Wednesday, January 31, 2018

GG Bond (Pig Hero) - PHOEBE!

GG Bond (Pig Hero) - Super Cute Pets: Phoebe/Flamingo - JinJiang Toys 2017

GG Bond is a very popular animation franchise in China. It stars a young pig with superpowers named GG Bond (aka Pig Hero) and his pig friends. It's clearly aimed at children - complete with squeaky voices and morality lessons. The franchise currently has eight television seasons and four movies. I'm really not sure what season or film these particular toys are from, but it seems the characters all pilot robots that transform into "Super Cute Pets." The token female pig hero, Phoebe, pilots a bird - translated as Flamingo (but I think it's really a mis-translated "pink bird" because it looks nothing like a flamingo). The robot theme seems like a break from the typical look of the show, but I'm just learning about this now so who knows. I really dig the look of Phoebe's robot mode and I was so excited to get her. It seems like this same design may have been produced in varying levels of quality. I've seen pictures that look slightly better, and some that look slightly worse, but I'm happy with the one I got. Let's check her out!

Monday, January 29, 2018

Eaglemoss Special - JANE FOSTER THOR!

Marvel Fact Files Special #26 - The Mighty Thor (Jane Foster) - Eaglemoss 2017

I have a real soft spot for Eaglemoss figurines. They were the first non-action-figure collectibles I bought when I started to branch out in my adult hobbies. But lately a lot of their flagship lines (the DC and Marvel Classic Figurine Collections) have come to an end. Then the various chess sets ran their course as well. Now the third wave is upon us and we have DC All-Stars, BTAS, Batman Busts, and Marvel Fact Files. This Thor figure is the first purchase I've made from any of these new lines. This particular sculpt is not the most dynamic or fun design. The pose seems stiff and the face seems expressionless. Previous Eaglemoss releases have never been known for expressive faces, but that was because the scale was small so it was also about colorful costumes and dramatic poses. But this Thor figure is huge. From base to hammer she is 7" tall and the figure herself is a hair over 5" - I think at this new scale they need to up their game. I'm excited for their new Wasp and Captain Marvel figures so my fingers are crossed.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Stretch Armstrong - QUICK CHARGE!

Stretch Armstrong and the Flex Fighters - Series 01 - Quick Charge - Hasbro 2018

I just binged watched the first 8 episodes of Netflix's Stretch Armstrong and the Flex Fighters to see all these cool looking characters in action. I just admit that I had assumed Quick Charge was a member of the titular "Flex Fighters," so I was surprised to discover that she is a villain that only appears in a single episode. The cartoon is pretty fun, and although it is focused around three male friends, their male mentor, and their fathers, there is still a pretty unique female presence. I don't know if I've ever seen random female bankrobbers before. Also, the villain Madame Tousant has a gang of silver-haired women in burgundy evening wear engaging in turf wars. There are the crazy Freak Sisters (who remind me a lot of Harley's twin daughters Dee Dee in Batman Beyond). Then there is the amazing Quick Charge - a disgruntled scientist who skates around on lightning. She is voiced by Yvette Nicole Brown (From Community and also the voice of Amanda Waller in DC Superhero Girls). Let's check her out below!

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Machine Change British Union - LING YAO!

Machine Change Union - Deformation Series - Lingyao (JQ6103) -  Jia Qi 2017

I'm so in love with the internet sometimes. In the pre-internet days, collecting was an often difficult, frustrating, and restrictive hobby. I didn't collect toys back then, but my Pez and Comic addictions were equally confined to a small bubble of local shops, regional trade shows, and the occasional reference book. I remember the day I decided to search for my favorite old toys on the internet and realized I was wading into a deep pool. That fateful first step was about 13 years ago, and honestly, since then I've often thought I had explored every inch of the toy internet. But every once in a while I stumble across a whole new unexplored facet and that old feeling rushes back. Over the Christmas holidays this year I discovered Chinese action figures. Not the type that show up on eBay, but weird quirky toys made in China for the Chinese market. I spent hours and hours discovering dozens of figures that I'm excited to review. The first figure will be this awesome pink and Purple fembot, Lingyao. Let's check her out below!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Marvel Titan Hero Series - SPIDER-GIRL!

