FigureFan’s Disappointments of 2012, Part 2

Thought yesterday was depressing? Oh no. Don’t pass out on me. Not yet… Here’s the last five.

Thundercats: 6-inch Classic Lion-O by Ban Dai… Make no mistake, I don’t think this is a bad figure. It certainly has issues, like unpainted joints and an unfortunate head sculpt, but it’s still a solid figure. So why does it appear here? Because it was completely unnecessary. The 8-inch Lion-O was probably my favorite figure of 2011, and there was no reason for Ban Dai to backpedal on it. Nonetheless, Ban Dai got hammered by fans for making the figure in the oddball 8-inch scale and then when they relented and re-released the figure in a more standard 6-inch scale, collectors railed against them for starting over. I’m not saying Ban Dai didn’t mishandle a few things with the Thundercats license (that Tower of Omens was a piece of shit!) but overall I like what they delivered and I was sorry to see the line not work out. This Lion-O figure represented the beginning of the end for the revival of Classic Thundercats and while I still bought it to support the line, just looking at it makes me sad.

Transformers Generations: Fall of Cybertron Jazz by Hasbro… Poor Jazz represents everything that is wrong with Transformers these days. He’s too small, too simple, has too few paint apps, and he’s too expensive. Compare him with the Deluxe toys from War for Cybertron and he just comes up wanting in every possible way. While some figures in the line have escaped these cutbacks, Jazz personifies the struggle that Hasbro and other toy companies are having producing quality product against the rising costs of plastic and production.

Mass Effect 3: Miranda by Big Fish… I know what you’re thinking… Thane was way worse than Miranda. True, but I wasn’t looking forward to Thane, hence he wasn’t really a disappointment. Miranda, on the other hand was a major disappointment. Plus, her left arm fell off. As shitty a figure as Thane was, at least he didn’t break while being removed from the package. This line certainly had its ups and downs, and it’s a shame that Miranda had to be one of the downs.

Young Justice 4-inch Series, Wave 3… Ok, let me clarify. Sportsmaster was in Wave 3 and he was a solid figure, so what I’m really talking about here are those three shitty stealth repaints that I had to buy to finish my Hall of Justice. I’ve honestly bitched about this sorry situation enough in the individual features, culminating in my need to go onto Ebay to get Stealth Kid Flash. Because it wasn’t bad enough Mattel made us buy these, they also made it impossible to find the last figure in the wave. This situation, my friends, is customer appreciation at its finest.

DC Universe Classics: Orange Lantern Lex Luthor… What is it with Mattel making me buy shitty figures to complete Collect & Connect constructs? They’re evil marketing geniuses that’s what. I hated this figure so much that I actually considered paying more to get just the C&C part off of Ebay so I wouldn’t have to admit to having purchased the figure. He’s pure garbage, and while he might appeal to collectors with a translucent plastic fetish, all he does for me is make me mad when I see him peeking out from the back of my Lantern shelf.

And there’s the light at the end of the tunnel and we have emerged into 2013. We’re done with canned recycled retrospective feature week and tomorrow I’ll be back with the first new feature of the year.

Mass Effect 3: Mordin (Series 2) by Big Fish

Good news, everyone! I survived another Black Friday and while that seems like an end in and of itself, it’s really just the first punch in a month long series of rapid fire shots to my groin. Ah, the joys of being a retail manager at Christmas time! Right now I’m exhausted, working my way through a bottle of Johnnie Walker, and still living off the leftover scraps of turkey and pie. But, I still owe y’all one more Mass Effect figure to round out this hectic week and I aims to deliver. Please understand when I tell you that today is going to be quick and dirty so I can crawl into bed and get some sleep. I promised to save my favorite Mass Effect character for last, and here he is: Mordin Solus.

