Well! Well, well, well! Better late than never, they so, and so say we here at OAFE. SDCC 2015 may have just wrapped up last week but I’ve yet to review all the exclusives I got at SDCC 2014! So… let us rectify that and take a slight trip back to yester-year as I lick my financial wounds from this year’s Con and get my purchases in Spoils-y order. I should also note that I got the Jek Porkins, McQuarrie Luke Skywalker and Rocket Raccoon mini-busts from Gentle Giant, but in the intervening year they’ve apparently gone missing (likely up into the resin annals of the attic somewhere).
Bif Bang Pow – The Twilight Zone: Series 1 Color versions
The standard release of the figures are in proper black & white but these color editions were just too fun to pass up. The cards are nicely designed and these editions have two stickers, one on the blister indicating it’s a “Convention Exclusive” and one folded over the bottom giving the cards adding a new barcode on the back and providing a fun “Now in Color” graphic under the character name on the front. Each figure is limited to 456 and there is a hologram sticker on the back of the cards showing what number out of 456 each is. Mine range from 145 to 9, so that’s pretty cool, though it would have been nice if they’d bundled the figures so that all six in the set came with the same number. Bob Wilson is Billy Shatner’s more famous role from TZ, but hoo boy… the paint here is really sloppy and poorly done. The Gremlin‘s light green shade actually works pretty well. Kanamit turned out sculpturally perfect, but suffers the same kind of paint issues as the other figures. Henry Bemis‘ sculpt is nice though the paint is not. Talky Tina is a famous character but a tough sell here due to her teeny tiny size and lack of accessories, and it’s hard to overlook the poor paint QC. Invader is one of the coolest in set and easily the most appealing, being a sexy bronze color and the perfect size and character to hide anywhere in the collection, office or house (I’m kinda wishing I’d gotten 2, now).
Bif Bang Pow – The Venture Bros: Bloody, Black Shirt Brock Sampson
This is kind of a low-hanging-fruit exclusive to stretch out those tooling dollars. I missed out on the unbloody versions of Brock, and I already have a bloody white T-shirt version from SDCC 2012 (and naked & bloody from SDCC 2013), but… you know me. It’s the same “not bad” sculpt and at least his shirt is painted “cut” up a bit for a more distinct look. Part of the novelty of the figure is the very G.I. Joe-y card art, so this guy will likely live out his days enshrined in plastic and cardboard.
DST – Grimm Fairy Tales Minimates: Nissa
Is it a Minimate? The I’ll buy it! At least this fairy-esque character is cast, exclusively here, in translucent green (well, clear plastic with a trans-green paint coat) for a pretty neat looking final piece. She comes with a standard base and a hover stand, though the latter doesn’t hold her up very successfully, alas. I don’t know who or what this character is, but I love Minimates and I love that a company scrounged up enough scratch to afford to make toys of their characters!
DST – Grimm Fairy Tales Minimates: Red Riding Hood
Here we get another “sexy” version of a fairy tale character. She comes in an all-red outfit, exclusive to this release, and is packed with a sword, axe, base and alternate unhooded hair piece. Both of these ‘mates sold for $10 each, which is pretty steep, but again I do appreciate that a company figured out a way to get toys out of their own, low-volume property – it’s inspiring!
DST – Marvel Minimates: Days of Future Past
I still haven’t read Days of Future Past but I’m given to understand it’s only a couple-issue arc behind a pretty iconic cover, and this set seems to do a solid job of covering both the story and the cover. Future Wolverine is perhaps the most iconic thing about this story and this Minimate captures him pretty well (and is actually the second Minimate of this version of Logan). Future Kitty Pryde is an AWESOME Minimate because she comes with alternate parts to create two very different looks for the character – my favorite thing! Future Sentinel might just be my favorite version of a Minimate Sentinel yet, and he comes with an alternate battle damaged head too. Mystique turned out darn great and is a much needed upgrade, plus she get two alternate heads! Senator Kelly and a mid-morph head. At first I was a little bummed that there’s no body or clothes for Kelly but I have a bunch of spare suit parts, I’m sure, so it won’t be hard to build a body for him. My only complaint with this set is that there isn’t an alternate look for Wolverine, but since there are two looks for 75% of the figures… hell yes I bought two!!!
