Tuesday, May 25, 2010

One year later...

Wow, I can't believe it's been one year already. What's worse is it's been one year since I've done a review. Well, drought be gone, I'm back! I'm going to start doing reviews again, first off with a couple new items that have hit stores, then I'll slowly fill in some the older ones I started, but never got the chance to post.

I mainly just wanted to post a little update, and also let you know that we're not on facebook, and soon twitter. If you're on facebook, you can click the little logo on your left, so simply go here:


Feel free to join up, post some of your customs, share some of your ideas, or just talk custom talk. Hope to see you there, and for those 3 out there, thank you for hanging in there with me...


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Xmen Origins Wolverine: Comic Wolverine Blue & Brown

Okay, I said I'd do it, and here it comes.. a quick and dirty review of the two costumed Wolverine figures in the new line. I'm going to review them together, cause besides a couple small differences, they're essentially the same figure. As I get to them, I'll point out what those little differences are.

One thing I was surprised Hasbro did was give us two comic book costumed figures, right off the bat in the first wave. I don't know if this says something, maybe they don't know how many waves they'll be able to stretch the movie line into, but still I found it a little odd. You'd think they would want to try and spread him out a little(although, I guess that's kind of hard being a line of well, Wolverine figures).

Like I said above, these guys are almost the same figure, not as in the same figure made form the same mold, but more as the same type of figure, just with different paint. They also resemble the Weapon X body too, which is why I'll be referring to that figure a lot in this review.

Some of the small differences on these two are the little ball socket hip joints. The brown Wolverine has sculpted on balls, and the blue one has plain looking ones. In a way, the sculpted on ones have a better range of motion, I don't know why, but they just move a little better. They also have slightly different arms, while not that different, just a tad enough to make them so. Another small difference are the knees and the lower legs, the top of the boots flare out more on the brown Wolvie than the blue one. The torso is also slightly different on the blue one, the little black "slash marks" on him are actually sculpted on rather than just painted, but again, it looks like they used that same torso as a base. Lastly of course are the heads. The Brown has a mask that shoots outward a little more than the blue and has a snarl on the face where the blue one looks pretty normal, as if he's just standing in line at the local coffee shop(then again, at my local coffee shop, I think I'd probably have that snarl look).

Other than that, both figures have the same basic figure construction and articulation points. Getting into that, lets break them down articulation wise:

Articulation breakdown:

Neck-Ball joint
Shoulders- Ball hinged
Elbows- ball hinged
Mid-torso-some weird plug combo socket joint thingie...
Hips- Ball socket/hinged
Upper thighs-swivel
Knees- Double hinged knees
Ankles- Ball hinged

Now almost everything I can say about these two figures, I already said with my Weapon X review. They're almost identical in construction and articulation, so feel free to go back and read that again if you want to know about how well they move. The only thing I would add are the arms here while basically the same are a little different. I actually prefer the brown ones more, seems like you get a tad more motion out of them.

The main difference you'll notice though, at least I did, was the leg movement. It seemed to me that the brown had better leg movement overall. If you notice on the pictures here, you can see how the brown sits up better than the blue one. A small factor, but something that should be noted.

Like I said everything else is pretty much the same on these two guys. They both have a wide rang of motion and can be posed in some real cool poses if you wanted.

Deconstruction and custom potential is pretty much on par with Weapon X, only you got a guy in a costume, rather than in his tighty blackies. You can see how these guys are put together and even how they can be popped apart again by checking out Weapon X's review, there's even a nice picture of him taken apart and in little pieces. You can pretty much do the same with these two.

It'll be interesting to see the different customs that people come up with using Wolverine as a base. While I doubt we'll see his head used for anything other than Wolvie, I can see his main torso and arms and legs being used for many super hero customs.

I think out of the two figures, I wouldn't be able to pick a favorite, one over the other. There's parts I like on one figure more than the other and vice verse. If I could pick from both to make my favorite Wolvie, I think I'd go with the brown mask, but the blue face part, the blue upper body, but with the brown lower body. And better claws, I know they're trying to be kid friendly, but if you ask me, they look horrible.

