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Monday, August 24, 2009

JLU & Infinite Heroes fun to wrap up Mattel’s SDCC Efforts

Wrapping up the review of the goodies from my Mattel SDCC Box, here’s the JLU Green Lantern 3-Pack and the DC Infinite Heroes Anti-Monitor.

I tend to be a photograph ‘em and rip ‘em open kind of guy, but the touches put in to this JLU 3-Pack are really nice. I had no idea how big the lantern-shaped card was until I saw it in person – and in fact it’s so groovy that for the moment I don’t want to open it.

Say “JLU Hal Jordan” to a die-hard JLU collector, and you’re sure to get a reaction. The exclusive "Christmas” Hal that came out many years ago created a hole in most JLU collections that’s impossible to fill. This is Mattel’s way of trying to offer an olive branch: swappable heads – which is great, because not only can we now have a (maskless) Hal in a GL uniform, we can also have either Sinestro or Abin Sur in a pilot’s uniform, with white hands. Phew! My JLU collection is pretty much complete now! Ah well, it’s an olive branch, and it looks damn good on the card….

As for Anti-Monitor, again, great fun, and a nice addition to the DCIH line. While people (including myself) have compared Infinite Heroes negatively to Marvel Universe due to the lack of articulation, I’m starting to be won over to DCIH due to the range of character selection and the investment in individual sculpts. This on e’s a very nice touch, taller than the regular figures, and is going to look great alongside the Mattycollector.com Crisis 4-Pack. Looking forward to bringing you those pics!

So, many thanks to Mattel for a great (albeit Gleek-less) SDCC!

You can discuss this at the AFB Forum, and comment on this post to enter the AFB August Comment of the Month Contest.

Until next time!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Mattel’s Heroic SDCC Effort

As a recent convert to Mattel’s Masters of the Universe Classics line, I have enough figures to chase down on eBay without letting this one go too, even though He-ro is a figure I’ve picked up for completion purposes only, since I knew nothing about the character. Once I checked his Wikipedia entry I understood why: he was a planned character that never came to be. Fun to see that Mattel is picking characters like this up and weaving them into their own mythos this bring them in to reality in plastic.

I really love the MOTUC packaging – dramatic and yet compact – easy to open but also contained if you want to keep the figures in the box. The only complaint I would have if I was a MOC collector would be that the packing is so small that it’s hard to get a great look at the figure inside.

As for the figure itself, to me it kind of looks like a roided up Ken broke in to He-Man’s wardrobe and dressed up. His slightly two-dimensional appearance isn’t helped by a lack of subtlety in his flesh tones, quite different from previous figures when seem to have had more light and shade. Let’s hope this is a one-off and not a new trend.

He-ro’s staff is quite groovy. I got the red stone, one of three options apparently. I like the way the prongs hang out, which is good, because I can’t get them to reattach and stand closed. Minor QC quibble. Like my Man-at-Arms, He-ro’s leg joints are on the loose side, making a slight challenge to stand.

I don’t think He-ro is going to go down as one of my favourites in this line, but I think the fact that Mattel made the figure is a nice nod towards the whole He-Man history, and I’m happy to have him.

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

Until next time!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Wondertwin Powers, Activate!

There really was no other title I could give to this post, seeing as since I opened the packaging of the latest DCUC SDCC Exclusive and the little light and sound show went off, it’s all we’ve heard around the house. I had to give the AFB-ettes a complete rundown on the Wondertwin mythos (including YouTube demonstrations) and now someone in our house is taking the “form of” something every five minutes or so. Joy.

To get the Gleek business out of the way first, I’m probably one of the only folks out there who really couldn’t care less about getting a plastic purple monkey. While I certainly have alot of Super Friends love as it was this show that led to my eventual interest / obsession with Superheroes, but that love doesn’t extend to Gleek, so I was more than happy to get mine from Mattycollector.com post SDCC.

Mattel’s SDCC Exclusives have come with some light or sound effects before, but they really outdid themselves this year. The set comes folded in half with the figures protected by a transparent plastic sleeve with the Wondertwins logo printed on it. When this is removed and the two sides are folded out and connected, you get the whole shebang complete with background sounds, voices and flashing lights. A very nice touch is that the figures can be removed from the display and reinserted if you want the show again. Great fun.

The figures themselves are excellent. Zan’s headsculpt is dead-on, a great representation of the character, while Jayna’s is slightly less so due to over-arched eyebrows, or funny eyes, or both, but at any rate it’s just off and these are still great fun. Glad to see they used the adult bucks for these and not the teen ones, which I’m not a big fan of. Paints apps are very solid on both figures.

