Star Wars Black (Rogue One): AT-ACT Driver and Scarif Stormtrooper Squad Leader by Hasbro

It’s Sunday. I don’t usually do content on Sunday, but I got a couple of new 6-inch Black Series Rogue One Troopers, I’ve got the Rogue One Blu-Ray playing, and I just got in the mood to do a quick rundown on these figures. And when I say quick, I mean really quick, because while these are some cool figures, we’re basically dealing with some kit-bashing and repainting here.

Here’s the packaged shot for the Squad Leader. The AT-ACT Driver is a Target Exclusive, which I haven’t come across personally, but a buddy of mine was kind enough to send me one, sans packaging. And that’s cool, because I’m not sure as I would have ponied up the twenty bucks for this one. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start with him…

I’ve seen this movie enough times (four times in the theater, and now three at home), that I should know with certainty whether or not these guys are actually in it. All I can say is I really don’t recall seeing them. In any event, what we have here is the Hover Tank Pilot’s body with the Scarif Stormtrooper’s head. There are a few changes to the paint, like the gray stripe across his chest and shoulders, or the little red circle on his helmet, similar to what the AT-AT Drivers have on theirs. But as cool as this figure looks, he still feels like something Hasbro threw together for a quick-and-dirty exclusive.

If this design is a Hasbro original, I think they should have just used a straight repaint of the Hover Tank Pilot, because it’s bugging me that one driver has a specialized helmet and the other has the regular Scarif Stormtrooper helmet. I like how the TIE Pilots and AT-AT Drivers had helmets that were somewhat similar to each other and yet different enough from the rank-and-file Stormies. Am I overthinking all this? Probably, but if I wasn’t, I’d be done with the review by now.

The AT-ACT Driver comes with the usual E-11 Blaster and has articulation identical to the Hover Tank Pilot. Moving on to the Scarif Squad Leader…

So, this guy is basically a modified version of the regular Scarif Stormy. Instead of the hip armor with the ammo pouch, he has a kama, which includes a slightly different sculpt to his belt. Otherwise, the armor sculpt is identical to his subordinates. When it comes to deco, he does have a blue stripe across his chest and shoulders, as well as some more splatter painted on his chest and helmet.

The articulation here is identical to the regular Scarif Stormies, but the Squad Leader comes with a new gun sculpt, and it’s a pretty damn cool design.

Both of these are certainly nice figures, but if I had to choose, I’d definitely recommend the Squad Leader over the AT-ACT Driver. It’s probably worth repeating that Hasbro did a weird thing here and made the regular Scarif Stormies TRU Exclusives and the Squad Leader a regular retail release. The AT-ACT Driver, on the other hand, feels like good exclusive figure fodder. I would not have missed him if I didn’t find him, and even if I did, I’m not sure I would have dropped twenty bucks on him. Then again, he does complete my 6-inch Black Series Rogue One troops, so I’m certainly glad to have him in my collection.

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By figurefanzero

Dengeki Bunko Fighting Climax Ignition: Asuna (Game Color Version) by SEGA

Yes, as if there weren’t already enough Asuna figures on the market from Sword Art Online, her appearance in SEGA’s All Stars-Inspired 2D fighting game, Dengeki Bunko Fighting Climax has given the purveyors of plastic another excuse for more releases. The game is pretty damn good, and in a move that still amazes me to no end, the home version got a US release on the Sony PS3 a couple of years back. Japanese versions are also available on the PS Vita and the PS4. If anime and fighting games are your thing, you owe it to yourself to track it down.

In the game, Asuna wears her familiar Blood Knights outfit, both in the traditional colors and in a black and white version to represent the typical recolors we see in fighting games. While I may eventually double dip on the regular look, I thought it was a lot more fun to go with her unconventional and totally unique black outfit and hair color. The box is your typical prize figure fare. It’s completely enclosed with some nice shots of the figure. The copy is mostly in Japanese, but there is a little English here and there. Inside, the figure comes on a clear plastic tray with a little bit of simple assembly required.

After putting on her scabbard, popping her sword into her hand, and plugging her into the base, Asuna is all read for display and looking great. The pose is elegant and powerful, with her hips jutting forward, her left hand stretched out defiantly, and her trusty sword, Lambent Light, poised in her right hand and ready for action. The energy of the composition is furthered by the unseen wind that ruffles her coat and excites her hair. Fantastic!

The coloring takes the white and red deco of the Blood Knight’s costume and exchanges the white for black and the red for white. It’s an interesting deco, especially when coupled with the silver of her chest and ankle armor. I like it a lot, especially the look of the white crosses on her stockings, and the border lining of her tunic. The paint quality here isn’t bad, but it isn’t the best either. With the naked eye, it looks fine, get in closer, and some areas, particularly the white borders of her bicep cuffs and straps, tend to look a little blurry. It’s not something that I would really hold against the figure, considering the price point, and you really have to get in close and scrutinize it to notice.

The portrait is excellent. I love the printing on Asuna’s wide eyes, and her mouth is open as if she is shouting a spell or a battle cry. In the game color version, even her normally red hair does not escape the pallet swap, as it’s been turned to black. It works well on this figure, but I tend to be partial to red heads.

The base is a simple white hexagon with the logo of the game printed in blue outline.

