KanColle: 41cm Twin Gun Mount for Nagato “Super Premium” Figure by SEGA

Welcome to another relaxing Anime Saturday Morning! Back in February, I took a look at SEGA’s Battleship Nagato “Super Premium” Prize Figure. I loved the figure, but lamented the fact that the seller screwed me out of her Gun Mount. Well, after some hunting I was able to find a Japanese seller with reasonable shipping and after a little wait, I finally have Nagato all kitted out. So, consider today the second part of that feature, and if you happened to miss it the first time, I recommend checking out the figure review before reading this review for what is essentially an add-on piece.

To clear up any confusion, most of the KanColle prize figures put out by Taito and SEGA are not fully outfitted with their weapons, and I certainly don’t mind that. It makes the armed ones all the sweeter. But, SEGA’s SPM Battleship Nagato was one of the rare occasions where they gave collectors the option to buy her armaments separately and that’s what we’re checking out today. The kit comes in a fully enclosed box very similar to Nagato’s. Even with the slight amount of English copy on the box, they still do a good job of indicating what’s in the box. It’s also worth mentioning that this kit is designed so that you can display it on its own, without the figure, or perhaps beside Nagato. I’m not sure why anybody would want to do that, but I’ll start there anyway.

There’s a fair amount of assembly required here, but the rig goes together very smoothly and when you’re all done you have a pretty cool display piece that rests on its own stand. I like the fact that the stand doesn’t feel like an afterthought. Even though, I will likely never use this stand again, it’s clear that SEGA put some work into it, sculpting it in a smoked, semi-transparent plastic and giving it a gantry style look. There’s also a name plate (in Japanese of course!) and the entire gun mount tabs right into the stand for easy removal.

The guns are overall pretty clean, with only a slight degree of weathering here and there. There’s also some useful articulation, with each of the eight gun barrels are independently hinged and the all four turrets able to swivel. And that brings us to the moment of truth…

Awww, YEAH! The rig tabs right into Nagato’s back and holds in place very well. It also looks amazing on her. Sure, I can get this same look with my Nagato Figma (a figure I still need to review here one day), but this version is so much bigger and awe inspiring. The guns perfectly compliment her pose as she looks like she’s about to unload with all her weapons. There’s even a spot on Nagato’s stand if you want to transfer the little name plate.

This add on kit ran me $30 shipped, which was a pretty good deal considering I had to get it shipped from Japan. When you combine it with the cost of the figure, that brings the whole piece to about $70. It’s a lot to pay for a prize figure, but then this is no ordinary prize figure. She’s fully scaled and so far beyond what I tend to think of when I think of prize figures. SEGA absolutely outdid themselves with this one and she is most definitely the showpiece of my Kancolle collection. The only shame here is that SEGA didn’t do fellow Battleship, Mutsu in the same scale and style.

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Cover Girls of the DC Universe: Starfire by DC Collectibles

The current incarnation of Cover Girls of the DC Universe is running out of time. There are only three more statues due to release before it reboots in favor of a new artist. Conversely, there are only three previously released Cover Girls that I need in order to get all caught up, and I’m opening one of those today. I hope you like Tamaranean T&A, because it’s time to check out the lovely Princess Koriand’r!

I’ve showcased enough of these statues by now that I have precious little left to say about the packaging. Starfire comes in a fully enclosed box and sandwiched between two styrofoam trays. It’s not the snazziest presentation out there, but it’s collector friendly, and I’ve yet to receive one of these pieces damaged, so obviously the packing is doing its job. Starfire requires no assembly. She’s already attached to her base and ready to go.

And WOW! Starfire hovers in mid-flight supported by the toe of her right boot, which dips into the fiery trail left behind by her hair. There are so many things I love about the composition of this piece. The graceful flow of her body, tapering off to her outstretched right hand is absolute poetry and the way her hair arcs alongside her is stunning. It’s not only a great comic statue, but a wonderful study of the female form. The balance (both literal and figurative) of the statue is also fantastic, as Starfire looks like she’s defying gravity. Cover Girls is so often about museum-style posing, but every now and then DCC lets loose and delivers a release like this one. It’s definitely one of the most kinetic statues in the line, and yet she still feels right at home when displayed among her fellow Cover Girls.

The costume is lifted directly from her appearances in Red Hood and the Outlaws, although purple and skimpy has almost always been the order of the day for Koriand’r, so this New 52 look isn’t a huge departure from her more classic appearances. Granted, she covered up a bit more once she got her own book by Amanda Connor, but that’s another statue for another day. It’s perhaps worth noting that there isn’t a lot of sculpted muscle definition here. I only tend to notice it around her abs area where it’s totally smooth. Not a problem for me, but I thought it was an interesting choice on the part of the sculptor and I feel it gives her a slightly more animated appearance.

From the neck down, the paint on this piece is quite good, both in terms of quality and application. The metallic purple used for her costume is right on the money and is nicely complimented by the silver borders. Her distinctive orange skin is just the right shade as well as being smooth, warm, and even. There are a few areas on mine where the paint lines don’t quite conform to the sculpted lines, but I really had to scrutinize her carefully to notice them. Needless to say whatever tiny flubs are here, don’t bother me at all.

And as long as we’re doing paint checks… nothing wrong back here!

