Sunday, December 27, 2015


Funko recently released several figures based on the Fallout game: a pair of 6" scale action figures under their Legacy Collection banner, and a handful of POP! cuties. I only opted for the Power Armor version from each set, mostly because I like the cool design. Having never played the game, I can't comment on the the accuracy of the finished products, but as stand-alone figures they make for really cool silver Stormtroopers.

The POP vinyl figure is cute as a button, with an oversized head and exaggerated eyes. There's lots of cool details here, though - more than I was actually expecting, especially on the back of the armor.

My figure had a small paint slip on the visor, but a black sharpie mostly took care of that. The only articulation on this figure is a rotation at the head, which is pretty standard for the POP line of vinyls.

He's got his weapon molded to his right hand, and there's a bit of curious yellow paint to highlight it a little. And I'm afraid that's about it. The figure is cool, and makes for a neat addition to a POP or Fallout display. I saw other figures at my local Gamestop, where I picked this guy up, but none of them really jumped out at me.

The Legacy Collection action figure is more my usual style. It's a 6" action figure on a standard card. I actually like the much smaller cardback and bubble that this figure comes on than the recently popular "Black Series" style collector boxes that Funko had been using. There's something very sleek and minimalist about this design, and I like the way it looks on the pegs at the store. That said, it doesn't really give you the impression that you're getting $20 worth of product. The Skyrim Daedric Warrior I picked up is especially tiny-looking to me in its slim bubble. But, I digress.

The Power Armor figures comes with a rifle weapon of some sort, and is held in place witha  couple of twisty ties. You see what you are getting very well, and everything is sturdy and protected.

Out of the package, the Power Armor looks great. There's plenty of little details like rivets and hoses and stuff, and Funko has done a nice job of conveying a metal suit. The paint is mostly silver with a slight dirty wash over it to give an impression that the metal has been "used" for some while.

The articulation on this guy is somewhat painful, literally. I had to pop him in the freezer for an hour or so, and then really fight to get some of the joints unstuck. The shoulder pads and head were especially touch-and-go. In the end, they did free up somewhat - yes, the shoulder pads can be swiveled independently of the shoulder joint, and yes the head does rotate. The same cannot be said for the thighs, though. I can't get any rotation from them, so getting his legs/knees to turn outwards is impossible. The knees, though double-jointed, only want to move at the lower hinge on my figure's right leg, and the elbows are pretty restricted. There're more, but let's just go with this: it's hard to get this guy to pose in a variety of ways, and even harder to get something that looks natural out of him. Even the gun is tough, since the stock needs room to sit against the arm, which isn't there because of the design of the forearm armor. After a bit of struggling, I got him into a passable pose, and that's how he's  going to stay.

As mentioned earlier, the detailing is rather nice. There are some hoses and handle bits, and I actually like the proportions, though I can see complaints that it's too thin for a man in a metal suit. The helmet is particularly Stormtrooper-ish, wish a very narrow visor and a couple of attachments up top to break up the smoothness of the dome.

My figure has a significant paint rub up top and behind on the head, but it's not the end of the world. Otherwise, the figure is great to look at on the shelf, if not all that much fun to play with and pose.

In many ways, I feel like Funko is picking up where NECA left off with their video game Player Select line. I remember wandering the aisles at Toys R Us not too long ago and finding Dead Space Isaac Clarke, Dante from Dante's Inferno, Crysis, Tomb Raider, Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell and more in the NECA section. They've since moved on but still release the occasional video game character, only with MUCH superior quality in terms of articulation and accessories. Dubbed "Ultimate", these figures command a slightly higher price point, but come boxed in a collector window package are really seem like the last version you'd ever need of that particular character. I bought (and returned) Devil May Cry Ultimate Dante, and it really looked like a great figure. Likewise, I'm looking forward to getting (and keeping) God of War Ultimate Kratos, and the recently shown prototype image of Nathan Drake from Uncharted 4 looks like it's going to be awesome. That said, Funko is making some ok figures in the original vein that NECA followed: they look pretty good, don't pose too well and don't include too much. At $20 a pop, it's a might pricey. At the $16 price point I found these guys (Skyrim Daedric Warrior and Fallout Power Armor) at, it's a much easier pill to swallow. This won't be the best action figure you ever buy, but it doesn't have to be. It's a cool representation of a cool looking character from a game that may or may not be cool. I'm fine with that...

