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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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RoboCop Vs Terminator: Future RoboCop by NECA

Wow, was it really over a month ago since I looked at NECA’s EndoCop and Terminator Dog from Dark Horse’s RoboCop Vs Terminator comic? I’m pretty sure I promised back then that I’d be back with a look at this Future RoboCop the following week, but things appear to have gotten away from me. Nonetheless, when I was picking up in the Toy Closet the other day, this guy fell off a stack and hit me in the head. It was clearly the Universe’s way of reminding me to make good on my promise. And finding a new NECA figure to open makes every day better! So let’s check him out!

If you were here for the EndoCop review, then you’ll know exactly what to expect from this packaging. The figure comes in a window box, but it has a hinged front flap that secures with the premium goodness of velcro. It’s also the same style packaging that NECA uses for their Ultimate figures and I hate it because it’s so nice and I can’t throw it out and it takes up so much space and oh my god, I have so many shelves of these things! Naturally, it’s all collector friendly, although I would recommend a modicum of care when removing Robo from the tray, as his legs pass through holes in it and he’s got those somewhat fragile pistons down there. The artwork on the box is superb as it looks like it’s straight out of the comic. It also compliments the artwork on the EndoCop box perfectly. The photos, on the other hand, are pretty awful. I don’t know what happened here, but most of the official promo shots of this figure look really rough and rushed. I’m glad I didn’t let that influence my decision to purchase it. Oh yeah, the lettering on the front flap is printed in rich foil blue and red and it looks super spiffy. The whole presentation is just a wonderful send up to the comic and a perfect example of how NECA pours their collective heart and soul into these projects.

And here he is out of the box and ready for action! Far in the future, Alex Murphy’s consciousness hides within Skynet’s artificial intelligence until the time is right to fabricate himself a new body. Augmented by Terminator technology and a new battle frame, RoboCop allies itself with the human resistance to take out Skynet and prevent the annihilation of mankind. At least that’s how I remember it. It’s been a while since I read this comic. As you can probably tell, there are a lot of parts shared between this figure and the EndoCop, indeed the bulk of the figure is very much the same, but there are also some cool new bits here as well. From the waist down the only thing that I can see different is the little device coming off of his right hip. I have no idea what this is, but I really hope someone can enlighten me. At first, I thought it might be a gun, but it doesn’t pivot into what would resemble a firing position. The torso is the same as the EndoCop’s and includes the fortified pistons and shoulder plates.

The right arm is the same, but his lower left arm has been replaced with what looks like a rocket launcher. The sculpt still features all the great little touches like the OCP branding on the leg and helmet, the working pistons on his lower legs and the backs of his upper arms, the thruster modules attached to the outsides of his lower legs, and the detail in the right hand is extremely intricate.

The head appears to be the same sculpt that NECA used for their regular RoboCop figures. The only major difference here is that the chin guard is painted silver instead of black. And speaking of paint, it looks great all over the figure. NECA did make use of some blue highlights here and there, and at first I thought this was to recreate that blue-purple hue the suit sometimes showed on screen. It sort of works at some angles, but it looks a bit obvious if you get in close. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that they were probably going for more of a comic coloring effect here, and if that’s the case… well, bravo!

From the back, we can see the biggest change on the figure in the form of his massive backpack-o-death. This thing is like a Swiss Army Knife of Mutual Assured Destruction. It’s got missiles, rockets, and something that looks like an anti-tank gun. Sadly none of these pieces are removable and are for display only, but holy crap does it look cool!

Future Robo does, however, have a mini-gun mounted behind his right shoulder that can be deployed for attack. I dig this thing a lot and it gives me a bit of a Predator feel. But lets not get them or the Aliens involved. This crossover is mind-bending enough.

And when a back full of ICBMs and mini-guns can’t get the job done, or just for old times’ sake, Future Robo also still comes with his trusty Auto-9 pistol. This looks like the exact same accessory that came with the EndoCop. It’s a decent enough sculpt, but it feels a little too flat and two-dimensional. The right hand can hold it perfectly and you can even thread the trigger finger through the guard.

