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!

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