Cover Girls of the DC Universe: Catwoman (Ver. 2) by DC Collectibles

I’ve been running up to Halloween with some looks at horror figures, but with today being DC Friday, the best I could do was a certain black (suited) cat lady. Also appropriate because yesterday was Black Cat Day. Yeah, I’m going with that…

On the last DC Friday, I took a look at Diamond Select’s Catwoman statue from their DC Animated Series and today I’m going to keep the Selena love going with a look at her second statue from the Cover Girls of the DC Universe. Catwoman was my first foray into this line since it re-launched and with a dozen or so of these statues on my shelf, I’ve now come full circle.


As always, the statue comes in a fully enclosed box with pictures of the piece on the front and side panels. You get an adorable cat head logo on the top and the back panel teases two of the statues that I’ve already looked at: Bleez and Black Canary. Catwoman is packed snugly between two styrofoam bricks and wrapped in plastic. The only assembly required is inserting the metal pegs on her feet into the base.



This new version of Catwoman features a pretty conventional pose for this line. She’s standing with her weight on her left foot and her right leg slightly bent and her heel off the base. She toss her left hip to the side ever so slightly and has her whip seductively coiled around her shoulders and is holding it from each end. It’s not the most original composition out there, but I still like it. It suits the character and it conforms more closely with the direction this line has taken since the release of the original Catwoman statue.



The costume is a very simple black body suit. Apart from some seams on the legs and some more running up the front and back, the only real detail to be found is in the rumples and wrinkles. It’s enough to make the suit look realistic without interrupting the beautiful contours of her body. She also has the ring zipper pull in the middle of her chest so… um… Batman can have easy access? Traditionally, I remember this pull usually being silver, but here it looks more gold. The boots each have three sets of belts securing them and her gauntlets flare out to points as they approach her elbows.


The paint finish on the body suit, gloves, and boots is all done in a satin finish black, which is a pretty stark contrast to the ultra high glossy suit that the first version of Cover Girls Catwoman wore. I kind of dig this change, since there are so many different interpretations of her costume in the comics. Sometimes it looks like a rubber suit, sometimes it looks like cloth. In terms of painted details to the costume, this is probably the simplest deco since Platinum came out and she was literally all one color. I’m not really complaining, the paint on the costume looks great, in fact, it’s practically flawless, but there just isn’t a whole lot of variety to it. Ironically, she tends to be a magnet for cat hair, as you can probably see a stray white kitty hair or two in the pictures.



As great as everything is from the neck down, the portrait is easily my favorite thing about this figure. The tight hood is beautifully executed with the sculpted goggles down over her eyes. The lenses are tinted yellow, very clear, and offer a great view of her perfectly painted eyes, which glance off to her left. She has a slight, mischievous smile and the paint on her lips is just about flawless. In fact, the only complaint I have over the paint on this piece are a few tiny spots on her skin. There’s a little area of bleed on the left edge of the unzipped portion of her suit where it meets her chest. There’s also what looks like a tiny air pocket in the paint in her cleavage. I wasn’t looking, I swear… I just sort of noticed it! Both issues would be so minor they wouldn’t be worth mentioning if they weren’t in such a prominent area. I think they’re mostly annoying because the rest of the paintwork on this piece is just so good.



Last time we saw Cover Girls Catwoman she was on a rather elaborate diorama style base. Here she’s been made to conform to the classic oval style base the line has been using for a while now. It’s painted silver around the edges, with a black cat icon at the cardinal points, and black on the surface. The limitation is hand numbered on the bottom. Mine is #1,918 of 5,200.


So, now that I’ve got two Selenas on my Cover Girls shelf, which one do I like better? Well, from a technical standpoint, I think this new one is more polished. The paint on the costume is flawless, the portrait is pretty, and she’s about as solid a statue as they come in this price range. The original has much more dynamic composition, a lot more personality, and the glossy paint on the suit really catches the eye. On the other hand, the paint on the earlier piece isn’t quite as sharp, the skin tone is rather flat, and the portrait isn’t quite as good. It’s still a solid piece, but I think I’ll be pulling her as well as the first versions of Harley and Poison Ivy to make up their own little display vignette on another shelf and that’ll make room for some more of the oval-based Cover Girls. They just feel more like a unified line.



Originally, I wasn’t going to double dip on Catwoman, at least not until I got caught up on the other characters I needed in this line. As it so happens, someone was offering her for a price I couldn’t refuse and I just had to do it. These ladies retail for $99, and while I think that’s most often a fair price for what you’re getting, the truth is most e-tailers seem to knock twenty to thirty percent off the price to be competitive. I was able to pick up Selina for $63 shipped and I’ve certainly got no regrets at adopting this kitty cat.

Transformers Titans Return: Rewind by Hasbro

Well, I’ve done two days of horror figures for the week before Halloween, but today is Transformers Thursday and unless I want to run my feature on Mindwipe again, I got nothing both Halloweeny and Transformery to look at. Thinking back, I should have picked up Wheelie for today because he’s orange and slightly pumpkin shaped. But hindsight is 20-20, so instead, let’s check out Legends Class Rewind!


I find this packaging to be almost indistinguishable from the Combiner Wars Legends figures. Still not a huge fan of the design here, but I’m just going to shred it, so it’s no big deal. I will say that I dig the character art, especially since it isn’t a goofy picture of the character’s head flying off or docking. The sticker on the bubble tells me in four different languages that he’s compatible with something, but not what. Flip it over and I find that he does indeed work with the Leader Class Blaster because he’s a cassette… right? RIGHT??? Well, no.


OK, Hasbro, so you call this mode a “Spy Tablet.” I want to follow you on this. It’s the 21st century. Nobody uses cassettes anymore, so you don’t want to have the cassettes turn into cassettes. Tablets are a thing now, so you think, “let’s do that!” …But we’re also going to make the tablet’s screen look like a cassette for absolutely no logical reason at all. Well, here’s an idea. If you’re going to print a cassette tape on the screen of the shitty “Spy Tablet” mode… JUST MAKE THE GOD DAMN ALT MODE A CASSETTE!!!! I mean, seriously, for the love of Primus… what’s the point? Not to mention this thing looks more like a micro cassette recorder to me than any kind of phone or tablet. And not to kick an alt mode when its down, but the stickers on these look like crap and are already starting to peel off. I could end my rant right now, but I’m not going to.


