#2200: Shrikethorn

SHRIKETHORN

PACIFIC RIM: UPRISING — SOVI SPIRITS (BANDAI)

Though not the smash critical success of its predecessor, Pacific Rim: Uprising was if nothing else a nice run through the world of the original, even if under some slightly different confines.  Had Pacific Rim been made in the ’70s, Uprising would have no doubt made a solid pilot movie for the inevitable TV adaptation.  It also did wonders for the very strong collectibles market associated with the franchise, giving us a whole new pool of Jaegers and Kaiju to give cool new toys.  Back around the movie’s release, I looked at a bunch of the Jeagers, but never did get around to looking at any of the Kaiju.  Let’s switch that up today, with a look at one of the three final battle Kaiju, Shrikethorn!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Shrikethorn was part of Bandai’s Sofvi Spirits line, as one of three Uprising-themed figures in the line.  The Jaegers were covered by the more conventional action figure stylings of the Robot Spirits line, but for the much larger designs of the various Kaiju, it’s not really quite as cost effective to produce solid, fully articulated figures.  So, these figures take a page out of the same book as the likes of the Ultra Hero 500 and Ultra Monster 500 lines, crafting the figure from a soft (and hollow) vinyl and cutting back on the articulation.  It makes for a much lighter, and slightly less detailed figure, but it also means that getting the Kaiju in the same scale as the Jeagers is attainable without dropping rather insane amounts of money.  The figure is about 6 inches tall (with a bit of a hunch, of course), about just as wide, and has 7 points of articulation.  The articulation’s really not meant for getting much variance of poses; it mostly is there to help add more balance when getting the figure standing.  For a big monstrous thing like Shrikethorn, it’s not really like there are going to be a ton of poses needed.  He’s good for looking rather menacingly at your Jeagers, which is kind of the main point here.  Being made from a softer material, his sculpt is understandably a little softer when compared to the likes of the Robot Spirits figures, and especially when compared to the NECA figures.  That said, all of the important details are there, capturing the broadstrokes idea of Shrikethorn’s design quite well.  Most importantly, they get the silhouette down, and that’s really were this figure’s success lies.  Shrikethorn’s paintwork is respectable enough for what it is.  Again, when compared to something like NECA, it’s a little soft, a little cartoony, and a little simplified, but the slightly more cartoony designs from Uprising do the figure some favors here, and the end result is a pretty solid offering.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Since all of the Uprising stuff was hitting right as Toys R Us was going under, these guys showed up there at full price, quickly got discounted, and quickly disappeared.  I recall looking at Shrikethorn when he first hit, but just never got around to tracking one down.  So, where did this one come from?  Well, from my Super Awesome Fiancee Wife (yes, you read that right), of course!  She found him all alone in the clearance aisle of the Barnes & Noble right next to her new job, and decided to bring him home for me.  As a piece on his own, Shrikethorn is perhaps not the most impressive offering, but he’s a really fun accent piece to the Jeagers, and I’m honestly just happy to finally have one.

#0303: Scunner

SCUNNER

PACIFIC RIM

Scunner4

There’s been plenty of movies that have come out since Pacific Rim that have delivered on the awesome quotient, but it’s a movie that had its own definitive style, and it left a very lasting impression on me. That impression was mostly: Holy crap those robots fighting those giant monsters were SO AWESOME!

NECA picked up the license to do figures for the movie. The first two series of figures weren’t bad, but they weren’t quite as awesome as the movie. Most notably, the monsters, or Kaiju, were lacking in detail, articulation, and especially size. Beginning with Series Three, NECA set out to fix this, going so far as to split the Kaiju off into their own sub-line so that they could truly be the gargantuan creatures they deserved to be. Today, I’ll be looking at one of the Kaiju from the film’s climactic underwater battle, Scunner!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

ScunnerWilsonScunner was actually not part of a series-proper. He ended up being a single release in NECA’s Pacific Rim Kaiju sub-line, hitting just a few months after Series One. The figure is about 8 inches standing tall, and it features 29 points of articulation, plus a bendy tail! That’s certainly an improvement over the original Knifehead’s less than 7 inch height and 15 points of articulation. Scunner makes use of the new and improved Knifehead body from the first series of Kaiju. It’s a sensible re-use, as the creature designs used many of the same elements, and it’s also a key plot-point that the creatures are all manufactured by mixing and matching parts. If you’re going to get extra mileage out of a sculpt, this is definitely a good one to do so with. The sculpt is well-detailed, well-proportioned, and well-articulated to boot. In addition to the Knifehead parts, Scunner gets a brand new head sculpt and a torso overlay to reflect his slightly tweaked design. The pieces match the quality of the body pieces very nicely, and accurately reflect the design of the creature in the movie. Scunner has been molded in a dark gray/brown plastic, with paint to add texturing as well as Scunner’s bioluminescent features. The paintwork is mostly good, and is definitely a step up from previous Kaiju offerings, but there are still a few areas of slop, most noticeably around the edges of the bioluminescent green. Fortunately they aren’t too distracting, but it would be nice if it were a bit cleaner. Scunner includes no accessories, but given the lack of any real accessories to include coupled with the sheer size and mass of the figure, this is forgiveable.

