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Saturday, January 21, 2012

The 2011 Poppies - The People's Picks!

For quite some time now, friend of AFB Michael Crawford of mwctoys.com has been conducting The Poppies, which are a set of awards for the types of toys and statues we all love to collect.



The Poppies is quite a complex effort on Michael's behalf. It comprises of two sets of voting. The first is the Judges' Vote, with a panel  of industry professionals, members of the toy media (including yours truly) and invited collectors, who contribute to the nomination process and then vote on them. The second set, The People's Picks, is open to everyone!


The ballot for the People's Picks for the 2011 Poppies is up now - please check it out and vote!


Voting is open until the end of the month, at which time Michael will post the results of both sets of voting. It's always interesting to compare!


Friday, January 20, 2012

Bowen Designs' Mini-Bust line goes Nova!

Tonight I’m sticking with Mini-Busts but moving from DC to Marvel, and looking at the Bowen Designs Nova Modern Mini-Bust.


For collectors of Bowen’s Mini-Busts, the pickings have been slim in recent times as Bowen have dealt with some issues with factories producing the bust line. The Modern Nova Bust is a recent light in the mini-bust darkness sculpted by none other than the ridiculously talented Kucharek Brothers.



Back in my original comic reading days, Nova was a character that I was aware of but I don’t know that ever had a significant role in any Marvel Comic I’d read. Shortly after I came back to the comic world, I read Annihilation, and fully understood who Nova was and what he meant to the Marvel Universe. His fantastic (and greatly missed) solo series (Volume 4) followed, and by then I knew that I was quite the Nova fan


I recently bought the Bowen Nova Classic Statue, so wanting the modern look as well would mean breaking my one piece per character rule. I justified this bending of the collecting boundaries by the fact that Nova in his modern look was briefly a Secret Avenger, and I collect all Avengers, and yes I know that’s a very thin thread to dangle from, but the idea of having collecting boundaries makes me feel better anyway. Of course, once I knew that the Kucharek Brothers were on sculpting duties, the purchase was a lock!



I am a big fan of the modern version of Nova’s costume. It’s a modern twist with more angular lines and exaggerated features that remains faithful to Nova’s classic look but takes it to the next level, and adds a majestic edge to his cosmic exploits. The Kucharek Brothers have very faithfully brought it to life through their excellent sculpt.


One of the things that the Kucharek’s consistently bring to their pieces is a sense of depth and density. Many sculptors could fulfil the brief of presenting a likeness of a character, but the Kuchareks do it with such an amazing amount of detail that you almost expect to be able to see the character breathing. Nova’s armor has been sculpted with such a level of detail that you really get the sense that there is a man underneath it. The features such as the angular shoulder pads and forearm accents are beautifully done.


The red burst on Nova’s helmet is rather prominent, but a check of the reference art shows that this is a comic accurate representation. The shape of Nova’s helmet is another aspect of this piece that shows such a strong understanding of Nova’s appearance in the comics. This is truly one of those pieces that feels like it’s jumped right off the pages of the comics.



The base of this bust was shown in the design phase with some gold accents which matched the accents on his uniform. I’m glad these were abandoned in the final version - there’s enough happening visually here, and the understated base helps draw attention to the main event - Nova himself.


Bowen pieces have a much better strike rate with paint quality than other companies, and this piece won’t be doing anything to blot that record. The work with the metallic colours is excellent, and the matte pieces like the red burst on his helmet become accents against the overall metallic tone. I particularly like the way that the white sections, which light up in the comics, have a different appearance to them, as through they are opaque glass. A great touch.


Bowen bust collectors should be well pleased with this great release, and Nova fans even more so. It’s definitely looking great on my shelves!


You can see a greater range of pics of these items at Facebook, discuss these at the AFB Forum, and comment here at the blog to enter the January AFB Comment of the Month Contest!

Until next time!



Saturday, January 14, 2012

Pre-order the Sideshow Exclusive Hot Toys Iron Man Mark I (2.0) Now!

Hot Toys is re-issuing the Iron Man Mark I, and Sideshow has an exclusive version with a holographic version of the Mark I to accompany it!


Click here to check out this item and pre-order it before it's gone!




Friday, January 13, 2012

Pre-Order Hot Toys Red Skull now!

One of the items I'm most looking forward to adding to my collection this year is the Red Skull 12" Figure from Hot Toys, and this item is now up for pre-order at Sideshow Collectibles!




Click through on the Sideshow banner above this post to check out this great piece. If you follow the link from one of these images, you'll also be supporting AFB with any purchases you make!