One thing I’ve noticed about the adult female buck is that the upper arms are oddly thin. At the wrong angle they really look like sticks, which doesn’t matter so much for Jayna but is definitely out of place for characters that should be more muscled.

These toys are a great blast from the past and I’m glad to own them – but also glad I didn’t want that purple monkey too badly, as I would have been ePaying for this set for sure! Thanks Matty!

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

Until next time!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Supergirl busts it out!

Those bust puns never get old, do they? …….do they????

Supergirl is DC Direct’s next entry in the Women of the DC Universe Mini-Bust Series Two, based on designs by Terry Dodson.

This bust is beautifully done, with lovely colours and a great base, but there’s something slightly off about it that I couldn’t put my finger on until I saw Dodson’s original concept sketch on the side of the box (have a look at my Facebook photo album for the picture).

While the sketch show’s Supergirl’s hair sort of flowing in the wind and with a knowing, determined look on her face, the final sculpt looks a little bit too much like “Barbie as Supergirl”, with her hair a bit too perfect and her facial expression more than a bit too blank. Also, the Super-person bending metal thing is little bit tired, having been used in more than one Superman bust / statue in recent times. 

This is still a good addition to the line, but it’s a shame to see the gap between concept and product – not characteristic of this line as most of the previous Dodson busts have captured the sketch beautifully.

You can check out a wider range of pics at Facebook, discuss this at the AFB Forum, and don’t forget that by commenting on this post you’ll be entering in the August AFB Comment of the Month Contest.

Until next time!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Let the Secret Wars Begin!

It’s verrry rare that I get a chance to grab anything here before everyone in the US already has it, and since I’m impatient and don’t like reporting on old news, I usually order anything I really want from the states. Being a Marvel Universe fan, I already had dibs on some Secret Wars 2-Packs from the land of Old Glory, but lo and behold, I found the first wave right here in Aussie today! Once I picked my jaw up off the ground, I grabbed them and raced home to get them up on the site asap. Wondertwins etc. can wait!

The concept of the Secret Wars 2-Packs is a clever one – one which would have been great to see in 6”, but that’s a lost argument methinks. Hasbro isn’t just getting mileage out of the 25th Anniversary of the series though – they’re also getting a great deal of mileage out of the figures already made in the Marvel Universe line. In the first three 2-Packs we are only getting two new characters: Klaw and Thunderball.

I’m glad I got to pick through these at retail, because unlike the Marvel Universe singles, which haven’t seemed to vary much in quality from what I’ve seen on the pegs, the QC of these figures is all over the place, at least in the packs I saw. All the Thunderballs I saw had different degrees of sloppy paint apps on the faces, I got the only Klaw that didn’t look like he’d put his makeup on in the dark, and the only Spiderman that had a head that didn’t look like a squashed pea. These figures have some interesting structural differences to the first MU sculpts too – for example the new sculpts don’t have ball-jointed feet, just rotating ones, and they have some funky chest articulation, particularly Wolverine, who looks like a barrel-chested pygmy because of the way his chest juts out. Disturbing.

Thankfully my Thunderball and Klaw were the best of the bunch, as these were the ones I was obviously looking forward to the most. Klaw is a great figure, although the lack of properly articulated feet means that he’s harder to stand than he should be. Thunderball is also excellent, although his ball and chain are harder to position than it might seem. Still, it’s great to see them in plastic and standing next to their Secret Wars peers.

Kudos to Hasbro for producing different versions of the repeat characters (except for Spiderman, who in his non squashed pea head state is the MU single version as far as I can tell). Cap has his brighter 80 ’s colouring (although he sports the belt with attachments on it as per the other versions and not the comic-correct plain black belt that is pictured on the card back). This redder version of the Human Torch is actually my favourite of the different versions seen so far in this line – and not just because he stands easily on his own unlike the other two.

In the end these figures are better enjoyed as a group than on their own, and that enjoyment is only going to increase as the next waves of two packs come out – thankfully with fewer repeat characters than this one.

Looking forward to seeing the Secret Wars cast more complete, but would also like to see a bit more consistency in the QC and structure with what Hasbro is doing with the Marvel 3 3/4” scale. Between the MU singles, the Wolverine Origins line and now this, we have three variations on a theme – make up your mind guys!

You can see an expanded range of pics at Facebook, and discuss this at the AFB Forum

Until next time!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Man-at-Arms drags AFB into Masters of the Universe Classics

I never had a complete set of the original He-Man figures, and I have no idea whatever happened to the ones I did own. I was on the verge of being too old for the Filmation cartoon when it came out and only vaguely remember it. It was always more of a superhero kid than a barbarian and beasts kid, so while the Masters of the Universe Classics line had some draw for me when it started on Mattycollector.com, I wasn’t compelled to partake. I passed on He-Man and Skeletor easily, and even passed on old favourite Mer-Man. Chalk one up to my self-control – dodged a bullet by not starting another line, right?

