Marvel Gallery: Gwenpool (Unmasked) by Diamond Select

Since I’m swimming in Marvel Legends, I didn’t want to take up Marvel Monday with a non-Legends item, so I thought I’d end the week by checking out my new Marvel Gallery statue. If you aren’t familiar with these pieces, the Gallery line grew out of DST’s Femme Fatales series. These are roughly 9-inch scale PVC statues, and DST has been pumping out a lot of characters from both the Marvel and DC Universes. A couple of Marvel Mondays back, I reviewed Marvel Legends Gwenpool and lamented the fact that they didn’t include an unmasked head, but when I found out that DST released an exclusive unmasked version of their Gallery statue, I decided to go ahead and add it to the collection. The unmasked version was a GameStop Exclusive, and to be honest, I don’t get why GameStop is getting exclusives on this comic book stuff. Although the last time I was in one, it looked like the toys and collectibles were beginning to overtake the games. Either way, I actually picked this one up online through Think Geek.

UH OH… This is the first time I bought anything from Think Geek’s website and that giant crunch to the corner of the box signifies that this will also be the last. They threw the statue in a box, dropped an airbag in it, and kicked it (possibly literally) out the door. The shipping box was perfect, but the statue box got crunched because there was insufficient packing. Can’t blame this one on the courier. I suppose it’s possible it was like that before they shipped it, but I’d consider that scenario even worse. Look, I’m not a real stickler about the condition of packaging. If I get a damaged Marvel Legends box from Amazon, I’m not going to cry about it. It’s a toy and it’s the cost of (usually) getting the item below retail cost. But when you’re a company that specializes in selling collectibles, like Think Geek is, you have to do better than this if you want me to do business with you.

Anywho, the packaging is exactly what you would expect from DST’s prolific Gallery series. The statue comes in a window box with windows on the front, top, and both sides to let in plenty of light, and Gwen is suspended inside between two clear plastic trays. As always everything is collector friendly. The box itself has a yellow and pink pokadot deco with a pink interior to tie it into the character. In the past, DST’s exclusive declarations have been pretty understated. Sometimes the retail exclusives have a sticker, while the convention exclusives just have a piece of foil tape with the limitation. In this case, the GameStop Exclusive is called out on the box itself, both front and back, and “Unmasked” has been under her name. Otherwise the deco and presentation is the same, and I’m still not sure why DST has started calling these “Dioramas” but it’s not really important. Let’s get Ms. Poole out of the box and check her out!

Gwenpool strikes a rather dynamic pose as she stands up on her toes, legs bent, as if she’s running towards a fight… and naturally, she stops to take a selfie, because that’s what all the young “hip” Marvel heroes (and anti-heroes) do these days. Most of the time it annoys me to no end, but here it just seems to fit the character well enough to not bother me. The pose does a wonderful job of accentuating Gwen’s curvy form, especially with the way her back is arched. What’s more, this is a pose that doesn’t rely on any specific “sweet spot” and looks great from a number of angles.

As is always the case with DST’s Gallery statues, every detail of the costume is part of the sculpt, even the lines where the pink and white meet. A lot of companies would have been content with just using paint, and that’s something I really enjoy about DST’s work on this line. You also get some particularly fine sculpting for her muscles and cool little details like the treads on her sneakers. I do wish they had added some vertical cuts to show off her knitted socks and distinguish them from the smooth shin guards. Oddly enough that’s something Hasbro did on their 6-inch Legends figure, but was omitted on this statue.

The quality of the paint application is pretty solid. The pink is smooth, as are the flesh tones in her legs. The brown leather on her belts and pouches have a rich, brown leathery look to them and the tiny buttons and buckles are all neatly painted bronze. Rather than being pure white, the white is a bit more of an eggshell color and has a little gloss to the finish, whereas the pink is matte, making for a subtle, but attractive contrast. They did a particularly nice job painting the laces on her sneakers. Overall, some of the lines could have been sharper, but there’s certainly nothing here that’s unacceptable for a statue in this price range. Quite the contrary, I’ve seen worse paint on more expensive pieces.

The portrait is certainly on point and again, most of the paint here is sharp and clean, particularly on her open eye and lips. I like that they didn’t go overboard on the smile. Yeah, Gwenpool is often depicted grimacing like a psycho, but I think what they did here works better with the context. The sculpted hair is a little thick, but I think it looks OK, and the way it frames her face gives it a nice sense of depth. The pink highlights in her hair look good, but I think the blonde could have been more blonde. Aside from that, my only real nitpick here is the winking eye, which from certain angles looks like she got punched and it’s swollen shut. Fortunately, there are plenty of options to display the statue where it isn’t all that prominent.

The cell phone in her left hand is pretty simple, as it’s got a pink case and a black screen. It’s a shame that DST didn’t run off a sticker with Gwen’s face to put on the screen, but it’s no big deal, since the screen won’t be visible with the way I’m going to display her. Her right hand is clutching her katana, and while the statue does come holding it, the sword is a separate piece. The hilt sculpt and paint are both very well done. I should compare and see if this piece was reused from the Lady Deadpool Gallery statue.

