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.

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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.

Marvel Premier Collection: Gamora by Diamond Select

It’s Day Two of Marvel Week and today I thought we’d give the action figures a rest and open up a statue from Diamond Select’s Marvel Premier Collection. These are roughly Sixth-Scale resin statues, mostly based on modern appearances of the characters. I only own one other piece from this line, the Clayburn Moore sculpt of Spider-Gwen, and I was pretty happy with her. Picking up Gamora here seemed like a no-brainer, especially since I was able to get a pretty decent deal on her. Let’s check out the most dangerous woman in the Universe!

Gamora comes in a fully enclosed box with photos of the statue on all four panels and features the “Guardians of the Galaxy” logo and calls out that it was sculpted by the wonderful and prolific Jean St. Jean. The presentation here is very serviceable, but not all that appealing from an artistic standpoint. It feels like the box layout was thrown together pretty quickly. That’s not really a sticking point for me, as I just keep my statue boxes for the possibility of future storage, moving, or god forbid… resale. Inside the box, you get a colorful card showing the limitation as well as the number of the statue in the box. Gamora is wrapped in plastic and encased between two styrofoam bricks, and she comes fully assembled and all ready for display.

Standing about 12-inches tall, Gamora is based on her more recent look in the pages of Marvel Comics and wearing her white space space armor. Some fans refer to this as her “Stormtrooper Armor” and I think the comparison is fairly valid. It’s quite a departure from her more revealing classic outfits, but it still shows off her shapely curves, and I’ll confess to being a fan of this new look the very first time I saw it. The pose here is pretty conservative. Gamora stands on an alien landscape with a rather intimidating rifle cradled in her arms (What? No Sword?), and her long hair blowing in the breeze. The heel of her left foot is raised giving the piece just a little hint of anticipated action. Overall, I like what we got here, but then I tend favor “museum-style” poses in favor of the more dynamic stuff. It’s not that I don’t like action poses, but they tend to have a better chance of going wrong.

Every last detail on this statue is incorporated into the actual sculpt, and this is particularly apparent in the cut panel lines that run throughout the armor. There’s a nice sense of depth between the armor plates and the underlying black suit, and you also get some ribbed sections along the top of her back and underarms. The panel lines are neatly painted in black and you get some pale gray panels, as well as some crimson accents. I have no complaints about the quality of the paint on this piece. The lines are reasonably sharp, and there are no apparent flubs. What’s more, the application is even and there are no visible brush strokes. The whole suit gives me a strong Mass Effect vibe, which isn’t a bad thing as I happen to dig the aesthetics of those games… well three of them, at least.

I love the way the portrait came out. Her face is flawless and beautiful and even the painted patches around her eyes are part of the sculpt. I just adore the shape of her nose and the ridge leading down to her lips. No, I don’t have some creepy nose thing, I just appreciate how good it looks. The pupil-less white eyes are rather mesmerizing and they used a nice, rich red paint for her lips. The hair sculpt is good, albeit a bit on the chunky side. It looks like it was sculpted from a separate piece, which gives her a clean hairline. The downside to the hair blowing off to the side is it limits the options for display angles. She looks great from the front or turned a bit to her right, but it means that the right side of the statue is closed for business. Hey, most statues have an intended “sweet spot” for display, and I’d say this one has at least a few.

Gamora’s  rifle features a rather boxy and utilitarian design that emphasizes function over form. I can dig that as it makes it appear more like a legitimate piece of military hardware. The black and gray deco gives it a convincingly realistic finish, and it’s equipped with what looks like a magazine, but maybe it’s a battery pack, and a scope. Gamora practices poor trigger discipline, but then I’d kind of expect that from her. It’s what makes her so dangerous!

The rocky alien landscape they did for the base looks great. They packed all kinds of little details in the rocks and terrain and the brownish-orange paint gives it a hint of Mars. If you look closely enough, you can see that they sculpted panel lines on the bottoms of her boots. The alien landscape is placed on a raised, circular platform.

