#1025 – Addendum: Jon Snow Quick Fix

 

In my review of the Jon Snow Legacy Collection figure, I touched on how much of an effect a bad paint job can have on a figure. My initial opinion of Jon was rather low, given his almost complete lack of resemblance to Kitt Harrington (Tim and Jill pointed out that he actually looked a fair bit like Alan Rickman as the Sheriff of Nottingham, an assertion I agree with). While writing the review for the figure, I noticed that the paint on the eyebrows and beard didn’t at all follow what was sculpted, so I did a quick photoshop just to see what the figure was supposed to look like. And that made me realize that the figure could be better than the final product ended up.

JonFixed1

As I showed with my Aliens customs post, I used to do a fair bit of customizing (though, I’ve sadly gotten away from it in recent years). So, I dusted off my old paints and set my sites on improving this guy. A quick skin tone touch-up and some new eyebrows later, I can’t help but feel that this guy is, like, *a lot* better. The whole shape of his face is different, the likeness is better, and his proportions even look a bit less out of whack. He’s not a perfect figure, but he’s certainly much improved from where he started. Imagine what someone with more talent than mine could do!

JonFixed2

Two Years

Year2

Well, it’s been another year.  How about that?

In my second year of reviews here at The FiQ, I wrote a whopping 254,420 words about 499 unique figures, 3 vehicles, a movie, and one very lovely pink stapler.  The overall number of figures reviewed has dropped from last year’s 528, but the word count took a pretty substantial jump.  Guess I’ve gotten a little bit wordier.

This year brought the site’s total views up past 50,000 (more than doubling those from last year) and got the site another 31 followers (for a total of 84).  We also had another 53 comments, excluding the ones made by myself.

Looking at the contents of individual reviews, Minimates are still the most prevalent line, though they’ve fallen from 82 reviews to 74 reviews.  Not a huge fall, but it’s there.  Marvel Legends are steadily becoming a contender, however, making up 54 of this year’s reviews.  As of today, I have reviewed 32.1% of my collection.  My collection has gone up another 400 from where it was last year, surpassing 3000 unique figures.

Going away from myself for just a moment, this year the site had a total of 19 guest reviews.  They came from four different reviewers (two of whom were new additions this year) and amounted to another 10,782 words on the site.  Thanks guys!


 

I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge the figures I reviewed this year by taking a look at my top five favorite items I reviewed this year, listed in order of review:

#0436: COURAGE SERIES – I AM ELEMENTAL

IAE1

These are the figures that finally broke me into the whole Kickstarter thing.  They’re a pretty cool idea and the end result was quite a bit of fun.  Add in how wonderfully interactive their creators have been with the toy community (including sending me a very nice thank you email after I reviewed my set) and you’ve got what was probably my most pleasant reviewing experience of the year.

#0438: ALIEN QUEEN – ALIENS (NECA)

Queen3

This one was a big want, and I loved how she turned out.  NECA really pulled out all the stops on the Queen, making her the proper center piece of the line.  I loved her so much that I am seriously considering buying the red repaint later this year.

#0548: NEXUS – ASSEMBLE BORG NEXUS

Nexus1

Wow, this guy sure came out of nowhere.  Tim stumbled upon this line, and I absolutely loved every figure I got out of it.  However, Nexus, with his near infinite interchangeability, took the cake.

#0588: RIPLEY & HICKS – ALIENS MINIMATES

Ripley&HicksMM1

Moving off of #0438, Aliens is my favorite movie, and Minimates are my favorite toy line.  Putting the two together is just heaven to me.  Plus, DST knocked it out of the park with this pair, making them easily my favorite ‘mates of the last year.

#0685: LT. ELLEN RIPLEY – ALIENS (NECA)

RipleyAliens1

Yeah, Aliens dominated this list a bit. Sorry guys, it was a big year for Aliens stuff.  This is the figure I’ve wanted since NECA kicked off their Aliens line, and they really put the effort in on this one.