Blam! Mass Effect 3 packaging. Nothing new to say here, except it still looks really nice and Mordin looks great inside. It’s hard for me to say exactly why I love this guy so much, but it probably comes down to his unique mannerisms and his rich and ethically questionable backstory. There were plenty of characters in the ME universe that I didn’t care much about talking with, but I never shunned an opportunity to rap with my favorite Salarian doctor. Every conversation was deeply satisfying and often made me either chuckle or feel sorry for the burden of the decisions Mordin had to carry.

The sculptors did a pretty good job on Mordin’s portrait, however, I do think his head sculpt is softer than the other figures. There’s just enough detail to get by, it still captures a lot of the character’s personality, but when you compare him to the likes of Grunt or even Thane it seems like he could have used a bit more work. I do like the way they executed his head apparatus, which is cast in soft plastic but stands up well and does not interfere with his head articulation.

Mordin’s body sculpt is great and really accentuates the alien nature of his legs and forearms. Those Mass Effect designers really loved using the “chicken leg” configuration for a lot of their aliens and the Salarians are no exception. His lab coat style outfit is achieved with pliable soft plastic attached to the torso and allowed to drape down to his knees. Alas, the paintwork on this figure is a little inconsistent. The white on the coat is slathered on rather unevenly and there’s a little bleeding here and there. Still, when all is said and done he’s an attractive looking figure.

Mordin features pretty decent articulation for this line. His head is ball jointed and has a good range of motion. His arms are ball jointed at the shoulders, hinged at the elbows, and have swivel cuts in the biceps. His legs feature the usual “T” joint in the hips and are hinged at the knees. Once again, we aren’t dealing with super articulated figures here, but what Mordin has, combined with his neutral stance, is useful enough. I was really concerned with how fragile Mordin’s thin elbow hinges might be, but they turned out just fine, making me consider that my Miranda figure’s elbow was really just a freak QC issue.

Accessories? You get the standard disc figure stand and you get a pistol. The figure stand is pretty essential since Mordin has virtually no chance of standing on his own without it thanks to his tiny feet and chicken legs. The pistol is a unique sculpt and features some really nice white paint apps. It fits in his hand pretty well and you can even thread his finger through the trigger guard.

And that’s all the Mass Effect I’ve got for you cats now. There are, of course, two more figures in Series 2: Garrus and Legion. I will be picking them up to complete my set, but it may be a little while until I get around to it. Overall, I’m glad Bioware and Big Fish were finally able to get these figures out. Sure, there are some inconsistencies in the line. But on the whole, I think it is a pretty solid set of figures. Granted, I got quite a good deal on these, only paying around $13 a piece, which is considerably less than the usual $18-20. I’d say four out of the six would have been worth the full MSRP to me, and I’m sure you can guess which ones those are. I’m tempted to try to get another Miranda to see if I can get a figure without the QC issues, but in the end I’ll probably stick with what I’ve got.

Mass Effect 3: Miranda (Series 2) by Big Fish

Ugh… Too much turkey and pie! I’m lying on my sofa, laptop on my bloated stomach and contemplating whether I can fit another turkey and stuffing sandwich. Maybe another brandy will help with the digestion. Yes, it’s Thanksgiving night and I hope everyone had a good holiday. What better way to spend it than to digest too much food and talk about action figures? Today, I’m pressing on with the first figure of Big Fish’s second series of Mass Effect 3 figures. It’s Miranda!

From the front, the packaging for Series 2 is identical to Series 1. Miranda’s looking pretty good in the package. If you flip it around, you can see that the printed insert has changed to show the four Series 2 figures and give you a little blurb about each. I didn’t shoot the back of the packages, so you’ll have to take my word for it. I was really excited to get Miranda, so let’s get her out and see how awesome she is. Hmm… awesome may not be the right word. “Ok?” “Mediocre?” Or maybe, “Oh shit, her left arm just came off!” Yeah, strap in kids, we’re going to have some issues with this one.

So, where to begin? Let’s start with the sculpt. For a figure in this price range, the folks at DC Direct, Big Fish, or whoever’s responsible, did a passable job with Miranda’s portrait. That’s passable, not perfect. The hairline is a little too high and her left eye is drooping, but I can still see Miranda in there somewhere. The biggest problem is that she can’t really hold her head straight. It’s not her hair sculpt, but rather something with the configuration of her neck, but she’s constantly looking at least a little bit down.

