Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Wonder Woman Movie - MENALIPPE!

DC Multiverse Wonder Woman Ares Wave - Menalippe TRU Exc - Mattel 2017

One of the greatest joys I get in this modern age of action figure collecting is a surprise announcement of an exclusive figure. With all the conventions and toy shows, the fact that these can remain secret until the last moment is pretty amazing. Beyond the fact that this Wonder Woman Multiverse line has been near perfection so far, there are two awesome Toys R Us exclusive additions: an uncloaked Wonder Woman and this Menalippe figure. In the comics, Menalippe was always a priestess-type character, but in the movie it appears she is a Lieutenant and the sister of Hippolyta (and therefore Aunt to Diana). I don't know how prominent her role will be in the movie, but I'm so glad she was given the green light for an action figure because I really dig this cinematic Amazon look and I want a whole army. My only complaint is that I wish she was bigger. According to everything I've read, Menalippe is supposed to be tall and imposing, but this figure is smaller than Diana. Let's check her out below!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

DC Nation Aardman - CATWOMAN!

DC Nation - Aardman Action Figure 5-Pack - Catwoman - DC Collectibles 2013

Back in 2012 there was a spectacular little television show called DC Nation on the Cartoon Network. The anchors for this animation block were full-length cartoons like Green Lantern, Teen Titans Go!, Young Justice, and Beware the Batman. But the best part was the crazy variety of animated shorts that filled in the gaps. Some of my favorites included Amethyst, Super Best Friends Forever, Shade the Changing Man, Batman of Shanghai, Metal Men, and a super-stylized Wonder Woman series that reminded me of a 70's pulp film. My number one favorite though was the DC World's Funnest which featured Aardman's unique claymation interpretations of the main DC A-listers. They featured dubbed children's voices in the vein of Aardman's Creature Comforts and Penny. There were ten World's Funnest shorts in all and I loved them. DC Collectibles did a decent job merchandising DC Nation. Aside from these figures, there was a Super BFF series, a plush Deadman, and Robert Valley Wonder Woman statue. Not bad at all.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

12" Multiverse - WONDER WOMAN!

DC Comics Multiverse - 12" Wonder Woman Movie - Wonder Woman - Mattel 2017

It's amazing how much of a difference a slight retooling can make. When I first bought the 12" Wonder Woman from last year's Batman v Superman line, I thought it was a really great looking figure. But now in comparison to this updated version from the upcoming Wonder Woman movie, the older one looks like a beast. The only real difference between the two figures is the head sculpt, but the overall improvement is massive. If you like this sculpt, but aren't crazy about the 12" scale, there is a Toys R Us exclusive 6" Multiverse figure coming out that appears to be a perfect scaled-down version of this sculpt. (That figure also comes with a bonus shield accessory for Ares). I'm really happy with all the merchandising that this movie has produced so far. I think it bodes well for upcoming female-centric superhero movies like Captain Marvel and Gotham City Sirens. Now my only worry is that I will like those costume designs. Wonder Woman and Supergirl look great, so hopefully the bar will remain high!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Star Wars 40th Anniversary - PRINCESS LEIA!

Star Wars - Black Series 40th Anniv (Kenner Series) - Princess Leia - Hasbro 2017

Princess Leia is one of the most recognizable fictional females of all time. Whether she's in her iconic metal bikini or the trademark hair buns, her image is known across the world. That's why it is so surprising that there has never been an action figure that captures her likeness well until very recently. This 40th Anniversary figure has the most amazing Leia face sculpt I've ever seen. She also comes on an amazing Kenner-style retro cardback. Unfortunately she's also wearing a lumpy potato sack for her robes. I will never understand cloth outfits for toys in this scale. I just bought an E.T. figure from NECA last week and he is cloaked in a sculpted white blanket that is flexible, removable, and looks great. I wish Hasbro would take a cue from NECA and re-release this Leia with sculpted attire. I would buy her in a heartbeat. In the meantime I will play around with pinning back the bulky sections and dusting off my needle and thread skills - cause that face deserves a better presentation. Let's check her out below!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Funko POP and Mystery Mini - ELVIRA!

