Guest Review #0006: Orbital Frame Jehuty

ORBITAL FRAME JEHUTY              

SENTINEL RIOBOT

Jehuti7

 

Today’s review is written by Tim Marron.  Check out more from Tim over at Tim’s Blarg and Timsical Thoughts.  Take it away Tim!

Grab your Metatron and engage Zero Shift, it’s Orbital Frame Jehuty. Yes. Today I’ll be reviewing the main mecha from Konami’s Zone of the Enders series which originally launched for the Playstation 2 but was recently rereleased for Playstation 3 and Xbox 360. But enough about games. Let’s take a look at the figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

There are already several companies that make action figures of Jehuty, but this one specifically is made by Sentinel as part of their Riobot line. From my understanding, they’re a fairly new company but they specialize in really high-end figures, usually of the robotic sort. Jehuty’s design is taken from his appearance in Zone of the Enders: Second Runner. He stands about 7″ tall, but given he has no real feet that I trust to hold him up, he pretty much always needs a stand which boosts him to around 8″ standing bolt-upright. Of course, thats not how you’re meant to display him. Jehuty has really excellent potential for awesome action poses thanks to his mind-blowing 85 points of articulation. It really feels like someone at Sentinel had a point to prove about how many moving parts they could fit into the figure and I love it. Any pose Jehuty ever makes in the game ever can be faithfully replicated with the figure. He has a really amazing range of motion which is even more impressive when you realize that they didn’t have to mess with the sculpt to pull it off. Speaking of, being a new figure, the sculpt is all new and spot on if not a little nicer than his look from the game due to the PS2’s limits on rendering polygons. This is helped by the immaculate paint job on this thing. It’s official, Sentinel hires wizards to paint their figures. That has to be it. No bleed over, no slop, tasteful and appropriate use of metallic and matte textures, and printed text so small I can’t read it without a magnifier. Wizards. Jehuty comes with loads of accessories, 2 relaxed hands, 2 fist hands, 2 splayed hands, 2 pointed hands, 2 pointed hands with pegs (I’ll explain shortly), a long sword blade, a short sword blade, 2 wing vanes, 4 missiles with clips, 3 “option” modules with clips, a ring radar, a girder beam, a large panel, removable butt plate for attaching to the stand, and finally the stand itself. Phew. Now the purpose of the hands with pegs is that they allow Jehuty to hold the girder or the panel like he does in the game to use as a bludgeon and shield respectively. Also, the missiles and options can be attached to the ring radar to give them the appearance of floating around Jehuty. One more detail about the hands that I particularly liked was how, in the game Jehuty’s hands have 2 thumbs and 3 fingers, making them effectively symmetrical. This means Sentinel could have easily gotten away with doing one sculpt of each hand pose and just putting 2 of each in the box, but thats not what they did. If you look closely at each pair of hands, you can see that each hand is not quite symmetrical but is a mirror of its pair, so yes, Jehuty’s hands are left/right specific even though they really didn’t need to be. I still appreciate the effort though. All in all, this figure is incredible and a must-have for any ZOE fans, just as long as you have the coin for it.

Jehuti1  Jehuti4 Jehuti3 Jehuti2 Jehuti5

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got this figure for my birthday after my parents got me an Amazon gift card. I’d seen it before and had been locked in an internal debate over quality/coolness of the figure vs the price but thankfully the gift card settled it peacefully. My exposure to ZOE in general actually started with action figures. Again, I’d seen various models of Jehuty on Amazon and immediately loved the design. Well, aside from the rather unfortunate uh… “cockpit” but I was willing to overlook that. It was only after I had been looking at the figures for some time and even bought the soundtrack that I got the actual game. After playing for a while I knew purchasing figure was inevitable. To my knowledge, theres been talk of Sentinel making more ZOE figures but no real developments in that. Given the quality of this figure, I’d love to see Anubis pop in out of nowhere, as is his way.