I like the portrait a lot, but I think there are just a few areas for improvement here. Normally, I wouldn’t bother mentioning them, but since all I’m doing is gushing over this piece, I’ll play devil’s advocate for a bit. The first is just my personal preference that I would have liked to see a little smirk or smile on her face. As it is, it’s a very neutral expression, and that’s fine. There’s so much great stuff going on here, that I’m not immediately drawn to her expression anyway. Secondly concerns the paint application, which is a tad off on the hairline and the lips, both of which are only really an issue if I get in super close and start to scrutinize it. Still, it’s not bad and I’ve seen far worse paint applications on far more expensive “premium” statues.

The base manages to maintain the uniform oval generic theme of this line, while still going above and beyond. For most of the Cover Girls, the bases are just something for the figures to stand on, but here, it’s an integral part of the presentation, as her hair flows down and transitions into the fire effect. It’s beautifully done and genuinely hard to tell where the cold-cast porcelain ends and the translucent plastic begins. The effect is quite similar to what we saw with Bleez’s fire base and Mera’s water base. It’s an effect that could easily make or break the statue, but here it succeeds brilliantly. As always, the limitation is hand numbered on the bottom of the base. Mine is 2,223 of 5,200.

Starfire’s MSRP is right in line with the other Cover Girls at around $100. It’s certainly a fair price for what you’re getting, but I try to do a little bargain hunting when it comes to this line, and was able to pick her up for just under $70. Between the elaborate marrying of hair and base, the vibrant combination of colors, and just the overall beauty of her form, I think this is one piece that really sticks out, even in a display case full of Cover Girls releases. It’s also a piece that makes for a great stand-alone representation of Koriand’r for someone who isn’t collecting the line. And considering that Kotobukiya’s Bishoujo Starfire is now selling for well over $100, this one is a damn good value too.

Transformers Titans Return: Legends Class Kickback by Hasbro

Hooray, it’s the return of Transformers Thursday! And anyone who says, “Oh, but it’s only a Legends Class figure,” watch out because I’m gonna slap your face! I love the Legends Class figures! They’re great fun and I can stuff them in my pocket and take them to work and have robot battles on my desk. I love them even more lately because I have some ginormous robots for them to interact with! And today’s little change-o-bot is even more special, because Kickback finally completes the trio of Legends Class Insecticons, which Hasbro started way back in 2014 with the release of Skrapnel. Bombshell followed in 2015, and here we are in 2017 with Kickback.

Yup, these little fellas span three different lines: Generations, Combiner Wars, and now Titans Return. If I were a mint-on-card collector, this shit would irritate me to no end. Of course, there’s something else about this figure that does that, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself. Let’s bust him open and start with his insect mode!

Is he a locust, a grasshopper, or a cricket? Don’t look at me, I ain’t no bug scientist! I do, however, hold an honorary degree in toy robot bug appreciationology, and as such I give this alt mode my stamp of supreme approval. In fact, if these wings were painted silver, this Kickback would be a perfect update to the original G1 toy’s bug mode. The black and purple plastic looks fantastic (although he does sport a lot more purple than his G1 namesake) and the additional silver and yellow accents consist of more paint operations than some of the bigger bots get.

And.. OMG, THAT TRANSLUCENT YELLOW CHEST PANEL, I LOVE IT SO MUCH! Also… OMG, THAT TRANSLUCENT YELLOW CHEST PANEL, I HATE IT SO MUCH!!! Yeah, the chest panel really elevates the whole figure tremendously. Unfortunately, it also poops all over the painted chest panels on the other two Legends Insecticons, and it’s that lack of consistency that really… dare I say it? It bugs me! Sure, the gold and yellow chests never matched between Bomshell and Skrapnel anyway, but they were at least somewhat close. Kickback busts the whole deal wide open. The reasoning here might have been to accommodate a Titan Master, but by furthering the inconsistency between the three decos, it it’s also very irritating.

Transforming Kickback feels slightly more involved than it need be, but the results are overall good. In fact, my only real complaint here is the way the wings sit behind the shoulders, rather than be integrated into them. On the flip-side, it does give you the option of sweeping them down instead of up. Us G1 old-timers will likely stick with the up position, but I can see just as many younger fans happy to point them down and out of the way. Other than that, I really am very pleased with this figure. It may not be as clean as the original toy’s robot mode, but I think it skirts that fine line between old and new quite well and the passel of ball joints make him lots of fun to play with.

Rating Kickback on his own, I give him very high marks, and I’m a bit surprised by that, because I’ve heard a lot of people dumping on him. On the other hand, put him with the other Insecticons and the mismatched gold, yellow, and translucent yellow on the decos bothers me more than I wish it did. Because of the designs of Bombshell and Skrapnel, there’s no way to reverse engineer them with the matching translucent yellow parts they deserve. So, if Hasbro or Takara ever does decide to release these three in a more uniform deco, the best I can hope for is a repaint of Kickback’s chest to yellow, and that would be a shame. It would be basically reducing the better figure of the three to match the lesser two.

And so, finally getting Kickback into my collection has been rather bitter-sweet. Yes, it gives me a sense of closure and I think he’s a very good figure, but as soon as this little trio is complete, I find myself longing for another attempt. I feel like these three should have been designed and issued a lot closer together. And considering how much I adore the Insecticons, I find myself tempted to come out of retirement from buying third-party figures, and hunt down one of those sets of unofficial bug-bots.