Factory Entertainment – Archer: Starling Archer, Tuxedo Edition
I bought this. THAT is how much I love Archer. Their heart was in the right place, it’s a smart variant to do as an exclusive and he comes with a bag and THREE sets of interchangeable hands – heck, even the card looks great. But… But. I mean… This is a better toy than I could make, but for a professional release it’s so… look, I’m sorry Factory Entertainment, this is a bad figure. This sculpt is just bad. At points, terrible. Those elbow hinges? The utterly, ridiculously teeny tiny hands! The overall rigidness of the pose and overall off-model-ness of the figure… I’m more surprised that this was APPROVED by the licensor than that it actually came out so bad, I mean this is Factory Entertainment’s first foray into action figures after all. And it’s bad enough that it’s killed the rest of the line. It’s just embarrassing. But at least it’s a weird novelty for my collection.
Hasbro – Marvel Legends: The Thanos Imperative
Gladiator is arguable the lamest super hero design of all time so it’s disappointing that he’s included but I’m sure someone, somewhere is happy to have a Legends version of him. I particularly love that his right thigh was fused and snapped right off… at least I don’t care about the character and won’t mind just having a glued leg. Medusa is a welcome addition to Legends though I must say she’s a bit underwhelming, and that I’d prefer a classic costume to this new one. I do like the metallic coloring on her but the hair sculpt seems very minimal considering the character and her powers. Oh awesome, we’re getting a Legends Blastaar! Oh, no it’s just Lobo. Yawn. I suppose it’s nice to get the character but what a lame design. He’s hoping for a proper BAF in a future Legends series. Star-lord I fell in love with this character entirely because of this helmet (and specifically as a result of the Marvel Universe 3-pack) so I am quite pleased to add him to the collection! However, there is just something a bit too bulky and cartoon-ish about the proportions of the body and helmet to really scratch the itch I had for the character. Still, I’m happy to have him. Black Bolt is a sort of beloved character for me, but I do quite like and prefer the thinner look of the previous one so this guy just feels like filler to me. At least they could have given him a screaming head, or something, to make him more unique and special/
Hasbro – Marvel Universe: Infinity Gauntlet
This is a fun idea but kind of a unexciting final product. Likewise, the packaging is neat at first glance but man, oh man, it is huge and unwieldy. Moreover, it’s clamshell layout, with heat pressed buttons around each figure, is a REAL sonuvabitch to open. The character choice isn’t all that exciting, though at least three of the characters are all new to Hasbro and two have never had figures before. Starfox has a new head on a crappy old MU body, and his left leg keeps popping off at the hip. He also comes with the Infinity Gauntlet which is neat, but it just clips on so it’s not that cool. Nebula is certainly not as cool looking as Karen Gillan’s version! She too is just a repaint with new slip-on boot tops, belt and (probably) head. Thanos is sort of a must for this release but I’m pretty tired of seeing this figure re-released so it would have been nice if they’d done something to make him more unique or special, other than just doing the gauntlet in translucent yellow. Mistress Death is the star of the figures since she’s an all-new, fantastic sculpt. She’s basically a statue but her skeletal hand has a swivel joint and the hood is removable to interchange skeleton and human heads. But the real reason to get this set is, of course, theInfinity Gauntlet roleplay glove! It’s awesome and fairly surprising that it’s not hitting mass retail. It’s thick Nerf foam with a hollow core and a fabric band in the palm to grip. The Infinity Gems are a soft, hollow plastic with a bubbly texture on the inside and they look stellar. The glove is the thing, man, and I love it!!!
Hasbro – Mighty Muggs: ROM the Space Knight
I have nothing but a very tangential knowledge of ROM but I really dig the Mighty Muggs format so it’s exciting enough for me to see it make a brief return let alone facilitate the release of an obscure, apparently muddied-rights character! Like all Mighty Muggs this guy uses the base body, with swivel articulation at the neck and shoulders, and even comes with a gun (I’m guessing it’s a repaint, too, but I don’t know for sure). The paint pattern on the front and back are pretty fun and seem to do a decent job of adapting the character. He comes in a really neat box too, done in all metallic paper/foil with cool blue and yellow patterning on the sides. I really dig this figure a whole lot and I would love it if Hasbro would dig into its vaults and put out a nostalgically obscure character like this as a Mighty Mugg every year.
