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Thursday, December 30, 2010

His and Hers Busts from DC Direct!

Before I can get to reviews of some of the great stuff I received for Christmas, I need to cover some of the backlog of items that built up as I was preparing to move. I'll make a bit of progress tonight by covering two recent mini-busts from DC Direct.

DC Direct has more issues with their action figure lines than I have ornaments on my Christmas tree (we have a very big tree), but one thing that I am consistently enjoying from them is their bust and statue output. Their Women of the DCU and Heroes of the DCU Mini Bust lines have been quite long-lived, especially when compared to the short attention spans DCD tends to dedicate to it's action figure series. Recent releases in each line have expanded the range of characters DCD has produced in bust form.

The Raven bust from the Women of the DC Universe Mini-Bust line is an interesting character to have Amanda Conner, the current designer for the series, do, as her art is a bit more cartoonish than the style in which we normally see Raven done, but it actually works quite well at this scale. This bust has been designed with a matching Titans Tower base to the Wonder Girl II Mini-Bust from the Terry Dodson series, and this makes them fit together well stylistically. The face sculpt on Raven is excellent, and her trademark hood overhangs her face as one would expect. The turn of her cape is quite different front the sketch - not sure if this was a packaging consideration or it was turned up so that she could show off more demon daughter booty. I trust it was the first...

A cautionary word about Raven's hood: as I discovered when I accidentally knocked the piece over right after taking this photo - it snaps off rather easily. Sigh...

On to something broken in a different way - I haven't been collecting any of the villains in the Heroes of the DC Universe Mini-Bust series, but for some reason I seem to have a weakness for Bizarro when it comes to collectibles. Gary Frank has captured a humorous aspect to Bizarro's character which really won me over. . Textures play an important part here, and they are all done very well - the wrinkled uniform, scaly skin, and slapped-on look of the backwards "S" symbol are all winners. The square earth base is also a touch of genius. All this plus the added removable "Bizarro No. 1" sign makes this a favourite piece on my shelves!

With a number of announcements for future releases already made, it's great to see both of these lines will continue strongly in 2011. I'll have pics and reviews of Sinestro (yep, I'm in with the villains now...) and Power Girl soon, and I'm very excited about Hawk and Dove next year!

You can see more pics of my DC Direct Women of the DCU Busts at Facebook here and Heroes of the DCU Busts here. You can also comment on this post at the AFB Forum, and of course comment on this post for your chance to win the AFB Comment of the Month Contest for December!

Until next time!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

And to All, A Good Night!

From all of us, er.. well, me..... here at Action Figure Blues, here's hoping that whatever the magic of the holiday season means to you brings you happiness. For me, that's peace, love, happy times with family... and of course the accumulation of a large swag of Geekly Goods! I succeeded well in all of those departments today and will be looking forward to sharing the toy related goodies with you in the weeks ahead.

It's been a great year both for the blog and for the AFB Forum, punctuated at the end of the year by my move from Canberra to Melbourne which has taken me away from the more enjoyable aspects of life more than I'd like. Mrs AFB, the AFBettes and I are all settling in well to our new surrounds, and I'm looking forward to getting back to more regular posting - not just about addition to the AFB Collection, but also the moving and resetting of my display, which has been an experience in itself!

Even though I haven't gotten up to much posting this month, I'll still be giving away a December Comment Contest Prize, so be sure to add your Christmas Greetings to the comment section for a chance to win! Once again, the very best of holiday wishes to you. Stay tuned for my Christmas present gloating... er, reviews, and of course the Best of / Worst of for 2010!

Until next time!


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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

AFB is Alive and Kicking, and so is DC Direct's 13" Alan Scott!

First off, apologies for the long gaps between updates this month. I've just survived a huge interstate move, which means that from now on Action Figure Blues will be coming to you from Melbourne, Australia, instead of our national capital, Canberra, where I've lived for the last seven years. It's a welcome move and an exciting one, but there is obvously much to be done, not the least of which is the rather horrifying task of packing up the AFB Collection. I was "instructed" that I could only work on this task after the rest of the house was unpacked and settled (I love you Mrs AFB!) and this has been a great motivator to get things done. Tomorrow I begin the task of unboxing and reorganising, which I am approaching with equal parts excitement and dread. I'll get some photos up once it's done.

Thankfully, I do have a stockpile of items photographed and ready for review, and now that we have the internet connected to the new house (an ordeal of its own!) I'll be doing my best to try and get through them and to get back to bloggingl! First up is what, at present anyway, seems to be the last figure I'll be buying from DC Direct's 1:6 Scale / 13" line: Alan Scott Green Lantern.

Even at first glance, it was clear to me this was easily going to be one my favourite figures in the line. I was very pleased when this was solicited, partly for the love of the character, but also to see that the "Golden Age" Flash, Jay Garrick, wasn't going to be without a friend in this line. The choice to style them in the younger years was a great one as well - we have enough toys of the older Jay and Alan and it was great to see that they'd been captured in their prime at this scale.

There are elements of the DCD 13" male body that can stand out as weaknesses depending on the individual character's costume, the most significant of which are the thigh cuts which can be quite noticeable under some uniforms. There's alot happening with this figure, and the thigh cuts thankfully aren't a distraction here. As well as a busy colour scheme, there are a number of fabulously done costume elements, not to mention the truly fabulous headsculpt, that catch the eye instead.

Alan Scott's costume is a dream for this format, and it's been very well executed here. His puffy sleeves (for lack of a more technical term) are very well done, as are his boots with gold braid, but the real eye-catcher is the cape. This is by no means the first figure in the 13" line to have a cape, but this one has been given the deluxe treatment thanks to it's two colour design. The use of the two layers of fabric here gives it a nice thickness, and the great look is added to by the use of different types of fabric for the two sides, with the inner green side being done with a nice shiny textile

A fantastic touch is the light-up feature on Alan's lantern. I have green and other colour lanterns up the wazoo thanks to DCD's prolific production of them in many scales, so it's nice to have one with a difference. As you can see, it's quite bright for a toy and photographs well. There has also been an improvement in the design of the removable mask, which sits very snugly on GL's face and won't pop off like some of the earlier figures in the line (I'm looking at you, Robin). The only niggle I have is the same as the issue I had with the GA Flash figure, and that;s the belt. It's not fixed to any part of the uniform, and so it can ride up fairly easily to expose the seam between fabrics underneath. A small issue that in no way overshadows what truly is a brilliant feature.

