#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…

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#1028: Freddie Mercury

FREDDIE MERCURY

S.H. FIGUARTS

Freddie1

“…I’m just a poor boy, I need no sympathy. Because I’m easy come, easy go, little high, little low. Anyway the wind blows doesn’t really matter to me, to me….”

So, hey, how about something different? Up to this point, I’ve looked at figures based on super heroes, science fiction, fantasy, horror, comics, movies, and video games. That’s all well and good, because that’s a pretty diverse selection. But you know what’s missing? Music. Yeah, this site could stand to have a little bit of music! If we’re going to do the whole music thing, why not start with one of the greatest frontmen of all-time from one of the greatest bands of all time? Yes, it’s Freddie Mercury, lead-vocalist of Queen!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Freddie2Freddie was released as part of Bandai’s S.H. Figuarts line earlier this year. It’s not the first time Freddie’s had a figure; NECA put out a couple of figures of him about 10 years ago. However, those were back before NECA really got into the articulation thing, so they were little more than glorified statues. This figure goes completely the other direction in that regard, with 30 points of articulation. The range of motion on those joints is also pretty killer; though the elbows and knees are technically just single joints, they have the same range as double joints. What’s Freddie4more, the articulation is worked into the sculpt very nicely, so none of the joints really stick out or anything. Freddie stands about 5 ¾ inches tall, which puts him in proper 1/12 scale. Obviously, he fits in pretty well with the rest of the S.H. Figuarts line (though maybe not quite stylistically), but he also fits in pretty decently with the likes of Star Wars: The Black Series and Funko’s various Legacy Collection lines. Freddie is based on his appearance from his 1986 performance at Wembley Stadium, which is a pretty good choice, since it’s definitely one of his most recognizable. It’s also pretty visually interesting, which is always paramount when it comes to action figures. The sculpt on Freddie is quite nicely handled. He’s a bit more realistically proportioned and detailed than some Figuarts figures, which I definitely appreciate. The likeness is quite good on the basic head, which is impressive, since likenesses aren’t typically a Figuarts thing. While the general details are more on the realistic side, there’s definitely still a bit of a stylization to the overall look of the figure, mostly in the harsh creases on the clothing. It’s not so stylized that he looks artificial, but it’s enough to add just a bit of dynamism to the figure. The paintwork on Freddie is some of the best I’ve seen on a Figuarts figure. It’s not that previous figures had bad paint (because they didn’t), but more that they never attempted to be an actual, real life person, which this one does. And it does it rather well. Sure, it’s not Hot Toys or anything, but it’s also half the size and a quarter of the Freddie7price. The paint on the clothes is nice and bold, and makes him stand out nicely, while the paint on the face is subtle and lifelike, so he doesn’t just look like a cartoon version of Freddie. They even added a little of paint to represent his chest hairs. That’s attention to detail. Part of the appeal of Figuarts is the amount of extras included with each figure. Freddie is no exception. He includes two extra singing heads, four pairs of hands (fists, tight grip, loose grip, and open), a microphone on a stand, and a mic on its own. The heads are definitely the star attraction here, and they offer a ton of fun when it comes to posing. The extra hands allow for a number different looks as well, and the mics are very good recreations of the real thing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Freddie was a birthday present from my parents. He’s one of the ones I specifically requested, as I’ve actually been eyeing up this figure since it was announced back in October. He’s definitely outside my usual arena of collecting, but you’ve got to go outside your comfort zone sometimes, right? Especially when it comes to a figure this good. Freddie is definitely the best Figurarts figure I’ve gotten, which is no easy feat, let me tell you. This is certainly one of my favorite figures of the year!

Freddie6

#0974: Chojin Sentai Jetman Black Condor

CHOJIN SENTAI JETMAN BLACK CONDOR

S.H. FIGUARTS (BANDAI)

BlackCondor5

“Jeto-jeto-jetoman! Danananana!”

Chojin Sentai Jetman Theme Song (paraphrased)

So, here’s a figure with a pretty cool backstory. Back in 1993, when Saban was looking at importing a Super Sentai series to the US, they had two possible options:  Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger or Chojin Sentai Jetman. Zyuranger was chosen for a number of reasons (the inclusion of a sixth ranger and the popularity of dinosaurs at the time being the most commonly cited) and eventually became Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. However, Jetman was a pretty serious contender, thanks to it being one of the most popular incarnations of the Super Sentai franchise. It was also inspired by Gatchaman (better known as G-Force or Battle of the Planets in the US), which gives it some pretty awesome pedigree. Today, I’ll be looking at the guy who was almost the first Black Power Ranger, Black Condor (who is under no circumstances to be confused with DC Comics’ Freedom Fighter Black Condor).