The bottom of the base features the declaration of limitation. In this case, mine is 153 of 3,000. I think that’s one of the lowest numbers I’ve ever gotten on one of these things!

The Marvel Premier Statues tend to have an MSRP of around $130, but Gamora is available on Amazon at the time I’m writing this for well under $100. I’m always glad to save money, but I would have been perfectly happy with this piece had I picked it up at full price. The modern costume might not be for everyone, but I can appreciate her new look, and the artistry and craftsmanship on display here are both excellent. Tomorrow, I’ll keep this Marvel Week rolling along and turn my attention back to Hasbro’s Legends line!

DC Gallery (Justice League Unlimited): Huntress by Diamond Select

If you’re keeping track, I last visited with DC Gallery, Diamond’s plucky line of comic-based statues, back in September with JLU Hawkgirl and I was disappointed. But before that Black Canary and Zatanna blew me away. Will today be the day that the DC Gallery restores its good name? Let’s find out and open up Helena Bertinelli based on her appearance as The Huntress in the Justice League Unlimited cartoon.

The DC (and Marvel) Gallery statues evolved from DST’s old Femme Fatales line, and the packaging hasn’t changed much since those days. But hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. You get a collector friendly window box with windows on the front, top, and both side panels. This offers a great opportunity to scrutinize the piece you’re buying, assuming you actually get them at a brick-and-mortar shop. The back panel features a blurb about the character and you get a nice JLU logo on the front. The statue comes encased in a plastic tray and there’s no assembly required.

DST has managed to do some pretty fun poses with these statues, and The Huntress here is no exception. She’s staged sitting on the edge of a cylindrical light fixture with one knee drawn up. Her right hand crosses her chest and wrests on her left arm, which in turn is raised with her signature crossbow at the ready. She turns slightly, waiting for her prey to arrive, and clearly she means business. The composition here is a nice compromise between a staged cover-style pose, while still offering a whiff of action. I love it!

There’s more than the usual amount of sculpting invested in Huntress’ costume. Because of the simple nature of the source art, these animated statues don’t always offer a lot of opportunity for sculpted detail, but there’s a lot going on with this one. Indeed every detail, from the purple bands on her boots and gloves, to the tummy-exposing cut out, to the white stripes on her cape, is incorporated as part of the sculpt. She also features pouches on her belt and arm bands, and a holster for her crossbow. The crossbow is cocked and ready to go. Even the shoulder-hugging cape falls naturally and looks great.

It’s the paint that has been an issue on a few of my DST statues. It was particularly bad on their Lady Deadpool and not so hot on their Hawkgirl. Fortunately, The Huntress is here to set things right again. The quality of application here is fantastic. The lines that separate her boots from her skin could have been a tad sharper, there’s a tiny bit of slop where she makes contact with the light fixture, but I only point those out because I’m really looking for something to complain about. One of the pitfalls of some of these pieces has been scratching and rubbing showing up on large, featureless surfaces that are painted gray or black. I’m happy to say that’s not the case here.

If I had to nitpick anything else, I’d say the face is a little too triangular. When I compare it to the cartoon, I think it tapers too sharply toward the chin to be one hundred percent faithful to her look on the show. At the same time, it’s not bad at all, I’m just saying they didn’t nail it quite as perfectly as they did with Zatanna or Wonder Woman. With that having been said, the mask and the hair both look great, and the facial features are painted with the same care as the rest of the statue.

As usual, our last stop is the base and what we have here is certainly functional and well executed. I’m just not really sure what it’s supposed to be. I know she’s sitting on a light, but it’s not like any light I recall seeing. I’m guessing it’s supposed to be on a rooftop.

And so, The Huntress takes her rightful place alongside Black Canary and Zatanna as another shining example of how great this line can be when it’s firing on all cylinders. The three cornerstones of any statue will always be the pose, the sculpt, and the paint, and this lady hits them all with style. Indeed, at about forty bucks, I’m surprised at seeing this level of quality in what is essentially a budget line. If you want some nice representation of these characters, and don’t have a lot of money to blow, DC Gallery remains an excellent alternative to the more expensive DC Collectibles stuff.