For the base, DST went for a semi-transparent pink “G” done in a block letter style. This works fine, although I do prefer displaying the statue from an angle that has the “G” slightly askew. If memory serves, this isn’t the base that they were going with when they first solicited the statue, but I’m fine with it.

If you’ve been kicking around FFZ for a while, you probably already know that I absolutely adore DST’s Gallery series, and Gwenpool here is a perfect example of why. This line is all about quality work and good value, and after adding over two dozen of these to my collection, I’ve only been let down by a couple. Unfortunately, I’ve had to reel myself back in a bit, because my collection of these has been getting out of hand and quite frankly I ran out of space to display them a long time ago. Gwen here set me back $40 for the Exclusive, and about $10 of that was shipping, so I certainly can’t complain about the price. I would only recommend that if you’re in the market for her, you hit up some GameStops and try to find her on the shelf. Not only will you be able to check the paint, but you can avoid having Think Geek send you one with a crunched box. She is up on Amazon right now, but at around $55 she’s going for a premium.

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KanColle: Battleship Mutsu “Super Premium” Figure with 41cm Twin Gun Mount by SEGA

Of all the Fleet Girls in the KanColle Universe, Mutsu is my favorite. I can’t tell you why, I just dig her a lot. Ironically, to date I’ve only reviewed one figure of her, and that was the Figma FigFix Half-Damage version. I do have one other to look at one day, but the truth is that she doesn’t get quite as much love as her fellow Fleet Girls when it comes to prize figures, or even scaled figures. But today’s release makes a mends, because it is the incredible “Super Premium” Figure from SEGA, and her armaments are so freaking big, they had to be boxed and sold separately. If you’ve seen my review on the SPM Battleship Nagato and her Gun Mount, then you’ll know exactly what to expect here. The only difference is I was able to buy these together, so Mutsu didn’t have to wait an extra couple of months for her guns to arrive from Japan like poor Nagato did. Let’s start with the figure…

Mutsu comes in a pretty big box for a prize figure. The regular SPM figures are roughly 8-inch scale and since Mutsu is a Battleship, she scales just a bit bigger. The box is fully enclosed, has some nice artwork, but mine arrived beat to hell with a big crunch in the side. And you know what? I don’t even care because I got a really good price on this lady and even manged to get her from a US Seller off of Amazon. She comes out of the box inside a plastic tray and the only assembly required is to place her on her stand. There’s also a little name plate in Japanese that you can place on the base or remove and place on the base that comes with the Gun Mount. It all depends on how you want to display the figure and gear, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Here’s Mutsu all set up and looking great. It’s a playful and demure pose and it almost looks like she’s blowing a kiss. I think this pose works great when the figure is on its own and without all the gear. It also nicely reflects Mutsu’s flirty and seldom too serious personality. Otherwise, she wears an outfit that’s very similar to Nagato’s, which includes a black and white half-top and a very short black pleated skirt with white stripe around the bottom. The outfit is rounded out by white gloves and a pair of knee-high red and gray rudder boots with white striping at the tops. One thing of note is that the arming belt she’s displayed with here does not have the ports to attach her armaments. I’m guessing they did that to give her more of a streamlined look for people who wanted to display her without her gear. I think it was a good choice!

The paint and coloring here is quite good. The whites are bright and the red and gray areas are smooth and even. The striping is solid, but in some areas could have been a bit sharper. Still, all the paint applications are well within what I expect of a prize figure, if not better. She also has a gold painted chrysanthemum embedded in the center of her belt. The skin tone is pretty good, but under certain light it does have a bit of that waxy sheen that you tend to see in prize figures, but not in the more expensive scaled figures. This sort of thing is usually a big pet peeve of mine, so when I say  it’s not too bad, you can believe it. All in all I’m really happy with how the coloring on the statue turned out with the figure in hand, even if it does look a little too orange in some of my pictures.

The portrait is spot on for my favorite Fleet Girl. She’s got big, perfectly printed green eyes and the hint of a smile. I really love how they sculpted her short, brown hair framing her face and blowing off to the back a bit. She also has her trademark antenna, which earned her nickname, Snail.

The simple black disk base is absolutely massive, and that’s because it’s designed to work with the Gun Mount. Alas, that means if you choose to display her alone, she takes up a lot more real estate on the shelf than should be required, and the base looks way out of proportion for the figure. But I have no intention of displaying her without her weapons, so let’s move on to the second box!