The real shame here is that this seems, at the moment at least, to be the last dying gasp of this line, at least in terms of new characters, as all that seems to be coming are different Superman and Batman versions. If the line does stop here, and DCD certainly has the track record for it, it's missing some key characters like Hawkman, Red Tornado and Firestorm that I for one certainly imagined we'd see eventually. With some of the more recent efforts in the line having been less than stellar, I'd lost sight of that, but this fantastic piece is certainly one of, if not the, best we've seen. Here's hoping it's not going to live as a sad reminder of what could have been....

You can see more photos 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 01, 2010

It's an AFB Christmas! The December Comment of the Month Contest!

First off, thanks to everyone who commented on last month’s blog posts, and apologies that they were so few! AFB is about to move interstate and things have been nuttier than usual in the AFB household. Anyway, congratulations to DrNightmare for being our randomly selected winner! Dr N - your Blogger profile is private, so you can contact me through Facebook or the AFB Forum (Personal Message to "Andy"). Once we hear from our winner, his choices of either the either the Universal Monsters Retro Series 1 Frankenstein figure or Black Lantern Hawkgirl figure from DC Direct's Blackest Night Wave 6 will be on the way when available from Mike’s Comics N’ Stuff.

Now to December’s Contest: on offer are two great prizes, either the DC Universe Green Lantern Classics Series 1 Kyle Rayner figure or DC World's Greatest Superheroes Retro Series 3 Flash, both from Mattel. A nice green / red combo to fit with the Christmas theme!

A few bits and pieces:

  • 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, as long as your profile is not set to private – check your settings.

  • 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 all 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!


Monday, November 08, 2010

.....and your little Monkey too!

After finally getting my reviews for Count Marzo and Whiplash up a little while ago, and having photographed the subjects of tonight's review, I was priding myself on finally being only one month behind on posting my items from Mattel's Masters of the Universe Classics line, and then Roboto arrived from his sojourn across the seas..... drat!

Well, in the spirit of better late than never, I'm getting September's MOTUC items posted - after all, this humble blog has never been about breaking news, just my humble collection! Good thing, eh?

The big deal in MOTUC land for September, and I do mean big, was the mega-monkey bad guy, Gygor. I knew this fella was going to be oversized, but I really had no idea just how oversized! I suppose because he looks very similar to Gorilla Grodd from DC Universe Classics, I was expecting something of the same size, but Gygor is much bigger. He stands well above the average MOTUC male figure. Makes for some great fight scenes if you're skilled at posing your figures - something I'd never personally claim to be great at.

Gygor's rather bright yellow and green colour scheme is tempered somewhat by an impressive range of black body armour. He has a highly detailed helmet, a harness, large forearm pads and smaller ankle...things. All good additions, and his excellent axe is a great weapon, perfect for swinging around at unsuspecting victims. Of course, it's usually much harder to swing an axe if you don't have a head, so I was a tad distressed when I tried to adjust what I thought was a loose helmet and instead found Gygor's head loose from his body. It took a bit of effort to get it firmly back in place but thankfully it was accomplished in the end!

Much like Tytus, Mattel has kept the price point low on this larger figure by using limited articulation, but I don't really see that the final product suffers terribly from it. Aforementioned pop-off head issue aside, the only real issue is getting Gygor to stand firm when raising one of his awesome axe over his head - he can topple backwards if the correct angle isn't used, but I found the correct position of his other arm for counterbalance fixed this. All up - a very enjoyable figure that adds a great deal to the MOTUC landscape - and one I'm very glad to have on my shelves.

Also out in the same month was the September Subscription figure, Chief Carnivus. Much like Count Marzo, Carnivus is a character that is beyond the reaches of my Masters of the Universe knowledge, but is a very fun addition to the overall collection nonetheless. Also like Marzo, Carnivus has more an animated look, which doesn't bother me, although they probably do look a bit out of place next to some of the other figures.

Carnivus has received some pretty special treatment in both the sculpt and accessories department. He has sculpted fur, paws with claws, a cape and great golden armour. Add to this his great set of weapons - matching sword and shield - and this guy's very well set up! Carnivus won't make it to the front of my MOTUC display simply because he's not one of the characters I know well (er... at all..) from the series, but in terms of look and quality, he's definitely ahead of the pack. (Badoom tish!)

All up -great additions to the line, with Gygor obviously a favourite - as long as he keeps his head! Now, I just need to make sure I get Roboto's review up before Grizzlor makes his way to sunny Oz, and I'll finally be out from under my MOTUC overflow!

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

Until next time!

Friday, November 05, 2010

Marvel Universe Wave 10 is in!

Following on from looking at the biggest figure in the Marvel Universe series, the mega-big Galactus, I'm having a look this evening at the latest figures from the normal waves of Hasbro's 3 3/4" Marvel line. I generally don't buy the Iron Man / Wolverine / Spiderman variants that tend to come with each wave, just the characters new to the line, so from Wave 10 I bought Captain Britain, Multiple Man, Mystique and Ghost Rider.

Captain Britain is a favourite character of mine and one I'm happy to see in the line. The only niggle here is the way in which the gray wash that's been used on the white areas of CB's uniform has accumulated in a few places, particularly on his gloves. It's just a little distraction, and I do understand that a wash on a white section looks better than just plain white. Otherwise, the paintwork on this small figure is great - nice clean lines, and all stripes well applied and executed. I'd love to see some of CB's other costumes as variants later on in the line, as this helmeted version is the main one we've seen toy-wise.

I currently only own one Multiple Man but I will surely be hoping to get more to build up a bit of a Jamie Madrox army. This is an early costume, and I'm certainly hoping for variants here - Classic and Modern X-Factor are both musts for a well-rounded X-Collection! The rather simple design here is complimented by metallic gold paint which is applied in nice clean lines. The face on this figure has come out very well for the scale. A great figure to have, but I am keen for the modern versions of the character!

Mystique is a welcome addition to the line, which is short on female villains, and she's also one of the better female figures in the line overall. Some of the heads on the female figures haven't come out particularly well paintwise, but this one is pretty flawless. One of the things I don't like on some of the MU females are the breasts, which are a just a tad too big - something that is really noticeable on this figure with the white paint in this area. They look more like little golf balls glued on than something that naturally belongs there. That aside, this is a great figure - her skull belt and her sash are well crafted and paint is very solid all around. I'm not quite sure she needed the big bazooka, but it'll be fun for someone to use if not her.

