Heroes of the Storm: Sylvanas (Warcraft) by NECA

Last week, I started looking at the last wave of NECA’s wonderful Heroes of the Storm line with the Orc Warchief Thrall. Today, I’m pressing on by opening up Sylvanas. It’s the last Warcraft-based figure in the line, and that makes me a very sad little Murloc.

Ah, but check it out! It’s the sexy and deadly Ranger-General of Silvermoon, Sylvanas Windrunner, now known as the Banshee Queen of the Forsaken. Give me a moment to unsheathe my Sin’dorei Warblade, slice open her sealed prison and release her. ACK! I HAVE UNLEASHED THE NOXIOUS PLASTIC GASSES!!!

Once again, NECA really knows their way around the Warcraft aesthetic and have done a beautiful job bringing this figure to life. She’s their first female from the Warcraft universe and still manages to retain her shapely form while including the jagged and somewhat bulky armor that is so popular in the realm. Sylvanas features beautifully sculpted armored boots, gauntlets, and shoulders, with some added plates on her thighs and to cover her blood elf bewbs. Her midriff and ample cleavage are, of course, exposed, because who would ever take advantage of that in battle?

As with Thrall, the illusion of layered gear on this figure is very well done. The armor pieces are all part of the sculpt, but thanks to the carefully detailed underlying clothes and the sculpted straps and buckles, I could almost be convinced that she’s actually wearing the armor. The attention to detail in the shoulders is particularly exquisite. All the armor pieces have that wonderful hammered metal finish, the reinforced borders harbor tiny nicks and dents from battle, and the shoulders are adorned with spikes, sculpted feathers and tiny skulls.

From the back, Sylvanas sports a purple fabric cape, which shows some considerable wear. She also has a quiver, which also has its share of nicks and scrapes from use. The quiver is designed to hold the loose arrows she comes with, but I’ve only been able to get two in there at a time. I’m not sure what’s going on down inside that thing, but the arrows are fragile and I don’t want to force them.

The paintwork on this figure is a real treat and is all about the contrasting of the drab brown and black of the trousers, boots, and straps with the beautiful metallic purple of the armor plates and the soft matte blue of Sylvanas’ skin.

NECA did a bang up job on the portrait here. Sylvanas is wearing a sculpted hood with slits for her long and elegant ears to protrude through. Her wispy eyebrow extends out over her right eye, but her left eyebrow is concealed. Bits of her hair peek out from the hood to frame her face. Her eyes are beautifully painted, but they can be tough to see under normal conditions, because the hood casts a shadow over the top part of her beautiful face.

Sylvanas sports many conventional points of articulation, some of which are at odds with her sculpting and character design. Y’all know how much NECA loves their rotating hinges, and this figure has them in the shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, and ankles. She also has a ball joint under her chest and in her neck. The shoulder armor pieces are flexible, so you can manipulate them to allow her shoulders to move a bit more than you might expect, but maybe not as much as you might like. She also has swivels in her biceps, and mine look like they’ve been pulled a bit, as there’s a noticeable gap. It’s tough to see, since they’re buried under the shoulder armor, but I worry a bit that they may get floppy over time.

As for accessories, Sylvanas comes with her bow, Deathwhisper, which is a damn beautiful sculpt. It includes a lovely organic shape, as well as a shield attached to the center. The underlying bow is brown with bulked out pieces painted in silver and metallic purple to match Sylvanas’ armor. It also includes a real string. It’s a little tough to get her to hold it. I actually had to razor apart her fingers, so that I could wrap her hand around the grip, but once it’s in hand it stays put. Also included are her three loose arrows, which I mentioned earlier.

The articulation allows for her to knock an arrow and get ready to fire, but she can’t really pull back on the string very far. I actually think this may not be so much a restriction of the articulation, but more because the bow is strung tight, and there isn’t much elasticity to allow it to be pulled back. Now, with that having been said, I was still able to get some nice poses of her leading up to taking a shot.

Sylvanas also comes with an effect part for one of her skills, Wailing Arrow. This is a great looking piece, but I was totally stumped as to how it’s intended to be used. I was ultimately able to wedge it in between the shield and her grip to make it look like it’s being fired, but I tend to think it was just included as a bonus and not to be used with the bow in any specific way. I’d say this was a pretty big oversight, but at least I was able to get it to work.

And so, it is with a heavy heart that I end this review, knowing that there will be no more Warcraft figures from NECA. Boo! It’s especially painful because Sylvanas really is a great little figure and I wanted to see so much more out of this line. Which begs the question, where did the license go? Well, I know Blizzard struck a deal with Max Factory to produce Overwatch Figmas, but I don’t know why that would necessarily preclude NECA from continuing with this line. But, them’s the breaks and I really have to learn to be thankful for what I have, rather than what else could have been. Besides, I still have one more figure (from the Starcraft franchise) in this line to check out, and I’ll swing back to him in a couple of weeks.

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Heroes of the Storm: Thrall (Warcraft) by NECA

After being locked into Marvel Legends reviews for over a week, it’s nice to stretch my legs and write about something different. I have piles of stuff to choose from, but ultimately I decided to go with NECA’s Heroes of the Storm line, because the final wave is out and I want to both celebrate this line and sob mournfully because it’s going away. This last assortment includes two figures from Warcraft and one from Starcraft.  And, today I decided to open up Thrall, Warchief of The Horde!