Scunner5Scunner7

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Scunner was picked up from a small toy store called All Time Toys, located near where I live. While Super Awesome Girlfriend was visiting, she and I went out and about to explore the area. We stopped by the store, and I was definitely intrigued by their impressive Pacific Rim display. I resisted the urge to buy anything, and we continued exploring. However, we had to pass the store on our way back to the car, and Super Awesome Girlfriend, living up to her name, encouraged me to go back in for one of the Kaiju. I decided on Scunner, as I felt he offered the most unique look of the possible options. He’s really a fun figure, and it’s nice to finally have a Kaiju that matches the quality of the very impressive Cherno Alpha from the most recent series of Jaegers.

Scunner6

#0078: Ultraman

ULTRAMAN

ULTRA-ACT

So, after yesterday’s review being a bit of a downer, today I’ll be looking at something far more exciting!  This is my first review from Ultra-Act, a line I’m beginning to love way too much.  The purpose of the line is to release highly-articulated, highly-accessorized figures of the many versions of Japanese hero Ultraman!  I’ll be looking at the one who started it all, the original Ultraman.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Ultra-Act figures, similarly to Marvel Select, aren’t released in traditional waves, but rather single releases.  Ultraman was released as part of the 2012 series of the Ultra-Act line.  He’s the second release of this version of the character, with a few “improvements” from the original.  More broadly, he’s based on Ultraman from the 1966 series, but specifically he’s based on the design from a bit later in the series.  It’s the look that the character sported for the majority of the series, and it’s how most people remember the character.  It’s also the most refined of his looks from the show, so it was well chosen.  Ultraman stands a hair over 6 inches tall and has 40 points of articulation.  The sculpt looks fairly accurate to the character’s look on the show.  The details are a little soft, but that’s actually appropriate, so no issues there.  The eyes are really well done, with the texturing being handled very well.  The paint is superb, with no noticeable slop or smudges.  The flat finish helps to make it look more realistic, which is cool.  The accessories are definitely one of the figure’s coolest areas.  Ultraman includes an alternate color timer in red instead of blue, 2 dust clouds that can be placed at Ultraman’s feet, and 10 hands: fisted (L and R), relaxed (L and R), splayed (L and R), karate-chop (L and R), peace sign (R), hand with energy beam (R), and hand with an energy disk (R).  The hands are of course the main affair here, and they’re all done really well.  They swap out pretty easily, and the variety of gestures really adds a lot to what you can do with the figure.  The color timer and the dirt cloud I can take or leave, but they’re also neat additions and go a long way to make the figure worth-while.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got this guy earlier this year from Amazon, with a little help from my parents funds-wise.  He’s so much fun, and I super glad to have him.  I’ve been a huge Ultraman fan since I was 3 or 4 years old, but I’ve never had a figure that really lived up to the character until now.  The Ultra-Act line is a bit on the pricey side, being imports and all, but having this guy in hand, he’s so worth it!  He’s just one of those figures that’s hard to put down.

What more do you want from me?  It’s Ultraman!

#0028: Leatherback

LEATHERBACK

PACIFIC RIM

Today, I’ll be looking at the final figure in the second series of NECA’s Pacific Rim figures.  This review will take a look at the lone Kaiju in this series.  I reiterate that if you don’t know what that means, stop reading now and go watch Pacific Rim.  Actually, even if you’ve already seen it and know exactly what I’m talking about, you should probably go watch it again!

On to the review…

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The figure in question is the Kaiju Leatherback.  Leatherback doesn’t actually do a large amount in the film, being largely secondary to his companion Kaiju Otachi, but what he does is fairly memorable, and he’s a good pairing with Striker Eureka, so he’s a good choice for the line.  Leatherback is in scale with the rest of the line and stands about 7 inches hunched.  He has 24 points of articulation.  The most noticeable part of the figure in hand is the serious heft that the figure possesses.  You could kill a man with this figure.  Well, maybe not kill, but seriously maim.  Anyway, the figure is pretty well sculpted, especially the texturing on the skin.  It lives up to his name.  Unfortunately, due to Leatherback’s more organic nature, the articulation is incredibly obvious, especially in comparison to the Jaegers from this series, who all work it in more naturally.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Leatherback is probably my least favorite figure in the series, mostly due to the issues with the articulation.  However, being my least favorite in this series is far from a bad thing!  Leatherback is still a high quality figure, and is a nice contrast to the Jaegers.