Then came Man-at-Arms, a.k.a the reliable Duncan, and for some reason I bought the damned thing. Dang nostalgia factor. It was the dude with the interchangeable head with the handlebar moustache that finally dragged me in….

These figures are a great nod to the originals with some fun and subtle improvements. Fun packaging – also not a huge box if you wanted to keep these mint – with a bio on the back that shows how the character fits into the MOTUC universe, which obviously has its own canon.

First thing I did when opening up the package was swap the heads – classic Duncan thank you! The second thing I did was struggle with him for a moment to get him to stand properly – his legs are a bit on the loose side. That’s the only minus though – great colours, great sculpting, great accessories, and something I really like about this last one is that between hands and spaces on his back there’s room for all of this tools to be “on board”.

So, I’m officially in the MOTUC band. I’m not going to break the bank chasing past figures on ePay, but I will be picking up any re-issues and I’ve already signed up for my 2010 Club Eternia subscription – I can really do without the middle of the night wake-ups to grab the monthly figure.

You can see additional photos at Facebook, discuss this at the AFB Forum, and enter the August AFB Comment of the Month Contest by commenting on this post.

Colour me a He-Man fan!!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Holy Fast Delivery Batman!

Usually the flipside of the very reasonable Mattycollector.com international shipping is that orders take awhile to make their way to Oz. With this in mind, I was sorely tempted to pay the $55 USD for UPS shipping for my Post-SDCC Mattel order. At the checkout, reason (and the exchange rate) prevailed, and all I can say is that I am SO glad I didn’t bother on this occasion, because my order made it to Oz in one week!! That’s one week campers!!

I have a couple of reviews backed up before I get to these in detail, but I had to celebrate this happy day and show a pic of my haul!

Until next time!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

SDCC Comes to AFB: Marvel Universe Invaders Boxed Set

While await the goodies I ordered from Mattycollector.com’s August 3 SDCC Exclusive-athon (for which I finally got a shipping confirmation today), I’m working through a few recent arrivals, starting with my first piece of SDCC: The Marvel Universe Invaders Boxed Set, brought to AFB courtesy of the amazing Chooch from Critical Mess, who did quite a few CM forum members a huge favour by helping us out with various exclusives, as well as waiting in long lines for He-Ros and Gleeks and coming away empty handed and Gleek-less, but that’s another story…

Taking a realistic view regarding Hasbro’s under-commitment to the 6” Marvel Legends line, I’ve jumped in to Marvel Universe (see my Marvel Universe photo album here) and am quite enjoying the line to date, despite the amount of recycling and different versions of the same characters we’ve seen so far.

I’m not quite sure how these classic versions of the Invaders will fit in with the more Modern-Aged MU, so while I am basically a photograph ‘em and open ‘em kinda guy, but for the moment these fellas are staying in their plastic prisons. The packaging on this set is pretty amazing and I’m not going to get rid of it until I can visualise them on display.

Despite the fact that we’ve had what seems like a zillion modern Human Torch variations in the line so far, this GA Torch is quite fun, with comic accurate hash marks etc. Namor also looks good, although I’d like to see him side by side with the Superhero Showdown version, which I have seen but don’t own, as I seem to recall that looking better. What that version didn’t have though, was the extra groovy accessories of a trident and a………. giant conch??? Hmm.

While I would have preferred to see Bucky as the fourth figure in this line, Red Skull looks great, and I can imagine some great fighting poses with the GA-styled Cap (who really doesn’t look that different from the already released Cap apart from some gear on his belt…) if I do decide to unpack them.

All up, a delight to own, but unless there’s a wider range of GA characters released in this line, I suspect they’ll remain in their display case for some time to come.

You can see a wider range of pics at Facebook, discuss this at the AFB Forum, and enter the August AFB Comment of the Month Contest by commenting on this post.

Until next time!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

AFI’s SDCC Interview with Georg Brewer: a few gems with a dash of foreboding..

Action Figure Insider has a two-part interview from SDCC with The Brewer and Julius Marx / Daniel Pickett about DC Direct’s offerings, which provides some insights on things to come that we didn’t see at DCD.