Like the figure, Mutsu’s armaments come in an enclosed box with lots of pictures and lots of Japanese text. If you’re like me and hopeless at reading Japanese, you really need to know what you’re looking at here or you could easily pick this up thinking that you get the figure as well. I’m pretty sure it says “Mutsu sold separately” somewhere on that box, but hell if I can read it. Although, if you’re familiar with the SPM figures, it would be pretty obvious that the figure couldn’t fit in this box. In any event, the Gun Mount requires a bit of assembly, as you have to attach the stand to the base, then connect the two sets of guns together, then plug those into the stand and put on the smokestack. Oh yeah, you also have to attach the anchor. There are also some support posts intended for when its hooked up to the figure, but I found they were totally unnecessary and didn’t look so good, so you won’t see them featured here. Obviously, the instructions are in Japanese, but there’s nothing here that can’t be figured out by way of the illustrations. When you’re all done cobbling this thing together, here’s what you get…

Now, I really dig the presentation here. The stand is meant to look like a gantry, cast in a smokey translucent plastic, complete with sculpted detail and even some stairs, which makes me wonder what’s going on with the scale in the KanColle Universe. The pieces all attach very securely and you can work the articulation on the individual guns and also rotate the turrets. That’s pretty much all the articulation that’s here. It’s fine for customizing the look I want, but if you want the fully articulated package, you really need to go with the Figma version of these Battleships. There’s a loop to hook the anchor chain through and I like to wind it around the back and hang it off the front, similarly to how it will look when worn by Mutsu.

The whole rig looks great, but apart from some sculpted rivets and a few panel lines, there isn’t an overload of detail and that’s fine because it carries the animated look quite well. You do get some nice variations in the gray with shading in some areas, cream colored plastic used for the coverings at the base of the guns, and a red border running along the bottom of the rig. The name plate is the same one pictured on the Mutsu base, and there’s no way to actually secure it, so I just use a bit of blue tack to keep it in place. There are some very faint hash marks on both bases so you know exactly how to position it. As I said, I really dig all the effort that went into the presentation here, and that makes it kind of sad that I will never ever display the guns this way. Nope, just like Nagato’s guns, these babies are going to stay on the figure, so let’s get Mutsu all kitted out.

The first thing you need to do is swap out the arming belt on the figure with this one that has the actual connecting ports. To do this, you pull poor Mutsu apart at the middle and lift out the old arming belt and swap it out for the new one. Yup, the skirt is sculpted as part of the belt, so it swaps out too. When you’re done, you just have to tab in the left and right gun assemblies, pop the smokestack onto the back, and attach her anchor. Traditionally, Mutsu is seen with her anchor’s chain wrapping around her left leg and attaching at her left rudder boot, but here the intent is that you run it around the back and then have it dangling from her left hand.

And here she is all armed up and looking absolutely spectacular! While Nagato’s gun assembly attached entirely by one connection point at the back, Mutsu’s feel a little more secure because each half attaches to each of the side ports. Not that I’ve had any issues with Nagato’s falling off, but it’s worth noting the difference in design and execution. However, like Nagato, fully armed Mutsu is a beast of a prize figure, measuring about 10-inches tall and requiring at least 10-inches radius to properly display her big guns.

While Mutsu’s pose works better than Nagato’s when she’s unarmed, I think the reverse is true for the armed up display. It’s not that Mutsu’s pose doesn’t work, it actually fits her character perfectly, but Nagato just looks like she’s ready to kick all kinds of ass with her hand out, commanding her Fleet Girls to open fire. Mutsu looks more like she’s just along for the ride. But either way, she sure looks adorable, and the two poses really speak volumes about each gal’s personality.

The two figures also look amazing displayed together, but they take up the bulk of my shelf, so even with most of my “Day Off” figures put away right now, I’m still going to need to do some expanding in order to make room for Mutsu. I’ll probably wind up displaying Mutsu and Nagato on each end of the shelf with SEGA’s three SPM Battleships, Fubuki, Mutsuki, and Yuudachi in the center. So, it looks like the rest of the Fleet Girls will be annexing the lower shelf, where I just have a random assortment of prize figures. I was able to pick up Mutsu and her Gun Mount for about $45 and that’s a lot better than I made out with Nagato. She was $45 all by herself, although she was advertised as coming with her Gun Mounts. Ah, but I already told that story back in that review. Either way, I’ve got no complaints, as I would have been perfectly happy paying a premium for this gal if I needed to. The bulk of my Kantai Collection figures are casual pick ups, but SEGA’s “Super Premium” Mutsu was a must-own figure and one that I jumped on as soon as I saw her.

 

KanColle: Light Cruiser Oyodo-Kai “Super Premium” Prize Figure by SEGA

After a long week of being sick, I’m ready to enjoy a leisurely morning with some coffee and a brand new KanColle Super Premium figure from the wonderful folks at SEGA. These SPM figures are presented in a roughly 8-inch scale and they’ve been digging pretty deep on the character selection, which keeps me coming back for more. Today’s Fleet Girl is the Light Cruiser Oyodo in her refit “Kai” form.

