Sunday, April 13, 2014

Post #11 - The Amazing Spider-Man 1/6 Scale Figure by Hot Toys

With the Amazing Spider-Man 2 swinging back into theaters on May 2, I figured it would only be relevant to review Hot Toy's 1/6 scale Amazing Spider-Man figure.  Like most superhero movies these days, the second Amazing Spider-Man movie will followup with a brand new suit.  However, this particular figure is based off of Spider-man/Andrew Garfield's likeness as seen in the first movie.

So let's see how good ol' webhead adds up.

Packaging - Just like many other Hot Toys offerings, the shoe-box like packaging comes with some very colorful graphics and visuals.  The front of the box re-uses a promotional film poster design, along with an embossed spider-web that doesn't transcend images very well.  The inner carton insert, as well as the back displays Spidery some very dynamic poses.

 Hot Toys does a good job at making simple packaging highly collectible.  It's a definite plus.  They come loaded with brilliant graphics and design, while making it safe and effective for storage.

Packaging Score - 3.5 out 5

Sculpt - The TrueType body for this figure is nothing short of perfect.  It is very true to Andrew Garfield's body type, as it looks tall and lean.  Almost gangly.  The body underneath is constructed from a solid black plastic.  Spidey's suit is not removable.  It is stitched and glued on.  I'll go into more detail about the suit in the paint category, as it takes up a large portion of the figure's aesthetics.

This figure comes with two heads.  One is obviously the Spider-Man masked head, and the other is the likeness of Andrew Garfield.
Spider-Man's mask is detailed well with a fine honey-comb like texture overlaid by the embossed lines of webbing.  The eyes are constructed of an almost amber colored lens, surrounded by a thick black bevel.  The neck, which is oddly one of my favorite parts, transitions well into the head sculpt, yet it is made of the same fabric as the suit.  This looks great because when you turn Spidey's head, it creates a little ruffle in the neck line making it appear as if Spidey's mask is really re-adjusting to the direction of the head.

The Andrew Garfield head is no less impressive if not more.  Hot Toys does a terrific job at recreating skin-tones and texture.  From hair to chin, Hot Toys did an amazing job at fully realizing the likeness of Andrew Garfield.  The face comes with the cuts you see on Garfield or Peter Parker later on in the film.  In some ways I wish they hadn't added them, as I'd prefer to have a clean faced version instead.  My only qualm about the Garfield head is the facial expression.  It seems a little blank, rather listless or hollow in a way.  I'm not asking for a figure to ooze charisma, but wow... am I boring you much, Spidey?
 Sculpt Score - 5 out of 5

Paint - The suit which is constructed of fabric plays a dominant role in the figure's overall aesthetics. So for the majority it will be our main focus.  The entirety of the suit is outfitted in the honey-comb style mesh material, with parts of it overlaid by a red cobweb pattern and bold lines running vertically.  The Spider-Man icon is displayed boldly across the chest without feeling lost or blemished.  In terms of color, I feel that the blue for the suit is a little too bright and just needs to be a tad bit darker.

*Side note: When articulating or posing the figure, I suggest that you proceed with caution, because of the potential to tear the suit at the seams.
Along each wrist is a web shooter device.  The device is made of a simple piece of painted plastic.  A hard translucent piece of plastic can be attached to these shooters in order to make it appear as if Spidey is shootin' out webs.  Since they are fixed to the suit, they can appear awkwardly crooked at times as the suit can't truly rotate.  This means that the web shooter cannot always aim where intended.

The spider-man head is made from a hard plastic, but the added texture suggests that it is made from the same material as the suit.  More importantly, the red used in the mask perfectly matches the one in the suit.

Briefly mentioned before, the skin tones, hair and other facial features are perfectly replicated.  There's nothing more to be said about that in short, amazing!

Paint/Suit Score - 4.5 out of 5

Articulation - Spidey comes with 30 points of articulation, but it seems lacking in areas such as the Neck and hips.  There was initially a great deal of concern about rotating the shoulder upward past 80 degrees.  However, I chose to be fairly aggressive with my figure and found no issue at all.  In fact, the only issue I found is that there is a huge potential to break the joint that connects the leg to the hip.
I find it somewhat of shame how limited this figure is in terms of articulation.  The boastful 30 points should say a lot, but between worrying about tearing the suit and breaking joints, I have found that most people choose to display Spider-Man in a very neutral pose.  That's sort of sad.  I mean c'mon.  It's Spider-Man!

