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.

 

Marvel Legends (Space Venom Wave): Silk by Hasbro

I make it no secret that Marvel and I are at odds these days when it comes to most of their comics, but thankfully, there are some that I have remained unshaken on, and those are The Amazing Spider-Man and some of the related off-shoots. I’ll confess, I never wanted the awesome pages of Superior Spider-Man to come to an end, but I was happy to find that Peter Parker getting his body back wasn’t the end of the ride for me. It wasn’t a clean break and there was plenty of great stuff carried over and even some cool new characters. One of those was Cindy Moon, aka Silk!

Silk shares her slot with Ashley Barton, Spider-Woman, as the “Web-Slinging Heroines” and she was a great choice of character for this wave. Spider-Gwen may be the most popular breakout Femme Web-Fatale of the Spider-Verse, and while I enjoy Gwen’s book well enough, I actually think Silk’s is a lot better and the character deserves a much bigger piece of that spotlight. Her book started very strong, tugged at some of those loose strings from Superior Spider-Man, and hasn’t disappointed me yet. I still think it would have been cool to get a figure of her in her original webbing “costume,” but this one works for me too.

Silk not only shares the packaging with Ashley, but also uses most of the same buck with paint applications used to reproduce her costume. The only key difference that I can see below the neck is the chest piece, the sculpt of which left less to the imagination than this one does. Oh yeah, and Silk has one fist and one splayed hand, rather than the double dukes we saw on Barton. The paint on my figure strikes me as a pretty average effort, with some unfortunate slop between her chest and her neck, but the rest of the lines are pretty sharp. The gray and black deco doesn’t really pop all that much and I’m not a big fan of the lack of transition from the red webbing to the black, which looks more gradual and better executed in the comic. Still, it’s a presentable paint job and some of the fault here may be in what I feel is a costume design that tends to look better in the art than on a figure.

Hasbro graced us with two different heads, one masked and one unmasked, although these look to be more variants that completely different sculpts, and that’s fine. Both of these are great sculpts, but it probably goes without saying that I’ll be getting the most use out of her masked head. That is unless the slop on her chest bothers me enough to buy a second figure and then I can have the best of both worlds. That’s cool, because one of the things these two noggins have in common is a set of beautiful eyes.

I think the unmasked portrait is particularly stunning. As for likeness, well, here’s where there’s a bit of a disconnect. Obviously they went for a look that would fit in with the Legends line more than the stylized art of Lee, Ford, or Fish. But beyond that, I think she looks too old. Also, while I love the dimension and complexity that they gave her hair, I would have liked Cindy’s shorter look better. This may sound like a lot of gripes, but rest assured, I really do like these head sculpts. Although, I can’t deny that a Goblin-Serum alternate head would have been pretty damn rad.

Because Silk shares most of Ashley Barton’s body, the articulation is the same. She has rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. There are swivels in the thighs, but none in the legs. The knees are ball jointed, and the ankles have both hinges and lateral rockers. There’s no swivel in the waist, and just a ball joint under the chest. The neck has the usual ball joint and hinge combo. Like i said with Ashley, the articulation here is serviceable, but feels a little lacking for a Spider-Verse character. I just expect my Spider-babes to be a little more limber. Nonetheless, there’s fun to be had with her.

As a fan of the comic, Silk was pretty high on my list of anticipated figures for this wave, and overall I’m pretty happy with what we got. Whichever head sculpt I go with, they both do a lot to elevate the figure and make it really shine. Indeed, for what is essentially “Yet Another Spider-Man Wave” Silk is just another addition to what has been an impressive assortment of figures.  Next Monday, I’m going to wrap up this wave with a look at the Ultimate Peter Parker figure and the Space Venom Build-A-Figure!

