As is oft the case at conventions, the materialism gets the better of me and I buy too much. Wonder Con 2012 was no different as I had to spread my haul across two weeks worth of Spoils (and even then some figures didn't even make the cut). Enjoy ye thus, the thrilling conclusion of our two-part serialized misadventure - The Woeful Tales of Rustin's Wallet at Wonder Con, Bane of the Bank Account.
DST - Back to the Future Minimates: BttFII Time Machine
Sigh. This reminds me so much of "old DST" - just a missed opportunity favoring weird choices in lieu of something relevant. A half translucent Delorean? I mean... what the hell? I understand that the nature of the line is to do a variant for the Specialty Market but this is truly the best they could do? Why not just a "not time traveling" version - paint it normally but cast the the translucent blue parts in silver. Ideally do that and include the non-hover wheels to really let it be special (i.e. standard BttF II mode). As is, this is the first BttF product that I'll be chucking in a box and forgetting about - so... kudos of being the first, DST...? To be fair, though, this set comes with the first-ever Minimate of Jennifer, which totally kicks ass! I'm a little surprised her vest is painted on rather than being a separate piece but the lines and deco is perfect so it looks great. All of the images I'd seen made this look like Claudia Wells (BttF I) Jennifer but the more I look at this in person the more I think I see Elizabeth Shue ( BttF II & III). This set is worth getting for Jennifer alone, but I just wish the Delorean wasn't the worst thing ever. Well, I wish that and that DST hadn't taken such a seemingly anti-BttF stance (We need BttF III Deloreans and a TRU line if not more four-packs!).
DST - Marvel Minimates: Daredevil & Sin-Eater
I'd never heard of "The Jean DeWolf Saga" before this line was announced, and while I certainly like the idea of themed series, this theme isn't one all too exciting but it does highlight the value of Minimates - the ability to do characters that wouldn't be viable in other formats. Of course we kick off here with the ninth Minimate release of Daredevil. He comes with the new mask released with the recent Evil Daredevil figure as well as two white batons (which are really hard to cram into his hip-holster) and a new, cool piece, his trademark white cane with the two ends connected by string, plus an alternate unmasked hairpiece. Arguably this is the definitive Daredevil Minimate, but it is a hard thing to get excited about since we already have so many. Sin-Eater is a fun, colorful figure and he comes loaded. He gets a removable mask, alternate "Reed Richards" hair, a full-on second head (same face but now with glasses) and longer blonde hair plus a cool double-barreled shotgun. This is a pretty cool set and well worth your time.
DST - Marvel Minimates: Spider-Man & Jean DeWolff
Amazingly this is only the third black-suit Spider-Man in Minimate form, and it certainly is a great execution. It's a simple paint on a simple body and nails it. He comes only with a web strand and thus feels a bit of a cheat as a result, especially compared to Daredevil. Still, I love the mask painted directly on to a head rather than being removable. Jean gets a new hairpiece and some truly excellent paint apps that add a lot of style and depth to some very basic sculpts - this is really Minimates at its best! She comes with a handgun and a pretty cool badge-displaying hand. This is another solid set but it has very niche appeal to only hardcore Spidey and/or Minimate fans. I really applaud DST for going out on this kind of limb and would love to see more of this kind of thing, especially across more of their licenses.
DST - Marvel Minimates: J. Jonah Jameson/S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent/Aunt May
This is technically our first Minimate of each character, though the Chameleon 'mate came with a J.J.J. mask and we did get an Ultimate SHIELD agent previously. The latter comes with a new torso add-on to create the distinctive chest-holster look of classic SHIELD though it pretty much renders the head motionless. He comes with a handgun, a knife (both of which fit in their respective holsters) and an alternate hairpiece, a very cool touch! J.J.J. is, well, simply put, totally awesome! He comes in a vest and collar/tie piece which can be replaced with coat-on torso piece and arms - a return to alternate costumes! As if that wasn't cool enough he gets not only a copy of the Daily Bugle, he gets a rolled up one too! It's like we get a "Press Conference" and an "Office" J.J.J. all in one. You can bet I will be picking up a second one of these for another SHIELD guy and alternate J.J.J.! Aunt May comes with nothing. Just her elderly, lonesome self. She is, though, perfect. Using the same skirt piece as Jean DeWolff and a new hairpiece DST has totally nailed the look of Aunt May and delivered a perfect must-have addition to the Spider-Man collection.
