#1982: Ultraman – B Type

ULTRAMAN — B TYPE

ULTRAMAN FIGURE-RISE (BANDAI)

Hey, how about a look into two things I haven’t looked at in a long time?  It’s been over a year since I reviewed anything Ultraman related (the end of Ultra-Act and subsequent transition into Figuarts has been a rather major contributor to that), and three whole years since I’ve reviewed any model kits, but now I’m just throwing caution to the wind and looking at an Ultraman model.  I know, crazy stuff for me, right?  Just stepping way outside my comfort zone for this?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ultraman (B Type) is the first in Bandai’s newly launched line of Ultraman-themed Figure-Rise kits.  They’ve previously offered kits for Dragon Ball Z and Kamen Rider, and it’s not a huge shock to see them move onto another immensely popular license.  So far, it appears this line will be taking its cues from the currently running Ultraman manga, which sequelizes the original show, while working in elements of its successors in a new timeline.  This figure is the main Ultraman from the series, Shinjiro Hayata, son of the original Ultraman, wearing his second set of powered armor (as noted by the “B Type” at the end of the name).  The kit is billed as 1/12 scale, so the final figure stands a little over 6 inches tall, meaning he scales pretty decently with the Figuarts stuff.  He’s got 31 points of articulation, so he’s not quite on the same posability level as most of those figures, but he’s not terribly far off either.  Of all the models I’ve built, Ultraman is definitely the most intense.  As in “took multiple sessions to complete him” intense.  He’s made up of a lot of small, little pieces, that all click together very carefully.  While this may be a little stressful on the assembly side, it pays off on the appearance front.  This is definitely a sharp looking figures. Details are well-defined, and he’s a good match for the source material’s very machined appearance.  If I have one complaint, it’s that the figure’s not quite as sturdy as I might have liked.  I’ve had no breakage issues, of course, but the torso assembly pops apart with regular handling (mostly by design, to be fair).  He’s more a pose and set figure than a mess around with him figure.  Paint’s a no-go on these sorts of sets, so there are a few different ways to handle variations of color.  For the most part, this guy goes with the “mold it in the right color” method, meaning there’s a lot of very precise part assembly.  However, there are also some pretty extensive decal applications mixed in with that.  Again, they can get a little stressful, but the end result pays off, and you’d be hard pressed to discern these decals from actual paintwork.  Of course, time will tell as to their longterm hold-up.  Ultraman is pretty well accessorized for a thing I built myself.  He’s got five interchangeable hands (fists, open, and a trigger finger for his right side), a Specium Ray effect, two Specium Slash effects, alternate forearm guards for use with the Specium Ray, alternate guards with Specium Blades deployed, the MARS-133 rifle, and a display stand.  Pretty much, he’s on par with a Figuarts or Ultra-Act release.  He has one more feature: he lights up.  There’s a battery pack with LEDs attached that’s installed in the torso (hence how easily it comes back apart).  Using the included tool, you can turn it on and off.  It illuminates his eyes and color timer, and with a push of the button you can even switch the color timer from blue to red, which is fun.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Is it allowed to be Max’s fault two days in a row?  This one’s a borderline example at the very least.  He wanted one of his own, and they come in cases of two, so he needed another buyer.  Well, hey, I like Ultraman, right?  Admittedly, I was looking to get back into the model building anyway, and I didn’t yet have a Manga-style Ultraman, so why not give it a try?  He’s an intense build, but I do really enjoy the final product, and I think he’ll slot in pretty well with the rest of my Ultras.