Because, nothing about this alt mode makes sense to me. I think if I were eight years old, I’d be less confused about getting a toy that turned into a cassette. Especially since my parents are going to have to explain what that is on the sticker anyway. Not to mention the fact that he’s still designed to go into a portable stereo alt mode. And now I’m thinking about how happy I am they didn’t make Blaster transform into an iPod docking station. Also… HIS NAME IS REWIND!!! Hell, if I had a kid, I’d rather have to explain to him what a cassette tape was than have to explain that and why there’s a picture of a cassette on the screen of a data tablet… that’s named Rewind. Jeez! Who knew a slab of plastic could get me so upset? But, I’d seriously rather they just went with a straight out slab of plastic and called it a Data Slug mode. Or, here’s an idea… some kind of digital video camera.


If I had to say one good thing about this mode, the designers were clever enough to make it so that he can store his gun by tucking it in the side. That’s pretty cool. Well, at least he has another mode…




The tank mode! This isn’t exactly appropriate for Rewind as I know him, and as far as alt modes go, it’s pretty weak. It’s a tank in the most abstract sense of the word. At least the red and silver paint looks pretty sharp. Still, at least this is something I would be able to play with as a kid. There’s a port on the side of the turret that can take another weapon and there are tiny pegs on the top of the turret where you can stand some little head robots. All in all, it’s OK for a tacked on second alt mode, and frankly much better than the first.


Luckily the robot mode is here to save the day and make me quit my childish bitching over a toy designed for eight year olds. Yeah, his arms are a little beefy in general, and his forearms in particular are a bit ugly, as the right one looks finished and the left one is all hollowed out. Y’all know by now I’m not a big fan of this bare gray plastic, but in small amounts like this it doesn’t bother me so much and at least the red, silver, and yellow paint apps smarten him up quite a bit.


I also kind of dig that you can see a good part of the cassette sticker on the back, so I can delude myself into believing he turns into one. He does have hollow leg syndrome, but on a Legends Class toy, that’s to be expected.


The little head sculpt is fantastic, and they even sculpted on the little camera beside his visor. I wish they had painted it, but that will be an easy fix with a Gundam Marker. Yup, this is undoubtedly Rewind to me and i really dig this robot mode. Overall, there’s a good range of articulation here and that, combined with how solid he is, makes him a fun figure to play around with.



Rewind can hold his gun in either hand, or you can plug it into his forearm. That’s pretty cool.



Reunited and it feels so good!

I’ve been avoiding buying any of the so-called cassettes, simply because the animal ones look pretty lame. Keep in mind, that may change, because they’re pretty cheap and I’m a hopeless Transformers addict. But, I picked up this one simply because he’s Rewind and I needed him to put next to my Chromedome and finally reunite these two bots. He was a character I cared nothing about in the G1 continuity, but he sure as hell gave me the feels in MTMTE. And so shitty alt modes be damned, I’m glad I bought this guy because he’s a great little figure and he and Chromedome look great together!

Nightmare on Elm Street (Dream Warriors) Ultimate Freddy Krueger by NECA

That’s right, folks, it’s the week leading up to Halloween and I’m hitting y’all with a one-two punch of NECA horror goodness. Yesterday, I checked out their Ultimate Jason Voorhees from the third Friday the 13th flick, and today it’s Freddy’s turn from the third installment of A Nightmare on Elm Street! This release follows up on NECA’s 30th Anniversary Freddy, a fantastic figure that is in pretty hot demand these days. I ran really long yesterday, so I’ll try to control my excitement a bit better today.


Once again, the figure comes in a box, which looks like an engorged VHS tape sleeve, featuring that kick ass movie poster art on the front. One look at that artwork and I can practically hear Dokken wailing out their hard rock tribute to Freddy. The box looks fully enclosed, but the front flap opens to reveal a window and the figure. You also get the title on the side panels and this box looks great lined up with the previous Freddy release as well as the two Ultimate Jasons from Friday the 13th. While I can find something to love in every last one of the original ANEoS films, there’s no doubt that Dream Warriors is my favorite. The idea of misfit kids using their dream powers to fight Freddy is such a great premise and the fact that all these poor kids are locked in a hospital makes the whole thing all the scarier.


One might expect a heavy reuse from the last Freddy figure, but this is NECA and they understand that the devil is in the details. The legs are the same, the left hand is the same, but that’s about it. Freddy’s sporting a brand new sweater, tattered at the bottom edge, a little less grimy, and painted a slightly brighter red. The knitted texturing on this plastic garment is fantastic, and here we get the stripes painted on the sleeves all proper like. The boots are brand new sculpts as well.



The torso looks a wee bit more squared off on this figure, especially at the shoulders, and that’s probably because of the chest swap gimmick that I’ll get to in a bit. The articulation is identical to the 30th Freddy, with rotating hinges at the shoulders, elbows, knees, and ankles, and ball joints in the hips, waist, wrists, and neck.



Yes, even the famous glove is new, and what a fantastic piece of work it is! From the teeny rivets that hold on the fingers to some fantastic paint that recreates the heavily tarnished brass plate that the finger attaches to. The fingers are gesturing in an identical fashion as the 30th Freddy and the blades are bendy so you don’t have to worry about snapping them off.



The stock portrait offers a wicked smile, which is similar to one of the alternate heads that came with 30th Freddy, but it’s an entirely new sculpt that reflects the changes in the makeup for Dream Warriors. This is a bit more polished version, and it tends to be the one I remember most from the onslaught of Freddy merchandising that was all the craze in the latter half of the 80’s. The paint here is superb. Appropriately, it’s more glossy and redder than the previous version, which was more of a matte brown. I can remember having a framed poster of Krueger in my bedroom around the time I was 15 or so and this was definitely that look. The fedora is, of course, removable, and it too is a brand new sculpt.