Because who rolls Alliance, amiriiiight? Well, I did once just to see how the other half lives, but most my time in WoW, I was Horde through and through. As usual, the figure comes in a sealed clamshell, which means it is not collector friendly, but it will give you a delightful plastic fume high when you open it. Just a reminder, I’ve never played Heroes of the Storm, but I have played the games that it draws its characters from. In this case the hundreds of hours I spent playing World of Warcraft served as a buttress to my life when I needed it the most. I also really love the aesthetic, characters, and lore. Oh, and it ran pretty well on the shitty laptop that I had at the time. Previously, Warcraft characters have included Stitches, Arthas, and Illidan Stormrage. It’s about time Orgrimmar was represented. What about Stormwind? Pahleeeez!

Mmmhmmm… NECA gives good Orc! Despite already putting out three Warcraft figures in this line, this is NECA’s first crack at one of the Orcs. I wasn’t worried, because they have proven that they have the Warcraft aesthetic down pat and Thrall here is yet another example of that. Just look at the love and detail poured into this sculpt. The figure feels so layered, as if all that armor could be removed, even though it’s mostly part of the buck. Each of the heavy armor plates are thoroughly convincing, with hammered finishes, sculpted rivets, and a gorgeously worn bronze paint making up the reinforced weathered edges. This is some incredible work!

Thrall features raised Horde emblems sculpted into his large disc belt buckle as well as the plates on his gauntlets. The furry fringe on his boots and gauntlets have that distinctive angular flavor to them that comes out in the games’ Toons. The cloth sash has subtle sculpted wrinkles, which are beautifully brought out with a paint wash, and I love the sculpted feathers, which give the outfit a tribal motif. Behind those heavy plates on his legs, you can make out a cross-thatched pattern to the underlying suit, as well as the sculpted straps and painted buckles that are meant to be holding them on.

And those shoulders! Warcraft is infamous for its ridiculously proportioned shoulders and Thrall here is displaying the latest in Horde shoulder fashion. You get more of that wonderful hammered texture in the panels, laid into the bulky bronze frames with chunky spikes protruding outward. As for the portrait…  Those narrow eyes, the protruding tusks, those sharp ears, no doubt a handsome devil like Thrall has all the She-Orcs of Grommash Hold under his spell. I really dig his incredibly long braided hair as well. These are cast in fairly flexible plastic, and spill down the front along either side of his neck. I also love the color paint they used for his orc flesh. It’s a fairly bright green that contrasts beautifully with the armor.

With plenty of rotating hinges throughout the figure, Thrall features a respectable amount of articulation and all of those points do the best they can against a design that is not by nature intended to be limber. The shoulders threatened to be the biggest impediment, but they are designed to be flexible and lift up to allow for a fairly good range of arm movement. The elbows are a lot more restrictive. Still, all in all I’m quite pleased with the posability in this figure.

Thrall includes one accessory, and that’s Doomhammer. The hammer actually comes in two pieces, allowing you to pass the shaft of the handle up through the bottom of his closed right grip and then peg in the head of the hammer. It works well and gives him an infallible grasp on the weapon. Although, he can actually hold it in his left hand as well, just not as securely. It’s a heavy and bulky chunk of plastic, with all the same great level of paint and detail that is exhibited in the figure. And damn does it look great in his hand!

At this point it’s safe to say that, Blizzard’s art design and NECA go together like PB&J, which makes it all the sadder that this line is dying and NECA isn’t going to be doing Overwatch figures. Yeah, I was really hoping for that to happen. But rather than end this review under a cloud of doom and gloom, let’s just revel in what we’ve got. Thrall is a fantastic figure, which exhibits all the passion and craftsmanship that NECA pours into the licenses they work on. The coloring and complexity of sculpt bring this figure to life and make him look like he just stepped off the screen. He’ll likely be spending a while sitting on my desk, so that I can keep glancing over and admiring him, before joining his friends on the shelf. Thrall is available now at NECA retailers for around twenty bucks.

KanColle: Aircraft Carrier Zuikaku Kai Ni “Super Premium” Prize Figure by SEGA

It’s been a couple of weeks since I did an Anime Saturday, and while I don’t have a whole lot of time this weekend, I thought I’d stop in with a quick look at another figure from Kantai Collection. Last time, I checked out the Aircraft Carrier Shokaku, this time I’m opening up her sister ship, Zuikaku. There are a lot of similarities here, so I’m going to try to keep this brief. Or at least as brief as my obsession with KanColle will allow.

Zuikaku comes in an enclosed box, just like her sister ship, with the same basic deco and about the same level of assembly required. It’s not a huge box, but as a “Super Premium” release, she is a 9-inch scaled figure, so it isn’t tiny either. There are several bits to attach, her bow needs to be strung, and there’s a quiver of arrows that need to be removed from a sprue and have stickers applied to their feathers. Everything goes together simple and easy, although I do have to restring the back of my bow, as it turned out looking awkward.

