#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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#1536: Ultraman Ace Suit

ULTRAMAN ACE SUIT

S.H. FIGUARTS X ULTRA-ACT (BANDAI)

It’s Day 5 of my post-Christmas reviews, and today I’ll be returning to one of my very favorite franchises, Ultraman.  My Ultraman reviews have gotten few and far between.  That’s the sort of thing that happens when they end the main line you collect of something, I suppose.  Without a steady stream of new Ultra-Act offerings, there’s a bit less regularity to my Ultra-collecting habits.  The Figuarts offerings are very cool, but there’s also a bit of overlap between the two collections, so I haven’t really picked up anything from that line.  Well, until now, anyway.  Today’s figure is based on the currently running Ultraman manga, which is a sort of soft reboot of the franchise, taking only the original show as canon, and following the adventures of Hayata’s son Shinjiro as he takes up the mantle of Ultraman.  The series has also introduced some of the later Ultras as recurring characters, though they aren’t proper Ultramen like they were before.  So, without further ado, here’s the Ultraman Ace Suit, piloted by Seiji Hokuto, a reimagining of one of Ace’s two hosts!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Ace Suit is the third offering in the SHFiguarts X Ultra-Act line, following the standard manga Ultraman and the Ver7.2 Suit.  As the Ace Suit is the third suit to appear in the manga, it’s a sensible release order.  The figure stands about 5 3/4 inches tall and he has 40 points of articulation.  Ace is the shortest of the three manga Ultras, and the figure reflects that.  I will admit, after messing around with CaRB for a few days, Ace’s articulation felt a little bit restricted, but compared to the average Figuarts offering, he’s not too bad.  The shoulders are the most  difficult thing, because they have to be configured just right for any given move.  But, once you get a feel for the figure, it’s not too hard to get him posed how you’d like him.  Ace’s sculpt is unique to him, and it does a pretty respectable job of translating the manga design into three dimensions.  It certainly helps that Ace is my favorite so far of the manga Ultras.  I definitely appreciate the common elements between this design and the classic Ace design, especially filtered through the manga’s more tactical design aesthetic.  His suit is pretty sleek and clean, and I quite like the more squared off nature.  It really goes well with the classic Ace elements, such as the pseudo Greco-Roman style helmet.  The sculpt gets all of these design elements worked in quite nicely, and doesn’t skimp in the smaller details.  I like that you can tell what’s actually armor and what’s a more flexible undersuit, just through the shaping of the materials.  In terms of paint, this guy’s pretty much on par with the various Ultra-Act figures I reviewed.  Everything is pretty clean and sharp, and the metallics look top-notch.  I particularly like that his lenses are translucent yellow; they look amazing when the light hits them the right way.  The Ace Suit is quite well accessorized.  He includes three sets of hands (in fists, open gesture, and flat poses), extra gauntlets, his specium blade, a slightly longer set of wrists (for use with the blade), and an alternate unmasked head with two different facial expressions.  The blade can be a little tricky to get set-up the right way, since it requires swapping out the wrists and getting the hands and bracers swapped over to the new ones, as well as getting the blade properly seated between the arms.  It took a few tries to get my figure to hold the blade the right way.  The extra head is certainly a nice touch, especially after a similar piece was left out of the first release of the main Ultraman.  The separate expressions work much the same as they do with the DBZ figures, and add a nice bit of character to the figure, though I hardly see myself displaying him unmasked.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Ace is Tim’s fault indirectly, and I suppose my parents fault directly.  It’s Tim’s fault I know this figure exists.  Which is a bit weird, when you get down to it, since I’m the Ultraman fan, but somehow this one slipped past me.  Once I saw him, I knew I wanted one, and my parents were nice enough to get me him for Christmas.  It’s kind of funny, because, while I like the original Ace, he’s never been one of my favorites.  This figure, on the other hand, very definitely is.  He’s a ton of fun, and just really cool looking to boot.