Thanks again, and hope you enjoyed my little review. Stay tuned for a couple non-Wolverine figures from the movie and comic line in the next couple of days...

Xmen Origins Wolverine: Comic Weapon X

Let me first start this off with an apology. Why? Well, the next couple of reviews aren't going to be my regular detailed reviews. I'll still try to put as much beef as I can into them, but, well, they're all Wolverine figures, and I don't mean the line, I mean the character. So please bare with me, cause after the onslaught of Wolvie, there is light at the end of the tunnel with some new G.I. Joe multi-packs, Halo 3, and then back to the rest of the Marvel Universe figs(sigh, I just remembered, there's a Wolverine in that line too... gasp).

I'll start off with the Weapon X figure from the comic series of the new X-men Origins Wolverine line. Yes, that's right, not only are we graced with figures from the up and coming movie, but Hasbro also threw us a bone and gave us some(I use that term lightly) comic book versions of Wolverine.

Although the figures are different, the packages are pretty much the same. The small little lettering on the side stating it's from the comic book series is about all that's different, so let's hope Granny and Aunt Melba pay attention while picking out lil' Johnny's B-day present based on his favorite movie line this summer.

After ripping poor Weapon X out of his plastic prison(I actually cut him out, but shhh, same thing), first thing I noticed was how small he was. Granted, I'm not a comic book guru, but I do know that Wolverine is known to be on the small side, but still, he was pretty tiny. Besides his height, I was really digging the figure, I think though, due to his character specific costume, there will probably be only a couple uses for him on the toy shelf, and that's probably in some sort of Lab of some sorts... and if I remember correctly, I think there's a deluxe figure coming out later this year, with a tank of some sorts for this exact kind of set up. WAIT? Then why did I buy this one? Damn Hasbro, they got me!

Well, I guess since he's already opened, I'll finish reviewing him. First off, lets take a look at his accessories. He comes with some leg binders already on him in the package and he also has a set of arm binders not on him. Now the cool thing about these are they can be put on him as if he's being well, bound up, or they break apart in the middle of the chain and you can act like he's bustin' out, about to take out some evil doers that have been doing some oh-so bad things to him.

He also comes with a helmet and some type of harness on him, and while it doesn't look like it's made to come off him. All it took was some careful pulling on part of the belt and it came apart. While I can see it was glued and not meant to come apart, it still goes back together fine. I just wish they made it so it was supposed to come off, that way people didn't feel like they were "breaking it".

Now that we got all that crap off him, lets look at the figure sculpt, which to be honest is not all that bad. Well, for a naked man in his boxers that is. Actually, the more and more
I played with him, I was really enjoying him(not the whole naked man part)... as a figure I meant. He was really well thought out, and as a customizer, like all figures, I started thinking of a thousand different projects I could use him with.

But lets not get ahead of ourselves, let me first concentrate on his articulation points. The good, the bad, and the so-so. Let me break them down for you, and then I'll go through them a little more in depth joint by joint.

Articulation breakdown:

Neck-Ball joint
Shoulders- Ball hinged
Elbows- ball hinged
Mid-torso-some weird plug combo socket joint thingie...
Hips- Ball socket/hinged
Upper thighs-swivel
Knees- Double hinged knees
Ankles- Ball hinged

Okay, now as with some of the last figures I've reviewed, the same goes for the neck ball. HASBRO, PLEASE FIX IT! Okay, I got that out. Seriously, what's the point of having a neck ball joint, if it can't even be used. Like I said before, it doesn't work. Go grab a Star Wars figure, pop a head off, see how huge that ball is? It's like that for a reason, it works, most Star Wars figures can move their heads around all over, look in all sorts of directions. This guy, well, he can look at you, and that's about it. What makes things worse is the hair sculpt. His hair's sculpted to a point where you can barely move his head, even left to right. He has these little pegs all over his torso, and the hair's sculpted around those, so even when you do get the head to move a little, it gets stopped cause of the little pegs. You'd think they would have looked into something like that, sigh...

Moving on to the rest of the figure, where the head and neck really upset me, I think the rest makes up for it. The shoulders and elbows are really well sculpted, and I love the detail painting of the hair on his arms, too cool. He also has some well needed wrist articulation. I can see a lot of these figures being bought just for the bare arms alone.

