And we're back! Last time we looked at a big chunk of mess'a non-exclusive haul from SDCC so this week we'll look at the the other half of stuff I racked up (that didn't end up in my parents' attic).
Bif Bang Pow - Twilight Zone: Dr. Bernardi
Arguably the most famous episode (and probably my second favorite) of The Twilight Zone, "Eye of the Beholder" gets some love with a figure of the Doctor. BBP releases these as two-figure series, two series at a time, so in essence this is a Series 2 figure and as such is the most disappointing of the batch. The surprisingly good cloth clothing on Series 1 has gone the way of the dodo as this wave has less than impressive production quality. The Doctor is the worst of the batch, with loose threads all over the neckline, and a trapezoidal piece of Velcro on the tunic so large and firm it's impossible for the shirt to rest naturally. Also as a result the cloth around the neck warps into an awkward shape. This figure is essentially a perfect example of why I hate softgoods on figures, and when that's 75% of what makes the figure it becomes a lot more important. Bernardi also comes with an accessory - a stethoscope. Unfortunately it's sculpted in a flat position, which means it fits well in the package but sticks straight out like Scopo Erectus when placed around the neck. I would have very much preferred they take the time and money from making an accessory that is essentially unusable and put it into QC on the clothes. There is a Nurse from this episode coming up in "Series 3" and it would be cool to eventually get a patient as well, to complete the scene.
Bif Bang Pow - Twilight Zone: Henry Bemis
If "Eye of the Beholder" isn't the most famous episode then it's "Time Enough at Last" from which this figure comes. Burgess Meredith in one of many iconic performances is captured well here but suffers the same problem as Doctor Bernardi - mediocre softgoods. The coat is ill-fitted and rides high in the front and low in the back, essentially leaving a very large opening around the neck. His shirt collar is also a bit too wide which causes the elastic band of the tie to warp it, keeping both sides from laying down in the front. Beyond that it's a good figure, but again this format relies heavily on the tailoring of the clothes so poor execution is just as noticeable as bad paint. Bemis comes with one accessory - a stack of books (for which he now has "time enough at last"). Beyond the clothes my biggest complaint are his glasses. They're a good sculpt but are glued in place on the right side. Again, like the stethoscope, more concern is given to the packaging than to the figure because the glasses being removable is sort of an integral part to the narrative and character! In addition to that this means there's no way to get a good look at the face, since the glasses are so large and thick. They're also pretty brittle and mine are now nearly broke in half at the nose from trying to take them off (I got tricked by the left side not being glued).
Bif Bang Pow - Twilight Zone: The Invader
This is the best figure from the Wave and also the most unique and odd. From the episode "The Invaders" the Invader is pretty much the last of the iconic characters from the show (what's left is more simple "people in clothes" figures, like Robert Redford from "Nothing in the Dark," which, for the record, I would buy in a heartbeat). The Invader uses the "child's body" we saw introduced with last year's Talking Tina & Willy and has a very well executed jumpsuit, complete with the '50s-style rings around the limbs which were oh so popular in sci-fi of the era. The bulky spacesuit part of the outfit is a hard plastic shell that fits over the torso. Sadly it is glued together so we may never know if a head is involved. I like this figure a good bit, and would love to see the woman from the episode packed with a mini-Invader down the road too.
Bif Bang Pow - Twilight Zone: Three-Eyed Venusian
This guy is pretty solid. He's got a simple enough costume so it comes closer to my expectations of quality as based on Series 1 and comparable products. The server's hat has some loose strings and soft corners, though. The head is the best sculpt and has the best paint of the line, so that's very appreciated. The irony of it all, though, is that I've never seen this episode ("Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up") somehow and thus have no personal connection to him. It still feels very much in line with Twilight Zone, as opposed to some of the Series 3 choices which look more Outer Limits-y to me. The Venusian is a good figure and nice addition to the collection.
DST - Captain America: Howard Stark & Hydra Solider
Though they had disappointingly little in the way of Convention Exclusives, DST can always be relied upon to have a decent helping of recent products on hand and on sale. In fact, I think they are the only manufacturer that sells non-exclusive stuff at the con, which is pretty cool (Kotobukiya did too, but not as much, come to think of it). It was thus that I was able to pick up the two Direct Market Exclusive sets from both Captain America and Thor. Howard Stark is probably the weakest figure from the Cap range as while it is fun to have, I can't help but be bummed we've got him and no Erskine. He comes in a gray suit that seems iconic despite not being able to recall what scene he wears it in. This is an example of where alternate arms and paint on the torso would be nice to allow for multiple looks, for instance his vest for "work shop" appearance. He does have alternate hair and hat head pieces. The Hydra soldier is pretty good, coming with a removable outer helmet and plasma rifle. I didn't realize this until recently but the gloves are a new "gauntlet only" piece that fits between the arm and hand allowing them to continue using normal Minimate hands - a great improvement on the previous glove-as-hand piece.
