Heroes of the Storm: Tyrael (Diablo) by NECA

I’m continuing to work my way through a rather large receivings pile that dates back at least a month and it includes loads of great stuff by NECA. So, with that in mind let’s check back in with NECA’s Heroes of the Storm line. This time e’re dipping into the Diablo franchise with Tyrael, one of the five Archangels of the Angiris Council and the personification of Justice itself! Damn, those are some impressive credentials!

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As we already saw with Terra Nova and Illidan, the figures come in sealed clamshells with the logo on top and an insert customized to the character. These are not collector friendly, but they do look nice and offer a great look at the figure inside. I’ve gone on record before saying that I don’t actually play the Heroes of the Storm game, but rather I’m in this line more for the Blizzard franchises that originally spawned these characters. Today’s figure fits nicely as I recently grabbed Diablo III off my pile of unplayed games and started taking it for a whirl.

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And here he is out of the package and looking rather the imposing chap! This version of Tyrael is spawned from Diablo II before he was condemned by The Council and stripped of his angelic status. His full plate armor is absolutely stunning with a silver and dull copper paint scheme and some crisp scrollwork designs scattered throughout. Between many of the plates, the cross-thatched chain mail can be seen, and he wears a cream colored sash that starts at his hood and flows down between his legs. This is a pretty complex design even for a 7-inch scale figure but NECA nails it perfectly.

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His armored angelic wings are particularly impressive as the feather motif forged in steel takes on a sharp-edged plumage, rising above his already impressive shoulders. Further spiked feathery motifs are added to the points on his knees and ankles. Damn, this guy looks great!

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As far as articulation goes, Tyrael has a lot of serviceable points, but the sculpt does work against them in a few areas. He has rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, and ankles, as well as his two wings. His head is ball jointed. The large shoulder plates and the hip plates are made of soft, rubbery plastic to allow for movement. The biggest restrictions are in the elbows. They will swivel, but the sculpted plates don’t offer a lot of room for them to bend. With, that having been said I’d say articulation is overall on par with what you would expect from a heavy suit of armor.

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The portrait is… empty! Yes, Tyrael just sports an eerie empty hood, which works rather well on the figure. I’ve always had a fascination with empty-hooded fantasy characters. My notebooks in Middle School were probably littered with sketches of this sort of thing, along with flaming swords and other metal AD&D-fueled references.

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Tyrael comes with one accessory, his rather large sword, El’Druin. It’s a magnificent piece of sculpting and paintwork and cast in a stiff plastic, so no worries about warping. The spiked appendages coming off the hilt nicely mirror the steel wings on his armor. The pommel pulls off of the hilt, so you can slide it into his closed grip and then pop it back on and he’s good to go.

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While some restrictive articulation means Tyrael isn’t as fun to play around with as Illidan was, he’s still an amazing looking figure which continues to makes me very happy that I’ve decided to collect this line. Oddly enough, he’s also made me all the more anxious to get my hands on T4H’s Mythic Legion figures, because I think this guy will fit right in with them in terms of scale and aesthetics.

Marvel Legends (Red Onslaught Wave): Captain America by Hasbro

I’m finally past the halfway mark in my look at this wave of Marvel Legends figures… only three more to go before I can cobble together a Red Skull! With the wave branded in a Captain America theme, it’s understandable that Cap himself would make an appearance and that’s exactly who I’m checking out today!

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There’s really nothing new to say about the packaging, other than Cap and his accessories fill up that tray pretty well. It feels like we’ve been hit with a whole lot of Cap since the Legends line returned, but I’ve been more or less complete with these figures and I was surprised to find only a handful in my Legends drawers, and a couple of those were from the Cinematic Universe. With Rogers being one of my favorite Marvel characters, you won’t hear me complain about getting a fair share of different versions of the man. Oh yeah… see those shoulder straps?

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Well forget about them. They literally slid off the figure’s arms the moment I got him out of of the package. I see no way of making them stay on, so I just have to ask, WTF, Hasbro? Costume malfunction aside, I really dig this figure. He’s about as classic a version of comic Cap that we’ve seen in Legends since the line has come back. It’s a very clean look for the costume with no scaling or texturing on the top of the costume at all, just a large white star and pronounced red and white stripes in the mid-section. The classic comic goodness is further enhanced by the very wide belt and large belt buckle, the flared gauntlets and the traditional buccaneer boots. This here is good old-fashioned and unfiltered patriotism, soldier!

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The head sculpt is broad and beefy, which makes for a good comic look. The cowl features the extra large “A” as part of the sculpt as well as the protruding wings on the sides. Some of the paint lines could have been a little sharper, but there’s nothing too bad here.