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

I don’t often get the time to squeeze a Figma review into Anime Saturday. These take me a lot longer than my usual Saturday morning prize figure fodder. But I was off this week, and it seemed a great opportunity to open up a new Figma I got a few weeks back. Besides, these things are really piling up, and I haven’t done a Figma review since last October when I checked out the ALO Version of Asuna. So, let’s check out another of the ALO Avatars from Sword Art Online II… Leafa!

There’s really not much new to say about the packaging. It’s a window box, it’s collector friendly, and it’s great for keeping all those bits and bobs together. I also love the character art on the side panels, because right now, I don’t have room to display my Figmas, so they’re boxed and lined up on bookshelves. They look great that way and I have easy access to them. I’m usually content to hunt for deals on Figmas, but I actually pre-ordered Leafa to make sure I didn’t miss out like I did on the first releases of Sinon and Ryuko Matoi from Kill la Kill. Thankfully, those are getting second releases, but I think Leafa is less likely to.

I’m a big fan of the costume designs in ALO, particularly Leafa’s. The sweeping jacket-skirt, the ballooning shoulders, the ragged cut sleeves and stockings, all make for some great swashbuckling fantasy garb. As usual, there’s a ton of sharp detail in the outfit. You get sculpted stitch lines in her corset, the gold bangles on her wrists, and the finery of her bodice. The coloring on this figure is pure perfection, from the dominant green and white, down to the yellow and brown accents. The pale shade of green and fine lining done on her hair tie is particularly sylph-tastic, which is a word I just invented and promise to never use again. There’s something about the look of these figures, whether its the quality of the plastic, or the rich coloring, or a combination of both, but there’s nothing else quite like a Figma.

Leafa’s portrait includes three different expressive faces. You get the standard smiling one, the angry, shouty face, and an adorable surprised and/or embarrassed face. All three of these are perfect, especially thanks to the gorgeous printing on her eyes.  I’ll also note here, that her ponytail is on a ball joint and the yellow they used for her hair is extremely rich and vibrant.

Obviously, Leafa comes with the familiar sprue of hands, mostly of the usual varieties: Relaxed hands, splayed hands, sword-holding hands, and fists. You also get a really cool piece, which is her hand interlocked with Kirito’s. It’s one that I can’t get much use out of now, but I hope to remedy that soon by picking up the ALO version of Kirito while I still can.

Next up, she has her sword, and I guess I’m a bad fan, because for the life of me I can’t remember if it had a name. Hopefully it didn’t and that’s why I can’t remember it. Because it would be folly to try to make a sword this small fit the scabbard, the SAO Figmas have tried different means of trickery. Traditionally, you get an unsheathed sword and a scabbard with a hilt you can plug into it, to make it look like it’s in the scabbard. Leafa mixes that up a bit, by giving you a scabbard, a blade with crossguard, a crossguard, and only one hilt. Now, follow me on this one. To “sheath the sword,” you pull the hilt off, peg it into the tiny crossguard, then peg that into the scabbard. The problem here is that the pegs are so goddamn tiny and thin, that it isn’t a question of whether they will snap, but more likely when. Is this just a way to save money by not including two hilts? On a $65 figure??? Whatever the case, be careful with the sword, folks!

Leafa also comes with her amulet on a string. I like that they included this, but I can’t really get it to lay flat around her neck, so I doubt I’ll be displaying her with it. It’s just as well as in the anime she usually kept it tucked betwixt her ample bosom. She does look great holding it… the necklace, I mean, the bosom.

And finally, Leafa comes with her set of wings. These peg into her back, very much the same way they did with ALO Asuna. You can use either an independent peg, or an adapter to use with the included stand. The regular peg doesn’t do a very good job of holding them in, but they work perfectly with the stand.

Leafa set me back around $65, a price which is admittedly getting a little steep for me. I don’t think it’s a bad value for the quality and all you’re getting, but with Figma prices all over the place, it feels odd to pay less for some of the KanColle Fleet Girls, which have a lot more accessories. Hell, it wasn’t all that long ago that I got Figma Link for like forty bucks. Then again, I’d bet even odds that Leafa may turn up for less after she’s been out a little while. Nonetheless, here was a case where I didn’t want to risk missing out while waiting for a deal, and after spending a morning playing around with her, I have no regrets making that decision.

