KanColle: Aircraft Carrier Submarine I-401 (Day Off Figure) by Taito

Hey hey, it’s Saturday. Anime Saturday. And that means more KanColle! Ok, I’m done rhyming now. I had originally planned on looking at a new Sailor Moon Figuart today, but time caught me up, so I had to fall back on another Prize Figure from Kantai Collection. This Saturday, I’m back to Taito and another “Day Off” Figure, and like the last “Day Off” Figure, this one is from the Kantai Collection video game and not the Animation Sequence. She’s Aircraft Carrier Submarine I-401… but you can call her Shioi!

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As usual, Taito presents the figure in a colorful, fully enclosed box, which gives you plenty of shots of the figure inside. There’s not a lot of English, but the figure is identified on the top panel. I have to say I think this box is especially cool. There’s something about the art style that makes it look like a vintage pin-up and reminds me a bit of the old Vargas Girls art. As a character from the game, I’m not as familiar with her as the anime characters, but I tend to go in and read some of their dialogue as an indicator. In this case with phrases like, “CAN I DIVE YET? CAN I DIVE YET?” and “Please don’t touch my hangar tubes that much!” indicate that she’s adorable.

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It doesn’t take long to get Shioi ready for display. You just peg her feet into the base, peg her submarine gear into her tushie, and peg each of the tiny planes onto the carrier deck. Toss the tiny crab (which I already lost!) onto the base and she’s ready to go! The “Day Off” figures are pretty self-explanatory, as they depict our fearless Fleet Girls enjoying some down time. In this case, Shioi is strolling along the beach in a one-piece swimsuit with a cover up that resembles the school uniforms they usually wear. She shoots a side glance as she brings a bottle of icy cold water (or perhaps Ramune?) up to her lips. The sculpt here for the costume is very simple, but the colors are excellent, particularly the soft skin tones, the deep blue, and the bright white of her cover up.

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I was particularly anxious to get this statue because there aren’t any submarines in the anime and that seems like a missed opportunity. At the same time, I get excited whenever I see a reference to the Japanese I-400 Sub Aircraft Carriers, because they’re such a wonderful curiosity. As I understand it they saw virtually no action in the war and even as someone who enjoys doing a fair amount of reading about WWII, I rarely ever encounter any mention of them. The very concept of a submersible aircraft carrier still sounds like something out of science fiction. It’s just damn cool.

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The sculpt for the submarine component is solid but not exceptional. It looks a little soft, and there isn’t a whole lot of detail on it, but there’s enough here to get by, and it’s perfectly acceptable to me for a figure in this price range. On the other hand, they did a very nice job sculpting the three tiny Aichi M6A Seiran aircraft that perch on the launching gantry. Most of the Sub Aircarft Carriers were designed to launch recon planes, but these babies were meant for attack!

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The portrait here is very simple and functional, She’s cute, but nothing fancy. Shioi features large brown-printed eyes, short hair, and a wide smile. Her bottle is cast in translucent blue-green plastic.

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While the majority of the Taito Prize Figures in my collection have simple, featureless bases, Shioi’s is crafted to look like a stretch of beach, half sand and half water. The water surface has sculpted ripples and is cast in transparent blue plastic with the sand painted and textured. I haven’t lost hope in finding that tiny crab, but alas he remains MIA for this review.

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The I-401 “Day Off” figure set me back just under $20 shipped and I’ve got no complaints. In terms of sculpt, Shioi herself is probably the least impressive of my KanColle Taito figures. There’s nothing bad here, but the sculpt just isn’t quite as sharp and detailed as the others. On the other hand, the paint is quite solid and the execution of the submarine component with the planes and the beach environment on the base takes what could have been a very average figure and raises it up a couple of notches. Not too shabby!

DC Icons: (#12) Atomica by DC Collectibles

It’s another DC Friday and I’m winding my way through the most recent wave of DC Icons figures. I’ve already checked out Superman and Harley Quinn and today I’m opening up that traitorous bitch, Atomica! And yes, that’s a spoiler for an old comic.

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The packaging is the same as we’ve been seeing throughout the run of this series. It denotes that Atomica is the twelfth figure in the line and that she hails from the pages of Forever Evil, although she was in the company of The Justice League for a while before that. It was right before Forever Evil that she showed her true colors as a mole who was sent ahead to assist in allowing the Crime Syndicate to escape their Earth and conquer our own. Where the hell does The Atom fit into all this? Ray Palmer was busy screwing around in the pages of Frankenstein: Agents of SHADE, a book that got shit-canned after 16 issues, and if you ask me deservedly so. But don’t worry, Ray is in this box too… and so is Ryan Choi!

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The beautiful and sadistic Rhonda Pineda dons her striking red and blue outfit, which gets by with very little in the way of sculpted detail other than the new belt. Now, with the first two ladies appearing in this assortment, it would be understandable to assume they were straight repaints of the same buck, but that’s actually not the case. The Harley figure features a number of slight rumples and wrinkles on her costume, whereas Atomica’s is totally smooth and skin tight, with just a handful of subtle sculpted lines. That’s not to say the lack of detail is an oversight, as the figure’s appearance is quite faithful to the costume as it appears in the panels and thanks to the vibrant colors, this is a beautiful figure in hand.

