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

It’s DC Friday again, folks, and after today the regularity of DC Friday may become a little spotty. But I’ll save that little editorial for the end of the review. In the meantime, today I’m checking out the final figure in the second wave of the DC Bombshells line. If you’re not up to date, these are action figures based off of statues, which in turn are based off original designs inspired by 1940’s and 50’s pin-up art, which also in turn has spawned a really good comic series. Phew… that’s a lot of exposition!  Anyway, today’s character is none other then Katana, and I saved her for last because I was pretty excited about her.

There you have the typical DC Designer Series packaging. It’s mostly white, it has a cool window front with one end angled. There’s character art on the side panel, and everything is collector friendly. Katana is also number 8 out of 8 in the series. I really dig Katana in general, and I loved her Bombshell design so much, that I almost picked up her statue, but she was one of the ones that sold out pretty quickly and has since really shot up in price on the secondary market. Maybe they’ll do a Deluxe version of her at some point down the road. Anyway, let’s get this open and check out the figure!

So, straightaway, I think DCC did a great job recreating the look of Katana’s Bombshell costume for the figure. I do, however, think this one is pretty detached from the scope of the Bombshell’s art. I get it, though. Most of the characters are based on western art and fashion in and around World War II, so going to the other side for material might have been a little problematic. Also, the source material has changed and expanded a bit since the line’s original inception. With that having been said, this figure shows off some of the more impressive sculpt and variety of paintwork that we’ve seen in this wave for sure, and possibly the line as a whole.

The dress is primarily maroon and black with gold borders around the black areas. The front part of the lower half of the dress features a gold floral motif and it’s torn off about halfway down, allowing Katana to show more leg and thus continuing the cheesecake factor of this line. The waist features what looks almost like a target pattern and has a big sculpted bow on the back. Her arms are painted to match the maroon of the rest of the dress, and she has a piece of segmented armor on her right shoulder. The silver paint on the armor looks especially nice, and each of the sculpted laces are neatly painted red. I really dig the plastic DCC is using for the flesh tones in this line, as it’s very warm and even. Katana’s lower right leg features an elaborate dragon tattoo and she’s wearing a pair of traditional wooden sandals on her feet. Just about everything that made me fall in love with the statue is recreated here quite well.

I say just about everything, because the one big disappointment for me is the dragon tattoo, which is actually a decal. The decal has a bit of a shine to it, making it really stand out against the matte finish of the plastic, especially around the areas where it’s cut out. Also, the edge near the tip of the dragon’s tail is starting to peel a bit on my figure, right out of the box. I don’t have a lot of hopes for that decal standing the test of time, and I can’t believe they didn’t just tampo the design directly onto the figure. What a shame.

On the plus side, Katana features what I believe is the best portrait this line has produced, and that’s quite a complement, because there have been a lot of great looking head sculpts. She’s absolutely beautiful, she has an appropriately stoic expression and the paint is absolutely fantastic. Her lips and eyes are perfect, and the red Rising Sun against the white makeup looks quite striking. They even did a beautiful job sculpting her hair. I couldn’t be happier with how this turned out.

Katana’s articulation is right in line with the rest of the second wave figures, which includes the absence of thigh swivels. I’ll direct you to any one of the three previous figure reviews if you need to get caught up on the points of articulation. I will say that the ankles on my figure wouldn’t budge, and after having one of Mera’s feet snap off right out of the box, I was pretty apprehensive about trying to get them to work. A little time in front of a space heater eventually did the trick. So long as we’re talking articulation and posing, here’s a good time to point out that Katana’s left hand is sculpted in a pointing position to recreate the pose used for the statue. That would be all well and good if she came with extra hands like the first wave figures. But since she doesn’t, that left hand isn’t all that helpful for many poses. In the end, I just didn’t find Katana as much fun to play around with as her fellow Bombshells in this wave.

The only accessory Katana comes with is her… um, katana. Soultaker is a pretty nice sculpt with bright silver paint on the blade, but it does feel a little undersized and unimpressive for what is supposed to be an epic and enchanted blade. She can technically hold it in either hand, although as already mentioned, the left hand has that pointing finger extended so the sword looks a little funny in that hand. And since I’ve also already touched on her lack of extra hands, here’s where I’ll point out another couple of obvious missed opportunities in the accessory department. If you’re going to be so specific and give her the pointing figure from the statue, why not give her a swap-out foot and the samurai helmet, so you can completely recreate the look of her with one foot arched and resting atop the helmet? The answer, I’m sure is budget cuts.

If it sounds like I’m being extra hard on Katana, it’s because I was really excited to get her open and play around with her. And to be fair, there’s plenty of great stuff going on here. The overall sculpt and paint approach the highest levels this line has offered. But little signs of cutbacks like a cheap decal for the tattoo, and a lack of extras in the box really holds this figure back from being the masterpiece it could have been. And that’s been a running theme for this entire second wave. These are really good figures, but it really shows that DC Collectibles wasn’t willing or able to invest the same level of value into them as they did in the first wave. What a shame. DCC has already cancelled two of the upcoming Bombshells, Bumblebee and Supergirl, although they claim the line is not dead. Although, DCC released their highlights for Toy Fair yesterday, and there is only one release announced for Bombshells in 2018, and that’s a Joker and Harley two-pack. Bummer!

And now for some words about the future of DC Fridays. I love DC Comics. These days I love DC Comics sooooo much more than any of the garbage books that Marvel is pumping out. But DC is making it hard for me to express that love with my toy/collectible buying dollars. DC Collectibles has killed off the DC Icons figures, it looks like DC Cover Girls is either retiring or slowing to a crawl, and I’ve seen nothing about the DC Essentials line that makes me want to re-invest in a brand new line of figures at $22 a pop just to have it get cancelled again. And with how many collectors no doubt feel the same, that line is going to have an uphill battle. Meanwhile, Mattel’s Multiverse line continues to disappoint, and even if it didn’t, the distribution here is terrible and the figures tend to go for scalper prices on Amazon. What I’m getting at is that DC Friday’s is going to have to switch to some kind of rotation from here on in. I’m tapped out and the supply of incoming has been reduced to a trickle. As I get new DC related items, I’ll push them to the head of the line. I still have some figures and statues on my “To Buy” list. But don’t be surprised to see other things dropping in on Fridays from here on out.