DST - Marvel vs Capcom Minimates: Dormammu & Trish
Dormammu is one cool 'mate. I have little familiarity with him but this figure is certainly one of the big highlights of MvC Series 1. I like the armor, though wish it'd been more black than purple, and love the face - dark orange paint on a translucent orange head. He comes with two "fireballs" for his hands and a hover-stand. Trish I know nothing about but am happy to read she goes with the Dante figure. She's just a standard, boring "hot chick in black" complete with handgun and 'mate stand, but she gets a giant sword which really helps her stand out. I hadn't seen this thing until opening the package and it's awesome - longer than she is tall with a blade running the full length and a bit of a fireman's axe color scheme. It even has a peg which can plug into a hole on the back of her hair.
DST - Marvel vs Capcom Minimates: Phoenix & Morrigan
Phoenix continues and completes the trend of Series 1's Marvel figures being the definitive release of each character. Really nice deco and vibrant shades of green, yellow and orange make this figure truly "pop" out. She comes with the Phoenix Fire base previously released, though this one paint is lacking in the wings letting the purple-ish clear plastic show through the translucent orange wash (is it mine or the whole run's?). Morrigan is... well she must be a popular character but I have nothing kind to say of the design, save but for that this is as good an execution as could be hoped for. She comes with bupkiss save but for a clear 'mate stand.
DST - Pirate Raiders Minimates: Pirate Ship with Undead Cartographer
You know what? I'm surprised how much I like this variant of the Pirate Ship! It's cast in Glow-in-the-Dark plastic and has a hearty green wash over it for texture and effect. Add to that the canvas colored flags, and their excellent skull'n'swords design, and this may well be my favorite piece in the whole Pirate Raiders line. Included is a Zombie with a map tattooed on his head, chest and back, which is pretty damn cool. He may well be my favorite figure in the line to date as well! If you get one Pirate Raiders ship make it this one! And here's hoping that DST will some accessories sets that have additional masts and alternate bow-spike-things. And mermaids!
DST - Stargate SG-1: Season 10 Daniel & Teal'C
I have no love for SG-1 and in fact don't think I've ever been able to make it through a full episode, but god do I love good figures and boy did DST and Jean St. Jean craft one hell of a great toy line out of the show! I picked this up from a booth dumping them for $10 apiece. My collection has been focused on green outfits and aliens, but for $10 and another "transporter ring" I couldn't turn it down. Teal'c takes the standard "Big Guy T-Shirt body" and vest and paints them black, and I think this is the only figure of him to sport hair. Daniel comes in a robe that might share pieces with the Daniel from the "Ascension" two-pack. JsJ is truly a master sculptor not only in detail and style but also craftiness. Daniel's sleeves have lacing running down the side and the arms are sculpted in such a way that the path of the lacing looks believable when the elbow is bent as well as straight - nice! The set is loaded with accessories including, a staff, book, "laser spear" with alternate head, machine gun, alien gun, and a "transporter ring" with 4 clear "hover" pegs. If you're into SG-1 this is a great set, and it's pretty cool for those of us with a passing interesting and an established collection, but as a one-off it's a little iffy.