I picked up this set via All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

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#1904: Etherow

ETHEROW

APOSIMZ (1000TOYS)

Hey, you guys remember yesterday’s review?  Well, good, because I’m covering some similar ground today.  Yes, for Day 4 of my Post-Christmas reviews, I’m returning once again to 1000Toys.  However, unlike my previous two 1000toys reviews, I’m actually mixing things up and looking at a proper licensed toy, not an original creation.  Etherow, today’s focus, is the lead character of the manga Aposimz, a sci-fi epic set on an artificial planet.  I can’t say as I know much about it, but it sounds kind of fun from what I’ve read so far.  But enough of that talk of reading!  That’s not what we do around here!  How’s the toy?  Read on!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Etherow is a 2018 release and is, so far, the only figure in the Aposimz line from 1000Toys.  Time will tell if that’s going to change, but not being familiar with the source material, I can’t really say for myself.  Though technically he’s a standalone figure, the fact that Aposimz is by the same artist who did all of the design work for 1000Toys’ in-house TOA Heavy Industries figures means that he’ll fit in very nicely with them.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 43 points of articulation.  Of the three 1000Toys figures I own, I found Etherow to be by far the most restricted in terms of movement.  It’s not so much the actual joints, though, but rather elements of his design that are slightly hampering him here.  All that said, there are still plenty of awesome poses to be had, and his articulation is still very smooth and easily used.  The sculpt works all of this articulation in pretty well, and, apart from the slightly impeding nature of some of the little add-ons here and there, the two aspects work nicely in tandem.  Etherow, as an armored character, has a slightly different appearance to him than the fully robotic likes of CaRB.  He’s segmented, asymmetric, and, above all, he looks like he’s been through the wringer.  His armor is dinged and dented, and just generally looks battle-hardened.  Clearly it was at one point new and sleek, but that time has since passed.  From what I’ve been able to find of Aposimz online, the figure seems to be a rather faithful rendition of Etherow in three dimensions.   Paintwork on Etherow is actually pretty impressive, considering how basic it looks at first glance.  You might think he’s just molded in shiny red plastic, but there’s quite a bit of variation to all of that red, including a good deal of accenting on the various raised edges of the armor, helping to highlight all of the different pieces.  The white striping running throughout adds a nice bit of pop, and is cleanly applied, if perhaps a little thin.  While CaRB had no extras and the Robox was a little sparse, Etherow is actually pretty decently accessorized.  He has three pairs of hands, as well as three interchangeable left forearms, one of which includes Etherow’s Ballistic Acceleration Device, which is apparently his weapon of choice.  It’s all rounded up with a rather nice articulated display stand, which makes for lots of very fun posing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Etherow continues the 1000Toys tradition of being from my parents.  I caught a blurry image of this guy on Twitter back in February of last year, and had no idea what the heck he was, but I knew I wanted one.  Upon figuring out what the heck he was, I wanted one even more.  Fortunately for me, my family had me covered there.  Etherow’s not quite as free range as the other two 1000Toys figures in my collection, but he’s still a lot of fun, and there’s no denying that he’s very, very cool looking.

#1904: Robox – Basic

ROBOX — BASIC

ROBOX (1000TOYS)

“Born from a collaboration between the world famous Korean artist Kim Jung Gi and 1000toys that will produce products based on designs by Kim drawn specifically for this project.  This basic Robox is highly articulated and built stiff enough to hold poses. The first release is the standard version of Robox featuring a military paint finish with weathering and small markings.”

For Day 3 of this year’s Post-Christmas reviews, I’m actually calling back on Day 3 of last year’s round, where I took a break from all the licensed stuff to take a look at something that was designed as a toy first.  That was, of course, C.a.R.B., perhaps my very favorite item from last year’s round-up, and my first experience with 1000Toys.  Today, I’m following that up with another of 1000Toys’ offerings, a line of collapsible robots called “Robox.”

