Wednesday, October 28, 2009

DC Universe Classics Classic Mantis!

This is Mantis:

Or so we are led to believe...

This is also (a) mantis:

The resemblance is startling. However, one might argue that this also resembles Mantis:

What I can I say? Every time I look at Mantis I see Chinese dragon. Heck even their colour schemes are the same!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Batman of the Future

Or rather as he is more widely known in the US, Batman Beyond!

Funny that all the VCDs and DVDs of the animated series were called Batman of the Future outside of the States. Go figure.

The name of the DC Universe Classic Wave 4 figure 4 wasn't changed though, and it's proven no less popular for collectors here in Singapore. This was one tough figure to find, with all the masked versions being ample at the department stores. I would've been happy to just get that version, but I couldn't get past the painted (or were they sculpted on as well?) teeth. Batman Beyond doesn't have teeth in the animated series, or at least they weren't drawn on. So I held out on that guy and my patience was rewarded when I saw this unmasked version going for way less than retail at the weekly flea markets.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Girl Power!

I just realized that of the 17 DC Universe figures that I own, 9 are good guys, 8 are baddies, 9 of them are DC Superheroes figures, leaving only 8 from the latest DCUC line; 3 are Supermen, 1 is a Collect n Connect (Kalibak), and only 1, yes ONE, is female.

Poor Black Skirt variant DCSH Supergirl. And she isn't even from the DC Universe Classics line!

What can I say? I like the guy Super Heroes better? Perhaps. Subconsciously. Maybe part of me still looks up to them as role models. Or it could be the female character toys are more popular and thus harder to find. Lots of horny dudes out there. Heh. ;)

So of the unopened DCUC stuff I had lying around (Come on! I don't have that much time to open everything I buy immediately! ;P), I decided to bring out the ladies!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Can't Get Enough of Them Green Lanterns!

A trip to the local toy flea market yielded a pretty rare find today:

That right, it's the 2009 SDCC Exclusive Justice League Unlimited Green Lanterns Origins 3-Pack! (Minus the packaging)

I'd been rather surprised to find these 3 guys loose and going for only S$25 (US$ 17.80) despite the lack of the packaging. I thought they might have been in poor condition, which they aren't. So I put it down to shipping cost--somehow this seller got his hands on a loose batch of the trio, probably super cheap straight from the factory in China, and saved a bunch on having to pack the thingy nicely in order not to get it damaged in transit. And he decided to pass on the savings. Or he could've robbed some poor kid at the San Diego Comic Con. But I'm optimistic, so I'll go with the former.

Now I wouldn't have minded getting the Lantern shaped, re-sealable packaging, but those that I have MISB seen here in Singapore have been priced in the region of S$60 (US$ 43). So I figure if I can pay less than half price for this cool set minus the package, why not? :)

The first thing that struck me about these figures is the wonderful paint job and sculpts of the heads.

Never mind that they don't stand too well unless balanced just right, and forget the forgettable articulation, these guys were made to look pretty and as animated accurate as possible. And they do, as far as Sinestro goes, because he's the only one to appear in the Justice League Animated series. Hal does too, but only for a very short instant and with his mask on. But they style of the sculpts fit very well and the eyes are painted magnificently.

I really love the 2 alien heads. All of them are of course interchangeable with each other. Abin Sur's matte pink looks like it could be real rubbery skin, while Sinestro's red tone is just right. Gotta love the painted 'stache too. And his jaw and ears are done spot on. I don't have a problem with Hal, except that he doesn't have a mask on and his neck lacks a bit of green that's needed when you swap head so you can turn Hal into Green Lantern. Yeah, so he does look a little off when "in costume."

Oh and there's one other problem with Hal: his right leg is shorter than his left. Thankfully, he's got larger feet than the other two due to his flight boots, so he doesn't have a hug problem balancing

Let's rate 'em!

Aesthetics: 9.5/10

I have to say, they are all well executed. Despite Sinestro's and Abin Sur's body being the same generic smaller male JLU body (Supes and Batman are larger) painted only slightly differently at the shoulders, lots of work was put into the heads. On Hal, his head is sorta generic, but the work was put into his rubber jacket, new arms and legs. And average looking as it may be, Hal's head is still painted well.

Poseability: N/A - I won't rate them here cuz I think JL and JLU figures were not meant to be posed, really. A broken Superman and Wonder Woman are kinda big hints that these guys were not meant to have supermodel poseability. They were meant to look great and maybe stick an arm or a leg out once in a while.