Friday, December 25, 2015

JUDGE DEATH - 3A 1/12th Scale Collectible Figure

Santa was good to me this year. One of the coolest things under my tree was this amazing 2000AD action figure of Judge Dredd's nemesis, Judge Death, from 3A Toys. It's the first 3A toy I've ever gotten, so I wasn't quite sure what to expect.

It's gorgeous. Period. The card back is huge, measuring 8 & 1/2" by 13", and it's a beautiful artwork print, front and back (the images are different, by the way), with a minimum of clutter. The cardboard is very thick and heavy, not the usual cardstock I've come to expect from mass market offerings. There's also no peg hole or hook by which to hang the card, so it will have to stand on the shelf rather than hang on the wall.

The figure looks amazing, and is tightly bubbled, off-center. Death comes with 2 alternate hands with the fingers closer together than the default ones, which have fingers slightly splayed apart. I've got to say, this is the one disappointment I have with the figure: the alternate hands really don't provide anything different than the default. I would much rather have had a human heart or bomb-thing(?), like the accessories that Re:Action included with their Death years ago.

As far as the rest of the figure goes, it's simply incredible. Without having taken him from the bubble, I can't comment on articulation, but this is one amazing figure to look at. The outfit is terrific: a deep blue faux leather with tight stitching, sleeves that come past the wrists and to the ankles, and even a collar. The body is lanky, thin and elongated, as it should be, The bone-like coloring and texture of the shoulder pads, kneepads and elbow pads are simply fantastic, as are the belt buckle and badge details. I honestly think 3A's Judge Dredd is going to eclipse Mezco's if it's going to match this.

I'm not as taken by the face portrait. Oh, it's nicely detailed and beautifully painted (not a bit of slop anywhere - the gums and teeth are terrific), but the helmet strikes me as just a touch too short and rounded, making him look like he has a bad bowl haircut. The artwork on the card front and back show a helmet that's just slightly more elongated, and not as wide. Yes, that's a truly nit-picky nit to pick, but there's honestly nothing else even remotely "wrong" that I can see here. Judge Death is a beautifully morbid and repulsive action figure, done nearly to perfection.

Out of package, the honeymoon has quickly ended. The outfit is noticeably different from Mezco's in that it feels thinner, more delicate. It also sounds "crinkly", almost like paper. The figure itself is also significantly more insubstantial. It feels much more dainty. That hunch proved itself abruptly accurate when the left hip popped out of its joint immediately once I tried to move it. Since this is a clothed figure with an outfit that is all one sealed piece, the dread (pun intended) was instantaneous. Really? Are you kidding? On a $60 figure? This was a figure I had hesitated to open for nearly 2 months because: 1) I was so enamored with how nice it looked carded, and 2) never having had one, I was uncertain of threeA's quality control track record.

In any event, I did gently push the leg back into the socket and it seems to be holding, sort of. But, needless to say, I'm really hesitant to try to pose this guy at all. Don't get me wrong, he still looks amazing, especially between my One:12 Collective Dredds. It's a real shame that my first posing experience was such a poor one. I usually order 2 of certain special figures that I love, planning to keep one in-package and one on display. I've done so with threeA's Dredd and Fear figure pre-orders. Now, I wonder if I should be regretting that, or (better yet) going ahead and canceling one of each. I really love Death in-package, I'm just scared to him of posing it...

Judge Death, 3A Style

Belt and Badge Detail

Scaled with Re:Action Judge Death

Alongside Mezco's One:12 Collective Dredd

With SOTA's Richard B. Riddick

Thursday, December 24, 2015

REBOR TRICERATOPS HORRIDUS "The Fallen Queen" 1/35 scale display stand figure

Rebor's newest 1/35 scale dinosaur replica is a female triceratops, dubbed "The Fallen Queen". The underside of her base lists her as the second piece in a 3-piece diorama called, "T-Rex vs Triceratops". The first piece is the previously released King T-Rex ("Conquest"), with this Triceratops Horridus, "The Fallen Queen" acting as "Sorrow". The third, as yet unreleased, piece is labeled "King Trident", with the Act listed as "Revenge". I'm assuming that figure's base will combine with this one to complete the battle scene. It's all a wonderful idea, and a great way to build an interesting visual display as well as fostering some creative story-telling through the replica's!