And here she is all set up and looking spectacular! Because Zuikaku is another Shokaku Class Aircraft Carrier, her outfit and gear are virtually identical to that of her sister ship. In fact, the only notable difference are her hip weapons. Shokaku had AA guns mounted on those points, whereas Zuikaku has 12cm rocket launchers. If you want to hear a more detailed discussion of the design, I’d refer you back to that review.

When I reviewed Shokaku, I gushed a lot about how amazingly detailed the sculpt was, and the same goes for this Fleet Girl. This design has so much going on, between the outfit and the ship armor and armaments. It feels like it should be way too ambitious for a prize figure to pull off, and yet SEGA really did the designs proud. Not only is the sculpt magnificent, but the paint is there to back it up, right down to the little white stitching on her skirt.

Now as much as I loved her sister ship, I have to give the nod to Zuikaku here as being my favorite of the two. Part of that comes from the pose, which is a little more action orientated. She’s balancing on one foot with her left knee pulled up. She has both her bow and her shield are both on her left side, while she clutches at an arrow in her right. Once again, the carriers in Kantai Collection serve as archers and the arrows they shoot turn into aircraft squadrons.

But ultimately, it’s the portrait here that wins me over. I just think this one has more personality and I really dig the way her pony tails are splayed in the wind. Her shorter hair also allows for a much better look at her quiver. Shokaku’s was almost entirely obscured by her hair. As usual, the eyes are perfectly printed, and I really dig her determined expression.

The base is more or less identical. It’s a simple white hexagon with her name printed on it. These tend to take up a lot of room on the shelf, but they don’t feel over-sized for the figure.

SEGA’s “Super Premium” line of figures continues to blow me away. These feel a lot closer to the $100+ fully scaled figures you get from Triple-A companies, only at a fraction of the cost. Indeed, Zuikaku is currently on Amazon for less than $20 shipped if you have a Prime Membership. You can’t beat that! The plastic is a little softer, the skin tones, a bit more waxy, but all in all, I’ve been impressed by every one that I’ve added to my collection. On the next Anime Saturday, I’ll try to get back to check out another one of the Figmas that are piling up, if not next week, than the week after that for sure.

KanColle: Aircraft Carrier Shokaku Kai Ni “Super Premium” Prize Figure by SEGA

After stiffing everyone on Tuesday’s content this week because of real life intrusions (sorry about that!), I thought it only fair to drop by this weekend for an Anime Saturday update. It’s a beautiful morning, I’ve got a generous mug of coffee, and I’m opening up a new Kantai Collection figure by SEGA. What could be better? How about the fact that the Blu-Ray of Kantai Collection Animation Sequence arrived at my door a little while ago and I’m going to spend a good part of this weekend binging it. Oh, yeah! But for now… let’s check out Aircraft Carrier Shokaku!

SEGA has gone back and forth between window boxes and enclosed boxes for their 9-inch scale “Super Premium” figures. Shokaku comes in a fully enclosed box and this tends to be my preference, as they’re easier to collapse and store. It also makes sense here, since there’s a fair amount of assembly required for this figure and she wouldn’t look complete through a window. The box looks good, has several photos of the figure, and virtually no English text. Inside, the figure comes wrapped in plastic, along with the base, and a bunch of pieces to attach before she’s ready for display. Just give me a few ticks, and I’ll get her all set up…

…I’m back, and ain’t she great looking! While she’s 9-inch scale, the large yumi (bow) gives this figure a lot more height. Shokaku is only my second Aircraft Carrier among the many Fleet Girls in my collection. The other is SEGA’s Akagi (I don’t really count Taito’s I-401 Carrier Sub, because that one is based off a really unusual boat). Shokaku is from the game, rather than the anime, and like all the Kancolle aircraft carriers, she functions as an archer who can fire arrows that transform into support and attack aircraft. I really enjoy these carriers because they’re costumes are based on the traditional Kyudo style and looks so unique when combined with the Fleet Girls’ usual ship parts. And because Shokaku is an armored carrier, she has a lot more of those parts than Akagi did.

The sculpting here is really top notch and very detailed. Indeed, I’d dare say that this is the most complex design of all my KanColle prize figures. The pleated skirt and billowing top contrast nicely with the cold gray steel of her chest armor and armament belt. All the little belts and straps are present and convincingly “hold” her heavy gear in place. She has armored plates coming off her knees and her rudder boots, and she has a pair of AA guns mounted on each side of her hips. The attachments to all of these guns and armor plates are sculpted to look like they can articulate, but they cannot. There are some great little touches with the paint, particularly the tiny stitches painted on the him of her skirt and the bow that’s tied around her waist.

In typical Fleet Girls fashion, Shokaku carries a very long shield on her right arm, which is designed after a carrier deck. She also uses this to recover any aircraft sorties that survive their missions. The detail on the surface is a pre-applied sticker and looks really nice. I love the archer glove on her right hand. In her left hand, she holds her yumi, which includes a piece of fishing line for string. Stringing the bow is part of the assembly, and it can be a bit tricky to get it right.