#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!

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]

#0477: Ultraman Mebius

ULTRAMAN MEBIUS

ULTRA-ACT

You know, it’s been a while since I did an Ultraman review. The thing about Ultraman reviews is that they kind of have to be Ultra-Act figures, and Ultra-Act figures are a) a little pricier than other figures and b) released at a rather slow rate. But, as luck would have it, a new Ultraman was just released last month! This time around, it’s Ultraman Mebius, the tenth main Ultraman, and star of (wait for it) Ultraman Mebius. Since he was the tenth Ultra, Mebius’s show had a lot of references to the previous Ultras, and had more than a few guest appearances by the previous stars. His show was a love letter to the previous series, and the character himself was perfectly in the vein of his predecessors. This helped Mebius really pick up a fan base, and his show is definitely my favorite after the original. He was one of the earlier releases in the Ultra-Act line, but time has passed and the line has progressed, making his first figure a little out of place. So, now he’s been given a new release. Yay!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Mebius was released in late 2014/early 2015 as the newest addition to the Ultra-Act line. The figure is about 6 inches tall and he features 40 points of articulation. As I mentioned in the intro, this is the second Mebius in the line, and this one serves to update the last one to the line’s current standards, mostly sculpt-wise. The figure is based on Mebius’s standard look from the series and it features an all-new sculpt. The sculpt is quite well done. Everything is nice and sharply detailed, and the various pieces of his “costume” look accurate to the character’s appearance in the show. One thing of note would be the figure’s proportions, which don’t quite seem accurate to the show. It’s not unusual to see Bandai give the ultras slightly more heroic proportions for the figures, but Mebius seems to have been hit by this more so than others. He’s one of the tallest Ultra-Acts so far, which is somewhat counter to Mebius being depicted being smaller than the older Ultras with whom he was interacting. He’s also incredibly broad-shouldered, which is not really true to any of the live action Ultras. Ultimately, these changes look nice on the figure, but they do make him stand out just a bit in comparison to previous figures. Mebius’s paint apps are pretty much in line with the rest of the line’s figures, which is to say they’re quite good. The colors are nice and bold and very accurate to the show, and all of the work is clean and sharp, with no bleed over or slop. The figure also has the proper switches in sheen from the armored parts to the red, non-armored parts, which is a subtle touch, but a very important one. After the last few accessory-packed Ultra-Act figures, Mebius seems a little light on the extras, though he still has way more than any of his domestic counterparts. He includes his Mebium Shot (attached to a hand), a chest plate with a red color timer, a chest plate with shallower edges (for posing), an alternate Mebium Brace with the Mebium Slash engaged, and two extra pairs of hands: flat-handed and gesturing. All of the pieces swap out relatively easily, though I’d be careful while putting on the Mebium Shot; it’s rather sharp on the edges!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As has been the case with the last few Ultra-Act figures I’ve procured, Mebius was gotten via Amazon. I’d actually been waiting anxiously for the Mebius re-do since it was announced and I placed a pre-order through Amazon as soon as possible. I’m thrilled to finally have the figure in hand. I’m a little uncertain about the move towards “larger than life proportions” on the new Ultra-Acts, but that’s more to do with consistency. Mebius is a fantastic figure and, slight problems with consistency aside, he looks really great with the other ultras!

#0417: Ultraman Jack

ULTRAMAN JACK

ULTRA-ACT

My Ultra-Act collection started off with something of a bang, but lately I’ve moved into a “slow and steady wins the race” pattern. I’ve got a number of upcoming figures on pre-order, and I’ll probably be doing a little bit more catch-up once I’ve got some freed up funds again. Anyway, one of my standing pre-orders was just filled, and it’s Ultraman Jack, the third Ultraman.