Hasbro – Star Wars Black: Jabba
I mean… just come the eff on, Hasbro. Here we get what
Funko – Game of Thrones Legacy: Tyrion Lannister
Insanely Armored Tyrion was the standard release for Series 1 and this figure is almost totally identical except for the should-have-been-included-with-the-regular-figure helmet and a new head with his facial scar. The head is really annoying because the only way to know it’s different is to look at side-by-side photos, and beyond that why the hell isn’t the gash bleeding!? Not only is it only logical for this costume it would really make this figure stand out and but far more exciting/interesting. The helmet is neat, but looks very squid-y so it’s hard for me to believe a Lannister, not a Greyjoy, would wear it. Who would buy the regular version if you could get this one and if you bought the regular version how appreciative would you be to see the same figure released with more later? But, logistics aside, it’s a good figure in its own right and a welcome addition to the collection.
Funko – Game of Thrones Legacy: White Walker (Glow in the Dark)
This is such a weird release… It’s the same White Walker figure as in Series 1 but now painted shockingly bright blue and coated in glow-in-the-dark green paint… so… why wasn’t this guy just cast in glow-in-the-dark plastic, and why doesn’t he glow blue? It’s just an ocean of weird choices so it’s no doubt you can still find him at some Barnes & Noble stores. It’s a good figure, but the bright skin color, especially with the normally colored hair and armor, is frankly a bit off-putting. It’s a fun thing in theory but was sort of fumbled in execution, unfortunately.
Funko – The Goonies ReAction: S-Shield Sloth
It’s pretty crazy that they’d release Sloth without the Superman S-Shield on his shirt but apparently that’s a separate license, but at least Funko managed to get the S-Shield out some way. It is kind of a dick move to be like “the accurate/signature version is an exclusive” but I want to believe it has more to do with the license than Funko themselves. I’ve never been a big Goonies fan, but I do think this one of those perfect licenses for ReAction so I got this figure basically as insurance against whether or not I ended up getting the other figures (I did) and have left him carded “just in case.” I actually do like the card art well enough I might just keep the whole line carded. One weird thing, though, is that the S-Shield in the card photo is photoshopped on… so they took a still, photoshopped out the S-Shield for mass retail, then photoshopped one on for the exclusive? Why not just use the original photo?
Funko – The Nightmare Before Christmas: Jack Skellington & Zero
I’m not convinced that Nightmare was a good choice for ReAction because the aesthetics are too disparate (but not as bad as the Minimates… woof) but this figure comes with an exclusive Zero, so if I do end up getting into the line I don’t want to not have Zero (though it doesn’t really look like we’ll be seeing more anyway). Zero turned out pretty cool, all things considered, and Jack gets an exclusive “open mouth” head (the retail figure came in three versions: “closed mouth,” “sinister grin,” and “Ooooooh Face”). They also redid the card art in a really cool foil print of Jack and Zero. As a result of all of this I’ve decided to keep the figure carded.
Funko – The Rocketeer ReAction: Black & White Rocketeer
I love the Rocketeer but I do not love this figure. Regardless, it’d Rocketeer so I had to get this on principle. Similar to Jack Skellington, I’ll be leaving this carded since it seem more “special” or “unique” that way, and really what can I do with the figure once open?
Mattel – DC Signature Collection: Doomsday
I’m one of those few that was pretty jazzed for this figure. I never had any desire for them to return to Doomsday but this is a pretty fun look and there has never been a toy or collectible of it before! I get the complaints that the first Doomsday was too small and this one is too big, but it’s Mattel – beggers can’t be choosers and I’m just tickled to get this outfit; I just love that begoggled head! He’s built off of the Kilowog body which unfortunately means his poseability is okay, not great, so you can’t really get him into a proper “bound” pose. I don’t know… there are plenty of faults with this figure but they don’t really bother me. He’s kind of like an ideal Con Exclusive, novel but not crucial.