Until next time!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Mattel announces new MOTUC Release Schedule for Jan - June

 Toy Guru has released the following information regarding a revamped release schedule for Mattycollector.com's Masters of the Universe Classics line for January to June:

He-Fans and She-Ravers,

First, Demo-Man™ has arrived in our warehouse and should start shipping out in the next few days. We will post a confirmation when he starts to ship. But just when we thought we made it through the Demo-Man delay with clear skies ahead, it looks like our carefully planned release schedule has hit some turbulence. 

When we lay out the line each year, we very consciously try to plan it so there are not too many items in one month to help spread out the purchase price over the year. When it comes to shipping items according to plan, MOTUC has had relatively clear skies for a few years. Unfortunately, logistical issues we could not avoid (yes, I know how you feel about that word!) have knocked our schedule around. We will still ship all of the figures we announced, they just may not be in the same month as originally intended. 

We've looked at the full year and it looks like we will be back on track with figures starting in July. But between now and then, here is the revised shipping schedule for MOTUC and the 30th Anniversary Series:

January

Star Sisters™ - Club Eternia® multipack

February

Sorceress® - Club Eternia® figure

Fisto™ – Club Eternia® figure

Fearless Photog™ - MOTU 30th Anniversary Series figure

Shadow Weaver & Preternia™ Map* – shipping automatically to sub holders, not for sale

March

Kobra Kahn™ - Club Eternia® Figure

April

Thunder Punch™ He-Man® - Club Eternia® variant with mini-comic issue 1!

Draego-Man™ - MOTU 30th Anniversary Series figure

May

Stinkor® - Club Eternia® figure

Slush Head™ - Club Eternia® figure

Snake Mountain™ Stands – non-subscription item

June

Horde Prime - Club Eternia® figure

Snake Man-at-Arms® - Club Eternia® variant figure with mini-comic issue 2!

The Mighty Spector™ - MOTU 30th Anniversary Series figure

July

Griffin - Club Eternia® beast

Monthly Club Eternia® Figure – to be revealed at NYTF!

MOTU 30th Anniversary Series Figure – to be revealed at NYTF!

Why a complete revamp of the schedule? We didn't want to get into another situation like with Demo-Man™ and sell a figure before the full quotas arrived. While a few figures are shipping in different months then originally intended, this new release schedule should ensure there are fewer shipping delays like we had in December.

Please keep in mind this new schedule is subject to change, just like the first one. MOTUC products are handmade and hand-painted overseas, so schedule changes are bound to happen. But don't worry, because at the end of the year, you’ll ideally have all the figures we promised for 2012. 

We do appreciate your patience and understanding. Our goal is to deliver the best figures and the best buying experience. Improvements will continue to be made and we will do our best to update everyone if any further changes are needed. There are a ton more surprises in store for the MOTU 30th Anniversary, with a reveal of two of the most fan-demanded figures ever at New York Toy Fair on February 12th! I can't wait for our big collector night!

Toy Guru

Does this effect you? What are your thoughts about the changes? Comment below!

Until next time!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Hawk and Dove Bust into the DC Direct Statue Line

​The DC Comics duo Hawk and Dove have enjoyed quite a resurgence of late, propelling out of Blackest Night into Brightest Day and finally their own series in the DCnU. They've also finally come out of the toy wilderness, with 6" action figures from both DC Direct and Mattel, and their first foray into the statue world with these mini-busts from DC Direct. While the original Dove, Don Hall, has yet to be produced in any of these forms, his successor, Dawn Grainger, has certainly found her place in the collectables spotlight!

While you'd be forgiven for thinking these busts are a boxed set, they are actually from separate mini-bust lines. Hawk comes from the Heroes of DC Universe Mini-Bust line, while Dove comes from the Women of the DC Universe Mini-Bust line. They are sold separately, but have clearly been designed by Amanda Conner and sculpted by the very talented Karen Palinko to be a matched set. 

While the 6" versions of Hawk haven't been compete home runs, this bust captures the character perfectly. Some of this has to be put down to the facial expression - the Avatar of War really needs to be getting his rage on, after all, and that's harder to pull off successfully on an action figure than it is on a statue. Conner and Palinko have produced a real winner here. I do think that a full size statue would afford a more natural aggressive arm pose, but for a mini-bust this works just fine. I do like the fact that instead of two closed fists, Hawk's left hand is open to show the talons at the end of his fingers. 