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.

Marvel Gallery: Phoenix by Diamond Select

It’s that magical time for Marvel Monday, when I’m between waves of Marvel Legends and I can take a brief moment to look at something else Marvel-related before diving into another Legends Wave and chipping away at my huge backlog. And as it so happens, I just got in one of the latest releases in Diamond Select’s Marvel Gallery series of 9-inch scale PCV statues. Let’s have a look at Jean Grey!

DST has done a great job streamlining the package for this line while still giving each one a bit of character. Jean comes in a collector-friendly window box with windows on the front, top, and side panels, allowing you to get a great look at the piece you’re buying. Provided, of course, that you aren’t picking them up online, like I have to. The box deco is blue with some green speckles of energy and the X-Men logo under the window and above her name. Diamond has been calling these “PVC Dioramas,” but they’re really just statues with specialized bases. I can’t help but wonder if that has something to do with licensing issues.

And with Jean out of her box, I find myself suitably impressed! Jean stands with her right toe suspended in the center of a fiery phoenix and her left leg bent up at the knee. She turns at the waist toward her beholder with her right arm out behind her and her left arm reaching forward. The composition here really resonates a lot of energy, while still retaining something of a cheesecake pose, which would have been right at home in Kotobukiya’s Bishoujo line.

All the details of Phoenix’s costume are incorporated as part of the sculpt. Her boots and gauntlets are thicker, making them actually look like they’re worn over the suit. Even the plunging black triangle on her chest with the phoenix emblem are separate sculpts. The belt also features the two tied off loose ends fluttering behind her. Beyond that, you get some lovely muscle definition sculpted into her skin tight suit.

The paint on the costume is damn near flawless. The suit features a striking metallic green finish, the triangular cut-out is in matte black, and the rest of the costume is kitted out in a yellowish-gold with a nice shimmer to it. Very nice!

The portrait is clean and beautiful, but like the pose, it leans toward the previously mentioned Bishoujo camp. It’s not that she’s had an anime makeover, but rather her smiling expression makes this look more like a glamour art commission one might get done at a comic convention. I actually love it, but some might have hoped for something a little more serious and in character. Either way, the paint applications for the eyes and lips are all crisp and fairly precise. The only issue I have is that the mascara under her left eye is a little lower than the right, but I’m really nitpicking here. The hair sculpt is absolutely extraordinary.

The fiery phoenix base is cast in a translucent orange and yellow plastic. and works beautifully. I love the balance of the piece and how it looks like Jean is almost defying gravity. I’ve really been warming up to statue designers using unconventional bases like this.

I have to give major props to DST for this beautiful statue. The quality on this piece is exceptional and I’m ever impressed that they can deliver something that looks this good in what is basically a budget line. I pre-ordered this one when it was first solicited at $45 and I couldn’t be happier with my purchase. Indeed, she’s so good, she can definitely hang with some of the more expensive statues in my collection. It’ll be back to Legends next week, and with the Blu-Ray release of Spider-Man: Homecoming coming in just a few weeks, I thought I might as well hit that wave next.

Femme Fatales “Hack/Slash:” Cassie Hack (NYCC 2015 Exclusive Edition) by Diamond Select

You’ve probably already surmised something is up by the title of today’s feature, so let me just come out and declare that DC Fridays are going on hiatus. I’ve got some great DC related stuff pre-ordered and coming soon, but with DC Icons almost dead, and DC Multiverse too depressing for me to keep reviewing, my DC merch is pretty much relegated to statues these days. It breaks my heart because DC is absolutely killing it with their comics lately and I’m reading most of their current books. Sooo, I’m opening up Fridays as an “Anything Goes” slot once again, but as new DC stuff comes in, it’ll get shunted to the front of the line every Friday. Promise!