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This version of Cap sports more or less the same articulation as most. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, double hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, with double hinges in the knees and swivel cuts in the thighs and tops of the boots. The ankles are hinged and have lateral rockers. Finally, you get a rotating waist, ab crunch hinge, and ball joint in the neck. I will note that the hinge in the neck does very little and I’ve really only been able to get side to side movement out of the head.

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The shield appears to be the same one that came with the Marvel NOW! version of Cap that was part of the Mandroid Wave. It’s the type that clips onto the arm and also offers a peg so it can be worn on the back. The paint on the surface is pretty crisp and clean.

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You also get an extra pair of hands, which include a saluting right hand and a pointing left hand. It’s the sort of thing we’ve seen before in Legends scale Caps and while I’m not a big extra hand kind of guy, I do appreciate getting these with my Caps. Almost as much as getting a spare werewolf head.

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Because of course, no Captain America figure is complete without an werewolf head. Wait, what? Yeah, this extra head in the package no doubt has had the more casual collectors scratching their heads. Wolf Cap was one of the more bizarre twists Captain America took a while (in the 90’s, I think?) back. I’ve never actually read that run, but it’s very possible I may be displaying this figure with the wolf head because, why the hell not?

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I can certainly understand some collectors getting Cap fatigue from Legends. Those people are obviously filthy communists. Me? I’m a patriot, and so I’m happy to get another stand out version of Captain America for my shelf. Indeed, this one fits right in between the version that came in the Target Exclusive 3-Pack (with Radioactive Man and Ms Marvel) and the aforementioned modern look from the Mandroid Wave. The bonus werewolf head is just a gravy. Very silly gravy.

DC Icons: (#08) Lex Luthor by DC Collectibles

It’s been a while since I checked out the first wave of DC Collectibles’ new DC Icons line, but after a long detour into some statues and a few other things, I’m ready to bring DC Friday back around to look at what Wave 2 has to offer. Today I’m kicking things off with a look at Lex Luthor, because for some reason (I can’t imagine why), I have a powerful need to look at a traditional and faithful treatment of the character. Yeah, I know, this is the New 52 version, but compared to what we’ve seen on the big screen recently, this is still pretty damn traditional.

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The packaging has not changed from what we saw in the first wave. You get a collector friendly window box with a snazzy angle on the window indicating the figure’s name and number in the series. Lex is actually #8, so while I am going to cover all of Wave 2 over the next month or so, I’m not going in order. The side panel also has the name and number of the figure, along with the story he’s pulled from, in this case the “Forever Evil” mini-series by Geoff Johns. If you like to keep your packages, you couldn’t ask for more than this. It displays all the accessories in the tray and they look great lined up on the shelf. If I had the space, I’d be keeping these, but as you all probably know, I don’t.

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I like this look for Lex a lot. It’s vaguely reminiscent of his armored costumes from Super Powers and even the DC Universe Classics figure, only a lot less bulky. The sculpting of the costume conveys the idea that he’s wearing armor pieces over a bodysuit and overall it’s fairly faithful to the David Finch art. The armor itself has some rather nice contours, particularly in the chest and shoulders.

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The coloring on this figure is stellar. The green and purple not only scream Lex Luthor to me, but the vibrant shade of the purple suit matched with the super slick, glossy green paint on the armor is pure eye candy. The extra white hits do a good job mimicking the light up features from the panel art. Based on the costume alone, this is without a doubt a great looking figure.

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The head sculpt is solid, but not exceptional. It’s a very simple sculpt without a lot of depth to it. The eyes seem off to me and the jawline is way too severe. I’m also unsure of what expression they were going for, other than passive and bland. I would have liked something with more energy and emotion. In general, I don’t think the portraits in the DC Icons line have been up there with some of T4H’s work on DCUC and this figure continues that trend.

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Articulation, on the other hand, is really wear this line is at and Lex brings it. You get double hinges in both the elbows and knees. The legs are ball jointed at the hips and the ankles feature both hinges and lateral rockers. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists and swivels in the biceps. The torso features both an ab crunch hinge and a ball joint under the chest. Finally, the neck is ball jointed, although the high collar does inhibit the head movement a bit.

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Accessories are also a big focus in this line, although I have to admit I find Lex’s collection of extras a little bland. If you’ve been reading FFZ for a while then you know I don’t often go ga-ga over a lot of swap out hands, and that’s mostly what Lex’s extras have to offer. Besides the standard pair of fists and relaxed hands, you also get a hand holding his lighting rod and another projecting an energy screen. These are decent enough display options, but nothing that gets me too excited.

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You also get this little wrist blade that clips on over the wrist. It’s probably my favorite accessory in the box, but that’s not saying a lot.