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

I’m committed to getting completely caught up with DC’s Cover Girls before the next statue ships in a month or so, and to that end I’m finally getting around to this, the second version of Harley Quinn to be released in the current incarnation of the line. The first Harley consisted of her full-on New 52 look, whereas this one returns the character to her more classic look. It’s also worth noting that a third version of Cover Girls Harley has been announced, but I’m pretty sure that one will kick off the third Cover Girls series, which will be under the stewardship of a new artist.

The statue comes in a really big box. Next to Bleez, this is probably the biggest box they’ve had to use for this line. What’s funny, though, is that it weighs so little that I was actually worried that there might not be anything in it. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case and what’s really going on here is that Harley’s a pretty slender gal, but her rather unique pose required the bigger box. Combine those two elements, and you get the deceptive size to weight ratio. With that having been said, the box is bright and snappy with a white, black and red deco. It notes on the bottom that this is a numbered second edition, as the original run did sell out and DC Collectibles put her back into production. As a result, the limitation here is 5,000 as opposed to the usual 5,200. Apart from the disclaimer on the box, that change in limitation is the key to identifying the second edition of the statue.

Harley comes balancing with her left foot on her giant hammer and her right leg stretched out in front of her. Her right hand clutches the handle of the hammer and her left hand sports her over-sized pop-gun. There’s a lot to love about this pose. It’s distinctive and totally Harley. She’s playful and whimsical, and she’s probably going to murder someone with that hammer. On the other hand, the composition here makes for a statue that for me really only has one “sweet spot,” which is basically the angle of the first picture.  The problem with this is that it means her right leg is also protruding forward. My Cover Girls display shelves are getting a little congested, and to put it bluntly, when it comes to taking up space on the shelf, Harley does not play well with others. I’m also a little worried I’m going to knock that leg when passing by and all Joker’s horses and all Joker’s men won’t be able to put Harley back together again.

Looking beyond the composition, I have to say that I love what they did with the sculpt. The costume is appropriately simple, but even the little things like the diamonds on her legs are sculpted and not just painted on. She’s also got little wrinkles around her ankles, the flare of her little boots, and the fringe around her wrists and neck all look fantastic. I’m very happy that they went with a subtle gloss for the costume. The Harley from the first incarnation of Cover Girls always looked way too glossy for me. The paint on the costume is super clean too, the lines are pretty sharp, and the red  is nice and even, and compliments the black and white beautifully. There are, however, a few QC issues on my statue, and to show you, I’m going to have to go in for a butt shot. Sorry, can’t be helped.

So first off, let me get it out of the way. Daaaaaayum, that’s a fine tokus! But what we’re really looking at here is that scattering of what appear to be paint bubbles on her right ass cheek. These are pretty unsightly, but at least they’re in a place where they won’t be normally be seen when she’s on display. Instead, I’m only apt to notice them when I pick her up and scrutinize that fine clown caboose. And how often is that going to be, eh? OK, probably a lot.

The portrait is pretty solid. There are a few very minor blemishes on her face, but you have to get in pretty close to see them. Also, it kind of looks like what you might expect to see on grease paint. What’s crazy is that teeny tiny bit of flesh color that they put around the seam between her collar and her hood. I also like the subtle rumple in her tassels. Unfortunately, the posing here does get in the way a little of really taking in her facial features. With her hand holding the gun up in front of her, you have to come in at an angle.

The base uses the standard oval structure that we’ve seen since the earliest releases in this line. I like how they get around that by having her stand on the hammer. It’s like they wanted to do something special, but still conform to the standard that the line has been using. They really went all out on the wood detail for the mallet, which makes for a nice contrast to the smooth and mostly featureless costume she’s wearing. The red and black deco looks great on the base and the paint here is nice and clean. As always, the statue is hand numbered on the bottom, with mine being 1532 of 5,000.