Fun: 9/10 - It's awesome that these 3 came together. You can now re-enact the whole Hal as Green Lantern origin story. And it's great that the heads are interchangeable. They should do this with more figures, especially those with secret identities. Unmasked Batman/Batman Beyond would be cool, as would Lex Luthor in a suit/prison duds/power armour. Also, this GL set is extra fun as I'm now catching up on my GL literature thanks to my cousin Byron, who's got a real knack for finding the good reading material. Thanks for passing it on. ;)

Value: 8.5/10 - For the US$20 it's going for MISB at I'd say it's just about worth it. If you live outside of the US though, shipping will be expensive. So buy more to save on shipping. :P

Overall 9/10 - A solid set which will increase in fun value if they make more Lanterns, especially with more interchangeable heads. Why they've already got a Kilowog, and with John Stewart, you can already have a mini-Green Lantern Corps get together. ;)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Heralds of Galactus!

Of all the Marvel Universe figures release so far, only these two have served the world-eating Galactus as Heralds.

Or so I think...

Well, anyway, the Silver Surfer and the Human Torch are both awesome! To get a full review of these two, hop on over to Articulated Discussions for an extended review.

Meanwhile, here are some pictures and a couple of funnies. Enjoy! :)

Minutes Later...

Thursday, October 8, 2009

DCUC Superman: Red and Blue

These two characters are the perfect example of when a good idea is poorly executed. Here's what the back of his box reads:

The funny thing is, that's not how it happened. According to the infinite wisdom of comic books, Superman Blue (or Electric Blue Superman) came to be when Supes’ powers started “evolving” into pure energy and his body eventually became unstable. So a containment suit was used to keep him in a solid state. The result was a new costume, blue “skin” and energy based powers. Blue Supes found that he could turn these powers “off”, and that he would be completely human when that happened.

However, to make a bad idea even worse, Cyborg Superman, or Hank Henshaw, trapped Supes in an “energy containment structure” and literally dissipated him. So Hank leaves but the energy reforms moments after.

Except this time, a red stream of energy reappears in addition to the original blue stream. So both form Supermen, and both, of course, believe they were the original Superman.

Red was rash and Blue was calm, while every one of their readers (I somehow avoided being one) was bored. So what did they do? They had them collide and BOOM(s), the original Superman was back.

Despite their obviously craptastic story, the designs of the two Supermen are both actually quite appealing. And just like their characters, their DCUC toy counterparts are so wonderful, but yet so, so flawed. Just check out the melted hole bottom left of this MISB Superman Blue's "s" shield.

Even the guy who sold me this conceded that the quality control for the early DCUC waves was pretty bad, so much so that he gave me a loose Superman Blue for buying Supes Red, Blue, and Hawkgirl from him. So I was more than happy to be getting 4 figures for the price of 3. But whaddaya know, the loose Supes also had two glaring defects: A really ill-fitting seam and a warped right foot.

And the paint on these guys are also seriously not the best quality. Chipped paint/smudging/spillover near the joints and seams just make the toys a little less appealing up close.

The accessories also aren't the best, with detachable lightning for the wrists/fists that don't seem to want to stay in place for long. The lightning on their back that forms an energy 'S' shield is not removable, but you can always modify that--it'll peg on perfectly even without glue.

As for Red, he doesn't have the seam and foot problems Blue has, but he did have 2 very sticky/tight leg/hip joints. Both legs felt like their pegs weren't rotating correctly in his hip. But after much coaxing and cajoling, the left peg became unstuck. The right leg is still refusing to respond, so Superman Red is sorta lame right now.

But I understand these problems are inherent to the early waves of this line, and these guys being wave 2 figures, would suffer from an ailment or two. Because honestly, even with all the defects, I still found posing/playing with them quite enjoyable.

And while Red is the rarer variant of the two, both of them are not just straight repaints. In fact, Blue's head looks like the standard Supes head sculpted with headgear and hair. Red's hair is similarly sculpted, but he's got a grimace on his face that makes him unique when compared to all the other DCUC Supermen (Blue suit original, Black Suit, and Brianiac 2-pack).

Now, why couldn't they use this face sculpt for one of the other Supermen? The dopey face on long-haired versions works on Superman Blue, but on the rest, the expression just seems so lost. It's so much better when an action figure has an opinion, in this case a facial opinion. :P

Time to rate 'em both!

Aesthetics: 8.5/10 - The points here are for the bold colours and the design of the character. The sculpt is also excellent. I'm particularly pleased by the differing heads. But poor paint, dodgy seams and chips/spill overs bring this score down.

Poseability: 9/10 - Like it or not, they're DCUC figures, and these have standards, like the 23 points of articulation. The only bad thing for these guys is Red's stuck left/hip. I may have to perform surgery. :(

Fun: 9.5 - One without the other would just be very meh. But both of 'em together--Are you kidding? :) They make for great posing opposite one another.