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If I sound a little underwhelmed by Mr. Luthor, that’s not really the case. He is a solid figure through and through and he’s got a lot of great qualities, including the fun articulation and rather beautiful paint job. Not to mention, I think this is a look for the character that even a lot of those rabid New 52-haters could get behind. In the end, I just felt the extras left a little to be desired, but that’s coming from someone who can rarely be bothered to swap out hands all that often. But in the end, this is another accomplished entry in what has proven to be an extremely fun line of figures. And if anything, having Lex on my shelf is making me very excited to pick up the Wave 3 Superman figure.

Transformers Combiner Wars: G2 Stunticons Box Set by Hasbro, Part 1: Motormaster

Well, looks like I was able to get Transformers Thursdays kick-started a little early thanks to this big box of garishly colored plastic that arrived on my stoop earlier in the week. Lest you think Hasbro isn’t willing to take risks these days, I present to you the Combiner Wars Stunticons in those glorious Generation 2 colors that never actually saw official release here in the US. That is, until someone recently dropped an obscene amount of money on an un-circulated set via Ebay. It’s worth noting that this is actually the second G2-inspired Combiner Wars set Hasbro has sent to retail, the first being the Aerialbots, which I will probably get to eventually. Now, I was already out of buying Transformers and in college by the time G2 hit the shelves around 1991, but it’s impossible for me not to fall in love with the vivid coloring that the line used. Today I’m going to start with a look at the packaging and Motormaster…

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The box is somewhat reminiscent to the packaging Takara uses for their Unite Warriors giftsets, although this one is a completely enclosed box with no window or front flap. Still, it’s impressively large and features very nice artwork on the front and the back shows the combined Menasor mode. It doesn’t actually make the connection to the G2 homage anywhere on the box, so anyone buying this set sight unseen and expecting to get the regular Stunticons will be in for a delightful or horrific surprise, depending on their personal tastes.

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Inside the box, the six figures come packaged in their vehicle modes, just like the old G1 giftsets and I wouldn’t have it any other way. The weapons and combiner parts are laid out beside each figure. The box also contains an instruction sheet and a collectible character card for Menasor. Just look at these lovelies! They look like they would be right at home cruising the streets in GTA: Vice City. This is so damn cool!

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A far cry from his drab black and gray G1-style deco, Motormaster’s cab now sports snazzy purple and two-tone blue coloring with stylish red stripes running down the sides. You also still get some of that great silver paint on the front grill and the smokestacks and the wheels are still black. I’ll also point out that they did a fairly good job matching the purple plastic on the corners with the purple paint on the rest of the cab. Although, I still wish they could have painted in the rest of the windows to match, even if it meant bumping up the price of the set a little bit. I don’t have anything new to say about the cab mode itself. It holds together pretty well and I’m surprised the Third Parties haven’t come out with trailers for Motormaster yet. Right now, they could get two versions out of whatever mold they cooked up. Four, if you count the two Optimus Primes. GET ON IT, DUDE’S!!!

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Wow… he’s breathtaking! I mean, holy hell does he just pop! In robot mode, the new deco carries over from the cab with few surprises. You do get more blue showing than purple and the extra red paint hits really makes for a striking touch. It’s fascinating to see the profound differences that a drastic new color scheme makes, especially over a figure that was essentially just monochrome black and gray with a little purple. And the fact that there’s still a fair amount of purple and black means that this deco still works quite well for me as a Decepticon. Also, it feels like this figure was built off the updated mold with the more forgiving hip ratchets.

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The vibrant silver paint used on the face is as eye catching as ever and there’s that epic G2 Decepticon emblem stamped right in the middle of his chest. I’ve got to admit, I never thought I’d see it on a modern toy that wasn’t some kind of Con Exclusive. It’s so damn cool to see that this is a regular retail release.

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Motormaster includes the same two weapons that came with his original Combiner Wars release: His gun and sword. There’s really nothing new to be said about these. They feature the same brilliant silver paintwork and can combine with each other to form the larger Menasor sword.

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What can I say, other than I am smitten with this guy. Granted, this mold has had its ups and downs with me. I didn’t care for it as Optimus Prime, mostly because of the big arms and the unpainted corners of the cab. But when it was released as Motormaster, I was totally on board and it still holds up for me just fine with this new release. The larger arms suit Motormaster’s brutish nature and both of the color schemes work perfectly for me. Sure, the first release will still be representing on my Combiner Wars shelves, but I’m already planning a second shelf for these G2 re-releases. This is simply a gorgeous figure and a wonderful homage to that quirky span of Transformers that held the franchise together until something new came along. I really can’t thank Hasbro enough for bringing this out, and you know what’s great? I still have five more figures to look at! Next Thursday, I’ll be back to check out a pair of limbs!