—HONORABLE MENTIONS—

#0415: BATMAN – BATMAN: ANIMATED (DC COLLECTIBLES)

BatmanTNA1

DC Collectibles’ foray into the animated universe was not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but the nostalgic side of me loved having a figure that lived up to the cartoon that spawned this line.

#0542: CAPTAIN AMERICA – MARVEL RETRO FIGURES (DST)

CapRetro1

This figure has to be one of the few times that writing a review has had such a profound effect on my enjoyment of a figure.  I was initially disappointed by this set, but by the end of my review that was no longer the case.


 

Thanks once again to all of my faithful readers who have stuck with me all of my crazy rambling!

That’s pretty much it…

Custom Action Figures and the Dilemma of the Replacement

Having been an action figure fan pretty much my entire life, I perceive popular culture in, perhaps, a different way than some.  In many cases, my enjoyment of certain entertainment is almost directly linked to just how much I want to have its heroes and villains in articulated plastic form.  This in many ways stems from my parents willingness to whisk me to a nearby toy store shortly after seeing a movie so that I could acquire a figure of my favorite character.

However, while I may be willing to buy action figures of just about anything, toy companies are hardly going to risk producing such an item for every piece of entertainment.  Inevitably, there will be holes in the collection that cannot be filled with an official product.  Sometimes it’s a single character who is just too obscure to warrant a figure, or is tied up in some sort of rights issue.  Other times, it’s an entire property that gets overlooked.  And sometimes, it’s just that the property isn’t available in your preferred style.

For many, this simply means that there is an item you will never own.  But for the more intense, devoted collector, there’s another fix: the custom action figure.  Customization of action figures has existed for a good long while in the world of collecting, and it can take many forms, ranging from a simple part-swap or repaint to a figure with extensive uniquely sculpted pieces.  For many, how extensive you go is based purely on your own personal talent.

This far into this article, it’s probably not a huge surprise that I myself have ventured into the world of custom action figures.  I worked in a variety of scales and styles, but the largest focus by far was Minimates.  My love of the line is no secret to those that read the site, so it’s not really shocking that I felt the need to increase the ranks of my collection.  As a plus, the fact that parts were completely interchangeable and most of the design relied on painted or printed details made assembling them with quick speed a relatively easy task.

I’ve mostly given up customizing to focus more on pure collecting, and, of course, this very site.  However, I was quite proud of a few of my sets of Minimates.  One in particular was my set of custom Aliens-themed Minimates, which was one of the more expansive sets I completed, created over the span of a week or so in the summer of 2009.  There were 10 figures in all: Ripley, Hicks, Newt, Vasquez, Gorman, Hudson, Burke, a Xenomorph, and Bishop in both standard and battle-damaged varieties.

AliensCustoms1

If you’ve been keeping up with my reviews, you’ve probably caught the news that Diamond Select Toys is currently producing their own official set of Aliens Minimates.  This is a fact I couldn’t be happier about.  Aliens is my favorite movie of all time, and Minimates is one of my favorite toy lines.  Combine the two and I’m in toy heaven.  But, that does sort of bring up the lingering question: What do I do with my customs?

Well, I should definitely start off by pointing out that not all of the characters I made have been added to Diamond’s line just yet.  Hicks,Burke, and the Xeno are the only ones with direct replacements currently.  The line has a Ripley, but it’s not the same iteration of her costume as the one I made.  However, the version of Ripley I used, as well as Newt, Vasquez, and Hudson will all be joining the line with Series 2.  The “half Bishop” has already been shown as a prototype and is set to be included with the Alien Queen.  That leaves Gorman and regular Bishop, both of whom have been heavily implied to be in an upcoming assortment of the line.  All of these figures will have proper replacements soon enough.

For now, how about a look back at the three that have already been “replaced?”