THE FIGURE ITSELF

BlackCondor3Black Condor was released as part of the Super Sentai sub-set of Bandai’s S.H. Figuarts, towards the end of 2012. He’s the second of the two Jetman figures Bandai released in the line, with the first being Red Hawk. The figure is about 5 ¾ inches tall and he has 38 points of articulation. Zyuranger and Jetman’s designs weren’t too far removed from each other, and as such, this figure feels pretty similar to the Mighty Morphin’ figures I looked at a ways back. The Jetman designs are a bit sleeker, and a bit stronger, if I’m honest, and definitely feel right at home with some of the earlier Ultraman designs. This figure’s sculpt does a very nice job of capturing the look of Black Condor from the show. Like other Figuarts, the proportions have been skewed ever so slightly BlackCondor2to fit in with the rest of the line stylistically, but this guy’s not particularly far off. The overall appearance is very faithful, and the helmet in particular is the spitting image of what was seen on the show. I especially like all the little seams in the costume, as it really sells the realism of the show, and adds a nice bit of depth to a figure that could otherwise be far too simple. I also feel it’s worth noting that this particular design works a bit better with the usual Figuarts articulation scheme than the Zyuranger designs did, so he doesn’t have any compromises in terms of his design for the sake of movement. Black Condor’s paintwork is nice and crisp. The BlackCondor4color choices are bold, and the application is quite sharp. The difference between the finish of the helmet and the rest of the suit is especially cool. This is probably the best paintwork I’ve seen on one of these figures, and that’s saying something, because these guys all have some pretty top-notch paint. Black Condor includes quite an impressive array of accessories. He’s got his Bird Blaster and Bringer Sword (in both compact and extended forms), plus the combined form of those two, the Jet Hand Cannon. He also has BlackCondor7holsters for both weapons, as well as his Wing Gauntlet (with open and closed wing pieces), an alternate backplate with a set of wings attached, and five pairs of interchangeable hands in fist, trigger finger, gripping, quotation fingers, and flat-handed positions. These pieces are all pretty fun extras. I think the Wing Gauntlet’s my favorite piece included, even if the wing pieces are the wrong color (they should be black).

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Remember Bio Rider? Remember how that was Tim’s fault? Yeah, well I’m blaming him for this one too. Okay, maybe that’s not fair. I’ve actually had my eye on this figure since back when I got the Figuarts Mighty Morphin’ figures. His design just really speaks to me. Since I had some gift card money, I finally got him. In the meantime, I’ve actually watched some of the source material and found it to be quite entertaining, and Black Condor in particular is super cool. I’m definitely happy to have this figure, and I wouldn’t mind if Bandai got around to releasing the missing members of the team.

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#0967: Bio Rider

BIO RIDER

S.H. FIGUARTS (BANDAI)

BioRider1

The term “Tokusatsu” refers to Japanese live-action films or TV dramas that make use of considerable amounts of special effects. The term includes things such as Godzilla and Ultraman, as well as Super Sentai (more commonly known in the U.S. as Power Rangers). It also includes Kamen Rider, which is the source of the subject of today’s review. This marks the second time I’ve looked at a Kamen Rider figure on this site, so hey, it’s still kind of new and exciting! I’ll admit up front: my knowledge of Kamen Rider stuff is passing at best, so I’m counting on what I’ve read online to fill in the blanks. So, without further ado, here’s Bio Rider!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

BioRider2Bio Rider is part of the rather extensive Kamen Rider sub-set of Bandai’s S.H. Figuarts line. He was released in the latter part of 2014. Bio Rider hails from the Kamen Rider Black RX show (which was the show that was adapted into Saban’s Masked Rider in the mid-90s), where he was a power-up ability for the title character, referred to as “Bio Rider” in Japan, but “Masked Rider Super Blue” in the U.S. I feel like Japan kind of won on the naming front. The figure stands about 5 ½ inches tall and has 45 points of articulation. While Bio Rider and RX share some common design themes, the two designs were actually pretty divergent from each other. Bio Rider is by and large a much sleeker design, and he sort of has an almost art deco air about him. It’s a much stronger design than the basic RX look, but I suppose an argument could be made that it loses some of more signature Kamen Rider elements. The figure’s sculpt does a pretty good job of capturing Bio Rider’s design from the show. He’s not a pitch-perfect recreation: the helmet’s a little squatter, especially in the face, and the eyes are more round. But, it’s still pretty darn close. The details on his suit are pretty amazingly done. He actually looks like he’s wearing a rubber suit, just like on the show. There are even small creases on the thighs to show that they crumple when he moves his legs. That’s quite an attention to detail! Bio Rider has quite a unique color scheme for a Kamen Rider. They tend to be predominantly green and black, but Bio Rider is a nice blue and silver combo, which looks pretty sweet. The actual paint application is some of the sharpest work I’ve seen on just about any figure. There’s no bleed over or slop that I can tell, and the color choices really pop. Also, not paint, but the lenses and buckle of the belt are both molded in translucent red, which works in conjunction with the sculpted texture on the underside, giving him a cool bit of depth. In terms of accessories, Bio Rider includes his Bio Blade weapon, as well as hands in fist, tight grip, loose grip, relaxed, open gesture, and karate chop positions. That’s a bit lighter than some of the Figuarts figures I’ve reviewed, but Bio Rider was actually a slightly less expensive figure, and it’s still not a bad assortment.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This is Tim’s fault. See, I’ve looked at some of the Figuarts Kamen Riders before, but managed to steer clear of them. But, then Tim went and bought himself a Kamen Rider, and suddenly I found lacking. So, using an Amazon gift card (given to me by Tim’s parents! That’s strike two for Tim!), I ordered this guy. I’m not 100% sure what called me to this guy. Maybe it was the color scheme, or perhaps the sleek design. I must admit, I was amused to find out that he was actually from the one incarnation of Kamen Rider I’ve actually seen, given that wasn’t a purposeful decision. This is a really fun figure, and I’m definitely glad I got him. I foresee more Kamen Riders in my future.

