Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Toys I Liked The Best: AFB looks back at 2011

The year is at an end, and that means it's time for me to look back at the toys and statues I've reviewed this year and choose the best. Far from an industry-wide "best of" list, these are simply my subjective choices of the items I'm happiest to have in my collection from the items I've reviewed during the year that will be nearly over when this post goes live. This blog has always been about my own journey as a collector, and this list is no different - its just my opinion!

With that out of the way, let's get started. I'm going to start with the smallest figures I collect and work my way up!

My favourite 3 3/4" figure from the year was the Marvel Universe Silver Samurai figure. This figure came in one of Habro's Comic Series Two-Packs. While the Wolverine figure it came with was instantly forgettable amongst all of the other MU Wolvie versions, the Slver Samurai was am amazing effort. The level of detail, particularly in the sculpting of all of the elements of Silver Samurai's armor, put this figure a step above my other favourites in this scale, which were the Marvel Universe versions of Taskmaster and Thanos. 

My favourite Male 6" figure from the year was the Marvel Select Magneto figure. I will always take issue with the awkward hip articulation on the male Marvel Select figures, but that wasn't enough to knock this fantastic figure out of first place in my book. Magneto's mask and cape are brilliantly constructed, and his wild eyed facial expression and powerful pose are fabulous. I'm usually not too fussed about the Marvel Select bases, but this crushed remnants of Xavier's School for the Gifted that Magneto stands astride just takes this figure to the top of the pile for me. Just below Magneto, I really enjoyed the DC Direct Brightest Day Deadman (with Boston Brand head), Masters of the Universe Classics Clawful, Batman Legacy Series 1 Joker and DC Universe Classics Bronze Tiger figures. 

My favourite Female 6" Figure of the year won by a mile - The Masters of the Universe Classics Queen Marlena / Captain Glenn figure was a real gem. Granted, Mattel had a bigger budget to work with for this figure as it was a SDCC Exclusive,  but they certainly went all out. It's not just the fact that the set contains the parts to make two completely different figures, it's how The Four Horsemen went about it that makes this figure such a winner. Nothing else in this category made it close to this standard, but I did enjoy the DC Direct Brightest Day Mera and MOTUC Catra figures. 

I can't separate the two top contenders for my favourite PVC / Vinyl Figure, so I'm letting the Kotobukiya Wonder Woman Bishoujo Statue and the DC Direct Ame-Comi Raven Statue share the title. The Ame-Comi line took awhile to win me over with its unique takes on the DC characters, but a piece like Raven shows the line has really hit its stride.  The goth stylings and the incredible detail on Raven's cape make this a clear winner. As for Kotobukiya's Wonder Woman, there's no better example of comic accurate amazement. Koto's Marvel Bishoujo line had a bit of a stumble this year with scale issues, but the sheer beauty of their efforts with Wonder Woman kept the DC Bishoujo line going strong. 

For my choice for my favourite Over-Sized Action Figure or Build-A-FIgure, I have to go back to Marvel Select for their Marvel Select Juggernaut Figure. Marvel Select has excelled at the larger figures in recent times, and while Juggernaut doesn't surpass their brilliant effort with Abomination, it is a brilliant figure. It captures the character very well, and has a great level of articulation for a figure of this size. I like the way that Marvel Select has made an effort to do some team building, and Juggy is a great addition to the Marvel Select X-verse. Another favorite in this character would be the DC Universe Classics Bane figure. 

I also have two items to list for my favourite Bust or Mini-Bust: Bowen Designs' Son of Satan Mini-Bust and DC Direct's Heroes of the DCU Demon Mini-Bust. The Son of Satan bust hardly qualifies as "mini", considering the height given to it by the pyre of translucent flames Daimon Hellstrom rests on and the staff he raises in the air. Walter O'Neal has sculpted a brilliant representation of this classic Defender that contends with most full sized statues. Meanwhile, DC Direct's Demon Mini-Bust makes the list not just to applaud DCD for its character selection, but for the outstanding sculpt of Etrigan the Demon, including his trademark inscription which runs along the base. This was one of my favourite DC Direct releases of the year, and a stunning addition to any collection. 