 

 

 

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

It’s Friday and this week that makes me sad, because it means my vacation is just about over and it feels like it just began. But it’s also DC Friday and today that means I get to open up another of DC Collectibles’ Bombshells action figures. If you’re just joining me on these, I absolutely loved the first wave, but this second wave has been a little hit-and-miss. There have obviously been some cuts in the articulation and accessories, and Mera broke right out of the box. Hawkgirl was a big improvement, and I’m hoping that Batgirl can continue this line on the path to redemption.

The packaging is that very familiar DCC window box that they’ve been using with all their Designer Series figures. It’s collector friendly, has some great artwork on the side panel and it shows the figure off brilliantly. I’ll confess I was a bit stumped on Batgirl’s design for a while. At first, I thought it was some kind of vintage circus homage, but after actually reading some of the comics, it’s just meant to be an aviator outfit. Oh, yeah, she’s also vampire.

Sculpting and paintwork have never been an issue with this line, and Batgirl carries on that tradition quite nicely. From the waist up, Babs sports a corset-like half-top features a bat-motif, a pair of long gauntlets, and the straps to her parachute pack are sculpted onto the figure. Down below, she’s got a simple pair of purple painted pants, and high laced high-heeled boots. The utility belt got a lot of attention, with a bat-symbol on the belt buckle and various pouches for all her gadgets.

The coloring on the figure is also fabulous. I love the purple they used, and it’s accompanied by some bright yellow for the boots and belt pouches, plus you get some snappy gold paint on her chest and the belt buckle. Even the lacings on the boots are neatly painted and if you look really closely you can see tiny bat symbols on the sides in a slightly darker shade of yellow. There are some inconsistent spots on her pants, which could have been smoothed out, but I can just chalk that up to some weathering from action in the field and still be happy with it. Finally, I really like the plastic they’re using for the skin on these figures. It’s warm and even and looks great.

The headsculpt here is also pretty solid. It has a goofy charm to it, and I particularly like Babs’ wide, beaming smile. This is an example where I actually like the portrait on the figure better than the final production run of the original statue. The printing on the eyes is sharp and bright, and the glossy paint on the lips looks great. In addition to her aviator-style cowl, Batgirl has a scarf tied around her neck, and her trademark red hair blows off to the side in a ponytail.

The goggles are a separate piece, which was a great idea, as she can either wear them up on her cowl, or if you want to mimic the statue, you can slide them down over her eyes. They fit the figure perfectly, and I dare say they look as good if not better than what we got on the statue.

The articulation here is identical to what we saw in the last two figures in this wave. 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, double hinged at the knees, and have rotating hinges in the ankles. The torso features an ab crunch hinge down low in the waist, a ball joint under the chest and there’s also a ball joint in the neck. And yes, I still do miss those thigh swivels.

The parachute pack is a separate piece that pegs into Babs’ back, just like Hawkgirl’s jetpack. I’m not sure why anyone would want to display her without it, but I guess it’s nice to have options. I guess by putting it next to the figure, it looked like an extra accessory. The pack does actually open and you can put her cape on it, and that brings me to a quality control issue. The flap on my figure’s pack was painted shut. I tried heating it up and carefully razoring the edges, but when I finally got it open, the peg that holds it closed snapped off in the hole. Unfortunately, it’s also the peg that passes through the cape and holds it in place. On the bright side, the cape already hooks over the edge of the pack, so it doesn’t need it to hold it in place. It’s nowhere near as big an issue as Mera’s ankle breaking straight out of the package, but it’s still an issue worth noting.

I’ve mentioned how this second wave seems to be really light on the accessories and Batgirl here is rather deceptive about that. The goggles, parachute pack, and cape all fill up the bubble nicely, but they’re also all parts of her outfit, so they don’t go a long way for play value. I’m never going to display her not wearing her goggles or backpack, and I’m probably going to always have her cape on too, so as far as accessories go, they don’t feel much like bonuses. Not that I can think of much more to pack in with her, other than some extra hands.

Despite some minor gripes and another unfortunate QC issue, I think Batgirl here is another plus for this wave. She’s a great looking figure on every level, and I’m still delighted to see these designs getting their due in action figure form. Some extra hands would have gone a long way to adding to the fun, but even as she is, I had a good time posing and messing around with her. This wave still isn’t reaching the heights of the initial one, but I’m increasingly happy that I bought it. Next week, I’ll finish off the wave with a look at Katana!

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

It’s DC Friday again, and after a few detours it’s time to get back to checking out the second wave of DC Collectibles’ Bombshells figures. If you’re just joining me, these are action figures based on the original statue designs DCC has been putting out for the last couple years. The DC Bombshells have become super popular and have not only spawned merchandise from other companies, but also their own comic book series. I absolutely adored the first wave of these figures, but the first figure I reviewed from this new wave, Mera, left me a little cold thanks to cutbacks in accessories and articulation, not to mention a joint breaking right out of the box. Let’s press on and see how Hawkgirl turned out.

There’s really nothing new to say about the packaging. This is the same style box we’ve seen across most of DCC’s Designer Series figures with the angled edge on the window and some nice character art on the side panel along with the figure’s number in the series, in this case Hawkgirl is #6. The presentation here is nice and clean, and everything is collector friendly, but I can’t help but notice a lot of empty space on that tray. Uh oh… looks like the accessory cut-backs continue!