The alternate, screaming head, features a light-piping effect in the forehead that shows the burning crucifix from when his remains were laid to rest in sanctified ground. The effect is pretty damn rad, and this is a great sculpt, but keep in mind the light-piping means that there’s a clear plastic spot on the back of his head to make it work.


Freddy doesn’t come with an overwhelming number of accessories, but some of these are truly substantial. First off you get the replica of the popsicle Elm Street house that Kristen was building in the beginning of the film. It’s one of the most memorable opening credit sequences for me of just about any 80’s horror flick that I can think of, but that might be because I’ve seen this film so many damn times. I also can’t tell you how many times I decided I was going to get a bunch of popsicle sticks and try to make this model. Yeah, that never happened.


Next up, is Philip’s puppet that turns into Freddy. This is a pretty simple piece with a little red plastic splotch of blood that plugs into his foot to help him stand. There’s some basic articulation in the shoulders, and the legs pull out of the hips pretty easily. And that brings me to my favorite dream sequence in the film…


Hey, Taryn… Let’s get high! The syringe fingers! These look absolutely great, but I had a hell of a time getting them on. The hands are pegged in with a pretty typical barbell peg system with ball joints at both ends. Detaching the stock hands left these pegs in the hands and not the wrists. I had to get a pair of needle nose pliers to get the pegs out and back into the wrists. Then I couldn’t get the syringe hands on, so I had to go into the sockets and clean them out a bit with a razor. It’s still really hard to get the gloved hand off without the peg staying in the hand, but eventually I did it. What a rush!



Possibly the coolest extra in the box, and the one that will likely get me to pony up for a second figure to have two to display, is the swap out “chest of souls.” The switch is done in the same way as NECA’s Ultimate T-1000. You just pry off the front of the torso and peg in the alternate piece. It’s a great looking sculpt and works really well. I hope we get another similar piece when and if NECA does The Dream Master Freddy, maybe with the arms coming out.




Besides being another fantastic release in NECA’s series of Ultimate action figures, Dream Warriors Freddy should be a welcome chance for people who missed out on 30th Anniversary version and aren’t willing to pay the $50+ that he’s going for these days. It’s every bit as great a figure and Freddy’s look in this film is probably more familiar and iconic to a lot of fans. At least that’s the case for me. Also, I think the accessories here are a lot more value added than what we got with the 30th Freddy. And speaking of value, Freddy goes for around $22 at most retailers, which is a damn amazing price for all your getting. I’ve now got two Freddys, two Jasons, and one Leatherface lined up on my NECA Ultimate shelf and I can’t wait to see what’s coming next!

Friday the 13th (Part III): Ultimate Jason Voorhees by NECA

Halloween is rapidly approaching, and while I don’t usually go in for holiday themed features, it’s nice to have some new horror figures from NECA to look at in the week leading up to the big day. Today I’m checking out the latest release in their “Ultimate” line. We already got Jason Voorhees from Friday the 13th, Part VI, and now we’re going back to Part III with a brand new version of Crystal Lake’s favorite son. I have to say, I was beyond excited to get this figure in hand, so I’ll warn you now, I’m going to go really long today. It’s because I love Friday the 13th just that much… and it’s almost Halloween! So consider this both a love letter to this figure and the movie!


Jason comes in what looks like a glorious, bloated VHS sleeve and this time we get some lenticular 3D art on the front as a nod back to the one and only 3D installment of the franchise. Talk about going all out! You rock, NECA! Even if you didn’t see this film with a pair of red and blue glasses in theaters back in the day, it’s pretty easy to tell it was shot in 3D because half the movie consists of people gratuitously sticking things into the camera. Tent poles, Yo-Yo’s, pitchforks, plucked out eyeballs! Anyway, the lenticular art doesn’t photograph very well, so you’ll just have to take my word that this looks great in person. The front flap is secured by velcro and opens to reveal a window showing the figure and all those lovely extra bits inside from the film. Part III is no doubt a solid entry, even if it doesn’t rank at the top of my favorite entries in the franchise. It does, however, give us the first appearance of Jason in his iconic hockey mask, so it is most certainly an important installment. As always, the packaging here is collector friendly and these Ultimate boxes look amazing when all lined up on the shelf.


Part III may not be my favorite, but I still love it, and this is one of Jason’s looks that I know best. It might just because I’ve seen the film so many times, but this real classic stuff. Jason comes wearing his shabby button down shirt, faded trousers, and black boots. I know I say it just about every time, but I really dig how much work NECA puts into sculpting the clothing. The shirt is all wrinkled, you can see the stitching on the pockets, and I love the way the top button is pulling a bit. An equally fine attention to detail has gone into the trousers and boots. You get some gnarly blood stains on Jason’s neck and another splotch on his right knee and various splashes on his shirt.



Also, check out the build on this guy… it’s perfect. He even has that slight hunchback, just like Richard Booker in costume. If I were just in the same room with this guy, I’d probably shit my pants. And as for articulation, you get rotating hinges all around, as well as ball joints in the waist and neck. OK, let’s took heads!


That’s right, heads… plural. It wouldn’t be an Ultimate release if you didn’t get at least one extra noggin in there, right? The stock head features Jason’s (or should I say Shelly’s) inaugural hockey mask, notably different than the one that came with the Part VI version. Here you get the extra two triangles painted on the cheeks and the silver fixtures down near the jaw. Also, if you go back and read my review of the last Ultimate Jason, I was a little bummed the eye holes were painted and not actual holes. Well, that’s fixed here and it looks great! And yup, the mask is still an actual mask that comes off the figure.


Hello, gorgeous! Ahh, it’s good to see Jason looking so young and fresh and less corpsy. This is his early days, and I always thought his misshapen mug that we see here was a lot scarier than when he went full on zombie. This is a fantastic sculpt right down to the droopy right eye and the slack jaw. The top of his lumpy head even has a mark where the strap from the mask is starting to cut into his flesh. It’s got a phenomenal paint job too, complete with a wash to show off all those grody features.