Kenner Aliens: Gorilla Alien by NECA

Yes, Gorilla Alien, my friends. What more of an introduction do you need to make you want to venture forward with today’s review? NECA went all the way back to Kenner’s Aliens figures from the 90’s and worked their magic with some of those wacky designs to bring us this spectacular wave. If you want the full preamble, I’ll refer you back to my look at the Mantis Alien from last month. On the other hand, if you’re like me and can’t wait to have a look at this bad boy, then let’s get started…

Oh, shit. I got a little ahead of myself and opened this guy up before taking the packaged shot. Well, can you blame me? I tried to put him back on his tray, but I have no idea how they had this huge figure folded up to fit in there. At least you can still enjoy that rad artwork and there’s still some lovely plastic fumes left for me to snort. Check out how they re-worked the NECA logo to match the old Kenner logo on the bottom right hand corner. Cool!

And just check this fellow out! Kenner’s line was all about coming up with different cross-species of Xenomorphs and the name of this guy says it all. Now, unlike the Mantis Alien, the host animal on which this Xenomorph is based isn’t quite as apparent. Nope, nothing really about this guy screams Gorilla to me, but that’s OK. He’s still a bigger, beefier Xeno, and he’s got plenty of unique design elements. Just check out those pronounced tubular nodes coming off of his forearms as well as a triple-spiked tail. Also, check out all the beautiful work they put into his claws! While the snazzy translucent green plastic of Mantis makes that figure stand out a little more, there’s no denying that this one is just as much a work of art.

Yup, no matter how many of NECA’s Xenos I open, I never tire of taking in all that incredible detail that they sculpt into these bodies. Every little element of HR Giger’s infamous bio-tech design comes alive in this plastic and all of it is picked out by sumptuous blue paint wash, which invokes the crazy colors of the original toy and comic, while still managing to stay grounded in the realism of NECA’s re-imagining. Damn, I just adore the coloring on this Xeno! In addition to the black and blue deco, you get some silver highlights here and there.

And of all that isn’t enough to make you Xeno-Fans cream your jeans, just check out the head on this sexy beast! Yes, I called him sexy, because look at it! The contours are beautiful and there’s a wonderful contrast between the smooth dome and the intricate bits of the lower head and jaw. I really dig how the head sweeps up at the end and crowns with four prongs, giving him a powerful, regal look. Naturally, the mouth opens up and you can pull out the secondary set of jaws within. All this is great stuff, but rather than rest on their laurels, NECA included a second dome, offering another display option. But before I swap them, let’s take this one off and see what’s going on under the hood.

Nightmare fuel! Removing the stock dome reveals a very ape-like skull with tubes protruding from its empty eye sockets. The skull stretches back the full length of the head and it is magnificently painted. By the way, did you know that NECA just released a life-size foam Xenomorph skull? It’s huge and almost $300, and I hate the fact that I would have nowhere to display it if I bought it. Anyway… the alternate dome is a clear, somewhat smokey plastic.

Popping it on gives you a nice homage to the Big Chap from the original Alien film. It’s a nice tease, as you can just barely make out the details inside. I should point out that while I stuck with the black dome for most of the pictures, that shouldn’t be taken as any indication that its my favorite of the two. Truth be told, I haven’t decided which one to display the figure with yet, and in the end I’ll probably just buy a second so I don’t have to decide.

The articulation here is everything I’ve come to expect out of my NECA Xenos. You get rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, and ankles. The legs are double jointed, there are swivels in the biceps and at the hips. There’s a ball joint in the chest and another in the neck. The tail is made of the usual bendy plastic, presumably with a wire in it so that it can hold whatever position you put it in. He’s a pretty well balanced figure and I was able to get him to hold a lot of neat poses, but you can always rely on using the tail to prop him up if you have to.

In case you’re still not convinced that you need this figure, NECA also threw in a facehugger painted to match this guy and a mini comic book showcasing this beast in action on the infested jungle planet of Zeevan.

I feel as if the Gorilla Alien is one of those cases where I could have just posted a bunch of pictures followed by the command, “BUY IT!” While I love gassing on about NECA’s beautiful Xenos, the truth is that with how beautiful this figure is, he practically reviews himself. Keep in mind, I was barely aware of Kenner’s Aliens toys back in the 90s, so nothing about my love for this figure is being driven by nostalgia. It’s all about the gorgeous workmanship that NECA put into him. And at about the price of one of Hasbro’s 6-inch Black Series figures, you’re getting a lot more craftsmanship for your toy buying dollars.

Marvel Legends (Space Venom Wave): Spider-Woman (Ashley Barton) by Hasbro

If you’re a casual comic fan and collector of Marvel Legends, then sorting out the who’s who with some of these Spider-Man themed figures is likely to bring on some migraines of epic spidey-sense proportions. A lot of this confusion can be blamed on Spider-Verse, which threw together a wide range of characters from a wide range of universes. I found it to be a great read and I’m really stoked that we’re getting our share of figures from the fallout. Enter Ashley Barton. Bad-ass descendant of Peter Parker’s daughter and Clint Barton from one of them other universes, and who’s figure I happen to be opening today!

Ashley shares her slot with Silk, so her name doesn’t appear on the front of the package, instead it just says “Web-Slinging Heroines.” In fact, her name doesn’t really appear on the back either, so this figure is aimed at people who are up on their funny books. Everyone else is just going to be scratching their heads. And as expected, Hasbro opted to not go with printing “Spider-Bitch” on the package, although seeing that in the toy aisles would have been a hoot and certainly would have brought a whole herd of outraged Florida moms out from their dens. Oh yeah, see all that empty space in the bubble above the BAF part? That would have been a perfect place for some extra hands, but let me come back to that point, because I’m getting ahead of myself.