Jehuti6

#0243: Wolverine – Spy

WOLVERINE V – SPY WOLVERINE

X-MEN

SpyWolverine

You can’t venture far into a discussion about X-Men without running into Wolverine. This is even more true when it comes to the X-Men in the 90s, when Wolverine was at insane levels of popularity. As a young, impressionable child at the time, I was of course a huge fan of the character. More recently, I’ve started to enjoy the character less and less, mostly due to his severe over-exposure, but he’s spawned more than a few action figures, and I can always appreciate a good action figure. So, is today’s figure a “good action figure?” Let’s find out!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

This is the fifth version of Wolverine released in Toybiz’s X-Men line. He was part of the fourth series of the line. The figure stands about 5 inches tall and features 11 points of articulation, as well as a mechanism that raises his arms when his torso is rotated. You know, for claw-slashin’ and the like. This particular version of Wolverine is based on his “spy” look from his time working for Weapon X. The sculpt appears to be unique to the figure, though it is possible that the head may have been shared with one of the other Wolverine figures from the line. It’s not a bad sculpt, and it fits in nicely with the rest of the line style-wise. His goggles and com-link thingy are attached via a swivel joint, so they can be swung out of his face or removed all together. Unfortunately, they end up being a bit on the large side, which makes Wolverine look more like a snorkeler than a spy. The paint work is fairly minimal, but it’s mostly applied pretty well. The face, however, seems to have gotten the worst of it. He’s kind of got this wide-eyed stare, and his pupils look way too big, which makes him look a bit high. Makes you wonder exactly what kind of stuff Weapon X had him on. Maybe that’s why he can’t remember his past! Wolverine comes packed with 6 knife-type weapons, which can be stored in the various slots on his uniform. How convenient.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Wolverine is yet another figure purchased from the Balticon dealer’s room this past Memorial Day. Like yesterday’s Iceman, I got him because I didn’t already have him, and he was $3. He’s not as good a figure as either of the Icemen, but I suppose he’s not terrible. I certainly won’t be singing the figure’s praises, though I will admit I got quite a laugh upon removing the goggles and seeing those eyes staring back at me.

SpyWolverine2

#0242: Iceman -Armored

ICEMAN – ARMORED

X-MEN

IcemanArmored

Like I said yesterday, the 90s X-Men line was very important to me when I was growing up. It’s still one of my favorite lines, and I still enjoy picking up figures I don’t have when I see them. Today, I’m looking at another version of founding X-Man, Iceman. Let’s have a look!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Iceman was released as part of the “Mutant Armor” Series of the Toybiz X- Men line. Or, if you’re a fan of typos on mass released toys, the “Muntant Armor” Series. The figure stands around 5 inches tall and features 9 points of articulation, as well as an action feature that allows the height of the ice on his back to be raised. The figure is based primarily on Iceman’s design from the 90s X-Men crossover “Age of Apocalypse.” The figure creates this look by reusing the body of Iceman II, released in the “Invasion” series of the X-Men line, with a new head. The body is a nice replication of the “spiky” look that Iceman sported for a good portion of the 90s. The head features the character’s mouth-less look from the crossover, which looks pretty cool! The figure’s paint is a little uneven, in all honesty. They’ve attempted to do an air-brushed mist look on the figure, but it doesn’t really work. It’s really heavy on the head and neck, but practically non-existent on the rest of the figure, which makes for a jarring change. Being part of the “Mutant Armor” Series, Iceman is packed with hand and feet attachments to armor him up.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Just like the last 3 reviews, this Iceman was purchased from the Balticon dealer’s room. I mostly picked him up because he was a 5-inch X-Men figure I didn’t already have, and he was $3. He’s a pretty neat figure, and probably one of the more interestingly sculpted figures in the line. He was definitely worth the purchase!