BioRider4

Guest Review #0034: Ultraman

ULTRAMAN

ULTRA-ACT/S.H. FIGUARTS

The following is a guest review by my dad, writer Steven H. Wilson!  Check out more from him over at his blog, located at stevenhwilson.com

Bandai’s Ultra-Act line has released dozens of figures based on Tsubaraya Productions’ long-running Ultraman series, which includes of two dozen individual TV series, running from 1967 to the present, and about half that many feature films. Every series stars a new Ultraman character, differentiated from his brethren by a suffix–e.g. “Ultraman Jack,” Ultraman X,” “Ultraman Mebius.”

Sixth in Ultra-Act‘s 2015 lineup is an Ultraman character not from a TV series, but from a 2011 Manga which has recently been collected in trade paperback for the U.S. market. The Manga and its lead character are simply called “Ultraman,” and the hero is the human son of the first Ultraman from way back in 1967.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The packaging is dual-branded with the logos of Ultra-Act and S.H. Figuarts, another Bandai line. The figure is not in scale with the rest of the Ultra-Act line, coming in at 6 3/4 inches, about a half-inch shorter than the typical Ultraman figure. This explains the dual-branding, since it is in scale with S.H. Figuarts‘ popular Power Rangers and other lines. The figure has 30 points of articulation, and comes with three sets of interchangeable gauntlets, three sets of hands–including different pointing gestures, and, of course, fists–an extra chest plate, and the trademark Ultra-beam-blasting effect. I’m not sure what the point of the extra chest plate is. It’s slightly more streamlined than the one that comes packed on the figure, but its jewel is the same color. I would expect the whole point of providing an alternate chest plate for an Ultraman would be to show his warning light blinking red.

It’s a bit disappointing that the mask is not removable, a la early Marvel Legends Iron Man figures, since this Ultraman is not a giant from another world, but a kid in an exo-suit. The figure is very, very posable–almost too posable. He falls down a lot when displayed, and doesn’t come with a stand. On the up side, he tends to fall into some great action poses. An optional flying-stand is recommended for this guy. One other nit-pick, I suppose, that I have with all the Ultraman figures, is that their arms aren’t designed to easily assume (or hold) the cross-elbow beam-blasting stance that’s so commonly seen when an Ultraman fights. Still, the detail is amazing, and the figure brings a 2D character to beautiful 3D life.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The figure was given to me by Ethan, the man behind The Figure in Question, who’s also my son. He feeds me a steady diet of Ultra-Act figures (and Spark Dolls, another Ultraman line) for Christmases and birthdays and the like. He knows I’m devoted to all things Ultra. I grew up watching the original 1967 TV series, and have recently discovered (and developed something of an obsession for) all the spin-off series that were never dubbed into English. He picked up this figure for me for Christmas, and suggested I review it alongside my review of the source material, which is on my blog now. [You can read it here!– E]

#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.

