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Sunday, July 31, 2011

The AFB Comment Contest for August 2011!

First off, thanks to everyone who commented on last month’s blog posts! Congratulations to SirDragonBane for being our randomly selected winner! Once we hear from SirDragon, (you can can PM your choice to "Andy" at the AFB Forum or email me at scott@actionfigureblues.com), his choice of  either the Real Ghostbusters Minimates Series 1 or the Captain Boomerang figure from DC Universe Classics Wave 18 will be on the way when available from Mike’s Comics N’ Stuff.

Now to August’s Contest: on offer are two great prizes, either the Arkham Asylum Series 2 Poison Ivy figure or the Brightest Day Series 3 Jade figure, both from DC Direct -  either 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!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Shell Show - The Internet's Premier Late Night Talk Show for Toys!



I recently received an email from Joe from The Shell Show asking me to have a look at his YouTube Channel, and I thought I'd pass it on, as it's hilarious!


The Shell Show is a series of stop motion animation clips featuring Marvel Legends and DCU figures, as our favourite superheroes and villains tell their tales and engage in various hijinks. It's very much worth a look.


You can look at the sample video here and then check out The Shell Show YouTube Channel.


Enjoy!


Andy

Welcome our new sponsor, BigBadToyStore.com!

AFB is pleased to welcome BigBadToyStore.com as a new sponsor!


It's taken me a long time to settle on an e-tailer for the higher end pieces that I can't order through my LCS. I've had some fits and starts with other sites, but late last year I settled on BBTS as my preferred shop for a few reasons.


Pre-orders seem to be the name of the game with higher end pieces, and BBTS has one of the best pre-order systems around. When you log in to your "My Account" section, you can view all orders that have shipped, and separately view your pre-orders. It's very easy to make changes to your pre-orders, and there is an automatic notification system to let you know when pre-orders are in stock and when they ship. I've particularly been ordering items that may be hard to get through BBTS, as the larger retailers seem less likely to get "allocated" items by Diamond than your smaller LCS - and there are just some items that one doesn't want to miss out on!


BBTS also has a "Pile of Loot" program which allows you to store up items for combined shipping at a later date - up to 180 days! I'm generally too impatient to wait for my statues and Hot Toys pieces, but if you collect a range of smaller items or are on a budget, the Pile of Loot option is a great way to manage things.


The other thing I've really enjoyed about BBTS is their shipping. As an international customer it can be a struggle to find reasonable shipping options, but BBTS has a range of choices available depending on your budget and desire for insurance. I've had no hassles with the timing or quality of anything BBTS has shipped me, and as a frequent buyer, I love the fact that they use heavy duty bubble wrap instead of packing peanuts. It's easy to re-use or break down to discard. (Ask me someday about the Green Packing Peanut Disaster of 2011 and you'll understand why I try to avoid them at all costs....)


All up, I can heartily recommend BigBadToyStore.com as an online store you should consider, and am delighted to welcome them as a friend of Action Figure Blues!


Until next time!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Kotobukiya finds Ms Marvel, but loses their ruler.....

Back when I reviewed the Black Cat edition of Kotobukiya’s Bishoujo Statue series, I had some concerns that the scale on this long-running Koto series was beginning to get a bit shaky, as Black Cat was a smidge bigger than the previous releases in the line. Now that I’ve opened and photographed tonight’s subject, the Ms Marvel Kotobukiya Bishoujo Statue, there’s no doubt that something has gone wacky in Kotobukiya land!

Putting aside the rather enormous elephant in the room for a moment, there is a great deal to like about this piece. Ms Marvel has become one of my favourite characters since her most recent solo series, and I love the way she seems to have claimed her rightful place within the Avengers at last, after having a somewhat chequered career in her past stints. The addition of Ms Marvel to the Bishoujo line was a very welcome announcement in my house!

This statue is a beautifully sculpted and painted piece. Ms Marvel’s hair is intricately sculpted, with the use of some translucent plastic at the end of the strands. Her red sash is also a very detailed sculpt, with a beautiful flow. There are also some very nicely detailed folds of fabric in her uniform which add a nice amount of depth to the piece.