I really dig this character design and I think Hasbro did a fine job translating it to action figure form. Granted, this is achieved mostly through paint, and I would have liked to see some sculpting to separate the bare shoulders and biceps from the sleeves, but what we got here still works well enough. The darker tones of red and blue really suit the character and I’ll confess to being a little envious of where the spider emblem has parked itself. There are a few smudges on my figure, but overall the paint is pretty sharp, and that’s impressive seeing as how intricate the web pattern is. Hell, even the pins in the knee joints are painted properly, something that we can’t always take for granted with these figures.

And speaking of details… I’d know that Barton family ass anywhere. Spectacular!

The head sculpt is something else that I really dig about this figure. They captured Ashley’s look perfectly, right down to the multiple earrings. Here we do get some sculpted lines separating where the mask ends and her skin begins. I love the way the sculpted hair covers over part of the mask. I’d definitely rank this portrait pretty high on the list of greats.

The articulation here is pretty standard stuff for the female Legends bucks, which means its serviceable, but not exceptional. You get rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. There are swivels in the thighs, but none in the biceps or lower legs. The knees are ball jointed, and the ankles have both hinges and lateral rockers. There’s no swivel in the waist, and just a ball joint under the chest. The neck has the usual ball joint and hinge combo. This buck seems a little lacking under normal circumstances, but when its a member of the Spider-Family, it just doesn’t feel agile enough. I can’t even get her leg up for those really high kicks.

And then there are the hands. Hasbro got me used to expecting a passel of extra hands with my Spidey figures. Ashley here has no extras, just the one fist and one accessory-holding hand with no accessory to put in it. If they weren’t going to give her multiple hand options, I’m not sure these were really the way to go here. It just seems oddly limiting.

It may sound like I’ve had more than my usual share of complaints here, but truth be told I like this figure. She looks great on the shelf and lately I’m all about picking up the figures based on characters that are new to me. It’s all about the Universe building, right? Or in this case, the Spider-Verse building. I would have liked to see Hasbro retire this female buck by now in favor of some double-hinged elbows and bicep cuts, but at this point, I don’t think its going to happen any time soon. And when a figure looks this good, I guess I’m OK with that.

Sword Art Online: Asuna Loading Figure by Taito

It’s Anime Saturday again! I’ve come here to open anime figures and drink coffee, and I’m all out of coffee. Nah, not really. I just put on a fresh pot. And just to remind you that these Saturdays aren’t always about adding to my beloved KanColle collection, I thought I’d check out something new from Sword Art Online. I’ve looked at plenty of Asuna figures, including both Figmas and prize figures, but this one is another cool little piece from Taito and it features her dialing into the game and downloading her outfit.

The packaging holds no surprises, as we’ve seen this sort of thing before. It’s a fully enclosed box with perforations on the sides for handles. It’s colorful, it’s collector friendly, and the figure inside comes wrapped in plastic. Unwrap her, plug her foot into her base and she’s all set to go!

Here we see Asuna, accessing the interface for the game and I presume she’s loading her avatar’s Knights of Blood outfit from the top down, because the lower part of her jacket is clear, as if its in the process of downloading, and she’s barefoot, so I presume her boots are next to materialize. This is a clever idea for a variant and I think the way they did it turned out splendidly. From the skirt up, her outfit is fully realized, and I’ve made it no secret that this is my favorite look for Asuna.

The paint on this piece is very well done, particularly all the red trim on the white costume, with just a little bit of yellow. It’s a beautiful deco. If I had one minor complaint it would be that some of the plastic on her coat looks a little waxier than usual, but it’s nothing that I’m really all that upset about and it probably isn’t even worth my mentioning it.

I like the portrait, although I’m not one hundred percent sure what they were going for here. She looks surprised. Maybe Kirito walked in on her changing? Whatever the case, it’s cute and it’s definitely Asuna. As always, her eyes are beautifully printed, and I really dig the dynamic flow of her hair.

The game interface is pretty cool too. It’s basically just a slab of translucent plastic with a little paintwork to suggest she’s accessing her character screen. Considering that this is a budget prize figure, I think they pulled off the effect quite well.

The base is as simple as you can get. It’s just a clear plastic disc with a raised incline to plug her left foot into. Part of me wishes that Taito would just stick with one kind of base for each series of figures. As it is we get all different shapes and sizes, some clear and some opaque, some with logos, some without. Oh well, it’s too late for that now.

Let’s face it, every figure company under the sun has had their crack at Asuna. I could probably fill a shelf just on the releases of her in her Blood Knight outfit alone. So it’s nice to know that some companies are trying for some that are unusual, like her Aincrad Fencer outfit and this Loading version. The figure is excellent, and at this point I expect nothing less from Taito’s work. And at a ridiculously low price $16 shipped, I couldn’t be happier with her on my shelf.

Zenescope’s Grimm Fairy Tales: Mercy Dante Sixth-Scale Figure by Phicen Ltd

I’m bumping DC Friday this week to give some loving to my favorite comic book publisher that isn’t Marvel or DC… Zenescope! It’s easy to get spoiled with the never ending flood of comic based toys and collectibles pouring from the big boys, but it can be slim pickings when I want a nice piece of merch from Zenescope’s books. That’s changed a bit over the last year or so when Zenescope teamed up with Executive Replicas and Phicen Ltd to do high quality collector grade sixth-scale figures of some of their lovely ladies from Grimm Fairy Tales. If you’re not familiar with the comic, I’ll direct you back to my brief look at the GFT Omnibus way back when I used to do my Sunday Funday posts.