Hot Toys' amazing effort with their Ghost Rider with Hellcycle easily makes him my favourite 12" Action Figure of the Year. Once I saw this figure previewed, I knew that my resolve not to delve into Hot Toys collecting was about to come to an end. All I can say is that I can't think of a better way to break a vow! The craftsmanship that has gone in to every aspect of this figure and vehicle is amazing, and the light-up features are a giant bonus. Not in the same league, but fun to have, was the Marvel Universe Sentinel figure. 

I'm leaning more and more towards collecting statues these days, so there's a lot of competition for my favourite Statue under 18". Despite the large field, there's a hands down winner here, and that is the Bowen Designs M.O.D.O.K. Statue. This was a Previews Exclusive that was worth chasing down in every regard. You don't need to be a fan of Captain America and Hulk foes to appreciate the effect of this intricately detailed sculpt which displays M.O.D.O.K. in all his gruesomeness. Check out those teeth!  Also at the top of the list in this category would be the DC Direct Cover Girls Harley Quinn Statue, the Kotobukiya Danger Room Colossus Statue and the Bowen Designs Valkyrie Statue

For my choice for my favourite Statue 18" or Over, I have to go with the Sideshow Exclusive Premium Format She-Hulk figure. I have found the Sideshow Premium Format Figures a bit hit and miss, but there's nothing missing in this amazing effort. I love the pose, the choice of costume and the brilliant head sculpt that sums up She-Hulk perfectly. The Exclusive version, which has She-Hulk holding a dislodged parking meter, brings a level of humour which is so appropriate for She-Hulk, and makes this a real winner. Other choices here would be the Sideshow Premium Format Bucky Barnes as Captain America and the Sideshow Nightcrawler Comiquette. 

So, that's my list of highlights from the year, but that's just my take. Please respond with your own in the comments below or at the AFB Forum!

That's also a fitting bookend for another year at AFB. Thanks for another year of support and fun.  

Happy and Prosperous New Year to all - and here's to the year of collecting and reviews to come!

Until next time!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Holidays from AFB!

I've enjoyed a great day with family and friends, but I'd be remiss if I let the day end without wishing in all a very happy holiday, however you celebrate it!

Our hobby is often about the acquisition of new things, but I hope this season also brings you chances to enjoy what you already have - most important of which are the people that surround and love you!

For this year's Christmas image, I thought I'd hand over to the Legion of Superheroes, seeing as they've been the toast of the town toy-wise this year. 

Have a great holiday!

Scott "Andy" Anderson

Tuesday, December 20, 2011 interviews AFB!

During the month of December, the crew at are focusing on action figure collecting, and they were kind enough to invite me to answer some interview questions about my obsession / hobby. 

You can check out the full interview here, and can contribute to the action figure database at Wikicollecting over the months to come. It has the potential to be a great resource for collectors for years to come!

Until next time!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Kotobukiya goes on the Warpath - X-Force Style!

The latest Kotobukiya statue release in my review queue is the Kotobukiya Warpath X-Force Statue. Kotobukiya is producing a range of X-Force themed statues, and Warpath is the first of these that I’ve picked up.

James Proudstar has had quite an interesting history, and one that I’ve enjoyed following over the years right from his early appearances as a member of Emma Frost’s Hellions. He could easily be dismissed as Thunderbird’s kid brother, but when he’s written well he is quite an interesting character in his own right.

This is a fine sculpt that really does the character justice. It’s a dynamic pose which suits the X-Force theme. Don’t let the simple colour scheme fool you - there is a very good amount of detail in this sculpt. There are a couple of very impressive touches - first off, the lines between the black and the grey in Warpath’s uniform are sculpted, which is a detail I always like to see. Secondly, a very nice job  has been done with the elements of the sculpt that represent leather such as Warpath’s belt (with knife sheath) and elements of his gloves and boots - it has a different look and texture which very much adds to the overall sense of richness of the statue.

The face on this headsculpt on this piece is one of the most nicely detailed faces I’ve seen on a Kotobukiya statue. Warpath’s teeth are gritted and the detail around the mouth is fantastic. His mask is also nicely done, and the expression and emotion are very clearly communicated by the sculptor - a job well done.