I’ve never had any real complaints with the paint on the Marvel Bishoujo pieces, and the paint choices on Ms Marvel are no exception to this. There is a very nice mix of metallic and matte paints that bring life to what is already an excellent piece.

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with the bases on these pieces, as they often make perfect sense, or no sense at all. This piece has a nice base of rocks that doesn’t necessarily add much to the overall look, like Scarlet Witch’s sweeping cape, but also doesn’t get in the way, like Black Cat’s garish Spider-Man base - a happy medium. The base only just counters the weight of the figure leaning above it, but it does the trick.

This piece also has accessories - a nice touch. Ms Marvel comes with two energy blasts that fit around her fists with assistance of some clear bands. Hint - don’t cut them off, because you need them, and if you do remove them, observe how they are fitted, as I had a bit of trouble re-fitting mine. They do add a lot to what is already a very nice piece.

Once we put the scale lens back on our view of the piece, things begin to come apart. I really have no idea what’s happened here, but you only have to look at the Ms Marvel / Rogue comparison shot to see that Ms Marvel is nearly twice the size. A friend of mine who doesn’t collect these pieces told me that he’d seen Ms Marvel in his LCS and assumed from the size that it was a different line.

One must think that this scale difference must have been a conscious decision on Kotobukiya’s part, and while Ms Marvel does make a beautiful piece on her own, I do wonder if other collectors of the line feel as I do - I’d rather be able to display all of my Bishoujo pieces together to enjoy the group effect. As it is, I’ve had to put Ms Marvel somewhere different in my display - firstly because she doesn’t quite fit on the shelf I have my other Bishoujo pieces on, and secondly because she’d look ridiculous next to the others.

I’m not a scale-ist - heck, I still collect DC Direct figures! - but I don’t think this is case of collector pickiness. It’s just plain weird! It makes the next few Bishoujo releases quite important in terms of the future of the line - is Ms Marvel a sign of “big” things to come, or is she destined to become the freakish big sister to the rest of the Bishoujo series?

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

Until next time!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Mattel: Or, How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Sub


Not being a “breaking news” site, I am generally happy to sit back during the various festivals of our people such as this week’s San Diego Comic Con and enjoy the coverage from those on the ground, and then throw in my own observations and reactions after the fact. If you’re looking for some great resources to check out what went down, I’d recommend Michael Crawford’s MWCToys for comprehensive photo coverage (and thank him for the photos in today’s post), AFTimes for a great range of video, Action Figure Insider for articles and interviews and Toy News International for a good hub of galleries and links.

I’ve had a particularly quiet SDCC as I’ve been down for over a week with a nasty bug - kind of like getting “con crud” without going to the “con”. I was counting on the serdendipity of time zones and the news from SDCC to give me something enjoyable to wake up to each morning, especially on the day of Mattel’s DC Panels. After some lacklustre waves in one of my favourite lines, DC Universe Classics, I was hoping for some happy news about the line’s future. What I woke up to was a storm.

One of the great things about the internet is the provision of almost instant news, especially when there are a bunch of tech-savvy fanboys and girls on the ground! The challenge that comes with that level of access is working out where to begin and how to wade through the mountains of tweets and blog and forum posts to make sense of what’s actually happening! Needless to say the news an opinions after Mattel’s DC Panels were running thick and fast!

The initial reactions I read seemed to be announcing that DC Universe Classics was dead, with the Club Infinite Earths Subscription (news of which had leaked out in the preceding days) the only way of accessing future releases, IF the subscription gets enough support. Some sites ran with this idea, and having now watched the video of the panel, I can understand why. There was a bigger message to get out, but it wasn’t communicated well at the panel.