Moving south, her bodysuit is faithfully sculpted, right down to the hexagonal panel lines, and I like the high gloss paint used for her gloves and boots. Still, there’s something about the paint apps on her collar that always makes me think she’s wearing a bowtie when I first look at her. Bowties may be cool, but not here. Miranda’s shapely feminine form is certainly well reproduced here, but there’s something a little odd about her derrière. It’s probably from the way the hip joints are made up, but it looks like someone looked at the sculpt and said, “Needs more ass!!!” and they added an extra butt flap.

Miranda’s articulation sounds good on paper, but in execution it has some issues. Let’s start from the bottom and work our way up. Her legs feature a standard “T” at the hips and she has hinged knees. Unfortunately because of the aforementioned ass flap, her hip joints only allow her legs to move forward. You can pose her in a traditional Captain Morgan stance, with one leg up on something, but a lot of dynamic action poses are out of the question. Miranda’s arms are better, in theory, as she has ball jointed shoulders, swivel cut biceps, and hinged elbows. Unfortunately, the elbow hinges are so weak that her left arm pulled right out at the joint as soon as she was out of the package. It will go back in, but to pose her you pretty much have to reset the arm every time. The neck is ball jointed, but as already mentioned, she can’t look all the way up. The lack of a swivel in the waist further commits her to life as a somewhat articulated statue.

Miranda comes with a black disc figure stand. She will stand on her own, but with those little high heeled boots, the stand comes in handy. She also comes with a pistol, which she can hold fairly well in her right hand, providing you don’t bump her or anything.

As you can see, Miranda is certainly a letdown. She looks OK standing in the back of the shelf with her Normandy shipmates around her, but as an action figure, she really sucks. I realize Big Fish put these out, but they started life as DC Direct figures, and with poor articulation and a major QC issue, she represents two of the biggest inconsistencies collectors often have with DC Direct products.  I was really at odds whether to write up a feature for a downer like this figure on Thanksgiving, but then I didn’t want to end Mass Effect week on a sour note. And that means I saved the figure of my all-time favorite Mass Effect character for last… tomorrow we’ll wrap things up with Mordin.

Mass Effect 3: Tali (Series 1) by Big Fish

Here we go, time to finish up the first series of the DC Direct Big Fish figures with my second favorite character from the games: Tali or Tali’Zorah vas Normandy nar Rayya … um, yeah, I think that’s correct. Anyway, I thought the Quarian culture was one of the best fleshed out aspects of the Mass Effect universe. I liked the idea of the Flotilla and the Pilgrimage, and I particularly loved the way Tali was introduced in the first game as one of the more unlikely party members. The mystery behind the character’s masked appearance was a nice little story device as well. There were more than a few parts of the ME universe I glossed over for lack of interest, but I’d dare say I absorbed all that the game had to offer of the Quarian culture.

Once again, here’s a shot of the packaging. It hasn’t changed at all from the previous three figures in the Series. After looking at Thane in package, Tali is a welcome treat. She comes with her Omni Tool attached to her left arm and her shotgun visible through the side panel of the bubble. Not much else new here, so let’s razor this baby open and check her out.

First off, Big Fish made some very cool choices in the layering of this figure with soft pliable plastic for her hood and her lower sash. The hood allows for a completely separately sculpted and articulated head under the hood, which works wonderfully. The lower sash of Tali’s outfit is sculpted as part of her belt, so as to give the illusion of being part of the figure and then it is glued down to the legs. These features, along with the excellent sculpting of the figure itself, really convey all the cool complexities of Tali’s outfit. Other very cool touches include the sheathed knife on her left leg and the pouches on her belt.

