Monday, May 24, 2010

Monster Masters of the Universe Classics Make-Up!

I said earlier in the month that I was a bit behind in my reviews, and there's no better testament to that than the fact that I'm covering two months of MOTUC releases at once.

Mattel is pulling out one of the bad guy big guns by issuing Evil-Lyn as the April subscription figure. The "Classics" line being primarly a homage to the original toy line and Filmation series, Evil-Lyn is presented in her Crayola Yellow skin colour - at least on the outside. For some reason her head is cast in blue and the yellow is painted on, an extremely odd decision considering that her headdress appears to be a separate piece. Like the original figures, this is primarily a repainted Teela figure, and it all works, although the colour does seem to have been made unnecessarily garish in order to stay faithful to the original series. Definitely a fun figure for the display, but I do hope we get a repainted / restyled version down the road.

Wun-dar is a bit of a He-Man in-joke that I don't quite understand, but he's the bonus figure for subscribers, so I've got him regardless and since I tend to be a completist he'll be displayed alongside the rest. Not "getting" the character aside, this is a nice repaint with what has to be the greatest loaf of bread accessory ever made in the 6" scale. Which is so significant. And yeah, that's Wun-dar.

A bit earlier in the piece was the return of one of my favourite MOTU characters from the days of old - Moss Man. My memories of my meagre childhood collection are somewhat vague (I'm quite sure I remember having more figures than I actually did) but I know for certain I had the vintage Mossy - I remember his flocked skin slowly falling off and I remember his smell, which was a different kind of pine fresh than the new scent, and I sure don't remember it being as strong as Moss Man v2. The new and improved pine scent sure lasted awhile!

This new Moss Man is one of my favourite figures in the line - I prefer the packed-in second head, as the one he's packed with makes him look a little bit too much like a balding middle aged fuzzy green guy. Like most of the males, he has weak ankles which make posing a little more difficult than it should be. I'm impressed by how unrestricted the rest of his articulation is by the flocking. His club / staff is a nice accessory - something different from all the swords and staffs that seem to abound.

I also picked up the Stratos re-issue, further cutting down the number of figures I missed in the early days of the line. He's okay from a nostalgia aspect, but nothing special, and definitely isn't going to end up in my Top Ten favourites of the line. Still, he looks pretty good on a flight stand!

Phew! With Tytus on his way (oh, and some guy with an eye for his head), I knew I needed to catch up on my MOTUC posts, so thanks for bearing with that one. I'm hoping to have Tytus in a week or so, and I'll make sure there's not such a long gap before I review the Big Guy himself.

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

Until next time!

Monday, May 17, 2010

DC Direct busts out a great Batgirl!

Oh, will the "bust" puns never end??

The latest installment of the Amanda Conner wave of the Women of the DC Universe Mini-Bust Series is out, and it's the lovely Barbara Gordon in her Batgirl days.

While the Hughes and Dodson series of this line are probably going to come up trumps for me against this current wave, this is a character choice that works to Conner's strengths, and the fun that Conner has imbued in her design of Babs (I do love how they include the artists' sketch on the boxes of these pieces) is more or less carried over into the sculpt. It's ultimately let down by the smallest of things, which is the way Babs' lips have been painted. It's just enough to take away from the playful smirk she's designed to have. Bummer.

Great fun is still to be had, though, as she's doing the Batusi, which for some reason is called the "Watusi" on the box. Hello? DCD isn't ashamed of Adam West and crew, is it? I daresay it's just as likely the copy on the packaging was written by some whippersnapper who isn't old enough to have been raised on the correct doses of BIFF! BAM! and POW! Damn whippersnappers! Get off my lawn!

Apart from the lack of smirk and the whole "w" instead of "b" issue, this is a nice bust to have. Putting the lips aside, which is poor paint design, not application, the paint on this bust is excellent. The gargoyle base is well done, but a contrasting coloured base, as opposed to the grey which is quite similar to the base of Batgirl's outfit, might have been a better choice.

I like the larger size of the Dodson and Conner series as opposed to the smaller Hughes series, some of which look pretty diminutive in comparison to the newer models. It's a bit of a shame, though, that the different series aren't all complementary scale-wise. All up - this is very fun to have, but what could have become one of my absolute favourites in the whole line is taken down quite a few pegs by the loss of the subtle humour in the transfer from sketch to final product.

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

Until next time!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Is Mattel about to reveal a Green Lantern Classic Line?

Action Figure Pics is reporting that members of the Fwoosh have found preorder pages for a Green Lantern Classics Series 1 from Mattel.

AFP'S link to the Fwoosh topic isn't working, but at Big Bad Toy Store it's listed with an October 2010 release date and options for a case of 6 or 8. Enchanted Toy Chest has "Mystery Figures" in the same configuration.

