes, so I’m relieved that Mera doesn’t fall in to this category, because I’d hate to have to pass on a character that I’ve been dying to see in the DCD line in some form.

I have some opinions about the styling in terms of how it relates to her most traditional look, but I’ll save that for the eventual review. Perhaps the performance of these products will convince DCD to finally produce an Aquaman 6” Series? Why we haven’t seen Flash or Aquaman get even one wave is really beyond me.

For right now, however, this Aquaman fan is just very happy to see such well-deserving characters appearing in this line.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Two-Pack Sure to Please

_AUTOIMAGES_MTP1598lgThe DCUC Superman and SA Brainiac Two-Pack is now up with pics for pre-order at places like Entertainment Earth. A much awaited first-run of the SA Brainy, and I’m so looking forward to him I don’t really care that he’s Hulk-green instead of the slightly lighter green he should be. It’s also great to see a non-mullet Superman finally enter the line.

Here’s hoping the QC of this important release is above the TRU Exclusive 2-packs – we need these guys done well, and I’m sure they will be.

Also, I’d day say if THIS was a web-exclusive, we wouldn’t have heard what we did yesterday about mattycollector.com sales! Can’t wait for this one!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Matty speaks re DCUC online sales

Matty Mattel has made this announcement (complete with typos) at his Facebook page regarding sales of MOTUC and DCUC at mattycollector.com:

“Hey toy fans,
I know a lot of fans have been asking for sales reports on the items we sell on MattyCollector.com. While for legal reason I can't go into units produced vs. sold, but I can give you a few tid bits.
MOTUC has been a great success. Stratos is actually selling faster then anticipated so that is a great sign and will help us adjust quotas for the rest of the year.
DCU and JLU have been doing well, but I gotta tell ya, the Masters fans are killing the DC fans on this one! We do have some really great plans for more DCU brand sets in 6", JLU and beyond. So if you are interested in seeing more DCU brand items online, grab one of the current sets. Honestly, at the end of the day, it is the sales of one items which will lead to the next and we need to hit certain minimums to keep lines going.
Not that JLU and DCU are doing poor, but if you want em, we suggest you get em!
Okay, and to end on a high note, overall things are going great. We are very close to launching the DCU brand library featuring (ideally) all of the collector lines from the past few years leading up to sneak peaks of new released. Should be the ideal place to get your DCU info!
After that we'd like to see CARs go up as new CARs product gets ready to launch in a few months (the team is working hard on this with Pixar and Disney, so stay tuned for awesome stuff as soon as it is ready!)
We'll also be adding a Ghostbusters page in the next month or so as we rev up for a summer release of 6" and 12" figures from everyone's favorite paranormal investigators aimed for collectors.
Next up is Faker on sale March 16th (the 15th is a weekend). Until then, see you in aisle 7G.
Matty
PS: DCUC Wave 7 mix 2 should be out in about a month. (ideally). I'll update everyone as soon as we see first samples, that usually means they will be in stores within a few weeks.”

So, MOTUC is outselling DCUC on the website. Well, that’s not much of a shock, seeing as the MOTUC products are the first-tier characters and the product isn’t available anywhere else, while the DCUC on the site has been a 2-pack of second-tier characters that wouldn’t be everyone’s cup of tea. . If Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman etc were only available at mattycollector.com I’m sure they’d be doing the same traffic.

It’s this couple of sentences that worries me: “So if you are interested in seeing more DCU brand items online, grab one of the current sets. Honestly, at the end of the day, it is the sales of one items which will lead to the next and we need to hit certain minimums to keep lines going. :

MAT11528Having been burned by DCD offering us things we didn’t want (like the very dodgy MA JSA Wave) and then using poor sales as an excuse for not making more, I’d hate to see things so down a similar road here. Personally I was keen for the Adam Strange & Starfire 2-pack, but those guys are not in the same league as He-Man and Skeletor, and they were also supplementing a line that’s available on a much bigger scale at retail. It’s apples and oranges really.

My suggestion: make Martian Manhunter or Zatanna a web exclusive and then compare MOTUC sales to DCUC sales, Matty.

Now just to plug, the Gotham City Criminals 4-pack with Bane, Harley Quinn, Clock King and Scarecrow is up at mattycollector.com now. I’ve ordered mine and I do suggest you do the same!!