Ghost Rider is the clear winner for me in this wave. His flaming head is well designed, and I love the bit of a smirk that comes through in his facial "expression" - pretty cleverly done! The detail of sculpting on his uniform is excellent and gives a great sense of texture. His fiery chain is a great accessory, and unlike some of these types of add-ins, he can actually grasp it easily so it's a practical winner as well as an aesthetic one.

From what I understand, the different Marvel Universe Waves / Two-Packs are produced at more than one factory, and there seems to be a sliding range of quality between the different producers. These seem to be from one of the "good' factories - overall quality control and paint apps are very good. All this makes this a great set, and great additions to the Marvel Universe line!

You can see more pics of these and other Marvel Universe figures at Facebook, discuss this at the AFB Forum, and comment on this post to enter the November AFB Comment of the Month Contest!

Until next time!

Monday, November 01, 2010

The AFB Comment of the Month Contest - November 2010!

First off, thanks to everyone who commented on last month’s blog posts. It was my birthday month, and in the spirit of giving there were two prizes on offer! Congratulations to blog commenter Super-Duper ToyBox and AFB Facebook fan Olivier Fritsch for being our randomly selected winners! Gentlemen - you can contact me through Facebook or the AFB Forum (Personal Message to "Andy"). Once we hear from our winners, their choices of either the Ted Knight or Jack Knight Starman figures from DC Universe Classics Wave 15 will be on the way when available from Mike’s Comics N’ Stuff.

Now to November’s Contest: on offer are two great prizes, either the Universal Monsters Retro Series 1 Frankenstein figure or Black Lantern Hawkgirl figure from DC Direct's Blackest Night Wave 6. These would have been great figures for the Halloween month, but since I couldn't find any turkey action figures for Thanksgiving, they'll do for November!

A few bits and pieces:

  • 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, as long as your profile is not set to private – check your settings.

  • 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 all 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!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Beware Earth: Galactus Inbound!

From the small scale figures of JLU, I'm moving on tonight to something right on the other end - that being the Marvel Universe Galactus figure from Hasbro, which is currently consuming the universe that is my toy display room!

This is the SDCC Exclusive version, not the current release that comes with Silver Surfer, and it has quite a story to its purchase and arrival before I even get to looking at the figure!

I was quite happy to wait for the eventual retail release of this and work out how to get it to Oz, but then I saw one of the SDCC versions unnoticed and unloved on eBay with very reasonable international shipping, and I certainly wasn't about to displease the devourer of worlds by allowing him to go unsold! I was pretty happy with my find, but it was too early to celebrate. The seller contacted me a few days later to say he wasn't sure he could get the large box the exclusive came in through the post due to its height, but would try to work it out. I have to give full credit to this fantastic seller - he really tried hard to make it work and stick to the price he had quoted. In the end Galactus made his way to our shores with the SDCC box wrapped in layers of gift paper to try to keep it safe but keep the box within the size that could be posted. A stellar effort!

As for the figure itself - it's one thing to know a toy is going to be big, and another to really appreciate it! He's a 19" figure that comes in a packaging that is the same as the regular MU figures, just proportionally bigger (read: huge!! - have a look in the Facebook album for photos and comparisons). On one level, I really regretted having to open him up, but this definitely isn't the kind of figure that you buy an extra of to keep one carded!

This is a really fun thing to own, but it's also an amazing piece. The level of detail on Galactus' costume is just unbelievable. There's very intricate sculpting here, lots of edges and ridges. His headdress is amazing and suitably impressive in size. The only thing I'm not totally grabbed by here is how much of his face is covered by his mask. I'm used to seeing a bit more of his cheeks etc - the amount covered here makes his face look a little disproportionately small in relation to his head.

Despite the size of the overall figure, articulation hasn't been compromised. Galactus balances well and can be put in quite a number of standing and action poses. All joints move freely but aren't loose, making it easy for him to hold poses like grasping a smaller figure, etc.

I haven't put in batteries yet to try the light up features. AFB and family are moving in December and I'll probably wait until that is done. It looks like I need to move his shoulder harness to put them in. It'll be fun, but not what I bought him for so I'm happy to be patient.

The only shame here is that at the moment I've had to put Galactus on a shelf with larger statues as I don't have the space to put my Marvel Universe figures with him. I guess that means that once we relocate I need a bit more display space, right? Bring it on, and some similarly scaled MU figures to complement the assortment certainly wouldn't go astray either!

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 - with an extra chance this month for an AFB Facebook fan!

Until next time!

Monday, October 25, 2010

A JLU find in Oz!

This probably doesn't seem like a big deal to AFB readers Stateside, but actually being able to find and buy action figures at retail has become such a novelty here I had to post about it. After a tip-off from AFB Forum member NiteOwl, I made a detour from my normal Sunday shopping to check out my local Kmart, which is in a mall I've been avoiding as it's a construction nightmare at the moment. It's also been so long since my once common toy-run through all the possible shops netted anything, I've really fallen out of the habit.

Happily, my trip was not in vain - just as NiteOwl had found in his local Kmart, mine had the latest (or one of the latest) wave of Justice League Unlimited singles: OMAC, Ultraman and a show-accurate Red Tornado, which I bought, and Captain Atom and Red / Blue Superman, which I left on the pegs for another happy hunter.

JLU is a line I have tried to quit at least half a dozen times, primarily because of the lack of a local release here for some time. Things like the Mattycollector exclusive packs and characters like General Eiling and Amanda Waller have kept me hooked, however, and I'm looking forward to the Mattycollector JLU Parademons coming up shortly, so I was keen to have new characters to line (for me) OMAC and Ultraman, and a Red Tornado that looks more like the unique look he has on the show. Plus, I really can't underplay the chance to actually buy a toy a retail as a factor in deciding to buy!

There's nothing groundbreaking about any of these figures - the standard JLU buck is used in all three, but OMAC has some extra sculpting for his fin-head, and he also has an arm attachment that connects to his left arm in much the same way the the Metal Men extension pieces snap on in DCUC, although not quite as snug. Ultraman has a disc-y sort of belt sculpted on, and similar discs on his forearms, which are a bit lost as they're placed at the back. Ultraman also comes with the standard strong-person bent piece of steel, which he can't possibly grasp, so that's a bit of a fail. Paint is great on all three, but I was glad a had a choice for Red Tornado as the one I got was the only one that didn't have a paint blip on his chest emblem.

Taking these out of the package, I was reminded of the other reason I've been tempted to quit this line, and the reason I don't currently have JLU on display: these little guys are such a bugger to stand up! The Mattel JLU bases are also way too big to display a wide number of them. That's not news though, and I guess most collectors have found their ways around it by this point!