God of War III: Ultimate Kratos “Ghost of Sparta” by NECA

NECA’s Ultimate Series continues to blow me away with each new figure I pick up. In fact, it’s doing such a great job, that I even find myself buying figures from properties that I otherwise wouldn’t think of. Now, God of War is a decent series of video games, I will not deny that. I’ve played most of them, even one of the PSP releases, and while I wouldn’t rank it at the top of my list of personal favorites, I’d consider these games a guilty pleasure. I certainly never played any of them for the story or even that much for Kratos himself. What I’m getting at here is that, apart from being a cool badass, Kratos doesn’t mean that much to me as a character, but that doesn’t matter so much when NECA is working their magic on the figure.

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Behold! Just when I thought the Ultimate Series packaging couldn’t get any better, they go and do this. While the previous packages have been unifrom in size and shape, this one is most definitely a stand-alone piece. It’s still a window box with a front flap, but this one is much wider across when compared to the regular releases and it’s designed to look like a mock up of a PS2 game. Or in this case, a large PS2 accessory of some sort. I love it.

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Open it up and you get some lovely artwork on the inside of the front flap and a good look at the figure and all the accessories within. One side panel has the franchise name on it and the other has three shots of Kratos in action. This is some killer presentation and it feels more like a limited edition or exclusive than an off-the-shelf release. The Gods would indeed be pleased.

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Even at NECA’s regular 7-inch scale, Kratos feels like a big figure in hand and he’s a beautifully crafted piece. NECA has reproduced his ashen skin perfectly, thanks to gray plastic and a white wash, and coupled it with some splendid detail on all the components of his costume. You have the Boots of Hermes, which are really more like sandals, but they still feature the sculpted wraps, bronzed fixtures and crimson wings on the sides. His belt is engraved with a decorative pattern and his loin cloth blows off to the side. The detail on the chains around his bracers is impressive, as is the bronzed armor plates on his right arm, all of which feature a nice, shiny gold finish with some bright red splatter on the upper pieces.

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On his back, Kratos wears the twin Blades of Chaos, secured in place with chains and ready to be drawn at the hint of danger. From behind, you can also get a better look at the individual straps that make up his “skirt.” I can’t think of too many companies, outside of NECA, putting this kind of effort in sculpt and paintwork in their figures.

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You get two portraits for Kratos. The regular, slightly perturbed, visage and the angry one he flashes right before he starts tearing shit up. Both of these head sculpts are little works of art and both manage to capture the character perfectly. Whether you’re going for a standard “museum style” pose or something with a little action, these two noggins have you covered.

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The articulation on this fella includes just about everything I could ask for in my video game action figures. The legs have rotating hinges at the hips, double hinges in the knees, and rotating hinges in the ankles. The torso can swivel at the waist and has an ab crunch hinge. The arms have rotating hinges at the shoulders and wrists, double hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps. The head is ball jointed. Some lateral rockers in the ankles would have been nice for those wide stances, but he can get by without them.

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The Blades of Chaos are beautifully recreated here as if they flew right out of the game. They feature blazing orange blades fashioned in translucent plastic at the edges. The hilts are intricately sculpted, gnarled and ancient-looking and Kratos can comfortably grasp them in his hands.

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You also get the Nemean Cestus, the massive pair of gauntlets, which fit over Kratos’ hands. As far as accessories go, these things are absolutely stunning. Not only are the enormous, but they represent a hell of a lot more sculpted detail than I’m used to seeing in some companies’ entire figures. They are, however, extremely heavy, so getting Kratos’ joints to support all that weight in certain poses can be problematic.

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I’m going to pay Kratos the highest compliment I can: He ranks up there with my treasured Raziel as my favorite video game action figures of all time. Now, Raziel, also one of NECA’s Player Select figures, still holds the top spot, but that’s mostly because I’m far more vested in that character and series. But in terms of craftsmanship, these figures are leagues above anything other companies are putting out in this scale. The real kick in the jumblies is the price. If you handed this box to me and let me play around with Kratos for a while, I would probably guess an MSRP of around $40-50. Nope, try $25. TWENTY FIVE DOLLARS. Even laying aside all the sculpt work and paint that went into this guy, the amount of plastic alone makes that seem like a great value. Add to that the fact that when compared to the stuff Hasbro and Mattel are putting out, these are really niche figures aimed at a much smaller market. I seriously don’t know how they do it, but I’m glad they can!

One:12 Collective: Judge Dredd by Mezco

Mezco is poised to take the action figure world by storm this year with the widespread expansion of their One:12 Collective line to include Marvel, DC, and Star Trek. But it all started with Batman and Judge Dredd here. As a teenager, I got my first Dredd comics at a used book store downtown. It was just a random sampling of what they had on hand. Later I found that my friend from school had a whole collection and I was able to delve deeper than what I had. The comics had a flavor about them… adult and gritty and reading them felt like I was getting away with something. Just seeing one of those black and white pages still brings me back. To be honest, I hadn’t given the character a lot of thought until the amazing Karl Urban flick hit. Of course, today’s figure is based off the comic version, and that’s an important distinction to make when realizing what an amazing thing Mezco has achieved here.