As for Phicen… well, you all know Phicen Ltd, right? They make those curvaceous highly pose-able action figures with realistic skin that basically look like sixth-scale sex dolls! Most of Phicen’s releases consist of generic sexy female figure bodies ripe for customization, but they do also produce some original concept fantasy and sci-fi figures. That’s all well and good, but it was their partnership with Zenescope that made me take the plunge and finally buy some of their figures. And if you’re at all familiar with the often over-sexed art of Zenescope’s titles, then I think you’ll agree that this is a match made in heaven.

The first one I pulled the trigger on was Mercy Dante, a really cool and undoubtedly bad-ass character, who was first introduced as another victim-of-the-month in the pages of Grimm Fairy Tales. When she was young, an assassin murdered her parents in front of her and she was forced to raise her orphaned sister, Grace. Unfortunately, Grace wasn’t able to cope with her lot in life and she committed suicide, leaving a bitter Mercy devoting her life to revenge. She ultimately tracked down the assassin, kidnapped him and his young daughter, and then shot the daughter in the head right in front of her. It’s a sobering and hardcore page that stands out even in Zenescope’s delectable sea of T&A fanservice. Sela Mathers, who we’ll over-simplify by calling her the good witch of GFTs, gave Mercy a second chance to change what she had done and Mercy took it by shooting herself in the head instead of executing the little girl! But that wasn’t the end of Mercy’s story, because even in death she got her own excellent mind-bending spin-off in the pages of Grimm Fairy Tales: Inferno. So, enough with the backstory, let’s get to the figure!

Mercy comes in a cardboard mailer box very similar to what Hot Toys uses. It’s got her name printed on the front along with some other details, but otherwise its just a utilitarian carton to keep the package inside safe. As this is my first Phicen figure, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the packaging, but what I got feels really premium…

It’s sort of like a shoebox, only instead of a regular lid, it has a wrap around front, which is secured to the sides with magnets. The back panel features the same comic art that graced the Collected TPB edition of GFT: Inferno. All in all presentation here is much better than what I was expecting and it easily rivals if not outshines some of the glorified window boxes that Hot Toys has been doing these days. Inside the box, Mercy comes nestled in a foam tray, with her head off to the side and her accessories flanking her. Under her, there’s another foam tray with her trench coat and the parts for her stand. Naturally, everything is collector friendly and popping the head onto the figure is super easy.

With her noggin popped on, Mercy is looking mighty fine. Phicen has been producing their seamless female bodies for years now, all the while tweaking them and making improvements, and Mercy here represents the most recent evolution. You get a fully articulated stainless steel skeleton wrapped in a silicone skin, which both looks and feels eerily realistic. The only visible jointing on this figure is in the wrists and neck and even there it just consists of a seam line. And yes, the lack of visible jointing would hold true even if you stripped her down to her booted feet. In the past, we’ve seen something close from Hot Toys, for example their Ada Wong from Resident Evil 5, but even that figure has exposed jointing in the shoulders and a lot more hiding under her clothes.

Mercy comes out of the box wearing her skimpy red sports bra, tight leather pants, and high-heeled black boots, all of which fit the figure beautifully. This is a good look for her, because it really showcases the seamless body, at least from the waist up. Granted, there isn’t a whole lot of sophistication and detail in the outfit, but the stitching is neat, and the only hiccup on the whole ensemble is the flap above her butt where the waist is secured. You can see a little empty space inside the boots where her legs connect to the boot feet, but it still looks fine. The pants are also very pliable and don’t offer any resistance when posing the figure.

Speaking of posing, Mercy is designed to mimic the flexibility of the human body almost perfectly, making her tons of fun to play with. She’s also a remarkably well balanced figure, which can stand on her own pretty well, even in those high heels. I only had to bring out the stand for some of the action shots. And while the movement of the joints in this figure is smooth as silk, you can see that they can hold their position quite well, even when the figure is standing on one foot. I’m not going to run down the points of articulation here, because it’s impossible to see exactly what’s going on in there by just handling the figure. However, if you want to get a better idea of what’s under the hood, so to speak, check out this great review of Phicen’s 5.1 body and scroll down a bit to see the skeleton in all its glory.

Seeing as how the Phicen body is the Cadillac of Sixth-Scale female action figures, the only thing about this figure that gave me pause was how good the likeness turned out. But I needn’t have worried. Granted, we’re talking comic book likeness here, but I’m totally pleased with the resemblance to the artwork. The paint for the eyes and lips is particularly nice, and the skin tone on the head matches the body quite well. She comes close to catching that lifelike look I’m used to seeing in Hot Toys’ efforts, and I think this is one of the best face sculpts that Phicen has put out to date. The hair is rooted, which was a bold move, considering Mercy’s trademark pixie cut. Phicen went with using a lot of product in the hair so it stays fairly flat. Keep in mind, I haven’t messed with the hair at all, so there’s some room for improvement. This is simply how she looks right out of the box.

Mercy includes three sets of hands. You get a pair of gun holding hands, relaxed hands, and knife holding hands. All of these are super easy to swap, thanks to the exposed nubs from the steel skeleton underneath. Unlike Hot Toys and Sideshow, you don’t ever have to worry about snapping the wrist posts, or having them come off in the hand, forcing you to dig them out.

Her guns can be worn on the included shoulder rig. The rig is very easy to get on, but the holsters themselves were backwards, so I had to unbuckle the rig, slide the holsters out and put them back on the right way. This seems to be an error on more than a few of these figures, but not a critical one. It just causes a little bit of work to fix it. The rig fits the figure pretty well, although technically, the guns on a dual rig like this should hang horizontal for easy access.