THE FIGURE ITSELF

This guy is the debut figure in the Robox line, as the most basic model up for grabs.  As of right now, the only real difference between releases seems to be coloring, but time will tell if they plan to expand on things.  Basic was released early last year.  He’s about 6 1/4 inches tall (a little taller than C.a.R.B.) and he has 34 points of articulation…more or less.  There are more joints than that, but they’re tied into the collapsing feature and are thus not usable in his more standard configuration.  As with CaRB, posability is one of the figure’s strongest suits.  He’s got a ton of motion, the joints move smoothly, and he’ll be able to hold poses long-term.  He’s also quite sturdy on his feet, which is always a plus in my book.  Given the robotic nature of his design, the articulation is also quite easily worked into the sculpt, by virtue of it being purposefully on display.  Basic is decidedly a different sort of robot than CaRB was, of course, being a more deliberately robotic and utilitarian design than CaRB’s uber sleek load out.  Where CaRB (and, by extension, the Synthetic Human he’s built from) is a top-of-line, artfully-crafted masterpiece, Basic is decidedly mass-produced and economized, an emphasis on practicality over finesse.  It’s a design that quite appeals to me, and the sculpt translates the very machined appearance into plastic very well.  The design is, of course, all built around his ability to fold up into a much more compact package, and it is in fact this folded up configuration that he is packaged in.  There are a handy set of instructions included showing how to unfold him, and once you’ve done the process back and forth a few times, it’s pretty intuitive and easily done.  I didn’t feel like I was risking breaking any of the joints or anything, and he stays in either configuration pretty well once full transformed.  The paintwork on this guy really reinforces the utilitarian aspect.  He’s clearly some sort of military grade item, with his olive green base coat and all of his safety markings.  I really enjoy all of the little warnings and messages printed throughout the figure, as though he were a real piece of machinery.  The work is so tiny and easily missed and yet so pivotal to giving the figure that high-end feel.  Basic is armed with two pistol-like armaments which come plugged into each leg, as well as a large shield plate, which can either be stowed on his back or placed defensively on his arm.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Basic here was, like CaRB, a gift from my parents.  After how impressive CaRB was, I was itching to get more 1000Toys offerings.  As a smaller company, their releases are kind of slower and lesser in number, so options are somewhat limited, somewhat pricey, and somewhat likely to move more on the quick side.  Upon seeing a review of these guys, I definitely ear-marked one for hopes to add him to my collection later.  My parents were kind enough to do that part for me.  He’s rather a different figure from CaRB, but no less impressive.  I’m a sucker for cool toys and cool robots, so this guy’s right up my alley.

#1902: Sohei Darth Maul

SOHEI DARTH MAUL

MEISHO MOVIE REALIZATION (BANDAI)

Post-Christmas reviews, begin!

Yes, it’s that time of year when I’ve gotten so many new toys from all the people that love me so much, and I always feel the best way of handling a large influx of new toys is to just jump headlong into the reviews.  No turning back!  Today, I kick things off with a theme that I assure you will be sticking with us for a good portion of the reviews to come: Star Wars.  That said, today’s focus item is a slight variation on the theme.  He may be from Star Wars, but it’s definitely a more conceptual version of the story.  I’m taking my second look at Bandai’s reimagining of the Star Wars movies as Samurai films, Sohei Darth Maul!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Sohei Darth Maul is one of the 2018 releases from the Meaisho Movie Realization line, which re-envisions Sith Lord Darth Maul as Sohei, or a warrior monk.  Admittedly, “warrior monk” isn’t much of a stretch from the basic Jedi thing.  It’s *almost* as if the Star Wars characters naturally lend themselves to this sort of thing!  The figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 43 points of articulation.  As with the Royal Guard, there’s something of a learning curve on posing these guys, though I had a much easier time with Maul, largely do to already having experience with the line.  Maul’s sculpt appears to be totally unique to him, which is sensible, given that as a prequel character, he would be of a slightly vintage than the Vader and troopers we’ve gotten so far.  It’s certainly a very nice sculpt, with lots of detail work worked throughout all of its various pieces.  The texturing on his tunic is very realistic, and keeps it from being too bland, and the armored pieces are all quite intricately designed.  The head is rather demonic, even for Maul, indicating that he’s actually some form of spirit or demon in this reimagined version of the tale, which is certainly a cool concept.  It gives Bandai free reign to have a bit of fun with it, and the end result is a very expressive piece.  The paint work on Maul is quite impressive, especially given the fact that the character is typically quite monochromatic.  While his basic clothing is still straight black, the overlying armor has all sorts of subtle color work going on.  It makes for a very interesting looking figure, and he’s got plenty of elements to help him pop off of the shelf.  Darth Maul is packed with a pair of swords, which can be attached at the hilt to simulate his signature double-bladed saber from the movie.  The actual blades can also be removed simulation them being turned off.  Also included are a face mask  (furthering the demonic experience), and beads, which can be removed to mix up the appearance.  Finally, he includes three sets of hands in fists, gripping, and open gesture poses.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like the Royal Guard before him, Sohei Darth Maul was a Christmas gift from my boy Tim.  I had actually just been looking at this figure about a week prior to receiving it from him, so it was a rather well-timed gift.  Again, like the Royal Guard, there’s just a lot to like about this figure.  He’s got a cool look, has a great selection of alternate appearances, and is just generally a lot of fun.  I really look forward to seeing what else this line tackles (I’d kill for a scout trooper, let me tell you).