Again, not necessarily post-worthy on their own, but these make news for me simply because they actually hit the shelves here - so here's hoping it's the start of a trend!

You can discuss this at the AFB Forum and comment on this post to enter the October AFB Comment of the Month Contest - with an extra prize for an AFB Facebook fan this month!

Until next time!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Great Pair of X-Villain Busts from Bowen Designs

Carrying on with the trend of pairs of items, I'm looking tonight at two of the most recent mini-busts from Bowen Designs: Pyro and Arcade.

These two X-Men Villains are the kinds of characters that I've come to really appreciate Bowen for making. To me, they're important X-Men villains, but in the scheme of things they're probably not significant enough to be the focus of that many collectables. Randy Bowen and co. certainly know their Marvel Universe, and they've been doing a fantastic job of covering it throughout the life of their Marvel licence.

Pyro is immediately a visually impressive bust due to the arc of flames shooting above his head, but that's not his only attribute - it's an excellent bust in all respects. There's alot of excellent sculpting here, from his flowing hair to his flame-thrower backpack to the flames in the arc and also the section between his torso and the base. The flames are slightly translucent and made of a light but sturdy material.

There are a number of colours here on the yellow / orange / red spectrum. but the paint work is excellent and the finish isn't at all garish. I've mentioned before that I really like the mixing of different materials in these pieces, and the tubing attached to Pyro's flamethrowers are a big win in this category.

This is a very tall bust due to the height of Pyro's flames - you can see a comparison pic in the Facebook album linked at the bottom of this post. This makes it quite a standout amongst all of the Bowen busts. It's all one piece too - no assembly required, so expect a big box. It really is an impressive piece, and it's getting a revisit in terms of a First Appearance Variant which is being done as an exclusive to the Statuemarvels website - worth checking out! (You must be a registered member of Statuemarvels to order).

Arcade is one of those kinds of characters that I've come to really appreciate Bowen for making. He's a iconic X-Men villain, but as a plain-clothed non-powered sort he's unlikely to be the focus of many collectables. Randy Bowen and co. certainly know their Marvel Universe, and they've been doing a fantastic job of covering it.

The design concept here is sound, and there are some nice touches, like the flow of his open jacket, the ribbing on his shirt, and the dice he's holding in his outstretched hand. There was something bugging me about the head on this piece, however, and when I did some searching of classic Arcade pics I saw what it was - he was drawn with a fuller face, slightly longer hair and no freckles. This version certainly looks and works well, and I'd imagine it must have a comic base somewhere as I know Bowen does a lot of work on source pics etc, but it doesn't scream classic Arcade to me.

Headsculpt aside, there's a couple of issues with this bust that take a bit of the shine off of the pleasure of getting such an oddball character choice. The first is an issue that is going to crop up when I post about the Modern Emma Frost Statue, and that is the "white" isn't really white. There's an almost bluish wash over it, and with so many other colours already at play with his tie and shirt, it's a tad hectic.

The second niggle is the red stars on the base. Going back to the promo shots now I see the clearly, but I never noticed them until I had the bust in hand. There's just so much happening colour-wise already with this piece that I don't think they were necessary, and they seem to fight with everything else that's happening here.

All up, I guess we have one my favourite and one of my least favourite Bowen busts in the same review. Shame about Arcade, but he's definitely a character I'm more than happy to have in my collection, but Pyro more than makes up for any disappointment.

You can see more pics (and pics of all of my Bowen busts) at Facebook, discuss this at the AFB Forum, and comment on this post to enter the October AFB Comment of the Month Contest - with an extra prize for an AFB Facebook fan this month!

Until next time!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Something Old and Something New from MOTUC

Matty's October Sale Day has just passed, and I'm finally getting around to reviewing items from July and August! Yipes! (Note to AFB: pick up the posting pace!)

I freely admit to not being the most educated Masters of the Universe Classics Collector. I was 13 or so when the original He-Man toys came out, and I had a handful of the original ones before "growing out" of such things. When I grew back "into" action figures a few years ago and eventually discovered MOTUC, I started collecting them because of a nostalgic interest in the line and because they were so well done, but for every character that I remember either owning or seeing from the classic line, there's others that are a complete mystery, which is part of the fun of the line.

The pair I'm looking at tonight are one of each. On the classic side, we have Whiplash, a character I knew of from earlier years but certainly never owned. On the new side, we have Count Marzo - a fellow I've never seen before and from what I understand, has never appeared in plastic before.

Count Marzo doesn't mean anything to me as a character, but as an action figure he brings a number of new stylings to the MOTUC line. His longer hair, goatee and flowing cape / shoulder harness are very nicely sculpted. This combines with his colour scheme, which has been well applied here, to make a very visually striking figure. He has a pretty standard sword and a gem as accessories.

This is a "200x" MOTUC styled Character, the kind of which it seems we can expect to see less of since Mattel has made it clear that that look is "retired", one of the reasons we won't be seeing alternate heads in the future. Personally I think this it's a shame to make what is surely to be an iconic line for years to come a more inclusive one for fans of all eras. Without knowing the characters particularly well, I can certainly tell this figure has a bit of a different styling, but it certainly doesn't bother me, and it seems a bit of a lost opportunity. I am sure that more knowledgeable MOTU fans will have stronger opinions one way or another on this.

Whiplash is a character that really brings something extra to the standard MOTUC buck in the form of his large and groovy tail. This comes unattached in the pack and has to be snapped on to his back - a process I didn't find terribly easy, although I'm not the most adept assembler of small and fiddly things. Once snapped on properly, it's a really impressive piece with it's own movement for different poses, and it's very well sculpted.

This pretty major inclusion hasn't stopped Mattel from adding two pretty impressive accessories. He has a staff and a multiple sword / slicey thing which are both great and lend to a number of possibilities for fighting poses. Very impressive indeed.

I was expecting to like Whiplash's 200x head better, as the original head with it's bushy-looking eyebrows which seemed in photos to be more dated, but it's the original head that's ended up going on display. Partly it's because the 200x head lacks a bit of a clear and distinctive look due to the colours used, and partly it's because that whacky classic Whiplash head just looks darn fun!

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 - with an extra price for an AFB Facebook fan this month!

Until next time!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Kotobukiya Rises with the Fall of the Hulks

The theme of my last few posts seems to be two statues from the same series, so why not two statues that are actually a set?