With that all having been said, I’m keeping things comic-themed today and checking out Diamond Select’s Exclusive Edition of the Femme Fatales Cassie Hack statue from Image Comics’ Hack/Slash! Phew, that was a mouthful! And yes, if by some chance this looks familiar, it may be because I reviewed the standard version a couple years back. If you’re down for some great horror-comedy-action funnybooks, you’d be well-served to check out Hack/Slash by Tim Seeley, which should still be available in TPB format. There’s hardly any merchandising surrounding this series, so it should come as no surprise that I was willing to double dip on the Exclusive.

The packaging is more or less identical, even to the point where the photos on the back of the box are of the retail release and not this Exclusive. You do get a sticker on the front window declaring this an “Action Figure Xpress Exclusive”. There’s also a piece of foil tape on the top denoting it is a NYCC Exclusive and that mine is number 669 of 1,000. Dammit… soooo close to 666! Anyway, it looks like I’m going in from the bottom to get Cassie out! There isn’t a lot of set up involved here. After freeing her from betwixt two clear plastic trays one finds that she comes permanently attached to her base, but you do have to put her accessories in her hands.

Here she is, and ain’t she to die for? In my review of the original retail release, I bemoaned the fact that this Exclusive was the more colorful edition and that I preferred it to the two. That opinion still holds strong today. Indeed, if I had known how easy and affordable this statue would be to eventually get, I would have waited, but more on that later. There is no new sculpting here, so we’re dealing with just a straight repaint, and even those changed areas are somewhat limited. The blue and gray gloves have been changed to red and gray, her gray skirt is now black with red squares, and her socks are now black with red decorations.

So, the repaint is not entirely extensive, but I think it does a lot to elevate the original release. I’m not saying they should have put Cassie in some inappropriately bright colors, but the gray used for the skirt just seemed drab and boring for a statue. Overall, the quality of the paint application is pretty good here, especially for a budget line like this one.

The portrait still looks great, and features Cassie’s hair cascading down and covering half of her face. She’s very pretty and I love the delicate curve of her nose into her more prominent upper lip. The paint for her eyes and lips is applied sharply, and yes… she’s wearing gray lipstick!

Her accessories include Vlad’s mask and her nail-studded baseball bat. It’s a shame they couldn’t do Vlad as a companion piece, but that really isn’t within the scope of this line, at least not back then. Nonetheless, as I’m sure I said when reviewing the retail release, it was crucial they make his presence felt somewhere and including the mask was a pretty good way to do it. I was hoping they would have added some writing to the bat for the Exclusive, like “Kiss It,” but both the bat and the mask are exactly the same as the original retail release.

Also identical is the hatchet-inspired stand and I really do love this thing. It’s fun, creative, and perfectly fits the theme.

Generally speaking, these roughly 9-inch scale PVC statues retail for just under $45, which is not too shabby for statue collectors on a budget. There have been some ups and downs in terms of overall quality, but I’ve been a fan and supporter of DST’s Femme Fatales long before it grew into the DC and Marvel Gallery lines and Cassie here is a good example why. Now here’s the kicker: The limited run Exclusive is actually selling for about half the price of the regular retail release right now on Amazon, which is where I picked up mine. And so for a cool $15, I was able to get the preferred version that I thought would be difficult and expensive to find. Who knew? I’m sure as hell not going to complain about owning both versions. Especially since no other companies seem interested in doing anything with the license.

Femme Fatales (Justice League Unlimited): Hawkgirl by Diamond Select

Folks, my available content for DC Fridays continues to run scarce. Don’t take that as an indictment against DC Comics, on the contrary I’m reading more DC books than ever right now! But, with no really cohesive or worthwhile DC action figure line, I’m falling back to mostly statues. I can see a time coming where I may have to start rotating other content into Fridays, but we’re not there yet. Thankfully, the fine folks at Diamond are continuing to pump out the PVC statue love for DC in their wildly prolific Gallery/Femme Fatale line. And it so happens that I was lucky enough to have another of their Justice League Unlimited statues hit my doorstep just in time for DC Friday. Let’s open up the Bruce Timm style Hawkgirl!