The second head is from after Jason took a direct hit from an axe in the final chase. There’s a cut mark in the top edge of the mask, and a gnarly gash in his head underneath as well as a lot of added blood. What I love about this piece is that it isn’t just the same head with some damage added. It’s an entirely new head sculpt that really showcases those wonderful teeth. Fantastic! Extra heads are all well and good, but Jason needs him some killing tools, and here too NECA really delivered. Let’s go through them in the chronological kill order from the film. To the pitchfork!



OK, so it’s not the first kills in the film. Those go to a cleaver and a knitting needle. The needle would have been a boring accessory, and I can always borrow the cleaver from NECA’s Ultimate Leatherface. Jason used the pitchfork to kill Fox, that lovely Biker chick in the tight pants, off screen, before sticking it into Loco, one of the other bikers’, gut. That barn was just full of all sorts of fun toys for a maniac killer. Anyway, this is a pretty simple farm implement, but it looks great in Jason’s hands.


The wrench is hard to spot in the film. I’ve seen this flick more times than I can count, and I still couldn’t place it when I saw the accessory. Naturally, that meant I had to bust out my copy and scrutinize it. Turns out Jason uses it to finish off his Biker Gang Killing Trifecta in the barn by bludgeoning gang leader Ali with it until he’s dead… or is he? I always thought he just used the machete for that, because Ali picked it up and had a go at Jason with it just seconds before.



A couple kills later and we have the harpoon gun, a great detailed sculpt, nicely painted, and that tip is actually sharp! This is about as sophisticated as Jason gets. Actually, I tell a lie. Later he kills a hippie with electricity. But still, the harpoon gun is probably the most memorable weapon kill in the whole flick. Not only does he score a pretty amazing shot right through Vera’s eye at quite a distance, but I feel like the whole 3D gimmick was built around this one epic kill. I also love how Jason drops it afterwards and struts off the pier. It’s also worth noting that this his first on screen kill wearing Shelly’s hockey mask. You don’t see his face until the end, but up until now he’s been killing without a mask on.



Next up, the machete. Old reliable. Easily Jason’s most iconic weapon. There’s not much to say about this baby, other than Jason first uses it to chop through Mr. Handstand from the groin down. Next, Jason kills his poor girlfriend… on a hammock… while reading a copy of Fangoria!!! That’s cold, Jason. COLD! I always thought he did this with the machete, but I’ll come back to that in a few ticks. And I thought I really knew this movie! See how much I take for granted?



Wanna play some poker? Jason used this little number to run through the hippie’s girlfriend. He got it fresh from the fire and it was burning hot too. I’m surprised NECA didn’t put a little orange paint on the tip to make it look like it’s glowing. They usually don’t miss little details like that. OK, now I’m nitpicking.



It’s the final stretch and out comes the axe. They were teasing the axe earlier in the barn with the hippie couple, but it turns out to be Jason’s weapon of choice for the final hunt, although he alternates this one with the machete.



And here’s the knife! I always just assumed that this was the combat knife from the poster, but that’s a combat knife and this is more of a steak knife. It’s a subtle and understated weapon, but it’s got a good presence in the film. It actually turns out to be what Jason used to kill hammock girl, because later on, Chris pulls it out of the back of her corpse and goes slashy-apeshit on Jason with it. She gets a couple good stabs in before he pulls it out of his leg and throws it her head. Sure, he misses, but a hardcore move all the same.



I would be remiss if I didn’t show off one of my absolute favorite things about this figure. Yes, you can simulate the axe hit and holy shit do I love that. I have two of the Part VI Jason for multiple display options, and I’ll likely do the same for this guy. So good!





And so that’s the weapon run down! With only a couple missing, this is an impressive inventory and rounds out what is already a truly amazing figure. When NECA made this guy, I doubt they could have guessed it would mean as much to anyone as it does to me, but he is instantly among one of my favorite figures this year. The amount of nostalgia that I have wrapped up in this figure surprised even me. It just transports me right back to those long insomnia-plagued nights when I watched these movies over and over again. I’m sincerely hoping that NECA is going to run through all the Jasons, because as long as they keep making them, I’ll keep buying them!


Friday the 13th, Part III… IN 3-D!!!

A New Dimension in Terror!

Marvel Legends (Rhino Wave): Scarlet Spider by Hasbro

After a brief hiatus to look at a rather unsatisfying statue, I’m throwing Marvel Mondays back into another stretch of Marvel Legends. This time, I’m tackling the long overdue and backlogged Rhino Wave so that I can press on to more current matters with the Doctor Strange figures and somewhere, somehow find time to check out that Abomination Wave, which I have not even begun collecting yet. Phew. You make it tough to be a Legends collector, Hasbro, but don’t ever stop!


It’s a new wave, but the packaging is the same old collector friendly window box. This time it’s once again Spider-Man themed. Someone over at Hasbro sure digs Spider-Man. Alls I’m saying is I got a lot of Spider-Mans on my Legends shelf. Not a bad thing. This is actually the second time we’ve seen the Scarlet Spider moniker appear on a modern Legends package. Previously it was the Joe Wade incarnation released in 2013 as part of the Rocket Raccoon BAF wave.


Aw, yeah… it’s hoodie time! In the seemingly never ending number of variant Spider-Man costumes, this is certainly one that stands out. Blue hoodie over spider costume? Check! Slightly askew spider emblem to show attitude? Check! Ankle pouches? Check! This is a cacophony of ideas that should not work, and yet there’s something about it that tickles me. What’s more, this figure just pulls it off brilliantly.


There’s nothing outrageous about the sculpt here, it’s just that hoodie sculpt torso with some mostly generic arms and legs. But you do get the silver web shooter bracelets and those aforementioned ankle pouches, complete with painted silver buckles and snaps. The belt is also nicely painted and the overall coloring of the figure utilizes some bright red and pale blue plastic. The spider emblems are also neatly printed on the front and back. This is a snazzy looking figure!




The portrait is as basic as basic can get. It’s just too huge, painted eyes, and that’s really all that’s required here. But whatever Hasbro may saved on a head sculpt, they invested in extra hands. Scarlet Spider comes with three pairs total: Fists, splayed fingers, and… yup, you guessed it! Thwippy hands!