Funko POP! Televison #375 and Sci-Fi Mystery Minis Series 3 - Elvira - Funko 2016

Of all the traits I admire in people, talent and creativity really take the top spots. That's why when it comes to actors and comedians, I find myself most drawn to those who can create and embody a character persona that takes on a life of its own. It doesn't happen that often. In the US, I can only really think of a handful; Pee-Wee Herman, RuPaul, and Elvira. (Plus Mr. Bean in the UK and Dame Edna in Australia). Fun fact: I was listening to a podcast a few weeks ago where RuPaul was interviewing Cassandra Peterson (Elvira) and they were talking about Pee-Wee and how Paul Reubens and Cassandra were in the Groundlings together in the late 70s when they developed their characters. I love when I realize things I adore are connected. There hasn't been a huge amount of Elvira merchandise in the past, but recently Funko got into the game with a Pop and a Mystery Mini - hopefully to be followed by many other products (Rock Candy! Dorbz!). Let's check out the first Funko Elviras below!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Mini-Mates - DESPERATELY SEEKING SUSAN!

Desperately Seeking Susan Mini-Mates - Susan & Roberta - Art Asylum/DST 2008

I started collecting Mini-Mates when these ladies were already long gone off the shelves. But when I finally discovered them years later, I was instantly covetous yet instantly disappointed because the set was selling for roughly $300 on eBay. I set up a Saved Search for years and just assumed it would never happen for me. But then last year I snagged a set loose for about $20 and I was ecstatic. (Now they go for around $75 and I can't explain the fluctuations). Desperately Seeking Susan is one of those quintessential 1980's movie that I desperately wanted to see as a kid but was never allowed to. And although I had an amazing childhood, I seem to spend my adult life making up for not being spoiled by collecting anything nostalgic to me. For some reason this set makes me want an entire 80's themed Minimate collection. I can imagine a Pee-Wee, Cyndi Lauper, Boy George, Elvira, Grace Jones, Michael Jackson, etc, etc. I would buy them all. I hope DST reads this. Let's check out Susan and Roberta below!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Star Wars Die-Cast - REY & CAPTAIN PHASMA!

Star Wars Mini Die-Cast Figures - Phasma #11 & Rey #14 - TakaraTomy 2016

I have a real fondness for 1:28 scale figures. They remind me of the 80s so much: DinoRiders, M.A.S.K., Starriors, Air Raider, Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors, StarCom, there's probably more but I forget. It was a unique scale at the time and I ate it all up. So fast-forward to a couple weeks ago when I was in San Franciso for work and stopped into the Super7 store (and spent wayyyy too much money). My favorite discovery were the diecast miniature Force Awakens figure from TakaraTomy. I have lots of tiny figures, and lots of diecast figures, but aside from my Eagle Force Goldie Hawk, these are my only combination of the two. So far the only females are Rey and Captain Phasma. But with so many Rogue One figures in the set, I'm sure we'll see a Jyn Erso eventually. Not to mention the matriarch Leia. I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for more now that I know they exist, but in the nature of most imported toys, I'm sure any future figures will totally sneak up on me. Let's check out Phasma and Rey below!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Power Ranger Mega Collection - POISANDRA!

Power Rangers: Good vs. Evil - Red Ranger & Poisandra - Bandai 2017

My favorite thing about all the various Power Rangers series are all the crazy bumbling villains. Unfortunately the ratio of male to female characters is dismal at best and when the females do make their rare appearances, they are usually more ridiculous than ten male characters combined. And topping the ridiculous list would definitely have to be this amazingly absurd character, Poisandra. She was the love interest and evil henchwoman to the main baddie, Sledge, in the recent Power Ranger Dino Charge series. She looks like a court jester festooned with giant puffy hearts and her ultimate goal is to defeat the Rangers so Sledge will marry her. I believe her powers are simply that she's strong a ruthless. So no poison-related powers as her name implies (fun fact, her name in Japan is Candililla). Due to her offbeat appearance and personality, she quickly became a fan-favorite and the clamoring for a Poisandra action figure filled the message boards. It came a little late, but here she finally is in all her pink-hearted glory.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Tree Fu Tom - AREILA!

Tree Fu Tom: Deluxe Series - Ariela with Ladybugs - Giochi Preziosi 2013

Tree Fu Tom is a CGI animated show on BBC/CBeebies featuring a live-action human boy (Tom) who uses his "Tree Fu" magic to shrink down and have adventures in the miniature world of Treetopolis. The show was created in conjunction with the Dyspraxia Foundation and features many 4th-wall-breaking movement exercises for children. Tom has many interesting friends in Treetopolis including a tree frog, an acorn sprite, some spiders, mushroom creatures, and of course a variety of insects. Ariela is the main female of the group.  She is a butterfly rancher (with a cowgirl motif) at the Branch Ranch. Certain insects in the series are anthropomorphic, but others take on a more cattle-like role: like the ladybugs, aphids, and big lumbering beetles. Giochi Preziosi is an Italian-based toy company that makes a lot of action figures based on European animated shows. When this review is posted I will be travelling around Spain and hopefully finding lots of cool European toys to review. Let's check out Ariela below!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

DreamWorks Antz - PRINCESS BALA!