Jack was the star of his own show, titled The Return of Ultraman. Why “The Return?” Well, originally Ultraman Jack was actually just supposed to be the original Ultraman with a slightly tweaked look. However, they instead decided to go with the pattern started in Ultraseven and create and all new Ultra. Thus we were introduced to Jack. Let’s see how his figure turned out.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ultraman Jack was originally released in mid-2013 as part of the Ultra-Act line. He was a standalone release, as is the standard release method for this line. Jack is roughly 6 inches tall and he features 40 points of articulation, another standard for the line. Jack was released after the second version of the basic Ultraman, which means he’s up to date with the rest of the more recent releases in the line. Jack features a sculpt that is unique to this figure. Given the closeness of Jack’s design to the original Ultraman, it’s surprising that Bandai didn’t go for any re-use, but that’s hardly a complaint. The sculpt is up to the usual standard of the Ultra-Act line. It’s accurate to the source material, and it actually looks like a person in a suit, which is cool. Like Ace, it seems the shoulders may be a bit too broad, but that’s a relatively minor complaint. Jack’s paintwork is solidly done. It’s cleanly and evenly applied, and all of the cuts and such are appropriately sharp. The red and silver are both nice and bold, adding some very nice pop to the figure. No Ultra-Act release would be complete without an impressive accessory selection, and Jack does not disappoint. He includes his trusty Ultra Cross, his Ultra Lance in two forms, the Ultra Shield, the Ultra Bracelet given to him by Ultraseven, an extra color timer, a clip to attach him to a stand and 10 hands: fists (L and R), open gesture(L and R), karate-chop (L and R), a hand for holding the small Ultra Lance, a hand for the holding the larger items, a hand holding up the peace sign, and a hand with the Specium Beam attached. That’s one of the larger assortments of accessories for an Ultra-Act figure, and they all are very well done.

 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Jack is a figure I tried to get a few times. I had two separate pre-orders of his original release, neither of which came through. When his after-market price shot up, I kinda gave up. Fortunately, he was given a rerelease, this time through Bluefin, the US distributors of the Ultra-Act line. This allowed for me to place a pre-order through Amazon, who continue to amuse me with their numerous emails informing me that they have literally no idea when these figures will arrive. Jack was worth the wait. He’s rather similar to the original design, but he’s got just enough personal flair to make him a very welcome addition.

#0266: Ultraman Ace

ULTRAMAN ACE

ULTRA-ACT

UltramanAce1

My Ultra-Act reviews have slowed down a bit since I first got into the line, but that doesn’t mean my interest in the line has waned. I still have a few of the upcoming figures and re-releases on pre-order, so there should be a few more reviews on the way, just a bit more spaced out. I recently acquired Ultraman Ace, the 4th main Ultraman, and the star of Ultraman Ace, as well as a recurring character in the following Ultraman Taro. He’s also the adopted brother of Taro, and the adopted son of Mother and Father of Ultra, for those of you attempting to map out the family tree.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ultraman Ace was a third quarter 2013 release in the Ultra-Act line. As is the usual standard with this line, Ace wasn’t part of a series; he’s just a single release. The figure stands about 6 inches tall and features the standard 40 points of articulation sported by most of the figures in the line. Ace was released around the time of the second version of the original Ultraman, which means he fits in nicely with the line’s more recent releases, and looks perfect with the rest of the Ultra Brothers. Ace’s sculpt is a pretty decent recreation of Ace’s look from the show. The shoulders are perhaps a tad bit broader than they should be, but the proportions look great otherwise. The paintwork on Ace is nice and clean, with no noticeable slop or bleed over present. Like any good Ultra-Act release, Ace features a nice selection of accessories, including: an extra color timer, a sword, a clip to attatch Ace to a stand, and 11 hands: fists (L and R), open gesture (L and R), karate-chop (L and R), sword-holding (R), peace sign (R), a right hand with an energy beam attatched, and two hands with a different beam attached. While that’s not quite as many accessories as my last Ultra-Act figure, Leo, it’s still a pretty impressive assortment. The sword adds some uniqueness to Ace, and the hands add for some additional character as usual.