As for the guns themselves, Mercy’s twin automatic pistols feature some pretty detailed sculpts and have matte gray finishes. The slide action works and you can remove the magazines to reveal a tiny painted round at the top. This is pretty standard stuff for weaponry in this scale, and while these are fine on their own, they come off as a little bit lacking when compared to what else is out there. The slides are rather loose and have a tendency to slide when handing them. I’ve even had the slides stay in the holsters on occasion when I pulled the guns out. These are perfectly serviceable accessories, they’re just nowhere near the quality of the firearms that Hot Toys and Sideshow are producing with their figures. They’ll be easy to upgrade, as there is no shortage of sixth-scale weapons out there, but I’m not sure I’m bothered enough by them to spend the extra money.

The gun holding hands work OK, but because the fingers are soft and rubbery, the grip on the pistols isn’t as tight as it could be. It hasn’t posed any problems with her holding them, but I tend to like the firmer and more solid grips that the Hot Toys and Sideshow figures have on their accessories.

Mercy also comes with a combat knife and sheath. The knife-holding hands work really well, as it’s a very tightly molded grip. On the downside, I really don’t know where the sheath is supposed to go, but you can always just thrust the knife into her boot as a back-up plan. And that brings us to the last accessory in the box…

The trench coat! Even though it’s an integral piece of her wardrobe, I saved it for last, as it seems a shame to cover up that beautiful body. Nonetheless, this is probably how I’ll be displaying her most of the time. The material matches her “leather” pants perfectly and it really rounds out her signature look. It also keeps the splattered blood and brains off of her while she’s capping demons throughout the Nine Rings of Hell.

Getting the coat on can be a little challenging, since the realistic skin on the arms tends to grab at the material. The easy solution is applying a little bit of baby powder to her skin, STOP LAUGHING AT ME, so the sleeves just slide right on. Some third-party outfits sets have a habit of staining the silicone skin on Phicen figures, especially when dealing with black or darker colors. For the most part, the outfits Phicen includes don’t usually present a problem. Here’s hoping that will be the case with the jacket. Either way, the trench coat is professionally tailored and fits the figure very well, even with the shoulder rig on, which remains nicely concealed inside the coat. There’s even a wire at the bottom so you can pose it all billowed out.

The provided stand is both a strange and interesting piece. It’s a simple black base with four chunky pegs, which are designed to either take the provided post or plug right into the holes on the bottom of Mercy’s boots. Weird, right? Foot pegs are not something I tend to associate with sixth-scale figures. The biggest issue I have with the stand is the post. You get two attachments for the post, one is a standard crotch cradle and the other is a wire, which hugs the waist like a typical Kaiser doll stand. There’s no way I’d use the waist grip on the skin, as its almost guaranteed to mark it. The crotch cradle would be acceptable, but the post is really tall, so even though you can adjust the attachments to go as low as you need, the post is always going to be sticking up really high and doesn’t really work well with Mercy’s trench coat. Oddly enough, the foot pegs are clearly the way to go here.

Mercy originally retailed for $145, which is a mighty reasonable price for a sixth-scale figure these days, not to mention for the quality that you’re getting here. In a sense, I don’t deserve to have this figure, at least not for the regular retail price I got her for, because I blew the pre-order on her… both times! The initial pre-orders at all the usual places sold out very quickly, but when Phicen did another run, I must have missed the memo. By the time I found out the second run was up for pre-order at BBTS, it sold out again. In the end, I was lucky enough to pick her up from what seemed to be the only US-based Ebay seller that wasn’t price gouging her over the $200 mark. Needless to say I’m happy to have her in my collection. The Phicen body is quite a wonder of action figure craftsmanship, and it’s great to be getting high quality figures based off of Zenescope characters. There’s been some speculation as to whether this partnership is still going strong and it’d be a shame if they stopped producing these before releasing Sela and Belinda. In the meantime, I’ll circle back to Phicen in a couple of weeks to take a look at their Zenescope Robyn Hood figure.

Masters of the Universe Classics: Horde Wraith by Mattel

So, two things: First, there’s obviously no Transformers Thursday this week. Next week is looking good, though. Second, I’m crazy pressed for time today, so my apologies if today feels a little abbreviated. Today, I’m going back to the waning days of Matty Collector, with what I’m pretty sure was the last MOTUC figure they released: The Horde Wraith! With so many delays toward the end, I just got a big box of figures all at once, so it’s hard for me to tell what order they were intended. Granted, I still have plenty of older figures and other goodies from Masters Classics to open, but after sitting around since last year, I thought it was time to open this guy up. So let’s do it!

I’m fairly well versed on my Horde lore, but I actually have no memory of this fellow at all. My sources tell me he’s from the 200x reboot and I think it’s long past time I pulled out my DVD’s and gave that series a re-watch, because so much of it has slipped my mind. Here’s one time when I really miss the bios that used to be on the backs of the cards, but his tag-line on the front, “Sorcerer for The Evil Horde,” is all I need (I’d like to believe it says that on his business cards). Besides, do I really need an official backstory to enjoy a figure like this? No, sir. I do not.

Especially when the figure looks like this guy! The Horde Wraith could easily be Shadow Weaver’s more evil-er granddaddy. He’s a foreboding, cloaked slab of wickedness that floats around thanks to a translucent stand provided in the package. His gray robes don’t sport a lot of sculpted detail, and that gives him something of an animated feel. They do, however have some really nice ragged edges on the bottom and on the sleeves. He also has some arm bands with sculpted sickle-like patterns, cool wrist bracers with diamonds, and blue claw-like hands, which makes me think that Horde Wraith may be an evil Trollan on steroids. Dammit, that should have been the tag-line on the package, “Evil Trollan on Steroids.” Damn, my lack of customizing skills!