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And speaking of beautiful, the head sculpt here is no slouch. Her mask is part of the sculpt and she has her goggles up on her forehead. The hair is also nicely done, but as expected it can get in the way of the neck articulation. That can be frustrating at any time, but a little more here, since Atomica is a flyer and she can’t look up. I’ll also note here that the paint on the face is really curious in that through the lens, it looks really mottled up close, but in hand it looks really good. I noticed that a bit with Harley too. Weird!

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The rest of the articulation is unhindered and features everything we’ve seen in this line before. The arms have rotating hinges at the shoulders and wrists, swivels in the biceps, and double hinges in the elbows. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, double hinged at the knees, and feature both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. The neck, is ball jointed, there’s another ball joint just below the chest, and there’s an ab crunch hinge just above the waist. Still no swivels in the legs… Insert sigh here.

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Atomica’s only accessories are an extra pair of hands. These are sort of gripping hands, but not quite. Truth be told, they aren’t really different enough from the fists that come attached to the figure, so I doubt I’ll be swapping these out a lot.

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You do, however, get two additional figures in the box, or at least one figure and one display piece. The figure is a mid-sized version of Ryan Choi. Both the paint and the sculpt on this little fella is pretty damn impressive considering his size. He also features a standard 5-POA articulation with points in the hips, shoulders, and neck.

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And lastly, you get a super teeny-tiny Ray Palmer with a stand and translucent atom shrinking effect.  I really love the way this guy looks. The paint isn’t as clean as the other figures. Mine actually has a stroke of blue paint on the face, but considering the size and how close you need to get in to see any issues, I’m not bothered by it. I am, however, going to go on record and just say that I’d rather they given us a midsize and small versions of Atomica herself, as opposed to the other Atoms. Given the context of this figure, it just seems more appropriate.

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And so we have another DC Icons release, and another very solid figure. Of course, with this particular character, the mileage may vary. With a wave that includes very classic versions of A-Listers like Aquaman, Superman, and Harley Quinn, Atomica definitely feels like the odd figure out. As for me? While I was admittedly disappointed by the payoff of the whole Pandora’s Box thing in The New 52, I actually enjoyed Forever Evil and Trinity War quite a bit. The reveal of Atomica’s true nature was a neat little twist and both she and Johnny Quick were memorable characters to me, because they were just so damn twisted. In other words, I am very happy to get her, but also bummed that we’ll probably never see a Johnny Quick in this line to go with her. On the flipside, in DC Collectibles’ regular New 52 line, we got a Johnny Quick, but no Atomica. Bummer.

Transformers Unite Warriors: Combaticons (UW-07) Box Set by Takara, Part 1: Onslaught

I was going to make such a big deal about having new arrivals for Transformers Thursday, but then I see so many pictures of Titans Return figures in peoples’ hands and suddenly I don’t feel so special. But I do have a holdover from Combiner Wars… or, excuse me… Unite Warriors, in the form of the Japanese Combaticons box set! I can’t tell you how hard it’s been to keep passing up the Hasbro Combaticons on the pegs, knowing that I had this on pre-order. Thank Primus, it’s finally here! I’m going to use the same formula here as I used for the G2 Menasor set. Today I’ll look at the packaging and Onslaught, next week I’ll tackle the limbs two at a time, and we’ll wrap it up the following week with Bruticus.

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The box design is very similar to the one used for the Unite Warriors Aerialbots, so if you’re a stickler about matching sets, you should be very happy to sit them next to each other on a shelf. There’s some absolutely bitchin’ and gritty artwork on the front of the box showing Bruticus stomping through a city and there’s a front flap that lifts open to reveal a window showing the goodies inside. Seeing the toys all laid out in their vehicle modes really takes me back to the glory days of the G1 giftsets. I never owned any of those, but they sure were pretty to look at! The back of the box has a large photo of Bruticus as well as photos of the individual figures in their robot and alt modes. The set is collector friendly, although getting everything back in place can require some patience. An instruction booklet is also included in the box. Let’s start with the alt mode!

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Onslaught is obviously the Voyager Class figure in the set and he’s built off of the Protectobot Hotspot mold. I don’t think that’s as apparent in his alt mode as it is his robot mode and the use of shared bodies here seems like a good choice. The alt mode is pretty true to his G1 roots, at least in the sense that he’s a military truck. The cab is more modernized and he lost a pair of wheels along the way, but I still have little trouble identifying the homage here. He features two large cannons, but don’t look too closely or you’ll see Bruticus’ head peeking back out at you trying to not be noticed. It’s not one of the most outrageous alt modes out there, but all things considered, I think it’s pretty solid even with the combiner head sitting up there like he’s on a parade float.

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Unfortunately, Unite Warriors Onslaught’s alt mode is not as versatile as his G1 namesake. I’m sure I could work out some iffy fan modes, but he’s not really designed for much else besides being a truck. With the pegs on the top of the cannons and the multiple peg holes on the bottom of Blast Off, I was hoping there would be an official way to make Onslaught carry him, but it looks like I’m out of luck unless I want to balance him up there. There’s sort of a flatbed area on the back, but it’s not really big enough to comfortably carry any of his chums. Ah well, sometimes a truck is just a truck… and a robot… and a torso. Never mind.

