#1170: Trunks

TRUNKS (PREMIUM COLOR)

S.H. FIGUARTS

trunks1

For day 4 of my post-Christmas reviews, I’ll be taking at something slightly different. Not totally different, since it’s Dragon Ball Z, from which I’ve already looked at three figures from that ‘verse.  It’s just been over a year and a half since my last one of those. There’s a definite theme to my DBZ collection, with all of them being key players in “The Android Saga,” which happens to be the one arc of the series I really followed from start to finish.  Today’s figure, Trunks, follows that theme, being one of two major protagonists introduced during said arc.  Let’s take a look at him!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

trunks2Trunks was initially released as one of the earlier figures in the DBZ-subset of S.H. Figuarts.  He proved to be one of the most popular figures in the line (not surprising, since Trunks has long had a sizable fanbase), giving quite the hefty aftermarket value.  To make it a bit easier for fans to get some of the earlier, more prominent characters, Bandai’s started putting out “Premium Color” variants, which  tweak the paint jobs of the figures ever so slightly, but otherwise serve as pretty straight re-releases.  The re-released Trunks hit early last year.  The figure stands about 5 1/2 inches tall and he has 43 points of articulation.  Trunks went through a number of different looks on the show, but this figure is based on Future Trunks’ initial appearance during “The Android Saga,” which is of course prior to the appearance of Present Trunks, who started off as a baby…it’s a little confusing, so don’t try to think about it too much.  The trunks3point is, this is Trunks’ original look, and in many ways his best look.  It’s certainly the most definitive.  His sculpt does an admirable job of translating his animated appearance into three-dimensions.  It’s not a pitch-perfect recreation of him, but seems more like an idealized sort of “what he would look like if the animation could always be totally consistent” sort of version of him.  As an animated figure, he’s a lot more stylized and has less fine detail work than, say, one of the Super Sentai figures.  That being said, there’s still a lot of really sharp detailing to be found on this guy, especially on the hair and jacket.  In his default, packaged form, Trunks is sporting his non-Super-Saiyan hair and a basic face with an intense stare, which are definitely solid pieces, and a very good choice for the default version of the character.  He also includes a second non-Super-Saiyan face, this time sporting trunks5gritted teeth, which can be swapped out in a similar fashion to what was seen with Androids 17 and 18.  There’s also a separate Super-Saiyan head, which has three faces of its own (intense stare, gritted teeth, and screaming).  All of them swap out with relative ease (though they’re a little difficult to get popped in place the first time; be careful of all those points on the hair, they really hurt!).  Trunks’ paintwork is all pretty solid.  The earlier version had more variation in some of the colors, but I find this one is a bit sharper overall, which just looks all around better to me.  The colors look to match up pretty well to his onscreen counterpart, and fit well with the other figures I’ve gotten.  In addition to the previously mentioned extra head and faces, Trunks also includes five pairs of hands (fists, gripping, flat, wide-spread, and gesturing), his sword, a scabbard to go with it, and a “dummy” hilt to go in the scabbard so that you don’t risk breaking the sword.  The extras are all a lot of fun, though my figure did wind up with a broken peg where the scabbard plugs into the shoulder.  Make sure to be extra careful when removing that!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I almost bought Trunks’ original release way back when he was still new.  I was in NYC with my family, and Midtown Comics had one.  However, at that point I had yet to get into the import game and just couldn’t conceive of paying a whole $35 for one figure.  How foolish I was.  Obviously, by the time I picked up the Androids, Trunks was going for a lot more than $35, so I wasn’t getting him then.  I knew he was getting a re-issue, but somehow its actual release slipped under my radar.  I ended up spotting him at Barnes & Noble around Thanksgiving while out with my family.  I offhandedly mentioned wanting the figure but not having the money and thought nothing more of it.  A few weeks later, I went back to the store to buy a gift for my brother and Trunks was gone, and I just figured he wasn’t meant for me.  Cut to Christmas morning, opening my first gift from my parents, and there this guy is.  As it turns out, my mom took note of my interest, and while I was grabbing something from the B&N cafe, she went back and purchased this guy.  She’s a crafty one!  I’ve quite pleased with this guy, and happy to have finally gotten him.  Of course, now my resolve to hold off on getting more of these guys is being worn down…