This figure works well on a number of levels. If you can’t get enough Asuna, and you want something different for your collection, then this is certainly a worthy purchase. It’s worth noting that Asuna scales quite well with my two Taito Asuna figures. On the other hand, if you just happen to be a fan of the fighting game, it’s probably a small miracle that the game produced any merchandising, let alone figures like these. I was able to grab her off of Amazon from a US seller for $22 shipped and I think that’s a pretty solid deal for what you’re getting.

DC Bombshells (DC Designer Series): Wonder Woman by DC Collectibles

On the last DC Friday, I started digging into the first wave of the new DC Bombshells action figures. These figures are based on a line of statues, which conceptualize DC Characters (mostly the gals) in a 1940’s style. I kicked things off with a look at Batwoman, and boy was I impressed. Today, I’m pressing on and opening up my second figure in the assortment… Wonder Woman!

Clean, attractive, functional, and collector friendly. These are all words that I would use to describe DCC’s packaging these days. You also get some wonderful Bombshells character art on the side panel so you can line these up on a bookshelf and still know who is who. In this case, you also get a sticker on the window proclaiming the 75th Anniversary of Wonder Woman, and my doesn’t she still look great for her age! Normally, I’m quick to throw out action figure packaging, but I’m actually holding on to these boxes for now. I know, I probably won’t be able to keep them for long, but I want to at least give myself the option up until wave two hits.

And here she is out of the box and ready to go! If Batwoman represented America’s greatest pastime, then Wonder Woman here is going for the Rosie the Riveter, “We Can Do It!” angle. It’s a little more subtle here than a full on baseball uniform, but I still think it works very well. A big part of the success of this design for me is in the way the costume manages to stay faithful to Wonder Woman’s traditional look, while still embracing the 40’s style. The blouse, for example, features her emblem on the front, but adds a wide white collar and cuffs on the short sleeves. The blue shorts feature her iconic white stars, and her red high-heeled boots have white decorations and stars as well. The outfit is rounded out by a belt with a sculpted gold belt buckle and her famous lasso hanging off her right hip. She’s even got her wrist bracers, which are beautifully etched. All the details in the costume are part of the sculpt, and the paint is sharp and clean.

The portrait is over-the-top cheese, which certainly fits with the original statue. Wonder Woman is offering her biggest “Can Do” smile and has her hair tied up with a yellow ribbon while the bulk of her coif blows off in the breeze. I really love what they did here, but I have a feeling that it may be a little too singular a look for some collectors. It conveys the original art beautifully, but with a perpetually smiling expression, you are certainly limited in some of the poses you can pull off with her, whereas Batwoman’s portrait was more versatile. With that having been said, apart from adding in a second head, I wouldn’t have changed a thing.

The articulation here is every bit as good as what we got with Batwoman. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, swivels in the biceps, double hinges in the elbows, and hinged pegs in the wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have swivels in the thighs, double hinges in the knees, and hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. There’s a ball joint in the chest and another in the neck. Once again, I’ll point out the irony that these are figures based on a line of statues, and yet they feature some of the best articulation that we’ve seen out of DCC yet. And no stuck or gummy joints, either!

In addition to three sets of hands (fists, tight gripping, and loose gripping), Wonder Woman comes with two fun accessories. The first is a wrench, and let me tell you, if you’re in the market for a wrench in this scale, this is probably one of the best ones I’ve seen. It also fits the theme here quite well. I’m sure Wonder Woman is going to use that pipe wrench to tighten the bolts on the bomb that’s going to blow up Mr. Hitler! If not, then it’s just a great metaphor for the whole “Put America to work” mobilization that made up the CCC and WPA leading up to Doublya-Doublya-Two!

The other accessory is a chain with a cinder block on one end and a ball on the other. The original statue had her breaking a chain, which obviously inspired this piece. At first, I thought it an odd accessory, but I have to confess that I’ve had a ton of fun playing around with it.

If Batwoman spoke to my love of Baseball, Wonder Woman here does the same for my love of history. Everything about this figure gels so perfectly. The design, the execution, and the amazingly fun level of articulation. I was originally on board with these figures as some inexpensive alternatives to buying the statues, but I never expected them to be so engaging, or so difficult to put down. These figures are retailing for around $25 at most online retailers, and if this style is your jam, then you really can’t go wrong. On the next DC Friday, I’m going to take a mid-wave break to check out a statue, and then I’ll start opening up the second half of this assortment of amazing figures.

Star Wars Black: R5-D4 (Gamestop Exclusive) by Hasbro

Once again, I must disappoint all you Convertorobot fans, as it is Thursday and I have no new Transformers to look at. Maybe next week. We’ll see. In the meantime, let’s check out a robot that does not turn into anything!

I was mighty peeved to find out that the infamous droid with the bad motivator was coming to the 6-inch Black Series as a Gamestop Exclusive. There’s only one of these stores in my area and going in that place subjects me to a vortex of screaming kids, punks trying to sell games for drug money, and pushy salespeople trying to get me to opt in to some membership card or magazine. I hate the place. Besides, they’re closing stores left and right, so maybe giving them an Exclusive isn’t the best idea, Hasbro. Next you’ll be giving exclusives to other sinking retail ships like K-mart… oh, riiiight. Well, it turns out my anger was all for naught, because I was able to pre-order this guy on their website pretty easily and he showed up on my doorstep yesterday.