The paint work on the figure is mostly excellent. Big Fish went with a nice pallet of purple, black and gold with some grey accents thrown in. There are a few tiny flubs here and there, but nothing outrageous for a figure in this price range. I do think they should have gone in a different direction with her mask’s dome.  It’s painted in high gloss purple and transitions lighter toward the top, but it doesn’t look quite right. Maybe if it was clear plastic and painted from behind it would have been more convincing? Some way of conveying her eyes through the mask would have been cool too. Still, what’s here is certainly serviceable.

Tali’s articulation is fairly good from the waist up and a little limited in the legs. The head is ball jointed, and the aforementioned soft plastic hood still allows for good movement in the neck joint. The arms feature ball jointed shoulders, hinged elbows, and swivels in the wrists, giving her good range of motion there. Her legs feature a typical “T” joint at the hips, ball joints in the knees. The legs give you a little something to work with, but the sash does impede movement down there a bit. Plus, with the way Tali’s lower legs are designed, in reality she should probably have a second set of hinges. Tali also has a swivel cut just below her chest. Super articulated? No, but she’s still far more action figure than statue,and you still have a fair amount of good poseability here.

Tali comes with the same stand as the other figures in Series 1, although she can stand just fine on her own. She also comes with her Omni Tool, which is sculpted in very soft translucent yellow plastic. Theoretically you could take it off her arm, but I haven’t tried. Lastly, she comes with her Scorpion Shotgun, which is a very nicely sculpted and painted piece. Unfortunately, it takes some futzing to get her to hold it. I may have to dig into my cup of clear rubber bands.

Tali is a nice return to form for Series 1 after the horror of Thane. I may have nit picked a few things, but that’s probably just because I love the character design so much. Truth be told, Tali is an excellent figure and looks great displayed on my shelf beside the rest of the Normandy crew. On a side note, I will likely still be  buying the forthcoming Play Arts Kai version of Tali, simply because she has no exposed face for them to screw up, and I like the character design enough to be willing to have her as a stand-alone piece in that scale.

And that wraps up Series 1. Tomorrow is Turkey Day and I’m taking the day off to eat, drink and spend time with family. I’ll be back on Friday to kick off Series 2, or at least the half of it that I currently have in my collection.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Mass Effect 3: Thane (Series 1) by Big Fish

Oh yeah, folks, it’s time for more Mass Effect 3 goodness and today we’re checking out… oh shit… it’s Thane. I’m taking an extra couple belts of Jameson to get through it, because today’s feature is like a double punch to my gonads. Not only do I hate this character, and don’t even get me started on his Loyalty Mission in ME2, but his figure turned out to be total crap too. Ok, let’s do this…

Thane features the same packaging we’ve seen for the other figures in Series 1. The only real difference here is how awkward and ridiculous Thane looks in the package thanks to the pre-posed nature of the figure. I know we’re talking about the packaging here, and I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but Thane is designed for one pose and one pose only: Firing his weapon. But like the other figures, he comes packaged without his weapon in his hands, and so right off the bat he looks like trash before you even open him up. Is he miming a tug of war?  Is there a fire hose for him to hold somewhere in the package?  Is he handing me an invisible baguette? Sure, you can see his pistol through the side panel, but I seriously thought there was another weapon that had either fallen down to the bottom of the bubble, or was left out entirely. I just couldn’t believe any company would package a figure like this.

So let’s get the big stuff out of the way first. Unlike Shep and Grunt, Thane is basically an articulated statue. His entire body is sculpted for a specific pose, and while I’ve tried to tweak him into something different, everything just looks awkward. His right shoulder is unnaturally hunched forward, so that his arm is literally attached to the front of his twisted torso, and his legs are permanently in a wide stance. His head is designed to look cocked to the side. Your other option is having him look straight down at the ground. Why DC Direct/Big Fish decided on such a departure from the rest of the line for this one character is completely beyond me. The other figures look like action figures, Thane looks like one of those old Star Wars Unleashed statues from Hasbro.