And here’s Hawkgirl out of the box! I’m not sure exactly what they were going for here in terms of design. That famous first jetpack flight of the Bell Rocket Belt was in the early 60’s so it’s a little too late for the Bombshell’s era. I’m going to go with a vintage Buck Rogers or maybe a Rocketeer kind of vibe. Whatever the case, I like this design a lot and I came damn close to buying the statue even after I had sworn off collecting them because of lack of display space.

Hawkgirl features a green jumpsuit, with the top unzipped and hanging down around her waist and legs, exposing her rather tight yellow tank top. The lower half of the jumpsuit effect is achieved simply with paint, while the top half is sculpted separately and attached to look like it’s hanging off of her. She also wears a pair of long gloves and tall brown boots with yellow trim and sculpted and painted laces. Some nice little touches include the subtle wing motifs etched into her boots and the elastic cuffs on the loose, hanging sleeves of the jumpsuit. The paint on this figure is pretty solid, but then that’s been the case for this line from the beginning. Granted, there isn’t a whole lot of complex brush work going on here, but the yellow on the boots is pretty sharp, as are the stripes on the legs, and they even painted the buckles on the boot straps with a little gold paint. Likewise, the tiny buckles on her shoulder straps are painted silver, and the silver on the helmet looks great. There is a stray spot of red paint on her nose, but otherwise no complaints here.

I really dig the portrait here a lot. Hawkgirl is wearing a wry smirk that gives her a lot of personality. She wears a very familiar hawk-styled helmet, and they did a nice job sculpting the patches of her red hair that spill out from under the tight-fitting helmet. She has a loose pair of goggles hanging around her neck, and the shoulder straps for the jetpack rig are part of the sculpt, so they’re present whether she’s wearing the pack or not. I do wish they could have worked out a way to make her blowing a bubble an option, as that was such a distinctive aspect of the statue, but I guess it wasn’t to be. Before we talk articulation, let’s get her suited up to fly!

I already griped about the accessory cut-backs being a trend in this second wave of Bombshells, and yes the jetpack is the only accessory included here. Gone are the extra hands and various extra bits of fun. In the case of Hawkgirl, I’m almost willing to look past it, because the jetpack uses a little more plastic than your average accessory. It attaches simply to her back via two pegs, but getting the control arms into her hands is a little scary because they are pretty fragile. The pack itself looks pretty good. It has an appropriately retro design with some sculpted panel lines and a pair of wings to follow through on the Hawkgirl theme. There are some red rings painted on the twin cones and the thrusters are painted black. The control arms feature painted wire snaking around them, and the hand grips have red thrust buttons on the tops.

The articulation is overall pretty good, especially when you consider some of DCC’s other offerings. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, swivels in the biceps, and double hinges in the elbows. The legs are ball jointed at the hips and double hinged at the knees. The ankles have both hinges and lateral rockers. There’s an ab crunch hinge, but it’s all the way down near the waist, and also a ball joint just under her chest. Finally, the neck is ball jointed. I do still miss the swivels in the thighs, and while I appreciate the torso articulation, you still can’t get her in a decent flying position where she’s looking up, but she can do some pretty good hovering poses. Also, while it’s a shame I have to mention it as a plus, I was happy not to have any joint snapping issues here. All of Hawkgirl’s articulation was smooth right out of the package.

After a dodgy start with Mera, Hawkgirl here goes a long way to rekindle my hope for this second wave. Sure, removing the thigh swivels still pisses me off, and even with the jetpack, I would have still liked a few more extras in the box. I can’t help but think that if this figure shipped in the first wave, she would have had an extra pair of hands, maybe an alternate bubble-blowing head, or at least some effect parts for her jetpack. That having been said, she’s still a lot of fun to play with and I was happy to not have any QC issues with this one. But best of all, I can finally stop feeling remorse over not picking up the statue, because at least now I have Bombshells Hawkgirl  in my collection as an action figure.

FigureFan’s Disappointments 2017, Part 2

This is it, Toyhounds, the final day of my week of canned bullshit. It’s also the final five Biggest Disappointments of 2017. These are the things that I added to my collection and reviewed throughout the year that didn’t really live up to my hopes and dreams. These are in no particular order, so let’s get started…

Femme Fatales (Justice League Unlimited) Hawkgirl by Diamond Select: There was a lot of competition in this line for a spot on my Favorites list, but really only one that deserved to land among my Disappointments. I was really looking forward to getting the JLU version of Hawkgirl on my DC Gallery shelf, but when the statue showed up it was marred by some pretty poor paintwork, ugly seams in the arms, and just an overall lack of quality control. When I look at how amazing some of the Gallery statues have been this past year, it’s easy to forgive one bad one slipping by. But that doesn’t make me feel any better about laying out the cash for it.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Sixth-Scale Drax The Destroyer by Hot Toys: I have been called a Hot Toys sycophant. And yes, if sticking my tongue down their collective trousers would net me some extra Reward Points at Sideshow, I’d get right on that lickity split. So, it’s probably no surprise that never before has a Hot Toys figure appeared on my annual list of Disappointments, but I guess there really is a first time for everything. After a long series of delays, and the possibility that Hot Toys Drax might be a no-show, he finally showed up this year and he was a little wanting. The sculpt was solid enough, as was the likeness, but there’s just something about him that failed to impress. Toss in a faulty right arm on my figure that often pops out at the elbow joint and a price point that was too high for what came in the box (a common failing for Hot Toys in 2017), and I couldn’t help but dub him Drax The Disappointment. Oh, I’m still happy to have a complete Hot Toys Guardians team on my shelf, but Drax deserved more polish and a price tag around $20 lower.