Hasbro is doing over-sized vintage cardbacks for the 40th Anniversary. A lot of these have been re-issues of “The Original Twelve” and I think these look terrific and I really dig how they will stand for easy display. So far, I’ve managed to keep myself from buying a set to keep carded, but that resolve may buckle if retailers start doing sales on these.. R5, however, is currently only available in this packaging, so I had no choice this time. Oh yeah… and thanks Gamestop for putting your obnoxious sticker on the card. It probably comes off, but it’s a shitty thing to do to an item that is being sold in collectible packaging. Good thing I bought this droid to open.

The back of the card is pretty damn cool too. It shows the twelve figures that are getting this carded treatment. All are re-issues, with the exception of the Sand Person, Jawa, Death Squad Commander, and I suppose Darth Vader, since he’s supposed to at least have a new head sculpt. There’s also a shot of the Early Bird-inspired display set that Vader comes with. Yup, I pre-ordered that thing. I have no willpower. And speaking of no willpower, as you can probably guess, these carded figures are not collector friendly and as good as it looks, I’m about to tear this one open.

Here he is, and as expected from the neck down he’s a straight repaint of R2-D2, and that’s not a bad thing, because this is a pretty damn good Astromech body. All of the familiar panel lines are sculpted in, and I really dig the hoses on his feet. Besides the red accents, R5’s deco also includes some light weathering, whereas I had to do my own on R2 with a mechanical pencil. I think they distressed him just the right amount. It doesn’t look heavy handed at all.

The head is also a very good sculpt and escapes the big fault of the R2 figure by not having those eyesore seams running up the sides. R5’s head still has seams, but they’re very well hidden. The antenna is made of bendy plastic, but it doesn’t seem like it will be prone to warping. You get a little bit of weathering on the head, but maybe here it could have used a smidgen more. The paint on the eyes is sharp and clean and the hologram sticker strip that runs around his neck looks nice, although I already had to stick the end of it back on, so I’m not sure how long that sticker is going to last.

As with R2, the third leg still retracts by turning the head. I wasn’t a big fan of this feature when I first saw it, but I’ve cooled on it a bit. It just seemed rather gimmicky for a collector line, but then the Black Series’ collector line credentials have been pretty shaky. I should also note that R5 doesn’t share any of the opening panels in his head that R2 had. It seems like they could have given us a swap-out panel with a bad motivator, but nope!

The two vertical side panels, on his front, however, do still open and he does have his little arms that swing out. It probably would have been easy for Hasbro to just glue these shut and not worry about them, so I’m pretty happy to see they survived.

In every way, R5-D4 is a great little figure. in fact, the only issues here for me are price and availability. At $22, you’re paying an awful lot for very little. R2 came with a bunch of extras and R5 comes with squat. It makes me wonder if he was made an exclusive release just to justify the price tag. Why not R5 and a couple of Jawas in a window box for $50? That would have been a nice deal. Plus, making him exclusive to Gamestop is just bewildering to me. I’ve never even seen Star Wars figures in a Gamestop outside of maybe Funko Pop! Vinyls. Luckily, I didn’t have to actually go in a Gamestop to get him. I pre-ordered mine when it first went up on the website and it became “Unavailable” not long after that. Disappointing collectors by making a deal with a dying game retailer? Not cool, Hasbro. The better way to go would have been to put him in a window box for wide distribution and let the vintage carded packaging be your exclusive. Ah, but what do I know?

Masters of the Universe Classics: Clamp Champ by Mattel

Yes, folks, I still have Masters Classics figures sitting around and waiting to be opened. I’m actually rationing these out as a way to get my MOTUC fix until Super7 can get their thing up and running. Today, I’m opening up Clamp Champ! Poor Clamp Champ missed out on being in both the Filmation series and the 200x reboot. His figure was released too late in the vintage line to make an appearance in the former, and the later series was cancelled before he could swoop in and take over for the doomed Man-At-Arms. On the flip-side, as far as I know he’s the only character of color to get a vintage toy release, and as such he’s certainly worthy our respect and attention.

After all this time, there’s not much more that can be said about this iconic packaging. Clamp Champ is an older release, so he does have a bio on the back of the card. His tag line on the bubble insert proclaims him the “Heroic Master of Capture!” I think they missed the opportunity to call him “Heroic Champ of the Clamp!” Give me a minute to rip open this package and we’ll see what he’s all about.

Clampy gets by with a buck that’s a straight up re-use of He-Man’s body only with a fresh coat of paint. Apart from the dark skin tone, his furry diaper and boot fringe have been recolored red, his boots are black, and his belt and bracers are silver. Nonetheless, he still manages to look rather distinctive thanks to his cool chest armor, which packs a lot of sculpted detail and a two-tone blue and silver deco. I’m a big fan of the whole techno-meets-fantasy vibe that I get off of this figure and I’ve got to say, Matty did a beautiful job recreating that armor.

The back of the armor also sports a black backpack. What is it? Maybe a power generator for his weapon? I don’t know. I think it would have been a good idea to put a hole there so he could wear his accessory on his back, but Matty decided to remain true to the vintage figure and I can respect that.

I dig the head sculpt on this guy a lot. Even though Champ didn’t appear in the Filmation cartoon, I think this head fits that style pretty well. But where does this guy get his name from?