It took a bit longer to wade through to the main messages we should be taking away:

  • Wave 20 (featuring Hawk & Done, a hooded Green Arrow, Red Arrow and a Nekron CnC) ill be the last line of DCUC at retail as we know it.
  • The line will relaunch in at retail 2012 under a new name featuring both characters from the DCnU and Classic Characters
  • From 2012 the figures at retail will not be released in waves and won’t contain Collect ‘n’ Connect pieces
  • The Club Infinite Earths Subscription (if it proceeds) will contain a monthly figure (starting from April 2012 with Starman) and three oversized figures, which replace the Collect ‘n’ Connect figures.
  • Club Infinite Earths figures will be “fan demanded characters” and team builders which MAY include DCnU characters as well as classics

So, what’s my take on all of this? For starters, I think we have to accept that Mattel is probably scrambling to come to terms with the implications of the DCnU in the same way that we the fans are, and some of the lack of clarity has to rest with that. The confusion caused at the SDCC panel was unfortunate to say the least, but I appreciate that the Mattel team made time for the various interviews which have somewhat cleared the air.

I’m reading quite a few people that are saying “We’re not like those MOTUC collectors - we won’t buy things sight unseen.” You know what? Maybe “we” need to be a bit more like MOTUC collectors, enthusiastic for whatever is produced. Look at how that line is thriving, and how the depths and breadths of possibility are now being explored because of the fan’s commitment to that line. Perhaps, to get the things we dearly want, we need to be prepared to work with something like a subscription program that gives everyone a chance to get what they want. Naturally, Mattel would need to show some signs of their willingness to cover the breadth of demand that different subscribers will bring to the party, and I do think that the first three figures (Starman, Jay Garrick Flash and Atrocitus) are a sign of that.

Having held the MOTUC sub for two years now, I’ve been very happy with the experience and have also enjoyed getting some figures that I wouldn’t have otherwise chosen, so I will definitely sign up for the first year to see what comes of it. The potential for what the Four Horsemen could do with the oversized figures (very keen to see Metron as the first subscription figure too!). I’m also prepared to have some patience and faith that the line that gave me characters like Killer Moth and Kamandi at retail could deliver some even more amazing things online!

I’ve struggled with this post long enough and I need to get it published so that I can move on to other things. There are more points to be made, and as always I’m keen to hear your thoughts! Next up I’ll be back to my usual un-timely reviews and stories, but you can let us know your thoughts on the state of DCUC and the sub in the comment section below (and of course to enter the July AFB Comment of the Month Contest), and can also vote in the poll on the right as to whether or not you’ll be signing up for Club Infinite Earths!

Until next time!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Marvel Universe: Taskmaster and Silver Samurai make their debuts

Hasbro’s Marvel Universe line has a bucketload of product out at the moment, and tonight I’m looking at some of their latest Comic Two-Packs, which are billed as “Marvel’s Greatest Battles”. There are two sets: Deadpool vs Taskmaster and Silver Samurai vs. Wolverine (Patch).

These two-packs continue the trend of packaging one already done character (or a variant of one) with a must-have new character to the Marvel Universe 3 ¾” line. In this instance, avid collectors of the line have to buy another Deadpool and yet another Wolverine to get the new characters, but not only are Taskmaster and Silver Samurai well worth it, they are some of, if not the best figures Hasbro has done in this line to date.

Deadpool and Taskmaster have a long history of a love / hate relationship, so this combination makes a great deal of sense. Deadpool has been done before in the Wolverine: Origins Comic Series, but this figure isn’t just a straight repaint. He has a newly sculpted head and hands, and I think his upper body may be new as well.

I’d have to say I prefer the original figure for two reasons. First off, Deadpool’s black shapes around his eyes are much smaller on this version, and it makes him look funny. Secondly, his right pinky finger is sticking out for no discernible reason. The hand looks like it would be better suited to drinking a cup of tea than holding a weapon. Bizarre.

Deadpool comes with two katanas, a knife and and a gun, and has holders and holsters for all of the above. He has a much less obtrusive holstering system for the katanas than the Origins figure, which is a nice improvement.

I’ve only recently come to really know and like Taskmaster as a character (you can check out my review of Taskmaster: Unthinkable here), so this release was timely for me. This is quite an outstanding figure!