The torso is pretty cool too. I know I have "some weird plug combo socket joint thingie" listed as his mid-torso joint, but that's cause I really don't know what else to call it. From the outside, he looks like a normal everyday figure with a mid torso joint, but as you'll see later, it's constructed a little different, but hey... it works. I think it actually works real well, almost better than some mid-torso joints in the past. The problems with some, like the one used on Spidey, or the 25th Anv. G.I. Joes, is they have this side to side rocking motion(some of them at least), and while cool, sometimes they get stuck in a weird awkward tilted angle and they just don't look right. Well, with this guy, I didn't find myself having that problem, it felt a little more smooth while moving his torso around.

Moving down the bottom, we have his thigh balls, um, er, joints. Like the movie figures, they're using the older Marvel Legend type of hip ball socket/joint thingies. While I like them, and I think they help a comic book character get that little extra flexibility and over all look, I think they really have to be careful on them so they don't just look like two balls connected to the guys hips. To stay away form this, they've gone to the length to actually sculpt them to actually have wrinkles and folds like clothing would, and I think that really helps take you away from them being joints and more like part of his body. Till, you start to pose him. Now,
I don't know if maybe it was just my figure, but it seemed like his joints were real tight, almost to the point where they felt like they were going to break if I forced them too much. It only took a cup of boiling water to fix this, but still, it shouldn't be needed, so like I said, I really hope it was just my figure and they're not all like this.

Once I got past my stiff joints, I found it easier to pose him and was having a lot of fun with him. I think what helped this was the double knee joints. These along with jointed ankles I think are almost a must on figures these days. While I'm still thinking there might be a better way to do the double knee joint, cause while bent they still look too thick, I'm still loving them and they add tons to the figure.

Now to tear him apart. While it's not that time consuming to do so, I recommend a real, REAL hot cup of boiling water. I usually microwave my cup for about 3 minutes, but for this, I found myself doing it for more than that, sometimes up to four and a half mins. I know it probably doesn't need to be said, but seeing they're technically kids toys, please be careful while doing this, if you're a kid, um.. DON'T. Go get your parents, even though they'll probably yell at you for popping apart your figures, then again, they probably bought them, so I guess they have the right. So, if you're not old enough to buy these on your own, maybe you should just wait to boil some water and pop them apart. ;)

If you are old enough, which I'm sure most reading this are, if you haven't done it before, you'll need the following items. Microwave safe cup with some water in it, some type of mini flat head screwdriver and well, some patience. Microwave the water without the figure in it(I know, but hey, you never know). Like I said, I went up to about four and a half mins on my cup, mainly for the legs and the torso. I'd recommend doing those first, then move on to the other parts, as they don't need the water to be as hot.

Below is a picture that I'll be referring to in the next couple of reviews. Like I said, it's not hard, it took me about 15-20 minutes to be honest, and that was mainly cause I had to reheat my water a couple times. I think the next go around will be faster, but just remember when putting the knees back together, get it real, real hot, or you're gonna struggle with it, and I wouldn't use any type of pliers to squeeze them together, if it's not hot enough, you might ruin the plastic smashing them together. I almost forgot, the flat head screwdriver was for the little pins in the knees. While not really needed, it helps pop them out of the legs when you do try to take them apart. Again, not needed, but made it a little easier on the finger tips. Each knee joint has two pins, I only took apart one on each knee for the example, hopefully you get the idea.

Ripping this guy apart, I could see him being used for a lot of different customs. His arms are nice and bare. His chest can be a good starting point for almost anything, and I'm not sure, but I'm pretty sure those pegs actually come out. Yeah, you'd have to cover up some holes, but hey, if you're ripping them out, then I'm guessing you're skilled enough to do that. The legs and heck the whole body can be used for some blank canvas for any type of custom really, and I can't wait to see these guys integrated into all sorts of customs out there.

I mentioned the mid-torso joint, and while you can't see in the picture(maybe I'll take a better one), the peg that sticks out of the lower part of the torso, actually looks like it can come out, it's like a peg, sticking in both the upper and lower part of the torso. I think that's what makes it work well, so you have this real cool realistic motion you can move it around with.