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The coloring here is quite nice, with the blue and brown doing a fine job of representing the G1 toy’s deco. I’m not going to spend a lot of time comparing the coloring between Hasbro and Takara on the limbs, but I will do it here because Takara’s Onslaught is just such a huge improvement over the Stateside release. The blue is much darker and richer here than on the Hasbro version, I like it better, but that’s really just a matter of taste. The biggest difference in paint, however, is the beautiful work Takara did on the package of torso parts that sits on the vehicle’s back. These parts were left as bland off-white plastic on the US release, whereas here you get some beautiful coloring, along a very striking shade of silver paint. The same goes for the guns. It really looks fantastic here, and as we’ll see in a few weeks, this will make an even bigger impact in the combined mode.

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Transforming Onslaught should be very familiar if you’ve spent any time with Combiner Wars Hotspot. If anything, Onslaught is a little easier because all those extra torso bits just stay where they are and are worn as a backpack. And obviously there’s no ladder to mess with. Yes, it’s always worth pointing out that despite the need for add-on hands and feet, these combiners are otherwise self-contained. The only other thing worth noting are the knees. As with Hotspot, there’s a trick to locking these in, and if your Onslaught’s knees keep buckling, it’s probably because he isn’t transformed properly.

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In robot mode, it isn’t too difficult to pick out the parts shared with Hotspot. The forearms and the legs are most obvious to me, although he does have new feet and the new deco helps fool the eye a bit, particularly around those knees. Regardless of the recycling, however, I think he works quite well as a send up to G1 Onslaught. Some high points for me include the detailed sculpt and paint in the chest panel, the painted coils in his arms, and the crisp Decepticon logo on his chest. The two circles painted on his pelvis area are also nice nods to the Sunbow animation design.

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All looks pretty good from the back too. Yeah, his lower legs are hollow, but I do like how all that combiner stuff packs neatly into a backpack. I also get a chuckle out of the fact that he wears Bruticus’ head on his ass. The guns store nicely on his back and help hammer home the homage of having the twin guns rising up behind Onslaught’s shoulders. Onslaught is a bit back heavy, and while those heel spurs help a bit, he’s still prone to toppling backwards. Now is as good a time as any to mention that Onslaught suffers from the same rather unforgiving ratchet joints in the hips. There isn’t a lot of finesse there, so posing him and getting him to balance in those poses can be an exercise in frustration.

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The head sculpt is pretty straight forward, and he has a painted visor instead of light-piping. I will say that it’s a toss up for me as to whether I prefer the black head on the Hasbro version or this blue one. It’s too close for me to call. Here you can also get a better look at the distinctive paintwork in the chest panel. The colors on this guy really are beautiful!

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Of course, Onslaught can dual wield his twin guns in his hands in order to live up to his name. Since these serve as Bruticus’ weapon too, they can be connected together to form a bigger rifle, and it isn’t too big for Onslaught to use. Ironically, the extra paint apps on the guns make it really apparent that the larger weapon is just two of the same gun stuck together.  For that reason, I think the combined guns worked better for Hotspot, as those are all black.

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Onslaught has a few issues, but overall I like him a lot. In my mind, he’s definitely the best modern version of the character that we’ve seen from either Hasbro or Takara, but then I suppose that isn’t saying much. Nevertheless, it’s easy for me to overlook some of the flaws while admiring the fact that he’s a partially shared mold and a pretty clever one at that. To me that’s even more impressive when you see him in his torso mode. Ah, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Next week, we’ll bust into the Deluxe Class figures and check them out, starting with Blast Off and Vortex!

Mythic Legions: Vitus by The Four Horsemen

In the past five weeks of Mythic Legions Wednesdays I’ve delved into the Skeletons, Knights, Orcs, and Dwarves, but today I’m checking out one of the figures that doesn’t fit into any of the more conventional classifications. His name is Vitus and he is a lone warrior, the last survivor of his people, and an overall scourge of all evil!

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Here’s a quick obligatory in-package shot. Once again, they are collector friendly, but I still haven’t decided if I’m keeping the cards and bubbles. Space is always a concern and I may just wind up saving the inserts with the names and bios.

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Vitus is obviously themed off a Spartan warrior and he’s one of the best examples so far of how clever T4H are on the reuse of parts. Vitus uses the lower legs, boots, and gauntlets we saw on Sir Gideon and Gorgo. the torso and groin armor from Gorgo, the upper arms, upper legs, and belt from Urkku. This figure should look like a cobbled together mess, but this combination of parts and all new paint makes him look like a unique design that was build from scratch from the ground up.

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New paint features smooth and even flesh tones on the arms and legs and a rather striking combination of metallic red and gold for the armor. The intricately sculpted belt, which looked old and tribal on Urkku looks flashy and ornamental on Vitus. The new deco just transforms it into something new. It’s amazing! It’s also worth noting that Vitus is the only figure I’ve looked at so far that does not include shoulder pieces, although the sockets are still there if you want to borrow someone else’s for him.

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Vitus’ head sculpt features an intricately sculpted Greek-style helmet with a high crest comb. There’s some lovely raised scrollwork and all the details are painted gold against the metallic red backdrop.