Warpath is shown brandishing his trademark knives, and these weapons are very nicely constructed. The handles are sculpted in to Warpath’s fists, but the blades are separate pieces which come packed flat in the box and have to be inserted. The blades are quite sturdy and not in danger of folding or bending as can happen with swords on knives on statues at times.

I like the angles he’s holding the knives at - the left hand knife is pointing to the ground, while the right hand knife is in a raised position at the back as Warpath prepares to strike. It’s a very dynamic pose.

Kotobukiya can’t always be relied on for the tightest paint apps, but I can’t really fault the work on this statue. All of the lines are great, and the colour choices are excellent. The grey sections of Warpath’s uniform have a slight black wash on them to highlight muscle definition. Everything here is tight paint-wise - and most importantly, the excellent sculpting on the face is well supported by the paint work.

The base for this statue is a rather simple one, which is understandable considering the size of the piece overall. It’s a basic sandstone type design which outlines the shape of the stance Warpath is taking in this pose. The base is quite long but not round, so it will fit on a standard size shelf, although a bit of width is needed to accommodate Warpath’s arms and knives, especially the knife he is extending upwards at the back.

The one potential issue I have with this great piece is scale. Warpath is depicted in the comics as a very large man, larger than his late older brother Thunderbird, that’s for sure, but this statue is truly massive.

I certainly don’t mind Warpath being depicted with bulk, but I’m going to have to wait and see how this statue fits in with other X-Force pieces before I decide for sure that I won’t eventually swap him for an eventual Bowen version.

I do like the way that Kotobukiya has focused on particular themes for its Marvel statues, such as the Danger Room Sessions X-Men pieces and now the X-Force line. It’s nice to be able to collect discrete groups of statues that belong together and released in a short period of time. It would be great to see Koto expand this to themes outside of the X-Verse, as there is so much of the Marvel Universe to cover!

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

Until next time!

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

AFB's Black Friday Winners!

Back in November, AFB turned the whole Black Friday / Cyber Monday thing on its head by offering three lucky folks the chance to win instead of just save!

All you had to do to be in the running was register an account at the AFB Forum and make at least one post before the end of the month. Today I've taken the handy dandy AFB Randomizer to our list of new members and selected these winners:

DCUC Wave 18 Bronze Tiger - "bman25"

MOTUC Captain Glenn & Cringer - "23stitches"

Marvel Universe Classic Avengers Boxed Set - "ethansuplee"

Winners, please PM your shipping addresses to "Andy" at the AFB Forum - and congratulations!!

Monday, December 05, 2011

20% off Hot Toys at !

As part of their "12 Days of Christmas" special, AFB Sponsor is offering a pretty amazing gift for Day 5 - a minimum of 20% off all Hot Toys products!

This amazing discount includes preorder products, so if you've been on the fence about great items like the Hot Toys Captain America, the 1989 Batman or Joker figures or the giant-sized Hot Toys Iron Monger, today is the day to pull the trigger!

The sale only lasts until 10:00am AEST Tuesday, so check it out now to avoid disappointment. For Australian customers - remember that shipping is free on orders over $100!

Make your Christmas a Hot Toys Christmas thanks to AFB and!

Friday, December 02, 2011

AFB Asks Matty for 1 Dec 2011!

It’s time for another round of “Ask Matty” answers at AFB! This month we have questions about DC All Stars, SDCC Exclusive Mix-ups and Voltron (although it doesn’t seem like Matty understood our Voltron question!)

Over to Matty!


Q: Four figures have been revealed for the first "wave" of DC All Stars. Is this how many figures will be released at one time? How many DC All Stars to you expect to release in a year?  

A: Each mix will be around 4 figures, but some mixes may have more or less.  Be on the lookout for more reveals soon!     

Q: Is there any possibility we might see vehicles or playsets at retail to go with the DC All Stars figures?       

A: This is an awesome idea, but is not a part of the 2012 offering at retail.     