From this big-ass clamp! I should note that Clampy feels like a bit of a cheat, because most of Eternia’s heroes and villains get their names from some kind of horrific defect or mutation. As such, you would expect Clamp Champ to have this thing grafted onto his arm, or just have a giant mutated claw. Nope, it’s just something he carries around with him and refers to as “The Techno Clamp”® The bio exclaims that Clamp Champ “surprises his enemies with his clamping action,” but that would have to be a pretty good trick, because how could they not see this giant clamp coming their way? Even Skeletor’s minions aren’t that clueless!

And to be fair, this big accessory is really more of a claw than a clamp, but Claw Champ isn’t quite as catchy. The original toy had a lever-control gimmick, and while this new version has a faux-lever sculpted on it, you have to pull out the claws manually. It’s still capable of grabbing enemies and I really like the little detailed paint apps that Matty did on its instrumentation.

Now this piece looks more like a clamp, but I have no idea what practical purpose it can serve, as he just holds it. Obviously, he can make a living with these ridiculous tools, otherwise he’d be unemployed and they’d call him Clamp Tramp. They’d probably also call him that if he slept around a lot.

In the end, I find myself in the odd position of not really digging Clamp Champ’s weapon all that much, but liking the figure quite a bit. The armor and the deco really works for me, but the clamp itself just reminds me of the goofy over-sized accessories that Hasbro is packing with Star Wars figures these days. It’s not terribly practical, but I suppose I’ll let him keep it. Otherwise it’ll be too hard to explain to people why he’s called Clamp Champ.

Marvel Legends (Space Venom Wave) Ultimate Peter Parker Spider-Man and Space Venom Builf-A-Figure by Hasbro

Here we go, folks, it’s time to wrap up another wave of Marvel Legends. I’m doubling up today by opening up the last packaged figure in the assortment, Ultimate Peter Parker, and then I’m going to check out the Build-A-Figure, Space Knight Venom. I think Venom would have probably been a more apt fit for the Guardians of the Galaxy Wave, but then we would have missed out on Titus, so I’m perfectly happy with the way this all played out. I’m also happy to finally be putting this wave to bed so I can get started on that Titus Wave… and the Sandman… Oh, and the Warlock Wave. Holy shit, I’M SO FAR BEHIND!!!

Here’s one last look at the packaging for this wave, although it’s not really remarkable in any way. Well, except for the fact that one of Spidey’s hands fell out of its spot on the tray. Peter shares a slot in this wave with Miles Morales under the name, “Ultimate Spider-Men!” and if I’m not mistaken that means that every figure in this wave was in a shared package. Seems like that’s a first, but maybe I’m mistaken. There are so many damn Legends waves flying at me these days, it’s hard to keep them all straight.

Now, before you roll your eyes at another Spider-Man, consider the fact that we really haven’t had a Peter Parker figure since “Pizza Spidey” back in 2015. Also, this Ultimate Parker is built off the smaller teen body that we just saw used for Miles Morales. And that alone makes this a very worthy release for me. The paint on this figure is immaculate, with some sharp web patterns and just the right shades of blue and red. On the downside, like “Pizza Spidey,” the pins in the elbows aren’t painted to match the blue of the inside sleeves. Personally, it’s not a big deal for me, but I know it was a bone of contention for a lot of collectors out there. Whatever the case, I really dig this costume a lot and translates beautifully to this figure.

And we finally get a fully unmasked Peter Parker head! Sure, it’s Ultimate Peter, but I’m content to use it for 616-Parker until the real thing comes along. It’s nicely sculpted, appropriately goofy, and an all around great piece of work.

In addition to the extra head, Spidey comes with the usual sets of hands we’ve come to expect from the Legends Spider-Man figures. These include fists, thwip hands, and hands with splayed fingers.

While this teen body lacks the shoulder crunches from most of the previous Spider-Man figures, the articulation here is still plenty good. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have swivels in both the thighs and lower legs, double hinges in the knees, and the ankles have both hinges and lateral rockers. The arms are ball jointed at the shoulders and wrists, the elbows are double hinges, and there are swivels in the biceps. The torso has a waist swivel, an ab crunch hinge, and the neck is both ball jointed and hinged. While the hinges on my figure are nice and strong and not at all gummy, my Spidey’s right shoulder hinge has barely any give at all. I’m pretty sure a little heat will fix it, but I haven’t had the time to give him the treatment yet.

Of course, Ultimate Peter Parker also includes the final piece I need to build Space Knight Venom! Venom: Space Knight gave us a brand new chapter in the Flash Thompson continuity. I’ve only read the first few issues, but it was a pretty great read that will definitely bring me back some day when I’m caught up on my other funnybooks. You could probably argue as to whether or not Venom needed to be a BAF, but if he wasn’t, I fear that we’d just get a straight painted buck, and not some of the extra sculpting we got for this figure. As far as BAFs go, Venom is as simple as you get. There are six pieces, including four limbs, a torso, and a head. Everything goes together very easily.

Ah, but put all those pieces together and what you get is a work of monochromatic art! As simple as this design is, I absolutely love it. He’s a beefy, black buck with a surprising amount of sculpted detail. The white Spider-emblem on his torso? That’s all part of the sculpt. While subtle, he’s also got some cut lines on his forearms and his legs, as well as some exposed ribbing in the area just below his head. The white paint is so bright and beautiful, without much in the way of the black bleeding through, and he has patch tampos on his shoulders. For what is essentially just a black and white figure, Venom is quite pleasing on the eyes.