#1753: Spider-Man & Spider-Gwen

SPIDER-MAN & SPIDER-GWEN

MARVEL AMAZING YAMAGUCHI (REVOLTECH)

While I’m familiar with Revoltech, I’ve not really jumped into the deep-end when it comes to their stuff.  I was quite a big fan of Assemble Borg, an in-house line of theirs, but my experience with licensed figures has so far been limited two their two Aliens offerings.  Outside of Aliens, perhaps the best way to pique my interest is Marvel, and as luck would have it, Revoltech has recently been offering up a line of Marvel comics-based figures, under their Amazing Yamaguchi banner.  Today, I’ll be looking at two such figures, Spider-Man and Spider-Gwen.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Spider-Man and Spider-Gwen were released in Revoltech’s Marvel Amazing Yamaguchi line of figures.  They’re numbered 002 and 004 respectively.  Spider-Man arrived in early 2017, with Gwen arriving just a few months later (Venom bridged the gap between the two of them).

SPIDER-MAN

Spider-Man is, of course, no stranger to action figures.  In fact he’s usually on the short list whenever anyone picks up the license.  So, it’s not a shock that he was amongst Revoltech’s first two releases (supplanted only by fan-favorite Deadpool).  This Spider-Man appears to take inspiration from J. Scott Campbell’s version of the wall-crawler, with a little bit of Humberto Ramos’ very expressive version thrown in, and it’s all filtered through Revoltech’s usual style.  The point is, he’s definitely a very stylized figure, designed to fit specifically with the rest of Revoltech’s Marvel figures.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall (just a little shorter than Hasbro’s Pizza Spidey) and he has 43 points of articulation…theoretically.  He’s got a lot of joints (the majority of them are Revoltech’s signature Revolver joints), to be sure, but how they interact and are used is slightly different that your typical action figure.  Due to how the figure has been sculpted and how the Revolver joints are placed throughout the sculpt, you can’t really just pick this figure up and randomly pose him, the way you might with, say, a Marvel Legend.  You have to know what pose you’re going for, and sort of reconfigure him into that set-up.  In some ways, he’s a little more like a construction set that you can reassemble into different configurations.  The end result is a figure that can get into and hold some pretty spectacular and very Spidey-esqe poses.  He’s definitely dynamic.  By nature of the figure’s design, his sculpt is, overall, rather unimpeded by the articulation, though he is rather segmented.  Depending on how you have him posed, this segmentation isn’t as noticeable.  He’s very sleek, and there’s no denying that this is a very good looking figure.  His paint only adds to that.  The blue is nice and metallic, and the red has a satisfying glossy sheen, which only furthers the very slick stylings of this guy.  Accessories are another strong suit of this figure.  He includes four different sets of hands, in fists, open palm, web-shooting, and gripping.  The gripping hands don’t really have much practical use on this figure, but the rest are all pretty great.  The fists and the web-shooting hands have spots to plug in weblines, making for even more dynamic set-ups.  My personal favorites, however, are the open palmed ones, because they’re just very versatile.  There are two full-length weblines and two shorter ones, as well as one with a slight hook on the end, for actually using to hang the figure.  They definitely follow the Todd McFarlane style guide for webs, which is a good a good one to go by.  Perhaps the coolest extras included with this guy are the extra eyes.  Some of the recent Legends Spider-Men have experimented with extra heads with differing “expressions” on the eyes of his mask.  This takes that idea and runs with it, allowing for the eyes to be swapped out independently.  There are rather basic eyes included on the figure, plus squinting, wide-eyed, and “angry.”  You can mix and match as well, which certainly results in some amusing combos.  Lastly, the figure includes display stand with an articulated arm, so you can keep him in those more intense poses for longer.