The horizontal tube slung across her back is made to resemble parts of the carrier and it doubles as a quiver for her arrows. This piece was a bit tough to attach and it’s even more difficult to see as it’s almost totally obscured by her hair. She comes with a total of six arrows, five for the quiver and one to slide into her hand. You get two styles of stickers for the feathers, I just mixed them up.

The portrait is solid, but the plastic used for her skin is a tad more waxy than I would like. Still, she has a nice, determined expression on her face and her eyes are perfectly printed. She has long gray hair that fans out behind her and with strands that fall down in front of her shoulders. She also has a long hair ribbon.

The base is a simple white hexagon, with her name printed on it. It’s a fairly big base that takes up a lot of room on the shelf, but the figure takes up even more, because of her long, angled bow.

Shokaku ran me $17 shipped from Amazon and I’m still marveling at what a great deal this was. Besides being the larger “Super Premium” format, the insane amount of detail that went into this sculpt and the quality of paint makes it feel like it could have been priced two or three times that amount. In fact, I was so thrilled with this figure, I’ve already ordered her sister ship, Zuikaku in SEGA’s “Super Premium” format as well.

Figma: “Kantai Collection” Battleship Nagato by Max Factory

I know, it’s been forever since I’ve done a proper Anime Saturday update. Well, time has been tight, but this week I was on vacation, so I had no excuses. Indeed, and to make up for it, I pushed my way through all the prize figures that have been piling up and went straight for a Figma. And since I’m going through some major KanColle withdrawal, I’ve decided to go with Secretary Ship Nagato from Kantai Collection. I have looked at a couple KanColle FigFix figures, but this is my first full blown Figma from their Kantai Collection line up.

Nagato comes in a traditional Figma window box. This is the larger style box to accommodate her armament rig. It’s rather bland when compared to some of the other Figma packages lined up on my shelf, but I guess it sort of suits the cold gray color of naval hardware. The window offers a decent view of what’s in the box, with all the pieces and the figure each wrapped in plastic. This is figure #232, which is really meaningless to me because I’m damn sure not a completist when it comes to Figmas, rather I just cherry pick the franchises that I enjoy. The box is collector friendly and I do hang on to my Figma boxes in order to have somewhere to keep all the goodies inside.

Here’s Nagato without all her guns, which is the way she spent most of the anime series before sailing out to kick some major ass for the finale. The Secretary ships, Nagato and Mutsu are among my favorite Fleet Girls and just looking at this figure reminds me why. Nagato is elegant, stately, and her drive and determination all conspire to make her just so damn sexy. The outfit doesn’t hurt either. She sports a cut-off top with some reinforced armor pieces and an exposed mid-riff (sending some mixed messages there, Nagato!), as well as a short, pleated skirt. Her black and maroon stockings, held up by adorable little anchor themed straps, have the white hash marks down the sides. The outfit is rounded out with her little rudder boots. The paint here is all smooth and clean and I got absolutely zero complaints about this gal.

Of course, Nagato comes with an array of extra faces and hands. The hands include a pair of relaxed hands, a pair of hands with the fingers together, a pair of gripping hands, and a pair of fists. As for the faces, the variations are very subtle, but include a happy face, a determined face, and an embarrassed face. Granted, this is probably a greater range of emotion than Nagato showed in the entire run of the anime series. She was all business, and spent most of her time planning strategies in the command room.

No matter which face you choose, Nagato has her very distinctive looking antenna angling out behind her head and jutting out from the sides. Also, her long hair is parted in the middle down the back and attached with ball joints. And now that we’ve seen everything about the basic figure… let’s gear her up!

Nagato comes with her iconic 41cm Twin Gun Mount, which plugs right into her back and makes her a force to be reckoned with! Each half of the rig is hinged on her back and can be closed in around her. The rear gun emplacements swivel and each barrel can elevate independently. The forward emplacements are on rotating hinges, so the entire assembly can lower and elevate as well as swivel, plus each barrel can also elevate independently. The sculpt on the rig is fairly simple, but it does feature some panel lines and sculpted rivets. The bulk of the piece is cast in battleship gray plastic with some red accents and a tan plastic used for the bases of the barrels.

The back of the rig features the two little AA guns and the smokestack rising up from the middle.

Obviously this beast of an rig makes Nagato a little back heavy. It does displace the weight fairly well, I have been able to get her to stand freely with it on, but for the most part, this is where the Figma stand can happily take over.

I’ve had my eye on Nagato for a long time and came close to paying some pretty ridiculous prices for her. In the end, I was able to bag her for around $65 and I’m pretty comfortable with that price, especially since most Figmas go up for pre-order in that price range, no matter how simple they are. Nagato is a beautiful figure on her own, but her gun mount goes a long way to justify the price. Granted, she doesn’t have the wow factor of my mammoth Super-Premium Nagato by SEGA, but then this one is actually articulated, which makes her a whole lot more fun.

Arkham Origins: Dr. Harleen Quinzel, The Electrocutioner, and Lady Shiva by DC Collectibles

It’s been over a week since I last had a day off from work. I’m exhausted and keeping up with FFZ’s content this week has been a real drain on me. Nonetheless, with just one day left, I wanted to finish off the week so I could collapse and rest for the weekend. Let’s see, what did I have scheduled for this DC Friday? Oh, shit… a box set of three figures? Oooook, let’s get to it…  As some of you may know, I’ve been picking up the figures based on the Arkham video games, even though I’ve only played the first two so far. I really like the designs for a lot of these characters and in some cases these allow me to get characters into my collection that aren’t otherwise available. This Arkham Origins set caught my eye at a game store a little while back and the price was right, so it went home with me.