I'm not particularly enamored with modern mainstream comics at the moment, but one property that has really captured my interest in recent times is what's been happening in the Hulk corner of the Marvel Universe. That's really saying something for me, since my only interest in Hulk previous was his founding role in my favourite non-team, The Defenders. However, the momentum that started with Planet Hulk and has kept strong through the Red Hulk / Red She-Hulk sagas has really drawn me in and kept me coming back.

As such, I knew as soon as I saw the previews for Kotobukiya's Fall of the Hulks Fine Art Statue Set, with one Hulk each of the Green and Red varieties, that I would end up owning them. The pieces are great on their own, but as a complimentary set they just couldn't be passed by. Thankfully Father's Day (first Sunday in September here in Oz) was coming up, so I asked for something red and something green, and thankfully I didn't end up with apples!

These statues are just plain amazing, and not just because of their size. They are incredibly well sculpted for starters and capture the characters brilliantly - from beautifully detailed musculature to rippled and ripped fabric to great headsculpts which capture the characters fantastically, these have been set up to be perfect.

Green Hulk gets a perfect score for me. A fantastically dynamic pose is uses here and it works well on its own as well as in the set - he looks absolutely stunning facing front-on but looks great from the side as well. The headsculpt is brilliant - truly classic Hulk. His muscle definition is well sculpted. This is all supported by an excellent paint job - the green used on his skin gives quite a sense of depth and tone, while a light wash over his purple trousers provides a feeling of texture. This is just an amazing statue. A must for any serious Bruce Banner fan!

Red Hulk comes with an added feature: two swappable heads, once featuring an angry face and the other a wicked smile. It's the evil smile face that's on display at my place. Really, I think it was this headsculpt that sold me on the whole set because it really captures Rulk perfectly. Again, this statue looks great from front and side angles and would display well on it's own. While I'm extremely happy with this piece, there are a couple of factors that keep me from ranking it quite as highly as its Green counterpart. The sculpting on this piece is as equally well done, but the paint isn't quite as perfect - a wash has been used on the red paint of Rulk's skin that makes it look a little grotty, and the red paint on both heads is a tad darker than the skin. Neither are deal breakers but they are things I'd look to improve if I could.

These are truly massive pieces and incredibly heavy to boot - make sure you check the maximum load bearing of any shelf you plan to display the two of them on together! Thankfully they're designed to face each other in battle pose as they'd be too broad to fit in my display facing the front. Too hefty for pegs or pins, these have quite large blocks on the bottom of the feet which slot into holes in the base and they both stand very steadily.

I haven't bought into Koto's Fine Art Statue line overall, as some of the headsculpts are bit lacking and they haven't yet moved much beyond the top tier characters, but some of their upcoming Danger Room statues potentially look appealing. For larger statues like these, however, they are far more economical than their competitors, especially when international shipping is involved! I also think these two statues stand up very well against Hulk product from other producers. They certainly stand up extremely well in my collection!!

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, with the added bonus of an AFB Facebook Fan winning an extra prize this month!

Until next time!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

More Marvel Bishoujo Glory!

Another pair of statues from the same series to look at, but from last night's grayscale style post, we move on to some of the most colourful things out there, tonight we're looking at the latest two releases from Kotobukiya's Marvel Bishoujo Statue line: Psylocke and Phoenix (regular version).

Psylocke is a popular character for collectables at the moment. Kotobukiya is also producing a Danger Room Fine Art Statue of her, Bowen Designs has just released a Full Sized Statue, and Sideshow has a Comiquette coming out before the end of the year as well. It's not hard to see why: as well as being a popular character, she's pretty easy on the eye!

The Bishoujo version of Psylocke makes the most of this and places her in a rather... striking pose. The colours in this series are very bright, and the non-muted versions of Psylocke's purple hair and blue outfit work here, but only just. Betsy is sometimes shown with matching leg straps on each leg, while they are also often shown as different from the left to the right. Koto has gone with the symmetrical version here, which I think is best for a small piece like this. Psylocke comes with removable accessories -her two swords. These are interchangeable and easy to insert but need to be placed at the correct angle so as not to block too much of her face. A very nice touch to top off a very nice piece.

One niggle is that the "X" base that Psylocke is placed on actually takes up quite a bit of room. I for one collect way too much to have pieces spaced out too far in my displays, so when space is a premium, an overly broad base is a nuisance, but I realise that's just me, and it doesn't take away from my appreciation of this lovely piece.

I haven't seen Phoenix in Australia as yet and I'm not sure if she's made it to our shores at present: I actually picked up this one up on a recent visit to Singapore when I happened upon a little piece of toy heaven called China Square Central - a small centre in Chinatown that is a must if you ever make it to that wonderful country!

This is one classy piece. Phoenix goes straight to the head of the Bishoujo class for me alongside the Scarlet Witch piece I've reviewed previously. The silhouette of this statue is incredibly striking. One thing I quite like about these PVC statues is the juxtaposition of soft and hard plastic, and this is put to outstanding use here. The sculpt work on this piece really is exquisite and it's supported by an excellent paint job.

The pieces I seem to like best in this series happen to be those that have the most intuitive bases. Scarlet Witch's cape was perfection, and Phoenix's base of flames is almost an equal winner. The best part of this piece for me, however, is Phoenix's hair. It's separated into many strands with a few shades which frame her face beautifully and add a great deal to the overall flame effect of the statue. This one is definitely a keeper!

Koto is soon to launch a DC Bishoujo line, and while I like the scale of the Bishoujo statues better than DC Direct's similar Ame-Comi, the price of the Bishoujo pieces and the difficulty of accessing them here in Oz means that I'm more likely to stick with the Ame-Comi line than take on double the pain in trying to collect two Koto lines. Time will tell according to character selection and style on both sides, I suppose.

You can see more pics of all of my Marvel Bishoujo Pieces at Facebook, discuss this at the AFB Forum and comment on this post to enter the October AFB Comment of the Month Contest! Remember, there is an extra chance for an AFB Facebook fan to win a prize this month!

Until next time!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Beauty in Black and White

I am not a completist collector of DC Direct's Batman Black & White Statue line, but there have been the occasional pieces that have caught my eye, and two of these have been released relatively recently: the Steve Rude Catwoman and Frank Quietly Batman statues.