DST - UMM Select: Creature From the Black Lagoon
I found a booth selling UMM Select for $15 a pop - how could I say no!? This is actually the second one of these figures/sets I've bought. The Creature's arm broke off right out of the package on the first one I got (plus, at $15 how could I not have two!?). The Creature is a good sculpt, but not the best one out there and come in bright, "metallic" green. It may be a little too bright for some but I like it, especially since I have the TRU version as well. Articulation is woefully low, with most joints having limited range. the feet are uneven and without leg articulation there is nothing we can do about that. The real star of this set is the figure of Kay. She's just an accessory, with neck articulation, but is sculpted perfectly and with the base one can create the famous promotional photo it's based on. Despite its flaws Kay makes this one of the very best CFtBL collectibles ever produced and it is well worth your time and money!
DST - UMM Select: Dracula
I'll just be blunt - this is worst figure in DST's entire Universal Movie Monster collection. I picked it up because at $15 my completist nature won out, and I do prefer this Dracula to the TRU exclusive version. So, what's wrong with it? Figure: there are only six points of articulation and a proportionally awkward waist that is implausibly thin and of course the so-glaring-it's-surprising-they-even-made-it lack of Bela Lugosi likeness rights. Pack-in: What...? A wolf? I mean, I guess it makes sense but it has so little to do with the 1931 film, especially when you compare to the iconic pieces from the other three Select figures. Base: And again I ask you, what? Just a mound? Right, cause when I think of Universal's Dracula I think the Count standing next to a wolf on a pile of dirt. The two pegs for Dracula are too far apart for his legs, and the two for the wolf mixed with the contoured base make his non-pegged feet hover. It's basically like they knew without the Lugosi likeness no one would give a damn so they made the most pointless figure possible. Why not a section of the awesome grand staircase from his castle, with a massive spiderweb as the pack-in, or the all-too-obvious coffin? It just makes the mind boggle. Regardless, there is some silver lining. The wolf is a particularly nice sculpt with lots of solid fur detailing and a great "don't F with me" countenance. Of the two weak Dracula heads this, non-snarling, head is by far the better and his head and hands head a nice two-layer paint scheme which is more "skin tone" and also superior to the TRU one. So... if you're like me you'll get it on sale, on principle, and if you're not - steer clear.
DST - UMM Select: Frankenstein
Frankenstein('s Monster/Creature, yeah - I know) is much like Dracula in terms of his shocking lack of articulation featuring only seven points. Likewise his Select version comes with identically colored clothing as the TRU version but now has a more yellowish hue to his skin color. The real reason to get this set is the operating table, and sadly it too disappoints. It's a fairly simple piece made of eight elements and while it lacks instructions the construction is fairly intuitive (do note that the quarter-circle bits on the legs go on the "head end"). The paint is a very nice brown drybrush over heavy silver drybrush over gray plastic and it really helps add value and texture. It's a nice diorama booster but is so simple, inaccurate and with Frank never being on it in this outfit, it's just... well, pointless. I wish they had included a softgoods dropcloth at the least or, more ideally, the large restraint bands from the film. Really, though, I think this would have been a much better place to go the "Creature" route and have included a limited-articulation Fritz figure. And hey, if they got the Dwight Frye likeness rights Dracula could have come with Renfield! Series 1 (Creature and Mummy) had great pack-ins and substantive figural differences from the TRU versions to really warrant the $22 SRP - Series 2 does not.
Kaiyodo - Revoltech: #091 Vash the Stampede
Omigod.... Now THIS is a Revoltech figure! So, you say you want articulation? How does 29 points suit you, and all of those are balljoints with swivels on either end (so it could count as 87 points) and most are ratcheted. Accessories? 16 of those, mostly alternate hands, but also three bases, two alternate faces, and "blast" effect for the gun. Too damn awesome. I've been nuts for Vash ever since the McFarlane figure and this one definitely finally surprises it. A truly great sculpt jammed with an insane amount of articulation that doesn't even ruin the former. At $40 this is easily the best "deal" of any of the Revoltech figures I've gotten so far. That's not say there are no flaws. Like all Revoltech, there's almost too MUCH articulation which can ironically enough limit posing. Also, I can not get his face to come of the head so I am unable to swap it over to one of the more preferred faces. All told, though, if you can find this at a reasonable price get it! It is the best Revoltech figure I've gotten yet!