The Fallen Queen measures 7 & 3/4 inches from snout tip to tail. She's made of polystone, rather than plastic and therefore carries some nice weight ( 1 lb. 3 oz., nearly as much as the 1 lb. 5 oz. King T-Rex), and is permanently attached to the base. The sculpt is good, but not quite as earth-shattering as the actual figures have been. The horns are quite smooth and not very "bony" to my eyes. The texturing on the frill is not quite as sharp and detailed, nor are the "fingers" on the front appendage. Don't get me wrong, it's still a very striking piece, and when combined with the Rex, serving as a stand, it's absolutely terrific. It's just not quite at the level we've seen with the regular releases.

Likewise, the paint is a mixed bag. The greens vary in shade (the sides of the face are much darker than the back and frill, and are even different from left side to right side. I love the faint striping across the tail, leading into the back, and the pooling blood around the wound area is effectively gruesome.

There's a gloss to the back and head in stark contrast to the matte of the King T-Rex.

The beauty of this piece is that it is intended to serve as a replacement base for the Rex's uplifted right foot. The original base that came with the Rex is terrible. It's great in theory, but doesn't manage to keep my Tyrannosaurs upright (I use the plural because I have 2 of them, and neither can stand with the original base). I'm happy to say that this one is better, but unfortunately still not perfect. The claws sit in a couple of indents on the Triceratop's back, with the hind leg resting along the curve of the tail. It's a good fit, but for one my Tyrannosaurs, it still doesn't prove steady: the King keeps toppling forward and off the Queen. I've had no such troubles with my other pair. I've tried moving the troublesome duo to another shelf, hoping that there's a little more of a back-slope to it, and things have been good so far.

"The Fallen Queen" Triceratops Horridus is a terrific addition to my Rebor shelf. It serves its purpose wonderfully: it's a beautiful replacement stand for the King T-Rex. At less than $30, my expectations for the level of detail in terms of sculpt and paint were a bit lower, and apparently justifiably so. Nevertheless, when paired with her Rex partner, she's brilliant. I can only imagine how good the finished diorama will be, although I do hope that "King Trident" has a bit higher level of detailing and a more precise paint application.

One last point to consider: the right horn of one Triceratops I got has a pretty nasty crack and separation in it. It didn't happen in-package, I'd guess, because there's absolutely no give to the stone. It seems more like a defect in the material as it was hardening. In any event, you may want to examine your own very carefully out of the box to make sure you don't have similar issues...

Sunday, December 20, 2015

ARMORED BATMAN - Square Enix Play Arts Kai "VARIANT" figure

I have so many Batman figures. So, so many. Really. What could possibly make me want another Batman? I think the last Batman I bought was the S.H. Figuarts Injustice version, which I picked up over the summer, and which I regret buying. So, why in the world would I want another? Well, this past week or so I went by my local GameStop, which I haven't been to in a while. I was looking for the new Funko Legacy Fallout Power Armor figure, and was really surprised to see how stocked GameStop has become with toys. There really were quite a bit, between the Pop! figures, loads of McFarlane and some really unusual oddities: statues and one-offs of game-related properties. In a glass case they had this guy out and on display, and holy cow was I blown away! The sheer size, level of sculpted detail and gorgeous paint applications put most statues to shame, and this here is a fully pose-able action figure! I decided I couldn't pass it up, so here it is: the Square Enix Play Arts Kai Variant Armored Batman figure. And it might be my favorite figure of the year (that's saying quite a lot, considering how much I love my Mezco One:12 Collective Batman and Judge Dredd figures)!