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The modular nature of Mythic Legions means the figures feature identical articulation straight across the board. Vitus features rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, and ankles, as well as lateral rockers in the ankles. There are also ball joints in the waist and neck. Seven figures in and I have not had any issues with stuck or funky joints. These guys are rock solid and oh, so fun to pose.

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Vitus comes with the sword we last saw with Sir Gideon. This time it features a simple gold painted grip. You also get the brown belt we’ve seen with almost all the figures thus far. Since Vitus lacks the shoulder pieces, I like to use it as a shoulder strap and have him wear his sword behind his back. I also discovered that the belt has a loop so he can wear the sword on his right hip. This was present in Urkku too, as it’s the same belt, but I didn’t notice it back then. There’s always a sense of discovery around these figures, which is pretty exciting.

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The shield is the same mold we’ve seen with almost all the figures so far, but with a new crest painted on the face. It’s a gold lion motif against a metallic red background to match the coloring of his armor. Once again, the arm clip pegs into the shield, which means you can orientate it any way you want no matter what position the arm is in.

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Finally, Vitus comes with a spear that definitely suits his hoplite theme. The spears remain my only quibble with this line. Some paint on the shaft would have been nice.

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Vitus is not only a gorgeous figure, but he’s a shining example of how well thought out and successful the parts sharing in this line is. Nothing about him looks out of place and I’d be hard pressed to tell you which parts were intended for him and which were borrowed from another design. I also like how T4H have worked some more unique designs into the line by producing characters that don’t fall into the knights, orcs, skeleton, dwarf demographic. Next time, we’ll check out another somewhat unique character in this initial line based off The Minotaur!

Vitruvian HACKS: Stonefist The Gorgon Hunter by Boss Fight Studios

Hey, remember Vitruvian HACKS? Yeah, it was that Kickstarter from 2014 that took forever to deliver. I checked out the initial four figures from my Backer Reward as well as the two Exclusives and then these got buried by the excitement of the Mythic Legions (that other Kickstarter) figures rolling in. Well, I haven’t forgotten HACKS and it’s long past time that I swing back and open up another one of these beauties. Today I’m going with Stonefist The Gorgon Hunter. And let me tell ya, this dude is a badass!

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It’s been a while since I’ve showcased the regular packaging for these figures, especially since the two Exclusives just came in little boxes. Stonefist features a carded bubble with some vivid, colorful artwork and some tabs around the plastic front that allow you to slide the card back and get at the figure without damaging anything. The figure comes on a little tray with the bulk of his accessories in a baggie behind the tray. The back of the card shows other figures that are available and gives you a little blurb about the character. When Stonefist ran afoul of a Gorgon, he blinded himself to prevent the curse from completely petrifying him. All it got was his left arm. Now he’s a blind dude with a stone arm, who makes a living hunting Gorgons. HOLY SHIT, THAT’S RAD!!!

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Stonefist features the basic HACKS 4-inch male buck. I’ve looked at it almost half a dozen times now, so I’m not going to dwell on it too much.  I will note that the head sculpt is pretty soft and because he’s blind, the eyes are painted so that they’re not very well-defined. It’s intentional, but it does give him something of a mannequin head look about him. The painted scar helps, and quite frankly, he’ll be wearing his helmet all the time, so it’s not a big deal for me. The articulation is as good as always and because these figures are modular, they can be taken apart at the joints without much difficulty for a little mix-and-match action. Even all the armor can come off of him.

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His greaves are more ornate than what we saw on the Spartan figures and feature some ornate sculpted scrollwork. The coat of armor is also different from any of the initial figures I’ve featured here. Besides being a new sculpt, it has a flashy deco consisting of mostly white with some red and blue accents and thankfully it’s not as patriotic looking as it might sound. Yes, it’s a bit unorthodox, but he’s blind and maybe the armor dealer was having a little fun with him. I really dig the sculpt of this new armor and I love that it has a loop for one of his swords in the back, but it doesn’t fit the figure quite as well as the Spartan armors do and mine will not stay pegged in at the sides for love or money. Overall, the paint is solid for a figure in this scale, I like the gold they use all the applications are mostly clean. There is, however, some slop concerning the red around the “skirt.”

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The helmet is a style we saw before, but this is a brand new deco with more of that lovely gold paint and some pretty rad teeth printed on the sides of the cheek protectors. It can be tough to sit the helmet right because it’s not easy to see where his eyes are, but I guess it doesn’t matter as far as Stonefist is concerned. In fact, if he wants to freak out his enemies, he can just wear it backwards.

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Being true to his name, Stonefist’s left hand and part of his arm are indeed petrified. Boss Fight proved they could do a really nice stone effect with the Cursed Spartan and here we see that effect again. It looks great and creates a very cool backstory for this guy. If it were me, I’d probably just go around punching Gorgons with my stone fist. “There, Snake Face! Have a taste of your medicine!” POW! But Stonefist chooses to use more conventional weaponry, so let’s take a look at his personal arsenal!

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For starters, he comes with three swords, including a long sword that fits into the scabbard, which hangs off his shoulder. This is the same scabbard we saw with the Spartans and I still dig it a lot.