The figures come in a pretty standard window box with the back showing off all the other figures available in this series. This set is actually my first from the Arkham Origins game, but definitely won’t be my last. The crazy thing about this series is that the figures tend to run all over the place in terms of cost. This set was pretty cheap, while some of the individually packaged figures have become crazy expensive. Let’s start with Harley… whoops, I mean Harleen!

I’m not sure why, but DC Direct, and now DC Collectibles, have had some issues in the past with females in civvies. They tend to look more clunky than they should, but I’m happy to say that’s not the case with Dr. Quinzel here. She sports a black skirt, red blouse, and white lab coat and there’s some really nice detail here, including the sprig of holly on her lapel, her security badge, and even the diamond pattern belt buckle that hints at the costume design for her future alter-ego. Indeed, I really dig how even the colors here are just a rearrangement of Harley Quinn’s classic look. Granted, the knee joints are a bit clunky, but otherwise this is a great looking figure. And speaking of joints, the articulation here is fair. Most of the useful points are in her arms, with rotating hinges at the shoulders, hinges in her elbows, and swivels in her biceps and wrists. The legs have swivels hidden up under the skirt, the aforementioned hinges in the knees, and she has a t-crotch, which is inhibited quite a bit by the skirt. Finally, she has a ball joint in the neck.

Even the portrait is pretty damn stellar.  Keep in mind, DCC’s paint tends to fall apart when you get in real close with the camera, but to the naked eye, this is a phenomenal head sculpt with some really great paintwork to back it up. The eyes are unfortunately uneven, but it’s really hard to tell that without a zoomed lens, and these have got to be some of the best eyeglasses sculpted in this scale that I’ve ever seen. Also, check out how the collar on her blouse pops up instead of just being sculpted as part of the buck. That’s a great touch!

Harleen comes with one accessory and that’s her clipboard. She can hold it in either hand, but it’s really intended for her right. It would have been cool if they could have printed a sheet of paper on it with The Joker’s file or something, but as it is it’s just empty.

I’ve wanted a figure of Harleen for a while now, and this one really scratches that itch. It’s a great sculpt and while she may not be the most exciting figure when it comes to articulation and accessories, she looks great on display. Next up… The Electrocutioner!

Even though he’s based off the video game, The Electrocutioner is everything I could hope for in a DCEU version of the character. The bulky electro suit is packed with details, from rumples to stitching, to all the little bits of wire that presumably make shoot electric bolts of death. In the tradition of modern comic book movies, it takes a very comic-booky design and ramps it up with a dose of realism. I particularly love the battery packs strapped along each of his sides. The heavy armored chest plate, boots, and knee pads give him an even more formidable look. And while he’s mostly a dark figure, he has some bright yellow and blue on his cables that makes him stand out. He also has some red striping added, which forms a “V” on his chest, reminiscent of some of his comic appearances. All in all, I think this is a damn cool design.

The head sculpt is also excellent and features a gruesome area of scarring on the left side of his face, where the flesh has practically been stripped down to the muscle. The red paint in the left eye is a particularly nice touch.

Like Harleen, the articulation here is fairly good, but has a few unfortunate restrictions. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, double hinges in the elbows, and the wrists can swivel. That’s all great, but the hips are a simple t-crotch, which is disappointing. The knees are, however, double hinged, and he has swivel cuts at the tops of his boots. There’s no articulation in his chest, but his neck is on a ball joint. Overall, I don’t mind the curtailed articulation here all that much, because Electrocutioner is a freaking tank and doesn’t really need it.

The Electrocutioner is completed with a pair of extra hands with open grips. I don’t feel that these were really necessary and I doubt I would have missed them if they were omitted, but it’s always nice to have options. The yellow cables simply unplug from the fists to allow you to change them out. I don’t really have a whole lot of history with Electrocutioner from my romps through reading DC Comics, but he’s a cool character and this is a great looking figure.  And that brings us to the final figure… Lady Shiva!

I was really impressed with the look of this figure before I even got her out of the box. The finery on her top is not only a great design, but DCC did a wonderful job translating it to this figure. Everything is sculpted from the gold fasteners to the sash tied around her waist and the gold fixtures at the ends and the paint really pops against the rest of the black costume. In reality, it’s probably not the most versatile attire for martial arts, but we’re talking comics and video games here, so I’m happy to sacrifice plausibility for a fantastic looking costume like this one.

Again, we have an excellent portrait with some nice depth to the face coming from the way it’s framed by the hair. I also dig the jade colored paint they used for her eyes. The articulation here is almost identical to what we saw on Harleen. The swivels in the legs are at the boots instead of up in the thighs, and Shiva has a better range of motion in the hips because she isn’t inhibited by the skirt. With that having been said, articulation that I found acceptable in the previous two figures feels really limited here. Shiva should be able to all kinds of crazy moves and poses, and you really can’t do much of that with this figure.