As always, SEGA’s SPM Fleet Girls come in standard enclosed boxes with a shot of the figure on the front, character art on the side panels, and lots of Japanese copy on the back. There’s very little English here, so hopefully you know what you’re getting. These boxes usually arrive pretty badly beaten up, but Oyodo’s is actually in pretty nice shape. Inside, the figure comes between two clear plastic trays. The only assembly required involves plugging her into her base.

While Oyodo-Kai is a fully armed Light Cruiser, she’s known more as an administrative “Mission Girl,” and only really sees action if you happen to be playing as her in the game. Likewise, she never saw action in the anime either, but rather served as assistant to Battleship Nagato and relayed action orders to the Fleet Girls. Even in the final battle when Nagato and Mutsu hit the water for action, Oyodo was nowhere to be seen. Her administrative nature is nicely reflected in the figure, which stands with clipboard in hand and turning in mid walk, as if to receive some last mission detail before hurrying off to relay orders.

Her outfit is rather unique among the Fleet Girls, and while she retains the familiar sailor-type uniform, she wears the top over an office-style long-sleeved button-down blouse with a red necktie. While she looks like all-business from the skirt up, she’s got a bit more whimsy going on down below decks. She’s wearing a pair of thigh-high stockings with lace around the tops and tied with pink ribbons just below. Over those she has white boots with gray, red, and gold rudder boots. Finally, she has a single piece of armor on her lower left leg, tied with two red ribbons.

The portrait here is pretty nice, but maybe not one of their best. I think maybe if the mouth was closed it would match the character art a little more closely. I do, however, like how they did her glasses, and they definitely add to her official administrative look. One thing that’s noteworthy is the white head band, which is correct for this refit “Kai” version. On the other hand, I’m pretty sure that as Oyodo-Kai, this version should have flower patches on her lapels, but they seem to have been omitted.

Oyodo-Kai may be a Mission Girl, but she still retains her armaments. In this case, that includes her twin 15.5cm gun mounts, one of which she wears across her back and the other on her right thigh. She also wears her catapult on her right arm, used for launching her Type 0 reconnaissance seaplane. Her full gear would also include a considerably large hull part on her backpack and extra guns, which SEGA wisely omitted from this figure, probably because it would have been too big and ungainly and I’m fine with that.

Oyodo-Kai comes with a white hexagonal base, which is similar to several of SEGA’s previous SPM releases. Her name is also printed in blue near the front and off-center. These are more or less standard designs for the SPM figures, although they do change them up from time to time.

And here’s a shot of Oyodo-Kai with Heavy Cruiser Ashigara Kai II and Aircraft Carrier Shokaku Kai II. No matter what ships I assemble in the fleet, these gals always display beautifully together.

As a characeter, Oyodo was not terribly high on my list, but as I fill out most of Kantai Collection’s heavier hitters, I’m having fun picking up some of the back-benchers as well. Besides, Oyodo really brings a lot of charm to my collection with her rather distinctive outfit. And it doesn’t hurt that both the sculpt and paintwork on this figure are excellent. I snatched her up off of Amazon for $18 shipped and I’d say as far as missions go, that was a success!

KanColle: Destroyer Akizuki (Moon Viewing Version) by Taito

It’s Saturday… who’s ready for some more KanColle? Well, don’t everybody raise their hands at once. Sheesh. On the last Anime Saturday I opened up Taito’s “Moon Viewing” version of the Destroyer Teruzuki and pointed out that she was intended to be displayed with her sister ship. So here I am back as promised to open up the “Moon Viewing” version of Akizuki and finally get these two Fleet Girls together on the shelf.

The packaging features the same style of enclosed box as we saw last week only with pictures of Akizuki on the front and side panels. The back panel, however, still shows both figures together, and it’s brilliant marketing, because I don’t know what kind of filthy animal could possibly buy one without the other and not feel empty inside. There isn’t a lot of assembly required. You just plug Akizuki into her base, put her Chou-10cm-hou-chan onto the base, and then put the Susuki grass into each of their hands.

And here she is all set up and ready for display. Akizuki stands on one foot with the other leg bent at the knee and clutching a handful of Susuki Grass, which is a traditional offering at the Otsukimi harvest celebration, or Moon Viewing Ceremony. Her pleated skirt is a palate swap of her sister’s, so instead of black with a white stripe it’s white with black stripe. The top, however, is the same, mostly white with a black collar and white stripe, and an orange neckerchief. And while Teruzuki wears her Anti-Aircraft Fire Detector on her neckerchief, Akizuki wears hers up in her hair.

Of course, this “Moon Viewing” version is the equivalent of Taito’s “Day Off” figures, so Akizuki is not wearing her armaments. She does, however still have her arming mount belt around her waist where her weapons would attach if she were out on a mission. On the other hand, she does still have her rudder boots. While her sisters boots were all red, Akizuki’s are mostly gray with red platforms and rudders.