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He also comes with a matched set of sword and short sword, each with more pronounced leaf-shaped blades. All of the swords have painted silver blades and copper painted hilts. Thanks to the scabbard and the back loop, so long as he keeps one blade in hand, he can carry all three.

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Stonefist also features this beautiful shield. It’s the same mold we saw with the Spartans, but with a brand new deco. The front surface is painted with a very classic looking Greek face with the eyes scratched out. So cool! Again, we have some great looking gold paint and the hammered pattern sculpted into the shield is fantastic. The shield uses the same elongated clip to wrap around the figure’s forearm and there’s a grip for the hand to grasp, but I still find it very difficult to get the hand wrapped around the grip. It’s not necessary to equip the shield on the figure, but it does look better if you’re posing him with the inside of the shield on display.

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Lastly, we have the spear, which has been no stranger to this line as just about all the human figures I’ve looked at have had one. Hey, I’m not complaining, as these are beautifully painted accessories and both the tip and the butt cap are pretty damn sharp too!

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Stonefist is without a doubt one of the most colorful characters in this line (both literally and figuratively!) and I’m really glad that I added him to my selection way back when the Kickstarter ended.  I believe most of the HACKS figures are still available through Boss Fight’s website and when last I checked, Stonefist was priced at $19.99. Twenty bucks may sound like a lot for a 4-inch figure, but the truth is that it’s easy to see where the money went. The number of accessories combined with the excellent design and careful paintwork make this figure well worth the money to me. In fact, just opening him up and playing with him this evening has made me doubly anxious to start checking out the rest!

Marvel Legends: Namor (Walgreens Exclusive) by Hasbro

YES! It’s a Marvel Monday Double Feature, because I’m buried in a Legends backlog so big it would give Thanos a hernia. And as long as I’m between waves, I thought I’d go ahead and take a look at this lone Walgreens Exclusive release of everyone’s favorite fishy-gigolo. Lock up your wife, Reed Richards… here comes Namor!

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Namor comes in a standard style Legends window box. There’s no indication about its exclusivity, but it uniquely branded with his name on the front and again on the top panel. When you think of how many characters get released in shared slots and don’t have their name even appear on the front, but here comes Namor all flash and branded out! It practically looks like it’s branded off of some non-existent Namor movie. Well, give it time… Maybe Phase 8? Anyway… you get some really nice character art on the side panels and the back panel advertises the Civil War Wave, but without any mention of the Giant Man BAF.

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Out of the package, Namor is one mighty fine looking figure. A good deal of his costume is painted onto the buck, but what a lovely paint job it is! You get a partially black suit with some brilliant metallic blue scales to spice things up. He even has the trashy, low plunging neck line that points all the way down to his trouser trout. Sculpted bits include his gold belt and bracers, the white wings on his ankles, and a high collar that surely drives all the mermaids wild.

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The head sculpt here is pretty fantastic. Just yesterday, I was bitching about Hasbro and their waxy plastic and soft head sculpts in their Star Wars Black line. Well, clearly they know how to do it right, because because this is how to do a 6-inch scale portrait proud. The plastic holds the sculpted detail very well, skin tone looks great and the paint on the eyes, hair, and eyebrows is crisp and clean. I’m thrilled that they can do it for Marvel, but why not Star Wars too?

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As a swimmer, Namor needs to be agile and the articulation on this body suits him quite well. You get double hinges in both the elbows and knees, rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, swivels in the biceps, thighs, and lower legs. The ankles have hinges and lateral rockers, the waist has a swivel, there’s an ab crunch in the chest, and the neck is both ball jointed and hinged.

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Accessories include two pairs of hands and a rather large trident. The figure comes out of the box with the trident holding hands and the extras are flat with the fingers together for swimming. The trident is cast in a less than stellar gold plastic, but spruced up a bit with some white and metallic blue paint accents.

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While the idea of Walgreens Exclusive Marvel Legends figures still sounds really odd to me, I cannot deny that they’ve been landing some pretty big fish. HA! Seriously, though, with hits like Agent Venom, Black Ant, and now Namor, these are going above and beyond the sort of lazy repaints that I would have expected. Now, whether a character like Namor should be an Exclusive is another matter entirely, but it seems as if this one has not been difficult to find in stores. And even people like me, who live in a black pit of despair when it comes to toy distribution, have the option of ordering him through Walgreen’s website. Sure, at $27 because  shipping, he’s a little pricier, but for a figure this great, I’ll pay that all day long. Now if only we can get a new Legends Sue Storm to keep him warm at night.

Marvel Legends (Absorbing Man Wave): Crusher Creel Build-A-Figure by Hasbro

As all Legends collectors know, after finishing a hearty meal of individually boxed figures, we get served a lovely Build-A-Figure for dessert. Well, they’re clearing away the dinner plates and that means today it’s time for me to cobble together… The Absorbing Man! Carl “Crusher” Creel consists of ten pieces, including: Two legs, two sets of arms, two heads, a torso, and his big weapon.

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Creel is a little unconventional as a BAF because he comes with extra swap-out pieces (like the Odin BAF) and in doing so, he sacrifices a little in size. Oh, he’s still bigger than your average Legends figure, but he’s also on par with the Legends Wrecking Crew, which were packaged figures. Indeed, some of those even came with this very ball and chain accessory. Add to that how common extra heads have become and only the extra arms make it questionable as to whether Creel could have been offered as a boxed figure. Of course, those are just some observations and if it’s a good figure, I don’t need size alone to justify a BAF’s value.