Mattel – Masters of the Universe Classics: Hordak (Filmation)
I hadn’t planned to get this figure, mainly because I’m burnt out on MotUC and the lack of the all-too-obvious robot head made this a total fumble of a release. And seriously… Neitlich didn’t think people would want the robot head? As a casual fan I only know about Filmation Hordak because of all the custom robot heads I’ve seen online! So, ultimately I snagged him cause I was able to walk up to the booth with no wait and get him and with hopes for a future robot head packed in somewhere. Well, a year after the drama… I actually quite like the bright colors of the figure and had he included or if we new an alternate head was coming I would definitely get a second to display both heads and arms. Because he comes with interchangable “normal” and “robot” arms too! That’s pretty neat and fun (and even more indicative of the need of robot head). He also comes with Imp, who I take it is a beloved character of some sort. He’s a pretty decent little figure, though, and buying him at the con meant they threw in a separate accessory of him as a little treasure box. I don’t get it, but I’ll take it! So ultimately this guy is sort of equally disappointing and exciting for me – weird!
Mattel – Total Heroes Ultra: Cyborg
I have never, nor will likely ever, understand the popularity of Cyborg. But, I do love me some Total Heroes so I couldn’t pass this up. Despite my distaste for the character this is the second best use of the “Ultra” (read: Deluxe) format for the line (first being the Green Lantern Corps). Cyborg uses the same armored body as Mr. Freeze and Lex Luthor, but gets vac metalized gauntlets and torso ’cause… shiny. In addition to the figure we get a winged backpack, two plug-in guns, a plug-in blade, a gigantic arm cannon, a pair of flat hands, a pair of holding hands and an alternate head. The guns and blade have thick tabs that pop into the springloaded rectangles in the gauntlets, finally explaining/confirming their purpose (I’d actually kind of dig it they got the guns out recolored as a Freeze ray for Freeze and an kryptonite cannon for Lex). The big, giant cannon thing is the neatest accessory though and fits on his arm over the gauntlet pretty snuggly, though once again the joints are too weak to keep it elevated. The red spray for “energy blast” is pretty hokey though. Overall I’m pleased with the release, though I’m not convinced he was a good choice for the “Ultra” format despite the obviousness of his inclusion.
Mattel – WWF Slam City: John Cena
Every year Mattel hands out a free WWF mini-figure at their booth and this year we got a John Cena in silver duds. He’s rubber with soft latex arms, so presumably he’s some sort of launchable game toy like those goofy Man of Steel Superman things. He’s nothing exciting, but I enjoy it just as part of my SDCC giveaway WWF collection.
NECA – Nightmare on Elm Street: 8″ Super Freddy (NoES 5)
I generally have zero love for or interest in Megos & Fake-Megos, BUUUUUT I’m such a fan of NECA’s Nightmare on Elm Street I couldn’t really pass this guy up, especially since his bulk makes his likelihood of being a proper figure very low plus he’s a fun companion piece to the 2012 SDCC exclusive “Black & White” Freddy. And best of all, he’s 8″ which still makes him sort of in-scale with the 7″ figure. He head is proportionally too big to be a perfect fit for the 7″ scale, but close enough means I’m content. Even though I’m a big opponent to this format I must concede that the tailoring, sculpt and paint are all pretty top notch. They even have an incredibly impressive bit of attention to detail – a slight ring of pink around the eye/under the black eye shadow! The scene was shot in color with with the costumes, sets and make-up in grayscale to fake it and get the partial color aesthetic, so of course the actor didn’t have makeup in his eyes! Man.. that’s such an amazing, cool detail – NECA, you truly are the best! I was also very happy to discover that the clamshell package has a couple snap-tab-things on the blister which mean, you guessed, RE-SEALABLE! That’s been part of the dealbreaker for me with these since so much of the gimmick seems to be card art, but now I’m starting to think I should have gotten some of the other characters at retail that appealed to me.
NECA – Predator: Ahab Predator
NECA’s annual Predator exclusive has become a perennial favorite and this year’s doesn’t disappoint! This is apparently a character from an upcoming Predator comic but all that really matters is that he looks darn cool! He comes with a City Hunter spear that has a new harpoon-ish blade on one end and a very cool removable mask, complete with fully sculpted and painted backside! He’s sporting a new, tusked skull necklace and a wicked cool one-eyed head, complete with missing upper right mandible! His furrowed brow is even so angry/deep you can barely see his one good eye under there. Ahab is a nice, pale orange skin tone but it’s his armor that’s super cool. It has an amazing four tier paintscheme that is just lush and gorgeous! A silver base, followed by a black wash, a bronze wash and finally a wicked cool patina wash. The helmet fits on well and looks very cool, so much so I was tempted to buy a second, but between the $25 pricetag and the not-terribly-unique armor (sculpturally) I’m happy to stick with just the one.