This is a very nice use of some well sculpted custom pieces on the standard MU buck. His headsculpt is excellent, and his cape is a great piece of work. The figure has no problem standing up on its own despite the size and bulk of the cape. The paint work is very solid right across this piece. The two-tone cape looks fantastic, and the colour choices are perfect, really capturing Taskmaster’s comic book appearance.

Taskmaster comes with a great range of accessories. He has a sword, gun, bow, quiver of arrows and his trademark shield. Most pleasingly, all of these can be kept “on board” - no extra accessories hanging around, which is just the way I like them. The shield is a particularly good looking piece with a very nice paint job.

The Silver Samurai vs. Wolverine set is based on the very early issues of his solo series, primarily issue #2, where he fights Silver Samurai as Patch. It’s a shame that Hasbro went so far with creating a Logan in the gear he wore as Patch and then left off the patch. Without it, it’s another Wolverine.

Seeing as this isn’t really Patch, I’m going to call him Ugly Logan, because this figure has been hit with the ugly stick in a very serious way. His nose is way too big and I’ve never been a fan of Wolvie’s big 90’s hair. He just looks silly. Being smothered at the bottom of the Black Hole Box of Accessories and Figures is too good a fate for him, really. In fact, the first person that asks for him in the comment section can have him, because he’s better off making someone else happy than annoying me here. Postage on me, anywhere. Hit me up.

Thankfully, the sunny side of this two-pack is extremely sunny. Silver Samurai is an amazingly sculpted and detailed figure for this scale. His armor is very nicely designed, and the use  of raised detailing adds greatly to the texture, feel and of look of the figure. He also has some fantastic sculpting work on his lower arms and boots. I also love the fact that a hoop for storing a weapon is included on his belt - a very nice touch.

Silver Samurai’s headsculpt doesn’t let the rest of the piece down - it’s also very nicely detailed. The entire figure is supported by a great paint job - the use of metallic red for his chest emblem really makes it “pop”.

He comes with a selection of weapons with which a great deal of posing can be done. I would have loved to see Hasbro include a “charged up” weapon, since Silver Samurai often uses his mutant power of creating a tachyon field to make his katana even more deadly. Hasbro has done some great things with energy constructs in this line which would have worked brilliantly here, but one assumes that this was a costly figure to make without adding another extra. If he ever gets a single figure reissue, it would be a nice touch to add something like this!

Obviously, I’d rather get two-packs with two new characters, but the low points here are easily looked over thanks to the fantastic job Hasbro has done on the two new characters in these sets. Taskmaster and Silver Samurai are most certainly both in the running for 3 ¾” figure of the year!

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

Until next time!



Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Sideshow to produce DC Product, DC Direct Still Going Strong: Andy's Wallet has Heart Attack!

So, Sideshow will be producing DC Products, and DC Direct is still alive and going strong? I've put my kids on notice that the whole family has to learn how to live with one kidney each, cause we're gonna have to sell the others to afford this!


-------------


WARNER BROS. CONSUMER PRODUCTS TAPS SIDESHOW COLLECTIBLES FOR PREMIUM STATUES AND BUSTS INSPIRED BY LEGENDARY DC COMICS CHARACTERS

BURBANK, Calif. – July 12, 2011 –Warner Bros. Consumer Products (WBCP) announced today that it, along with DC Entertainment, has enlisted Sideshow Collectibles, a leading specialty manufacturer of licensed collectible products, to create a signature line of premium statues, busts and other collectibles inspired by DC Comics’ stable of iconic super heroes and villains.

This heroic alliance paves the way for Sideshow Collectibles to offer products featuring DC Comics’ most revered super heroes and villains, including Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, and Wonder Woman, as well as items inspired by the upcoming theatrical releases “The Dark Knight Rises” and “Man of Steel.”  In addition to premium statues and busts, Sideshow Collectibles will produce limited edition art prints and high-end 1/6 scale articulated figures.  These all-new collectible lines will complement the robust offerings available from DC Direct.

