Friday, August 31, 2012

Fett Friday: Boba Fett (Vintage Collection)

 I was unable to attend the toy show two weeks ago with everybody else because I had to work that Saturday, but I made sure to give Mario a thorough list of toys I was seeking. He found exactly one item I had requested, the subject of this very post, which he scored for a cool $5. For comparison's sake, this same figure is going for around $25 on Amazon.com at the moment. Good thing I held out!

Released as part of the inaugural Star Wars Vintage Collection wave in 2010, this Boba Fett is the Empire Strikes Back version; a variant with the Return of the Jedi costume (distinguished by a bulkier belt, a different cape, brown gauntlets, and a more vibrantly-painted jetpack) was also issued at the same time. This particular figure was originally released as one-third of the Fett Legacy Evolutions pack in 2008, and also made an appearance as a repaint in the Legacy Collection the following year. What sets this incarnation apart from its predecessors is the far more detailed paint applications, which make an already impressive sculpt look absolutely stunning. On a visual level, it's faultless, and it leaves me amazed at how fantastically well-crafted a figure in this scale can be.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

R2-D2


Did you know that the Medicom 1:6 scale R2-D2 goes for something like $500. So since that is priced outside my ability to pay, I instead got a 1:6 scale Hasbro R2-D2 at the toy show. Much more reasonably priced, looks pretty damn good, and check out what he looks like next to another 1:6 scale figure.

"I. AM A. MACHINE! BEEP. BOOP."
I love that his third leg retracts into his body, it's a Hasbro 1:6 scale figure, so I wasn't certain what kind of quality or articulation he would have. But he's got everything you would hope for. And really, anything more than a larger version of their 3.75" R2 figure is just icing on the cake of whatever this metaphor is.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

So this is a thing then?

KISS and the Beatles K'Nex minifigures. I had no idea this was a thing, or if I did then I forgot about it. One sec, I'm gonna waste $10.


Update 10:21 PM
  1. That's $10 per set. I only picked up the Beatles set. Because psychedelic hippies of the world's greatest pop/rock band.

Michelangelo (Nickelodeon TMNT)

As mentioned in my review of the new Dontatello five-inch scale figure, I was so wowed by it that I was gripped by a mighty hankering for more Turtles from Playmates' recently-inaugurated Nickelodeon-based line. With very few exceptions, to this day I tend not to get the same figures as my brother (old childhood habits die hard). I had already picked up a Nickelodeon Leonardo for him, and since Leo and Raphael are average-sized and Don is the tallest of the Turtles in this incarnation, it seemed only fair for me to opt for the smallest of the four terrapin heroes: Michelangelo.
Mikey here is a value- and entertainment-packed toy, despite his diminutive stature (he's nearly a head shorter than Donatello). Like his brothers, he includes his main weapon--a pair of nunchuks--as well as some bonus accessories attached to a plastic sprue. He isn't in quite the same league of outright awesomeness as Donnie: his stockier frame makes posing less dynamic, the length of his limbs (particular the arms) are more outsized compared to the rest of his body, and his solid-plastic nunchuks will develop stress marks in the middle of the sculpted chain portion if placed in the figure's belt holsters as intended. His compact size does possess a certain charm, however; he's like a little articulated ball, and that adolescent grin on his face is a nice dash of personality that's merely the crowning flourish on an already fantastically rendered sculpt.

Like Donatello, the new 5" cartoon Michelangelo is one of the coolest mass-market action figures of the year thus far. I've had both for weeks now and I still can't put them down. At this point I can't want to see what Playmates has in store for future assortments. How many of the 2012 Turtles have you bought so far?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Thor and Amaretsu


It always weirds me out when they do non humanoid minimates. They don't look like minimates, but when you take them apart you realize that they use minimate elements to build the figure. Weird. This exclusive Toys R Us set features Thor and Amaretsu. Amaretsu is from the video game Okami, which I have never played, so I didn't know she was a she. All I knew was that damn dog is beloved by Marvel vs. Capcom players where I work because of her insanely hard to block super move.


Thor looks very annoyed at being packed with a dog. But he comes with the spinning hammer that has a peg that can be put in one of the hand holes to make it look like Thor's about to throw his hammer. It's appeared with recent Thor minimates, and I blame the movie that had him spin his hammer a few times and not make it look totally ridiculous. But seriously, what's with the face? He looks like he's having a temper tantrum.