SPIDER-GWEN

Who knew Spider-Gwen would take off quite as well as she has?  Marvel, apparently, since they actually managed to get her merchandising out there pretty darn quick for a brand new character.  Her Legends release hit shelves in record time, and this one wasn’t that far behind, hitting less than three years after her original appearance.  Gwen is actually a lot less stylized than Peter.  While she’ll still certainly fit in with him, she’s a lot more versatile than he is.  She stands about 5 3/4 inches tall (again, not much different from the Legends figure) and she has 45 points of articulation.  Unlike Peter, who has a bit of a learning curve attached to his articulation, Gwen’s actually fairly straight-forward.  Her articulation is far more intuitive, a lot smoother, and the joints are more carefully placed.  Where Spidey feels a little like the Revolver joints were added to a finished sculpt after the fact, Gwen definitely was sculpted with those joints in mind.  This is most clearly illustrated in the two figure’s knees.  On Spidey, the joints are set back behind the knee, and there’s this large flat gap that appears when the knee is bent.  On Gwen, her knees *are* the joints, and they work like actual knees.  No weird breaks in the sculpt necessary.  On the flip side, however, Gwen’s multi-part hood construction doesn’t work quite as well as the multi-part head/neck that Peter has.  For the most part you can make it look alright, but there are some angles where it just looks perpetually off.  Still, its hinged design is somewhat inspired, and I can tell they were trying for something a little better than how the hood was attached for the Legend.  There’s a bit more going on with Gwen’s paintwork than there was with Peter.  It’s all very clean, and the slight gradient of the pink around the eyes is very impressive.  There’s a slight bit of slop on the edges of the white parts, but it’s very minor, and not particularly noticeable.  There’s another very impressive accessory complement with Gwen.  She gets even more hands, with all of the same basic offerings as Peter, as well as an extra pointing hand for her right hand, and a left hand for holding her phone.  She then gets the aforementioned cellphone, two very dynamic web-lines, and two shorter ones for plugging into her web-shooter hands.  Instead of swappable eyes, Gwen features four different face plates to choose from.  There’s the basic eyes, the squinty eyes, the asymmetric eyes (by far my favorite), and a fully unmasked face.  The unmasked face is very stylized, and I find not particularly well-scaled to the body, but the other three plates work very well, and swap in and out without much trouble.  Lastly, Gwen also includes a display stand, for those prolonged poses, though she’s quite stable on her own.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

In terms of 6-inch figures, my go-to for Marvel’s always going to be Marvel Legends.  When this line was announced and Deadpool and Spider-Man were unveiled as its first offerings, I wasn’t particularly sucked in, but I kept my eyes open to see what else they might be doing.  Upon seeing these two in-person, I was certainly intrigued.  Ultimately, I think your opinion on these figures is going to be heavily depended upon what you want from them.  Do you want something that looks good on your shelf and can hold extreme poses long-term?  These are for you.  Do you want a figure that you can just pick up and mess with from time to time?  These are less for you.  Ultimately, I’m more in that latter category.  As such, Gwen, the more traditional figure of the two, is definitely my favorite.  I can appreciate both for what they are, though, and there’s no denying that they’re both solid, well-made figures.

This pair aren’t from my personal collection, but were loaned to me for review by my friends over at All Time Toys.  If you’re interested in owning either of the figures reviewed here today, they’re both available individually from All Time’s eBay store.  And, if you’re looking for other toys, both old and new, please also check out All Time’s full eBay store front, and take a look at their webstore at alltimetoys.com.