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And Creel is indeed a good figure, albeit a fairly simple one when you get down to it. He sports a pair of sculpted trousers with the purple and black stripes, as opposed to the also acceptable black and white stripes. Both looks are good, but I’m glad they went purple, just because it adds some nice color to him and that’s also the version I got in the 3 3/4-inch Universe line. He’s also got a wide belt and nice pair of black shoes with a spiffy shine, and that’s the extent of this guy’s wardrobe.

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From the waist up, Creel features a shirtless torso with decent musculature sculpted in (this guy is ripped!) and some rather intense looking veins running throughout. The upper body is cast in flesh tone plastic, there’s no fancy wash or additional paint apps, but it certainly gets the job done. He only has one normal arm and it’s his lefty, so I’ve started him out with that and his wood-assimilating right hand, but I’ll come back to the arms in a bit. First let’s look at the two portraits..

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RUTH… RUTH BABY? Yeah, I see a little family resemblance between Creel and Sloth from The Goonies. Fair enough, Creel is often drawn as a pretty weird looking guy, so it works. I think the lazy paint on the right eye helps drive it home, and I’m not about to give Hasbro’s team of crack eye painters the benefit of the doubt and presume it was intentional. It’s really not a bad portrait at all. Hasbro has been instilling tons of personality into a lot of their Legends villains, and this is just another example of that. He looks pissed off and deranged, and I’m good with that! And speaking of pissed off..

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HOLY SHIT! The other noggin features Creel in full on rage mode while in the process of assimilating stone, and this is a magnificent piece! His mouth is open and teeth exposed in a maniacal scream and the stone side of the face features craggy fissures sculpted in and is coupled with some truly effective paintwork that really sells this effect beautifully. The gold painted eye is just the disturbing cherry on this creepy-ass sundae of a head sculpt.

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The stone head mates well with the stone assimilating left arm, but I do wish I had a normal right arm to display him like this, because that would be my favorite default look for him. But I can understand how yet another arm would not have costed out.

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The wood assimilating arm is another example of great sculpt matched with some great paintwork.

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And finally, you have the metal assimilating left arm that is meant to mate with his ball and chain weapon. Here’s where things stumble a bit. The arm itself is fantastic. The metal effect of the paint is probably the best of all three, and that’s saying something because the others are awfully good. Unfortunately, the ball and chain is just left flat silver plastic, so the idea that he’s absorbing the metal from the weapon just isn’t conveyed all that well. Besides which, the contrast between the two just make the ball and chain look cheap by comparison. It’s a shame, really.

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Creel has all the right points of articulation for a bulkier Legends figure. All of the arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists as well hinges in the elbows and swivels in the biceps. The muscle-bound arm sculpts don’t allow for all that much range of motion, but then I don’t really need Creel to be all that agile when he’s clobbering someone with his giant ball. The legs feature rotating hinges and swivels in the hips, double hinges in the knees, and hinges in the ankles.

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The Absorbing Man is a solid figure and I do appreciate the different display options Hasbro gave us here. That having been said, the catalog of BAFs has been pretty impressive as of late, so he does come up a little short (both figuratively and literally) when compared to some of the more heavy hitters we’ve seen in the last year or so. With that having been said, he’s an important addition to the list of bastards in my Legends universe and if this was the way Hasbro had to get him to me, I have no problem with that. It also helps that this was a pretty solid wave through and through and I genuinely didn’t feel like I was buying anyone just to get a BAF part… and yes, that includes you Speed Demon!

Star Wars Black (The Force Awakens): General Hux by Hasbro

Star Wars Black has slowed to a crawl this Summer, although we have seen some new and new(ish) product at Celebration. I’m at the point now where I’m hunting the few figures I missed out on and one of those was General Hux. Of course, Hux was the frothing-at-the-mouth Space Nazi who butted heads with Kylo Ren and seemed to be there just to show how crazy and fanatical The First Order was. He was a cool enough character, well-portrayed, and overall I thought he deserved more recognition than a lot of bit-part Star Wars characters get. I hope we’ll see more of him in Episode 8.

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Hux fell into some weird distributing limbo, along with X-Wing Pilot Asty. They didn’t show up in my area, which isn’t unusual, but based on the online prices for these figures, that seemed to be the case all over. Eventually, I was able to find Hux at regular price, through the fine folks at Incredible Toy Box. There’s nothing new or noteworthy about the packaging, so let’s just jump right in. This shouldn’t take long, as I actually have very little to say about this guy.

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Hux dons the latest in First Order fascist fashion. Black pants, black belted tunic, long black overcoat with big black space lapels. From the neck down there’s hardly any paint to speak of, but that’s appropriate for his outfit. Hasbro must love doing figures like this! In fairness, there’s a lot of detail in the sculpt, including the texturing on his tunic and the stitching on his long coat. The coat uses the old trick of having cutouts at the shoulders with the sleeves sculpted as part of the arms and overall it looks fine. You do get a gloss black finish on his boots and gloves, to contrast the matte black of the rest of the outfit, as well as silver stripes on his left sleeve cuff and a First Order insignia on his left shoulder. It’s all perfectly serviceable, but that’s about it.