Part 2 is at the bottom of this post. The videos are verrry slow loading (at least here), so let me summarise a few things for you:

You’ll be happy if:

  • You like statues: DCD has a mess of them coming. Some nice insights given into the development of the DC Dynamics line in particular.
  • You’re a fan of the Adam Hughes Women of the DCU Statue Line: As well as the Harley Quinn we saw at SDCC, we now know that Poison Ivy, Supergirl and Batgirl (not sure which one) are all on the way.
  • You’re a JSA Fan: Brewer let slip that Alan Scott Green Lantern is coming to the 13” line.
  • You’d like a better DCD website: Brewer announces there is a new site coming which will include fan polls, possibly linked to the History of the DCU line, although that wasn’t totally clear.
  • You like Harley Quinn: Brewer seems to have a mad on for her.
  • You like Blammoids: Brewer says there is “alot of excitement” about them. Really.

You may end up happy if:

  • You missed out on the Green Lantern Exclusives: Based on the huge demand, Georg is considering some form of re-imagined re-release, perhaps in a boxed set. For anyone frustrated by the process of the distribution of these at SDCC, it’s worth listening as you do get some insights into the process that helps it make a bit more sense.

You may not be happy if:

  • You don’t like Blammoids: Brewer loves them and wants to keep making them.
  • You don’t like Harley Quinn: Brewer seems to have a mad on for her.
  • You want a long run for the History of the DCU line: While he’s happy with Wave Four, Brewer seems lukewarm on it overall. Hopefully sales will prove him wrong.
  • You’re hoping for a long life for the 13” line: Alan Scott may be coming, but Brewer questions what characters are left that have enough popularity to sell at this scale, and suggests the line may need to be re-imagined.

This is a pretty enjoyable interview that does give a bit more detail and perspective. It’s a friendly chat – no hard questions being asked here - but you do get some good insights into the mind behind the lines. This is something Georg should be doing much, much more of to help those of us still giving DCD a chance to feel a sense of involvement and understanding in what’s going on with our favourite characters and their likenesses.

You can discuss this at the AFB Forum – we’d love to see you there!

Thanks AFI for the interview!

Until next time!

First pics of He-Man and Skeletor re-releases up at Facebook

If you have a Facebook account, head over to Matty Mattel’s Facebook Page to see confirmation that we will be seeing re-releases of He-Man and Skeletor before the end of the year.

You can see pics of the both figures and slightly altered packaging by clicking on the link.

I’ve read a couple complaints from owners of the originals about Mattel “devaluing” the original releases by putting these out, but this is great news for those of us who are late to the MOTUC game – I for one am looking forward to snagging these, but not the middle of the night wake-ups (see last post) required to get them!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Smooth sailing at Mattycollector.com

The next time you’re trying to snag a Mattycollector.com exclusive, spare a thought for those of us on the other side of the globe who not only have to avoid the red screen of waiting, but have to get up at 2:00am to do it. As of Man-at-Arms I’m officially on the MOTUC bandwagon, and so until my 2010 subscription kicks in I have to sleep in the spare room on the 3rd or 15th of every month so that the 2:00am alarm doesn’t wake Mrs AFB up. It’s the kind of thing you’d only share with another collector, lest people think you’re totally insane. (I mean, I suppose I am, but I don’t want everyone to know……..)

There’s been a great deal of Internet traffic about how poorly Mattel’s SDCC booth was handled, so I have to give them props for the post-com experience at Mattycollector.com. Expecting a long wait with so many exclusives up, I was surprised to log on at just before 2:00am and get the order screen straight away. Thumbs up for having all of the items on one screen. I picked up He-ro, the JLU 3-pack, the DCIH Anti-Monitor and the Wonder Twins 2-pack. I think I’m the only person out there who couldn’t care less about Gleek, but I paid the same price as those who got all three at SDCC, but less than I’d pay to Scalp-or, so win some, lose some.

Not taking anything away from those that had very frustrating experiences at SDCC, but Mattel certainly did well on the website end – even if I did have to get up in the middle of the night! Hope your experience was positive as well.

Until next time!

 

Monday, August 03, 2009

AFB August Comment of the Month Contest!

contestaug091 First off, thanks to everyone who commented on last month’s blog posts. Congratulation to Monte Williams for winning the July Comment Contest. His selected prize of the DC Direct History of the DCU Batman will be on the way shortly from Mike’s Comics N’ Stuff.

Now to August’s Contest: on offer are two great prizes: the winner will be able to choose either from the SDCC Exclusive Champions Minimates set featuring Hercules, Angel, Black Widow and Ghost Rider, or the Bill Adama figure from DST’s Battlestar Galactica Series 4. This is a month I wish I could enter the contest!!

contestaug092Here’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!

mikesLOGO 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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