DC Super-Villains: Johnny Quick and Atomica by DC Collectibles: For the most part, DC Collectible’s Super-Villains line has been pretty solid. Hell, I even liked their New 52 Captain Cold figure, and I kind of hate that character design. So when Johnny Quick showed up at my door with some terrible paint fading and an arm that pulled right out of the socket, it shouldn’t be any surprise to see him turn up here. And what a disappointment it was, because I really dig this design and I loved to hate him in the Forever Evil. But when you toss him in with a rather lackluster DeathStorm, it’s no wonder that I didn’t pursue the rest of the Crime Syndicate from this line.

Marvel Legends Warlock Build-A-Figure by Hasbro: What’s that, you say? You cry foul because I had a Marvel Legends figure on the list already? Well, you’re going to have to fight me, because here’s another one. I’m justifying this because 1) He’s a Build-A-Figure and 2) I really did review a shit ton of Marvel Legends in 2017, so you’re just going to have to let me have this one transgression. Warlock featured a decent sculpt and a pretty cool paint job, but he was not a character that I was interested in, and especially not as the BAF waiting as a reward for collecting an entire wave. Add that to the fact that the left arm of my Warlock simply will not stay in the socket, and you have a figure that I would have happily done without. Now that I think of it, this is the third figure on this list that had arm issues. Weird.

ThunderCats Classics Panthro by Mattel: Here’s the thing. I ran out of shit that disappointed me after nine, so I had to get cute with this last one. And that’s why after long deliberation, I decided to put a figure that I rated with excellent marks here on this list. Because no matter how great Panthro turned out (and he is a great figure),  he arrived to me heralded by a bitter chorus of disappointment. At the time I opened him, it seemed unlikely that ThunderCats Classics would continue. And shortly after we got word from Super7 that they were not able to secure the license and continue the series. And that was easily my number one biggest disappointment of 2017. It’s not Panthro’s fault, but he seemed like a good conduit to get this one on the list.

And that wraps up this week of so-called content. I’ll be back on Monday with the first Marvel Monday of the year and I hope to have Transformers Thursday and DC Friday on the books as well, along with whatever I wind up tucking into Tuesday. Have a great weekend!

FigureFan’s Favorites 2017, Part 2

Welcome back to the Week of Insufferable Lists. I’m not really here this week, but my Life Model Decoy is right in the middle of laying out my Ten Favorite Acquisitions of 2017. Let’s jump right in with the final five. Again, these are in no particular order…

Mythic Legions Stone Troll by The Four Horsemen: Back when I blew my tax return on that original Mythic Legions kickstarter, I never could have guessed how big it would get. Now my Mythic Legions army is expansive and early next year, I’ll be dropping another 35 figures onto those shelves. But if I had to choose one figure that really illustrates how big and successful this line has been, it would be the huge Stone Troll. The sculpt and paintwork on this guy are amazing and it really illustrates how much more craftsmanship can go into a toy that isn’t destined for the shelves at Target or Walmart. My only regret is that I couldn’t budget the Forest Troll to go with him, but at least I take comfort in the fact that soon he’ll have a Cyclops buddy.

DC Bombshells Batwoman (Designer Series) by DC Collectibles: While I had to take a pass on collecting most of the DC Bombshell statues, I was happy to get the Bombshell figures as a more space-friendly alternative. The first wave was chock full of knockouts, so it wasn’t easy choosing one as a favorite. In the end, I went with Batwoman, because I love the pun, I love baseball, and this figure is just too much fun. Great sculpt, great articulation, and great accessories! But hell, I just as easily could have stuck Harley or Wonder Woman in this slot. These are some of DC Collectibles’ best work in years.

Lost Exo Realm (LER-04) Deluxe Severo by Fansproject: 2017 will likely be my last big hurrah with Third-Party Transformers and it was mostly spent tying up loose ends. It took me a long while to get around to picking up Severo and wrapping up my LER Dinobots, so long that I had almost lost interest. He sat for months waiting to be opened, but when I finally did it was love at first sight. Not only is he an imposing beast in either robot or dino modes, but he comes with so many extra weapons and a throne fit for a king.

DC Gallery (Batman: The Animated Series) Zatanna by Diamond Select: I’ve been generally pleased with Diamond’s line of budget statues based on Marvel and DC characters. So much so, that I knew I had to include something from this line on my list of favorites. There were several contendors, but in the end, I had to go with Zatanna. Not only do I love the character, but this statue is very nearly perfect. The sculpt is a spot on representation of her from the Batman Animated Series, the paint application is clean and precise, and the overall quality feels like something beyond a budget statue.

Zenescope’s Robyn Hood Sixth-Scale Figure by Phicen: I purchased and reviewed all three of Phicen’s Zenescope figures in 2017, and I don’t think anyone really cared. That’s cool. Zenescope is a small comic book company, and most definitely a guilty pleasure of mine, so I can understand the lack of interest. I could have probably picked any one of these figures for this list solely based on the fact that it’s a miracle a company actually produced Zenescope merch, much less high end merch. And while I love all three of these ladies, the truth is that picking one was not even difficult. Liesel Van Helsing and Mercy Dante are both great figures, but Phicen just knocked it out of the park with Robyn Locksley.

And that’s going to do it for the good stuff. Come back tomorrow and we’ll start having a look at some of those purchases that sucker punched me in the nether regions with my first five Disappointments of 2017.