Okay, I guess I lied about the review not having any meat to it, but I guess it's cause it's my first of many Wolvies, trust me, my pre-apology up there will be warranted when I get to my sixth one. Thanks again and see you in a little bit with, you guess it, more Wolverine figures.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Xmen Origins Wolverine: Movie Sabretooth

This week I was able to get my hands on some of the Wolverine movie figures. I'll be going through my usual breakdown of the figures, but with most of them being Wolverine, I might do some group reviews on some of the different variations of every one's favorite wild haired friend.

I figured so I don't get bored with all 37 different Wolverine figures, I'll start fresh with his arch nemesis Sabretooth. Now, I've stated in one of my other reviews that I don't follow many comics, I'm not a die-hard comic book fan, so basically what I know is just from picking up in magazines here and there and the movies.

I hope this helps put a neutral spin on my reviews, while I know what the classic characters are known to look like, I think and well, hope it'll help give a somewhat outsiders point of view on the actual figures, rather than the character development in the movie.

So with that, lets jump in and take a look at Sabretooth's packaging. If you read my Marvel Universe reviews, I praised the packaging. I liked the card art and the layout, but here, I'm kinda left wanting more. It's a bit bland, and generic compared to the other line. I'm a bit disappointed that they didn't go with character art. Maybe they had a smaller budget, or they had to pay more money to the movie company and had to cut costs somewhere, but I don't know, it all just seems a little bland to me.

As far as extras and accessories are concerned, as with all the figures, he comes with a little pamphlet hawking all the new and exciting offerings available from Hasbro for the movie(sorry, no picture, waiting to scan it so it shows up better). He also comes with some sort of bone staff and a chain. While these might be key parts for the character in the movie, they do little for me as accessories and I actually found myself just throwing them to the side. Sabretooth's also dressed with a nice long coat that's made out of s soft plastic. The way it's sculpted is not too over the top, and doesn't just hang there, so I like the middle ground they went with. Also, for those that don't like it, he's also sculpted so if you take the coat off, he doesn't look too bulky in the arms and they don't look out of place. Kudos to the sculptor for this. I think he looks great both with and without the coat.

Speaking of the sculpting, lets go ahead and take a look at that. I think the likeness in the face looks pretty close to the actual actor, while not digital scanning technology close, but still, close enough(I don't know if they in fact did scan the actor's face, so don't hate me if they did, and if they did, they need to fire the scanner). Like I mentioned above, his arms are sculpted so he can both wear the jacket and take it off and you wouldn't even know. While I'm not sure if the character's supposed to look like it in the movies, but the figure has real long legs, and in a way, it kind of throws him off a little, not too much to make a difference, but just a tad to where if you look at him from the wrong angle, he looks like he has his pants pulled a little too high, Revenge of the Nerds style, lol.

One down fall I see with the sculpting are the big sloppy blobs that he has dripping from his hands. Oh, wait, those are his fingers? I wasn't too impressed with those, and/or his claws. They just didn't turn out right and not only that, I'm not a fan of hands that are either spread out in some weird pose or clenched into fist where they're really only good for a couple poses. His hands here are in that spread out look. I guess they could look good if he was pouncing on Wolvie ready to strike and maul him, but not so much when you wanted to set him up just standing there not attacking someone.

Okay, enough bashing on his sausage fingers, lets look at the articulation on the figure. One of the cool things about the Wolvie figures is, at least so far, they seem to incorporate the old school Toy Biz Marvel Legends articulation. I think this is a plus in a couple of different ways, one to hopefully bring back some of the fans who haven't really adopted the Hasbro ML figures as of late and two, well, for over all posing. I think these ball jointed hips and double jointed knees can really be useful for making some wicked poses for these characters.

Lets take a look at the articulation breakdown:

Neck-Ball joint
Shoulders- Ball hinged
Elbows- ball hinged
Hips- Ball socket/hinged
Upper thighs-swivel
Knees- Double hinged knees
Ankles- Ball hinged

Like some of the other recent Marvel figures(and GI Joes) from Hasbro, he has the neck ball joint that just doesn't quite work right. I've said it before, but I really wish they'd look into this again and fix it so it does what it should. As it stands, all he can really do is look left and right, and barely look up and down.