Lady Shiva comes with her sword and scabbard. There is unfortunately nowhere to attach the scabbard to the figure, which makes it fairly superfluous. Otherwise, the sword is a nice enough piece and her right hand is sculpted to hold it perfectly.

My guess is that this set was around $50-60 originally, but I got it on clearance for around $30 and that’s not a bad deal at all. In truth, I bought it mostly for Harleen and was just pleasantly surprised by the other two. All three of these figures look fantastic in terms of both sculpting and paintwork and really show that DCC at their best. The articulation is certainly lacking a bit, although the nature of Harleen and Buchinsky makes it more forgivable. In the case of Shiva, it hurts a little more. All this figure needed was some ball jointed hips to make her truly shine.

I had originally planned on doing an Anime Saturday post tomorrow, but I’m going to bow out in favor of some recoup time. Appropriately, I’ll be spending this DC Friday night seeing Wonder Woman and I’ll spend the rest of the weekend doing as little as possible! 

 

Figma “Fate/Extra” Caster by Max Factory

I do indeed love me some Fate/Stay Night. It’s one of those anime series that I’ll watch over again, even though I have a dozen new series waiting on my “to watch” list. That’s probably why I’m so far behind. Well, it’s only natural that love spilled over to Fate/Extra when it released on the Sony PSP. I thought it was a miracle the game was localized for US release and jumped on it right away. In the end, there was a lot I liked about it, and a lot I didn’t. Fast forward to now and Fate/Extra is poised to get an anime series treatment in the form of Fate/Extra Last Encore. Oh, and we also got this new Figma release of Caster from Max Factory!

As unlikely as getting a US localization of the game was, getting figures from the game is just mind-blowing to me. Caster comes in a pretty typical window box. It’s numbered as #304 on the front and features shots of the character on the side panels and plenty more on the back. Everything is collector friendly, and that’s a good thing because, as always, there are quite a few bits and bobs inside that you’ll want to keep track of.

And wow, I absolutely love how they recreated Caster’s outfit here. Granted, the character is rendered in 3D in the game, but I still wasn’t sure how this costume would translate to plastic form. Well, the answer is, beautifully! As one can imagine, it’s not exactly practical when it comes to character movement. For example, when you render those puffy sleeves in plastic, they tend to get in the way, but thanks to some strategic ball joints, I’m still pretty satisfied with how they’ve managed to salvage some decent arm movement, despite of such an impractical design. Even the flowing black flaps are set on ball joints to allow them to be posed out of the way as needed. And speaking of impractical designs, she’s sporting some crazy platform shoes.

And yup, she’s sporting her big and bushy fox tail, and it’s proven to be the most frustrating thing about this figure. It simply will not stay in place. Seeing as how the peg is mounted on a ball joint, I’m tempted to tip it in with a little glue. And while I’ve always found Figmas to be exceptionally well balanced figures, Caster’s tail makes her decidedly back heavy, which is no small feat considering that she isn’t exactly packing light in the chest region. I was able to get her to stand on her own, but it can be a frustrating affair. Thankfully, you get the usual stand, which sockets into the hole in her back. I should also note here that the coloring on this figure is absolutely gorgeous. The blues and black and gold leaf all go so well together. Toss in that orange fox fur and her warm skin tone and you get a figure that is most definitely pleasing on the eyes!

Caster comes with three different portraits, and these are all pretty standard Figma fare.  You get a smiley face, a worried face, and a super happy, playful face. These are swapped out the standard way, by removing the front of the hair. And yes, the adorable fox ears stay on as they are sculpted as part of her head.

You also get a bunch of hands, although this is one figure where I’ve found that I didn’t have a lot of desire to swap out the hands. Her stock hands are great for spell casting, and those are the ones I’ve left on her most of the time. You get a pair of fists, which are hard to even see buried in those sleeves, a pair of pointing fingers, which are useful, and then some that are designed to work with her accessories.

The first of which is one of her charms. It’s super tiny and designed to fit between the fingers of either one of two specialized hands. There’s printing on one side.

Far more impressive is her Noble Phantasm mirror, the Eightfold Blessings of Amaterasu. This piece includes its own stand, plus an extra arm so that it can be attached to the figure stand and made to levitate around Caster to simulate her attacks. You do get some hands that look like they are designed to hold it, but they don’t work too well, and in fairness most of the time Caster is commanding the mirror she isn’t actually holding it. With that having been said, it’s a super fun accessory.

So yeah, it’s crazy that we’re getting Figmas from Fate/Extra, and doubly so that we’re getting them strictly off the game and before the anime even comes out. But I’m not complaining. I seem to recall seeing images of Saber from the game as well, but I can’t remember if she’s out already or yet to be released. I’d look into it, but right now, I’m more interested in getting the re-issue of Saber from Fate/Stay Night when she comes out, not to mention Archer as well. As for Caster, well it was more my love of her character design than than anything else that made this figure irresistible to me. Although I will say that playing around with her has made me want to pop in the Fate/Extra UMD and give it a spin again.