October Toys – O.M.F.G.: Series 3 Purple
I pretty much only pick up the OMFGs at conventions, so I grabbed this con exclusive “lavender” group. For my tastes this is the weakest series yet, though there are some pretty fun figures in the mix. Barbinaut is the neatest design and a fun mix of space and barbarism! Dr. Decay is neat, and well sculpted but not all that exciting. Fruit Punch does nothing for me, to be brutally honest. Pugnacious is just… i really don’t understand how this won in the poll. TenCan seems kind of like low hanging fruit, conceptually, but aesthetically it seems to fit in with the previous series’ the best. It also came with a free glow-in-the-dark Mini Gwin, which I really, really like because it’s adorable and glow-in-the-dark!
Playmates – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Classic Collection: 1990 Movie Donatello, Leonardo, Michaelangelo, Raphael
These are technically “first release” TRU Exclusives, as opposed to proper “SDCC Exclusives,” but I’m sure glad I got them because I don’t recall ever seeing them at retail. Shockingly these are totally new sculpts, different from the Cartoon Classics figures, a bit more streamlined and a bit more detailed in the musculature. Just like last time, though, they all share the same body so it’s only the heads, belts and accessories that are different. I know some folks were unhappy with the different expression choices for the characters but they’re fine enough for me (and apparently relatively easy to swap around). I do really like the darker coloring on the figures, but the spots shown on the teaser image at SDCC a couple years ago are definitely missed. Also, since these are all new sculpts, it’s really a bummer they don’t have some texturing to the skin, like the old TMNT 2 figures. Likewise the belts could have really benefited from some leather texture, but they, and the pads, still look very cool. The weapons are nice, and Mikey gets metal chains on his nunchucks. Articulation is identical to, or very similar, to the cartoon Turtles but definitely seem to move better. All in all, it’s really a shame that Playmates went all “Playmates” on these and didn’t make them in 6″ scale or plan out the lines better to allow for more bad guys.
Super7 – Alien ReAction: Ripley & Egg
For $25 this is a joke. What they did was tool up this Alien Egg and then cast existing figures in both clear plastic and in translucent black-with-sparkles, then blind bagged them, put them in the egg, and sold it sealed for $25. And to make matters worse (or “fun” as they claimed in interviews) they never announced what was in the blindbags, just that it was repaints of existing and all-new sculpts – not even how many sculpts or unique sculpts in total! Sooooooo eff-you fans. In the after math we learned there were eight possible figures, so a complete collection would set you back $200 and that’s even before you factor in the blindbagging and inevitable useless buying of doubles. So… I bought one just to have the nightmare somewhere in the collection and wound up with Starry Night Ripley – at the time the least appealing figure, but in hindsight she’s probably on par with the non-alien figures, and certainly the sparkles are way more neat than clear plastic. The egg is pretty cool to be fair, a nice sculpt and quite thick though cast in dark translucent green. There is a peg on the top which is novel, but the egg is… so much larger than the figure it seems ridiculous to use these as figure stands. So… when I got this, I was pretty pissed about the whole situation, a year later and knowing the “new sculpts” got released and seeing what the other options in the blindbags were, it’s a novel piece in the collection. Just some good proof that being open with your consumer breeds happiness and playing bullshit games at high prices breeds contempt.
Titan Merchandise – Doctor Who: The Beast 9″
One of the very best Doctor Who episodes, and indeed the first that really, truly sold me on the show and David Tennant was the “The Satan Pit” which featured this big baddie. It was a pretty clever sci-fi story and a wonderful tone shift from previous episodes, plus it had cool designs (for toys) like the Ood and Environment Suit Doctor. One thing, though, that never got any collectibles was the Beast, so I was sold on this figure as soon as they announced it! He’s a 9″ version of Titan’s stylized figure aesthetic, which basically mimics the original Mez-Itz format of simple body + detailed head. In general I’m not a fan of that approach but it works here, probably mostly due to the size and excellent head sculpt. It’s remarkably detailed for being rotocast and in comparison to the more caricatured other figures. The body is generic (complete with pant cuffs) with a simple, wrinkly print on it, plus the silver handcuffs. He’s surprisingly more articulated than expected, too. Swivel cuts at the shoulders and neck, of course, but also swivel wrists and even swivel horns! I really, really dig this guy!