The paint on this figure is quite good, both in quality and application. The white is very bright and clean and the flesh tones are smooth and warm. But that’s not surprising, as Taito rarely lets me down in this category. The lines between the white and black in her gloves could be a little sharper, but it’s not something that I’m going to fuss about when dealing with a figure at this price point. Sometimes her neckerchief is depicted as being more yellow, but here it’s orange, the same as it was with her sister’s.

The portrait is excellent. Akizuki is the older of the two sisters, and I think that’s reflected, as her eyes are not as wide as Teruzuki’s. I really like the depth to her hair and how it frames her face. Like her sister, she has a headband that reads “61” in Japanese, indicating that she is part of the 61st Destroyer Division. And as mentioned earlier, she wears her AA Fire Detector above her ahoge. The Susuki Grass does have a habit of slipping out of her left hand, something I noticed as I was handling her a lot, but it snaps back into place easily.

Like her sister, Akizuki also comes with her very own Chou-10cm-hou-chan, which is basically a little sentient gun turret, and he’s every bit as adorable as Teruzuki’s. He has both viewing ports open, giving him wide eyes and there’s  a cat-like smile drawn on his face. The guns are articulated and are kind of expressive, like antenna. He’s also holding an offering of Susuki Grass in his little flipper-like arms, which attaches via a peg. Unlike Teruzuki’s little friend, this one doesn’t have a post to attach him to the base, so you can just position him anywhere you like.

Akizuki’s base is a clear hexagon, identical to her sister’s. They’re set up so that if you put two of the sides flush with each other, the girls will be standing back to back and I think they look great together.

And here’s a quick shot of her with SEGA’s Super Premium Akizuki, which is all armed up and ready for action.

This is another fantastic figure from Taito and I love how she displays with Teruzuki. The only shame is that neither Taito nor SEGA appears to have released the third Akizuki Class sister-ship, Hatsuzuki. Good Smile has released a Nendoroid figure of her, but I’m not really into those all that much. Like her sister, Akizuki set me back only $13 shipped and that’s a pretty amazing deal. The sculpt is sharp, the paint is on point, and I have to say once again how happy I am that Amazon has been a source for these figures, because if it weren’t for them, my collection would be a lot smaller. Next Saturday will likely be another helping of KanColle love, but I’m not sure whether it’ll be another prize figure or a Figma release. Either way, I’m starting to get really badly backlogged.

KanColle: Destroyer Teruzuki (Moon Viewing Version) by Taito

Welcome to another Anime Saturday! I’m a little bummed out today because my vacation is coming to a close, so I’m drowning my sorrows this morning in coffee and opening up a new figure to cheer me up. It’s been a little while since I dipped my toe into that sweet, sweet pool of Kantai Collection prize figures, so it’s time to remedy that by unboxing another one of Taito’s lovely Fleet Girls. This time I’m checking out the Akizuki Class Destroyer, Teruzuki! This is the “Moon Viewing” version which is sort of akin to the “Day Off” figures, some of which I’ve looked at before. I’ve actually been on the hunt for SEGA’s Super Premium version of Teruzuki, as that one is all geared up, but I have yet to find a domestic source for her. In the meantime, I wound up buying this one just to get her in my collection. And also because Taito usually does some really nice work with these figures.

Teruzuki comes in a fully enclosed box with some shots of the figure on the front and side panels. It’s an attractive enough box, but these things are so flimsy that they’re usually pretty rough by the time they get to me. This one was even wrapped in plastic and it still took a pounding. The only English on the box is on the top and bottom panels where it has the figure’s name. You get the ubiquitous JAMMA logo in the upper corner and there are perforations to make handles on the sides.

The back panel of the box shows her paired up with her sister-ship, Akizuki. These two Fleet Girls are sold separately, but they’re actually meant to be displayed together. Inside the box, you get some extra bits of reinforcing cardboard and the figure is wrapped in plastic with a little minor assembly required. And as always, these figures are scaled at about 8-inches or so.

And here she is all set up and looking adorable. I really dig the pose here. Teruzuki is leaning forward and proudly offering up a box of Dango, which as I understand it are like sweet dumplings and are often enjoyed at the Otsukimi, or Moon Viewing Ceremony. Her sailor uniform is pretty typical stuff with a short pleated skirt, black with white stripes and a white top with a black collar with white stripes to match the skirt. She also has a bright orange neckerchief to add a little color to the ensemble, and it’s secured below her collar with her Anti-Aircraft Fire Detector. What a great little detail! Her outfit is rounded out by a pair of white knee socks and tall red rudder boots.

From the back, we can see that despite this being a leisure figure, she still has her arming mount on the back of her waist. One of the reasons I really want to get a regular version of Teruzuki is because her gear includes a really cool and distinctive pair of drum magazines that she wears on her thighs.

The portrait is nice and simple. Her blue eyes are printed looking off to the side and she’s offering a little smile. I love the golden propellers at the ends of her pigtails. Her headband is also marked “61” in Japanese, as she is part of the 61st Destroyer Division.

Her mound of tasty Dango are neatly stacked in a pyramid with white linen unfolded to display them. If anyone out there knows how to make Dango, be sure and send me a batch because they sound delicious.