This beefy buck includes some solid articulation. The arms are ball jointed at the shoulders and wrists, have hinged elbows, and there are swivels in the biceps.The legs have rotating hinges at the hips, swivels in the thighs, double hinges in the knees, and the ankles have both hinges and lateral rockers.  The torso has a waist swivel, an ab crunch hinge, and the neck is both ball jointed and hinged. All of these points conspire to make Space Knight Venom not just a great looking figure, but one that’s lots of fun to play around with.

It’s hard for me to quibble with this wave. It gave us some classic villains, as well as some new heroes from across the Spider-Verse, and there isn’t a stinker in the assortment. Indeed, it doesn’t even feel like there’s a budget figure in this lot either, despite the fact that we got straight body recycling between Ashley and Cindy and again between Miles and Peter. Yeah, I could still harp on the fact that Electro lacked some regular hands, but I’ve already beat that drum enough. On the next Marvel Monday, I’ll be switching my attention over to the statue side of things. My Marvel statues have been building up, and I might have to start looking at them on another day of the week so I can keep from getting too behind on Legends. Either way, I’ll be coming back the following week to kick off a brand new wave Legends of figures. If only there were a new movie coming out that first week in May that I could tie in with. Hmm…

KanColle: Destroyer Akizuki “Super Premium” Prize Figure by SEGA

Who’s ready for another Anime Saturday celebration of the amazing and wondrous world of Kantai Collection? I know I am! Today, I’ve got a new Fleet Girl cruising into port and it is none other than the Akizuki Class Destroyer. This lovely lady with a lovely name (“Autumn Moon”) is a bit bigger and badder than most of the Destroyers I’ve looked at before. Much like Fubuki, Mutsuki, and Yuudachi, Akizuki also has two sister ships, Teruzuki and Hatsuzuki, one of which will be showing up here on a Saturday in the near future.

SEGA tends to mix it up when it comes to the packaging for their Super Premium (SPM) figures. The original trio of Destroyers came in window boxes, whereas Battleship Nagato and Akizuki here come in fully enclosed boxes. I actually prefer these, because they’re easier to store and easier to keep from getting damaged. You get some nice gradient coloring with a hexagonal pattern and several shots of the figure inside. There’s virtually no English on the box at all, so here’s a situation where you really need to know who you’re looking at. Setting her up requires a little more assembly than usual, but she goes together nice and easy. It’s worth noting here that Akizuki is from the game, rather than the anime, but we won’t hold that against her. And, to quote her from the game, “Akizuki’s night battle, shall I show it to you?” Um… Yes, please!

And Wow… I’m in love! Akizuki is definitely a heavier Destroyer than I’m used to seeing as she has the dual gun emplacements that make her appear more similar to KanColle’s Battleships and Heavy Cruisers. I absolutely adore everything about this figure, but let’s just start with her outfit, which consists of a mostly white (with a little gray) sailor-style blouse and pleated skirt, short gloves, and a bright yellow neckerchief. What really makes her costume distinctive, however, is her armored corset and neck guard, designed after the ship’s forward bow. The coloring on her costume is nice and clean, and the bright white and yellow contrasts beautifully with the gray of her armor and armaments. She is a damn snappy looking figure.

The portrait is also fantastic. I love the depth given to her hair sculpt, and the mechanical look to her eyes. She has an Anti-AA Fire Detector Assembly perched on her head and a headband with “61st Destroyer Division” printed in Japanese. As I’m sure you know by now, I have quite a few of these Fleet Girls inhabiting my shelves, and I have to say this is one of my favorite head sculpts. The detail is just fabulous.

Moving on to her armaments, Akizuki features a 61cm Oxygen-Powered Quadruple Torpedo Launcher slung across her back, which if you haven’t seen the anime, make for a spectacularly cool looking attack maneuver when the girls launch these babies. Another really cool and unique aspect of Akizuki’s gear are the four replacement 10cm gun barrels that she has strapped to her right thigh, because those Type 98 guns were notorious for needing frequent replacing. I also really dig her rudder boots. They’re higher and more graceful looking than most of the other girls’ boots and actually resemble a pair of high heels. The crimson coloring also looks great with the matte gray.

Of course, the real star of this gun show are the Type 98 10cm Twin High-angle Gun mounts, harnessed to her hips. Not only do I love that these are fully articulated, but I really dig the split-prow design of her rig, which features some really nice attention to detail in the sculpt. And much like Shimakaze has her little animated gun buddies, called Rensouhou, Akizuki has her own gun-toting familiars, which are delightfully referred to as Chou-10cm-hou! These little fellas can be removed from her rig and allowed to wander about on their own. OMG, I’m dying!!

The base here is a white ovoid platform with her name emblazoned on it. She attaches to it by only one foot and leans forward while pointing to the target of her impending barrage. I love the balance of this piece, which really adds a sense of both style and excitement to the composition.

Akizuki scales quite well with SEGA’s other SPM figures, which means she’s a bit bigger than the Destroyers like Fubuki, but her armaments are still dwarfed by that of Secretary Ship Nagato’s.