Q: Is the Batman Beyond DC All Star figure a straight re-release of the DCUC Version? Will many of the DC All Stars be re-releases?        

A: Yes, Batman Beyond is making an encore appearance in the DC Universe retail line.  The retail line will not include very many re-releases, so don't interpret the first mix offering as a pattern that will carry throughout the year.  Be on the lookout for more reveals soon!       

Q: Some SDCC attendees never received the exclusive items they preordered before the event. They arrived only to find the items weren't available and then waited months only to be told they were now "sold out". What is Mattel doing to ensure this doesn't happen again?       

A: We will be working very closely with our inventory staff to ensure that problems do not occur again.   

Q: Is the "canon" for the Voltron toy line the new animated series, or could we see items from other Voltron incarnations in Club Lion?

A: As for Club Lion Force, right now we're focusing on the 2012 Club Lion Force items which you have all seen. For any future product, you'll have to wait and see…       

Want to give your own answers? You discuss this at the AFB Forum, and you can comment on this post to enter the December AFB Comment of the Month Contest!

You can also check out other Matty Q&As from our friends around the web:

               Action Figure Insider      Critical Mess        It's All True         Pendragon's Post

               Poe Ghostal The Fwoosh Pop Culture Network

Until next time!

Thursday, December 01, 2011

And the "Kirby Your Enthusiasm!" Winners Are......

It started months ago with an idea from our Custom Board co-moderator NiteOwl - to base our next AFB Custom Contest on a Jack Kirby theme. It was an inspired idea - after all, "The King" has left us with no shortage of amazing characters to choose from!

What followed was a great deal of enthusiasm and discussion and lots of hard work which culminated in what we all feel is our best Custom Contest yet - not only did we receive the most entries yet, we also had fantastic participation from the AFB Forum Community in commenting on the entries and voting on the winners. Many thanks to everyone who participated!

Each member who voted assigned 3 points to their favourite custom, 2 points to their second favourite and 1 point to their third choice. While our first place winner ran away with the most votes, we in fact had a tie for second place and our third place winner was only one point behind those two!

You can see all of the fabulous entries here, but without further ado, here are our "Kirby Your Enthusiasm!" Winners!

First Place: Mangog by fishmilkshake

Second Place (tie): Big Barda by FB and Baron Strucker by Andy

Third Place: The Living Totem by NiteOwl

Congratulations to all the winners and thanks to everyone who entered and voted! Stay tuned for an announcement regarding the theme of our first Custom Comp for 2012 shortly!

You can discuss the winners and entries at the AFB Forum, and comment here to enter the December AFB Comment of the Month Contest!

Until next time!

The AFB Comment Contest for December 2011!

First off, thanks to everyone who commented on last month’s blog posts! Congratulations to theotheradamford for being our randomly selected winner! Once we hear from Adam, (you can can PM your choice to "Andy" at the AFB Forum or email me at, his choice of  either the DC Universe Classics Wave 19 Kobra Figure from Mattel or the NYCC Exclusive Deadpool Minimates set from Art Asylum will be on the way when available from Mike’s Comics N’ Stuff.

Now to October’s Contest: on offer are two great prizes, either the Age of X Minimates Boxed Set from Art Asylum or the Marvel Universe Wave 17 Psylocke Action Figureeither of which would be a great prize!

A few bits and pieces:
  • every genuine comment on a post from the calendar month will be eligible to receive 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 28, 2011

Mera and Firestorm dawn with DC Direct's Brightest Day!

I’ve been cherry picking DC Direct figures for some time now, and have been mainly sticking to characters or versions of characters that have never been produced. Next in my DCD review queue are the figures I chose from DC Direct Brightest Day Wave Two, which were Mera and Firestorm.

If you know me at all, you know that Aquaman is my favourite superhero, so buying Mera’s first proper appearance in 6” form was a no-brainer!

As much as it pained me that DC Direct released the Blackest Night Red Lantern version of Mera first, all is now forgiven. I am delighted to have DCD’s Mera on my shelf!

While I expect that Mattel will eventually bring us a Mera figure, there are elements that DCD brings to their action figures that will always keep this one a step above. Firstly, the female buck that Mattel uses for DCUC really is the greatest weakness of the line, unless you like your women with stick figure limbs and flat faces.