 Like I said, Amaretsu is not a character I'm familiar with. But as a dog minifigure this is pretty sweet. She even comes with a clear stand to simulate the look of her leaping or running in the air. (This does mean there's a hole in the bottom of her torso, but it's a shallow hole and not noticeable unless you turn the figure upside down.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

AMP Episode 49: Where is James?


The newest episode of the Articulated Monster Podcast is up. James is missing, but me, Mario and AJ soldier on as we talk about the toy news, what we picked up, and what toy line should have a movie.

And next week is our 50th episode! Send in listener questions to articulatedmonster@yahoo.com

Friday, August 24, 2012

Fett Friday: Jango Fett (Vintage Collection)

When I was ordering Mario's birthday present off Amazon.com back in June, I got myself this toy at a very reasonable price so my purchase would qualify for Super Saver Shipping. Released in the Attack of the Clones-themed wave of the current Hasbro Star Wars Vintage Collection in early 2011, Jango is based specifically on the fight scene between the bounty hunter and Obi-Wan Kenobi on Kamino, as indicated by the extended gauntlet spikes and the Boba Fett-style jetpack. It also sort of explains the rain poncho--I say "sort of " because he never actually wears it in the film (though Boba sports one in the scene being referred to).

In addition to the poncho, Jango come with plenty of accessories that actually appeared on screen: two laser pistols, a jetpack with removable missile, a removable helmet, and a removable pilot's headset. Though he naturally can only wear one piece of headgear or the other at any given time, he can carry everything else on his person all at once, which is appreciated. If you absolutely must display the figure carrying everything he's packaged with, you can store the guns in the functional holsters and have him hold his helmet in his hands.

I do wish that the forearm spikes were either removable or retractable, because after ditching the poncho and putting on the helmet this figure is pretty close to a standard Jango instead of a conspicuously scene-specific one. The arms can be posed to hide the spike from a head-on angle, if you choose. Additionally, some of the articulation wasn't as functional as I would have hoped. I worry about stressing the plastic on the wires that connect the bicep pieces to the forearm gauntlets, which inhibits elbow movement. And though I don't demand that my Star Wars figures boast the highest amount of articulation possible for the scale, there's something about the design of the hips that makes me wish balljoints were incorporated there.

Don't mistake my quibbles for griping, for they are ultimately minor. Once the poncho is removed, this is a well-sculpted, well-articulated, and highly versatile figure of the character. I certainly have a ball posing it with pistols drawn. As for what I've done with the poncho, currently it's being sported by my Marvel Universe Iron Man. Gotta make sure that metal suit doesn't rust in the rain, after all.


RIP Jerry Nelson

One of the greatest Muppet performers ever.

I'm so glad I picked up this figure at the toy show. It can serve as a memento of an amazing performer.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Chatter Teeth

It's a staple of bad comedy, but I've never actually seen a pair of these things in person. Then I did, at the Dollar Tree and decided to pick it up. It's made of cheaper material and doesn't really make the clacking noise you'd think it would, but for $1 it's a nice little novelty item.

It's a wind up toy, and for some reason it chatters at near hypersonic speed. (hyperbole) But it's more fun than you would think, so a good value.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Spinister (I swear I thought it said Spinster. I wish it was.)

Blind packed Transformers Kre-ons are out there. I got one at the toy show on Saturday. As suspected, they transform but not in an impressive fashion. Case in point: Spinister, who I thought was called Spinster until I checked again. I kinda wish it was Spinster. Not enough transformers are named after euphemisms for old ladies.


As you can see, Spinister comes with a big gun. Why is it so big? So you can then attack it to his torso, then push him over. And VOILA

 Helicopter. But only if you look at it at the right angle. If you don't look at it just right, it looks like your figure fell over.

TRANSFORMERS! MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE! You thought it was a tipped over robot?! NO! IT'S A HELICOPTER! FOOL!

I was a little disappointed that I didn't get a big name character, like Galvatron, but they're blind packed and this was the only one the dealer had left. Still, at least the paint is done well. If that had sucked this would have been a horrible waste of money.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Panthro

I dig the new Thundercats cartoon on Cartoon Network, and I've been eyeing the toys from Bandai for a while now. About two months ago I finally picked up my first offering when I snagged the 3 3/4"-scale Panthro on clearance. To me, the choice was obvious--as the bulkiest character, Panthro comes with a good amount of heft that makes it the best deal in whatever scale he's produced in.