As for the shoulder and elbows, he has the basic ball hinged joints that are becoming more and more popular in figures these days, and they really work well with him. It looks like the sculptor took this into account while sculpting him so even though he had a baggy shirt/coat look to him, you can still get a pretty wide range of motion out of his arms. The sad part is there's not wrist articulation at all. I think this hurts not only the figure, but the character cause you're limited on how you can pose him, and in order to swivel his wrists, you have to swivel it at the elbow, and that might restrict his pose some what.

The torso is also somewhat of a let down. No mid torso joint, one I was hoping for, so he could have a hunched over look, or possibly standing up with his back arched. While it's not a big deal, it's almost a given on most figures these days, at least from super hero lines, so I was sad to not see it here. Instead we get a swivel waist where his shirt meets his pants.

Moving down to his hip/thighs, we have the old school Marvel Legend ball socket/hinged joints. I really like the way these are made, they're not too tight, and they move around real well. You can swivel the ball around so you can give him a wide stance, or move it around so his legs can bend in front of him in a sitting positions. Not only that, but it looks good too, not like a figure with two huge ball attached to his legs. That's always a plus in my book.

Where I love the hips/thighs, I'm not too sure about the knees. While I love double jointed knees, especially well sculpted ones. I think they've got a ways to go in getting straight pants to look right. I think there has to be some other method that will give you the same amount of articulation, but not have the knees look too bulky while they're bent. That's my only beef here, I like them and they work well, just when they're bent all the way, they don't look that good.

Finally the ankles, basically your everyday jointed ankles. They can both swivel and bend, but I had a hard time moving mine into a couple positions, mainly due to the pants sculpt getting in the way. While not that big of a deal, I felt they could have been sculpted a little better to give more freedom to the ankles.

I'm quite happy with the overall articulation on this big guy. He can not only bend around and sit and do all those things you'd want your figures to do, but he can also work well with other toy lines. Here are a couple pictures which shows how well he can sit and also another one showing how he fits in with a GI Joe vehicle. Look out GI Joe, you might have someone else to fight on your sofa battlefield later this summer.

Now for my favorite little part, Deconstruction and customizing possibilities. I wasn't able to do this with my Spider-Man figure, but I wanted to take the time and do it here. Over all it took a little over 10 minutes with a mug of boiling water, a little flat head screwdriver and some patience.

for the most part, you can simply dunk the figure in a mug of boiling water and just pop apart his arms and parts of his legs. His torso is also made up of a soft enough plastic where you can pop it off the waist area. You really have to get it hot though, and I had to use my flat head to help wedge the plug out of the torso, but when I did, it came out real easy.

The other part that was a little tricky was the knees. They're held in place with little pins, two pins per leg. Now it's not too hard, like before, just make sure your water is quite hot and don't let the figure cool too much, or you might have a hard time popping out the peg. All you have to do really is just place the flat head between the pin and the leg and pry it out.

Now most people won't need to do this, but it's nice to know it can be done in case you wanted to give him a different set of lower legs or boots or what not.

As for customizing, I think people are going to have fun with this guy. From simple head popping, to using his coat for a custom, I think there's a lot of potential here. One thing I like is the nice plain base body, ever wanted to make a custom of your favorite teacher, movie usher, or demonic car salesman? Well, now you have the perfect slacks and button up shirt to do it with. Just messing around taking the pictures, I found a couple heads that popped on real easily, mainly 25th GI Joe heads, most of the Star Wars heads seemed like the socket joint was too big and just wobbled around. His head also fits pretty good on some GI Joe bodies, some might need a little work, but again, I think we'll see a lot of customs made from this guy.

Lastly, here's a little group picture of various 1:18 scaled figures, something to hopefully let you know if he can be used on your shelves, or in you custom drawers. Hope it helps and hope you liked the review. I'll be reviewing some of the other movie figures all weekend, so check back often, and thanks again.

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