Hawgirl is a 2016 release, which explains why the box still says Femme Fatales as opposed to the newer DC Animated Gallery branding, but they’re all really part of the same series, all scaled at roughly 9-inches, and are meant to display together. The box is identical to what we’ve been seeing all along, with windows on the front, top, and side panels to let the light in and see what you’re getting. In this case, that didn’t help me, because I got her online, but more on that in a bit. The box features the Justice League Unlimited logo and everything is collector friendly. Hawgirl does require a bit of assembly, as her wings need to be pegged into her back and her foot has to be pegged into the base. Getting her pegged into the base was a little tricky, as I had to bend her legs out to make the pegs fit. That’s not uncommon with statues, and it’s a lot less nerve-racking with a budget piece like this one.

All set up, Hawgirl charges up a rocky base with her wings trailing behind her. She’s clearly about to have at some unfortunate villain with the full fury of her mace. I dig what they did here with the composition. It’s a lot more energetic than most of the other Femme Fatales, but it still fits in fine with the overall theme. The sculpt reflects the animated style beautifully and they really nailed her stylized proportions. As an animated statue, there isn’t a whole lot of sculpted detail, but all the paint lines are incorporated into the sculpt.

If you’ve been with me through any of my previous looks at this line, you may recall me saying how important the paint quality is on these animated style statues. With limited sculpted details, clean and well-applied paint is absolutely crucial to carry the day and make for a presentable display piece. Unfortunately, that’s a bit of an issue with this one. Hawkgirl is a textbook example of a statue that looks totally acceptable from a fair viewing distance, but begins to fall apart under close scrutiny. The most egregious issues are the seams where the arms connect to the shoulders. These were obviously intended to be covered by paint, but the paint either wasn’t thick enough, or it cracked after being painted and the result is an eyesore on some fairly prominent parts of the figure, particularly the right arm. There’s also some unsightly white rubbing along the top of her left thigh where it meets her red hawk-undies. I’ve seen the same issues on pictures of the statue from other people’s collections, so I know it isn’t an isolated incident.

The portrait is fairly good. I’ll be honest and say that this style has been hit or miss with me and Hawkgirl, as she sometimes looks really silly as if her eyes are on the sides of her head like an actual bird. It’s not something specific to the statue, but the animation model as well. In the cartoon, the animators could force perspectives on her and most of the time it worked, but in this case when you’re doing a fully realized 3D statue of a 2D design, you can’t rely on that as a crutch. I think it works fine in profile and when viewed at a slight turn, but dead on straight she looks pretty ridiculous. Again, not a fault of the sculpt, but rather the source material. With that having been said, the lips are painted quite nicely, the eyes aren’t too bad, but my statue has some rubbing and scuffing on the right side of her mask. It’s also worth mentioning here that the flesh tone looks fine on her face, but has some rubbing on the arms, which just make her look dirty.

The mace is recreated pretty nicely here. Oddly enough, it’s sculpted as a separate piece and fitted into her hands. You can’t really remove it, but it does rattle around in there a little and you can turn it so that the lanyard can face different directions. The matte gray paint on the head of mine also has some scuffing and rubbing, but nothing too bad. Surprisingly, the painted wings on my statue are quite smooth and even.

The base is a giant rock, which in the context of the figure looks fine, but by itself it looks like a giant lump of chocolate, or perhaps something else.

I’ve been a huge cheerleader for this line and many of the statues have offered some really impressive value for the dollar, but there has been an occasional disappointment here and there. Lady Deadpool was one, and now Hawkgirl is another. There’s nothing terrible here, but there are just enough issues to bug me. And yes, I realize this is a budget line. Hawkgirl’s MSRP is around $40 and I picked up mine for considerably less, but after some stellar releases like Zatanna, Black Canary, and Medusa, I guess my expectations have been buoyed. Still, my track record on this line has been pretty damn good, and I’m not going to let a few flubs on Hawkgirl dissuade me from continuing to collect it.