One Piece: “Flag Diamond Ship” Nami (Code: B) by Banpresto

Banpresto has been continuing their Flag Diamond Ship line of 9-inch scaled figures featuring the ladies of One Piece in some rather fetching and unconventional outfits. Much earlier this year, I checked out their Boa Hancock and first version of Nami. Today I’m going to open up their second version of Nami, called Code: B. Let’s go!

The packaging here is standard prize figure stuff right down to the Jamma and Craneking logos. You get a fully enclosed box with some nice shots of the statue inside, along with the line’s mission statement in English, which has a round about way of saying the figures are pure fan service. No surprises there! Inside, the figure comes partially disassembled and wrapped in plastic. All you have to do is put Nami’s two halves together at the waist, put her right foot into the base, and place her sword in her hand.

And ain’t she pretty! The pose features Nami with a somewhat wide stance and cradling a telescoping sword-baton behind her neck with each hand. The outfit consists of short shorts and a tied off top, both matching black with teal trim. She also sports some black gloves, stockings, and little black boots with orange ties around them. Not exactly a conventional look for Nami, and that’s the point, but I think she looks great.

There’s some really nice detail to the outfit, including a sculpted cream colored belt with painted silver studs and buckle. It secures a flintlock pistol to her right hip and a holster for her other weapon on her left hip. The pistol includes gold painted fixtures and looks great. The top features silver painted buttons running down the front and some poofy ruffles to her shoulder sleeves.

While the outfit might be a bit of a departure, the portrait is 100% Nami. Her big eyes are neatly painted and she’s wearing a wry smile with her head cocked and offering a sideways glance. Someone’s about to get a smack-down. Her vibrant orange hair cascades down her back in two pony-tails with smaller licks curling up in front of her shoulders. Her weapon is an interesting design, as it has a katana-style hilt with a collapsing baton in place of a blade. I have to confess my ignorance here, because if this is a real weapon, I’ve never seen anything like it before. It’s a separate piece that fits into the grasp of her right hand with the other end cradled in her left. The tactical-style grip is textured and has an orange tie around it that matches the ones on her boots.

The base is a simple black rock that her right foot pegs into. I’ve seen a lot of complaints about this base not supporting the statue, but mine actually works perfectly.

Banpresto seems highly committed to this series, as they have several more figures solicited for pre-order, as well as a few out now that I haven’t picked up yet. They seem to retail around the $25 range, which isn’t bad for what you’re getting. Sure, she isn’t the same quality as a proper scaled figure, but then with a respectable 9-inch scale and a price point at least $100 less than your average scaled figure, I’m really digging these a lot. The paint is solid, the sculpts are fun, and I’ve got several more due in soon, so you can bet you’ll be seeing more of the Flag Diamond Ship around here!

Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor Adventure Doll by Character Options

To know me is to know I adore Doctor Who, and I miss the days when Character Options was pumping out an extensive line of action figures from both Classic and NuWho. It’s so bizarre that they still hold the license and yet only toss out a figure or two a year these days. My guess is that they over-extended themselves when they were pumping out figures of almost every character to appear in each current series. There’s got to be a landfill of Grandma Connollys somewhere in England. In any event, I have no doubt they’ll get around to producing the Thirteenth Doctor for their 5-inch line, but in the meantime, they managed to get this “Adventure Doll” out before the premier of the new Series with The Doctor’s latest incarnation.

And here she is in her very non-collector friendly packaging. Thirteen comes in a large plastic bubble with a cardboard backing. The insert includes a TARDIS motif on one side as well as a shot of the TARDIS and the new series logo on the bottom. It’s an attractive presentation, very bright and colorful, but as I said, not intended for collectors. I’d almost feel bad about opening it, but mine got crunched a little on the top corner during its’ trip from Merry Old England, so I won’t feel too bad about razoring it open.