The Steve Rude Catwoman statue captures my favourite Catwoman look. I doubt she'll be taken out of her leather gear anytime soon, and it's a look I've grown used to, but this cape and skirt combo is much more iconic Catwoman to me and it's great to see it captured here. Better yet, this is a fantastically dynamic pose - the raised arm, wide stance and flowing skirt and cape must have been a sculptor's delight, and it's been very well executed with a suitably fierce facial expression to match.

I am quite fascinated by the incorporation of softer materials within a sculpt, and the whip here is nicely done. Firmly held in place and shape, but not easily breakable. It's a great accent for a near-perfect piece.

I'm aware that Frank Quietly's Batman design isn't everyone's cup of tea, but I am very fond of it, and this statue captures the look brilliantly. There are a number of things I like about Quietly's Batman: the wrinkles in the boots and briefs, the understated, straight-hanging cape, and the fact that his Bats isn't an overly muscled goon. One of the things that makes Batman who he is is the idea that he's a bit of an everyman who has become The Dark Knight - definitely superiorly fit and athletic, but not a massively steroided physique.

The best part of this statue, however, is the headsculpt. It captures Quitley's Batman perfectly. Quite often I find that there is a degree of subtletly or detail that fails to translate from sketches to some of DCD's busts and statues (particularly their artist specific bust lines), but the Batman Black & White line seems to be fairly consistent in nailing these exactly, and this is a perfect example of that.

These are statues I'm very happy to have amongst my Batman display. The smallish size of this line makes it an easy one to cherry pick as they don't have huge bases and can easily be placed on a smaller action figure shelf as well as a larger statue shelf. I'm waiting for a more classic version of the Joker to compliment these than the one that's already been released, and a Silver / Bronze Age Robin certainly wouldn't go astray as well!

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 - and remember it's my birthday this month so one AFB Facebook fan will also get a prize this month!

Until next time!

Friday, October 01, 2010

AFB Sees Stars in a Special Birthday Month - October Comment Contest!

First off, thanks to everyone who commented on last month’s blog posts. Congratulations to evilwilma for being our randomly selected winner! Once we hear from Wilma, his choice of either the Marvel Universe Thanos figure or one of the Venture Bros Retro Style figures will be on the way when available from Mike’s Comics N’ Stuff.

Now to October’s Contest, and it's a bit special, as AFB (the guy, not the blog) is turning 40 this month, and I intend to party to celebrate!: On offer are two great prizes, either the Ted Knight Starman or Jack Knight Starman figures from DC Universe Classics Wave 15. This month, as well as one comment from an October blog post being selected for a prize, one AFB Facebook Fan will also receive an October prize, so if you're not a fan of AFB on Facebook, become one now!

A few bits and pieces:

  • 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, as long as your profile is not set to private – check your settings.

  • 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 all 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, and a very happy 40th to me!

Until next time!

Monday, September 27, 2010

It's all Cherry Picking Now: DC Direct

It's been some time since I've given a review over to action figures of the 6" scale variety from DC Direct. Like the title of this post suggests, I'm no longer in the habits of buying whole waves of DCD action figure lines and down to picking up only characters (or versions of characters) that haven't been made before by either DCD or Mattel. (And of course any version of Aquaman, but that's another issue...)

The last two lines that DCD have put out were the first (and likely only) series of Batman: Battle for the Cowl and Series 5418 (oh wait, could it only be Series Five?) of Blackest Night.

From Battle for the Cowl, I purchased Batgirl and Azrael. I'm a big fan of Stephanie Brown and am greatly enjoying her run as Batgirl, so this figure was pretty much a given me regardless of quality, but I'm certainly not disappointed by the product. For starters, this figure is actually in scale with some of the older DCD Batman family figures - with DCD's scale track record I was worried that Steph would be towering over her Bat-colleagues, but thankfully that's not the case here. This is a very nicely detailed figure, from the textures on her uniform to her belts (waist and thigh) to her hair, which has been crafted with a softer plastic that doesn't completely hinder her neck articulation. Paint is also top notch here, and her accessories are well done, although her little yellow batarang doesn't fit very snugly in her hand.

Azrael isn't a character I'm terribly familiar with, but I quite like his new look, and this is it's first figure so it qualifies for my "rules". Again, there is great detail here in both sculpt and paint. The chainmail effect on the sleeves and his unusual cape are particular standouts. His swords are excellent - the flaming effect sword is great fun. Again, his smaller sword doesn't sit very snugly in his

hand, which is a minor quibble for what is otherwise a brilliant figure.

From Blackest Night 5, I only bought Nekron. I have been staying away from the Black Lanterns (except for Aquaman, refer to above) but this is Nekron's first time in plastic and it's quite a premiere. There's some amazing detailing here, from Nekron's open torso and icky insides to his flowing cape. I'm a bit bothered by the chains around his neck as they're a bit big and block your view of his headsculpt more than necessary.

Nekron also comes with one of the most groovy accessories I've seen in awhile - his wooden handled scythe... thing. It's huge and interesting and... almost impossible to keep standing up, but that's okay - it's very good looking, and it's a wooden handled scythe... thing! Assuming Nekron wins the DCUC vote for the Wave 20 Collect and Connect figure (I voted for Shaggy Man for what it's worth) we'll likely have a bigger version of him in time, but it will be hard pressed to be as nicely detailed as this one.

These aren't particularly newsworthy figures, but the reason I wanted to post about them was because to me they're all examples of what DC Direct could and should be. On it's best day, DCD beats DCUC for me hands down in terms of the ability to craft original bucks and use a high amount of detail, but Mattel has been washing the walls with DCD because of a pretty simple factor: an eclectic selection of characters including classic characters presented in a consistent style: which is all many of us ever wanted from DC Direct. I guess time will tell what the shake-ups at DC mean in terms of DCD's future output, but I'd just like to put in my vote for much more first time characters and classic lines and much less of the artist specific Superbat stuff we've been subjected to for way too long.

You can see more pics at Facebook (Battle for the Cowl / Blackest Night), discuss this at the AFB Forum, and comment on this post to enter the September AFB Comment of the Month Contest.

Until next time!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Sideshow comes out in Force!

X-Force, of course! Oh, AFB is such a whacky wizard with words!!

Ahem. Forgive the excitement, but it's not every day you get a whole team full of heroes in one statue. That's what Sideshow's X-Force Diorama has brought to my shelves, with the original team line-up of Wolverine, X-23, Warpath and Wolfsbane, and I'm delighted to be able to give it a bit of a review.