Want to respond, disagree, add your own views? Go to the AFB Talkback Forum to have your say!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Biggest Scale Failures Poll

Hey folks, I'm running a poll to narrow down the top 10 Biggest Scale Failures in Superhero Action Figure History. There's a list of 19 possible scale failures to choose from, and I would appreciate your help in getting a good sized sample of opinions. Once the voting is closed I'll be putting together an article on the results.

The poll is at the new Action Figure Blues Forum which is at:

http://actionfigureblues.smfforfree.com/index.php/topic,20.0.htm

Would love to see you there!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Toy Fair: Stuff to buy, stuff to hide…..

IMG_0185Stuck over here in the boondocks, of Oz, sites like Action Figure Insider and Toy News International are a fanboy’s lifeline at convention time. Thanks guys for some great glimpses of ToyFair so far!

We had heard rumours that Zatanna was the next DCD 1:6 Scale figure, and sure enough there she was, with a top hat and white bunny too! Personally I’d love to see the Perez costume come out in this line someday, but it was a no-brainer that we’d see the black and white magician’s suit first. And it works, but golly I wish DCD  would get the knock-kneed thigh cut mess sorted out on their female figures in this scale. It’ll be sorted out with posing, but gosh she looks scee-raggly. Not super-duper wild about the facial expression either, but this is still a lock for me because I love the character and the line and want more, more, more.

IMG_0192We also saw the 1:6 Scale Wonder Woman up close, and after all the ongoing drama about what form Wondy’s hair should take, I can only imagine the screeching that might be taking place now. I’m personally glad they went with sculpted hair, but when have we ever really seen Diana in a ringlet perm? And…. she has the icky thigh cuts. Her uniform does look solidly done, but too loose around the bust in the same way that Black Canary’s was. I’ll reserve judgement until I see her in person. I do feel a bit for DCD on this one, because there are so many dedicated fans that there is no way to make everyone happy no matter what decisions are made.

IMG_0213Oh, and Georg Brewer obviously loves his ablutions so much he’s now  selling them. They’re called Uni -Formz. How Georg manages to do poopies that look kinda like Superman and Batman I have no idea, but the dude should be selling them on eBay along with the Corn Flake that looks like Jesus and the Raisin Toast with the profile of the Pope in it. I guess this is DCD’s answer to Mighty Muggs, and your intrepid reviewer is going to get a couple to give you the low-down. That is how much I love you. Remember that come Christmas time. God help me if I end up liking these.

And outside of DC world, DST is making a Star Trek Original Series Nurse Chapel! That’s awesome news for the Original Series collection. I do hope that DST remembers that the Original Series Stuff was in a smaller scale than the other stuff they’ve made so that she doesn’t end up towering over the rest of team. Looks like she’s coming in a two pack with McCoy with short sleeves and gorilla hair arms. That’s another figure off my want list.

IMG_0423Oh, and AFI has a truly terrifying Toy Fair video of Jesse Falcon up. Put the kids away before you watch that one, if you must watch it all. Short but scary.

Now for some fun news – if you want to make comment on this or anything else you’ve seen from Toy Fair – you can now do it at the AFB Forum – please have a look, set up and account and lend a hand in setting up what we hope will be another fun place to chat toys on the Internet!

Enjoy!

Um…. was anyone watching the Watchmen?

Picture 001I wasn’t planning on doing an out of the box review of DC Direct Watchmen Series 1 because it took a long time to get around to it, but now that I’ve finally unpacked them I thought I needed to point something out.

Brothers and sisters, that Rorschach is teeeeeny tiiiiiiiiny. And it might be a Tim Bruckner sculpt, but it’s a mess and three quarters. His legs are basically fixed in a weird stance, he can barely stand on his own, his head is cocked to one side, he… he…. well let’s just say, lots of frowns.

Picture 002The rest of the figures get a pass from me. Nite Owl is actually a great figure, but he and Rorschach look like they come from different planets. Silk Spectre looks like she’s stepped straight out of the pages of the graphic novel, and it’s a BVP female figure I can see customisers loving, but again a bit tiny. She and Rorschach are Bruckner sculpts, while Nite Owl and Ozymandias are by Jack Matthews. Those guys needed to have a bit more of a confab, methinks. Or, is it possible that the smaller two are actually  the original DCD figures solicited so long ago while the other two are new sculpts to fit the film? I’d need photos to compare.

Picture 006On his own Nite Owl is the winner of the bunch. Great detail on the costume, great stance. Makes me look forward to seeing him in the film. Ozymandias is the opposite. Hope Veidt doesn’t spend too much time in that getup in the film. As a figure, however, he’s well done.