Like the fan favorite Fleet Girl, Shimakaze and her Rouchouchan, Teruzuki is accompanied by her own adorable little sentient gun turret, in this case referred to as Chou-10cm-hou-chan. This little guy is mounted on a ball jointed post and hovering over the base, so you can position him whichever way you like. The guns are articulated and he has one view port closed to make it look like he’s winking. He also looks like he’s sucking down a Dango, probably the one missing from the top of the pyramid. As you can see the base is a simple clear plastic hexagon and Teruzuki is positioned on it so the flat side behind her can sit flush with the opposite side of her sister ship’s base. There’s no name inscribed, which is fine by me. Taito doesn’t tend to put the girls’ names on the bases.

And here’s a shot of her with Taito’s Battleship Yamato “Day Off” figure, just to show that they scale really well together. The OCD in me wishes they would stick with one style of base, but I guess they each have their merits. Also… So much food being served… now I’m hungry.

It’s been a while since I bought this figure, but I seem to recall her being a whopping $13 shipped off of Amazon. Honest, folks. I don’t get any kickbacks from mentioning Amazon, but it really is a great place to grab some of these figures. Anyway, I really like Teruzuki a lot. Taito continues to deliver some especially sharp sculpts and clean, vibrant paint for figures in this price range, and all with a wonderful attention to the character’s personality and appearance. Naturally, I picked her up with the “Moon Viewing” version of Akizuki, and I’ll be checking out that figure next Saturday, as long as time permits.

One Piece: “Flag Diamond Ship” Nami by Banpresto

It’s the weekend! And I’m actually off this weekend! I had every intention of reviewing a Figma today, but this past week turned into a real shit-show and what little spare time I had I spent playing video games to relieve stress. To put it another way, reviewing Figmas takes time, and I didn’t have time. But, I wasn’t about to let my streak of Anime Saturday reviews die, so here I am with another prize figure from Banpresto’s Flag Diamond Ship series. Last time it was Boa Hancock, this time it’s Nami!

Just like Boa’s packaging, the box here is sizable, as the figure inside is roughly 9-inch scale and comes mostly assembled. All you have to do is remove it from the plastic, put Nami’s head onto her body and plug her into the base. There are some additional stand parts if you want them, but I’ll come back to that toward the end of the review. I don’t have much more to say about the box, other than it has plenty of photos of the figure inside and it’s made of super flimsy cardboard, so mine got beat up pretty bad in transit. Also, it’s worth repeating the mission statement for this series, which is printed in English on the front of the box. “Our aim was to create a figure that exudes the female form, including an amazing hourglass figure, ideal lady curves, and proportional balance.” You sold me, Banpresto! Let’s take a look!

And here she is all set up and ready to go, and I must say she is pretty exquisite and for a prize figure, the quality here is excellent. The shapely Straw Hat navigator stands on one leg as she adjusts the heel of her left sandal with her right hand. Her other hand resting on what little there is of her shorty-short shorts. Her head is turned and she offers an alluring little side glance. In addition to her denim-style shorts and orange high-heeled sandals, she sports a super skimpy red bikini top and a rather magnificently plumed pirate hat. In terms of a traditional look for the character, I don’t think this costume takes as many liberties as they did with Boa Hancock, although I’m definitely sensing a giant pirate hat theme in this series. As for the composition, well the pose certainly has sex appeal, and I always get a little extra enjoyment out of statues that are posed in a way that exhibits perfect balance.

The paint quality is quite good, with a lush and glossy crimson for her bikini top. The paint applications for the strings could have been a wee bit sharper, but it’s nothing that I’m going to get upset about. The shorts feature a very realistic blue that replicates the denim material rather nicely, along with a lighter blue used for the ragged cut fringe. Even the black lines of her g-string are pretty sharp. The plastic used for her skin tone is warm and smooth, although under certain lighting it can look a tad waxy. There are some seam lines running up the sides of the figure, but they’re pretty subtle and you have to get in pretty close to notice them. Let’s take a closer look at some of the details…

I love the attention to detail expressed in her rings and bracelets. Each individual ring on her fingers is unique and neatly painted. The sculpt on the brown leather wrist wrap is pretty intricate and it contrasts nicely with the candy-colored red and white bracelet. Moving on to her left arm, she has the updated version of her Log Pose with the three globed needles to help her navigate the New World. The red beaded bracelet is painted neatly, but if you get in close enough you can see where the sculpt is not painted around the skin and it looks a little strange. And yes, I’m really looking for stuff to nitpick here. Also note that her fingernails are painted pink.

And let’s take a quick look at the back of her shorts so that we can soak in the… um, detail. The sculpted stitching includes the pockets, belt loops, and various seam lines, and I think they did a nice job with the ragged edges. The sides of the jeans are laced together with sculpted string, which is carefully painted.