Hawk's costumed red wings, which are long strips of red, must have posed quite a design consideration for this piece, but DCD has come up with an excellent solution. Instead of including these in the sculpt, which most certainly would have lead to breakages and collector tears, a flexible metal solution has been used, and in fact is shared by the DCD Hawk figure from the Brightest Day series, which I'll be reviewing shortly. This is a great idea for the bust not only for preventing breakages, but also because it allows the collector flexibility to decide how the wings are displayed, which may in part depend on the space available. I wasn't quite able to achieve the exact bend and pose that was shown in the pictures on the bust's packaging, but I was happy with the options I came up with. It's a smart and clever design choice. 

The 6" efforts with Dove have been more effective at capturing her look than the Hawk figures, but this bust is still a considerable step up in capturing not just Dawn's costume and appearance, but the nature of her as a character. The pose accomplishes this and also delivers a great deal of energy. Palinko's skill as a sculptor really comes through in this piece: you can tell she has a great grasp of human anatomy when you look at the structure of the figure.

This might seem to be a simple sculpt, but there is a pleasing amount of detail present, especially in Dove's hair and cape at the back. I'm providing rear or side shots of both busts so that you can appreciate the detail. Palinko is a great talent and I do hope that DCD continues to put her talents to good use. 

The bases of these are a rather inspired nod back to the origins of the original Hawk and Dove. These characters were born out of a time when "peace" was a word and and idea that was becoming a catch cry for the youth of the West, and represented the opposite sides of the argument that was gripping the world at that time. It's very fitting, then, that the busts sit atop brick walls with the character's names spray-painted in a '60s  style graffiti. It works especially well when the busts are positioned next to each other. A great touch!


While the overall effect of the paint work on these pieces is excellent, especially considering that each character has white as a predominant colour, there is a tiny bit of paint bleed on each bust, both around the belt and hip region. I doubt I'd notice it on either bust if I wasn't expecting them closely for review, but it's worth noting. DCD statues and busts are usually pretty spotless in the paint department, but there have been a few paint bleed issues of late. Let's hope it's not a trend. Happily, the issues here really are very minor and don't hinder the enjoyment of the pieces at all. 

I fear we may have seen the last of this style of product from DCD, as it appears the company will be focusing solely on the DCnU from this point out. These two bust lines have given us a wide range of characters to enjoy and display, and I do hope that DCD finds a way to continue to bring us the slightly more unusual character selections that these lines, in particular the Women of the DCU line, have afforded us. If we have reached the end point of these lines, these are excellent pieces to go out on. 

You can see a greater range of pics of these items at Facebook, discuss these at the AFB Forum, and comment here at the blog to enter the January AFB Comment of the Month Contest!

Until next time!

 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Start of Year AFB Business - Forum, Facebook and Twitter Links

Just in case you're not aware of any of these things, the New Year seems as good a time as any to remind folks of the following:

You can "like" Action Figure Blues on Facebook by going to our page at: http://www.facebook.com/actionfigureblues

You can follow AFB on Twitter by going to our page at: http://twitter.com/afblues

And finally, you can get even more out of the AFB Experience by joining in with a great group of collectors and enthusiasts at the AFB Forum, which is located at: http://afbforum.com 

Take a moment to make sure you are linked up to all of these for an all-AFB, all the time internet experience! (Read that in a way that doesn't sound creepy or stalking-like, and that's what I mean!)

2011 was a great year for both personally and collecting wise, and the AFB Family definitely added alot to that! I'm looking forward to a another great year ahead in 2012 - and also to an exciting development which should be announced shortly!

Until next time!


Saturday, January 07, 2012

Pre-Order Sideshow's Magik Comiquette Now!

Sideshow Collectibles is currently having a love affair with the New Mutants and X-Men's Illyana Rasputin, also known as Magik. As well as producing a Comiquette of her alter ego, Darkchylde, Sideshow has just put up for order a Comiquette of Magik herself!


Click on the banner above this post to check out this great piece. If you follow the link from one of these images, you'll also be supporting AFB with any purchases you make!

Until next time!

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

New Year, New Prizes! The January 2012 Comment of the Month Contest!

First off, thanks to everyone who commented on last month’s blog posts! Congratulations to Polarboy for being our randomly selected winner! Once we hear from Polarboy, (you can can PM your choice to "Andy" at the AFB Forum or email me at scott@actionfigureblues.com), his choice of  either the Age of X Minimates Boxed Set from Art Asylum or the Marvel Universe Wave 17 Psylocke Action Figure will be on the way when available from Mike’s Comics N’ Stuff.

Now to January’s Contest: on offer are two great prizes, either the DC Direct Green Lantern Wave 5 Brother Warth or the Marvel Universe Mister Sinister / Gambit Two-Pack from Hasbro - 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!


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