The true star of this outfit is the black cape and shoulder piece. The front features a sash that drops down with a sculpted Horde emblem at the top. The shoulders themselves are textured and the whole ensemble has a red border. The lapse in QC that has touched some of these final figures rears its ugly head with a few tiny paint flubs, but nothing too bad. On the back, a tattered cape cascades down, almost to the end of his robes.

The portrait, for lack of a better term, is just a hood with a dark, featureless face buried in it and two yellow eyes peering out. Here the paint work is pretty spot on, right down to the subtle red outline around those eyes. The hood is sculpted as part of the head.

The articulation here is more limited than usual, only because Horde Wraith does not have any legs. Everything else is close to what we normally get in our MOTUC figures. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulder and elbows, and swivels in the wrists and biceps. There’s a swivel in the waist and an ab crunch hinge in the chest. The neck is ball jointed. The stand works really well to support him, but it gave me a hell of a time getting it in there. I had to use so much force, I was afraid I would snap it. I don’t believe that I will risk pulling it out again.

In addition to the stand, Horde Wraith comes with a staff with what looks like a Horde crossbow stuck on the end. I’m not sure whether its intended to be functional or not, but maybe he can shoot some kind of magic missiles from that baby. The staff is a very nice sculpt, but it’s very thin and prone to warping. Also, he has a hell of a time holding it properly. It looks like the cut-outs in the small axe blade are meant to loop his fingers through. That helps a bit, but it doesn’t take much to knock it out of his hands.

The Horde Wraith is a great design and I think he’s an excellent way to end the MOTUC line. I don’t know if a lot of collectors were jonesing after this dude, but if so I’m hoping he lived up to their expectations. As for me? I absolutely love this figure, even though I know nothing about the character. Hell, I don’t even know if he is a single character or if The Horde has a whole army of these spooky spell-slingers. I do know that he’s exactly the sort of thing that I would have doodled on my Trapper Keeper back in school, while dreaming up AD&D campaigns during math class, and that he’s very welcome in my Evil Horde display.

Star Wars Black Series (Knights of the Old Republic): Darth Revan by Hasbro

Ah, Knights of the Old Republic! It was a pivotal experience in my long history of gaming. I don’t think I can properly quantify how many hours I put into it and I loved every second of every play-through. In fact, I remember my knee-jerk reaction to playing Mass Effect for the first time was that it was just KotoR with all the Star Wars elements boiled away. Back in 2003, I would have spent all my disposable income on KotoR toys. If only Hasbro had pushed the marketing of this game like they did with Shadows of the Empire. I wanted a dedicated line. I wanted figures of all the characters, I wanted the Ebon Hawk scaled for the figures. I wanted an electronic HK-47 that I could carry around and complain about people to. And I got nothing… NOTHING!!! Well… almost nothing.

If i recall correctly, we owe this 6-inch Black Series release to a fan poll Now, in fairness we did get a few 3 3/4-inch figures from KotoR scattered about over the years and we even got Revan in the 30th Anniversary Collection line. But that was like five years too late and at a time when I was clearing out most of my Star Wars collection because one day I woke up and gazed in horror at all the Prequel crap that I bought. When I think about it, I should be a lot more excited to have this figure in hand than I am, but I’ll swing back to the reasons for that at the end.

Revan’s design always felt just a little too derivative of Vader to me. Granted, the mask was necessary due to complications of his true identity, but the black cape and robes struck me as a wee bit lazy. We need a new villain, just put a mask and black robes on him. So, why do I give Kylo Ren a pass? Because imitating Vader was the whole motivation of that character. Now, with all that having been said, I still think Revan is a cool looking character and this figure does a nice job with the design. The sculpted gold pieces of his armor and that giant ring in the center of his gut contrast nicely with the use of the soft goods. And in the end, I think it’s the mix of sculpted plastic cloth and real cloth that represents this figures greatest strengths and weaknesses.

For starters, the cape looks fantastic. It’s very thin and light material that rests naturally on the figure and works well with the tattered and frayed edges. The use of cloth on the inner robes looks fine too, and I have no problem with the use of the sculpted plastic cloth over it. Maybe the red sash would have looked good as cloth, but I won’t quibble over it. Also, the sculpted cloth on the sleeves is a no brainer. Nope, from the neck down, I’ve got only love for this guy and the decisions Hasbro made when making him.

Above the neck, however, is a different story. My main gripe is with the decision to use a sculpted plastic hood and having it molded as part of the shoulders. It looks fine, but it really hurts the figure’s pose-ability. Yes, his head will turn in there, but it looks odd when turned too far to the left or right because the hood is blocking so much of his face. I think a cloth hood would have looked great on him and it could have been pulled out of the way to accommodate the head turning. But if Hasbro was dead set on going plastic, they should have made the hood a separate piece that could turn with the head. Apart from that, I think the helmet looks great. The mix of red and silver paint really makes the figure pop and the weathering, well it’s a little heavy handed, but it’s not bad. The rest of the articulation is standard stuff for the Black Series, at least on paper, but in practice, Revan just isn’t as fun to play with as he could have been.

Darth Revan comes with his two lightsabers, and I’ve got to be honest, as much as I played this game, I didn’t even remember him having two until I went back and looked at some of the art from the game. The designs on these hilts are really cool, particularly the one with the purple blade. And yes, both blades can be removed easily by simply un-pegging them. Sadly, there’s nowhere on his person that you can hang the hilts.