DST - Captain America: Peggy Carter & Hydra Soldier
Peggy is one of those "perfect minimates" for me, very simple figure but well executed and through paint seems more elaborate than she actually is. I really love it when DST keep things simple. She comes with the machine gun from the "Assault on Hydra" finale, which is great. All we're missing is a Tommy Lee Jones 'mate - cough, cough comeonDSTweneedPhillipsErskineandZolaverybadly cough, cough. She comes with the same Hydra guy as Howard which is great, the more armybuilders the better! For you, dear readers, I decided to strip down the Hydra guy and in doing so found that it is incredibly difficult to remove the the suspenders/skirt piece. Ultimately I had to force the torso out through the side nearly breaking one of the suspenders. I have no idea how they assembled this figure in manufacturing! Take it from me, True Believers, do not attempt removing that piece! It's not worth it.
DST - Real Ghostbusters: Box Set 1
Freshly released just in time for SDCC I was mighty happy to pick this up. Egon and Ray are identical to their TRU release, which is fantastic since I can happily have both jumpsuit and proton gear versions on display! Included are Egon's PKE meter (which fits on his belt), closed ghost-traps on both proton packs (they also fit on Ray's belt), two proton streams and the poorly executed open ghost-trap. We also have Slimer, with an open mouth expression and "casual" Janine. Ghostbusters fans - how long have we yearned for Casual Janine! Seriously, this makes me so happy. I can not exclaim too greatly how perfectly DST is handling the Real Ghostbusters license! So excellent! If only they would now apply this same structure to a series of Back to the Future Minimates! (Or in a truly perfect world - Bill & Ted!!!)
DST - Thor: Agent Colson & Frost Giant
Agent Colson? Well... it's fun, and like the Happy Hogan Minimate, likely the only figure of that character to ever get made. Though, like Hap, he ultimately just turns out to be a fairly generic Man in Black. Clark Gregg has a pretty unique face but its not captured too well here, alas. He does come with a handgun and a bullhorn, which I think is a first for Minimates, but either way is pretty darn cool. He comes with Frost Giant 1, which is neat, but sadly lacking. Fortunately he does get a Cylon torso-extender for a bit more height, unlike the poor TRU exclusive Destroyer.
DST - Thor: Asgardian Gaurd
From DST's Single Packs that they had out at SDCC. The boxes were swimming in Frost Giants and the occasional Asgaurd. I got just one to allow for two in the collection (as one came out at TRU) and because these run $5 a piece, which feels very steep. Too bad cause I like this figure a lot (especially his helmet) and would love to have had a small army of him. And for the record, he does come with the sword and spear I had mis-claimed he did not in my review of the TRU version.
DST - Thor: Jane Foster & Frost Giant
Frost Giant - he's the same. That's how variant packs work. It's really too bad there's no paint on the torso which could have allowed for a lot more variation between the Frost Giants and really warranted army-building. Jane is... pretty boring too. But come on, if you're collecting Minimates you're not going to turn down the love interest/Natalie Portman!
Four Horsemen - Outer Space Men: Astro-Nautilus
Aha! After a year of pining the OSM-Proper are mine, and I gotta tell you, the painted versions are so much cooler that the translucent color variants. Astro-Nautilus was the early favorite for his underwater-y nature and quad-tentacles! One of the cool things on this series is that all the color (unless were translucent) is painted on, no colored plastic here! It's just one of those extra things that the Horsemen do adds that extra little bit of coolness - it really is remarkable how much better paint looks than just plastic. Astro-Nautilus (weakest of all Series 1 names) comes with but a trident. You can get his tentacles into the two loops but it's a bit of a hassle. Mel Birkamp recently showed some sketches of head variants to Series 1 for a sort of "Series 1.5" to help generate revenue to produce Series 2. One of them was Astro-Natilus with a Cthulu head. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE MAKE THIS HAPPEN!!!
Four Horsemen - Outer Space Men: Inferno
The big fire fan behind Inferno made him the one I was most skeptical about but he turned out pretty cool. I haven't yet but will 100% be swapping out the painted fire burst for a translucent one, and maybe the heads too. He comes with alternate arms so you can swap between bent and straight elbows. He also comes with a fire-blaster gun, which I believe is the first time they've released this accessory. It's completely awesome in every way, but that I wish they could have Glyos-jointed the fire-blast so that the gun a) wasn't always firing and b) we could swap it out for a translucent piece creating a cooler look.