Yes, as many action figure reviewers have commented, the Thundercats line is very "toyish". Made from glossy, extremely durable plastic, Panthro displays basic paint apps and visible screws. He's meant to be a sturdy plaything for kids, not a pricey adult collectible. To me, that's a positive, for he's built with the intention of being fun to mess around with (which he is). He comes with two versions of his nunchuks, one unfurled and one sheathed with a plug poking out so it can be stored on his lower back. The extend weapon is made out of softer plastic, meaning the figure can hold both ends in its hands without damaging the accessory. The articulation is plentiful, but I feel the amount integrated into his arms and legs should have been switched. I have no need for both rotating shins and rotating hips, yet I instinctively want to turn his biceps time and again.

As the future of Cartoon Network's Thundercats is up in the air, retailers have been deep-discounting the Bandai line in recent months. Hopefully the extremely low prices will compel you to give a few figures a chance, as while Panthro may not have the most detailed or collector-friendly sculpt, he's still a solidly constructed and pretty enjoyable toy, with or without the markdowns.

MODOK and Akuma


Sure, Akuma's a nice figure, but we all know the star of this Toys R Us exclusive set is MODOK. Looking at the little guy, you realize how insane it is that he's one of Marvel's most prominent bad guys. This is why people love comics: Giant baby men with the evil intellect to destroy all of mankind. And there's a rumor that MODOK might be in Iron Man 3. That's why Marvel movie are beloved and DC can't get anything other than Batman off the ground. Because of giant baby men. Was Bane a giant baby man? No. I guarantee you, if Bane ran around dressed in a diaper, that movie would have beaten the Avengers box Office.


Monday, August 20, 2012

AMP Episode 48: Toy Show

The Aritculated Monster Podcast Episode 48 is now up. We went to a toy show and did some on location/in car recording. But not during the toy show. That would be ridiculous.


Friday, August 17, 2012

Raphael

I hated playing as Raphael in the TMNT video games because his sais had the worst reach. But think about it, Raph had the least advantage when Splinter handed out weapons so he had to be the toughest and most skilled. He's in your face because he has to be. It's no Raphael's fault that he's rude, he had to be in order to survive.

Unless he picked the sais himself, in which case, yes, you can blame him for being something of a dick.


Anyone else notice that these things are $7.77 at Wal-mart? I bought it with a clearance Hot Wheels Batmobile and after tax it cost less than getting one at Target, with the 5% off you get with the Target card. Just saying, if anything was going to convince me to get one of these figures, being really inexpensive was the thing to do it.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Christmas Yoda

Christmas Yoda comes with some glorious 1:6 accessories, like a ball, a sack of toys and a wooden bilding block that has the sides spelling out "Yoda," because Yoda is an insane narcissist. "Spell my name correctly, all children will," Yoda must have been thinking when he carved the block. Or maybe its even more insidious. Having found Santa Claus's magical bag of toys and seeing that one of the blocks spells his name, Yoda decided that the bag was intended for him, and he is now hauling ass with all the toys meant for good children. Sorry kids, no toys for you, not unless you can defeat a Jedi Master.


It's cheaper than regular Yoda, but Sideshow did right by fans, sorta. His costume is first rate, his hat comes off in case you don't want him to be hatted (although once you take it off, it's sort of hard to get it to stay on for long periods of time.) Articulation is the same as regular Sideshow Yoda, so it's insanely good for the size.

And yes, Virginia,  he really is in 1:6 scale.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Really? Toad?

So why does Toad get to be the one that comes with the Blue Shell of death? Is it because he's in last place?

Eh, at least it makes more sense than Donkey Kong coming with a squid. He's a monkey, possibly an ape, he should come with a banana peel.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

ClapTrap

Borderlands was an awesome game, and I can't wait for the sequel next month, but I can't say I really thought of any of the characters as iconic. Except maybe the wacky robot sidekicks, the little guys with a personality disorder that makes you wonder who the hell programmed them and why did they feel like trolling the entire planet.


I'm shocked they made a toy of this guy. As a toy he seems larger than he should be, but he's actually to scale with the other Borderlands figure. Clap Traps should come up to a person's stomach, just about. The arms have a decent amount of articulation, the wheel spins, and both his eye and shoulder flaps are articulated.