#0291: Yellow Ranger

YELLOW RANGER

SH FIGUARTS

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The Birthday reviews are officially over, so now it’s more or less business as usual. Still, I may be referencing some related things for a little while, just so you’re all aware. One of my main gifts this year was a near complete set of Rangers from Bandai’s most recent take on the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. Being me, I couldn’t let that set be near complete for long. That would be criminal! So, it’s the final piece, the Yellow Ranger! The Yellow Ranger is interesting, because it’s a girl here in the US, but a man in Japan. Through some creative cutting and a few reshoots, they were able to completely change the gender of the character. This does lead to one issue, however: when doing a line of Rangers who are being sold in Japan first but will also be doing a large portion of their sales in America, which version do you release? According to Bandai, both. Yep, the regular release that sees US distribution is the female version, but in Japan they also released an online exclusive male version. How about that? In case you’re wondering, mine’s the girl.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

YellowRangerWilsonThe Yellow Ranger was the seventh, and final, release in Bandai’s Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers sub-line of their larger S.H. Figuarts line. She was released just last month, not long after the Blue Ranger. The figure stands just over 5 inches tall and features 36 points of articulation. The figure’s sculpt borrows heavily from the Pink Ranger, which isn’t a huge shock. She’s been given a new pelvis piece to accurately represent her uniform’s lack of skirt, as well as a brand new head based on her signature Sabre Tooth Tiger helmet. She probably has one of the sharper helmet designs, and Bandai has managed to translate it pretty much perfectly, so that’s pretty cool. Like with the Pink Ranger, I find that the female body is less plagued by obvious elbow and knee joints than the male, so that’s a plus. The Yellow Ranger’s paint is pretty straight forward, no slop or bleed over. If you’ve seen any of the other Rangers, you’ve seen her. One plus is that the yellows all match better than the pinks on the Pink Ranger, a very definite improvement. The Yellow Ranger has a pretty decent selection of accessories, including a folded up Blade Blaster and a Thunder Slinger, same as the ones included with all the basic Rangers, plus her dual Power Daggers, and four pairs of hands: fists, open gesture, Blade Blaster grip, and Power Dagger grip. The Yellow Ranger also includes an extra Power Axe for use in assembling the Power Blaster, and, most importantly, the instructions for how to assemble the Power Blaster. It goes together without too much trouble, and each of the pieces looks accurate to the individual ones included with the Rangers, plus it’s a pretty key item from the show, so kudos to Bandai for adding in the extra pieces to build it!

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THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Yellow Ranger was not amongst the gifts I received for my birthday this year. She was only released a day or two before, and you have to draw the line somewhere, so I wasn’t the slightest bit offended. I ended up getting a little bit of money from my Grandmother, so I put that towards completing my Rangers, which makes the Yellow Ranger sort of a pseudo Birthday gift, I suppose. She’s a pretty great figure and she’s in line with the rest of them, which is really great. Plus, she finishes off the team, which just makes the whole set that much cooler!

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#0284: Green Ranger

GREEN RANGER

BANDAI FIGUARTS

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Let’s just keep those Birthday Reviews coming, shall we? Today marks Part Five, and there;s still a few more to go! I’ll be looking at another figure from the set of Power Rangers I received this year. This time around it’s the Green Ranger, the first guise of frequent Ranger Tommy Oliver, way back when he was the original sixth ranger. The Green Ranger actually died in the original Japanese show, but he proved to be too popular to kill off in the US, so the producers did their best to keep him in the show, before eventually resorting to using footage from a different Sentai show, and having Tommy become the White Ranger. Tommy had actually stopped being the Green Ranger by the time I started watching, but for some reason, I’ve always like him more in that role than as the White Ranger. Go figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

GreenRangerWilsonThe Green Ranger was the second release in Bandai’s Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, a sub line of their main S.H. Figuarts line. He saw release last year, shortly after the Red Ranger. The figure is about 5 ½ inches tall and features 36 pints of articulation. If you want to be nitpicky, he should be a tiny bit taller, because he’s currently the same height as the Red Ranger, who he was definitely taller than in the show, but that’s minor. He actually doesn’t have as many reused parts as one might expect. He has new upper and lower arms, new shins, a sheath in place of the usual holster, an add-on piece over the basic torso for his armor, and an all new head. That’s a fair bit of new stuff. Everything looks pretty great, though the interrupting elbow joints do end up hitting Tommy pretty bad, completely cutting off the trim on the front of his gloves. The armor add on is removable in theory, I suppose, but I doubt it would go back on easily. The helmet is once again a near perfect replica of Tommy’s Dragon themed helmet from the show, which is certainly impressive. The paint work on the Green Ranger is pretty good, though there are a few areas that could be tighter, particularly the gold bands on his arms. Still, there aren’t any really bad screw ups which is always good. Tommy is a bit lighter on the accessories than others, with just a sword and dagger, and five pairs of hands: fists, dagger gripping, sword gripping, open gesture, and dagger playing. You know, so he can use the dagger as a flute, like the show. Don’t question how it worked through the helmet, just don’t!

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THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Green Ranger is the final figure in the selection of Power Rangers my really stupendous parents bought me for my birthday. I know what you’re thinking: “where’s yellow?” Yellow ended up being a gift to myself. She’s all here and ready to be reviewed in a few days, after all the birthday stuff. Anyway, the Green Ranger is a pretty great figure, and offers a nice bit of individuality to the Rangers display. Plus, he’s green, so…

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