And here’s a look at her trademark blue tattoo, which is neatly printed on her left arm. This shot also offers a good look at the painted plumage in her pirate hat. The feathers are red, yellow, and blue, the hat is painted with a leather-like brown finish, and there’s a nice gold border painted around the edges of the brim.

And that brings us to the portrait, which achieves Nami-levels of cute. In fact, based on my patented Namiometer, I’d rate this one with a cuteness factor of 9. The combination of her wide, perfectly printed eyes and her knowing smirk, punctuated by her mischievous eyebrows really sums up the character perfectly. And while the pirate hat itself is quite nice, I can’t help but have my attention stolen away by the wild sculpt of her beautiful orange hair. Fantastic!

The base is a simple translucent black disk, which eschews the creativity of Boa’s treasure stand for something a lot more functional. Nami’s right foot pegs into it and it holds her up perfectly straight. If you note the socket behind her foot, that’s for an additional post with a clip that’s designed to go around her upper right leg to hold her steady. I’m hesitant to use it because I’m afraid it might mark or scratch the skin tone. It’s also a bit unsightly and totally unnecessary as she stands fine without it. I don’t want to dump all over the creativity used for Boa’s stand, but I think I prefer this one and I wish Banpresto had used a standard style base for this series.

Despite the CRANEKING logo stamped on the box, this figure really blurs that line between cheap prize figure and premium scaled figure. But then the somewhat inflated price reflects that. While I paid the higher price of $30 for Boa Hancock, Nami here was $35, and while that’s a bit pricey for a mere prize figure, I can’t say it wasn’t money well spent. She’s big and she looks fantastic on the shelf. As much as I’d love to adorn my shelves with $150-200 Nami statues, I collect way too much stuff to be able to pump that kind of cash into my anime collectibles. Maybe someday I’ll invest in that one special Nami figure, and I suppose I’ll know that one when I see it. But for now, this is a really well done figure, and I’m really digging this Flag Diamond Ship series. Some of my usual haunts have Vinsmoke Reiju up for pre-order as the next figure gracing this series, but sadly not until September.

One Piece “Flag Diamond Ship” Boa Hancock by Banpresto

Did you know that one of my favorite pastimes is drinking a bunch of Jameson and trawling the Interwebs for prize figures? Yup, I’m a man of simple pleasures. They tend to be pretty cheap, so I can’t get into too much trouble, but as a rule I keep seeing a lot of the same stuff over and over again so I don’t end up buying a lot. But just often enough something new pops in and surprises me, and last time it was this Flag Diamond Ship series by Banpresto. I call it a series, but I’ve only been able to find two so far, Boa and Nami, and I snapped up both of them pretty quickly. Maybe there will be more, who knows? I want to go straight for the Nami, but since I just looked at her Variable Action Hero a couple weeks back, I’m going to open up Boa today for Anime Saturday!

The box is pretty typical prize figure fare, albeit it’s bigger to house this 9-inch scale figure. Yeah, when it comes to prize figures, I tend to think 6-inches or smaller, but despite the CRANEKING logo on the box, Boa is not your average prize figure. The enclosed box shows plenty of photos of the figure inside, although it’s a bit on the flimsy side and mine showed up a little rough around the edges. As for what this series is all about, I’ll let the box speak for itself, “Our aim was to create a figure that exudes the female form, including an amazing hourglass figure, ideal lady curves, and proportional balance.” OK! That’s quite a mission statement… and in English no less! Inside the box, Boa comes wrapped in plastic and with a little assembly required. Her head needs to be attached and her right foot needs to be fitted to the base.

Out of the box, Boa strikes a pose with her right foot on a pile of gold, her hands resting on her hips, and her formidable cannons out front and center. It’s nothing terribly creative from a composition standpoint, but at least they resisted the urge to full on Captain Morgan and have her knee up higher and her foot up on a chest. As for “exuding the female form,” I think they’ve achieved their goal at least within the framework of the ridiculously sensationalized anime perspective. In short, I love it!

The costume is not a traditional look for Boa, but rather a sexy take on the swashbuckling pirate look that I really enjoy. She’s got a ragged cut top that just manages to contain her ample chest, and is tied in the front. The rest of the costume consists of a a skimpy pair of black panties which are mostly obscured by a pair of wide belts, thigh-high high-heeled boots, lots of bling on her arms, and a very iconic looking tri-corner pirate hat.

The sculpted detail here is pretty fantastic. The buccaneer boots have rumples in all the right places, as well as ornate golden fixtures on the heels, toes, and backs of the ankles. You get little sculpted cross-stitches on the backs of the thigh cuffs. The use of gradient shades of brown on the boots looks especially nice. The belts are sculpted as separate pieces and include all sorts of fixtures and ornamentation. As good as the sculpt is, there are some solid paint applications to back it up. From individually painted bracelets to the fingernail polish, they really went all out on this figure.