trunks6

#0562: Android No. 16

ANDROID NO. 16

S.H. FIGUARTS

16a

Hey, remember when I reviewed the last two Dragon Ball Z Android figures from SH Figuarts and I was all like “I guess I have to buy the third one now?” Well, I, uhh, bought the third one. Yeah, I’m kind of a pushover when it comes to action figures. So, today, I’ll be having a look at Android 16, the third member of the main android trio, and the only one of them who was actually, you know, an android. Funny how that works.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

16bAndroid 16 is another figure from the Dragon Ball Z subset of Bandai’s SH Figuarts line. The figure was released around March or so of this year. The figure stands over 6 inches in height (almost a full inch taller than his compatriots) and features 32 points of articulation. While the other two androids were known to change up their style from time to time, 16 had exactly one outfit on the show, and this figure depicts him in said outfit. Like the last two figures, 16’s sculpt is unique to him. The figure does a fantastic job of translating the character’s design from the show into three dimensions. Sometimes figures of animated characters will only work when viewed from certain angles, but that isn’t an issue here. The sculpt is nicely proportioned and has some really sharp work, especially in areas like the folds of his boots and the texture of his shirt. Also, the work on the faces seems a lot clearer and more defined here than it was on the previous two figures, though it may just be Bandai taking advantage of the slightly larger scale of the sculpt. There are three different faces that can be swapped out. He comes packed wearing the death-glare head, which is sufficiently intimidating, but he also has heads with grinning and shouting expressions, should you want to mix things up. In addition to the basic heads, there is a battle-damaged head, which shows some of the inner workings of 16’s head, and gives him a more shocked expression. 16 includes two pairs of hands, in fists and open gesture, and his forearms can be removed to replicate his fist-launching ability, which also showcases some great detail work on the “stumps” of his forearms. 16 doesn’t feature the most complicated paintwork, but what’s there is clean, even, and avoids any issues of slop or bleed over. The colors are also a pretty good match for those used on the show. The heads all feature essentially the same paint, with the exception of the damaged head, which sets itself ahead of the others with some scuffing on the face and some great scorching at the edge of the exposed machinery. 16 is a little lighter in the accessories department than a lot of other Bandai releases, with only the extra heads and hands. However, these are worthy additions, and the figure’s increased size means that he doesn’t feel like he’s coming up short.

16d 16e 16c

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After getting 17 at MAGFest and finding 18 online, I went ahead and preordered 16 through Amazon. That was in February, and boy did he take his sweet time getting here. Apparently, Amazon gets their import stuff in little trickles here and there, so I had to wait a little while for my 16 to come into stock. I’m happy to say he was worth the wait. 16 is definitely my favorite of the three android figures. He’s just a very well put together figure and he’s a fantastic representation of the character.

16f

#0491: Android No. 18

ANDROID NO. 18

S.H. FIGUARTS

Slowly, but surely, I’m being sucked into the world of Japanese import figures. It started with Ultraman, which is a Japanese property for which there is a small quantity of US-based merchandise. I’m a huge Ultraman fan. So I had to get an import, right? Then there were the Power Rangers, and sure, there’s been a plethora of stuff from that show, but it wasn’t ever particularly good. I was rather fond of Power Rangers too, so it made sense. But, then there was Dragon Ball Z. I’d seen the show, and all, but I never even bought the cheap figures released in America. Why would I pony up the big bucks for import figures? Well, I’m weak. I can’t help it. I caved, and I bought Android 17 at a convention. So, obviously I had to get his sister, Android 18. It’s just what’s right! So, umm… here she is, I guess…