The articulation here is solid enough. You get rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, double hinges in the elbows and knees, swivels in the biceps and thighs, ball joints in the hips, hinges and rockers in the ankles, a swivel in the waist, an ab crunch hinge in the chest and both a hinge and ball joint in the neck. True, he’s missing those shoulder crunches, which make for a really good Spidey body, but it probably would have been tough to do with the hoodie.





Spider-Man, Star Wars… my standing motto is, “screw clones, they ruin everything,” but as I said earlier, I’ve always been fond of this costume, so I was actually looking forward to getting this figure on my shelf. And it didn’t disappoint! He’s fairly simple, but the gaggle of extra hands and solid articulation makes him loads of fun to play with, and I’m always happy to add another figure to my Spider-Man shelf. And at this point the associated characters are about to get bumped off, because I’m going to need that whole shelf just for my Spider-Mans.

Figma “Sword Art Online II” Asuna (ALO Version) by Max Factory

After a brief detour to cover some Star Wars stuff, Anime Saturday is back in action, albeit posting a little later than I usually like. To make up for last week, I thought I’d take the time to open up one of the Figmas that have been languishing on the shelf for way too long now. And while I’ve got plenty of KanColle Figmas to open, let’s mix things up and check out The Alfheim version of Asuna from Sword Art Online II. I looked at the first Figma version of Asuna way back in March of this year, and it’s a figure that I absolutely adore, so this one has a pretty hard act to follow!


If you’ve seen one Figma box, you’ve pretty much seen them all. The deco is black on the bottom and pale blue on the top two-thirds or so. You get a window that shows off a good portion of the figure and the accessories. Everything is collector friendly, and that’s always a good thing with Figmas, because there’s so many bits and bobs to keep track of. Just make sure those trays are locked together tight or all the stuff falls out of place when you put it back in, as exhibited in the above shot. As some of you may know, I am a huge fan of the original SAO anime, although I had issues with the way the Fairy Dance Arc treated Asuna. Conversely, the Gun Gale Arc of SAO II left me a little cold, while the Calibur Arc felt more like a return home. But, all in all, even the low points of this series are still pretty highly regarded by yours truly.


Here, Asuna has cast off her Knights of Blood outfit and adopted the fairy avatar of Alfheim. The KoB outfit remains my favorite, and that Figma is a gorgeous representation of it, but this figure is no slouch either! I really dig the white and blue deco and it’s a wonderfully complex and layered costume that allowed those wizards at Max Factory to shine when making this Figma. The mix of white, light and dark blue, and a little bit of gray and black makes for such a pleasing palate. I also like how it still retains a bit of that trench coat look of the former costume. I could go on and on about this beautiful design, but suffice it to say, it’s a worthy successor to her last one.


From behind we can see that they did a beautiful job on her rather intricate hair. It cascades down her back and fans outward. The whole thing is fixed on a ball joint, so it can be swept back or off to either side. That feature becomes really important when using the figure stand. Although, it’s worth noting that Asuna is a pretty well balanced figure and I’m pretty delighted at how easily she can stand without any assistance.




As always, the Figma comes with extra hands and faces. The faces are swapped out easily and in the usual fashion of removing the front hair piece first. The portraits here include a neutral expression, a devilish smile, and a shouty action face. Her adorable elf-like ears are attached to each of the faces. All of these are great, but I’ll likely get the least use out of the middle one. Her eyes are perfectly printed on all three, and I really love how they did her open mouth in the last one. It looks great.


The selection of hands is pretty standard stuff. You get a pair of fists, two pairs for holding her accessories, a peace signing right hand, and a pair of hands with splayed fingers. She even has her silver ring painted on each of her left hands.




Naturally, Asuna comes with her sword and scabbard. The scabbard slides into the black belt loop and hangs securely. The sheathed sword is actually just the hilt that plugs into the scabbard. This way you can remove the hilt and put the real sword in her hand to make it look like she drew it. It’s a clever way of doing it and circumvents the need to make the scabbard too big or the sword blade too thin and frail. The detail on the hilt is exquisite, and the blade is beautifully painted.


You also get Asuna’s wand, The Crest of Yggdrasil. This is a great looking piece and she has a pair of hands specifically designed for holding it.


And finally, Asuna comes with her fairy wings. These attach to the hole in her back, or you can pass the stand through it for those flying poses, which make more sense since in Alfheim we really only saw the wings when their avatars were flying.




While this version of Asuna isn’t going to replace the initial Figma release as my favorite treatment of the character, she sure comes damn close. All the love and craftsmanship that went into the previous release is evident here as well. In the end it just comes down to my personal taste in her costume and while I love this one plenty, I just love the Knights of Blood look a little more. This version of Asuna has almost caught me up on the SAO Figmas. I’m still considering picking up the Gun Gale version of Kirito and I missed out on picking up Sinon at a price I was willing to pay. I’m still hoping that we may some day get a Leifa or Lizbeth, but that might be asking for too much. Truth be told, I really wish I had the time to feature Figmas more frequently, because I absolutely love playing with these things. But, yeah, take a lot of time to explore and photograph, and as a result I seem to be constantly backlogged. Still, once I bust one of these figures open I fall in love all over again.

EDIT: A big shout out to @xx_Shonuff_xx on Twitter for pointing out that Sinon’s reissue is coming early next year. Also… Leifa! 

Femme Fatales “DC Animated Series:” Catwoman by Diamond Select

I started this week with a Marvel DST Statue, so let’s end it with a DC DST Statue. That seems only fair. Besides, the lovely Bruce Timm styled Catwoman has been sitting around waiting to be opened for over a month now. Diamond has been reworking this line into the DC Animated Gallery so that they can include some dudes, but Catwoman is still under the name Femme Fatales. Time to let this kitty out of the box!