I guess the likeness to the character is pretty good, but maybe I’m the wrong person to ask, because to me Thane’s design looked like he was phoned in at the end of the day. “Hurray, it’s 5pm on Friday!” “Wait, we’re still short one character!” “Dude, just sketch out a fucking lizard man so we can go hit Applebee’s… I’m buying!” The sculpting for the portrait is certainly solid enough, but there’s something unnaturally bright and cartoony about the paint used for his face. I just think it looks odd next to the other figures. The sculptors did an adequate job on Thane’s suit, but the paintwork is another story. The uneven piping looks like it was hand painted by blind Krogans, while other parts look slathered on with a trowel. His back features smudges and splotches, which further suggest that nobody gave a shit about how this figure turned out.

So, Thane comes with the token disc display stand and his pistol. His display stand is kind of important since he’s hard to stand up without it, but when I tried to peg his foot into it, the peg literally shot through the other side of the stand. WTF? His gun is a nicely detailed little piece, but it should have just been sculpted into his hand because a) there’s really no point in ever taking it out, and b) he doesn’t hold it very well. While on the subject, Thane’s pose seems like it’s designed more for a rifle than a pistol. His hands appear to be sculpted to hold something bigger, and the pose seems unusual for a pistol.

Thane sports many points of articulation that sound useful on paper, but in reality are totally pointless. The head is ball jointed and yet the figure will always have his chin perpetually tucked into his chest. The arms feature ball jointed shoulders, hinged elbows and swivel wrists, none of which can be of any use. He has a standard “T” joint at the hips and his knees are hinged. The leg articulation is probably the most useful, and that’s just for adjusting him to stand properly.

There is a bright side at the end of this feature. If any figure had to be screwed up this badly than I’m glad it was a character I hated. I’m also very glad that I got such a great deal on these figures because if I had paid anywhere near $20 for Thane I would have gone ballistic. He’s a poorly conceived and poorly executed piece of garbage, especially when considered alongside Shepard and Grunt. Hopefully things will look up again tomorrow when we finish up Series 1 by checking out one of my favorite characters in the games… Tali.

Mass Effect 3: Grunt (Series 1) by Big Fish

Alrighty, folks, moving on to the second figure in Series 1, today we’re looking at Grunt. Personally, I would have preferred a Wrex figure in my collection, but these are Mass Effect 3 figures, so what sense would that make? Let’s dive right in and check him out…

The packaging is identical to what we saw for Shepard, but the contents make it a lot heavier. I’m kind of impressed that they were able to get Grunt into the same style of package, and obviously he fills out the bubble rather nicely. His weapon is visible through the side panel, and he’s held in place by some twisty-ties, but it’s not too hard to get Grunt out of the package and ready for display.

Grunt is certainly a big slab of action figure, but I’m still trying to decide whether or not he should be taller. As he stands, he’s barely half a head taller than Shepard and I’m pretty sure that on average the Krogan were supposed to be closer to seven feet tall. But when I go back and look at stills from the game, he doesn’t look all that much taller. Still, what he lacks in height he makes up for in bulk and that helps him look satisfyingly big when standing next to the other figures. The sculpting and paintwork on Grunt’s armor gives it a nice, layered look, with the ribbed black suit underneath and the heavy grey plating on top. The armor plates have a brushed finish to the paint that adds a nice realism to the piece. The sculpting on his exposed, muscular arms looks great and he’s even got his stubby little tail bump hanging off his butt!

Moving on to the head sculpt… the details on the face are really well defined, giving us a face that only a mother Krogan could love. The excellent paint work on the head helps tie everything together. His three crests are painted as are all the little spots on his brow ridge and the sides of his face and the use of a little gloss make his tiny, beady eyes really stand out. The paint on the mouth slit is particularly effective, making it almost appear as if the mouth could open. All in all, this is a great portrait of our rather distinctive looking alien friend.