UltramanAce2 UltramanAce6 UltramanAce5 UltramanAce4 AceWilson

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Ace was a purchase I took my time on. I’ve picked up several other Ultra-Act figures in the last year or so, and I had the majority of the early Ultramen, so Ace was the biggest hole in my collection. Ace’s price came down a bit on Amazon, so I decided to go for him. I’m really glad I did. Ace has a great design, and the figure conveys it really well.

UltramanAce7

#0190: Ultraman Leo

ULTRAMAN LEO

ULTRA-ACT

Leo1

After doing a decently sized string of reviews from the line back in January, my Ultra-Act reviews certainly do seem to have slowed down a bit, haven’t they? The last one I did was Father of Ultra, and that was way back in February. One of the cool things about Ultraman is the plethora of different Ultras and all of their unique takes on the common design themes. Today, I’ll be taking a look at Ultraman Leo, the 7th main Ultraman, and star of Ultraman Leo. I know; what a shock.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Leo5Ultraman Leo is one of the very first of the 2014 releases for the Ultra-Act line. As per usual for this line, he’s not part of a series or the like, just a singleLeo2 release on his own. This is Leo’s second release in this line, and this one has been made to fit in a bit better with some of the more recent releases. The figure is a little taller than some of the others, though not quite as tall as Father of Ultra, standing about 6 ¼ inches tall. He features the standard 40 points of articulation that most of this line’s figures sports. Leo has been bulked up a bit from his previous figure, in an aim to keep him more in line with the current line’s releases. The sculpt is pretty good overall, and re-creates Leo’s look in the show really well. The paint apps are applied cleanly, with no bleed over or slop. Bandai looks to be trying a new technique of detailing, through a sort of air-brushing. It’s a subtle touch, but it looks pretty good and gives the figure a bit more depth. As with all other Ultra-Act releases, Leo has a large compliment of accessories, including: an extra color-timer, a pin-wheel (yeah, I don’t really know what that’s for), Ultra-Mant defense umbrella, 2 sets of nun-chucks (with and without real chain), a gold arm-band, a Leo-Kick effect, and 14 hands: fists (L and R), open gesture (L and R), open flat (Land R), karate-chop (L and R), nun-chuck gripping (L and R), umbrella grip (R), pin-wheel grip (R), Fire-Blast (R), and fire charging (works for either). That’s quite an impressive set of accessories. The color timer is standard, the pin-wheel and umbrella are definitely unique, the nun-chucks are great for letting you choose how to display them, and the hands add some real expression to the character. The piece for the Leo-kick is cool and all, but if you don’t have a stand, the best you can pull off is the “eek, my foot is on fire” look.

Leo4 Leo3 Leo6 Leo7 Leo8 Leo9

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Leo was pre-ordered through Amazon. I guess it was relatively painless, though it did mark the first time they’ve sent me an e-mail effectively saying “we have no idea where this figure is, so we can’t guarantee we’ll get this to you… ever” for something I’ve ordered. As you can see, it worked out all right. I wasn’t quite as excited for Leo as I have been for others, but he’s a good figure over all.

#0116: Father of Ultra

FATHER OF ULTRA

ULTRA-ACT

It’s been 25 days since my last Ultra-Act review, but man did that fly by for me.  It feels like just yesterday I was reviewing Mother of Ultra, and today I’ll be taking a look at her husband, Father of Ultra! …Or if you’re feeling a bit less formal, Ken.  But that doesn’t really have the same presence as “Father of Ultra!”  Like Mother of Ultra, Father’s name is a bit misleading, as he’s actually only the father of Ultraman Taro.  But, let’s not split hairs.