After playing around with the EndoCop, I was pretty excited to get my hands on this figure and I have to say I am not disappointed. This line is so damn fun and it’s making me want to go back and pick up the RoboCop video game figures that NECA did a while back. I think if there are any fan complaints here, it’ll be that Future Robo and the EndoCop share so many parts, but you won’t hear me griping about it. They’re both accurate to the comic designs, and the ability to share so many parts is probably what allowed this project to happen, because I fear these figures will have a rather niche audience. To be honest, at this point I’ll take any new RoboCop figures that NECA is willing to produce. I just wish they could get some likeness rights and do an unmasked Murphy in this scale.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

KanColle: Destroyer Akizuki (Moon Viewing Version) by Taito

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

KanColle: Destroyer Teruzuki (Moon Viewing Version) by Taito

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Figma “Overwatch” Tracer by Max Factory

It’s Anime Saturday and cry foul if you must, but today’s figure is not from an anime series or Japanese video game. Nope, today we’re dealing with a Figma from the Western video game Overwatch, but it’s still a Figma, and so I’m sticking this review here. Also, I pre-ordered Tracer forever ago and once she arrived I really couldn’t wait to get her opened and check her out. And here’s a fun fact: I don’t even play the game, but I’ve watched a bunch of the videos and I love the character designs in general, and that goes double for Tracer.

While Tracer comes in a pretty standard Figma window box, the white and orange color scheme really makes this box stand out among the others on my shelf. She’s Figma #352, if you’re keeping track, but Lord know’s I’m not. I can’t even make any sense of their numbering scheme. As usual, there’s some English on the box, but a lot of it is in Japanese. The packaging is totally collector friendly, but if you don’t want to keep the box, you get a handy Figma-branded Ziploc bag to keep all those extra bits in.

Cheers, Love! The cavalry’s here! And oh, boy doesn’t she look like she just jumped right out of the screen? The creators did a beautiful job bringing her digitally rendered costume to plastic, from those tight pants with sculpted side panels to her very British looking bomber jacket with it’s high collar and flared sleeves. Even the Chronal Harness looks so good, if I didn’t know better, I’d swear it’s actually keeping my figure anchored in the here and now. I especially dig the translucent blue plastic used on the front and back to simulate the glow of the Accelerator. Her Tracer Bracers look really nice too, and for the record, they do not open up to hold her pistols, but then I wasn’t really expecting them to be able to make that work at this scale.

The paint quality and overall coloring on the figure is also excellent. One of the appealing things for me about the Overwatch designs are the beautiful vibrant colors and that’s certainly the case with Tracer here. The bright orange pants contrasts beautifully with the immaculate white and gray shoes and bracers and the matte brown and tan of the jacket. Everything about this figure just pops! Other great little touches include the immaculate shoulder patches on her jacket, the silver paint on the zipper, and the crisp “T-01” printed on her bracers.

Of course, this is a Figma, so you know you’re going to get extra hands and faces. Tracer comes with three different facial expressions. You get a regular smile, a more jubilant open mouthed smile, and a more determined expression with a wry little smirk. Whichever face you go with, each one includes the same orange tinted goggles, which are clear enough to see her eyes (at least when my studio lights aren’t reflecting off of them!) and I love the way they sculpted her spiky hair. It’s just perfect. The hands include a pair of fists, splayed hands, gun-holding hands, accessory gripping hands, a and a left hand offering a two-fingered salute. They’re all pretty easy to pop in and out, although I tend to just keep the guns in the gun-hands.

Apart from the hands and faces (and the ubiquitous Figma figure stand), Tracer doesn’t come with a whole lot of accessories, but she does have the essentials. Naturally, she has her trusty pair of pulse pistols, and these are indeed a beautiful set of guns with great sculpted detail and crisp paintwork. Maybe some effect parts for the guns would have been cool, but probably not necessary.

The other accessory is a Pulse Mine and this thing is super tiny. It’s so tiny, I almost missed it in the box. One of her accessory holding hands is perfectly sculpted to hold it and despite its size, there’s some really nice detail painted onto it.

If you can’t tell, I’m absolutely smitten with this figure. I’ve been waiting for Overwatch figures ever since the game first came out. It seemed like a sure thing that NECA would be the ones to do them, since they were partnering with Blizzard on the Heroes of the Storm line, but that line fizzled and I guess the cats at Blizzard cut a deal with Max Factory instead. There’s no doubt that the designs work well with the Figma format, and I’m sure we’re getting overall better quality product, but I can’t help but think NECA would have delivered more characters. As of right now, the only other Overwatch Figma that I know has been revealed is Genji, and he’s due out this Summer. While there are certainly some characters I’m looking forward to more than others, I’ll probably pick up whoever they release, if only to do my part toward seeing the line succeed. Because I definitely want more of this! And who knows, someday I may actually play the game!

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.