FigureFan’s Favorites 2017, Part 1

Welcome, Toyhounds, to the first part of my Favorites from 2017 and I’m not really here. In fact, I’m probably out on my patio smoking a cigar and getting caught up on my stack of comics. If you’re confused about why you’re reading some kind of canned bullshit and not an actual review, I’ll refer you back to yesterday’s post where I explain everything. If you’re up to speed, then we’re going to dive right in to my first five favorite additions to my collection from 2017. These are in no particular order, so let’s go…

DC “Designer Series” Frank Cho Wonder Woman Sixth-Scale Statue by DC Collectibles: There was never any doubt that I’d have a statue from DC Collectibles on my Favorites list this year, because I picked up some great ones. But which one to choose? I waited a long time to get a version of Adam Hughes Wonder Woman in my collection and she turned out great. Likewise both the Babs Tarr Batgirl and the Deluxe Harley Quinn Bombshell were superb releases. In the end, I went with Frank Cho’s Wonder Woman because it’s just such a wonderful representation of the character, and it is executed flawlessly. I love the costume design, the paintwork is nearly perfect, and I really dig the materials DCC is using for flesh tones on these pieces. Cho’s Wonder Woman is not only my favorite DC Statue pick up in 2017, she may very well be my favorite statue of all my collection.

Transformers “Titans Return” Jumpstarters by Hasbro: This is only the second item on my list, and I’m already cheating by giving one slot to two figures. But that’s OK, because I couldn’t break up the Titans Return Jumpstarters by showing preferential treatment to one and ignore the other. If I wanted to really cheat, I could have taken up a lot more spots on my Favorites List just from Titans Return alone, so getting me down to just two was quite the achievement of willpower. It’s no secret that I loved this line, and there were a lot of figures that could have landed on this list, but in the end I had to go with Topspin and Twin Twist as my favorites. Not only are these great figures, not only are they superb updates to their G1 toys, but the fact that we got official Jumpstarters from Hasbro still boggles my mind. These are so good, that I ended up selling off my far more expensive third party Jumpstarters.

Ghostbusters Firehouse by Playmobil: If you had told me a few years ago that we’d be getting a Ghostbusters Firehouse playset in 2017, I’d have called you a raving lunatic and poked out one of your eyes as a lesson not to f*ck with me. And yet here it is! What’s even more baffling is the fact that it came from Playmobil. Now, I may be a little biased, because PlaymoSpace and Playmobil Pirates were my jam growing up, but even if I wasn’t already sold on the brand, I probably would have jumped at this. With their track record for going nuts on parts and accessories, and their easy to customize figure buck, Playmobil turned out to be the perfect fit in this otherwise unthinkable union. Yes, I could have just as easily listed the Ecto-1 here, but c’mon… this is the freaking Firehouse! And Playmobil did a beautiful job with it. It’s almost a pity this set didn’t come out closer to Christmas, because it would have been a perfect review for Christmas Morning!

Epic Marvel Quarter Scale Deadpool by NECA: I’ve been trying to stay away from NECA’s Quarter Scale figures. They’re amazing figures and very reasonably priced, but I really don’t have the space for them. Nonetheless, there are some releases that are no-brainers, and when they first revealed Deadpool, I knew I had to make an exception. And I’m glad I did! This figure truly lives up to the name Epic. The sculpt is phenomenal, the accessory count is over-the-top, and despite being such a big figure, he is loads of fun to play with. NECA absolutely surpassed themselves with this figure and it is some of the best work I’ve seen out of anyone all year long.

Star Wars Rogue One TIE Striker by Hasbro: I’m probably as surprised as you are to see this on the list, but this toy just impressed the hell out of me. I wasn’t expecting much, and I didn’t even buy it until it hit deep clearance. Star Wars vehicles aren’t what they used to be, but this one feels like it belongs among the best of them. Sure, I could have done without the Nerf gimmick, but apart from that this is a quality toy and a cool design from what has become one of my favorite Star Wars movies of all time.

And that’s it for my First Five Favorites of 2017. Come on back tomorrow and I’ll wrap up my list of the good stuff!

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

Welcome to the last review of 2017! Now, I know what you’re thinking, “What happened to the rest of the DC Multiverse Justice League Wave that you started last week?” I’ll come back to it, don’t worry. But I wanted to squeeze at least one of the new wave of DC Bombshells figures in before the end of the year, so I decided to take a detour. Also, I loved the first wave of these figures so much, I couldn’t wait any longer before opening one of these ladies. And since last week was all about Aquaman and Mera, let’s keep the ball rolling with Bombshells Mera!

If you’ve purchased any DC Collectibles figures in the last year or so, this packaging should be familiar. It’s more or less the same style used for the first wave of Bombshells, as well as the DCTV figures, and the other Designer Series releases. It’s not the most exciting presentation out there, but I do like it a lot. The large wrap-around window offers a great look at the figure inside and the design is clean, simple, and the box is collector friendly. It also features character art on the side panel so you can line them up on a shelf and each character is numbered, with Mera being #7 in the series. Let’s get her out of her aquarium and check her out!

Wow, this figure looks great! But before I start gushing, I’ve got to report that her left foot broke off at the ankle just from being taken out of the tray. What the hell, DC Collectibles? You’ve been doing a lot better with this kind of QC stuff, but clearly you haven’t slain all your demons yet. I was easily able to glue it back on, but obviously at a cost to that ankle’s articulation. Of all the places the figure could break, that was probably the best scenario, but it’s still unacceptable to have it happen simply by removing the figure from the tray. We’re not off to a good start, but let’s see if Mera can redeem herself.

The Bombshell makeover puts Mera in a vintage style sailor outfit, which is very appropriate for this Chickie of the Sea. Her cut-off top is sculpted to resemble the scale armor she’s often depicted as wearing, and painted with a beautiful metallic green. She also has a sailor pearlescent white sailor scarf with a green stripe and a golden anchor pendant hanging around her neck by a string. I thought that was a really nice touch.

Below her exposed midriff, she sports a pair of pearlescent white flared slacks with green scaled stripes and a gold belt, as well as a pair of shoes sculpted and painted to match her top with the same green scales. The outfit is rounded out with a pair of gold wrist bracers and a chic white sailor’s cap with a gold “M” on the front. Both the sculpt and coloring on the outfit are top notch, making this one great looking figure. You also get some really nice subtle paint applications like the gold on her shoes and the red nail polish on her fingers and toes.