Marvel Titan Hero Series 12" - Spider-Girl (Anya Corazon) - Hasbro 2018

As much as I am smitten with the trademark collector lines that fill the toy aisles, brands like Marvel Legends and DC Multiverse are so heavily researched by toy blogs that we know exactly what is coming out months (sometimes years) in advance. One of my favorite things about toy collecting is being surprised by something unexpected. I have known in my gut that there would eventually be a Spider-Lady of some sort represented in the Marvel Titan Hero series, but I assumed it would be Spider-Woman or Spider-Gwen. Then to my surprise I woke up a couple weeks ago to a DM on Instagram alerting me to this beautiful Anya Corazon Spider-Girl figure. I immediately ordered one on Amazon then on m lunch break I found one at Toys R Us (I'm very impatient!). This is the time of year when new kid-oriented product pops up without notice, so I had literally been googling a week before with no success. This Anya is based off her appearance in the new Disney XD Spider-Man cartoon. Let's check Spider-Girl out below!


Sunday, January 21, 2018

Marvel Legends - SHURI as BLACK PANTHER!

Marvel Legends - Black Panther: Shuri & Klaw - Toys R US Exc - Hasbro 2018

I'm very single-minded with my toy obsessions. Whenever there is a movie announced, I instantly think of the most far fetched comic-based character that might be squeezed into the movie merchandise. (My Captain Marvel wish is for a Ms. Marvel vs Rogue 2-Pack). When Black Panther was announced, I immediately thought how much I would love a Shuri in the Black Panther costume. I think she only wore the costume for 12 issues, but I loved it. I thought for sure this was an unobtainable longshot, but then a year later I'm actually holding her in my hands. Now, let's be real about this figure: It's basically a very successful kitbash with a new head. The body is identical to Hellcat, the Cape is from Lady Loki/Sif, the staff is from T'Challa, and the belt is from Rogue (it's spun around so the "x" is on the back). The only new sculpts appear to be the head and necklace. But don't get me wrong, this figure is terrific. I applaud Hasbro for getting us an obscure character in the most efficient way possible. Let's check her out below!

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Justice League Mighty Minis - WONDER WOMAN!

DC Mighty Minis: Justice League Series 01 - Wonder Woman - Mattel 2017

One of the most impressive things about about the toy world is that, generally speaking, the products keep improving. When I think of what Marvel Legends and DC Multiverse figures looked like just a few years ago versus today, it's pretty amazing to see how much the quality has progressed. And it's not just those prominent action figure lines. The oversized 12" figures get better and better. And the little 2" Mighty Minis haven't been slacking off either. This Justice League Wonder Woman figure is leaps and bounds better than its Batman v Superman predecessor (similar to the improvements in the Multiverse and basic figures between the two films). I was so underwhelmed with the BvS Mighty Minis that I didn't even have new releases on my radar until I saw a pic of this one on Instagram and knew I had to have it. Surprisingly I followed a tip and found them right away at Best Buy. I'm a huge fan of tiny action figures so adding her to my collection was a no-brainer. Let's check out Wonder Woman below!

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Speed Racer the Movie - TRIXIE!

Speed Racer - Sky Shooter w/ Trixie & Snake Oiler - Mattel (Hot Wheels) 2008

I actually enjoyed the live action 2008 Speed Racer movie. It generally got bad reviews and didn't make a lot of money at the box office, but I thought it was a fun trippy nostalgic spectacle. The cast was full of my favorites too. I always love Emile Hirsch. Matthew Fox was in the middle of his Lost fame (I was so addicted to that show). And John Goodman, Susan Sarandon, and Christina Ricci are always good for a supporting role (plus it was directed by the fan-favorite Wachowskis). Ricci played Speed's eye-in-the-sky girlfriend, Trixie. (Fun fact, a young Ariel Winter played Trixie in the flashback scenes). I discovered this toy line relatively recently - years after they disappeared from clearance bins - and it took forever to hunt her down at a decent price. I thought she would be a 2.5" figure, but in reality she is a pretty unique scale of 3" high. While not a terrific movie line by any means, these toys seem like a throwback to the kind of  movie product on the toy shelves in the early 90s. I like it.  Let's check her out below!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Rock Candy - JESSICA RABBIT!