Paint-wise these are perfect. If we could give DCD’s distribution, detail and (usual) paint apps to DCUC’s character selection and (usual) scale, well let’s say I could almost die happy. They each come with bases that join together to make a wider display. No instructions of course, and the foot peg hole insert things have be stuck in the bottom of the bases and don’t really stick. Thank God my eight year old could work out how to do it. Unfortunately even between the two of us we couldn’t get Rorschach’s “removable” hand to put on his hand than can ho ld his gun. Maybe I get too afraid of breaking these things but I really did try, and so did Miss 8!

Picture 004Anyhoo, I just had to decry this 6” travesty to such a long-awaited character. Ironic that just like the lacklustre DCUC Big Barda, DCD is doing an “unmasked variant” of this sculpted stinkeroo. Well, at least I didn’t preorder that one! I am now fully expecting Dr Manhattan and The Comedian in 8” scale just to compliment this crowd.

Oh, and maybe a pack-in of the kid from the newsstand in 1:2 scale. That would make as much sense as this.

More pics including closeups at Facebook .

Sunday, February 15, 2009

First Aid required…….

DC10018Big Bad Toy Store has some new DCD solicits up, including “JLA Classics Series 1”, which seems to be a retread of what many folk have so unkindly referred to as the “Turner Turds”, with some different headsculpts. I’m sure I’ve read a zillion threads on various messageboards clamouring for a reissue of those gems. Thank God DCD is listening.

Seriously, how can DCD continue to churn this stuff out when Mattel is succeeding with characters like Killer Moth and Gentleman Ghost?? Help!

As to the figures, the Flash from Identity Crisis was one of the only redeemable figures from that line. Green Arrow looks like he’s had extensive re-tooling, and a there’s a new and much better head for Superman, but really, are these figures worth revisiting?  (Waits for answer, hears crickets…..)

The only thing that could make resurrecting these figures worthwhile is if they somehow gave us a passable version of the Perez Zatanna costume. I can totally see that happening.

Stuff like this hurts my soul. Ow.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

DS9 Series 2 – That’s more like it!

Picture 002After being slightly disappointed with some of the likenesses in the last wave of DST’s ST:TNG line, I approached the second wave of the Deep Space Nine series with a bit of trepidation. I decided against the Martok from the wave for budget and display space reasons, and on my first go could only pick up O’Brien and Bashir, because for some reason the Previews Exclusives from the ST waves always arrive a week later to my LCS than the rest of the wave. This meant I had to wait for Kira, and I decided to wait to open up the other figures until she arrived.

On first glance in the package, I didn’t get a real sense of the characters in the headsculpts of these figures, but once out of the package, I’d have to say that the Bashir and Kira likenesses are better efforts than the Ro and Ogawa headsculpts from the TNG wave. I’d still say that the DS9 O’Brien  headsculptPicture 005 could have been aged a bit to reflect his look in that series, but understand the financial wisdom of using the TNG head as well.

The Kira headsculpt is good, although her Bajoran ridges could have been more pronounced, and the head looks like it belongs on a slightly larger body. It looks like this is the base body used for Ezri Dax. Not sure what that means in terms of scale – I’d have to go back in the DS9 archives to check that out.

One thing you notice when you look at the group shot of Waves 1 and 2 (and oh, when you do, note that wonderful Odo figure…) is the huge variance in skin tone between some of the figures – compare Kira to Ezri to Bashir. Not sure if this is deliberate or a production issue, but it does look a bit off.

Picture 008 As usual, these figures come with a truckload of accessories – including racoon-skin hats for Bashir and O’Brien, coffee cups, phasers etc. Someone who wanted to act out DS9 scenes with this figures would be really happy!

Was there a Nemesis Worf figure made? I’m thinking I’ll need one to complete the team because another wave looks unlikely, which is a shame because that means no Quark. With some of the two-packs coming out I could be pleasantly surprised of course. Here’s hoping.

If you want to see more pics, there’s some  up in an album at AFB’s new Facebook page.

Enjoy!

Friday, February 13, 2009

AFB is on Facebook!

facebook_picI’ve made an AFB page on Facebook……. just because I can!

What I’m planning to do there is keep photo albums, with extra photos from the blog posts, announce things (like… stuff, you know) and hopefully connect with folks in a different way than a blog allows.

If you Facebook, I’d love to see you there:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Action-Figure-Blues/42281071218

Also, just a reminder that you can also follow AFB on Twitter at http://twitter.com/afblues

See you on the Internet!