The back panel has a little blurb, but no real insight into what this new Doctor will be like. I’ll admit, I was not overjoyed with the casting here. When I heard the new Doctor was going to be played by an actress from Broadchurch, I had convinced myself it was going to be Olivia Colman and I was thrilled and excited. And then I saw the teaser with Jodie Whitaker and it was like a bucket of cold water was thrown on my enthusiasm. It’s not that I dislike Whitaker, but I think while making the bold move of casting a woman, the BBC still played it safe by going with a traditionally pretty blonde. I just think Colman would have been absolutely perfect as The Doctor. She’s a can be quirky and I think she’s got good range as an actress. Plus, she’s already had a cameo in Doctor Who, which would have put her in good company with previous Doctors like Colin Baker and Peter Capaldi. With all that having been said, there hasn’t been a Doctor yet that I haven’t eventually warmed up to, so I’m still willing to be open minded and optimistic. What’s that? Oh yeah, back to the review…

Here’s The Doctor freed from her package and I have to say for what this is I’m quite pleased with it. The term “Adventure Doll” really characterizes the feel of this figure, as it’s definitely not aimed at collectors, but I could see children running around and clutching this figure by the arm and going on all sorts of adventures.  She measures in at about 10-inches, which is something of an oddball scale. Character Options released a number of similar clothed figures for NuWho in the past, but they were proper Sixth-Scale, so Thirteen isn’t really going to fit in with many of those figures, although as we’ll see in a bit, she sort of works with some of the aliens. The outfit is done entirely in soft goods and includes a pair of bright blue pants, which are cuffed just below her knees, a black T-shirt with a rainbow pattern across the chest, and a long gray coat with a hood and rainbow stripes running up the front flaps. Her boots are plastic with sculpted blue socks showing.

The tailoring on the outfit is pretty solid and the ensemble fits the figure quite well. There are some concessions, like the pockets on the coat are just stitched on and not functional, however, the hood on the jacket can be worn up. Removing the jacket reveals white sleeves on her T-shirt and a pair of thin gold suspenders. Overall, I like the design here and it feels a lot more like a trademark look, which is something I missed during The Eleventh Doctor’s tenure. It hints at some of The Doctor’s more colorful wardrobes without going full on crazy Technocolor Dreamcoat like The Sixth Doctor did. Still, I can’t help but feel this design was inspired a little too much from Mork from Orc and I just can’t unsee it.

The portrait isn’t bad for a figure in this price range. I can certainly see a likeness to Whitaker in there. The paint is very basic, but it’s clean, particularly on the eyes and lips. They even included her interesting earring, which is the first I’m noticing it. Her hair is sculpted to cover part of her face, which looks good. If I had one complaint it would be the heavy handed paint on her roots. It’s not terrible, but it’s not great either.

The articulation here is surprisingly good. I will say that the integrity of the joints vary. The leg joints can be a bit loose and sometimes makes it hard to get her to stand, although I didn’t have to use a stand for any of the poses I shot, so it can be done. The arms feel OK, but the neck is curiously tight. When I first tried to turn her head, I was afraid I was going to snap it off. Even now, it still requires a fair amount of effort to get her head to turn.

In addition to her outfit, The Doctor comes with one accessory and that’s her new Sonic Screwdriver. It’s a very simple piece with a nice coat of silver paint. I’ll toss in here that I’m not at all a fan of this design. It does look more alien, but it’s looking less and less like an actual screwdriver with each new design. I always liked the idea that The Doctor just pulled his favorite accessory out of the TARDIS Toolkit one day and modified it to make it more useful. But throughout the course of NuWho it’s becoming more and more like a Magic-Wand-Slash-Tricorder and that’s never sat well with me. But that’s an old rant of mine, and not something to detract from this figure.

 

Finally, here’s a quick comparison of The Doctor with some of the aliens from CO’s 12-inch line, and I think in this case these figures work OK. I know the Cybus Cyberman aren’t really THAT tall, but I still wouldn’t have any trouble displaying Thirteen with either of these figures.