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The head sculpt is where I really take issue with this figure. It’s a passable likeness, but it’s cast in that wonderful waxy plastic, which in certain light makes it look like he’s got a flop sweat going on. Besides the unconvincing flesh tone, this plastic just doesn’t show the details of the sculpt well at all. It always ends up looking soft. It’s this sort of thing that dispels the myth that this is a collector quality line. In fact, I’d say this head sculpt is only marginally better than the 3 3/4-inch version. It may have more sculpted detail, but the 3 3/4-inch Hux has decent painted skin tones and better painted eyes. Jeez, Hasbro, what are you even trying to do here? At least the hat looks good.

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Hux features pretty good articulation, even if some of it is at odds with his long coat. You get rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, double hinged at the knees, and have swivels at the thighs. The ankles are hinged and have lateral rockers. There’s a swivel in the waist that might be a ball joint, but all I can get it to do is swivel. The neck is both ball jointed and hinged. There are slits up the sides of his lower tunic to allow for more leg movement, as well as one up the back of the coat. In the end, this is an officer, he doesn’t need to do acrobatics, so it’s fine for me.

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Hux comes with one accessory and that’s his sidearm. Like a lot of the weapons in TFA, it’s a distinctive design. Both of his hands are sculpted to hold it, but there’s no place for him to stow it when he’s not shooting Resistance scum.

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General Hux is not terrible, he’s not great, he just is. There is nothing about him that couldn’t have been done just as well or better in a modern 3 3/4-inch figure. Indeed, if you take away the improved articulation and a little of the texturing in the clothes, I start to seriously wonder how much better is this figure than the smaller 5POA version? Honestly, this is Hasbro pulling the bare minimum to fill a slot with a character and get people like me to pay $20 for it. And thank God that’s all I paid for it, because at one time he was going for upward of $50 online due to the poor distribution and I’m such a sucker for Imperial Officer types, I might have eventually gone for it. I’m not at all sorry I bought him, he looks great displayed with the rest of The First Order figures, but I really wish Hasbro would start investing more in the portraits in this so-called Collector line.

By figurefanzero

KanColle: Aircraft Carrier Akagi “Premium” Prize Figure by SEGA

What’s that? You can’t get enough of me droning on about Kantai Collection figures on Saturday mornings? Well, alright then, let’s check out another one! Today I’m turning my attention back to SEGA and the first Aircraft Carrier in my KanColle collection… Akagi!

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Akagi comes in a window box, with just the one window on the front panel. This makes the box fairly durable, but without the top or side windows to let the light in, it’s hard to really scrutinize the figure from inside the package. You get the Kantai Collection logo on the top panel and character art on the side panels. I really like the gradient pink to blue coloring on the box. Other than “Aircraft Carrier” there’s virtually no English copy on the box at all, not even Akagi’s name. Before opening her up, it’s worth noting that this is a Premium Figure and not a Super Premium, so she is not in scale with the Destroyers from SEGA, which I looked at a little while back. Those were full on 9-inches, where Akagi here is closer to 6-inch, putting her more in line with Taito and Furyu’s KanColle releases.

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And… here she is! Besides the usual plugging her feet into the base, Akagi involves some assembly before she’s ready to go. She comes with her Yumi (bow) in two pieces, seven arrows on a sprue, a packet of fishing line for her bow string, and a sheet of stickers for the arrow feathers. I’ve heard horror stories about setting up the bow and how fragile it is, but I didn’t have any issues. You just feed the larger piece into her left hand from the bottom and tab it into the grip. The shorter bow piece pegs into that one. You pass the string through the notch on one end, wrap it a few times and pass it through again, draw it as tight as you want it, and then do the same on the bottom. The excess that I snipped off is enough for another bow string should I ever need it. The stickers for the arrows are easy to put on. One arrow is meant to be held in her right hand and the others go into her quiver. If you aren’t familiar with Kantai Collection (I’m sorry!) the Aircraft Carriers fire their arrows into the sky, which then turn into squadrons of airplanes (bombers, fighters, or scouts) to engage the Abyssal forces.

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Akagi stands at attention with her Yumi held at rest in her left hand and her right hand clutching an arrow to her chest. I strung the bow a little snug to show its curves. Like all the Fleet Girl Carriers, Akagi’s costume is strongly influenced by Kyudo garb, which ties in with the fact that the Carriers in KanColle function as archers with long-ranged attacks. Sculpted details feature some nice touches, including the strings that hold the armor pieces in place, the ruffling of her loose top, and even little wrinkles in the knees of her stockings. The coloring here isn’t terribly vibrant, but the combination of red skirt and quiver with the slightly off-white blouse and stockings is attractive enough. You also get some very neatly applied silver fixtures on her belts and straps.

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Her quiver has the mast aerial attached to it and it’s sculpted with a strap that “holds” it in place around her shoulder, although in reality it is permanently attached to her. Unlike the Destroyers and Battleships, Akagi doesn’t have a lot of bulky ship parts on her. Besides the quiver aerial she just has a component on her right hip that she wears almost like a handbag. The quiver itself is a simple tube and all the arrows can easily fit inside. On her feet, she wears a pair of Zori (sandals), which have what look like miniature super-deformed carrier hulls under them, allowing her to skate across the surface of the ocean.