Articulation Score - 2.5 out 5

Accessories - This figure comes with a small but decent amount of accessories.  He comes with 5 pairs of interchangeable hands, that come with different hand positions to accompany certain poses that are also adaptive to the 4 included web accessories.  The figure also includes a stand that can be seen in previous images.
Accessories Score - 3 out of 5

Conclusion - Overall, this figure is a great addition to any fan of Spider-Man or the movie.  The figure comes with certain compromises, but I still feel that he is worth picking up.  It would have been nice to see a little bit more in terms of accessories.  Perhaps, a loose mask that Andrew Garfield could hold as if has just unmasked or even a diorama that can be used for display purposes.

This figure is still available at Sideshow Collectibles.  So pick one up for yourself today!

Overall Score - 3.7 out of 5

Post #10 - Walking Dead TV Series 2 Action Figure Bicycle Girl Zombie w/Crawling Action! by McFarlane Toys

Hey, everyone.  Mark here again, bringing you another new and very exciting way cool review.  This time around, we're going to be taking a look at the Bicycle Girl Zombie from series two of AMC's Walking Dead toy line by McFarlane Toys.

The Bicycle Girl zombie was originally featured during Episode 1 in the 1st Season of AMC's Walking Dead TV Series.

She is discovered in a field by Rick Grimes, but he is able to flee from her.  Hungry, the bicycle girl crawls away in search for food.  The next day, Rick returns for her, looking on in horror and sympathy.  As the bicycle girl begins to notice him, he apologizes for what has become of her.  As Rick's emotional conversation with the woman concludes, he shoots her, bringing her postmortem suffering to an end.

Packaging - The Bicycle Girl Zombie comes housed inside the traditional clear plastic clamshell/blister card packaging.  The artwork on the blister card features Hershel's farmhouse in the background, as well as the beaten road and grassy farm land that surrounds it.  The Walking Dead TV Title text also appears as an insert alongside the Bicycle Girl Zombie figure.  The nameplate sticker on the front of the packaging provides us with the character name of the Bicycle Girl Zombie.  The sticker also makes sure to mention of the crawling action feature. The included damaged cell phone accessory is visible just off to the right side of clamshell, but I find it odd that the packaging really doesn't make any mention of it or the story behind it.
 Packaging Score - 2 out of 5

Sculpting - The sculpt of bicycle girl looks especially great on this figure.  There is a lot of intricately detailed bits of decay to be seen throughout.  The skin texture looks dry and almost leathery.  The skin around the gnawing teeth look great.  The starved, sunken in expression carefully emulates the emotion derived from the bicycle girl character as seen on the show.  There's a certain longing & despair to it.  

The hair might be the most flattering article on the Bicycle Girl. It's relatively tame and fuller than it might should have been, but it still nicely contours to the neck and shoulder area.
 Looking very thin and frail now, the body of Bicycle Girl is in a state of rapid decomposition.   Her once alive body is now a road map of a horror.  Large portions of flesh torn from her arms, chest, stomach and back reveal Bicycle Girl's bare skeletal remains.

The Bicycle Girl's lower half is almost non-existent.  There is one small piece of intestine and an upper thigh bone left to remain.  I would have liked to have seen a bit more entrails, making it just a tad bit closer to her TV show counterpart.
 The removable pair of pants are okay but they're not exactly perfect.  The seem to provide a little more emphasis and shape for what little remains underneath.  The buttocks area of the pants just seem a little too full to me.  

There is an amount of tearing and weathering on the legs of the jeans.  I only wish that the rest of the pants had been given some sort of a distressed treatment as well.  The bottom half of the jeans are okay, but the top still looks a little too new for my taste.  After all, this woman has been dragging herself across the ground night and day.  The initial prototype images of this figure managed to create that look.  I only wish it had made it to production.