Father of Ultra was initially released late last year, but he sold out pretty quickly.  He just received a second run of figures, and he’s just now showing up in the US.  On to the figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Father of Ultra is one of the 2013 Ultra-Act figures, and he’s just received a 2014 re-release.  Ken here (I feel like I can be on a first name basis with my action figures) stands around 6 ½ inches tall, not counting his horns.  This makes him one of the taller figures in the line, and he’s certainly got the bulk to match.  He also features the standard 40 points of articulation that most of the figures in the line have.  Like his wife, Ken’s only really had the one look over the years, so Bandai had a pretty easy time picking which design to go with.  Ken’s sculpt was something of a point of contention for some of the more die-hard fans, as he’s been depicted a little bulkier than his live action appearances.  I can understand how that might annoy some, but honestly, it’s not that major, and I feel the figure really benefits from the change.  As he is now, he really stands out from the rest of the line, and has a more commanding appearance.  The sculpt is the usual fair for the line, and aside from the possible build issue for some, he looks accurate to the character’s appearance on the show.  He’s got a paint job to match, with no slop or bleed over.  It wouldn’t be a proper Ultra-Act release without a hefty compliment of accessories, and Ken certainly doesn’t disappoint on that front.  He’s got an extra head, an extra color timer, the “Ultra Array”, his cape, and 8 hands: Karate Chop (L and R), Open Gesture (L and R), Fists (L and R), Grasping (R), and a right hand with and energy beam attached.   The extra head and color timer are both in their “powered down” states, allowing you to show Ken after he’s been worn down in battle.  The Ultra Array is his dumbbell shaped weapon that he’s frequently depicted using.  It’s pretty cool and looks about right to the show.  The hands look standard for the line, and are pretty easy to swap out.  The cape is probably one of the coolest pieces.  It has its own articulation to allow you to put into various poses, which is pretty cool, and a much better solution than trying to mess with cloth capes at this scale.  My only complaint is that it can be a little easy to get it off of the figure once it’s attached.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Oh, boy there’s another story of annoyance, bad communication, and difficulty getting an item I had ordered.  I pre-ordered Father of Ultra from Amazon back in December when they put him up.  I was told he would be released on January 15th and I should receive mine shortly thereafter.  So I waited.  January 15th came, and nothing happened.  It’s understandable, I thought, for there to be a little bit of a delay in the item being sent out.  I’m a pretty patient guy.  I’ll wait a few days.  So, I waited a week, to the end of my projected delivery window.  Nothing.  No notification of stock arriving, certainly no ship notice.  So, I contacted Amazon.  I was told that estimates are just estimates, so the fact that it hadn’t shipped yet didn’t mean anything.  They had received the stock and they were shipping it out.  And they very kindly offered to bump mine to one day shipping so that I would get mine as soon as possible once they received the next shipment of stock.

Hold up, run that by me again.  You claim to have them in stock, but you’re actually waiting on another shipment?  That being the case, the next shipment must be arriving soon, right?  Well, no.  See, Amazon actually didn’t know when they’d be getting the shipment.

I’d like to point out, I’m not mad that they had to wait for a second shipment to fill my order.  That happens sometimes.  No biggie.  I’m not even mad about the lack of a firm arrival date.  That also happens.  What I’m mad about is the fact that Amazon didn’t feel they needed to contact their customers waiting for the item about this change.  If they’d just sent me an e-mail informing me that I’d have to wait a little extra time to get my item, I would have totally understood.  Instead, I spent a week wondering if my order had just been forgotten, and worrying about having to track the item down elsewhere.  A simple e-mail could have prevented that.

Anyway, as you can see, there wasn’t much of a delay at all.  The figure arrived about a week after I contacted Amazon, and all was well.  If they had just contacted me on the 15th, no issues would have been had at all!

BONUS MINI REVIEW!

As I mentioned in my review of Mother of Ultra, while staying at the beach over the Christmas holiday, I come across a nice little shop sell a few old Ultraman vinyl figures, and Father of Ultra was amongst them.  I thought it might be neat to do a comparison like I did with Mother of Ultra.