McFarlane Toys - Spawn The Dark Ages: Mandarin Spawn
Can you believe I scored this dude, carded, for only $4!? By far this is my Score of the Con!!! 1999 was truly McF's golden era and this figure is in all essence their pinnacle. Sculpted by god-on-earth Eric Treadaway this figure was as much of a game-changer for the industry as was the formation of McFarlane Toys. It's truly the first, possibly only, figure to really transcend the stigma of "toys" and "action figures" and pull in non-collector interest. My best friend, in fact, started collecting toys officially because of this guy - it was the "gateway drug" for many people. I'll even happily contend that it is the greatest carded figure of all time. The green of the background with the red and gold of the figure, the skull and the large branding - it's perfect. I'm thrilled to score this one to keep carded for all the (dark) ages!
October Toys - O.M.F.G. Series 1: Crawdad Kid, King Castor, Phantom Shithouse, Multiskull, Stroll
I was never a fan of M.U.S.C.L.E. and only had a couple sets of Monster in my Pocket but I am a big fan of toys and especially creatively released ones. I didn't join up on the Kickstarter end of this line so I owe it to the guys to pay up now. I picked a set of standard "flesh" color and the variant black set (which ran $15 to the standard's $10) - the purchase even included OMFG stickers and a poster, cool! I really dig some of these and quick like the aesthetic and sculpt of all. Multiskull and King Castor are definitely my fav's with the Phantom Shithouse (like yo said, such a cheap, groan-worthy attention-grab of a name) a close runner up. I like Stroll but he's a little too cartoon-y for me and the Crawdad Kid... I guess I just don't "get it." The flesh colored set is definitely the better of the two but the black ones will be great for painting, which I hope to do at some indeterminate point in the future.
ToyBiz - X-Men Secret Weapons Force: Master Mold
This is from the second series of Secret Weapons Force in 1998 subtitled Power Slammers and is one of the poorest conceived lines from ToyBiz. Most of the X-Men spinoffs would offer comic-accurate figures with outlandish accessories, however this entirety of this series were very goofy made-up costumes. I recognized Master Mold from the old Saban show (dadadadaaaah-da-dah!) but this is barely him. Yet, for $4 I figured it could be neat, plus I noticed his projectiles were painted mini-Sentinels. Each leg is a separate, non-articulated piece that plugs into the head. The silver arms are attached to the head and have four swivel joints on each arm. The face flips up so that the six mini-Sentinels can be loaded into the launcher, then a firm push on the back of the skullcap and a mini-Sentinel shoots out of the mouth. Indeed, they shoot pretty well, almost shockingly well. All in all this just a very silly thing, but fun in it's own right and a cute reminder of the 90s.
Toybiz - X-Men Water Wars: Sentinel Test Robot
This was the line that finally gave us an accurate "white costume" Storm, the signature-of-the-era super badass Iceman (sculpted expertly by Steve Kiwus) but this weird Sentinel was one of the more memorable ToyBiz figures of 1997. I never got it because it wasn't based on any look I knew but for $4 now its a fun, nostalgic purchase. I really dig the Moebius-esque look of the guy, with his over-sized, cylindrical boots and glove. And for a figure that's been around for 15 years (holy crap, I'm old...) it still packs some surprises. He comes with an interchangeable mace-hand and water cannon arms plus his boots pull down about an inch giving him a bit more height (the tops of the boots even double perfectly as knee guards!). Granted, this suffers from its era - articulation is only at the "big five" and it's not as proportionately accurate as we would expect now, but it's still fun. A "good enough" sculpt and better-than-expected paint also help. The water cannon arm actually has a pull/push plunger on the back end for operation and the mace-hand dangles loosely from the shoulder giving it a pretty decent mace effect. All around I am quite surprised by this figure and like him far more than I expected.