So, I actually passed on this statue when it was first offered. While I have most of this series of Cover Girls, there have been a select few that I skipped. Most notable was the first version of Wonder Woman, which did nothing for me and had a reputation for some unfortunate QC issues. I would have probably stuck with my inclination to skip Harley here, had I not found this second edition for the irresistible price of $45. How could I go wrong? Yeah, I know what you’re saying… you could get one with ass bubbles, and you did! I’m pretty sure that was just a coincidence as my statue was still sealed and I’ve still seen Ms. Quinn here floating around in the forties through other sellers. She’s a nice piece of work, but not one of my favorite releases in the line. I think a lot of that may come down to just having Classic Harley fatigue. Which would also explain why I still prefer the first release version to this one, as it’s something different.

Transformers Titans Return: Legends Class Gnaw by Hasbro

In case you hadn’t noticed, my last two Transformers Thursdays have been leading up to today, as I’ve been saving my most anticipated figure in this assortment for last: Gnaw the Sharkticon! First introduced in Transformers: The Movie, this ravenous horde of cybernetic beasties served as a form of execution for all who were condemned to death by The Quintessons. That sounds pretty bad ass, until you realize that the Sharkticons are a bunch of dumpy, goofy-looking dummies. Nonetheless, they were certainly something new and different and for whatever reason I thought they were cool. Unfortunately, they also came out at that weird time for me where I was still watching The Transformers cartoon, I definitely saw the movie, but I wasn’t really getting that many of the toys anymore. I kind of still wanted them, but my Christmas and Birthday gift requests were leaning more toward video games than toys. Which means that this Legends Class release is actually the first time I ever owned a Sharkticon. Am I excited? You betcha!

I’ve got something to say about Hasbro’s choice of size here, but first, can we just talk for a moment about that card art, because… HOLY SHIT LOOK AT THAT CARD ART! The bat-shit crazy, cracked-out green eyes, the massive teeth, the sharp claws. That particular flavor of nightmare fuel is not what I think about when I think about these guys. Kudos to whoever drew that, because it makes me see the Sharkticons in a whole new light. Now, about the size. When I first saw pictures of the toy, I was excited. Then I heard it was a Legends Class and I was really disappointed. Now I have the figure in hand and I’m realizing that it was a perfectly acceptable decision to go the Legends route. I’ll still argue that he’s a tad too small, but not so much so that I can’t accept him being in scale with the Deluxe figures. I’d also argue that the smaller size makes him more ideal for army building, but then I’ve had a hell of a time just getting my hands on one. Normally, I start my change-o-bot reviews with the alt modes, but let’s go with the robot mode this time…

I’ll just come right out and say it… I absolutely love this robot mode, but do I have a few complaints? Sure. The arms hanging off the backs of the feet is a textbook example of unsightly kibble. I kind of get the idea that the designer just threw up his hands and said, “Screw it… I got nowhere to go with them!” One might argue that they serve a function as heel spurs, but Gnaw already has those. I’ll also add that I wish the row of teeth in front of his head didn’t come up quite so high because it obscures his face quite a bit. But, with those gripes aside, I think this guy looks fantastic. The design manages to capture the familiar look of the G1 movie aesthetic and even smooth out the proportions a bit so he doesn’t look quite so ungainly. There are some lovely sculpted panel lines and detailing, and while a good deal of the coloring here is in the plastic as opposed to paint apps, the coloring is spot on perfect, right down to the bizarre choices of pink and blue used in the original toy, only more sparingly here. If I can get a couple extra Gnaws, I may try to color his teeth with a silver marker, but otherwise, I love the deco.