Speaking of the box, we’ve seen this packaging before. There are windows on three sides as well as the top panel to let a lot of light in and allow you to scrutinize the paint on your purchase before handing your money over to local comic shop guy. But not me. Oh no. My local comic shop ain’t so local. It’s over an hour away, so I have to roll the dice and hope the Amazon gods are smiling on the day their drone picks mine from the warehouse. There’s no assembly required here, so Selina comes out of the box all ready for action…



And looking every bit like she pounced right out of the cartoon! Catwoman is wearing her skin tight gray body suit that shows off all of her wonderful womanly curves. As this is an animated piece there’s not a whole lot going on in the way of sculpted detail, just a lot of smooth surfaces. But at the same time, everything about the costume is part of the sculpt, so you get clear definitions at the edges of the boots and gloves and the string of yellow disks that make up her belt. The whip that she clutches in her left hand is a strip of bendy plastic and you can position it so it lands on the base by her foot or dangling off the side.




As a budget line, I’ve been taking the paint quality on these in stride. None of my pieces in this line have had outrageously bad paint (just that Marvel Gallery Lady Deadpool!), but some have been better than others. I’m overall pleased with what I got here, although these statues tend to suffer from rubbing and light scratching over the large smooth areas. That was most prevalent with the gray suit on my Batgirl and it’s still the case with this piece. Granted, the studio lights and scrutiny of the camera tend to make it look worse than it is when displayed under normal lights. It would be great if they could clean this up, but I’ve learned to live with it. Otherwise, the only paint issue I can see on mine is a bit of yellow slop from her belt on her left hip, and that’s a pretty small flub.


The portrait matches the animated style pretty well. Again, she has sculpted lines around her hood and mask and between the mask and her skin. The paint lines between skin and mask could have been a little sharper, but I’m really picking nits here, especially on a piece in this price range. The red paint used for her lips, on the other hand, is nice and clean.




DST really went all out on the base here. It’s a rather large slab of rooftop with stone texturing and some sculpted bricks. That seriously would have been plenty, but they opted to add an adorable little kitty cat emerging from a chimney with a sack of diamonds in his mouth. This extra bit really goes a long way to give this piece some wonderful personality and I’m glad they did it.



Once again, I find myself delighted to be collecting this line, especially since I’ve been resisting the urge to collect DST’s line of DC Animated figures. These statues give me some of that wonderful Bruce Timm style for my shelves, and between the low price point and frequency of releases, it’s something that I feel I can collect at my leisure and not worry about getting too far behind. These pieces continue to retail at about $45, but Amazon has been pretty competitive and pricing them between $30-$40, and that feels like a decent value to me.

Transformers Titans Return: Nucleon & Galvatron by Hasbro

It’s been a long while since that ultimately disappointing Deluxe Class Galvatron figure from Universe 2.0, but here we are finally getting a new treatment of the character. He’s a proper Voyager Class figure now and he’s part of the superb Titans Return line, so how could things possibly go wrong? Well, buckle up kids, because I’m about to tell you. But before I begin, a word from our sponsor: Jameson. When you’ve had a hard day at work and you come home to relax and enjoy that new Transformers purchase that turns out to be a giant plastic turd, Jameson is there. From that first sumptuous sip that coats your soul in warmth and comfort, to the last drop as you greedily coif down the glass to help you cope with crushing disappointment that only a middle aged collector of toy robots could possibly understand. Jameson. It’s there to be your friend, even when Hasbro isn’t. Now… on with the show…


Galvatron is my first Voyager Class figure in the Titans Return line and so this is my first look at the boxed packaging. It’s largely the same as the Combiner Wars deco only now with the character art showing off the headmaster gimmick and, as we’ll see, in this case it’s very misleading. The figure is packaged in his robot mode, but I’m going to start with his alt mode… oh, in this case, that should be alt modes… plural. Yup, he’s a Triple Changer.


So the primary alt mode is this giant cannon and I like this thing a lot because it’s the first solid homage we got to the original G1 toy’s alt mode in… perhaps ever? That lovely orange gun barrel sits on a pair of tank treads ready to blast holes in any Autobots that come into range. God, I loved the firing sound effect they used for Galvy’s cannon in the cartoon! I’d say this would have been a great opportunity for a sound chip, but I don’t think they could have done that sound justice. The coloring on this toy is mostly comprised of some gorgeous purple and some of that hideous off-white-gray plastic. Blah. Still, that purple and translucent orange are almost enough to win me over… almost.



There isn’t a whole lot to say about this mode, other than mine doesn’t seem to fit together all that well. I’ve checked and double checked that everything is packed in properly, but the hatch on the top simply will not sit flush like it should, and the two halves of the back don’t lock together very securely. I’m tempted to blame this on designing the figure to be a Triple Changer, but I’m really not sure that’s the case. And that brings me to the jet mode.


This garbled mess would look like an afterthought it it weren’t for the fact that the entire nose and cockpit section is on the figure expressly for this second alt mode. I’m tempted to cry foul, but the truth is I don’t think any of the engineering involved in creating this second mode is the root cause for any of this figure’s problems. I suppose it was also necessary to give Galvatron’s little head robot buddy a place to sit.



Nucleon sucks. Oh, at heart he’s the same as the other little head robots, but in this case he’s cast in that same terrible gray plastic that I just can’t stand. It looks so cheap and unfinished. At least they painted his little eyes red, but that’s it. To add insult to injury it’s the same plastic they used for the cockpit, so when I sit him in there he just sort of blends in. This is bad comedy. But I haven’t even started to get to the really bad stuff yet. Let’s transform him.


OK, so when he’s just standing there, I can find a lot to like about this figure. The overall sculpt is fantastic. I love the chest and those legs, it’s all extremely evocative of the original G1 design that I loved so much. And that makes me happy. He’s also an impressively bulky figure for a Voyager Class and his fusion cannon looks absolutely stunning on his arm… until you realize there’s no way to turn it to the side. But more on that in a moment. You see, it’s that first glance that makes me want to love this figure so badly. But everything after that brief instant is like chewing tinfoil.