Akizuki was about $25 shipped from a US Seller on Amazon, and holy hell is that a great deal! All of the SEGA SPM figures in my collection have been totally on point when it comes to quality, but aside from Nagato, which admittedly ran me three times the cost of this figure, Akizuki is without a doubt the showpiece of my SEGA fleet. Everything about this figure comes together so beautifully. She’s got a fantastic sculpt, solid paintwork, and the ability to remove both Chou-10cm-hou-chan figures is a wonderful little bonus. SEGA really outdid themselves here!

DC Bombshells (DC Designer Series): Batwoman by DC Collectibles

If you are at all attuned to the collectible comic statue market, then you’ve probably seen the DC Bombshells line. They’re DC gals (and a few dudes) re-imagined as WWII-era nose art. Or at least that’s how it started. It’s since grown into a wider scope, embracing the DC characters depicted in 40’s-era style in general. The statue designs have been pretty cool and while I’ve come close to picking up a couple, I’ve managed to resist so far, mainly because I’m already struggling to find space to display my DC Cover Girls. Although, I just miiiight have one Bombshell statue on pre-order. Enter the DC Bombshells figures. You get the same re-imaginings of the characters in action figure form and at a fraction of the price. Now you’re talking! I picked up the whole first wave and I’m kicking things off today with a look at Batwoman.

The packaging should look readily familiar if you’ve picked up any DC Collectibles figures these days. They use this same style for the Designer Series, the Icons Series, the DCTV Series… just about all the Serieseses. And why not? This is clean, collector friendly packaging that show off the figures beautifully and really lets you get a solid look at not only the figure, but all the accessories you’re getting. DCC is actually releasing the Bombshells under their Designer Series, celebrating the wonderful art of Ant Lucia. Batwoman is inspired by what else? America’s greatest pastime, Baseball! Get it? Bat-Woman? Oh, you did get it. OK then, let’s check her out.

Batwoman dons a somewhat non-traditional, but quite yummy, skirted baseball uniform, which includes a low cut top, sculpted belt, high socks, dainty gloves, and glossy cleats. Naturally, the deco is inspired by her crime-fighting costume in the comics, featuring a snappy mix of black and crimson. The paintwork here is super sharp, from the silver buckle on her belt to the piping around her collar and the black stripes at the tops of her socks. Best of all, you get a glossy bat symbol across her chest. This is a great piece of inspiration and an all-around great looking figure.

A quick view from the back reveals the lettering on her uniform top: “Gotham Knights 52” I love it!

The portrait here is pretty stellar as well. She features wide green eyes, perfectly painted lips, and a flowing coif of crimson hair that spills out from her distinctive baseball cap, which features both her bat symbol and a pair of adorable little pointy bat ears. She also has just a hint of grease paint around her eyes, suggestive of her mask. All the skin tones are achieved through nekkid plastic and the stuff they used looks great.

DCC went above and beyond with the articulation here. It’s something I really didn’t expect from a line of figures based off of conceptualized statues, and yet here we have it. This is quite frankly even better articulation than we’ve been getting out of DC Icons. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders, swivels in the biceps, double hinges in the elbows, and hinged pegs in the wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have swivels in the thighs, double hinges in the knees, and hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. There’s a ball joint in the chest and another in the neck. The jointing feels excellent, with no gummy hinges or stuck joints. I can’t even tell you how much fun I’ve had playing around with this figure, but hopefully the pictures will convey a little bit of it.

Accessories include three pairs of hands: Fists, bat-holding hands, and ball-holding hands. She also comes with a catcher’s mitt, a baseball, and a bat. The mitt is just another hand that can be swapped out and it’s sculpted to hold the ball perfectly so you can recreate some amazing catches. Batwoman doesn’t let anything get past her… not even those pop flys!

If there’s anything in this package that’s disappointing, it would have to be the bat. It pains me to say that, because it’s an excellent sculpt with a very realistic wood-grain finish. It even has her name engraved on it and a tiny bat emblem on the tip. So what’s the problem? It just feels too small. Maybe I’m off base (HA!) on this. I dig baseball a whole lot, but I’m no expert. Nonetheless, I just get a sense that the bat isn’t regulation and that it’s under-scaled for the figure. Make no mistake, it’s not enough to tarnish my love for this gal, but worth mentioning nonetheless. Besides, if I didn’t, I wouldn’t have anything negative to say here at all.

Am I gushing? I’ve been gushing, haven’t I? Well, truth be told, I was really looking forward to getting this first wave of Bombshells figures in hand, and I gotta tell ya, after opening up Batwoman, this gal does not disappoint. Everything about this figure, from the sculpt to the paint to the super fun articulation is just about perfect. I love the spirit behind these designs and I am suitably impressed at how this figure manages to capture the look of the statue while delivering all the fun that goes along with a fun action figure. I’m chomping at the bit to open up another, but sadly, that’ll have to wait until the next DC Friday.

Star Wars “The Force Awakens:” Finn 1:6 Scale Figure by Hot Toys

Nope, no Transformers Thursday this week. Sorry. I was hoping to get a little MP-36 action going today, but he was not in the budget this week. Probably not next week. Maybe I’ll get lucky and nab one in at the end of April or perhaps the prospects of the ridiculous orange plug will piss me off enough that I can save my money. For now, I happened to be re-organizing my sixth-scale shelves to make room for some new arrivals last week when it dawned on me that I had yet to review a couple of my Hot Toys figures from The Force Awakens. Let’s remedy that today by checking out Big Deal himself,  Finn!