Of course he can't stand up unless you use the special stand. ClapTrap has a shallow recess that you can use to insert the stand, although the stand isn't very stable and accidentally hitting the table could jostle the stand loose and the whole thing tumbles over,


I did sort of find a solution by cutting some holes in a minimates packaging case. It's almost like he's old enough to take his first steps. Although he's technically from the future so age metrics don't apply to him the same way.


Sunday, August 12, 2012

AMP Episode 47: Billy

The new episode of the Articulated Monster Podcast is up.

Mario's MIA, but we have AJ and Bruce to shore up our roster. We talk about action figures of gay porn stars, toy news and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. And we're on a countdown to our 50th episode. What do you want us to do to celebrate?

Friday, August 10, 2012

Aqualad

Oh hey, Aqualad from the Young Justice cartoon.


He's the son of Black Manta who has turned against his father's evil ways and become Aquaman's new assistant/sidekick/protege. He's from the Young Justice cartoon and once was in the comic books, but they got rid of him so they could do the New 52. Because why have a comic book that is easily accessible to millions of television viewers to sell a comic to a few thousand readers?

Yeah, not a fan of the New 52.


Meanwhile this figure is a typical DCUC figure, with warped legs and stiff joints. As with other Young Justice DCUC figures, this comes with an elaborate base. The water plume is attached to the large pipe in the diorama. Which is a shame, it's done the near impossible task of making me hate a generic diorama for figures. I don't care about this diorama now, that water plume prevents the base from being a useful diorama for other figures. That's a shame. It's not even water just shooting out of the pipe, it's water that's clearly being manipulated by someone with water powers. Batman can not stand in that diorama and have it make sense. Batman doesn't have any villains that are invisible water magicians. Not unless New 52 is stupider than I thought.

Really, if you can't get this figure for 1/2 off, don't bother.

Getting this in my hands has convinced me not to get that $50 Superboy/Miss Martian set on Mattycollector. With no accessories there's no way they'd be worth the price. Especially considering I hate the costume they put Miss Martian in.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Donatello (Nickelodeon TMNT)



Long one of indie comic's biggest mainstream successes, about a year ago the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise changed hands from Mirage Studios to new corporate owner Nickelodeon. Naturally, the kids network wanted a new cartoon to cash in on its new acquisition, so now this summer action figure fans are being treated to a brand-new deluge of Turtles product to sync with that forthcoming media tie-in. And I for one am not complaining, for between the new animated line and the larger-scale Classics assortment, longtime toy license holder Playmates is producing some of the best TMNT figures ever. And though collector prejudices would favor the six-inch line, I want to make it clear that it's the smaller figures that are the real must-haves.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Monsters... Adorable monsters.

I went to Target, and what did I see? Two things. First, the World of Warcraft Mega Blocks are out and sadly not as impressive as I had hoped. I like that you can customize the armor via mix and match, but the mounts lack much articulation. Just a bunch of snap on ball joints for the limbs. Dunno what I was actually hoping for though.


The other thing? Girls toys have gotten pretty awesome lately. First it was the Monster High stuff. (There's a new wave of roller derby Monster High figures, so that's awesome. Zombies on roller skates. With brain shaped helmets.) And now there's this...


That's an abomination of science where the front of a cat and the front of a dog have been chopped from their original bodies and sewn together. For girls. From the Bratz line. I think it's a Halloween themed line trying to get some of that sweet Monster high money. Either way it's a figure of a monster that sort of rips-off the old Nickelodeon show Cat-Dog.

For girls. TAKE THAT GENDER ROLES! Soon it won't be considered weird for girls to fantasize of being mad scientists that play God with human lives! It's about time.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

AMP Episode 46: Jimmy Carter

Hey, episode 46 of the Articulated Monster Podcast is up.

 

In it we're all exhausted, but then we get more exhausted. And we've entered the post comic-con drought when it comes to toy news. So we just end up talking about stuff we pre-ordered.


Friday, August 3, 2012

Avengers vs. X-Men: Uncanny X-men box set.