#1486: Ultraman Ginga Victory, Ultraman Jack, & Alien Baltan

ULTRAMAN GINGA VICTORY, ULTRAMAN JACK, & ALIEN BALTAN

ULTRA HERO/MONSTER 500 SERIES (BANDAI)

 

It’s been a painfully long time since I’ve reviewed any Ultraman figures.  In February of 2015, I looked at the Ultra-Act Mebius, but the ending of that line and its subsequent move to the slightly smaller Figuarts scale has left me without any regular Ultra purchases to review.  And that makes for a sad Ethan indeed.  While I’m sure I’ll get around to picking up some of those Figuarts releases one of these days, for the time being, there are some lower price-point options to keep me occupied, such as Bandai’s Ultra Hero 500 Series and it’s companion Ultra Monster 500 Series.  I’ll be looking at a few of those offerings today.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Ultramen Ginga Victory and Jack were released in the Ultra Hero 500 Series as figures 30 and 04, respectively, while Alien Baltan was released in the Ultra Monster 500 Series as figure 01.  Both series work on the “evergreen” style of distribution, where most figures in a line are kept in constant stock, at least in Japan.

ULTRAMAN GINGA VICTORY

Ginga Victory represents the fused form of Ultras…stick with me here…Ginga and Victory.  Shocking, I know.  This fusion made its debut in Ultraman Ginga S The Movie: Showdown! The 10 Ultra Warriors! which I assure is the actual title of the film, which I most certainly have not exaggerated in any way.  I wasn’t immediately familiar with this variant, but I correctly IDed it as some form of Ginga.  He, like all of the 500 Series figures, stands about 5 1/2 inches tall and has 3 points of articulation at the shoulders and waist.  Hardly super posable, but that’s never been the intent of this line. His sculpt is unique to him, and is about what you’d expect from a softer vinyl figure.  The build of the body is ever so slightly stylized to be a little more heroic in its proportions, but beyond that, he looks to be a pretty close match to the design from the show.  He’s certainly one of the more complicated Ultra designs, but it all flows together pretty well, and he looks pretty darn cool; there’s no denying that.  The complicated nature of his design also translates to his color scheme, but not quite so much to his paint.  He’s certainly got more details than many other Ultras in this scale and style, but there are a few parts of his design that just go unpainted.  It’s not terrible at first glance, however, upon closer expression, you can see the etched-in lines of details that were just left out, which is the tiniest bit frustrating.

ULTRAMAN JACK

This isn’t the first time I’ve looked at an Ultraman Jack on this site, nor will it be the last.  Jack hails from Return of Ultraman, where he was originally intended to be a returning Hayata before becoming a unique character.  Hence the design that’s just a slight variation on the original.  He too has a unique sculpt, which is on par with the Ginga Victory figure, albeit totally different.  His design is obviously more simplistic, and also more keyed to 60s aesthetics in terms of suit materials and his actor’s build, and this figure replicates all of that quite nicely.  I did note that Jack’s pieces don’t seem to fit together quite as seamlessly as Ginga Victory, but they aren’t too mismatched.  Jack’s paint is decent enough.  He’s got less going on than Ginga Victory, so he’s also not missing any key application.  Some of the silver’s a little fuzzy around the edges, but he’s generally pretty well handled.

ALIEN BALTAN

Alien Baltan is one of Ultraman’s earliest and most persistent foes.  The one seen here is Baltan I, seen in the second episode of the original Ultraman.  It’s my favorite Baltan look, so that makes me pretty happy.  Baltan’s sculpt is a bit softer than the other two.  It’s not a huge surprise, given all the extra details he’s got going on.  That being said, as a more organic creature, the softness is a little more excusable.  It’s a decent enough piece, I suppose.  It’s clearly a little more archaic than some of the others, and a tad more simplistic than I’d like, but the general idea is there.  Any Ultra-fan is gonna know who this is.  His paint is actually a fair bit more nuanced than the other two, featuring a fair number of airbrushed details.  Given the price point of the figure, it’s actually quite impressive.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Believe it or not, this trio made their way to me direct from Japan.  They were sent to me by my friend Rio, who previously got me the diecast First Order Stormtrooper.  In exchange for a generous quantity of Oreos, she’s agreed to keep me supplied with lots of cool action figure goodness.  These three were in the first care package that Super Awesome Girlfriend and I received from her.  It was actually really awesome, as the box arrived right after a rather stressful day at work, and nothing fights off stressful days better than Ultraman!