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Android 18 is part of the Dragon Ball Z subset of Bandai’s S.H. Figuarts line. She was released in the third quarter of 2014, not long before her brother. Her figure is about 5 ½ inches in height, with 36 points of articulation. Unlike her brother, 18 actually had quite a few looks on the show to choose from for the figure. They’ve gone with her earliest look, from the episodes that introduced these two. Since they’re also releasing Android 16, it’s a sensible choice to put her in this outfit, as it allows the three of them to be displayed together properly. It’s also the outfit I most associate with the character, so no complaints here. 18 features a unique sculpt, based on her design from the show. I thought 17 was a pretty great translation of the show design and I think that 18 is even better. She looks great from just about every angle and stays true to the show, while still adding some nice fine detail work not present in the show designs. The hair in particular has some wonderful fine detail work. The vest and skirt pieces have both been carefully engineered so as to look good and solid while at the same time not interfering with the movement. It’s a careful balance, and it’s handled very well. Like 17, 18’s basic face is one devoid of emotion, which is perfect for the early portrayals of the character. Perhaps the only down point of the sculpt is the separation of the hair pieces, which are not quite as recessed as they were on 17. It’s especially noticeable around the part at the front of her hair. However, it’s mostly a matter of posing, so there’s lots of views where the seam isn’t too obvious. The paintwork on 18 is pretty solid. The colors are nice and bold, and accurate to the show. Everything is clean and there is plenty of great accent work to help bring out the strengths of the sculpt. All of the small detail work is clean and concise, and there’s no bleed over or slop to speak of. S.H. Figuarts are always well accessorized, and 18 is no exception. She includes a spare set of arms in the crossed position, three extra faces, a separate hairstyle and four sets of hands. The crossed arms are much the same as those with 17, and they offer a definitive pose for the character. The faces include one with a grin, one with angry eyes, and one with what can only be described as a “kissy face.” The differences in the grin and angry faces are minimal at best, but not bad, I guess. The kissy face is meant to directly interact with Krillin, and it’s a good replication of that look, though it’s hardly a standard look for the character. The hair is windblown, in a similar fashion to what we saw on 17, which is definitely cool. The hands include: fists, wide spread open palm, two finger grip, and relaxed. They are, notably, a lot easier to swap than 17’s, which is good. In addition to her own pieces, 18 also includes and extra head, hand, and a remote control piece that are all meant to go with Krillin. The head is Krillin’s reaction to the kissy face, and the hand and control are pieces that are directly related to the Android story arc. They’re nice enough pieces, though, having no Krillin figure, I won’t be getting much use out of them.

 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After getting 17 at MAGFest, I was immediately interested in getting the other two members of the android trio. 16 is still up for preorder, so he was easy enough to get, but 18 proved a bit more difficult. She’d been out for a while, so the price was a bit higher than I wanted to pay. However, I ended up making use of a few Amazon gift cards, which allowed me to get the figure for (essentially) nothing. 17 was a great figure, and I think 18 is an even better one. I’m definitely happy I took the plunge on this line. Now I just need to resist the urge to get a Krillin to go with those extra pieces I got with this one…