#0241: Iceman

ICEMAN

X-MEN

Iceman

I’m not quite sure how much I’ve touched on this, but Toybiz’s X-Men line from the 90s was incredibly important to forming my collecting habits. It was a very expansive line, and offered me the opportunity to own almost every character from the 90s cartoon in plastic form. To this day, it remains one of my all-time favorite lines of figures. Sure, some of the figure’s haven’t aged the greatest, but they instill me with lots of fond memories. Today, I’ll be taking a look at the coolest X-Man around, Iceman!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

This version of Iceman was actually released twice. Once in the third series of Toybiz’s X-Men line, and later as part of another X-Men line released exclusively to Kaybee Toys a few years later. This particular is from the later release, but the two figures are virtually indistinguishable. The figure stands just shy of 5 inches tall and features 9 points of articulation. The figure is based on Iceman’s classic design, but the cuffed boots seem to indicate his late silver age design. The figure is molded in clear plastic so as to replicate Bobby in his full ice mode, after he learned how to actually transform himself into ice. The sculpting is actually pretty good for an early 90s piece, though his hands do seem a little bit on the large side. Still, the figure has a grade blocky sculpt that really makes him look like he’s been chiseled out of ice. The paint work is pretty simple but what’s there is pretty good. They’ve used some white paint to do some “icicle” detailing. It looks a bit strange to be honest, but it’s not too apparent when the figure is on display. Iceman includes a stand shaped like an ice sled. There’s a block around the foot pegs that could be filled with water, which could in turn be frozen around the figure’s feet, allowing you to make an actual ice sled. It’s gimmicky, but it’s an entertaining gimmick at least.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This figure was purchased in the Balticon dealer’s room this past Memorial Day. This is actually the second of this figure I’ve bought. I got the first one years ago from Kaybee Toys. However, I used that one’s freeze gimmick numerous times, and little did I know that this would cause the figure’s clear plastic to become more brittle. My poor first figure’s legs bot snapped off at the hips, which was a serious bummer (that’s actually him in the Wilson photo; you can even see the apoxy holding his legs in place). When I saw this figure in a box with a bunch of other 5 inch X-Men, I was more than happy to once again have this guy in my collection. I certainly won’t be putting this one in the freezer!

#0240: The Assassin

ASSASSIN

SPEED RACER

Assassin

Continuing yesterday’s theme, today is another figure from the 60s cartoon Speed Racer. It’s another villainous figure, this time depicting the Assassin. Interestingly enough, they weren’t referred to assassins in the original Japanese version of the show. They were called ninja, the Japanese word for assassin. The group dubbing didn’t think the United States would get the concept, so they renamed them the more generic “assassins.” If only they’d known…

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Assassin was released as part of the second series of Resaurus’s Speed Racer line. He stands 5 inches tall and features 8 points of articulation. The figure is based on the appearance of the assassins from the episode “Gang of Assassins.” I suppose it technically counts as an army builder if one were so inclined. The Assassin features an entirely unique sculpt. The second series featured less pre-posed sculpts than the first, so the Assassin features a more generic stance. This allows the articulation to be more effectively utilized than on the figures in series one. The sculpt is an accurate representation of the look from the show, simplistic but still full of character. The highlight of the figure is his head sculpt, which perfectly captures the exaggerated proportions and expressions of a Speed Racer character. The paint work is decent overall, though the figure does suffer from some bleed over around the line between his face and his mask. The Assassin includes a handgun, a machine gun, a backpack, a rope, and a display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like Captain Terror, the Assassin is a recent addition to my collection, purchased in the Balticon dealer’s room this past Memorial Day. I’d seen this figure a few times over the years, but never got around to picking one up. He’s a pretty cool little figure, and I’m very glad I decided to finally buy one.