#1382: K-2SO

K-2SO

S.H. FIGUARTS (BANDAI)

Oh hey, look!  It’s another K-2 figure!  It’s been, like, forever since I’ve looked at one of these.  But, of course, there were still other K-2 figures in existence, so it was really just a matter of time before I got another one on the site.  I’ve looked at pretty much all of the lower-end K-2s, so now I’m turning my sights to the higher-end stuff, starting with Bandai Japan’s S.H. Figuarts offering!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

K-2SO was released as part of the Rogue One sub-set of the main S.H. Figuarts line, and he hit shortly after the film’s theatrical release last December.  The figure stands a little under 7 1/2 inches tall (he’s just a smidge smaller than the Black Series and Elite Series figures) and he has 34 points of articulation.  Not only does he have the most articulation of any of the K-2 figures, he’s also got the most mobility by a very large margin.  The sheer range of posability on this guy is just insane.  Things like the shoulder pads are on their own hinged joints, allowing them to be posed out of the way, which helps to maximize the possible range of all the articulation.  I didn’t know I wanted a K-2 that could pull of crazy high kung-fu kicks, but by god did this figure convince me that was a thing I wanted.  Posability is one thing, but how’s the actual sculpt?  As much as I loved the Black Series sculpt, there were some definite inaccuracies present.  This figure fixes all of those issues, and presents the most accurate version of K-2 we’ve seen yet in plastic form.  In addition to the sheer accuracy of the sculpt, the detail work is really clean, and really, really sharp.  Truly amazing work.  Given that he’s made from a less rubbery plastic than the Black Series figure, I was a little worried about this guy’s durability, but so far I’ve had no issues.  Obviously, he’s not going to hold up to seriously rigorous play, but he’s still pretty solid.  The paint on K-2SO is also very top-notch.  The base color is the appropriate gunmetal finish, which looks super sleek.  The small details are really nicely handled as well.  I love how they handled the eyes in particular; the lenses are clear plastic, with details painted beneath.  I do believe this is the first K-2 to implement the eyes in the proper way.  K-2 is a little lighter on extras than most Figuarts offerings, but he does at least include three pairs of hands (in fists, gripping, and open gesture poses), and a clear display stand with a posable arm.  I do like the stand, but I really wish he’d included the blaster pistol he has during the climax.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

K-2 here was given to me as a birthday present from my boi Tim.  He’s apparently run out of Aliens to buy me, so he went with the next best thing.  I didn’t know what to expect from this guy, but I have to say, I’m very impressed.  The Black Series release is still perhaps the best toy of K-2, but this figure is definitely my favorite.

Guest Review #0040: Vic Viper

VIC VIPER

ZONE OF THE ENDERS (REVOLTECH YAMAGUCHI)

I love robots and space ships. Thankfully, today’s figure gives me both of these. Now, if you saw the title of this post and got exited for a review of the ship from the 1985 Konami arcade game Gradius, you might be thinking, “Where does the robot part come in? It’s just a ship.” That is because this Vic Viper (while hinted to be the same ship from Gradius) comes from the 2003 Konami game Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner as a supporting LEV to the leading orbital frame Jehuty. But we’re not here to talk about Jehuty this time, transforming into review mode.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