Even with my issues over the hood, I like this figure a lot and I’m happy to have him, even if probably doesn’t sound like it from this review. The problem is that getting Revan is dredging up all the same disappointment I had long ago when we didn’t get a dedicated KotoR line. Don’t get me wrong, with entire forests of printed Star Wars canon being wiped away with the stroke of a Mickey Mouse pen, I’m happy to see that KotoR is being acknowledged and therefore is presumably still canon. But the proper way to do this would have been an entire wave. Six figures… Revan, Malak, Bastila, Mission, HK-47, and whoever the hell you want for the last slot. I’d take T3-M4, just because I dig that design, but I suppose you could throw Carth or Zaalbar in there instead. I mean, if Hasbro can stack their waves of Legends with Comic Book designs, surely they could spit out a wave of KotoR figures. Now would have been the perfect time too, because Hasbro is drumming up support for The Last Jedi and needs peg fillers. Man, just thinking about that assortment of figures is killing me.

Marvel Legends (Space Venom Wave): Miles Morales Spider-Man by Hasbro

Alrighty folks, after a brief detour to Bishoujo Town last week, Marvel Monday is back to Legends and it’s time to kick off a brand new Wave! Well, a brand new, um… old wave. It’s the Space Knight Venom Wave and these figures can only be considered new because I haven’t opened them yet. In case you ever wondered, nine times out of ten I do actually wait to open figures until I’m ready to review them. As you can imagine, there’s quite a stack of unopened Legends boxes in the corner, not to mention a bunch of other things. I am soooooo far behind! Anywho, I’m kicking off this wave with Miles Morales, because I was particularly excited to get this figure, and because he’s long overdue.

I’ve got nothing new to say about the packaging, other then that Hasbro could have wrapped this figure in an old newspaper and I still would have forked over the cash for him. This is yet another Spider-Man themed wave, and I hope you’re not tired of them, because we’ve already had another one hit the pegs since and there’s no end in sight! On the subject of Miles Morales, it’s staggering to me that someone out there in Hollywood didn’t realize that they could have avoided the whole issue of reboot fatigue by putting Miles up on the big screen instead of another Peter Parker. It would have been perfect timing and it would have spared us those terrible Amazing Spider-Man films. But it all seemed to work out because Homecoming looks like it’s going to be excellent and it’s certainly paying respects to Ultimate Spider-Man in the way they Ganke’d Miles’ best friend for the movie. Eh? See what I did there. Spider-Puns! Ok, let’s look at the figure!

I wouldn’t have put it past Hasbro to deliver us Miles on the usual Spidey buck, but instead we got a smaller, more age appropriate build and I love it. I also love this costume design. It’s a more minimalist approach to Spidey 616’s duds, consisting of a nearly all black suit with the crimson deco only appearing on the arms, chest, back, and head. It’s clean, it’s simple, and the red looks striking against the black. I also really dig the way the Spider’s front legs on his back seem to morph into those shoulder stripes. This is one slick Spidey suit! The paint on my figure is overall quite good, with just a few minor stray red marks on what is otherwise pretty neat and sharp.

You get two heads with the figure: Masked and unmasked and both are excellent. The masked head features sculpting around the large white eyes and the web pattern just painted on. The unmasked head is just an all around great sculpt. They did a nice job capturing the comic art and I really like the little grin Miles is showing.

The articulation here is certainly solid enough, although it is missing the shoulder crunches that we have been getting with most Spider-Man Legends figures. Yes, I would have liked if those points were included, but I think it’s a worthy trade off for getting Miles on the smaller teenage buck. Why couldn’t we have both? I dunno. Budget? Either way, the articulation here is pretty standard stuff for Legends. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, swivels in the biceps, and double hinges in the elbows. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have swivels at the thighs and lower legs, and double hinges in the knees. The ankles have hinges and lateral rockers. There’s a swivel in the chest, and ab crunch hinge in the torso, and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed. The joints are solid and feel great, making it damn hard for me to put this figure down.

In terms of accessories, Miles comes with the usual passel of hands that we’ve been seeing in a lot of Legends Spidey releases. You get a pair of fists, a pair of thwippy hands, and a pair of hands with splayed fingers. It’s still amazing to me that Hasbro hasn’t cooked up some web accessories for these figures yet. I’d happily take an accessory pack priced at $20 with a crap load of different webs, but from what I hear accessory packs are usually death on the shelves. Then again, NECA has been releasing them for their Alien and Predator lines, and DC Collectibles for their DC Icons line. I know, those are both more collector-orientated companies, whereas Hasbro has to make the retailers happy in order to get space on the planograms. A con exclusive, on the other hand, would be cool. Just repack one of the million recent Spider-Man figures with a bunch of web accessories and slap forty bucks on it. If the webs are good, I’d buy it.

To those of you who are getting all Spidey’d out, all I can say is I’m sorry. I get it. But with the lasting popularity of Spider-Verse, a new Spider-Man flick on the horizon, and Hasbro’s natural inclination for variants, you pretty much have to expect that they’re going to milk that spider for everything its worth. I certainly don’t mind, especially when it gives us a character like Miles, who I’ve been hoping for almost all the way back to when the Legends rebooted. And that’s probably why I resisted the urge to review both Ultimate Spider-Man figures together. Yeah, I’m trying to get caught up, and doubling up figures helps me get there, but I just thought this dude deserved his own day in the spotlight. I’ll probably wind up pairing up Ultimate Peter Parker with the Build-A-Figure when I get to the end of the wave.