While DC Direct doesn’t match Mattel’s articulation, they do sculpt beautiful female forms, and the effort on Mera is certainly no exception. Her hair is beautifully sculpted, and her pose is excellent.

The second element that DCD brings is the finish. The texture that has been used here for the scales on Mera’s uniform is fantastic! It not only creates a scale effect, but almost a sparkle effect as well. It’s great look at but also sturdy to touch and it seems that it will wear well.

The only thing that keeps Mera from a perfect score in my book is the switch DC Direct has made from painted faces to coloured plastic. It doesn’t have the same effect, and it really drops the figures down a notch in my book. Nothing’s going to keep me from enjoying this great version of Mera, but it’s this bit of cost-cutting that keeps her from perfection.

While nothing compares to my Aquaman mania, I am definitely a Firestorm fan as well, and as this figure is meant to be a representation of Jason Rusch and Ronnie Raymond sharing space in the Firestorm Matrix for the first time, I thought it deserved a spot on my shelves.

One of the things I liked about this figure from the solicits is that the skin tone seemed to represent a mixture of Jason and Ronnie’s ethnic origins, so I was disappointed when the actual figure turned out to look more like a straight representation of Jason with his darker tones.

Now, that is in no way a comment about the tones themselves - I would have been just as disappointed if it was a straight representation of Ronnie. The point is that the mixed skin tone in the solicits wasn’t achieved in real life, and to me that defeats the whole purpose of the figure. A real shame.

While it’s a pretty significant issue to me, it’s the only thing I can fault on this figure, which is beautifully sculpted. Very nice touches include the translucent material used for Firestorm’s “flame-head” and the sculpted detail on his uniform, which easily could have been just painted on. It really is a quality action figure in every regard - which makes the skin tone confusion all the more disappointing.

While I have an issue with each of these figures, I am still glad to own both - but of course Mera is the star of not just the wave, but the Brightest Day series. She’s a beautiful piece and a much needed addition to a plastic DC Universe!

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

Until next time!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Black Friday Magic at AFB!

Why should online retailers have all the fun on Black Friday? Sure, there are lots of opportunities out there to spend money on stuff, but here at AFB we love giving away free stuff, so our Black Friday Special has to be about outrageous give-always, not discounts!

All you have to do to have a chance to win one of three great prizes is register to become a member at the AFB Forum and make at least 1 post between now and the end of November. At the end of the month, all new members (from the time of this post) will go into the draw to win either:

The MOTUC Captain Glenn & Cringer Action Figure Set
The Marvel Universe Classic Avengers Box Set
The DC Universe Wave 18 Bronze Tiger Action Figure

All prizes are brand new and unopened, and include standard shipping.

So, head over to the AFB Forum, register now and and join in the conversation, and you could score yourself a Black Friday deal with the most amazing discount of all - free! And let's face it, who can say no to free toys??

Thursday, November 24, 2011

It's Voting Time! Choose the "Kirby Your Enthusiasm!" Contest Winner

Our AFB customizers have been hard at work, and their efforts in the "Kirby Your Enthusiasm!" Custom Contest are now on display at the AFB Forum!

Click here to see the fantastic contest entries, and here to read the voting guidelines.

You have until 30 November to vote!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Bowen thinks out of the box with a new Spider-Woman statue

I normally review items in the order I receive them, but tonight I’m letting Bowen Designs’ Spider-Woman Statue jump the queue, because it’s simply too beautiful a piece to have to wait!

Having come into full on Bowen statue collecting (as opposed to just busts) a couple of years ago now, I have back-collected quite a number of pieces that came out before I started buying, but one I’ve never been able to pull the trigger on was the original Bowen Spider-Woman Statue. There’s something the pose that I always found a but off-putting. I really wanted Jessica Drew in my Full Size Bowen collection, so I was very pleased when I saw the solicits for this new version and decided this would be the one.