JLI Series 1 – Ah, the memories……. kinda…..

Picture 004 I’ve been looking forward to DC Direct’s Justice League International Series 1 for – well awhile now, since they were meant to come out before Christmas. This is reinforced by the “teasers” inside the clamshell insert for waves “coming soon” that have already been. I was worried that the delay and the fact that these figures weren’t on display at NYCC might mean that these were going to be dogs, but thankfully, they’re not.

The overall QC on these figures is excellent – no complaints about paint on any of these. They come with a clear base with the JLI symbol on them which is a nice touch, however they all stand on their own. I had a little trouble getting Black Canary to settle but the rest are very sturdy. Batman is suffering from BBPS (Bent Bat Prong Syndrome) on his left prong, something I thought DCD was finally getting over after a bad run a couple of years ago. These are really the only complaints.

Picture 005I am a bit of a fan of Dinah’s uniform circa-Crisis, in a retro sort of way, so have really been looking forward to this figure. It doesn’t disappoint – a very faithful plastic rendition of the piece. Her head seems a little more compact than the solicit, but it works. Happy with this one.

The Batman in this series is the only one that I’d say is particularly Maguire style. His cloak is very impressive. It’s not flexible enough to do any over the shoulder the stuff, but it hardly matters because it looks so good. The bendy bat-prong is the only issue here, although I think the prongs could also be longer to have the more imposing look he had in JLI. The guy has prong issues, basically.

Picture 014Like many collectors, I would have preferred Ice’s later costume, but this figure looks much better in person than it did in the solicits. Her arms come posed awkwardly but can be corrected to look a bit more normal. Her face looks less sucked in than it did in the promo shots, which is a plus. I’m hopeful we can count on Mattel for teh more current versions of Fire and Ice.

I can’t say that I’ve ever read a comic with G’Nort in it, seems he came and went during my comics hiatus, so I can only go on a few pics I can find and the word of fans that he’s a bit on the portly side. His tail comes detached and took a bit of fiddling to get in. His mouth is constructed in a way that makes you think it might open and close, but sadly this is not the case. (NOTE: A few readers have let me know it does open - perhaps I didn't pry hard enough!!)

The packaging is bright and enjoyable, and has art of all the characters solicited so far, plus Rocket Red and Oberon. We also know Maguire did turnarounds for Captain Marvel and Dr Fate, and that sounds like a great Wave 3 to me – here’s hoping!

One of the happiest things about these figures is that they’re reasonably in scale with some of the older JLA / JLI figs. We’ve got another wave on the way, but if there is no more (in typical DCD style) there are other figures that will compliment these, albeit not in the same style.

By the way, AFB is now on Facebook! Go to http://www.facebook.com/pages/Action-Figure-Blues/42281071218?ref=ts# to become a ‘fan’. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

This is what it’s all about, folks…

Gedc0919My friend ousooner posted this amazing pic of his DCUC JLA collection over at the D*O*O*S*H*  complete with S7 Flash. Thanks to Wave 9 we know these heroes will be joined by Green Arrow and Black Canary, and there’s certainly a feeling that the rest of the Satellite JLA can’t be that far behind……

I think this says it all about why so many of us have so much faith in this line. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful….

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Some Sistas Got Problems, Some Don’t…

barda6Mattel’s DC Universe Classics is the most exciting thing to happen to DC toy fans since….well, I’d almost be prepared to say Super Powers. It has the potential to become THE iconic DC action figure line simply because of the depth of character selection, delivered in one consistent feel and style.

Due to this potential, it’s fair enough that we want the line to be the best it can be. Mattel certainly appears to be making the effort to be listening, which is very encouraging.

With that in mind, Mattel, I want to talk to you about your women folk for a moment:

Picture 001Some of your female figures are simply amazing. The Wave 4 Wonder Woman is certainly the best female 6” figure from lines aimed at the retail market I’ve ever seen, and quite possibly the best Wonder Woman 6” figure around. From the looks of the NYCC photos, the upcoming Black Canary looks like it could easily  fall in the same category. (By the way, thanks for the blue stockings on Dinah – you’ve made a lot of collectors happy with that one).

You need to consider how your packaging impacts on your figures. I was really excited to receive my  mattycollector.com exclusive Adam Strange & Starfire 2-pack, but disappointed to find that due to the way Starfire was posed in the box, her right leg is so bent out of shape that she can’t stand up on her own. We understand that the quality of plastic that has to be used to make this price point has its limitations – please don’t make this issue worse by creating problems in the figures through awkward packaging. (By the way – Kory wasn’t as bad as I was expecting due to the negative press, but the chest straps on her outfit needed to be sculpted on, not just painted. Plus – bendy legs: no.)