I’ve already looked at Hot Toys Rey and BB-8 and the packaging here is very similar. Finn was available on his own or boxed with the First Order Riot Stormtrooper, which is the route I went. Other than this bigger box, I don’t think there was any real difference between the two releases of Finn. And don’t worry, I’ll be looking at the Riot Trooper on his own in the next week or so. But let me take a moment to declare what a testament it is to how much I loved the new characters in The Force Awakens, that I’m buying them as Hot Toys and not The Original Trilogy characters. Truth be told, the main reason is that collecting the OT Hot Toys is too big a plunge for me to take. First I’d be spending $220 on Luke Skywalker and next thing I know, I’m 20 figures deep and making five $60 Flex Pays on a Hot Toys Power Droid and wondering what happened. The smaller cast of The Force Awakens seems a lot more manageable. Especially since WE STILL HAVEN’T EVEN SEEN A HINT THAT POE DAMERON IS EVER COMING OUT. What? Oh yeah, let’s have a look at Finn…

In case you’ve never met a Resistance fighter before, this is what they look like. Well, some of them. Others look different. But this is most definitely FN-2187, better known to his new pals as Finn. As a character, I found Finn to be instantly likable and this figure captures him beautifully. It is, however, a pretty simple figure, especially once I discarded the nearly useless extra, which I’ll get to in a bit. Finn sports a pretty standard pair of space trousers, a t-shirt and, of course, Poe’s Resistance jacket.

And yes, Poe’s trusty jacket is easily the star of this otherwise pedestrian outfit. It’s a splendidly crafted garment with some immaculate stitching and it hits all the right points of the real thing. Some of those high points include the reinforced patch on the front of the right shoulder and the ribbed stripes that run down the outside of each sleeve. The material is a very pliable and a convincing substitute for leather. One of the other great things about this outfit is how it isn’t at all restrictive and there are no super delicate pieces, like buttons that can fall off. While a lot of Hot Toys sacrifice pose-ability for tightly crafted costumes, Finn feels like an honest-to-goodness action figure and he’s loads of fun to play around with.

I can remember some early reactions to this figure and people picking on the likeness. Honestly, I don’t know what there is to complain about. To me, this looks spot-on to actor John Boyega and features the usual crazy level of realistic detail both in sculpt and some sterling paintwork. The expression is fairly neutral, which I think is always the way to go unless we’re getting an extra head. The eyes have that eerie “I’m alive” look to them, and the sculpted hair looks fantastic. I think this one is a total home-run. I’ll also toss in here the fact that Finn comes with Hot Toys’ usual assortment of extra hands. These include fists, saber holding hands, gun holding hands, and relaxed hands.

Let’s kick off the accessories with mention of the electronic lightsaber, so we can never speak of it again. Yes, this is where my appreciation of the figure takes a momentary dive. This saber hilt is actually an integral part of a replacement arm, which has to be swapped out and doing so is an unbelievable pain in the ass. I did it once when I first got the figure and I’ll never do it again. Nope, not even for this review. Because of the sleeve, it’s impossible to see what you’re doing, and I’d say it probably took me a good twenty minutes to finally get it in there. It was a whole ordeal during which, I was constantly afraid that I was going to mess up the outfit or break the figure’s arm. Yes, it looks mighty pretty when it’s all lit up, but it’s still not worth the risk to me. And, I have to ask, is it really necessary to integrate the electronics into the whole arm? Couldn’t they have done it in just a hand? I mean, I have a pretty damn small LED on my key-ring that could have easily lit this saber up. Just saying…

Well, since the lit saber and arm is not my cup of tea, I’m happy to say Finn also comes with a regular lightsaber that can share the blade with the electronic one. This saber is the exact same accessory that came with Rey and it’s still a beautiful piece. The hilt is intricately detailed and the translucent blue blade just pegs right into the hilt. It may seem odd to include the saber with both Rey and Finn, but in fairness, this set is intended to recreate Finn’s battle with the Riot Stormtrooper on Takodana, and I can’t say as I mind having an extra.

Next up, Finn comes with the rather distinctive blaster that he borrowed off of Han Solo. I remember not being terribly fond of this design and back when I reviewed the 6-inch Black Finn, I actually speculated that it wouldn’t even appear in the movie. Boy, was I wrong, actually on both counts, because this weapon design has grown on me a lot. I like the clear piece on the end of the “scope” and the barrel kind of reminds me of the Rebel DH-17 Blaster just a bit. The weapon does not feature any moving parts, but it does come with a pretty cool carry strap.

And speaking of carrying things, how about a big bag of bombs? It’s the explosive payload that Finn toted to The Starkiller Base in order to blow the place up. This could have just as easily been an accessory included with the Han Solo figure, since he and Chewie were the ones planting the things, but I’m glad they gave Finn some more stuff. The satchel includes a retaining strap that pegs together at the buckle and there’s a mesh side so you can see what’s in it when it’s full. It’s also a pretty big bag, as you could probably fit twice as many bombs in it as comes with the set.

And lastly, Finn comes with a stand that features The Resistance logo as well as a name plate. It’s the same style of stand that came with Rey, complete with a crotch cradle on an adjustable post to keep Finn standing proud.