Grunt’s articulation is serviceable and given the bulky nature of the character, it’s probably close to everything we could expect from him. The head swivels side to side just like a dog hearing a curious sound. His arms feature ball joints in the shoulders and wrists, and hinges in the elbows. The legs have a typical “T” design to the hips, hinged knees, and swivels in the ankles. Lastly, Grunt can swivel at the waist. While Shep could have used a few more points of articulation, I can’t think of much more I would want out of Grunt, other than maybe swivels in the biceps.

Accessories? Grunt comes with a big-ass rifle. I don’t like it as much as Shep’s more iconic Assault Rifle, but it’s still a great piece. It’s mostly black, but it does have a little silver-painted weathered look to the metal on the tip and a few other paint apps to signify lights and detail. Grunt can hold it quite well in his right hand. You also get the same plain black disc stand that came with Shep, but Grunt sure as hell doesn’t need it. He’s bulky enough to stand just fine on his own.

I’m a happy camper with this one! Grunt is a fantastic figure. The sculpting and paintwork are great, and like Shepard he features a fairly neutral stance with good, workable articulation that makes them not only great display pieces, but fun to play around with. Maybe he should have been taller? I still can’t decide, but he looks fine standing next to my other ME3 figures. So far, we’re two for two on this line. I’m really happy with what I’ve got. But tomorrow, things will start to fall apart as we check out the third figure from Series 1… Thane!

Mass Effect 3: Commander Shepard (Series 1) by Big Fish

I should start out by saying that in all the times I’ve played through the Mass Effect games, I never once used the canned version of Shepard. In fact, I always rolled a Fem Shep, just because (and forgive me if you’ve heard this from when I talk about World of Warcraft) if I’m going to stare at a character’s ass for 40 hours, you can damn sure bet that ass is going to belong to a chick. Nonetheless, I can still relate to the stock Shepard just from seeing him so many times in the various adverts. But with no Fem Shep in the Big Fish line of figures, grabbing this version was pretty much a must. Let’s see how he turned out.

Shepard comes in a very nicely designed sealed clamshell package. You get a printed insert with the Mass Effect 3 logo up on the top and the bubble is designed to resemble the helmets from the game. Shep’s rifle is visible through the side panel, which is labeled as the weapons locker. In typical DC Direct… oops, I mean Big Fish, fashion, the packaging is completely generic for each series, with only a sticker on the front to distinguish the character inside. The back of the printed insert features photos of all four figures that make up Series 1 along with little blurbs about each character. Overall, this is a very nice presentation and there was a time when I would have carefully razored the back in order to save the package. But I’ve got no room for packages anymore, so I tore the hell out of this thing to get at my figure inside. Shep is held into his tray by a few twisty ties, but nothing that I can’t make quick work of.

Let’s go ahead and start with the head sculpt, since Square-Enix’s shitty Shepard head sculpt is the whole reason I wound up buying this line instead. It’s definitely reminiscent of the stock Shepard from the game and not some small headed flu-addled transvestite like the Play Arts Kai figure. Is it perfect? No. He’s a tad too cartoony for my taste, particularly in the eyes, and maybe his beard is a little heavy, but I’m really looking for things to nitpick here. Truth is, he looks great and I’ll take this head on a $20 figure over the head on that other $60 figure any day of the week. The paint apps are clean and it’s certainly passable for a figure in this price range.

The body sculpt is quite excellent and before getting to the details, I’m most pleased about the way the neutral stance works with this figure’s surprisingly serviceable articulation. But I don’t want to get ahead of myself, so let’s just talk sculpt and paint first. Shep’s armor is very nicely recreated here with a convincing layered depth to it. You get his scaled under armor exposed around his legs  and hands and the sculpted plates on top of that with plenty of panel lines. There aren’t a ton of paint apps on the figure’s armor, but the red and white stripes are there on his right arm and there’s a little silver scraping applied here and there to give the armor a little weathered look. I do wish his right hand was sculpted with the trigger finger so it could pass through the trigger guard of his assault rifle. As he is, he can hold it, but a better sculpt on the hand would have improved it a lot.