AliensCustoms4Burke was really the first at the axe.  For the most part, my custom was assembled from unaltered pieces of official ‘mates.  The body was from one of the X-Men Origins Wolverines, and the vest was from another.  Throw in a hairpiece from one of the movie Tony Starks and a face decal designed by me, and there you have it.  Liberties were taken with the style of the shirt and vest, due to my not wanting to ruin the only copies I had of these pieces.  I also recall really not wanting to have to paint a flannel pattern.  I’m still really proud of the face on this guy.  The expression just turned out so well.  I don’t mind the face on the official version, but I do miss this guy’s more panicked look.  At the end of the day, the official version wins, and my custom will likely be disassembled so that the parts can finally make their way back to their rightful owners.

AliensCustoms5With the official version being one of the earliest released official ‘mates, the Xenomorph came under fire pretty quickly too.  My Xenomorph was a later addition to my set.  When I created the original figures, I still wasn’t entirely comfortable with sculpting new parts wholesale, as would be required by the Xeno, so I put it off.  I eventually built up my skill a bit, and this was the end result.  I won’t lie, this figure has aged the worst of the set by far.  I was happy with him at the time, but the sculpting really didn’t hold up, and  he is devoid of many of the proper Xenomorph details.  The figure is also essentially a statue and rather brittle, making this one of the easiest replacements of the bunch.

AliensCustoms2The last replacement is perhaps one of the most difficult to go through with.  Hicks was a custom I put a lot of thought into, and one of the figures with which I was most pleased after finishing.  Some of the details of the uniform are a little muddled, and the armor isn’t quite what it could be, but I was particularly proud of the head.  I love the official version, but I wasn’t sold on the included hair piece.  As you can tell from the pictures, I’ve already replaced it with the same piece I used on my custom.  I was also quite proud of the likeness on the face, something I feel the official version was just the slightest bit off on.  Ultimately, the sculpted armor of the official version wins it some serious points, and it has a much more polished look, but it hasn’t quite surpassed my original like the others here.

That’s all for this particular side bit.  More than likely, I’ll come back to this a few times, as DST replaces the rest of my customs.  Until then, I guess my Aliens Minimates collection is just a little bit more complete than everyone else’s!

Exciting News!

MMCHi guys!  Breaking from the reviews for just a second to share some pretty awesome news.  Today, over at Minimates Central, is a brand-new Minimate review written by yours truly.  This is my first post as an official member of the MMC Staff, which I’m really excited about!  From here on out, I’ll be posting a few reviews there every month.  Some of them will be re-fitted versions of reviews you’ve already seen here, while some will be all-new (though, have no fear, they’ll find their way here a little later).  So, please check out the site, check out my review of Captain America & Scarlet Witch, and check out my fellow reviewers’ work as well.  That’s all for now!

-Ethan

No new review today

Hi guys.  I’m sorry to say there’s no new review today.  I’ve been hit by a conga line of misfortune in my personal and professional life in the last few days, and I really just haven’t had the energy to get any writing done.  So, I’m taking today as a day to gather my thoughts and attempt to raise my spirits.  Hopefully I’ll be able to return to my regular schedule tomorrow.  Thanks for sticking with me-

–Ethan

Sometimes, things work out

Carnage&BlackCat

This is a follow up to an earlier post of mine, titled “GAHHHHHHHHH!,” where I discussed two separate run-ins with my sitcom arch nemesis THE SCALPER!  That post was one of annoyance at what I consider to be one of the worst things in the action figure collecting community.  It was admittedly down-beat, and a bit angry.

Well, sometimes, believe it or not, life does give you a win.  In my case, that win was finding both of the figures that served as the scalped items in my second encounter.  Yes, I found both of them today, on sale for $4 off no less.  And that makes me feel a little bit better.  Suck it scalpers.

One year later…

Collection2

Well look at that, it’s been a year.  Okay, if I’m honest, it’s been slightly over a year.  Today marks review number 365, but thanks to a few fill-ins from my buddy Tim, it’s actually taken me 369 days to get here.  Sorry about that.  Still, I made it through a whole freaking year of this!