Sculpting Score - 4 out of 5

Paint - The paint on Bicycle Girl is considerably well done.  There are only a few areas that I believe the color wash might be a little too heavy.  I would have liked to have seen a little more consistency between the skin tones.  The arms look a little more putrid and yellow, while her back seems to be an entirely different shade of brown.

The use of various hues of brown, black and red really add a good amount of diversity to the bloody sections.  This helps provide several different stages of gore, from the dark congealed matter to the more recent carnage.  The added gloss really makes the blood pop, giving it that reflective nature of liquid.
 The base doesn't look too bad.  I'm a little sad that the figure isn't really removable from this base, as it sort of destroys a possible setup for a diorama.  Especially when some of the figures in this line may or may not come with bases.
The color wash on the grass is a little too dark, and I wish there had been more variations of green used.  I don't think the base adds points, but it doesn't necessarily take away any either.

Paint Score - 4 out of 5

Articulation - Bicycle Girl doesn't come with much articulation, but she has never had the need to stand either.

She comes with a ball jointed neck which is slightly restricted by her hair.  She has a pin/disc ball jointed shoulder, which comes as somewhat of an eye-sore.  It breaks up the organic look of the figure in my opinion.  I really wish they could use a suitable alternative for these types of joints.  Bicycle Girl also comes with pin elbows and a cut at the wrists allowing for a basic swivel.  The thigh bone, attached at the hip is a pin joint, acting as a simple socket.  The same goes for the piece of single dragging piece of intestine.  
 Her articulation is sort of designed to work in conjunction with the included action feature, which is sort of a let down in my opinion.  When untouched the figure is left in an the outstretched pose across the grassy base, but my pressing the lever located on the bottom of the base - bicycle girl pushes herself up onto her right arm, her left arm extended with a hungry grasp. 

While I did have some fun with this action feature… It would have been just as easy to pose it in the same manner if the figure had been removable from the base.  The articulation is sufficient enough to pull off the reaching grasp pose, and so this action feature consequently creates more restrictions than uses.

I believe McFarlane toys likes to add these action features as huge marketable selling points, and while they may look good in prospect on the store shelves.. it can only hurt their reputation in the long run.  Additionally, I believe these added action features drive up manufacture costs and price point, but if the end product from these action features continuously leave more to be desired, then maybe it's time to leave them out.

In my opinion, I'd rather go without and see a lower price tag.  

But on the not so monetary front, there is definitely room to meet in the middle.  If McFarlane toys had chose not to attach the right arm to the base and allow the figure to instead be removable, then we might have had an acceptable compromise.

Articulation Score - 1.5 out of 5

Accessories - Bicycle Girl comes with a broken blackberry phone, but I can't seem to find the relevance behind it.  I thought perhaps I missed something in the Walking Dead Spin-off Web Series that featured the origin of the Bicycle Girl, but despite my research, I came up with nothing.
It also seems like a pointless accessory as it doesn't really provide any sort of interactivity between it and the figure.  What is the supposed to be for?  It will more than likely end up as an accessory to another figure of mine, but even then I'd be hard pressed to find a figure that needs a cracked phone...

Accessories Score - 1 out of 5

Conclusion - While I do think Bicycle Girl Zombie is pretty cool, I find it hard to validate a price point of around 16 dollars.  While some of the humans characters in the line possess a less than accurate likeness of the actors from the show, the zombie characters seem to be worth picking up.  Even though this figure is offered at a higher price point, I find it forgivable to shell out for it.. to feed my ravenous zombie obsession.

Overall Score - 2.5 out of 5

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Post #9 - Captain America Marvel Legends Marvel Now! by Hasbro Toys

With the new release of Captain America's second movie titled, "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," that could only mean one thing - a new toy line to go along with it.  Cap' isn't alone in this treatment either, as the Amazing Spider-Man has developed a new Marvel Legends line of its own.  The second Spidey movie is due for release in May so it's no curious case.  But we're not here to talk about good ol' web-head, so lets go ahead jump right on into Cap's review.