OK, so from the back, things aren’t as great. The top half of the alt mode is peeping back at you and looks like he’s going to wave. You also get some hollow areas and unfinished screws. Obviously, the Legends Class is held back a bit by budget and size, so let’s just say that it’s best not to look at Gnaw from the back.

Moving on to better things, the head sculpt is a wonderful update to the original toy. It’s not nearly as goofy looking. I always loved the shape of the Sharkticons’ “helmet” and they did a great job painting the eyes.

Like the original toy, Gnaw has a little spiked flail that he can wield in either hand and serves as his tail in his alt mode. And with that skillfully interjected segue, let’s turn to his alt mode. The transformation here has some cool and unexpected things going on and the result speaks for itself.

Yup, the “shark” mode represents pretty damn well, offering only a few things for me to nitpick. I don’t really care for the way his robot hands are exposed behind his feet and I wish that seam running down his face closed up a little better. Or perhaps I should say, I wish it stayed closed up a little better. Otherwise, I really love what we got here. The deco here shows off some more purple, and I can’t say enough great things about the plastic they used for his eyes. So much about this figure just feels so much more “premium” than your average Legends Class release, and that’s coming from someone who tends to really enjoy this Class quite a bit. The plastic looks and feels great, the colors pop, and even with some notable drawbacks in the design, the end result succeeds brilliantly.

I honestly didn’t know what I was going to think about Gnaw once I got him opened up. I wanted him to be great, but part of me was still wishing they had designed him as a Deluxe Class figure. Now, I’m not going to lie, part of me still wishes they had gone that route, but mostly because I’m curious as to what they would have done given a little more complexity of design. Truth be told, I’m totally satisfied with what we got in this little package and I’m going to do my best to try to track down as many of these little buggers as I can without paying scalper prices. The Sharkticon is an update that was long overdue, and Titans Return seems to be the perfect venue to revisit a lot of those overdue updates.

Star Wars Black (Rogue One): Chirrut Imwe and Baze Malbus by Hasbro

Rogue One hits Blu-Ray today, and I’ve already been down to Wally-Mart to mingle with some scary people and pick up my copy. Even after seeing this flick four times in the theater, I was still anxious to get it on home release and see it again. It seemed only appropriate that I also spend today opening up Chirrut Imwe and Baze Malbus from the Star Wars Black 6-inch series. Let’s check them out!

This was a weird pair of releases in that Hasbro just seemed to tuck them into a mostly recycled wave. Now, like Marvel Legends, I tend to buy my Black Series figures by the case, because there’s always one or two that are hard to find. I really didn’t want to do that here, because it meant getting doubles of figures I didn’t want. Luckily there were a few online retailers that offered them up as a pair for just a couple of bucks over the usual retail and I was able to get them with no fuss and no muss. I’m still more than a little miffed that we didn’t get a Bodhi Rook or Saw Gerrera in the 6-inch line to finish out the Rogue One team, but I am really happy we got this pair. For a movie that a lot of people complain has no heart, Rogue One managed to pack a lot of soul into these two characters.  Let’s start with Chirrut…

I really like Chirrut’s costume and I’m really thankful that they didn’t just give him some boring brown Jedi-inspired robes. What we got is a great look for a “space monk” and it fits in perfectly with the Star Wars Universe. Hasbro took the opportunity to give us some soft goods robes, but as usual mixed it up with sculpted plastic as well. I think the effect here is overall pretty good, but I get a big disconnect between the plastic on top and the robe on the bottom. It looks more like he’s wearing a skirt, whereas the actual costume extended up to his shoulder. On the other hand, the cloth doesn’t impede the range of motion in the legs, which is a welcome treat. The articulation here is pretty standards stuff for the line and he’s loads of fun to pose and play with.