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This packaging is class, through and through and I wish I could do it justice, but it’s so damn shiny that it’s really hard to take a picture of it without it just winding up a reflection of me taking a picture of it. In some ways it outshines (har har) what we’ve been getting from Hot Toys these days. The figure comes in a mostly black box with a clear plastic sleeve around it and decked out in color printing. You get a lovely emblem on the front and some shots of the figure and accessories on the back.

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With the sleeve off the box is mysteriously devoid of almost all feature. There is, however, a front flap that opens to reveal a window granting a look at what’s inside: A molded black plastic tray with the figure set atop the stand and flanked by accessories. There’s a secondary tray underneath with the arm for the stand and a branded ziploc bag for parts similar to what we get from Figma. Everything about this package is suggestive of a true high end collectible. It makes me feel like I’m handling something special and it’s a credit to the collectible figure inside.

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First thing I’m going to do is straight out tell y’all what impresses me the most about this figure. Dredd’s costume design is a work of art in the comic panels, but translate it to real life and it’s about the most impractical thing I can possibly imagine. So much so, it seems like it should be nearly impossible to credibly pull it off well on an action figure. But Mezco did it here. For starters, the figure comes clad in a full-body, highly flexible, leather-like suit with a zipper running down the front. The body has a decidedly stylized design with a slim waist and broad chest. Now add on the beautifully chunky plastic boots and knee pads, gloves, and elbow pads. Next, a highly detailed plastic belt to hand around that rather slim waist, and finally, the gargantuan plastic shoulder pads, each held on by magnets. These are absolutely brilliant in the way they’re designed and in the way they look.  The eagle guard, in particular is just perfect. This figure is like the comic character come to life.

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Another clever use of a magnet can be found securing the badge to the front of the outfit, which in turn is chained to the zipper. The head sculpt features Dredd’s iconic helmet, complete with the lightning bolts on the visor and the snappy red trim and yellow shield. The lower half of the face is exposed in the classic extreme scowl like only Dredd can produce. The plastic used for the skin is a little waxy, which is something that I hope Mezco addresses before going full guns on their upcoming figures in this line. It’s not a deal-breaker by any stretch, I don’t even think it really detracts from the figure. It’s just something that I think can be improved upon.

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The belt hangs loose on the figure, and it is occasionally necessary to re-position it as it can ride up or shift when posing Dredd. It’s lined with sculpted pouches and the back features two loops to hold his canister grenades and a pouch to hold his spare magazine of ammo. There’s also a loop, which I thought might be for his truncheon, but it really doesn’t fit in there. The detailing on the belt is carried over in the gloves and knee pads. Everything is textured beautifully and even the tiniest rivets and fixtures are neatly painted silver.

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The boots feature places to store the Lawgiver as well as Dredd’s combat knife and again, there’s some beautiful detailing on these plastic ares of the costume. The boots include scrapes and scuffs and all the fixtures on the straps are painted.

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I have no idea what specifically is going on under that bodysuit in terms of articulation, but I know it’s good. Dredd seems to sport all the posability I expect out of my 6-inch scale action figures. His joints are fluid and there aren’t a lot of times when I couldn’t get it to do what I wanted. The magnetic shoulder pads are never an issue when playing with him. They stay on securely while not getting in the way of the fun. The only exposed articulation points are in the ankles and wrists. The ankles are hinged and the wrists feature ball joints to allow for popping-and-swapping the extra hands. The figure includes a pair of fists, two item-holding hands, a pointing right hand, and a relaxed left hand.

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I’ve already gone over most of the accessories in describing where they fit on the costume. The Lawgiver is obviously the most essential piece and it’s beautifully done both in sculpt and paint hits. The magazine is removable and the weapon fits perfectly in either the boot holster or the gun-holding hand.

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The combat knife is small and simple, but has a nice finish on the blade. There isn’t a hand designed expressly for holding it, but the gun hand works surprisingly well.

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When bullets and steel fail you, you can always rely on a good truncheon to beat back crime. There’s not much to say about it. It’s a stick for beating people. Like the knife, this piece fits perfectly into the regular gun hand.

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The grenades can be held securely in either of Dredd’s grabby hands.

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And lastly we have this beautiful set of handcuffs. They not only open and close, but they’re hinged in the middle too. They’re delightfully huge and really make me wish I had some lowlifes for Dredd to cuff.