This is a very happy review, but it starts with a bit of a sad tale. As I was unpacking this statue from it’s mailer and Bowen box, I heard the last thing that any statue collector ever wants to hear - a rattle. I opened the box, a feeling of dread rising in my stomach, and sure enough, I found Spider-Woman’s right forearm floating free. I have to say other companies do a better job of providing padding for statue sections that can’t be snugly packed, and this was definitely needed here. Thankfully, it was a clean break at the glove line, and I was able to super glue the piece on very easily - crisis averted.

That little hiccup aside, this is a very exciting piece to add to the collection. Mark Newman is definitely up there on my list of favourite sculptors, and he has knocked this piece out of the stratosphere.

Bowen does a great job with standing poses for its “museum” style statues and more dynamic poses for its “action” pieces, but it’s nice to see them do something that doesn’t really fit in to any particular niche, and this piece certainly fits that bill. In this design, Spider-Woman sits on a very beautifully designed gargoyle, and the result is captivating.

You can never be sure how something that looks great in photos is going to look on your shelf, and I wasn’t sure from looking at the preview shots how this would play once I saw it in person, since angles from promo shots can often be deceiving. Thankfully this piece looks just as great in my display as I did in the preview shots, and the angles as photographed match what one can achieve when displaying the piece.  

One thing I really like about this piece is that it works well at different angles. It can be displayed with Spider-Woman facing straight-on, to the left or even from behind. I have a feeling I am going to be rotating this statue in my display regularly just to enjoy the different effects! The figure of Spider-Woman herself is a beautiful piece, and I love the way that she’s posed. It’s a relaxed, contemplative pose, but at the same time very powerful if you imagine her sitting on this gargoyle at a height overlooking the cityscape. As well as the classic costume and lines we’re used to, I particularly like the flowing way her hair is sculpted, and this is one of the effects that makes the piece work when viewed from the back. I also like her little spider-wings sticking out at the back. They’ve been sculpted and painted in a way that gives them a sense of texture and flow in contrast to the more “solid” aspects of the sculpt.

While Spider-Woman is the headline act here, the gargoyle she rests on is in itself is a really amazing piece, with an amazing level of detail. It’s been finished off to look exactly like an old stone outdoor statue, including cracks of age. Even more impressive, and another argument for displaying this back to front, is the damage at the back, where the gargoyle is crumbling to intricately sculpted rubble. This is the fruit of a master sculptor at work, going the extra mile to challenge himself as much as impress the viewer.

When this was first being discussed, Randy Bowen presented both flat and metallic painted versions of Spider-Woman’s costume. While the flat version is more comic-accurate, I have to say I’m very pleased with the choice of metallic, as it gives this piece a sense of life in person that I think is part of what I found lacking in the original Bowen Spider-Woman statue.

This has been an absolutely bumper year for Bowen, with this amazing statue coming in the wake of stunning pieces like Valkyrie, Banshee, and the stunning M.O.D.O.K.. I hope to see more Bowen work from Mark Newman, and more statues that are conceptually outside the box like this lovely Spider-Woman piece, which I expect to be a centrepiece of my collection for a very long time.

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

Until next time!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Critical Mess tells Mattel Who's Who in the Legion!

Just thought I'd let AFB readers know that I'm moonlighting over at Critical Mess at the moment, helping to write up a follow up series to the "Dear Mattel, The Legion Should Be...." set of articles I worked on with fellow Legion enthusiasts JQ and KCekada some time ago.

In light of the success of Mattel's Legion of Superheroes 12-Pack, we've joined up again, this time with the addition of newer CM member Hyperion, to give our views on the choices and styles for the remaining Legion members - which we are now more hopeful than ever to finally see in plastic form!

The article is here (currently we're up to my favourite Legionnaire, Phantom Girl) and you can check back every few days for a new update!



Wednesday, November 16, 2011

AFB Asks Matty for 15 November 2011

It's time for another round of “Ask Matty” answers at AFB! This month we cover the future of MOTUC releases at retail, plans for any new Legion of Superheroes products, the future of DC 12" Figures, Voltron issues and more!
Over to Matty!

Did the quick sell out of the Legion of Superheroes 12-Pack come as a surprise? What impact will this success have on future Legion releases - can we expect more?