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On her right arm she wears her Carrier deck in place of a shield. These are also used to recover her planes, assuming they survive their sortie to make a return trip. The printing on the deck looks particularly nice.

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I do have one little quibble about this figure and that’s the look of the plastic in a few areas. The feel of the quality in hand is fine, but it does give her face and blouse a waxy complexion in certain light. Granted, this is a pet peeve of mine that I point out whenever I see it, even though it’s hardly noticeable when she’s standing on my display shelf under normal room lighting. There’s also some rather obvious seam lines throughout, but then I have to keep reminding myself that this is a relatively “low end” piece.

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The base here is a simple black plastic disc, which is rather compact, so it doesn’t hog up a lot of real estate on the shelf. Of course, the Yumi extends out pretty far, so this is a figure that’s still going to need some space to display.

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While the quality of the plastic here feels like a notch below Taito’s work in this scale, it’s really a minor quibble over a figure that goes above and beyond to impress. The figure itself is fine, but it’s the gear and extras that makes Akagi such a noteworthy piece. Besides the great sculpt and nearly flawless paint, the extra bits like the strung bow and the arrows for the quiver are just fantastic. Keep in mind, this is an import that usually sells in the $20-25 range and I got mine for $22 shipped. Besides being a great showpiece, Akagi was an important and memorable character in the anime series, not to mention Fubuki’s girl-crush, so adding her to my KanColle shelf was a huge win! And maybe someday I’ll pony up for her Figma too!

DC Icons: (#10) Superman (With Kelex) by DC Collectibles

It’s DC Friday again and what better way to spend it than looking at another of DC Collectibles’ newest DC Icons figures? Today I’m checking out Superman! The fact that he’s appearing for the first time in Wave 3 is a great indicator of how diverse this line is. Think about it. We got Earth 2 Mister Miracle before Superman! It’s a risky move and I commend DCC for making it, as opposed to just flooding the pegs with A-Listers like Batmans, Supermans and Harley Quinns. Um, Harley Quinn was in this wave of DC Icons, so… SHUT UP!!! Anyway, hopefully it’s paying off for them.

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We’ve seen the packaging before and it’s as attractive and collector friendly as ever. The blue and white coloring looks sharp and I dig the placement of the S-Shield in the “O” of ICONS. The box indicates that Superman is the tenth release in the series and calls out that this is Superman as pulled from the pages of John Byrne’s landmark “Man of Steel” miniseries way back in 1986. The big window not only gives a good look at Supes, but also the other figure he comes with, Krytonian helper-robot, Kelex!

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And this is indeed honest-to-goodness Classic Man of Steel! Before they took away his red undies, textured his suit, and turned him into a brooding shit. As has been the case with this line, everything about the suit is part of the sculpt. And while that doesn’t really amount to much here, it’s nice to see it in the raised S-Shield, the sculpted belt buckle and loops, and the top edges of the boots. Even the S-Shield on his cape is sculpted on. The costume features some gorgeous red and blue coloring with some welcome variations, like the use of matte red on the undies and cape, and gloss red on the boots. There’s just something about this costume that does it for me every time, and everything here looks so bright and vibrant and the applications are sharp and clean.

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The cape flows out from the front of his shoulders and hangs close to the body. It’s just the right size and heft so as not to throw off his balance or get in the way of articulation.

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The portraits in this line have been good, but not always exceptional. In this case, I’m very happy with what we got. The detail in the structure of the face is very impressive and I dig the stoic expression. There’s a little bit of red in his eyes, and while I doubt it was the intention, I’m just going to assume he’s charging up that heat vision! Probably the best thing is how they did his protruding cowlick, it’s epic! Note to self. Rename my band, Epic Cowlick!

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Superman holds no surprises in his articulation. We’ve been getting pretty much the same thing across the board in the Icons series. Here you get rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, double hinges in the elbows and knees, ball joints in the hips and neck, swivels in the biceps, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. There’s an ab crunch hinge in the abdomen and a ball joint just under the chest. Normally, I complain about the lack of thigh swivels, but here I’ll point out that an added hinge in the neck would have been very welcome so Supes could look up when flying.

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Superman himself only comes with an extra pair of hands, so you get fists and relaxed open hands. That can, however, be forgiven because you also get this…

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Kelex is more of a bonus figure than an accessory. He’s big and he does have some limited articulation, with a ball jointed neck and rotating shoulders. He also comes with a clear display stand to allow him to “hover.” I can’t say he was high on my want list, but I’ve always liked this design a lot, so I’m happy to get him.

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I don’t know if it’s the attractive coloring of his costume or how much the character meant to me as a kid, but I get excited every time I pick up a new Superman figure. I can still remember getting the DC Universe Classics version and smiling ear to ear. Needless to say this getting this figure has been no different. I’ve had him within reach for the last few days to fiddle around with while I work and he and Lex have been slugging it out for supremacy of my desk. Superman is a refreshingly simple and classic release and he’ll find a place of honor on my expanding DC Icons shelf!