In one year, I’ve managed to write 197,432 words about 527 unique action figures (and I’ll be bringing that up to 528 figures and 198,005 words later today).  If I were to publish the contents of my reviews in book format, I believe you could officially classify it as a “door-stopper.”

In one year, I’ve managed to get 13,683 total views from 75 countries all over the world.  I’ve gotten 56 followers, and I’ve had 73 comments in all (Not counting those made by yours truly).

The most prevalent line of toys to be reviewed was, unsurprisingly, Minimates, which made up 82 of my 365 reviews.  It’s worth noting, that of the 528 figures reviewed, they represented a total of 190 of those figures.  Going by current numbers, I have reviewed 19.5% of my action figure collection.  It’s important to note that my collection hasn’t stopped growing.  When I started the site, I had just clocked in at 2400 figures.  In the last year, that number’s gone up by almost 300.

While not every review has been a gem to right (or to read, I’m sure), I powered through them, and I think the overall product has been pretty good.  One year in, I’m just starting!

So, thanks to all of you who have stuck around through this first year, thanks to those who joined us part of the way through, and welcome to those who are just joining us.

So that’s pretty much it…

Updates and Stuff

Hey guys!  So, just a few clerical things to report about the site:

After being out of date for almost two months, the Review indexes have been updated.  That should make for some easier navigation of the more recent articles.  In the future, I’ll try to keep the intervals between updates shorter, mostly for my own sanity.

The results for the reader’s choice poll have been taken into account, and the winners were Bleed-Over and The Buck System.  Both of these designs are now available in the store, so please check those out.

Lastly, The Figure in Question is now on Twitter!  You can follow us @TheFiQ42.  I’ll be trying to come up with some cool stuff to post there soon, so go ahead and give us a follow if you’d like.

That’s all for today!  We now return you to your regularly scheduled program…

Reader’s Choice Poll

By now I’m sure you’ve all gotten a chance to check out The Official Figure in Question Shop.  The first three designs put up for sale were my personal favorites, but I don’t want to be the only ne with any say in the matter.  So, I’m passing the decision onto you, my loyal readers, to decide what next month’s designs will be.  Everybody gets two votes, and the top two designs will be put up for sale on September 13th.  Voting ends September 12th, 11:59 pm est.

-Poll Closed-

Winners: Buck System & Bleed Over

 

DisplayStandDayOfBuckSystemBleedOver ArticulationBoxedSetadd-onHeavyHitter

The Figure in Question Shop

In case you were unaware, toy collecting can be a somewhat pricey hobby to take up.  Additionally, starting up a review site for those toys is not a deterrent to making more purchases.  If anything, it just provides an additional excuse to buy more stuff.  “I have to buy this one, it’ll make for a great review!”

What am I getting at here?  Well, I’m a college student who doesn’t have loads and loads of money around.  So, if I intend to keep this crazy collecting thing up, I’m gonna need to find some way to get a little extra financing!

So, The Figure in Question now has official FiQ swag!  Well, there’s t-shirts, anyway.  Over at redbubble.com I’ve set up a Figure in Question shop where my loyal readers (and anyone else who stumbles upon it) can pick up their favorite Action Figures For the Questioning design on their very own t-shirt, tote bag, sticker, poster, or heck, even a throw pillow!

The first three designs up for sale are three of my favorites: The Accessories, The Build-A-Figure, and The Exclusive.  If I can keep up with it, more designs should go up on roughly a monthly basis, so if your favorite isn’t in the first batch don’t worry!

So, please check out the store, and if you’re a fan of the site, please consider making a purchase or two.  I will be eternally grateful!  You can visit the Shop by going here or by clicking on the “Shop” tab at the top of the page.

Okay, that’s the end of the shameless plug of the merchandise.  We now return you to your regularly scheduled program…