A: We were excited that fans were as enthusiastic about the Legion of Superheroes 12-pack as much as we thought they would be! We would love to introduce additional Legion figures in the future. Stay tuned!

Q: Are there plans for any more 12" figures at Mattycollector to follow on from Superman and Zod?

A: There is nothing that we are in a position to announce at this time. But you never know what reveals and announcements we'll make in the future, so keep checking back on and the Facebook page for all the latest news!

Q: Now that the MOTUC / DCUC Two-Packs have finished, are there any further plans to sell MOTUC products in some form at retail?

A: No, not at this time.

Q: Will Mattel be doing tie-in lines for the upcoming Superman and Batman movies?

A: Yes, Mattel is working on toy lines for both of these upcoming Warner Bros Super Hero films but it is too early to talk any details!

Q: Will there be any additional Voltron items (eg oversized toys) sold next year or will all Voltron items be in the subscription?

A: You will have to wait and see…

Want to give your own answers? You discuss this at the AFB Forum, and you can comment on this post to enter the November AFB Comment of the Month Contest!

You can also add your thoughts to our future Matty Q&As either here or at the forum - please join in! The next Ask Matty will be on 1 December!

You can also check out other Matty Q&As from our friends around the web:

               Action Figure Insider      Critical Mess        It's All True         Pendragon's Post

               Poe Ghostal

Until next time!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Could tomorrow's Matty sale see another DC Sell-out?

After the raging success of the DC Universe Legion of Superheroes 12-Pack at last month's Mattycollector sale, do you think that the Justice League Unlimited 7 Pack, on sale tomorrow, will follow suit?

JLU items on Mattycollector haven't been quick sellers, as evidenced by the fact that remainders of most of the Matty-exclusive product are also on sale tomorrow at heavy discounts. The 7-Pack, however, contains the final characters required to complete the JLU show-specific set, including long-demanded releases like Gypsy, Doctor Mid-nite and Johnny Thunder with his Thunderbolt. 

Could the size and exclusivity of this set, its necessity to JLU completists and the momentum created by the surprise success of the Legion set combine to create a DC-related sell-out two months in a row?

Your opinions can be posted in the comments section here for a chance to win the AFB Comment of the Month Contest for November!

Monday, November 14, 2011

All hail the Queen - MOTUC style!

Convention exclusives are always a combination of frustration and excitement for me, since geography and budget limit me from being able to get any in person. The kind I like best are what Mattel did with their Masters of the Universe Queen Marlena exclusive for this year’s SDCC - different packing, but the regular version still contains all the pieces you need.

The version I bought was actually packaged as the Masters of the Universe Captain Glenn figure, but either set comes with all the pieces required to be displayed as either version of the character. This set is a triumph of concept and design by the Four Horseman - both for the options for character and display its provides, and for the way it is done. The Captain Glenn / Queen Marlena switch happens through a design even IKEA would be proud of for it’s flexibility and resourcefulness!

I’m on record as being a fan of the MOTUC females - I like the fact that they have a bit of meat on their bones as opposed to the anorexic DCUC ladies with their toothpick arms. Both display options for this pack look great - and it’s doubly impressive that the extra layer of body suit required to make the swap doesn’t make either character look overly bulky. The headsculpts for both characters are also beautifully done, with Queen Marlena in particular turning out very eye-catching.

The process of swapping the figure from Captain Glenn to Queen Marlena is a tad fiddly. I didn’t realise at first that there is a bodysuit on Captain Glenn that has to be removed before the Marlena body suit is attached. Once I worked that out, it was just a process of fitting the very tight Queen suit on and sealing it up properly at the back. This really is a very clever design that allows the creation two almost completely different action figures on the one buck.

Once you complete the swap, from whichever direction you’re doing it, you get a fantastic and completely different figure. I’m partial to Queen Marlena, as the way in which the Four Horsemen have been able to design her queenly gowns is simply amazing. I just love the shape and flow of it. The astronaut costume, on the other hand, is sleek and suitably space-like, and the greens in it are slightly different - a very nice touch.