Finn is available by himself for $205, which is a decent value for a Hot Toys figure, as they usually start in the $220 range these days. I picked up mine in the two-pack with the Riot Trooper for $360, so if you want to split the two figures evenly down the mdidle that makes Finn $180 and that’s even sweeter. Although, it’s worth mentioning that as I write this Sideshow has thrown up the “Low Stock” warning on his product page. I’ll concede that Finn’s a somewhat basic figure, especially if you’re like me and choose to ignore the electronic saber gimmick, but I can’t say as there’s anything really missing from his collection of extras. Not to mention he is a damn solid figure in his own right, with a nicely tailored costume and a superb likeness. And all kidding aside, I really am shocked that we haven’t seen or heard anything about a Hot Toys Poe, because him in his X-Wing pilot suit would be a wonderful way to round out my Rey, Finn, and BB-8 display.

Vitruvian HACKS: Atelis Warrior (Kokomo Toys Exclusive) by Boss Fight Studios

A couple of weeks back Indiana toy store, Kokomo Toys revealed their second Exclusive release from Boss Fight Studios’ Vitruvian HACKS series and I was quick to drop in a pre-order. It also reminded me how I’ve let this line has fall by the wayside when it comes to my reviews. I still have quite a few figures from Series 1, and I promise I’ll be getting back to looking at them regularly. But for now, I’m going to go ahead and push this figure to the head of the line, because I’m really excited to open her up and check her out.

BFS have done a few exclusives in this line and they’ve all come in these simple, illustrated boxes. They’re certainly not as flashy as the full-color carded packaging used on the regular releases, but these are still collector friendly and the little boxes give you a place to keep all the extra bits. And there are a ton of extra bits! I probably could have bought three or four of these figures and kitted each one out to make them look unique. So, let’s start out with the basic figure and then check out all the extra goodies.

The Atelis Warrior (I’m just going to call her Atelis) is the result of a misguided attempt to turn human warriors back after they’ve been cursed as Gorgons. The result is this half-stage mutation warrior, who in the end still remained loyal to Medusa and the Gorgons. That’s a pretty rad backstory for what is a great looking figure. We’ve seen just about all of these parts before in previous HACKS figures that I reviewed here. You get the basic female buck, painted green. The chest armor, shoulder armor, and arm pieces all come from Medusa, while the greaves are from the Spartan Warrior. Pretty much all the armor and accessories here are repainted with a gorgeous gold and they all look fantastic.

The sculpting on the shoulder piece is superbly done, especially for a 4-inch scale figure. I also really appreciate the individually painted rivets on the skirt and straps. The sandal straps are individually painted, and even the body has some nice dark green markings to drive home the whole snake motif. As always, all the armor pieces are removable and they are compatible with the other female HACKS figures. For that matter, even the figure itself can be disassembled and rebuilt fairly easily.

Atelis comes with two head sculpts, which was an unexpected, but most welcome, surprise. The standard head looks to be a repaint of the Coral Snake Gorgon head, which was part of the original wave of four figures. This portrait features some very nice sculpted scaling, and the eyes look incredible. The head attaches via a double ball-jointed post, which allows for easy swapping as well as a little extra movement in the neck.

The second head is an even more incredible sculpt. You get the full open mouth with some beautiful work on the interior. I can practically see the venom glands in there ready to spew! This head has a little more of a sheen to it and both the sculpted scales and the painted markings are different for this head, so if you happen to be picking up a couple of these, you can diversify your display quite nicely. As long as we’re talking heads, let’s take a look at the head gear included with the figure.

You get two types of head gear, the first being a standard Spartan-style helmet. We’ve certainly seen this before, and it looks great in the gold paint with a dark green comb on the top. These helmets were obviously designed for the human heads, so the cheek guards splay out a bit on the snake heads, but I still think it looks fine.

The other piece is a gold repaint of the snake skull headpiece we’ve seen with some of the Gorgons. I loved the design of this thing when I first got it with the Coral Snake Gorgon, and I have to say it looks incredible in gold.

BFS have really been packing these exclusive releases with a ton of weapons and Atelis here is no different. She comes with two sets of hands and each set has the hinges placed differently. As for the weapons, first off you get two of those skeletal whips that have been included with some of the Gorgons in the past.

Next up, you get a pair of matched swords. These are the Etruscan style swords with leaf-shaped blades, all decked out in gold.

You also get this sweet little skeletal dagger, which compliments the whips quite nicely. Get ’em caught in the whip and then make with the stabby-stabby! It’s a delightfully brutal combination.

And finally, Aetlis comes with a gorgeous golden shield with Medusa’s face sculpted into it. This features the usual combination of sleeve and grab bar that allows the figure to hold it pretty securely. It can be a little bit of a chore to get her hand to grasp the bar, but to be honest, the sleeve is more than enough to keep the shield on her arm.

With BFS hard at work on Vitruvian HACKS Series 2 (this time, a medieval-fantasy themed series), I was all but certain that Series 1 was finished. Nonetheless, this lovely lady came across my Twitter feed back in March for pre-order and I jumped on it right away. At $30, she ran about ten bucks more than the regular figures, but in fairness, you do get some more goodies in the box than with a regular release and since that included shipping, the price here doesn’t seem outrageous, especially for an exclusive release. The Atelis Warrior is still available through Kokomo Toys’ Ebay Store.