Four Horsemen - Outer Space Men: Metamorpho
Now this is my very favorite of the series. The white and black space suit just looks really cool. The Man-e-Faces-esque change-o-face head turns much easier on this guy than on the translucent variants. He comes with a blaster and a sort of space scepter. Whats really cool is that the scepter can replace the translucent ball on the top of the head/helmet and can be used to turn the head as well! I did try head and helmet swapping between Inferno and Metamorpho but the former's head it bigger, so the Inferno elements fit on Metamorpho but not vice versa. I like this figure enough that I'm half tempted to armybuild him for a whole fleet of White Spacesuit Guys. At $20 a pop though that won't be happening. One of the sketches for "Series 1.5" showed Metamorpho with a new head featuring a skull, possibly with a reverse paint scheme of Black & White rather than White & Black. How incredibly badass would that be!? MUST HAVE!!! If you get one OSM, make it Metamorpho.
Four Horsemen - Outer Space Men: Xodiac
I've well documented my lust of metallic blue paint so obviously I quite like Xodiac. Like the rest of the series he comes with alternate arms, but it would be nice to see some alternate legs at some point. The biggest source of frustration i have with this line is the knee articulation which, as a swivel Glyos joint, makes it really hard to keep them in line with the feet and thighs. I'm a little surprised to see the helmet being translucent yellow as that was the same for at least one of the color variant series'. It looks fine, but I would have preferred to have gotten a clear one at some point to at least have that option. I also want to comment on how awesome the packaging is - "collector friendly" resealable blister on really, really nice cards that replicate the look of the original line. If these were at a lower price point I would absolutely buy a second set to keep carded.
Funko - Pop Marvel: Iron Man
Several years back I developed a weird obsession with the Secret Wars Iron Man figure Mattel did back in the '80s and it has informed my entire lust for Stark-ollectibles. I love that armor and love it even more when it's done in just plain red and yellow (I hate gold on Iron Man). I've come to really like the Pop! aesthetic but managed to avoid it until confronted with the 200% scale Maleficent SDCC exclusive this year and when I found this guy I couldn't help but buy in. He's a bobble-head, which is normally a deal breaker, but the style and costume are cool enough I'm fine with it. There's no articulation (excepting the bobbley head) and the paint is somewhere between okay and good, it is a Funko product after all. I'm quite happy with this and think the line will happily fill the void left by Mighty Muggs' cessation, especially now that Target is carrying them. But do I really need to start collecting yet another line of figures?
NECA - Predators: Classic Predator
Obviously wanted this and obviously could never find it at stores, but when I stumbled on a booth selling him for $15 there was no second thought. The Open Mouth look is my preferred Predator face. It's a pretty good toy and the best action figure of Predator we've gotten yet. I do hope they make a super-articulated one down the road similar to what they're doing for Predator 2, but we shall see. It's my intent to harvest the necklaces from the SDCC exclusive Gort Mask version to make this guy more accurate to the first film.
Weta - Dr. Grodborts Rayguns: Miniature Victorious Mongoose
I've been a terrific fan of Greg Broadmore's line of ray guns since day one, and this is the last of the miniatures to complete my collection. I held off because, much like the full-sized version, it's just too small to really justify the money. However, they were running a special, or at least seemed like it was a lower price, and frankly it feels weird to not get a Raygun at the con. It's a nice little piece, with more outboard wiring than I had expected. It has the same great detail in both sculpt and paint as all previous ray guns and is a welcome addition. It is the hardest of all the pieces to recommend though because the price is so high as compared to the size of the piece, but I'm happy with it.
Weta - Dr. Grodborts Rayguns: Raygun Stand
Last year I picked up a Righteous Bison, the hollow vinyl (read: affordable) full-sized Raygun, at SDCC and it's just been hanging out in the box since then, so this was a must have. The base plate features Grodbort Labs' logo (the Righteous Bison, as it were) and is cast in solid metal. It is quite heavy, understandably so for it is likewise meant for the heavy, metal full sized Rayguns. It comes with four stands each with a square peg that fits in the base and differently sized and shaped pegs on the opposite end to accommodate the various pegholes on the different Rayguns. My only real complaint about the thing is the hole for the peg is at the bottom of the Logo meaning the logo is displayed upside down. Seems like a weird choice. Not much more to it than that. It's a great addition if you have a full-sized Raygun and kinda pointless if you don't.