As if the combo of Queen and Captain wasn’t enough, we also get Battle Cat’s alter ego, Cringer, as a pack-in. The Four Horseman have done a perfect job of capturing Cringer’s look and expression for his headsculpt - I just wish he was a smidge larger - was Cringer really THAT much smaller than Battle-Cat? Regardless, he is well done and well painted, and that facial expression really pops as an authentic representation of his classic look. Good fun, and a clever way of giving us a character that probably wouldn’t get a release on its own.

This set comes with a swag of accessories. In addition to the Queen Marlena head and bodysuit, there is a staff and a sword for the Queen, while Captain Glenn has a ray gun, rifle and removeable space helmet. I prefer the look of Captain Glenn when she isn’t wearing her headgear, but the helmet does look fantastic. As for Queen Marlena - she looks pretty amazing wielding that sword!

Mattel recently said in an answer to one of our “Ask Matty” that there is a hypothetical plan for MOTUC that runs over ten or so years. They certainly know how to mine the licence for all of its hidden gems, and this exclusive is a great example of that. I wonder what they have up their sleeves for next year’s SDCC?

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

Until next time!

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

AFB Custom Contest Deadline extended by One Week!

The deadline for our current Custom Competition, "Kirby Your Enthusiasm", has been pushed back by one week to the 17th of November! We hope this gives everyone who was planning to enter a bit more time to produce some Jack Kirby inspired custom greatness!

You can read all about the contest here - anyone is welcome to enter!

Looking forward to some great results!

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

You call that an "All Star"? Mattel announces the line that will replace DCUC.

Mattel has announced the line that will take the place of DC Universe Classics when it ends at retail after Wave 20, and all I can say is that Mattel and I have very different ideas of what an “All Star” is.

Here’s what was announced today at, followed by my own thoughts:

“November 7, 2011

DC Universe Fans,
As you know, the DC Universe Classics line is finishing up at retail with the highly anticipated Wave 20, including the Fan's Choice Collect and Connect® Nekron. Then, following Wave 20, we'll introduce a completely new DC Universe 6" line at retail, the DC Universe All-Stars. Designed especially to complement the DC Universe Club Infinite Earths figures, this new line will blow your collector mind!

You first saw Larfleeze at New York Comic Con. Here's another look at him, plus your first official sneak peek at the rest of the figures from the first mix at retail…

Larfleeze: The wielder of orange light finally joins the DC Universe! This collection-essential figure builds out the Corps.

Superboy Prime: The only super-powered being on Earth Prime, he comes complete with his Anti-Monitor armor.

Flashpoint Plastic Man: Check out this edgy new version of Plastic Man from the popular Flashpoint comics.

Batman Beyond: Behold our sweet take on the iconic Caped Crusader.

So there they are – the four amazing figures that make up the first mix at retail. It's been an awesome year for the DC Universe line and with the DC Universe Club Infinite Earths program on and the DC Universe All-Stars line at retail, 2012 is going to be even better!


My thoughts: I have no issue with Larfleeze and Superboy Prime getting their shot at Mattel 6” glory, and I’m glad they are appearing at retail instead of in the Club Infinite Earths Subscription. Superboy Prime can be counted as Legion villain so that works for me, and his headsculpt actually looks like a vast improvement over the DC Direct version. Batman Beyond is a re-issue, and I was expecting that we would also see some re-dos at this point. I can live with that too,

Flashpoint Plastic Man, however, is a big worry. Why on Earth such a minor character from an alternative universe mini-series can be considered “mainstream” enough to appear at retail is beyond me. Was Mattel really chomping at the bit to make this character? Is a non-stretchy Plastic Man really going to be a retail gem? It’s hard to imagine this is anything other than a Geoff Johns ego stroke. Le sigh.

Of course, the saving grace of these figures is they don’t have CnC parts and they’re not in the sub. Still, if Flashpoint Plastic Man is an indication of what we can expect to see in DC All Stars, I may be buying even less of these than I thought.

Have your own opinions? Share them at the AFB Forum, or comment here at the blog to enter the November AFB Comment of the Month Contest!

Until next time!
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