DreamWorks Antz: Basic Figures - Princess Bala - Playmates 1998

I spent all of my college years working in video rental stores. I was a movie nut and easy counter work provided me ample time to work on my studies while simultaneously chatting up customers about the films I loved. During that time I became fascinated by movies that came out in pairs - within a year of each either and from different studios, but with incredibly similar stories. Volcano & Dante's Peak (1997), The Matrix, Thirteenth Floor, & Existenz (1999), Armageddon & Deep Impact (1998), I have tons of examples. But the most sensational was the Antz vs A Bug's Life fiasco in the Fall of 1998. It was the first time (in my memory at least) that the "swiped plotline" phenomenon was making headlines. The feud between DreamWorks and Pixar over their movies was well documented (Google it if you're interested and feel like taking sides). While A Bug's Life was fun and had an amazing assortment of characters, I much preferred the weird witty humor of Antz. Let's check out Princess Bala below!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

A Bug's Life - PRINCESS ATTA!

Disney / Pixar: A Bug's Life - Basic Figures - Princess Atta - Mattel 1998

When I was a kid I was a major nature nerd. I grew up in the boonies until I was in 5th grade and didn't have a neighbor for miles. My parents had a small brood of kids and were predictably frugal so a lot of my toys were hand-me-downs and birthdays and Christmas were the only occasions for presents. But I was born a collector. The lack of retail stores and spending money wasn't going to stop my compulsions. So I scoured our mountain for different spiders and insects and stored them in ornate tackle boxes. As an adult, I've always been really tempted by insect-themed toys, but they don't usually blend in well with the spandex and capes crowd. I've still been buying them of course and I'm finally getting around to reviewing three of my favorites this week. A Bug's Life was Pixar's second film. Back in 1998 I was working in a video rental store and this movie was possibly the most popular movie during my 5 years working there. It appealed to every demographic and cemented Pixar's place as a powerhouse studio.

Friday, May 5, 2017

GOTG Miniature Figurines - NEBULA & GAMORA!

Marvel Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 - Figurine Set - Disney Store Exc - 2017

I just got back from seeing Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and I loved it. One of the most impressive things about the film for me was the gender diversity. In many of the biggest action scenes there were more women on the screen then men. I kept thinking of the first Avengers movie and how Black Widow kind of got lost in the crowd. The Guardians really didn't suffer from that at all. I was impressed at how complex of a character Nebula has become. In the first movie she seemed a little 2-Dimensional, but now I totally get why Hasbro waited until this movie to give us a Legends figure of her. The new characters of Mantis and Ayesha were both great, too. The only thing I didn't love about the movie was baby Groot. I know I'm alone in this, but the adorable charms of that little guy have the opposite effect on me. These Disney Store PVC figures are pretty great. I'm excited to keep stalking the stores to see future movie assortments. Let's check out these exclusive Gamora and Nebula figurines below!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Mini-Mate Women of GUARDIANS of the GALAXY V2!

Marvel Mini-Mates GOTG Vol. 2 - Gamora, Nebula, Mantis, & Ayesha - DST 2017

I just bought my tickets to go see Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 this Friday and I'm getting pretty hyped up. I've managed to accumulate a decent amount of merchandise from the movie already. Lots of Funko stuff, Marvel Legends, animated spin-off figures from Hasbro, etc. But the first figures I actually picked up were these Diamond Select Mini-Mates. Mini-Mates never fail with Marvel movie products. Even movies that are mysteriously never fully merchandised (like any of the recent X-Men films or Dr. Strange) will get a full lineup of characters in Minimate form. This GOTG2 series was actually the first time I saw that Ayesha would be in the movie. I was first exposed to Ayesha when she was known as "Her" (the counterpart to Adam Warlock aka "Him"). It's funny how there will be a Marvel Legends Adam Warlock (who I'm not sure is even in the film) but Ayesha is left out. At least DST will always give us a full roster. Let's check out the Gamora, Nebula, Mantis, and Ayesha below!