Dengeki Bunko Fighting Climax Ignition: Asuna (Game Color Version) by SEGA

Yes, as if there weren’t already enough Asuna figures on the market from Sword Art Online, her appearance in SEGA’s All Stars-Inspired 2D fighting game, Dengeki Bunko Fighting Climax has given the purveyors of plastic another excuse for more releases. The game is pretty damn good, and in a move that still amazes me to no end, the home version got a US release on the Sony PS3 a couple of years back. Japanese versions are also available on the PS Vita and the PS4. If anime and fighting games are your thing, you owe it to yourself to track it down.

In the game, Asuna wears her familiar Blood Knights outfit, both in the traditional colors and in a black and white version to represent the typical recolors we see in fighting games. While I may eventually double dip on the regular look, I thought it was a lot more fun to go with her unconventional and totally unique black outfit and hair color. The box is your typical prize figure fare. It’s completely enclosed with some nice shots of the figure. The copy is mostly in Japanese, but there is a little English here and there. Inside, the figure comes on a clear plastic tray with a little bit of simple assembly required.

After putting on her scabbard, popping her sword into her hand, and plugging her into the base, Asuna is all read for display and looking great. The pose is elegant and powerful, with her hips jutting forward, her left hand stretched out defiantly, and her trusty sword, Lambent Light, poised in her right hand and ready for action. The energy of the composition is furthered by the unseen wind that ruffles her coat and excites her hair. Fantastic!

The coloring takes the white and red deco of the Blood Knight’s costume and exchanges the white for black and the red for white. It’s an interesting deco, especially when coupled with the silver of her chest and ankle armor. I like it a lot, especially the look of the white crosses on her stockings, and the border lining of her tunic. The paint quality here isn’t bad, but it isn’t the best either. With the naked eye, it looks fine, get in closer, and some areas, particularly the white borders of her bicep cuffs and straps, tend to look a little blurry. It’s not something that I would really hold against the figure, considering the price point, and you really have to get in close and scrutinize it to notice.

The portrait is excellent. I love the printing on Asuna’s wide eyes, and her mouth is open as if she is shouting a spell or a battle cry. In the game color version, even her normally red hair does not escape the pallet swap, as it’s been turned to black. It works well on this figure, but I tend to be partial to red heads.

The base is a simple white hexagon with the logo of the game printed in blue outline.

This figure works well on a number of levels. If you can’t get enough Asuna, and you want something different for your collection, then this is certainly a worthy purchase. It’s worth noting that Asuna scales quite well with my two Taito Asuna figures. On the other hand, if you just happen to be a fan of the fighting game, it’s probably a small miracle that the game produced any merchandising, let alone figures like these. I was able to grab her off of Amazon from a US seller for $22 shipped and I think that’s a pretty solid deal for what you’re getting.

KanColle: Destroyer Akizuki “Super Premium” Prize Figure by SEGA

Who’s ready for another Anime Saturday celebration of the amazing and wondrous world of Kantai Collection? I know I am! Today, I’ve got a new Fleet Girl cruising into port and it is none other than the Akizuki Class Destroyer. This lovely lady with a lovely name (“Autumn Moon”) is a bit bigger and badder than most of the Destroyers I’ve looked at before. Much like Fubuki, Mutsuki, and Yuudachi, Akizuki also has two sister ships, Teruzuki and Hatsuzuki, one of which will be showing up here on a Saturday in the near future.

SEGA tends to mix it up when it comes to the packaging for their Super Premium (SPM) figures. The original trio of Destroyers came in window boxes, whereas Battleship Nagato and Akizuki here come in fully enclosed boxes. I actually prefer these, because they’re easier to store and easier to keep from getting damaged. You get some nice gradient coloring with a hexagonal pattern and several shots of the figure inside. There’s virtually no English on the box at all, so here’s a situation where you really need to know who you’re looking at. Setting her up requires a little more assembly than usual, but she goes together nice and easy. It’s worth noting here that Akizuki is from the game, rather than the anime, but we won’t hold that against her. And, to quote her from the game, “Akizuki’s night battle, shall I show it to you?” Um… Yes, please!

And Wow… I’m in love! Akizuki is definitely a heavier Destroyer than I’m used to seeing as she has the dual gun emplacements that make her appear more similar to KanColle’s Battleships and Heavy Cruisers. I absolutely adore everything about this figure, but let’s just start with her outfit, which consists of a mostly white (with a little gray) sailor-style blouse and pleated skirt, short gloves, and a bright yellow neckerchief. What really makes her costume distinctive, however, is her armored corset and neck guard, designed after the ship’s forward bow. The coloring on her costume is nice and clean, and the bright white and yellow contrasts beautifully with the gray of her armor and armaments. She is a damn snappy looking figure.

The portrait is also fantastic. I love the depth given to her hair sculpt, and the mechanical look to her eyes. She has an Anti-AA Fire Detector Assembly perched on her head and a headband with “61st Destroyer Division” printed in Japanese. As I’m sure you know by now, I have quite a few of these Fleet Girls inhabiting my shelves, and I have to say this is one of my favorite head sculpts. The detail is just fabulous.