Okay, first things first, I didn't buy this toy. And even though that makes it anti-whatever to the name of this blog, I'm going to talk about these figures anyway. My friend Bruce who went to SDCC picked them up, decided he didn't want them and gave them to me. (He was disappointed at the limitations of the head articulation.) So yeah, I wouldn't have normally gotten this set at full price, but I would have kept my eye out for a deal on it.

Of all the figures, the only ones I'm interested in are Juggernaut-Colossus and Hope Summers. Colossus because of the interesting design and Hope Summers because they've never made a minimate of her before and are unlikely ever to make another one. And I want a Hope Summers minimate, if for no other reason than I find it hilarious whenever they make a minimate of one of the Summers time travelling, space pirating family. And Scott is still considered the boring X-man. Hope comes with a jet pack, so it doesn't matter if her costume is generic or her powers are very vague. At least she's a figure of a new character. Meanwhile this is the fourth Emma Frost figure I've acquired...


the sixth Cyclops...


and the third Colossus. Thank god I never picked up the X3 movie minimates, or I'd have even more.


So there this set, the upcoming Toys R Us Avengers vs. X-men fan poll set (which included options for another Cyclops, Emma Frost, and Colossus) and that's all they've announced. You'd think there would be more AvsX sets announced, but the fact that almost no one wears a new costume probably cut back on the line's viability for exciting new figures. Also, since the story is still ongoing, the might end up revealing spoilers.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

"Payton the Senior Secretary"

I might have to come up with a new Tag to describe 1:6 scale figures who are designed to look like a celebrity but aren't officially sold as being a figure of that celebrity. It's actually a pretty popular trend thanks to the large number of 1:6 scale figures coming out in Asia. Usually it's a figure billed as a generic cop or  soldier, but really it's based on actor X's character in that movie.


Which leads us to ZCWO's figure "Payton the Senior Secretary," but really it's Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts from the Iron Man movies. Originally the figure comes with a huge mess of accessories and outfits, including an offfice chair, 1:6 scale laptop & iPhone, and other stuff. But I didn't feel like paying the full cost for the figure so I ended up getting a bare version of the figure for much less.

Since the figure was nude, I figured I would employ some 1:6 scale clothes I picked up to fill out one of those "get free shipping for x" type of offers. The clothes actually have the greatest packaging concept I've ever seen. (This is hyperbole.)


They come in a stocking. That's the packaging. Genius. Oh yeah, it's genius because the clothing is Christmas based. And that's why this figure is on my shelf. I don't know why I find it hilarious, but I do. Probably because the terms "Gwyneth Paltrow" and "cheesecake photo" don't feel like they belong together.


She looks ready to give out patronizing holiday themed advice. (If you don't get the reference, Paltrow has an online newsletter where she give out tips on how to raise kids or do household stuff. Supposedly the tone is of a slightly superior Martha Stewart, except it's coming from Gwyneth Paltrow who isn't really renowned for her domestic acumen.)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Richard Nixon

When I got back into 1:6 scale figures, I knew I was going to get this figure eventually. He's not just a President, he's Richard F-ING Nixon. He was made as part of the "Talking Presidents" line of 1:6 scale figures. It's kinda odd really, even if you're into Conservatives, Nixon's one of the most notorious Presidents of all time. The whole part where he broke the law and almost brought down the respectability of the office is kind of important.


Which is why this figure's accessories and packaging mystify me. Like all the Talking Presidents figures he comes with a 3 foot long timeline of his life. Oddly enough the timeline fails to denote Watergate, or his resigning from office. It lists him being elected, him being re-elected, then notes that he gave an interview where he talked about Watergate. It's like the thing was written by the old Nixon Presidential library. Back when it was run not by a federal agency but a private group associated with Nixon, the library pretty much ignored anything negative about Nixon, completely pretending that Watergate never happened. I can't say I'd blame him, if I had my own Presidential library it would have a display of me fighting animatronic dinosaurs.

The figure itself is a pretty standard 1:6 scale figure. Articulation is plentiful but limited, and the suit prevents the arms from attaining their full posing potential. (Which is similar to real suits.) He only comes with one set of hands, and they're permanently posed in his famous "Victory" gesture. If you bring them over his head, like he used to do, his entire suit scrunches up around his neck just like it did in real life. It's an odd coincidence... or AMAZINGLY LIFELIKE DESIGN.

I'm glad I got him for a semi-reasonable price. It's insane to me that this figure, when it can be found on e-Bay, goes for $90 or so.

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