I have a pretty long history with Play Arts Kai figures. My first were the Chris Redfield and Sheva Alomar figures from Resident Evil 5, which cost me an astounding $35 each when I bought them. I've since gone through Street Fighter, God of War, Batman Arkham, Dark Knight movie, Tomb Raider, Assassin's Creed, Space Pirate Captain Harlock and probably a few others that I'm forgetting. Despite that, I've found that I'm often frustrated by the PAK figures once they are out of the box. I have a hard time posing them, find they have some wonky proportions and odd knee joints, and are either pretty fragile or painted sloppily. So, I swore off of them after the Nolan Batman figures arrived. And then...this. If it wasn't out on display in the store, I never would have even known this figure exists, and now I think it's the best Batman figure I own.

Armored Batman Variant stands 10 & 5/8" tall to the top of his ears. His girth is both astounding and unprecedented. In his armored suit, he possesses the barrel chest, thunderous thighs and barn-sized shoulders of a power-lifter. raised, making it seem like the metal has peeled back from the interior. There's a rough dry-brushing of silver over some of the armor (and, oddly enough, at the base of the cape) to enhance the feeling of metal. The paint on the figure, overall, is simply gorgeous. He's full of dark shades of black, grey, metallic tones and then some deep purple in places, which offset gold and copper weaponry. There's some wonderful silver work peeking out in places that would need chainmail or some such to allow for movement. And the gauntlets feature some of the longest, sharpest and most metallic-looking forearm spikes I've ever seen.

The colors over the entire figure all work together with the sculpt to make this a piece you can examine and stare at endlessly, and still find nuances worth appreciating. Oh, and lest I forget, one of my favorite aspects of the figure is the head and face. The skin tone is really stunning - the plastic is so lifelike, even if there is very little skin showing. I love the white eyes, and the sculpt of the head, with all of it's rigid, geometric lines and angles is spectacular. In short, this is an absolute work of art. I'd love it as a statue. But, this guy is something more. He's fully articulated in the PAK style, with clicky ratchet joints at the key points. There's some restriction to the range of motion, as you'd expect, and I worry that the hip joints are too loose to support the weight of this massive guy over a long time, but the cape actually helps to offset some of that, since is reaches right down to the ground. Speaking of the cape, it's in three pieces, two of which can be pulled outwards like wings on a ball joint. The third piece is a ball-jointed piece of armor that sits at the base of the neck, and can rotate or flex out away from the body.
There's a pound and a half of plastic in this Batman, and he stands like he knows it. If we see Ben Affleck in anything remotely close to this (we won't) I'll walk out of that theater a happy camper. Seriously, this guy looks like he could hold his own with the Hulkbuster! But the armor alone really isn't the impressive part. Play Arts Kai has taken attention to detail to a whole new level. Batman has clearly put his armor through the paces. There are tons of sculpted dings, dents, slashes and gouges over the entire figure. None of them are cheesy or seem like an afterthought. For instance, there's a pretty large laceration on the left breastplate. The edges of the cut are slightly raised to add to the impression of metal. Even the boots are encased in armor reminiscent of a medieval knight!

Armored Batman Variant comes with a nice assortment of extras. You get a stun baton, a "gun", similar in looks to the EMP Launcher Christian Bale's Batman used in the Nolan films, an extension barrel for the gun, a grenade of some sort, a batarang, four extra hands, and the obtrusive and overly elaborate PAK base (I never take these out and assemble them). The baton stores in the holster on his right calf, and the gun and its extension both plug into a rack on his back, under the cape. Everything looks amazing, though the grenade is tiny and doesn't have a peg to keep it in his hand or anything (as a result, it's staying in the box to keep me from losing it). It matches the string of sculpted grenades on his right thigh, and the batarang matches the bracket of 5 sculpted onto his left thigh. I've found that the handle of the gun can be removed and plugged into the baton holster, too, making it look like the gun is stored in there.

The Play Arts Kai Variant Armored Batman is a piece I'm thrilled to add to my collection. I haven't even begun to mess around with posing or swapping out parts and I already love him. The sculpt and paint applications are some of the best I've ever seen on an action figure, period, and to say I'm thoroughly impressed is a monumental understatement. This guy is one my top figures of 2015, hands-down...