“The DC Universe enjoys a loyal following of avid collectors and enthusiasts who will be thrilled with these terrific new products from Sideshow Collectibles,” said Karen McTier, Executive Vice President, Domestic Licensing and Worldwide Marketing, Warner Bros. Consumer Products.  “The premium collectibles, featuring many legendary DC Comics super heroes and villains, serve to enhance and support an overall product offering, which continues to be led by DC Direct, and stand as a welcome addition to our vaunted lineup.”

“We are truly excited to be bringing our expertise and experience in the area of collectibles to the vast DC Comics universe of characters,” said Greg Anzalone, President, Sideshow Collectibles. “The opportunity to create items inspired by these iconic heroes is an incredible opportunity to provide the fans with a number of very special offerings, which will be appreciated by casual and dedicated collectors alike.”

In addition to premium collectibles, Sideshow Collectibles’ limited edition 1/6 scale figures feature more than thirty points of articulation, highly detailed accessories, real fabric costumes, and an array of switch-out parts for customizable display potential.  The art print products will capture the best of the DC Comics characters and adventures in flat art form.  Sideshow Collectibles will also be collaborating with Mondo Tees to create limited edition prints, each featuring original artwork which is screen printed on archival paper and highly limited.

ABOUT WARNER BROS. CONSUMER PRODUCTS
Warner Bros. Consumer Products, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, is one of the leading licensing and retail merchandising organizations in the world.

ABOUT DC ENTERTAINMENT
DC Entertainment, home to such iconic DC Comics properties as Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, The Flash, MAD Magazine, and Fables, is the creative division charged with strategically integrating across Warner Bros. and Time Warner.  DC Entertainment works in concert with many key Warner Bros. divisions to unleash its superheroic characters across all media, including but not limited to film, television, consumer products, home entertainment, and interactive games.  Publishing over 1,000 comic books, graphic novels and magazines each year, DC Entertainment is the largest English-language publisher of comics in the world.

ABOUT SIDESHOW COLLECTIBLES
Sideshow Collectibles is a specialty manufacturer of licensed and proprietary collectible products. With Sideshow's dedication to accuracy and artistry, these products reflect a passion for creating unique, highly sought after figure collectibles, as well as film prop replicas and fine art pieces. Sideshow artisans are renowned sculptors, experienced model makers, painters and costumers whose combined efforts result in the creation of outstanding original designs and intricately detailed likenesses of pop culture icons, including film and television monsters, villains, heroes, mystical creatures of fantasy, and legendary figures from history. This talented team of artists is regularly distinguished for achieving a level of authenticity seldom seen in the figure collectible arena. Recognized as a quality manufacturer, Sideshow has been highlighted in national trade and specialty toy publications where its collectible 12-inch figures and polystone statues have been awarded 'Best of the Year.'

DC SUPER HEROES and all related characters and elements are trademarks of and © DC Comics.
(s11)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Bowen Designs and the Kucharek Bros pull out all the stops for M.O.D.O.K.!

There are some pieces that I buy because I love the character, some that I buy to complete a team or set, and some that I buy simply because they look freaking amazing. Tonight’s review, subject, the Bowen Designs M.O.D.O.K. Full Size Statue, definitely falls into that last category.

This piece was a Previews Exclusive - something I’m not entirely clear on the benefits of, since Previews is so accessible, either through your local comic store or favourite e-tailer. From what I’ve heard, many sellers had their orders of this great piece allocated, so I was very pleased that mine came through.

I first came across M.O.D.O.K. in the pages of the original Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe, and as I was a tender lad of twelve or thirteen at the time, I remember being a tad frightened of him. Jack Kirby certainly had a mind for the bizarre, and he brought his A game when he and Stan Lee created this insanely strange villain.

Bringing something as challenging as the Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing to statue form sounds like a job for none other than the amazing Kucharek Brothers, who always seem to be up for a design challenge. They have most certainly risen to the occasion!

I could go on and on about the detailed sculpting on this amazing piece. The Kucharek Brothers have absolutely pulled all the stops on this one! M.O.D.O.K.’s face is a real triumph. He has all of his trademark wrinkles and a perfectly evil facial expression. His teeth are huge and beautifully sculpted. He very much looks like he’s just leapt right off the pages of a classic Captain America comic.