The portrait offers a solid recreation of the character from the series with perfectly printed eyes and lips. My only main nitpick here would be that she’s void of all expression. I’d like to see a little smirk or smile, or determination, but she’s kind of just a blank slate. I guess this figure has enough personality in the outfit to carry the day. I’ll also say that the hair sculpt could have been a little more refined, especially the strands that spill down the side of her face. The earrings are a nice touch and I really dig the pirate hat, which features some leather-like texturing.

The base is kind of a mixed bag. I appreciate them trying something a little different from the usual disk, but what we got doesn’t work all that well. It’s basically just a little pile of treasure that you slip her foot into. The problem is that if I slip her foot so it’s flush with the bottom, she doesn’t stand straight, so I had to experiment a bit to get it to work and when it is working, the base itself isn’t usually even with the surface it’s standing on. So, points for creativity, but I have to take them back again for pure execution.

The base notwithstanding, I’m really impressed with this figure. She cost me around $30, which is admittedly a lot more than I usually spend on prize figures, but when you consider the larger scale and that this figure really sports some premium paint, I think the price is justified. Since it was the first time I saw her and I was pretty inebriated, I didn’t really do a lot of deal hunting. Also, this is the first Boa Hancock figure in my collection, so I feel good that I’m expanding beyond Nami for a change. Next week, I’m probably going to check out another Figma, and after that I’ll circle back to open up Flag Diamond Ship Nami.

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 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!

Fate/Grand Order: Archer (Altria Pendragon) by Furyu

If there was any area where I dropped the ball in 2017 it was with Anime Saturday. There just weren’t enough of them. Now, in my defense, I already do at least four days of content a week, but then excuses don’t make my backlog of anime figures get any smaller. I honestly doubt I’ll have time to do any more this year, but I wanted to squeeze in just one more, so I can feel a little less worse about my lack of initiative. One thing I can say is that I’ve looked at a handful of figures from Fate/Stay Night and Fate/Extra this year, but today I’m venturing into the uncharted territory of Fate/Grand Order. It’s a phone app game that I will never play, but I still enjoy following the characters and lore. This version of Archer, Altria Pendragon, was a limited Servant, who could only be summoned during the game’s 2016 Summer Event. The character originally caught my eye as a limited Figma release, which quickly rocketed beyond what I was ever willing to spend on her.

And so it’s cheap JAMMA prize figures to the rescue! Altria comes in an enclosed box, which is typical of these prize figures. The box is nice and colorful and features a fair amount of English copy, including the character’s name. I’ll note here that this is basically a budget prize figure version of the exact same figure that was released as a proper scaled figure by Max Factory. Another figure that I would have loved to pick up, but I just couldn’t justify spending what she cost. I will, however, still point out some of the differences based on the pictures I’ve seen. The figure requires a little bit of assembly. You just peg her left foot into the base, peg the tip of Excalibur into her left hand, and tab the water gun into her right hand.

And here she is all set up and ready for a game of Water Blitz and looking pretty good. Altria is the perfect poster girl for the Summer Event, posing with her right leg kicking up behind her and leaning on Excalibur with her left hand, as she turns to fire off a blast from her water gun. And of course, since it’s summer, she’s wearing very little, just a skimpy white bikini with blue bows and ribbons, and a pair of white sandals.

Overall, the paint is pretty clean on this figure, although she obviously lacks the premium work of Max Factory’s version where the blues are more vibrant and the whites are actually pearlescent. Her skin tone here is also a little paler and flatter, while the skin on the better version features a warmer hue. I think that’s probably my biggest quibble about the figure, because everything else is pretty damn solid for what you’re paying.

The portrait is pretty good, with perfectly printed blue eyes to match the bows on her bikini, and a very nice sculpt for her hair. She’s got a big blue bow on the back of her head and the ubiquitous ahoge sprouting from the top.

Excalibur is an extremely nice looking accessory. The blade is painted silver and the hilt is a combination of blue and gold. The peg holding it into her hand is also fairly unobtrusive, so you could actually use this as an accessory for a similarly scaled figure.

And because you can’t always rely on your legendary magic sword in battle, it helps to take a water gun! The water gun looks great and it’s such a fun accessory. The wetting weapon is cast in translucent plastic with both a yellow and pale blue tint and it tabs very securely into her hand.

The easiest difference to spot between this piece and Max Factory’s scaled figure, is found in the bases. Max Factory’s version features a detailed beach base, this one gets by with just a a simple white disc, which is serviceable and doesn’t take up too much real estate.

I’m delighted that I was able to add this figure to my collection without breaking the bank. But make no mistake, if I only collected anime figures, I would have picked up the fully scaled figure in a heartbeat. But anime figures happen to be only a fringe part of my collection, and at around $140, I just couldn’t justify it picking it up. On the other hand, $12 shipped for a JAMMA figure and I still get to put the character on my shelf? Hell, yeah. Why not? I can’t stress enough that the difference between the two in terms of quality and polish is like night and day, but then with a $120 spread, that’s to be expected.