Value: 8/10 - If I had known that the quality of these early waves are as bad they are, I might have held off on getting these two. But they were a good deal and S$55 for 2, ONLY if they didn't have major flaws. But in this case my MISB Blue has a serious hole on his costume, and his replacement had seam trouble at the thigh. Red's got bigger issues with the unrelenting right leg joint.

And while it's cool to have the electric "S" shields on their backs, it would've been much cooler if they weren't glued on.

Overall: 8.75 - I really like this toy. But somehow, every time I play with it I seem to notice a new flaw, a paint chip here, a smudge there. The wrist lightning issue is also really a problem for me. I mean, who likes equipment that keeps falling out of they're hands. And I'm also thinking it's no fun to get one of these Supes without the other. They should have done them both as a 2 pack exclusive somewhere. But as is, if you can still find 'em, you should grab 'em, especially the Superman fans!

Friday, October 2, 2009

(The Death of) DC Super Heroes Superman

Well okay, I didn't really kill him or anything. Really. But after finally hunting him down for a really good price and from a guy who kept him in loose but excellent condition, I sorta, well, injured Superman.

Since I'd found the perfect Superman sculpt in DCSH Variant Black 'S' Supes, I was sorta on the lookout for the original, yellow 'S' fig which was hard to find for 2 reasons: the DCSH line ended some time ago (like 5 years give or take) and because it seemed like Mattel sent more villains here to Singapore than Supermen. Hence a reasonably priced original Superman was tough to come by.

By lo and behold my patience was rewarded after 6 months when Mark decided to sell off his Superman collection on Ebay Singapore. I managed to benefit form this by bagging MISB DCSH Steel variant and Cyborg Superman on top of original Supes for a really, really good price. He's still got a whole bunch of DC Direct Supermen on sale so go to his seller's page to get 'em fast!

I was thrilled to have finally added the original Supes to my collection, and so I up and happily started shooting photos of him.

But alas, as he was winding up for a mighty blow on Kalibak there, I over-wound his arm and his shoulder got scratched/cut by the harder plastic of his arm-hole (right about at the chest).

My heart sunk and I thought, that never happens with my Variant Black 'S' Supes, so I went and tried winding up his arm as well--and almost did as much damage to him.

The moral of the story? After you play with a whole bunch of 3.75" figures like GI Joes and Marvel Universe figs, please be gentle with your larger scale ones. The little fellas are WAY more flexible than 6" DCSH/DCUC figs. Yep.

The good thing that came out of this is that I now also know that DCUC figures are made of better quality plastic than DCSH. Why? Because my DCUC Green Lantern also had some scuffs from a fair amount of posing, but it took some looking before I noticed the slight amount of wear in the same area of his shoulder as Supes.

The other good thing is that I now have a better feel of how new toys are not necessarily improvements of old ones. For example, the new DCUC black suit Supes may have the same shoulders as any of the DCSH Supermen, but they have a smaller, narrower chest.

Aesthetically, DCSH Supes still beats DCUC (from hair, to face, to jaw-line, to eyes, to expression). The skin tone is also more natural and pleasing to the eye.

Black 'S' Supes/ Yellow S Supes/ Black Suit Supes

I also noticed that between black variant and yellow 'S' Supes there are also subtle differences. The eyes, for one, are red on black 'S' but ice blue on yellow 'S'. And though Supes has baby blues, somehow the red eyes seem to fit better on a figure, they're somehow more piercing, viewed from near or far. His skin tone is also slightly more tan on black 'S', giving him more of a summer tan look. The biggest difference though, is the lighter, more comic book accurate blue of yellow 'S'. So while yellow 'S' is more of a classic look, black 'S' is a grim, darker variation.

But both are equally awesome, whether beating up on Kalibak...

Or fighting off Brainiac.

So here's how I rate DCSH Original Yellow 'S' Superman.

Aesthetics: 10/10 - hands down the best Superman 6" scale action figure out there. He even has sculpted lines for his underwear. The DCUC versions don't. What can I say? Underpants beats no underpants when flying outdoors. ;)

Poseability: 9/10 - Still good, but defnitely not on the level of 3.75" Joes or Marvel Universe Heroes. Gotta be careful not to over-extend him again. :(

Fun: 9.5/10 - Lots to be had here still, especially with his cape which is long enough for him to do some off-balance poses, such as landing or taking off.

Value: 9/10 - Get him if you can find him for S$20 of below. If MISB, he'll come with a diorama stand made of some thick folded cardboard which'll make him look like he busted outta some chains.

Overall: 9.4/10 - Hey, it's Supes! I just can't wait till they come up with a DCUC Martian Manhunter and my Magnificent Seven Lineup will be complete. Ok so I need Aquaman too. But who doesn't? :P

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...