Packaging - As I previously mentioned, Cap and Spidey's toy lines are both structured around the Marvel Legends Infinite series.
 Much like Hasbro's collector friendly Star Wars Black Series line, the packaging consists of a box rather than blister card.   It comes with a window that fully displays the figure as well as it's accessories and collect & connect piece.  The packaging design looks terrific.  It's effective but not too overly ornate.  The packaging can be opened from one side and resealed again at a later time by re-inserting the cardboard flaps.  This gives collectors the option to display the figure for a time, and return it to the packaging for storage.  However, this benefit does have the potential to be hazardous, as there has been a great deal of swapping/resealing going on.  It's easy to do, and even easier to return to a store.  Most customer service employees aren't educated about toys enough to notice these iniquitous acts, but how hard could it be to police this sort of stuff?  An image of a figure is on the back!

Packaging Score - 3 out of 5

Sculpting - Cap comes outfitted in his latest duds from the NOW! comics.  The sculpt is a completely brand new mold.  The suit is well detailed, capturing some of Cap's most classically depicted design elements such as the hexagon-like texture used in the chest and shoulder armor.  The suggestive material differences seen between the straps, torso, belt, gauntlets, gloves, boots and helmet are even more evident through sculpted ruffles and texture.
 The level of detail is astounding and serves as a representation of the ever-evolving production between Hasbro's previous Captain America figures and this one.  It's a clear sign of continued progression.

Sculpting Score - 3.5 out 5

Paint - Seeing this figure for the first time at retail, I was greatly disappointed when I noticed that the paint applications were often misaligned or spotty.  I tended to find the helmet missing parts of blue near the cheeks, crossed or sloppy eyes, and blurring between the whites and reds along the torso.  I had to pass on this figure 6 or so different times before I found one that appeared decent, and even then it still has a few marks and blemishes.  My advice to you - be very selective.
 The paint job is vibrantly colored but flat.  It lacks the sort of outstanding detail that I feel would complimentary to the sculpt.  A color wash or shading might have been helpful.  Hasbro continues to make huge strides in terms of sculpting, but they need to step back and reassess the quality of their paint.

Paint Score - 2.5 out of 5

Accessories - Cap comes with two accessories.  The first being his Vibranium shield.  It's a re-use of a previous mold with an adapted paint job.  The shield can be clipped on to caps forearm.  It can tend to a little odd when posing the figure with it at times.  I would have preferred to see the shield instead come with straps.  Much the same way the Cap figure from the first movie's line did.  When the shield is not in use, it can be plugged directly into Cap's back.  It sits out a tad bit too far, and again only looks organic when looking at it from the right angle.

The second accessory included is the head piece for the Build-a-Figure Mandroid.  This head piece can be used in conjunction with the other collectible pieces that you will receive with each additional figure.  Until then, set it aside but do not lose it!
Accessories Score - 2.5 out of 5

Articulation - On par with other "Infinite Series" offerings, Cap comes with a full range of articulation that includes a ball jointed/hinged head, ball jointed/hinged shoulders, a bicep swivel, double jointed elbows, ball jointed/hinged wrists, an ab-crunch, swivel waist, ball jointed hips, swivel thigh cuts, swivel calves, double jointed knees, and an ankle pivot.  My biggest qualm was with the ab-crunch.  It delivers a wide range of motion but after fully articulating it only a handful of times it began to feel lose.  I'm not sure if this defect is unique to only my figure, but it's something to account for.  Caps bulky biceps end up posing somewhat of a hindrance to the doubled jointed elbows.  While this figure may come with a wide range of articulation, the sculpt prevents you from fully utilizing it.
 Articulation Score - 3 out of 5

Conclusion - I really like the overall look of this figure, but there is still room for improvement in a few different areas.  Comparatively, the sculpting seems to be this figure's strongest area.  As with the paint application, you should thoroughly examine the figure before purchasing.  The articulation is fair but nothing fancy.  This figure does a terrific job at finding a balance between the classic and modern look of Cap.  Looking retrospectively at the Captain America figures of the past, this figure ranks pretty high.  While it may be lacking in some areas.  It is still one of the all around better Caps out there.  These are pretty common in stores right now, so if you find one that looks to be a suitable choice, don't hesitate to add it to your collection.
 Overall Score - 2.9 out of 5