Figma: “Kantai Collection” Destroyer Fubuki (Anime Version) by Max Factory

It’s been a couple of months since I’ve done an Anime Saturday feature and I feel bad about it. Not least of all because I’ve got a lot of stuff piling up and waiting to be reviewed. What can I say, other than this is a crazy time of year for me, I don’t have as many weekends off, and time is more than a little tight. Nonetheless, I’m off today and had some time to enjoy a leisurely morning with a pot of coffee and time to open up a Figma. And wouldn’t you just know it… it’s another one of the Fleet Girls from Kantai Collection!

And it’s Fubuki! It’s crazy to think that with five or six of the Fleet Girls already on my Figma shelf, it took this long to get to the main protaganist of the anime. In this case, however, she hasn’t been sitting around waiting to be reviewed, but rather she’s a fairly recent release. I’ll also point out that this is the Animation Version, with a regular version releasing very shortly. I’ve looked at pictures of both figures and I can’t for the life of me see any difference. But seeing as how I’ve never actually played the game, I’m content with the version tied to my beloved anime series.

Starting out with the base figure, Fubuki features here school uniform, including her sailor-style white top with a blue collar and blue sleeve cuffs, and a perfectly sculpted neckerchief tied below her neck. The top is just short enough to show a little midriff, and below that she has a pleated blue skirt. The outfit is topped off with a pair of blue socks, each with a tiny white stripe around the top, and crisp white anchors printed on the sides. While you can strip most of Fubuki’s armaments from her, the leg straps for her torpedo mounts, and her rudder boots are permanent fixtures. This could be disappointing to some collectors who would have preferred the ability to display her completely off duty, but it’s not such a big deal for me. The boots do feature some really nice detail.

Of course, this is a Figma, so you can expect all sorts of extra facial expressions and hands. Fubuki includes three expressions, one normal, one extremely happy with eyes closed, and one serious battle face. Swapping them out involves the usual easy step of popping off the front of the hair. My little gripe here is that the normal face and the battle face are a little too close in my opinion. I think the fault lies with the normal face, which looks more surprised to me. I would have liked something a little more neutral there.

The collection of hands offers no real surprises. If you own any Figmas, then you should know the drill. Fubuki comes with fists, accessory holding hands, splayed finger hands, relaxed hands, and one pointing right hand. OK, let’s get our Fleet Girl all geared up…

For starters, Fubuki comes with her two 61cm triple torpedo mounts (oxygen powered, of course!) attached to her thighs with somewhat restricted ball joints and some sculpted faux straps on her legs to simulate holding them on. You can easily swivel each torpedo mount from pointing up when they’re not in use to facing forward for firing. There’s a little bit of motion left and right, but not a lot. As already demonstrated, these are easy to pop off the figure if you want to display her in her down time.

Next up are her 12.7cm twin gun mount and her backpack. The backpack attaches with a ball jointed peg, which keeps some space between it and her back to allow it to not interfere too much with her posing. Subsequently, there’s another peg hole on the back of the smokestack to plug in the Figma stand. It certainly helps, but I’m surprised to see that even with the backpack, Fubuki is balanced enough to stand on her own. The backpack itself is a nice piece of work with all the detail I’ve come to expect out of a Figma sculpt, right down to the twin anchors and antenna. The piece is cast in battleship gray plastic and there’s a little black and red paint added. I’ll note here that the peg for the stand is a tight fit going into the backpack. Normally, Max Factory includes an adapter piece with a narrower peg, but that wasn’t the case here. It does work, but not as well as if they had included the extra piece.

The twin gun mount is designed to hang on a shoulder strap at her right hip for easy access to it. The strap itself is a little bulky, but not too bad considering the scale. The gun mount attaches to it with an open ended clip, so it’s really easy to take it off the strap so she can hold it and then put it back on again. As mentioned, she does have a pair of accessory holding hands, but she only fires this thing from her right hand in the anime, so one would have been fine for me. The grip on it is a little loose, but for the most part I didn’t have much trouble getting her to hold it straight.

Fubuki isn’t the most complex Figma around, but she sure does hit all the right points and she’s a lot of fun to play with. But that doesn’t come as any surprise to me. The base figure is just about perfect and by now Max Factory has become experts in fashioning Fleet Girl armaments. The only kicker here is that with an original retail of around $60, these figures are approaching that ceiling where I’m beginning to think twice before buying. When it comes to the KanColle figures, I’m probably always going to crumble, but as for those franchises that I’m a little less enthusiastic about? I might have to start getting pickier. As for now… I can’t help but notice the two empty spaces on each side of her and wonder if Figma is planning on getting her fellow Destroyers, Mutsuki and Yuudachi out eventually.

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.

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.