Moving on to her armaments, Akizuki features a 61cm Oxygen-Powered Quadruple Torpedo Launcher slung across her back, which if you haven’t seen the anime, make for a spectacularly cool looking attack maneuver when the girls launch these babies. Another really cool and unique aspect of Akizuki’s gear are the four replacement 10cm gun barrels that she has strapped to her right thigh, because those Type 98 guns were notorious for needing frequent replacing. I also really dig her rudder boots. They’re higher and more graceful looking than most of the other girls’ boots and actually resemble a pair of high heels. The crimson coloring also looks great with the matte gray.

Of course, the real star of this gun show are the Type 98 10cm Twin High-angle Gun mounts, harnessed to her hips. Not only do I love that these are fully articulated, but I really dig the split-prow design of her rig, which features some really nice attention to detail in the sculpt. And much like Shimakaze has her little animated gun buddies, called Rensouhou, Akizuki has her own gun-toting familiars, which are delightfully referred to as Chou-10cm-hou! These little fellas can be removed from her rig and allowed to wander about on their own. OMG, I’m dying!!

The base here is a white ovoid platform with her name emblazoned on it. She attaches to it by only one foot and leans forward while pointing to the target of her impending barrage. I love the balance of this piece, which really adds a sense of both style and excitement to the composition.

Akizuki scales quite well with SEGA’s other SPM figures, which means she’s a bit bigger than the Destroyers like Fubuki, but her armaments are still dwarfed by that of Secretary Ship Nagato’s.

Akizuki was about $25 shipped from a US Seller on Amazon, and holy hell is that a great deal! All of the SEGA SPM figures in my collection have been totally on point when it comes to quality, but aside from Nagato, which admittedly ran me three times the cost of this figure, Akizuki is without a doubt the showpiece of my SEGA fleet. Everything about this figure comes together so beautifully. She’s got a fantastic sculpt, solid paintwork, and the ability to remove both Chou-10cm-hou-chan figures is a wonderful little bonus. SEGA really outdid themselves here!

SEGA Hard Girls: SEGA Saturn by SEGA

Just in case the three times “SEGA” appears in the title didn’t give it away, today’s feature involves SEGA and the amazing gift that is SEGA Hard Girls. Based on the premise of SEGA’s video game consoles remade in the form of goddesses and having to graduate from school, SeHa Girls spans everything from light novels to anime to (appropriately enough) video games. It’s like a ridiculous miracle handed down from heaven for a SEGA Fanboy like me. And of course, there are figures too! You didn’t ask for it. You probably didn’t want it. But, on this Anime Saturday morning, I’m checking out the lovely lady that is SEGA Saturn personified! Hey, at least it isn’t something from KanColle or SAO for a change!

Saturn comes in a very standard prize figure package, magnificently branded for the Saturn console. Sure, it’s the usual fully enclosed box with perforations on the sides to make handles, but I just adore the presentation here. From the proud SEGA logo in the corner to the “SEGA SATURN” logo running down the side.  There’s some great artwork and shots of the figure, and just enough English to let you know what it is you’re looking at. Inside, Saturn comes locked between two plastic trays. I should confess, the Saturn is probably my least favorite of SEGA’s consoles, but I still have a soft spot for it in my heart, as I do all of SEGA’s hardware. I built some great memories off of that machine. Anyway, there’s a bit of assembly required on this figure, including plugging in her arms and getting her set up on the base, but you can get her ready for display in no time at all.

The 32-bit Goddess dons a black dress with a belt designed to look like the buttons on the front of the console. On top of that, she has a white sleeveless jacket with pink piping and detached sleeves that match. The pins along the right breast of the jacket are designed to simulate the buttons on the Japanese Saturn controller. Her high-heeled boots sport the Saturn S and also have blue console buttons at the tops, and her ensemble is rounded out with a wide collar that floats around her neck, also sporting the Saturn S logo.

Saturn wields twin staffs, with glorious 3D Saturn logos suspended in their heads. Both of the staffs levitate mysteriously in the palms of her open hands, proving that SEGA is both wondrous and magical. The floating staffs, combined with her pose, make her look like some kind of angelic 32-bit Messiah.

The portrait is simple but cute. Saturn features her black hair secured by pink rings into two impressively large pigtails. She’s got large, perfectly printed eyes, one blue and one greenish blue, and an adorable little smirk. The quality of plastic and paint on this piece is overall solid, but trails a bit behind some of my other SEGA prize figures. Not bad, especially if we’re grading on a curve because of price, just not exceptional either.

Saturn’s base is… a Saturn console! And a gray Japanese version, at that! The details, like the buttons and logo, are all painted on, and you get two translucent blue squares with the Saturn logos that peg in beside each of her feet. It was a little hard to get her pegs seated properly due to a particularly tight fit, but she eventually went in there. I don’t know that I’d risk disassembling her too many times.

Fun, simple, cute… these are all ways I would describe this figure. I’ve had my eye on the SeHa Girls figures for a while and I went with Saturn here first because I was able to get a really good deal on (sixteen bucks shipped!) her from a US Seller. I wasn’t 100% committed on picking up the others, but now that I have this one in hand, I think I’m sold adding Dreamcast and Mega Drive to my collection. Alas, I’ll likely have to go with a Japanese seller on those, so it could be a little while before I revisit this line on Anime Saturday.