First off, the box and packaging. I have to say Sideshow's box art is not the best around. Perhaps it's a cost saving thing to keep the cost down, but it's all a bit close up and fuzzy for me. At the end of the day it's the insides that matter, but it's something that's always struck me about Sideshow product, so I'm saying it. As for the statue, each character is individually packed and fits into the base (or in Wolfsbane's case, Warpath's shoulder) securely.

This is a very fun piece in terms of character selection - Warpath and Wolfsbane don't get alot of toy time, and Rahne in her human form even less! One thing you do have to forgive right away to enjoy this statue is scale - there's some pretty major licence taken here with Warpath's size in relation to his teammates in order to make him the anchor of the piece. He could have been a smidge smaller without wrecking the symmetry of it all!

The sculpting and paintwork are both excellent here. You might think that four characters in basically the same uniform and colour scheme could be a bit dull, but it's actually rather visually striking. There are some nice details here, like the sculpted belt buckles, the veins on the guys' arms, and the claws on Wolvie and X-23 which look great but are of a flexible material so they aren't likely to snap off. Another thing I really like about this piece is that it actually doesn't have a huge base and so doesn't take up a massive amount of shelf space.

I missed out on the Exclusive version of this diorama, which included a swap-out for Rahne in her wolf form, but I wasn't too fussed about that as this is the way I would have chosen to display the statue anyway. The regular version does have both a masked and unmasked head for Wolverine, as shown. For display I've gone with the masked version, but both are great.

Of course, only Wolvie remains on the team after everyone else got the boot at the end of Second Coming. All the better then that the original line-up (which I much prefer to the new) has been captured here in this fine piece! This is certainly the kind of thing I'd love to see Sideshow produce more of in the future.

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

Until next time!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Okay, I Caved! A Piece of DCUC Wave 14

I should say upfront to my American friends that it's still to early to rush out to your local Wal-Mart and start looking for the WM exclusive Wave 14 of DC Universe Classics. This advance appearance of that wave's Collect and Connect figure, the terrifying Ultra-Humanite, isn't the product of any amazing retail find - it's the result of me caving in a moment of weakness and buying him on eBay from Hong Kong.

In my defense, I shall offer weakly that it was a very cheap Buy it Now, that I didn't seek him out but rather just stumbled upon it, and hey, I'm a pretty big fan of Superman's original arch-foe, okay??

I don't have anything to compare it with at the moment, but any concerns I had about buying what is quite possibly a factory reject were unnecessary - there's nothing I can really fault. Sculpt and paint all look top notch, and he even has his computer console accessory. Ultra-Humanite seems to share Gorilla Grodd's arms, but everything else here is new - including legs with articulated knees and ankles which makes a number of different poses possible. Perhaps the one issue with this particular figure I've bought is that the knee and ankle joints are rather loose. It's not enough to impact on him standing, but I normally find the joints on CnC parts are very stiff, so this is something different.

This really is an exciting choice for a Collect and Connect, both in terms of character selection and quality. He's a great JSA villain, an Earth Two character, and he looks great! This sort of diversity in CnC choices is very important in ensuring that the DCUC line really does cover the entire DC Universe, so I'm very pleased to see a character like the Humanite getting his turn!

This big white ape is so amazing that I have no qualms about collecting him again piece by piece as my DCUC Wave 14 collection comes together - which won't happen by paying scalpers on eBay. I'm very fortunate to have friends on a couple of forums Stateside that have banded together to help us "internationals" get access to these exclusives at reasonable prices. Collectors unite!

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

Until next time!

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

AFB is Bewitched!

I had the great fortune of traveling to Singapore recently, and amongst all of the amazing culture and unbelievable food, I discovered what I have come to call "Toy Nirvana". It was a nondescript little shopping centre called China Square Central, located on the edge of Chinatown (best place to stay and eat in Singapore, by the way). I wandered in there on my last weekend in Singapore just looking for a coffee, and nearly fell over when I walked in. The place was basically two floors of toy stores. Not Toys R Us style, but action figures and statues. Two floors of the them. Wowza!

There was pretty much everything you could want, including retailer exclusives of all descriptions. I also worked out where all the Mattycollector.com stuff goes to - It was the end of July and I saw a guy walk into a shop with two boxes of She-Ra figures and sell them to the owner. I enjoyed looking around but didn't buy a great deal as I hadn't budgeted for it and the prices were pretty much on the mark for what I'd pay in Oz. However, as I left one shopkeeper told me that there were flea markets the next day where people could pay for a table and sell their own stuff, so I decided to come back.

The flea markets were a pretty amazing scene, and I ended up at a table where a guy had a huge bunch of statues and busts he was selling for a steal. Quite I few I already owned, but I was pretty gobsmacked to walk away with the brand new Sideshow Scarlet Witch Comiquette for a complete bargain, and delighted when the hotel I was staying at told me they would send it home for me. Whoo-hoo!

This is an utterly amazing piece. The sculpt is exquisite, particularly the amazing job done on the Scarlet Witch's headsculpt and her flowing cape. I love the sense of humour that Adam Hughes infuses into his designs, and the concept of Wanda remote controlling a toy version of the Vision is just genius. This is really great fun! The paintwork on this piece is also incredibly vibrant - rich colours and a nice mix of metallic and matte paint.

The one issue I have with this beautiful piece is that the base is utterly gigantic. The Sideshow Comiquettes are on a rather large scale to begin with, and the base on this one is round - 12" in diameter, which makes it just too wide to fit in Andy's display. The downside is that I can't display it at the moment, but the upside is that Mrs AFB has stated that I'll have to get another display cabinet to show it off!

I've recently acquired the older Mystique and Rogue Comiquettes, and I couldn't be more impressed with Hughes work for Sideshow. I'm worried that it looks like the series is coming to an end with the announcement of the new "Women of Marvel" Comiquette Series starting with Sue Storm, and if that's so, that's a shame - it's great stuff!

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

Until next time!

Monday, September 06, 2010

Marvel Select's Latest are some of the Greatest!

Marvel Select has been cranking out some great figures lately, and the two most recent releases are amongst the best in the line, and also the heaviest!

The Thing is the first member of the Fantastic Four to get the Marvel Select treatment, and he's been done proud here. His rocky skin is well done in texture and colour - great fun! I do find the head a bit small - The Thing has certainly been portrayed in many proportions over the years, but I would alter this slightly to make the head a tad bigger and the fists a tad smaller. Not much though - he's nearly perfect.

One odd thing is that Mr Grimm doesn't come with the pictured personal hovercraft accessory, but instead with a really bizarre and pointless sign / landscape thing. Really, an amazing figure like this doesn't need a pack-in to make it worthwhile - it's amazing enough on it's own!