#0472: Android No. 17

ANDROID NO. 17

S.H. FIGUARTS

I must admit, I never got super into Dragon Ball Z. That being said, as a child of the 90s, there’s some things you just have a familiarity with without even trying. Everyone I knew watched the show, and I watched it when I caught it, so I had at least a basic idea of it. I enjoyed what I saw, though. One of the few eras of the show that I actually caught most of what the Cell Saga, which prominently features Androids 16, 17, and 18, who would go on to become some of my favorite characters. When Bandai’s SH Figuarts line first began doing DBZ characters, I passed; the higher price was a bit much for something of which I was only a moderate fan. However, the announcement of the Androids, coupled with my getting into this style of line with SH’s Power Rangers and Bandai’s Ultra-Act line, I finally gave in and picked up my first DBZ figure, Android Number 17.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Android 17 was released as part of the Dragon Ball Z subset of the SH Figuarts line. He was a late 2014 release. The figure is roughly 5 ½ inches tall and he features 36 points of articulation. 17’s look in the show was mostly consistent, but there were a few minor changes here and there. The figure is definitely based on his appearance in his earliest episodes on the show, before any of the minor changes set in. 17 features a brand-new sculpt, specific to the character. It’s a very nice translation of the animated design and it even adds some fine detail work that isn’t present in the show. The default face is mostly devoid of expression, which is perfect for the character. The clothing features some great work on the folds and wrinkles, which give the figure some great dimension. In general, all of the sculpting is very cleanly done. In my review of the SH Power Rangers, I noted that the articulation impeded the sculpt in a few areas. 17’s sculpt and articulation are very carefully handled, so as to maximize movement without ruining the aesthetics of the sculpt. Perhaps the best example of this is the figure’s feet, which feature shoelaces that could have rendered the ankle articulation useless. However, the laces are done as a separate piece from the foot and ankle, allowing for full movement. 17 features some pretty good paintwork. All of the colors are nice and bold and very accurate to the show’s colors. The basic paintwork stays within the lines, with no bleed over or slop. There is also some very nice accent work, most noticeable on the handkerchief, which makes use of some lighter and darker oranges for some great depth. SH figures are generally well accessorized, but 17 goes beyond the average release. He has two extra faces, a spare belt, an empty holster, a handgun, an extra hairpiece, an extra handkerchief, a pair of crossed arms, and 11 different hands (in addition to the fists he comes wearing.)* The faces are a grinning face and a teeth baring face, respectively. The grinning face isn’t much different from the regular face, but the subtle difference is true to the character. The teeth baring face is quite different, and makes for some great action poses. The spare belt allows for a look without the “utility belt.” The handgun and empty holster can be swapped out for the holstered gun that the figure comes wearing, which isn’t how such things are usually handled, but it’s the same end result. The extra hair and handkerchief are both sculpted to be windblown or in movement, allowing for more action poses. The crossed arms (which are my favorite accessory) allow the figure to replicate one of 17’s signature poses, which he can’t do with the regular arms. The hands include: a trigger finger (R), claw grip (R and L), flat handed (R and L), relaxed (R and L), wide spread (R and L), and loose grip (R and L). They can be a bit difficult to swap, but they offer a nice variety of poses.

 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I really didn’t intend to get into this line. Even when I saw the Androids announced, I decided not to get into the line. But then, I was at MAGfest with my brother, and one of the dealers had several SH Figuarts figures, 17 among them. A quick check online revealed that 17 was actually a pretty good price, so I caved and bought him. 17 was definitely worth the purchase. He’s very well done, he comes with lots of cool extra pieces, and he’s just a lot of fun. Of course, now I have to get the other two Androids…

*The stand in the running pose picture is not included with the figure; it’s actually from the NECA Dog Alien.

#0246: Inspector Detector

INSPECTOR DETECTOR

SPEED RACER

InspectorDetector

As an animation geek and a toy geek, Resaurus’s Speed Racer line has fascinated me for quite some time. It’s a slightly out there line, and it was easy to overlook at the time, but it’s probably one of the coolest toylines to come out of the 90s. And that’s coming from a guy who got into toys in the 90s! Anyway, they covered most of the pivotal cast members from the show, plus some more minor ones. Today I’ll be looking at one of the show’s recurring heroes, Inspector Detector, who both inspects and detects. What a value!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Inspector Detector was released in Series Two of Resaurus’s Speed Racer line. He stands a little over 5 inches tall and features 8 points of articulation. He’s based on the appearance of the character on the show. As far as I know, Inspector Detector only had the one look, so it was a pretty clear choice. The sculpt was brand new to this figure, and it looks to emulate the character’s design pretty well. In particular, they really managed to get the Inspector’s oddly shaped beard down in three dimensions, which is really impressive. Like the rest of Series Two, the Inspector has a more basic pose than the earlier figures in the line, which works in his favor. The paint work on Inspector Detector is pretty good overall, though there are a few slight areas of bleed over. The figure is accessorized with a walkie talkie, a pair of binoculars, a hand gun, a pair of hand cuffs, a police badge, and a display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When I got Captain Terror and the Assassin at Balticon, it occurred to me that I was only two figures short of a complete set of Speed Racer figures. So, I tracked down yesterday’s Grand Prix Speed and the good old Inspector from a seller on ebay for a pretty great deal. The Inspector isn’t one of my favorite characters from the show, but he’s a unique looking figure, and he rounds out the set nicely.