From the back things aren’t quite so pretty. He’s got that whole front of the jet hanging off his back. Hey, remember how Galvatron had the front of a jet hanging off his back because he could turn into a jet? NO, I F’CKING WELL DO NOT!!! I would have been perfectly happy if they left that second mode out and cleaned up his back, but to be honest, that jet kibble doesn’t detract from the figure the way so many other things do. It’s actually the least of his problems… unlike those tank treads hanging off the backs of his arms. But I’ll come back to that. First, let’s talk about his head.


Yes, that package art sure was misleading. It shows the whole head, “helmet” and all, coming down and attaching to the body. But the purple portion of his noggin is not actually part of his noggin. It’s a sort of face-frame that springs up out of his chest and hovers a in front of his head. What the hell is a face-frame, you ask? Why, it’s what I call this, because the idea is so insanely stupid that I had to invent an equally insanely stupid term to describe it. WHAT IN THE NAME OF HOLY PRIMUS WERE THEY THINKING WHEN THEY DID THIS??? Not only does it look like garbage, but he can barely turn his head because of it. It seems pointless to even point out how much I hate that his head is made of that rotten gray plastic. DAMN YOU FOR THIS, HASBRO… DAMN YOU TO HELL!!!


But I’m not done yet. No, don’t pass out on me, yet. We haven’t reached the most frustrating part of this abomination. The articulation. Forget how many points he has. Forget that his elbows are double hinged. From the waist up nearly every move of his arms bumps up against something else. Those hinged things on his shoulders, those treads on the back of his arms… and the cannon! Oh, that cannon that sticks on the front of his arm like a giant dead porpoise going through the final stages of rigor mortis. He can stand prone with it or with a lot of fiddling you can get it into a firing position. Everything else I try to do with this figure is so heartbreaking.



I’m at the point now where talking about this toy is making me sad and angry, and he is absolutely no fun to photograph, so I’m going to call it a day. Congratulations, Galvatron. Not only were you the first true disappointment for me in the Titans Return line, but you actually broke me. I don’t wanna celebrate Transformers Thursday any more today. You’ve ruined it. RUINED IT!!! Even if I just stand this guy on the shelf and don’t try to pose him, I still have that stupid head looking back at me. I truly and honestly want to know what inspired that feature. How did they think that was value added? Was it just necessary to make him a Headmaster? If that was the case, they shouldn’t have done it. There’s a decent figure here buried somewhere under a bunch of bad decisions. And so here we are, another failed attempt at Galvatron and who knows how long it will be until they try again.

Vitruvian HACKS: Penthesilea (Amazon Commander) by Boss Fight Studios

It’s no secret that Mythic Legions stole a lot of the attention that I would have been lavishing on Boss Fight’s Vitruvian HACKS line. Maybe that’s a good thing, because it allowed some of my frustration over the HACKS Kickstarter to simmer down and now I can really enjoy the figures. I’ve already looked at six of the releases from my original Backer Rewards, but I have a lot more to cover, and a new figure just hit my doorstep this week making me realize I should get back to it.


Enter Penthesilea, the Amazon Commander or Warrior Queen depending whether you want to go by the front or back of the card. The packaging here is the same as all the releases, except for the pair of boxed exclusives. The presentation features some colorful, character-specific card art and a nifty collector friendly design that allows you to slide the card out and get into the bubble without having to slice or cut anything. Penthesilea hails from Wave 5, which I believe is the most recent, although the back of the card shows two more waves on the way after that, both with some excellent looking figures.


From the neck down, Penthesilea is a straight repaint of the Amazon Elite Warrior. The female buck this time is Caucasian and the armor consists of the fully enclosed piece for the torso, as well as bracers and grieves, now painted gold instead of silver. I love that sculpted musculature in the chest plate! There’s also a blue “skirt,” replacing the black on the previous release, made to look like individual leather strips. The quality of paint Boss Fight has been using on these figures is top notch and the gold in particular is quite striking. Even the paint applications on this figure are very sharp right down to the tiny rivets on her belt and the individual straps on her sandals.


The articulation is standard for the line and features rotating hinges in her shoulders, elbows, and wrists. The legs have ball joints at the hips, double hinges in the knees, and the ankles are hinged and feature lateral rockers. There’s a ball joint in the torso and another in the neck. Penthesilea is pretty agile, but some added swivels in the biceps and thighs would have made her even better. These figures are designed to be somewhat modular. Every piece of armor is removable and the entire body can be broken down, but I haven’t attempted that with any of mine.



The head sculpts on the HACKS have been pretty good and Penthesilea continues that tradition. I don’t think she matches the card art all that closely, but I still really dig this portrait. She looks a bit more mature than some of the other figures and she has a stoic and possibly battle weary look about her. The paint on the eyes and eyebrows is sharp and straight and the white streak in her hair gives her a lot of personality. She also features a ponytail, which means getting a helmet on her is out of the question.




Penthesilea comes with three swords, all of which were included with the Ultimate Spartan Warrior, as well as some of the other figures, only here they are presented with clean decos and hilts painted to match the armor. You get a pair of leaf-shaped swords, one slightly longer than the other and each with unique hilt designs. The silver painted blades on these are just gorgeous.



The third sword is a repaint of the broadsword that came with the Amazon Elite Warrior. This is possibly my favorite sword in this line’s armory, but then again I really do love them all. The hilt is again painted gold to match the armor and the blade is painted with more of that lovely silver.



There’s a slot in the back of Penthesilea’s “skirt” allowing you to store one of her swords, so technically she can carry them all at once.




The final accessory is her shield. It’s the same great sculpt that we’ve been seeing all along, but with a new deco painted on the front. The art on the front is very reminiscent of the Classic Greek style and it depicts what appears to be a griffon eating a horse. Bad ass! The shield is mostly gold to match her armor and it features that amazing hammered texture, as well as some nicks on the face to show where it’s deflected blows. The inside of the shield is fully detailed and it features a sleeve and grab bar to attach to the figure’s arm.




For a figure that is essentially a straight repaint with a new head, Penthesilea still feels pretty fresh and new. It may be because I haven’t looked at any of the HACKS line for a while. Then again, it could just be because I dig these figures so much, that even the variants really excite me. Her inventory may feel a little light after opening the two weapon-packed Exclusives, but what’s here still makes for a solid release and she may end up being one of my favorites in the regular releases.