#0239: Captain Terror

CAPTAIN TERROR

SPEED RACER

CaptainTerror

Like Ultraman, it might be a bit surprising to find out that I’m a pretty big Speed Racer fan. It’s a bit before my time, but like many other such things, I became a fan nonetheless. My dad was a fan of the show in its initial run, and this, coupled with the convenient release of Resaurus’s toyline in the 90s and my status as a bit of an animation geek led to my love of the series. Today, I’ll be looking at one of Speed’s wacky foes from the show, Captain Terror!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Captain Terror was released as part of the first series of Resaurus’s Speed Racer line. He stands about 5 inches tall and features 9 points of articulation (if you count the moving head feather, which I totally do!). The figure is, obviously, based on Captain Terror’s design from the original Speed Racer TV show. He has a completely unique sculpt, which seems to capture the Captain’s design pretty well. He is a bit more detailed than his animated counterpart, but that’s actually a point in the figure’s favor. He has a cape add-on piece, sculpted to convey his cape in a windblown state. The character was depicted in such a way at least once, so it’s a nice touch. The paint work is superb. There isn’t any noticeable slop, and he has some nice washes to help bring out some of his details. Captain Terror includes a gun, a pair of binoculars, a walkie talkie, a roll of dynamite (with a working plunger!), and a display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Captain Terror was a recent acquisition for me. I picked him up from the dealer’s room at Balticon just this past Memorial Day. I actually remember looking at this figure when it was originally released, but for whatever reason I never got one. I’m happy to finally have the figure, and it’s certainly a fun addition to my collection.

#0238: Gambit & Psylocke

PSYLOCKE & GAMBIT

MARVEL MINIMATES

Gambit&Psylock

When in doubt, I always turn to Minimates. I find the reviews to generally be a bit easier to write and I can be a little more enthusiastic about them, so they make for better writing in general (at least I sure hope so…). Today marks another Marvel Minimates review. This time around, I’m pulling from the great big world of X-Men with loveable rogue (who is coincidentally loved by Rogue) Gambit, and psychic fighter Psylocke!

THE FIGURES THMSELVES

Psylocke and Gambit were released in series 28 of Marvel Minimates. Originally, this was meant to be series 26 and it would have served as a loose tie-in to X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but it was pushed back to 28 when Diamond picked up the license to do Minimates directly from the movie.

PSYLOCKE

Psylocke is built on the basic Minimate body, which, means she stands about 2 ½ inches tall and she has 14 points of articulation. She’s based on Psylocke’s Jim Lee designed look from the early 90s, right around the time that she became Japanese (just go with it). She features two sculpted add-ons: a hair piece and a sash. The hair was originally sculpted for one of the BSG Starbucks, but it was actually released on Psylocke first. The sash may be a re-use, but I don’t know for sure. The paint work is pretty good overall, no slop or bleed over to speak of. One issue is the face seems a bit too narrow, like the paint mask wasn’t applied properly. Psylocke includes a katana, previously seen with Blade, and a “psy knife” which slips over her hand peg.

GAMBIT

Like Psylocke, Gambit is also built on the basic Minimate body. He’s based on Gambit’s default look through much of the 80s and 90s, which is the look most people associate with the character. The figure features a brand new trench coat piece, an all-new hair/headband piece, and a set of new boots. Lots of new stuff.  I do kind of wish that the bib wasn’t a part of the coat, but it looks pretty good. I do love how well they captured Gambit’s mop of unruly hair. The paint work is passable. There’s a bit of slop on the hands, and his face seems a tad too high on the head, but the torso detailing and the pink squares on the legs look great. Gambit included two spate hands with different charged cards and his fighting staff.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This is another set of Minimates I picked up from Cosmic Comix when it was first released. I had eagerly been awaiting series 28, especially after taking part in and winning several prizes in a contest to guess this and series 25’s lineups. This isn’t my favorite version of Psylocke, but it’s not too bad, and Gambit is a character I’ve had an attachment to ever since the 90s animated series.

Guest Review #0005: Ranger Elite

RANGER ELITE (SANGHEILI)

HALO REACH

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Today’s review is written by Tim Marron.  Check out more from Tim over at Tim’s Blarg and Timsical Thoughts.  Take it away Tim!