The robes that hang off his back are molded as part of the cross strap, and I don’t think they really look like part of the overall garment, but I know what they were going for here, so I can at least see it for what it’s supposed to be. I do like the two cloth straps that hang off of him. These can be positioned to give him some sense of momentum when posing him in action scenes. It may sound like I’m nitpicking the costume here a lot, but let’s face it, this wasn’t a terribly easy costume to do in this scale. Hasbro made some compromises and in the end I think it looks good and doesn’t interfere with the fun of playing with the figure, so I’ll call it a win. But is there really anything here that they couldn’t have done in a Vintage Collection style 3 3/4-inch figure? Nah.

The head sculpt is passable, but it’s exceptionally soft. I think it’s a decent likeness, which I can easily recognize in the context of the costume, but probably wouldn’t as just a head. As is often the case with this line. a competent paint job would probably go a long way. There’s a big disconnect between the sculpted eyebrows and what’s painted there. This feels more like passable 3 3/4-inch scale work than it does 6-inch scale work, but if that’s not something I was willing to accept at this point, I wouldn’t still be buying this line.

Chirrut comes with two accessories: His staff and a rifle. I was initially tempted to say that the staff feels too small for him, but after looking at some pictures of him in the film, as well as the upcoming Hot Toys release, I think it’s pretty close.  There’s also a fairly good amount of sculpting and paint work for what is essentially just a big stick. The wood is textured and there’s a grip and a reinforced tip.

The rifle is a strange piece indeed. When deployed it reminds me a bit of Chewie’s bowcaster. It feels a little cheap and flimsy, but in fairness it’s a very thin weapon and it has several points of articulation, from the rotation in the center to the two hinged arms. Toss in some paint apps, and I’d say Hasbro did the best they could with this weapon in this scale. I do wish it had a shoulder strap on it so Chirrut could wear it across his back. I’ll probably just tie a piece of string to it. Moving on to Baze…

Baze, the heavy gunner of the team is an all around nice piece of work. His overalls are sculpted with plenty of rumples, stitching, and pockets. It’s a little soft, but overall pretty good. The armor pieces feature some nice weathering and appear to be additional pieces laid onto the buck, which make them a lot more convincing. The belt and pouches are also separate pieces attached to the buck and there’s some great detail in the chest piece. Articulation is just as good as Chirrut as far as the actual points go, but Baze’s chunky buck makes his range of motion a little more limited, particularly in the upper legs.

From the back, Baze has a rather large slot for his backpack. It’s unsightly, yes, but I’d rather have it there with the option of being able to take off the pack, than have the pack permanently attached. I suppose they could have gone with actual working straps, but that seems to be asking a lot from this line. Still, the 5-POA, 3 3/4-inch Rey figure from The Force Awakens had a backpack with actual straps and all. Just saying…

The head sculpt here is actually pretty damn good and with some better paint it probably could have been phenomenal. Either way, I would have no troubles recognizing this likeness with or without the context of the body.

The backpack, which is the laser gun equivalent of an ammo drum tabs right in and features some great paint and sculpted details as well as a sculpted sash that hangs off the back. I haven’t looked into the tech behind this thing, but I’d like to think that it’s just a giant generator needed to power his repeater blaster. The cable tabs into the bottom of the drum and the other end goes into the blaster where an ammo magazine would be if it were a conventional rifle.

The cable has a good amount of flex in it, but it does sometimes impede the poses I’d like him to do. Add to that the fact that the drum on his back makes him pretty back-heavy and very prone to toppling backwards. I don’t want to beat up on Baze that badly, because he’s a great looking figure and still pretty fun, but he’s at his best when he’s just standing there beside his buddy Chirrut with his rifle at the ready.

While I have some nitpicks here and there, I think Chirrut and Baze turned out to be pretty good figures, especially when considered within my tempered expectations of the 6-inch Black Series. They each have their strong points and when taken as a pair they compliment each other beautifully. They also make for a fantastic display with the other members of the Rogue One team. Yes, I’m still upset over the Bohdi-shaped hole in my display. I thought Rook was a great character, and came the closest to having something resembling a fully fleshed out arc. It was great to see him going from reluctant spy to full-blown self-sacrificing hero.