ThunderCats Classics: Lion-O by Mattel

After a slight delay and having his entire toy line collapse out from under him, Matty’s Lion-O finally arrived at my doorstep last week. Of course, he was unceremoniously preceded by the SDCC Thunder Kittens, which I looked at a few weeks back, right around the same time Matty announced they were closing up shop. Since then Super7, who inherited Matty’s Masters license, exhibited at the New York Comic Con with lots of Masters of the Universe Classics teasers, but not a peep about Thundercats. Yes, I think I’m finally prepared to concede this line is dead after this year, but I’m going to try not to focus on that in this feature and just look at this figure for what it is. I will, however, make some comparisons to the Bandai figures from several years back.


The packaging and presentation here is quite nice. There’s a black mailer box with the Thundercats logo and the Eye of Thundera on the front and some additional art on the side panels.



Inside the mailer box you get this really slick looking window box. And yes, that’s a cat hair stuck to the bubble of the package. Is that meta or irony? I’m really not sure. Anyway, the figure is presented against a bright red backdrop and the artwork on the bottom shows Lion-O gazing into the Sword of Omens with the blade extending upward in the form of molded detail in the window. On the bottom, there’s a flap that opens to allow you to pull the tray out. The back of the package features some very colorful artwork and a blurb about Lion-O himself. I’m totally blown away by the presentation here. It’s just fantastic and totally collector friendly. I don’t keep a lot of my toys’ packaging, but this one I sure as hell will be hanging onto. Let’s get the Lord of the Thundercats out of the package and check him out…



The idea here was to recreate the Thundercats in the Masters Classics style and while I was dubious at first, I have to say it works brilliantly. This is certainly the Lion-O that I know and love and I didn’t already know that he was developed with the Masters Classics in mind, I probably wouldn’t have even noticed until I picked him up and played with him and felt a lot of the similarities. I think the buff proportions look great on him and his outfit is executed beautifully. The detail on the exposed mid-riff area maybe looks a little off. It’s a little too much like it was chiseled out of plastic, but it’s not something that really hurts the overall look of the figure for me. The detailing on the belt is great and the shade of blue they used for his vest and boots is perfect. The paint on my figure is very sharp.


In the cartoon, Lion-O used the Claw Shield as a sheath for the Sword of Omens when it was in its dagger form. To simulate that, you get the Claw Shield with the Sword of Omens hilt sculpted in it and the whole thing pegs onto his belt. Now, on the one hand, Bandai was able to give us a Claw Shield with a removable Sword of Omens on each of their Classics Lion-O’s. On the other hand, Matty’s version of the Shield looks so much better than what Bandai gave us. Here, we get actual sculpted fur, as well as painted knuckles and claws, whereas the Bandai version of this piece was just smooth gold plastic. I’m not saying that Matty couldn’t have still made it work with a removable sword, but I still prefer what we got here, based on the aesthetics alone.



I find that I’m still mulling over the head sculpt. It’s good, don’t get me wrong, but at the same time it feels a little off. There might be a wee too much Masters styling in there. I think it leans a bit toward being an interpretation of Lion-O than an attempt at recreating the animated character. I suppose you could argue the same thing about MOTUC He-Man, even the Filmation one, versus the figure. I think Bandai was on the right track with their larger Lion-O figure, but at the same time, the sculpt was way too soft. Here, you get much more defined features. In the end, I guess this is leaning toward more like what a realistic Lion-O might look like and I’m OK with that. Lion-O’s hair must be pretty tough to do in a 3D representation like an action figure, but I think they did a fine job with it.


The articulation is exactly what I’ve come to expect from the Masters Classics line and that has it’s good and bad points. The MOTUC articulation is great when compared to the vintage figures, but it’s feeling a little dated to me now. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, hinged at the knees, and have swivels at the hips. The ankles have both hinges and lateral rockers. There’s a swivel in the waist, an ab crunch hinge in the torso, and the neck is ball jointed. The points are all there, and the hinges in the wrists are a nice bonus, but the range of motion is stifled by the muscle sculpt. Bandai’s figures had mostly the same points, but a better range of motion. On the other hand, this figure feels a lot more solid and better built.



In addition to the Claw Shield that pegs to the belt, Lion-O comes with another one that he can wear simply by popping off his left hand and popping the Shield onto it. And while I nitpicked the belt version having the sword sculpted in as part of it, the wearable Shield can indeed hold the small version of the Sword of Omens that comes with the figure. This Claw has all the same great sculpting paint as the other one.


The small Sword of Omens is a nicely sculpted little piece with some great paintwork as well. The hilt is left matte silver while the blade itself is painted with metallic silver paint. The paint used for the closed Eye of Thundera is also sharp and clean.




And naturally, you get the Sword of Omens in all it’s… um, fully erect glory. This is a great little recreation of the majestic weapon, right down to the detail in the curled crossguard and a tiny Eye of Thundera painted every bit as neatly as the larger one on his belt buckle. Again, the hilt is left matte silver plastic while the blade is painted with a metallic shade to make it really pop. The plastic used here is a lot stouter than the stuff Bandai used for theirs, leading to a lot less warping and bending. Lion-O also comes with an extra left hand with a looser grip that makes it easier to hold the sword in both hands. But the big question is… can he be posed consulting the sword’s Sight Beyond Sight?


Yes, he can!




When Bandai’s Lion-O’s came out, I thought they were decent figures. The original, larger version was my favorite of the two and there’s still a lot I love about that release. I was interested to see if Matty’s version would replace him and after spending some time with this figure, I have to say that he has. Blending Thundercats with Masters Classics was an interesting experiment and it’s almost surprising to me how well it played out in the end. Lion-O is a great looking figure and I’m finding it pretty hard to put him down since he landed on my desk sometime last week. And yes, here’s where I throw in what a shame it is that a figure this good is part of a line that will yet again be cut short. Actually, at this point it’s not so much a shame as it is a cruel joke the universe seems to be playing on us poor Thundercats collectors.