The portrait is no slouch either. Mera sports a pretty face with some clean paint apps for the eyes and mouth. She also has a copious coif of red hair done up in vintage 40’s style. I’ll note here that I really like the matte plastic that DCC uses for the skin tones on these figures. It looks appropriately warm and soft and much better than the usual paint we sometimes see on some of the other companies’ 6-inch scale figures.

The articulation here is good, but not as good as what we saw in the first wave. The arms feature 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, double hinged at the knees, and have rotating hinges in the ankles. Well, my figure now only has a rotating hinge in the one ankle. The torso features a ball joint under the chest and there’s also a ball joint in the neck. What’s missing? The thigh swivels have unfortunately been cut from this second wave and I really do miss them.

And you know what else is missing? Almost all the extras. The first wave of figures all came with multiple pairs of hands and in most cases multiple accessories, which really added to the fun factor. Mera comes with no extra hands and just one accessory: Her trident. Cutting the extra hands here is particularly egregious because the ones she comes with don’t really hold her trident well at all. I would have really liked some fists, relaxed hands, maybe a saluting hand. It sucks when a company sets expectations for an initial wave of figures and then lowers the bar for the follow up. And while I won’t swear by it, I’m pretty sure the promo images for this wave showed extra hands.

The trident is a welcome accessory, although it is fairly simple though. It’s cast in a rich gold plastic.

With how amazing the first wave of Bombshells figures was, I did not expect Wave 2 to begin with disappointment, but that’s the word that best comes to mind. Now, to be clear: Mera is a beautiful figure with a terrific sculpt and some great paintwork, but with breakage right out of the box and cutbacks in both the articulation and the accessories, I’m sad to see this line is not dedicated to living up to the standards set by the initial four offerings. Am I sorry I picked up the second wave? Nope. I love these designs, and I’m happy to get the opportunity to add them to my collection as action figures. But that doesn’t change the bitter feeling of the cutbacks. The irony is that I actually picked this figure to review today because I wanted to end the year with a sure thing, and it kind of backfired on me. Granted, it’s possible that the only way DC Collectibles could go through with a second wave of Bombshells figures was to cut costs, but from what I’ve seen the first wave seemed to have sold rather well.

And that’s a wrap for me and 2017! Next week will be gobbled up by the canned content of my Annual Favorites & Disappointments lists, which I’ll be wrapping up and scheduling over the weekend. FFZ will then go on autopilot, but I’ll most definitely be around to reply to comments. Thanks, Toyhounds! I’ll see you on the other side!

 

Legends of Tomorrow: The Atom by DC Collectibles

It’s no secret, I’m a big fan of DCTV. Well, not so much Arrow, because after pushing through two seasons, I still just couldn’t quite click with it, but the rest I really enjoy a lot. Legends of Tomorrow isn’t my favorite of the bunch, I think I’d rank The Flash or Supergirl a little higher, but it is the most ambitious, and overall it does a pretty good job of delivering the adventure each week and has had a great ensemble cast. Naturally, I’ve been picking up some of the figures here and there and today I’m finally opening one of the ones I was most looking forward to… Ray Palmer aka The Atom!

The package is pretty standard for what DC Collectibles is using these days. You get a mostly white window box, with a really weird blurred shot of the figure on the side panel and the name running up the opposing diagonal panel. The back shows other DCTV figures available, including The Flash and White Canary. The box is collector friendly, and while I’d love to keep it to store all the extras in, I don’t have the space, so this baby is about to get shredded.

So, I’ve got him out and I’ve spent some time playing around with him and there’s definitely some good and bad here. I suppose I should start off by saying that I happen to really dig Palmer’s A.T.O.M. Exo-suit design, as it’s like a cross between Iron Man and Ant-Man. Maybe not what comic purists were looking for, but the show has done a nice job making the character its own. And it’s damn cool to see Brandon Routh donning a super suit again. The tech-heavy suit certainly gave DC Collectibles a lot to work with, and as usual, and from the neck down, I think sculptor Paul Harding really knocked it out of the park.

The buck features an underlying black body suit with the red and blue armor pieces sculpted on, along with a web of silver rods connecting them all together. It’s a beautifully complex sculpt and there are so many little details to drink in. There are little clips and catches here and there, as well as some tiny sculpted rivets meant to be securing some of the pieces in place. The paint compliments the sculpt very well with some vibrant red and metallic blue, along with all that silver. Yup, when it comes to the look of the suit, I’ve got nothing but love for this figure.

Now, the portrait? Well, that’s another matter. I don’t know what happened here, but the best thing I can say is that it’s partially obscured behind the blue face shield. What you want to do here is display him so that you’ve got a light shining right on the shield and the glare will stave off what is otherwise a really unfortunate attempt at a likeness. The paint on the head is also a lot rougher than the rest of the body, and mine has a major stroke of blue slop carrying over from the chin strap to the skin. As I already mentioned, Paul Harding sculpted this figure, I own several of his pieces, and he’s an extremely talented artist. I think that’s reflected in the body, but, the head feels like it was done by someone else.

And then we hit articulation, and things continue to take a bit of a downward slide. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders, hinges in the elbows, and the wrists are on hinged pegs. The lack of bicep swivels really hurts, but in this case I’m going to assume they thought it would break up the sculpt too much. The hips appear to be a standard T-crotch, but there’s also just enough lateral play in them to make me think there are some hinges in there. But I’m not willing to snap the legs off of him to find out. Below that, you get double hinges in the knees, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. Again, no swivels in the thighs. There appears to be a ball joint under the chest armor, but I can’t get any movement out of it, and I’m afraid to try. The neck is ball jointed. Yes, there’s some useful articulation here, but some of it is a mystery and in the end the figure still comes off feeling very stiff. Not an uncommon thing for DC Collectibles, but here it just seemed to bug me a little more.