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If all these goodies weren’t enough, Dredd also comes with this amazing figure stand. It’s a gorgeous gold disc with Dredd’s badge printed on it and a single foot peg to secure him to it. What’s that? You want something a little more dynamic. Well, pop out the foot peg from the bottom and just plug in this baby…

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…and you’ve got a stand that can support whatever action poses you can dream up. The grabby arm is similar to what we’ve seen from Figuarts only it’s a lot more robust with hinges strong enough to hold a hefty figure like this one in the air.

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To say that I’m absolutely delighted with this figure seems like a serious understatement. From the moment I opened the box and started unwrapping the figure and accessories, I could feel myself grinning from ear to ear. It felt like something genuinely new and special. Getting him set up and on my desk, I found it impossible to keep from playing around with him. And that’s what makes this guy so cool. This figure represents a fascinating hybrid of high collector grade quality wrapped around a figure that begs to be played with and most importantly one that I didn’t feel afraid to play with even with that $60 price tag. I’m so in love with this guy, I’m seriously thinking about picking up the Cursed Earth variant and yes, I’m even considering picking him up soon to be released Lawmaster because the dude needs his ride.

Marvel Legends (Red Onslaught Wave): Mockingbird by Hasbro

Good grief, it’s Monday again and around these parts that means it’s time to look at some Marvel toys. Today I’m continuing my trek through the Red Onslaught/Skull Wave of Marvel Legends figures with Mockingbird. I can’t even begin to articulate my disappointment that TV’s Agents of SHIELD got dibs on Bobbi Morse. It’s not that I don’t think Adrianne Palicki isn’t great for the role, but she isn’t enough incentive for me to endure the rest of the show just for her. I would have rather seen her fleshed out at some point in the actual movies and with a costume a little closer to the comic look we’re about to see here today.

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It’s the exact same package we saw last time when I looked at Sharon Carter, the other half of these two “Agents of SHIELD.” The tray is pretty crowded in there thanks to the BAF torso and shoulders being included. Oh yeah, note that I’m just calling these Marvel Legends in my titles and not Infinite Series or whatever they are now. I can’t be bothered to keep up with the name changes and re-brandings, Hasbro. Besides, now you call the 4-inch figures Legends too. Speaking of which, it’s worth noting that Mockingbird got a release in that smaller scale via the West Coast Avengers box set a couple of years ago.

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I’m pretty sure this is what Mockingbird is wearing in the comics these days, but I’m pretty far behind in a lot of my Marvel Now trades. I do dig this look a lot. What we lose are the exposed legs and buccaneer boots and what we gain is a more tactical modern look that still pays respects to the classic costume. The boots now have reinforced armor on the shins with sculpted straps and some rather hardcore looking knee pads. Her top still has that button-down tunic look to it and she has a rather bland sculpted belt.

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The costume is the typical monochromatic look for Mockingbird, but I like it. The only thing that breaks up the black and white are the silver wrist bracers. The white flanked by black on the top mimics a jacket, which maintains a cool and stylish look and ditches a garment, which would be really impractical for those martial arts fights. The paint lines are reasonably sharp, but man am I getting sick of seeing those production numbers painted on these figures in such an obvious way, in this case right on the inside of Bobbi’s left thigh. Oh yeah, she has a nice bum.

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The portrait here is pretty good. I was actually rather surprised that the glasses were removable. That’s not easy to do at this scale and they still look good on the figure. Bobbi’s eyes seem a little far apart, which is the same quibble I had with Agent Carter last week. The sculpted detail in the hair here is a little soft, which is ironic because the hair itself is so damn rigid it renders the neck articulation nearly useless.

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Speaking of articulation, while this appears to be an all new body, it feature the usual amount of articulation for most of the Legends female bucks. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, double hinged at the knees, have swivel cuts in the thighs and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. There’s a ball joint just under the chest and both a ball joint and hinge in the neck.

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Mockingbird includes the fighting staff that splits into two batons, which we’ve seen before with Hellcat and Daredevil. I don’t mind these. They’re kind of fun and they certainly suit the character.

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When this wave was first revealed, Mockingbird was one of the figures I was most looking forward to and now that I have her in hand, she doesn’t disappoint. Yes, I do wish the hair was either softer plastic or sculpted in a way that would allow to pose the head. I really did enjoy playing around with her, but the difficult in getting the head to turn even a bit was the one irritant that kept pulling me out of fun. And while I think Sharon Carter was a solid figure, Mockingbird here easily lands as my favorite of this pair of Agents of SHIELD.