When it comes to video games, two of the traits I tend to look for are the presence of shootbangs, and a high level of polish. I don’t mean that in the sense of the game being thoroughly tested and fine-tuned, although that is also desirable. No, I mean it’s got lots of shiny things. As many of you probably know, the Halo franchise meets both of these criteria consistently across titles and it is from this series that today’s figure comes. I’ll be taking a look at the Ranger Elite from Halo Reach, the origin story of the Halo universe.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

For those of you not familiar with the Halo games or lore, Elites, or Sangheili if you really want to show off, are a species of alien that are part of a military coalition known as the Covenant. This specific figure is part of McFarlane Toys’ fifth series of Halo Reach action figures and depicts an Elite in the Ranger armor. He features 25 points of articulation and stands about 6″ tall, when you can get him to stand, that is. The sculpt is pretty accurate to the look from the game and is mostly original apart from the feet, hands, and lower torso which are reused from all previous Halo Reach Elites. There are some seam lines and kibble, but anyone handy with an X-acto knife should be able to remedy these easily enough. I do appreciate how the Elite’s face can be partially seen underneath the transparent visor of his helmet instead of, say, having the visor be painted on opaque… and the wrong color. I’m looking at you, DC Direct (see my review of their Tali’Zorah figure). The sculpting does start to be an issue when it runs into certain areas of articulation on the figure. Places like the knees and elbows are sculpted to match as closely as possible to the shape of the character model in the game. However, the simple hinge joint they used on the figure aren’t entirely compatible which results in the knee caps and elbows peeling away from the rest of the arm or leg when you bend the joint. This forms weird little spikes that aren’t meant to be there and can be a little pinchy if you aren’t paying attention. The paint is decent although hardcore collectors will notice some serious areas of slop and bleed over. That being said, the average casual collector such as myself will be totally fine with the paint which has a nice variety of textures like metallic and even pearlescent in some areas. The Ranger Elite comes with a Focus Rifle, Plasma Grenade, and back plate that can be removed to attach a jetpack from one of the other figures in this line. I would have liked a stand of some kind because he is a touch on the wobbly side, but it’s not that big of a deal given that this is probably the most toy-ish action figure I have. This guy isn’t meant to be stood up on a shelf, he’s meant to be played with, and I kinda like that.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This figure was maybe one of my most impulsive impulse buys. I got him from Toys-R-Us, where I had gone initially to browse the Nerf aisle (ask me about my Nerf collection, I dare you) in search of an early release. I only saw it as I was wandering back through the store. The combination of my favorite Halo armor design along with one of my favorite weapon designs both in one box caused an involuntary reflex in which I took the figure to the checkout, purchased it, and walked back to the car. Ok, maybe it wasn’t involuntary but I am glad to have the figure. It does have its issues as a figure, but as a toy, I give it a resounding BLARG of triumph.

#0237: Agent Jasper Sitwell & Batroc

AGENT JASPER SITWELL & BATROC

MARVEL MINIMATESJasper&Batroc

Today marks the final entry in my reviews of the Captain America: The Winter Soldier Minimates. It’s okay. We can get through this together. I started off a bit rocky with Classic Cap & Winter Soldier, regained some of my momentum with Black Widow & Falcon, and was more than pleased with Stealth Cap & Rumlow, but the excitement I have for this series has remained with me throughout all of my reviews. I’m a little sad that there aren’t a never ending supply of these figures to review, but I think I’ve saved the best for last here. Today, I’ll be looking at Agent Jasper Sitwell & Batroc. Due to the nature of this set, I’ll be getting into some SPOILERS for the movie, so if you haven’t seen it yet, you’ve been warned.

 

 

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Agent Sitwell and Batroc were released in Marvel Minimates Series 55, which was a tie-in to Captain America: The Winter Soldier. This set was released one per case, so it’s a little harder to come by than the other three.