Marvel Legends (Space Venom Wave): Electro by Hasbro

If you follow me on Twitter, than you may know how I enjoy my leisurely Sunday mornings with a pot of coffee and my Marvel Legends figures. That’s when I usually write the next day’s Marvel Monday feature and it’s become one of the few specific times that I set aside to write and photograph. Alas, I’m going on a vacation this week, so I spent most of Sunday at work getting things wrapped up. As a result, I had to work on today’s review rather late Sunday night and didn’t have a lot of time. So, sorry if today comes out as rushed. Anywho… Last week, I checked out Hobgoblin, the first of this wave’s pair of Spider-Man’s “Evil Adversaries.” This week, I’m wrapping up this devilish duo with another figure that I was extremely excited to get my hands on. It’s Electro and he comes to us in all his comic-inspired glory!

There sure is a lot of stuff packed into that bubble. You got an extra head, those effect part hands, a BAF part. And… oh, hey… they must have put the normal hands on the bottom of the tray, behind the logo. That’s weird. Let’s just open him up and… OH, SWEET JESUS… HE DOESN’T HAVE ANY NORMAL HANDS!!!! Now to be honest, I’m so late opening this figure that I knew coming in that Electro doesn’t come with normal hands, but my outrage over this omission is so powerful, I had to communicate it in the form of drama. Knowing that this guy has a major strike against him going in, let’s see what we’ve got…

Firstly, I’m so happy Hasbro delivered on a classic comic version of Electro and there’s definitely a lot to love here. The bulk of the costume is achieved entirely through paint, but it looks terrific. His yellow lightning bolts are crisp and sharp, and the black, yellow, and green deco is fabulous. He’s built off one of the Spider-Man bucks, which means he certainly sports some excellent articulation. The legs feature ball jointed hips, double hinged knees, swivels in the thighs, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. The arms are ball jointed at the shoulders and wrists, double hinged at the elbows, and have swivels in the thighs. The torso features a swivel in the waist, an ab crunch hinge, and you get those wonderful lateral crunches in the shoulders. Finally, the neck features both a ball joint and a hinge.

The figure comes packaged with the more modern head, complete with the burned on “mask.” I gather that this look wasn’t terribly popular with the fans, but I actually dig it. It helps that the head sculpt here is absolutely phenomenal. Hasbro loves to go all out with their villain portraits, and here’s another one that’s just brimming with character. Of course, I said I dig this look, but that doesn’t mean that this head is going to spend any time on this figure while I’m displaying it. Nope.

Because I can never get enough of his classic masked look. This is the Electro I know and love, and this is the head he shall wear. Yeah, I always feel kind of bad tossing a work of art into the Tote of Forgotten Accessories, but I don’t see myself buying a second figure to display both heads.

Ah, but then we have the hands. These are the same hands we saw quite recently on Marvel’s Eel and even then they were recycled from the Amazing Spider-Man 2‘s version of Electro back in the Ultimate Green Goblin Wave. Don’t get me wrong, I like thee hands, but even Eel got some fists. How is it that Hasbro couldn’t pony up for some god damn fists here? Just use the same ones and paint them black. IS THAT SO MUCH TO ASK FOR??? I should also note that these hands are kind of a double fail, because even though I shot this figure with the hands he came with, I like the look of Eel’s yellow effect hands on this figure better, so these will probably go to him.

Electro is a great figure and he could have been a total home run. He’s got fun articulation, the costume and classic mask does the character proud, and the option of the more modern portrait is always nice to have. But it all comes down to those missing hands. And their absence is only compounded by the fact that not including them seems like such a stupid and cheap oversight on Hasbro’s part. Well, Eel is pretty cheap, I suppose I could pick up another one of him, bust out a Sharpie and customize my own set of fists.