Rock Candy Vinyl Collectible - Disney's Jessica Rabbit - Funko 2017

Jessica Rabbit is one of the most iconic women from 1980's pop culture. When she first stepped on screen in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? I think the whole world took notice. Her look was created to epitomize the ultimate screen siren: Veronica Lake's hair, Lauren Bacall's gaze, Rita Hayworth's face, and Red Hot Riding Hood's general presence. Despite this calculated formula, she's had very little merchandise produced in the 30 years since her introduction. This is kind of understandable since her animated body is so exaggerated and seems to morph with every step, so pinning down a single iconic look for representation in 3-D would be a difficult task. I've only seen two really well-done sculpts: one is an expensive PVC statue from Medicom, and the other is a simple Hallmark ornament from a few year ago. This Rock Candy is the only Jessica Rabbit figure I own but I'm very pleased with it. They really captured her essence while staying within the Rock Candy style. Let's check her out below!

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Stranger Things - ELEVEN!

Stranger Things - Action Figures Series 01 - Eleven - McFarlane Toys 2017

I love Stranger Things. When the first season was teased a few years ago, I for some reason got the impression that it was written by Stephen King. I'm a huge King fan so I was really excited for it. I was a few episodes in when I realized that it didn't seem like something he would write, but by then I was hooked anyway. (It turns out the series was just inspired by King.. and Spielberg, Shyamalan, Carpenter, Del Toro, etc etc). The story takes place in the the fictional small town of Hawkins, Indiana during the early 1980s. Here, four young outcast characters meet a mysterious girl named Eleven with telekinetic powers. Eleven is the central character of the show, but it mainly works because it's an ensemble cast of fantastic actors that make a really fun show. Plus the small sleepy town in the early 1980s is a great setting that is both nostalgic and creepy (and they replicated that era perfectly). There is a lot of merchandise for the show already, but these McFarlane figures take the cake. Let's check out Eleven below!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Marvel Gallery - IRONHEART!

Marvel Gallery PVC Statues - Ironheart (Riri Williams) - Diamond Select Toys 2017

One of the greatest joys of collecting is when you've been eyeing a product for months, with no intent on actually buying it, but then the stars align and it finds its way into your hands anyway. I always have lots of reasons to refrain from a collectible purchase, but mostly it comes down to space/scale, not wanting to "start a whole new collection," and the trusty standby: price. But then there are these rare occasions when you stumble across a a deal you can't pass up and you cave. I recently picked up this Ironheart 11.5" PVC statue at GameStop for $11 and I'm thrilled with the purchase. I've eyeballed a lot of the Marvel Gallery statues in the past (Lady Deadpool in particular), but all it took was a crazy sale to get me to break my resolve. It doesn't hurt that this is the first piece of merchandise of Riri Williams as Ironheart either. I read the first bunch of Invincible Ironman issues and loved her. Hopefully this is just the start of many Ironheart products (I just bought her Minimate today!). Let's check her out below!

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Kabuki Agents - SCARAB & AKEMI!

David Mack's Kabuki Agents: Scarab - Scarab & Akemi - Diamond Select 2004

I often gripe about comic life in the nineties. The big companies were just so gimmicky that I viewed 90% of comics in that decade unreadable. But one really positive thing was all the weird esoteric independent and foreign comics that suddenly had room to flourish. I fell headfirst into all the interesting manga titles that were now being translated, but another genre that really caught my eye was the artfully painted indy comics like Joseph Lisner's Cry for Dawn, Dan Brereton's Nocturnals, and of course David Mack's Kabuki. Kabuki followed the story of an assassin struggling with her identity in an alternate-future Japan. Honestly, I was in high school at the time and the stories were too intense for me. (I needed upbeat stuff to offset my moody teenage years). But years later I got really into several spin-off series like Kabuki Agents: Scarab. Unfortunately, David Mack wasn't providing much more than an occasional cover for these stories, but they did expose me to the pencils of Rick Mays (who I still follow to this day).

Friday, January 5, 2018

A Long Overdue 2016 YEAR-END REVIEW!

A Collection of 2016's Most Amazing Female Action Figures All In One Post

You read that right: 2016. I've reached a new level of procrastination and am posting this Year-End review approximated 365 days behind schedule. I intended to do this so many times in the past twelve months, but unlike most of my posts, these actually require some forethought and planning. And although exhausting and incredibly time-consuming, these posts are still my second favorite kind to do (right after Character Spotlights). It's easy to focus on the next shiny new toy on the horizon, complaining about details that weren't perfect or an important character who was skipped. But when you take a step back and look at all the wonderful items we get in a single year it's pretty humbling. Every year this hobby gets more complex and interesting. The sculpts, articulation, and character selection are constantly improving, and it's really easy to overlook that. And that is just talking about the year-to-year changes. If you skip 5 or ten years and see the industry changes it's simply mind-blowing.