#0245: Speed Racer – Grand Prix

SPEED RACER – GRAND PRIX

SPEED RACER

SpeedGrandPrix

Go Speed Racer, Go Speed Racer, Go Speed Racer, Go! Yep, it’s time for more Speed Racer reviews. This time around, it’s the main man himself, Speed Racer!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Speed was released as part of the second series of Resaurus’s Speed Racer line. The figure stands about 5 inches tall and features 8 points of articulation. The figure is NOT based on a look from the show, a trait unique to this figure. Instead, he’s a hypothetical figure, based on what the toymakers thought Speed would look like, were he to take part in the Grand Prix. The big difference between basic Speed and Grand Prix Speed is the latter’s spiffy racing jacket. It’s hard to tell, but it looks like the two versions of Speed share a torso and waist, with all the other sculpted parts being new to this figure. As a Series Two figure, he has a more subdued pose than his Series One counterpart, which actually works in the figure’s favor. The head also features a more intense expression, and generally has a better likeness to the character than the first version. The paintwork on Speed is pretty good, with no noticeable areas of slop or bleed over. I was also impressed by the Mach V logo on the back of his jacket, which looks really great. Speed includes his helmet (with a racing stripe), a hat, a hand gun, a trophy, and a display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After picking up Captain Terror and the Assassin at Balticon, I figured I might as well complete my Speed Racer set. Grand Prix Speed can be a pricey figure, but I was able to track one down on ebay for a good deal. Grand Prix Speed was actually the version of the character I had wanted when I was younger, but I never saw one in person. I’m happy to have finally gotten a hold of one!

#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.

#0010: Keyop

KEYOP

BATTLE OF THE PLANETS

Today, I look at the final figure from Wave 1 of Diamond’s Battle of the Planets line, Keyop.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The figure is the regular release version of Keyop.   As with the other two, there was also an un-helmeted one which I never acquired.  Keyop is about 5 ½ inches tall and has 7 points of articulation.  His articulation is about the same ad Mark’s.  Like Princess, my figure broke fairly easily.  In his case, his arm fell off coming out of the package.  A quick dot of super glue later, he was good to go, but of course, the joint was frozen in place.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like the other two, I bought Keyop after reading Dynamite’s Battle of the Planets comic, and because I found a set of the first wave for about $20.  Like with Princess, the breakage makes it difficult to fully enjoy the figure.

#0009: Princess

PRINCESS

BATTLE OF THE PLANETS

Today, I’m looking at another of Diamond’s Battle of the Planets figures.  This time it’s the token female of the team Princess

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The figure is the regular release version of Princess.   Like Mark, there was also an un-helmeted one which I never acquired.  She stands just under 7 inches and has roughly 7 points of articulation.  Her articulation works better than Mark’s, especially her hips, which use a hinge style of joint, which creates a better state of movement.  However, my figure suffers from an issue that seems to have plagued the line: brittle joints.  My figure’s left hip joint snapped on its own, sitting on the shelf, which is not a pleasant thing.  My opinion of the figure would be higher, were it not for this issue.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like Mark, I got Princess after reading Dynamite’s Battle of the Planets, and because I found a set of the first series for about $20.  Its issues make it difficult to fully enjoy the figure.