Mr. Palmer comes with an impressive four sets of hands. Two are fists and two are relaxed hands, and both are welcome. He also comes with a pair of accessory holding hands, but nothing to hold in them, so they’re kind of useless. He also comes with a pair of effect part hands, firing off his energy blasts. All of the hands are very nicely painted to match the suit, and I dig the energy blast effects a lot.

You also get translucent blue thruster effect parts, which clip into the back of the suit and in the lower legs. Again, these look fantastic and they stay in pretty well. The only downside is that with his limited articulation, there aren’t a lot of great flight poses to get him into.

I had really high hopes for this figure, and why shouldn’t I? I love the suit design, I love the character, and DC Collectibles has been doing a bang up job with their DCTV figures as of late. And don’t get me wrong, there is a lot to love here. The suit looks great and the effect parts are all really well done. But with a rough likeness and stiff articulation, the end result was rather disappointing. He’ll look fine lined up on my DCTV shelf, but I was hoping for something a little better than what we got.

DC Bombshells: Deluxe Harley Quinn Statue by DC Collectibles

I really wanted to get in on the DC Bombshells statues, but at the time I was still building my collection of DC Cover Girls and the last thing that my wallet and living space needed was a new line of statues to collect. By the time I was caught up on Cover Girls, Bombshells was in full swing and most of the early A-Listers were way too pricey for me to go back to. And so I happily settled on the action figures, which turned out to be great! Fast forward to now and DC Collectibles is revisiting some of those main characters and producing them in new Deluxe versions. They’re larger, more elaborate, and of course a bit more expensive. When Harley went up for pre-order, I jumped on it right away.

The statue comes in a fully enclosed and mostly white cardboard box. It’s much bigger than the Cover Girls boxes, but very similar in size and style to the DC Designer Statues. In this case, the box also features a sticker indicating that it’s Harley’s 25th Anniversary. Harley isn’t quite in the Sixth-Scale range, but with the base and the one arm up in the air, she still measures over 12-inches tall. The statue itself is based off original art by Ant Lucia and the “Gotham or Bust” art print is available from QMx designs. I picked up one of the prints shortly after getting the statue and I’ll say a few things about it at the end.

And here is Harley all set up! She comes in three pieces, all individually wrapped in plastic, and sandwiched between two pieces of styrofoam. The set up requires you to plug her into the base via two metal rods and attach her right arm via a magnet. Getting her slotted into the base was a little troublesome. At first I thought she wasn’t going to stand flush at all, but I gently coaxed the pegs out and tried again and again and one more time, and eventually got there. The magnet that holds the arm in is not very strong, but it is attached to a tab, so between the tab going into the socket and the magnet, the arm stays in place very well.

It’s impossible for me to begin anywhere else but the composition, because that’s what made me fall in love with this piece at first sight. Harley surfs through the sky atop a descending WWII-era bomb, tethered to it with a bat grappling hook in one hand and her other hand flying free, waving her pop gun in the air. It’s a scene reminiscent of Dr. Strangelove and also perfectly fits the 1940’s aircraft nose art and pin-up art styles that fuels this series. The whole piece has a wonderful sense of balance to it and almost seems to defy gravity. But that’s not to say this statue favors composition over craftsmanship, and style over substance. The sculpt and paint quality here are both top notch, and I’ll lay it out right now that I have no complaints about either.

Harley’s wearing the same costume we saw in the original Bombshells statue and in her action figure and they did a beautiful job detailing it here. She’s got a pair of really short and pretty tight black shorts, secured with a golden batman utility belt with red and black pouches. Her feet feature a pair of brown boots worn with socks over red and black stockings. And she’s got a black and red bikini top with a vintage-style bomber jacket and red gloves. There’s some wonderful sculpted detail to be found in her wardrobe, from the knitted pattern of her socks, to the wear on her boots.

They also packed some great touches in the outfit include the Joker card that’s tucked into her left stocking and the Joker-style medal pinned to her jacket, some wing medals on her lapel, and stars pinned to her epaulets. The “Joker’s Wild” painting on the back of her jacket is a work of art all by itself. It makes me want to get a mirror to put behind her, because sadly, it won’t be visible when viewed from the front.

And that brings us to the portrait, which is excellent. Somehow they’ve managed to keep a little bit of Harley’s crazy and still maintain the homage they were going for. She looks absolutely delighted that she’s about to steer a bomb right into some unsuspecting target in Gotham’s cityscape. Her pigtails fly up behind her in the wind, and she has a pair of goggles secured to the top of her head. The paintwork on the face is as solid as the rest of the statue with immaculately painted eyes and lips. The white face paint isn’t overdone, and it’s worth mentioning here that the flesh tones on the rest of the figure are warm, even, and clean. I also love the pink tips on the ends of her blonde hair. It’s worth mentioning that because of the nature of the composition, Harley is looking down, so this is a piece that is going to best be displayed at eye level, or a little higher.

Her pop gun is beautifully sculpted and painted with a silver finish and black grips with a cork stuffed into the barrel. You gotta love the tiny Batman dangler that’s tied to the lanyard loop of the butt.

The base consists of the bomb sitting on an angle in a smokey-clear cloud with additional motion effects streaking off the back fins. The smoke is frosted clear plastic with some white paint and a rough texture. Effects like this are tough to do in this format, and I think it came out pretty good, but if I get in real close, the illusion tends to break down. The trailing effect parts are pretty delicate. One got knocked off, even while I was re-positioning the statue very carefully, but they’re tabbed in and it went right back on easily.  The artwork on the bomb includes the “Gotham or Bust” slogan along with Harley’s initials, a bat symbol with a line through it and a “Cherry Bomb” sticker on the tail. I just love the whole look of this thing!