I found this figure on Amazon from a UK Seller for around $35 and jumped on it, despite the fact that I’m usually put off from ordering Internationally. Nevertheless, I’m glad I did, because it quickly went out of stock and I haven’t seen it offered anywhere else. Granted I paid something of a premium, as I would imagine this figure to sell somewhere around $25 if I found it on the shelf at a US Retailer, but as popular as Doctor Who has become here, I still don’t think the distribution on this one will be too extensive. Either way, I think she’s a fun figure and the moniker Adventure Doll fits her perfectly. Sure, I wish CO had produced her in a proper Sixth-Scale, but maybe they’ll release some other figures in this line to go with her. Eh… probably not.

Marvel Legends (Sandman Wave): Sandman Build-A-Figure by Hasbro

Welcome back, Toyhounds, to a Marvel Monday double-feature. Earlier today I checked out the last boxed figure from the Sandman Wave, and now I’m finally ready to slap this guy together. So let’s get right to it…

Flint Marko is made up of a total of nine pieces scattered throughout this wave, that includes the torso, legs, and arms plus two heads and two swap out sand implements for his hands, allowing for a bit more customization than I’m used to seeing even on the Build-A-Figures. From the waist down he shares all the same parts as the Absorbing Man BAF from a few years back, and the torso is the same too, which isn’t too surprising as Hasbro did the same thing for their 4-inch Marvel Universe versions of Creel and Marko. Even the belt is lifted from the previous figure, but that’s fine because it all works. The brown trousers are coupled with his trademark striped green shirt, the belt has some nice texturing to it and has a silver belt-buckle and the shoes have a glossy black finish.

The arms begin transitioning to sand just below the biceps into a pair of enlarged forearms with some truly incredible sand texturing. The right hand is sculpted into a giant sand fist, while the left hand is grasping, making them perfect for poses with Marko battling it out with Spidey.

You get two portraits with the figure, the first is just a regular head and it continues Hasbro’s tradition of injecting plenty of personality into their villain head sculpts. Marko’s sneer is magnificent and there’s so much rage packed into this portrait. The various lines that make up his expression are very well defined and they even did a great job texturing his hair. If I had one complaint here, it’s that the paint could have been sharper on his teeth and along his hairline, but I really had to get in close with the camera to even notice either.

The alternative damaged portrait is even more amazing. He’s screaming with rage as the left side of his face took a hit and is revealing its true sandy nature. The way the sculpt transitions from skin to textured sand is beautifully done and I honestly think that this is the head I’m going to go with most of the time for display. The teeth are painted a little better on this one, but you can still see a lot of the flesh colored plastic bleeding through. I’m tempted to nitpick that the tongue isn’t painted, but I assume that’s because his head is supposed to be reverting to the color of sand, so I’m OK with it. Either way, this noggin is a masterpiece!

The articulation here is standard stuff for a regular Legends release. The legs have rotating hinges in the hips, double hinges in the knees, swivels up near the hips, and hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and elbows, swivels in the biceps, and hinged pegs for the wrists. There’s a swivel at the waist, an ab-crunch hinge in the torso, and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed.

In addition to the extra head, you also get a couple of swap out hands in the shape of sand-weapons. One is a giant hammer and the other is a spiked ball. They can each be used on either arm. I was a little concerned that the elbow and shoulder joints wouldn’t be able to hold the weight of the big hands and sand-weapons, but that doesn’t seem to be a problem at all.

For a figure with so many recycled parts, Sandman still manages to impress where it counts, and while Creel came out first, I’d definitely give the nod to Marko here as the more fun of the two figures. And with Green Goblin, Shocker, and Jackal all in this wave, Hasbro sure has managed to cover a lot of ground when it comes to Spider-Man’s Rogue Gallery.