This version of Father of Ultra appears to have been released in 1989.  He stands aboiut the same height as the Ultra-Act version, though not as bulky.  He has a whopping 3 points of articulation as most of the vinyl figures did.  Like with Mother of Ultra the paint has worn off, which was a common problem with the older vinyl figures.  The sculpt isn’t bad.  The proportions could probably be a little better, but compared to stuff of the time it’s about average, and Father’s a bit better than mother in that respect.  It’s a fun little throwback, and shows how far the figures have come.

#0090: Mother of Ultra

MOTHER OF ULTRA

ULTRA-ACT

 

It’s the 12th and final day of my post-Christmas Review.  Which is kind of cool because I totally didn’t plan for it to be a 12 days of Christmas thing, but it kinda turned out that way.  Neat.

Today, I’m looking at the Ultra-Act line for a 6th time.  This time, it’s not an actually an Ultraman, it’s Mother of Ultra.  I feel I should point out that the name is a bit misleading.  She’s only the mother of one of the Ultramen, and it’s not even the one just named Ultraman, it’s Taro.  Mother of Taro would be more accurate.  Oh well, on to the review.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Mother of Ultra was released as one of the 2013 online exclusives for the Ultra-Act line.  It’s not too different from a normal release, just a bit more difficult to get a hold of one.  She’s a little over 6 inches tall, and has 38 points of articulation.  From what I’ve seen, her sculpt appears to be pretty spot on to how she looked in her various appearances throughout the years.  Her look has remained pretty constant, but she’s had two different face designs in her appearances, so Bandai has included two different heads so you can pick your favorite.  One has softer angles and more flatly set eyes, while the other has harsher angles, a stronger jawline, and eyes on more of a slant, in a similar fashion to most of the Ultraman designs.  I personally prefer the softer of the two sculpts, but I appreciate being given the choice between the two.  The paint work is up to the usual standard of the line, which is very good.  Everything is applied very cleanly, and she looks to have no slop or missed lines.  The paint work is pretty much in par with the original Ultraman, whose paint was pretty much flawless.   Keeping up with the rest of the line, Mother of Ultra is quite well accessorized.  She’s got the extra head, an energy effect that plugs onto her wrist, a bucket of water with two handles, and 3 pairs of hands: karate chop, fists, and open gesture.  I’ve already touched on the extra head, so I won’t go into it again.  The blast effect is pretty cool, and swaps on with ease.  The bucket of water is actually an accessory for Taro, and it has one handle with his hand already attached and one without.  The hands are pretty standard for the line, and all swap out easily, and look nicely detailed.  Mother of Ultra’s the first Ultra-Act figure without an extra color timer (well, Seven didn’t have one, but he doesn’t have any color timer at all!) which is different.  I suppose Mother of Ultra’s never really needed one.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Mother of Ultra was purchased by me with an amazon gift card given to me by my wonderful Aunt Susan.  She’s a really fun figure, perhaps one of the most fun in the line.  I was looking forward to the figure, but I didn’t realize how great she’d be in person.  She’s one of the more pricy figures in the line due to her exclusive status, but if you can find one for a decent deal, it’s a superb figure!

BONUS MINI REVIEW!

While I was on vacation over the holiday, I stopped by a nice little store by the beach that sells lots of older toys.  They were selling a few of the old vinyl Ultraman figures, and they had a Mother of Ultra.  I picked her up for the heck of it and thought I might do a little comparison.

It’s kind of a testament to how far the figures have come over the years.  This version of Mother of Ultra appears to have been released in 1988.  She stands roughly the same height as the Ultra-Act version, and she has a whopping 3 points of articulation.  You can see that the paint has worn off, and having owned some of the vinyl figures before, I can say that was a common problem.  The sculpt isn’t terrible on this figure, though.  Sure, the proportions aren’t the greatest, but compared to stuff of the time it’s about average.  Overall, it’s a fun little figure, and I’m willing to give it a break, given that it cost me less than a tenth of what the Ultra-Act version did!