Of course, the statue has a limited production run, in this case 5,000 were produced, so it’s not really that limited, but still a couple hundred less than when DC Collectibles was doing 5,200 of almost everything. As usual, the limitation is indicated on the bottom of the base. In this case, mine is 3,223 of 5,000.

Deluxe Harley retails at about $160, which makes her the most expensive DC Collectibles piece I own, but only by about twenty bucks. Was she worth it? Hell yeah. She also seems to be doing well because the place I got her from sold out quickly and she’s back to pre-order status. This is one of those “love at first sight” statues for me, which has also given me a second chance to own Bombshell Harley in the statue format, without having to blow the $350+ that the original is now going for. I have to say, I’m not quite as smitten with the early shots of the Bombshells Wonder Woman Deluxe, but having Harley on my shelf may get me to pick up a few more of the regular Bombshells releases to keep her company.

Oh yeah… the “Gotham or Bust” print is available from QMx directly or any number of re-sellers. I got mine off of Amazon for about $13 shipped securely in a tube. It measures 18″ by 24″ so it’s easy to get a frame for it, and I think it really complements the statue wonderfully. The only problem will be finding someplace to display the both together, but these are nice problems to have.

DC Icons: (#25) Supergirl by DC Collectibles

We knew it was coming, but that doesn’t make it any easier. DC Collectibles has officially discontinued the single-boxed releases for their DC Icons line and as things stand Number 25, Supergirl, appears to be the final release, with Nightwing preceding her and a Robin and Superboy two-pack included in the assortment. I’ve reviewed a lot of these figures here, but certainly not all of them. I’m still pondering over whether or not to go after the handful that I missed. But for now, let’s just enjoy checking out this last figure.

The packaging hasn’t changed. Supergirl comes in a clean window box with an angled corner that bears her name. If you’ve collected any of the DC Designer Series, you’ll also know what to expect here. Her name and number are also on the side panel as well as the comic she’s drawn from, in this case ReBirth Renaissance. The window shows off the figure beautifully as well as the bevy of extra bits, which are laid out beside the figure. Everything here is collector friendly, and while I would have loved to be able to keep these boxes, my available space doesn’t allow it.

Here she is, freed of her packaging and looking amazing. Icons has been a great line from the beginning, so when I say I was impressed by Kara here as soon as I got her in hand, well that’s saying something. I think this is one of those perfect combinations of great choice of outfit, great portrait, and some spot-on coloring. So where to begin? Well, for starters, the costume design lends itself to this sculpt really well. The thigh-high boots are sculpted at the top edges, as is the belt and skirt. The S-Shield is fully realized in the sculpt and I love the look of the way the cape hugs her shoulders. Note, I said the look, and I’ll come back to that in a bit. The sculpt on this costume is just the right mix of poetic simplicity and just enough detail to know that no shortcuts were taken.

The cape falls naturally down Supergirl’s back with just a hint of breeze blowing it to the side. The yellow S-Shield is stamped on the back, and I will point out that there’s a bit of chipping to it on my figure. But that’s about the only place I can criticize the paint or coloring here. DC Collectibles used the exact perfect shades of red and blue for her costume. From the neck down, this is a figure that absolutely pops on the shelf.

And things aren’t too shabby from the neck up either. I really dig the way they sculpted her portrait and the use of a printed face instead of paint makes for a nice change. If you get in really close, you can start to see the halftone effect begin to break down, but when viewed in hand with the naked eye, it looks perfect. I like the styling on her hair, but I do think it could have used a little refinement. As it is it looks a tad more like putty and less like hair. Maybe deeper cuts in the sculpt to give it the feel of actual hair would have helped. But don’t get me wrong, Kara’s coif does not even come close to diminishing this figure for me.

The articulation here is standard for the Icons line, which means it’s good and comes oh so close to being great. The arms feature 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 and have double hinges in the knees. The ankles have hinges and lateral rockers. There’s a hinge in the torso down near the waist, a ball joint under the chest, and the neck is ball jointed. Alas, the hair keeps her from being able to look up while flying and the absence of thigh swivels will forever bug me. I will say that they did a really nice job on the skirt. It’s very soft and pliable and allows for a decent range of motions in the hips. And remember that shoulder-hugging cape? Yeah, it does restrict shoulder articulation a bit, although not nearly as much as I would have expected.

Supergirl also comes with three pairs of hands, all of which are very easy to swap in and out. You get fists, accessory holding hands, albeit with nothing for her to hold, and hands with her fingers together as if she’s about to karate chop someone. But why karate chop your foes, when you can just fry them with heat vision!

Yes, Kara comes with a second head and two effect parts that plug into her eyes to recreate her heat vision. I think this looks pretty rad from a distance, although if you get in really close it looks goddamn creepy. Also, if you display this head without the effect parts plugged in, her eyes look like two bloody, vacant holes.

Supergirl includes one final accessory and that’s a rather unique flight stand. It’s actually just a clear cylinder with a slanted top and a peg for her right foot. The illusion is supposed to be not so much one of flight, but more like hovering. I’ve had mixed results with it, but I do think it’s a pretty neat experiment and I may very well wind up using it to display her. In fact, I wish they had included something like this with Superman as well.

If DC Collectibles wanted to punish everyone for not buying into this line enough, this figure was a great choice for the final single release. It makes the point that this line was pretty fantastic and that in a perfect world it would have kept going. I know at least one fellow collector who was confident enough in the success of Icons that he started selling off his DC Universe Classics figures. I’m glad I didn’t go that route, although I would have been very happy had Icons become as prolific as Mattel’s and took its rightful place as the new resident universe building line. As things stand, I will forever be disgruntled that we are likely to never get the Booster Gold/Blue Beetle 2-pack. I can, however, promise you that this will not be the last time you see DC Icons grace my pages of toy bloggery.