And that’s another wave in the bag. Hasbro continues to blow me away with the work they’re putting into the Legends line. The figures in this wave are solid across the board and represent an excellent assortment of additions to my already massive 6-inch Marvel collection. How long can they keep this up? Well, there doesn’t seem to be any end in sight. On the downside, the distribution here continues to be a problem, and while Spidey-UK, Jackal, and Kamala where all easy to find, I never saw Green Goblin or Spidey 2099 at retail. I cringed at having to pay a little extra for these figures at the time, but when I look at what they’re going for now, I can see that I didn’t get beaten up too badly. Next week, I’m going to put the random reviews on hold again, as I just have one more boxed figure in the Sasquatch Wave to look at, so we’ll wrap up that assortment with Paladin and the Sasquatch Build-A-Figure!

Marvel Legends (Sandman Wave): Spider-UK by Hasbro

Today is the first day in a while that I get to open the final figure in a wave of Marvel Legends and cobble together a Build-A-Figure. Indeed, I don’t think I’ve done it since I started randomizing my Legends reviews several months back. And yet here we go! I’m finally going to have a look at the final boxed figure, Spider-UK, and then later tonight I’ll be back with the Sandman BAF… let’s get rolling.

It’s no secret that Spider-Verse was like a license to print money for Hasbro. A book that introduced dozens of new versions of Spider-Man, all waiting for their turn to populate the action figure aisles at $20 a hit. And I’m not complaining, because as hokey as it was, I still really enjoyed Spider-Verse. It was one of the last Marvel books I read before I threw up my hands and surrendered at the crap their publishing now, and I’m getting a real kick out of all the figures that it spawned. Earth-833’s version of Billy Braddock comes in your standard Legends packaging, although neither his name or that of his alter-ego appears on the front of the box. Instead, you just get “Multiverse Spider-Men” He does, however, share his tray with a rather large Sandman appendage.

And here he is out of the box and looking pretty sharp. I’ll get to a few nitpicks about this figure in a bit, but none of them have anything to do with his overall appearance. The suit is primarily blue with the red spider-webbed area on the front of the torso and shoulders, and wide white borders invoking a bit of a Union Jack flavor. The blue is really snappy and the black webbing is pretty sharp and clean. I really dig the red spider-emblem on the back too. All in all, I’d say this is a pretty cool variation on the traditional Spider-Man costume using most of the original colors. One of the common complaints I see about Hasbro’s Spider-Man figures is the unpainted elbow or knee pegs not matching the color of the outfit on both sides, but since Spidey-UK’s arms and legs are all blue, you don’t have that problem here.

The head is a lot more traditional with the red and black webbing pattern covering the entire mask. The eyes are almond shaped with thick black borders and I like that they’re sculpted, rather than just painted on. My figure has a bit of mold flashing around the jawline, but that’s easily shaved off.

Articulation is good, but I’m so used to my Webheads having shoulder crunches that when they don’t it really sticks out and sadly that’s the case here. The arms do have the usual 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, have swivels in the thighs and lower legs, double hinges in the knees, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. There’s a swivel in the waist, an ab-crunch in the torso, and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed. The joints themselves are all solid, no mushy plastic here, and he’s genuinely fun to play around with.

I have to admit the lack of extras hurts this figure a bit. I’m used to getting extra hands with my Webheads, but here you’re just stuck with the fists. I prefer to have at least one thwippy hand with my Spider-Figures, and it doesn’t seem like it would have been a big deal to paint an extra set of hands to match. Besides the extra hands, it would have been really cool to get his travel Talisman, if not as an accessory then at least sculpted onto his arm. That seems like a bigger oversight to me.

Ultimately, Spider-UK is a fine figure, and I’m happy to be able to add him to my Spider-Verse shelf, but if I’m being honest, he feels very basic. Maybe I’ve been spoiled by some of the extras I’ve been seeing lately, but at least one set of extra hands feels essential for my Spider-Man figures. With that having been said, I like this costume a lot and I think Hasbro did a nice job with it. It’s a solid release in what was an extremely solid wave of figures. And if you’ll be so kind as to web-swing back around here later tonight, I’ll have a look at the Sandman Build-A-Figure!