This move would make a great deal of sense, since the Green Lantern world is where the DC Universe has really been thriving in the last few years, and will soon become more well-known through the upcoming movie starring Ryan Reynolds. The "Classics" in the title would seem to imply that this is a comic-based line, so it will be interesting to see, with most of the GL big guns already released or about to be released in the Wal-Mart Exclusive 5-pack, how many repaints or re-issues fill this line, and just how far Mattel mines the vast Green Lantern Universe.

This is obviously all unconfirmed news until the line is actually announced, but it certainly gives us something to speculate about in the meantime. The best news at present is that it looks like whatever is being offered here isn't a retailer exclusive. Hooray for that!

You can discuss this at the AFB Forum and comment on this post to enter the May AFB Comment of the Month Contest!

Until next time!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

R.I.P. Frank Frazetta - Conan the Barbarian Artist

Very sad to hear of the passing of legendary Conan the Barbarian Artist Frank Frazetta (1928 - 2010) today. Comics Beat has the news.

While his name not be familar to some, I dare say many would recognise his art. Well known for his own art, which included many famous movie posters, Frazetta is beloved to comic fans for his iconic work on everyone's favourite Barbarian (with apologies to Hagar, Thundarr and their kin).

In recent years it's been sad to see his legacy threatened by in-fighting amongst his children over his estate. In the light of Frank's passing, I hope they can finally put that behind them so that his work can be treasured for the gift that it was.

Farewell Frank, and thank you.

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

Sunday, May 09, 2010

JSA Wave Two: Cyclone Stands Out (and Up!), but it's Hourman by a Nose

My blog post output has been slowed down recently as a result of nothing more sinister than the very busy start of a new school term and the rescue and adoption of a beautiful new kitten to add to the AFB animal menagerie, so, there's a bit of a backlog of toys and statues waiting for a look-in. I generally to look at things in the order of purchase, but I picked up the DC Direct Alex Ross Justice Society of America Wave Two figures last week, and I felt they needed some urgent attention.

I could take or leave many of the newer members of the JSA, and as it looks like DC Direct hasn't committed to this series beyond Wave Two, I'm glad we've not had to suffer too many of them. Stargirl and Cyclone are the youngest members of the team, but also some of the more interesting, so they both definitely warrant a figure. Stargirl is already a seasoned veteran in many ways, and Cyclone, as well as being a legacy character that goes straight back to the early JSA, has such groovy powers, especially the way she can grow SO tall.... what?

Yeah, no. While I wouldn't put it past Alex Ross to retcon or reshape any character, this has to be a boo-boo of the kind that only DC Direct seems to manage. Yes, Cyclone is Giant Girl in Raggedy Ann stockings, and it's not due to her wispy hairstyle. She's just plain huge. In fact, she's taller than Superman and Hourman, without factoring in the hair. It's a shame, because this is an utterly beautiful figure. I'm going to get around this in my display by putting Cyclone on a flight stand (and putting another figure in front of her to hide the lack of articulated ankles).

Stargirl is a really lovely piece. I'm not totally wild about her face - it looks a little bit old, but then this is a Ross-styled line. Her outfit is very well done,a and in fact paint on all of the figures is excellent. The biggest niggle with Stargirl is articulation. The DCD standard issue fixed ankles means lots of fiddling with other joints to make sure she's stable.

You'd think that Giant Cyclone Girl would be the most disconcerting thing in this wave, but wait until you see Hourman's nose, which shouldn't be hard. Just try Google Earth for Canberra, Australia. My lawn needs mowing, but I doubt you'll even see it. Good Lord, that's a big schnozz! It looks like the sculptor forgot to include a nose, so they had to be applied later. Shame, because the body is a great improvement over the Total-Justice style Hourman body from the previous JSA series. Awful, awful, awful.

Kingdom Come Superman is here too. He and Hourman are the clear pegwarmers of the wave, most likely because they've both either been done or re-released recently. Oh, and because Hourman is horrible.

While I'd rather have a non-artist specific JSA from DC Direct, I accepted the Alex Ross series because it seemed the only way to get figures of these great characters. Wave One was passable, but the Cyclone and Hourman hiccups here are potential line-killers. There's several great characters in the JSA world that really deserve their time in plastic, so here's hoping DCD gets it's act together or, more likely, Mattel shows the Modern Age JSA some more love in DC Universe Classics.

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

Until next time!

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

It's a Month of Wonder! - The AFB May Comment Contest!

First off, apologies for the delay in getting this month's contest up - lots of "real life" things have been in the way! Thanks to everyone who commented on last month’s blog posts. Congratulations to "pedro" for being our randomly selected winner! Pedro - your Blogger profile is not public - please get in touch with me – probably easiest to do so through the AFB Forum – just log in and message me (“Andy”). Once we hear from Pedro, his choice of either the Negative Man or Blue Devil figure from DCUC Wave 13 will be on the way when available from Mike’s Comics N’ Stuff.

Now to May’s Contest: on offer are two great prizes, either the Black Lantern Wonder Woman from DC Direct's Blackest Night Wave 4, or the Donna Troy figure from DC Universe Classics Wave 13!.It's a Wonder-ful Month indeed!

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!

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