Now about that articulation… Big Fish or no, these figures started life as DC Direct product, and while DC Direct figures are hardly statues, they are not generally heralded for being overly articulated. Now, that having been said, Shep here has a surprisingly good amount of useful articulation. He has ball joints in his neck and shoulders, elbows, and knees. He has swivels in his ankles and wrists, and he has a typical “T” joint for his hips. Shep can also swivel just below the chest. A word of warning, if you manipulate his shoulders too much, you may pop off his shoulder armor. The shoulder plates are glued on, but fear not, if you pop them off, they will peg right back in and have a greater range of motion.

Shep comes with two accessories. First off, you get his tried and true Assault Rifle. It’s a faithful recreation of the weapon in the game and he can hold it fairly well, even without that trigger finger. Amazingly enough, you also get a removable helmet, which is ironically something that the Square-Enix figure (at three times the cost) doesn’t come with. I say, it’s ironic because the figure’s head is really ugly and he doesn’t come with a helmet to hide that shit, but then you probably already saw where I was going with that. The helmet is made of soft pliable plastic and fits snugly over the figure’s head while still leaving the lower part of the face visible. The helmet looks great on the figure, but I prefer to pose Shep with the helmet in the crook of his arm. He also comes with a figure stand, which is a simple plain black disc. Come on, Big Fish, couldn’t you have at least put the title of the game on these things?

In the end, I am totally impressed with this figure. He’s a tad bigger than I expected. I thought he’d be more in line with DC Unlimited’sResistance 2 figures,  but he stands just about a head taller than the regular Chimera. The sculpt and paint are both excellent for a figure in this price range and I was pleasantly surprised to find that Shepard isn’t your typical slightly articulated statue, but a bona fide action figure that can be posed and played with just fine. I’d recommend him to anyone looking to pick up a Mass Effect figure, particularly if you don’t want to spend more on a super-articulated ugly one. Alas, as we’ll see in the days ahead, Shepard isn’t exactly illustrative of the rest of this line, which tends to be hit and miss.

Mass Effect Week Begins…

Who wants to check out some of the new Play Arts Kai Mass Effect figures?

Well, I sure did until photos of the final Shepard and Ashley figures hit the Interwebs. WOOF! The bodies look ok, but instead of going with in game likenesses, Square-Enix decided to go with transvestite Shepard and crack whore Ashley. We’re talking shockingly bad sculpting and paintwork. Garrus appears to be the only one that escaped the factories with his face intact, but then he was ugly to begin with. Zing! Of course, I’ve yet to mention there have also been some reports of unfortunate QC issues showing up on the initial production run. Thankfully, I was in time to cancel my pre-orders and I can always wait and see how Fem Shep and Tali turn out. In the meantime, I needed to look elsewhere for my Mass Effect figure fix.

And that brings us to Big Fish. Who? These are the guys that took over production and distribution of the more mass market orientated ME3 figures after the shit blew up between Bioware and DC Direct over delays in shipping. DC Direct finally got out the first wave under the Mass Effect 2 banner, before the whole show was handed over to Big Fish. But new name or not, these are still essentially DC Direct figures (only now released under the Mass Effect 3 banner), meaning that they’re aimed at a much more mainstream market than the larger and far more articulated Play Arts Kai figures. Now, personally, I’d rather have a less articulated figure with a decent looking portrait, but hey that’s just me. It didn’t hurt that I was able to get six of these figures (plus a Kotobukiya statue) shipped from our brothers in The Great White North for less than the cost of two of the Play Arts Kai figures. In fact, the only two I’m missing for a complete set are Legion and Garrus, and I have no qualms about hunting them down individually for a little more monies.

Usually, new weeks begin around here on Mondays, but with Thanksgiving and Black Friday ahead, I’m going to spend most of this week either crazy busy, crazy drunk, or asleep. There’s bound to be a few days this week, where I won’t have time to update, so I’m hoping that if I start today, I’ll still have a good chance of making it through all six figures before the end of the week.

So strap in, kiddies, and I’ll be back tomorrow to kick it off with the hero of the piece: Commander Shepard himself.