The Hulk family now has another Marvel Select member courtesy of Abomination. If I thought The Thing was heavy, this is mammoth - five pounds! So heavy in fact that there are special supports required to keep the pack together, which could bother MOC collectors. I'm an opener, however, and this figure is really an amazing piece - the fantastic headsculpt, detailed skin and amazing claws on his hands and feet.

The level of articulation for figures this size is really quite impressive, and that's one thing I really like about the larger figures in the MS line as opposed to the regular size. The ball jointed hips of the regular male figures are the biggest downfall of the line for me. These are present in some of the larger figures but the scale thankfully makes them less of an issue.

The oversized figures are the real gems of the Marvel Select line, and I much prefer them to the smaller figures with a base, unless it's something really meaningful like the gate to Xavier's or Dr Doom's throne. It really is great to see Diamond increasing the output of the line, and joining threads together like the Hulk and X-Men families. After all, while these figures are amazing on their own, it's when you get them together - particularly the Hulk crowd - that they really come alive!

It's also great to see the line picking up some heat on the interwebs - with people discussing wish lists and wanting more. My friends at Critical Mess recently did a poll on most wanted Marvel Select figures, which you can see here. The very deserving (tied) winners were Captain America (Steve Rogers) and Nova, both of which would be great additions to this line. Bring them on, I say!

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

Until next time!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

The AFB Comment of the Month Contest - September!

First off, thanks to everyone who commented on last month’s blog posts. Congratulations to "Stephen" for being our randomly selected winner! Once we hear from Stephen (you can contact me through the AFB Forum - "Andy"), his choice of either the DC Direct Nekron figure or the SDCC Exclusive 90's X-Men Minimates will be on the way when available from Mike’s Comics N’ Stuff.

Now to September’s Contest: on offer are two great prizes, either the Marvel Universe Wave 11 Thanos figure, or your choice of one the Venture Bros Retro Style figures!

A few bits and pieces:

  • 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, as long as your profile is not set to private – check your settings.

  • 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 all 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!


Thursday, August 19, 2010

SDCC Shakedown - the Top 10 things that will take my money in the year to come - Part 2

Carrying on with my rundown of the items and lines that caught my attention, and will subsequently probably capture my paycheck, at this year's SDCC, here's the Final Five (again with thanks to Michael Crawford's amazing SDCC 2010 coverage at www.mwctoys.com):

Hot Toys Ghost Rider

Oh wait, I said I wasn't going to buy any more Hot Toys after War Machine. Oops! I forgot about good old Johnny Blaze, but it's not just because HT is making Ghost Rider - they're making his bike too. His bike! That's just too amazing to miss. War Machine is due out soon, I'll be picking up Ghost Rider, and then that's it for me and Hot Toys. We are totally, totally done. Unless, oh, you don't think they'll make Green Lantern movie figures, do you? Uh-oh...

Marvel Universe

I'd much prefer to be listing Marvel Legends here, but while I'm keen to pick up this year's Two-Packs (Valkyrie!) I will wait to get too excited about the promised revival of Marvel Legends until I see it. In the meantime, Hasbro is keeping the Marvel flame alive for the 3 3/4" collectors with an ever expanding range of characters (and endless IronSpiderene variants, natch), an extension of the Secret Wars Two-Packs to a wider range of themes, and adding some sweeteners like Thanos, Bill Foster Goliath and the amazing Galactus!

If Hasbro could only do something about the widely varying quality of these figures, most likely due to the use of a range of factories for production, they'd have my undying enthusiasm. In the meantime, Galactus will do!

Kotobukiya Bishoujo PVC Statue Series

I will soon be reviewing Psylocke and Phoenix from the Koto Marvel Bishoujo series, and it was great to see the final proof of the upcoming Emma Frost statue at SDCC, plus a sketch for Ms Marvel. The best news of all, however, is that Kotobukiya will producing a DC line of this series as well, with Batgirl, Wonder Woman and Catwoman the first on the way. These statues are a bit on the pricey side for vinyl, at least here in Australia, but as much as I've enjoyed some of DC Direct's Ame-Comi series, I much prefer Koto's more "comic accurate with anime stylings" approach to the genre, and will be happy to my anime-styled vinyl super-ladies of all denominations at the same scale on my shelves - a phrase which I realise would sound very, very bad if it were taken out of context!

Bowen Statues and Busts

Bowen didn't have any new reveals to show at SDCC, mainly because Randy Bowen does such an amazing job of providing regular sneaks of upcoming pieces, and in fact consulting fans about poses and styles and even making changes to sculpts based on fan feedback. Still, there's no way I can leave Bowen off of this list, as they did make a showing at SDCC 2010 and they are going to be getting a good chunk of my entertainment budget in the year to come.

I have a pretty big collection of Bowen Busts already - focusing mainly on the Avengers and X-Men with some odds and sods thrown in, but there is SO much coming up in the year to come from Bowen that I'm really excited about, including Busts of Daimon Hellstrom and the Wrecking Crew, lots of Asgard love, including the Enchantress and Hela, and Full Sized Statues of Banshee and Valkyrie. When it comes to Marvel - make mine Bowen!

DC Universe Classics


Leaving DCUC til the end is of course saving the best until last. Distribution problems, numerous retailer exclusives and a lacking female buck aren't enough to take the shine off the amazing thing Mattel is doing with the DC Universe. Mattel continues to amaze by filling out the ranks of the big names of the DC Universe (Martian Manhunter is just a few months away folks, you can make it...) while continuing the provide those "wow" characters and teams - Metal Men and Doom Patrol anyone? For anyone who loves the breadth and depth of the DC Universe, this line continues to be a dream come true.

Not that Mattel needed to do any more to win my allegiance, but the Legion of Superheroes 12 Pack that will be exclusive to Mattycollector.com in 2011 kinda seals the deal. Yes, I would have liked to see more female characters, but the inclusion of Matter-Eater Lad seems to me to be a nod from Mattel to just how weird and wonderful the world of the Legion is, and I am confident we can expect more to come. Thanks Mattel!

And that's a wrap on my SDCC wrap-up. Agree or disagree with my choices? Discuss it at the AFB Forum, or comment here for a chance to win the August AFB Comment of the Month Contest!

Finally, don't forget there's still time to win the Mattycollector.com versions of MOTUC's Orko or DCUC's Plastic Man in our current contest!

Until next time!

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