Around this fantastically sculpted face is body armor to die for - sculpturally (is that a word? It should be!) speaking, of course. There is a brilliant amount of detail in his headpiece, limbs, containment suit and amazingly cool chair. All of this is supported by a spotless paint job with perfect colour choices.

The character and base are separate pieces here, and the assembly is a large peg and hole deal. The tube that the peg goes into looks infinitely breakable, so I was very careful when putting it all together. There is some nice use of translucent materials in the base to depict M.O.D.O.K.’s chair “blasting off” - both an energy blast and smoke.

Apart from the great design, sculpting and paint, the other thing that makes this a breathtaking statue is its size. This thing is HUGE! I normally keep comparison pics for my Facebook photo albums, but I had to include one here by standing the well-known Bowen Wolverine statue next to this monster of a piece.

Pulling off something like M.O.D.O.K. really makes me think that Bowen can do anything, and definitely makes me excited for their upcoming Professor X in Hoverchair Statue! Of course, if they produce too many more of these oversize pieces, I’m really going to struggle for display space - but, hey, when have I ever let that stop me?

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

Until next time!



Sunday, July 10, 2011

Mattel's DC Legacy expands with Batman Legacy Wave One

Mattel is making the most of its DC licence and existing DC Universe Classics pieces by releasing companion lines to the main DCUC line. The Batman Legacy line is most likely designed for brand recognition and targeted at Mom & Dad buyers, but there’s definitely something in it for us collectors. Tonight I’m looking at Batman Legacy Wave One, which consists of Batman, Joker and Mr Freeze.

On the surface, this might just seem, like a set of repaints of existing figures, but there’s a bit more in it than that. For many, this will be the first chance to get Mr Freeze in this line, and these new versions of Batman and Joker both have an edge of difference which increases their appeal.

I tend to fatigue quickly of characters who are constantly repeated in lines (I’m looking at you, Marvel Universe Wolverine...), but the DCUC Batman is a character I will always entertain a new version of. After appreciating the Batman Legacy version for awhile, I think this may be my favourite Batman in the line.

The main reason I really like this is the facial expression. This angry, gritted teeth look really suits Bats and lifts the overall impact of the whole piece. It creates some interesting possibilities for posing and battle scenes. In addition, Batman has two closed fists which is a nice change and again provides a different look for a Gotham action display.

The other thing that sets this new Batman apart is some rather significant pouch enhancements. I’ve never been a big fan of Batman with giant pouches - it seems counter-intuitive to the idea of the utility belt that can hold everything in tiny little capsules.

The Joker in this line has had some more significant tweaks from its DCUC Wave 10 counterpart. This is billed as a “Golden Age” Joker, and it’s actually a pretty good stab at one. The headsculpt is new, and captures some elements of the Joker’s early look, particularly the shorter, wider head that he was sometimes drawn as having. His hair is also more in the vein of his golden age look, and his mouth is a bit wider and toothier. It’s a nice effort at something different.

The real gem, though, is his trenchcoat. It’s the same mold as The Question, so it’s not new tooling, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a great looking. I really do prefer the trenchcoated Joker, so all up this is very worthy addition to the DCUC line, and the new headsculpt on top of it makes it a great “new” piece.

Joker also has his trademark mallet, which is light enough for him to hold at different angles, and a stack of playing cards, which I inadvertently threw away with the packaging. I haven’t cried any tears over them, they would have ended up at the bottom of one of my Black Hole Box of Accessories anyway.

For a few reasons, Mr Freeze is my pick of the bunch. The original Mr Freeze from the DC Superheroes line is very hard to get hold of for a reasonable price these days, especially if you’re trying to find it carded. I missed the DCSH figure and can’t say I’m invested enough in the character to pay eBay prices for him, so this reissue is welcome for me.

This Mr Freeze is billed as a “Silver Age” version, but I can’t find evidence of him looking like this in the comics - please post a link below if you know of one! His first appearance (1959) gear, back when he was Mr Zero, was a red and green fabric deal with clear helmet, which would have been exciting variant but would have required a completely different sculpt.