As mentioned before, this Vic Viper is based on its appearance in Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner. The figure is about 5 1/2 inches tall, plus a little extra height from the stand. Vic sports an impressive 65 points of articulation thanks to the extensive use of the standard revolver joints found in Revoltech figures. This makes Vic extremely poseable (almost frustratingly so), but it does disrupt the sculpt ever so slightly in places like the arms and wings. The sculpt work is entirely original to this figure and does a pretty good job capturing all the necessary dimensions and details. Everything is where it should be, although there are a few very minor instances where the mold seams interrupt some of the sculpted details. Vic’s paint is pretty great, barring one or two little spots of bleed, with a lot of really crisp detail work on the barcodes and 74 on his arms, wings, and shoulders. All of the colors match up to the game pretty closely, but what stands out is the slightly pearlescent finish to the white paint which really adds some depth to what could easily have been left a simple flat white. Contrasting that with the purple, dark grey, and metallic gold detailing really makes the figure pop. Vic comes packaged with with a spare set of arms with the hands deployed, 2 slashing effect pieces, a stand, and an extension piece that lets you transform him into ship mode if you want, though it’s a little bit of a hassle getting him there. Vic isn’t without his issues, but all in all, he’s a well made figure with a lot of potential for very dynamic poses.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got Vic Viper a few months after I received the HD remaster of Zone of the Enders for Christmas. Oddly enough, I already had a figure of Jehuty prior to that point, so playing the game only confirmed that I would expand upon this. It took me a little time just getting used to posing him since Vic has joints all over the place, but once I got the hang of it, he turned out to be a bunch of fun.

#1170: Trunks

TRUNKS (PREMIUM COLOR)

S.H. FIGUARTS

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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…

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Guest Review #0039: Snake/Big Boss

SNAKE/BIG BOSS (PEACE WALKER)

REVOLTECH YAMAGUCHI

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The following is a guest review by Tim Marron.  For more from Tim, check out Timsical Thoughts!

Kept you waiting, huh?  Yeah, it’s been a while since I’ve done one of these reviews, but it seems appropriate to bring it back with a review of the greatest hero in the world, Big Boss, or Snake.  It’s hard to tell which one.  On the box, he’s called Snake, so I guess we’ll go with that, but onto the review.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

snaket2Snake has had a wide variety of looks across the Metal Gear franchise.  This particular figure is based off of his sneaking-suit look from Peace Walker, after having established Militaires Sans Frontières but before the events of The Phantom Pain.  The figure stands about 5 1/2 inches tall and has 53 points of articulation, one of which is his eye which can be turned to look in practically any direction.  The sculpt work is quite nicely handled with a good amount of detail such as the the rivets and wires which can be seen under the fabric of Snake’s suit.  His face seems a little on the gaunt side and some of the revolver joints are a little more visually prominent than I might have liked, but that’s about par for the course with most Revoltech figures.  As far as I’m aware, this is entirely original sculpting though smaller pieces like the hands could have been used in other versions of Snake.  The only area in which the sculpt suffers isn’t even visible when the figure is fully assembled.  The aforementioned poseable eye has a peg on the back side to facilitated movement, however it sticks out just enough to get in the way of the central joint of the head. The figure’s paint is very clean for the most part, with just a little bleed around the edged of his hair and beard.  The suit in particular has some really nice fine detailing such as the MSF and FOX logos on the shoulders.  Snake comes with a bunch of accessories including some weapons, so no need to worry about OSP.  Included are 5 pairs of hands (fist, gripping, gripping w/trigger fingers, karate chop, and open gesture), an additional hand to hold what I assume is a stun baton/taser thing, said taser thing, an M16 rifle, a pistol with a suppressor, a pair of climbing hooks (perhaps?), an exclamation mark, a sleeping piece, an action effect stand, and an articulated stand.  Snake also comes packed with a piece of card stock that you can cut out and fold into the real hero of the Metal Gear universe, the cardboard box.  I like the figure a lot, but I felt it was my destiny to be here, with the box.  You should get the box too, then you’ll know what I mean.    

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Ok, fine, that last line was technically a different Snake, but you laughed, maybe, I hope.  I actually got this figure with the intent of getting a Solid Snake to go with my Revoltech Raiden but it turned out that the other options were either the wrong scale or far too expensive at the time, so I settled for Big Boss.  Sure, he and Raiden never interacted, but it suits my needs just fine.  To be fair, he’s a really cool figure in his own right and I’m glad I have him.  When I got him I spent basically a whole day playing with him LIKE A DAMN FIDDLE!  Ok, not like a damn fiddle, but like a really cool action figure.

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