AGENT JASPER SITWELL

JasperSitwellIn the comics, Jasper Sitwell was the SHIELD agent assigned to Tony Stark, he drove a flying car, and he was meant to be that “normal” guy amongst the crazy. Sound familiar? Yeah, Jasper was the proto-Coulson. When Coulson took his place in the movie-verse, I just assumed he’d be replacing Jasper outright. But, Marvel decided to put Jasper in the mix anyway, and he served as a supporting character in Thor and the first three Marvel One-Shots, before showing up on Agents of SHIELD, and eventually in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which proved to be his end, after he was revealed to be a covert Hydra agent. But, hey maybe he’s actually working for SHIELD…. and he could have totally survived being thrown in front of an oncoming tractor trailer. Yeah, I’m sure he’s fine.  Jasper was built on the standard Minimate body, so he has 14 points of articulation, and he stands about 2 ½ inches tall. He’s a mostly vanilla figure, with just a sculpted coat piece and tie, which have been seen on numerous suited figures before him. They do their job well enough, and look appropriate for a standard issue SHIELD suit. Paint is also pretty basic, with some paint for his tie and belt buckle, which look pretty decent, though there is some slop on the shirt collar from the tie. The best part of the figure is the detailing on the face, which is a spot on likeness of Maximiliano Hernàndez. Truly amazing work. Jasper includes a hand gun, a briefcase, and a clear display stand.

BATROC

BatrocGeorges Batroc, or as he’s known in the comics “Batroc the Leaper” (Batroc ze Leper if you go heavy on the French accent), is a character I never thought I’d see on the big screen. Even when I heard he was in the movie, I assumed he’d just be some generic thug who dressed in black. There was no way he’d actually leap around, right? Or wear even a semblance of his comic book costume, right? Well, I was wrong, and I’ve never been happier to be so. Batroc’s fight with Cap near the beginning is one of my favorite parts of the movie, hands down. Batroc is presented here in his look from that portion of the movie. He’s built on the standard Minimate body, with sculpted vest, belt, and holster add-ons. The holster is a re-use from Series 45’s Maria Hill, but the vest and belt look to be all-new. They look great, and are very accurate to Batroc’s gear from the film. Batroc features some superb paint work, with nearly every surface covered in detail. Most impressive is his head, which features his five-o-clock shadow and his buzz cut, both depicted through some excellent use of pointillism (every once in a while, my former art major kicks in). I also love the fact that the yellow and purple detailing of the uniform continues under the vest, giving you a decent start to a comic styled Batroc if you want one. Batroc includes a hand gun, and a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Sadly, due to their one per case nature coupled with my being out of town, I was unable to get Jasper and Batroc with the rest of Series 55 from my local comicbook store (It’s okay, I’m fairly certain I know who got the set, and I know it went to a good home.) Fortunately, I was able to get ahold of one from Luke’s Toystore, my favorite Minimates retailer. I’m glad I was able to get this set because it’s the highlight of the series for me. Sure, the others are all solid sets, and I wouldn’t want to have missed any of them, but this set just makes me smile. Diamond could have easily phoned it in on these two, but they really brought their A-game, and this set is total win because of it.

I just wrote over 800 words about a Jasper Sitwell & Batroc the Leaper two-pack. Based on their appearance in a multi-million dollar film, no less! I cannot begin to tell you how much that thrills me.

BatrocVSCap

Action Figures For the Questioning #014: Heavy Hitter

I’ve been in the action figure world for about 20 years.  So, it’s safe to say I’ve got a fair bit of knowledge on the terms that tend to be thrown around by collectors with little or no explanation as to what they mean.  I generally try to explain a concept on its first appearance on this site, but much as Stan Lee once said to assume every comic book was somebody’s first, I too must assume that every review on this site might be the first to be read by a new visitor.  As such, I’ve decided to put together a guide to some of the more frequently used terms and names that might show up.

HEAVY HITTER

HeavyHitter

What is it?:

A character that is more heavily packed in case assortments of figures and receives more variations and figures in general, based on their well-known status.  They are generally used to anchor a series of boxed set of lesser known characters, and are usually aimed at “moms and kids.”

Example:

Batman, Spider-Man, and Iron Man are all heavy hitters.