I asked the folks at the AFB Facebook Page where they thought this colour scheme came from, and the response was that it’s an homage to the Super Powers Mr Freeze version. I can see this to a degree, although that version didn’t have the pink and red elements. I’m just looking at as a fun repaint unless someone shows me its comic reference. I don’t mind the bright colour combination and the new colours certainly add some fun!

I can only only judge by comparing to pics of the original figure, but I can’t see that much re-tooling has been done, although on the final product his hoses are attached to his wrists, which is different both from the DCSH version and the promo shots for this figure. While the handle for his amazingly large gun is amazingly thin, and a tad hard for him to hold, there are some great poses to be found once you get the correct grip and angle. There’s a very pleasing amount of articulation for a figure with this amount of armor and extras. He might be a tad psychedelic, but he’s a pretty groovy toy too!

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

Until next time!

Monday, July 04, 2011

Bowen casts a spell with The Enchantress!

This evening's post is a bit of an experiment, as I am trying to make my first blog post from my iPad. Please forgive any formatting glitches as I work to try to get the kinks out of this process!

Tonight we return not only to Bowen Designs, but to another Mike Cusanelli sculpt. This time we’re back into mini-bust territory: the Bowen Designs Enchantress Mini-Bust, to be exact. This is a very welcome addition to the Bowen line, and while it has a couple of areas that could be improved, I am very happy with the overall quality of the piece.

I first came across the Enchantress in the original Secret Wars back in my teenage comic reading days, and didn’t come to understand her role in Thor’s world until much later. This is a significant Marvel character and she is certainly worthy of inclusion in the Bowen collection. Bowen has been doing a good job of filling out the Asgardian ranks lately so there is a nice group of characters for her to be displayed with.

This is a lovely sculpt with a pleasing amount of detail. Enchantress' outfit is a relatively simple one, but Cusanelli has added some nice touches like the ridges on the armor on her arms and the detail on her bracelets. Her hair is beautifully sculpted - something Cusanelli always excels at. The base on this bust also has a great amount of detail, both on the Nordic looking designs and the small details between the bust and the base. 


I continue to have some issues with Cusanelli’s composition. His poses and gestures often lack power and energy, and unfortunately we see this again here. Enchantress is meant to appear as though she is casting a spell, but the limp pose of her outstretched hand makes her look more like she is flicking a light switch. Am I being too hard on this guy? I really don't set out to find fault - it's something that has struck me about some of his pieces before I've even checked to see who the sculptor is. He does beautiful work, and I particularly love his Tigra full size statue which does have a sense of power, just to prove I haven't bagged this aspect of all of his pieces! It's a small niggle, but something I do think he could work on - aren't armchair critics the best!

Some of the latest Bowen busts have had some paint issues, particularly with wandering eyes. Enchantress' eyes are just on the edge of suffering from this condition, but it only becomes apparent on very close inspection and doesn't distract the eye on normal observation. Other than this slight issue, the paint job on this bust is spotless. The combination of greens chosen for her outfit are very comic accurate and great to look at. The different sheens used also add a sense of depth to the piece. The metallic forest green of her bodice and headpiece is particularly beautiful to look at.

Up next in the Bowen bust review queue is the Web Exclusive Hela Bust, also sculpted by Cusanelli. I'm very much looking forward to unboxing and appreciating another great addition to the Bowen Asgard Display!

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

Until next time!

Friday, July 01, 2011

The AFB Comment Contest for July 2011!

First off, thanks to everyone who commented on last month’s blog posts. Congratulations to AFB Forum Member super-duper-toybox for being our randomly selected winner this month - I believe he is a repeat winner too! Once we hear from s-d-t, his choice of either the DC Universe Classics Wave 17 White Lantern Hal Jordan or the Marvel Universe Doctor Strange figure will be on the way when available from Mike’s Comics N’ Stuff.

Now to July’s Contest: on offer are two great prizes, either the Real Ghostbusters Minimates Series 1 or the Captain Boomerang figure from DC Universe Classics Wave 18!

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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