DSC05541You need a larger female body type to effectively recreate the DCU. Big Barda being shorter than Mister Miracle is not on, guys. It’s not just about height, it’s build as well. We accept that with the cost limitations of a line of this scale for this market that there are going to basic body types throughout the line, but a significant character like Barda should be given more respect. Is Grace Choi going to be the same height as Thunder? What’s worse about this figure missing the mark is that there’s a shrimpy variant alot of us have already pre-ordered, so we’re getting stuck with two not-so-Big Bardas. This one was worth a new cut, guys. It’s a real shame too, because otherwise it’s a beautiful figure. (Thanks to AFTimes for the pic).

Like I said, this line could be THE line. We want it to be. And that’s why we’re going to keep telling you like it is. Thanks for listening.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

More Custom JSA Glory

Picture 019Over the last year a bevy of customisers led by the wonderful Lars have been helping me out with filling out the rosters of both my GA and MA Justice Society of America. I’ve acquired the figures through a combination of eBay auctions and commissions.

Recently I saw a post from Lars about the some figures he was making on spec which included the current Judomaster. While she wasn’t on the top of my list for my next addition to the roster, his version was just too good to pass up, and I quickly contacted him and made a deal for her to be mine. 

On a funny note,  I can now officially say I am a customiser, because she arrived with her lovely ponytail snapped off (thank you Australia Post!) and I had to glue it back on – the first time I have ever repaired a figure! Anyone who knows my fine motor skills will tell you I am best kept away from things like glue and snapped off plastic, but the operation was a success.

Picture 022And I’m very glad about that, because this is an excellent figure. The base is an All-Star Super Lois.  Lars’ paintwork is always impeccable. Many thanks to him for another great effort!

Also, here’s a glimpse of how the new display is panning out. I’m not ready for the “big reveal”, but here are my JSA shelves as they presently stand.

Enjoy!

NYCC Day One Wrap-Up

1233966807-31There a number of sites doing comprehensive coverage of the New York Comic-Con, so as usual I’ll just worry about looking at what interests me.

Day One saw mostly existing stuff on display with the bigger announcements to come later. Mattel’s Ghostbusters line was there for the viewing, and fans of that property are going to be well pleased – the 12” figures are beautifully detailed. It made me wonder if Mattel will ever look at 12” DC Universe figures – if this is an indication, they would be well done.

In my area of interest, the most exciting reveal on Day 1 was the DC Direct Women of the DC Universe Mera Mini-Bust. This is the first time DCD has done a Mera item, and she looks excellent. I’ve actually started collecting some of these mini-busts (haven’t got around to blogging them yet) andIMG_1363 while some in the line go too for into cheesecake for me to enjoy, the Mera mini-bust looks more realistic and right on the money. Alongside her, it looks like Aquaman and Green Arrow are both getting mini-busts in the DCD Heroes of the DC Universe line, and they both look amazing. Many thanks to Action Figure Insider for the look.

Still on DC Direct, we got a look at the History of the DCU line, and the figures look very promising. In particular, the Batman looks like he might just be “the” Batman we’ve been waiting for all these years. A site I’d never visited before, Cool Toy Review, had this excellent shot of a figure I will look forward to with great anticipation. It’s exciting to see DCD experimenting with a bit more articulation. Here’s hoping this line becomes a comprehensive representation of the DCU.

On the Marvel side, we got a huge preview of the upcoming Hasbro Marvel Universe 3 3/4” scale figures, which reinforced my view that these are going to blow Infinite Heroes out of the water. Well, Mattel is certainly killing the 6” 459retail line for superheroes with DCUC, so perhaps it’s okay if Marvel heroes are reigning in this smaller world. Here’s hoping these land in Oz – a good chance since there is a lot of Hasbro product here at retail. If so, this may become the scale in which I collect the Marvel Universe. Time will tell!

The raspberry award goes to the news that the Justice League Unlimited Amanda Waller figure will be a Target Exclusive. We have Target here, but they don’t carry this line so it’s eBay for us. I understand retailer exclusives are a necessary evil in today’s market, but gosh they make it hard for the overseas collector.

That’s my take on Day 1 – definitely looking forward to some reveals tomorrow!

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