Creator X Creator (One Piece): Nami “Sea Nymph” Figure by Banpresto

For a long while, One Piece was my go-to show for when I came back from The Pub at 2am drunk out of my mind. I don’t think I’ve actually seen an episode sober and I don’t think I’ve ever picked up a piece of One Piece merchandise while sober either. Actually, scratch that… there was the dreaded Bootleg Nami Statue Incident, but that was an exception to the rule and it still hurts so I don’t want to talk about it. Anyway, I recently grabbed a couple of Nami statues off of Amazon while simmering in a Jameson-induced state and I thought I’d open one of these up and take a look today…

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This “Sea Nymph” inspired Nami is part of Banpresto’s Creator X Creator line and dubbed a “Deluxe” (DX) figure, which I presume is to separate it from the lower end prize figures. Although this piece is pretty low end itself, so I guess I should say to separate it from the lower-lower end prize figures. I’m honestly out of my element here, so that’s a lot of presuming on my end. What I can say for sure is that the statue comes in an entirely enclosed box, which is conspicuous because I’m used to seeing window boxes, even on the cheaper statues like this one and it made me all the more worried about what I was going to find inside. Well, inside is the most utilitarian packing for any import statue I’ve picked up. It’s just pieces of cardboard and plastic bags.

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But once I got her free of the packing and all set up, this is what I’m dealing with… The intrepid navigator of the Straw Hat Pirates, Nami is posed swimming beneath the waves in a very skimpy bikini and looking not bad at all. She’s about 5 1/2-inches tall on her base, which makes her smaller than the 1/7 or 1/8 scale of most of my anime-inspired statue collection, but she’s certainly not tiny. The pose has her arching her back, showing off two of her finest assets, and with her legs kicking up behind her making the statue best viewed from slightly above level.

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Nami features some smooth and even skin tones, which is nice because there certainly is a lot of skin showing here. Her blue tattoo is neatly printed on her left bicep and her bracelets are present on the same arm. The bikini, what there is of it, is a shimmery white with sculpted strings tied on either of her hips and on on her back. The portrait is pretty simple and a little upstaged by her rather striking fiery red hair, which fans out a bit behind her head.

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Her base is a sculpted pedestal of aquatic coral that firmly cradles her legs so the figure can be picked up and replaced with ease.

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Lastly, you get a pair of optional flippers that slide right onto her feet and really complete the look.

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When it comes to the often bitter fruits of Drunk Amazon Browsing, I’d say this purchase was a success. Sure, I didn’t neeeed this statue, but considering it cost just under $13 shipped(!), it’s hard to complain. Quite frankly, I was expecting a piece of crap, and what I got is actually a quite decent figure. The quality of the plastic is good and while the paint on the bikini is rather thin and susceptible to scratching, the overall quality of the paintwork is excellent. If I had an aquarium this would be a pretty cool decoration to sink to the bottom of it. Dammit, now I want an aquarium. Anyway, as I mentioned coming in, I picked up this one with another Nami figure, which I’ll try to get around to looking at next weekend.

DC Super Hero Girls: Wonder Woman by Mattel

After many weeks of statues, it’s time for me to get back to action figures on DC Friday, at least for a while. And while I’m setting my sites on Wave 2 of the DC Icons Series, I’m going to make a stop on the way this week to take a look at Mattel’s newest line of action figures… for girls!

There’s been a lot of stir over the last year or so about toys and gender roles: From Target re-branding its toy aisles with gender neutral colors to Kickstarters like IAmElemental introducing empowering action figures aimed at girls. And now Mattel enters the fray with their DC Super Hero Girls. Now, a good part of this line consists of traditional dolls that seem to capitalize on Mattel’s stupendously popular Monster High formula only with DC super heroes instead of freaky girl-monsters. But it’s the 6-inch action figures that got me to sit up and take notice. These figures are exclusive to Target right now, but due to see a wider release later this Summer. Let’s check out Wonder Woman…

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The packaging here is colorful and stands out, even in an aisle full of other toy packages. The figure comes on a custom card with character art in the upper left corner and a large bubble that shows off the entire figure quite nicely. I don’t really plan on consuming any of the media surrounding this line, but the blurb on the back suggest that these versions of our favorite DC ladies are adolescents going to Super Hero High. Hmm… based on that, I’m not so sure this is quite the empowering, gender-busting concept that I thought it was going to be, but…

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Wonder Woman sports a fresh take on her iconic costume and I really dig what they did with it. Here she’s got a red top with a gold belt and a cool “WW” collar that extends out to form flared shoulders. The costume is rounded out with blue pants, complete with stars running up the sides, red boots with white wings, white short sleeves, and her trusty bullet deflecting bracelets. In this case, maybe they only deflect spitballs.

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The coloring on the figure is bright and satisfying, but the plastic quality isn’t the best. It’s a little on the mushy side, and her ankles are a little warped from being in the tray. That last bit is rather ironic since the back of the package actually says, “Action figures stand on their own” and that’s a bit of a stretch with this one. The combination of soft plastic and tiny feet make standing Wonder Woman to be a chore half the time.

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The head sculpt features a youthful, wide-eyed, hyper cute take on the character. The tampos used for the eyes are nice and clean and she has her iconic tiara. The purple hair is a little odd, but it’s so dark that it almost looks black. The whole thing had a definite Disney Princess vibe going on and indeed, I’d be surprised if Disney doesn’t jump on this train with young, cute Disney-fied versions of their Marvel gals. I can see it now… super cute, teenage Black Widow sporting her twin Glocks… hmm, maybe not.

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Articulation is not bad. You get rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and hips. The knees are hinged and you get swivels in the wrists and boots. There’s no torso articulation, but the neck is ball jointed.

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Wonder Woman comes with one accessory and that’s her golden lasso. It looked like string in the package, but it’s actually soft molded plastic. The coiled end has a tab to attach it to her belt. It makes for a decent looking display piece for a limited number of poses, but I’m a little bummed that it isn’t more versatile. I think string might have been better. At the very least they should have included a fully coiled one that she can wear all the time.

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While the quality and articulation isn’t up to most action figures in the boys aisles, it’s worth remembering that this is a 6-inch figure priced at $9.99. That in itself is a bit of a miracle in this day and age. Granted, I’m a bit let down by the fact that these figures are wrapped in the same sort of pedantic school drama as Monster High or Ever After High or Whatever-the-hell-other-High. Then again, having not sipped from the cup of DC Super Hero Girls fiction, it could emphasize the adventure and crime fighting just as much, and I hope that’s the case. Without getting tied up in semantics, it’s safe to say that this is still a legit action figure aimed at girls and I honestly can’t remember the last time I saw something like this in the toy aisle. In the end, she’s a fun little figure, and I’ll definitely be picking up some more of these.

Transformers Combiner Wars: Legends Class Shockwave by Hasbro

While I’m not ready to bring Transformers Thursdays back full-time, I did get lucky this week when picking up my Force Awakens Blu-Ray and found Legends Class Shockwave hanging on the pegs. I’ve been hunting this guy for a while now, since he’s going for scalper prices on most online sites, so you can imagine my excitement when I spied him there among all the other common peg fodder. It also worked out well because I am craaaaazy busy this week and I really needed something that I could do quick-and-dirty today and this little guy should do nicely!

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The Combiner Wars packaging has grown on me a bit. We get some nice character art on the top of the card and a big bubble to see the figure, which is packaged in robot mode. The back of the card identifies Shockwave as specifically interacting with the Onslaught figure by attaching to his alt mode, and also points out that in this aspect of the Transformers fiction, it was Shockwave and not Starscream that created the Combaticons. I’m going against convention today and starting with his robot mode.

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Yup, that’s Shockwave! Generally speaking, I’ve been pretty impressed with the recent crop of Legends Class figures and Shockwave does nothing to buck that trend. Yeah, I have a few minor quibbles, like I wish he had less molded kibble on his forearms, and I wish his gun hand was a little more pronounced, but on the whole, this little guy is pretty great. There’s a crazy amount of sculpted detail on him for such a small figure, the purple and translucent purple plastics look great together and the extra little silver paint hits go a long way to jazz things up. The tiny little cyclops head is also right on point!

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From the back, we’ve got some hollow leg syndrome, which is perfectly acceptable to me in this smaller scale figure. The T-shaped backpack isn’t the prettiest thing around, but as far as kibbly backpacks go, it isn’t terribly intrusive either.

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You get a lovely range of articulation for such a small figure. This includes ball joints in the shoulders, which are also on hinged posts, ball joints in the elbows, ball joints in the hips, hinges in the knees, and swivels in the thighs.

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Transforming Shockwave is pretty simple and the result is a cannon or perhaps some kind of space cruiser a little reminiscent of the Fall of Cybertron Delxue Shockwave. On it’s own it isn’t much to look at and since I don’t have Onslaught (still waiting for the Takara version) let’s see how he works out with a couple of other figures…

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Probably the most disappointing thing is that he really isn’t designed to be held by Combiner Wars Megatron and that’s because there’s a square peg right in front of the regular circular peg that would otherwise fit into the hand. I can get it to work, but it’s hard for me to comprehend why they wouldn’t have designed the figure to work better with the Leader Class Combiner Wars figures.

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Ironically, it does work perfectly in many Third Party figures with the hinged knuckle. Above is Warbotron’s Not-Onslaught wielding Shockwave quite comfortably and I think this is where the little dude is going to stay for the time being.

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See? I told you today was going to be quick-and-dirty! Legends Class Shockwave is an excellent little figure, but I’m glad I didn’t break down and overpay for him. He’s going for $20 now on Amazon and that’s just plain cray-cray. But at just under ten bucks, I’ll pick up the Legends Class all day long. They’re fun, they’re posable and while I wish the hand grip on his gun mode was a little more forgiving, the fact that he can work as a weapon for larger figures makes him all the more enjoyable.